Fishing Line

Cooler temperatures entice salmon into Delta, rivers

Chinook salmon are moving up into north-state waterways in increasing numbers.
Chinook salmon are moving up into north-state waterways in increasing numbers. Sacramento Bee file

Here are the best places to fish in the Sacramento region, Northern California and beyond for the week of Sept. 5, 2016.

TOP PICKS

CARSON RIVER (East, West)

The East Carson and West Carson were stocked by the DFW this past week. Alpine County stocked 1,350 pounds of rainbow trout in the East Carson and 450 pounds in the West Carson last week. The rivers are loaded with trout. Todd Sodaro at Todd’s Bait and Tackle at the Creekside Lodge reported everyone was catching fish. Heenan Lake opened over the Labor Day weekend and anglers reported catching cutthroats to 23 inches.

DELTA REGION: Sacramento River

Cooler water temperature are drawing Chinook salmon up from the Golden Gate, and the action has improved in Suisun Bay and below the Freeport Bridge. The bite isn’t red hot, but a few fish per day are coming out of both locations. The striper action is also improving for trollers with deep-diving lures near Decker Island, but the fish range from shakers to barely-legal to 7 pounds. Liberty Island has cleared up somewhat, and live mudsuckers are starting to be effective once again. Smallmouth continue to hold in Steamboat and Miner Sloughs with deep-diving crankbaits or plastics on the drop-shot.The occasional sturgeon is taken on the main Sacramento off of Decker Island east to Grizzly Bay.

FEATHER RIVER

Salmon fishing has much improved on the river and especially at the Outlet Hole as well as near Boyd’s Pump, with many guides putting their clients on limits of bright fish. Boaters are back-trolling FlatFish with sardine wraps, or throwing Blue Fox of Flying C spinners. Good numbers of fresh kings were reported over the weekend. Stripers are being caught on artificial lures, such as swimbaits, near the Yuba City boat launch.

LAKE PARDEE

Kokanee are still an option with the landlocked sockeyes holding high in the water column in the main lake around the mouth of the river arm to the rockwall. Small Apex lures are working best at depths from 60 to 105 feet, and anglers have to work hard and long for limits of kokanee to 16 inches. Catfishing remains solid with chicken livers or nightcrawlers in the shallows while bass fishing is best with plastics or jigs on the bottom.

SACRAMENTO RIVER, Sacramento

Kings are being caught near Miller Park, Freeport and Garcia Bend on jigs as well as M2 FlatFish or K14 Kwikfish with sardine wraps. Fishing is slow but some boats are reporting up to two fish a day. Flying C spinners and Silvertron spinners also are tricking some salmon. Catfish are being caught near the Port of Sacramento.

NORTH COAST RIVERS

CHETCO RIVER, Brookings, Oregon

No salmon yet in the estuary, but hang on, they’re coming, usually in late September. Flows are 53 cfs and the river is low and clear. Bait is now allowed above tidewater, but salmon aren’t in the estuary or tidewater areas yet. Sea-run cutthroat fishing is slow.

COOS RIVER, Coos Bay, Oregon

The salmon fishing got an early start this year, and WON Field Reporter Andy Martin of Wild Rivers fishing has been on it almost daily and putting clients onto 3 to 6 hookups a day, but most average a fish a rod. Work the Marshfield Channel and Somar areas.

COQUILLE RIVER, Bandon, Oregon

It’s been good since late August on kings, and they’re spread out from Bullard’s Bar to Rocky point, and guide Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing has been catching them trolling plug-cut herring.

ROGUE RIVER, Gold Beach, Oregon

King salmon fishing in the estuary has been good for weeks and was good again last week but slowed over the weekend since cooling waters are drawing some of the salmon up the river towards Agness, where they’re being caught side-drifting and back-bouncing roe. River temps dropped to 66 degrees at Agness. Summer steelhead okay from Lobster Creek to Agness.

ROGUE RIVER, Grant’s Pass, Oregon

Salmon fishing is showing some signs of improving in this area as the weather has cooled a bit lately. The river water cooled and the fish holding in the estuary began shooting upriver, said Troy Whitaker at U-Save Tackle in Grants Pass.

SMITH RIVER

No salmon have been reported yet in the tidewater. Still a little early.

UMPQUA RIVER, Winchester, Oregon

Salmon fishing was good between Reeedsport and Winchester Bay, although action slowed down a bit the past week. A lot of the fish have moved upstream toward Elkton and Umpqua, according to guide Andy Martin.

TRINITY/KLAMATH RIVERS

KLAMATH RIVER, Hornbrook

No salmon have been reported near Hornbrook yet. Flows Sunday from Iron Gate Dam were 1,010 cfs. Trout fishing has been good at first light and again in the evenings, but the river will be out of shape for a few days. Nightcrawlers are working well, as are small plugs.

KLAMATH RIVER, Happy Camp

Smoky skies and road closures put a damper on the start of salmon season in the middle section of the Klamath. Highway 96 has been closed at times because of the Gap Fire, making access to the river difficult. Flows Sunday at Seiad Vallety were 1,150 cfs. Flows at Orleans were 1,600 cfs.

KLAMATH RIVER, Klamath Glen

The 555-fish adult king salmon quota has been filled for the lower Klamath below Highway 96. Anglers can still keep two jack salmon less than 22 inches a day, but fishing for jacks has been poor. Very few adult kings, which now must be released, are being caught. Flows over the weekend at Terwer near the mouth were 3,040 cfs.

TRINITY RIVER

Salmon fishing has improved on both ends of the Trinity as flows have increased from Lewiston Dam to cool water in the lower Klamath. Flows Sunday at Lewiston were 1,200 cfs, with a water temperature of 51.2 degrees, while flows at Douglas City were 1,170 cfs. Flows at Hoopa were 2,180 cfs. Salmon have been biting roe and tuna balls, while drift boaters also have been using plugs with the better flows on the upper river. Fresh salmon from the Klamath River should arrive in the next couple of weeks.

NORTH COAST LAKES

LAKE BERRYESSA

Find the balls of bait and find some trout. Bass fishing is still fair in the early mornings on surface plugs.

BLAKE BUTTE LAKE

Anglers are catching only a few bass, but they are catching more squawfish than anything.

BLUE LAKES

Trout fishing is slow.

CLEAR LAKE

Bass fishing remains good with lots of small limits and an occasional fish over 3 pounds. Catches are being made on most every type of lure and some anglers are catching 30 to 60 fish a day.

LAKE PILLSBURY

Anglers are catching only a few bass and trout, with low water.

LAKE SONOMA

Fishing has been slow, with too much activity by waterskiers.

FAR NORTH LAKES AND RIVERS

LAKE ALMANOR

Fishing has been good for both rainbow and brown trout with the best catches made mostly in the east basin.

BAUM LAKE

Fishing has been slow.

BUCKS LAKE

Trollers are getting fair action on kokanee, rainbows and mackinaw with a variety of lures.

HAT CREEK

Slow to fair trout fishing for fly anglers.

LEWISTON LAKE

Fishing has been fair to good for trout and kokanee, said Louise Baghin at Pine Cove Marina. Anglers are scoring with trolled lures, bait and even flies. Fish up to 2 1/2 pounds are being caught. The water level is dropping with releases from the dam.

PIT RIVER

Fair fishing for fly anglers.

SHASTA LAKE

Trollers are pulling hoochies and Rapalas to haul in trout from around 70 feet deep. Bass action is fair to good on topwater plugs early and late in the day, and crawdads or shad in midday hours.

TRINITY LAKE

Fish are deep, as much as 100 feet, so you have to get downriggers to great depths to get action on trout.

WHISKEYTOWN RESERVOIR

Trolling continues to produce fair to good kokanee action.

MOTHERLODE

LAKE AMADOR

The Tackle Box Café will be closed for vacation from September 5 until October 22 when Mt. Lassen Hatchery rainbows are anticipated to be released into the lake. The swim pond is also closed for the season, and it will reopen on Memorial Day 2017. Bass or catfish remain the top species, and the warm water fish will dominate until the trout plants start.

LAKE CAMANCHE

The rainbow bite goes on despite heavy boat traffic over the Labor Day holiday. The rainbows remain concentrated at the dam, and with the holiday boat traffic, they dropped below the 50-foot mark. Shad-patterned heavy spoons on a fast-troll are the top technique for trout to 4 pounds. Catfishing continues to be solid with live crawdads, nightcrawlers, sardines, or chicken livers from the banks during the evening hours while bass fishing is best crawdad-patterned jigs or deep-diving crankbaits at depths to 25 feet. Crappie fishing has slowed considerably with the slabs holding inside of specific trees. The lake remains high at 72% of capacity.

DON PEDRO

Most trollers targeting rainbow trout and king salmon up the river arm. The kokanee are all but done for the season, and few fishermen have been trying for the landlocked sockeye over the past months. Bass fishing has slowed with a minimal reaction bite. Limited numbers are taken on plastics on the drop-shot. The lake has dropped to 67% of capacity.

LAKE MCCLURE

The lake continues to drop, and it is currently at 42% of capacity. The recreational boating was heavy over the holiday weekend, but fishing boats should dominate the lake in the coming weeks. There is a night bite under lights for crappie, bass, and rainbow trout with live medium minnows, nightcrawlers, or trout dough bait. Catfishing is good with frozen shad, sardines, or anchovies from the shorelines with muddy, sloping banks.

LAKE MCSWAIN

Trout fishing is still an option after the heavy plant a few weeks back, but the best times are prior to 10:00 a.m. or after 7:00 p.m. Garlic trout dough bait, red Power Eggs, or red dough bait are the best bets from the banks while chrome/blue Kastmasters are a staple for casters. Trollers are scoring with blade/crawler combinations or chrome/blue Kastmasters near the upper dam in the colder water in the lake.

NEW HOGAN

Boils continue to break out on the surface, and both striped and largemouth bass are chasing the small shad for a few seconds up to over a minute. 6-inch white ice or pearl white flukes are the top lures since the bass are avoiding topwater lures. Boaters and jetskiers took over the lake on the holiday weekend, but fishermen should have the lake to themselves in the near future. The boiling bass will be a memory within a few weeks as the night temperatures continue to drop.

NEW MELONES

The kokanee bite has slowed to a crawl along with the rainbow trout action, but once a fish decides to bite, it is quality with kokanee over 2 pounds and rainbows over 4 pounds. The best action remains in the deep waters of the middle of the main river channel. The kokanee should be making their move up the river arm within the next weeks. Catfishing is the best option on the lake with frozen shad, mackerel, or sardines in the mornings, evenings, or during the night. Fishing under submersible lights is producing rainbow trout, crappie, or catfish with live minnow, nightcrawlers, or trout dough bait. Crappie fishing has slowed with a few slabs holding in the trees. The Glory Hole concrete launch ramp will be out of the water onto the dirt road once the lake drops another foot to 865 feet in elevation. The courtesy dock will remain although the ramp is on the dirt.

PINECREST LAKE

Regular trout plants occur each week on Thursdays or Friday, and a plant occurred once again this week. Trollers are finding the best action at depths to 50 feet with blade/’crawler combinations for the planters. Bank fishing has been slow, but it should improve with the cooler nighttime temperatures bringing the fish closer to the surface.

SIERRA LAKES AND RIVERS

BOCA LAKE

The lake is at 32.5-percent capacity. With the lake so low, launching is dangerous due to muddy conditions. The kokanee bite was done anyway with the fish already turning.

CAPLES LAKE

The lake is at 72.7-percent capacity. Caples Lake Resort reported the best action was at the dam using worms and Panther Martins.

DAVIS LAKE

The lake is at 58-percent capacity. Ed Dillard at Dillard Guided Fishing reported fishing was still very slow with anglers only catching a fish or two from shore or trolling.

DONNER LAKE

The lake is at 73-percent capacity. James Netzel at Tight Lines Guide Service reported kokanee trolling was good with lots of small fish hitting RMT dodgers and RGT hoochies. Mountain Hardware and Sports reported macks were hitting at China Cove and out in front of the boat launch. The bigger fish were feeding on kokanee at China Cove and planter rainbows at the boat ramp.

FEATHER RIVER CANYON

Mike Hanson at Caribou Crossroads Resort reported experienced anglers were catching some native trout in the East Branch, in the North Fork above the campgrounds, and at Caribou Powerhouse Reservoir. Float tubers were catching some 18-inch trout in the late evening at Butt Valley Lake.

FRENCHMAN LAKE

The lake is at 33-percent capacity. Wiggins Trading Post reported shore anglers were picking up three or four 14- to 16-inch rainbows each at the dam using nightcrawlers and floating dough bait. Only small aluminum boats, kayaks, and canoes can launch at the ramp.

GOLD LAKES BASIN

Mountain Hardware and Sports reported the boat ramp at Gold Lake had reopened. Fishing in all the Basin lakes was slow.

ICE HOUSE RESERVOIR

The lake is at 79-percent capacity. Rainbows to 2 pounds were hitting a dodger/’crawler combo at 25 feet deep.

INDIAN CREEK RESERVOIR

With the double plants in the Carson River, fishing pressure here was nil.

JACKSON MEADOW RESERVOIR

The lake is at 68.8-percent capacity. Mountain Hardware and Sports reported an employee fished the lake for 2 days and only caught one 4- to 5-pound brown trout, otherwise fishing was slow.

JENKINSON LAKE (Sly Park)

The lake is at 85-percent capacity. Sly Park Resort reported there were some bass being caught up in the Narrows away from the main body madness where recreational boaters had the water whipped up to a froth.

LAKE TAHOE

Chuck Self at Chuck’s Charter Fishing reported he was catching near limits of 3- to 9-pound macks trolling 140 to 180 feet deep before the sun hit the water and out to 350 feet deep after sunrise. Self was working the North Shore from Flick Point to Crystal Bay Point. Mike Nielsen at Tahoe Topliners Sportfishing reported he was catching limits of 2- to 6-pound macks trolling 190- to 220-feet deep along South Shore. Zach Gordon at Tahoe Sportfishing said the fleet was catching 20 to 30 kokanee (on morning trips) running mostly 10 to 14 inches with the occasional fish at 16 to 18 inches trolling flasher/Wedding Ring/corn combos at 100 feet deep between the Keys and Camp Rich. Boats after macks were running to Sugar Pine Point and mooching live minnows at 150 to 200 feet deep for near limits of 2 to 4 pounders. The macks were stacking up on the points staging for the spawn.

LOON LAKE

The lake is at 70-percent capacity. Kyle Neeser at Crystal Basin Tackle and Guide Service reported a pro-staffer visited the lake this past week and caught easy limits of rainbows to 2 pounds on a dodger with a white spinner tipped with a piece of nightcrawler at 25 to 35 feet deep.

PROSSER LAKE

The lake is at 52.3-percent capacity. With no trout plants in this lake in over a year, trout fishing was very slow. The best bet still was the smallmouth bass fishing near the dam.

RED LAKE

The best bet here was fishing worms off the dam for cutthroats.

SILVER LAKE

The lake is at 69.9-percent capacity. Try fishing off the dam for DFW planter rainbows.

STAMPEDE RESERVOIR

The lake is at 39-percent capacity. According to Mountain Hardware and Sports fishing pressure here was light. Some kokanee were being caught at the mouths of the Little Truckee and Davies Creek arms near the bottom using dodger/hoochies. Boats were still able to launch, but the water was getting close to end of the concrete.

TOPAZ LAKE

The water level in Topaz Landing Marina was still around 19 feet deep. Fishing was very slow due to the hot, windy weather and HEAVY recreational boat and watercraft traffic on the lake over the Labor Day weekend.

TRUCKEE RIVER

The Little Truckee along Hwy 89 was stocked by the DFW this past week. Flyfishing in the main river remained decent from the Boca Outlet to Stateline where flows were still good. Above the Boca Outlet, flows were very low.

UNION VALLEY RESERVOIR

The lake is at 72-percent capacity. Dale Daneman at Dale’s Foothill Fishing Service reported the trout and kokanee were still hitting near the dam, powerhouse, and Peninsula Point

WEST WALKER RIVER

The Little Walker and West Walker at Pickel Meadows and the canyon were stocked by the DFW this past week. Sam Foster at the Toiyabe Motel reported anglers were catching plenty of the 10- to 12-inch DFW planters on bait. The West Walker Motel said folks were getting “bored catching so many fish” at Pickel Meadows and in the canyon—all DFW planters. The Northern Mono County Chamber of Commerce will stock 400 pounds of 1- to 1 1/2-pound rainbows on September 15.

DELTA REGION

SAN JOAQUIN RIVER

Largemouth bass remain king on the San Joaquin-Delta, and the fish prefer crawdad-patterned baits bounced off of the rocks or tules. The ima Pinjack in red/white or chartreuse belly has been good for largemouth bass while the 4-inch Optima AA 4-inch Bubba Shad in white with a chartreuse tail for linesides is working on the striper schools. There are packs of small stripers roaming the surface chasing bait. Bluegill continue to be good in Whiskey Slough or off of Bacon Island Road with red worms. Antioch-area bait shops have obtained grass shrimp for the first time in months. Fresh shad continues to be available in Stockton-area bait shops.

SACRAMENTO VALLEY

AMERICAN RIVER

Salmon fishing went from zero to a few, and some kings are being caught on beads below the hatchery. Flows over the weekend remains around 2,000 cfs.

FOLSOM LAKE

The lake dropped one foot last week, from 395 feet to 394 feet. The Hobie Cove ramp at Brown’s Ravine and Granite Bay’s low water ramp are open. The Folsom Point, Rattlesnake and Peninsula ramps are closed. The lake now has a 5 mph speed limit. The water temperature was 79 degrees on Sunday. Trout and landlocked salmon fishing has slowed. Bass anglers are fishing suspended fish on the offshore rockpiles, 25 to 35 feet down. Drop-shot rigs with 3-inch plastics are working best.

SACRAMENTO RIVER, Dunsmuir

Flows held steady last week at 198 cfs at the Delta gauge. Bait anglers are doing well for planted rainbows around Dunsmuir, where small spinners such as Rooster Tails also are working well. The river has been planted by the Department of Fish and Wildlife.

SACRAMENTO RIVER, Red Bluff to Colusa

Salmon fishing is slow to fair between Red Bluff and Los Molinos, while Woodson Bridge also has been slow. T55 FlatFish with sardine wraps are outfishing roe. Guides are reporting zero to two fish a day and many have moved to the Feather where fishing is better.

SACRAMENTO RIVER, Redding to Red Bluff

Flows Sunday at Keswick Dam were 10,000 cfs. Salmon fishing remains poor at the Barge Hole. Trout fishing has been very good from Redding to Anderson. Roe and crickets are working for bait fishermen, while fly anglers are enjoying afternoon hatches.

SACRAMENTO RIVER, Verona to Colusa

Salmon fishing has been slow, but some kings are being caught by anglers anchoring near Verona and running M2 FlatFish with sardine wraps or Silvertron spinners. Fishing for catfish was fair last week at First and Second Beach at Knight’s Landing, as well as behind the wing dams at Verona. Chicken liver, pile worms and salmon roe are working well. Night fishing has been best.

NORTHERN FOOTHILLS

AMERICAN RIVER

The Silver Fork and South Fork at Camp Sacramento were stocked by the DFW this past week.

BULLARDS BAR

The lake is at 70-percent capacity. Emerald Cove Marina reported the best bass bite was deep—40 to 60 feet deep where the big spots were feeding on schools of kokanee. The DFW stocked 70,000 fingerling kokes that make great bass forage!! The lake saw heavy recreational boat traffic over the Labor Day weekend.

CAMP FAR WEST

The lake is down to 40- to 45-percent capacity with one lane of the concrete launch ramp still in the use. Bass fishing was still pretty good. Bill Harris of Wheatland landed a personal best 8-pound largemouth on a grub.

COLLINS LAKE

The lake is 24 feet from full. Catfish to 14 pounds were still the number one fish being caught with the warm weather. Some trout were caught in the deep water at the dam or trolling 30 to 40 feet deep in the main channel. Guide Larry Hemphill fished for bass and did well using Roboworms and a topwater chugger on the offshore structure in the main body across from the marina. Hemphill caught largemouth bass to 2 1/2 pounds, and spots to 2 pounds.

ENGLEBRIGHT RESERVOIR

The lake is at 95-percent capacity. Skippers Cove Marina reported fishing was slow.

FRENCH MEADOWS RESERVOIR

The lake is at 72.7-percent capacity. The DFW stocked the lake a couple weeks ago, so there should be some decent action for rainbows off the shore and trolling.

HELL HOLE RESERVOIR

The lake is at 60.2-percent capacity. The Georgetown Ranger Station reported there were few campers or fishermen here, even over the busy Labor Day weekend.

LAKE OROVILLE

The lake is at 51-percent capacity—down another 9 feet this past week. Guide Ron Gandolfi reported the bass fishing was outstanding with lots of fish being caught on topwater in the early morning or on shady banks later in the day. Deep diving and lipless crankbaits were working well on steep walls and points, as were darthead worms and tubes worked 15 to 30 feet deep. Full day trips were producing 50-plus bass to 3 pounds with most running 1 3/4 to 2 pounds. Brett Brady at Bare Bones Guide Service reported salmon trolling was productive at the Green Bridge at 60 to 70 feet deep using white and green hoochies or 2-inch Power Minnows for 14 1/2- to 16 1/2-inch kings. Salmon were also found in the North Fork pushing pond smelt to the surface.

ROLLINS LAKE

The lake is at 89.5-percent capacity. There was HEAVY recreational boat traffic on the lake over the Labor Day weekend. Ryan Drake at NID reported good bass action using spoons, worms, and Senkos at 25 to 30 feet deep for fish to 3 1/2 pounds on the drop-offs near Greenhorn and the Peninsula Campground. Jim Rogan of Napa caught a 25-pound catfish on chicken livers—a personal best.

SCOTTS FLAT LAKE

The lake is at 79.2-percent capacity. Heavy recreational boat traffic over the Labor Day holiday slowed the fishing according to Jim Caldwell at NID. Only some small smallmouth bass were caught and no trout.

SUGAR PINE RESERVOIR

The Foresthill Ranger Station reported fishing here was slow.

STUMPY MEADOWS RESERVOIR

The lake is at 78-percent capacity. The Georgetown Ranger Station reported trollers were still catching a few trout at 35 to 40 feet deep on flasher/worms and Rapalas.

THERMALITO AFTERBAY

The lake was at 135.6-foot elevation at press time—93.3-percent capacity. Bruce Gibson at the Paradise Tackle Company reported the bass bite was pretty good throwing frogs and Senkos on the weed beds.

NORTH SALTWATER

BERKELEY

Considering the windy conditions, Happy Hooker opted to go salmon fishing and put 23 salmon aboard for 19 folks. California Dawn fished the Marin coast for most of the week, targeting lingcod and rockfish, then ran a shark trip and got limits of sevengill plus some leopard sharks.

BODEGA BAY

Salmon went wild and boats enjoyed limits of the shiny fish. New Sea Angler ran combo trips during which passengers often went home with a full limit of salmon, a full limit of rockfish and a lingcod or two apiece. Halibut action in Tomales Bay slowed with the wind-generated drop in water temps but there were still some flatties caught. Striped bass and perch prowled the surf zone near Lawson’s Landing.

EMERYVILLE

Plenty of boats made it out from Emeryville, wind or no wind. The fleet was divided with salmon duty handled efficiently by New Huck Finn, C-Gull II and Sundance, which tallied between a fish per rod and limits. Rockfish and lingcod trips were run by New Salmon Queen, Wet Spot, Tiger Fish and Sea Wolf.

EUREKA

So many good fishing stories came from the north coast. Albacore were caught early in the week aboard Scrimshaw, 50 miles offshore and several swordfish were spotted, with one hookup and bust-off. The final short salmon season was strong with fish to 20 pounds on Reel Steel and other boats. The wildest story of the week was a 70-pound white seabass caught right outside of Shelter Cove.

FORT BRAGG

Westport and MacKerricker Reef were hotspots where lingcod came readily and high counts of rockfish came up (often in the jaws of a lingcod) aboard Telstar and other boats. Shore fishers stayed in protected areas and managed kelp greenling, rockfish, cabezon and monkeyface prickleback eel.

HALF MOON BAY

Despite rough seas over Labor Day Weekend, Queen of Hearts gave anglers shots at awesome rockfishing below town. Half Moon Bay Harbor became stuffed with anchovies and locals are hoping salmon will follow. Striper fishing at Half Moon Bay and Pacifica has been decent at best during the day and considerably better from dusk untilmidnight.

SAN FRANCISCO

Weekend salmon fishing was good, with Lovely Martha getting 10 fish Saturday and 24 on Sunday. Flash and Flash II ran back-to-back shark trips deep into the South Bay to get high counts of leopards and other species.

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