Here are the best places to fish in the Sacramento region, Northern California and beyond for the week of May 9, 2016.
▪ LAKE AMADOR
A huge plant of 2400 pounds was released into the lake this week including several fish in the 12- to 16-pound range. One additional final plant will occur during the third week of May. Trout fishing is best with trout dough bait or Kastmasters from the banks. The lake’s temperature is 64 degrees, and the fish are holding from 15 to 20 feet. The fishing pass price dropped to $5.00 for the summer on May 1. Their new water slide will open at the swim pond on the Friday of Memorial Day Weekend.
▪ AMERICAN RIVER
Shad fishing has slowed at Discovery Park, but fish are now being caught upriver. A few stripers also are being caught at Watt Avenue. Flows increased from 3,200 cfs last week to 4,500 cfs on Sunday.
▪ FEATHER RIVER
Flows increased from 2,800 cfs to 3,500 cfs. Fishing for stripers has been best from Mosquito Beach in Yuba City downstream to Verona. Pile worms and jumbo minnows are working best, but a variety of cut baits also are taking fish, with plenty of keepers showing in the catch. Shad are biting small jigs at Boyd’s Pump and Shanghai Bend.
▪ SACRAMENTO RIVER, Red Bluff to Colusa
Salmon smolts have been released from Coleman National Fish Hatchery, fueling a hot striper bite last week. Small white paddle-tail swimbaits are working best. Jumbo minnows and pile worms are taking fish as well.
▪ SACRAMENTO RIVER, Sacramento
Striper fishing has slowed at Discovery Park. Shad fishing has been hit and miss at Discovery. Shad fishing has been good near Freeport. Minnows, pile worms and blood worms are tricking stripers, along with S-Wavers and white or white and chartreuse swimbaits. Some large stripers have been reported in the deepwater channel. The sloughs around Sacramento are full of crappie and catfish.
▪ SACRAMENTO RIVER, Verona to Colusa
Striper fishing has been good between Colusa and Verona, as some new fish moved in from the delta, and the stripers that have already spawned are feasting in recently released salmon smolts. Be careful while launching at the Tisdale Ramp, as there is a large sandbar next to and in front of the dock. Some boats got stuck last week while launching and taking out. Shad are showing up near Verona. Catfish are being caught at Knight’s Landing, where a few sturgeon also are being caught. Fishing for catfish has also been hot in the Sutter Bypass.
NORTH COAST RIVERS
▪ ROGUE RIVER, Gold Beach, Oregon
Rain last week in Grants Pass and Medford gave flows a slight boost on the Rogue River, where fishing for spring salmon remains slow, although action was better last week than it had been most of April. Guides fishing the lower river reported two to four bites a day, and a salmon per boat over the weekend. The water temperature has reached 62 degrees, so spinners are fishing as good as anchovies. Flows over the weekend were 5,560 cfs at Agness, up from 4,900 cfs the middle of the week.
▪ ROGUE RIVER, Grants Pass & Shady Cove, Oregon
Anglers are still getting some springers in the Shady Cove area, but there’s not much action along the Middle Rogue. Try running a Kwikfish with a sardine, or roe with a sand shrimp or anchovy. Only hatchery salmon and steelhead can be kept until May 23. Applegate Lake trout fishing is pretty good, trolling Wedding Rings or Wicked lures with flasher ahead, tipped with a nightcrawler or a Pautzke egg. Galesville Lake bass fishing is okay but should improve with the warmer weather. Use Senkos in wacky styles or traditional rigging.
▪ RUSSIAN RIVER
The river has been fairly slow the past week with only a few shad being caught at Johnsons Beach. Smallmouth action continues to be the best bet right now. Flows are hovering right around 500 cfs, said Scott Heemstra at Kings Sport & Tackle.
▪ KLAMATH RIVER, Hornbrook
High water continues to damper spring time trout and steelhead fishing. Flows on Sunday were 1,650 cfs. Ideal flows are less than 1,200 cfs. The spring salmon fly hatchery will begin later this month.
▪ KLAMATH RIVER, Happy Camp
Steelhead fishing has been poor. Flows Sunday at Seiad Valley were 4,970 cfs, and 10,800 cfs at Orleans. Once the river begins to drop, look for good trout action with nymph patterns in May and dry flies in early June.
▪ KLAMATH RIVER, Klamath Glen
Flows on Sunday at Terwer were 18,600 cfs, and will rise as the annual spring flush continues on the Trinity River. Spring salmon fishing has been slow. The lower Klamath will get a fall salmon quota of 555 adult kings this summer and fall, beginning Aug. 15. Anglers will be allowed to keep two salmon per day until the quota is filled, only one of which can be an adult over 22 inches.
▪ TRINITY RIVER
Flows at Lewiston hit 6,550 cfs on Sunday as the spring flush continues. Flows will jump between 5,000 cfs and 10,000 cfs throughout the week before they drop below 4,500 cfs. The river is too high for safe fishing. Releases from Lewiston Dam will then ease back to 450 cfs over an 11-week period. Expect the first spring salmon to arrive sometime in June.
NORTH COAST LAKES
▪ CLEAR LAKE
While the lake and temperatures are still seasonally transitioning, be prepared to junk fish and toss a lot of different stuff. The crappie action remained good around the lake on mini-jigs while anglers used cut bait for catfish or caught them as incidental catches while fishing for bass .
▪ LAKE BERRYESSA
There were still winds, but largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass in either pre-spawn, spawn or post-spawn mode were on tap. Throw topwater baits like a Rico, Gunfish or Sammy in shad patterns. The trout bite remained good from the surface to 40 feet and rainbows from 14 to 19 inches long. A few kokanee are showing from Skiers Cove to Steel Park and out in front of the Ranch House from 20 to 45 feet deep.
▪ LAKE HENNESSEY
This little lake is packed with healthy largemouth, smallmouth and crappie. Big bass boats can launch but can't fire up the big motor, just trolling motor, which makes for a peaceful outing. The bass are spawning or looking to spawn and can be caught with Pointer 100s, chatterbaits, jigs and Senkos.
▪ LAKE SONOMA
Target bass in the main lake with shad swimbaits on a leadhead in 5 to 15 feet of water. Senkos, jerkbaits, swimbaits and plastics are also working. A few crappie are also being caught in and around the campgrounds in 10 to 15 feet on crappie jigs or live minnows under a slip bobber.
▪ LAKE ALMANOR
Unstable weather has slowed the trout bite and hatches. As the weather stabilizes, match the hatch with your flies or try Sep's Pro Flashers trailing a ‘crawler downrigged at 22 feet.
▪ BAUM LAKE
With more hatches going off, the trout bite picked up a notch although few have been here to enjoy it.
▪ FALL RIVER
Conditions are good, although still a little off-colored but worth the trip. Try PMDs, nymphs and dries or some callibaetis, mainly dries, leeches (little olive black ones) and maybe some green drake dries. The bite has not been red hot, but trout from 14 to 20 inches have been possible.
▪ HAT CREEK
This is the time to get out. The insects are large, the trout are hungry and they haven't seen a fly all winter. Try green drakes, nymphs and dries, with some big stone (salmon flies) going off in the next few weeks as it gets warmer.
▪ MCCLOUD RESERVOIR
After the trout opener you can bet you’ll have this place all to yourself. There is good trout fishing here on leeches and dry flies down by the dam.
▪ MCCLOUD RIVER
Conditions are good with rubber legs and anything black working, plus there’s no one here.
▪ PIT RIVER
Check for big releases and always look at stream flow reports. This river is only for the advanced outdoor person and angler, so be careful out there. Warm days equal snowmelt and could mean cloudy water. Big, dark flies work here, show them to the fish many times, as they often take it once you've nagged them enough. It’s still running high but fishable. Try big black nymphs, popper johns or a Mercer Tb Pt Prince.
▪ SHASTA LAKE
Not much change here as we are still in the seasonal transition with trout and salmon in front of the dam. Trout have been at 40 and 50 feet and salmon from 60 to 80 feet. The bass fishing has been excellent for numbers of smaller fish but fish are scattered out to 25 feet.
▪ TRINITY LAKE
Has not been a good option due to launch conditions and lower water levels but rising and conditions change daily but no good reports yet.
▪ WHISKEYTOWN RESERVOIR
Kokanee fishing has been excellent here for 13-inch salmon, with plenty of fish holding at 20 to 25 feet. WON Staffer Pat Young fished here last week and they caught 25 fish and lost 10-15 more in 3 hours. Trout fishing has been good for the very few here trolling, plus there have been a few baitfish hatches, a few bass and squawfish caught.
▪ LAKE CAMANCHE
Trout plants continue at the lake with 600 pounds at the South Shore ramp, and 600 pounds at the North Shore launch ramp.Plants will continue as long as the water temperature is below 70 degrees. Bass fishing is best in the early mornings or late evenings with Brush Hogs or topwater lures, as the fish are in post-spawn mode, gorging themselves on shad in 5 to 7 feet of water. Catfish are also in the shallows, and chicken livers, nightcrawlers, or anchovies are all working. Trout fishing is best for trollers working increasingly deeper in the water column with shad patterned spoons. The lake has risen to 61% of capacity.
▪ DON PEDRO
King salmon have made their initial appearance for the year with fish to 7.6 pounds landed this week. Rolling shad at depths to 70 feet is the top technique. Bass fishing is fair with the majority of fish in post-spawn mode. Trout fishing is improving with watermelon Apex lures, Cop Car Excel spoons, or blade/’crawler combinations at depths to 20 feet in lower Fleming Bay. Bass fishing is improving as the water is stabilizing at 67%. All three launch ramps are open with the lake at 61% of capacity.
▪ LAKE McCLURE
The lake continues to rise, and it is currently at 49% of capacity. The water has cleared, and bass fishing remains good with jigs or plastics on the drop-shot along with an improved topwater bite with small surface plugs. The McClure Point and Barrett Cove South launch ramps are open with the Barrett Cove North ramp under construction.
▪ LAKE MCSWAIN
The last trout plant was April 8, and trout fishing remains extremely slow with the occasional rainbow taken from the banks with trout dough bait. A more consistent bite has been for spotted bass coming over from Lake McClure. The lake is full and clear. There are still several tagged fish in the lake from the MID Derby, and registered participants can still pick up the No. 1 fish worth $500.00. The Marina Store is open from Thursday through Sunday.
▪ LAKE PARDEE
Bass fishing has been excellent in the river arm with Senkos or plastics on the drop-shot along steep, rocky banks. There is a topwater bite with large plugs in the mornings and evenings. Kokanee limits have been the rule with early action up the river arm with pink or orange spinners or hoochies behind a gold dodger at depths from 15 to 40 feet. Catfishing is best on the south end with chicken livers. The heavy trout plant is starting to move out of the marina area into the main lake through the Narrows. Trollers have the upper hand as the bank action has slowed. The RV Park is scheduled to open within the next two months.
▪ NEW MELONES
Kokanee are the primary species now, and they will be the focus over the summer months. The bite isn’t red hot, but quality kokanee can be taken on Uncle Larry’s spinners, or Glitter Bugs micro-hoochies behind a dodger at 27 to 37 feet in the main lake near the dam. Trout fishing is best in open water as the fish are keying on the shad schools. Shad-patterned spoons from the surface to 30 feet are picking up a few rainbows. Bass fishing is fair at best with large ribbon tail worms or soft plastics as the fish are lethargic during post-spawn mode. Catfishing is good in the shallows, and limits of crappie have been taken near structure in the main lake coves. The lake is releasing water, and it has dropped to 25% of capacity.
SIERRA LAKES AND RIVERS
▪ BOCA LAKE
The lake is at 64.6-percent capacity. Shore anglers were picking up a few brown trout using watermelon Kastmaster spoons at the west end of the dam and into the adjacent coves.
▪ CAPLES LAKE
The lake is at 67.4-percent capacity. The ice was unstable and Caples Lake Resort did not recommend any further attempts at ice fishing. Shore anglers can hike into the Wood’s Creek inlet to fish for rainbows.
▪ CARSON RIVER (East, West)
Rain all this past week created high murky conditions in the East Carson and Silver Creek where fishing was very slow. The West Carson and Markleeville Creek were high but clear and fishing was fair.
▪ DAVIS LAKE
The lake is at 69-percent capacity. Ed Dillard at Dillard Guided Fishing reported doing well on his first guide trip of the season. His client caught a limit of 18- to 21-inch rainbows and lost 4 more on red-dot frog and metallic perch Needlefish trolled 5 feet deep on a 150-foot setback. The water temp was 51 degrees in the morning warming to 55 degrees in the early afternoon. Flyfishing was productive along the west side coves on midge under an attractor—one caster scored 17 fish. Shore fishing was still slow.
▪ DONNER LAKE
The lake is at 91-percent capacity. Mountain Hardware and Sports reported planter rainbows were caught at the boat ramp, west end beach, and public piers along Donner Lake Road. A few 8- to 10-inch kokanee were caught trolling 15 to 25 feet deep along the south shore using dodger/hoochies.
▪ FEATHER RIVER CANYON
The North Fork at Belden was stocked by the DFW this past week. Mike Hanson at Caribou Crossroads Resort reported the DFW stocked a load of 12- to 14-inch rainbows and everyone was catching limits of fish on salmon eggs, worms, and crickets. The Caribou Powerhouse was kicking out 1 or 2 rainbows per person.
▪ FRENCHMAN LAKE
The lake is at 44-percent capacity. Flyfishing was good in Shipps Cove for 12- to 15-inch rainbows using a midge under an indicator. The dam was still producing nice stringers of trout using nightcrawlers. Galeppi Creek and Last Chance Creek were kicking out limits of rainbows and browns for anglers using nightcrawlers.
▪ GOLD LAKES BASIN
Gold Lake Road was open but the roads into Gold Lake and Salmon Lake were still closed. Packer Lake was open.
▪ ICE HOUSE RESERVOIR
The lake is at 92-percent capacity and was recently stocked by the DFW.
▪ INDIAN CREEK RESERVOIR
With cold, wet weather all this past week, no one in their right mind was up here.
▪ JACKSON MEADOW RESERVOIR
The lake is at 87.2-percent capacity. The lake was still snowed in.
▪ JENKINSON LAKE (Sly Park)
The lake is full and spilling. The DFW stocked 1500 pounds of brown trout fingerlings here this past week—great food for the macks. Jim Painter of Pollock Pines caught 2 nice macks trolling worms at the second dam at 25 feet deep.
▪ LAKE TAHOE
Chuck Self at Chuck’s Charter Fishing reported trolling for macks was “GREAT”. His last trips produced limits of 2- to 7-pound macks in just a couple hours trolling 200 to 450 feet deep from Tahoe City to Crystal Bay Point. Zach Gordon at Tahoe Sportfishing said the live bait mooching at 180 to 220 feet deep was very good for limits of 3- to 5-pound macks from Rubicon to Ski Run along South Shore.
▪ PROSSER LAKE
The lake is at 28.7-percent capacity. With the rainy weather this past week, no one was fishing. When the weather settles down, try for smallmouth bass on the rocky banks and points.
▪ PYRAMID LAKE
Valarie Taylor at Crosby’s Lodge reported fishing was very slow and they didn’t weigh a fish in all week. George Molino at Cutthroat Charters reported he didn’t make any boat trips this past week due to the weather, but took out 4 clients for a morning of shore fishing. Stops at Warrior, Shot Dog, and Pelican only produced 4 or 5 hookups with two 20- to 21-inch fish landed and several follows—pretty tough.
▪ RED LAKE
The ice was unstable and ice fishing was no longer recommended.
▪ SILVER LAKE
The lake is at 61.5-percent capacity. The ice was unstable and ice fishing was no longer recommended.
▪ STAMPEDE RESERVOIR
The lake is at 41-percent capacity. A few scattered kokanee were caught by trollers outside the Little Truckee arm, but it’s still a little early for good action.
▪ TOPAZ LAKE
There weren’t a lot of fishermen out this past week due to the cold, wet weather. Chuck Fields at Topaz Landing Marina reported that a couple boaters launched there and caught limits of 12- to 14-inch rainbows on flasher/worms and Rapalas in the top 10 feet. Shore fishing was slow.
▪ TRUCKEE RIVER
The flows were up with rain most of this past week. Flyfishing was good using streamers, March Browns, and BWO.
▪ UNION VALLEY RESERVOIR
The lake is at 97-percent capacity. Ken Mathis at Ken’s Custom Tackle and Guide Service reported the lake was heavily loaded with debris. Trolling for kokanee was slow but a few scattered fish were hitting dodger/hoochies at 15 feet deep.
▪ WEST WALKER RIVER
The Little Walker River and West Walker at Pickel Meadows and the Canyon are scheduled for DFW trout plants this week. With all the rain, snow, and wind, fishermen were nowhere to be seen this past week.
▪ SACRAMENTO RIVER
American shad are the top story with the first run of males moving through the Freeport area. The larger females have yet to arrive, but they are expected this month. Small 1-inch grubs in champagne/pink or sparkle are doing the job on a 3/4-oz egg sinker. Striped bass trolling has slowed considerably from its heyday of a few weeks back, but there will be a big run of fish back through the Delta within the coming weeks as they run to the bay after spawning. The wind has made for challenging conditions. Sturgeon fishing remains outstanding in the Big and Little Cuts with salmon roe for the few fishermen targeting diamondbacks.
▪ SAN JOAQUIN RIVER
There are still quality stripers to be found, but most fishermen are finding success for largemouth bass. The larger bass are out in slightly deeper water, and there is a topwater bite in the mornings before switching to working the bottom with Senkos. Big limits and big fish are the rule although there are still bass in the pre-spawn mode. Bluegill are abundant in all of the back sloughs in the Stockton/Tracy areas with wax worms or jumbo red worms.
▪ FOLSOM LAKE
The lake rose another foot last week, up to 453 feet of elevation, about 12 feet from being completely full. Bass fishing has been good in both the North Fork and South Fork, as well as the main body. Largemouth are still spawning, while smallmouth and spotted bass have already spawned and are feeding aggressively in 10 to 15 feet of water close to shore. Green pumpkin and watermelon with red flake have been the hot color for tubes and grubs. Senkos also are working well. Topwater plugs are producing fish at first light. Bank anglers are using live minnows with slip bobbers to catch bass as well as some catfish. Trout trollers are focusing on the North and South forks, but trout and salmon action has been slow. Some fish are being caught between 40 and 60 feet deep.
▪ RANCHO SECO LAKE
Trout fishing has been fair to good. Kastmasters and Power Bait both have been taking limits.
▪ SACRAMENTO RIVER, Dunsmuir
Flows on Sunday were 1,100 cfs at the Delta gauge. Conditions have improved for trout fishing. Nymphs have been working on the soft edges and side channels.
▪ SACRAMENTO RIVER, Redding to Red Bluff
Fishing is now closed from Keswick Dam to the Highway 44 bridge, a 5.5-mile stretch. From the Highway 44 bridge to Anderson, fishing for wild rainbow trout has been good. Flows at Kewsick Dam increased from 5,530 cfs last week to 6,440 cfs on Sunday. Anglers are launching at the Posse Grounds. The carp spawn is over, and the matching beads are now less effective. Salmon roe is working well. Dry flies and nymphs also are getting action, as well as tiny plugs. Many trout have already spawned and are now feeding heavily.
▪ AMERICAN RIVER
The South Fork at Coloma was stocked by the DFW this past week. The river was running high and clear with all the rain this past week.
▪ BULLARDS BAR
The lake is at 91-percent capacity. Poor weather all this past week slowed the fishing. The previous week, FLW pro Cody Meyer filmed a TV show here and they caught a 33-pound limit of spots on cranks and plastics.
▪ CAMP FAR WEST
The lake is still full. North Shore Resort reported bass fishing was good in the Rock Creek and Bear River arms using worms and lizards.
▪ COLLINS LAKE
The lake is full. Collins Lake Resort stocked 3800 pounds of rainbows including trophy fish this past week and will stock another 2000 pounds of trout this week. Both boaters and shore anglers were doing well and lots of limits were checked in. Trout to 7 pounds and catfish to 8 pounds were weighed this past week.
▪ ENGLEBRIGHT RESERVOIR
The lake is at 90-percent capacity. Skippers Cove Marina reported the wet weather this past week kept fishing pressure light with no reports available. Trout and bass should be hitting.
▪ FRENCH MEADOWS RESERVOIR
The lake is at 77.4-percent capacity. The road was clear to the lake and the launch ramp was open. The campgrounds were not open yet.
▪ HELL HOLE RESERVOIR
The lake is at 78.5-percent capacity. The road was clear to the lake and the launch ramp was open, but watch out for some unsavory types harassing boaters at the ramp. One troller reported catching 5 macks in the 2- to 5-pound range in deep water in front of the dam. The Hell Hole Campground was open.
▪ LAKE OROVILLE
The lake is holding at 96-percent capacity. Bruce Gibson at the Paradise Tackle Company reported bass fishing was still very good using tubes, drop-shot worms, Keitech swimbaits, and lipless cranks. Two trips produced 86 and 125 bass to 2 1/4 pounds on steep rocky walls and flatter points in the West Branch and upper Slot. Salmon trolling was slow at the dam, according to James Netzel at Tight Lines Guide Service.
▪ ROLLINS LAKE
The lake is at 99.7-percent capacity. There were few fishing reports available. The marinas here won’t open until Memorial Day weekend—the dock systems will start being pulled into place this week, according to NID.
▪ SCOTT’S FLAT LAKE
The lake is at 98-percent capacity. NID staffer Jim Caldwell reported shore anglers were doing well for planter and holdover rainbows in the marina area using floating dough bait. Boaters were catching some nice smallmouth bass on worms and tubes.
▪ SUGAR PINE RESERVOIR
The lake is full and the campgrounds and day-use area are open.
▪ STUMPY MEADOWS RESERVOIR
The lake is full and spilling. The Georgetown Ranger Station reported the campgrounds were open and there was an $8 fee for boat launching, not $7 as previously reported. Trollers were catching a nice assortment of rainbows and browns, while shore fishing was slow.
▪ THERMALITO AFTERBAY
The lake was at 134.6-foot elevation at press time—86.1-percent capacity. Bruce Gibson at the Paradise Tackle Company reported bass fishing was still good around the tule islands and banks located in the east side coves. Jigs pitched into the tules and spinnerbaits worked on the outside edges were catching largemouths to 4 pounds.
California Dawn beat the fish per rod mark on halibut and also put good bass counts aboard. Happy Hooker foraged through the Bay to find halibut, bass and then made a run to add rockfish to the sacks. Private boaters worked from Berkeley Flats to Alameda Rock wall or ran across to paradise for halibut and bass. New Easy Rider went well over the fish per rod goal on salmon to 21 pounds. Golden Eye 2000 averaged nearly a halibut per rod inside the Bay. El Dorado got limits of rockfish and 32 lingcod to 20 pounds.
▪ BODEGA BAY
Point Reyes to the south and Russian River to the north were destinations for New Sea Angler and also for private boaters. Limits of crabs were commonplace, limits of rockfish were usual and limits of lingcod were possible. Out of Lawson’s Landing, private boaters found some salmon and plenty of crabs. Halibut began to chew near Hog Island in Tomales Bay.
▪ BROOKINGS, Oregon
Early week weather was great and Capt. Andy Martin took his customers to Mack Arch for limits of quality rockfish plus some lingcod. The weather turned rough and yet the skipper was able to put his passengers on limits locally on most days.
Full limits of salmon were taken over the weekend by New Salmon Queen and Sundance, with 6 passengers each. Other Emeryville boats New Huck Finn andTigerfish went after lingcod and rockfish, returning with bulging sacks and happy passengers.
When the winds settled, Pacific halibut turned on with fish to 47 pounds coming over the rail. Crabbing was excellent, with one group of five folks getting their limits with 3 pots. Jetty fishers worked both sides of the Humboldt Bay jetty with solid success. Salmon fishers who ran out of Shelter Cove did catch some medium-size fish, but the bite is not yet going strong.
▪ FORT BRAGG
The salmon hunt was somewhat difficult unless you were on a boat that found a pocket of bait and fish. Crabbing was super easy and short soaks were sufficient. Shore fishers got lingcod, cabezon, kelp greenling and rockfish at Old Mill, MacKerricher and Mendocino Headlands. Minus tides gave abalone pickers a chance and they took good numbers of abs.
▪ HALF MOON BAY
Queen of Hearts went back into action in a big way, with Capt. Bob Ingles putting passengers on salmon, rockfish and lingcod. Huli Cat ran combo trips and brought limits of crabs aboard along with rockfish, lingcod and halibut to 27 pounds. Mackerel and sardines moved into the harbor and there were striped bass caught from shore.
▪ SAN FRANCISCO
Salmon fishing really improved. Bass Tub just barely missed full limits, catching 15 salmon for 8 folks.