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. 28, 2016.
The annual trout derby has started, and 1200 pounds of Mt. Lassen Hatchery rainbows were released into the lake just before Thanksgiving with plans for another 2400 pounds this week. The first plant included 100 tagged derby fish. Trout fishing has been fair with the best action in the shallows on garlic scented green trout dough bait, Kastmasters, crappie jigs, or nightcrawlers. Boaters are heading to the back coves and bait fishing as well as in the mouths of Mountain Springs and Jackson Creek area. The bass are still in the shallows, and several bass have been brought to the Tackle Box Café tank. Bass fishing is still hot. Bass are still shallow and feisty. The lake has risen to 15 feet from spilling, and the water is still clear.
More rainbows from Mt. Lassen Hatchery were planted this past week with 750 pounds each released at the South Shore Pond and the South Shore launch ramp. Trollers are finding good action for rainbows to 5 pounds along the south side of the Narrows at depths to 8 feet with Speedy Shiners. In the pond, the normal offerings of trout dough bait, crappie jigs, Kastmasters, or nightcrawlers are all working. Bass fishermen are reporting from 40 to 80 fish per trip with most of the bass being small. Plastics on the drop-shot or deep-diving crankbaits are working best. The North Shore once again has gasoline available. The lake rose slightly to 68 percent.
Trout fishing finally is back in form after all the trout plants, and anglers are catching trout from boat and shore. Trollers work the top 15 feet of water with Kastmasters/worms or flashers/nightcrawlers. Bank anglers do well at the dam or campground beach with Power Bait or nightcrawlers. Most of the trout weigh between 1 and 2 pounds.
DELTA REGION: Sacramento River
Sturgeon have taken over the top spot with diamondbacks stretching from lower Suisun Bay up to Freeport. Lamprey eel, ghost shrimp, or pile worms are the top baits, and the recent muddy water flowing down the river should get the fish on the move. The water temperature has dropped to 58 degrees, and the conditions are perfect. Huge striped bass are caught and mostly kept in upper Suisun Bay with live splittail or jack smelt. Grass shrimp is in short supply. Striper trollers are picking up a few linesides in Montezuma Slough and Broad Slough. Drifting live mudsuckers is producing stripers on the outside edges of Liberty Island. A few salmon are taken near Freeport with a Brad’s Cut Plug behind a Pro-Troll flasher, but the muddy water will put this on hold.
DELTA REGION: San Joaquin River
Keeper striped bass of a larger grade are found on mid-river humps in 6 to 8 feet of water with hair jigs or the Optimum 5-inch Bad Bubba Shad swimbait. The water is cooler at 61 degrees in the main river, and south of Discovery Bay, it is in the upper 50’s. The bait should start to ball up with the cooler temperatures. The topwater bite for stripers is coming. Quality largemouth bass are holding with the striper schools, chasing shad. Anglers targeting largemouth bass are finding difficult action, and the overall grade of fish is small with anglers struggling for a limit in the 8- to 12- pound range. Drop-shotting with the new Strike King Power Finesse worm in purple or shad colors are working best, and ripbaits have also been effective for the small bass.
NORTH COAST RIVERS
CHETCO RIVER, Brookings, Oregon
The river was blown out and unfishable last week and over the weekend, but should be fishable again as you read this. Salmon were already slow, and most have spawned or are spawning, so it will be mostly steelhead now, and a few have already been caught. Peak steelheading is January and February, but there’s plenty around in December, according to guide Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing.
ELKS RIVER, Port Orford, Oregon
The river was high and muddy over the weekend, but should be in prime shape most of this week. Expect some late salmon near the hatchery, as well as the first steelhead of the season. For updated flows, contact the hatchery at (541) 332-0405. The river was 5.4 feet on Sunday. It fishes best between 4 feet and 4.7 feet.
ROGUE RIVER, Gold Beach, Oregon
The lower Rogue remained high and muddy last week, with flows of 10,400 cfs over the weekend. It may drop to fishable levels by the weekend, and plunkers will be trying to catch the first steelhead of the season. Large Spin-N-Glos or roe are used by shore anglers.
As of Sunday the river was at 2100 cfs and rising. “The past week we have seen on and off rain which has kept the Russian dirty and high,” said Scott Heemstra of Kings Sport and Tackle. “There have still been plenty of guys trying their luck, but not much to report. Mostly Chinook and coho have been caught, so make sure you know what you have before you decide to take it home. All salmon and wild steelhead must be released, only adipose clipped steelhead are there to be taken. Forecast is calling for clear skies this week so hopefully things will be in shape by the weekend.”
SIXES RIVER, Port Orford, Oregon
The river has been high and muddy for more than a week and will likely remain unfishable for part of this week. It could be in good shape by the weekend. There should still be some late salmon around. Salmon fishing is open up to Edson Creek, according to WON.
WON Field Reporter Phil DeSautel of Phil’s Smiling Salmon Guide Service, said, “The Smith River has plenty of water. We have been hit all week with storms and are continuing to get rain on the weekend. The river only dropped once into the 17-foot level this week and it was only for a few hours before it started rising again The river has been between 17.9 and 22 feet all week. With the weather and very slow king salmon fishing there have been very few anglers. I cancelled my customers this past week and go back fishing this Tuesday. I will be doing combo trips, side drifting for steelhead and back bouncing for kings. Bruce Hamilton of Novato, while fishing with Rich Hickey of Brookings, caught a nice 28-pound chrome hen on a Kwikfish. They caught this fish in the first 30 seconds of fishing then not a thing the rest of the day.”
KLAMATH RIVER, Hornbrook
Steelhead fishing has been good between Iron Gate Dam and Interstate 5, with fish to 8 pounds reported last week. Flows on Sunday at Iron Gate were a perfect 1,040 cfs. Fishing worms or roe behind divers or running plugs has been effective. Fishing pressure has been light.
KLAMATH RIVER, Happy Camp
Wild steelhead to 4 pounds are being caught by anglers side-drifting roe and yarn near Happy Camp. Flows were down to 2,720 cfs at Seiad Valley on Sunday. Near Orleans, flows remained too high to fish at 11,700 cfs.
KLAMATH RIVER, Klamath Glen
The lower Klamath remained high and muddy over the weekend, with flows topping 31,000 cfs at the Terwer Creek gauge.
Steelhead fishing has been slow between Lewiston and Junction City, but quality fish are being caught on plugs and roe. MagLip 3.0 plugs with scent are working best. Flows Sunday at Lewiston Dam were 312 cfs. Flows at Douglas City were 552 cfs, while flows at Junction City were 714 cfs. Flows on the lower river were 8,240 cfs at Hoopa.
NORTH COAST LAKES
Few anglers were out last week with only a few small bass catches made.
BLACK BUTTE LAKE
Wind, rain and cold weather kept fishermen from getting on the lake all week.
Art Cerini at The Narrows Resort said fishing is still slow with few anglers out. He said there was 5 inches of rain last week with more expected this week.
Lots of rain for the week, but a few anglers got out and caught some bass to 4 pounds on jigs and finesse baits. Fish are shallow and down to about 20 feet. Best action has been at the south end of the lake.
Fishing remains slow with rainy weather and few anglers out.
Few anglers out and no good catches were reported.
Bad weather kept anglers off the lake most days.
FAR NORTH LAKE AND RIVERS
Bad weather hampered anglers this week with more snow expected. A few rainbows were taken on trolled lures.
Trout action is fair to good on most baits and fly fishermen are catching rainbows on little Crystal Buggers, midges and leeches.
Marina is closed for the winter and no fishing reports were available.
Few anglers were on the lake due to rain and cold, snowy weather.
Fishing remained slow with few anglers out this week due to bad weather conditions. A few fly fishermen have been able to catch trout on brown wooly buggers and midges.
Remains open below Britton Dam downstream to the outlet of the Pit No. 3 Powerhouse, through the winter. Action is also good on at Pit 4, 5 and 7 areas. Only artificial lures with barbless hooks may be used. Few anglers seen due to rains.
Bass fishing remains fair to good on cranks and other lures fished along mudline areas. Dark-colored lures are working better than light colors in most areas of the lake. Trout fishing has been fair to good in the dam area with the fish found down to around 20 feet on trolled spinners.
Bass fishing improved a little this week with the most fish being taken on plastic worms and grubs.
Bass are being caught on plastic worms, Gitzits and grubs fished in weedy areas you can find on your depth finder.
Bass fishing has picked up with plastics on the bottom at depths from 25 to 35 feet for fish averaging from 2 to 1.5 pounds with the occasional spotted bass running 4 pounds. Robo Worms Margarita Mutilator, Pro Worms 124p, and the Berserk Purple Hornet jig are all working. The launch ramps are back in play at both the Barrett’s Cove North and South launch ramps. The ramps are on the concrete, and there is over 100 feet of water on the concrete at both ramps with the ability to launch two boats side-by-side on the south ramp. The lake held at 38% of capacity.
Few fishermen are heading to the lake, but dedicated anglers continue to land quality striped bass with shad-patterned flukes or soaking bait. The lake is rising with heavy precipitation over the weekend in the Calaveras River watershed, bring the lake up to 24 per cent.
The water temperature continues to cool, and the rainbows are moving into the shallows. Rainbows in the 2- to 5-pound range have been taken by trollers running shad-patterned Rapalas or heavy spoons at depths from 80 to 100 feet in the main lake between the dam and the spillway while a few trollers are starting to work leadcore line or toplining. Bank fishermen are beginning to pick up a few fish on trout dough bait or a nightcrawler/marshmallow combination. Bass have been in the 35- to 45-foot range along areas where the can ambush bait. Shad-patterned plastic worms on a darthead or shakey head are effective in crawdad patterns on a 3/4-ounce football head jig. Frozen shad is the top bait for catfish, especially scented and on a weightless rig near the lake’s inlets. 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.
The lake closed for the season on November 6 and will reopen on February 16, 2017 for camping and February 17, 2017, for fishing.
SIERRA LAKES AND RIVERS
Road will be plowed to the dam so shore fishing is an option. It has been a poor fishing year here so prospects aren’t bright and might not be worth sitting in the snow to find out.
Wait for the ice to form before giving this a shot. Mormon Emigrant Trail from Pollock Pines is close.
CARSON RIVER (East, West)
Closed until April.
Fishing from shore is an option but look for a break in the weather/wind. Use caution driving up, as unseen ice on the road is a hazard. There may be an early icing here.
Best option in the Truckee Basin. Shoreline access is plentiful with clear roads paralleling the water. Mackinaw bite has been decent. Boat launching can be problematic due to ice, snow at the ramp.
The dam and Turkey Point continue to produce trout for anglers using bait from shore. Nightcrawlers or Power Bait does the trick. Expect rainbows in the 12- to 16-inch class. Be careful for ice on the road on the way to the lake.
GOLD LAKE BASIN
Road is closed. See you in spring.
ICE HOUSE RESERVOIR
Crystal Basin received 4 to 5 inches of snow. “The whole basin is snowed in and icing up,” said Kyle Neeser of Crystal Basin Tackle and Guide Service. “Driving in there will be nasty. It’s just not worth risking it. With the coming forecast it won’t thaw much.”
INDIAN CREEK RESERVOIR
A 4WD is needed to get back here, but the road will be plowed when there’s a break in the weather. Weather forecast during the week isn’t conducive to good weekend prospects. A latest report is that a local went up before the storm and caught a couple of trout. Nothing worth bragging about.
JENKINSON LAKE (Sly Park)
Snow fell and the anglers came out Sunday. “When it rains, they stay away. When it snows they come out,” said Denise Cole at Sly Park Resort. “The lake should have turned over with this storm but we haven’t heard of any catching yet.”
Macks continue to bite despite stormy conditions. Getting out safely is the key. Macks are deep and can be had trolling or jigging.
Gates are locked to Loon Lake.
Double-digit cutthroat are parading along the drop-offs of most beaches. Colder water and a chop from the storm only help anglers. Shoreline fishing is best for catching big trout. Two 20 pounders were landed last week, making that seven since October.
Road to Stampede doesn’t get plowed and a heavy blanked of snow fell last weekend.
Closed until Jan. 1.
River didn’t come up during the storm so it is in fishable shape. The recent cold weather has put a damper on the bite. Indicator fishing is productive using egg patterns, blue wing olives, San Juan Worms or stoneflies. Best stretch continues to be below the Boca outlet to Stateline.
WEST WALKER RIVER
Snow fell in Walker and conditions are icy. Few have been participating in the catch-and-release fishery available here. River is in very fishable condition, however.
Fishing closed from the Nimbus Hatchery deadline to Ancil Hoffman Park on Oct. 31. It re-opens in January. Salmon fishing has slowed, with only a few dark fish remaining. Small steelhead between 2 and 3 pounds are being caught between Ancil Hoffman Park and Watt Avenue. Drifting roe and Corkies is the best bet. Flows Sunday were 1,260 cf.
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 but fishing is slow. A few stripers are being caught on swimbaits. Fishing pressure has been light throughout the Feather.
Lake levels rose 5 feet to 407 feet on Sunday. The 5 mph speed limit has been lifted. 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. Bass are suspended or near the bottom in 40 to 60 feet of water. Fishing for both bass and trout has been slow.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Dunsmuir
High, muddy water has brought fishing in the Upper Sacramento to a halt. Flows Sunday were 1,490 cfs at the Delta gauge.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Red Bluff to Colusa
The river was muddy and unfishable over the weekend. It should be fishable again by the weekend.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Redding to Red Bluff
Flows at Keswick Dam held steady at 5,080 cfs last week, but were muddy and unfishable from Redding downstream over the weekend because of heavy rain last week. Some salmon are still holding in the Barge Hole, but fishing pressure has halted until the river falls back into shape. Fishing for wild rainbows had been wide open from the Posse Grounds to Anderson, but also slowed with the unfavorable conditions. With nicer weather this week, expect improved fishing for trout and then salmon this week.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Sacramento
Muddy water slowed fishing last week and over the weekend. No salmon were reported over the weekend. Salmon season runs through Dec. 16.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Verona to Colusa
Look for more sturgeon to show up near Verona and Knight’s Landing after the river becomes fishable again this week as it clears from last week’s rain. Eel, roe, ghost shrimp and pile worms will all work for sturgeon. Salmon fishing has been slow near Verona.
An angler reported catching an 8.8-pound spot last week, but pressure remains light. Expect more action and pressure here as this lake enters a traditionally productive time of year.
CAMP FAR WEST
Lake is close to 40 percent of capacity and water temperature is in the mid 50s. Lake is a bit muddy, but fishable. One angler reported action in 8 to 10 feet of water while another did well drop-shotting 30 feet deep.
Great conditions here. Full lake and clear water, but few fishing.
FRENCH MEADOWS RESERVOIR
Last week’s storm may have closed this for the winter.
HELL HOLE RESERVOIR
No access until spring.
Water temp in the morning is 54 and warming to 57 by the afternoon. Bite is subtle. Have a sensitive rod tip and a very slow retrieve. Bass are in 10 to 30 feet of water off steep walls and deep points.
Berkeley boats got out after rockfish, lingcod and crabs, with limit-style prospects for passengers aboard Happy Hooker, California Dawn, El Dorado, New El Dorado IIIand other boats working outside the Gate. Boats and shore anglers working in the Bay, including Right Hook enjoyed excellent fishing for striped bass. Shore anglers also got some halibut by casting shiny lures and swimbaits.
With individual pot totals like 61 crabs, it didn’t take long at all to pull limits. New Sea Angler managed it with just a few pots and that was after a day of catching limits of rockfish and some hefty lingcod from Fort Ross to Salt Point or from down the coast off of Elephant Rock. One of those lingcod weighed in at a whopping 29 pounds. Tomales Bay continued to produce Dungeness crabs although the counts came down from previous weeks. Surf perch put on a bite around twilight through the week.
New Huck Finn and Sea Wolf made runs outside the Gate to catch a few lingcod and limits of rockfish before finishing off the day pulling limits of crabs. Along the Emeryville shoreline, anglers walked and cast shiny lures or swimbaits to catch high counts of striped bass and every once in awhile a keeper halibut.
The sea was a mess for most of the week, however there were two days early in the week when Reel Steel was able to get out on back-to-back trips and pull quick limits of crabs. Crabbing inside Humboldt Bay was fair and people had opportunities to get their dinner with a snare of hoop. Jetty fishing was treacherous due to big swells, but the inner portions of the jetty gave folks a chance to catch kelp greenling, rockfish and perch.
Boats made it back in early with limits of crabs. Telstar ran most days of the week and was usually back to dock by 11:15. Pots set in water over 100 feet outperformed pots set in shallower water. Direction of the swells changed from westerly to southwesterly, which gave surf fishers a couple of protected areas to fish… Noyo Jetty and the north side of the point at MacKerricher Beach.
HALF MOON BAY
Fishing was pretty darned good down off of Pillar Point or off of Pescadero, so Huli Cat and Queen of Hearts brought people back with good counts of feisty fish. Crabbing was also good and Huli Cat pulled limits. Crabbers did fairly well with rock crabs and Dungeness inside Pillar Point Harbor and up the coast from Pacifica Pier.
Bass Tub made regular crab-only trips and put up limits on each trip. After December 5 the boat will be running cruises until March. Flash II made mid-week shark trips to South Bay for leopard sharks. Argo pulled limits of striped bass from San Pablo Bay. San Francisco and South San Francisco shoreline was a good bet for striped bass, with lures and swimbaits working best.
- Western Outdoor News