Here are the best places to fish in the Sacramento region, Northern California and beyond for the week of Jan. 9, 2016.
Flows on the American jumped from 3,500 cfs on Thursday to 30,000 cfs on Sunday, and were expected to reach 60,000 cfs early in the week as water is released from Folsom Lake. Steelhead fishing has been slow since the Jan. 1 opener between Hazel Avenue and Nimbus Fish Hatchery. Some small steelhead were being caught last week on roe, nightcrawlers and spoons. Fly anglers also reported some success before the big storm.
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Bass fishing remains tremendous with the largest fish of the year at 13.46 pounds landed on New Year’s Day using a jig over a dredger tailing. Jigs, Alabama rigs, or plastics on the drop-shot are all effective at depths to 30 feet. 2400 pounds of Mt. Lassen Hatchery rainbows were released into the lake this week, and the fish were split between the North Shore, South Shore, and South Ponds. Crappie fishing remains outstanding with trout trollers picking up the slabsides using grubs at depths from 15 to 30 feet near Big Hat Island or in the Narrows. The café is open at North Shore, and there is also gasoline available on the water at the docks. The lake dropped to 65 percent in anticipation of heavy inflow from the upper watershed.
DELTA REGION: Sacramento River
The massive storms arriving over the weekend in northern California have increased the amount of water in the Sacramento-Delta, keeping fishing to a minimum over the past week. The overall benefits from the flushing of the Delta will enhance the sturgeon bite in the coming weeks. Eel/nightcrawler or eel/pile worm combinations will be the baits of choice with the fresh water inflow as salmon roe will be much less productive. Shore anglers are using heavy weights to stay down in the upper Delta, and a few sturgeon are taken near the shorelines from Clarksburg to Freeport. Two large sturgeon derbies will occur in the coming weeks with the Diamond Classic out of Martinez Marina on January 28 and the Original aka ‘Super Bowl’ Sturgeon Derby on the weekend of February 4-5 out of McAvoy’s Boat Harbor. Caution for boaters is essential with the amount of debris floating down from the upper river.
DELTA REGION: San Joaquin River
Clear water is in shorter supply than it was the previous week, and the only viable action with reaction baits has been inside the man-made canals in Discovery Bay. Using vibration and scent remains the key in the muddy water. The increased flows have led to heavy water exports from the South Delta. The occasional big striped bass is taken with sardine or shad fillets coated with scent. Fresh shad is over for the season, but most shops have plenty of frozen shad.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Sacramento
Some sturgeon are being caught in the deepwater channel. Striper fishing in the channel has been slow, despite good numbers of shad. Debris washing back and forth with the tide has made fishing difficult.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Verona to Colusa
The river was quickly rising and blown out on Sunday, and expected to be high for several days. Sturgeon and striper fishing was slow before the storm, as lots of debris in the water limited success. New sturgeon are expected to move into the Verona and Knight’s Landing area as the river drops.
NORTH COAST RIVERS
CHETCO RIVER, Brookings, Oregon
The Chetco was low and clear before the storm, but over the weekend was blown out and at 7,000 cfs on Sunday morning and still rising, expected to hit 35,000 cfs by mid-week. Steelhead fishing was actually slow prior to the most recent storm due to the cold water, but there were plenty of steelies in the river, according to WON Staff Writer Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing.
ELKS RIVER, Port Orford, Oregon
After being low and clear for a week, the Elk was up to 4.3 feet and green on Sunday, but is expected to blow out for at least a few days this week. The Elk likely will be the first Southern Oregon Coast river to come back into shape and could fish well this weekend. For current levels, call the Elk River Hatchery at (541) 332-0405. Levels betweern 3.8 and 4.8 feet are best.
ROGUE RIVER, Gold Beach, Oregon
The entire Rogue River was blown out and expected to hit flood stage by mid-week, but before that the river had good numbers of steelhead in the lower river, but the cold water temperatures made for a tough bite. Flows were expected to go from 8,100 cfs. to 60,000 cfs at the Agness gauge.
SIXES RIVER, Port Orford, Oregon
The Sixes was high and muddy on Sunday and will likely be blown out all week. A few salmon were still being caught early last week, but they must be released.
Low, clear and cold conditions all last week, but it was the better bet for steelhead along the coast before the big rains hit, when the river went up to 13 feet on Sunday and was still rising, expected to hit 21 feet or 50,000 cfs by mid-week. It could be in decent fishing shape over the weekend, depending on further rain. Big numbers of steelhead are expected to come into the river during the high water, and when conditions are good again, there should be a lot of fresh steelies.
KLAMATH RIVER, Hornbrook
The far upper section on the Klamath was on the verge of blowing out Sunday night as flows jumped from 1,000 cfs to 1,600 cfs and were still rising. Before the rains, fishing had slowed, mainly because 10-degree temperatures kept most anglers away. Expect steelhead that have been holding near Happy Camp to move upriver with the latest storm.
KLAMATH RIVER, Happy Camp
Flows at Seiad Valley jumped to 5,000 cfs Sunday and were rising quickly. The river is expected to be blown out at least a week, according to guide Mario Gomez of Ironhead Guide Service, who had been getting customers into four to six steelhead a day to 8 pounds before the weekend storm. He has been side-drifting roe and yarn. Flows at Orleans were up to 11,400 cfs.
KLAMATH RIVER, Klamath Glen
The river remains blown out, with flows of 26,700 cfs on Sunday. With the latest storm, it may be blown out for the rest of the month.
Flows Sunday at Lewiston were 305 cfs, but with flows topping 4,000 cfs at Douglas City and Junction City, the entire river is too high and muddy for fishing. Melting snow could keep the river unfishable for several days. Once flows drop below 1,000 cfs at Douglas City, the upper river will be fishable. Before the storm, guides were finding three to six steelhead a day to 10 pounds. Small plugs, such as Mag Lip 3.0s, and roe have been working best.
NORTH COAST LAKES
Bass anglers found some tougher fishing conditions at Lake Berryessa. The lake was stable all week holding at 406 feet and now 34 feet from the Glory Hole.
BLACK BUTTE LAKE
Rain pouring down and few anglers were out all week.
Art Cerini at The Narrows Resort said rains kept all anglers away the past several days.
Only a handful of fishermen were out all week. The lake is getting muddy from stream runoff, and rising. Only about 3 feet from being full.
No anglers here with plenty of rain falling.
Getting pummeled by rain, but the anglers who snuck out to Lake Sonoma just before rains experienced some good bass fishing.
FAR NORTH LAKE AND RIVERS
Snow and rain have hit hard with over 2 feet of snow on the ground. Boat ramps are iced over. Few fishermen are out.
Some trout action seen here, but anglers are few and the weather is cold, rainy and snow, too.
Marina closed for the season.
Season closed on Saturday, Dec. 31. Re-opens in April.
FALL RIVER, HAT CREEK
Trout fishing was slow with few anglers on the water due to rains.
Few anglers out due to rain and snow.
Bass fishing remains fair on swimbaits like Osprey and Huddleston off the main points, while trout fishing has been fair the marinas. Lots of rain falling this week and the lake level is rising, now down about 40 feet, up about 5 feet this week!
Locals are catching a few largemouth and smallmouth bass, but the highways to the lake are icy. Travel, especially for those anglers towing boats, is not advised.
A few anglers are catching largemouth and smallmouth bass on light tackle with plastic worms.
The lake is spilling, as it came up 4 feet within 24 hours as a result of the weekend’s heavy rainstorms. With more rain anticipated this week, there is the possibility of the lower road and gatehouse flooding/ Visitors should call the club house at (209) 274-4739 for current updates. The trout remain shallow and around 10 feet from shore with smaller Kastmasters, trout dough bait, or Mice Tails. Stillfishing by boat in the back of the lake near Mountain Springs is good, but the troll bite should slow down until the lake’s waters clear. The annual Tagged Trout Derby continues until March 19, 2017.
The rainbow trout bite has taken off with the trout holding in the top 15 feet. Fast-trolling heavy spoons on leadcore line in the dead end coves or along the shorelines is the best technique for rainbows according to guide Monte Smith of Gold Country Outfitters. A few king salmon can be found up the Tuolumne River arm, but trollers have to be cautious of the submerged trees grabbing their gear. The occasional largemouth bass over 8 pounds taken on Huddleston swimbaits in rainbow trout, but most consistent technique is to work at depths from 10 to 30 feet Pro Worms in 124p or 300 along with the Berserk Purple Hornet or Brown/Purple jig. All launch ramps are open.
The bass have slowed with the rapid ascension of the lake to 48-percent of capacity. Despite the heavy inflow, the water remains relatively clear due to the new areas of inundation full of grass and brush. A slow presentation with the occasional hop will bring out the bite, and 6-inch Pro Worms in 124p or 300 on a shakey head as well as Berserk Jigs in Brown/Purple, Brown Craw, or Purple Hornet have been effective. The launch ramps at McClure Point and Barrett Cove South are open. The Horseshoe Bend launch ramp and Barrett Cove North ramps are closed at the present time.
Not much change with trout plants still a possibility in the future. The last trout plant was Oct. 14, and fishing is limited to a few planters with garlic trout dough bait, Power Eggs or nightcrawlers. The marina will not be installing bait tanks for live minnows, but live crawdads are still a possibility in the future.
The rainbows are up top and the bass have dropped down. Toplining on a long setback or using leadcore to reach depths to 15 feet with various spoons or minnow plugs are working. Bank fishing has perked up with the turnover of the lake, and trout dough bait in various colors along with nightcrawlers are producing rainbows from the shoreline near the Highway 49 Bridge or in Glory Hole Point. Bass fishing is best around the shad schools at depths to 30 feet with spoons, Senkos, or plastics on a shakey head. The best time for trophy largemouth and spotted bass is coming within the upcoming months. Glory Hole Sports is holding their Big Bass Bash on January 28 with 100% payback with a two fish limit of one spotted bass and one largemouth bass with a team fee of $165.00. The lake is at 883.15 feet in elevation and 26 percent.
The lake closed for the season on November 6 and will open on February 16, 2017 for camping and February 17, 2017, for fishing.
SIERRA LAKES AND RIVERS
Ice has broken up and this lake is unsafe for the near term.
Stay clear until the ice can be checked again.
The lake is up to 60-percent of capacity and 86-percent of average. Rain started Saturday after heavy snow during the week. “The rain is just making a mess of everything,” said Jeanne Graham from J&J Grizzly Store. “We have lost quite a bit of snow. They are predicting snow again during the week. Hopefully by the weekend we can check the ice and see what is going on.”
Heavy snow and then heavy rain kept anglers away, but this is the best option in the Truckee Basin for the near future.
No anglers here last week. Road isn’t plowed all the way to the lake, although the weekend rain most likely took care of that. Ice will not be safe.
GOLD LAKE BASIN
Road is closed for winter.
JENKINSON LAKE (Sly Park)
Recreation Area closed ahead of the storm and will re-open when deemed safe by the El Dorado Irrigation District. Lake is full, spilling and very dirty.
Charter boats didn’t get out last week but there’s no reason to believe the fishing won’t be good once the weather allows access.
Shore anglers are catching big trout with jigs, spoons and flies. Popcorn has been a hot spot, as well as the jetty near the old dock below Crosby’s Lodge.
Warm rains melt snow and ice. Wait for another cold spell before going here.
It’s a mess here. Stay away for now.
Fishing is good for those who can brave the weather. Wind keeps boats off the water much of the time but it’s good when the weather allows. Shore anglers also are scoring trout in this well-stocked lake.
A raging, flooding torrent. This will take some time to come back.
WEST WALKER RIVER
River hit flood stage on Sunday.
With high flows in the Yuba River and Bear River, most of the Feather was brown and muddy over the weekend. As flows drop, expect some sturgeon to be holding near the mouth of the Bear River. Pile worms, eel and ghost shrimp are all good bets. Hatchery steelhead smolts are expected to be released at Boyd’s Pump the first week of February, which should fuel good striper fishing. Swmbaits tend to work better in high water conditions.
The lake dropped 5 feet last week, from 403 feet to 408 feet. Huge inflows, however, and dam releases of 60,000 cfs, have stalled fishing. There were some bass being caught on minnows before the latest storms. The water temperature over the weekend was 49 degrees. The 5 mph speed limit is lifted as long as the lake is above 400 feet. Currently the Granite Bay Stage 2, Folsom Point and Brown’s Ravine’s Hobie Cove ramps are open. Trout and landlocked salmon fishing is slow.
RANCHO SECO LAKE
The lake has been stocked with hatchery rainbows. Trout fishing is fair, with Power Bait working best.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Dunsmuir
Flows jumped from 1,000 cfs to 12,700 cfs on Sunday at the Delta gauge. The water is high and muddy and too dangerous to fish. Trout fishing has been slow.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Red Bluff to Colusa
The river was high from Red Bluff downstream over the weekend and unfishable. It likely will be high and muddy fort several days. The high water may pull sturgeon upstream.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Redding to Red Bluff
The latest storm caused flows from Keswick Dam to jump from 6,500 cfs last week to 15,200 cfs on Sunday, completely blowing out the Sacramento River from Redding downstream. Trout fishing had been good before the high water, and likely will pick up again as soon as flows drop back below 10,000 cfs. Small plugs, roe, egg patterns and crickets are all good bets.
Lake has dropped to 78-percent of capacity. Snow fell Tuesday but was gone by the end of the day, so the icy launch ramp problem has passed. Lake is clear except for the spots where creeks enter, but silt settles by the time it gets to the main body.
CAMP FAR WEST
No report available.
Lake is full and spilling. Water is quite muddy. A handful of anglers ventured out during the week and were able to scratch a few trout from shore.
Lake is full and spilling again. No reports of angling success.
FRENCH MEADOWS RESERVOIR
Access closed until spring.
HELL HOLE RESERVOIR
Access closed until spring.
Bass are deep and hard to entice, but it’s not an impossible task. Tubes offered very slowly is an effective way to go. Dramatic changes are underway. Lake has risen to 55% of capacity and is expected to come up another 50 feet over the coming weeks. Worth checking incoming water for bass, but fish also can be found suspended off walls.
Lake looks like chocolate milk. Full and spilling.
SCOTT’S FLAT LAKE
Lake hit capacity last week and began spilling. Enough snow fell last week that the parking lot had to be plowed. No angling pressure here, but the water clarity is good enough to give it a go.
Hunters shooting at ducks make this not the best place for anglers.
Party boats were quiet, with a lot of routine maintenance or crew vacations, though Right Hook got into the sturgeon. Berkeley Charter Boats is offering crab & ‘dab combos, crab only and sturgeon trips. Happy Hooker is scheduling sturgeon trips into San Pablo Bay. Skiff and shore anglers had some fun with striped bass, sturgeon and perch both locally and in San Pablo Bay.
Bodega Bay provided steady crabbing with healthy crabs in good numbers coming up in pots for party boats like New Sea Angler and private boats alike. Shore fishing was very good for perch… both red tail and barred surf perch as well as rainbow perch. Rocky shore spots below Salmon Creek produced rockfish and cabezon.
The fabled Emeryville fleet took a breather to tend to the boats and to private lives after a busy season. Shore fishing was quite good with people baiting perch and casting lures for striped bass throughout the area.
The weather was cold, but the seas were flat and the crabbing was hot south of the entrance to Humboldt Bay where limits seemed easy to come by. Inside Humboldt Bay, crabs were much tougher to come by, but there was considerable effort. The jetties were good for kelp greenling, black snappers, cabezon and rainbow perch.
Crabbing was easy and the crabs were delightfully full of meat for Telstar passengers. The best numbers came from roughly 120 feet of water. Noyo Jetty didn’t get a lot of attention, but there were crabs caught with snares and various fish (kelp greenling, rockfish, cabezon, perch) caught with hook & line.
HALF MOON BAY
Boats stayed tied to the dock for the week while the weather ran rampant. Shore anglers did get out during the comfortable part of the day. Hoops and snares were used for crabs from the pier and snares were used from the jetty where some perch and rockfish were also caught by folks soaking baits. Pacifica Pier went through some closed times, but when open it was decent for crabbing.
Bass Tub got out for some successful sturgeon fishing. Roving herring spawns had boat-based and shore-based anglers out watching for signs and lucking out with stripers and sturgeon throughout South Bay. Surf fishing was good for both barred surf perch and red tail perch.
- Western Outdoor News