Here are the best places to fish in the Sacramento region, Northern California and beyond for the week of April 3, 2017.
DELTA REGION: San Joaquin River
The waters of the San Joaquin Delta cooled down several degrees due to inflow from the Mokelumne River, and the bass bite slowed in response. Senkos, swim jigs, chatterbaits or plastics on the top lures in the dirty water from a week of wind. Striper fishing is best for troller working the clearer waters in False River, Eddo’s, and Seven Mile Slough with P-Line Predators in various color patterns. There is no change in the restrictions to limit several areas to 5MPH during the four hour window before and after the posted high tide. Information on the closures can be located at https://www.sjgov.org/department/oes/.
DELTA REGION: Sacramento River
Sturgeon are there for the taking with the best action remaining in Suisun Bay, but sturgeon fishermen are finding other species to target despite the large number of diamondbacks in the system. Salmon roe was the top bait over the weekend, and all manner of sturgeon ranging from oversized to slot-limit fish to shakers are available. The Big and Little Cut have been solid locations as well as Prospect Slough in the north Delta. Striper fishing is best with bait as the water became muddy over the weekend, but trolling action should be outstanding once the river clears. Scented baits are working best near the shorelines in the north Delta. The Nor Cal Fish Whisperers Derby drew more than 185 participants to Brannan Island on April for a target-length striped bass derby.
Water levels dropped last Wednesday, and by Thursday striper fishing was good in the Boyd’s Pump area. Striper fishing is now good throughout the river, from Gridley to the mouth. Mosquito Beach has been fishing especially well for bank anglers. Pile worms, cut anchovies or sardines, and live minnows all are working. Sturgeon fishing is fair near the mouth of the Bear River.
Huge largemouth bass in excess of 10 pounds are starting to show up, and Senkos or plastic worms in green pumpkin on the wacky-rig or drop-shot are producing numbers. The fish have moved off of the banks with the colder inflow, and they are found at depths from 10 to 25 feet. The rainbow trout have also dropped in the water column to 40 feet in the main lake and shallower in the moving water of the river arm. Crappie action has been relatively slow with the schools scattered throughout the coves. Catfishing is heating up for large whiskerfish with nightcrawlers, frozen shad, or mackerel near the Highway 49 Bridge. The lake has risen to 76 percent, and all launch ramps in the lake are now open.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Sacramento
Striper fishing was spotty last week. Discovery Park is still closed. The deepwater channel was fishing fair for catfish and black bass, but few keeper stripers were reported. Muddy water continues to make fishing tough in the metro area.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Verona to Colusa
Expect striper fishing to improve as the Ward’s and Tisdale launches are cleared, possibly by the end of the week. Some stripers are being caught near Colusa and Verona, but overall action is fair to slow.
NORTH COAST RIVERS
CHETCO RIVER, Brookings, Ore.
Steelhead season closed last Friday to some great fishing, but there were only 2 days they could fish due to high water: Thursday and the final day, Friday. Everyone landed steelhead, and Mick Thomas of Lunker Fish Trips put 7 in the boat on Thursday and 3 on Sunday, with some fresh fish still in the mix. The season re-opens May 22 for sea-run cutthroat.
ELKS RIVER, Port Orford, Ore.
The river closed for the season on March 31. Trout fishing opens May 22.
ROGUE RIVER, Gold Beach, Ore.
Spring salmon anglers were out in force over the weekend, as the river dropped to fishable levels late last week. Flows on Sunday were 13,400 cfs at the Agness gauge. With water temperatures of 52 degrees, fishing should improve this week. A dozen or so springers are being caught a day on the lower river by a combined 20 to 30 boats. Many of the fish are wild and must be released.
ROGUE RIVER, Shady Cove to Grants Pass, Ore.
The river is continuing to run high, but is slowly dropping, said Troy Whitaker, guide from U-Save Tackle in Grants Pass. He fished Sunday and caught a few halfpounders and a couple of legal sized salmon on plugs. He suggests anglers side-drift plugs or use a nightcrawler/Puffball combo. Some action was reported in the Rand area. The Applegate River is now closed.
Finally, after over three months the Russian is starting to produce some fish! Flows are down under 2800 cfs near Guerneville and around 1100 cfs in Healdsburg, according to Scott Heemstra of Kings Sport & Tackle. “Clarity is 18 inches in Guerneville with better then 2 feet north of Healdsburg,” Heemstra said. “Hatchery counts are fantastic, with 5333 at Warm Springs and 1465 at Coyote. Anglers are having good success upstream of Healdsburg using spoons and spinners. Remember, as of April 1, the Russian is now artificial only until Nov. 1.”
SIXES RIVER, Port Orford, Ore.
Steelhead season closed March 31.
KLAMATH RIVER, Hornbrook
The entire Klamath River remains blown out. Flows Sunday at Iron Gate remained 5,400 cfs. The next good fishing opportunity will be the salmon fly hatch in May or June.
KLAMATH RIVER, Happy Camp
Flows at Seiad Valley were 11,200 cfs on Sunday. The river is blown out for steelhead.
KLAMATH RIVER, Klamath Glen
The lower Klamath is high and muddy, with flows of 50,400 cfs Sunday. Spring salmon generally don’t show up until May.
Fishing for late steelhead has been slow. Fishing pressure also has been light. Flows Sunday at Lewiston Dam were 312 cfs. Flows at Douglas City were 964 cfs, while flows at Junction City were 1,420 cfs. Hoopa had flows of 11,700 cfs.
NORTH COAST LAKES
Fishing is on the upswing at Lake Berryessa with bass action leading the way, but trout fishing is finally picking up, too.
BLACK BUTTE LAKE
Fishing remains on the slow side.
Good action reported for small rainbows with most anglers getting their limits on worms, said Art Cerini at The Narrows Resort.
Crappie fishing has been hot at the Shag Rock area on jigs and minnows. Bass fishing is fair to good with an occasioinal lunker reported. Best action has been on LV500 plugs, jerk baits and live minnows at the north end of the lake.
Bass fishing is starting to pick up as the water is clearing. Spinnerbaits and chatterbaits are producing both largemouth and smallmouth catches.
The lake has reached the full level, but the water is still a little muddy and there were few reports of angler success.
The spawning flats in Cherry, Yorty and Warm Springs Arms are producing largemouth in the 1-3-pound range with an occasional 6- to 7-pounder. The best technique has been covering water with a squarebill, spinnerbait or Pointer 100 before the sun gets high.
FAR NORTH LAKE AND RIVERS
Some nice browns and rainbows were caught this week, but weather remains nasty with more snow predicted for this week.
Fishing slowed a little this week for the fly and bait fishermen. Best catches still being made on #10 and #12 leeches and midges.
Fly fishermen are getting the most action on the lake with rainbows falling for trolled nymphs. Bait fishing has not been productive.
Fishing still remains slow due to high, muddy waters with few anglers reported here.
Bass anglers are finding their best action on spinnerbaits, rip baits and crank plugs fished off the points and coves of the Sacramento and McCloud Arms. Trout fishing has been slow. The lake is now down only about 20 feet and continues to slowly rise.
The lake is about 17 feet down now, but is slowly rising. Only fair action reported on trout and bass.
Not many anglers out due to officials searching the lake for a dead body.
1200 pounds of Mt. Lassen Hatchery rainbows were released this week, and a number of trophy-sized fish were part of this plant. Another load of Lightning trout is expected this coming week. The rainbows are shallow and near the surface with the water starting to clear up. The lake remains full, but it is no longer spilling over. The water is clearest in the Jackson Creek Arm. Bass fishing remaisn good with a variety of techniques as the fish are moving into the shallows in all stages of the spawn.
The bass bite is starting to take over the lake once again although trout plants continue on a weekly basis. Bass are taken on Senkos in the shallows along with plastics on the drop-shot, crankbaits, or spinnerbaits. The Narrows has woken up as a solid location for spotted and largemouth bass. Crappie are still coming for trollers targeting the slabs with white or orange grubs. 1200 pounds of rainbow trout from Mt. Lassen Hatchery were released into the lake this week, and trollers continue to target the triangle between the dam, Big Hat Island, and Little Hat Island with Speedy Shiners near the surface or Rapalas on a planer board. The lake has dropped to 72 percent.
Trout and king salmon fishing is improving with salmon to 3 pounds taken on either spoons or rolling shad. The fish have dropped to the 25 to 30 feet column within the past week. Bass fishing is best with Senkos or plastics on the drop-shot for numbers with jigs or reaction baits finding a larger cut of spotted and largemouth bass. With the lake dropping, the bass have moved out into deeper water from 6 to 30 feet. The lake continues to release water in order to prepare for the upcoming snowmelt, and it is currently at 86 percent. Bond Flat Road remains closed indefinitely.
Bass fishing remains excellent with wacky-rigged Jackal Worms at depths to 20 feet, but crappie are showing up with crappie jigs to 2.5 pounds among submerged structure. Reaction baits such as River2Sea S-Wavers in the shallows or jigs in deeper water are finding a larger grade of bass while Senkos or plastics on the drop-shot best for numbers. The larger females are holding off of secondary points, but the fish are in all stages of spawning. The lake is at 67 percent, and water releases will no longer be directed by the US Army Corps of Engineers as the lake is at 67 percent of capacity or below. The launch ramps at Barretts Cove South and McClure Point are open.
The lake has risen to 67 percent with a visibility of 4 to 5 feet. Monte Smith of Gold County Sport Fishing has been finding good action for striped bass rolling shad on a harness within the past week with up to 13 linesides landed. The lake has a 10 fish limit with no size restriction as it is one of the only lakes with a self-sustaining population of striped bass.
Trout fishing remains outstanding for trollers pulling various spinners, plugs, or even kokanee gear from the mouth of the river arm towards Indian Head Rock. Easy limits have been the rule for trollers over the past weekend. The occasional kokanee is showing up despite many trollers trying to get in on the early action, and since the water is still cold, the kokanee will emerge in numbers once the water stabilizes. 3000 pounds of rainbow trout in the 2- to 3-lb. range were released into the lake this week, as the planted fish are getting larger. Bank fishing is best from the Stony Creek Landing, Porcupine Point, and Rainbow Point with scented trout dough bait, blue Kastmasters, or nightcrawlers. A total of 45,000 pounds of rainbows will be released into the lake through early June. Pardee has dropped slightly to 94 percent.
SIERRA LAKES AND RIVERS
Ice is off and anglers are fishing from shore.
Catch-and-release section is high and fast. Not worth doing.
Ice has pulled about a foot off the shore and is inaccessible. Lake is full and spilling. Anglers are waiting for the ice to thaw.
Lake is open. Water temps are in the high 30s so Mack bite is fair.
There is open water and anglers are catching trout from the bank near the dam. Tammy Jones of Wiggin’s Outpost said there is at least 30 feet of open water from the bank. Anglers can get to the dam and the parking lot but those trying to get to Frenchman Campground or the boat ramp are getting stuck. Lake is full and spilling.
GOLD LAKE BASIN
Road is closed. See you in spring.
INDIAN CREEK RESERVOIR
Best tactic is to throw nightcrawlers into the deep water near the dam. Bite was slow last week.
JENKINSON LAKE, Sly Park
Rainbows, browns and Macks all are being caught here. Bite isn’t red hot but it’s better than fair. No hot spots in particular. Lake is full and clarity is good.
Mack bite on the north end has picked up and includes fish to 12 pounds. Bite on the south end is more challenging, but limits are being earned. Toplining for browns has been fair.
Shoreline anglers get most of the big fish but patience is a necessity. With spawn underway big fish are cruising close to shore. But moving in and out. Water temperatures are in the high 40s. Biggest fish are being caught by shoreline anglers. Trollers are getting 14 to 20 inch fish while working offshore.
No access here yet.
Windy weather and low lake levels have slowed the trout bite. Boats haven’t been able to get out so most are relegated to soaking PowerBait from the shore.
River is back to fishable shape. It’s high but clarity is OK. Use bigger nymphs and employ extra weight. Fish the softer water.
WEST WALKER RIVER
This is running high and fast but it is clear and fishable. Catch-and-release only.
Rapid changes in water levels have again halted steelhead fishing on the American. Flows jumped from 4,990 cfs last weekend to 15,000 cfs, and were back down to 9,000 cfs on Sunday. Discovery Park remains closed.
The Brown’s Ravine, Folsom Point and Granite Bay launches are open. The lake level is 427, holding steady all week, with a water temperature of 60 degrees. Bass are now being caught regularly on live minnows as well and drop-shot rigs. Trout and salmon fishing is still slow.
RANCHO SECO LAKE
Trout fishing has been good. The lake was crowded over the weekend during the annual trout derby. With big numbers of trout planted for the derby, there should still be plenty of trout available this week.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Dunsmuir
Flows at the Delta gauge dropped 5,190 cfs last week to 2,660 cfs over the weekend. The water is still too high for trout fishing.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Red Bluff to Colusa
Some stripers are being caught near Colusa on pile worms, cut anchovies and sardines. The water is still a little dirty for minnows.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Redding to Red Bluff
Keswick Dam are just under 10,000 cfs. The section between Keswick Dam and Highway 44 bridge originally scheduled to close at the end of March will remain open through April. Trout fishing was very good from Keswick Dam to Red Bluff over the weekend, with roe and Puff Balls, as well as beads and yarn balls all working well.
Lake has held 84 percent of capacity for two weeks. Clarity is improving but there is a lot of debris in the water. Big bass are being caught but post-spawn will soon take over. Drop-shots and dart-heads are a productive.
CAMP FAR WEST
Lake is full and spilling and bass fishing continues to be spotty. Water is murky. Surface water temps are in the mid-50s.
Lake was planted this week with 1,800 pounds plus two net pens were released. That’s more than 2,500 pounds of trout. Clarity is improving and water is warming. Trollers get fish in the top 15 feet of water. Bank anglers do well with PowerBait. Bass and crappie activity is becoming more evident.
Four trout pens were opened last week and the impacts were immediate. Anglers reported trout weighing three to five pounds being caught by trollers near the marina, said Kelsey Hunter from Skippers Cove marina. Lake is 102 percent of capacity. Water has about three feet of visibility cloudy.
FRENCH MEADOWS RESERVOIR
Snowed in. That’s it until spring.
HELL HOLE RESERVOIR
Snowed in with no access.
Swim baits or jigs give anglers a chance at bass. Go to shallow water in the afternoon for best shot at largemouth bass. Water is dirty and visibility is poor.
Lake dropped more than 20 feet in the last week leaving high and dry the points bass were staging on the previous week. Bass have pulled back into deeper water so it takes hunting before fishing. Once you find the fish you will find them in large numbers.
Last week’s rain muddied the lake again. Bear River is bringing in dirty water and any clearing that was taking place in the inlet was negated. “It will take another month or two to clear,” said Nevada Irrigation District Supervisor Ryan Drake. Orchard Springs Launch has lots of debris so use Greenhorn or Long Ravine.
SCOTTS FLAT LAKE
Smallmouth bass in the two pound range are being caught from the Cascade side of the lake near the overflow. A few pan-sized trout are being caught near the inlet. Water clarity is two to three feet.
Berkeley boats enjoyed some options. With rough weather outside the Gate, chasing salmon on the opener didn’t seem wise, so boats spread out inside and worked the options. Happy Hooker caught sturgeon and striped bass. California Dawn got halibut and a leopard shark. Locally, private boaters drifted and trolled Berkeley Flats for halibut and bass.
Rough weather kept party boats like New Sea Angler tied to the dock rather than chasing salmon on the opener. Private boaters reported that they fished deep for no bites. Protected beaches gave up good numbers of surf perch and shore-based crabbing was sufficiently productive to keep people at it in the Lawson’s Landing area.
New Salmon Queen took on the challenge of the opening weekend of salmon season. The conditions were unfriendly, but a salmon was caught to break the ice.
Shore-based fishing was very good on both the North and South jetties for kelp greenling, rockfish and perch. Nearby beaches gave up red tail surf perch. Crabbing inside Humboldt Bay did not live up to hopes and expectations. Hardcore salmon anglers dove down to Shelter Cove and managed a few fish even though conditions were unfavorable.
No party boats made it out after salmon on the opener due to a combination of rough seas and low reservation counts. Shore fishers enjoyed solid results on rockfish, kelp greenling, cabezon and lingcod at MacKerricher tide pools, Mendocino Headlands and Old Mill. Noyo Jetty was the safe haven during periods when the exposed shorelines could not safely be fished.
HALF MOON BAY
Salmon were caught in windy, bumpy sea conditions aboard Huli Cat and Riptide off of Half Moon Bay. Private boaters took some salmon about 5 miles off the coast. Queen of Hearts and Riptide ran down to Pigeon Point to fish deeper water for very big rockfish. Surf fishers found striped bass to be willing biters and also caught surf perch.
Lovely Martha ran a bass and halibut trip mid-week then on Sunday got bass and sturgeon. Wacky Jacky scouted the Marin coast for salmon. South San Francisco areas in South Bay were good for striped bass, halibut, leopard shark and perch.