▪ LAKE CAMANCHE
A heavy plant of 2400 pounds was split between the South Shore ramp and the South Shore Pond prior to the President’s Day Weekend, and anglers are scoring with Rooster Tails, crappie jigs, trout dough bait, and Power Worms from the shoreline. Trolling continues to improve with spoons near the surface close to the dam. The Narrows is also holding a school of rainbows, but there are crappie also willing to bite lures in the same area. The bass are moving up in the water column in the afternoons to depths from 10 to 12 feet, and deep-diving crankbaits, Brush Hogs, jigs, or 6-inch Pro Worms are working best. The South Shore Ramp 2 is open along with both ramps at the North Shore, and the ramps are expected to remain open through the season with anticipated water releases from upstream Lake Pardee.
▪ DELTA REGION: SACRAMENTO RIVER
Sturgeon remain the top species in the river from Freeport west to the Carquinez Bridge, and depending on the location and the tides, action has ranged from excellent to fair. A number of oversized sturgeon along with big keepers over 55 inches have been hooked. Bank fishermen are lining the shoreline from Freeport to Clarksburg, and Sherman Island Road and Highway 160 are also solid bank areas. Striper fishing is showing signs of life in the clearing waters, and the north Delta has been the top location for both pluggers and trollers. Live bait is still a concern, and ghost shrimp was very scarce over the past weekend.
▪ DELTA REGION: SAN JOAQUIN RIVER
Largemouth bass are responding to the clearer water conditions, and the bigger fish are coming out of hibernation to fill up on all food sources in preparation for the spawn. Stripers are starting to make their appearance near Antioch, and the occasional sturgeon is found near the Antioch Bridge. Holland Tract and in Discovery Bay are holding the clearest water, but there are several areas that are clearing up with the lack of inflow. Bluegill and redear perch can be found in the east Delta sloughs with red worms.
▪ FEATHER RIVER
Fishing for striped bass remained good last week from Boyd’s Pump to Shanghai Bend, with live minnows, swimbaits, Bombers and other lures imitating small trout working best. Several fish topping 30 pounds were confirmed by Johnson’s Bait and Tackle. The stripers are in the river feeding on hatchery steelhead smolts released earlier this month. Egg patterns are catching steelhead in the Low Flow area, while some large steelhead have been reported below the Outlet.
NORTH COAST RIVERS
▪ CHETCO RIVER, Brookings
Running a little low and clear at 1800 cfs and steelheading slowed, but high tides brought in a fresh batch of fish, and expected rains later in the week should bring in new late steelhead. Guide Andy Martin has been doing well on the upper river for wild fish and lower river for hatchery fish. A lot of weekend pressure.
▪ ELK/SIXES RIVER, Port Orford, Oregon
The Elk River has dropped to near 3 feet and has been slow for steelhead, said WON Staff Writer and guide Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing. Most local anglers have switched to the Sixes, which was good at the beginning of last week, but slow by the weekend. Rain expected this week should give fishing a boost on both rivers. Late February is prime time for big fish on both systems.
▪ MILLACOMA RIVER, West Fork, Coos Bay, Oregon
Steelhead fishing slowed way down this last week on the West Fork of the Millicoma river, according to Curtis Palmer of River Secrets Tackle Company. “This is an early season river, with the majority of the steelhead returning by the end of January. With the low water conditions last week, fishing became very slow.”
▪ MILLACOMA RIVER, East Fork, Coos Bay, Oregon
“I did not receive a lot of reports last week on the East Fork of the Millicoma River,” said Curtis Palmer of River Secrets Tackle Company. “I know of a couple places at the park where the deeper holes had produced a couple nice steelhead every evening. This river has slowing down drastically, though. There should be steelhead trickling on up the river for another month, but every week there will be fewer and fewer fish.”
▪ ROGUE RIVER, Gold Beach, Oregon
The Rogue was flowing at 6,000 cfs over the weekend, prime shape for steelhead fishing. Guide John Anderson of Memory Makers Guide Service has been catching four to six steelhead a day fishing plugs on the lower river, according to guide Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing. Plunkers fishing large Spin-N-Glos from shore also are catching steelhead. No reports yet of any early spring salmon.
▪ ROGUE RIVER, Grant’s Pass, Oregon
The steelhead action is picking up daily. “We fished Saturday and had several keepers and several small fish,” said Tom Whitaker of U-Save Tackle in Grant’s Pass, who said that more fish should be moving up soon as conditions are improving. Anglers should try side-drifting roe, Puffballs and shrimp. For plugging, the best colors appear to be black and silver, green, and blue plugs. Lots of anglers are side-planing the Griffin Park area and doing well. Bankies are doing well, too. The Applegate River is producing well also, especially on spoons, spinners or bobbers and jigs.
▪ RUSSIAN RIVER
Flows were under 900 cfs at the Hacienda Bridge with clarity at 3 to 4 feet, and there was plenty of water in the lower river, so the holding pools weren’t producing—fish were moving right through. The hatchery released juvenile steelies last week, so there’s a lot of bait stealers. Some downstreamers are beginning to show. Driftboats in Healdsburg area were getting 1 to 4 fish a day.
▪ SMITH RIVER
The river was clearing last week, but a bit of rain on Friday kept it colored green over the weekend, and expected rains will put it back in perfect steelhead shape. Guide Phil Desautel of Phil’s Smiling Salmon Guide Service said boats were getting 1 to 4 fish a day with light traffic. WON Staff Writer and guide Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing agreed with the conditions. He said it looked “great” on Saturday, but fishing was slow, and it was a tough week. Seals have been in the river almost every day all season, killing steelhead and taking them off lines. Rains should bring in more fish.
▪ UMPQUA RIVER, Roseburg, Oregon
Fishing was fair here last week and there were plenty of bankies fishing for steelhead. The river cleared up a lot, but it was still high for good fishing, according to tackle manufacturer Curtis Palmer of River Secrets Tackle Company.
▪ UMPQUA RIVER, North Fork, Glide, Oregon
Fewer anglers are fishing here than the main Umpqua, but steelies ae being caught, and it will only get better in March.
▪ UMPQUA RIVER, South Fork, Canyonville, Oregon
The South Umpqua has finally been good to the driftboat anglers. “The water has been high, but it’s not blown out,” according to Curtis Palmer of River Secrets Tackle Company. “It has had color, but not so much that it would be muddy. Fish were being caught, especially by the Myrtle Creek area.”
▪ KLAMATH RIVER, Iron Gate
The Upper Klamath is back in good shape with flows of 1,190 cfs on Sunday. Boaters were back on the water last week, with good reports of steelhead fishing from the hatchery to Fish Hook. Worms fished behind divers and small plugs both accounted for fresh steelhead.
▪ KLAMATH RIVER, Happy Camp
Flows at Seiad Valley were 4,170 cfs on Sunday, high but fishable. Side-drifting roe with Puffballs and yarn is the best bet. Looks for conditions to improve this week, although rain is expected before the weekend.
▪ KLAMATH RIVER, Klamath Glen
The river is down to 15,000 cfs, but still too high for productive fishing.
▪ TRINITY RIVER
The entire Trinity River is now back in good shape for steelhead, with a perfect steelhead green color river wide, according to retired guide E.B. Duggan. Flows at Lewiston were 312 cfs on Sunday, and 792 cfs at Junction City. At Hoopa flows were 6,800 cfs. Roe and nightcrawlers have been working best from the bank from the South Fork down, while gold or silver spinners also are taking fish. Many of the steelhead near Lewiston have already spawned, but fresh steelhead are being caught on the lower river.
NORTH COAST LAKES
▪ CLEAR LAKE
With a warming trend in place, more options were found. For numbers of bass, try Senkos, drop-shot worms, Baby Brush Hogs, jigs, jerk baits or small swimbaits. Big swimbaits, big glide baits and Alabama rigs are also being used to target the bigger fish bite. Minnows have also been popular.
▪ LAKE BERRYESSA
Use spoons for trout and jerkbaits for bass. The lake is starting to warm up and so should the bite. Bass up to 8 pounds were caught. Putah Creek and Markley Cove are still your best bets for boat launching.
▪ LAKE SONOMA
Focus on the cleaner water with chatterbaits, spinnerbaits or crankbaits in shad patterns in 5 to 15 feet of water for bass.
▪ LAKE ALMANOR
Prattville to Almanor West has the best clarity, so troll with a threaded slow action nightcrawler along the top 10 feet early and fast action lures in the afternoon.
▪ BAUM LAKE
The upper section of the lake has been fishing well for trout with tiny zebra midges, little leeches or black midge patterns and pheasant tails.
▪ McCLOUD RESERVOIR
Leeches are always good bet here. As always this time of year, check weather and road conditions even though things are warming up.
▪ PIT RIVER
The river is starting to clear, but this could change with the weather. Pit 3 was the better bet this past week and dark nymphs the way to go.
▪ SHASTA LAKE
Most bass are still down deep but starting to be more spread out, so try Hula grubs in lighter colors like shad or Sexy shad. Swimbaits work well on overcast days and will get the larger bass going. Hit Digger Bay and across the dam for trout as well the I-5 Bridge to the Silverton Marina for trout averaging 2 pounds. The Baily Cove ramp is the only one not open yet.
▪ AMERICAN RIVER
Steelhead fishing had been good the beginning of last week before releases from Folsom Lake spiked river levels and put the fish off the bite. Flows increased from 1,600 cfs early in the week to 3,040 cfs last Wednesday. They remained over 3,000 cfs all weekend. Small spoons, especially gold Kastmasters or Little Cleos, were working best during the lower flows. Some anglers reported success drifting pink worms.
▪ FOLSOM LAKE
Up 2 feet from last week, Folsom Lake’s level is now holding steady just below 430 feet elevation. Officials began releasing water last week to maintain the winter flood pool. The water is dirty, which has made trout, landlocked salmon and bass fishing slow. On Sunday, releases were near 3,000 cfs. The Folsom Point, Brown’s Ravine and Granite Bay launches are open. As the water begins to clear, look for bass suspended off the points. Jigging spoons or plastics with drop-shot rigs will be the best bet. Trout anglers will be trolling near the dam with small spoons or Rapala plugs. Salmon anglers generally troll small dodgers with white hoochies 40 to 60 feet down.
▪ RANCHO SECO LAKE
This year’s trout derby will be held April 2-3. The lake has been stocked with trout and fish are being caught with Power Bait.
▪ SACRAMENTO RIVER, Dunsmuir
Flows at Dunsmuir were steady all week near 1,300 cfs. There have been no reports of anglers fly fishing because of high, fast flows.
▪ SACRAMENTO RIVER, Redding to Red Bluff
With flows from Keswick Dam steady at 3,260 cfs all last week, fishing for wild rainbow trout has been good to excellent from the Sundial Bridge to Anderson. Fly fishermen have been enjoying a mid-day baetis hatch along with a few caddis flies. Brown or black rubber legs and tiny mayfly patterns have been working well. Some trout also are being caught on beads and small plugs.
▪ BOCA LAKE
The lake is at 32.7-percent capacity. Mountain Hardware and Sports reported the ice was melting around the shore and thinning offshore to the point where it was cracking under the weight of anglers—stay off the lake.
▪ CAPLES LAKE
The lake is at 66.2-percent capacity. Caples Lake Resort reported the ice was 3 to 4 feet thick with 6 to 18 inches of snow on top. Some nice macks to 20 inches and rainbows were hitting 1/4-ounce Kastmaster spoons tipped with a piece of worm or a bay shrimp in 20 to 25 feet of water in front of the dam.
▪ DAVIS LAKE
The lake is at 49-percent capacity. Ed Dillard at Dillard’s Guided Fishing reported the trout fishing was a little better this past week with anglers picking up 1 fish each near the dam. With the warm weather, the safest ice was at the dam where it was still 12 inches thick but showing some soft spots. Further up the lake toward the island and Mallard where the ice was only 5 inches thick, extreme caution must be used if venturing out on the ice.
▪ DONNER LAKE
The lake is at 45-percent capacity. No ice on the lake here. With the drop in the lake level, boat launching was difficult for larger boats. Macks were hitting in 2 locations—toplining F13 orange/gold Rapalas on the east end over the humps and ridges or jigging 4-ounce Laser Minnows in China Cove at 80 to 100 feet deep. A few planter rainbows were hitting bait off the boat docks on the west end.
▪ FRENCHMAN LAKE
The lake is at 26-percent capacity. Wiggins Trading Post reported good rainbow trout action through 5 inches of ice at the dam. Anglers were catching some limits of mostly 12-inch fish with a few to 16 inches using worms and floating dough bait. The bite is much better here than at Davis Lake, according to Ed Dillard at Dillard’s Guided Fishing.
▪ ICE HOUSE RESERVOIR
The lake is at 71-percent capacity. The lake was accessible, but no reports were available.
▪ INDIAN CREEK RESERVOIR
Todd Sodaro at Todd’s Bait and Tackle at the Creekside Lodge reported the gate to the lake was closed, but he was going to try to get it opened since the road was clear of snow. Call ahead at 530-694-2511 for the latest access report.
▪ JENKINSON LAKE (Sly Park)
The lake is at 87-percent capacity. Sly Park Resort reported there were a lot of fishermen out but few repots of any success. There are always a few small rainbows caught at the dam on worms or floating dough bait.
▪ LAKE TAHOE
Chuck Self at Chuck’s Charter Fishing reported SLAYING the fish on his morning trips with limits of macks to 9 pounds caught trolling UV spoons and Lucky Craft minnows at 200 to 400 feet deep at Flick Point. Zach Gordon at Tahoe Sportfishing reported the fleet was running 8 a.m. morning trips and 1:30 p.m. afternoon trips out of Ski Run and catching limits of mostly 3 to 5 pounders with the occasional mack to 11 pounds. They were mooching live minnows 40 to 80 feet deep in the off-color water running in from the Upper Truckee River.
▪ PROSSER LAKE
The lake is at 29.7-percent capacity. Mountain Hardware and Sports reported the ice was too thin and dangerous—stay off.
▪ PYRAMID LAKE
Valarie Taylor at Crosby’s Lodge reported the fishing was better this past week with the beautiful weather and several big fish were recorded including a 20 1/4 pounder caught by Nick Beeson of Reno while trolling an Apex at Monument. Top C&R fish was an 18-pound cutthroat landed by John Simpson of Milford, Cal., from the shore at the North Nets while casting a black bugger. Crosby’s also recorded a 16 3/4-, a 15, an 11- and three 10-pound cutthroats. George Molino at Cutthroat Charters reported he fished a few days this past week and boat trips averaged 12 fish to 23 inches trolling Apex from south of the Nets to Pelican. He guided a shore fisherman from Fort Collins, Col., for a day and sent the guy back to the same area on his own and he scored the 15 pounder weighed at Crosby’s while casting a black/red-green dot spoon at the South Nets. Ken Mathis of Ken’s Custom Tackle in Camino fished a few days and averaged 20 cutthroats per day trolling his Double-Flutter spoons at 50 to 70 feet deep under bait balls from Pelican to Monument.
▪ RED LAKE
Victor Babbitt at TFFO reported the trout bite here was still sporadic—decent one day and poor the next using worms, bay shrimp, and Kastmaster spoons at the dam.
▪ SILVER LAKE
The lake is at 45.7-percent capacity. Ice fishing should be productive for rainbows and macks at the dam using worms, bay shrimp, and Kastmaster spoons tipped with worms or shrimp.
▪ TOPAZ LAKE
Chuck Fields at Topaz Landing Marina reported shore anglers were catching lots of 13- to 14-inch rainbows on orange floating dough bait along the north shore. Trollers were still doing well running Rapalas in the top 10 feet. The lake was rising steadily but still only at 25-percent capacity.
▪ TRUCKEE LAKE
Victor Babbitt at TFFO reported a few fish were being caught on baetis and midge nymphs in the canyon below the Boca Outlet. Look for sporadic BWO hatches on cloudy afternoons in the lower sections toward Reno.
▪ UNION VALLEY RESERVOIR
The lake is at 64-percent capacity. Ken Mathis at Ken’s Custom Tackle and Guide Service reported that trolling for macks was sporadic. A few fish were hitting a dodger/herring trolled over structure at 50 to 80 feet deep. The road was clear to the dam, but 4-wheel drive was recommended due to possible icy spots.
There were still plenty of schoolie bass on Berkeley Flats and surrounding areas. Private boaters got out after them and hooked up on the anchor, drifting and trolling. The aggressive bass were not being picky.
▪ BODEGA BAY/LAWSON’S LANDING
Long runs south to the newly-opened crab zone below Point Reyes were tempting, but boaters took one long look at sea conditions and decided against it because it would be a long and rough ride back uphill with a load of crabs. Lawson’s Landing beaches gave up some big red tail perch perch. The rock wall at Bodega Bay harbor saw people catching rockfish and perch.
▪ EUREKA/CRESCENT CITY
Eureka’s jetties were good spots for fish dinners through the week, giving up kelp greenling, black rockfish, cabezon and rainbow perch. The surf was too big to fish for red tail perch along the beaches. A major herring spawn at Crescent City attracted folks from throughout the north coast to catch and stow herring for use as bait during the fishing season ahead.
▪ FORT BRAGG
With big seas, the choicest shore spots like Mendocino headlands and MacKerricher didn’t see much action. Noyo jetty at the entrance to the harbor was the safe spot all week and was good for kelp greenling, black rockfish and perch. When the surf subsided somewhat, hardy souls made the walk to Old Mill and caught larger fish.
▪ HALF MOON BAY/PACIFICA
Boats got out after crabs, even though sea conditions were marginal. Some were setting pots for subsequent days and some made short soaks and pulled up gratifying numbers of Dungeness crabs. Over the weekend, Huli Cat pulled limits for all passengers. With Pacifica Pier open much of the week, hoops and snares were used to begin the crab season for pier and shore-based crabbers.
▪ SAN FRANCISCO
Boaters were able to fish crab for the first time this season and private boaters made the trek to fight the seas and haul crabs, or they cast snares from the shoreline. Happy Hooker will begin crab only trips on the 20th. The usually-productive bass area from Hunter’s Point to Coyote Point was a bit quiet. Early in the week a major herring spawn and sturgeon bite was underway between San Mateo Bridge and Dumbarton Bridge. Argo ran up to San Pablo Bay to catch 30-plus bass.
▪ LAKE AMADOR
The lake is near spilling, rising slowly over the past few weeks without rain. Trout plants are taking place on the first and third weeks of the month, and 1200 pounds were released into the lake on Friday. Shoreline anglers are scoring with trout dough bait or Kastmasters while trollers are picking up quality rainbows working the outer edges of the lake with either white grubs or broken back Rapalas. Bass are also starting to come to life with the warmer weather triggering the pre-spawn mode. The annual trout derby will run until March 6, 2016 with a one-time $7.00 entry fee. The launch is now open with two ramps and two docks as the cove is full of water.
▪ DON PEDRO
Bass fishing remains tops at the lake with the water temperature ranging from 53 to 55 degrees. 19 limits out of 25 teams were weighed in during the recent Sonora Bass Anglers tournament, and most fish were taken on jigs at depths from 20 to 30 feet in depth. The majority of fish were landed during the afternoon hours when the water warmed up slightly. The lake is full of floating debris ranging from small vegetation to fence post-sized logs, despite the debris barrier in the upper portion of the lake. Monte Smith of Gold Country Sport Fishing reported a very slow trout bite with minimal action despite using different techniques. The lake is rising, and the Fleming Meadows launch ramp is the only ramp in the water at the present time.
▪ LAKE McCLURE
The Roosevelt High School Bass Fishing Club in Fresno held the The 2016 Central Valley SAF Open with Alfredo Jimenez of Central Valley High School in Ceres landing the day's big fish at 7.04 pounds, and along with his partner Eugene Kondratyck, won the High School Division with 15.78 pounds. The North Barrett Cove launch ramp is open, but the lake is still stained the color of red clay from the rapid runoff from previous storms. Maintenance work is being completed on one of the gates at the dam. The lake has risen to 16% of capacity.
▪ LAKE McSWAIN
Interest in trout fishing has been spurred on by the recent plant of 1500 pounds from the Department of Fish and Wildlife, and the banks were lined with fishermen during the President’s Day Weekend. The lake remains heavily stained due to water releases from upstream Lake McClure, and the action has been fair with garlic or cheese trout dough bait or nightcrawlers. A 7-pound brown trout was landed on a blue/silver Kastmaster near the campgrounds. The lake is down a few feet as work on the Exchequer Dam at Lake McClure continues.
▪ LAKE PARDEE
Camping and fishing will resume on Friday, March 11 at 5:00 a.m. after an 8-month closure for the reconstruction and remodel of the RV Park. Reservations are available via telephone only starting March 1 at 9:00 a.m.
▪ NEW MELONES
Trout limits are starting to show up from the shoreline with inflated nightcrawlers or trout dough bait near Glory Hole Point or the Highway 49 Bridge. There is a big bass bite, and John Liechty of Xperience Fishing put his client Peter Haskins onto an 11.02-pound largemouth on a swimbait. The best action remains on the bottom at depths from 30 to 45 feet with plastics on the Texas-rig or jigs. The fish are all fat and healthy. The launch ramp is now two lanes of dirt/gravel at Glory Hole Point, and a 4WD tow vehicle is advised.
▪ BULLARDS BAR
The lake is at 66-percent capacity. Guide Ron Gandolfi reported that catching big spots was hit-or-miss—you can get them one day and blank the next. Deep crankbaits, Senkos, and jigs were working for spots to 9 pounds. Most of the bass were much smaller and hitting Senkos and worms on walls and points. Look for some fish moving up on flats with the warm weather and upcoming full moon.
▪ CAMP FAR WEST
The lake is still spilling over the dam. Kathy DeRossett reported the water clarity was a murky brown with lots of floating debris and water temp at 51 to 53 degrees. Ron Franks of Folsom fished this past week and caught 16 bass, all 2 pound-plus, at 8 to 10 feet deep in the Rock Creek arm on bold bluegill Roboworms and green pumpkin lizards.
▪ COLLINS LAKE
The lake is 23 feet from full. Shelley Groce at Collins Lake Resort reported trout fishing improved dramatically after 1800 pounds of rainbows were stocked the previous Thursday at the boat ramp. As one would expect, shore fishing was good near the ramp where limits of trout were caught on worms and floating dough bait. Groce said lots of 2 to 4 pounders were caught. Trollers did best near the dam using Kastmaster spoons.
▪ ENGLEBRIGHT RESERVOIR
The lake is at 96-percent capacity. Lisa Rogers reported that Trina Gelbuda of Smartsville fished the back of Black’s Ravine and caught 3 nice rainbows to 16 inches on worms and floating dough bait. The 2500 pen-reared trout were already 14 to 18 inches long and 2 1/4 to 2 3/4 pounds—they should be 3 to 4 pounders by the time they’re released the end of March.
▪ LAKE OROVILLE
The lake is at 48-percent capacity. Guide Ron Gandolfi reported the NorCal 90 team tournament fielded 47 boats and it was won with just under 13 pounds that included the 5-pound big fish. There were a number of 3 pounders caught but most were 1 1/2- to 1 3/4-pound spots. Tubes, drop-shot and darthead worms, and Senkos were working well in 5 to 30 feet of water. The bigger fish were caught on small swimbaits, float-n-fly, and A-rigs. Bass were found on the points leading into spawning coves and flats and adjacent walls—look for early spawners to move up during the full moon around Feb. 22. The lake is loaded with debris and boaters should use extreme caution—2 or 3 boats were damaged by hitting debris at high speed during the tournament!! The main ramps were open at Bidwell, the Spillway, and Lime Saddle Marina.
▪ ROLLINS LAKE
The lake is full. The water clarity was improving a little, but the lake was still spilling over the dam. Watch out for debris floating on the lake creating navigation hazards.
▪ SCOTT’S FLAT LAKE
The lake is at 76.2-percent capacity. NID reported lots of debris floating on the lake so boaters need to use caution while running. Fishing pressure was very low but the ramps were open at the marina and Cascade Shore.
▪ THERMOLITO AFTERBAY
The lake was at 131.9-foot elevation at press time—67.9-percent capacity. The lake has been dropping steadily over the past couple of weeks. Look for fish on the rocky banks and try a swimbait, A-rig, or jig.
– Western Outdoor News