Here are the best places to fish in the Sacramento region, Northern California and beyond for the week of March 6, 2017.
DELTA REGION: Sacramento River
The main Sacramento River Delta is beginning to clear up, particularly in the Deep Water Channel, but releases out of the Feather River may change this within the week. Oroville Dam flows reduced from 80,000 cfs to 2500 cfs into the Feather River for spillway repair led to the collapse of up to 25 feet of bank along the Feather River, and the debris and mud will eventually find its way into the Delta. Sturgeon fishing is starting to pick up around Pittsburg for the first time in weeks, and the sturgeon are holding from Pittsburg towards San Pablo Bay. The sloughs of Montezuma and Suisun are good locations to stay out of the wind and the majority of floating debris. Boating in the north Delta is dangerous due to floating and submerged debris and high flows. There are still grass, tules, and wood floating down the river.
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DELTA REGION: San Joaquin River
The flows on the San Joaquin River have dropped below the danger stage as flows from Don Pedro have been slowed, but the closure for recreational boating remains in effect in the San Joaquin River and surrounding sloughs north to Bacon Island to recreational boating. Information on the closures can be located at https://www.sjgov.org/oes/. Many launch ramps are still out of service due to high water, and boaters need to contact the launch operators prior to hooking up their boats. Striped bass are starting to show up near Antioch with sardines or chicken livers, but the water needs to clear far more before the bite turns on. Bass fishing is best in the northeast Delta by flipping D-Bombs or Sweet Beavers in black. Finding pockets of clear water is the key to success.
3,000 pounds of rainbow trout ranging from 1.5 to 2 pounds were released into the lake this past week as a result of the fish being raised at the Mokelumne River Hatchery near Clements through a special arrangement with the East Bay Municipal Utilities District and the DFW. A total of 45,000 pounds of rainbows will be released into the lake through early June. Trout action is best from the shorelines near the Mud Hole with scented trout dough bait. The water remains stained in the upper Mokelumne, but it is starting to clear in the main lake. Pardee is still at 100 percent and releasing water balanced with inflow to downstream Lake Camanche.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Sacramento
Some stripers are being caught near Miller Park on ghost shrimp. The port of Sacramento is the best bet for striper fishing near Sacramento. Trolling Bombers or Rebel plugs is the best bet, along with jigging spoons near shad boils. Discovery Park remains closed.
NORTH COAST RIVERS
CHETCO RIVER, Brookings, Oregon
Steelhead fishing remained surprisingly good last week with a good mix of both freshrun and downstream steelhead providing good to very good action for guides, according to WON field reporter and guide Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing, who put clients on as many as 10 steelhead in 2 days of fishing. The river is rising from storms and expected to hit 20,000 cfs by mid-week.
ELKS RIVER, Port Orford, Oregon
The Elk was in good shape early last week, with steelhead spread out between the hatchery and Iron Head takeout. The river was up to 5 feet on Sunday but still fishable. A few steelhead between 15 and 18 pounds were reported last week.
ROGUE RIVER, Gold Beach, Oregon
The Rogue was down to 12,500 cfs at the Agness gauge on Sunday, high but fishable for anglers plunking Spin-N-Glos. More rain is expected this week, which could keep the river too high for jet boaters.
ROGUE RIVER, Shady Cove to Grants Pass, Oregon
Fishing was pretty much blown out again, and will probably be the same this week, said guide Troy Whitaker at U-Save Tackle in Grants Pass. There were a few catches recently on drifted baits and plugs but fishing is tough. The DFG is planting 300 trout in the Reinhart Park lake, good for youngsters to fish here.
Running at 6000 cfs as of Sunday, but an inch of rain Saturday night is expected to bring the river up a couple of feet more, according to Scott Heemstra of Kings Sport and Tackle in Guerneville. Clarity better above Mark West Creek, but flows still high. Plunking up a steelie still possible inside corners, and steelhead keep showing until April.
SIXES RIVER, Port Orford, Oregon
The Sixes fished well a few days last week before blowing out again over the weekend. It is expected to remain high this week.
Good steelheading all week with mostly fresh fish still, surprisingly! Boats averaged 2 to 5 fish a boat with mostly chromers and some downers, according to WON Field Reporter and guide Phil Desautel of Phils Smiling Salmon Guide Service. He took Jack Rimson of McKinleyville and Paul Callens of Brookings out and they went 3 for 4 one day and 1 for 5 the next. Jay Meddows of Prospect Nevada went 3 for 5 as a single.
KLAMATH RIVER, Hornbrook
Flows remained too high to fish last week and over the weekend. On Sunday, flows were down to 2,460 cfs, still high for steelhead or trout.
KLAMATH RIVER, Happy Camp
Flows at Seiad Valley were 6,670 cfs over the weekend, too high for steelhead fishing. Snow was falling Sunday in Happy Camp.
KLAMATH RIVER, Klamath Glen
The lower Klamath is high and muddy, with flows just under 40,000 cfs.
Steelhead fishing is winding down on the Trinity, with much of the catch now spawned out fish heading back to the ocean. Flows at Lewiston were 317 cfs over the weekend, while flows in Douglas City were 579 cfs and flows in Junction City were 1,280 cfs. The lower river remains high, with flows of 6,400 cfs in Willow Creek and 10,400 cfs in Hoopa.
NORTH COAST LAKES
Bass catches are being made, and Berryessa Bass Tournaments held their TOC this past weekend with limits for just about all 26 teams. No action was reported for trout fishermen.
BLACK BUTTE LAKE
Not much fishing action reported here with the lake being very muddy.
Lake is full but is still very muddy and no anglers have been out for several weeks, said Art Cerini at The Narrows Resort.
The news on Clear Lake is that the Lake has been re-opened to boating with speed restrictions. As long as the lake remains at 8 feet or higher on the gauge by which it is measured, the boaters must maintain an “idle speed only” within 1/4 mile of shore. Several boats were out over the weekend, but no good catches were reported.
No reports of fishing with the lake still high and muddy.
Few anglers out with bad weather prevailing, said Christina Diaz at the resort. Lake is still high and muddy.
Not many anglers are out as the lake remains high and muddy.
FAR NORTH LAKE AND RIVERS
In between storms anglers have been catching rainbows and browns from 3 to 6 pounds on trolled lures. Lake is at full level but a little murky water.
Producing some fair to good trout action for fly anglers on midges, leeches, baetis and woolly buggers but not many bait anglers there, said John Dietz at The Fly Shop in Redding.
Marina now closed until April.
No reports available due to snowy conditions.
Water remains high and unfishable.
The water level is dropping again, now down about 40 feet. Bass fishing remains fair in the backs of coves on jigs, spinnerbaits and crank plugs. Not much action reported on trout.
Snow and icy roads still limits access to the lake.
A few salmon and trout are being caught on trolled toplined lures. Bass fishing is slow to fair on Gitzits and crank plugs. Water level is down about 33 feet.
A few bass to 5 pounds are being caught on crank plugs. Water level has dropped a few feet.
The lake is still spilling over, and the water is starting to clear from the previous chocolate-milk to merely brown and murky. The trolling bite is picking up, and Kastmasters are producing limits, but the most consistent action is from the shoreline with scented trout dough bait. 1200 pounds of Mt. Lassen rainbows planted this past week, and they are in the process of repairing the hatchery on site. Eggs are expected to arrive in early April, and it will take 18 months for the first cutbow trout to be released into the lake. The Nor Cal Trout Anglers Challenge is on March 18 with the ending of the season-long Lake Amador Trout Derby the following day on March 19.
The lake has dropped to 91 percent, but a few more feet of recession is necessary for the gas docks to be available again on the North Shore. 1200 pounds of Mt. Lassen hatchery rainbows were split between the South Shore launch ramp and the South Shore Pond. Bank fishing in the main lake is slow, but the pond has been kicking out quality limits on trout dough bait. Trollers are working the dam area where the water is clearest, and the action is hit or miss, but quality crappie are still on the chomp for trollers. The bass bite has slowed with the rising water, but the action should be spectacular this spring as the lake warms and stabilizes.
The bass bite remains wide open as the spotted bass are moving into the shoreline and loading up with the abundant food supply. There is a reaction bite with River2Sea Swavers, Alabama rigs, small swimbaits with an underspin head, chatterbaits or swimbaits. Spotted bass to 6 pounds have been taken, and the water is just beginning to clear up with a temperature in the 54- to 55-degree range. Trout fishing has been decent from the shorelines with trout dough bait. The lake has exceeded 67 percent of capacity and outflows have been increased. There is record snowmelt in the Merced River watershed, and water releases will continue. The launch ramps at Barretts Cove South and McClure Point are open.
Trout plants have still been absent since October of 2016, and the bank action remains very slow. The action will not improve until the plants resume, but none are scheduled at the present time.
The lake rose 8 feet this week to 67 percent, and all launch ramps in the lake are now open. Bass fishing is improving with largemouth and spotted bass taken in the shallows with reaction baits such as River2Sea SWavers or chatterbaits. The fish are scattered with the rising water, but they are starting to orient to the shorelines. The water is clearing in some areas. Trout trolling is decent with Wedding Rings tipped with a nightcrawler, Rapalas, or shad-patterned spoons in the coves and creek inlets up top. Bank fishing is fair with trout dough bait combined with a nightcrawler, but a long leader is necessary to stay above the grass and vegetation. Crappie fishing has improved near submerged timber in the coves with live minnows, and catfishing is best with a scented ball of nightcrawlers in the lake’s inlets.
The lake is as full as it has been in several years at 64 percent, but the main lake is stained from the inflow from the upper Calaveras River. There is minimal snowmelt on this reservoir so the water tends to be affected by the upper tributaries on the Calaveras, which were pouring mud until this recent spate of clear weather. Striped bass fishing is picking up with anchovies or sardines from the shoreline while largemouth bass to 5 pounds have been taken. The main lake is dirty, but the water in the inlets is crystal clear and much colder at 49 degrees.
SIERRA LAKES AND RIVERS
Ice is safe and anglers are accessing the lake.
Lake is safe to ice fish but no reports of success.
Nearly two feet of snow fell Sunday and lake is 97 percent of capacity. Anglers are ice fishing near the dam. One group of four anglers caught six trout in the 20- to 24-inch range on Saturday while using Power Bait and nightcrawlers. Edges are slushy and two people broke through and sank to their knees.
No access here because of thick snow on the shore.
Lake has come up to 84 percent of capacity and there is a contest at Wiggin’s Trading Post to guess when the lake is going to spill. Lake is solid enough to fish through the ice.
GOLD LAKE BASIN
Road is closed. See you in spring.
INDIAN CREEK RESERVOIR
Edges were starting to thaw before the heavy snow hit Sunday. No way to get up here and no reason to try, either.
JENKINSON LAKE (Sly Park)
Water is clearing and most of the debris has settled or removed. Not many are fishing and only a few small Mackinaw have been caught. No browns or rainbows were reported caught last week.
Charter boats go to the west side to try to minimize the impact of the wind. Steady Mackinaw bite last week, highlighted by an 11.1 pounder. Two browns measuring 27 and 28 inches were caught and released in front of Ski Run Marina.
Completion of repair work to Highway 446 brought access to more beaches. Anglers can now fish the beaches from Popcorn to Tamarack and North Nets to Shot Dog. Shore anglers are doing well on big cutthroats with midges, leeches, jigs. A 16 pounder caught by Capt. Rob.
Ice is thick and stable. One group last week reported catching a few browns in the 12- to 16-inch range.
Deep snow has closed access.
Shore anglers do the best, especially those using Power Bait. Two biggest trout caught last week came to a troller pulling a secret lure. One was 4.8 pounds and the other just larger than three pounds. Water is clear.
River was in fishable shape before the snowstorm on Sunday. Access will be difficult until there is some melting.
WEST WALKER RIVER
Snow is covering the banks making access a challenge. River is fishable, if that’s worth anything.
Flows dropped from 36,500 cfs to 18,000 cfs last week. Fishing has been poor since the Jan. 1 opener between Hazel Avenue and Nimbus Fish Hatchery.
Volunteers have cleared the Yuba City Boat Launch and Boyd’s Pump launch. A few boats have tried for striper with limited success. Sturgeon have been seen jumping in the Feather. Bank anglers reported catching a few stripers near Boyd’s Pump. Flows have been reduced from the damage Oroville Dam spillway.
The lake dropped from 414 feet a week ago to 399 feet on Sunday. Brown’s Ravine is the only usable ramp. Fishing has been poor because of rapid lake elevation changes, and muddy, debris-filled water. The water temperature is 52 degrees.
RANCHO SECO LAKE
The lake is full. Trout fishing has been slow to fair, although one angler caught her limit of 5 ‘bows to about 3 pounds during a hailstorm on Sunday
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Dunsmuir
Flows at the Delta gauge were down to 1,890 cfs on Sunday. Trout fishing remains poor.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Red Bluff to Colusa
Sturgeon have been reported in the Colusa area. The river is slowly dropping into fishable shape. High, muddy water has made fishing slow since January.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Redding to Red Bluff
Keswick Dam flows dropped from 70,000 cfs last week top 36,200 cfs on Sunday. The river won’t begin to fish until flows at Keswick drop below 10,000 cfs.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Verona to Colusa
Some anglers are fishing for stripers near Knight’s Landing. Shore access is poor near Verona. Striper fishing is expected to bust open in the next few weeks.
Lake is 80 percent of capacity. Water is green but bass fishing remains challenging.
CAMP FAR WEST
Fishing is poor. Lake remains a chocolate brown with a strong current.
Trout bite is improving as lake clears. Murky conditions persist but there is about one foot of visibility. Green Power Bait has been the best producer.
Lake is open again. Water is green but angling pressure has been light.
FRENCH MEADOWS RESERVOIR
Snowed in. That’s it until spring.
HELL HOLE RESERVOIR
Snowed in with no access.
Water temps typically in high 40s. Visibility of about one foot but debris is being removed and lake is easy to navigate. Bass bite is very tough but warming trend may turn on the bite.
Lake is clearing near the Bear River Inlet. There is nearly a mile of clear water in the inlet and rainbows were pulled from there last week. Water temperature is 48 degrees and all ramps are open.
SCOTT’S FLAT LAKE
Smallmouth bite has been decent on the Scotts Flat side amongst the willows. Best stretch is from the Ditch Digger’s House to Site 226. Bass are in deeper water. No reports of trout being caught. Lake has a green color. Debris is scattered and working its way to the overflow.
Berkeley Marina reported they didn’t have any boats running as they were preparing for the upcoming rockcod and salmon seasons. The rockcod season opens in the San Francisco zone on April 15 and fishing will be allowed out to 240 feet deep—an improvement over last year.
Rick Powers on the New Sea Angler reported he didn’t run any trips this past week with the nasty weather and low demand. Lawson’s Landing reported crabbing was good in the bay using traps and snares—a good mix of Dungeness and red rock crabs. Surfperch action was good on better weather days on lower tides when the depressions holding the fish were in casting range. Redtails, barred perch to 16 inches and some of the smaller walleyes were eating Berkeley Gulp! Sandworms on a Carolina rig. Outdoor Sport Shop in Cotati reported the jetty at Bodega Head was producing crabs for snarers and monkeyface eels for pokepolers.
Emeryville Marina didn’t have any boats running with many prepping for the rockcod and salmon openers. Halibut action should begin by late March, early April depending on the runoff—too much dirty freshwater otherwise.
North and South jetties produced lots of rainbow perch, greenling, black snappers, cabezon, and a few lings on shrimp, squid, and anchovies floated under a bobber next to the rocks on the incoming tide. The piers inside Humboldt Bay were producing red rock crabs. The local beaches were good for redtail surfperch using shrimp and sand crabs when the swell wasn’t too big. With dismal salmon populations being reported, the salmon season is in jeopardy. The rockcod season is set to open on May 1 and run until October 31 out to 180 feet deep, and from November 1 to December 31 out to any depth.
The Sea Hawk made it out for crabs and had limits of big Dungeness to 8 inches—150 crabs for 15 anglers—and returned to the dock in just over 3 hours!!! John at the Noyo Fishing Center reported redtail surfperch were hitting shrimp and Gulp! Sandworms on the local beaches north of the harbor. Newly opened access at the south end of the old Cypress Mill in town provided an inroad to rocky banks that were producing cabezon using squid. The jetty was producing crabs for those using snares and the occasional rockfish using squid and shrimp.
HALF MOON BAY
HMB Sportfishing and Tackle reported they were selling lots of crab snares and loads of pile worms for surfperch. The weather was better this past week but a new storm this week was making things rough for anglers. Striper fishing should improve soon, as should the size of the fish—more keepers coming.
The Bass Tub was still prepping for the rockcod and salmon openers. Craig Hanson on the Argo said he was running some trips up toward San Pablo Bay for sturgeon and stripers, but fishing was slow with the poor weather. Bay Tackle in El Cerrito reported sturgeon action was good in the South Bay at Oyster Point and Coyote Point in the deep channel. West Marine in Marin City reported some halibut were showing at the Alameda rock wall, Coyote Point, and Oyster Point on trolled bait—the water was clearer here with no direct inflows like those found in the upper bay. West Marine will be holding a salmon seminar on March 18 at the store in Marin City (Sausalito). Perch were hitting in the Central Bay and along the Marin Coast at Stinson Beach and Rodeo Cove.
- Western Outdoor News