Fishing Line

Salmon in full force in the Sacramento River

Here are the best places to fish in the Sacramento region, Northern California and beyond for the week of Sept. 26, 2016.



Salmon fishing has been best at the Howe Avenue Access, where Blue Fox spinners or Mepps Flying C spinners are tricking salmon at first light as well as in the evening. Kings also are being caught closer to the hatchery. Last week produced the best salmon fishing so far this season.


Alpine County was scheduled to stock 1800 pounds of 1/2- to 4-pound rainbows in the East Carson this week. Everyone was catching limits of rainbows on salmon eggs, worms, and spinners. Flyfishing was good in the evenings.


Salmon fishing has been good from the 10th Street Bridge clear up to the Outlet. Anglers are trolling Blue Fox spinners, or running T55 FlatFish with a sardine wrap. Bank anglers are tossing spinners or drifting beads. Star Bend has been a hot spot for shore fishermen. Striper fishing is slow, although some large fish are being caught on jumbo minnows.


Salmon arriving with force during the past week, and shorelines are lined with fishermen tossing heavy spinners from Benicia up to Freeport. The section of the main Sacramento from the Rio Vista Bridge to the mouth of the Old Sacramento has been hot despite the grass, and the Old Sacramento River from Viera’s Resort to Walnut Grove is also producing fish. Various colors of Silvertron spinners are working, but most fishermen are sticking to green double-bladed spinners. Jigging with heavy spoons near the Freeport Bridge is productive. The shoreline areas around Benicia are crowded on a daily basis, and parking is at a premium. Sturgeon are starting to make a showing in lower and upper Suisun Bay, and the lack of winds allowed for anglers to sit comfortably on the anchor over the weekend. Smallmouth action has slowed in Steamboat and Miner Sloughs.


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. Some guides are trolling Pro Troll flashers with Brad’s plug cut baits, but weeds are limiting success at times. Salmon fishing was better last week than it has been all season.

SACRAMENTO RIVER, Verona to Colusa

Salmon fishing is fair to good near Verona, where anglers are trolling Blue Fox spinners, Flying Cs and Silvertron spiners, or M2 FlatFish or K14 Kwikfish. 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, Ore.

Salmon fishing remained fair to good in the estuary, where anglers are trolling anchovies or plug-cut herring the last two hours of the incoming tide and beginning of the outgoing tide. The ocean opens at the mouth of the river Oct. 1-3 and Oct. 8-9. A few kings are now holding near Tide Rock. So far no salmon have been spotted at Social Security Bar.

COOS RIVER, Coos Bay, Ore.

Salmon fishing is now starting to wind down as peak season has passed. Guide Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing has been getting clients into four to six kings a day trolling herring with Big Al's Fish Flash flashers. Wild coho, which must be released, are now being caught.


Rough ocean conditions have kept new salmon from entering the river. Three anglers died over the weekend when their boat capsized while trying to cross the rough bar at the mouth of the Coquille. Their bodies were recovered by the Coast Guard. Salmon fishing, which had been good, was slow most of last week.

ROGUE RIVER, Gold Beach, Ore.

Salmon fishing was fair to good last week in the bay, where fresh kings are coming in daily. Salmon also are being caught upriver near Agness. Wild coho, which must be released, are now in the bay, along with a few hatchery coho.

ROGUE RIVER, Shady Cove to Grants Pass

Salmon fishing improved a little in the Grants Pass area this week with many anglers able to get 2 to 4 salmon on back-trolled roe with a sardine wrap. The water has cooled a little, and the river is still a little low, with a little better fishing found down in the canyon. The salmon season ends Oct. 1 above Hog Creek, but you can keep 2 fish below that. Steelhead action has improved in the Grants Pass area, with fish hitting on nightcrawlers and back-trolled plugs.


Salmon are now being caught near the mouth by anglers anchoring and fishing anchovies on the outgoing tide. Boaters are launching at Ship Ashore. Salmon also are present at the Bailey Hole, but low flow regulations kick in Oct. 1. The access for boats at the Sand Hole won't open for at least another week. Sarina Road's launch is closed until the irrigation season ends.



Flows on Sunday were 985 cfs, down from 1,050 cfs the week before. Salmon fishing is slow between Iron Gate Dam and Interstate 5, although there are a few fish holding now in that section. Expect a few more to arrive this week. Trout fishing is very good with nightcrawlers fished behind a diver working best.


Roe is out-fishing plugs for early season salmon in the Happy Camp area. Fish are scattered between Happy Camp and Interstate 5, with some now holding at the mouths of the Shasta and Scott rivers. Steelhead fishing is fair to good near Happy Camp. Flows Sunday at Seiad Valley were 1,210 cfs. Flows at Orleans were 1,620 cfs.


The 555-fish adult king salmon quota was filled for the lower Klamath below Highway 96 weeks ago. Anglers can still keep two jack salmon less than 22 inches a day. Fishing improved last week as the sand spit at the mouth of the river opened up, allowing more salmon to move in. Guides are averaging three to five kings a day. The salmon are moving quickly from the lower river toward the Trinity and upper section of the Klamath. Flows over the weekend at Terwer near the mouth were 2,850 cfs. The water temperature is 62 degrees.


Flows dropped from 1,040 cfs last week to 795 cfs over the weekend, and are expected to hit 450 cfs, normal summer flows, by the middle of the week. Salmon are spread throughout the river, with the Big Bar area holding the best numbers. Steelhead are being counted two-to-one over kings. Guide Steve Huber said he is targeting steelhead with 3.0 MagLip plugs between Douglas City and Junction City.



Bass fishing remains fair with spotted bass, largemouth bass and smallmouth bass included in the catches being made on swimbaits, jigs and spoons.


Bass fishing has slowed, but some catfish are being taken on cut baits. Crappie fishing has also slowed down.


Fishing remains very slow, with no trout plants being made, says Art Cerini at The Narrows Resort. Bass fishing is also decent here, especially for those who know the lakes.


Bass fishing continues to good here in most areas of the lake, with most anglers able to catch and release 15 to 30 fish a day. Most reaction lures are working, such as spinnerbaits, square-billed and LV500 crank plugs, drop-shot rigs and jigs or plastic worms flipped into the shallows.


There’s good action for smallmouth bass, plus a few largemouths, on topwater poppers or Gunfish in shad patterns.


A few trout were caught last week, but not much other action is reported, with Lake Pillsbury Resort basically shut down for the winter, except for some hunting in the area.


Bass fishing is good. Jigs fished slow in and around standing timber are a great bet when targeting larger fish. Another good technique this time of year is chasing schooling bass feeding on shad.



Fishing has been fair in the Big Springs area with trout to about 4 pounds hitting well on Berkley Gulps. In the A-Frame area the best action was on worms, nightcrawlers and Berkley Gulps.


Fair to good action reported for fly fishermen using dry flies for 12- to 14-inch rainbows.


Fishing has generally slowd, but kokanee action has been fair on Kastmaster lures trolled in the dam area.


Trolling in 4 to 10 feet of water with the orange Jay Fair fly down 3 to 4 feet deep, on a floating fly line, is producing some limits of trout to 2 pounds.


Fair fly fishing, fishable water conditions.


Good action reported on dry flies, with Callibaetis Mayflies about the best.


Trout fishing slowed this week with only a few reported daily.


“A Sep's Dodger and grub dipped in Pro Cure Shrimp Krill was all you needed,” said guide Scott Caldwell at SC Guide Service. “The brown and rainbow trout were all over this trolled set up. Speed was the key, 1.5 to 2 mph was much more effective than my usual 1 mph trolling speed.”


Bass fishing remains good on shad colored crank plugs, plastic worms and leadhead jigs. Catches ranging from surface down to about 35 feet. No action reported on trout.


Bass fishing is fair for bait anglers using grubs, worms and crickets, but trout fishing remains on the slow side.


Kokanee catches remain the best bet, but there is some action also for largemouth, smallmouth, and spotted bass.



Trout plants are anticipated by the end of October, and Mt. Lassen Hatchery will again be the provider. At the current time, bass and catfish are the top species. The Tackle Box Café will be closed for vacation until October 22 when Mt. Lassen Hatchery rainbows are anticipated to be released into the lake. Largemouth bass and panfish remain the top species in the interim period of time.


The recreational boat season has ended, and fishermen are returning to the lake in numbers. The rainbows are still for the taking at depths from 35 to 45 feet with Speedy Shiners or similar shad-patterned spoons on a fast-troll near the dam. Bass can be found at depths from 15 to 25 feet with plastics on the drop-shot or Texas-rig along with crankbaits near Little Hat Island or the South Shore Marina. Catfish are found along the South Shore Day Use area with chicken livers or anchovies while bluegill are thick in the same areas with red worms or wax worms. Crappie are holding along submerged tree stumps or main lake rocky points with mini-jigs in red/white or green/white. The lake remains high at 70% of capacity.


Few bass fishermen are heading to the lake, but the few fishing are finding a brief window for topwater in the early morning before working the bottom with plastics on the drop-shot or darthead. Trout and king salmon action should break out sometime during the fall as the weather finally cools. There have been a number of thefts occurring within the houseboats and the campsites, and visitors should secure vehicles and valuables. Reports can be made directly to the Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Dept. at 209-533-5815 & the Don Pedro Recreation Agency at 209-852-2396. The lake is at 66% of capacity.


Bass fishermen have been holding off on the lake due to the launch ramp conditions with the receding water levels. A long back up is necessary to launch at Barrett Cove South Ramp. 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. The lake has dropped to 39% of capacity with water releases lowering the lake 3 feet to 744.52 feet in elevation. The McClure Point and Barrett Cove South launch ramps are open with the Barrett Cove North ramp under construction and the Horseshoe Bend ramp closed.


The Turlock Remote-Control Flying Club held their annual event at the lake over the past weekend, and the bank fishing areas were off-limits during the event. A plant will be made this coming Friday prior to the weekend’s annual Merced Irrigation District’s Trout Derby. Once the plant is released, fishing will be on hold until the derby begins at 7:00 a.m. on Saturday morning. The best action has been up the river arm for trollers working blade/’crawler combinations near the Exchequer Dam.


There are isolated boils at the lake in the mornings and evenings, but the stripers and largemouth bass are dropping quickly once the boats arrive. White flukes are the top producers. The lake is at 26% of capacity.


Catfish remain the top species at the lake with a variety of cut baits, chicken livers, or nightcrawlers. Bass are hitting plastics on the drop-shot or spinnerbaits in the shallows. The trout bite has slowed considerably, but it should improve prior to the lake closing for the season on November 6. Kokanee are all but finished for the season as they are preparing for a spawn up the river arm. The lake has dropped to 90% of capacity.


Catfish are the top species with live minnows, frozen shad, anchovies, mackerel, or sardines as the fall is prime time for the trophy whiskerfish. Glory Hole Sporting Goods in Angels Camp will be holding a Catfish Contest starting November 1 through November 30 with a 100% payback for the top three places. Trout trolling remains very slow, and the kokanee are making their push up the river arm. Bass fishing is fair for numbers, but the large fish are still scarce. The bass remain suspended with the warm water conditions, and they are holding around the shad schools. Plastics on the drop-shot or small swimbaits are working best. The Glory Hole launch ramp is on the dirt with the lake at 22% of capacity, but the courtesy dock will remain in the water.



The lake is at 26.1-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 at the inlet.


The lake is at 66.6-percent capacity. Caples Lake Resort reported the recently planted DFW rainbows were only 6 inchers that made great Mackinaw and brown trout food. Fishing was still best for shore anglers at the dam using worms, floating dough bait, or Kastmaster spoons and Rapalas.


The lake is at 56-percent capacity. Ed Dillard at Dillard Guided Fishing reported trolling was much improved this past week. Dillard trolled copper/redhead Wee Dick Nite spoons at 12 to 18 feet deep between the island and Honker Cove and began catching nice rainbows right away before the wind chased him off the lake. Launching was still good at the Honker Cove ramp.


The lake is at 40-percent capacity. Kokanee trolling was good along the south side of the lake and between China Cove and Loch Leven at 40 to 50 feet deep using a dodger with a rainbow, pink, or orange Assassin spinner. Boaters need to use caution launching at the boat ramp—stay in the center of the ramp to avoid problems.


Mike Hanson at Caribou Crossroads Resort reported trout fishing in the East Branch was very good in isolated sections of the river along Hwy 70 near Rush Creek and Virgilia. The North Fork was slow.


The lake is at 32-percent capacity. Wiggins Trading Post reported shore fishing was good at Lunker Point, Turkey Point, and the dam for rainbows up to 2 1/2 pounds using nightcrawlers and floating dough bait. Small aluminum boats can still launch off the Frenchman ramp below the concrete—there is no courtesy dock in place.


Mountain Hardware and Sports in Blairsden reported Gold Lake was producing some nice browns trolling Rapalas along the shore early and late in the day. Fishing in the other Basin lakes was slow.


The lake is at 75-percent capacity and scheduled for a DFW trout plant this week. With the water temps dropping with cold nights, trolling should be good using a dodger/nightcrawler or dodger/grub.


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


The lake is at 60.9-percent capacity. Brett Brady at Bare Bones Guide Service reported trolling was good, but the rainbows were only 10- to 12-inch DFW planters. The fish were hitting Needlefish spoons, Sep’s brown grubs, and nightcrawlers behind a dodger at 35 to 45 feet deep. The Pass Creek boat ramp was still open, but the Woodcamp ramp was out of the water.


The lake is at 82-percent capacity and scheduled for a DFW trout plant this week. Sly Park Resort reported a few planter rainbows were being caught at the first dam on salmon eggs, worms, and floating dough bait. Bass were hitting plastic worms and jigs in the Narrows.


Chuck Self at Chuck’s Charter Fishing reported he was catching limits of 3- to 8-pound macks trolling 160 to 350 feet deep from Dollar Point to Crystal Bay Point. Zach Gordon at Tahoe Sportfishing reported catching 25 kokanee and three 3- to 4-pound macks trolling in Emerald Bay while avoiding strong winds on the main lake. The 10- to 13-inch kokanee were hitting flasher/Wedding Rings at 25 to 50 feet deep in 140 to 180 feet of water. The macks were taken on live minnows mooched on the bottom under the kokanee.


The lake is at 66-percent capacity. Trout trolling should be good with colder weather dropping the water temps. A dodger/’crawler in the top 15 feet should work fine.


The lake is at 48.3-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.


The trout season opens October 1 and fishing should be good jigging around the big schools of tui chub on the east side of the lake at Hell’s Kitchen and Anderson Bay. Robert Haggerty at Crosby’s Lodge and Pyramid Fly Company said the west side at Shot Dog, Pelican Point, Wash Out, Blockhouse, and Warrior Point should be good jigging spoons, trolling Apex, or casting streamers and Clousers on a fast sinking line from a boat or float tube. The launch ramp at Pelican Point was ready for the opener with two docks in place.


Carson Pass saw some snow this past week. Try the dam area for cutthroats using worms and salmon eggs.


The lake is at 55-percent capacity. Shore fishing should be good at the dam.


The lake is at 38-percent capacity. Mountain Hardware and Sports reported kokanee fishing was slow with the fish already turned and heading for the creeks and river to spawn. Mackinaws and browns were feeding on kokanee at the mouths of the inlet arms and can be caught trolling large plugs.


The trout season closes October 1 and reopens January 1.


Flyfishing was fair 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 a size 10 or 12 golden stones with a size 16 or 18 caddis pupa or PT dropper, or a craw pattern since the crawdads were molting and very vulnerable.


The lake is at 66-percent capacity. Kyle Neeser at Crystal Basin Tackle and Guide Service reported most outdoorsmen were deer hunting this past weekend and fishing reports were far and few between. By last report, the kokanee fishing was slow with the fish turned and ready to spawn.


The Little Walker River and West Walker River at Pickel Meadows and the canyon are scheduled for DFW trout plants this week. Sam Foster at the Toiyabe Motel reported there was little angler pressure here, but river flows were great and there were PLENTY of rainbows eager to hit whatever you wanted to throw at them.



Small striped bass remain thick in the main San Joaquin River towards Stockton, but the salmon bite has improved dramatically with an average of 8 to 10 fish per day from the Antioch shoreline. Flying C or Mike’s Custom spinners are working best for the migrating salmon. The rapid daily swings in temperature have the largemouth bass at bay, but there were huge limits over 25 pounds taken during the weekend’s California Tournament Trails Tournament of Champions. Bluegill are plentiful at the marina in Discovery Bay, and the striped bass are moving into the region, providing a topwater and swimbait bite. 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.



The lake dropped 3 feet last week, from 391 feet to 389 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 72 degrees on Sunday. 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 continued to improved along the entire Red Bluff to Colusa stretch last week, with good numbers of fish caught near Red Bluff and Hamilton City. Anglers are drifting roe and also back-trolling T55 FlatFish with sardine wraps. Anglers are catching a fish per rod, or better.

SACRAMENTO RIVER, Redding to Red Bluff

Flows Sunday at Keswick Dam dropped to 8,045 cfs. Salmon fishing improved last week at the Barge Hole, where anglers and guides are now averaging a fish per rod and some are limiting out. Roe is out-producing plugs. Anglers are back-bouncing roe with 10-ounce weights at the Barge Hole. Fishing is good at first light, and then from noon to 1 p.m. 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 flows were still good in all the forks. Anglers willing to hike down to the North Fork above Foresthill should find plenty of rainbows in the deeper pools at Italian Bar. The Middle Fork below French Meadows and Rock-a-Chucky should be good.


The lake is at 68-percent capacity. Emerald Cove Marina reported there was little fishing pressure on the lake. With cooler water temps, bass fishing should be very good as the fall feeding frenzy kicks in.


The lake was under 25-percent capacity. Kathy DeRossett at North Shore Resort reported bass fishing was good with anglers catching 15- to 20-fish per day on plastic worms. The river arms were best for bass with cooler water inflows. Boats were still launching on the gravel below the concrete ramp with 2-wheel drive vehicles.


The lake was 26 feet from full. Collins Lake Resort reported bass and catfish made up the top catches this past week. Local bass gurus Kevin Donovan and Dave Callison caught limits of bass at the dam on worms. Catfish to 8 pounds topped the weigh board again this past week with anglers using crawdads and worms for bait.


The lake is at 93-percent capacity. Skippers Cove Marina reported fishing was slow.


The lake is at 69.8-percent capacity. The Foresthill Ranger Station reported the campgrounds were still open.


The lake is at 48.1-percent capacity. The Georgetown Ranger Station reported the campgrounds were still open. Only small aluminum boats were able to launch on the gravel/rock bank below the concrete ramp. The Narrows may not be navigable now with the low water level.


The lake is at 47-percent capacity—only dropping 7 to 8 inches a day now. Guide Ron Gandolfi reported the bass fishing was getting better and better as the water temp continued to drop. Water temps were 69 to 70 degrees in the morning warming to 72 degrees in the afternoon; temps at the inlets of the river arms were 64 to 65 degrees. Topwater lures were working well early and late in the day during low-light periods or during the day on shady banks. Lipless cranks worked very well during the day on steep walls and points. Darthead worms, tubes and Senkos were all catching fish at 15 to 30 feet deep. Persuader Image Blade and Rattlin’ Blade spinnerbaits were working well on mudlines on windy days.


The lake is at 72.4-percent capacity. Ryan Drake at NID reported launching was good at Long Ravine and Orchard Springs, but Peninsula Resort was closing for the season. Bass were chasing bait on the surface all day and topwater lures were catching lots of fish. Trout fishing was slow.


The lake is at 74.9-percent capacity. Jim Caldwell at NID reported the smallmouth bass fishing was okay, but trout fishing was still very slow.


The lake is scheduled for a DFW trout plant this week.


The lake is at 73-percent capacity. The Georgetown Ranger Station reported fishing was slow with the trout holding in deep water at 35 to 40 feet deep. There was little fishing pressure here according to the camp host.


The lake was at 135.2-foot elevation at press time—90.3-percent capacity. Bruce Gibson at the Paradise Tackle Company reported bass fishing was good on the outside points and green tules in deeper water. The 4.8 Keitech swimbait rigged on a 1/4- or 3/8-ounce underspin head was working very well on the tules, while the same swimbait on a 3/8- or 1/2-ounce underspin head was doing well on the rock banks at 10 to 15 feet deep. Black/blue and brown/purple jigs were catching lots of fish on outside points.



Lingcod counts were gratifyingly above the fish per rod mark and limits of rockfish came along with them for passengers on California Dawn and Happy Hooker andGolden Eye 2000. Up to a dozen salmon per day per boat came in on Berkeley Charter Boats vessels El Dorado and New Easy Rider. Local waters produced perch, a pick on striped bass and a couple of halibut on private boats.


Salmon were readily available at the beginning of the week and then disappeared during a strong mid-week windstorm. When the dust settled over the weekend, the salmon weren’t nearby but the rockfish and lingcod were biting exceptionally well off of Point Reyes for New Sea Angler passengers and private boaters. The Tomales Bay halibut bite finally showed signs of slowing.


Angler attention shifted to rockfish and lingcod after a tough several days of salmon fishing. New Salmon Queen, Wet Spot, New Huck Finn and Sea Wolf pulled the rockfish duty along the Marin Coast and at the Farallones. C Gull II took out the folks who really wanted salmon and boated 4.


The sad news is that Pacific halibut season closed after Friday, but the good news is that it closed strongly with plenty of fish caught and great hopes for a stellar season next year. That left rockfish and lingcod, which are always a good option for taking home some meat.


Rockfishing picked up as the week progressed and by the weekend the bite was on, with some of the best fish coming aboard Telstar off of Russian Gulch. Shore fishers had to mind the weather at times during the week and stay in protected spots, but when the swells subsided they made it out to Dynamite Shack, Mendocino Headlands and other spots for bigger fish.


Queen of Hearts ran down south to Pescadero and Pigeon Point for a larger grade of fish. Huli Cat fished off of Pillar Point, running a charter for veterans. Salmon continued massing outside of the Harbor and many swam inside, giving shore fishermen a shot at glory.


Rockfish and lingcod were hungry after the big mid-week windstorm. Flash II was in the thick of it along the Marin Coast. Wacky Jacky and Lovely Martha worked at the salmon, striving for a fish per rod.

- Western Outdoor News