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 Dec. 5, 2016.
1850 pounds of Mt. Lassen Hatchery rainbows arrived this week, and various colors of garlic trout dough bait, garlic Power Eggs, or Mice Tails are working from the shoreline. Boaters have been working in deeper water to 25 feet near Mountain Springs, and one boat brought in two limits with the big fish at 5.6 pounds. Two 7 pounders were landed in the corner of the dam over the weekend on Rapalas, and there have been a number of tagged fish coming back to the shop. The lake is 16 feet from spilling.
Trout plants continue with 750 pounds apiece at the North Shore and South Shore launch ramps this week. Trolling has been strong along Big Hat Island and also from the Pump Station to the mouth of the Narrows. Bass fishermen have been heading upriver past the bridge towards the rockwall with crankbaits, jigs, or plastics on the drop-shot. Great crappie bite near Little Hat Island with trollers targeting rainbows picking up slabs to 2 pounds. The fish are holding near submerged structure at depths to 50 feet. The café is open at North Shore, and there is also gasoline available on the water at the docks. The lake dropped slightly to 67 percent.
DELTA REGION: Sacramento River
Smaller tides had an effect on sturgeon fishing in the Sacramento River, but the upcoming series of larger tides, combined with the outstanding sturgeon action so far this season, are reasons for optimism. Salmon are all but done with the muddy water, and striper fishing has been best by drifting live bait or on the anchor with sardines or shad. Bait-stealing crab have been plaguing shoreline fishermen off of the Benicia shoreline, but the crab are scarce on the south side of the river. A gusty north wind plagued the Sacramento River-Delta at the end of the week, and the waters of the north Delta became muddy.
DELTA REGION: San Joaquin River
Big winds arrived at the end of the week, making for challenging conditions in the Delta. The striped bass bite has been up-and-down with bait fishermen finding the best action at the present time. Last week, the San Joaquin was ‘en fuego,’ but this week with high skies, no fog, and plenty of wind, it was tough. Sea lions have been spread from False River to the Stockton Turning Basin . Black bass fishing has been best with ripbaits, jigs, or plastics in shad-patterns on the drop-shot. Sturgeon fishermen have been buying a jar of Bloody Eel along with a couple of boxes of nightcrawlers as the combinations have been working best. Sturgeon fishing has been best in the San Joaquin off of Jersey Island in deep water with ghost shrimp, pile worms, or eel. Fresh shad is very limited at the present time, but most bait shops have a healthy supply of frozen shad.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Red Bluff to Colusa
A few guides are quietly catching keeper-size stripers near Chico on topwater lures and swimbaits. Salmon fishing is slow, but a few kings are still being caught near Red Bluff by anglers back-trolling T55 FlatFish with sardine wraps.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Verona to Colusa
Sturgeon fishing has been best near Verona. Eel, roe, ghost shrimp and pile worms will all work for sturgeon. With big numbers of sturgeon reported in the delta, look for more fish to move upstream with each storm. Salmon fishing has been slow.
NORTH COAST RIVERS
CHETCO RIVER, Brookings, Oregon
A late surge of salmon surprised Chetco anglers last week, and big kings were caught by many guides, including WON Field Reporter and Guide Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing. The first of the steelhead also showed up, and anglers are staying busy, with good flows expected the next week or so. Guide and WON Field Reporter Phil DeSautel of Phil’s Smiling Salmon Guide Service said, “Friday and today we headed north to fish the Chetco, and on Friday I went 3 for 4 with Ken Hoffman of San Jose and Derek Hoffman of San Francisco with a 2-pound, a 22-pound a 25 pounder that we released. Today (Saturday) I did a half day with Ken and Derek and we were 2 for 2. There are a few fish around.
ELKS RIVER, Port Orford, Oregon
Salmon fishing was good the middle of last week before slowing over the weekend. Anglers first did well on plugs, while back-bouncing roe was best over the weekend. The river was getting low and clear on Sunday, but more rain is expected this week.
ROGUE RIVER, Gold Beach, Oregon
The Rogue was down to 5,900 cfs at the Agness gauge on Sunday, down from 11,000 cfs at the beginning of the week. Few anglers have started to fish for steelhead, but the first fish of the season are expected any time.
ROGUE RIVER, Shady Cove to Grants Pass, Oregon
Steelhead fishing was good this week. Guide Troy Whitaker of U-Save Tackle had a guide trip and they caught 10 fish. “Only one was a healthy hatchery steelhead we could keep, and we released the other smaller fish,” he said. Angler's best bait choices include plugs, nightcrawlers or corkies. Also working well are small pieces of roe or yarn balls. Best action for boat anglers seems to be from Gold Hill down through Valley of the Rogue Park, or Schroeder Park down through Griffin Park. Bank fishermen seem to be having their best catches near the Robertson Bridge or the Schroeder Park area.
Things are looking excellent right now, according to Scott Heemstra of Kings Sport & Tackle in Guerneville. “Flows have dropped to near 800 cfs as of Sundayand the clarity is 2 to 3 feet. I have yet to hear of any solid action, mostly a lot of fishing and not much catching. However there has been some reports of both wild and hatchery steelhead being caught. Continued dry weather through this week will keep improving conditions, but we are looking at a chance of rain by Thursday, that so far doesn't look to show much in the way of rain. Best tactics will be casting Cleos in 1/3-ounce size, and bouncing cured roe through the runs. Water is also in good shape for swinging flies, but I would still stick with larger ones due to the clarity. Intruders, or mini-intruders in blacks, purple, and orange can be effective.”
SIXES RIVER, Port Orford, Oregon
The Sixes dropped into shape the end of last week and fished well for late-season kings. Many of the fish are dark. More rain this week should pull more salmon into the river.
The Smith was very low over the weekend and the salmon run was done, already upriver spawning, according to guide and WON Field Reporter Phil DeSautel of Phil’s Smiling Salmon Guide Service. “The fishing is slow,” he said. “I fished two combo days without a bite. “I spoke with legendary bank guide Jimmy Csutoras, who lives at the ‘Cookie Jar’ and he reported that he had caught and released a native steelhead around 11 pounds. Andy Martin of Wild Rivers said the Rowdy Creek Hatchery has received 29 adult male kings and 48 adult female kings. That compared to 28 adult males and 44 adult females through the same period last year. About 4 times more jacks have shown up, a good indicator for next year salmon returns.
KLAMATH RIVER, Hornbrook
Flows were just under 1,000 cfs all last week at Iron Gate Dam, perfect for fall and early winter steelhead fishing. Snowy weather is expected this week, which could slow the bite because of colder water temperatures. Steelhead fishing has been good between Iron Gate and Interstate 5, with fish between 1 and 7 pounds being caught on small plugs.
KLAMATH RIVER, Happy Camp
Conditions were good last week, with flows of 2,200 cfs at Seiad Valley. Small steelhead are being caught on plugs as well as roe and yarn combinations. Flows at Orleans were 6,030 cfs, on the high side for drift boat fishing.
KLAMATH RIVER, Klamath Glen
The lower Klamath remained high and muddy over the weekend, with flows topping 13,000 cfs at the Terwer Creek gauge.
Hatchery steelhead to 9 pounds are being caught between Lewiston and Junction City, but fishing has been tough. With low, clear water, small plugs have been working best. Guides are reporting a handful of half-pounders a day, along with one to three adults. Fresh fish did show up last week. Flows Sunday at Lewiston were 299 cfs. Flows at Junction City were 469 cfs, down from 800 cfs at the beginning of last week. Flows at Hoopa were 3,790 cfs, down from 9,000 cfs.
NORTH COAST LAKES
Trout trollers are starting to pull out the Shad imitations for their top line offerings. The mouth of the narrows from Skiers cove to the Big Island have been the best areas for trollers. Bass are schooling tight and keying on shad. Creek channels, cuts and steeper banks are where the bass are schooling.
BLACK BUTTE LAKE
Only a handful of anglers were out last week and they caught only a few bass.
Art Cerini at the Narrows Resort said it was cold and rainy most of the week, but a few anglers caught 13- to 16-inch rainbows on trolled flashers with spinners.
Bass are schooling tight and keying on shad, so if you can find the bait you should be able to find some biting bass. Creek channels, cuts and steeper banks are where the bass are schooling up the bait and catching them with spoons, drop-shot and small swimbaits.
Fishing remains slow with very few anglers on the water.
Trout trollers are pulling grubs, Needlefish or trolling flies 100 feet behind the boat for trout in the top 10 feet of water for fish in the 14- to 20-inch range.
FAR NORTH LAKE AND RIVERS
Stormy weather kept most anglers off the lake all week. Some trout action was posted on fast trolling hardware. When weather conditions allow, the fly and bank fishermen have been picking up some quality fish in the coves. Bank fishermen are floating nightcrawlers a couple of feet off the bottom to catch a few trout.
Trout fishing remains fair for fly fishermen and others trolling lures or bait fishing.
Marina closed for winter, no fishing reports available.
A few shore anglers are catching a couple of trout, The water level here is so low it’s almost impossible to launch a boat and get on the water, plus the weather is very cold, with more snow due, said Cliff Pediacci at Hook and Ladder Guide Service. Lake season ends here after Dec. 31.
FALL RIVER, HAT CREEK
Trout fishing remains slow, said Louise Baghin at Pine Cove Marina.
Bad weather kept most fly fishermen at home this week.
Bass fishermen are throwing big swimbaits in the upper areas of the lake arms to catch some fish to 5 1/2 pounds. Trout fishing remains fair in the dam area on trolled lures. Crappie fishing is good on small jigs anywhere anglers can find brushy areas.
Bass fishing remains slow with few anglers out and the Trinity Alps Marina is closed for the winter.
A few bass catches are being made, but it’s basically slow fishing. Kokanee fishing is very poor now and will remain that way during the winter months.
There have been a ton of fish coming out of McClure at depths from 25 to 50 feet, and all of the fish are spitting up shad. Drop-shotting with shad-patterned plastics such as 4-inch Pro Worm’s 124p or 300, Robo Worm’s Hologram Shad, or Yamamoto plastics are all working, as everything has been on the bottom. The water is relatively clear with around 2 feet in visibility despite the recent inflow. The launch ramps are in good shape, and the bite will only get better with the upcoming rain. The lake held at 38% of capacity.
There have been very few striper fishermen targeting New Hogan, but there are still linesides to be had with frozen bait from the shorelines or tossing spoons or swimbaits on a slow presentation. The lake held at 24 per cent.
The Glory Hole Sports Fall Catfish Derby ended November 30, with slow fishing. The top spot was taken by Matt Meeks with a two-fish weight of 16.86 pounds for $210.00. The bass are in a fall-like pattern and feeding heavily. The bass are holding around the shad schools, so use a ripbait, crankbaits, or small swimbait. Rainbow trout are making their move from deep water to shallower water, but the best trolling action remains in deep water with shad-patterned spoons or Rapalas. Bank fishing should improve with garlic-scented trout dough bait tipped with a piece of nightcrawler. 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 February 16, 2017 for camping and February 17, 2017, for fishing.
SIERRA LAKES AND RIVERS
Lake is accessible. Shore fishing is an option and there’s a chance at decent brown trout.
Ice forms on the edges in the morning and melts by the afternoon. Garlic rainbow Power Bait offered at Mallard Point is the best option here.
Shoreline Mackinaw fishing is over, as fish have retreated to deeper water. You will need chains to launch here.
Few fishing here last week. Shouldn’t be any ice given daytime temps in the 40s.
GOLD LAKE BASIN
Road is closed. See you in spring.
JENKINSON LAKE (Sly Park)
Small macks are being caught from the shore by the first dam and from boats in the narrows. Some planted rainbows are being landed. Nightcrawlers work best. Power Bait attracts rainbows.
Mackinaw bite is solid and often excellent during the last hour of daylight. Fish are near the bottom. Trolling, jigging or live bait works if you put it in front of them.
Lake is accessible. No reports since all the snow.
Bite slowed last week. Put in the time and there’s a chance at the fish of a lifetime. Best tactic is to pick a spot and work it repeatedly. Trollers find fish 60 to 70 feet deep, just off the bottom.
No access here.
Closed until Jan. 1.
Trout are in slow, deep water and not moving much. Blue wing olives and stoneflies are worth trying. Better to fish during the warmest part of the day when the fish may be more active.
WEST WALKER RIVER
Morning lows in the 20s have kept anglers away. Virtually no angling pressure on this river.
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, although roe fished below bobbers also has been working. Flows Sunday were 1,290 cf.
The Outlet Hole is closed for the season. Salmon fishing has slowed, with no catches reported last week. A few stripers are being caught on swimbaits near Star Bend, but fishing is slow. Fishing pressure has been light throughout the Feather.
Lake levels rose 4 feet to 411 feet on Sunday. The 5 mph speed limit has been lifted. The Hobie Cove ramp at Brown’s Ravine, Folsom Point and Granite Bay’s low water ramp are open. The 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 water has brought fishing in the Upper Sacramento to a halt. Flows Sunday were 777 cfs at the Delta gauge. Snow is expected early this week.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Redding to Red Bluff
Flows at Keswick Dam held steady at 4,990 cfs last week, but were muddy and unfishable from Redding downstream early in the week before dropping back into shape for the weekend. Some salmon are still holding in the Barge Hole, where the few guides still fishing are reporting one to two fish a day on FlatFish with sardine wraps. Fishing for wild rainbows has been good. Salmon season closes Dec. 16.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Sacramento
Salmon fishing has slowed. Salmon season runs through Dec. 16.
Angler traffic is starting to increase but most of the spotted bass reported are small - between one and two pounds. Focus on points to find fish. Water temperature is 53 degrees.
CAMP FAR WEST
Lake is close to 40 percent of capacity and is on the murky side. Fishing last week was very slow.
Trout bite is as good as it has been all season. Nothing big but a healthy showing of 2-pound trout are filling out stringers. Shore fishing has been more productive than trolling. Bank anglers do best near the dam with white, chartreuse or rainbow Power Bait. Trollers pull Rapalas or Kastmasters in the top 15 feet of water.
Angler pressure has been increasing, indicating an uptick on the trout bite. Water is clear and lake is nearly full.
FRENCH MEADOWS RESERVOIR
Snowed in. That’s it until spring.
HELL HOLE RESERVOIR
Snowed in with no access.
Water is cold and the bass are small. Fish are suspended and becoming less active. A variety of tactics will work. Float and fly can pay dividends in cooler water temps.
Lake is 99 percent of capacity. Water is clear and the water temperature is 52 degrees. The water temp and the Bear River inlet is 44 degrees. There are fallen trees floating in the lake, so boaters must take caution. Most are in the vicinity of Orchard Springs. Planted trout are being caught near Orchard Springs with Kastmasters and Rooster Tails. Bass anglers caught rainbows while drop-shotting. Bass bite is slow.
SCOTT’S FLAT LAKE
Smallmouth are the best option here. Best results will come from the Cascade side of the lake. Trout are 35 to 40 feet deep.
Largemouth bite best in the afternoon after the water warms. “Don’t even waste your time in the morning,” said Bruce Gibson of Paradise Tackle Company. Shallow-running crankbaits or swimbaits with 1/4-ounce or 3/8th-ounce heads thrown on the grass will attract quality bass. Bill Thurman of Paradise last week caught two 5 pounders and a 7 pounder using Hi-Tech swimbaits with Paradise Tack heads.
Good fishing and/or good crabbing was to be found in just about every direction. Happy Hooker got limits of crabs and good rockfish at the Farallones. El Dorado, New El Dorado III and Goldeneye 2000 worked the islands for fish and the Marin Coast for crabs. Right Hook caught sturgeon and stripers to the north. Local shorelines were good for bass.
Stellar results were posted from combo trips aboard New Sea Angler running to the north or to the south. Pots were full, crabs were big and rockfish were hungry. Crabs, rockfish and lingcod were on tap out of Lawson’s Landing and there were enough Dungeness inside of Tomales Bay to allow folks with smaller boats to bring a few home for dinner. Surf fishing on relatively protected beaches was fair to good for perch.
New Huck Finn and Sea Wolf had the duty and reported dependable results: Limits of crabs and limits of rockfish plus some lingcod. Along local Emeryville shorelines anglers cast baits and lures for stripers, which were mostly on the small side but with some thicker units coming in now and then.
It was a tough week for boaters because conditions at the bar, (not to be confused with a tavern), was too rough for boaters. Authorities issued warnings for jetty anglers late in the week and into the weekend. Crabbing inside Humboldt Bay was the only real saltwater option and fortunately it was decent for both red rock crabs and some just-legal Dungeness. People were able to fish the local lagoons for trout, so at least they could get their wiggle in.
Swells that peaked out at 22 feet had a strong impact on crab pots in water less than 100 feet, but outside of that the crabbing was phenomenal. Capt. Randy Thornton on Telstar reported hauling up exceptionally large crabs. Sea Hawk’s skipper reported getting limits of crabs in just a few hours. Noyo Jetty was productive, with crabbers working the river side and perchers using the bay side.
HALF MOON BAY
Queen of Hearts had a good day with 9 rockfish per rod, fishing local waters. Huli Cat went crabbing off of Montara and scored limits. The harbor was busy with people crabbing from the pier, jetty and docks. There was even a spiny lobster brought up in a hoop net. Surf fishing was not an option for most follks because of high surf.
Shoreline areas along San Francisco saw anglers lined up casting lures for striped bass. South San Francisco anglers near Coyote Point enjoyed some action on halibut, stripers and leopard sharks. Halibut also came from Raccoon Straits and Paradise. Argo posted limits of coastal rockfish one day and then went after bass inside the Bay, nearly reaching limits. - Western Outdoor News