Top Picks• BERKELEY – Scott Sutherland at Berkeley Charter Boats reported one trip over the weekend. New El Dorado III had 16 anglers, who collectively caught 120 sanddabs, 80 crabs and about 200 shrimp. Happy Hooker fished San Pablo Bay and caught 3 striped bass, plus a 24-inch halibut caught by Valerie Fisher of San Mateo.
• AMADOR LAKE – Trout fishing is good. Debbie Grayson at Lake Amador Store said, “There are quite a few people here fishing.” There is a daily planting of 1,000 pounds of trout. Kastmasters, woolly buggers, Needlefish, firetiger Rapalas and Excels are good artificials to try. Bank anglers have to park off the dam or bank and walk to the water’s edge as the lake is down 60 feet.
• DELTA REGION: SACRAMENTO RIVER side – Sturgeon fishing was good over the past weekend due to a combination of increased numbers of fishermen participating in the eighth annual Diamond Classic Catch and Release Derby and a strong outgoing tide. A variety of baits produced, including grass shrimp, eel and salmon roe. The Big Cut and the east end of the Mothball Fleet were the top locations. Salinity levels are moving eastward in Suisun Bay with a number of sharks landed by sturgeon fishermen between the Benicia/Martinez Bridge and the Mothball Fleet. Striped bass fishing has been fair, with the best action on bait near Chain Island or with swimbaits north of the Rio Vista Bridge. Sturgeon fishing continued to be productive upriver near the Green Bridge in Freeport. • SAN JOAQUIN side – Striped bass are scattered throughout the river system with no real concentration of the linesides. The best fishing remained further west in the San Joaquin River system towards the Antioch Bridge. Largemouth bass are becoming more active with the warming water, and there is a reaction bite with swimbaits, spinnerbaits, and crankbaits. Panfish continued to provide consistent action with large red-eared perch taken on jumbo red worms or mini-crawlers near the bridge along King Island and Paradise off of Eight Mile Road or in Whiskey Slough west of Stockton. Bluegill are found on similar baits near the Lazy M Marina in the south Delta. The supply of fresh shad is over for the year, but most bait shops are loaded with fresh frozen shad in their freezers.
• SACRAMENTO RIVER, SACRAMENTO – Fishing for striped bass was good for both bankies and boaters in the Turning Basin of the Deep Water Channel, but slow elsewhere. Sturgeon were being caught along South River Road and the Flats at Clarksburg. Ghost shrimp and salmon roe were working best.
• SACRAMENTO, TISDALE – Some nice sturgeon are being caught from Knight’s Landing to Colusa, with the best action centered on Tisdale. Most have been bigger than the upper limit of 60 inches, but some keepers were being caught, as well.
NORTH COAST RIVERS• CHETCO RIVER, Brookings, Oregon – Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing and guide Harvey Young of Fishawk Fishing Company in Brookings, Oregon, report low and clear conditions with a lot of steelies in the river, but tough to catch. Most guides have left the river, but may be coming right back when the rains hit again, which could be as you’re reading this.
• COQUILLE RIVER, Powers, Oregon – This river is too low to drift, but bank anglers are catching some awesome steelhead at Myrtle Grove and probably at various other spots on this small coastal river, according to Curtis Palmer. “When the next good rains come through the area we will most likely see some very good days of fishing from the driftboats. However, I am not sure when that will be. If you are one of those anglers who enjoy fishing from the bank, you should come visit the Coquille River. There are some other good river’s to fish nearby.” Rains were forecast for the area early this past week.
• SMITH RIVER – Guide Phil Desautel of Phil’s Smiling Salmon Guide Service said the river is very low and “crystal clear,” and running just about 600 cfs, and was still open over the weekend (call ahead). “Fishing has been pretty good, but only in a few spots like the tailout of The Forks, the Cable Flat, Templeton Grove and Phillips Flat. The river is almost undriftable. It’s still possible but be prepared to drag your boat or pound rocks over every riffle.” It’s looking like rain this week, so the river may be excellent as you read this.
• UMPQUA RIVER, Elkton, Oregon – “The mornings are a little cool, but after you have had a couple games of ‘Get the Fish Under Control,’ everything warms up,” said WON Field Reporter Curtis Palmer of River Secrets Guide Service. “The river is still low and emerald green, which allows a fair distance for visibility. Fishing is still good and probably just going to keep getting better as more fish make their way upriver. We have been finding that the rubber worms in Clearwater pink by Calcutta have been a very good color to use while drifting. Some days the numbers of fish caught are well into the teens, and most are native and have to be released. Only hatchery fish may be retained. We have been catching about one hatchery fish for every 15 that are caught, and on some days it could be closer to one hatchery for every 10 steelhead caught.”
• UMPQUA RIVER, North Fork, Roseburg, Oregon – “Extra low water conditions on both forks, and rocks that can open the boat like a can opener are everywhere an angler looks, so important for the rower to have a constant view of the water ahead,” said WONField Reporter and guide Curtis Palmer of River Secrets. “Usually we start to have some small pushes of chrome steelhead making their way through the fish ladder at Winchester on their journey back home too spawn. A bunch of the time we will see steelhead stacked into the holes and even pockets below the dam when the fish bypass becomes too crowded. According to my records, the steelhead counts around Jan. 21 were about 1,000 fish some 8 years ago, but in recent years they’ve been double that. The drift from Amacher Park, 5 minutes north of Roseburg to the first takeout is only a short 4 miles. The nice thing with a float like this one is you can run it twice if you would like or you can try your skills at another easy access place for the last part of the day.”
TRINITY/KLAMATH RIVERS• KLAMATH RIVER, Iron Gate – Fishing for small adult steelhead and half-pounders was good again last week as warmer weather stirred them up a bit out a cold-water induced lethargy. Fly fishing was better than it had been, and there were even some steelies taken by swinging streamers. Most, however, continued to be caught on small Hot Shots, crawdad plugs and drifted Glo-Bugs and roe.
• KLAMATH RIVER, Klamath Glen – Few fresh winter steelhead were moving past the estuary upstream to the Trinity or higher up the Klamath because of the lack of rain or runoff to attract them. A few winter-run steelhead were being caught around the mouth of the Trinity, mostly on roe and spinners. Rain is expected this week, so conditions, hopefully will improve.
• TRINITY RIVER – Fishing held steady, but few fresh winter steelhead moved through the river into tributaries and to the upper end of the river. Driftboat guides were scoring 2 to 5 steelies a day, while waders were happy to get one or two hookups. Warmer weather produced some insect hatches, so decent fly fishers did as well as spin fishermen. Fishing pressure is very low. Rain is predicted for this week, so, hopefully, conditions and fishing, will soon change for the better.
NORTH COAST LAKES• CLEAR LAKE – The bite picked up for a few larger bass and there were still plenty of catfish to be had by anglers willing to move around. The better fishing has been from mid-lake down to the southern arms. Successful anglers still report using jigs, swimbaits, large crankbaits and rip baits. Plastic worms have also been productive. Bass have been deeper and coming up with over-inflated bladders so try to release ASAP.
• LAKE BERRYESSA – Try dropshot rigs or tubes on outside points and steep banks from the dam up through the Narrows. Robo Worms in shad patterns and green pumpkin tubes have been good colors.
• LAKE SONOMA – The public ramp is still useable. Trout trollers have been picking up 2 to 5 fish per boat averaging 16 to 20 inches. The Warm Springs arm, Dry Creek and upper main body have been the best areas for largemouth.
NORTHEASTERN AREA• LAKE ALMANOR – Anglers are launching from the Canyon Dam ramp and trolling north. Big Springs has also been a popular spot for both shoreline anglers and boats. With few anglers on the water, the trolling lane from Rocky Point to the Fox Farm has been wide open.
• BAUM LAKE – According to The Fly Shop in Redding, not much has changed here. Overcast days continued to be the best producers of BWOs hatches. Fishing has been fair to good using #18 to #20 midges and #18 copper Johns in red under small indicators.
• PIT RIVER – From Nov. 16 through the Friday proceeding the last Saturday in April only artificial lures with barbless hooks may be used. Fishing has been very good for most, although a few had problems in the Pit 3 section. Warmer than usual weather has helped to keep the hatches going.
• SHASTA LAKE – A few trout were found from the surface down to 20 feet using Wiggle Hoochies or Cripplures and shad colored lures. With very few trolling, few reports have been coming in. Fish on hard structure -not mud- for bass as they have been foraging for crawdads. Try jigs and tubes in browns and greens. The numbers have been good 15 to 30 feet down.
NorCal Saltwater• BODEGA BAY – Surf fishing was very good for red tail perch at Salmon Creek Beach. Atushi Yamashita caught them up to over 2 pounds. New Sea Angler made a crab only trip, resulting in full limits of healthy, thick crabs.
• CROCKETT – Boats didn’t have to go far, with both sturgeon and striped bass hitting right outside of Crockett. Shoreline fishers managed a few stripers and also flounders.
• EMERYVILLE – Sturgeon trips are being scheduled for February, so call the Landing to get your spot. No trips were run recently.
• EUREKA/CRESCENT CITY – Dungeness crabs were caught in good numbers… including some limits… from the South Jetty. Steelhead were caught and released at the mouth of the Eel River. Red tail perch bit well at Centerville Beach. The big news, however, was the beginning of a herring spawn inside the harbor at Crescent City.
• FORT BRAGG – Crabbing was surprisingly good, both from boats and from the jetty. Telstar got near limits of a good grade of crabs after just a short soak. Snare casters along the jetty did well, while hook and liners caught red tail perch, rockfish, cabezon and greenling. Surf fishers found red tail perch willing to eat.
• HALF MOON BAY – Just a few striped bass were reported caught from Pacifica Pier. The jetty in Half Moon Bay produced great catches of groundfish, including one feller who caught a keeper lingcod plus 5 rockfish. Crabbing was improved over previous weeks for pier, jetty and boat people.
• MARTINEZ – The Diamond Classic Catch and Release Sturgeon Derby was a huge success, with plenty of sturgeon caught and 39 keepers released by 350 participants, throughout Carquinez Straights and Suisun Bay. Striped bass were well represented in catch counts. Along the shorelines of the Straits, starry flounder went on the chew and preferred pile worms for bait.
• SAN FRANCISCO – A nice mix of opportunities awaited people who wanted to enjoy the un-winter like weather. Argo out of Fisherman’s Wharf headed into San Pablo Bay to catch sturgeon and stripers. Shore fishers had perch to catch with shrimp and pile worms.
MOTHERLODE• CAMANCHE LAKE – Fishing was good last week for bass and trout. There were some really nice rainbow trout, some good-sized spotted bass, and even a decent-sized crappie. Bass were biting jigs and drop-shotting plastic worms. The top spots for bank angling for trout this past week were the South Shore Trout Pond and North Shore Day Use Point. The baits of choice for bank anglers were Power Eggs and Rapala Lures. Boat anglers seemed to have a lot of luck fishing the Rockwall the Narrows and the Dam trolling with white or orange grubs.
• DON PEDRO RESERVOIR – Trout fishing is good, but bass fishing is tough. Bass are hitting mean green shad plastics drop-shotted in 40 to 50 feet. There is an occasional swimbait fish being caught with a lot of big bass just following the swimbait. Trout trollers are catching near limits or limits of trout near the surface. Guide Monte Smith of Gold Country Sportfishing continues to use heavy spoons trolling 3 to 5 colors deep. Other trout trollers are using Needlefish, Speedy Shiners, Excels, Wedding Rings/’crawler, or blade-flashers and ’crawlers.
• LAKE MCCLURE – Fishing for bass and trout is good . Jason Mello and a friend used crawdads and minnows to catch 9 bass in 4 hours of fishing. The bass were 12-to-15 inches long and in 20 to 50 feet. A couple trout fishermen used rainbow Power Bait at McClure point to catch limits of trout.
• LAKE MCSWAIN – “Trout fishing is good, with everybody catching a fish or two,” said Victoria Sturtevant at Lake McSwain Marina, who said anglers have been catching trout off the points by the marina, the Brush Pile and also upriver. Anglers have been using blue-chrome Kastmasters, rainbow Power Bait, grubs, frog colored Potted Gold spoons and flashers/’crawler combinations catching fish. Jason Mello at A-1 Bait in Snelling said “A couple anglers caught limits of trout at the boat ramp on Rooster Tail spinners.” Other anglers fished from a boat with yellow and orange Power Eggs for limits of trout.
• LAKE PARDEE – Pardee Lake Recreation Area is closed. The Park will reopen for the 2014 season Feb. 13 for camping and Feb. 14 for fishing.
• NEW MELONES RESERVOIR – Trout and bass action has been very good. The bank anglers are catching limits off of Glory Hole Point and near the Tuttletown boat launch. Try floating Power Bait or Gulp Eggs off of the bottom. For anglers who prefer using artificial presentations, try fan-casting Kastmasters and Krocodiles. Anglers are starting to catch more bass with most of them being chunks that weigh from 2 to 4 pounds. With the Department of Fish and Game planting rainbows, now is a good time to target giant fish with trout patterned swimbaits.
SIERRA LAKE/RIVERS• BOCA LAKE – The lake is at 12-percent capacity. The ice was still safe at the dam and anglers were picking up a few fish in the early morning.
• CAPLES LAKE – The lake is at 57-percent capacity. Icefishing through 12-plus inches of ice at the dam and spillway was still producing a mix of rainbows, browns, and macks according to Caples Lake Resort. Successful anglers were using Power Bait, worms, salmon eggs, bay shrimp and jigged Kastmaster spoons.
• CARSON RIVER (East) – Todd Sodaro at Todd’s Bait and Tackle at the Creekside Lodge reported the river was only about 25-percent iced over and several anglers were fishing the trophy fish section below Hangman’s Bridge this past week.
• DAVIS LAKE – The lake is at 64-percent capacity. Ed Dillard at Dillard’s Guided Fishing reported that there was open water showing in many areas around the lake and the remaining ice was only 1 to 2 inches thick - much too thin for safe icefishing. Shore fishing was available at Mallard Point, Coot, and Camp 5.
• DONNER LAKE – Trolling for macks was producing some big fish on Lyman, J-Plugs, Rapalas, etc. at 80 to 100 feet deep. A few rainbow trout were still hitting Power Bait and worms at the west end boat ramp.
• FRENCHMAN LAKE – The lake is at 49-percent capacity. Wiggins Trading Post reported there was still 4 to 5 inches of ice at the dam in the early morning, but it was getting soft in the afternoons - the safe bet is to not icefish. There was open water beginning to show in Ship’s Cove and limits were being caught on Power Bait and worms.
• ICE HOUSE RESERVOIR – The lake is at 55-percent capacity. The road to the lake and the boat ramp were clear and launching was good. Dale Daneman at Dale’s Foothill Fishing Service reported that the water temp was 39 to 41 degrees - COLD - and the fish were lethargic. Slow troll a dodger/worm or grub in the top 20 feet for a good chance at picking up some planter rainbows.
• INDIAN CREEK RESERVOIR – Todd Sodaro at Todd’s Bait and Tackle at the Creekside Lodge reported that Airport Road was passable with 2-wheel drive and open water was slowing near the dam. Sodaro saw one shore angler catch 3 trout in 20 minutes near the dam using worms. The main body of the lake was still covered with thin skim ice in the early morning with more open water in the afternoons around the shore.
• JENKINSON LAKE (Sly Park) – After the recent DFW trout plant, fishing was good at the ramp and the first dam for rainbows using Power Bait and worms. Some small macks were caught, too, while some big macks were seen prowling the shallows for planters. Casting a trout swimbait off the shore near the planting site could work for a big mack in the early morning.
• LAKE TAHOE – Chuck Self at Chuck’s Charter Fishing and Mike Nielsen at Tahoe Topliners Sportfishing were doing well trolling and jigging for macks at North Shore. Trolling Rapala and Lucky Craft minnow plugs, and spoons 50 to 220 feet deep worked for 3 to 8 pounders. Nielsen also had good success jigging Williamson Benthos and Vortex tipped with minnows at South Shore and North Shore - 20 fish days were common for both guides. Nielsen had some luck trolling the shallows for browns in the 2- to 3-pound range with Scatter Raps 15 to 20 feet deep over 35 to 40 feet of water.
• PROSSER LAKE – The lake is at 22-percent capacity. The ice was still safe for fishing. The dam and the middle of the lake off the point between the creek arms were good for anglers using worms, salmon eggs and bay shrimp.
• PYRAMID LAKE – Joe Mendes at Eagle Eye Charters and George Molino at Cutthroat Charters reported that trolling was tough - 5 to 10 strikes a day and only a few fish hooked and netted. The south end of the lake from Indian Head to Dago Bay was producing the best. Crosby’s Lodge weighed in 13 double-digit cutthroats this past week topped by a 17 pounder. Five were caught by boat, mostly using FlatFish while the rest were taken from shore.
• RED LAKE – Tahoe Fly Fishing Outfitters (TFFO) reported that their trips were only producing a few cutthroats and brookies through the ice near the dam using worms, salmon eggs, and jigged Kastmaster spoons.
• SILVER LAKE – The lake is at 14-percent capacity. The icefishing was still productive at the dam using Power Bait, worms, bay shrimp, and jigged Kastmaster spoons.
• STAMPEDE RESERVOIR – The lake is at 49-percent capacity. The main body of the lake was ice-free with ice still at the dam- though not safe for fishing. Mountain Hardware and Sports reported that few anglers were at the lake this past week.
• TOPAZ LAKE – Still no launching - pray for rain.
• TRUCKEE RIVER – Victor Babbitt at TFFO reported that sporadic BWO hatches were coming off in the afternoons and the river was alive with fish during those short windows of opportunity. The rest of the day, streamers were working in the slow, deep holes and runs for the occasional good fish. With outflows from Stampede up, the Little Truckee was fishing well as fish moved up into the river from Boca.
• UNION VALLEY RESERVOIR – The lake is at 44-percent capacity. Ken Mathis at Ken’s Custom Tackle and Guide Service reported he was doing well on macks running 3 to 10 pounds trolling gold Double Flutter spoons and dodger/herring combos over mid-lake humps from 50 to 120 feet deep. The boat ramp at the dam had about a week’s worth of water left for safe trailered boat launching left - 4-wheel drive was recommended.
SACRAMENTO VALLEY• AMERICAN RIVER – Flows are continuing at 500 cfs, and the river is a sad shadow of itself at flows usually seen this time of year. However, there are still a few fresh steelhead coming upstream, and some nice steelies were caught last week, mostly by fly fishermen. However, for every fish caught in an ethical manner, there are many more vulnerable steelies on spawning riffles, as reported by observers, that are being snagged. The Fish and Game Commission will hear calls for an emergency closure to fishing at their meeting in Sacramento on Feb. 5.
• FEATHER RIVER – Steelheading was pretty slow last week, and very few anglers, mostly fly fishermen were trying for them. Most of the effort, and success, has been in the Low Flow Section.
• FOLSOM LAKE – It’s four-wheel-drive only for launching at Granite Bay if you don’t want to get stuck, but fishing was very good for trout on top-lined nightcrawlers behind copper and pink dodgers. Some landlocked king salmon were being caught at 40 feet on Hoochies. Bass fishing was pretty good, at least on some days by drop-shotting and jigging over rock piles around 15 feet deep.
• HAGAN PARK POND – On Feb. 1, a Fishing Clinic will be held at Hagan Park from 8:30 a.m. to noon. It’s located at the end of Chase Drive, off Coloma Road in Rancho Cordova. Trout will be planted, and rods, reels, bait and instructions will be provided to new anglers.
• RANCHO SECO LAKE – Fishing for trout from shore as well as small non-gas-powered boats has been good, aided by plants and cooler water.
• SACRAMENTO RIVER, Redding – Though low flows are a disaster for maturing salmon eggs, trout fishing was good on most days. Wading has been good, and fly fishers have been doing well on smaller fish below Anderson, while not catching as many, but larger trout to 20 inches around Redding.
• YUBA RIVER – Fishing for trout was good for a few, slow for others, but the first signs of the Skwala hatch are now appearing, raising excitement among anglers. There’s even been some success on dry flies in the warm weather.
NORTHERN FOOTHILLS• AMERICAN RIVER – As one would expect in the grip of a drought, the river was running very low and clear.
• BULLARDS BAR – The lake is at 42-percent capacity. Nelson Money of Grass Valley from the Rooster Tails Fishing Club was able to launch his boat from the single lane ramp at Dark Day though he warned of mud at the bottom of the ramp. Money landed spots to 3 pounds on shad Senkos fished 30 to 50 feet deep and lost a much bigger bass.
• CAMP FAR WEST – Boaters can still launch on one lane at the ramp at North Shore Resort. One lake regular fished for bass and only caught 4 fish all day - SLOW.
• COLLINS LAKE – The lake was still holding at 47 feet from full and launching was good on the concrete ramp at the marina. Shore anglers were doing well on rainbow trout at the dam and the beach using Power Bait and worms. Trollers scored on Kastmaster spoons and Rapalas run 15 feet deep in the channel from the island and the dam.
• ENGLEBRIGHT RESERVOIR – The lake is at 96-percent capacity. The marina was still producing a few nice rainbows to 8 pounds for boaters using bait or trolling flasher/worm combos.
• FRENCH MEADOWS RESERVOIR – The lake is at 31-percent capacity. The Foresthill Ranger Station reported that the road to the lake was open. Small boats that launched from the shore - no usable ramp was available - were picking up some nice trout trolling near the dam. Shore anglers were scoring near the dam and the creek inlet north of the dam.
• HELL HOLE RESERVOIR – The lake is at 40-percent capacity. The Georgetown Ranger Station reported the road was open with a few icy spots in shady areas. No boat launching for trailered boats, but cartoppers could get on the water.
• LAKE OROVILLE – The lake is at 36-percent capacity. Not much change here - bass were spread out from 5 to 30 feet deep and hitting darthead worms and Senkos, Paradise Tackle Company finesse jigs, tubes, and small swimbaits fished SLOW on the bottom off steep points and walls. Despite the sunny weather, the colder water temps still determine the tempo of your fishing. Launching was available at the Bidwell Marina low-water ramp.
• ROLLINS LAKE – The lake is at 77-percent capacity. NID reported that launching was available at Orchard Springs and Long Ravine.
• SCOTT’S FLAT LAKE – The lake is at 65-percent capacity. Jim Caldwell at the marina reported that trollers were picking 2 to 4 rainbows per person on flasher/worm combos at the dam. The fishing at the inlet had slowed. Launching was available at the marina and Cascade Shores.
• SUGAR PINE RESERVOIR – The Foresthill Ranger Station reported the ramp was good for launching. Fishing was reported to be good for trollers working near the dam.
• STUMPY MEADOWS RESERVOIR – The Georgetown Ranger Station reported that the ramp was still out of the water and only cartoppers could get on the lake. There were few fishermen here.
• THERMOLITO AFTERBAY – The lake was at 133.7-foot elevation at press time - 82-percent capacity. Trollers and bait drifters can still pick up some nice steelhead in the channel at Wilbur Road using nightcrawlers. The duck season ended on Jan. 26, so no more conflicts between hunters and fishermen.
– Western Outdoor News