Here are the best places to fish in the Sacramento region, Northern California and beyond for the week of April 10.
The long-awaited live bait season has begun and halibut are coming up in good numbers from the Central Bay (especially Berkeley Flats) and South Bay (especially Alameda Rock Wall and Oyster Point). Happy Hooker and California Dawn were in the thick of it. Even with the rough weather outside the Gate, Berkeley Charter Boats and Emeryville Sportfishing sent boats out and enjoyed seeing some salmon hit the deck.
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Striper fishing was very good for both bank anglers and boaters over the weekend, but another water release from Oroville Dam the middle of this week is expected to blow the river out. Pile worms, sardines and bloodworms have worked best, although some fish also are being caught on minnows. Boaters have been fishing out of the Boyd’s Pump and Yuba City boat launches. Bank anglers are focusing on Shanghai Bend, Beercan Beach and Mosquito Beach. Some keeper-size sturgeon also are being caught.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Sacramento
Bright Beach and the Airport Hole are producing shakers and small keeper-size stripers for bank anglers. Pile worms, bloodworms and cut sardines are the best baits. Sturgeon are being caught, although many fish also are being lost because of underwater logs and trees.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Verona to Colusa
The water remains high for stripers but is dropping. Expect conditions to improve as the week goes on. Pile worms and sardines are working best. The water is too dirty for live minnows. Some sturgeon are being caught near Knights Landing.
NORTH COAST RIVERS
ROGUE RIVER, Agness, Ore.
After blowing out late last week, the lower Rogue was dropping back into shape for steelhead fishing on Sunday. Flows were down to 11,700 cfs at Agness, down from 14,000 cfs. Another big storm is expected before the weekend, however. Spring salmon were being caught by boaters and shore-based plunkers last week, with 1 in 3 fish a hatchery keeper. The Willows have fished best for boaters, while Huntley Park and Lobster Creek have been good shore spots.
ROGUE RIVER, Shady Cove to Grants Pass, Ore.
The salmon fishing has perked up a little with a mix of downers and uppers being caught, said Troy Whitaker, guide at U-Save Tackle in Grants Pass. Anglers have been scoring with pink rubber worms, side-drifted roe, pieces of tuna or Flatfish/Kwickfish plugs. The water level continues to gradually drop, though more rain is predicted for this week.
“Last week steelhead were being caught in the upper river upstream of Geyserville, but then we got hit with yet another strong storm that shot the flows back up and muddied the water,” said Scott Heemstra of Kings Sport & Tackle in Guerneville. “This has been the pattern all winter, and it doesn’t look like it’s going to improve, with another storm tracking our way for the Easter weekend. If the storm fizzles out, expect high murky water in the Guerneville area with clearer lower flows in the Cloverdale area. One thing is for certain with all this water: We may have a healthy American shad run this year. We should start seeing the shad in good numbers starting in mid-May so will keep you posted.”
The Smith remains open for steelhead fishing through the end of April. Although conditions continue to be good, with plenty of water and a nice green color, fishing has been slow. A few bright fish as well as spawned out steelhead headed back to the ocean have been caught. Flows are still high for sea-run cutthroat trout. The river was 10.3 feet, around 6,500 cfs, over the weekend.
KLAMATH RIVER, Hornbrook
The entire Klamath River remains blown out. Flows Sunday at Iron Gate remained 4,280 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 9,330 cfs on Sunday. The river is blown out for steelhead.
KLAMATH RIVER, Klamath Glen
The lower Klamath is high and muddy, with flows of 40,500 cfs Sunday.
The Bureau of Reclamation increased flows from Lewiston Dam from 300 cfs to 1,500 cfs, effectively bringing steelhead season to a close. Flows at Douglas City were more than 2,000 cfs, while flows at Hoopa are around 14,000 cfs.
NORTH COAST LAKES
The first day of a derby saw a 36-pound limit for five bass brought to the scales, which was anchored by a monster that tipped the scales at 13.89 pounds. There were four teams out of 24 that brought over 20 pounds to the scales. Trout fishing remains slow.
BLACK BUTTE LAKE
The lake remains about half full and a little murky. A few were bass caught, but action is generally slow.
Despite lots of rain, trout fishing has been fair to good on Super Dupers and Rooster Tail lures. Fish are mostly 10- to 12-inch rainbows.
Bass fishing is pretty good on jigs, Kitech lures, LV500’s and jerk baits with lots of fish to around 5 pounds caught. Crappie and bluegill fishing remains hot on minnows and jigs, especially off Brown’s Landing and Indian Beach.
Some bass are being taken on jigs and plastic worms, but the lake remains a little muddy.
The water remains muddy, and the fishing has been slow.
Rising water temps have sent the largemouth bass to the banks for their annual spawn. Catches have been good on Senkos, shallow crankbaits, Chatterbaits and swimbaits fished around standing timber and brush piles near transition edges.
FAR NORTH LAKE AND RIVERS
More snow is due this week, but anglers have been picking up rainbows and browns on trolled lures and flies when they get on the lake.
Trout fishing remains fair to good for fly fishermen on midges, Baetis, woolly buggers and leeches.
Trout fishing is slow for bait anglers, but fly fishermen are doing well on leeches, woolly buggers and midges.
Areas 4 and 5 are fishable for trout, but section 3 is high.
The lake is now only 11 feet from the top, with water temperature now 55 to 57 degrees. Bass are being caught on crankbaits, jula grubs, drop-shot rigs and swimbaits. Trollers are doing well on trout in the main lake and Dry Creek areas.
Bass fishing remains slow, but trout fishing is fair at the mouths of Swift Creek and Stewart’s Fork. The lake is about 15 feet below the full mark, but water is being slowly released in anticipation of winter runoff soon.
Trollers are finding improved action on rainbows off the Powerhouse area, while bass and crappie are being caught off brushy areas.
1,200 pounds of Mount Lassen Hatchery lightning trout were released this week, and the fish are shallow and close to the surface. Bank fishermen are scoring with crappie jigs, trout dough bait or nightcrawlers close to the shoreline near the Boat Docks, the dam area, and the spillway. Trollers are finding best action with bright-colored plugs or spoons in the back of the lake in the clearest water in Jackson Creek. Bass fishing remains good with a variety of techniques as the fish are moving into the shallows in all stages of the spawn.
Crappie continue to be the big story at the lake along with largemouth bass. The bass are staging along the shallows in 5 to 6 feet, and plastics or creature baits are working bets. Huge bass are a possibility and Josh Lerche caught and released a 13.44-pound largemouth on a plastic worm. Crappie are found at depths from 15 to 25 feet with white or orange grubs or even with larger plugs intended for rainbow trout. Heavy trout plants continue with 1,200 pounds split between the North Shore Marina and the South Shore Pond. The debris remains in the main lake, and the North Shore low water ramp is close to inundation. The lake has dropped to 70 percent.
Bass fishing is outstanding with River2Sea S-wavers or River2Sea umbrella rigs. The bass are feeding up right now and busting on shad schools. Quality fish have been the rule with a 28-plus-pound limit taking Saturday’s Future Pro Tour event. The trout and salmon bite is on the rise with the fish holding in the 25- to 30-foot level with heavy shad-patterned spoons or rolled shad. Monte Smith of Gold Country Sport Fishing is running a special trip for fast-trolling heavy spoons on April 21. The lake continues to release water the upcoming snowmelt and is currently at 84 percent. Bond Flat Road remains closed indefinitely.
The lake has excellent visibility with over 10 feet of clarity, and bass fishing remains outstanding with the females already on the beds. Mike Gomez of the Bait Barn in Waterford reported a good bite with Pro Worms in 124p or 300 along with Berserk jigs or plastics on a shaky head. Reaction Innovation’s underspins or Zoom lizards are also effective. The larger females are holding off of secondary points, but the fish are in all stages of spawning. The lake is at 66 percent and water is no longer being released. The launch ramps at Barretts Cove South and McClure Point are open.
Quality limits of largemouth and spotted bass remain the rule down to the 20-pound range after averaging from 25 to 30 pounds during the week. A variety of techniques are working, including Senkos or plastic worms in green pumpkin on the wacky-rig or drop-shot. Bass are moving in and off of the shoreline. Rainbow trout are moving into deeper water in the main lake, and trollers have to work bright colored plugs or spoons at depths from 25 to 30 feet. Kokanee have yet to show, but they are right around the corner. Crappie action is heating up with some big slabs taken on live minnow or crappie jigs around structure. Catfishing has also improved near submerged rocks in the flats with with nightcrawlers, frozen shad, or mackerel. The lake has risen to 78 percent, and all launch ramps in the lake are now open.
Trout plants of 3,000 pounds of Mokelumne River Hatchery rainbows averaging from 2 to 3 pounds are released on a weekly basis, and the rainbows are moving into the main lake and up the river arm. Trollers are trying hard for kokanee, but they are scoring rainbows with kokanee gear near the mouth of the river arm, up the river arm, Mel’s Cove, or along the Buoy Line. The fish are close to the surface with the cold inflow from the upper Mokelumne River. Bank fishing is best from the Stony Creek Landing or Porcupine Point with scented trout dough bait or nightcrawlers. A total of 45,000 pounds of rainbows will be released into the lake through early June. Bass fishing has been solid with plastic worms or Senkos near the shorelines. Pardee has dropped slightly to 93 percent.
SIERRA LAKES AND RIVERS
Ice is off but access is iffy given snow during the week.
Catch-and-release section is high and fast and muddy.
Lake is 111 percent of capacity and spilling. There is open water at Coots and Catfish Cove, but you need snowshoes or snowmobile to get there.
Lake is open. Water is coming up and is cloudy and cold. Macks are being caught. Take advantage of the cloudy conditions and use larger dodgers, maybe attract larger fish.
Lake is free of ice and the road is clear only across the dam. The roads around the lake are not accessible.
GOLD LAKE BASIN
Road is closed. See you in spring.
INDIAN CREEK RESERVOIR
Wind kept people away last week.
Mack bite is up and down, mostly due to cold water. Surface temps have been in the high 30s, making for sluggish fish. Limits are doable, but it isn’t quick and easy. Toplining for trout has been fair. Browns have had decent size but there haven’t been many landed.
Big fish were caught in bigger numbers last weekend, including a pair of 19-pound cuts. The most productive spot, by far, was Pelican Point. Shoreline anglers use midges, woolly buggers and jigs to get action.
No access here yet.
Wind and storms made last week the slowest of the year. Only 33 trout weighing more than 2 pounds were checked in for the ongoing derby.
Rain last week blew out the Truckee. More rain to come this week.
Main gate to Crystal Basin will be locked until at least Memorial Day weekend. There is a public road to the Union Valley but getting in is day-to-day depending on the weather.
WEST WALKER RIVER
The West is high but fishable, reported Jim Reid from Ken’s Sporting Goods in Bridgeport. Choose water where there is a little more slack with not too much white water. If you work the slower runs and pools you should be able to get some hookups. Streamers are probably the best way to go. There are some very nice browns running around the West as well as some good rainbows.
Sturgeon remain the top species with the arrival of high and muddy water from upstream sources. The Big Cut, Little Cut, and Montezuma Slough are good locations at this time of year, and salmon roe along with eel are the top baits. Grass shrimp may be available at shops in the near future. Striper fishing is limited to bait with the dirty water, but the fish are already making major push into the river system and up into the Sacramento and Feather River, and striper action will only get better as water conditions improve and the water warms.
SAN JOAQUIN RIVER
The waters of the San Joaquin-Delta cooled significantly over the weekend, and the striped bass bite slowed down. The fish holding in the San Joaquin made a major push through the Sacramento-Delta into the Feather River and the Sacramento. The striper schools are scattered, but both deep and shallow diving lures are working for the isolate stripers in the shoals. Largemouth bass fishing is outstanding with Senkos, chatterbaits or squarebill crankbaits along spawning flats. There are locations of clear water in the backs of sloughs and along the flats. A change in the restrictions to limit several areas to 5 mph occurred on March 29, and information on the closures can be found at www.sjgov.org/oes.
Flowing just under 9,000 cfs over the weekend, the American remains high for steelhead or striper fishing. Discovery Park remains closed.
The Brown’s Ravine, Folsom Point and Granite Bay launches are open. The lake level is 435 feet, holding steady all week, with a water temperature of 57 degrees. Bank anglers are catching smallmouth, spotted and largemouth bass in crawfish as well as live minnows. Trout and salmon fishing is slow.
RANCHO SECO LAKE
Trout fishing has been good, with rainbows up to 6 pounds. The lake was heavily stocked at the beginning of April.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Dunsmuir
Flows at the Delta gauge dropped to 3,600 cfs over the weekend. The river is still high for trout fishing.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Red Bluff to Colusa
Striper fishing has been slow because of high water, but some fish are being caught on baits, especially pile worms and bloodworms, as well as cut sardines.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Redding to Red Bluff
Keswick Dam are just under 10,000 cfs. The section between Keswick Dam and Highway 44 bridge originally scheduled to close at the end of March will remain open through April. Trout fishing was very good from Keswick Dam to Red Bluff over the weekend, with roe and Puffballs, as well as beads and yarn balls all working well. Boat pressure has been heavy.
Lake is up to 88 percent of capacity. The red-hot bass bite has waned but big fish are possible. The spawning females have gone shallow and some have moved into the willows.
CAMP FAR WEST
Lake came up with last week’s rains, completely flooding one of the campgrounds. Water is running hard through the lake and when it settles, expect muddy water.
Weekly trout plants weighing 1,800 pounds continue. Trout bite stayed solid despite heavy winds on Friday and Saturday. Crappie and bass bite also have been worthwhile. Lake is full and spilling.
Lake rose to 106 percent of capacity, and you have to get wet to launch. Figure on wading through 3 feet of water to get to the launch dock. Those conditions kept anglers away last week.
Bowman Lake Road and Mosquito Ridge Road both are closed for repair until June 1, and there is no access to the lake.
HELL HOLE RESERVOIR
Road damage has closed access, and the only access when repaired will be a three-hour drive via Foresthill.
Lake continues to drop and bass bite remains tough as fish have to continually readjust. Floating debris is a real hazard.
Last week’s rain made conditions murky again.
Lake is currently accessible. The three campgrounds will open May 12 (half reservation, half first-come, first served).
Water is extremely muddy. Trout bite is nonexistent. Bass anglers find the water is dirty and visibility is poor.
Weather raged through Bodega Bay but there was some salmon fishing done in deeper water where most fish were shakers and had krill in their tummies. Aboard New Sea Angler, 13 people hooked over 30 salmon and seven were keepers. The first halibut of the season was caught near Hogg Island in Tomales Bay. Local surf perch fishing was productive on protected beaches.
Emeryville Sportfishing began the annual salmon dance with the Sundance heading out to put a couple of salmon aboard. With good halibut, striper and perch fishing inside the Bay, there was plenty of fishing done along the Emeryville shoreline.
The safer inner portions of the North and South jetties gave up kelp greenling, cabezon and rockfish, however the outer portions of the jetty near the dolos was not fishable due to big swells and howling winds. Red tail perch bit along local beaches and inside the Bay at King Salmon and behind the PG&E plant. Boaters made the trek down to Shelter Cove for salmon and managed to get a few just outside the Cove in spite of the winds and seas.
With winds up over 50 knots, the waters off of Fort Bragg were not friendly, and although a few whale watch trips were run, there was very little party boat fishing activity. A few private boaters ventured out for short periods and did hook up with salmon, proving that the fish are there. Noyo Jetty again saved the day (or week) with decent fishing for perch, rockfish, Cabazon and kelp greenling.
HALF MOON BAY
There were some salmon caught by Huli Cat passengers off of Pillar Point in the direction of Deep Reef, where some of the San Francisco salmon fleet worked. On Sunday that bite slowed and the fish went deeper. Trips aboard Queen of Hearts down the coast below Pigeon Point were popular because deeper water opened up and epic rockfish in areas that hadn’t been fished in years came up, looking large even at deep color.
Lovely Martha kicked up her heels catching halibut and striped bass plus some hefty leopard sharks in Central and South bays. One of those halibut was an impressive 25 pounder. Shore-based fishers along the San Francisco and South San Francisco coasts soaked baits for perch or they cast lures for striped bass.