Here are the best places to fish in the Sacramento region, Northern California and beyond for the week of Dec. 7, 2015.
▪ LAKE CAMANCHE
A plant of 1,200 pounds of Mount Lassen Hatchery rainbow trout was released into the lake within the past week. The best action for rainbows is occurring from the banks along the North Shore and South Shore Launch Ramps. The South Pond has been slower with the lack of a recent plant, but it will perk up once planted again within the next week. The total plant for the season is currently 12,900 pounds. Trout dough bait, nightcrawlers, or Kastmasters are working best from the banks. Bass fishing is solid with plastics on the drop-shot or with jigs on a slow presentation. The bass have come up in the water column with the slightly warmer weather during the past week. The South Shore Ramp 2 is open along with both ramps at the North Shore.
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▪ LAKE TAHOE
Zach Gordon at Tahoe Sportfishing reported that a significant mackinaw bite is providing the “best mack fishing I’ve seen in years” at South Shore mooching live bait from the bottom and up 30 to 50 feet through schools of post-spawn fish feeding to recuperate from the rigors of reproduction. Limits of 4- to 7-pounders were hitting off Ski Run in 160 to 180 feet of water.
▪ RED LAKE
Victor Babbitt at Tahoe Fly Fishing Outfitters (TFFO) reported ice fishing was good for cutthroats to 14 inches through 5 inches of ice and 2 to 3 inches of snow and slush using worms and Kastmaster spoons tipped with a piece of worm. Some limits were being caught early in the day.
▪ SACRAMENTO RIVER, Knight’s Landing to Colusa
Stripers are being caught in impressive numbers near Colusa. Anglers have begun to fish for stripers at Knight’s Landing, but catches have been poor. A few kings are still being caught on plugs. Salmon season closes Dec. 16.
▪ SACRAMENTO RIVER, Sacramento
Salmon fishing is slow, but a few kings are being caught daily on plugs trolled downstream. Right before and after the tide change has been best. Striper fishing is slow at the port.
NORTH COAST RIVERS
▪ CHETCO RIVER, Oregon
The Chetco was being pounded by rain at press time and will be all week, so it will be high and muddy for quite some time. Salmon will mostly be gone by the time waters recede and clear, but steelhead will be in the river in good numbers for anglers, according to WON Staff Writer and guide Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing. There still will be some salmon in the system, however.
▪ COOS RIVER, South Fork, Coos Bay, Oregon
Steelhead are showing up here in time for Christmas, according to Curtis Palmer of River Secrets Tackle Company, and the low water has steelhead returning a little late. It’s a small river normally, anyway. There will be fish showing up in the coming weeks.
▪ ELK/SIXES RIVER, Port Orford, Oregon
Rains have the Elk and Sixes rivers high, although the Elk was fishing good over the weekend, with green water and lots of new salmon. Kings are stacking up just below the hatchery, and also being caught between the RV park and Iron Head takeout on the Elk. Despite heavy rain Saturday night, the Elk was 4 feet on Sunday, a perfect level for salmon. Heavy rain this week may blow out both rivers, but expect new kings as soon as the Elk is fishable again. Call Elk River Hatchery at (541) 332-0405 for current flows. The Elk fishes best for kings between 3.8 and 4.8 feet.
▪ MILLACOMA RIVER, West Fork, Coos Bay, Oregon
There are a few winter steelhead in this small coastal river, and guide Cooper Hedgecock of Indigenous Adventures Guide Service lost one earlier in the week and now lives on the river. More steelhead will be coming into the river with the upcoming rains.
▪ ROGUE RIVER, Gold Beach, Oregon
Half-pounders are being caught near Agness, although effort is very light. With plenty of rain expected this week, adult winter steelhead should begin moving upriver. Plunkers will be using Spin-N-Glos at Huntley Park and Lobster Creek, while jet boaters will anchor and run plugs in the slow water near shore from the Willows up to Lobster Creek.
▪ ROGUE RIVER, Grant’s Pass, Oregon
Fishing is pretty much the same as last week with cold temperatures, cooling and lowering water levels. There are still some cohos being taken near Gold Hill and Valley of the Rogue Park, on bright colored plugs or light colored spinners and jigs floated through the holes. There are summer steelhead being taken in many areas on small pieces of roe, Pautzke’s Nectar on yarn balls or back-trolled plugs. Fishing on the lakes is generally slow, with lake levels low and boat launching still poor.
▪ SMITH RIVER
Rains brought the river up to the highest level this year, but it was dropping and clearing on Saturday. Anglers were confronted with a lot of leaves and debris on Saturday, but everybody was hooking fish, mostly fresh and dark kings, but also some steelhead, according to WON Field Reporter Phil DeSautel of Phil’s Smiling Salmon Guide Service. Guide Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing said it rained again Saturday night and it was close to blowing out again on Sunday, and was expected to be mostly unfishable this week, so call ahead.
▪ UMPQUA RIVER, Elkton, Oregon
Winter steelhead are now in, stacked up below Sawyer Rapids until flows come up so can push higher up in the river. This is a great spot to catch a chrome steelhead, according to WON Field Reporter Curtis Palmer of River Secrets Tackle Company.
▪ KLAMATH RIVER, Iron Gate
Despite stormy weather, steelhead fishing has been good on the Upper Klamath from Iron Gate Dam all the way to the mouth of Scott Creek. Nightcrawlers behind divers and 3.0 and 3.5 MagLip plugs are working best. Pressure has been light. Flows Sunday at Iron Gate were 1,000 cfs.
▪ KLAMATH RIVER, Happy Camp
High water on the lower Klamath has prompted new steelhead to move up to Happy Camp and Seiad Valley. Most guides reported double-digit hookups last week side-drifting roe and yarn. Rain is expected this week. Flows at Seiad Valley were 1,600 cfs on Sunday.
▪ KLAMATH RIVER, Klamath Glen
The lower Klamath was blown out over the weekend after heavy rains last week. More rain is expected this week. Flows at Terwer were 9,230 cfson Sunday, down from nearly 16,000 cfs a few days earlier. Flows were only 2,900 cfs at the beginning of last week.
▪ TRINITY RIVER
Steelhead fishing was very good last week between Junction City and Lewiston, as rains sparked a good bite over the weekend. Drifting roe below bobbers or side-drifting roe was most effective. Smaller 3.0 MagLip plugs also were working well. The lower Trinity blew out, but the upper section was fishing well. Flows at Lewiston were 306 cfs on Sunday. Flows at Hoopa hit 2,700 cfs, but were down to 1,720 cfs on Sunday.
NORTH COAST LAKES
▪ CLEAR LAKE
The lake hasn’t come up much with the rains, as most of it was still soaking into the dry ground. You can choose to either focus on a few big bass or numbers of smaller fish. Try Huddleston Deluxe swimbaits, A-rigs or live bait for a handful of larger fish or along the north shore from Lakeport through Nice and Lucerne for more action on smaller fish.
▪ LAKE BERRYESSA
Trout are still spread throughout the water column and hanging just under the bait balls. Find the bait and you’ll find the trout and bass. If you don’t get bit just move on. The smallmouth have been eating jigs pretty well.
▪ LAKE SONOMA
Landlocked steelhead are starting to come up in the water column and will start to head to the coves and inlets with the rain. Try trolling a No. 2 Needlefish in the cop car color. Target the bass in the 15- to 25-foot water columns with jigs, worms and Senkos fished slowly around standing timber.
▪ LAKE ALMANOR
Some areas are too shallow now for props. You’ll find mostly rainbows on both the east and west side of the peninsula, with a few browns in the mix. Flash King spoons, Arctic Fox tube flies and Rapalas in a variety of colors in the top 10 feet of water should do the trick.
▪ BAUM LAKE
Be prepared for changing weather and carry chains now. No fishing pressure here now. Try midges and small baetis off the boat ramp, by dam or the inlet.
▪ FALL RIVER
Closed Nov. 15.
▪ UPPER HAT CREEK
Closed Nov. 15.
▪ MANZANITA LAKE
Now frozen and closed.
▪ McCLOUD RIVER
Closed Nov. 15.
▪ MCCLOUD RESERVOIR
Take midges and baetis patterns and some olive wooly buggers for trout anywhere from 8 inches on up. After the rain it might be dirty but should still be good.
▪ PIT RIVER
This is a good choice. Try small baetis or a few birdsnests in sizes 16 to 18 but not beaded.
▪ SHASTA LAKE
Find the baitfish and you’ll find both the bass and trout. If you don’t get bit move around to find the shad and use shad patterns. Look for shad off points or in the main body from the I-5 Bridge to Silverton. At the dam try in front of Digger Bay Marina or around Toupee Island for trout. For bass try spinnerbaits in white but the bite has really slowed down.
▪ AMERICAN RIVER
Salmon fishing remains slow, although some bright fish are moving in from the Sacramento.
▪ FEATHER RIVER
Salmon fishing has slowed. Steelhead are being caught in the riffles near Gridley on roe or Glo-Bugs. Some stripers are being caught at Shanghai Bend and Star Bend. Flows increased last week to 2,000 cfs.
▪ FOLSOM LAKE
All boat launches remain closed because of low water.
▪ RANCHO SECO LAKE
Bass and trout fishing is slow.
▪ SACRAMENTO RIVER, Dunsmuir
Fly fishing for trout has been fair, although cold weather has limited effort.
▪ SACRAMENTO RIVER, Red Bluff to Colusa
New kings were moving upriver last week, along with bigger numbers of steelhead. Anglers drifting roe for salmon were catching steelhead daily, along with the late-fall kings they were targeting.
▪ SACRAMENTO RIVER, Redding to Red Bluff
Fresh kings showed up last week, with the Barge Hole fishing the best it has in some time over the weekend. T55 FlatFish continue to work well. Salmon season closes Dec. 16. Native rainbows are biting well near Redding, with small plugs working, along with Glo-Bugs and beads and flies.
▪ BOCA LAKE
The lake is at 14.7-percent capacity. Mountain Hardware and Sports reported shore anglers at the dam were catching 14- to 19-inch brown trout on Krocodile and Kastmaster spoons and nightcrawlers.
▪ CAPLES LAKE
The lake is at 62-percent capacity. Caples Lake Resort will reopen for the winter season on Dec. 19. The lake should be icing, over but until the resort reopens no current report was available.
▪ CARSON RIVER (East)
Todd Sodaro at Todd’s Bait and Tackle at the Creekside Lodge reported there was still ice along the edge of the river and the cold water made for SLOW or NO trout action for flyfishermen. This probably won’t change until early spring depending on the severity of the El Nino.
▪ DAVIS LAKE
The lake is at 44-percent capacity. Jeanne Graham at J&J Grizzly Store reported the lake was pretty much iced over, but there was a bit of open water at Mallard Point where shore anglers could drop a line for rainbows. Mark Tieslau at Mountain Hardware and Sports said some limits were coming in at Mallard Point and some daring folks were ice skating, but extreme caution should be used since skating and ice fishing were not recommended yet by the local Fire Dept. Contact J&J Grizzly Store for the latest ice conditions at 530-832-0270.
▪ DONNER LAKE
The lake is at 37-percent capacity. Will Fish Tackle in Auburn reported a customer had good success trolling for 12- to 18-inch rainbows using Rapalas in the early morning and then switching over to a dodger/hoochie tipped with a piece of worm after the sun hit the water. Launching anything but a small aluminum boat is not recommended.
▪ FRENCHMAN LAKE
The lake is at 22-percent capacity. Wiggins Trading Post reported the lake was iced over except at Big Cove and near the dam where shore anglers were still picking up a few rainbows using nightcrawlers. Ice was too thin for ice fishing.
▪ GOLD LAKES BASIN
The basin was snowed in and only accessible by snowmobile, according to Mountain Hardware and Sports in Blairsden. This will be the last report until Spring.
▪ ICE HOUSE RESERVOIR
The lake is at 69-percent capacity. The road to the lake off Ice House Road was snowy and icy, but passable with 4-wheel drive. SMUD should be keeping the road open to access their penstock facilities.
▪ INDIAN CREEK RESERVOIR
Todd Sodaro at Todd’s Bait and Tackle at the Creekside Lodge reported windy conditions kept anglers at home this past week. When the weather cooperates, shore fishing is best at the east end of the dam.
▪ JENKINSON LAKE (Sly Park)
The lake is at 63-percent capacity. Sly Park Resort reported shore anglers were still picking up planter rainbows at the dam and near the boat ramp using worms and floating dough bait.
▪ PROSSER LAKE
The lake is at 25.1-percent capacity. No ice yet and fishing was very slow, according to Mountain Hardware and Sports.
▪ PYRAMID LAKE
Windy weather kept most boats off the lake this past weekend. Valarie Taylor at Crosby’s Lodge reported they weighed-in 9 big fish this past week— a 21 1/2, three 16 pounders, a 15, two 13’s, an 11, and a 10. The 21.5-pound monster was caught by guide Doug Ouellete at the South Nets on a Popcorn Beetle, followed by a 16 1/2-pound cutthroat taken from the shore at Wino Beach by Brandon Holbrook of Reno while casting an orange FlatFish. Most of the action happening at the south end at Wino, Indian Head, Popcorn, and Block House.
▪ SILVER LAKE
The lake is at 39.6-percent capacity. This lake should be freezing, but current reports are very hard to come by with no local source available at this time.
▪ STAMPEDE RESERVOIR
The lake is at 12-percent capacity. No ice yet and fishing pressure was non-existent, according to Mountain Hardware and Sports.
▪ TRUCKEE RIVER
The river was running very low and fishing was very slow with trout holding in slow, deep pools. Leave this resource alone until normal flows resume.
▪ UNION VALLEY RESERVOIR
The lake is at 51-percent capacity. Ken Mathis at Ken’s Custom Tackle and Guide Service reported that Pea Vine Ridge Road to the dam had been paved. This should be a blessing for boaters trailering to the lake. Macks should be hitting dodger/herring trolled 50 to 80 feet deep along the sandy ledges that drop off into steep rock.
▪ WEST WALKER RIVER
Flows were very low and fishing pressure was non-existent with the cold weather.
Few but highly successful trips for rockfish and lingcod at the Farallon Islands were made by Happy Hooker, California Dawn and El Dorado, both of which saw some heavy rockfish and large lingcod come over the rails.
▪ BODEGA BAY/LAWSON’S LANDING
It was a rockfish and lingcod kinda week, with limits or near limits coming from Point Reyes, Bird Rock, Elephant rock and Bodega Bay, when sea conditions permitted fishing. Surf fishing was decent for rockfish in the rocky shore zones, but slow on the sandy stretches for perch and striped bass. New Sea Angler stayed tied to the dock due to weather but expects continued great lingcod action when the boat gets back out.
Marginal conditions notwithstanding, the landing sent 3 boats out and between them they managed roughly a fish and a half on lingcod and full limits of rockfish. New Huck Finn, New Salmon Queen and Sea Wolf did the heavy lifting and sent passengers home with plenty of meat.
Wind and rain and heavy swells kept pretty much everyone away from the water, which was riled up and not looking friendly. Even the docks were lonely places. Better weather will bring out the shore fisherfolk, but the big issue is the wait for crab season to open.
▪ FORT BRAGG
Shore fishers did get to wet a line and bring home some grub. Hotspots were Old Mill, Mendocino Headlands and MacKerricher and all of these spots hosted catches of rockfish, cabezon and kelp greenling. A newly opened access area to the southern portion of the Old Mill did open but the weather and high surf did not allow much exploration.
▪ HALF MOON BAY/PACIFICA
Huli Cat, Queen of Hearts and Riptide made heavy hauls of groundfish from spots south including Martins Beach, Ritz Carleton and San Gregorio. Few people fished the jetty for perch and small rockfish. Surf fishing was only decent for various perch.
▪ SAN FRANCISCO
Rockfish points outside the Golden Gate are a short run from Fisherman’s Wharf and people reeled up limits of rockfish and sometimes limits of lingcod from Marin Coast and especially from the Farallones. Some boats, such as Argo opted to go the other way and bust bass inside the Bay.
▪ LAKE AMADOR
A total of 1200 pounds of Mt. Lassen rainbows were released into the lake on December 3. Tagged fish from the original plant are starting to arrive at the Tackle Box Café on a regular basis. The annual trout derby will run until March 6, 2016 with a one-time $7.00 entry fee. Weekly plants are scheduled until May 2016. Bank fishing is best with trout dough bait, nightcrawlers, Kastmasters, or crappie jigs tipped with a piece of ‘crawler under a bobber near the Boat House Docks or along the corners of the dam. The launch is still on the pavement with a courtesy dock.
▪ DON PEDRO
Fresno-area fishermen are heading up to the lake in search of more fertile grounds, and they have been rewarded with a decent bite for numbers of small bass with jigs, plastics on the drop-shot, or spoons. The fish are into a wintertime mode, migrating into deep water. Finesse techniques and a slow presentation are necessary. No trout reports although the lake should have turned over with the recent cold spell. The lake held at 32% of capacity.
▪ NEW McCLURE
Fresno-area fishermen are also heading to McClure to launch float tubes from the shoreline for the abundant small spotted bass with plastics on the drop-shot or dart head. The launch ramp is closed with the lake at 7% of capacity. A few catfish have been landed on live crawdads. A-1 Bait in Snelling is open on the weekends with a full supply of live minnows and crawdads.
▪ NEW HOGAN
Striped bass and largemouth bass are taken from the few fishermen willing to launch into the low water levels of the lake. The launch ramp is still open, but there is no courtesy dock, creating difficult conditions for a larger vessel. Spoons, Hairraisers, or swimbaits are all working for both striped and largemouth bass.
▪ NEW MELONES
Bass action continued to be the top species at the lake with the fish holding in deeper water. A finesse technique is important in the 56-degree water, and plastics on the drop-shot or shakey head along with jigs are the top techniques. Trout fishing remained slow, but the bite is expected to take off soon with the lake turning over. Catfishing has slowed with the cooler water temperatures. The launch ramp is limited to the dirt ramp at Glory Hole Point, and a 4WD tow vehicle in essential. The area around the dam has been buoyed off due to strong currents from water releases. The lake is at 11% of capacity, but it rose half a foot this past week.
▪ AMERICAN RIVER
The river was running clear and cold with little or no fishing pressure.
▪ BULLARDS BAR
The lake is at 35-percent capacity. With cold, wet weather off and on this week and last week, fishing pressure was very light. When the weather cooperates, spotted bass are hitting Senkos and swimbaits on the walls and points from 10 to 40 feet deep.
▪ CAMP FAR WEST
Cold, wet weather closed North Shore Resort this past weekend and no report was available. Bass fishing was decent in the Bear River arm when the weather was good.
▪ COLLINS LAKE
The lake is holding at 68 feet from full. Trout anglers were catching 1 to 3 rainbows from shore or trolling. Numerous trout from 3 to 7 pounds were checked in at Collins Lake Resort, according to manager Lincoln Young. Bass were hitting Rapalas for trollers.
▪ ENGLEBRIGHT RESERVOIR
The lake is at 93-percent capacity. Skippers Cove Marina reported little was happening here with the cold weather.
▪ LAKE OROVILLE
The lake is at 26-percent capacity—down 249 feet. Guide Ron Gandolfi reported bass fishing was still very good using drop-shot worms and mini-flukes on steep rocky walls and points all over the lake. The fish were spread out from 5 to 30 feet deep with bigger fish to 2 pounds mostly in deeper water. Launching was still 4-wheel drive only at the Spillway and Bidwell Marina.
▪ ROLLINS LAKE
The lake is at 93.6-percent capacity. NID reported that launch ramps were open at Long Ravine and Orchard Springs. Little fishing pressure was reported with the unstable weather.
▪ SCOTT’S FLAT LAKE
The lake is at 44-percent capacity. Clyde Crow of NID and nephew Steve Powell dropped kayaks in and cranked up smallmouth to 3 pounds on rocky banks from the marina to Cascade Shores. Red craw crankbaits worked well to 10 feet deep. With the lake level up, bass boats can launch with ease at the marina ramp—just watch out for shallow mid-lake hazards.
▪ THERMOLITO AFTERBAY
The lake was at 134.1-foot elevation at press time—82.6-percent capacity. Bruce Gibson at the Paradise Tackle Company reported bass were hitting swimbaits on the tule banks, but watch out for the duck hunters. Swimbaits and jigs were working for bass on the rip-rap banks. Steelhead should be hitting nightcrawlers in the channel at Wilbur road.
▪ SACRAMENTO RIVER
Sturgeon fishing took center stage over the weekend with a number of keeper sturgeon landed in upper Suisun Bay on lamprey eel. The sturgeon bite has broken out within the week with the combination of good tides and stable water temperatures. The warmer water temperatures have guides switching from salmon roe to eel. Ghost shrimp is very difficult to obtain, and grass shrimp remains nearly impossible. Striped bass have moved into a wintertime mode, picking up the bait and holding it without running. A quick hook set is necessary for success. Live mudsuckers, frozen shad, or sardines are the top striper baits. Large glidebaits continue to produce for experienced fishermen in the north Delta near Liberty Island, but the fish have scattered. Trolling can be productive with the best action near Collinsville with deep-diving lures. Crappie are also found in the north Delta sloughs.
▪ SAN JOAQUIN RIVER
The hyacinth that was starting to curl up is making a comeback with the warmer temperatures, and the vegetation remains thick in the south Delta. Striped bass are abundant in the San Joaquin River, but the majority of fish are small. Spooning with P-Line Laser Minnows or tossing Optima’s Double AA or Bubba Shad swimbaits in chartreuse tail or shad-patterns are working, but the action is not red hot. Diving birds are a key to finding the schools of stripers. Ima Flit ripbaits in shad patterns with a bit of flash are working in the clear water on 12-pound test Trilene fluorocarbon line for largemouth bass. The launch ramps in the Stockton metropolitan area remain closed, but Paradise Point Marina off of Eight Mile Road remains operational. The removal of the False River saltwater barrier has been completed, but boaters must use extreme caution and pay attention to the buoys when traveling through this popular route.
– Western Outdoor News