Here are the best places to fish in the Sacramento region, Northern California and beyond for the week of March 27.
DELTA REGION: San Joaquin River
The striped bass and largemouth bass bite has broken out on the San Joaquin-Delta from Antioch to the Mokelumne River. The stripers are holding on the flats and shoals, and all techniques are working including trolling, swimbaits, ripbaits or either cut or live bait. There are newly modified restrictions to limit several areas to 5 mph during the four-hour window before and after the posted high tide. Information on the closures can be located at www.sjgov.org/oes. Largemouth bass fishing is excellent, and the best is yet to come. Spinnerbaits, chatterbaits and crankbaits are working along with live minnows, as the fish are aggressive and feeding in the 60- to 63-degree water. Crappie are making an appearance around structure in the sloughs.
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Bass fishing has been excellent with some experienced fishermen sporting 50- to 60-fish days using a variety of techniques. The bass are in all stages of spawning with the larger cut of fish holding on secondary points at depths from 25 to 45 feet. Senkos or plastics on the drop-shot produce numbers while jigs or reaction baits are scoring bigger fish. Trout have been slow with minimal interest, but the bite should break out with the abundant shad schools in the lake. The lake continues to release water in order to prepare for the upcoming snowmelt, and it is currently at 88 percent. Bond Flat Road remains closed indefinitely.
Flows are expected to drop this week as the spillway at Oroville Dam is closed. That should create good conditions on the lower Feather River for stripers. All the boat launches have been cleared. Pile worms, sardines and anchovies are expected to work best. Minnows and artificials will work as the water continues to clear. Some sturgeon are still biting near the mouth of the Bear River.
RANCHO SECO LAKE
The Rancho Seco trout derby will be held Saturday and Sunday, April 1-2. Derby tickets are $5. Top prizes include a new boat and a kayak. Trout fishing was good over the weekend near the dam. The lake was stocked with 500 pounds of rainbows last week and will get 2,000 pounds this weekend.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Sacramento
Striper fishing improved at Bright Beach across from Discovery Park, at Miller Park and the Airport Hole. Most of the keepers are 18 to 20 inches. Pile worms, sardines, anchovies and bloodworms are working best. Some stripers also are being caught in the deepwater channel. A few sturgeon are being caught.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Verona to Colusa
Sturgeon fishing is best near Verona and the holes near Knight’s Landing. Catfish are being caught by bank anglers at First and Second Beach at Knight’s Landing. The Verona and Steelhead Lodge boat launches are open. Striper fishing has been slow on the Sacramento near Verona but could pick up as soon as flows from the Feather are reduced.
NORTH COAST RIVERS
CHETCO RIVER, Brookings, Ore.
Flows Sunday were 8,000 cfs. The Chetco was blown out all last week and is expected to remain too high to fish this week. It closes for the season on Friday. Overall, the steelhead was good this winter on the Chetco when it was fishable.
ELKS RIVER, Port Orford, Ore.
Steelhead fishing closes for the season on Friday. The river was high and unfishable most of last week.
ROGUE RIVER, Gold Beach, Ore.
High water has stalled the beginning of the spring salmon run. The Rogue was just under 20,000 cfs at the Agness gauge on Sunday, way too high for boat fishing. It could be in shape by the end of the week. Good tides next week are expected to give springer fishing a boost.
ROGUE RIVER, Shady Cove to Grants Pass, Ore.
Steelhead fishing is slowing down, but a couple of spring salmon were caught this week. Steelhead should be around for another month, and salmon should improve soon. The river is dropping somewhat but it is still a little too high for good fishing. Selmac Lake is producing good trout action following plants. Lost Creek Lake is also pretty good for planted trout on trolled Wicked lures or Wedding Rings.
It was coming into shape last week and then blew out again and muddied the river up, according to Scott Heemstra of Kings Sport & Tackle in Guerneville. Flows hear Guerneville were 5,800 cfs on Sunday but should be dropping. Warm Springs Hatchery had 4,600 steelhead for the season, and Coyote had 1,400. New fish continue to show, along with downrunners. Fishing could begin in a week, and beginning April 1, no more bait is allowed, so artificials only until Nov. 1.
SIXES RIVER, Port Orford, Ore.
The Sixes has been blown out for two weeks and is expected to remain blown out through Friday, the last day of the season.
KLAMATH RIVER, Hornbrook
The entire Klamath River is blown out. Flows Sunday at Iron Gate remained 9,200 cfs. The next good fishing opportunity will be the salmon fly hatch in May or June.
KLAMATH RIVER, Happy Camp
Flows at Seiad Valley were 16,300 cfs on Sunday. The river is blown out for steelhead.
KLAMATH RIVER, Klamath Glen
The lower Klamath is high and muddy, with flows of 75,400 cfs Sunday.
Steelhead fishing has slowed, but a few boats are still concentrating on the stretch near Lewiston. Much of the river is blown out. Flows Sunday at Lewiston Dam were 331 cfs. Flows at Douglas City were 1,330 cfs, while flows at Junction City were 2,260 cfs. At Cedar Flat flows were 5,720 cfs, while Hoopa had flows of 14,600 cfs.
NORTH COAST LAKES
Lots of 1- and 2-pound bass are being caught, but the lake remains murky and still at high water mark.
BLACK BUTTE LAKE
There was a club bass tournament here over the weekend, but fishing was tough with only a few small bass caught. The lake is still muddy and about at the half-full level.
Trout fishing has been good with rainbows to 3 pounds being taken by most anglers, said Art Cerini at The Narrows Resort. Water level is finally back to normal.
Bass fishing is up and down, but a couple of lunkers were reported this week, topped by a 13.81-pound largemouth. Fair numbers of bluegill and crappie are being caught in brushy areas. The water level remains high.
Bass fishing is improving on jigs and swimbaits, but the water is still a little murky.
Fishing remains slow with muddy waters.
Bass fishing remains slow with the lake still murky. Some small bass are being caught on jigs and Senkos.
FAR NORTH LAKE AND RIVERS
Browns to the 5-pound class are being caught on trolled Rapala lures. Bank fishermen continue to pick up a few fish floating night crawlers and Power Bait in the coves around Canyon dam.
Trout fishing remains good for fly anglers using midges in size No. 10 or No.12 leeches and Baetis flies.
Trout fishing is slow with rainy weather, but some fly action reported on woolly buggers when rain stops.
Still reported to be very slow due to the high water level.
Bass fishing is fair in the McCloud Arm on most bass lures. A few trout are being caught by trollers dragging lures and catching trout from 4 to 15 feet deep. Lake is still rising slowly.
Trout fishing remains fair in coves where water is flowing in, but bass fishing has been slow with few bass anglers being on the water. Trout are hitting night crawlers and Kastmaster lures. The lake is down about 20 feet now but slowly rising.
Bank anglers working the Brandy Creek area are picking up some bass to about 4 pounds on shaky heads and orange-colored crankbaits.
1,200 pounds of Mount Lassen Hatchery rainbows were released this week, but trollers are finding tougher action with the stained water from recent inflow. Bank fishing has been solid for both rainbow and lightning trout with trout dough bait in chartreuse or rainbow with garlic scent. The bass are moving into the shallows in various stages of spawning. The lake is near capacity.
1,200 pounds of rainbow trout from Mount Lassen Hatchery were split between the South Shore launch ramp and the South Shore Pond this week. Most trollers continue to target the triangle between the dam, Big Hat Island and Little Hat Island with Speedy Shiners near the surface or Rapalas on a planer board. Crappie continue to jump on lines at depths from 5 to 15 feet, and grubs are the top lure for the slabs. Bass fishing is solid in the shallows with Senkos, plastics on the drop-shot, crankbaits or spinnerbaits. The lake has dropped to 76 percent, and gasoline is now available at the North Shore Marina.
The lake continues to release water in order to accommodate snowmelt, and it dropped to 19 feet below capacity after spilling over a few weeks back. Bonds Flat Road remains closed in the event the spillway is needed once again. Bass action has been outstanding with the River2Sea S-waver, weightless Senkos, the Berserk Purple Hornet jig or A-rigs in the shallows. Chatterbaits are also effective with the fish oriented toward the shoreline. Trout fishing is decent with Speedy Shiners or similar heavy spoons on fast troll. Covering water is the key to locating the rainbows. There is also a solid crappie bite along the shoreline structure with small minnows or mini jigs.
Bass fishing is excellent with reaction baits such as River2Sea S-wavers in the shallows or jigs in deeper water while Senkos or plastics on the drop-shot are producing numbers. The larger females are holding off of secondary points, but the fish are in all stages of spawning. The lake is at 71 percent, and water releases are directed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as the lake has exceeded 67 percent of capacity and continues to release water down the Merced River. The launch ramps at Barrett Cove South and McClure Point are open.
Large volumes of water are being bypassed through the spillway of McSwain Dam from upstream Lake McClure, and as a result, trout plants are on hold. The last plant was in October. The Merced Irrigation District is currently examining several other opportunities – including a possible trout derby at Lake McClure – and other tournaments and promotions possibly later this spring and during the summer.
The lake has risen to 74 percent, and all launch ramps in the lake are now open. The water temperatures have chilled with snowmelt arriving in the lake, and the bass have moved off of the banks into deeper water. Crankbaits were working when the bass were hugging the banks, but with the fish in deeper water, Senkos and Rat-L-Traps are most effective. The catfish bite with a ball of scented night crawlers has taken off from the banks near the Highway 49 Bridge with three fish over 8 pounds landed this week. Crappie are showing up with small to medium minnows or mini-jigs in the backs of coves near structure. The trout bite has been much slower this week, and trollers are struggling for a few fish per rod.
The lake has risen to 65 percent, and currently stained. Monte Smith of Gold County Sport Fishing is planning trolling trips for striped bass at the lake, and he expects a banner year for the linesides with the high water, opening up new areas of food sources and spawning activity up the river arm. Hogan is one of the only lakes with a self-sustaining population of striped bass.
SIERRA LAKES AND RIVERS
Stay away until ice out.
Ice is thick and safe.
River is high and dirty.
Lake is full and spilling. Ice is unsafe, but there is no open water, said Jeanne Graham from J&J Grizzly Store.
Launch area was plowed but ramp is blocked until conditions are safer.
Lake is full and spilling. Ice is unsafe. There is some open water where the island used to be. A good cast can reach it.
GOLD LAKE BASIN
Road is closed. See you in spring.
INDIAN CREEK RESERVOIR
Wind kept anglers away last week.
JENKINSON LAKE, Sly Park
A fair trout bite going on here. Biggest last week was a 3.6 caught by David Cole trolling a dodger/night crawler. Rainbows and small macks also are being landed. Bass are starting to be caught near the back of the lake.
Mack bite is solid on the north and south ends of the lake. Toplining for browns and rainbows is best during warmer temps. This week’s weather may ignite that bite.
Lake is rising with influx of water from the Truckee River. Water temperatures are on the cool side and with the ongoing spawn, the bite has slowed. Nevertheless, a 21-pound cut was landed Sunday.
Deep snow has closed access.
Trout bite remains steady with nearly 100 trout weighing 2 pounds or better checked in for the ongoing trout derby. Two trout larger than 4 pounds were landed.
WEST WALKER RIVER
A bit high, a bit cloudy and running a bit fast. One angler last week reported catching-and-releasing a couple of pan-sized rainbows. Few fishing here.
Sturgeon remain thick in the Suisun Bay area, and the Addathon IronMan Sturgeon Derby out of Pittsburg resulted in a total of 168 sturgeon caught in the derby spanning all size intervals comprised of 41 shakers, 72 slot fish and 44 oversized from 25 team participants fishing for nearly 40 hours. The cuts have been the top location, but deep water from the Benicia/Martinez Bridge to Buoy 9 is also productive. In the north Delta, striped bass are starting to show up despite high and muddy water, and scented baits are working best near the shorelines. Once the water clears, the troll bite will be on in the normal locations from Collinsville up to above the Rio Vista Bridge. The Clarksburg launch ramp has been reopened.
Flows remained at 4,990 cfs all last week and over the weekend. A few steelhead are being caught, but overall action is slow.
The Brown’s Ravine and Granite Bay launches are open. The lake level is 428 feet, up from 412 feet a week ago, with a water temperature of 57 degrees. Bass are now being caught regularly on live minnows and drop-shot rigs. Trout and salmon fishing remains slow.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Dunsmuir
Flows at the Delta gauge were 5,190 cfs on Sunday. Trout fishing remains poor.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Red Bluff to Colusa
Striper fishing has been slow near Colusa. Sturgeon are being caught between Butte City and Colusa on cut baits, pile worms and bloodworms.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Redding to Red Bluff
Keswick Dam flows jumped from 8,000 cfs last week to 10,500 cfs over the weekend. The section between Keswick Dam and Highway 44 bridge closes at the end of March. The water remains dirty but fishable near Redding.
Lake is 84 percent of full and water is being released. Bass are gathering on points. Water temperatures are in the low 50s but will warm given the forecast of dry, warming days.
CAMP FAR WEST
Water muddied again after last week’s rain. Water temperatures are in the mid-50s. Rock Creek arm has been producing a few bass to 2 pounds. Green pumpkin Senkos in 5 to 10 feet of water worked best.
Lake will be planted with 1,800 pounds of trout every week until the end of April. In addition, trout pens will be released through the spring. Two pens estimated to hold 750 pounds of trout were opened last week. Clarity dropped to 18 inches and water temperature fell back to the low 50s.
Lake is 104 percent of capacity and heavy releases of water from Bullards Bar have made Englebright murky.
FRENCH MEADOWS RESERVOIR
Snowed in until spring.
HELL HOLE RESERVOIR
Snowed in with no access.
Visibility is poor with lots of muddy water entering the Afterbay. Punch the tules with jigs for a chance at bass. Look for fish in 3 to 5 feet of water.
Lake has dropped to 76 percent of capacity and water temperature has dropped, too. Warm weather should bring more bass up. There are females spawning on points. Lots of debris on the shore, and visibility is better in some arms.
Last week’s rain muddied the lake again. Bear River is bringing in dirty water and any clearing that was taking place in the inlet was negated. “It will take another month or two to clear,” said Nevada Irrigation District Supervisor Ryan Drake. Orchard Springs Launch has lots of debris so use Greenhorn or Long Ravine.
Stripers and sturgeon are being caught in San Pablo Bay on mud shrimp and ghost shrimp. Anglers are catching five shakers for each keeper striper. Some keeper sturgeon were reported last week by the Happy Hooker. The Berkeley Pier remains closed.
Rough weather allowed only one trip for sanddabs and crab last week. The New Sea Angler caught 116 crab and more than 230 sanddabs for 12 anglers. A big swell limited shore catches last week. Salmon season opens April 1. Baitfish and krill have already been spotted off of Bodega. Rockfish and lingcod opens April 15.
Crabbing has slowed. The herring spawn run is over. Surfperch are being caught at South Beach and Kellogg Beach on Gulp Sandworms. Rough weather has kept anglers off the rocks to fish for lingcod. The boat lingcod and rockfish season opens May 1.
Fishing for surfperch remains the best bet, although some stripers are being caught on cut anchovies or sardines, mud shrimp and pile worms. Salmon charters have open seats for the April 1 ocean opener.
Fishing for surfperch has been hot at King Salmon Beach and Gold Bluff Beach near Orick. Crabbing has been slow. None of the charters went out last week because of rough weather. There will be no ocean salmon season out of Eureka this year. Rockfish and lingcod opens May 1.
A big swell returned, limiting success for shore anglers. Anglers are excited about the April 1 salmon opener.
HALF MOON BAY
Fishing for rockfish and lingcod south of Half Moon Bay is expected to be good for the April 1 opener. Signs of salmon, including birds and rip lines, have the charter fleet excited about the salmon opener this weekend.
Halibut fishing is slowly improving as more baitfish move into the South Bay. Charters got two to four fish a boat over the weekend, with halibut up to 20 pounds. Stripers are being caught near Coyote Point and Oyster Point. The salmon fleet is ready for the April 1 opener, with numerous open seats still available. Salmon season will run at least through April. Final season dates will be set in early April by the PFMC.