Fishing Line

Fishing Line: Warm weather brings out the striper, sturgeon bite

State wildlife officials and others wrestle a 200-pound green sturgeon from the Fremont Weir where it became trapped after high water dropped.
State wildlife officials and others wrestle a 200-pound green sturgeon from the Fremont Weir where it became trapped after high water dropped.


▪ COLLINS LAKEThe lake is 26 feet from full. The DFW stocked 2000 pounds of catchable rainbows this past Monday and anglers were catching a lot more limits from shore and trolling. Collins Lake Resort planted another 1800-pound load of catchables and trophy trout late this past week for the Presidents’ Day weekend. Two Browns Valley anglers were trolling near the dam and picked up two 8 pounders and three 4 to 5 pounders. Shore anglers were picking up some big fish, too. The big trout of the weekend was a 6 1/4-pound rainbow caught by Ricardo Gomez of Oroville while using floating dough bait at the Beach.

▪ DELTA REGION: SACRAMENTO RIVER The warm water brought out the sturgeon bite in lower Suisun Bay with lamprey eel, salmon roe, or grass shrimp. The water temperatures have reached an unseasonably warm 62 degrees in the shallows, and the sediment in the water will further warm up the temperatures. Huge stripers continued to be taken out of the system on live bait near the Middle Grounds, The Mothball Fleet and the Firing Line. Striper trolling and casting in the upper Delta has slowed with the wall of mud arriving from the upper Sacramento River.

▪ DELTA REGION: SAN JOAQUIN RIVER Finding clear water is the challenge, but there are pockets of clarity in the south and west Delta. Largemouth bass fishing has taken off with jigs, Senkos, chatterbaits, or large profile crankbaits. Smell and vibration are keys to success. Striper fishing has slowed considerably with the muddy water, and it will take several days for the river to clear near the mouth of the Mokelumne. Sturgeon are starting to appear in the deep holes on the San Andreas Shoals. Crappie have appeared in the south Delta in the clear waters of Discovery Bay with small minnows under a bobber.

▪ FEATHER RIVER A 53-inch striper was caught and released at Boyds Pump Sunday morning, the biggest so far this season. Striper fishing has been fair to good, with fish being caught at Shanghai Bend, Boyds Pump and Beercan Beach. Several fish in the 24- to 26-inch range were reported last week.

▪ SACRAMENTO RIVER, Knight’s Landing to Colusa — Fishing for oversize sturgeon has been best at Second Beach. Ghost shrimp and pile worms are working well, and tricking a few early stripers into biting as well. Port of Sacramento – Striper fishing remains good, with several fish in the mid-teens reported last week. New fish have been showing up, preparing to continue upriver to spawn.


▪ CHETCO RIVER, Oregon – A new batch of steelhead appeared in the lower river after flows hit 40,000 cfs on Feb. 7 and dropped to 3,000 cfs on Sunday. Most of them were hatchery fish, and they were from Loeb Park down as of Sunday, according to WON Staff Writer and guide Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing. A lot of pressure from anglers since options were limited. Most boats were averaging 3 to 4 fish a boat over the weekend.

▪ ROGUE RIVER, Gold Beach, Oregon – The 2014/2015 winter steelhead season has been one of the best in years, according to WON’s Field Reporter Curtis Palmer of River Secrets. “Anglers in the Gold Beach area have repeatedly told me how nice and big the steelhead have been this year. The reports I received this last week sounded like a broken record, with anglers reporting that the fishing was still good through Valentine's Day weekend.”

▪ ROGUE RIVER, Grant’s Pass, Oregon The Rogue River is running a little high due to good flows from the Applegate, but there are a lot of fish in this area and fishing is pretty good with both uppers and downers being caught, said Troy Whitaker at U-Save Tackle in Grants Pass. “Anglers are scoring with Cleos, side-drifting yarn balls, shrimp and plugs with rattles in darker colors. The Applegate River is high but fishable. A good flow is coming out of the dam. The Illinois River is running high, also. In both of the smaller rivers, the anglers are scoring with Cleos, bobbers and jigs, and puffballs.

▪ RUSSIAN RIVER – As of Feb. 14, the Russian was flowing at 2800 cfs with zero visibility. “Lots of people wanted to fish this weekend, so we set them up with a plunking rig or size 4 Blue Foxes and Cleos,” said Scott Heemstra of Kings Sport and Tackle in Guerneville. “At the rate the water is dropping, we should be in good shape by midweek and even better by the weekend. Before the rain, things really turned on, so looking for a ton of fish to be spread throughout the entire system.”

▪ UMPQUA RIVER, Elkton, Oregon - Fishing reports from Roseburg to Elkton for the Umpqua River have been a double thumbs down, said guide Curtis Palmer of River Secrets. “The river levels have been falling nicely, but remained a touch high this last weekend for fishing. The South Umpqua River, as of Sunday afternoon, still had a heavy brown color at Roseburg where it meets the North Umpqua River. By this upcoming weekend the Umpqua River should be up and ready for fishing.”

▪ UMPQUA RIVER, North Fork, Roseburg, Oregon The North Umpqua River kicked out some very nice metalheads this past week. “River conditions are absolutely perfect,” said guide Curtis Palmer of River Secrets. “It’s still early in the season, so there are pockets of water that don’t have fish in them. In a couple weeks, every section of the river will be full of fresh steelhead. I can't emphasizes enough how much more magnificent these steelhead are on the North Umpqua compared to any other river in the state of Oregon.”

▪ UMPQUA RIVER, South Fork, Canyonville, Oregon - -Fishing has been slow. “I haven’t spoken to very many people that have fished the South Umpqua River this last week,” saidWON Field Reporter and guide Curtis Palmer. “With not that many steelhead being posted on blogs in the Canyonville/Myrtle Creek area, it’s apparently not a major destination right now.”


▪ KLAMATH RIVER, Iron Gate Dam – A week after hitting 4,000 cfs, flows on the Upper Klamath were back down to 1,000 cfs at Iron Gate Dam on Sunday. The water is still fairly dirty and steelhead fishing is fair. The section from the dam to I-5 is the best bet.

▪ KLAMATH RIVER, Happy Camp – Still high and dirty from last week’s big storm. The river was down to 4,300 cfs at Seiad Valley on Sunday.

▪ KLAMATH RIVER, Klamath Glenn – The lower river was still blown out on Sunday, with flows still above 24,000 cfs. Some anglers tried plunking for steelhead with no success over the weekends.

▪ TRINITY RIVER – The Trinity is back in shape from the big storm and fishing well on the far upper section. Halfpounders are making up most of the catch, but some adult winter fish are expected this week downstream from Junction City as the river continues to drop. Bait has been outfishing plugs.


▪ CLEAR LAKE The overall bite continued to improve with the warm surface temperatures creeping up and staying in the low 50s. Bass (mostly males) are starting to move into the shallows and as the pre-spawning bite emerges, the fishing pressure is mounting. A variety of jerkbaits, swimbaits and A-rigs as well as live bait are producing. The catfish bite also continues by Shag Rock.

▪ LAKE BERRYESSA There has not been much pressure here due to stained waters, but the bass are starting to move into the shallows. Cover water with LuckyCraft BDS3s, chatterbaits and Redemption spinnerbaits in white/chartreuse colors keying in on secondary points, transitions and rocks.

▪ LAKE MENDOCINO As the water clarity improves so does the bass fishing. Try a LuckyCraft Pointer 100DD ripbait after the crankbait bite slows down.

▪ LAKE SONOMAWarmer water temperatures has the bass starting their annual trek into shallower waters. There was very little fishing pressure here this past week.


▪ LAKE ALMANOR The trout fishing picked right back up to where it was prior to the storms. The only difference was that the fish are already on a spring bite. Toplining black/silver Rapalas along the east shoreline replace Arctic flies around 10 when the water started to warm up.

▪ BAUM LAKE This lake is a perfect choice anytime, but especially right now since everything is still blown out. Expect to find good fishing.

▪ FALL RIVER Closed for the season.

▪ UPPER HAT CREEK Closed for the season.

▪ McCLOUD RIVER Closed for the season.

▪ MCCLOUD RESERVOIR Excellent fishing for brookies, browns and rainbow trout. Anglers are using everything from flies to bait to sinking Repalas and finding fish from 1/2 to 21/2 pounds.

▪ PIT RIVER The Pit is unfishable due to ongoing runoff. Expect better conditions as the weather settles down. Check back next week.

▪ SHASTA LAKE Visibility is beginning to return in some areas. Try 1/2-ounce spinnerbaits in chartreuse/white in the top 3 feet.


▪ BERKELEY – Party boats reported no trips for the week. Pier people lined the structure, thanks to the fantastic weather and enjoyed catching perch. Berkeley Flats gave up a few striped bass, but halibut haven’t yet taken up station on the Flats. Expectations are for halibut to move in with schools of baitfish.

▪ BODEGA BAY/LAWSON’S LANDING – Private boaters worked at the crabs and those who ran enough traps (generally at least 6) managed limits or at least plenty for a generous dinner. Perch and jacksmelt were caught in good numbers inside the Harbor, at Spud Point and along the breakwater wall. Perch fishers working the sand had good luck at Doran Beach and Salmon Creek. Tomales Bay was slow for crabbing, however nearby beaches fished very well for perch and jacksmelt.

▪ EMERYVILLENo landing boats made runs, but shore fishers had a good time of it. Perch were biting readily for people using Carolina Rigs or 2-hook surf leaders baited with pile worms or shrimp. Catching a striper was quite possible and people casting Hair Raisers and Kastmasters scored.

▪ EUREKA/CRESCENT CITY – The weather and seas calmed, getting people out. The jetties produced kelp greenling and smallish rockfish. Sardines and herring were taken inside of Humboldt Bay. The northern portion of the Bay held sharks and rays. Crabbers snared or hooped red rock crabs from piers. Red tail perch put on a better-than-decent bite near the harbor at Crescent City.

▪ FORT BRAGG Sea Hawk and Telstar both put in some productive crab trips, with limit numbers being the rule. One day the best area would be shallow and the next day the crabs wanted to be deeper, but they were always around. Shore fishing was good for kelp greenling, rockfish and striped sea perch on the jetty and good for cabezon, lingcod and rockfish at Cleone, Jug handle and up at MacKerricher.

▪ HALF MOON BAY/PACIFICA – Fishing slowed at Pacifica, except that surf perch went on the warpath, with Mussell Rock being the most oft-named spot. Pier people caught some perch and some crabs, though most of the crabs were female. At Half Moon Bay, pier people got a better grade of crabs. Huli Cat ran a crab-only charter on Saturday and brought back in good results.

▪ SAN FRANCISCO Argo posted good bass counts of limits, 2 per rod, plus shaker sturgeon. South San Francisco fishers mixed it up with stripers and varied perches from Coyote Point to Oyster Point. Pier and shore anglers shared in the wealth. Shore fishers casting shiny lures and bucktails hooked into striped bass up to 30 inches. Boaters found stripers and a few halibut by drifting live shiners and jacksmelt.


▪ BOCA LAKE – The lake is at 24.5-percent capacity. Mountain Hardware and Sports reported fishing off the dam was good for some nice brown trout using nightcrawlers, spoons and Rapalas.

▪ CAPLES LAKE – The lake is at 71-percent capacity. The lake has a lot of open water showing there was still some ice at the dam and the spillway. Caples Lake Resort reported shore fishing was good. Kirkwood local Josh Otto caught a limit of trout near the Resort using a silver Kastmaster and floating dough bait.

▪ CARSON RIVER (East) – Todd Sodaro at Todd’s Bait and Tackle at the Creekside Lodge reported the river was murky and cold from the runoff—poor fishing conditions at best.

▪ DAVIS LAKE – The lake is at 58-percent capacity. Ed Dillard at Dillard’s Guided Fishing reported the trout bite slowed this past week. Shore fishing at Mallard Point was hit-or-miss—one angler had 4 fish while most had none or one. The Coot Bay area produced a few fish. The rainbows were all running 18 to 21 inches. The upper end of the lake at Fairview was murky from the runoff after the big storm. Boaters were launching at Honker Cove with no problems since the lake rose a couple feet with all the rain.

▪ DONNER LAKE – The lake is at 52-percent capacity. A large school of macks has been sitting in 100 to 135 feet of water off the boat ramp and providing good action for trollers and jiggers for a few weeks. When trolling, use a single Number 3 Needlefish—no flashers or dodgers.

▪ FRENCHMAN LAKE – The lake is at 36-percent capacity. Wiggins Trading Post reported shore fishing near the dam was good. Three anglers picked up 14 rainbows on nightcrawlers this past weekend. The rainbows were running 16 to 18 inches.

▪ ICE HOUSE RESERVOIR – The lake is at 76-percent capacity. With easy access to the lake, fishing should be great, but few boaters were making the trip, 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 one shore angler picked up 4-, 2-, and 1 1/2-pound rainbows at the dam using nightcrawlers and floating dough bait.

▪ JACKSON MEADOW RESERVOIR — The lake is at 90-percent capacity. Mountain Hardware and Sports reported the roads were open to the lake, but they hadn’t heard any fishing reports.

▪ JENKINSON LAKE (Sly Park) – The lake is at 68-percent capacity. Denise Cole at Sly Park Resort reported bass fishing was good with one angler catching an 8-pound largemouth this past week. A local youth caught a 1 1/4-pound bluegill on a worm at the boat docks. Trout fishing was good for shore anglers at the first and second dam.

▪ LAKE TAHOE Mike Nielsen at Tahoe Topliners Sportfishing reported doing well for a mix of browns to 5 pounds, rainbows to 1 1/2 pounds, and macks to 5 pounds at South Shore on Sat. trolling 25 to 100 feet deep. A trip on Sunday to King’s Beach at North Shore was much slower. His clients caught 4 macks quickly in the early morning before the sun hit the water, but after the sun rose the bite shut off. Zack Gordon at Tahoe Sportfishing reported a good morning bite for macks from Rubicon to Sugar Pine mooching and trolling 200 to 250 feet deep with dodger/minnows.

▪ PROSSER LAKE – The lake is at 37.5-percent capacity. Mountain Hardware and Sports reported fishing was very slow here and things were quiet.

▪ PYRAMID LAKETravis Lee of Sparks held on to the lead with a 20 1/2-pound cutthroat to win a 14-foot Lund boat with motor and trailer at the 28th Annual Crosby’s Lodge Presidents’ Day Fishing Derby. Prizes were awarded to the Top 20. The winning fish was caught trolling a frog FlatFish in Howard Bay, though most of the top fish were caught by shore anglers. The Top 20 fish weighed from 20 1/2 to 13 pounds. Fishing slowed this past weekend because the weather was too nice.

▪ RED LAKE – Victor Babbitt at TFFO reported open water was showing along the shore and ice fishing was not recommended.

▪ SILVER LAKE – The lake is at 70.5-percent capacity. Stay off any remaining ice and shore fish instead.

▪ STAMPEDE RESERVOIR – The lake is at 24-percent capacity. Fishing for rainbow trout was good in the Sagehen and Little Truckee arms in 15 to 35 feet of water where the incoming current dissipates into the lake. Try for macks off the dam using an inflated nightcrawler. DO NOT drive along the shores of the lake unless you want to get stuck in the mud—walk to the water’s edge.

▪ TOPAZ LAKE — Chuck Fields at Topaz Landing Marina reported the lake came up enough to float the boat docks, but not enough to berth a boat or launch one off his ramp. The County Park ramp was still closed, too. Fishing off the north shore was producing some planter rainbows and the occasional 2 to 3 pounder.

▪ TRUCKEE RIVER – Victor Babbitt at TFFO reported flyfishing was good on warmer days below Reno using baetis and BWO dries and nymphs, especially when it was overcast. Mountain Hardware and Sports reminded anglers that fishing in the river was catch-and-release only after seeing some guys heading to their vehicles holding some nice brown trout!! Where’s the Game Warden when you need one?

▪ UNION VALLEY RESERVOIR – The lake is at 69-percent capacity. There was great weather and open access, but few fishermen coming to the Crystal Basin, according to Dale Daneman at Dale’s Foothill Fishing Service.

▪ WEST WALKER RIVER – Sam Foster at the Toiyabe Motel reported the flows in the river were in awesome shape. Foster saw flyfishermen at some of the deeper pools in the canyon south of town and on the flats north of town accessed at Topaz Lane.


▪ LAKE AMADOR – A double plant of 2400 pounds was placed into the lake during the week, and the lake has risen to within 15 feet of the spillway after last weekend’s storm. Trout fishing has slowed down with the stained water being “the color of a cup of cocoa with a couple of cinnamon sticks sticking out.” The rapid inflow brought out debris, which bunches up each evening on the dam before blowing out by 10 a.m. with the breeze. The best action has been with garlic-scented baits or lures with heavy vibration. Bass are moving into the shallows as the water temperature has approached 58 degrees. The annual Lake Amador Trout Derby lasts until March 1.

▪ CAMANCHE LAKE – 1200 pounds of Mt. Lassen Trout Farm rainbows were released into the lake with 600 pounds at the South Shore Launch Ramp and the remainder at the South Shore Pond this Trollers are scoring with bright-colored Rapalas or grubs in white, chartreuse or firetiger near the surface. Bank fishing has been best near the launch ramps with Mice Tails, trout dough bait, nightcrawlers or Power Eggs. Bass fishing has improved with Senkos or plastics on the drop-shot. The Central Valley Anglers rescheduled their annual Club Members Derby at the South Shore Launch Ramp until March 8, with their open derby scheduled for March 28.

▪ DON PEDRO – Bass fishing continued to improve for large fish with Huddleston swimbaits in light trout, 68 Specials, or Reaction Innovation’s Skinny Dippers on a ¼+-ounce jig head rolled like a jig along the bottom. Numbers of bass are still taken by drop-shotting or dartheading plastic worms at depths from 25 to 65 feet. The bass are moving shallow with the warming water. The lake is stained in the inlets due to last week’s storms, and trout fishing is best with bright colored lures. The Fleming Meadows Launch Ramp is open with one lane open, but Blue Oaks is closed.

▪ LAKE McCLURE – The lake continues to release water, and the only access for boats is from the shoreline for small portable vessels such as kayaks or canoes. Bass tournaments scheduled for McClure are being switched to neighboring reservoirs such as Don Pedro for the spring months. All launch ramps are currently closed, and few fishermen are heading to the lake.

▪ LAKE McSWAIN – A 500-pound plant from Calaveras Trout Farm plant spurred bank action during the week. The heavy releases from McClure have ceased at the present time, and the lake is clearly quickly. Bank fishermen are scoring with blue/chrome Kastmasters, bright Rooster Tails, garlic trout dough bait, or nightcrawlers from the banks around the marina, the Handicapped Docks, and the Brush Pile. Trolling continued to be slow in the stained water.

▪ NEW HOGAN RESERVOIR – The launch ramp is in the water with a courtesy dock. Few reports are available from the lake, but with the warm weather, the stripers will become more and more active in the coming weeks.

▪ NEW MELONES – Huge largemouth bass continued to be landed on a daily basis, and large Huddlestons in rainbow trout patterns are the lures of choice for the larger fish. Working the bottom with crawdad-patterned jigs or plastics are effective, as the bass are transitioning from chasing shad to sucking up crawdads. The lake is off-color form the recent inflow, and trout fishing from the banks has slowed. Garlic-scented trout dough bait or bright lures are working best from the banks, and trollers are finding their best action near the Highway 49 Bridge with Rapalas or Speedy Shiners in bright colors.

▪ LAKE PARDEE 6000 pounds of rainbows from Calaveras Trout Farm were released into the lake prior to Friday’s opener, and trout fishing was excellent from the banks with various colors of garlic-scented Power Bait, nightcrawlers, or bright Kastmasters. A few huge German brown trout were taken up the river arm with large plugs. Reconstruction of the Recreational Vehicle Park will result in the lake’s closure on July 10. All boats are required to pass a Quagga Mussel inspection prior to launching.


▪ AMERICAN RIVER – Despite heavy rain a week ago, steelhead fishing remains a bust on the American. Fishing has been poor.

▪ FOLSOM LAKE – Trout fishing near the dam improved last week, with anglers averaging more than a fish per rod. Trolling hoochies behind dodgers 30 feet down has been a good bet.

▪ RANCHO SECO LAKE – The lake was recently stocked and trout fishing is good. Power Bait has worked best, along with nightcrawlers.

▪ SACRAMENTO RIVER, Dunsmuir – Fishing is slow, as flows remain high from a major rainstorm earlier this month. Lake Siskiyou is completely full and water is spilling over the top of the dam, holding flows above 2,000 cfs near Dunsmuir.

▪ SACRAMENTO RIVER, Redding to Red Bluff – Flows are back to 3,000 cfs at Keswick and the water has begun to slightly clear after being extremely muddy for the past two months. Fly fishing for native rainbow is fair to good, with egg patterns fished below indicators working best in the Posse Ground area.


▪ AMERICAN RIVER — The Georgetown Ranger Station reported the Middle Fork and North Fork were down 2 to 3 feet and running clear at the Hwy 49 confluence. The South Fork below the lake at Chili Bar was muddy from heavy releases at the dam. Check for special regulations.

▪ BULLARDS BAR – The lake is at 59-percent capacity. Emerald Cove Marina reported the lake was up 16 feet with the rain, and clear with light debris. The launching at the marina was great with the water level up on the main part of the ramp. Fishing was improving for bass with the water temp running 50 to 54 degrees—expect an early spawn this year. Bruce Gibson at the Paradise Tackle Company hit the lake right after the storm during heavy runoff and caught spots to 7.63 pounds on shakey-head bold bluegill Roboworms on stair-step rock and sand banks at 25 to 35 feet deep in the Willow Creek arm—his best 4 fish weighed just over 20 pounds.

▪ CAMP FAR WEST – North Shore Resort reported the lake was only 2 to 3 feet from spilling. The lake is murky with some debris floating, so boaters beware. Ron Franks of Folsom fished the lake this past Thursday and caught 30 bass in the Bear River arm on green pumpkin lizards fished 8 to 10 feet deep.

▪ ENGLEBRIGHT RESERVOIR – The lake is at 92-percent capacity. Skippers Cove released their 4 pens loaded with 2500 2- to 3-pound rainbows and the DFW stocked 2000 pounds of catchable rainbows. Trollers were doing well running flasher/worms in the marina mooring area between the houseboats in the top 10 feet. The water was murky with debris in the main body due to runoff from the big storm.

▪ FRENCH MEADOWS RESERVOIR The lake is at 31-percent capacity. Will Fish Tackle in Auburn reported the lake was open to shore fishermen—it’s much too low to launch a boat. Shore fishing was good for rainbows to 22 inches using nightcrawlers.

▪ LAKE OROVILLEThe lake is at 47-percent capacity—up 22 feet since the storm hit Feb. 6. Guide Ron Gandolfi reported bass fishing was good as the fish began moving into spawning coves and flats, and more bass were loading up on the steep points outside the coves and flats. Shakey-head worms, tubes, and Persuader Image Blade spinnerbaits were working well for 20 to 35 fish in 3 to 4 hours. Bass were also moving to incoming water—look for the transition between the clear runoff water running into the murky lake water where the temps run 52 to 54 degrees. Some nice coho salmon to 4 pounds were being caught in incoming water on spinnerbaits in the North Fork.

▪ ROLLINS LAKE – The lake is full and loaded with debris—boats use extreme caution while running. Caden Caldwell at NID reported bass fishing was improving, but trout fishing was slow.

▪ SCOTT’S FLAT LAKE – The lake is at 65-percent capacity. No report was available.

▪ SUGAR PINE RESERVOIR – The Foresthill Ranger Station reported the day-use area and boat ramp were open for fishermen. Fishing reports were far and few between.

▪ STUMPY MEADOWS RESERVOIR The Georgetown Ranger Station reported the boat ramp area and Ponderosa Cove were open for shore fishing or launching a cartop boat, kayak, or canoe.

▪ THERMOLITO AFTERBAY – The lake was at 134.1-foot elevation at press time—82.5-percent capacity. With the warm weather, look for pre-spawn bass to begin moving into the coves or onto the points and banks leading into the coves. The bass bite has been slow.

– Western Outdoor News