Here are the best places to fish in the Sacramento region, Northern California and beyond for the week of May 15.
Flows from Folsom Lake dropped from 11,000 cfs to 8,500 cfs last week. Shad have arrived at Discovery Park, which is still closed, but boaters are running up from Miller Park. Striper fishing is slow on the American.
After flows dropped from 40,000 cfs to 28,000 cfs, striper fishing was good, with minnows outfishing pile worms. Some stripers also are being caught on swimbaits. Mosquito Beach and Boyd’s Pump have fished well for shore anglers. Shad have also shown up at Boyd’s Pump and the lower Yuba River. A pump failure caused thousands of king salmon smolts to die last week at the Feather River Hatchery.
The Brown’s Ravine, Rattlesnake Bar, Folsom Point and Granite Bay launches are open. The lake level is 449 feet, up 6 feet from last week, with a water temperature of 67 degrees. Bank anglers are catching smallmouth, spotted and largemouth bass with crawfish as well as live minnows or nightcrawlers. Boaters are finding big numbers of bass in the North Fork and South Fork on small tubes. Trout and salmon fishing remains slow. The lake remains full of floating woody debris, which has made it difficult for some shore anglers to land their fish.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Verona to Colusa
The Tisdale launch opened last week, after being closed for several weeks because of high water. Striper fishing has been very good, with fish over 40 pounds reported last week near Colusa. Minnows are working best, along with swimbaits and pile worms. A few shad have been reported.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Sacramento
Shad fishing is good at Miller Park and near Discovery Park. With Discovery Park closed, anglers are launching at Miller and running toward the American River. Stripers are still being caught, although high water continues to make access difficult.
NORTH COAST RIVERS
ROGUE RIVER, Gold Beach, Oregon
After being slow for a week, spring salmon fishing improved again late last week and over the weekend. Many guides reported one to two keepers a day on Saturday and Sunday. Flows at the Agnes gauge were an ideal 8,400 cfs on Sunday, with a water temperature of 54 degrees. The bite improved Friday after the water temperature dropped from 59 degrees to 56 degrees. Anchovies with green blades are working best.
ROGUE RIVER, Grants Pass to Shady Cove, Oregon
A few spring chinooks are showing up now with the best action being reported in the areas of the river up to Shady Cove, said Troy Whitaker at U-Save Tackle in Grants Pass. Areas near the hatchery are closed due to low fish returns. Drifters downriver should be trying sardine or tuna wrapped on Kwikfish, or back bouncing roe. Lake fishing for trout remains good at Selmac, Applegate and Lost Creek lakes, trolling Wedding Rings or bait fishing with Pautzke’s eggs or Power Baits.
Flows on the Russian are slowly dropping and as of May 14, they are at 870 cfs, said Scott Heemstra of Kings Sport and Tackle in Guerneville. “Water temps continue to hover between 58 and 64 degrees and shad fishing continues to be excellent using shad darts and type III shooting heads or small chartreuse grubs with a spinning rod,” Heemstra said. “Both the smaller males and the big females are in and the catch numbers are 6-10 fish per angler per night. Smallmouth fishing is slowly picking up, but the water temps are still cool. At this time there may still be some late down running steelhead, but for the most part this fishery is over until next winter.”
KLAMATH RIVER, Hornbrook
Anglers are waiting for the salmon fly hatch to begin near Hornbrook, which coincides with some of the best trout fishing of the year. So far flows are too cold for the hatch. Flows over the weekend from Iron Gate Dam were 3,060 cfs.
KLAMATH RIVER, Happy Camp
Flows at Seiad Valley were 7,660 cfs on Sunday, down from more than 9,500 cfs the week before. Flows near Orleans were 16,200 cfs. The river is blown out for steelhead and trout.
KLAMATH RIVER, Klamath Glen
The first spring king salmon of the season were caught last week on the lower Klamath. After the first couple of fish of the season, fishing slowed. Flows over the weekend were 30,800 cfs. The Klamath is open to spring king salmon through Aug. 14.
High water from the spring runoff has kept the Trinity unfishable from top to bottom. Flows over the weekend at Lewiston were 5,400 cfs. The river is too high for fishing from Lewiston to Hoopa. Spring salmon season will remain open through Aug. 31. The fall salmon season will be closed.
Delta: DELTA, Sacramento Side
American shad are the top species in the north Delta, but anglers have to use heavy weights to keep the shad darts near the bottom. Striped bass are moving through the system rapidly, either on their way to the tributaries or back down to San Francisco Bay. Sturgeon fishing has been outstanding in lower Suisun Bay between the Benicia/Martinez and Carquinez Bridges with lamprey eel, salmon roe, or ghost shrimp. Pile worms, blood worms, or anchovies are taking small stripers from the Benicia shoreline.
DELTA, San Joaquin side
Slowing down is the key to largemouth bass fishing on the San Joaquin as the weather conditions have been ranging from extremely hot to unseasonably cold with the changing weather conditions. The largemouth bass remain fairly tight to the banks, but they are unwilling to chase very far from the shoreline. Plastics such as Robo Worm’s Margarita Mutilator, Reaction Innovation’s Pocket Rocket, or Senkos along with crawdad-patterned crankbaits are working best. The schools of striped bass are scattered, and striper trolling has slowed considerably within the week. A change in the restrictions to limit several areas to 5 mph occurred on April 17, and information on the closures can be located at https://www.sjgov.org/department/oes/current.
North Coast lakes
Bass anglers have been experiencing a tougher bite as the transition from spawn to post-spawn is always tough, especially when you throw in winds to 30 mph. Most of the smallmouth are spent weighing 1 to 3 pounds, but provide some good topwater action in the early morning. Trout trollers are finding bait scattered from the top down to 40 feet of water with the best action in the 25- to 35-foot range.
BLACK BUTTE LAKE
Rangers report that crappie fishing has been very good in the Grizzly Flats and English Cove on jigs. Bass fishing is slow to fair. The lake water level is close to being full.
Bass fishing has remained tough for most anglers. But there is still some good action for crappie off Redbud.
Spring has sprung finally and bass anglers who make the trek over to Lake Mendocino are not only enjoying some good bass fishing, they pretty much have the lake to themselves.
There is still not much going on here due to recent bad weather. The resort has been closed for several months, but will re-open on May 26.
Bass anglers are still getting some fair action, while trollers are picking up some trout and steelhead. Trollers are using spoons, Cripplures and Rapalas to bag trout and steelhead. Most of the action is coming from waters 20 to 30 feet deep. The Narrows is one of the better areas for the trollers. The fair bass bite throughout the lake is on a variety of baits, including Senkos, Brush Hogs, chatterbaits and swimbaits.
UPPER BLUE LAKES
Fishing remains slow for trout with few boats on the water due to windy weather, but warming is due next weekend. A few trout are being caught by youngsters fishing off the docks.
Far North Lakes and Rivers
Wind and snow pounded the lake again this week, but a few good catches of rainbows and browns are being caught on a variety of trolled lures during the nicer conditions.
Remains fair to good for bait anglers, while fly fishermen using leeches, damsels, midges and baetis dry flies score well.
Anglers are finding some good action on trout and kokanee salmon, trolling various plugs. Large Mackinaws in the 16- to 18-pound range were caught last week, said DeWitt Henderson at the marina, but he didn’t have any names to confirm the reports.
Fishing season here opens on May 27, of Memorial Day weekend.
River is a little high, but fishable for fly anglers using stone nymphs and baetis flies.
High flows are again hampering fishing with few boats on the water. Shore anglers are picking up some rainbows on nightcrawlers and Power Baits, said Louise Baghin at Pine Cove Marina.
Continues to run high water in all three sections of the river with fishing remaining slow.
The water level remains high, only down about 5 feet as of last weekend. Kokanee action is fair in the dam area, along with a few trout. Bass anglers are catching fish on surface plugs like Zara Spooks and poppers, or crank plugs, Keitech rigs and Senko plastic worms fished on the willows of the Jones Valley and Lakehead areas.
Anglers continue to catch and release smallmouth bass in cover at the north end and most points. Trout are still being caught off the tributaries on baits and lures. The water level is holding at about 5 feet below maximum.
Kokanee salmon fishing remains pretty good with anglers trolling dodgers with spinners trailing. Best action remains under the 299 bridge and near the dam, with the kokes about 15 to 17 feet deep.
Rainbow trout continue to be stocked at the lake on a weekly basis, and 1200 pounds of Mt. Lassen trout were released before the weekend. The rainbows are moving into deeper water from 10 to 25 feet with trout dough bait, nightcrawlers, or Kastmasters from the shoreline while trollers are running broken-backed Rapalas. Catfish are getting active with cut baits, but trollers are even picking up the whiskerfish. The bass have finished spawning, but they are still holding along the shorelines. The swim pond is expected to open on Memorial Day weekend.
The concessionaires continue to stock rainbow trout from Mt. Lassen Hatchery into the lake, and trout trollers are working the deepest section of the lake from Big Hat Island, the dam, and Little Hat Island at depths to 25 feet with shad-patterned spoons. The crappie bite has slowed over the past few weeks, but a few slabs can still be taken on grubs. Bass fishing is solid with the largemouth bass in post-spawn mode and feeding heavily. The reaction bite has taken off with jerkbaits, crankbaits, or spinnerbaits, along with jigs or plastics on the drop-shot or Texas-rig at depths to 15 feet. Catfish will become active once the water warms up. Lake Pardee is spilling over into Camanche, and the lake has risen to 70 percent.
LAKE DON PEDRO
The trout remain scattered in the high water conditions, and trollers have to search around in order to find the small schools of rainbows. Shad-imitation lures at depths to 45 feet are working best. The kokanee have yet to emerge, and the water temperature is cold due to heavy snowmelt. The bass remain in various stages of the spawn, but most largemouth bass are in post-spawn mode are feeding heavily. The Blue Oaks and Fleming Meadows launch ramps are open, and the main lake is clear of debris. Crews are working to corral the 40-acre mess of floating and submerged logs up the river arm. The lake rose slightly to 82 percent.
The lake is spilling over, and with the high water levels, both the trout and kokanee bite remain slow for most fishermen. Pink or orange hoochies or wriggle hoochies are most effective for the kokanee at depths to 25 feet. The DFW planted 3000 pounds of rainbows from 2 to 3 pounds this past Friday for a total of 48,000 pounds so far this season. Few bass reports. The lake rose to 100 percent and spilling, and it is clear in the main lake. The river arm is clogged with debris towards the log boom.
Striper trolling continues to be solid with guides Monte Smith and Joe Askamit combining their efforts for 26 linesides for their clients. A slow troll with a long setback is the top technique. Bluegill and crappie are biting jigs in the shallows. The lake is high at 78 percent, and the launch ramp is open with one lane and one dock.
The kokanee bite slowed this past week with the lake continuing to rise. Trout can be found at depths to 34 feet with shad-patterned spoons while many are landed on kokanee gear. The dam, spillway, Angels Cove, and Glory Hole Point are the top locations for the rainbows. Bass fishing is very good with reaction baits for the spawned-out largemouth or plastics on a Texas-rig for the still spawning spotted bass. Catfish are found around the shorelines with moving water with cut baits or a ball of nightcrawlers. Crappie are holding in small groupings in the coves, but the big schools have been absent. The lake has risen to 86 percent.
Sierra Lakes and Rivers
Kokanee to 15 inches are being caught.
Lake is frozen. Thaw is predicted to come by mid-June
Both the east and west forks are blown out and running cold at 39 degrees. There won’t be any plants in either until the water warms. The situation is the same on Markleeville Creek.
Boat ramp at Ice House is clear but only the Strawberry Point campground is open and there is no water available. It is hoped campgrounds at both Ice House and Union Valley will be open by Memorial Day, said Kristie Schroeder, information officer for the Pacific Ranger Station. Loon Lake is under snow and won’t open until mid- to late June.
Water is cold (mid-50s by noon) and a bit cloudy. Fishing has been slow although the trout being caught are in the 18- to 20-inch class. “When the water warms up a little and it clears a little it will get much better,” said guide Ed Dillard. “It’s really nice that we can get in and fish water we haven’t had access to in years.”
Great Mackinaw bite going on here. Guides Marc Christophel caught 19 mackinaw to five pounds in 2 1/2 hours on Tuesday. Macks can be found off the bottom from 70 to 140 feet deep.
FEATHER RIVER (MIDDLE FORK)
River has dropped another two feet, which opens a lot more spots to fish. There has been an equal mix of rainbows and browns landed, said Mark Tieslau from Mountain Hardware and Sports in Blairsden. Most of the trout are pansized. Size 6 Panther Martin has been effective.
FEATHER RIVER (NORTH FORK)
There have been trout caught near Belden. The river is running very high and fast and youngsters on the shore are advised to wear life jackets.
No word on when the dock at Frenchman Campground will be back in the water. The dock at Lunker Point is open. Frenchman, Spring Creek and Big Cove campgrounds all are open. Chilcoot and Cottonwood should be open this weekend. Trout bite has been very good for bait anglers, fly fishers and trollers. Lots of 16- to 20-inch trout are being caught. Best bait is nightcrawlers, but Thompson Whip of Reno caught-and-released 50 trout using midges on the south end of the lake.
GOLD LAKES BASIN
Road has been plowed two miles shy of Gold Lake. None of the lakes are accessible, but there is hope for some access by Memorial Day.
Boat ramp at Ice House is clear but only the Strawberry Point campground is open and there is no water available. It is hoped campgrounds at both Ice House and Union Valley will be open by Memorial Day, said Kristie Schroeder, information officer for the Pacific Ranger Station. Loon Lake is under snow and won’t open until mid to late June.
INDIAN CREEK RESERVOIR
If the East and West Carson don’t fall into shape, there will be 1,800 pounds of trout planted here prior to Memorial Day.
Covered in deep snow. It will be a while before this opens.
JENKINSON LAKE (Sly Park)
Fishing remains poor.
Brown trout are being caught in the shallows but catch rates fluctuate dramatically day to day. Mackinaw are everywhere. Shallow water efforts pay off for Macks, as do more traditional deep water efforts. The only thing slowing the bite is wind.
Action has been on the slow side. Water temperatures remain cold and many cutthroat have yet to spawn. That has kept shore anglers close to action. Boaters have been struggling as the trout have yet to go on a post-spawn feeding spree. “It’s really been up-and-down,” said guide George Molino of Cutthroat Charters. “Some days we get only four strikes, other days six or 10. Shore guys aren’t getting a lot, but they are getting them. Usually the water is much warmer this time of year and there is still a lot of cold water coming in. This could be a hindrance the rest of the season.”
Launch ramp is open but caution is needed on the road coming in. There is dump truck traffic and the road is narrow. It’s best to have 4WD, especially since more snow was called for earlier in the week. Kokanee to 15 inches were landed last week. Could be a great year here.
Lake continues to rise but fishing for trout continues to be decent.
River is very high but it is clear enough to fish if you can find slow water. Use big bugs with a lot of weight. Do not wade. The Little Truckee may be a better bet.
WEST WALKER RIVER
A few trout were caught last week, but the river continues to run high and fast with a murky tint. Anglers are using lures or nightcrawlers. “A gentleman came in to the store and said as long as you are willing to walk the bank you can find water calm enough to fish in,” said Jenna Casanova from the Walker General Store.
RANCHO SECO LAKE
Trout fishing has been fair to good.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Dunsmuir
Flows at the Delta gauge dropped from 2,400 cfs to 1,800 cfs over the weekend. The river is high but fishable for trout, with some anglers fishing the slower edges.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Redding to Red Bluff
Flows from Keswick Dam are 13,100 cfs. Anglers were still fishing the Keswick Dam to Highway 44 bridge section over the weekend as they await DFW to announce its closure. After that the section from Highway 44 downstream will remain open. Trout fishing remains good, with beads and roe outfishing flies. There have been few hatches with the cold water.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Red Bluff to Colusa
Striper fishing has improved above Colusa, with minnows working well, along with swimbaits.
Middle Fork is kicking out rainbows to 23 inches but it’s a steep hike down and an arduous trek back up. Water is high, but clear and fish are coming from the soft edges of deep pools. There is easier access below the confluence of forks below the Highway 49 Bridge. The water is high so caution is required. Bait and spinners will produce fish.
Guide Shaun Rainsbarger went on a test run for kokanee and found plenty of small fish. “You can easily get a 10-fish limit with a little work, but the biggest were 10 inches,” Rainsbarger said. “We were in the Willow Creek area and found them on the surface to 20 feet.” Rainsbarger said with a full lake wand plenty of food, the kokes could grow to 14 inches by fall. There is a lot of debris in the lake.
CAMP FAR WEST
The Camp Far West Lake Bass Tournament last Saturday attracted 19 boats and the winning bag weighed 11.24 pounds. The brother team of Sean and Blake Milligan of Wheatland took first place and also had the largest fish, a 4.40 spot. All but two of the teams weighed in. Water temperature ranges from 70 to 74 degrees. Lake is full and continues to slowly spill.
Lake is getting a double-plant of trout via a private purchase and another 1,000 pound from DFW. Trout bite is good for trollers working 15 to 30 feet below the surface. Power Bait from shore is very productive. Bass are beginning to bite in the northern channel and along to east side of the lake. Senkos have been most productive.
Trout anglers are reaping the harvest from the pen-raised trout that were released three weeks ago. Lisa Rogers from Skipper’s Cove Marina said trollers are getting limits with larger fish weighing 3 to 4 pounds highlighting stringers. There is about three feet of clarity in the lake. Lake is 103-percent of capacity.
FRENCH MEADOWS RESERVOIR
Road is open to the dam but drivers can’t get around the lake. Launch ramp is under snow.
Bowman Lake Road and Mosquito Ridge Road both are closed for repair until June 1 and there is no access to the lake.
HELL HOLE RESERVOIR
Road damage has closed access.
Despite dropping lake levels, bass bite is excellent. Plastics offered in 5 to 15 feet of water get large numbers of bass up to 2 1/2 pounds. Water temp has warmed to the mid-60s and clarity is very good.
Bass bite is very good as spots are coming off the spawn. Plastics offered at five to 15 feet in the inlets and coves will get action. No trout reported despite a scheduled trout plant two weeks ago.
Campgrounds are open. No word on the quality of fishing.
SUGAR PINE RESERVOIR
The Giant Gap campground is open. Shirttail campground opens May 26.
Water has cleared and the Senko bite - green pumpkin - is very good. Water is quite low and extreme caution is required.
Hunting halibut in Central and South Bay was the prime pastime for Berkeley boats including California Dawn, Happy Hooker (with Capt. Jonathan Smith at the helm), El Dorado and Golden Eye 2000. Drifting live bait was the ticket. New Easy Rider made it out to the Farallones where lingcod and rockfish action was off the hook.
Party boat trips on New Sea Angler to the Point Reyes area were very successful for high-quality rockfish and better than a lingcod per person. Stopping on the way back in to haul some crabs was a bonus. Tomales Bay saw the beginning of a halibut bite on live bait jigged locally. Lawson’s Landing and Doran Beach saw good perch fishing.
Sea Wolf and C Gull II made runs outside the Bay for lingcod and rockfish. It was limits of rockfish and sometimes limits of lingcod. New Huck Finn, Sea Wolf, New Salmon Queen, Tigerfish and Wet Spot all ran some early week trips inside the Bay with halibut counts ranging from half a fish to well over a fish per rod on the halibut and some striped bass mixed in. Later in the week with different tides the bite slowed just a bit. New Huck Finn had a 36-pound halibut come over the rail on Sunday.
Wednesday, May 10, offered a chance for Pacific halibut off the North Coast and 3 were taken by Eureka boats while 1 was taken out of Trinidad. One of those fish was a 40 pounder. Full Throttle Sportfishing and other boats ran for Cape Mendocino for rockfish and lingcod, finding the fishing better in deeper water than inshore. A Eureka kayaker fishing out of Shelter cove caught a 12-pound salmon.
Lingcod and rockfish were willing biters on days when boats could get out of harbor. Sea Hawk reported limits of lingcod and rockfish. Shore fishers worked Noyo Jetty on rougher days and MacKerricher or Mendocino Headlands on quieter day for perch, kelp greenling, rockfish, cabezon and lingcod. On some days, crab snares off of Noyo Jetty was the only real option. The early abalone season (opened May 1) has seen many people take their limits, according to Blake at Subsurface Progression Dive Shop.
HALF MOON BAY
There were few boat trips out of the harbor due to wind and heavy seas. Huli Cat ventured out for a crabbing trip and the tally was good including a single pot that contained 23 good Dungeness. Crabbing was also reported to be decent from Pacifica Pier. At Pillar Point Harbor the breakwater was fishable on most days and people caught perch and rockfish.
Bass Tub took a late week trip inside the Bay and every passenger got to take home a keeper halibut. Lovely Martha came back to Fisherman’s Wharf with a brace of halibut and big grins on the faces of her customers, as reported by Capt. Jacky Douglas on Wacky Jacky.