Fishing Line

Fishing Line: Trout bite part of nice variety this week

Trout fishing is picking up on some California bodies of water.
Trout fishing is picking up on some California bodies of water. KRT


▪ DON PEDRO Trout trolling has been solid with Monte Smith of Gold Country Sport Fishing producing three limits for his clients using blade/’crawler combinations or frozen shad at depths from the surface to 25 feet near the Flume. A slow presentation is necessary as the fish are scattered and reluctant to strike a rapidly moving bait. Sideplaners are producing the most fish. Bass fishing continued to improve for large fish 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. The Fleming Meadows Launch Ramp is open with one lane open, but Blue Oaks is closed.

▪ FEATHER RIVER Striper fishing has been fair to good, with fish being caught at Shanghai Bend, Boyds Pump and Beercan Beach. Several fish in the 24- to 26-inch range were reported last week, along with a 41-pounder caught on Saturday at Shanghai Bend. Swimbaits, jumbo minnows and cut bait have been working. The fish have been feasting on recently released steelhead smolts.

▪ LAKE PARDEE — The first kokanee of the season were reported in the river arm with salmon in the 10.5 to 12-inch range taken on pink or purple spinners or spinner hootchies behind a gold or brass blade at depths to 12 feet. Trout plants continued with 2000 pounds from the Calaveras Trout Farm along with 800 pounds of catchables from the Department of Fish and Wildlife. Bank fishermen are scoring from Tom Sawyer Island, Porcupine Point, and to the left of the launch ramp with pink or white power worms or eggs while spin casters have been tossing Woolley Buggers with a bubble as well as Kastmasters. Trolling has been solid with pink hootchies, spinners, Rapalas, or Needlefish in the South Arm and also between Deer Island and Grapevine Gulch. 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.

▪ RUSSIAN RIVER – The report was “excellent fishing” on Saturday from Scott Heemstra of Kings Sport and Tackle, who said the river is in prime shape and anglers are catching steelies throughout the entire system. It’s a mix of fresh and spawned-out fish. Flows are under 900 cfs with clarity of 3 to 4 feet. Lots of smolts in the river, so keep your offerings bigger.


▪ CHETCO RIVER, Oregon – Steelhead season is about over for the year, and low, clear water has stalled any movement of steelies into the river for the last few weeks. Flows were just 700 cfs on Sunday. There might still be a final group of fish moving into the river with an upcoming forecast of rain, but it’s about over.

▪ COQUILLE RIVER, South Fork, Powers, Oregon - With virtually zero rain last week, the Coquille River has become very, very low and crystal clear, according to WONField Reporter and guide Curtis Palmer of River Secrets Guide Service. “There are very few people fishing this river. It would take a major storm lasting a couple days before this river is ready for fishing again,” he said.

▪ ROGUE RIVER, Gold Beach, Oregon – Fishing for steelhead near the mouth of the Rogue River is very slow, and most anglers are gearing up for the spring king salmon season, expected to begin this month (March) and continue through April and early May. “Until we see enough rain to make a change in the river height we most likely won’t see any fresh fish being caught in the Gold Beach area,” said guide Curtis Palmer of River Secrets. “The Rogue River near Grants Pass, has consistently been providing 3 to 4 fish per driftboat again this last week.”

▪ ROGUE RIVER, Grant’s Pass, Oregon Steelhead fishing remains fair for some anglers, good for others. Fish can be found from below Grants Pass up through the Gold Hill area. Catches are being made on back-trolled plugs, pink rubber worms, small pieces of roe and yarn balls soaked in Pautzke’s Nectar. “Weather and fishing conditions are pretty good in all areas,” said Troy Whitaker at U-Save Tackle in Grants Pass. “Most lures are working on the Applegate and Illinois rivers, but remember that no bait is allowed for use on the Illinois.”

▪ SMITH RIVER - Fishing on the Smith River has been tough this week, according to guide Phil Desautel of Phil’s Smiling Salmon Guide Service. “The river is low and gin clear and we are in desperate need of rain. It has been zero to 2 fish per boat. Most all the fish have been caught side drifting bait or yarn. I hope for some more rain.”

▪ UMPQUA RIVER, Roseburg, Oregon - With the river levels in the Umpqua Valley being near summer heights, the steelhead have not been moving upstream at a very fast rate, said guide Curtis Palmer of River Secrets. “For the bankies or driftboat anglers who know where the steelhead hold in low, clear water, this has been good news,” he said. “The attitude in the Roseburg area in sporting departments has been very good, and there are fresh stories of chrome steelhead being caught every day. I see fishing getting even better over the next month before the steelhead season ends.

▪ UMPQUA RIVER, North Fork, Glide, Oregon “Due to the low numbers of steelhead moving into the North Umpqua River, I haven’t seen very many driftboats on the water over the last week,” said guide Curtis Palmer. “Guides have said that they have had as many as 4 nice steelhead caught a day on the river. The fish counts at the Winchester Dam have not been updated since October of last year, making it difficult to tell how many fish are moving through the river system. Mid-March is usually the peak of the steelhead season in the Glide/ Roseburg area.”

▪ UMPQUA RIVER, South Fork, Canyonville, Oregon - The South Umpqua River in Canyonville is very low, making it difficult for driftboat anglers to make it from one boat ramp to the next. “I haven’t heard of any anglers or guides drifting this last week,” said guide Curtis Palmer. “Station Park in Canyonville is the only spot that consistently has bank anglers. Anglers at this location are using bobbers and jigs.”


▪ KLAMATH RIVER, Iron Gate Dam – Flows coming out of Iron Gate Dam were holding at 948 cfs on Sunday. Steelhead fishing is fair between the dam and I-5. Below I-5, conditions have improved as the Shasta and Scott rivers clear.

▪ KLAMATH RIVER, Happy Camp – The river dropped to 3,620 cfs at the Orleans gauge on Sunday. With good conditions, fishing for steelhead is fair.

▪ KLAMATH RIVER, Klamath Glenn – The river is down to 13,300 cfs at Klamath. Fishery managers are working on this year’s fall salmon quota, and with a high ocean abundance of 425,000 kings, a longer season than last year is expected. More than 100,000 kings spawned last fall.

▪ TRINITY RIVER – Halfpounders and a few adult steelhead are showing up in the catch. Boat pressure has been high, but catches have been fair to good. Some early browns have already been caught.


▪ BERKELEY – Berkeley Flats became productive. Bass Tub and private boaters scored nice numbers of striped bass, up to a fish per rod. A few halibut were taken on the Berkeley Flats, suggesting that an early halibut season is beginning throughout the Bay. Pier anglers hooked perch.

▪ BODEGA BAY – It was limit-style action aboard New Sea Angler on crabs and white croaker, plus about 20 sanddabs per person. Jetty fishers found crabs, rockfish and cabezon. Local beaches including Doran and down at Lawson’s Landing saw catches of both barred surf perch and red tail perch.

▪ EMERYVILLEShoreline fishing was pretty good for striped bass on either baits or shiny lures. Perch bit well enough to keep bait-soakers entertained. Party boats stayed tied to the dock, awaiting the upcoming salmon season.

▪ EUREKA – Jetties gave up a variety of fish including kelp greenling, black rockfish, lingcod and cabezon. Crabbers went to work, too, catching a few Dungeness and red rock crabs. Inside the Bay, snare casters at Englund Marine and Del Norte piers caught exclusively red rock crab.

▪ FORT BRAGG – Limits of crabs were brought aboard Sea Hawk. Telstar neared the mark and explored different productive depths which should produce well in the coming days. Shore fishers worked local beaches for perch or made runs for rockfish, lingcod and cabezon to MacKerricher State Park or near Mendocino Headlands.

▪ HALF MOON BAY/PACIFICA Huli Cat ran a sanddab/crab combo Sunday, bringing in as many of each as the passengers wanted to take home. Surf fishing for barred surf perch was excellent as is often the case during mid-to-late winter. Perch fishing was periodically interrupted by much feistier striped bass including one that went 30 inches. Crabbing was decent from the piers and jetty, but the quality of the crabs seemed to be diminishing. Jetty fishers did fine on rockfish and cabezon.

▪ SAN FRANCISCO – A jacksmelt spawn in South Bay near Coyote Point got the sturgeon to biting like crazy. A father/son team in a private boat caught 20 sturgeon in one day, topped by a massive 220 pounder (estimated). Halibut were caught by trollers and drifters, primarily along the eastern shore of the South Bay. Argo picked up her first halibut of the season. Bass Tub scored a bass per rod, with plenty of missed opportunities which would have raised the score.


▪ BOCA LAKE – The lake is at 29-percent capacity. With 8- to 10-inches of snow this past weekend, the road along the south side of the lake should only be driven by truck, not a car to avoid getting stuck or high-centered. Some trout were being caught off the dam using Rapalas, spoons, and spinners.

▪ CAPLES LAKE – The lake is at 73-percent capacity. The lake received 8 to 12 inches of snow over the weekend and fishing was slow and cold.

▪ CARSON RIVER (East) – The weekend storm dumped 8 inches of snow in Markleeville and fishing pressure was zilch.

▪ DAVIS LAKE – The lake is at 58-percent capacity. Ed Dillard at Dillard’s Guided Fishing reported shore fishing was slow with most anglers only catching one or two 16- to 21-inch rainbows on scented artificial eggs and floating dough bait at Mallard Point. Honker Cove was full of pre-spawn rainbows, but it is off-limits to fishing.

▪ DONNER LAKE – The lake is at 49-percent capacity. Shore fishing was slow and boaters were only catching a few macks jigging or trolling at 90 to 130 feet deep.

▪ FRENCHMAN LAKE – The lake is at 36-percent capacity. Wiggins Trading Post reported the best fishing was still at the dam using nightcrawlers. Watch out for icy road conditions—use 4-wheel drive.

▪ ICE HOUSE RESERVOIR – The lake is at 78.5-percent capacity. Kyle Neeser at Crystal Basin Tackle and Guide Service reported the Crystal Basin received 4 to 6 inches of snow this past weekend and road conditions would be icy. Wait until the area thaws before heading here.

▪ INDIAN CREEK RESERVOIR – Todd Sodaro at Todd’s Bait and Tackle at the Creekside Lodge reported the weekend storm dumped several inches of snow on the road to the lake and recommended only driving a 4-wheel drive with chains to avoid getting stuck, or just wait until the road clears.

▪ JACKSON MEADOW RESERVOIR — The snow this past weekend closed the roads for even longer.

▪ JENKINSON LAKE (Sly Park) – The lake was filling rapidly since EID finished repairing a large pipeline that feeds the lake. Fishing was slow with the rainy weekend weather.

▪ LAKE TAHOE Wind and snow shut down the fishing for charter operators. Earlier in the week, Tahoe Sportfishing reported picking up limits of 3- to 6-pound macks with a few fish to 10 pounds thrown in for good measure mooching live bait at 160 to 200 feet deep off Rubicon.

▪ LOON LAKEThe lake is at 54-percent capacity. 8 to 12 inches of snow at this elevation this past weekend, but earlier in the week trollers were picking up some 18- to 20-inch browns according to the Georgetown Ranger Station.

▪ PROSSER LAKE – The lake is at 32-percent capacity. Shore anglers were picking up some smallmouth bass to 2 pounds at the dam and along the shallows on the eastern shore on jigs, worms, and spinners.

▪ PYRAMID LAKECrosby’s Lodge weighed in 15 cutthroats over 10 pounds this past week topped by a huge 23 1/4 pounder caught by Sean Bottomley of Nevada City at Sand Hole on a jig cast from shore. The Annual Ken Hembree Hook, Line, and Sinker Fishing Derby sponsored by Sierra RV and Crosby’s Lodge will be heldMarch 14-15 with an entry of $65. The grand prize is a Polaris Sportsman ATV worth $9500.

▪ RED LAKE – This area received over 8 inches of snow this past weekend, so access could be a problem until Caltrans clears the road to the dam.

▪ SILVER LAKE – The lake is at 69-percent capacity. The Carson Pass area received over 8 inches of snow this past weekend, but Caltrans should have the road cleared to allow access to the dam by mid-week.

▪ STAMPEDE RESERVOIR – The lake is at 23-percent capacity. The snow from the storm this past weekend made access a big problem. Call Mountain Hardware and Sports for the latest road conditions at 530-587-4844.

▪ TOPAZ LAKE — The lake level was still too low for boat launching. Shore fishing was sporadic.

▪ TRUCKEE RIVER – Fishing streamers below the Boca Outlet was producing a few nice fish. Midge nymphs in the morning and baetis or BWO patterns in the afternoon were working in the Glenshire area. Also try a size 10 skwalla nymph trailing a smaller midge or baetis, according to Brian Nylund at Mountain Hardware and Sports.

▪ UNION VALLEY RESERVOIR – The lake is at 72-percent capacity. Snow and icy roads conditions brought on by last weekend’s storm should reduce access for a while to the boat ramp at the dam off Pea Vine Ridge Road.

▪ WEST WALKER RIVER – Sam Foster at the Toiyabe Motel reported it was snowing on the valley floor when WON called Sunday morning and the upper passes were still getting dumped on. This snow storm gave hope to local businesses that the water may last a bit longer this trout season.


▪ LAKE AMADOR – The lake has risen to within 14 feet of spilling, but it is still heavily stained from the rapid inflow of a few weeks back. Heavy trout plants continued from the lake’s concessionaires with 1200 pounds during the last week of February totaling 2800 pounds for the month and 24,800 pounds since October 23. Pink Power Eggs or Power Worms are working in the stained water along with green trout dough bait with the Boathouse Docks, the dam, and the spillway being the top locations. Most of the rainbows are oriented towards the surface and are close to the shorelines. The clearer water is found in Jackson Creek, and trollers are finding their best action with bright spoons. The NorCal Trout Challenge will make their stop at the lake on March 14.

▪ CAMANCHE LAKE – 1200 pounds of Mt. Lassen Trout Farm rainbows were released into the lake with 600 pounds at the South Shore Launch Ramp with the remainder at the South Shore Pond this past week. Big rainbows continued to be the story with several over 7 pounds brought into the marinas within the week. Grubs or Rapalas are the top lures for trollers with the best action in the top 12 feet of the surface near Big Hat Island, the dam, and in the Narrows. Shore fishermen are scoring near the launch ramps and the Day Use Area with Mice Tails, trout dough bait, nightcrawlers, or Power Eggs. The bass are starting to move up, and drop-shot plastics, Senkos, or jigs are all producing a few fish. 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.

▪ LAKE McCLURE – The lake has risen steadily within the past three 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. As a result, few fishermen are heading to the lake.

▪ LAKE McSWAIN – Shore fishing remained solid from the Brush Pile and along the Marina with garlic trout dough bait, nightcrawlers, or garlic Power Worms. Few boats are trolling. The last plant was the previous week with 500 pounds from the Calaveras Trout Farm. The annual Spring Trout Derby is scheduled for the weekend of April 11/12 with registration available at

▪ 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 are become more and more active in the coming weeks. Trolling with shad on a harness are generally the top set up for trollers.

▪ NEW MELONES – “It’s go time for bass,” with large numbers of smaller bass on Senkos, Carolina-rigged plastics, or jigs in deeper water as the smaller fish continue to hold along deep structure. The occasional trophy largemouth or spotted bass is taken on a rainbow-trout patterned swimbait. Trout trolling is solid with a combination of ExCel spoons with a Sockeye Slammer on a 1.5-foot leader. Bank fishermen are finding action with trout dough bait, inflated nightcrawlers, or nightcrawler/marshmallow combinations from the shorelines at Glory Hole Point, Glory Hole Cove, and the Highway 29 Bridge. Catfish continued to be taken with nightcrawlers, frozen shad, or mackerel loaded heavily with scent.

▪ LAKE TULLOCH The first announcement of plans to drain the lake by July to meet agricultural and environmental obligations surfaced this past week.


▪ AMERICAN RIVER – Steelhead fishing remains slow.

▪ FOLSOM LAKE – Bass fishing has been fair to good from shore, with a 5-pound largemouth reported last week. Anglers are fishing minnows and nightcrawlers below bobbers. Some trout are being caught on hoochies trolled near the dam.

▪ RANCHO SECO LAKE – Trout fishing is good. Power Bait has worked best, along with nightcrawlers. The lake was stocked last week with another released planned for Monday.

▪ SACRAMENTO RIVER, Dunsmuir – Trout fishing is slow, although conditions are improving.

▪ SACRAMENTO RIVER, Redding to Red Bluff – The river has cleared up and fishing for wild rainbows has been good. With low flows, fly fishing has been the best bet. Trout are biting beads fished below indicators, but recent warm weather has sparked a good caddis hatch. The dry fly action has been the best of the year, and emerger nynphs also are working well. Trout to 20 inches have been caught.

▪ SACRAMENTO RIVER, Knight’s Landing to Colusa – Striper fishing is slow, although some small schools of spawning fish have moved through. Sturgeon fishing is fair, and catfish are being taken by anglers using bait to target stripers and sturgeon.

▪ SACRAMENTO RIVER, Port of Sacramento – A lot of the larger stripers have left the Port of Sacramento, but fishing for smaller male stripers is still good, with lots of fish in the 18- to 19-inch range.


▪ AMERICAN RIVER — The Georgetown Ranger Station reported the river flows were normal and clear with little or no fishing pressure that could be observed from any roads.

▪ BULLARDS BARThe lake is at 61-percent capacity. With the new pending world record spotted bass, a 10.95 pounder, caught here this past weekend, Emerald Cove Marina reported a marked increase in bass boat traffic. Bass were moving toward spawning flats and coves and hitting shakey-head worms and worm-head Senkos to 30 feet deep.

▪ CAMP FAR WEST – The lake is full. The North Shore Resort Team tournament fielded 50 boats this past weekend and was won by Jack Gilbert of Wheatland and John Ricker with 11.7 pounds that included the tournament big fish, a 3 1/2 pounder. The pair picked up a cool $1460 for the win. Worms and jigs did best in the top 15 feet on the points and in the coves.

▪ COLLINS LAKEThe lake is 25 feet from full. Collins Lake Resort stocked 1800 pounds of rainbows this past Thursday—half 1- to 1 1/2-pound catchables and half 3 to 8 pounders—and will be stocking weekly through the spring. Shore anglers and boaters weighed in lots of limits that included plenty of big fish in the 5- to 7 1/4-pound range. The dam, Beach, and Open Area were good spots for shore anglers using worms, scented artificial eggs, and floating dough bait. Trollers did well along the east side and near the dam using Rapalas and dodger/worms.

▪ ENGLEBRIGHT RESERVOIR – The lake is at 93-percent capacity. Skippers Cove Marina reported trollers were catching limits of DFW planters and pen-reared rainbows. Two kayakers trolled in close to the docked houseboats using dodger/worms while most boaters were out in the mooring area. The pen-reared rainbows released by Skippers Cove Marina were 16 to 19 inch “footballs”.

▪ FRENCH MEADOWS RESERVOIR The lake is at 43-percent capacity. Shore fishermen were picking up a few rainbows before the storm hit this past weekend. Call ahead to the Foresthill Ranger Station to check on the latest road conditions at 530-367-2224, M-F.

▪ FULLER LAKEThe lake is scheduled for a DFW trout plant this week.

▪ LAKE OROVILLEThe lake is at 49-percent capacity. Guide Ron Gandolfi reported the bass fishing was still good with 20 to 30 fish days common using tubes, darthead, shakey-head, and drop-shot worms from the bank to 30 feet deep. With the cooler weather this past week, fishing was better in the afternoon after the water had a chance to warm up on the points, steep walls, and flats. Bruce Gibson at the Paradise Tackle Company reported doing well for bass to 4 pounds on shakey-heads cast to wood structure. The water temp ran 52 to 55 degrees and the lake still had lots of big debris floating that demanded extreme caution while running.

▪ ROLLINS LAKE – The lake is at 95-percent capacity. The lake was stocked by the DFW this past week. Caden Caldwell at NID reported bass fishing was still better than the trout action, but that should change with the recent plant. One boat reported catching 30 bass to 4 1/2 pounds on worms.

▪ SCOTT’S FLAT LAKE – The lake is at 67-percent capacity. The lake was stocked by the DFW this past week. Trollers were picking up rainbows near the dam on flasher/worms.

▪ SUGAR PINE RESERVOIR – The lake was stocked by the DFW this past week, so the bite should be good near the boat ramp.

▪ STUMPY MEADOWS RESERVOIR The Georgetown Ranger Station reported fishing from shore was slow and the lake was very low. With the water level 50 feet below the boat ramp, only a cartopper or kayak could be launched.

▪ THERMOLITO AFTERBAY – The lake was at 133.7-foot elevation at press time—80-percent capacity. Bruce Gibson at the Paradise Tackle Company reported bass were hitting spinnerbaits and buzzbaits near the weedbeds and tule banks in the coves.


▪ SACRAMENTO RIVER The water temperature dropped five degrees within the week due to colder evening temperatures and high winds, and the sturgeon bite slowed to a crawl on Sunday. Previously, the bite had been red hot with six-pack boats reporting as many as four limits in lower Suisun Bay with the best action on either salmon roe or eel. The striper troll bite peaked earlier in the week with outstanding fishing north of the Rio Vista Bridge, but Sunday’s bite went south in response to a consistent north wind and muddier water. Deep-diving lures such as P-Line Predator Minnows have been effective in the Deep Water Channel while shallow lures are effective along stretches in the sloughs.

▪ SAN JOAQUIN RIVER The cooling water temperatures brought about a change of tactics for both bass and striper fishermen. Dropping to the bottom with the Flat Dawg in darker colors has been effective on the high tide with the reaction bite slowing to a crawl. Punching the dead hyacinth patches with Brush Hogs or D-Bombs, Senkos, or chatterbaits are also producing. Trolling in the off-color water or drifting live minnows or mudsuckers are producing the occasional legal striped bass, but there are a number of shaker bass in the system. Bluegill went back into deep water with the cool down.

– Western Outdoor News