Lakes, rivers and a meadow during drought years compared to January 2017
Here are the best places to fish in the Sacramento region, Northern California and beyond for the week of Jan. 23, 2016.
A double load of rainbows from the Mt. Lassen Hatchery was released into the lake last week with 1200 pounds put in at the launch ramp cove and 1200 pounds dumped in near Campsite 39 in the Carson Arm. The surface temperature is 50 degrees, but the water clarity is limited. Floating logs and debris are present in the main lake. The high water this year may allow for the reopening of the Amador Trout Hatchery on a limited scale. The annual Tagged Trout Derby continues until March 19, 2017.
DELTA REGION: Sacramento River
The main Sacramento River remains blown out with heavy debris, flotsam, and vegetation moving rapidly downstream with the inflow from the upper river. The incoming tide is basically non-existent with the inflow. Sturgeon fishing is the only game in town, and the few anglers out are working the sloughs such as Suisun or Montezuma to stay out of the main river. 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. Extreme caution is necessary while boating, particularly during low light conditions.
DELTA REGION: San Joaquin River
Clear water remains absent on the San Joaquin, but there are signs of improvement with good weather conditions this week. Bass fishing has dropped to unthinkable depths with one 13-inch fish winning a small club derby on Saturday. There is an incoming tide on the San Joaquin, due to huge water exports out of the south Delta pumps to fill San Luis Reservoir. Live bait has been scarce due to weather throughout the west coast.
The Tuttletown launch ramp is open for the first time since June, 2014, but a four-wheel drive is recommended. The Glory Hole ramp is on the concrete with all four lanes open. The trout have scattered as the lake has risen, and the fish have moved out from the shorelines. Bank fishing should improve with clearer water this week. Bank fishermen need to use a long leader to get above the vegetation. The occasional huge largemouth or spotted bass are found on rainbow-trout patterned swimbaits, but the best time is coming up. Bass fishing is best in deep water with plastics on the Carolina or Texas-rig to avoid the grass. Glory Hole Sports is holding their Big Bass Bash on January 28th with 100% payback with a two fish limit of one spotted bass and one largemouth bass with a team fee of $165.00.
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.
NORTH COAST RIVERS
CHETCO RIVER, Brookings, Oregon
The Chetco blew out again this past week, but was fishing well for steelhead before that. Drier weather is in the forecast, and that should mean good fishing this coming weekend, according to guide Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing. Flows went from 1800 cfs early last week to 20,000 cfs over night.
ELKS RIVER, Port Orford, Oregon
The Elk remained too high to fish over the weekend, with a level of 5.9 feet both Saturday and Sunday, but should be down to a fishable level of 5 feet by Tuesday, and in prime shape through the week. It has been blown out since last Tuesday.
ROGUE RIVER, Gold Beach, Oregon
After hitting 70,000 cfs last Thursday, the Rogue River was down to 30,000 cfs on Sunday at the Agness gauge. The river has been blown out for a week, but could be fishable for plunkers by the end of this week. Steelhead fishing has been good on the Rogue when it has been in shape this season.
ROGUE RIVER, Shady Cove to Grants Pass, Oregon
Things have not improved on the Rogue, as the rain has continued to pound the river even down to the coast. High, muddy water continues to flow and the river will probably not be fishable until next weekend, if even then, said guide Troy Whitaker at U-Save Tackle in Grants Pass.
SIXES RIVER, Port Orford, Oregon
The river has been high and muddy since last Wednesday. It was well over its banks on Sunday at the Grange and is not expected to fish for several days.
It was still raining on the Smith on Sunday, said WON Field Reporter Phil Desautel of Phil’s Smiling Salmon Guide Service, but fishing was pretty good early in the week for steelhead. On Sunday, Ron Kleinsasser of Pleasanton went 2 for 2 with a nice 13-pound buck while fishing with him. He has also been fishing the Chetco with good success.
KLAMATH RIVER, Hornbrook
Flows at Iron Gate Dam hit 3,000 cfs again last week, but were down to 1,920 cfs over the weekend. Steelhead fishing was poor last week with the high water. Flows are expected to be fishable this week. Anglers will be running small Mag Lip plugs or nightcrawlers behind divers.
KLAMATH RIVER, Happy Camp
Flows at Seiad Valley hit 11,000 cfs the middle of last week, but were down to 8,210 cfs on Sunday. The river has been too high for steelhead for two weeks. The river may be fishable near Happy Camp by the weekend.
KLAMATH RIVER, Klamath Glen
The river remains blown out, with flows of 76,600 cfs on Sunday. Flows reached 100,000 cfs the middle of last week.
Flows Sunday at Lewiston were 322 cfs, while flows at Douglas City were around 2,100 cfs and flows at Junction City were over 3,000 cfs. The entire river was blown out until over the weekend, except for a small stretch just below Lewiston Dam. Better conditions are expected this week, and should make the river fishable near Douglas City and Junction City by Wednesday. Small plugs, such as Mag Lip 3.5 and 3.0s as well as roe fished below bobbers has been working best this season, although some bank anglers have been using small spinners.
NORTH COAST LAKES
Few anglers were out in the past few days due to rainy weather and many closed roads in the area. The best news is that the lake level continues to rise and as of last weekend was at 423 feet, with full being at 440 feet.
BLACK BUTTE LAKE
Fishing conditions remain poor due to weather, and few anglers have been out.
Art Cerini at The Narrows Resort said the lake is overflowing and muddy, with no fishing action at all. Many roads in the area are also in bad condition.
The lake is overflowing and fishing conditions are poor with few anglers out all week. Some crappie to 3 pounds can be found around the middle of the lake on double crappie jig rigs and spoons in 12 to 30 feet of water. The lake is very muddy in most area.
Water is very muddy and no fishermen have been on the water.
Few fishermen have been on the water. The lake is muddy and rising.
Fishing is very tough due to high water and rainy conditions. Only a few small bass were caught in a weekend tournament. Lots of debris is floating in the lake.
FAR NORTH LAKE AND RIVERS
Lake has lots of snow and ice, with launch ramps unusable. Few fishermen are out due to weather and poor road conditions.
Roads are icy and chains required, but the few anglers who fly fished here reported fair trout action on leeches and little midges.
Marina closed for the season.
Closed until spring.
FALL RIVER, HAT CREEK
Season closed until spring.
Fishing remains poor with only a few anglers out due to cold weather and rain.
Heavy snow, few anglers.
Heavy snow, few anglers.
Weather kept anglers from the area, with no reports.
Bass fishing remains fair to good on spotted and largemouth bass, with action in main body on jigs down to 35 feet. Trout fishing is spotty for anglers trolling spinners.
Heavy snow, few anglers.
Few anglers out. Road access is very tough into Weaverville, especially from the coast access roads, many are closed. Launch ramps are icy.
A few bass anglers are using plastic worms to take fish from the grass-matted areas.
Bass fishing continues to be outstanding with plastics on the drop-shot, jigs, or Brush Hogs at depths from 25 to 45 feet in the main lake. Trout trolling has slowed with the stained water, but with a week of clear weather ahead, the trollers should be back in action with bright color patterns near the surface. There is floating wood and debris in the main lake, and water releases have kept the lake at 90 percent.
1200 pounds of Mt. Lassen Hatchery rainbows were split between the North Shore launch ramp and the South Shore launch ramp. Trout trollers are finding decent action in the clearest water in the lake near the dam with trout found from the surface to 10 feet in depth and crappie still hanging around from 12 to 20 feet. The upper end of the lake from the Narrows into the river arm is heavily stained. Bass fishing remains good with plastics on the drop-shot or jigs near the dam. The café is open at North Shore, and there is also gasoline available on the water at the docks. The lake has dropped to 76 percent with water releases, although Lake Pardee is spilling over.
The lake is clouding up from the quick rise, but bass action remains very good with jigs or plastics on the drop-shot at depths from 25 to 45 feet. Berserk Jigs in Brown/Purple, Green Craw, or Purple Hornet along with Pro Worms in 124p, 261 LT, or 300 have been the most effective. The lake rose to 71 percent, and floating wood and debris is a hazard for boaters on the lake.
The lake is reopening on February 16, 2017 for camping and February 17, 2017 for fishing with a total plant of 6000 pounds of rainbows with an average greater than 1.5 pounds released on the opening days. Trout plants of 3000 pounds per week are anticipated for the first 7 weeks of the season with additional fish from other sources possible.
SIERRA LAKES AND RIVERS
Lake ice is too unstable for access.
Another foot of snow fell on the 14 inches that was already sitting on the ice. No one has been able to get out and check for safety of the ice. Ice fishing tournament slated for Feb. 4 is still a go.
Boat ramp is snow bound and shore access is very limited due to heavy snow.
Road to the dam is open and ice fishing is underway but no reports of success.
GOLD LAKE BASIN
Road is closed for winter.
JENKINSON LAKE (Sly Park)
Water is on the muddy side due to creek runoff, but boaters have been trolling for Macks and rainbows. Nothing of size has been checked in and fishing is on the slow side. There is shoreline access but you must walk through snow. There is better access on the east side of the lake. Bite is best when snow is on the ground and the sun is out.
Charter boats went out Thursday and Friday for the first time in two weeks and had limits of 3- to 5-pound Mackinaw.
Lake is closed until further notice due to damage from Jan. 8 flooding.
Road is closed due to heavy snow.
Trout bite remains very good. Trollers pick trout out of the top 10 feet of water. Shore anglers use Power Bait to get fish, especially on the south end of the lake. Two trout weighing more than 4 pounds were caught last week – both by trolling.
Only game in town in the Truckee Basin. Nymphing for rainbows or casting streamers for browns may get action at Hirschdale, Glenshire or downstream at Floriston.
WEST WALKER RIVER
Snow and rain hit late week and through the weekend and pushed this back out of shape.
Flows on the American were down to 19,400 cfs on Sunday, down from 60,000 cfs a week and a half ago, but still too high for steelhead fishing. Effort for steelhead has been light because of the high water. Steelhead fishing has been slow since the Jan. 1 opener between Hazel Avenue and Nimbus Fish Hatchery because of numerous storms.
The lower river was blown out over the weekend, but could be fishable for stripers by the middle of the week. Anglers are awaiting the early February hatchery steelhead smolt release at Boyd’s Pump to spark the first good striper fishing of the year. Swimbaits tend to work better in high water conditions.
The lake was down to 400.7 feet on Sunday. Inflows were 17,000 cfs, while outflows were around 24,000 cfs. The lake dropped nearly 20 feet last week and is now closer to its normal winter pool. The rapid change in lake levels has left bass, trout and landlocked salmon fishing slow. 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 and Brown’s Ravine’s Hobie Cove ramps are open.
RANCHO SECO LAKE
The lake was stocked with 500 pounds of hatchery rainbows two weeks ago and is scheduled to be planted again before the end of the month. Trout fishing is fair, with Power Bait working best.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Dunsmuir
Flows at the Delta gauge were 8,110 cfs on Sunday. Trout fishing has been poor with the high, muddy water.
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. Some anglers are fishing for sturgeon near Colusa, but heavy flows and lots of debris have made fishing poor.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Redding to Red Bluff
Flows from Keswick Dam were 30,700 cfs on Sunday, effectively leaving the entire Sacramento River below Redding too high and muddy to fish. Trout fishing should pick up again once flows drop to 10,000 cfs at Keswick.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Verona to Colusa
Swift, muddy water and lot of debris have left the Sacramento fishing poor for sturgeon. Anglers were unable to hold with 16 ounces over the weekend. Anglers have been soaking eel and ghost shrimp, but lots of debris in the water has made it difficult to keep baits clean.
Water is cold at 47 degrees and some incoming water is 44 degrees. Fish can be found off points and darthead worms, darthead Senkos, wacky-rigged Senkos and deep-diving crankbaits can get bass.
CAMP FAR WEST
A strong current is running through the lake. Water is muddy and fishing has been poor.
Fishing is poor due to muddy water. Catfish prospects are best, but no reports of success.
Lake is open after water subsided from the parking lots, but no anglers came out last week.
FRENCH MEADOWS RESERVOIR
Snowed in. That’s it until spring.
HELL HOLE RESERVOIR
Snowed in with no access.
It’s possible to catch bass, but you’ll have to fish slowly and pay rapt attention. Any wind makes the challenge even more difficult.
Full, dirty with no good angling prospects.
SCOTT’S FLAT LAKE
Nevada Irrigation District Supervisor Jim Caldwell said it has been two weeks since there have been anglers on the water. Snow, rain and wind keep people away, but dirty water also is a problem.
Duck hunters have taken over.
Bay fishing for private boats out of Berkeley was varied, with plenty of bass and sturgeon available in Carquinez Straits, Suisun Bay and beyond, or close along the shorelines of San Pablo Bay. Stripers were caught right along the local shoreline and so were various perch.
No boats went out other than a few hardy commercial boats nosing out to see if they could haul and rebait their crab pots. Many shorelines were too dangerous to fish due to very large surf, but there were fish caught along partially protected beaches like Doran Beach where barred surf perch were running big.
The boat fleet was quiet, waiting out the winter storms, but shore fishers from Emeryville to Alameda Rock Wall had good times with barred surf perch and striped bass.
The Coast Guard closed the entrance to the Bay on Saturday, showing how dangerous the seas had become. With no boats out and the jetties being swept with waves, people were relegated to fishing inside Humboldt Bay at some of the protected spots. Crabbing inside the Bay was poor for Dungeness but good for red rock crab. Folks are eagerly awaiting the herring spawn at Crescent City, expected at any time now.
The entrance to Noyo Harbor was closed due to heavy seas and huge surf. Boats stayed at their docks through the week. There were periods when the Noyo Jetty could be fished or poke-polled and times when Dog Park could be fished for perch. Favored coastal spots outside the Harbor were pretty much out of the question due to high surf.
HALF MOON BAY
A few commercial crabbers went out to haul and rebait their crab pots but they were the only boats out. The public pier inside Pillar Point Harbor was popular because it was one of the only places safe to fish or crab while raucous seas raged outside. There were two large striped bass taken near Pacifica.
Argo got out and caught sturgeon and stripers. Surprisingly-large striped bass cruised the beaches outside, from Mussell Rock to the Golden Gate and along the shores of San Francisco. People watched the shoreline carefully, hoping for another herring spawn. Perch bit along the South San Francisco shoreline inside the Bay.
- Western Outdoor News