FOLSOM LAKE — The lake has reached the 400-foot elevation, and the 5 mph limit no longer is in effect. However, be very careful, as there is quite a bit of debris in the water. Ramps are open at Granite Bay, and bass are getting close to wanting to spawn and increasingly coming into shallower water. They are being caught on minnows, reaction baits, Senkos, as well as slowly worked jigs and plastic worms. Planter trout were being caught from shore on worms and Power Bait, while trollers were catching some bigger fish trolling near the surface.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Sacramento — Striped bass were still being caught in the murky water, but sturgeon fishing was still a focus for many anglers. Bankies were using 10 to 12 ounces of weight. The best sturgeon fishing was off South River Road, Hood, Clarksburg and Courtland. Stripers were being caught at Bryte’s Beach and Verona.
SACRAMENTO, Tisdale — Sturgeon fishing was outstanding once again from Knight’s Landing to Colusa, and some anglers were hooking up multiple times an outing. Most fish were oversized though, and have to be released. The nightcrawler/ghost shrimp combo continued to be quite effective.
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COLLINS LAKE — The lake is 23 feet from full and scheduled for a DFW trout plant this week. Shore anglers continued to do well at the dam and Beach on Power Bait and worms, while trollers were running flasher/worms, Rapalas, and spoons in the channel from the bridge to the dam—look for clearer water for the best success. Bass fishing continued to be good as fish move into freshly flooded flats feeding and looking for spawning sites.
LAKE OROVILLE — The lake is at 43-percent capacity. Guide Ron Gandolfi reported that 50- to 80-fish days were possible with the excellent bass bite. Tubes were working very well on bass to 3 1/4 pounds on walls, points, and flats from 5 to 20 feet deep. There were debris booms in place in the upper reaches of the river arms, but big rafts of debris on the main body of the lake require boaters to use caution when running.
NORTH COAST RIVERS
CHETCO RIVER, Oregon — The Chetco was above 6,000 cfs all of last week and basically not fishable. It was slated to hit 21,000 cfs on Monday, according to guide Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing. It should be fishing again by Friday, but as always, call ahead. Fresh steelhead will be in the system, joining spawned out fish, when it gets back into shape.
COQUILLE RIVER, South Fork, Powers, Oregon — “Last Saturday was the only day that I found the South Fork Coquille fishable,” said WON Field Reporter and guide Curtis Palmer of River Secrets Guide Service. “Only a few other angler's thought it would fishon Saturday with the height of the river barely above 4 feet and a very murky olive color, and by the end of the day the river dropped all the way down to 3.5 feet and it's color was still very murky. Fishing started out slow for everyone and as the day progressed anglers were catching winter steelhead. There were close to a dozen driftboats on the water. I feel that the higher water conditions and low traffic played a big part in most angler's having a successful day with many opportunities at catching their limits.”
ELK RIVER, Oregon— The Elk River north of Brookings, Ore., fished very well last week when the other rivers were all blown out, but it also went too high with the ongoing rains and blew out over the weekend.
ROGUE RIVER, Gold Beach, Oregon — The lower Rogue River kicked our a few more early spring salmon last week, but it was running high and at 8,500 at Agness on Saturday, expected to crest at 29,000 cfs on Monday. It might be down to the “fishable” level of 6,000 cfs at Agness by the weekend. Steelhead fishing slowed, but a new batch could show up with the high flows.
SMITH RIVER — The Smith River is blown out, but on Saturday it was at 11 feet and about “perfect”, according to guide Harvey Young of Fishawk River Company, but the bite was tough with a few harbor seals in the river putting the munch on the steelhead.On Sunday the river went to 17.5, which is too high to fish. It should be fishable again by Tuesday or Wednesday with fresh and downer steelies. UMPQUA RIVER, North Fork, Glide, Oregon — The steelies are here, and with only a few boats on the emerald green waters of the North Umpqua River this last Sunday, “it made for exceptional days of relaxation and fishing,” said one of the few clients when WON Staffer Curtis Palmer of River Secrets asked how their day went. Jon Snow guide service caught 11 steelhead of the 14 hooked up on a full day trip with only a single client. Jon said that he was catching the fish on yarn balls one day and the next day he was using Pink Worms. The season is just now beginning to enter the peak.
UMPQUA RIVER, North Fork, Roseburg, Oregon — “Last week was a poor week for fishing the North Umpqua River in my opinion,” said guide Curtis Palmer of River Secrets. “It remained higher than most like to fish and remained constantly dirty with some debris being swept downstream. The river was supposed to crest at 10 feet some time early Monday, March 10. Projections are indicating that the North Umpqua will not fish until this coming Friday at the earliest.
UMPQUA RIVER, South Fork, Canyonville, Oregon — The South Umpqua River has been producing some nice steelhead for anglers fishing from shore as well as those in the driftboat, said WON Field Reporter and guide Curtis Palmer. The river was a tad bit high most of last week. The projection for the week of March 10 is looking like it will blow out and remain unfishable until Thursdayat the earliest.
KLAMATH RIVER, Iron Gate — This is about the only place in the Klamath/Trinity system that is fishable. Anglers can expect decent fishing conditions down to Klamathon and the possibility of catching a few small adults, along with halfpounders on flies, small Hot Shots, crawdad plugs, drifted nightcrawlers, Glo-Bugs and roe.
TRINITY RIVER, Junction City — The Trinity was fishable down to Douglas City, but that was all. The river was up and down all week, but a storm on Sunday brought more mud and water into the river from tributaries. New fish should show up in the upper river as the rains stop and tributaries drop and clear, and that should happen within a few days of the rains stopping. Call ahead.
AMERICAN RIVER — Anglers fishing below the closure line have been catching smolts between 8 and 10 inches long. Lots of fun, but should be released, whether or not the adipose fin is clipped indicating hatchery-origin fish. A few larger fish to about 4 pound were also being caught. It’s important to use very light line and try not to wade more than knee deep. Drifted nighcrawlers are the best bet, or fly fishers have a decent shot at steelies by dead-drifting San Juan worms, caddis nymphs, and alevin imitations. Try above and below faster water at Watt Ave. and River Bend Park.
FEATHER RIVER — It’s not fast fishing, but a few big striped bass were still being caught in the lower end of the Feather below Shanghai Bend. Shanghai Bend, Boyd’s Pump, Beer can Beach, and Verona were some of the better spots. Not much happening with respect to steelhead in the upper part of the river.
RANCHO SECO LAKE — It might take a couple of outings to hook into one, but giant bass, some weighing over 12 pounds are being caught in the shallows as they go on beds to spawn. Trout fishing was good, too, both from the bank and from boats (no gas engines allowed). There’s a trout derby coming up on March 28 and 29. Call the lake 209-748-2318 for more information.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Redding — Tributaries were dropping, but still were muddy and fishing was still concentrated in the Redding area. Fly fishers dead-drifted small caddis nymph imitations and spin fishermen drifted nightcrawlers.
YUBA RIVER—The river was still high but clearing, and trout were biting again, keying on the Sqwala stone flies still in the middle of the hatch. Dries like stimulators were still quite effective even in the off-color water.
BOCA LAKE — The lake is at 19-percent capacity. No real change here—fish at the dam or the inlet for some nice rainbows.
CAPLES LAKE — The lake is at 59-percent capacity. Caples Lake Resort reported that the ice was still 1 1/2 to 2 feet thick with a 2-foot blanket of snow for fishermen to auger through at the dam and spillway.
CARSON RIVER (East) — Todd Sodaro at Todd’s Bait and Tackle at the Creekside Lodge reported that with the warmer water temps—certainly uncharacteristic for this time of year—anglers casting a San Juan Worm below the confluence of Markleeville Creek should be able to score on a few holdover rainbows.
DAVIS LAKE — The lake is at 66-percent capacity. Guide Ed Dillard reported that the trout were exhibiting spawning behavior and cruising the shallows. Big schools of trout were stacked up at Grasshopper and Coot where they were providing wide-open action for flyfishermen—practice catch-and-release here folks!! Shore anglers were doing well on good numbers of 18- to 21-inch rainbows using Power Bait at Mallard Point. The Camp 5 ramp still doesn’t have a dock yet, though the USFS was planning on installing it soon, according to Dillard.
DONNER LAKE — The lake is at 53-percent capacity. Keith Zenker at Mountain Hardware and Sports reported that shore anglers were picking up a mix of smaller macks and planter rainbows on inflated nightcrawlers and Kastmaster spoons. Trollers were working under the bait schooled up in the middle of the lake or along the drop-offs at 30 to 40 feet deep for bigger macks using Lymans, big jointed Rapalas or Predators, and J-Plugs.
FRENCHMAN LAKE — The lake is at 50-percent capacity. Wiggins Trading Post reported that shore anglers were catching limits of nice rainbows at Lunker Point on worms and marshmallow/worms. The ramps at Lunker Point and Frenchman were open, but no docks were in place yet.
ICE HOUSE RESERVOIR — The lake is at 66-percent capacity. With easy access to the lake, trollers should be able to catch limits of small planter rainbows toplining dodger/worms, according to Kyle Neeser at Crystal Basin Tackle and Guide Service.
INDIAN CREEK RESERVOIR — Todd Sodaro at Todd’s Bait and Tackle at the Creekside Lodge reported that the gate on Airport Road was open and the lake was ice-free. Boats should be able to get on the lake. Shore fishing was best near the dam.
JENKINSON LAKE (Sly Park) — The lake is at 65-percent capacity and scheduled for a DFW trout plant this week. Sly Park Resort reported that anglers were still picking up a few macks and rainbows from shore despite the unsettled weather this past week.
LAKE TAHOE — Mike Nielsen at Tahoe Topliners Sportfishing reported that browns were hitting Scatter Raps and Laxee spoons in the shallows at South Shore, and 3- to 8 1/2-pound macks were hitting Storm ThunderStiks at 130 to 170 feet deep in the same area. A South Shore local jigged up a 38-inch Mackinaw at Tahoe City this past week.
PROSSER LAKE — The lake is at 33-percent capacity. Mountain Hardware and Sports reported that fishing was best at the dam and the old boat ramp across from the campgrounds for rainbows using Power Bait and worms.
PYRAMID LAKE — George Molino at Cutthroat Charters reported very good success trolling off Warrior Point this past week scoring 30 cutthroats to 10 1/2 pounds on red-dot frog, army truck, and rainbow trout Apex at 20 to 25 feet deep. Valarie Taylor at Crosby’s Lodge reported that the biggest fish caught this past week was a 17 3/4 pounder taken by Kevin Hurley while fishing from shore at the North Nets. Crosby’s weighed in 15 double-digit trout this past week, most of which were caught from shore on flies and jigs.
RED LAKE — Victor Babbitt at Tahoe Fly Fishing Outfitters reported that the lake should still be good for icefishing near the dam for a mix of brookies and cutthroats using worms, salmon eggs, and jigged Kastmaster spoons.
SILVER LAKE — The lake is at 22-percent capacity. By last report, open water was showing and icefishing was not recommended. Try shore fishing open water where available at accessible areas of the lake.
STAMPEDE RESERVOIR — The lake is at 49-percent capacity. With good access to the lake, shore anglers and trollers were fishing near the dam for a mix of rainbows, browns, and macks. Trollers need to meter for the activity level of the bait and gamefish and drop their lures to that depth.
TOPAZ LAKE — Chuck Fields at Topaz Landing Marina reported the County Park had opened their boat ramp to launching boats up to 16 feet. Topaz Landing Marina was able to launch 12-foot boats and would have rental boats available now that there was 2 feet of water under the docks. Fishing was slow by most reports.
TRUCKEE RIVER — With warmer water temps, the squala stones (size 8-10) and March browns (size 12-14) were active on the main river. Micro-stones (size 16-18) were hatching on the Little Truckee. Flows were 170 cfs through the Glenshire and 400 cfs below the Boca Outlet.
UNION VALLEY RESERVOIR — The lake is at 56-percent capacity. Ken Mathis at Ken’s Custom Tackle and Guide Service reported that the road to the ramp at the dam off Pea Vine Ridge Road was in very bad shape with big, muddy potholes making for a rough ride to the lake and possible trailer damage. Head up here at your own risk.
WEST WALKER RIVER — Sam Foster from the Northern Mono Chamber reported that the few anglers who were fishing were experiencing excellent flyfishing action for rainbow trout averaging 2 1/2 to 4 pounds. One pair of anglers managed to land 6 fish, but lost a bunch more, they were so hard to handle on light fly gear.
BODEGA BAY — Crab action remains solid for those willing to pull pots, and there has been solid sign of bait and birds in deep water northwest of the Farallon Islands. Epic salmon fishing occurred in 2013, and the opening weekend of April 5th is anticipated to be busy. Anglers are advised to make their party boat and camping reservations sooner than later.
EUREKA — With the low number of jacks in the Klamath Management Zone, the epic salmon seasons of the past three years may be shortened by a few weeks during the upcoming season. Big storms have been the rule, but the South Jetty is producing Cabazon, black rockfish, kelp greenling, lingcod to 8-pounds, and surf perch.
HALF MOON BAY — Crab/sanddab combinations or whale watching trips provided the only reason to leave the harbor, but boats willing to pull enough pots are finding limits of quality Dungeness. The water temperature offshore has been warm at 56 degrees, and mats of krill or brown salmon water have been absent so far. Isolated schools of sardines have been spotted.
SAN FRANCISCO BAY — Stripers are also found in the south bay near Kincaid’s along the San Mateo shoreline. Commercial halibut fishermen are starting to score enough of the flatfish to keep their interest. Surf perch solid near Sausalito, Richmond, and the Alameda Rockwall. Jack smelt are biting pile worms and grass shrimp at Crab Cove in Alameda.
SAN PABLO BAY — Sturgeon fishing remained solid in San Pablo Bay with fresh or frozen mud shrimp. The Pumphouse, China Camp, and Sonoma Creek are the top locations. Striped bass have moved into the bay, and linesides to 9 pounds have been landed on shrimp baits intended for sturgeon. Striper trollers are finding limits with worm-tailed jigs near the Marin Island.
SHELTER COVE — Big surf has limited shore fishermen, and this section of coastline will also be affected by the decisions regarding the Klamath Management Zone. Captain Trent Slate of Shelter Cove Sport Fishing is anticipating a solid season for both rockfish and salmon, and he is booked solid in July with openings in June, August, and September for this popular, but little-pressured, port. Captain Jared Morris of C’Mon Sport Fishing has a variety of open trips throughout the summer and fall months.
AMADOR LAKE – Trout fishing is good and the bass are starting to bite. Debbie Grayson at the Lake Amador Store said, “The Lake has come up over 21 feet and I can see the rental boats tied to the boathouse.” The bass are in 5 to 20 feet and hitting jigs. Larry Hemphill fished the lake last week on an evening trip and had a 5 fish limit that weighed 22 pounds. They planted 2,500-pounds of trout last week. Power Bait and ‘crawlers have been the most popular baits to use.
DON PEDRO RESERVOIR – Bass and trout fishing is fair. The trout are still near the shoreline and feeding in water 15 to 30 feet. Trout and salmon to 2 pounds have been caught at the upper end of Don Pedro Reservoir near Woods Creek slow rolling shad. Trolling blade/‘crawlers at 15 to 30 feet will catch a lot of fish. Colors of lures changes daily as red works one day and black the next. The bass moved off the bank with a lot of fish suspending during the storms, so it is swimbait time. There are still bass being caught on dartheads in 10 to 20 feet, but you have to cover lots of water to find them.
LAKE MCCLURE – Bass, trout and crappie are biting! Terry Mello at A-1 Bait Shop in Snelling said, “Not only is fishing good, but business has picked up, too.” Mello had heard about the PPK Spinners and bought 4 colors for the shop and anglers are using them with ‘crawlers to catch trout at McClure and McSwain. Bass are falling for plastics, crawdads and large minnows all over Lake McClure. There is some crappie being caught at Horseshoe Bend area.
LAKE MCSWAIN – Trout fishing is good. Victoria Sturtevant at the McSwain Marina said with the recent trout plant by Calaveras Trout Farm and Thursday’s plant by the California Department of Wildlife of 1,000 pounds of fish planted, fishermen are catching fish. Best spots for bank fishermen are the Handicapped Docks or the two points near the Marina with garlic chartreuse Power Bait and rainbow Power Bait, white Power Eggs. Trollers are catching fish around the dam, the Outhouse and upriver. Dodgers and ‘crawlers, Wedding Ring/’crawlers, Tomahawk spinners in chartreuse with a ‘crawler at 10 to 20 feet.
LAKE PARDEE – Fishing is good. Some of the better spots were the “Mud Hole”, Porcupine Point and Blue Herron Point. Plants continue to congregate in the Recreation Area and hang out there longer than usual. White Power Bait or eggs with garlic and orange Mice Tails along with ‘crawlers on a sliding sinker or a half full water bubble has been the best combos to use so far. Trollers continue to work the River Mouth and the Rock Wall; however the majority have headed up River towards Columbia Gulch and beyond. The fish are very near the surface currently at 5 to 15 feet. Three to five colors of lead core, trolling with beaded spinners, Uncle Larry’s pinkies and white/pink hoochies all behind a medium dodger have been working.
NEW MELONES RESERVOIR – Bass and trout fishing is just fair as the storm fronts move through. This cold weather will most likely put the bass out in deeper water on main lake structure. Try fishing points near the main lake that lead to shallow spawning bays and flats. With the new fresh water coming into the lake the trout bite should pick up a bit. Bank anglers are catching trout off of Glory Hole Point and near the Tuttletown boat launch. Power Bait and Gulp! Eggs fished off of the bottom or ‘crawler/mallow combo will work well. Catfish: Slow. The catfish are moving around eating whatever they find but the catching is slow.
AMERICAN RIVER — The Georgetown Ranger Station reported that few, if any, anglers were seen fishing.
BULLARDS BAR — The lake is at 55-percent capacity. The bass fishing was very good this past week with many 8- to 9-pound spotted bass caught along with lots of 2 to 4 pounders. Lures imitating a small kokanee worked the best—Senkos, swimbaits, spinnerbaits, and crankbaits. The fish were found moving up and down the points.
CAMP FAR WEST — The lake is at 46-percent capacity--muddy with little debris floating on the surface. Bass fishing was good for anglers using worms and jigs for fish to 5 1/2 pounds. Boat launching was good on the two-lane ramp at North Shore Resort.
ENGLEBRIGHT RESERVOIR — The lake is at 95-percent capacity. Trollers were catching 12- to 14-inch rainbows in the marina between the houseboats using flasher/worms.
FRENCH MEADOWS RESERVOIR — The lake is at 38-percent capacity. The roads were open, but boat launching was limited to cartoppers.
HELL HOLE RESERVOIR — The lake is at 51-percent capacity. The Georgetown Ranger Station said fishing was slow based on reports from both shore anglers and trollers that got skunked this past week. Only small boats can launch.
ROLLINS LAKE — The lake is at 99-percent capacity. Ryan Drake at Orchard Springs reported that shore fishermen and trollers were catching planter rainbows. The shore anglers were using inflated nightcrawlers, and the boaters did best with a flasher/Wedding Ring/worm combo at 18 to 22 feet deep. The rainbows averaged 12 to 14 inches with a few fish to 16 inches. The water color was good, but boaters need to use caution while running due to rafts of debris from Orchard Springs to the dam.
SCOTT’S FLAT LAKE — The lake is at 79-percent capacity. Jim Caldwell at the marina reported that trollers were still picking up a few planter-sized rainbows at the inlet using flasher/worm combos.
SUGAR PINE RESERVOIR — The Foresthill Ranger Station said that access was good and boat launching was available. Holdover rainbows were hitting for patient anglers.
STUMPY MEADOWS RESERVOIR — The lake is at 69-percent capacity. The Georgetown Ranger Station said cartop boats were able to launch, but a troller reported slow action.
THERMOLITO AFTERBAY — The lake was at the 135-foot elevation at press time—92-percent capacity. Bass should be moving toward the bank in pre-spawn mode. Look for big females in deep water near flats.
NORTH COAST LAKES
CLEAR LAKE — Jigs, worms, swimbaits, chatterbaits, rattlebaits and A-rigs have been common choices with a few crankbaits also being mentioned. Even with a low lake level there are no launching or navigation issues. If using live bait use light circle hooks (sizes 4 and 6) for safer catch and releases.
LAKE BERRYESSA — Bass have moved to the banks and the pre-spawn bite has begun. Find a good bite on all the usual springtime tackle such as A-rigs, swimbaits, jigs, drop-shot rigs and more for both smallmouth and largemouth bass.
LAKE SONOMA — Rain has muddied up the waters in the creek arms and the bass are responding with less clarity now. Target points, secondary points and transitions into the flats. In stained water work spinnerbaits, A-rigs and chatterbaits while covering water. With warming weather and waters bass are in shallow. Sort through a bunch of smaller males for larger females to release.
LAKE ALMANOR — Black/white Rapalas (imitating baitfish) are producing an excellent brown trout bite. Spring time trout fishing is here and so is the weather. Time to make plans to head this way.
BAUM LAKE — The Fly shop in Redding said to use a pontoon boat, float tube or pram here to target trout. Fishing has been good here especially on overcast or rainy days.
PIT RIVER — From Nov. 16 through the Friday proceeding the last Saturday in April only artificial lures with barbless hooks may be used. Watch out for increased flows below Lake Britton from March 16 to May 9 when PG&E increases the flow on the Pit 3 Reach of the river for planned maintenance at the powerhouse electric switchyard.
SHASTA LAKE — The bass fishing just took off. For larger bass and less dinks target main lake points with swimbaits in 6- to 7-inch sizes in a ghost rainbow pattern.
SACRAMENTO RIVER side — Heavy boat pressure put a damper on sturgeon fishing in Suisun Bay over the weekend, but most party boats and six-packs continued to find action for at least one keeper in addition to oversized and undersized diamondbacks. There is evidence that sturgeon are migrating into the deeper waters of the Carquinez Straits off of Ozol Pier. Salmon roe, grass shrimp, and eel remained the top baits, but most bait shops ran out of live bait over the weekend due to heavy demand. Prior to the arrival of muddy water, striper trolling was excellent from Rio Vista to Collinsville along the West Bank. Sturgeon fishing remained solid from above the Ryer Island Ferry through Hood, Clarksburg, and north to Freeport as the fish are on the move with the higher water flows.
SAN JOAQUIN RIVER side — Stripers and largemouth bass remained very active in the San Joaquin system but finding a large fish has been a challenge. For stripers, topwater lures remained a good choice on overcast days while 5-inch shad-patterned swimbaits are producing numbers. 8-inch Kincannon glide baits found their way into the mouths of massive largemouths in the north Delta in the Mokelumne River system while chatter baits worked over the weed lines, which was another productive technique. The largemouth and striped bass are moving quickly towards an early spawn. Red-eared perch and bluegill action has slowed down, but crappie fishing with medium minnows along Whiskey Slough Road has been solid. More and more keeper stripers are taken on frozen shad in the Old and Middle Rivers.
-Western Outdoor News