TOP PICKS• SACRAMENTO RIVER, Red Bluff — The second salmon opener began last week and anglers crowded the Barge Hole but found great fishing—mostly limits—on the Friday opener. It was a different story the next day when it slowed dramatically. The river below there in the Canyon, around Jelly’s Ferry and Ball’s Ferry were also producing some nice, bright kings. The river opened to fishing north Red Bluff to the Deschutes River Bridge. Fish were in good to fair shape.
• DELTA REGION: SACRAMENTO RIVER side – Salmon action from the banks improved over the past weekend with several fish landed at Dillon Point State Park with Vee-Zee or Mepp’s Flying C spinners. Green/yellow has been the hot colors. Huge stripers are making an early push, and anglers soaking live splittail are removing the big fish from the system at the Middle Grounds, the Firing Line, Broad Slough, and in the shallows of Honker Bait. Bluegill remained abundant in Sutter and Cache Sloughs, and catfish continued to bite chicken livers, nightcrawlers, or fresh clams in Lisbon Slough, the Sacramento Deep Water Channel, and the Port of Sacramento. Smallmouth bass continued to be excellent along rocky structure with Senkos or crankbaits in the upper stretch of the Delta near Isleton and Walnut Grove. • SAN JOAQUIN RIVER side — Striped bass are falling for bait fishermen working the western edge of the San Joaquin River near Antioch, and there have been linesides to 44 inches reported from the Antioch Pier. Large schools of small stripers have been busting bait throughout the Delta. Largemouth bass action remained solid with a variety of techniques including flat plastic worms in earth tones, crankbaits or rip baits. Punching the weeds with Missle’s D-Bombs using weights from 1.5 to 3 ounces has also been effective. Bluegill continued to be solid with waxworms or jumbo red worms from various access locations in the south Delta. Sturgeon have been landed near the Antioch Bridge in shallow water. Catfishing remained solid with mackerel, anchovies or fresh clams. Bait shops are limited to medium and large minnows at the present time.
• VALLEJO — An anchovy dieoff--which was pushed up into the Bay--resulted in a wide open striped bass bite near Carquinez Bridge. Anchovies were the logical bait, but the bass were biting anything and everything. Up in the Napa River system, reports came in of sturgeon and striper catches near Cuttings Wharf.
NORTH COAST RIVERS• ROGUE RIVER, Gold Beach, Oregon – Fishing was consistently good during last week, according to field Reporter Curtis Palmer of River Secrets. The number of adult king salmon being caught each day has been roughly about 30 fish a day for 60 boats. “With Thursday being surprisingly active, I counted 45 Chinook salmon caught. That is a pretty good day of fishing when you can only count close to four dozen boats out on the water. For anglers considering coming to Gold Beach for the fishing, you can expect to have anywhere from 25 to 60 boats on the water. As we get closer to the peak of the season at the end of August, you may see closer to 100 boats out testing their skills on the Rogue Bay. Guide Bill Divens of Salmon King Lodge confirmed that trollers in the estuary are getting 25 to 35 salmon for 50 or 60 boats each day. He suggested waiting until early August for better salmon fishing. The Rogue is mid- to high 70s 35 miles upriver in Agness, and 60s, low 70s in the estuary. He’s moving his guide service back to the Sacramento River Sept 1.
• ROGUE RIVER, Shady Cove, Oregon – Salmon are finally showing in the upper section of the river, with action from near the mouth of the Applegate River and upriver to below Dodge Bridge, according to Troy Whitaker at U-Save Tackle in Grant’s Pass. “Fish the deeper holes with Kwikfish and with sardine wrap, or backbounce roe,” he said. “ Best lure is the Kwikfish in silver with green lip. Salmon fishing is now closed above Dodge Bridge. We are seeing summer steelhead being caught on spinners, but there just aren’t many anglers out. Troll K-9 or Brad’s Wigglers in black and silver with red dot, or crawdad colored plugs.”
• UMPQUA RIVER, Winchester Bay, Oregon – The Chinook salmon are starting to work their way into the Umpqua River, according to guide Curtis Palmer of River Secrets. “Strong winds made it difficult for fishing at the mouth of the river this last week. The incoming tide during the afternoon seemed to be when most of the fish were being caught. The majority of anglers were found a few miles upriver at what is known as Windy Bend area. A couple of the top guides that fished there for many years said that they are having to work quite a bit harder in the river to catch fish than the calmer days when they were able to get out in the ocean the week before. However, patience and consistently going through the motions has been proving to put salmon in the ice chest over the course of the day. The week of August 20, is in my opinion, is one of the best times to fish from Reedsport down to the Mouth of the Umpqua River.”
TRINITY/KLAMATH RIVERS• KLAMATH RIVER, Klamath Glen – Fishing for steelhead was very good again last week, with a dozen or more steelhead a day being caught below Blue Creek. A few adult Chinook were being caught, too, but many of the salmon were now past their prime when being caught upriver. Anglers trolling in the estuary were putting in a lot of hours, but sometimes the effort paid off, catching one or two an outing.
• TRINITY RIVER, Willow Creek – The air temperature on the Trinity River near Willow Creek has been reaching 100 degrees most days. Highway 96 is restricted to travel just out of Willow Creek due to fires, so call ahead before you plan on going into that area. A few halfpounder steelhead were being caught around Weitchpec.
• TRINITY RIVER, Junction City – Fishing for spring Chinook salmon is still very slow and it’s doubtful if there is likely to be an improvement in the near term.
NORTH COAST LAKES• CLEAR LAKE – Clear Lake has plenty of water to fish and the major ramps are all accessible with no problems. The topwater bite has been hit or miss but the jig bite targeting the deeper water, rocks, and ledges. The shad in the system are gone now and the tackle stores have minnows and live crawdads for those who want to use them.
• LAKE BERRYESSA – Look for the larger kokanee in 65 to 100-plus feet deep. Kokanee range from 16- to 19-plus inches. Kings are 19 to 26 inches long and deeper at 85 to 130 feet. Bass fishing was a little slow.
• BAUM LAKE – This lake is always a go-to spot with its cold, clean water and an abundance of habitat and insects. Not much has changed here. Try to fish early and late when the sun is not high.
• BUCKS LAKE – Kokanee fishing has been hot in 35 to 45 feet in the main body. They were also getting three to five 2- to 3 1/2-pound macks on green spoons close to the bottom in 45 to 55 feet.
• EAGLE LAKE – Get out early and be ready to fish at first light. Fish the east side of the lake at Eagles Nest with leadcore from 3 to 6 colors deep. Options included Sure Catch Goldilocks, bikini Needlefish, and Jay Fair Tui Chub flies. Bobber fishing with nightcrawlers has also been good.
• FALL RIVER – Not much has changed here. The Fly Shop in Redding reports night fishing has also been great with Hex hatches. You’ll need to be on the water before 10:00 a.m. for the morning hatches. With all of this action, fishing has been good.
• UPPER HAT CREEK – Fish early and late when the hatches are going off. During the day scout the flats for rising fish. Water conditions have been good and so has the fishing.
• McCLOUD RIVER – Still not worth a trip right now, since it is still blown out and brown. That won’t change anytime soon.
• PIT RIVER – It continues to fish well all day long. Try No. 3 but don’t forget to check out pits 4 and 5.
• SHASTA LAKE – Throw Senkos in the shade pockets with varying vertical structure during the day. It’s topwater time early and late in the day for a bunch of little guys. They’re catching trout at Water’s Gulch down to 80 feet and a few kings. Trout are running 16 to 20 inches. One king just shy of 5 pounds was caught at 80 feet on a shad patterned Hum Dinger. Also try white wiggle hoochies.
• TRINITY LAKE - With the ramp now unusable, season is pretty much over here.
• WHISKEYTOWN RESERVOIR - The lake and ramps are in great shape. Kokanee fishing has also been great with fish averaging 14 inches and still growing. Troll at 40 to 60 feet with a pink Apex behind a Sling Blade in the channel at the bridge or try an Uncle Larry’s spinner with pink and white beads tipped with Toupee corn. You have to keep the hooks tipped with corn.
NORCAL SALTWATER• BERKELEY – Berkeley boats ran the gamut of fish to target. California Dawn and Happy Hooker spent time working the Central Bay for halibut and bass and also banged out limits of rockfish and caught striped bass.
• BODEGA BAY – Salmon sizes varied greatly, but there were definitely some larger units mixed in the catch. New Sea Angler got one Saturday that went 32 pounds. Point Reyes gave up steady limits of some of the better species of rockfish, as well as lingcod.
• EMERYVILLE – Sundance stole the show with limits of salmon. New Huck Finn had two thresher sharks come aboard, in addition to limits of rockfish and a good count of lingcod.
• EUREKA/TRINIDAD/CRESCENT CITY – Eureka saw the best salmon bite, with many limits coming from shallow water. Pacific halibut bit exceptionally well off of Trinidad and pretty well off of Crescent City, just before the August closure. Cape Mendocino was the best for rockfish and lingcod, with Trinidad and Crescent City both enjoying their share of great bottom fishing close by.
• FORT BRAGG – Jumbo salmon swam in to join the multiple year-class of salmon near Fort Bragg. Telstar, Trek II, Sea Hawk and Bragg’n all got into salmon and each hookup created a moment of intensity to see if the fish was one of the jumbos near 30 pounds. Abalone season is proving to be a huge success.
• HALF MOON BAY – Martins Beach was a popular place for rockfish and lingcod. Huli Cat, Queen of Hearts and other boats fished there and Pescador or Tunitas for groundfish. Salmon catches were scarce, locally. Jetty fishers hooked into cabezon, lingcod and rockfish.
• SAN FRANCISCO – The Fisherman’s Wharf fleet found salmon at Duxbury, Rocky Point and at the north bar. Argo posted fish up to 26 pounds. Wacky Jacky posted a thresher shark catch.
SIERRA LAKES/RIVERS• BOCA LAKE – The lake is at 17-percent capacity. The flows into the Truckee River were shut off this past week, triggering a fish rescue by Trout Unlimited and the DFW. With the lake so low, the only place to fish was at the inlet where the big ledges drop off into the channel.
• CAPLES LAKE – The lake is at 94-percent capacity. Caples Lake Resort reported fishing was good for anglers seeking out deep water. Shore anglers were doing the best at the spillway and Wood’s Creek. Boaters were either trolling or drifting bait from 25 to 50 feet deep. One resort guest drifted worms 40 to 50 feet deep and caught-and-released a bunch of 3 to 5 pounders. Trollers using flashers or a dodger and worms were doing well over the deepest water in the lake fishing at least 25 feet deep.
• CARSON RIVER (East, West) — More thunderstorms muddied up the East Carson again this past week, but it cleared quickly and anglers were catching lots of 3 to 5 pounders on Panther Martins and salmon eggs. Herb Vochatzer of Manteca caught-and-released twenty 3 to 5 pounders over 3 days of fishing on the East Carson. Todd Sodaro at Todd’s Bait and Tackle at the Creekside Lodge reported that the Alpine County fish planted in the West Carson saw lots of pressure since the water flow stayed clear this past week. There are 6 more 1800-pound Alpine County trout plants scheduled for release by late October—water flows permitting.
• DAVIS LAKE – The lake is at 58-percent capacity. Ed Dillard at Dillard’s Guided Fishing reported trolling was DEAD! Shore anglers using a 3-foot 4-pound test leader and able to cast 100 to 120 feet off shore were catching 15- to 20-inch rainbows off Mallard Point in the early morning using floating dough bait. Boaters anchoring in 30 feet of water at the north end of the island and using floating dough baits were still scoring some limits of rainbows.
• DONNER LAKE – The lake is at 92-percent capacity. This lake was still the top rated destination in the area, according to Mountain Hardware and Sports. The deep water troughs near the Tahoe-Donner private beach and near the State Park were holding good populations of rainbows and macks that could be caught drifting nightcrawlers. Kokanee were still hitting dodger/hoochies at 60 to 90 feet deep over 100 to 120 feet of water.
• FEATHER RIVER CANYON – Trout fishing in the North Fork was slow—the planters were all gone and native trout were showing up for experienced anglers willing to search them out in the isolated holes in the North Fork and East Branch, or at the Caribou Powerhouse. Butt Valley Lake trolling had slowed by last weekend, according to Dick Mason at Dick’s Guide Service but there were still plenty of quality rainbows to be caught as the monsoonal weather moved out and conditions stabilized.
• FRENCHMAN LAKE – The lake is at 39-percent capacity. Wiggins Trading Post reported fishing was best at the dam for shore anglers using inflated nightcrawlers. Mark Tieslau at Mountain Hardware and Sports in Blairsden reported trollers were doing well at Turkey Point using flasher/worms.
• GOLD LAKES BASIN – Mountain Hardware and Sports in Blairsden reported Gold Lake was still producing lots of planter rainbows on the west end of the lake for trollers using flasher/worm combos at 15 feet deep. Sardine Lake was still fishing well, but Packer Lake was only good in the early morning.
• ICE HOUSE RESERVOIR – With the hot weather, stay near the inlet on the east end of the lake for the best chance at a few planter rainbows from shore or boat.
• INDIAN CREEK RESERVOIR – The hot weather has boosted the growth of aquatic weeds, making fishing difficult in some areas where they restrict access to deep water. Try near the dam in the very early morning for the best chance at success. With fishing in the East Carson so good, few people have bothered coming up to this lake.
• JACKSON MEADOW RESERVOIR – The lake is at 76-percent capacity. Brett Brady at Bare Bones Guide Service reported trout trolling was still wide open with 70 to 80 fish days common—a great place to take the kids. Running a 1 1/2- or 2-inch watermelon Apex 25 feet behind the downrigger ball at 30 to 60 feet deep was the way to go.
• JENKINSON LAKE (Sly Park) – Denise Cole at Sly Park Resort reported fish were moving into deeper water and shore anglers were doing best in the Narrows using worms and floating dough baits. Weekend recreational boat traffic was very heavy with the lake still at 70-percent capacity.
• LAKE TAHOE – Chuck Self at Chuck’s Charter Fishing reported mack trolling was still “GREAT” with limits of 3 to 8 pounders coming in by 7:00 using Lucky Craft minnows and spoons at 165 to 350 feet deep from Dollar Point to Crystal Bay Point. Mike Nielsen at Tahoe Topliners Sportfishing was doing well jigging for macks at South Shore with anglers catching 15 to 20 fish per trip and keeping limits of 2 to 6 pounders. Nielsen was also trolling for kokanee using flashers or dodgers and hoochies or spinners at 50 to 80 feet deep over deep water for limits of 11- to 14-inch fish.
• LOON LAKE – The lake is at 76-percent capacity. Trout trolling should be good using a dodger/nightcrawler in the top 25 feet, according to Kyle Neeser at Crystal Basin Tackle.
• PROSSER LAKE – The lake is at 27-percent capacity. For any chance at scoring on trout, fish the Prosser Creel inlet in the very early morning on the outside point leading into the creek arm.
• RED LAKE – The best option for shore anglers was still the dam and the inlet. Small boaters need to search out deep water and soak worms for cutthroats and brookies.
• SILVER LAKE – The lake is at 76-percent capacity. Trolling should still be good, but fish deeper water with the surface temp at 70 degrees.
• STAMPEDE RESERVOIR – The lake is at 27-percent capacity. Brett Brady at Bare Bones Guide Service fished a derby here this past week and reported a steady bite for 12- to 14-inch kokanee at 25 to 50 feet deep using dodgers and micro hoochies and bugs in front of the dam and boat ramp. The kokes were beginning to turn and some fish had slipped their scales and were getting hooked jaws.
• TRUCKEE RIVER – The water district shut the water off from Boca Reservoir and dropped the flows in the river by 2/3’s, creating a dangerous situation for trout. With low flows from Lake Tahoe, the water temp in the main river was closing in on 70 degrees—a critical benchmark for fish survival. Mountain Hardware and Sports recommended only fishing in the morning with nymphs and the occasional PMD dry. Leave the fish alone in the afternoon when the water temp rises because they might not survive being caught and released!! Flows in the Little Truckee below Stampede were at 47 cfs and fishing was still good for experienced anglers using 6X and 7X tippets and size 18 to 24 flies.
• UNION VALLEY RESERVOIR – The lake is at 83-percent capacity. Small kokanee were still hitting dodger/hoochies at 30 to 50 feet deep.
• WEST WALKER RIVER – The Little Walker and West Walker were both scheduled for DFW trout plants this week. Christopher Wong of Sacramento won the “How Big Is Big” Derby with his 5.6-pound rainbow and a new Navigator II float tube. The junior champion was 9-year-old Dylan Baptiste of San Ramon who weighed in a 3.8-pound rainbow and won a new Shakespeare rod and reel combo. The “Size Doesn’t Matter” Fishing Derby will start at noon Aug. 8 and run through 4 p.m. Aug. 10. Register at the Walker General Store or Walker Country Store for $25, which entitles the angler to weigh in 2 of the tagged fish to be released on Friday morning. Each tagged fish is worth a special prize and a raffle ticket for a kayak, rod/reel, or cash.
SACRAMENTO VALLEY• AMERICAN RIVER— Flow are down to 1,750 cfs, but they are likely to drop precipitously in a couple of weeks. Salmon fishing is still slow, with only a few being caught down in the lower river. Steelheading has been good, however on nymphs under indicators, or Little Cleos or drifted nightcrawlers.
• FEATHER RIVER — Only a few bright fall kings have been caught yet, but some steelhead are taking flies and nightcrawlers in the Low Flow Section like Red Copper Johns. Rustic Rob’s Guide Service has found some nice kings fishing around Shanghai Bend falls.
• FOLSOM LAKE – The lake is dropping very fast, and the speed limit is likely to drop to 5 mph within a week or so. Bass fishing has been good by drop-shotting Robo-Worms in pond smelt patterns. Fish 15 to 30 feet deep over submerged rock piles.
• RANCHO SECO LAKE – Some nice bass were being caught on weightless Senkos close to dark. And even topwater plugs might get a strike early or late. Fish time for red-eared sunfish fished with worms under bobbers.
• SACRAMENTO RIVER, Sacramento – Salmon fishing continued to be very slow all the way from Freeport to Tisdale. Striped bass fishing was slow, too, with lots of shakers to every keeper. Catfish have been one of the better bets in the Deep Water Channel, Lisbon Slough and Verona.
• SACRAMENTO RIVER, Tisdale – The big news is salmon fishing, but they have still been scarce. A glimmer of better salmon success may be starting, as some success has been occurring around Woodson Bridge and Hamilton City.
• SACRAMENTO RIVER, Redding — Most folks are concentrating on salmon, but trout fishing continued to be very good fishing nymphs under indicators, and there was a bit of some dry fishing late in the evening.
• YUBA RIVER – There was an excellent striper bite on the lower Yuba below DeGuerre dam down around Hallwood. The trout bite has been decent some days, but fishing has been tough on others.
MOTHER LODE LAKES
• CAMANCHE LAKE – Bass and catfish are biting okay for anglers around Hat Island, the river arm coves, and the new islands around the lake. Nightcrawlers have been working well for the bass and sardines are working well for the catfish.
• DON PEDRO RESERVOIR – Bass fishing has been okay in the mornings and evenings for anglers fishing topwater or Senkos. The lake’s trout and kokanee are holding tight to structures, but anglers were able to pick up a few fish while trolling shad colored spoons and Apexes.
• LAKE McCLURE – Bass anglers have been doing the best at night while soaking live bait or casting spinnerbaits, crankbaits, or large plastics. Catfish anglers have done well this week fishing the muddy areas with anchovies, sardines, or crawdads.
• LAKE McSWAIN – Trollers have been going deep with flashers and Wedding Rings tipped with nightcrawlers or dough baits to find the trout. Bank anglers have picked up a few fish with nightcrawlers or garlic scented dough baits by the brush pile and the Marina.
• NEW MELONES RESERVOIR – The night bite for trout remains good. Anglers are fishing nightcrawlers and dough baits with submersible lights at depths of 20 to 30 feet. Kokanee anglers are working a bit harder for their limits since the fish have moved down to 70 to 90 feet deep. The lake’s catfish are still biting well on anchovies, frozen shad, and chicken livers.
• LAKE PARDEE – Spinners and Needlefish trolled on the south end of the lake at 30 to 50 feet deep have been picking up good numbers of trout. Kokanee have been hitting Apexes, hoochies, and spinners trolled 80 to 100 feet deep in the main lake. Bass anglers had good luck in the river arm with Roboworms and nightcrawlers for both smallmouth and largemouth bass.
NORTHERN FOOTHILLS• AMERICAN RIVER –With the continued hot and dry weather, the rivers were running low and clear. The fish in all the forks were concentrated in the deeper pools and fishermen willing to make the hike down into the North Fork and Middle Fork should find good action using spinners and worms.
• BULLARDS BAR – The lake is at 53-percent capacity. Emerald Cove Marina reported that launching was down to one lane at their ramp. Launching was good at Dark Day. Bass fishing was slow with the heat driving the bigger fish into deep water. Kokanee were hitting dodger/hoochies in the North Fork.
• CAMP FAR WEST – The lake is at 45-percent capacity. With the water temp at 79 to 81 degrees, bass fishing was fair, but catfishing was improving. Ron Franks of Folsom caught 10 spotted bass in the main body and up in Rock Creek using oxblood and watermelon Brush Hogs in 10 feet of water. Michael Avery caught three 3- to 4-pound catfish casting a lipless crankbait and worms from the shore near the store.
• COLLINS LAKE –The lake is 35 feet from full. Hot weather drove the trout into deep water by the dam and boaters outshined the shore fishermen by a large margin. Trolling flashers and worms or drifting bait in the channel near the dam produced some limits, but overall the trout bite was slow. Catfish to 8 1/2 pounds were caught on nightcrawlers and anchovies from the bridge down to the boat ramp. Night fishing off the rental dock produced the 8 1/2 pounder for Manuel Reyes of Antioch.
• ENGLEBRIGHT RESERVOIR – The lake is at 97-percent capacity. Skippers Cove Marina reported boaters were catching some nice rainbows drifting nightcrawlers in deeper water off the beaches at Boston Bar. Some bass were caught off the weed lines in Keystone Cove.
• FRENCH MEADOWS RESERVOIR – The lake is at 43-percent capacity. Fishing was slow. The Foresthill Ranger Station reported that launching was getting difficult at the north ramp due to the low water level. Launching at the south ramp was still okay.
• HELL HOLE RESERVOIR – The lake is at 48-percent capacity. The Georgetown Ranger Station reported fishing was still okay for trout and kokanee at the dam and powerhouse. Only small boats were launching off the gravel below the concrete ramp.
• LAKE OROVILLE –The lake is at 35-percent capacity—down 201 feet at press time. The Bidwell Canyon Marina low-water ramp was the only operational ramp open at this time, and with the current rate of water release could be open only until mid-Aug. Guide Ron Gandolfi reported bass fishing was still very good with experienced anglers catching 40 to 50 fish per day on reaction baits and tubes, worms, and jigs. Spinnerbaits, lipless crankbaits, and topwater were working on the steeper walls and points in the early morning for fish to 2 1/4 pounds. Tubes, drop-shot and darthead worms, and Paradise Tackle Company finesse jigs were working well after the sun hit the water at 20 to 30 feet deep.
• ROLLINS LAKE – The lake is at 91-percent capacity. No change here—get out early during the week for bass in the coves using topwater, or drop-shotting after the sun hits the water. On the weekends, the lake gets very heavy recreational boating traffic that makes fishing too difficult.
• SCOTT’S FLAT LAKE – The lake is at 66-percent capacity. Scott Gomes at the marina reported fishing was SLOW!! Heavy recreational boat traffic had the whole lake beat to a froth.
• SUGAR PINE RESERVOIR – The Foresthill Ranger Station reported the lake was dropping, but still higher than expected. Fishing was slow.
• STUMPY MEADOWS RESERVOIR – The Georgetown Ranger Station reported that fishermen were still picking up a few rainbows—with the warmer water the fish had lots of copepods on them!! Fishing from shore at the dam or trolling up near the inlet were the best bets for picking up some leftover planters.
• THERMOLITO AFTERBAY – The lake was at 135.4-foot elevation at press time—91-percent capacity. Guide Ron Gandolfi reported the lake was fishing well with the higher water level, especially using frogs on matted weed beds and in the backs of the southern coves. Swimbaits worked through the sparser weed patches were working too, for largemouths from 2 to 6 pounds.
– Western Outdoor News