FOLSOM LAKE— Inflows to the lake increased dramatically (to 30,000 cfs) by Sunday and the lake was up 7 feet overnight and still rising. The effect on trout fishing is unknown, because the lake is likely to muddy up, but it had been excellent and trout fishermen were getting easy limits plus some landlocked salmon. For trout, troll Wee Tads 15 feet deep, and topline nightcrawlers behind dodgers in copper and pink. For salmon, troll 40 feet deep with white hoochies behind dodgers. Fish up the North Fork from Granite Bay. Bass fishing has been requiring a slow and deep-15 to 30 feet--technique with jigs and drop-shotted Robo-Worms over rock piles for smallies and spots. But, with the big, sediment-filled inflows from feeder creeks, and the lake rising, bass and catfish will be moving into the coves to feed. Four-wheel drive tow vehicles were still mandatory for launching and retrieving boats, but with the lake rising, the paved ramp should be accessible again very soon.
AMERICAN RIVER — As the closure of the upper section of the river (from the power lines crossing the river at Ancil Hoffman Park to Nimbus Dam) approached (Feb. 23), the release to the American River increased to 1,500 cfs in response to the heavy rains. It’s unlikely to change the closure, however, and it’s unknown how long the higher flows will continue. Very few steelhead had been entering Nimbus Hatchery, far fewer than last year, but a few diehards were still fishing and occasionally hooking into a steelhead. While many were fishing ethically, and staying away from spawning riffles, others were walking on the redds and targeting spawning fish.
SACRAMENTO, Tisdale–Sturgeon fishing appears to be hitting its spring spawning season stride with a number of fish caught last week from Knight’s Landing to Colusa. And, fishing will improve even more with rising, off-color water from the heavy rain. However, most have continued to be oversize. Pileworms, eels, and ghost shrimp are all producing bites, and ghost shrimp/pileworm combos have been especially effective.
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DELTA REGION: SACRAMENTO RIVER side — The first rainstorm of 2014 kept most sturgeon fishermen off of the water, but those willing to get wet found solid action in the Big Cut and Suisun Slough with salmon roe being the top bait. The occasional striper is found, but the best striper action is taking place in the north Delta above the Rio Vista Bridge towards Liberty Island with Fish Traps or swimbaits.
SAN JOAQUIN RIVER side — Striped bass remained scattered throughout the river system, but the warmer water temperatures should attract baitfish and the corresponding targeted species of striped and largemouth bass. Swimbaits produced a few small legal stripers near False River. Largemouth bass are located in the shallows from Mildred Island south with rip baits, spinnerbaits, or the Berkley Havoc Flat Dawg on a Zappu Head. Panfish slowed with the rainstorms with few bank fishermen willing to get soaked for red eared perch, bluegill or crappie. The action should be back to normal for panfish with jumbo red worms, wax worms, or mini-crawlers near the bridge along King Island and Paradise off of Eight Mile Road, Whiskey Slough southwest of Stockton, or in Clifton Court Forebay.
NORTH COAST RIVERS
CHETCO RIVER, Oregon — Fishing was pretty much wide open as the storm began to hit on Friday, and by Saturday, the river was blown out and muddy, according to WON Field Reporter and guide Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing. On Friday, Martin said his clients hooked 13 steelhead while drifting between Ice Box and Social Security, and during the drift, the river went from 500 cfs to 1800 cfs. On Saturday a.m. the river was up to 7,000 cfs. Earlier in the week, Sal Man of Oroville, fishing from the bank, caught and released a steelhead well over 20 pounds. The fish was pushing 25 pounds and is the biggest steelhead caught so far on the Chetco. Guide Harvey Young of Fishawk River Company said that boats were averaging 4 fish a day, but went to 5 to 10 a day for better anglers and guides.
COQUILLE RIVER, Powers, Oregon — “On my birthday, Feb. 9, the winter steelhead fishing was awesome from Haze down to the takeout at 7 mile,” said guide Curtis Palmer of River Secrets. “A friend and fellow guide on many of the rivers I fish said that by afternoon the brownish tinted water was a dark green color and the fish were biting even harder. Jorge told me that they boated 16 steelhead and had tagged out the boat with their limit of hatchery steelhead. He followed up quickly with fish number for other boats, and there all in the teens, as well.”
EEL RIVER — The Eel was still just below low flow closure numbers on Saturday, “but it always has a long delay in terms of when it starts to climb after rain starts, and it'll be over the minimum in a matter of hours,” said guide Tony Sepulveda of Green Water Adventures. “The Eel got a splash of rain last week, bumping flows to just over 600 cfs and ushering in a legendary flood of steelhead. Most of the pressure was from bank anglers and hundreds of fish were landed. Average scores fell into the obscene category with 20 hookups per rod not uncommon.”
MAD RIVER — Well over minimum numbers for low flow closures, said guide Tony Sepulveda of Green Water Adventures. “The Mad gave up big numbers of steelhead the first day it opened to fishing. Every depression from the hatchery to tidewater was loaded and the fish devoured anything thrown in their direction. Spinners and spoons were a great option, as it was difficult to drift a bait with the lack of current.”
REDWOOD CREEK — Redwood creek was well over low flow numbers on the weekend and was expected to be open to fishing this week, according to guide Tony Sepulveda of Green Water Adventures.
RUSSIAN RIVER — The Fish and Game Commission issued the following statement prior to the rains, but it had not been approved—hence not in effect—by the Office of Law Administration: “2. Closure of the Russian River main stem below the confluence of the East Branch of the Russian River until April 30.” According to Scott Heemstra of King’s Sport and Tackle in Guerneville, “We’re not sure what the rain is going to do to the closure status. The Russian, as of now (Saturday) is blown out and rapidly rising. Fishing was excellent until today. Won't know much until early next week.”
SMITH RIVER — The report from guide Phil Desautel of Phil’s Smiling Salmon Guide Service was great, even before the rains. Although shallow and a “boat pounder,” guides had good fishing all week. Carl Logan of San Leandro went 2 for 3 on Tuesday andWednesday with Desautel, landing and releasing native steelhead 7 to 9 pounds. “He basically caught fish in the same 3 spots two days in a row,” said Desautel. It started raining Thursday, rained hard on Friday and the river came up a little over 6 feet bySaturday morning. Plunkers did well for the first time this year. On Sunday, Glen Hanko from Crescent City and Andy Fowllers of Garberville fished with Desautel and went 3 for 5 with 1 native hen that was released and 2 hatchery hens that were retained. Both fish were caught on orange Fish Pills and Eggs.
UMPQUA RIVER, Elkton, Oregon — Guide Randy Wells of Oregon Fishing Adventure said flow increases brought in the steelhead big time, and he predicted the river to be in good condition on Feb. 10. It was good action before that for Wells, when he took Russ Nodder and his wife Gail from Mokelumne Hill, Ca., fishing on the main stem and they hooked fish, lost fish, landed fish and released fish. WON Field Reporter and guide Curtis Palmer confirmed the good fishing, and said that Chad and Daniel, owners of Willamette Outfitters on the lower Umpqua, caught 30-plus steelhead on one day last week while fishing from Sawyer Rapids to Scott’s Creek boat ramp using yarn.
UMPQUA RIVER, North Fork, Roseburg, Oregon — Guide Curtis Palmer of River Secrets only found one boat of anglers that fished the river below the Winchester Dam last week, and while they did catch one hatchery steelhead aboe Hessness Boat Ramp on roe, they were disappointed overall with 2 steelies and one missed bite. By Sunday afternoon the river was rising and brown.
KLAMATH RIVER, Iron Gate — Even with the rains, the river remained in fishable condition from Iron Gate Dam down to the Salmon River. However, the river is muddy below that point down to the mouth. Adult steelhead to about 5 pounds were still being caught on flies, small Hot Shots, crawdad plugs, drifted nightcrawlers, Glo-Bugs and roe.
TRINITY RIVER — The Trinity below the North Fork was high and off-color, but if the rains stop, fishing conditions should be good downstream from there by this weekend. And, in news to stoke the pulse rate of steelheaders, fresh steelhead were showing up in the upper reaches of the Trinity even before the latest rains hit. Instead of a fishery in which 80 percent of the fish being caught were dark and had been in the river awhile, the ratio flipped by the end of the week to where 80 percent were bright and freshly-arrived. Good anglers working from driftboats were hooking as many as eight steelies an outing. Some of the better flies were poxy-back hare’s ears, golden stones, egg patterns, and red copper Johns. Spin fishermen were backtrolling Hot Shots and drifting roe.
FEATHER RIVER — Some steelhead continued to be caught at the upper end of the Low Flow Section, mostly above the Highway 70 Bridge. Fly fishers were scoring on small nymphs and egg patterns, but spin fishermen were doing better by drifting nightcrawlers. Downstream, the river is very muddy from draining rice fields through Jack Slough above the Tenth Street Bridge.
RANCHO SECO LAKE — Trout fishing continued to be good by soaking Power Bait and nightcrawlers, and trolling with Kastmasters, small, jointed Rapalas, and wooly buggers on sinking fly lines.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Sacramento — Some schoolie striped bass were being caught in the Deep Water Channel, but fishing might be good one day, poor the next as bait concentrations moved around. The Turning Basin continued to be the best bet with boaters trolling deep-diving plugs right at the bottom having the most success. Sturgeon fishing continued to improve as the river rose with Clarksburg and Courtland the two best spots last week.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Redding — The river was still fishable at Redding, but out of commission downstream because of tributaries dumping mud. Anglers were still doing well on quality, but not numbers on nymphs dead-drifted under indicators, and side-drifted night-crawlers and Glo-Bugs.
YUBA RIVER — Fishing for trout was good with Sqwalas hatching. However, the rains cooler weather has temporarily suppressed the hatch, so fish have returned to nymphs. The dry fly bite should return after the weather settles down.
BOCA LAKE — The lake is at 13-percent capacity. Mountain Hardware and Sports reported that ice conditions here were deteriorating rapidly with the rain and open water was beginning to show in some sections of the lake. Icefishing was no longer recommended.
CAPLES LAKE — The lake is at 57-percent capacity. John Voss at Caples Lake Resort reported there was still 1 1/2-foot of ice with a coating of 3 feet of fresh snow from the storm this past weekend. Fishing before the storm was good at the dam and spillway. Check road conditions before heading this way with poor weather in the forecast for most of this week.
CARSON RIVER (East) — Todd Sodaro at Todd’s Bait and Tackle at the Creekside Lodge reported that the river was blown out with heavy runoff from the storm.
DAVIS LAKE — The lake is at 64-percent capacity. Ed Dillard reported that the area had only seen a couple inches of rain bySunday morning—no snow! Shore fishing at Mallard Point was good this past week for big chunky rainbows running 18 to 21 inches. Berkley Gulp! Power Eggs and Turbo with Extra Scent Power Bait were working well. Use a long rod with a 1/2- to 3/4-ounce weight and cast 120 to 150 feet from shore to get into deep enough water to consistently find fish. The rain should rid the lake of ice at Camp 5 and Honker Cove, so boat launching could be available soon.
DONNER LAKE — The lake is at 39-percent capacity. The lake was open with no ice and rainbows were hitting at the west end boat ramp docks and along Donner Pass Road at the public piers.
FRENCHMAN LAKE — The lake is at 49-percent capacity. Wiggins Trading Post reported the lake was almost ice-free after receiving 3 inches of rain this past weekend. Before the storm, fishing was good at the dam, Ship’s Cove, and Lunker Point. One flyfisherman cast woolly buggers toward the edge of the ice in Big Cove and caught 5 trout in an hour. The roads were open around the lake, but 4-wheel drive was recommended due to muddy conditions brought on by the rain.
ICE HOUSE RESERVOIR — The lake is at 57-percent capacity. Rain and some snow hit the area late this past week and no one was fishing. More weather was in the forecast for this week, so call the Pacific Ranger Station for the latest road conditions at 530-647-5400.
INDIAN CREEK RESERVOIR — Todd Sodaro at Todd’s Bait and Tackle at the Creekside Lodge reported that the heavy rains had melted most of the snow and the roads to the lake were clear. No one was fishing in the poor weather.
JENKINSON LAKE (Sly Park) — The lake is at 63-percent capacity. Heavy rain this past weekend kept sane anglers near the wood stove. Before the rain, planters and a few small macks were coming in from the first dam for shore anglers using nightcrawler/marshmallows
LAKE TAHOE — Heavy, slushy snow and rain at lake level shut down the fishing this past week. Chuck Self at Chuck’s Charter Fishing, Mickey Daniels at Big Mack Charters, and Mike Nielsen at Tahoe Topliners Sportfishing cancelled all their trips due to the poor weather.
PROSSER LAKE — The lake is at 23-percent capacity. Icefishing was still good at the dam before the storm through 12 inches of ice. After the rains hit, the ice melted to 6 inches thick and was unstable, so Mountain Hardware and Sports recommended that icefishing cease until further notice. If it gets cold enough to refreeze the ice, fishing could resume—call ahead to Brian Nylund at Mountain Hardware and Sports at 530-587-4844.
PYRAMID LAKE — Wind and rain played havoc with boaters on the opening weekend of the 27th Annual President’s Day Fishing Derby. All the fish weighed in over the weekend were caught by shore anglers—a 14-pound, 14.4-ounce cutthroat caught by Dave Rials was leading at press time. The 250 contestants were vying for the first place prize of a 14-foot Lund equipped with a 15 hp 4-stroke Yamaha motor and an E-Z-Loader trailer. The derby concludes next weekend, Feb. 15-16.
RED LAKE — Poor weather kept anglers out of the area. Before the snowstorm, icefishing was okay at the dam for a mix of brookies and cutthroats, according to Tahoe Fly Fishing Outfitters.
SILVER LAKE — The lake is at 14-percent capacity. The poor weather over the weekend kept anglers out of the area.
STAMPEDE RESERVOIR — The lake is at 48-percent capacity. Mountain Hardware and Sports reported that the rains had opened the road to the lake all the way to the boat ramp. Some small aluminum boats were launching before the storm and trolling for macks near the dam. Shore anglers were picking up a few fish off of and near the dam.
TOPAZ LAKE — Chuck Fields at Topaz Landing Marina reported that rains here were light but the lake had come up 10 inches—he still needed another 2 feet of water to begin launching small aluminum boats and 4 feet for larger boats.
TRUCKEE RIVER — Rainy and windy weather this past weekend made for little fishing pressure. On dry, overcast days you can expect to see baetis and BWO hatches coming off in the Farad and Reno/Sparks areas, otherwise it’s casting small midge nymphs into slower runs. The Little Truckee was accessible with rains clearing up the snow on the road between Boca and Stampede and flows were running just over 100 cfs—great for this time of year.
UNION VALLEY RESERVOIR — The lake is at 45-percent capacity. Ken Mathis at Ken’s Custom Tackle and Guide Service reported that the heavy rains had shut down access to the lake and no one was chancing a trip in such poor weather. Before the storm, trolling was good for 3- to 5-pound macks suspended over mid-lake humps.
BERKELEY — Perch fishers enjoyed the best action among local fishers, although private boats launched out of Berkeley to fish sturgeon and stripers in San Pablo Bay and the Carquinez Straits. Perchers did well near Point Richmond, catching pogies and rubberlip.
BODEGA BAY — Limits of heavy Dungeness crabs plus high counts of sanddabs from relatively shallow water kept anglers happy aboard New Sea Angler. Shore fishers near Fort Ross scored Cabazon and rockfish, but had to pick their days carefully, in order to fish safely.
EUREKA/CRESCENT CITY — Rain brought up river flows sufficiently to bring in the steelhead. Trinity River saw good action. Pier, dock and jetty snare-casters caught decent quantities of Dungeness crabs and red rock crabs. The herring spawn at Crescent City continued, but showed certain signs of dwindling.
FORT BRAGG — Crabbers in the harbor enjoyed a good week of catching escapee crabs which were mostly legals. Jetty fishers did very well on red tail perch. Up the coast at MacKerricher State Park, the rocky environs offered good options and primary catches were cabezon, greenling and rockfish.
HALF MOON BAY/PACIFICA — Crabs came in with the rain, treating snare casters and hoop netters to better than usual action. Jetty fishers found good action on blues, blacks and gopher cod to 2 pounds. Poke-pollers worked low tides for eels.
SAN FRANCISCO — Bucking the trend to stay at dock, Argo took a light load of anglers into San Pablo Bay and found good fishing for sturgeon to 48 inches and striped bass to 7 pounds. Ebb tide proved to be the best time and ghost shrimp the best bait.
SAN RAFAEL — Conditions put the area right in transition mode at press time. The week saw little fishing activity, however building tides and plenty of rain brought optimism to the boiling point. Near the Pumphouse, soaking baits, is the place to be for anglers wishing for sturgeon and stripers in San Pablo Bay.
VALLEJO — Sturgeon were specific about where they bit best, with up the river near Kennedy Park and Cuttings Wharf being the top spots. Striped bass, however, roamed the river system in hungry schools like wolf packs. Anglers who were soaking baits in the right place at the right time got into some doozies of a bite.
AMADOR LAKE – “Fishing for trout is good,” said Debbie Grayson at Lake Amador Store. Boaters are still using the one lane ramp to launch their boats. The annual trout derby ends on February 23 and anglers who had winning tags must be present to collect their prize.
CAMANCHE LAKE – Fishing for trout is good. Another 1,200 pounds of trout were planted last week, 600 pounds at the South Shore Trout Pond and 600 pounds at the South Shore ramp! Bank anglers are using a variety of Power Baits, lures, and jigs . The best area where trout were caught last week for boaters was upriver.
DON PEDRO RESERVOIR – The trout have scattered in the lower part of the lake. Best spots there remain Blue Oaks area and the back of Rogers Creek in the channel. Excel ladybug lure working with a white back. The bass fishing is still tough, but dart-heading Wright Baits brown and green Senko-type baits in 20 to 40 feet are working.
LAKE MCCLURE – Trout fishing is good with a fair bass bite. Jason Mello of A-1 Bait Shop in Snelling caught a bass on his first cast with a crawdad last week. A gal fishing at McClure point caught 3 trout on ‘crawlers and 3 bass on live minnows purchased at A-1 Bait Shop. Trollers were having great luck with Wedding Rings and ‘crawlers trolled over main lake points. One angler at Barretts Cove used crawdads to catch 7 catfish up to 4 pounds.
LAKE MCSWAIN – Bank fishing for trout has been slow but the trolling action for trout has been picking up. Denise Warwick at Lake McSwain Marina said “Trollers have been using purple Tomahawk and Rapala lures catching fish.” The bank fishing has been slow for trout. Jason Mello at A-1 Bait Shop in Snelling said, “One of my customers caught an easy limit of trout using a J-5 gold and black Rapala while trolling.”
LAKE PARDEE - Pardee Lake Recreation Area is opening up this weekend! The Park will reopen for the 2014 season Thursday February 13th for camping and the 14th for fishing.
NEW MELONES RESERVOIR – Trout and bass fishing is fair. With recent rain and cloud cover the fish seem to be drawn close to the shore. The creek channels and feeder creeks have some water flowing, creating a food source and adding oxygen to the area. The Department of Fish and Wildlife has had multiple plants of rainbow trout so far and has more scheduled. Bank anglers are catching fish off of Glory Hole Point and near the Tuttletown boat launch. There have been reports of some 10- to 13-inch kokanee being caught. The bass are on the move and best depth has been drop-shotting at 40 feet.
AMERICAN RIVER — With torrential rains hitting the area late this past week, runoff had raised the flows heading down to Folsom Lake. Hopefully this will help the American River hatchery operate longer due to concerns about warm water.
BULLARDS BAR — The lake is at 42-percent capacity. The lake had come up 2 feet with the rains and more was in the forecast. There was still no launching at Emerald Cove Marina, but Dark Day had a one-lane ramp open.
CAMP FAR WEST — The lake is at 22-percent capacity. Heavy rains this past week increased runoff flows in the Bear River and Rock Creek. Look for bass in the incoming water.
COLLINS LAKE — The lake was down 42 feet from full—up 5 feet from last week and still rising with all the rain. Trollers were doing well for limits of rainbows up at the bridge, while shore anglers continued to score at the dam and beach using Power Bait and worms—all before the rains came. Since then, the rains slowed the action and reduced fishing pressure to zero!
ENGLEBRIGHT RESERVOIR — The lake is at 90-percent capacity. No fishing pressure with all the rain and Skippers Cove Marina expected the lake to begin spilling this week.
FRENCH MEADOWS RESERVOIR — The lake is at 30-percent capacity. Heavy rains hit the region this past week, but no snow fell at this elevation. Only cartopper boats can launch, but few people were up with the poor weather. Shore fishing was okay around the dam before the weather settled in.
HELL HOLE RESERVOIR — The lake is at 40-percent capacity. The Georgetown Ranger Station reported that heavy rains had dumped 10 inches by Sunday and more was expected. Some small boaters were observed at the lake before the weather set in, but only cartoppers were recommended due to muddy conditions at the boat ramp. Fishing pressure was nil due to the rain.
LAKE OROVILLE — The lake is at 36-percent capacity. There were very heavy rains hitting the Feather River watershed amounting to over 10 inches in 2 days in some areas. The lake level rose 1 1/2 feet just on Sunday morning. Guide Ron Gandolfi suggested fishing incoming water where baitfish and game fish would be looking for food washing into the lake. Try spinnerbaits, flukes, tubes, light natural-colored worms (to imitate worms being washed into the lake), Senkos, and jigs.
ROLLINS LAKE — The lake is at 77-percent capacity. Ryan Drake at NID reported that trollers were picking up some planter rainbows on flasher/Wedding Ring/worms at Freeloaders Cove and the Bear River inlet before the heavy rains settled in late this past week. Boats can launch at Orchard Springs and Long Ravine.
SCOTT’S FLAT LAKE — The lake is at 68-percent capacity. Jim Caldwell at the marina reported that trollers picked up a few rainbows at the dam on flasher/worm combos before the storm. Launching was good at the marina and Cascade Shores.
SUGAR PINE RESERVOIR — Lots of rain in the area this past week. Access was good to the boat ramp and the lake was rising. There was no fishing pressure on the lake late this past week due to the rain.
STUMPY MEADOWS RESERVOIR — The lake is at 60-percent capacity. Only cartoppers can launch off the mud at the ramp. Little was happening here late this past week with the heavy rains.
THERMOLITO AFTERBAY — The lake was at 136.1-foot elevation and spilling over the outlet gate at press time. The heavy rains this past week kept anglers off the lake.
NORTH COAST LAKES
CLEAR LAKE — Fresh, warm rainwater will have fish on the move back to the murky shallower waters. Those pre-fishing for the season’s first tournament Sunday are putting in their time with the standard baits for this time of the year including Alabama rigs, crankbaits, swimbaits, drop-shots, shaky heads and jigs. By far the best bet for numbers of fish has been jumbo minnows rigged on a slip bobber, splitshot, or drop-shot rig. The first tourney of the season should give us an idea of how the season will play out.
LAKE BERRYESSA — A little bit of rain has turned the fishing around for now. Bass to 5 pounds were caught in the smaller creek channels on the main body and into the Narrows on spinnerbaits, LV500s and chatterbaits. The kings and trout are starting to slow up in the Putah Creek area and outside of Markley Cove around huge baitballs of shad.
LAKE SONOMA — The best bass areas have been Yorty Creek, Brush Creek and the Dry Creek arms from the 5 mph buoys back. The rain can only help the bite. Steelhead have been scattered waiting for rain, but should also be heading up the creek arms.
LAKE ALMANOR — Muddy waters coming out of the Hamilton Branch Power House will send everything packing and over to the west basin. Clarity will be much better from Prattville to Almanor West, also from Bunell Point north along the west side of the peninsula. Geritol Cove at Canyon Dam, rainbows are in there spawning so try chartreuse w/glitter Power Bait off the bottom, or salmon eggs. Just outside the log boom at Rec. 2 try white jigs, roe or suspended nightcrawlers.
BAUM LAKE — No new reports have come from here since the weather moved in but it would only have improved an already fair to good bite.
PIT RIVER — From Nov. 16 through the Friday preceding the last Saturday in April only artificial lures with barbless hooks may be used. Fishing has been mostly good. A little injection of warmer water and rain could get the insect hatches popping again. According The Fly Shop in Redding, think BWOs.
SHASTA LAKE — Now is your chance. The rain will put everything on the rise. Fish your strengths, as just about everything is working. Bass will be in the main body and secondary points for a few bass. Rotate your target zone in 15 to 20 feet and you will do well. Trout will be on top. -Western Outdoor News