Here are the best places to fish in the Sacramento region, Northern California and beyond for the week of Oct. 24, 2016.
The first trout plant of the year went into the lake on Oct. 28 with Mt. Lassen trout, for the first Motherlode lake to get trout this year. Trout plants will be ongoing. The lake is up 22 feet since the rains began. Catfish to 16 pounds have been caught this week.
Flows dropped from 1,010 cfs to 973 cfs over the weekend. Salmon fishing is still good near the Wall, with up to 50 fish a day being landed. Beads are working best, but Flying C spinners also are producing. Many of the salmon are dark. Rains last week moved most of the salmon in the lower river up toward the hatchery.
DELTA REGION: Sacramento River
Fresh schools of salmon have been arriving with some consistency below the Freeport Bridge, and the new school has brought the best quality of the season. The Old Sacramento from Isleton to Walnut Grove is a good option with trolled Silvertron spinners along with jigging heavy spoons. Striped bass are scattered with the occasional large fish taken on live bait. Striped bass trolling continues to be fair at best. The cooler weather should bring more stripers up the river. Sturgeon fishing is best below the Rio Vista Bridge west to Bay Point with grass shrimp, ghost shrimp, lamprey eel, or salmon roe. The first sturgeon derby of the season is arriving on Nov. 5-6 with the Addathon Iron Man derby out of Antioch, but most fishermen will be targeting the diamondbacks on the Sacramento side of the Delta.
DELTA REGION: San Joaquin River
Small striped bass are pouring into this side of the Delta, and plug casters are finding excellent action for undersized linesides with a variety of lures including Optimum Bad Bubba shad swimbaits, ima Little Stick, Delta Mizer topwater lures, or various shad-patterned ripbaits. Fresh shad is available in Stockton-area bait shops. Salmon have been taken on a regular basis from Humphrey’s Pier in Antioch with heavy spinners. Bluegill are found in the back sloughs on jumbo red worms.
The Outlet Hole is closed for the season. Fishing has been good near the Fifth Street bridge. Jet boaters are running FlatFish with sardine wraps. Jigs are working well below the Fifth Street bridge. Striper fishing has been slow.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Sacramento
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.
NORTH COAST RIVERS
CHETCO RIVER, Brookings, Oregon
The salmon run on the Chetco is already peaking following rains last week, and many anglers caught limits Friday and Saturday Oct. 21-22 in the lower river, according to WON Field Reporter Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing. Plugs were the best. The river is expected to blow out again this week, however, so call ahead. It’s fishable at 3,000 cfs or less.
ROGUE RIVER, Shady Cove to Grants Pass
River action was slow most of the week due to muddy waters, but started picking up on Friday as the river cleared. Steelhead are hitting Puffballs, nightcrawlers and roe in areas like Griffin Park, the footbridge and Robertson Bridge. Some coho salmon are starting to move into the area, too, and are hitting the same baits as steelhead, but also hitting on small plugs back-trolled. Remember, you cannot keep king salmon caught in this area. Lake fishing is fair to good for trout and bass at Selmac Lake and Rhinehart Park.
As of Sunday, Oct. 23, the Russian was flowing at 176 cfs, so it is currently closed to fishing until the flow is over 300 cfs and the DFW has updated their "low-flow" message, according to Scott Heemstra of Kings Sport and Tackle. “We are expecting unsettled weather for the next week with the possibility of up to 4 inches of rain,” Heemstra said. “The first storm of the season two weeks ago brought a decent amount of water, most of which soaked in, but it did move the flow up to just under 300 cfs. If we get enough rain this week then DFW may open the river to fishing the following week. Call 707-944-5533 to see if the Russian is open to fishing. If it does open, expect to find mostly salmon in the river with some early season steelhead. Remember all salmon and wild steelhead must be released, and it is necessary to have in possession and filled out a Steelhead Report and Restoration Card. The Russian is a year ‘round barbless river and bait season does not open until Nov. 1.”
The Smith fished well last each for kings once the river dropped below the 18-foot level, according to WON Field Reporter Phil Desautel of Phil’s Smiling Salmon Guide Service. “I fished Wednesday with Jack and Sam Rimson of Petrolia and they went 4 for 6, releasing 15 and 20 pounders and keeping 26- and 35-pound bucks on Kwikfish.” Guide and WON Field Reporter Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing agreed, and said almost all the guides limited out on Wednesday and Thursday, action slowed on Friday andSaturday and then opened up wide again on Sunday. Rain is expected, so call ahead for conditions.
KLAMATH RIVER, Hornbrook
The 189-fish quota for adult kings between Iron Gate Dam and the Highway 96 bridge at Weitchpec has been met. Trout and summer steelhead fishing has been very good between Iron Gate and Interstate 5, with worms or roe fished below divers working best, as well as small plugs. Flows Sunday at Iron Gate were 1,060 cfs.
KLAMATH RIVER, Happy Camp
The adult king salmon quota has been reached above the Highway 96 bridge. Conditions are good this week for steelhead, with flows at Seiad Valley running 1,740 cfs on Sunday. Flows in Orleans were 3,530 cfs. Side-drifting roe and Puffballs is working best, although small plugs also will trick steelhead.
KLAMATH RIVER, Klamath Glen
The 555-fish adult king salmon quota has been filled for the lower Klamath below Highway 96. Salmon fishing has been poor. Flows on Sundaywere 6,640 cfs at Terwer on Sunday. They could rise again this week as another series of storms closes in on the coast.
Flows from Lewiston Dam have been cut to 300 cfs for the rest of the winter. Flows Sunday at Douglas City were 324 cfs, while flows at Junction City were 340 cfs. Flows at Willow Creek were 1,222 cfs, with flows at Hoopa at 2,270 cfs. Both salmon quotas for the Trinity have been reached. Steelhead fishing is good near Junction City with 3.0 MagLip plugs working well in the low flows. Some guides are reporting 10 fish a day on plugs.
NORTH COAST LAKES
BLACK BUTTE LAKE
Fishing has been a little slow with few anglers out, said Jeff Wood of the lake staff. A few bass and small catfish were caught in the dam area.
Trout fishing is fair to good on trolled lures or bait fishing. Fly fishermen are scoring with woolly buggers, while bait anglers are using Power Baits, nightcrawlers and Gulp baits.
Fishing remains slow, and Art Cerini at The Narrows Resort said they are still waiting for a DFG trout plant to be made.
The numbers of bass being caught for an outing continues to be very strong and most fisherman will not have any trouble putting at least 20 fish in the boat in a relatively short period of time. For those who are willing to put in the time and to cover water and use specific techniques, some bigger fish are being caught.
Bass fishing has perked up here with fish in the 2- and 3-pound range hitting on crankbaits and LV100 in chartreuse shad and ripping a Pointer100 over main lake flats.
Not much fishing reported here, as most people at the resort are hunting. Deer season closed Sunday, but duck season just started, and quail hunters are doing well.
Trout trollers are top-lining in the mornings for land locked steelhead in the 16- to 20-inch range. Bass anglers reported catching fish on jigs, Senkos and chatterbaits.
FAR NORTH LAKE AND RIVERS
Typical Almanor fishing methods produced fish, including Speedy Shiners, Needlefish and Rapalas, all trolled at 2.5 - 2.9 mph at depths between 8 and 30 feet. Other fishermen caught fish slow trolling Gulps and nightcrawlers,with and without dodgers between Rec 1 and Big Cove.
Fly fishing has been good, with brassies and midges in size 20 and 22 producing well along with egg patterns. Stripping woolly buggers is popular, as is fishing BWO imitations on overcast days. Match the hatch at this prolific bug producer both on the surface and below. Bait fishing is an option on lures like Kastmasters and Little Cleos, plus spinners like Blue Fox, Mepps, Panther Martin and Rooster Tails.
Marina is now closed for the season; no fishing report available.
Trout fishing remains good with fish being taken on Kastmaster lures and orange Power Baits. Trolling flies is also productive, with Jay Fair set-ups.
Some Callibaetis are still coming off, and there are some opportunities for catching a spinner fall. Streamer fishing is worth a shot at this time, too. Successful dry fly fishing on Fall River is about where and when. Best chances occur when spotting a single fish rising next to the edge of the river. Try fishing a small beetle pattern! A popular and proven technique on Fall River is retrieving black or olive colored leeches on a sinking line.
Fishing is outstanding in the Upper Hat Creek region. Brookies are the predominate trout being caught at this time and are the trout being planted at this time by the DFG. Worms and spinners are most effective at this time. Fishing is spotty on other parts of the creek.
Pine Cove Marina is only open Wednesday through Sunday afternoon in winter hours, and trout fishing has been slow.
Fly fishing guides primarily report fair fishing on nymph fishes, although there are occasional hatches of stoneflies, caddis, and mayflies that will bring some fish to the surface, searching for an easy meal. A little blown out and muddy right now, but should be fishable later this week.
It’s good bass fishing the Pit Arm with bass as deep as 60 feet, but bass are also rising to the surface to chase shad, where they can be caught on Texas-rigged plastic worms, Gitzits in mudpie color, electric shad and green pumpkin. Fish in the 5- to 6-pound class are topping many of the catches. Wacky rigged Senko plastics are also producing action. Trout fishing is also good, with fish to 2 1/2 pounds reported. The fish are hitting on Countdown Rapalas, Wedding Rings and wiggle hoochy jigs. The best trout catches are being made in the Dry Creek area and near the dam.
Good bass fishing is on tap with drop-shot rigs and 6-inch plastic worms fished in the main lake areas. Trout fishing has been slow. Trinity Alps Marina is now closed for winter months.
Dan Mann at Oak Bottom Marina said fishing has slowed, with a few kokanee being caught still in the 299 Bridge area on trolled lures. Bass fishing has also been slow, with the water level dropping.
Catfish have been the story of the week with two big whiskerfish to 25 pound taken in the South Shore Pond. Trout plants will start around mid- to late November from the Mt. Lassen Hatchery as the water temperature remains in the mid-70s. The Informative Fisherman IF’MAS celebration is coming to Lake Camanche South Shore on Saturday, Nov. 5, and this event is loaded with prizes and different types of contests. The fishing derby is free with winners in each category of rainbow trout, panfish and bass. The derby check-in starts at 7:00 a.m., and the derbies will run from 7:30 a.m. to the weigh-in at 2:30 p.m. with prize packs in each category. The lake held at 68% of capacity.
The lake is solid for numbers with a ton of bass in the lake, but most of the fish are small. The better fish have come on plastics on the drop-shot as they are actually moving up into the 20- to 25-foot range. The Pro Worm 124p, Pro Worm leech, new Strike King worm are the top plastics while jigs such as Berserk’s Purple Hornet or brown/purple are also effective. The 1-ounce Hopkins spoon has been producing bass, but most of the fish on the spoon have been small. Trolling for trout remains slow, but the action should improve within the month as the lake prepares to turn over by the end of November. The lake rose slightly to 65% of capacity.
McClure is wide open right, and there have been several spotted bass in the 2- to 4-pound range landed this week. Working the bottom with jigs or plastics on the drop-shot has been the most productive technique, and one kayaker went out and picked up a number of quality spots drop-shotting out of his small boat. The launch ramp conditions at Barrett Cove South have limited the number of fishermen heading to the lake, but launching is doable with a long back down. Crappie are found around the Houseboats with mini-jigs or small minnows. The lake has dropped to 35% of capacity.
The lake closes for the season on November 6 before reopening on Feb. 17, 2017. The lake dropped slightly to 91% of capacity. Smallmouth and largemouth bass have been the top species targeted with plastics on the drop-shot or spinnerbaits in the shallows. Jigs are also effective.
Big rainbow trout to 5.5 pounds were landed within the past week by fishermen working the deepest portions of the lake to 110 feet in depth. Bright colored Rapalas or heavy spoons are working for the occasional big rainbow. The trout are starting to move higher in the water column as the water temperatures are cooling. Glory Hole Sporting Goods in Angels Camp will be holding a Catfish Contest starting Nov. 1-30 with a 100% payback for the top three places, and catfish remain the consistent species live minnows, frozen shad, anchovies, mackerel, or sardines. The bass bite remains slow, but the bass are oriented to the schools of shad. 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.
SIERRA LAKES AND RIVERS
Both the private Caples Lake Resort launch ramp and the public El Dorado Irrigation ramp are closed. Shoreline anglers have been few due to windy conditions.
CARSON RIVER (East, West)
River dropped back to fishable shape Thursday and flies, lures or bait will entice planted trout.
Trollers continue to struggle with thick weed mats floating about the lake. Shore anglers do well at Mallards and Lightning Tree while soaking Power Bait. Guide Ed Dillard advised boaters should find clear water, anchor and use rainbow Power Bait. Flyfishers get action at Lightning Tree and Fairview where PT nymphs under an indicator get trout to 20 inches. Lake is 55% of capacity and the dock is in the water at Honker Cove.
Most anglers concentrate on macks. Kokanee bite is winding down.
FEATHER RIVER CANYON
Mike Hanson at Caribou Crossroads Resort said despite good conditions, very few anglers visited last week and over the weekend. Those who did had little luck.
Lake is dropping and is at 32% of capacity. Anglers pitching nightcrawlers or Power Bait from the dam are getting rainbows from 14 to 18 inches and some limits.
GOLD LAKES BASIN
Trollers pulling Needlefish at Gold Lake get limits of planted rainbows in the 14- to 18-inch range, said Mark Tieslau at Mountain Hardware & Sports in Blairsden. Strikes come 10 to 15 feet below the surface. No reports of action at Salmon Lake or Sardine Lake.
This broodstock cutthroat lake closes to fishing Sunday, Oct. 29. When the wind is down the fishing is excellent. Fly fishers use scud patterns. Spinners employ Panther Martins with yellow bodies, everything barbless.
ICE HOUSE RESERVOIR
Guide Dale Daneman fished last Wednesday and Friday with mixed results. On Wednesday it took a full day to land 21 trout, of which six were 14- to 16- inches, the others were 8- to 10-inch state plants. Friday’s bite was brisk early with a limit in the first hour but it took five more hours to fill the rest of the limits. Sep’s brown grubs behind watermelon Strike Master dodgers offered in the top 15 feet of water is most effective. Water temperature is 54 degrees.
JENKINSON LAKE (Sly Park)
Fishing picked up last week. Best action was enjoyed on the back end of the lake and near the second dam. It’s not hot, but Jay Ward at the Sly Park Resort said a little determination and nightcrawlers or Power Bait can result in a trout or two. Bass bite has slowed.
Jigging for mackinaw has been fruitful. Mike Nielsen on the South Shore has been jigging for limits of 3- to 7-pound fish in 75 to 145 feet of water. Chuck Self on the other end of the lake has been able to achieve limits of macks to 9 pounds, but has had to scour the depths to find any concentration of macks. Rainbows are starting to show.
Gates are locked to Loon Lake.
Biggest fish of the season – a 23.12-pound cutthroat – was landed Friday by an angler jigging in Brown Bay. Shore anglers enjoyed their best week of the young season with at least five 13-pound plus cutthroat landed by shore anglers. Boaters have to go deep to find fish and the magic depth has been 80 feet. Warm overnight temps and warm storms haven’t helped move the fish.
Lake is 41% of capacity and launching is possible but caution is advised. Water is at the edge of the concrete.
Guide March Christophel hit this Friday and reported 13 trout in 3 hours of trolling the west side of the lake near the Truckee River arm. Christophel hooked the trout 12 feet beneath the surface with a watermelon Speedy Shiner tipped with Pro-Cure Trophy Trout. Most of the fish were 12- to 13-inches with a few to 15 inches. Reservoir is 38% of capacity.
Closed until Jan. 1.
River has fallen back into fishable condition but another storm is expected during the week. River is running less than 300 cfs below the Boca Outlet and flyfishers can do well up to Glenshire. Brian Nylund at Mountain Hardware & Sports in Truckee recommends dark- colored stoneflies or blue-wing olives in No. 16 or 18.
WEST WALKER RIVER
Last week’s storm never muddied the West Walker and fishing has been as good as it has been all fall. Carla Remes at Walker Country Store said anglers get limits using salmon egg/marshmallow combos.
Lake levels rose 4 feet last week from 386 feet to 390 feet, in part because of heavy rain a week ago. 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 fishing has slowed, in part because of the speed limit and lower lake levels.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Dunsmuir
Flows were back to 260 cfs over the weekend, although more rain is expected this week. Trout fishing has been slow.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Red Bluff to Colusa
Salmon fishing has slowed below Red Bluff. Anglers are drifting roe and also back-trolling T55 FlatFish with sardine wraps with some success.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Redding to Red Bluff
Flows at Keswick Dam dropped from 7,060 cfs to 6,090 cfs last week. Although salmon fishing has slowed at the Barge Hole, kings are still being caught on FlatFish and roe. Fishing for wild rainbows has been wide open from the Posse Grounds to Anderson. Trout are feasting on eggs from spawning salmon and aggressively grabbing any egg imitations.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Verona to Colusa
Several large stripers were caught near Verona last week on chicken liver and pile worms. Catfish are still being caught at Knight’s Landing, but fishing has slowed. Pile worms are working best. Salmon fishing has slowed near Verona, with only a few fish reported last week.
BULLARDS BAR RESERVOIR
Water temperature is 64 degrees and lake is at 66-percent of capacity. Clarity is good with no debris in the water after the storm. Bass should be moving up into shallower water and getting active but pressure is light, according to Levon Matthiessen at Emerald Cove Marina. Expect more pressure by mid-November after the weather cools.
CAMP FAR WEST
Regulars who know how to work the lake get good numbers of 1- to 2-pound bass, mostly spots. Chris of Lincoln trolled broken-back Rapalas 15 feet deep in the Bear River Channel and caught-and-released 10 bass. Ron Franklin caught and released 35 bass, and 29 were spots. The largest was 2 pounds. He used a green pumpkin Lizard in 6 to 8 feet of water. Bite is best early. Water temperature is 62 to 64 degrees and lake is 15% of capacity.
The first trout plant of the season went in last week but action was generally slow. A 3.4-pound rainbow was caught by Joe Ramos of Loomis on Power Bait near the dam. Another angler reported a limit of trout using a spinner, but most anglers get 1 to 2 fish per outing. Spotted bass chase topwater lures at sunset. Water temp is 68 degrees and water is clear. Another plant is slated for next week by DFW.
Light pressure here. Lake is 94% of capacity and water is clear. Lisa Rogers at Skipper’s Cove Marina said she hadn’t seen a boat all week.
FRENCH MEADOWS RESERVOIR
Campgrounds are closed but anglers are hauling boats here to troll for planted rainbows. Trout are deep and small, said Pete Robinson from the Georgetown Ranger Station.
HELL HOLE RESERVOIR
Pete Robinson of the Georgetown Ranger Station reported Hell Hole received 10 inches of rain during last week’s storm but the lake is accessible. He advises fishing deep until the weather cools. “It was a warm storm so the fish wouldn’t move up,” Robinson said. “But the rain definitely will have a positive impact.”
Bass are gorging on pond smelt and will take darthead worms and jigs off points and walls. Spinnerbaits are an excellent option, too. Occasionally there is a topwater bite, reported guide Ron Gandolfi. Water temp is 62 in the morning, 65 mid-day.
SCOTTS FLAT LAKE
Small, planted rainbows entertain trollers pulling Needlefish or soaking Power Bait from shore, reported Nevada Irrigation District Supervisor Jim Caldwell. Best action has been near the dam. All for the trout Caldwell has seen have been 8 to 12 inches.
STUMPY MEADOWS RESERVOIR
Fire restrictions have been lifted in the El Dorado National Forest but fishing reports have been rare. Reservoir was planted three weeks ago so there are fish present, said Pete Robinson of the Georgetown Ranger Station.
Throw swimbaits near the rocks or jigs near grass for bass to 3 pounds, reported Bruce Gibson of Paradise Tackle Company. “You’ve got to work for them,” Gibson said. “If you can get 10 in a day you’re having a good day.” Water temperature is 62 degrees.
Rockfish trips were the order of the day and week for Berkeley party boats. Happy Hooker got lings to 12 pounds and 3/4-limits of rockfish. California Dawn fished the Farallones on Sunday for limits of rockfish and nearly 2 lings per rod. Sunfish got loads of rockfish and lingcod to 18 pounds. Berkeley Flats held a few halibut and scads of smallish striped bass.
Good fishing for reds, coppers and lingcod awaited boats like New Sea Angler running out of Bodega Bay and Lawson’s Landing. The best fish seemed to come from off of Point Reyes. Shore fishing slowed at Dillon Beach, but Stinson Beach still turned out perch, striped bass and a couple of halibut.
Wet spot ran for salmon and boated 1.5 fish per rod. Tigerfish, New Huck Finn and New Salmon Queen went out for rockfish and lingcod, finding steady limits of rockfish and a decent pick at the lingcod along the Marin Coast.
Overall there was very little fishing pressure along the coast or by boaters, because of big swells and wind for most of the week. One opportunity came up and Reel Steelmade a run for Cape Mendocino where they pulled limits of rockfish and one lingcod shy of limits. Local jetties had safer areas where the few anglers out there were able to catch plenty of kelp greenlings.
Towering swells made fishing a bit difficult but the fish counts were plenty respectable anyway, with the reefs off of the Lighthouse producing nicely for Telstar on one trip and the Mendocino Headlands area doing very well for lingcod on another trip. Samurai went north and got the lings to snap at Westport.
HALF MOON BAY
It was a veritable salmon fest inside the harbor where fish from the pen-rearing effort have been milling about and as many as 4 simultaneous hookups have occurred. Fishing down the coast was very good for Queen of Hearts and Riptide with lingcod to 15 pounds. Huli Cat is back in the game after a boat yard visit and fished off of Pillar Point for rockfish and lingcod.
The final weeks of salmon season have been good as evidenced by full limits aboard Lovely Martha early in the week and a couple of 28 pounders. Aboard Wacky Jacky, twin 30 pounders were caught off of Duxbury. Flash II got limits of salmon on Wednesday and South Bay sharks on Sunday. Nautilus reported salmon to 33 pounds.
- Western Outdoor News