Here are the best places to fish in the Sacramento region, Northern California and beyond for the week of March 13, 2017.
The trolling bite is picking up as the water is beginning to clear up after several weeks of inflow. The lake continues to spill over, but it is only trickling at the present time. 1200 pounds of Mt. Lassen Hatchery rainbows were released into the lake this week, and trout dough bait in Captain America, green/chartreuse, or chartreuse is working from the shorelines along with white Power Eggs. The rainbows are shallow, and trollers are scoring with Rapalas in firetiger or chartreuse grubs near the cleaner water in the Jackson Creek arm. Bass fishing is holding strong with reports of success on Brush Hogs or Senkos at depths from 10 to 25 feet. The Nor Cal Trout Anglers Challenge is coming to the lake on March 18with the ending of the season-long Lake Amador Trout Derby on March 19.
The lake has dropped to 84-percent of capacity, and the gas docks are available once again on the North Shore. 1800 pounds of Mt. Lassen hatchery rainbows were split between the North Shore launch ramp and the South Shore Pond. Trollers are finding rainbows in excess of 5 pounds in various locations, but most fishermen continue to target the triangle between the dam, Big Hat Island, and Little Hat Island. Speedy Shiners near the surface or Rapalas on a planer board are working while crappie are found below the surface with either Rapalas or grubs. Bass fishing should be excellent as the fish move into the shorelines.
DELTA REGION: Sacramento River
Sturgeon are thick in the Suisun Bay area, and as the water continues to warm up, the diamondbacks seemed to go on the bite on Sunday after a few days of slower action. The area above the Benicia/Martinez Bridge to Buoy 4 has been the top location, but Montezuma and Suisun Slough have also been productive. Lamprey eel has been the top bait with a few fish on ghost shrimp. Striped bass are starting to make their move, and linesides to 13 pounds have been taken in Suisun Bay on eel. The river is clearing up, and most of the debris is concentrated on the south side of the channel. Largemouth bass are found in the north Delta sloughs on Senkos or live crawdads.
DELTA REGION: San Joaquin River
Flows on the San Joaquin River continue to be high, but there are modified restrictions in several areas to 5mph for boaters during the 4-hour window before and after the posted high tide. Information on the closures can be located at https://www.sjgov.org/oes/. Bass fishing is poised to bust loose as the water is warming up to 59 degrees as well as clearing. Limits to 30 pounds were taken on spinnerbaits and crankbaits over the weekend while flipping creature baits is also effective. Striped bass are starting to show up with swimbaits, and crappie are biting live minnows in the sloughs.
The Yuba City and Boyd’s Pump launches are open. Striper fishing has been slow, but a few fish as big as 25 pounds have been reported near Boyd’s Pump. Jumbo minnows, pile worms and artificial lure all have worked. Sturgeon are being caught on pile worms, eel and nightcrawlers near the mouth of the Bear River.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Sacramento
The Miller Park launch is open, although launching is still difficult because of debris. Some stripers are being caught near Discovery Park. Striper fishing has been slow in the Port of Sacramento and deepwater channel.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Verona to Colusa
The Verona launch has re-opened. Sturgeon have been reported in the Verona and Knight’s Landing area. Striper fishing is slow, but is expected to improve within the next week as the river continues to drop.
NORTH COAST RIVERS
CHETCO RIVER, Brookings, Oregon
The Chetco was blown out all of last week, but was dropping over the weekend. Flows were down to 6,000 cfs Sunday evening. The river is expected to be in good shape this week. While the run is winding down, expect a few fresh steelhead, along with spawned out steelhead heading back to the ocean. The season runs through March 31.
ELKS RIVER, Port Orford, Oregon
Fishing was fair on the Elk River when it was fishable last week. It is expected to be in good shape this week. Steelhead fishing is nearing an end for the season.
ROGUE RIVER, Gold Beach, Oregon
The Rogue was too high for steelhead or salmon fishing last week, but falling into shape over the weekend. It was down to 14,000 cfs Sundayevening, down from 20,000 cfs the middle of last week. There have been a few reports of early springers caught by steelhead anglers plunking Spin-N-Glos.
ROGUE RIVER, Shady Cove to Grants Pass, Oregon
The river is becoming fishable again, with clearing water and dropping several feet this week, said guide Troy Whitaker at U-Save Tackle in Grants Pass. He fished Sunday and caught a pair of steelhead, including one released. He suggests driftfishing or sidedrifting are best with orange roe or pink rubber worms. A few other boat anglers did well, too. Bank anglers should side-drift planers, also try pieces of orange roe.
Currently the river is still high and murky. Both reservoirs are adding 1500 cfs to the river keeping the flow high at over 4000 cfs. “I expect by next week they should be lowering the flows, since both Mendocino and Warm Springs are close to being out of their flood pool,” said Scott Heemstra of Kings Sport & Tackle in Guerneville.” As of Monday, March 6, Warm Springs hatchery had received 3286 steelhead and Coyote 765 steelhead. “We still have some time left and with the high flows keeping the fish healthy may see some decent fishing as the downrunners head back to the ocean,” Heemstra said. “Try plunking cured roe and a Spin-N-Glo while the flows are still high and dirty since there are still new fish entering the system.”
SIXES RIVER, Port Orford, Oregon
Still high and muddy over the weekend, the Sixes should be in good shape by the end of the week. It generally fishes well late in the steelhead season, which ends March 31.
The last storm was a little bigger than forecast and the Smith stayed 19 to 21 feet all week last week, according to WON Field Reporter and guide Phil Desautel of Phil’s Smiling Salmon Guide Service. Sunday was the first day they could fish and action was spotty in high water, with guide scoring 0 to 5 fish a boat. “I had Kathleen and Charlie Lewis of Clovis and they went 2 for 2, releasing both wild steelhead of 8 to 10 pounds. One fish was fresh and the other was a downrunner. Both fish were caught sidedrifting FishPills and yarn,” said Desautel.
KLAMATH RIVER, Hornbrook
With flows of 5,420 cfs, the upper Klamath was way too high for steelhead fishing last week. Flows need to be below 1,500 cfs to fish the Hornbrook stretch.
KLAMATH RIVER, Happy Camp
Flows at Seiad Valley were 9,980 cfs on Sunday, up from 6,000 cfs a week ago. The river is blown out for steelhead.
KLAMATH RIVER, Klamath Glen
The lower Klamath is high and muddy, with flows of 52,800 cfs Sunday.
Steelhead season is winding down. The section between Lewiston and Junction City dropped into decent shape over the weekend. Flows from Lewiston Dam were 312 cfs, while flows at Douglas City were 820 cfs and Junction City had flows of 1,200 cfs. Downriver, the Trinity was high, with flows of 7,600 cfs at Willows Creek and 14,000 cfs at Hoopa.
NORTH COAST LAKES
Some fair bass action reported with a few big ones to 10 pounds caught on rip baits. The lake remains at the overflow level at the Glory Hole.
BLACK BUTTE LAKE
No report available as telephone out of service.
Art Cerini at The Narrows Resort said a few days of sunshine brought out a few trout anglers with some trout limits taken on woolly bugger flies. The lake is still a little muddy.
Clear Lake is back open with a “an idle only” speed rule within 1/4 mile of the shoreline. That rule will remain in effect until the lake drops below the 8-foot level, at which time the standard 5 mph rule 400 feet from shore takes effect. A couple of bass tournaments were staged last weekend, but no reports were available except that some big bass were caught.
Lake remains muddy with few fishermen going out.
No fishing action reported by Christina Diaz at Lake Pillsbury Resort.
Only a few bass catches were reported and the lake remains muddy.
FAR NORTH LAKE AND RIVERS
Good weather week has perked up the trout fishing with some browns in the 6- and 7-pound class taken on flies and trolled Rapalas. The Canyon Dam boat launch is still the only public launch site, but the overflow parking area is covered in snow, so parking space is limited.
Trout fishing remains good on baits and flies with 12- to 16-inch rainbows being caught. Fly fishermen are still scoring with leeches, midges and baetis flies.
Still no fishing action as water level remains high and unfishable.
Bass fishing has slowed as the lake is getting muddy again from recent runoff. Lake is now down about 43 feet. Action is also slow for catfish, trout and crappie.
The lake remains about 30 feet below the full mark, but the launch ramps are now usable. Some trout action is being seen on baits and lures fished off the mouths of incoming creeks, and a few smallmouth bass are being taken on Gitzit jigs fished off rocky points.
The water level has dropped way down and slowed the bass fishing.
Bass fishing remains excellent with reaction baits such as River2Sea Swavers, Alabama rigs, small swimbaits with an underspin head, chatterbaits or swimbaits. The water is clearing up and warming, and the bite should only continue to improve. The water releases are directed by the US Army Corps of Engineers as the lake has exceeded 67-percent of capacity as the lake continues to release water down the Merced River. It is currently at 80 percent and dropping. The launch ramps at Barretts Cove South and McClure Point are open.
The Merced River watershed is experiencing its wettest year on record. As a result, large volumes of water are being bypassed through the spillway of McSwain Dam. Based on these conditions, it is not feasible to undertake a trout plant at this time for the spring Trout Derby. The Merced Irrigation District is currently examining several other opportunities, including a possible trout derby at Lake McClure and other tournaments and promotions possibly later this spring and during the summer.
The lake rose another 6 feet this week to 69 percent, and all launch ramps in the lake are now open. The rainbow trout are moving into the creek channels and up the river arm, and trollers are scoring near the surface with Speedy Shiners, Kastmasters and Rapalas. The bass are scattered at various depths from deep water to the shallows depending upon the time of day, and there is a window for reaction baits such as River2Sea SWavers or chatterbaits. Weedless plastics on a Texas, Carolina, or drop-shot rig are most effective for numbers. 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 slowing releasing water down the Calaveras River, and it is currently at 62 percent. The water is clearing up a bit, and striped and largemouth bass action is improving with bait from the shorelines. The striped bass action this spring should be outstanding with the lake as high as in recent memory, opening up new areas of food sources and spawning activity up the river arm. Hogan is one of the only lakes with a self-sustaining population of striped bass. Guide Monte Smith of Gold Country Sportfishing has been putting his clients on quality rainbows with regularity, although some days are better than others.
Another 3000 pounds of rainbow trout in the 1.5- to 2-pound range was released into the lake this week. The rainbows are starting to filter out into the main body of the lake, and trollers were picking up a few more fish last week. Bank fishing remains solid along the shorelines near the marina with scented trout dough bait, Kastmasters or nightcrawlers. A total of 45,000 pounds of rainbows will be released into the lake through early June. The water in the Mokelumne River arm is starting to clear up. Bass fishing is improving with spinnerbaits, Rat-L-Traps, or Senkos. Pardee has dropped slightly to 99 percent.
SIERRA LAKES AND RIVERS
Ice is beginning to thaw. Next fishing will be after the thaw.
Ice is thick enough to fish through, but success has been sparse.
Catch-and-release section is moving high and fast with recent snowmelt.
Lake is 97 percent of capacity despite lots of water being released downstream. Daytime temps in the mid-60s last week should put an end to the ice fishing season.
There is ice on the lake, but it is too thin to fish through.
Lake is at 87-percent of capacity. There is too much water between the shore and ice to safely get to thick ice.
GOLD LAKE BASIN
Road is closed. See you in spring.
INDIAN CREEK RESERVOIR
Lake is starting to thaw and may be fishable by early April.
JENKINSON LAKE (Sly Park)
Lake has settled, water is clear and fishing has been fair for small Mackinaw. Rainbows are starting to be caught with more frequency, but most anglers are happy with 1 or 2 fish per outing. Nightcrawlers and Power Bait are best for shore anglers near the first dam and near the Narrows.
Macks are moving into shallower water and bite continues to be very good. Lots of limits for charter boat passengers and larger fish have been in the mix. Larger Macks are gorging on kokanee.
Lunker cutthroat continue to be caught and mostly released by shore anglers working midges, leeches and some hardware, with the big cutthroats preparing for the spawn. Cold water is expected to hold longer into the season due to the snow runoff.
Ice is four to five feet thick and could be fishable through April. Anglers scratch out a few fish here and there. No great numbers or size.
Deep snow has closed access.
Great week for big fish. More than 30 fish weighing more than three pounds were weighed in last week, topped by a pair of 4-pound rainbows. Best bet is to soak Power Bait from shore, but there has been trolling success. Water is clear. Shore is free of snow. Daytime temps have been in the 60s.
Flows and clarity are very good and fishing has been good as well. Water temperature is 41 to 43 degrees. Best access is below Glenshire. Streamers, midges, blue wing olive baetis and skwala dries all have been effective.
WEST WALKER RIVER
River is fishable, although moving swiftly. Banks are free of snow and ice.
Flows dropped from 18,000 cfs to 4,990 cfs on Sunday. Steelhead fishing remains slow.
The Brown’s Ravine and Granite Bay launches are open. The lake is 41 percent full. Bass, trout and salmon fishing is slow, but expected to improve this week as the weather warms. The water temperature jumped 10 degrees to 62 degrees over the past week.
RANCHO SECO LAKE
The lake is full. Trout fishing has been slow to fair.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Dunsmuir
Flows at the Delta gauge were 2,190 cfs on Sunday. Trout fishing remains poor.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Red Bluff to Colusa
Striper and sturgeon fishing is slow, but fishing is expected to improve this week as water levels continue to drop.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Redding to Red Bluff
Keswick Dam flows dropped from 32,000 cfs last week to 11,500 cfs on Sunday. The section between Keswick Dam and Highway 44 bridge closes at the end of March. The water remains dirty near Redding.
Water has cleared and surface temperatures have climbed into the 50s. Angling traffic is increasing. No word on quality of action.
CAMP FAR WEST
Bass tournament last Saturday drew 36 teams and was won with an 8.43-pound bag. Second place was 8.40 and big fish was 2.41 pounds. Most teams didn’t get five fish, but those are the best results this lake has had in months. Water remains muddy but there are signs of clearing. Lake is spilling but current is slowing. Water temps are in the high 40s because of the cold water entering the lake.
Clarity has improved and so has the fishing. Best results come to shore anglers using chartreuse or rainbow Power Bait. Trolling will pick up as water continues to clear. Water temperature is 52 degrees. A plant of 1,800 pounds of trout is going in next week.
Lake is clear and has stopped spilling. Angling pressure has picked up but no word on success. Trout will be released from pens before the end of March.
FRENCH MEADOWS RESERVOIR
Snowed in. That’s it until spring.
HELL HOLE RESERVOIR
Snowed in with no access.
Afterbay is low but both launches are open. Exercise caution when entering coves. Crankbaits and jigs are attracting largemouth in the 5-pound class. Work the rocks along levees with jigs. Find channels with depressions and toss crankbaits.
Males are moving on to points to prepare for spawning. Bass are holding under debris in five to 10 feet of water. Surface temperatures have warmed and range from low- to mid-50s.
Trout are being caught in the Bear River Inlet with salmon eggs or nightcrawlers. A few bass were caught off the points in 10 to 30 feet of water. Water is 48 degrees in the inlet and warmer near the dam. Peninsula Launch Ramp is closed until April 15, but the other three launches are open.
SCOTT’S FLAT LAKE
Lake is murky green and full. Fishing was poor last week. Anglers attributed the lack of action to the full moon.
Halibut fishing should start soon and boats will run trips if there is enough interest. The Happy Hooker was running sturgeon trips up into San Pablo Bay, otherwise the fleet was preparing for the April salmon and rockcod openers.
Rick Powers on the New Sea Angler reported most boats were doing maintenance preparing for the upcoming salmon and rockcod seasons. Lawson’s Landing reported limit crabbing outside the bay with the good weather and surfperch were hitting in good numbers for anglers using Gulp! Sandworms. Doran Beach produced a few stripers on sand crabs.
The fleet was still in maintenance mode preparing for the upcoming rockcod and salmon seasons. Halibut fishing should start soon if the runoff slows and the water clears in the bay.
The weather calmed for a few days this past week, so fishing on both the North and South jetties was good for redtail and rainbow perch, cabezon, greenling, black snapper, and a few lings. The local piers were producing red rock crabs for ring tossers. On calmer days, crabbers got outside Humboldt Bay, but stayed in shallow water to avoid all the sanded in commercial gear in deeper water.
Tim Gillespie on the Sea Hawk reported his crab trips were still producing limits of big Dungeness crabs. The Telestar was running successful crab trips and doing a lot of gray whale watching. Shore fishermen were doing well at the jetty, and the beaches at Ward Avenue catching redtail surfperch using shrimp and Gulp! Sandworms. The rocky areas accessed from Cypress Road through the old Cypress Mill and the jetty produced lingcod to 26 inches and some cabezon this past week on squid.
HALF MOON BAY
Sherry Ingles at HMB Sportfishing and Tackle said none of the local party boats were running crab/’dab combos, but were doing boat maintenance in preparation for the rockcod opener on April 1. Shore anglers were picking up perch and the occasional striper off the beaches and the jetty. Anglers casting snares were picking up a few crabs.
Jonah Li at Hi’s Tackle Box reported the South Bay waters were much clearer than the North Bay and jacksmelt were hitting in good numbers, along with the occasional schoolie striper. As the water continues to clear, trollers using a flasher/herring will be targeting halibut and stripers. The San Mateo beaches were producing good barred perch action on Gulp! Sandworms as well as a few stripers to 9 to 10 pounds. John at Phuquy Bait said the Alameda Rockwall was producing lots of jacksmelt and some perch on pileworms. The sturgeon bite in San Pablo Bay slowed a little with the reduction in the flows from the Delta, but one boat had 9 hookups. They released 2 oversized to 6 1/2 feet, 2 keepers, 3 shorts, and lost 3 more in 3 1/2 hours using mud shrimp.
- Western Outdoor News