The salmon are jumping up the fish hatchery ladder
Here are the best places to fish in the Sacramento region, Northern California and beyond for the week of Nov. 14, 2016.
Lake Amador trout plants continue, and in addition to the 3600 pounds released during the first plant, another 1200 pounds was planted on Thursday including 10 percent of the fish from the Mt. Lassen Hatchery being of trophy size. The trout plants will continue every other week until May 2017 or when the water is over 70 degrees in surface temperature. The best action for the planted rainbows is taking place from the banks with nightcrawlers, trout dough bait, or Kastmasters. There have been few trollers working the lake as most boats are heading out to bait fish along the shorelines in the back portions of the lake.
Water temperature dropped six degrees to 60 degrees and sparked a much-improved trout bite. The dam and beach are shoreline hot spots while trollers have to get down 30 feet below the surface.
DELTA REGION: Sacramento River
Striped bass took center stage this past week with the larger series of tides slowing down the sturgeon bite. The sturgeon are holding in very deep water as the surface temperature is in the mid-60’s, and the window for a bite is narrowed during periods of large tides. Liberty Island and environs has been solid for stripers with live mudsuckers, but you have to go through 8 to 10 shakers to locate a keeper. Salmon continue to move through the Delta as the latest school of bright fish has arrived through the Golden Gate. The Benicia shoreline has been producing an average of 4 to 5 salmon per day for those throwing Vee-Zee or Flying C spinners. The Freeport area has been the other location for salmon, and although the numbers have dropped since early in the season, the fish continue to move through the Delta. The series of larger tides has created a slowdown for sturgeon as the majority of diamondbacks are holding in deep water in the Pittsburg area. Small stripers remain the rule, but there have been some larger linesides in the northern section of the Delta. A disturbing trend is the saltwater species of leopard shark and bat rays being landed at the Mothball Fleet in Suisun Bay.
DELTA REGION: San Joaquin River
Small striped bass remain abundant in the San Joaquin-Delta, and warm water temperatures in the south Delta have ramped up the panfish bite. There is improved fishing at the Antioch Fishing Pier with live mudsuckers or fresh shad. The edge of Big Break is another good option for striped bass. The crappie bite has emerged in Holland Tract with small to medium minnows along with largemouth bass with medium to extra-large minnows. There were no fresh shad over the weekend as the shadders have been having more difficulty finding the bait. The warm water temperatures in the south Delta have contributed to a continued solid bluegill bite in the normal locations of Whiskey Slough, Bacon Island Road, and Eight Mile Road with jumbo red worms.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Sacramento
Guides trolling between Miller Park and Garcia Bend reported good fishing last week, with a surge of late-fall kings moving in from the ocean. Fishing was especially good on Friday and again on Sunday. Plugs, spinners and Brad’s Plug Cut baits fished behind flashers are working best. Some sturgeon are showing up on the lower river. Guide Monte Smith of Gold Country Sport Fishing and guide James Netzel of Tight Lines Guide Service have been on the fish daily, with some limits of bright kings.
NORTH COAST RIVERS
CHETCO RIVER, Brookings, Oregon
Plenty of bright kings still holding in the lower river, but they’re beginning to spawn in the tailouts above Ice Box. Flows were dropping and clearing last week, but came back up after a rain on Friday, and more rain is expected to blow the river out this week. Salmon still expected through December, along with steelhead. A few small steelies were caught last week, according to WON Field Reporter and guide Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing.
ELKS RIVER, Port Orford, Oregon
The river has been low and clear since the middle of last week, making salmon fishing tough. Fresh salmon are holding below the Highway 101 bridge, and should shoot up toward the hatchery after rains expected this week.
ROGUE RIVER, Shady Cove/Grant’s Pass
Fishing is pretty good on the Rogue right now with steelhead and coho salmon being caught, mostly on pink-colored plugs, but also on spoons and spinners. Lots of steelhead 3 to 8 pounds caught. Coho salmon are mostly 8 to 15 pounders, but many are wild fish and must be released. Fish are mostly moving upriver, with few “downers” being seen at this time, said guide Troy Whitaker of U-Save Tackle in Grants Pass.
Flows on the Russian right now are just under 400 cfs, according to Scott Heemstra of Kings Sport & Tackle in Guerneville. Be sure to call the "low flow" hotline at (707) 944-5533 to see if the river is open to fishing, since it may drop below 300 cfs this week. “The river is in good shape right now with excellent clarity,” Heemstra said. “I have not gotten a solid report of any steelhead being caught, but there are salmon in the system, so make sure you release them and keep them in the water, do not drag them on the beach to release. At this time of year there should be steelhead in the mix, but of course the first big push will follow the next rain event. Weather is forecast to have a slight chance of showers midweek with a better system over the weekend. If this pans out we should see some more fish enter the system for the Thanksgiving week.”
SIXES RIVER, Port Orford, Oregon
Salmon fishing was good last week, but slowed over the weekend as the water dropped to low flows. Heavy rain expected early in the week could set up prime conditions this weekend.
Salmon are holding throughout the river, but fishing has been tough with low, clear conditions and a bunch of seals chasing the salmon around the lower river. Most kings are being caught back-bouncing roe in the deeper holes where they are holding. Rain this week should being the river up, move the salmon and bring more in. Expect steelhead by Thanksgiving, according to Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing. WON Field Reporter Phil DeSautel of Phil’s Smiling Salmon Guide Service said about the same thing, “Fish are showing in most places on the river, but getting them to bite in the clear water is tough. But they are nice fish, 15 to 45 pounders. I saw fish rolling at Ruby Park, and a 40 pounder caught.”
KLAMATH RIVER, Hornbrook
Steelhead fishing has been good between Iron Gate Dam and Interstate 5, where conditions have been good. Flows Sunday at Iron Gate were 972 cfs. Worms or salmon eggs fished behind divers are working best. Plugs also are producing.
KLAMATH RIVER, Happy Camp
Steelhead fishing is slow to fair near Happy Camp, and won’t get any better as rain this week raises flows. Flows Sunday at Seiad Valley were 1,990 cfs. Side-drifting roe and yarn has been catching a few steelhead. The river is too high from Orleans down. The adult king salmon quota has been reached above the Highway 96 bridge.
KLAMATH RIVER, Klamath Glen
The lower Klamath continues to be too high and muddy for steelhead fishing. Flows Sunday at Terwer were 8,340 cfs. The 555-fish adult king salmon quota has been filled for the lower Klamath below Highway 96.
Rain this week is expected to ease low, clear conditions on the upper Trinity, where guides are finding two to six steelhead a day on roe as well as plugs. Flows Sunday at Lewiston were 299 cfs, with 373 cfs at Douglas City and 420 cfs at Junction City. Hoopa had flows of 2,040 cfs. The steelhead have been holding in the deeper pools, but may spread out as the river rises this week. Fresh steelhead also are expected from the Klamath.
NORTH COAST LAKES
Good techniques are cranking square bills and LV's in and around the bait. Locate deeper schools of bait and spoon the smallies and spotted bass or drag the faithful jig off main body points down in the 20-30 feet of water.
BLACK BUTTE LAKE
Very few anglers out last week, and did not catch much.
Most getting 5 to 7 trout each boat. The fish are ranging up to around 16 inches in length, and the rainbows are biting on woolly buggers and trolled worms behind flashers.
Bass fishing continues to be good all over the lake, no matter where you fish. Action is being posted on crankbaits, jigs and plastic worms or just about anything you want to fish. A few catfish and crappie caught in the Lucerne area.
Only a few anglers have been out lately, but they’ve caught a few trout on trolled spinners and a few bass on plastic worms, reported Lake Pillsbury Resort.
Trollers continue to take a few steelhead on Countdown Rapalas and Kastmasters.
FAR NORTH LAKE AND RIVERS
Trout fishing has been pretty good with Speedy Shiners, Rapalas and Needlefish. Fly fishing in the coves was slow last week with unseasonal warmer weather, but some winter weather is expected for Wednesday and Thursday. Trout are being taken in depths of 12 to 15 feet in the Canyon Dam area and east, on nightcrawlers and trolled Speedy Shiners.
Trout fishing has been good for fly anglers fishing dry flies.
Marina is closed for the winter. Few fishermen on the water.
The season ends here on December 1. Marina is now closed for the winter. Weather is getting wintery and fishing is slow.
Season ended on Nov.15. Leeches were the best bet for trout action last weekend.
Season ended on Nov. 15 with slowing action. Some trout caught in riffles and Carbon Flats areas.
Bass fishing was fair on jigs and plastic worms, but not much other action was reported. Trinity Alps Marina has shut down for the winter.
Season ends on Nov.15. Trout fishing was slowing.
Season ends Nov. 15 on upriver area, but remains open below Britton Dam downstream to the outlet of the Pit No. 3 Powerhouse, Nov. 16 through the Friday preceding the last Saturday in April. Only artificial lures with barbless hooks may be used.
The bass bite is still good at Shasta in the main body of the lake. Anglers are scoring with a variety of lures, including lipless crankbaits, shaking plastic worms, darter heads, drop-shots and Hula grubs. Trout fishing is also pretty good in the dam area and Sacramento Arm on trolled flashers and spoons.
Trinity Alps Marina is now closed for the winter. There are a few bass still being caught, but few anglers are out.
Kokanee salmon fishing has slowed a little near the 299 Bridge, but anglers are getting rainbow and brown trout in the upper arms of the lake on Power Baits.
The second trout plant from Mt. Lassen Hatchery arrived with a total of 1500 pounds of rainbows to split evenly between the North Shore launch ramp and the South Shore Pond. The pond remains a good choice with crappie jigs, various colors of trout dough bait, or salmon eggs with experienced trollers working hard for rainbows near the surface with Speedy Shiners on a fast troll. The dam area has been the top spot for trollers. Bass fishing has been decent in the warm water temperatures, and medium crankbaits are producing largemouths to 3 pounds. A few crappie are found in deep structure with minijigs. The lake held at 68% of capacity.
Minimal change at the lake with spotted or largemouth bass dominating action. There is an early morning topwater bite, but the most consistent action is with dark color patterns of plastics on a 3/16- to ¼-ounce drop-shot weight to work depths from 25 to 50 feet. Trout and king salmon action has yet to emerge with the relatively warm surface temperatures for this time of year. The lake may be turning over later than late November due to the warm fall. The lake remains the top bass lake in the Mother Lode due to good launch ramp conditions and high water with the lake holding at 66% of capacity.
Minimal change with few fishermen heading to the lake due to low water creating difficult conditions at the Barrett Cove South launch. Muddy water along the shorelines from the recent inflow has also been a deterrent. The only issue to taking the abundant spotted and largemouth bass is access. The lake held at 38% of capacity.
The lake closed for the season on November 6 before reopening on February 16, 2017 for camping and February 17, 2017 for fishing.
Rainbow trout continue to reign supreme at New Melones with a number of quality bows to 5 pounds being taken by the few trollers working the lake. The best action is coming at depths from 80- to 100-feet in the main river channel, and spoons and Rapalas in bright color patterns are the top set ups. A faster troll is advised. The bass bite is starting to improve, and this is the best time to target catfish with the combination of inflow into the lake’s creeks and relatively warm weather conditions. The majority of bass are holding in deep water and feeding on schools of shad, but some fish have moved up. Catfish have moved shallow and feed heavily in preparation for the colder winter months. The Glory Hole launch ramp is on the dirt, and it will remain so until the lake rises during the winter months. A courtesy dock is available.
SIERRA LAKES AND RIVERS
Few fishermen. Few fish.
CARSON RIVER (East, West)
Both forks closed to fishing on Nov. 15.
Trout bite took a dramatic upward swing last week. Guide Ed Dillard jigged leech patterns “Eagle Lake style” and caught 36 trout ranging from 18 to 22 inches over three days. Shore anglers using Power Bait. Float tubers stripping leech patterns also saw good action. Trollers run between Lightning Tree and Fairview. Trout are in the top five feet of water. Water temperature is in the mid-40s.
Shore anglers continue to get mackinaw by casting large streamers or spoons. Fish the shallows near rocks. On calm days anglers can sight fish.
Turkey Point and the dam continue to be productive spots for shore anglers soaking nightcrawlers or Power Bait. Most trout caught are close to two pounds. Biggest fish of the week was a 4.8-lb. rainbow with dark green Power Bait.
ICE HOUSE RESERVOIR
Anglers can catch all the nine-inch rainbows they want pulling flashers and nightcrawlers in the top 25 feet of water. It’s a lot of work for a small reward and there may be better options downhill.
INDIAN CREEK RESERVOIR
Trout purchased from Desert Springs Trout Farm went in this week. The load totaled 1,800 pounds of rainbows ranging from 10 inches to four pounds.
JENKINSON LAKE (Sly Park)
Shoreline trout anglers are starting to score two to three fish per outing and this lake can turn on if this week’s cold front materializes. A 5.5 pound mackinaw was caught by John Cooper of Pollock Pines who was throwing a Kastmaster.
Macks are biting early and late on both ends of the lake. The spawn has seemingly ended on the North Shore and macks are actively attacking “anything that moves” according to charter boat captain Chuck Self. On the South Shore, macks are continuing their spawn. Lots of one to five pound bass are being hooked, but few are bigger. There’s a strong afternoon bite. Rainbows and browns continue to be scarce.
Gates are locked to Loon Lake.
Big fish are close to the shoreline and while those in boats get better numbers, most of the 10-pound plus cutts are being hooked by shore anglers from Dago Bay to Monument. Two 20 pounders were caught-and-released by fly fishers last week. Popcorn beetles seem to be the most popular fly. Water temperature has edged back up to 57 degrees.
Those trolling Rapalas can stick a trout now and then. Just like neighboring Caples Lake, fly fishing has been unusually poor, reported Victor Babbit at Tahoe Fly Fishing Outfitters.
Shore anglers continue to catch trout along the shoreline using salmon eggs or spinners.
Closed until Jan. 1.
River is running at 300 cfs, presenting ideal conditions from Hirschdale to stateline. Large streamers or baetis patterns are effective.
WEST WALKER RIVER
It’s artificial lure, barbless hook catch-and-release until general trout season opens in April. Water is in good shape with lots of pools, especially through the canyon. Fishing has been good for pansized rainbows using salmon eggs, nightcrawlers or spinners. Browns were recently planted and anglers are urged to release any they hook.
Fishing closed from the Nimbus Hatchery deadline to Ancil Hoffman Park on Oct. 31. Salmon fishing was best around Howe Avenue last week, with beads or Flying C spinners working best.
The Outlet Hole is closed for the season. Late-season kings are being caught above the 10th Street Bridge on T55 FlatFish with sardine wraps. There is a mix of dark and fairly bright fish. Overall salmon fishing is slow. Pressure has been light. Very few stripers are now being caught.
Lake levels rose above 400 feet last Wednesday, allowing park rangers to lift the 5 mph speed limits. Few anglers were fishing, however. 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.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Dunsmuir
High, muddy water has brought fishing in the Upper Sacramento to a halt. Flows Sunday were 550 cfs, down from 1,050 the week before, but expected to rise again this week as more storms hit the North State.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Red Bluff to Colusa
Late-fall kings are being caught between Red Bluff and Los Molinos on T55 FlatFish with sardine wraps. Pressure has been light, but guides are reporting multiple fish a day. With decent action for kings last week in the metro area, fresh salmon are expected this week near Hamilton City, Chico and Red Bluff.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Redding to Red Bluff
Flows at Keswick Dam held steady at 4,980 cfs last week. Salmon fishing is good again at the Barge Hole, where late-fall kings are stacking up near Battle Creek. Guide Robert Weese guided an angler to a 42-pounder there last week on a T55 FlatFish. 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. Crickets also are working for trout.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Verona to Colusa
Salmon fishing has been slow near Verona. There has been a good striper bite near Colusa on swimbaits and Bombers. Fishing for catfish near Knight’s Landing has been good. Chicken liver, nightcrawlers and pile worms are tricking the catfish.
Regulations mandate artificial, barbless lures and catch-and-release until the April 2017 trout opener.
Little angling traffic, little action.
CAMP FAR WEST
Water temperature is 61 degrees and bass are being caught in eight to 10 feet of water. Ron from Folsom reported 25 bass caught-and-released in an outing last week. All hit green pumpkin lizards. Lake is 25 percent of capacity.
Trout bite picked up last week from shore and boats. Shore anglers used bait near the launch ramp at the Marina and trollers worked the shoreline. Anglers picked 3 to 4 fish each, said Lisa Rogers of Skippers Cove Marina. “Trout anglers are doing really well,” she said.
FRENCH MEADOWS RESERVOIR
John Wadden at Will Fish Tackle in Auburn reported one of his customers hit French Meadows last week and enjoyed a productive session. “He got limits of trout trolling threaded nightcrawler behind a dodger,” Wadden said. “He pulled a Rapala fast at 3.5 to 4 mph early in the morning and caught an 18-inch brown. The rest were rainbows on the nightcrawler.” The troller started at the dam and worked the shoreline and then back toward the ramp.
Keep it simple with darthead worms or tubes. Bass are holding tight to steep walls, but points also hold fish. Spots in the 2-pound class are starting to bite more frequently. Be aware of subtle takes, bass aren’t attacking the baits.
Water is 61 degrees and 92 percent of capacity. The boat ramps at Long Ravine, Orchard Springs and Greenhorn are open. The water is green and clearing more each day, reported Nevada Irrigation District Supervisor Ryan Drake. Fishing has been slow. A few planted trout are being caught.
SCOTT’S FLAT LAKE
A group of five bass fishermen spent three days here last week and had smallmouth limits every day using plastics near the Cascade side of the dam and up toward the inlet. Largest smallie was under three pounds. Trout bite is slow.
Boat ramp is open again and fishing has been good. Start in the afternoon when the water is warmer. Bass are off the structure and in open, warmer water. Swimbaits and Senkos will work.
Boats from Berkeley went every which way. Some like California Dawn, Happy Hooker, El Dorado, and New El Dorado III ran outside to work crabs, rockfish and lingcod along the Marin Coast or out to the Farallones. Most crab scores were full limits on all boats. Other boats came out of Berkeley to head north and then east to chase stripers and sturgeon up into the Carquinez Straits and beyond. Some headed south for halibut off of Alameda Rock Wall.
Bigger boats that could handle the swell, like New Sea Angler, had no trouble posting limit scores of rockfish and limits of Dungeness crabs plus a smattering of lingcod to further weigh down the sacks. Private boaters got out and enjoyed success but had to watch the water. Tomales Bay was holding enough crabs that people working the relatively protected Bay waters were able to take home some dinners. Shore fishers were limited to spots like Doran Beach where the swells weren’t so bad.
Landing boats scored well for Emeryville Sportfishing passengers, with Sea Wolf, New Salmon Queen and New Huck Finn all running for the Marin coast or the Farallones for limits of rockfish, limits of crabs and some thick lingcod. Shore, kayak and skiff fishers worked the Emeryville shoreline for striped bass and halibut.
Crabs were king for north coast boats like Reel Steel who made as many trips out as the swells and entrance bar conditions would allow. Counts were running 10 to 15 keeper crabs per pot. Jetty fishing was okay but only the close-in safe spots were safely fishable. Inside the Bay there were some perch taken at piers and docks.
A big lazy swell didn’t deter Telstar and the crabbing was good enough to get the boat back to dock well before noon with limits of crabs. That swell was coming out of the west which meant there were very few protected spots to fish the shore for perch or rockfish. Abalone hunting was out of the question for safety reasons.
HALF MOON BAY
Very little boat activity, due to swells big enough to get Mavericks going. A few PBs got out and Huli Cat made multiple forays for crabs, rockfish and lingcod. Shore fishing inside the harbor was okay for perch and for rock crabs.
Crab runs were popular and Lovely Martha took passengers out and brought them back with limits of crabs. Bass Tub went on combo trips for limits of crabs and some rockfish. Flash went deep in South Bay to find good action on leopard and sevengill sharks.
- Western Outdoor News