Fishing Line

Salmon fishing improving in Sacramento River

Is there a beast like this big king salmon, taken from the Sacramento River and displayed by guide Dave Jacobs in 2002, waiting out there for you?
Is there a beast like this big king salmon, taken from the Sacramento River and displayed by guide Dave Jacobs in 2002, waiting out there for you? Special to The Sacramento Bee

Here are the best places to fish in the Sacramento region, Northern California and beyond for the week of Sept. 12, 2016.



Some kings are being caught on beads below the hatchery. Fishing was fair to good last week, according to Elkhorn Outdoor Sports and Sacramento Pro Tackle. Flows over the weekend remains around 1,800 cfs.

DELTA REGION: Sacramento River

The salmon bite off of the Benicia shoreline has improved greatly with up to 30-plus fish landed from the Dillon Point State Park on a daily basis. Finding a parking spot is nearly impossible on the weekends with over 200 fishermen tossing spinners from the shoreline. 1st Street has also improved despite windy conditions. The striper action is also improving for trollers with deep-diving lures near Decker Island as well as shallow lures in Broad Slough, but small fish remain the rule. A few huge stripers to 30 pounds have been caught and kept near Decker Island, but these big fish are outliers. Smallmouth continue to hold in Steamboat and Miner Sloughs with deep-diving crankbaits or plastics on the drop-shot. Salmon action on the Old Sacramento is limited to a few fish per day for trollers.

DELTA REGION: San Joaquin River

Striped bass have flooded into the San Joaquin River near the mouth of the Mokelumne, and although the majority of fish are small, an occasional double-digit is taken on live bait. Anglers can locate the schools at depths to 30 feet with spoons such as P-Line’s Predator Minnows, but live bait of bluegill, jumbo minnows, or mudsuckers are producing the largest grade. The high winds over the weekend limited the largemouth bite, but 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. 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 continue to be available in Stockton-area bait shops.


Salmon fishing has been good at the Outlet Hole, as well between Shanghai Bend and Boyd’s Pump. Boaters are back-trolling FlatFish with sardine wraps, or Blue Fox or Flying C spinners. Trolling spinners downstream worked best last week, according to Jack Lightsey of Johnson’s Bait and Tackle. 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.


Kings are being caught near Miller Park, Freeport and Garcia Bend on jigs as well as M2 FlatFish or K14 Kwikfish with sardine wraps. Flying C spinners and Silvertron spinners also are tricking some salmon. Catfish are being caught near the Port of Sacramento.

SACRAMENTO RIVER, Verona to Colusa

Salmon fishing has improved near Verona, where anglers are trolling Blue Fox spinners, or M2 FlatFish or K14 Kwikfish. Several schools of fresh fish were reported over the weekend. Fishing for catfish is best 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.


CHETCO RIVER, Brookings, Oregon

Salmon have yet to show in the Chetco estuary. A few anglers have begun trolling, but don't expect many kings until the last week of September. Flows over the weekend were 52 cfs.

COOS RIVER, Coos Bay, Oregon

Salmon fishing has been good from the Chip Pile below the Highway 101 bridge clear up to the forks, according to guide Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing, who has been on the river daily since the end of August. The kings are running larger than average so far, with fish up to 30 pounds. Anglers are trolling herring with Fish Flash flashers.

COQUILLE RIVER, Bandon, Oregon

Fishing has been good near Rocky Point. Bigger tides this week are expected to pull even more fish into the river.

ROGUE RIVER, Gold Beach, Oregon

Salmon fishing has been fair in the bay, but most of the fish have moved upstream toward Agness, where anglers are side-drifting roe. Some fish are stacking up near the mouth of Indian Creek in the upper part of the bay. Expect coho salmon to show up anytime. Only hatchery coho can be kept. Wild or hatchery kings may be kept.

ROGUE RIVER, Shady Cove through Grant’s Pass, Oregon

Salmon fishing has definitely improved this week, said Troy Whitaker at U-Save Tackle in Grants Pass. Action has been posted from Taylor Canyon and upriver, with lots of fresh fish moving up. Anglers are bagging salmon on side-drifted yarn balls soaked in Pautzkey’s Nectar, or back bounced roe and sand shrimp. There are also plenty of steelhead now in the river, and the DFG brought a load of fish from the hatchery and stocked them near Robinson Creek. These fish ranged from about 16 inches to over 6 pounds. The steelies are being caught on small plugs, nightcrawlers and Corkies. The Hellgate boats are now closed for the season, so that has made it a lot better for the boat anglers.


A few jacks are now holding in the Bailey Hole and Bob Jake Hole. Fishing is best at first light. A few salmon also caught been caught by bank anglers at the mouth of the Smith.

UMPQUA RIVER, Elkton, Oregon

Some new kings were caught over the weekend near the jetties, but much of the fall run is now above Elkton. Silvers are now showing in the bay. Only hatchery silvers may be kept this fall. Wild or hatchery kings can be kept.



No salmon have been reported near Hornbrook yet, but expect the first catch of the year to occur this week or early next week. Flows Sunday from Iron Gate Dam were 1,000 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.


Few anglers have been fishing for salmon, but expect kings to arrive any time. Firefighting efforts continue to stall traffic on Highway 96, the main access route to the Klamath. Flows Sunday at Seiad Valley were 1,080 cfs. Flows at Orleans were 1,550 cfs.


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. Halfpounder steelhead are now plentiful in the lower river riffles. Flows over the weekend at Terwere near the mouth were 2,870 cfs.


Salmon fishing is once again slow on the Trinity, as anglers are now waiting for fresh kings to move in from the Klamath. With the mouth blocked again by the sand spit, it could be a while before big numbers of fall kings arrive on the Trinity. Flows Sunday at Lewiston were 1,020 cfs.



Smallmouth, largemouth and spotted bass are all offering good action this week in shallow waters, but trout fishing has been slow.


Fishing has been slow. A few bass are being caught but action is generally slow.


Trout fishing is poor as the DFG is not planting fish until the weather cools. Some bass fishing going on.


Bass fishing remains good on square-billed shallow running crank baits and the deep diving crankbaits, both of which require covering a lot of water and constant casting. The third pattern is targeting the deeper rock piles, ledges and drop-offs with a jig or plastics such as a shaky head or drop shot.


Fishing has been slow and the resort is closing for the winter.


Bass up to 3 pounds are serving up good action in waters 5 to 15 feet on spinnerbaits, shallow cranks and small swimbaits in shad patterns.



Trout anglers continue take a few rainbows and brown trout, with the east basin still the best area on trolled lures.


Trout fishing has been slow.


Fishing is starting to improve as the weather cools and the rainbows and browns move into shallower water. Kokanee fishing remains fair for trollers using pink-colored lures in about 30 feet of water.


Trout fishing has been poor for a couple of weeks, said guide Ron Beck. Most anglers have been lucky to catch one or two trout.


Good fly fishing on caddis flies.


Action for fly fishermen is pretty good early or late in the day on PMD’s.


Trout fishing has been very good on Power Baits, trolled silver spoons or dodger/worms combos.


Trout fishing is very good with rainbows, browns and brook trout being caught on a variety of lures and flies.


Fly fishing has been off and on most days, as it’s hard to wade with water levels fluctuating throughout the day.


Bass fishing remains fair off the secondary points in most areas of the lake. Anglers are using crankbaits in shad colors, drop-shotting plastic worms in shallow waters or tossing hula grubs. There is fair to good trout fishing on lures trolled 70 to 100 feet deep off the Shasta Caverns area.


Drop-shot techniques are also working well for bass anglers at Trinity Lake. Anglers are also taking fair numbers of bass on white spinnerbaits.


Fair to good catches of kokanee are being made by anglers trolling lures 10- to 40-feet deep with Apex lures trolled behind blades and pink or orange beads.



The Tackle Box Café will be closed for vacation from Sept. 5 until Oct. 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. Trout plants are anticipated by the end of October, and Mount Lassen Hatchery will again be the provider. At the current time, bass and catfish are the top species.


Bass fishing is improving as the water cools and boat pressure diminishes with the largemouths holding at depths to 18 feet with jigs in black/blue or brown/purple as the fish are feeding on crawdads. A 4-inch Senko in greenpumpkin on a drop-shot rig is also effective. Trout are still holding in the deepest water near the dam, but the fishing pressure has slowed in the past few weeks. Catfish are moving into the backs of coves, and chicken livers or nightcrawlers are working best. Crappie fishing has slowed considerably with the slabs holding inside of specific trees. The lake remains high at 71 percent of capacity.


Few reports and few trout or king salmon fishermen heading to the lake. The action should break out at some point in the fall, but for the current time, not much is happening. Bass fishing should improve as the water continues to cool. Limited numbers are taken on plastics on the drop-shot. The lake has dropped to 66% of capacity.


The lake continues to drop, and it is currently at 41 percent of capacity. There also have been few reports from this lake despite the launch ramps remaining open. The best news has been for anglers working for bass, catfish, crappie, or trout under lights near the houseboats. Catfish are still an option with frozen shad, sardines, or anchovies from the shorelines with muddy, sloping banks.


Striper fishermen continue to chase the boils, but there are signs that the linesides are starting to drop in the water column with fish found as deep as 25 feet with heavy Kastmasters. Flukes remain the top lure as the topwater bite has slowed. The boiling bass will be a memory within a few weeks as the night temperatures continue to drop. The lake is at 28 percent of capacity.


Catfish and crappie provide the best action with the kokanee changing and making their move up the river arm. Working the shallows with frozen shad, mackerel, or anchovies is best for the whiskerfish while soaking live minnows, nightcrawlers, or small swimbaits under lights bring out the best bite for crappie or rainbow trout. Bass are still suspended and working the bottom with plastic worms or jigs are the most consistent techniques. Glory Hole concrete launch ramp will be out of the water onto the dirt road once the lake drops to 865 feet in elevation. The courtesy dock will remain although the ramp is on the dirt.


The kokanee are rapidly changing to spawning conditions and making their move up the river arm in an attempt to successfully spawn. The fish are holding deep from 90 to 100 feet, but most kokanee fishermen are finishing up their season at this lake. Catfish are the best option from the banks with chicken livers or nightcrawlers. The trout bite should improve as cooling water temperatures bring them to the surface, but the resort closes until February during the first week of November.



Upper Blue Lake and Lower Blue Lake are scheduled for DFW trout plants this week.


The lake is at 26.9 percent capacity. With the boat ramp out of the water and launching off the bank through the mud a definite problem, there was very little happening here. Shore anglers were fishing for trout off the dam or the inlet.


The lake is at 69.5 percent capacity and is scheduled for a DFW trout plant this week. Nearby Woods Lake is also scheduled for a DFW trout plant. Caples Lake Resort reported the best shore action was at the dam and near the resort.


Alpine County will stock 1,800 pounds of rainbows in the East Carson this week — flows in the West Carson were too low to allow a plant. Everyone was catching limits of rainbows, according to Todd Sodaro at Todd’s Bait and Tackle at the Creekside Lodge. Alpine County will also stock Alpine Lake with 1800 pounds of rainbows this week.


The lake is at 58 percent capacity. Ed Dillard at Dillard Guided Fishing reported trollers were catching two or three rainbows per day between the small island and the dam using red-dot frog Needlefish and copper/redhead Wee Dick Nite spoons at 18 feet deep. The lake level was holding and all size boats could still launch at Honker Cove.


The lake is at 60 percent capacity and scheduled for a DFW trout plant this week. James Netzel at Tight Lines Guide Service reported his clients were catching limits of 11- to 13 1/2-inch kokanee on orange Radical Glow Tubes behind a Rocky Mountain dodger at 25 to 55 feet deep at China Cove and in front of the boat ramp. Schools of fish metered deeper were being herded by macks.


Mike Hanson at Caribou Crossroads Resort reported fishing on the North Fork was very slow though experienced anglers were picking up some trout in the East Branch and at the Caribou Powerhouse Reservoir.


The lake is at 33 percent capacity. Wiggins Trading Post reported trollers and shore fishermen were doing well as the water temp dropped with colder nights. Trollers getting out early in the morning were catching near limits of 12- to 14-inch rainbows on yellow watermelon or metallic watermelon Needlefish, brass/red head Dick Nite spoons, and flasher/worms at 18 to 25 feet deep from the dam to the north end of the lake. The dam and Turkey Point were popular with shore anglers using floating dough bait and inflated nightcrawlers.


Mark Tieslau at Mountain Hardware and Sports in Blairsden reported the parking lot at Gold Lake now had space for 40 boat trailers and 20 single vehicles — quadruple the previous parking space. Gold Lake fishing was good for brown trout near Rocky Point by the 4x4 campground. One boater caught 3- and 5-pound browns casting Rapalas toward the shore. The fishing at the rest of the Basin lakes was slow.


The lake is at 77 percent capacity. Dale Daneman at Dale’s Foothill Fishing Service visited the lake this past week and they caught five rainbows, lost two, and missed 12 strikes trolling a Sep’s watermelon Strike Master dodger with a brown grub or half a threaded nightcrawler from the top to 40 feet deep. The rainbows ran 13 to 16 inches.


With the heavy Alpine County plants in the East Carson, there was very little fishing pressure here this past week.


The lake is at 66.1-percent capacity. Fishing was slow by the last report, though colder nights and cooler water temps should spur the fall bite.


The lake is at 84-percent capacity. A kayaker caught a 36-inch, 20-pound Mackinaw trolling a Kastmaster spoon up near the Narrows. Darren Murphy of Pollock Pines experienced the freshwater version of the ‘Nantucket Sleigh Ride’ of whaling fame as he was towed around the lake trying to land the lunker.


Mike Nielsen at Tahoe Topliners Sportfishing reported doing very well jigging and trolling for macks this past week at South Shore. On most trips, his clients had limits of 2- to 8-pounders jigging Williamson Vortex and Benthos jigs tipped with a minnow at 90 to 150 feet deep by 7 a.m. Switching over to trolling big Krocodile spoons and Storm ThunderStiks under the kokanee schools produced a few macks to 15 pounds. Zach Gordon at Tahoe Sportfishing reported the kokanee bite was very sporadic and the fleet switched back over to mooching for 3- to 5-pound macks with live minnows at 140 to 180 feet deep at South Shore and Sugar Pine Point.


The lake is at 68 percent capacity. Dale Daneman at Dale’s Foothill Fishing Service reported his fishing club held an event here and half the boats caught a few fish including some limits, while the other half got skunked. The warm water temp slowed the bite.


The lake is at 50.6 percent capacity. With the lake so low and no DFW trout plant since last year, the best bet was smallmouth bass fishing off the dam and nearby rocky banks and points and even that bite was very slow.


Try for cutthroats at the dam using worms and salmon eggs.


The lake is at 67.5 percent and scheduled for a DFW trout plant this week.


The lake is at 38 percent capacity. The launch ramp is almost out of the water. There was little happening here, according to Mountain Hardware and Sports with the launching situation.


The lake was still dropping slowly and the trout fishing was slow. The trout season closes here on Sept. 30 and reopens on Jan. 1, 2017.


Donner Lake was releasing 125 cfs and flows below the Boca Outlet were running 235 cfs. Flyfishing was good from Donner Creek to Stateline with the best action below Prosser Creek from Glenshire to Stateline. With the lower flows, the fish were more accessible and fishing was good with some nice 18- to 20-inch browns showing on golden stones with a size 16 or 18 caddis pupa or PMD dropper, or a craw pattern.


The lake is at 70-percent capacity. Dale Daneman at Dale’s Foothill Fishing Service reported trout trolling was decent for good numbers of the larger SMUD planters coming from Mt. Lassen Trout Farms—rainbows to 16 inches. Dodgers and grubs or nightcrawlers at 25 to 35 feet deep were working. The kokanee bite was slow to nil.


The Little Walker and West Walker at Pickel Meadows and the canyon are scheduled for DFW trout plants this week. The Northern Mono County Chamber of Commerce was scheduled to stock the West Walker with 400 pounds of 1- to 1 1/2-pound rainbows, so the river should be awash in trout. Anglers were catching lots of the DFW planters on worms and salmon eggs. Flows were great for flyfishing.



The lake dropped another foot last week, from 394 feet to 393 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, unchanged from a week ago. Trout and landlocked salmon fishing has slowed, mainly because of the drop in effort. 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.


Flows held steady last week at 196 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 fair to good between Red Bluff and Los Molinos, with new fish arriving last week. T55 FlatFish with sardine wraps are outfishing roe. Mornings have been best. Guides are now reporting one to two fish per rod. The Red Bluff Salmon Derby is this weekend. Anglers can enter or by calling 530-755-7196. Tickets also can be purchased at Red Bluff Sporting Goods or River Bend Store.

SACRAMENTO RIVER, Redding to Red Bluff

Flows Sunday at Keswick Dam dropped to 9,050 cfs, down from 10,000 cfs the week before. 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.



The lake is at 69-percent capacity. Small spotted bass were hitting plastic worms on the points while the occasional bigger fish was caught on an A-rig or fluke, according to Emerald Cove Marina.


The lake is at 24-percent capacity. The lake level dropped below the concrete and boaters were now launching off the mud with four-wheel drive. Boat traffic was much lower this past week and fishing was slow.


The lake is 24 feet from full. Catfish still topped the charts this past week. An 8 1/4-pound catfish was caught by Michael Orozco of Brentwood while using floating dough bait at the dam. Trout fishing was slow with the fish still holding in deep water.


The lake is at 94-percent capacity. Skippers Cove Marina reported fishing remained slow.


The lake is at 71.9 percent capacity. The Foresthill Ranger Station reported the campgrounds were still open and reminded deer hunters that the campgrounds are in a State Game Refuge where firearms must be taken apart or unloaded and cased, and bows unstrung (kinda’ tough with a compound bow!) Better to camp elsewhere when hunting the area outside the refuge boundary.


The lake is at 58.8 percent capacity. The Georgetown Ranger Station reported the campgrounds were open, but fishing pressure was very low and reports were hard to come by.


The lake is at 49 percent capacity — down 143 feet. Guide Ron Gandolfi reported bass fishing was very good with fish counts running 25 to 30 for half-day trips and 50-plus on full day trips depending on experience. Topwater lures were still working in the early morning and on shady banks later in the day. Lipless crankbaits, darthead worms, and tubes were working on steep rocky walls at 15 to 25 feet deep for fish to 5 pounds from the dam up into the North Fork.


The lake is at 87.5 percent capacity. Ryan Drake at NID reported the lake was due to drop 20 to 30 feet over the next few weeks now that the summer recreation season was over. Bass fishing was slower but fish to 2 pounds were still hitting drop-shot and darthead worms, and Senkos.


The lake is at 77.7 percent capacity. Jim Caldwell at NID reported smallmouth bass fishing was still productive for fish to 2 pounds, but trout fishing action was slow.


The Foresthill Ranger Station reported the campgrounds and day-use area were open. Fishing was slow.


The lake is at 75 percent capacity. The Georgetown Ranger Station reported the campgrounds were open. Fishing was slow with the trout in deep water and only occasionally being caught by trollers at 35 to 40 feet deep.


The lake was at 135.4-foot elevation at press time — 91.8 percent capacity. Bruce Gibson at the Paradise Tackle Company reported bass fishing overall was slow with the colder water temp at 71 degrees due to heavy releases from Lake Oroville. Senkos, jigs, and flukes fished around the weed beds and tules produced a few fish to 3 pounds. Afternoons should be better after the water has a chance to warm up a bit.



Berkeley boats put a hurt on the salmon, with stellar fishing at mid-week and tapering down on Sunday. Happy Hooker joined the salmon fleet and tallied good numbers. A 32-pounder was caught on New Easy Rider. Rockfishing was red hot. California Dawn had daily limits of good-quality rockfish and lingcod counts as high as 68 lings for 25 anglers.


Salmon were thick and pretty much all over the place and trips aboard New Sea Angler and other boats, anywhere from Salt Point to Point Reyes were salmon-catching affairs. Willy Vogler at Lawson’s landing reported that Ten Mile Beach was probably the top hotspot. Halibut were still being caught in Tomales Bay and along Dillon Beach where stripers were also hooked.


Good division of duty was apparent out of Emeryville Sportfishing, as salmon boats Sundance and C-Gull II stayed focused. Tigerfish and Wet Spot mixed it up and ran combo trips for salmon and rockfish. New Salmon Queen and New Huck Finn worked on rockfish and lingcod at the Farallones and along the Marin Coast.


The salmon season closed out nicely with limits caught close by during weather windows. There were Pacific halibut caught but not in good numbers. California halibut were caught in the deeper channels in the north Bay. Rockfish and lingcod at Mendocino Coast were slow during the week and then figured out how empty their tummies were over the weekend and went into a feeding frenzy.


Lingcod began snapping in earnest on Tuesday and the bite didn’t let up through the weekend for Telstar passengers and on private boats. A private boat nailed limits of salmon to 18 pounds and was back to dock by 10 a.m. Shore fishers were finally able to fish exposed places and the cabezon, kelp greenling and lingcod were there waiting for them.


Party boats plotted courses southward and enjoyed fabulous ground fish action from Pigeon Point to Pescadero where Queen of Hearts found near-limits of rockfish and plenty of lingcod to over 24 pounds. Private boaters hammered the salmon just outside the harbor near the entrance buoys. Surf fishers working at night had a decent striped bass bite all to themselves.


Flash ran to the South Bay and found all the leopards desired for much of the week. Flash II had a great salmon trip on Thursday then worked at rockfish off the Marin Coast. Lovely Martha and Nautilus had similar experiences.

Western Outdoor News