• SACRAMENTO RIVER– The lead end of the striper run is here, for sure, according to Yee Vang of Broadway Bait, Rod and Tackle, Bob Boucke of Johnson’s Bait and Tackle, and guide Dave Jacobs of Professional Guide Service, who found good action up at Grimes. The fish are now all the way up to Colusa in small schools, but they have not gathered in larger schools yet, but will in weeks to come. All types of bait are working, as are plugs with plastic worm trailers, and many limits are coming out. Weekends are way busy, so fishing is better during the week. Most stripers are 5 to 10 pounds. Sturgeon action is still really good, but most are oversized. “It’s been the best sturgeon year I’ve ever seen in the Sacramento,” said Boucke. Look for sturgeon throughout the system, but working Verona to Knights Landing has been excellent.
• DELTA- SAN JOAQUIN RIVER side — Striped bass fishing improved considerably with the much clearer water conditions in the San Joaquin River system. Trolling, tossing swimbaits, or throwing topwater plugs all produced legal stripers to 10 pounds. Salmon smolt releases are expected out of Eddo’s Boat Harbor by month’s end. Largemouth bass are hitting a variety of activity baits on a slow presentation. The warmer spring temperatures and arriving full moon should be the catalyst for a considerable number of female largemouths to spawn. Crappie fishing remained decent with medium to large minnows from the access points along Eight Mile Road and Whiskey Slough west of Stockton.
• JENKINSON LAKE (Sly Park) — The lake is at 80-percent capacity. The lake was stocked this past week and fishing was wide-open near the boat ramp and the first dam. One group caught-and-released 70 fish near the boat ramp using Power Bait.
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• BERKELEY — California Dawn fished the Berkeley Flats over the weekend, to catch 13 halibut to 16 pounds for 15 anglers. Jilly Sea found halibut as well. Other boats, including Happy Hooker, went in search of striped bass and did well.
NORTH COAST RIVERS
• ROGUE RIVER, Gold Beach, Oregon — Spring salmon fishing improved dramatically this past week, and almost all the boats caught between a fish and two per boat, and bankies scored well, too, but now it’s the boats that have the edge. The flows were down to 5,000 cfs over the weekend at Agness, and flows will drop all week, making where you anchor up critical. April is the top springer month, so now’s the time to go.
• ROGUE RIVER, GRANT’S PASS, Oregon — Fishing slowed early in the week, then picked up by the weekend, according to guide Troy Whitaker at U-Save Tackle in Grant’s Pass. Some more salmon are showing up, with a few springers taken on Kwikfish with a sardine wrap. Steelhead are being taken on plugs and some on roe. Plugs working are green, silver, black and pink. The water temperature is hovering around 50 degrees, and it’s pretty good for action on salmon and/or steelhead.
• SMITH RIVER — The Smith remains open to fishing, and steelhead are still being caught here. Most of the fish are runbacks, according to Harvey Young of Fishawk River Company, but a few fresh fish are still in the mix, he said. Rory McDonald of Crescent City hooked 30 steelies in 3 days last week, enjoying some of the best fishing of the season. The river had dropped to a perfect 11 feet over the weekend, Young said.
• UMPQUA RIVER, Scottsburg, OREGON — The Umpqua River is really falling into nice shape for spring Chinook fishing, according to guide Curtis Palmer of River Secrets. “I have received a couple nice reports from anglers who have been fishing there, and some boats have been getting as many as three salmon a day. This is the best start I have seen in the last 5 years.” He said that steelhead season is still going on, but most are post-spawn fish on their way back to the ocean, and should be released.
• UMPQUA RIVER, North Fork, Glide, Oregon — It has been an unusual season for winter run steelhead this year, according to WON Field Reporter Curtis Palmer of River Secrets. It started with the fish being a couple weeks late entering the mouth of the Umpqua system at Winchester Bay. Then the low water conditions had the steelhead held up in big pockets and deep channels in the lower reaches of the river. “In areas like the bottom of Sawyer Rapids or the bottom of Bunch Bar, the high flooding river made fishing difficult for anglers and just as difficult for the fish to travel upriver. It was one thing after another this season that added up to making it an unusual fishing season for steelhead. Even so, this last week there were some nice fish caught here that hadn't spawned yet and may not for another couple of weeks. Spring Chinook will start entering here soon.”
• KLAMATH RIVER — The river was green from Weitchpec to Happy Camp and Seiad Valley, but flows were still pretty high. It will drop out quickly without more rain. The feeder creeks are putting out fresh king smolts right now, and the Klamath Hatchery at Iron Gate has released all of their smolts, too. Spring king salmon are entering the river down at the mouth.
• TRINITY RIVER — Flows are still high, but beginning to drop out, and a “bezillion smolts” are cruising the waters moving downstream, playing havoc with anyone who might still be trying for a late-season steelhead. Action has been slow. But the first of the spring king salmon have entered the Klamath River, and should be showing in the Trinity, although it’s closed to the take of kings from the mouth of the South Fork to the confluence of the Klamath.
NORTH COAST LAKES
• CLEAR LAKE — It’s about to get crazy here as the warming waters help bring on the spawn. For the next few weeks, anglers should move to a drop-shot to get on fish. Roboworm’s MMIII and Folkstad’s Special are favorite choices that work all over the lake. Ripbaits can help locate spawning areas by attracting aggressive males. Lucky Craft Pointer 78 and 100 in translucent colors will work as locators and then upgrade to the 128 for the possibility of a bigger bite.
• LAKE BERRYESSA — The spawn is in all stages now and it’s a great time to go looking for bass in the shallows. Please be gentle with the mommas. Trout bite continues to be tough.
• LAKE SONOMA — The bass spawn is on here and there is much less traffic than on other area lakes. Take advantage and grab your plastics, Senkos, worms, Brush Hogs and jigs and concentrate on the spawning flats and bays in the creek channels. The catfish bite has also been good soaking cut bait from shore with mackerel being the best fished on a sliding sinker rig.
• LAKE ALMANOR — The hatches are coming and there has been good fishing for big browns and rainbow trout along with a few kings mixed in each day. Now is the time to be here for some stellar fishing.
• BAUM LAKE — The good trout bite continues for those that can get on the water and reach them. The Fly Shop in Redding suggests using a pram, pontoon boat, or float tube to get at them.
• PIT RIVER — Watch out for increased flows below Lake Britton from March 16 to May 9 while PG&E increases the flow on the Pit 3 Reach of the river for maintenance at the powerhouse electric switchyard. The best conditions are going to be found below Lake Britton Dam at Pit #3 until the weather and water settle back down.
• SHASTA LAKE — The surface action has dried up for trout and only a few salmon were found. The fish are very scattered from the surface down to 40 to 60 feet where the shad are still hanging out. The first bait ball of the season was spotted at 25 feet this past week. With the spotted bass now spawning, the bite also toughened up. Most are 14-inch fish but for a few larger ones you will have to slow down and target 15 to 30 feet with jigs, Senkos and rubber worms in green, shad and other natural colors.
• WHISKEYTOWN RESERVOIR — The bite was hot and fast with easy action on either side of the Highway 299 Bridge. Pressure is also very light here.
• BODEGA BAY — Wind and seas combined to keep many skiffs in harbor, but those intrepid souls who made it out did find salmon. It was a matter of being in the right place at the right time, with the right stuff. Jetty fishers caught rockfish. Tomales Bay was the hotspot for monster red tail perch to 18 inches.
• EMERYVILLE — The salmon count on Saturday was 1 to 4 fish per boat, with individual fish ranging up to 22 pounds. All fishing was done southeast of the Farallones. Emeryville landing had no boats out Sunday. With fish being found Sunday up the coast, expectations are for more boat trips and higher fish counts.
• EUREKA — Jetty fishing was highly productive for rockfish, with kelp greenlings becoming a higher portion of the catches. Sandabs proved most plentiful out in roughly 300 feet of water. Bat rays invaded Humboldt Bay, so this is a perfect time to catch one, to practice on really heavy fish.
• FORT BRAGG — Conditions looked great, but the salmon counts on the opening weekend were generally low. Bragg-in had high count with 2 fish on Saturday. Surf and jetty fishers really got into the red tail perch. Snare casters at the jetty did better than usual, with 2 to 3 keeper crabs per person.
• HALF MOON BAY — Striped bass bit well for beach fishers below town. The harbor jetty gave up perch and rockfish. Salmon neglected to attend the party thrown in their honor. Conditions looked ideal, so the shiny fish are expected to show soon.
• VALLEGO — Striped bass action was wildly good. High counts were caught, along with a few sturgeon in the Napa River system near Kennedy Park and Cuttings Wharf. A 46-inch striper was caught by a local guy who made the run to Grizzly Island in Suisun. Flounder were still available along the Vallejo waterfront, to those fishing with pile worms.
• BOCA LAKE — The lake is at 34-percent capacity. Lots of water coming in from Stampede Reservoir was moving the fish toward the inlet and up into the Little Truckee where rainbows were spawning. The lake was stocked 2 weeks ago by the DFW, so check the points near the boat ramp, also.
• CAPLES LAKE — The lake is at 60-percent capacity. The lake saw 5 feet of snow with the storms over the past two weeks. Icefishing was still possible, but look out for soft ice along the edges of the lake that could make getting on and off the ice dangerous - especially this week with the warm weather in the forecast.
• CARSON RIVER (East, West) — Both rivers are again scheduled for DFW trout plants this week in advance of the April 26 opener. With weather in the 70s in the forecast, the restricted section below Hangman’s Bridge could be productive on nymphs, San Juan Worms, and a dry fly if you find a hatch in progress - Tahoe Fly Fishing Outfitters said action was hit-or-miss.
• DAVIS LAKE — The lake is at 68-percent capacity. Fishing slowed this past week with the weather leaving 10 inches of snow at lake level. Shore fishing and trolling was impacted by trout spawning activity.
• DONNER LAKE — The lake is at 69-percent capacity. The west end was still the best bet for planter rainbows using Power Bait, worms, and salmon eggs. Trollers were picking up the occasional 5- to 8-pound mack on trout imitations at 30 to 50 feet deep.
• FEATHER RIVER CANYON — The North Fork at Belden is scheduled for a DFW trout plant this week in advance of the April 26 opener.
• FRENCHMAN LAKE — The lake is at 51-percent capacity. Shore anglers were catching limits of rainbows to 3 1/2 pounds on Power Bait and nightcrawlers at Lunker Point and Big Cove, according to Wiggins Trading Post.
• GOLD LAKES BASIN — Snow this past week shut down access to Gold Lake, according to Mountain Hardware and Sports in Blairsden.
• ICE HOUSE RESERVOIR — The lake is at 89-percent capacity and scheduled for a DFW trout plant this week. Access is good to the boat ramp and the planters should be easy to catch on a toplined dodger/nightcrawler.
• INDIAN CREEK RESERVOIR — Todd Sodaro at Todd’s Bait and Tackle at the Creekside Lodge reported that shore anglers were picking up 3 to 4 rainbows and cutthroats at both ends of the lake on worms and Power Bait.
• JACKSON MEADOW RESERVOIR — The lake is at 78-percent capacity. It’s still snowed in, according to Mountain Hardware and Sports.
• LAKE TAHOE — Mike Nielsen at Tahoe Topliners Sportfishing reported good action for brown trout trolling CD7,CD9, and CD11 Rapalas in shallow water. Trips were producing 4 to 6 browns from 1 to 7 pounds. 3- to 5-pound macks were hitting Husky Jerks and ThunderStiks at 150 to 220 feet deep off South Shore where the fish were “stacked like cord wood!” Rick Kennedy at Tight Lines Guide Service reported catching rainbows and macks trolling dodger/nightcrawlers, Number 3 lime green Needlefish, and Indi lures. The rainbows hit in 13 feet of water while the macks were down at 40 to 240 feet deep of Cal-Neva Point and Dollar Point. Chuck Self at Chuck’s Charter Fishing reported red-hot mack action on morning and afternoon trips trolling 130 to 400 feet deep for limits of 4 to 9 pounders. The fish were spitting up kokanee salmon.
• LOON LAKE — The lake is at 62-percent capacity. The USFS needs to open the gate to the boat ramp so fishermen can get to the trout planted by the DFW 3 weeks ago.
• PROSSER LAKE — The lake is at 32-percent capacity. Not much change here with the lake so low - try the Prosser Creek inlet area off Hobart Mills Road.
• PYRAMID LAKE — Shore fishing and trolling slowed this past week. Only 6 double-digit fish were weighed in at Crosby’s Lodge - a 17-pound, 6-ounce Pilot Peak cutthroat caught by Mark English on a Rapala at Hell’s Kitchen topped the board. Jeff Morris caught 13- and 15-pound Lahontans on flies at the Nets and Wino Beach. Joe Mendes at Eagle Eye Charters reported catching 12, 11, and 8 fish on his last 3 trips trolling bleeding frog FlatFish on the east side from north of Pyramid to north of Hell’s Kitchen. 8 and 9 pounders topped his catches on two of the three days. Most boats fishing the west side reported 0 to 3 fish - tough fishing.
• RED LAKE — Only shore fishing here with the ice thawed. The DFW made a plant here 3 weeks ago, so fishing should be good on worms for small cutthroats.
• SILVER LAKE — The lake is at 38-percent capacity. Icefishing not recommended with a large section of open water showing on the NE side of the lake. Try shore fishing any accessible open water.
• STAMPEDE RESERVOIR — The lake is at 44-percent capacity. Kokanee were schooling up near the island and off the points near the dam. The salmon were hitting a dodger/spinner combo from the surface to 50 feet deep. Look for macks near the kokanee schools.
• TOPAZ LAKE — Launching still available for small aluminum boats at Topaz Landing Marina. Trollers were doing very well for boat limits of nice rainbows using flasher/worm combos and Rapalas.
• TRUCKEE RIVER — Tahoe Fly Fishing Outfitters and Mountain Hardware and Sports both reported decent flyfishing using skwala stones, BWO, and March Brown from the Boca Outlet through Reno-Sparks.
• UNION VALLEY RESERVOIR — The lake is at 74-percent capacity and scheduled for a DFW trout plant this week. Ken Mathis at Ken’s Custom Tackle and Guide Service was fishing when WON called on Sunday and ended up with 6 macks from 3 to 8 pounds. The fish were hitting a dodger/herring combos trolled over the sandy ledges in 75 feet of water where the sun was hitting the water. If the DFW is stocking this lake, the USFS needs to open the Sunset gate to allow fishermen to reach the lake without having to travel on the very poor road off Pea Vine Ridge Road to the ramp near the dam.
• WEST WALKER RIVER — Pam Hamic at the West Walker Motel reported that river flows were excellent and flyfishing was great for 2- to 4-pound rainbows along the 14 miles of river from the junction with the Little Walker to Eastside Lane.
• SACRAMENTO RIVER side — Sturgeon fishing in Suisun Bay continued to be strong with diamondbacks marked in a number of locations. Buoy 2 and 4 near the Mothball Fleet, along with Montezuma Slough, remained the top areas, and both grass shrimp and eel are the number one baits. The muddy water arrived mid-week, and striper fishermen are reduced to soaking bait with the water clarity reduced. Near Sacramento, sardines on the anchor around the inside bends of the river continued to produce schoolie stripers. Sturgeon are found upriver from Hood to Freeport.
• AMERICAN RIVER — The Georgetown Ranger Station reported the river was running at normal levels and clearing after the storms that blew through this past week. Not much fishing activity was seen, though this week with the warm weather in the forecast there should be big crowds at the Highway 49 crossing- fishing below the bridge, where it’s open currently.
• BULLARDS BAR — The lake is at 64-percent capacity. A Westside Anglers tournament was won with a 40.01-pound limit of spotted bass - WOW! The 8.35-pound big fish was caught on a Lucky Craft Staysee ripped near incoming water. The best bite was on swimbaits, jigs, worms, and crankbaits. Emerald Cove Marina reported that trout were hitting drifted nightcrawlers in Willow Creek and flasher/worms in the North Fork. Watch out for floating debris - there were some big trees and logs seen that could cause serious damage to a fast moving boat.
• CAMP FAR WEST — The lake is at full capacity - it spilled a couple of days this past week. The water was a little muddy after the rains, but was clearing quickly. North Shore Resort reported that Ron Franks of Folsom fished the Rock Creek arm this past week and caught 15 bass on bluegill, oxblood, and green pumpkin Roboworms in 10 feet of water. The water temp was 56 to 58 degrees.
• COLLINS LAKE — The lake is 16 feet from full. An 1,800-pound private plant and the release of 2 pens were scheduled for this week. Fishing was excellent for both shore anglers and trollers. 300 anglers participated in a derby this past weekend and the big fish weighed 5 pounds. Mike McGhan caught the big fish of the week, a 6 1/2-pound rainbow that topped his limit using worms at the dam. Catfish were hitting anchovies and worms for shore anglers at the Beach, dam, and Open Area. Trout preferred Power Bait and worms in the same areas.
• ENGLEBRIGHT RESERVOIR — The lake is at 98-percent capacity. Trollers were catching 7 to 10 rainbows using dodger/nightcrawlers from the marina to the “No-Ski” buoys at 6 to 12 feet deep. The bite in the marina had slowed, so the fish must have finally dispersed out into the main lake.
• FRENCH MEADOWS RESERVOIR — The lake is at 46-percent capacity. The Foresthill Ranger Station reported that the road to the lake was closed due to snow, but with warm weather in the forecast for this week, call them for the latest road conditions at 530-367-2224.
• HELL HOLE RESERVOIR — The lake is at 60-percent capacity. The Georgetown Ranger Station suggested calling ahead for the latest road conditions since no one had been up to the lake since the last snow.
• LAKE OROVILLE — The lake is at 50-percent capacity. Guide Ron Gandolfi reported that anglers should be able to catch 80 to 100 bass per day with the warm weather in the forecast this week. Trips this past week were producing 75 to 85 fish on tubes, Paradise Tackle Company finesse jigs, darthead worms and Senkos, and Keitech 3.8 swimbaits. A Nor Cal 90 team tournament was won with 15 1/2 pounds that included a 5 1/2-pound kicker. The Slot, North Fork, and West Branch saw lots of pressure during the tournament. Boaters need to watch out for debris in the main body, and above the bridge in the West Branch.
• ROLLINS LAKE — The lake is at 98-percent capacity. Will Fish Tackle in Auburn reported that trollers were picking up planter rainbows on dodger/nightcrawlers and browns on Rapalas in the Bear River arm. Ryan Drake at Orchard Springs reported that the DFW stocked a load of 1- to 3-pound rainbows at Long Ravine this past week and shore anglers and trollers were doing well in the marina cove and at the dam. Bass fishing was good using worms and jigs.
• SCOTT’S FLAT LAKE — The lake is at 84-percent capacity. Trout fishing was good at the dam and up in the inlet. Smallmouth bass fishing was good on the rocky banks between Cascade Shore and the spillway.
• SUGAR PINE RESERVOIR — The Foresthill Ranger Station reported that the boat ramp and day-use facilities were open. The lake level was coming up with the recent rains and fishing should be improving with the warmer weather in the forecast.
• STUMPY MEADOWS RESERVOIR — The lake is at 76-percent capacity. The Georgetown Ranger Station reported that shore anglers and trollers were catching planter rainbows. The campgrounds open April 18.
• THERMOLITO AFTERBAY — The lake was at 135-foot elevation at press time - 88-percent capacity. Warm weather this week should increase the bass spawning activity in the coves, especially as the full moon gets closer. Use jigs, worms and tubes on flatter gravel banks.
• AMADOR LAKE — Fishing is good for trout. Debbie Grayson at Lake Amador Store said, “There was 3,200 pounds of trout planted last week.” Anglers are using garlic green, chartreuse and rainbow Power Bait and trollers are using firetiger broken-back Rapalas, Needlefish and other go-to trolling spoons. From the shore, anglers were also casting Kastmaster lures and were catching lots of fish. The lake has come up 35 feet and is rising.
• CAMANCHE LAKE — Fishing is fair. Trolling for trout was best with the favorite spots being by the dam, the Narrows and Hat Island and the South Shore trout pond. The favorite baits this week were Power Worms, Power Bait, and Mice Tails with Power Bait, crappie jigs and Rapala Lures.
• DON PEDRO RESERVOIR — Fishing is good. Monte Smith of Gold County Sport Fishing has been slow rolling shad around the dam at 30 to 55 feet catching both trout and salmon. Guide Danny Lane fished 35 feet with Shasta Tackle Matrix Paddle Tails, Glitter Bug Hoochies and Uncle Larry’s Spinners catching kokanee, trout and salmon. Bass are in a spawn and pre-spawn mode and biting plastics drop-shotted or dartheading. The topwater action is picking up along with cranking plugs. Tossing swimbaits is still picking up the bigger bass, but the bites are few and far in between.
• LAKE MCCLURE — Trout and bass fishing is good. Jason Mello at A-1 Bait in Snelling said, “Limits of trout were taken by trollers at Barrett’s Cove and Temperance arm with Wedding Rings ‘crawler or PPK Tomahawk spinners in purple or pink and ‘crawlers. Bass fishing has been good with ripbaits of McClure Point. Live minnows or crawdads are working for Mello off the bank. Crappie fishermen are using small minnows catching fish.
• LAKE MCSWAIN — Trout fishing is good. The trout planted by Calaveras Trout Farm of 1,000 pounds of good size catchable trout have been biting. Victoria Sturtevant at the McSwain Marina said, “Trollers were doing well around the floating restroom and around the middle of the lake with Tomahawks or Wedding Rings tipped with a ‘crawler and flashers. The Handicapped Docks, the Brush Pile, and the two points near the Marina are still producing fish. Anglers have been casting blue and chrome or plain chrome Kastmasters off the bank. Bait anglers have been using white and pink Power Eggs, rainbow or corn yellow Power Bait and ‘crawlers.
• LAKE PARDEE — Weather caused fishing to be slow. Rainbow Point, the Mud Hole and the Launch Ramp are good spots to try. Methods and baits remain the same. Pistol Pete’s in all colors, white Power Bait, chartreuse with sparkles, eggs with garlic, orange mouse tails along with ‘crawlers on a sliding sinker or a half full water bubble all continue to be effective combos thus far. Trollers have been working the face of the dam, trolling between it and the orange buoy mid lake and upriver.
• NEW MELONES RESERVOIR — Bass fishing is good with trout, kokanee and catfishing slow. The bass are moving into shallow water and spawning or staging for the spawn. The trout bite has been getting a little tougher each week. The kokanee generally start biting again in the spring around mid-April so they should start getting active any day now. The crappie bite is right around the corner. The lake level is dropping and the water temperature is warming.
• AMERICAN RIVER — Nothing to write home about here, some halfpounder steelhead reported, and that’s about it. Everyone is fishing for stripers in the Sacramento River, so nothing on those that hang in the lower American.
• FEATHER RIVER — There are some stripers in the river, but it’s so low it’s basically not boatable except for a few of the deeper holes, according to Bob Boucke of Johnson’s Bait and Tackle. Halfpounder steelhead are being caught upstream in the low flow, and fly fishing guide Dave Barbieri has been doing well on them.
• FOLSOM LAKE — Trout fishing was better over the weekend with the nicer weather, but a pattern has yet to be determined since the storms. Trolling has been the best bet, to find the fish. Bass fishing was again a challenge early in the week, with changing water temps and levels, but that should get better as things level out.
• SACRAMENTO RIVER, Redding — The river has been clearing up here, and trout fishing is getting better.
• RANCO SECO — Staffer Bill Karr went by there two mornings this week and never saw a fish caught. He was looking for leftover trout from the derby, but only caught one small largemouth on a spinner. Quite a few anglers were on the water, including one bass guy in an inflatable throwing a huge trout swimbait for the lunker largemouth that are here.
- Western Outdoor News