Fishing Line

Fishing Line: World-record spotted bass, sturgeon bite still strong

Ric Torifa, of Folsom, prepares to tie his salmon to a branch near the American River, on Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2011.
Ric Torifa, of Folsom, prepares to tie his salmon to a branch near the American River, on Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2011.


▪ BULLARDS BAR A potential new world record spotted bass was caught this past weekend during a tournament by Lou Ferrante of Sparks, NV—the big fish weighed an amazing 11.2 pounds on derby scales, but a certified scale had it at 10.95—still a new world record. The catch will still have to be verified by the DFW and application made to the IGFA. Guide Ron Gandolfi fished the lake this past week and he and a client caught 30 bass that included 6.6- and 6.4-pound spots. Gandolfi said the big fish were hitting warmouth Roboworms rigged on a worm head at 25 feet deep on rocky points leading into coves and in smooth bottom coves near incoming water. The lake is at 61-percent capacity.

▪ DELTA REGION: SACRAMENTO RIVER High winds didn’t slow down the sturgeon bite over the weekend, and the best action was in the Big or Little Cuts with salmon roe. Several sturgeon of legal size were brought to the net over the past weekend, and party boats have even reported up to 4 limits with three legal sturgeon landed several times during the week. The warm 60-degree water temperature has kicked the diamondbacks into high gear. Lamprey eel, grass shrimp, or salmon roe are the top baits. Clearer water conditions in the north Delta, combined with unseasonably warm water temperatures, have created ideal conditions for trolling for striped bass. Deep-diving lures have been consistent above the Rio Vista Bridge north through the Deep Water Channel.

▪ FEATHER RIVER Striper fishing was good to excellent at Shanghai Bend and Boyds Pump last week. Jumbo minnows are working well.

▪ 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. Striper fishing is improving, as this year’s spawning run is showing signs of an early start.

▪ SACRAMENTO RIVER, Port of Sacramento – Striper fishing remains good at the port and the area 10 miles downstream of the port. New fish have been showing up, preparing to continue upriver to spawn. Trolling P-Line Predators has worked well.


▪ CHETCO RIVER, Oregon – The river was low and clear over the weekend with flows at 1000 cfs and tough fishing conditions. Even so, guides who put in the effort could still get steelhead limits on most days for clients, according to guide Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing. Rain is expected this coming weekend, which should bring in more steelies.

▪ COQUILLE RIVER, South Fork, Powers, Oregon - The south fork of the coquille has been slow for steelhead. Fresh fish are moving into the south fork currently, according to the weekend report from guide and WON Field Reporter Curtis Palmer of River Secrets. “Speaking with one guide about conditions, he said that they were getting four or five a day fishing from seven mile to Myrtle Point. Fishing around the town of Powers has been slower with only two or three being caught a day.”

▪ ROGUE RIVER, Gold Beach, Oregon Fishing down in Gold beach area has slowed down with the reports I have been given,” said guide Curtis Palmer of River Secrets. “Farther upriver at Graves Creek boat ramp up to the town of Rogue, fishing has been decent. Driftboats have been catching as many as 6 steelhead a day, which has been a mixture of summer steelhead heading back downstream and winter fish working their way upriver to spawn. From now until March, anglers wishing to catch steelhead need to look to the upper Rogue.”

▪ ROGUE RIVER, Grant’s Pass, Oregon Conditions are definitely improving with a bunch of steelhead moving up from the Grays Creek area. The water is clearing. There are both summer and winter fish found from the Grants Pass areas up to Gold Hill, according to guide Troy Whitaker at U-Save Tackle in Grants Pass. “Anglers are scoring with pieces of roe, Puffballs and small yarn balls soaked in Pautzke’s Nectar. Plugs that are working are generally smaller plugs in silver, pink and silver and pink and red. On the Applegate River, anglers are scoring with Cleos, jigs and bobbers and also on pink rubber worms. On the Illinois River the best action is on yarn balls with Nectar, jigs & bobbers and Cleos.

▪ UMPQUA RIVER, Roseburg, Oregon - Fishing for winter steelhead on the main Umpqua has been very good from River Forks Park downriver to Cleveland rapids over the past week, according to WON Field Reporter and guide Curtis Palmer of River Secrets. “Fishing lower on the river has been spotty, but as the river falls, the lower river fishing should become better,” he said.

▪ UMPQUA RIVER, North Fork, Roseburg, Oregon Fishing below Winchester Dam down to River Forks Park has been very good for winter steelhead. “The fish are stacking up, waiting their turn to go over the Winchester dam,” said guide Curtis Palmer. “Fishing 25 miles upriver in Glide has slowed down considerably. The water conditions have been perfect, with nice emerald green color and an easy 6 feet of visibility.”

▪ UMPQUA RIVER, South Fork, Canyonville, Oregon - The South Umpqua River in Canyonville has been good for some bank anglers and discouraging for others, said guide Curtis Palmer. “One angler shared what seemed to be the magic color jig, which was orange and black for catching steelhead. Access at Stanton Park in Canyonville has appeared to be closed this year for drift boaters due to a chain stretched across the road. After checking with the parks department, they said it's fine to use it for access, just unclip the rope and clip it back. Steelhead fishing downriver to the town of Myrtle Creek has remained slow.”


▪ KLAMATH RIVER, Iron Gate Dam – Flows coming out of Iron Gate Dam were back down to normal flows on Sunday, running at 948 cfs. But dirty water has slowed steelhead fishing. The best bet is upstream from the Shasta River. Slowly working plugs or divers and bait has been the best bet.

▪ KLAMATH RIVER, Happy Camp – The river dropped to 2,880 cfs at the Seiad Valley gauge on Sunday, but dirty water has slowed success. Some steelhead are available, but fishing has been slow.

▪ KLAMATH RIVER, Klamath Glenn – The lower river was still high and dirty on Sunday, running 16,700 cfs at the lower river gauge. Few anglers have been trying their luck. Federal fishery managers have begun reviewing data to develop this fall’s salmon quota.

▪ TRINITY RIVER – Despite excellent conditions over the weekend, steelhead fishing was only fair at best on the upper Trinity. Anglers are catching a mix of halfpounders, adult winter steelhead and some early brown trout. Swinging plugs is the best bet for early browns. Expect decent steelhead fishing into the middle of March.


▪ BERKELEY – Sturgeon and stripers in Suisun Bay were the targets and the destination for California Dawn and Happy Hooker. A 65-pound sturgeon was brought aboard Cal Dawnand a 4.5-foot sevengill came aboard Happy Hooker. Both boats did well on bass and sturgeon.

▪ BODEGA BAY/LAWSON’S LANDING – Limits of crabs, all of the croakers and sanddabs people wanted to catch were readily available on New Sea Angler out of Bodega Bay. Down the coast at Lawson’s Landing, pier people caught jacksmelt and beach fishers caught perch, except for one feller who caught a striper that went nearly 10 pounds.

▪ EMERYVILLESea Wolf made a wintertime striper trip to San Pablo Bay. The results were 7 stripers plus a whole lotta shakers caught and released. One lucky passenger caught a 56-inch sturgeon.

▪ EUREKA/CRESCENT CITY – Herring came back to the harbor at Crescent City in big numbers and anglers stocked up. At Eureka, both North and South jetties were good for kelp greenling, black rockfish, cabezon and lingcod. Clam Beach saw some action at minus tides and local piers provided red rock crabs.

▪ FORT BRAGG – Comfortable water and enviable weather brought out spearfishers who took lingcod to over 20 pounds. Crabs appear to have molted, however finding limits of healthy, heavy crabs was doable for Telstar. Rubberlip and red tail perch bit along the jetty. Shore fishers got cabezon and rockfish at Jug Handle and MacKerricher.

▪ HALF MOON BAY Huli Cat worked through the fog to put people onto steady counts of sanddabs and Dungeness crabs. Perch fishing was good at local sandy beaches. San Gregorio and Pescador were go-to spots for cabezon, rockfish and lingcod.

▪ SAN FRANCISCO – Halibut chewed up jacksmelt and shiners in South Bay near Coyote Point and Oyster Point. While fishing for halibut, George Speris caught a whopping 52-pound striped bass.

▪ SAN RAFAEL Sensational striped bass fishing prevailed near China Camp and Pumphouse. Capt. Trent Slate (a Shelter Cove skipper) used mud shrimp and hooked a fish on almost every cast. Boaters hit bass on anchor, drifting shiners and shrimp, or trolling the top of the tide. Fury fished out of Port San Pablo to catch leopard sharks, sturgeon and stripers.


▪ BOCA LAKE – The lake is at 28.5-percent capacity. Mountain Hardware and Sports suggested casting off the dam for rainbows and browns with spoons and Rapalas.

▪ CAPLES LAKE – The lake is at 72.5-percent capacity. John Voss at Caples Lake Resort reported the open water in front of the resort was producing some limits of trout on lures and bait. Ice fishermen were still at the Spillway, but Voss recommended against getting on the ice.

▪ CARSON RIVER (East) – It was snowing in Markleeville when WON called on Sunday, and no one had been fishing the river all week, according to Todd Sodaro at Todd’s Bait and Tackle at the Creekside Lodge.

▪ DAVIS LAKE – The lake is at 58-percent capacity. Ed Dillard at Dillard’s Guided Fishing reported the trout bite was hit-or-miss—good one day and poor the next. One angler shore fishing at Mallard Point hit it good one day landing two 4-pound rainbows and a 5 pounder. Mallard Point and Coot Bay were the hot spots this past week when the bite was on. Another angler experienced non-stop action for 1 to 1 1/2 hours at Coot using nightcrawlers floated on a yellow garlic marshmallow rigged on a 20-inch leader—a school of cruising trout must have stopped right on top of him! Flyfishermen using PT nymphs under an indicator from shore and off float tubes at Coot Bay were picking up a few fish. Trolling was slow.

▪ DONNER LAKE – The lake is at 47-percent capacity. Mountain Hardware and Sports said there were a lot of fishermen trying their luck, but few were reporting any success.

▪ FRENCHMAN LAKE – The lake is at 36-percent capacity. Shore fishing at the dam was producing limits of 1 1/2- to 2-pound rainbows using nightcrawlers, according to Wiggins Trading Post.

▪ ICE HOUSE RESERVOIR – The lake is at 77.5-percent capacity. Kyle Neeser at Crystal Basin Tackle and Guide Service reported some guys he knew trolled the lake with poor results. He said the fish were tight to the bottom, so drifting bait might do the trick.

▪ INDIAN CREEK RESERVOIR – Todd Sodaro at Todd’s Bait and Tackle at the Creekside Lodge reported a shore angler fished nightcrawlers and floating dough bait at the dam for a 5-pound rainbow and a couple 1 to 1 1/2 pounders.

▪ JACKSON MEADOW RESERVOIR — The lake is at 93-percent capacity. Mountain Hardware and Sports reported the road to the lake was snowy and icy and recommended staying out of the area.

▪ JENKINSON LAKE (Sly Park) – Sly Park Resort reported rainbows were hitting bait at the first and second dams. A few macks to 3 pounds were hitting nightcrawlers off the shore. Smallmouth bass were hitting worms, jigs and crankbaits on the rocky banks at the mouth of the Narrows.

▪ LAKE TAHOE Wind and snow kept boats off the water this past weekend, but earlier in the week Chuck Self at Chuck’s Charter Fishing reported trolling was great in the morning to 400 feet deep and good in the afternoons at 200 to 250 feet deep. His clients caught fish ranging from 1 to 12 pounds from Dollar Point to Crystal Bay point at North Shore. Mike Nielsen at Tahoe Topliners Sportfishing was catching a mix of 3- to 4-pound brown trout and macks trolling at South Shore using Rapala Scatter Raps and Shadow Raps in 50 to 70 feet of water. Zack Gordon at Tahoe Sportfishing said the fleet was doing well mooching live minnows 200 to 250 feet deep from South Shore to Rubicon for macks averaging 3 to 6 pounds with the occasional fish to 12 pounds.

▪ LOON LAKEThe lake is at 56-percent capacity. The lake is accessible and small boats can launch off the gravel ramp at the dam.

▪ PROSSER LAKE – The lake is at 33.7-percent capacity. Mountain Hardware and Sports reported the lake “looked like a mud hole” and fishing was slow. Try off the dam for a chance at a rainbow.

▪ PYRAMID LAKEValarie Taylor at Crosby’s Lodge reported fishing was slower this past week with only 9 double-digit fish caught. A 19 1/2-pound cutthroat caught by Justin Kraft topped the board. Chris Nicholson scored a 17-pound, 6.4-ounce lunker flyfishing at the Nets. The week total included the 19 1/2, the 17, a 16 1/2, a 14, three 13s, a 12 and a 10. George Molino at Cutthroat Charters put Dan Eliskovich of Sutter Creek on the 16 1/2 trolling a red-dot frog Apex at the South Nets at 25 feet deep. Joe Mendes at Eagle Eye Charters reported slow trolling with only four 18- to 23-inch fish caught trolling this past week. Ken Mathis at Ken’s Custom Tackle and Guide Service experienced slow trolling and shore fishing on a long trip this past week.

▪ RED LAKE – John Voss at Caples Lake Resort reported the temps dropped enough to refreeze the lake and there were a lot of ice fishermen on the lake all week.

▪ SILVER LAKE – The lake is at 70-percent capacity. Open water was showing and ice fishing was questionable at best, according to reports given to Todd Sodaro at Todd’s Bait and Tackle at the Creekside Lodge by lodge guests.

▪ STAMPEDE RESERVOIR – The lake is at 24-percent capacity. Flyfishing for a mix of nice rainbows and small kokanee was good in the Davies Creek arm, according to Mountain Hardware and Sports. The anglers were casting midge nymphs under indicators. The rainbows were 16 to 18 inchers.

▪ TOPAZ LAKE — Chuck Fields at Topaz Landing Marina reported there still wasn’t enough water to launch boats at the marina or the County Park, and shore fishing was hit-or-miss.

▪ TRUCKEE RIVER – Mountain Hardware and Sports reported that flyfishing was good in the lower section of the river near Stateline and below Reno at Mustang using baetis and BWO patterns.

▪ UNION VALLEY RESERVOIR – The lake is at 71-percent capacity. Kyle Neeser at Crystal Basin Tackle reported there was heavy logging traffic on Pea Vine Ridge Road and Ice House Road from timber salvaging operations from the King Fire. There was little traffic into the lake.

▪ WEST WALKER RIVER – Sam Foster at the Toiyabe Motel reported it was snowing when WON called on Sunday, so fishing pressure was zilch! The Toiyabe Motel will reopen with 3 rooms on March 6.


▪ LAKE AMADOR – The lake has risen to within 15 feet of spilling, coming up 15 feet with 72 hours after the last huge storm. The lake is clearing on a daily basis after being heavily stained from the sudden inflow. The debris has dissipated from its high point last week, but there are still floating sticks on and below the surface, particularly near the dam. Bank fishing is best with garlic-scented trout dough bait, but bright Kastmasters are working in the clearer water conditions. 1200 pounds of Mt. Lassen rainbows were planted last week with another load expected during the current week. Crappie are starting to appear with a 2.26-pound slabside landed during the week on a nightcrawler. The annual Lake Amador Trout Derby celebration will be on March 1 at 2:00 p.m., and all participants must be present in order to win.

▪ CAMANCHE LAKE – 1800 pounds of Mt. Lassen Trout Farm rainbows were released into the lake with 600 pounds at the South Shore Launch Ramp, the South Shore Pond, and the North Shore Launch Ramp. Trolling continued to bring home huge rainbows to 10 pounds with F-11 Rapalas in various bright patterns or white grubs with the best action from the surface to 10 feet in depth in the Narrows and around the dam. Shore fishermen are finding quality rainbows on Mice Tails, trout dough bait, nightcrawlers, or Power Eggs. Bass fishing has improved with Senkos, swimbaits or plastics on the drop-shot as the fish are moving into the shallow coves in the river arm. The Central Valley Anglers Club Members-Only Derby at the South Shore Launch Ramp is March 8 with their open derby scheduled for March 28.

▪ DON PEDRO – Bass fishing continued to improve for large bass with Huddleston swimbaits in light trout or Huddleston 68 Specials. The ROF 12 is best in deep water with the ROF 5 effective in the shallows. Numbers of bass are still taken by drop-shotting or dartheading plastic worms, jigs, or Senkos at depths from the bank to 30 feet. Trout fishing is improving for trollers with blade/’crawler combinations on a slow presentation within the top 12 feet of the surface. The Fleming Meadows Launch Ramp is open with one lane open, but Blue Oaks is closed.

▪ LAKE McCLURE – The lake has risen steadily within the past two weeks, but the launch ramps remained closed. 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. Few fishermen are heading to the lake.

▪ LAKE McSWAIN – For the second consecutive week, a 500-pound plant from Calaveras Trout Farm was dumped into the lake. Trout action was excellent during the previous week, but the fog extending up the mountain as high as Mariposa limited fishing interest during the past week. The lake is clearing up after heavy water releases in the previous weeks. The best fishing is coming from the banks around the Handicapped Docks, Brush Pile, or the Marina with Kastmasters, bright Rooster Tails, garlic trout dough bait or nightcrawlers from the banks around the marina. Trolling continued to be slow.

▪ 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 – Large Huddleston swimbaits in rainbow trout patterns continued to entice big spotted and largemouth bass during the past week. Numbers of smaller bass are plentiful on Senkos, Carolina-rigged plastics, or jigs in deeper water with anglers enjoying from 15 to 50 fish days. The lake is clearing rapidly after the heavy inflow from the previous storm. Trout trolling continued to be solid with bright colors of plugs, spinners, or spoons, and limits of rainbows are coming from the banks near the Marina or Glory Hole Point with garlic-scented trout dough bait or nightcrawlers.

▪ LAKE PARDEE Trout fishing from the banks near the Mud Hole, Blue Heron Point, Porcupine Point, and Tom Sawyer Island has been excellent with Power Eggs, trout dough bait, Pistol Pete’s, and Woolley Buggers with the effective colors changing on a daily basis. 6000 pounds of rainbows from Calaveras Trout Farm were released into the lake before the lake’s opening day. Bass fishing has been solid with swimbaits, crankbaits, jigs, or plastics with a number of fish in the 3- to 5-pound range reported. 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 – Steelhead fishing has been slow, with very few fish caught in low flow conditions.

▪ FOLSOM LAKE – Trout fishing is fair to slow, with trolling near the dam the best bet. Bass fishing has been slow. Salmon fishing also is slow.

▪ RANCHO SECO LAKE – The river is falling back into shape after heavy rains two weeks ago, but effort has been light for anglers trying to catch native rainbows.

▪ SACRAMENTO RIVER, Redding to Red Bluff – Visibility has improved and trout fishing is fair to good for anglers drifting egg patterns or beads below indicators. Recently caddis hatches have provided some topwater action. For the first time this year, the water is starting to get a greenish color.


▪ AMERICAN RIVER — The Georgetown Ranger Station reported there was plenty of recreation going on at the confluence, but no fishing. The river was running clear and cold at Hwy 49.

▪ CAMP FAR WEST – The lake is full. Kent Brown of Sac caught over 40 fish this past week that ran 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 pounds. Ron Franks of Folsom hit the lake twice this past week and scored 30 and 57 bass throwing green pumpkin lizards and Brush Hogs in 5 to 10 feet of water in the Bear River arm. The water temp was 54 to 55 degrees.

▪ COLLINS LAKEThe lake is 26 feet from full. Big rainbows from 5 to 8 pounds really went on the bite this past week for both shore anglers and trollers. Nancy Stapp topped the board with an 8-pound rainbow taken trolling a Rapala on the east side, while Will Jellsey of Marysville scored a 7-pound, 10-ouncer from the shore using orange floating dough bait. The Resort will make another 1800-pound private plant this week and will begin releasing pen-reared trout in mid-March, so the fishing will remain excellent.

▪ ENGLEBRIGHT RESERVOIR – The lake is at 94-percent capacity. Lisa Rogers at Skippers Cove Marina reported trout fishing was fantastic with rainbows to 71/2 pounds weighed this past week. The Lake Wildwood Hunting and Fishing Club held a derby this past week and every boat caught limits of rainbows. The big fish weighed 2 1/4 pounds and the best 10 fish limit bumped the scale to just over 20 pounds. Everyone was trolling in the marina where the DFW dumped a plant and Skippers Cove released their 4 pens of big rainbows.

▪ FRENCH MEADOWS RESERVOIR The lake is at 45-percent capacity. Will Fish Tackle in Auburn reported one of the staff took the grandkids up to the lake to shore fish. They only caught one 14-inch rainbow—the action was slow.

▪ LAKE OROVILLEThe lake is at 48-percent capacity. Guide Ron Gandolfi reported the bass bite was great with fish moving into the shallows to prepare for the spawn. A 3-hour trip produced 35 fish to 4 pounds casting drop-shot and shakey-head worms to rocky points and walls leading into coves, and flats in the coves in the West Branch and North Fork. Fishing on the next full moon should be off the charts as the big females move up to get on the beds now being made by the hoards of smaller males.

▪ ROLLINS LAKE – The lake is at 96-percent capacity and scheduled for a DFW trout plant this week.

▪ SCOTT’S FLAT LAKE – The lake is at 66-percent capacity and scheduled for a DFW trout plant this week. Jim Caldwell at NID reported trollers and bait drifters were picking up 15- to 18-inch rainbows off the dam. 2 1/2-pound average smallmouth bass were hitting at Cascade Shore. There was a lot of big debris floating in the lake, so boaters need to use extreme caution while running. Unmarked high spots require caution also.

▪ SUGAR PINE RESERVOIR – The lake is scheduled for a DFW trout plant this week.

▪ STUMPY MEADOWS RESERVOIR The boat ramp area and Ponderosa Cove area were open for fishing.

▪ THERMOLITO AFTERBAY – The lake was at 133.9-foot elevation at press time—81-percent capacity. Strong winds kept boaters off the lake this past weekend, but bass fishing should be improving as the water warms and spawning activity kicks in.


SAN JOAQUIN RIVER Pockets of clear water are showing up on a consistent basis, and the largemouth bass bite has been excellent with a variety of baits. Punching the dead hyacinth patches with Brush Hogs or D-Bombs is one effective technique while overcast conditions are bringing out the topwater bite. The male bass are oriented to the banks, waiting for the larger females to arrive. A few large striped bass can be taken on live bait. Bluegill are getting active in the warm water conditions.

– Western Outdoor News