TOP PICKS• FOLSOM LAKE – The lake has gone below 400 foot elevation and a 5 mph is required now. Fishing is good in the main part of the lake with fish hanging in old rock tailings at the end of the Peninsula—the tailings have all kinds of peaks and valleys and you can see where the main channel was. Use your electronics to find fish, and schools of pond smelt, then fish 15 to 35 feet deep.
• DELTA REGION: SACRAMENTO RIVER side — Salmon fishing is showing signs of life at either end of the Delta from the shorelines in Suisun Bay and upriver south of Freeport. Trolling remained slow, and the water temperatures need to drop several degrees before the fish start to hold longer on their journey to spawn in the upper Sacramento River. Striped bass fishing remained slow in the Sacramento River, and small fish are the rule on either live mudsuckers or fresh shad. The best striper fishing is in the hard-to-maneuver stretch of river above Liberty Island with mudsuckers or large glide baits in the shallows. Sturgeon are starting to keg up in the deep water off of the Pittsburg PGE Plant, and the incoming tide is a good time to mark the diamondbacks in the depths. Smallmouth bass are less available in the upper Sacramento sloughs of Steamboat and Miner, but the occasional smallie can be taken on a deep-diving crankbait. Catfish thrive in the Deep Water Channel, and blood or pile worms are the top baits.
• DELTA REGION: SAN JOAQUIN side — Small striped bass are the rule, but the occasional quality lineside is taken by a variety of techniques with the best action near Eddo’s Boat Harbor or Korth’s Pirates Lair. The linesides are long and thin, an indicator of their recent arrival into the Delta from parts unknown. Fresh shad is readily available throughout the Delta bait shops from Stockton west to Pittsburg. Salmon are taken on a daily basis from Humphrey’s Dock in Antioch with heavy spinners or spoons. Bluegill action remained very good off of Eight Mile Road, Holland Tract, Bethel Island, or Big Break with wax worms being the top bait. Catfish are inhaling frozen clams, sardines, or fresh shad in the back sloughs. Largemouth bass fishing remained outstanding with topwater lures or wake baits for large fish with a smaller grade taken by punching the weeds.
• SACRAMENTO RIVER, Sacramento – Salmon fishing has been getting better and better in the Sacramento region, and some limits are being caught, even though the water is still warm. Fish are being caught at Miller Park, Garcia Bend, Freeport, and Verona. Trolling with Kwikfish, jigging with P-line jigs, or casting spinners like Flying C ‘s all work.
• SACRAMENTO RIVER, Woodson’s Bridge – Salmon fishing has continued to improve between Grimes and Colusa, even though the water is still warm. Fishing is still best above Chico, however.
• SACRAMENTO RIVER, Red Bluff – Salmon fishing has continued to be very good north of Woodson’s Bridge, with the center seeming to be around Hamilton City, and lots of anglers have been getting their limits both on roe and on lures. Weeds and algae are making it necessary to clean lures and bait every few minutes.
• 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.
NORTH COAST RIVERS• COOS RIVER, Coos Bay, Oregon – It was a mad house on the Coos River this last weekend during their annual derby, where proceeds go back into the fishery. “I don’t have any results from that, but it should have been a good showing of king salmon,” said guide Curtis Palmer of River Secrets. “Early last week, most of the people who tried to catch a fish or two succeeded, while others did even better than that. Salmon are moving on the incoming tide. Chandler Bridge up to the forks in the river was the hot spot for the week, and a lot of Chinooks have been holding at the fork in the river, which is also known as the Sturgeon Hole. With rains coming middle of this week, I would expect those fish to bolt up the Millacoma River. We should still have another month of fishing on this river.”
• COQUILLE RIVER, Bandon, Oregon – The fishing for a couple evenings this last week was worth writing home about. Above Rocky Point, the Round House Hole was kicking out limits of fall Chinook's Saturday evening, said guide and WON Field Reporter Curtis Palmer of River Secrets Guide Service. “It was a good way into the outgoing tide when the salmon became aggressive, and there were multiple fish on a few times for anglers who were there for the event. Sunday was slow fishing for almost everyone, though. The exception was a pair of boats that got to the Round House Hole before anyone else and it paid off for them, with limits for each boat full of local anglers. I did the same thing for clients in my boat on Sunday. They’re soft biters, only lightly giving the bait a taste and then dropping it. This was as frustrating as it gets. We had 9 bites and not a single fish got hooked for more than four seconds. The rivers are lower than I have seen any of them in my 44 years of fishing.”
• ROGUE RIVER, Rogue Bay, Gold Beach, Oregon – “Well, after a solid four years of rotten salmon fishing in the summer and fall here in Gold Beach, we just might be the best show in the state this year,” said guide Curtis Palmer of River Secrets. “All season I’ve listened to anglers, waiting for the bad news that it’s ‘all over’, but I haven’t heard that yet. This last week at the mouth was the best of the season, and many had 3 or 4 fish days. Not just the guides, but most everyone. With little rain coming this week, it could pull the fish up the river.”
TRINITY/KLAMATH RIVERS• KLAMATH RIVER, Klamath Glen – Fishing has continued to be fantastic, with lots of adult salmon being caught, although they cannot be kept. It’s still possible to fish for jacks—three—under 22 inches, and two hatchery steelhead can be kept, too.
• TRINITY RIVER, Willow Creek – The Trinity below the South Fork opened to fishing on September 1. Chinook are being caught at Big Bar on roe even though the water is warm, and fish are flying upstream. Steelhead fishing has been improving as fish come up from the Klamath as the flow increase has ended.
• TRINITY RIVER, Douglas City – Some fall kings are arriving in the lower river as fresh fall Chinook are coming up from the Klamath. Fish Big Bar and Willow Creek. The flow has dropped back to late summer flows, and steelhead are becoming more active. Fall run Chinook are starting to arrive, too, and heading up the river toward Junction City.
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. Crankbaits, chatterbaits, plastics, jigs, and topwater baits are all top choices now. The main ramps in the cities of Clearlake, Clearlake Oaks and Lakeport are all still usable, but boaters need to exercise caution while boating close to the shoreline. The ramp at the State Park is now closed.
• LAKE BERRYESSA – Bass guide Donald Paganelli reported that the spoon bite has been very good with most fish running in the 2- to 3-pound range. Work Blade Runner’s 1 3/4-ounce spoons around bait balls that are concentrated more in the Narrows and around Big Island. Drop-shot rigs and Carolina rigs worked on offshore rock piles and rocky points has also been working.
• LAKE SONOMA - Cover a lot of water with your favorite shad imitations and you’ll pick up some nice fish. Your best bet is to fish the grass edges in 5 to 10 feet of water with buzzbaits, LuckyCraft BDS3, spinnerbaits or chatterbaits.
NORTHEASTERN AREA• LAKE ALMANOR – The east basin has been the hot area. The trolling lanes in some of the well known bait spots like Rocky Point, Canyon Dam, Big Springs and the A-Frame had decent fish. The Hamilton Branch has been packed with anglers lining the shore due to a good bite there. Trolling outside the mouth with a nightcrawler in 30 feet will produce mostly rainbows. The big browns are still at Rec.2, as they have been all month.
• BAUM LAKE – No changes this past week, since conditions have remained essentially the same. 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.
• FALL RIVER – No changes this past week, since conditions have remained essentially the same. Water conditions are great and the fishing has been excellent.
• UPPER HAT CREEK – Fishing here is at its best early in the day before the sun gets high in the sky and then right at sunset. The Power House No. 2 riffle is worth checking out.
• McCLOUD RIVER – Water conditions, visibility and fishing for brown and rainbow trout have all been great here lately. The fish are hungry and willing to bite.
• PIT RIVER – It continues to fish well. September and into October are high season months here.
• SHASTA LAKE – Cover lots of water and target the first 5 feet with crankbaits and spinnerbaits for bass. If you can find shade on hard structure like rock or wood in the afternoon head to that. There is also bait everywhere from the surface to 25 feet. Best bet has been the first two and last two hours of the day.
• WHISKEYTOWN RESERVOIR – The lake and ramps are in great shape and the kokanee fishing has also been outstanding for fish from 13 to 15 1/2 inches. Troll at a pink Apex behind a Sling Blade in the channel at the bridge or the cold water curtain. Or try an Uncle Larry’s spinner with pink and white beads tipped with shoepeg sweet, the long kernel corn you can get in the grocery store. You have to keep the hooks tipped with corn, so if you aren’t getting hit check to see if your corn is gone.
NORCAL SALTWATER• BERKELEY – California Dawn went after 7-gill sharks and caught some big ones up to 300 pounds. Happy Hooker slayed the lingcod and rockfish along the Marin Coast. Berkeley Charterboats including El Dorado, New El Dorado III, Easy Rider and Flying Fish knocked down the salmon at an overall rate of about a fish per rod.
• BODEGA BAY – Ten-Mile Beach was a hotspot, especially late in the week and over the weekend for salmon, halibut and white seabass. Squid were the preferred bait. New Sea Anglerand Surf Scooter piled on the voracious lingcod, plus limits of rockfish. Robert Butler of Sacramento caught a 9-pound halibut from the breakwater.
• EMERYVILLE – Some of the Emeryville boats focused on salmon and did well. Sundance managed full limits of salmon on Saturday. Other boats ran combo trips to put in some time for salmon in addition to rockfish and lingcod. New Salmon Queen, New Huck Finn and Sea Wolf scored full limits of lingcod as well as rockfish. Connie Silva caught a 9-pound vermilion on New Salmon Queen.
• EUREKA – Very good action on Pacific halibut gained some positive attention, both out of Eureka and Trinidad. A PBer out of Shelter Cove reported putting 20 albacore aboard, however most tuna fishers towed their boats to Oregon where the tuna fishing has been more consistent. Cape Mendocino gave up the greatest catches of both lingcod and rockfish.
• FORT BRAGG – Albacore showed 50 miles west of Fort Bragg near the Knoll. Two private boats came in with 20 and 24 tuna respectively. Salmon were caught in 100 feet of water near Beaver Point, but it was a patience bite. Mendocino Headlands proved to be the best place to fish cabezon, rockfish, greenling and lingcod with squid strips.
• HALF MOON BAY – It couldn’t get much easier to catch limits of rockfish, with some great lingcod mixed in aboard Queen of Hearts or other boats. Lingcod fishing improved through the week. A few salmon were caught right outside the harbor as evidenced by Huli Cat’s catches from between the Jaws and the #3 green buoy.
• SAN FRANCISCO – Bay area boat skippers had decisions to make a reasonable salmon bite outside the Gate or a solid striper bite inside the Bay. Most chose salmon, others went for rockfish and lingcod. The salmon counts went up and down but hovered around a fish per rod, as aboard Argo early in the week. Bass action was very good, and the Bass Tub went back and forth between good counts of lingcod and king salmon.
• SAN RAFAEL/VALLEJO – Striped bass fishing was terrific along the Marin Shoreline, with drifting and trolling both proving effective. Drift fish tended to be bigger. Halibut and salmon both bit inside the Bay as well as outside. Morning Star worked the bass and halibut inside the Bay and rockfish/lingcod outside the Gate. Stripers went nuts in the Napa River and sturgeon became more active. Cuttings Wharf was the top-producing spot.
SACRAMENTO VALLEY• AMERICAN RIVER – Flows continued to be about 1,350 cfs, but they are likely to decrease soon. Steelhead fishing is still slow, but should be picking up. An occasional steelie is being caught, but only one every two or three outings. Nightcrawlers, Little Cleos, and Kastmasters have been getting a strike or two, and salmon fishing continued to be very slow, but a few dark fish were being caught.
• FEATHER RIVER –The fall king salmon run has been arriving and fishing isn’t great, but it’s worth going out, and the fish have been in beautiful shape. Fish are spread out throughout the river, from above Shanghai Bend, and even down below Yuba City. You might catch one, you might catch two or three. It’s usually necessary to troll slowly upstream, because the current is so slow. Steelhead fishing has been good, but you might catch 7 salmon for every steelhead.
• RANCHO SECO LAKE – Some nice bass are continuing 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.
• YUBA RIVER – The Yuba River is flowing at 600 cfs. The lower Yuba below DeGuerre dam has been producing some nice trout on small hopper imitations below indicators with a pmd as a dropper.
SIERRA LAKES/RIVERS• BOCA LAKE – The lake is at 17-percent capacity. Trout fishing is relegated to the early morning at the dam or at the inlet of the Little Truckee, but watch the flow line—that tells you when you’re in the river with special restrictions. Evening fishing can be decent at the dam, according to Bryan Nylund at the Mountain Hardware and Sports.
• CAPLES LAKE – The lake is at 74-percent capacity and looks almost full, and is full of trout after a summer of big plants. Shawn Burrell from Elk Grove walked into the Woods Creek inlet one afternoon last week and caught come nice rainbows on a Pistol Pete Fly with a 4-foot leader and a water float. Caples lake Resort will be closing October 22, so it’s time to get up there! Cabins and rental boats and kayaks are available. The marina and store will be open 8 to 5.
• CARSON RIVER, (EAST/WEST) – The West Carson is still low and clear and not receiving too many trout from the plants, mostly in the big, deep holes by the roads. The East Carson remains good fishing with ongoing plants and better flows.
• DAVIS LAKE – The lake is at 56-percent capacity and the water has begun cooling, now down to 67 degrees. Anglers are anchoring at the island and dropping floating doughbaits down to the bottom for 13- to 19-inch trout, or trolling Dick Nites, Needlefish or flashers and a ‘crawler at 25 feet between the island, channel and dam. Mallard produced a limit on bait from the shoreline on Saturday for guide Ed Dillard’s brother.
• DONNER LAKE – The trout schools are scattered, but run into a school and you can be into quick action. If you’re shore fishing, devote early morning hours to the shoreline with small lures for cruising Mackinaw lake trout or rainbows, according to Bryan Nylund of Mountain Hardware and Sports.
• FRENCHMAN LAKE – The lake is at 36-percent capacity. Wiggins Trading Post reported that trout fishing was still pretty good for boaters drifting nightcrawlers at Crystal Point or trolling flasher/nightcrawlers at the dam. Shore fishing was good at the dam and Big Cove using inflated nightcrawlers.
• GOLD LAKES BASIN – Fishing action has been improving slowly as the waters have begun to cool and trout have been coming up from the depths. Trout plants keep the action going at many of the lakes, and wild brookies provide a good option. Streams are low and clear. Occasional Mackinaw showing from Gold Lake.
• INDIAN CREEK RESERVOIR – The weeds are clearing but fishing is still best from float tubes out in the middle and off the dam face. Some big trout are found in this lake, if you can get them to bite.
• JACKSON MEADOW RESERVOIR – The lake is at 68-percent capacity. Best lake in the Truckee area for trout currently, and boats can still launch at Pass Creek (not at Wood Camp.) Troll along the bottom in 35 to 55 feet of water using Needlefish or other small lures for trout from 12 to 14 inches. Shore anglers are finding it tough, but it’s best with salmon eggs or ‘crawlers early in the morning.
• JENKINSON LAKE (Sly Park) – The lake is at 75-percent capacity, still plenty of water for fishing and water sports. No recent trout plants, but they are still getting the occasional holdover, along with some decent smallmouth bass fishing for those who make the effort.
• LAKE TAHOE - Excellent Mackinaw fishing almost anywhere you go on the lake, from 150 to 350 feet using downriggers, light line and spoons, according to guide Chuck Self of Chuck’s Charter Fishing. He’s been fishing Crystal Bay area and others, and getting limits every day for his clients. Rainbows have been slow the past 3 weeks, but he hopes it will start back up soon. Kokanee are schooling up off Taylor Creek for their spawning run, and some are turning.
• PROSSER LAKE – The lake is at 26-percent capacity. Trout fishing isn’t in the cards here, but the smallmouth action is good if you have a boat and pattern-cast towards the dam face or rocky areas throwing crawfish-type lures, small Senkos, jigs or flies.
• PYRAMID LAKE – Trout season opens October 1—start making plans now for the opener—fishing should be phenomenal.
• RED LAKE – Still plagued by an algae bloom, but some fishing can be found along the south shoreline and over by the small inlet creek if you want to walk around the lake. Most anglers head to Caples or Silver.
• SILVER LAKE – The lake is at 62-percent capacity. Trout fishing has been fair to good, depending on whether you’re fishing at the right depth or not, and what you’re using. Trollers are definitely doing best unless you time it right after one of the trout plants at the boat ramp, then you can hammer them with a spinner off the shore by the dam.
• STAMPEDE RESERVOIR – The lake is at 25-percent capacity. Tough to launch your boat, but if you can do it, you’ll find the trout concentrated in the low water. The kokes are over with and running up the river to spawn, but you can find some decent smallmouth bass action at Davies Creek in the northeast corner. Work the shelves.
• TRUCKEE RIVER – Warm water and low flows, so devote your fishing time to early morning hours when you can catch-and-release without stressing the trout. Flows only 113 cfs at Stateline.
• UNION VALLEY RESERVOIR – The lake is at 70-percent capacity. Ken Mathis at Ken’s Custom Tackle and Guide Service fished the lake 2 days this past week and reported that kokanee and macks were still hitting, though the bite was only fair at best. He caught a total of 9 kokanee to 16 inches and 3 macks to 6 pounds. The kokanee were hitting a Code Blue Dodger with a red spinner at 55 feet deep, while the macks were caught on dodger/herring combos at 130 to 160 feet deep. The kokanee were hook-jawed with no scale, though the meat was still red and edible.
MOTHER LODE LAKES• AMADOR LAKE – The bass have been hitting well on topwater, crankbaits and Senkos. Catfish have been taking nightcrawlers, chicken livers, and anchovies around the lake, but the dam seems to be producing more fish.
• DON PEDRO RESERVOIR – Trolling for trout has provided the best action for anglers. Shad colored spoons trolled at a fast pace have provided the most strikes. Bass have also been biting well for anglers fishing nightcrawlers or minnows.
• LAKE McCLURE – Anglers have been picking up a few bass near the shore with minnows or nightcrawlers. The marinas are closed for the season and have been pulled out to deeper water. The water levels continue to drop as the lake is drawn down for the winter.
• LAKE McSWAIN – Trout anglers have been picking up good numbers of fish early and late around the handicap dock and the floating restrooms. Wedding Rings, Rooster Tails, and Kastmasters have been the best. Drifting small, scented plastic worms just off the bottom has also produced well.
• NEW MELONES RESERVOIR – Light pressure has not diminished the lake’s consistent trout and catfish bite. Trout anglers have been trolling the deeper sections of the lake with flashers and spinners during the day or fishing nightcrawlers and dough baits under a submersible light at night. Catfish also continue to bite well for anglers fishing frozen shad, anchovies, or sardines.
• LAKE PARDEE – Trout anglers picked up fast limits in the river arm by Indian Head with flasher/crawler combos. Bass have also been biting well for anglers fishing the recreation area and the river arm with crankbaits and drop-shot rigs.
NORTHERN FOOTHILLS• AMERICAN RIVER – The North Fork, South Fork and Middle Fork are all low and clear and very difficult fishing, although there certainly are trout in the remaining holes. It just takes super-stealth fishing methods to catch them! No reports at all from the usual anglers who hike down in the canyons this week, according to Pete Robinson from the USFS Georgetown Station on Sunday.
• BULLARDS BAR – The lake is at 45-percent capacity, extremely low, and with the boat ramp closed, there aren’t many anglers or fishing reports.
• COLLINS LAKE – The lake is 45 feet from full, and there haven’t been a lot of visitors, or a lot of fish reported in. Actually, they only had two whoppers on the list, both of them catfish. Lucius Phiser of Pleasant Grove caught a 10 1/4-pound catfish on mackerel and worms by the dam, and Laury Tollmer of Fresno caught a 6 1/2-pound catfish using a nightcrawler by the marina.
• ENGLEBRIGHT RESERVOIR – The lake is at 94-percent capacity, and they’re still catching trout here, according to Lisa Rogers at Skipper’s Cove Marina. She said there were four rainbows brought in, all from 16 to 21 inches long and the largest being 2 1/2 pounds caught on chartreuse dough bait, drifting before the forks. Bass are also still hitting along the shoreline and in the coves, mostly on nightcrawlers.
• HELL HOLE RESERVOIR – The lake is at 33-percent capacity, and some thieves were trying to steal the pay tubes at the campgrounds, so the U.S. Forest Service was up there on Sunday checking things out. The fishing is very slow, boat ramp is closed, and even if a boat did get in the water it couldn’t get through the narrows.
• LAKE OROVILLE – The lake went down a full foot this past week, but the bass bite just kept on going on, and guide Ron Galdophi reported almost 100 fish for three of them in the boaton Sunday. The fish were 12 to 16 inches, and most were caught between 15 and 20 feet on almost anything: tubes, worms and drop-shot. The dam launch ramp was blocked by the dock, which had swung over the ramp, but they finally launched at Bidwell on the tarmac.
• STUMPY MEADOWS RESERVOIR – The lake is at 28-percent capacity with tons of exposed mud, and the launch ramp is closed, so there are no boats. Not many anglers, and no reports on the fishing this week. There is some decent fishing for bullheads here in the summer.
– Western Outdoor News