Fishing Line

Salmon fishing remains strong in Sacramento River

Here are the best places to fish in the Sacramento region, Northern California and beyond for the week of Oct. 3, 2016.



Salmon fishing has been good from Howe Avenue up to the Wall at the hatchery. Two-thirds of the salmon being caught have been taken on beads, while Mepp’s Flying C spinners and Blue Fox spinners also are working.


The East Carson received an 1,800 pound plant of trout last week, said Todd Sodaro of Creekside Lodge, and with excellent clarity and flows of 50 cfs, the catch rates are sky high. West Fork is too low to plant.


Salmon are arriving in fits and spurts with great fishing followed by days of slower action, It depends on whether you are present when the schools are moving upriver. The section of the main Sacramento from the Rio Vista Bridge to the mouth of the Old Sacramento is full of grass, but it has been a solid area for salmon. For clear water and less grass, the stretch from Viera’s Resort to Walnut Grove is a good option with various color patterns of spinners. The shoreline areas around Benicia remain crowded on a daily basis, but the action slowed over the weekend. The wind kept most sturgeon anglers off of the river during the past weekend.


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 with good success.

SACRAMENTO RIVER, Verona to Colusa

Trolling Blue Fox Spinners, Mepps Flying Cs or M2 FlatFish has been fair. Fishing seemed to stall over the weekend, but fresh fish are expected from the bay, thanks to rains on Saturday and Sunday.


CHETCO RIVER, Brookings, Ore.

Rain over the weekend raised the Chetco from 53 cfs late last week to 250 cfs on Sunday. While only a slight rise, it drew a couple hundred kings into the deeper pools at Tide Rock and Social Security Bar, where bobber fishing with eggs and sand shrimp has been fair to good. Trolling has been good in the estuary, according to guide Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing, who has been averaging a fish per rod.

COOS RIVER, Coos Bay, Ore.

Salmon fishing has slowed as most of the kings have moved into the upper tidewater.

ROGUE RIVER, Gold Beach, Ore.

Salmon fishing was good late last week in the Rogue Bay, where a 44-pounder was reported on Friday. Hatchery salmon are now holding at the mouth of Indian Creek. Hatchery and wild coho are being caught near the Highway 101 bridge.

ROGUE RIVER, Shady Cove to Grants Pass

Steelhead fishing is pretty good in the Grants Pass area, says guide Troy Whitaker at U-Save Tackle in Grants Pass. Anglers are side-drifting small plugs or pink rubber worms for best action. You can still fish for salmon below Hog Creek but not above this area. Best salmon catches down there are being made on Kwikfish with a sardine wrap. Whitaker also fished Lost Creek Lake this week and reports very good trout fishing, trolling Wicked lures behind flashers and 2 ounces of lead, or fishing nightcrawlers about 40 feet deep in the upper lake area.


Salmon fishing at the mouth of the Smith has been hit and miss, according to WON Field Reporter Phil Desautel of Phil’s Smilin’ Salmon Guide Service, who said, “There are a few fish entering the system on the tides and the bank fishermen are throwing Kastmasters and Cleos, but they are losing more fish then they are landing. They hook em' and the fish like to run straight back to the ocean. The river is closed above Rowdy Creek due to low flows. Guide and WON Field Reporter Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing agreed, and said, “Salmon are being caught near the mouth on spoons and spinners. Rains over the weekend brought the Smith from 200 cfs to 440 cfs, not enough to lift the low flow closures. Fresh salmon are now holding at Ruby, the Bob Jake Hole and Bailey Hole. More rain is expected this week, but it is unknown of it will be enough to allow for an opener above the mouth of Rowdy Creek.”



The 189-fish quota for adult kings between Iron Gate Dam and the Highway 96 bridge at Weitchpec has been met, effective Wednesday night. All adult kings now must be released. Jacks less than 22 inches may be kept. Salmon fishing was improving between Interstate 5 and Iron Gate Dam before the quota was met. Flows on Sunday were 980 cfs. Plugs and roe have both been tricking kings. Trout fishing is very good, with nightcrawlers fished behind a diver working best. With salmon spawning, egg patterns are now working well.


The adult king salmon quota has been reached above the Highway 96 bridge, effective Wednesday night. Steelhead fishing is fair to good near Happy Camp, with egg patterns working well, now that salmon are spawning. Flows Sunday at Seiad Valley were 1,230 cfs. Flows at Orleans were 1,640 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. Salmon fishing has been fair, with guides reporting two to four fish a day while side-drifting roe. Flows over the weekend at Terwer near the mouth were 2,470 cfs. The water temperature is 62 degrees.


Flows dropped from 800 cfs last week to 460 cfs over the weekend, back down to normal late summer and early fall levels. Salmon are spread throughout the river, with the Big Bar area holding the best numbers. With lower water, bank anglers are doing well with spinners, roe or tuna balls. Salmon are now spawning, so beads and egg patterns are working well for steelhead. The Trinity remains open to retention of adult king salmon.



Bass fishing remains fair to good in most areas of the lake, with most anglers using shallow cranks, jigs, LV500s and swimbaits. A club bass tournament produced lots of bass, but only two limits. There is very little action reported for trout anglers.


Jeff Wood at the lake office says he has seen more catfish than bass this week, but fishing has been generally slow.


Fishing remains slow with no trout plants made. A few bass are being taken on nightcrawlers and plastic worms, said Art Cerini at The Narrows Resort.


Wind and rain kept many anglers off the lake over the weekend, but when they were able to fish earlier the week they caught largemouth bass up to 8 pounds on jigs and LV plugs in the brushy areas.


Resort shut down for the winter, and few anglers even showing up on the water.


Hot weather slowed the bass and trout fishing this week, but there were a few large bass and channel catfish caught. Bass are hitting on plastic worms and LV500 plugs. The trout are being taken from 25 to 40 feet of water on trolled Z-Rays, Needlefish or nightcrawlers.



Fishing has been slow with rain, wind and a little snow affecting anglers and action this week, according to Big Springs Resort.


Fly fishing has been pretty steady here on a variety of flies. Trout and a few bass are being caught, said John Dietz at The Fly Shop in Redding.


Fishing has been slow this week; marina is only open from Wednesday through Sunday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.


Bass fishing continues to be good for numbers of fish to 2 or 3 pounds, with occasional larger one, on white spinnerbaits, big wacky worms, Senkos, drop-shot rigs with little reapers, or swimbaits when bass are busting shad on the surface. Trout fishing is fair for trollers with deep-trolled flashers with spoons or Hoochie jigs.


Trout fishing was good this week, said guide Scott Caldwell at SC Guide Service. He guided here early in the week and said they caught over 40 fish on that day.


Rainy weather kept fishing slow this week, reported Trinity Alps Marina.


Rains were coming down on Sunday, and Dan Mann at the marina said fishing for kokanee has slowed down, and there is very little action on bass either this week.



Fishing interest has waned over the past week, particularly with the high winds, but 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. Fewer trollers are trying. Largemouth bass can be found at depths from 15 to 25 feet with plastics on the drop-shot or Texas-rig along with crankbaits. The fish are chasing bait on the surface in the early mornings 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 dropped slightly to 69% of capacity.


The trout and king salmon bite should improve in the near future, but for now, trollers are scoring far more spotted bass than rainbows. There are upcoming bass tournaments on the lake, and there’s a brief window for topwater in the early morning before working the bottom with plastics on the drop-shot or darthead. Crappie fishermen are heading to the lake with minnows or mini-jigs to work the submerged brush. There have been a number of thefts occurring within the houseboats and the campsites, and visitors are advised to secure vehicles and valuables and keep a watch for suspicious activity. 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 dropped slightly to 65% of capacity.


The launch ramp conditions at Barrett Cove South have limited the number of fishermen heading to the lake as a long back up is necessary to launch there. Fishing under lights near the houseboats with small to medium minnows produces rainbow trout, bass, or crappie. Catfish are still an option with frozen shad, sardines, or anchovies from the shorelines with muddy, sloping banks. The lake has dropped to 38% of capacity with water releases lowering the lake 3 feet to 741.48 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 crowds arrived over the past weekend for the annual Merced Irrigation District’s Trout Derby. Trout dough bait, inflated nightcrawlers, or Kastmasters are picking up planters near the Brush Pile, Handicapped Docks, or along the marina. As the planters acclimate to the lake, trolling will pick up in the river arm with 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.


Rainbow trout to 4.5 pounds have been taken by fast-trolling heavy shad-patterned spoons at depths from 80 to 90 feet in the main river channel near the dam.Catfish are the most consistent species live minnows, frozen shad, anchovies, mackerel, or sardines. 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. The bass bite has been good, as the shad are schooling in deep water. The best bite has been in the early mornings and late in the evenings, but there are plenty of fish to be caught during the day as well, with reaction baits to find feeding fish before switching to a slower moving presentation. 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.


Catfish remain the top species at the lake with a variety of cut baits, chicken livers, or nightcrawlers. Largemouth and smallmouth can be taken on plastics on the drop-shot or spinnerbaits in the shallows. The lake closes for the season on November 6 before reopening in February 2017. The lake held at 90% of capacity.



Little action here. Trout are stacking at the Little Truckee inlet but water is too thin for them to move up. Lake is 26% of capacity. Only car top boats can launch.


Trout are cruising the shallows and fly fishers and bait dunkers are intercepting rainbows. Fly fishers use hopper patterns and Chernobyl Ants. Power Bait or nightcrawlers work for bait dunkers. The dam and the stretch of shore from Emigrant Bay to Woods Creek are top spots, reported Eric Meza of Tahoe Fly Fishing Outfitters.


Cooler temps turning on the trout. Fish are in five to 12 feet below the surface. Cinnamon woolly buggers, copper redhead Dick Nites are reliable offerings. Rainbows to 22 inches were hooked last week, said guide Ed Dillard. Lake is 55% of capacity. Dock remains in place at Honker Cove.


Lake is 38% of capacity but there have been decent reports from Donner. Before last weekend’s cold snap, anglers were catching 10- to 13-inch fat kokes 40 to 55 feet deep in the south part of the lake, said Brian Nylund at Mountain Hardware and Sports in Truckee. Later in the day, fish move off the humps near China Cove. Not catching many macks.


No trout plants here since July, as the DFW continues with it’s lack of trout plants everywhere.


Bait anglers are having a slow go, but a pair of fly fishers from Reno caught and released more than 50 trout in two days using copper Johns at Lunker Point, reported Shirley Wiggins at Wiggins’ Outpost. The floating dock at Frenchman has been taken out. Lake is at 32% of capacity.


Water temps dipped below 60 and browns and macks are on the move. A couple of 5 pounds browns were caught last week from the north side of the lake. Action at Salmon and Sardine lakes continues to be slow, reported Mark Tieslau of Mountain Hardware and Sports in Blairsden.


Weekend wind made things tough here, said Todd Sodaro of Creekside Lodge in Markleeville. It has been a so-so season. Anglers are averaging 5 to 7 brood stock cutthroats in the 16- to 24-inch range. Yellow body Panther Martins and a variety of flies get action. This lake is open on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through Oct. 30.


Lake is 74% of capacity. A trout plant went in last week and fishing is picking up as the weather cools, said Julie Siebert at Ice House Resort. Action is all rainbows. A 3-pound ‘bow was landed at Strawberry Point. Not much is happening with macks or kokes.


Best action is enjoyed the first and last hours of light. Chartreuse Power Bait or nightcrawlers can entice a bite. Lake will get planted again after Nov. 15, said Todd Sodaro of Creekside Lodge in Markleeville.


More hunters here than anglers and with all the tags in this region spoken for, the woods are full of hunters, said Brian Nylund of Mountain Hardware in Truckee.


A plant of 500 pounds went in Wednesday. Lake is 80% of capacity. No one has been bragging.


The wind has put a halt to the excellent mack fishing that has been going on. South Shore, North Shore, Kings Beach, Tahoe City Tahoe Keys, Sugar Pine Point and Camp Richardson all have been producing macks. A few kokes in the area, but nothing worth chasing, said guide Mike Nielsen. Guide Chuck Self reported much the same. When the wind died down, macks weighing 3 to 9 pounds were easy pickings. Bigger macks are in deeper water.


Much wind, few anglers.


48% of capacity. Quiet. Even the smallmouth bite has been tough this year. Don’t know if the fish have gotten smarter or if there are fewer.


Opening weekend brought four cutthroats weighing more than 10 pounds but winds to 40 mph made conditions a big challenge. Warm water in close has the larger fish in deeper water.


Fish the dam areas and intercept cruising fish. Lake is murky, but people do okay with San Juan worms or blood midges near the inlet. There are better options in the area, said Eric Meza of Tahoe Fly Fishing Outfitters in South Lake Tahoe.


Much like Caples, look for trout cruising the shoreline.


There are macks and browns outside the Little Truckee Arm, but there is no water coming from Sagehen Creek. Lake is at 38% of capacity. Bite is slow, said Brian Nylund at Mountain Hardware and Sports in Truckee.


Streamer bite is on for browns and rainbows in the 20-inch range. Fish are putting on weight for the winter, so go big. Small midge patterns under indicators are effective, plus October caddis are showing, said Brian Nylund at Mountain Hardware and Sports in Truckee. Expect quality over quantity.


Lake is at 64% of capacity and dropping. Anglers are catching rainbows. Trout are coming toward the surface and kokanee are staging near inlets, said John Wadden of Will Fish Tackle in Auburn. The floating dock is out.


It’s mostly pocket water fishing reported Sam Foster from the Toiyabe Motel. Plants are going in every other week from DFG. The Chamber of Commerce stocked its last load of 400 pounds on 9/15.



Largemouth bass took center stage during the past weekend with the River2Sea Open bringing out 119 teams for the 2-day event. Quality largemouth bass are there for the taking. Salmon fishing has slowed off of the Humphrey’s Pier in Antioch, but it is expected to pick up with the next series of schools moving through. Flying C or Mike’s Custom spinners are working best for the migrating salmon. The San Joaquin River is off-limits for salmon fishing, but there have been salmon kept by bass fishermen within the week. Small stripers are the rule around Stockton, but bluegill and red ear perch are thick in the back sloughs with jumbo red worms or wax 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 best from the 10th Street Bridge clear up to the Outlet, but action slowed last week compared to the hot fishing most of September. 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.


The lake dropped 2 feet last week, from 389 feet to 387 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. 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 increased slightly to 203 cfs at the Delta gauge. Conditions have been good for fly fishing.

SACRAMENTO RIVER, Red Bluff to Colusa

Salmon fishing has been fair below Red Bluff, 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. Boat pressure was fairly light over the weekend.

SACRAMENTO RIVER, Redding to Red Bluff

Flows at Keswick Dam dropped from 8,045 cfs to 7,810 cfs. Salmon fishing remains good at the Barge Hole, where roe is outfishing plugs, although sardine-wrapped FlatFish are working at first light. Wild trout are now keying on egg patterns and beads now that salmon are spawning. October is prime time for trout between Redding and Red Bluff.



All forks are running low and there is little fishing pressure, reported John Wadden at Will Fish Tackle in Auburn.


Marina operator said there has been little pressure here the past week.


Lake is 40% of capacity and surface temp is 80 degrees. Anglers have been catching bass from the shore and boats. Best action has been up Bear River and near the dam. Rock Creek is too low to access. Bass are holding in deep water off points, said Kathy DeRossett at the North Shore Resort. There has been a good showing of 2- to 3-pound largemouth.


Lake is 29 feet from full with a surface temperature of 72 degrees. Catching a lot of catfish and a few bass here and there. The first trout in weeks was caught by an angler using nightcrawlers off Goose Island. First plant of the fall season is planned for mid-October.


Lake is 94% of capacity. Very quiet last week said Lisa Rogers of Skippers Cove Marina. Nothing this week on rainbows but last week was good. Change in weather will help the fishing. Start at the Marina and hunt rainbows and work up to the forks for browns.


It’s been a slow season and few anglers are visiting, said John Wadden at Will Fish Tackle in Auburn.


Guide Ron Gandolfi said bass are off steep walls but will take well placed darthead worms or tubes. There is a topwater bite in the morning. There isn’t a hot color, but presentation is key. Tubes work. Surface temp is 69 degrees in the morning. Lake is at 46% of capacity.


A trout plant scheduled for this week.


Fishing is poor. Boat launches are open and campgrounds open. Campfire restrictions are in effect.


It’s been a ghost town on these shores since school has gone back in session.


When the weather warms again next week, hit this spot. Afternoon bite is best when warmer temps take hold. Look for green tules and clear water channels.



The Berkeley fleet spread out wide, with some boats like Jilly Sea fishing the Bay for sharks and rays, some like Happy Hooker and California Dawn fishing the Marin Coast and Farallon Islands for lingcod and rockfish and some boats including New Easy Rider and El Dorado sticking with the salmon at the Channel Buoys and along the Marin Coast on really windy days.


Private boats from Bodega Bay scored low counts of salmon while party boats turned their attention to groundfish. New Sea Angler enjoyed a stellar week of catching big lingcod and rockfish down off of Pigeon Point. Tomales Bay halibut slowed their calorie intake. Surf fishers near Lawson’s landing caught striped bass and leopard sharks as well as perch.


Sea Wolf and Sundance made the rockfish and lingcod runs to the Marin Coast for good results and happy passengers. Sea Wolf managed well over 2 lings per rod. Salmon effort tapered off in the second half of the week.


Cape Mendocino was the place to go for monster rockfish and loads of lingcod, however weather dictated the fishing conditions and while some days were quick and easy limits, a couple of days were scratch fishing when it was difficult to hold the bottom even with a heavy weight. Inside Humboldt Bay, California halibut continued their show into early October, biting anchovies. Jetty fishers had some good days catching kelp greenling, cabezon, rockfish and even lingcod.


Kayakers had their day… in fact, much of the week thanks to mild weather and gentle sea conditions. Big lingcod units have been coming in for the fall event and kayakers were out hooking and battling monster lingcod. Partyboat anglers caught quality rockfish including coppers, vermillion and large olive rockfish.


Netpen salmon from the Coastside Fishing Club net rearing project kept swimming back into Pillar Point Harbor, creating opportunities for people to fish for them from shore inside the Harbor and from boats just outside the entrance. Partyboats did the safe thing and put their passengers on some good rockfish, cabezon and lingcod at reef zones south of town. Striped bass catches were down, but there were still fish caught while fishing for surf perch.


South Bay lit up with striped bass action as they chased small jacksmelt fry. Flash II worked the Marin Coast for rockfish or fished south Bay for sharks. Wacky Jacky and Lovely Martha, like other salmon boats, saw good salmon fishing early in the week, then bites got a bit scarce late in the week and so switched over to rockfish to keep fish coming over the rails.

- Western Outdoor News