TOP PICKS• FEATHER RIVER – The fall run of salmon has finally made a showing. These are bright fish and most are being caught at Shanghai Bend or Gridley. The total flow of the river is out of the Low Flow Section. Some nice steelhead to about 4 pounds are taking drifted nightcrawlers in the Low Flow Section, and caddis nymphs.
• SACRAMENTO RIVER, Sacramento – Salmon fishing has been improving slightly above Sacramento, and a 28-pound king was caught on Saturday at Verona, plus a few others. Salmon were also being caught jigging around Freeport. Catfish have been one of the better bets in the Deep Water Channel, at Lisbon Slough, Verona and the 113 Bridge.
• SACRAMENTO RIVER, Red Bluff – Salmon fishing has been improving in the stretch north of Tisdale, but fishing is much better with cooler temperatures north of Chico. The warm water and algae has cause some salmon to die around Tisdale. The brighter fish have been around Hamilton City and Red Bluff.
• DELTA REGION: SACRAMENTO RIVER side — Salmon fishing is spotty at best with a few fish taken on a daily basis by lure chuckers from the Suisun Bay shoreline or trollers in the Sacramento area. Striper fishing slowed down over the past week with the major push of fish arriving in the neighboring San Joaquin River. Smallmouth bass continued to inhabit the rocks on the Old Sacramento River. Catfish are numerous in the Deep Water Channel and Lisbon Slough with a variety of baits. Sturgeon action has been slowed by the winds and a lack of interest.
• DELTA REGION: SAN JOAQUIN side — Stripers remained the story with good action trolling, spooning, or anchoring from Eddo’s Boat Harbor upriver to Prisoner’s Point. The mouth of Three Mile Road, False River, and the Peacock remained the top areas for trollers along with the shallow stretch along the west side of Sherman Island to Eddo’s. There has been a good spoon bite on the outgoing tide outside of False River on the main San Joaquin. Fresh shad is available throughout the Delta bait shops from Stockton west to Bay Point. Bluegill action is solid off of Eight Mile Road with jumbo red worms or wax worms, and a few stripers have been taken on live bluegill in the area. Crappie are starting to show up near Bethel and Bradford Islands. Largemouth bass fishing remained excellent with top water lures, crankbaits or buzzbaits on the reaction bite while plastics on the drop shot continued to produce numbers. Punching the weeds continued to be an alternative technique.
NORTH COAST RIVERS• COQUILLE RIVER, Bandon, Oregon – There were mixed views about the Coquille River this last week. Talking with lots of seasoned anglers that have fished this river for many years, and they say that the fishing has been slow, according to WON Field Reporter and guide Curtis Palmer. “Many of the conversations I have had over the last week had short phrases like, ‘There are plenty of fish but they aren’t biting,’ ‘havent seen but a few fish caught each day, and even heard a few people say the’ fish are not here yet.’ I stopped off and fished the Coquille river late Saturday afternoon with my girlfriend and after only a couple of short hours of fishing at Bear Creek we found ourselves with a 24-pound king salmon in the fish box. We lost a nice salmon and found ourselves with a couple of nice takedowns that got our hearts pumping. My overall conclusion is that there are plenty of good-sized salmon in the river and it’s worth putting the time in. The season is just getting started and it appears the salmon are taking a little bit longer to enter the river system this season. I have no idea why there weren’t many fish caught on the river last week. I know it worked for us and that was spinning Plug-Cut Herring behind a chartreuse/green flasher while following the contour of the bottom.”
• UMPQUA RIVER, Reedsport, Oregon – The early part of last week the lower section of the river was slow to produce Chinook salmon, but just prior to Labor Day weekend, the fishing on the completely turned around towards the better, with almost every boat catching fish and showing of their catches via texts and Facebook, according to guide Curtis Palmer of River Secrets. Fishing remained very good throughout the weekend. At the other end of the river in Roseburg, fall Chinook salmon have remained slow. The abnormally warmer water temperatures seem to be the explanation for the salmon making their way up the river.
• ROGUE RIVER, Gold Beach, Oregon – “The first couple days at the beginning of the week there were a few of days on the Rogue Bay that the fishing was as good as I can remember,” said guide Curtis Palmer of River Secrets. “If there weren’t a hundred fish caught each day, it was close. The fishing for fall Chinook did slow as the holiday weekend became near, but even then you could find cleaning stations busy with anglers and their catches. Water temperatures in the Rogue Bay have cooled to 69 degrees, which appears to be cool enough to invite the fall kings to start to make their way up the river, leaving many fewer fish in the bay on Labor Day. Fishing in Gold Beach should remain good to very good over the next few weeks.
• ROGUE RIVER, Grant’s Pass, Oregon – Action is picking up on salmon with some limits posted. The best action is from Gold Hill to Graves Creek, said guide Troy Whitaker at U-Save Tackle in Grants Pass. Anglers are using Kwikfish with sardine wraps, sand shrimp or back bouncing roe or tuna balls. Some steelhead have been taken on roe back-trolled plugs, nightcrawlers and Corkies. Bank anglers can get salmon action at Robinson Bridge, Griffin Park or Finley Bend. Use Corkies and bank sinkers, big spoons or spinners.
TRINITY/KLAMATH RIVERS• KLAMATH RIVER, Klamath Glen – The spit at the estuary closed to fishing since the quota has been reached. Jacks and adult salmon fishing has been great. Troll or jig Kastmasters in the estuary. Steelhead fishing has been great farther upstream using roe towards Blue Creek.
• TRINITY RIVER, Willow Creek – The Trinity below the South Fork opened to fishing on Sept. 1. The river is still up, but is declining toward 450 cfs.
• TRINITY RIVER, Douglas City – Some fall kings are arriving in the upper river as flow reduce to 450 cfs. Steelhead and brown trout are also in the mix, and fishing has been good for all three species.
NORTH COAST LAKES• CLEAR LAKE – It’ll be a few more weeks before the bass fishing picks up here due to all of the juvenile fish in the system including baitfish. If you work at it you can catch three to six catfish a day between 10 and 15 pounds on live minnows, shrimp and nightcrawlers in the deeper arms of the lake. The main ramps in the cities of Clearlake, Clearlake Oaks and Lakeport are all still usable but boaters need to exercise caution while boating in close to the shoreline. The one at the State Park is now closed.
• LAKE BERRYESSA – There has been some excellent topwater fishing early and late for largemouth and smallmouth bass chasing bait and anglers throwing a LuckyCraft Gunfish or Sammy 125 in shad patterns are scoring. Best bet has been primary main body points with some wind. There are still a few quality kokes and some are still chrome while others are going through the spawning change. The most consistent setup was a RMT 5.5 hyper plaid, Bahama Mama Dodgers, RMT squids, Uncle Larry's spinners or Apex spoons and Pautzke fire corn. • LAKE SONOMA - Topwater, crankbaits and Senkos caught bass, although other fish were caught on a shad patterned LuckyCraft BDS3 fished on the edges of the grasses in 5 to 10 feet of water. Landlocked steelhead are chasing shad all over the surface at first light, so topline minnow imitations 100 feet behind the boat from the dam up to the no ski buoys on the main body.
• BAUM LAKE – This lake is always a go-to spot in the summer and fall with its cold, clean water and an abundance of habitat and insects. Try to fish early and late when the sun is not high.
• EAGLE LAKE – Get out early and be ready to fish at first light. Fish the east side of the lake by the springs at Eagle’s Nest with lead core from 3 to 6 colors deep. Options included Sure Catch Goldilocks, bikini Needlefish or Jay Fair flies. Bobberfishing with nightcrawlers has also been good.
• FALL RIVER – Water conditions are great and the fishing has been excellent.
• UPPER HAT CREEK – Fishing here is at its best early before the sun gets high in the sky and then right at sunset.
• McCLOUD RIVER – Water conditions and visibility have greatly improved and the fishing has been great.
• PIT RIVER – It continues to fish well all day long especially now that the late summer hatches are going off. Try no. 3 but don’t forget to check out pits 4 and 5.
• SHASTA LAKE – Try buzzbaits in the morning and then throw worms, jigs or deep diving crankbaits in shad patterns parallel to the shade structure in 25 feet in the shade pockets with varying vertical structure during the day. Troll in the deep channel at Digger Island and run at least one line with rolled shad at 80 feet and then a top line 150 feet behind the boat with a small Humdinger in shad pattern down 5 or 6 feet. The lake is transitioning.
• WHISKEYTOWN RESERVOIR – The lake and ramps are in great shape, but the word is out and fishing pressure is increasing. Kokanee fishing has also been great, with fish averaging 14 inches and still growing. Troll at a pink Apex behind a Sling Blade in the channel at the bridge or the coldwater curtain. 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 – California Dawn turned to shark fishing late in the week and the results were awesome. Passengers caught soupfin sharks and 7-gill sharks up to a whopping 375 pounds. Salmon fishing was very good at the beginning of the week, but slowed dramatically by the weekend. Some boats switched focus to rockfish and lingcod or worked the Bay for halibut and striped bass.
• BODEGA BAY/LAWSON’S LANDING – New Sea Angler ran combo trips for salmon, lingcod and rockfish. Daily catches of impressively large fish kept anglers on their toes at the rail. A salmon Derby at Lawson’s Landing drew 70 entries and the big fish was 28 pounds, gutted.
• EMERYVILLE – While early-week salmon scores were impressive, by the weekend it was tough to score a fish per rod. New Seekercame close by catching 13 salmon for 14 anglers. Similarly, C Gull II got 14 salmon for 16 anglers. Some boats switched to rockfish and lingcod. Tigerfish ran combo trips and added salmon to piles of rockfish.
• EUREKA – Salmon moved deeper to escape warm surface temps and to feed on surf smelt, all of which served to slow the salmon bite and make everyone put in their time in order to catch a salmon or two. Runs to Cape Mendocino for rockfish and lingcod were highly successful, usually only requiring a couple of drifts to nail limits of rockfish.
• FORT BRAGG – Sea Hawk and other charter boats had a tougher week of salmon fishing, working deeper than usual. The saving grace was the wide-open rockfish bite on browns, reds, coppers and blues. Mac Kerricher State Park saw plenty of action on cabezon, lingcod and rockfish.
• HALF MOON BAY/PACIFICA – Relatively few salmon were caught out of Half Moon Bay, but those that were caught were feeding deep in the water column. The big news for the HMB area was a continuing white seabass bite near Montara where fish to 70 pounds were caught. At Pacifica, striped bass showed in good numbers and in good sizes, up to 30 pounds.
• SAN FRANCISCO – Early in the week, salmon were on a rampage and counts were up. By the weekend, boats like Wacky Jacky and Lovely Martha were scrambling to make close to a fish per rod. Many turned to the always hungry rockfish and lingcod to send passengers home with lots of fresh fish. Inside the bay, halibut and striped bass were both possible for Argo and Bass Tub.
SACRAMENTO VALLEY• AMERICAN RIVER – Flows are down to 1,500 cfs, and steelhead have been providing some action to about 3 and 4 pounds. Salmon fishing continued to be very slow.
• FOLSOM LAKE –The lake is still clinging to an elevation of greater than 400 feet, so and the speed limit will not be imposed until after Labor Day. Bass fishermen have been drop-shotting over submerged rock piles with pond smelt-patterned plastic worms around 15 to 25 feet deep. Aaron’s Magic has been a good pattern. Guide Don Paganelli of Paganelli’s Bass Fishing Adventures said that virtually all species have been in the mix, spots, smallmouths and largemouth bass. Most have been in the 1 1/2 to 2 1/2-pound class.
• RANCHO SECO LAKE – Some nice bass continued to be being caught on weightless Senkos close to dark. And even topwater plugs might get a strike early or late. Red-eared sunfish are biting worms under bobbers. • SACRAMENTO, Tisdale – Warm water from Sacramento to Chico is causing salmon to jet upstream to Chico and above. A few salmon have been caught, but not many.
• 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 – The lower Yuba down to below DeGuerre dam has been producing some nice trout on small hopper imitations with a small nymphs like a pmd as a dropper. Striper fishing for mostly small fish to about 4 pounds has continued to be good on Clouser minnows around Hall Street.
SIERRA LAKES/RIVERS• BOCA LAKE – The lake is at 17-percent capacity. At this low level, the only options were the dam and inlet in the early morning or evening using bait and spoons. Try flies in the evening at the inlet.
• CAPLES LAKE – The lake is at 80-percent capacity. The lake was stocked with 1650 pounds of rainbows on Aug. 28 courtesy of EID and Kirkwood Meadows PUD. Jim and Jan Riley of Lodi caught a nice stringer of rainbows to 3 pounds trolling dodger/nightcrawlers at 15 feet deep in front of Emigrant Cove.
• CARSON RIVER, (EAST/WEST) – Todd Sodaro at Todd’s Bait and Tackle at the Creekside Lodge reported Alpine County stocked 450 pounds in the West Carson and 1,350 pounds of rainbows in the East Carson on Aug. 29 and fishing was wide-open all weekend for trout from 1 1/2 to 5 pounds using worms and salmon eggs. The water flows were lower and clear in both rivers.
• DAVIS LAKE – The lake is at 57-percent capacity. Ed Dillard at Dillard’s Guided Fishing reported trolling was dead. Dillard was catching 10 17- to 20-inch rainbows per day while anchored on the north end of the island in 30 feet of water using a 2 1/2-foot 4-pound test leader rigged with a size 16 treble hook and floating dough bait.
• DONNER LAKE – The lake is at 88-percent capacity. Shore fishing with floating dough baits and inflated nightcrawlers was good at the Donner Pass Road public piers. Kokanee fishing was fair for fish to 14 inches trolling dodger/hoochies at 55 to 75 feet deep.
• FEATHER RIVER CANYON – Mike Hanson at Caribou Crossroads Resort reported experienced anglers were catching native rainbows at the Caribou Powerhouse, the North Fork below the Powerhouse, and in some of the smaller creeks running into the North Fork above the powerhouse using worms.
• FRENCHMAN LAKE – The lake is at 37-percent capacity. Wiggins Trading Post reported trout fishing was best at the dam using nightcrawlers for rainbows averaging 16 inches.
• GOLD LAKES BASIN – Mark Tieslau at Mountain Hardware and Sports in Blairsden reported the mack bite was good at Gold Lake where one boater caught and released six 3- to 8-pound fish using a Les Davis Jack ‘O Diamonds flasher and nightcrawler trolled within 5 feet of the bottom using a start and stop technique in the “trench” at 80 feet deep. Trolling flasher/worms at 15 feet deep was still producing planter rainbows.
• ICE HOUSE RESERVOIR – The lake is at 76-percent capacity. Dale Daneman at Dale’s Foothill Fishing Service took a trip here this past week and his clients caught twelve 12- to 15-inch rainbows and an 18-inch brown trolling Sep’s watermelon Strike Master Dodgers and brown grubs 10 to 35 feet deep in the early morning from 6:30 to 9:30 a.m.
• INDIAN CREEK RESERVOIR – Todd Sodaro at Todd’s Bait and Tackle at the Creekside Lodge reported boaters were catching limits of rainbows trolling along the dam with spinners and flasher/worms.
• JACKSON MEADOW RESERVOIR – The lake is at 70-percent capacity. One family caught 40 trout in 2 days trolling Apex 30 feet deep, and fishing off the shore with floating dough bait and inflated nightcrawlers near the dam.
• JENKINSON LAKE (Sly Park) – With recreational boat traffic so heavy on the main body of the lake this past weekend, fishing was best up in the Narrows deep trolling for macks.
• LAKE TAHOE - Trolling and jigging for macks and kokanee was very good this past week. Chuck Self at Chuck’s Charter Fishing caught limits of 4 1/2- to 9-pound macks trolling 300 feet deep off Flick Point by 9 a.m. on Sunday and did equally as well all this past week. Mike Nielsen at Tahoe Topliners Sportfishing did well jigging for both macks and kokanee at South Shore and Sugar Pine. The 3- to 6-pound macks were schooled up near the bottom at 150 to 170 feet deep, while the 13- to 14-inch kokes were 85 to 100 feet deep.
• LOON LAKE – The lake is at 63-percent capacity. The bite should be good here trolling dodger/nightcrawlers in the top 30 feet.
• PROSSER LAKE – The lake is at 26-percent capacity. Some trout were being caught off the dam using floating dough bait in the early morning. Smallmouth bass were hitting jigs and tubes at the dam and nearby rocky points. Try the Prosser Creek inlet, too.
• RED LAKE – Fish worms at the dam and the inlet for lots of small brookies.
• SILVER LAKE – The lake is at 66-percent capacity. The lake was stocked with 1,350 pounds of rainbows by EID and Kirkwood PUD on Aug. 28.
• STAMPEDE RESERVOIR – The lake is at 26-percent capacity. Not much happening here with the low water level and difficulty launching. Mountain Hardware and Sports said smallmouth bass fishing was pretty good in the Davies Creek arm.
• TRUCKEE RIVER – The flows were dangerously low above the Boca Outlet. Flyfishing faster water with nymphs in the early morning was decent, but anglers need to get off the river before noon to reduce fish mortality due warm water temps.
• UNION VALLEY RESERVOIR – The lake is at 73-percent capacity. Ken Mathis at Ken’s Custom Tackle and Guide Service reported fishing was slow for macks and kokanee.
• WEST WALKER RIVER – The Little Walker and West Walker are both scheduled for DFW trout plants this week - they were stocked this past week also. Pam Hamic at the West Walker Motel reported trout fishing was very good in the deeper holes in the canyon, at the bridge, and in the Little Walker for DFW planters and 2- to 3-pound Chamber/County stockers. Anglers were doing a lot of catch-and-release trying to catch the bigger fish.
MOTHER LODE LAKES• AMADOR LAKE – Bass fishing remains good for those getting out. Senkos and jigs are the top choices for anglers fishing the lakes points and coves. Anglers also pulled some nice catfish out of the lake this week. Nightcrawlers and chicken livers have been the best baits.
• DON PEDRO RESERVOIR – The trout continue to target schools of shad near the lake’s inlets. Trollers have picked up good numbers of trout in the 2-pound range with spoons at 50 to 60 feet deep. Bass anglers have also done okay with live baits from shore. Boaters have picked up fish with topwater lures early and late. During the day, boaters have been drop-shotting plastics at 30 to 50 feet deep.
• LAKE McCLURE – Anglers have picked up okay numbers of catfish along the lake’s muddy shoreline with crawdads or anchovies. A few bass have also been caught with live baits, jigs, or Robo Worms.
• LAKE McSWAIN – Decent numbers of trout were caught this week. Shore anglers have been casting Kastmasters in silver and blue or fire tiger or soaking dough baits and nightcrawlers. Trollers are fishing by the floating restrooms with flashers and spinners.
• NEW MELONES RESERVOIR – Anglers picked up good numbers of trout and catfish. The trout have been biting well for anglers trolling with Speedy Shiners, Excels, Needlefish, and flasher/nightcrawler combinations. The catfish have been biting frozen shad, anchovies, sardines, and nightcrawlers.
• LAKE PARDEE – Trollers picked up a few kokanee in the river arm, but other than those few fish, few anglers have been having success. The kokanee have been hitting orange and purple Apexes trolled 80 to 100 feet down.
• BULLARDS BAR – The lake is at 46-percent capacity. Emerald Cove Marina reported their ramp was closed due to the low water level. The lake was overrun with recreational boat traffic, which can still launch at Dark Day.
• CAMP FAR WEST – Shore anglers reported catching 18- and 24-inch catfish using nightcrawlers. Ron Franks of Folsom reported catching 21 bass in the Bear River arm using oxblood Roboworms and green pumpkin Brush Hogs at 8 to 10 feet deep. Another angler said he caught 12 bass on jigs.
• COLLINS LAKE –The lake is 43 feet from full. Trout fishing was slow with the fish in deep water. Catfishing was the best bet for shore anglers with fish to 16 pounds showing this past week. Boaters locating big schools of crappie feeding on big balls of shad reported catching-and-releasing over 100 fish - location, location, location.
• ENGLEBRIGHT RESERVOIR – The lake is at 94-percent capacity. Skippers Cove Marina reported bass fishing was good for fish running 2 to 6 pounds.
• FRENCH MEADOWS RESERVOIR – The lake is at 37-percent capacity. No boat launching with ramps out of the water, but shore anglers were picking up a few fish near the ramps and the dam.
• HELL HOLE RESERVOIR – The lake is at 36-percent capacity. The Georgetown Ranger Station reported shore anglers were accessing the lake at the boat ramp where they could walk all the way to the dam, if necessary, for a few trout.
• LAKE OROVILLE – The lake is at 31-percent capacity - down 221 feet. Guide Ron Gandolfi reported bass fishing was wide-open with 40 to 80 fish days a distinct possibility. Tubes fished on steep walls in the West Branch and North Fork were working very well for spots running 1 to 4 pounds. The fish were hungry and scattered from the bank to 20 feet deep. With launching so limited, recreational boat traffic was very light over the holiday weekend. A temporary ramp was built at Bidwell Marina, which was paved with old metal runway panel, allowing 2-wheel drive launching. It’s “4-wheel drive only” launching at the spillway ramp.
• ROLLINS LAKE – The lake is at 91-percent capacity. Ryan Drake of NID reported bass fishing was still very good in the early morning using small topwater poppers.
• SCOTT’S FLAT LAKE – The lake is at 59-percent capacity. Mike Dowd at the marina reported launching was okay, but the right side of the ramp was silted in leaving only one lane. The ramp at Cascade Shore was almost out of the water. Fishing was slow and recreational boat traffic was “crazy.”
• SUGAR PINE RESERVOIR – The Foresthill Ranger Station reported fishing was slow.
• STUMPY MEADOWS RESERVOIR – The Georgetown Ranger Station reported the lake was low and warm with little fishing pressure. What few trout being caught were covered with copepods. Even launching cartoppers was difficult with knee-deep mud below the boat ramp.
• THERMOLITO AFTERBAY – The lake was at 135.3-foot elevation at press time - 91-percent capacity. Guide Ron Gandolfi reported bass fishing was good for fish to 5 pounds. Senkos pitched into the holes in the grass beds, or frogs cast over the grass beds were working very well. Bass were also being caught on isolated tule banks, willow trees, driftwood, and island tops, and on the riprap banks. To avoid the heavy recreational boat traffic stay north of the Highway 162 Bridge.
– Western Outdoor News