Here are the best places to fish in the Sacramento region, Northern California and beyond for the week of May 8.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Verona to Colusa
Striper fishing has been best near Colusa, Meridian and Grimes. Some fish also are being caught at Knight’s Landing and the Airport Hole below Verona. The Tisdale launch could open this week. No shad have been reported yet in the Verona area.
The first of the shad from the upcoming run have been caught at Discovery Park although the park remains closed. Flows from Folsom Lake dropped from 15,200 cfs to 10,000 cfs last week. A few anglers have been out in search of stripers, but fishing has been poor.
The Brown’s Ravine, Rattlesnake Bar, Folsom Point and Granite Bay launches are open. The lake level is 443 feet, up 2 feet from last week, with a water temperature of 65 degrees. Bank anglers are catching smallmouth, spotted and largemouth bass in crawfish as well as live minnows or nightcrawlers. Trout and salmon fishing remains slow. The lake remains full of floating woody debris.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Sacramento
Shad are being caught at Miller Park, Discovery Park and Freeport. Striper fishing has been slow, with a few keepers caught at Bright Beach and Miller Park. Water levels dropped over the weekend, but could rise again as more water is released from the Feather.
DELTA, Sacramento Side
The river remains high, but American shad are moving through the upper system. Heavy lead weights are needed to stay down for the shad, but anglers from boats and from the bank are rewarded with solid action. Striped bass are starting to show up as they are moving up and down the river on their way to and from the spawning grounds. Pile worms and blood worms are working best, but there are some linesides taken on the troll. Sturgeon fishing has been outstanding in lower Suisun Bay for the few fishermen trying. Salmon roe is the top bait.
DELTA, San Joaquin side
Striper trollers remain on the San Joaquin with the clearer water conditions. Both shallow and deep-diving lures are working for linesides while drifting live bait is picking up momentum. There is a frog bite emerging in the south Delta, but slowing down with plastics remains the top technique for numbers. The next full moon should bring out the height of the spawn, but the largemouths are in all phases of spawning and feeding heavily. A change in the restrictions to limit several areas to 5 mph occurred on April 17, and information on the closures can be located at https://www.sjgov.org/department/oes/current.
NORTH COAST RIVERS
ROGUE RIVER, Gold Beach, Oregon
Spring salmon fishing was “a little slow the last few days,” as of Sunday, according to guide Bill Divens of Salmon King Lodge. He said there was a surge of water that hit the lower river on Saturday from Lost Creek. WON Staffer Andy Martin said that spring salmon fishing was very good the beginning of last week, with most boats catching one or two keepers a day as well as several wild fish. Action slowed over the weekend. Flows at Agness were 11,000 cfs on Sunday, an increase over the last week as more water was released from Lost Creek Dam. The pulse of colder water could draw in fresh schools of salmon. Wild springers can be kept beginning June 1.
ROGUE RIVER, Shady Cove to Grants Pass, Oregon
The river is running high again, but anglers are picking up some springers on drifted Kwikfish with tuna or sardine wraps, said Troy Whitaker at U-Save Tackle in Grants Pass. Also you can anchor on the inside bends of the river and drift sand shrimp or roe down river. Only hatchery steelhead can be kept, 16 inches or longer, with adipose fin clipped. No trout fishing is allowed on the river until later this month. Trout action is good at Selmac, Applegate and Lost Creek lakes on Power Baits or Pautke's Fire Bait. Bass are being taken on Senko plastics.
The Russian River is in really great shape right now with 3-plus feet of visibility and flows hovering around 1000 cfs and a beautiful green color. Shad numbers continue to improve. “Fish the usual places like Monte Rio Beach, Johnsons Beach or Browns Pool at Casini Camp Ground,” said Scott Heemstra of Kings Sport and Tackle. “Fly fisherman should use type III shooting heads or a heavy sink tip on a floating line. Gear fisherman can pick shad up with small chartreuse grubs and red jig heads or small spinners. The smallmouth bass should be off their spawn and actively feeding now. The occasional spent steelhead are around as well, so the Russian River Trifecta is not out of the question. Stop in for any gear as we are fulled loaded right now.”
KLAMATH RIVER, Hornbrook
The entire Klamath River remains blown out. Flows Sunday at Iron Gate were down to 3,505 cfs. The next good fishing opportunity will be the salmon fly hatch at the end of the month.
KLAMATH RIVER, Happy Camp
Flows at Seiad Valley were 9,520 cfs on Sunday. Flows near Orleans were 20,100 cfs. The river is blown out for steelhead and trout.
KLAMATH RIVER, Klamath Glen
The lower Klamath is high and muddy, with flows of 35,400 cfs Sunday. Guides said they will begin spring salmon fishing at the end of the month. The Klamath is open to spring king salmon through Aug. 14.
The Trinity River remains blown out. Flows Sunday at Lewiston were 2,057 cfs. Flows were 2,506 cfs at Douglas City and 2,780 cfs at Junction City. Flows at Hoopa remained nearly 9,000 cfs. Spring salmon season will remain open through Aug. 31. The fall salmon season will be closed.
NORTH COAST LAKES
Bass anglers finally enjoyed some pretty good topwater action this week. Both smallmouth and largemouth bass are feasting on the threadfin shad population and anglers are fishing surface plugs early in the morning to score on bass.
BLACK BUTTE LAKE
Crappie fishing has been the best bet for anglers, with bass fishing slow to fair, according to ranger Wesley Millar. The lake level is good, about 18 feet below the full mark.
Bass fishing has gotten a little tough lately, but a few big fish have been caught. Crappie fishing remains good off Redbud and most brushy areas in jigs and minnows.
Fishing remains slow with only a few bass being caught.
Not much going on here due to recent wind and rain. The resort has been closed for several weeks, but will re-open on May 26.
Bass anglers are experiencing the best bass bite of the year with a number of techniques working, including topwater plugs. Senkos, brush hogs, chatterbaits and swimbaits are also rewarding anglers. Some pretty good catfishing are being in the evenings, with anglers soaking cut mackerel from the bank in 15 to 25 of water.
UPPER BLUE LAKES
Art Cerini at The Narrows Resort said that the weather turned hot last week and slowed the fishing with few anglers on the lake.
Far North Lakes and Rivers
Trollers continue to find fair action on rainbows and a few browns to 4 pounds.
Trout fishing has slowed a little, but anglers are still getting fair action on 12- to 14-inch stocked rainbows.
Lake is open again and trout fishing has been good, despite windy weather over the weekend, according to Renee Wingate at Lakeshore Resort Marina.
Fishing season here opens on Memorial Day weekend.
Trout fishing is fair for fly anglers.
Some good trout fishing is being posted in the Oak Station area.
The water is still running fast between the dams, but trout anglers are getting action, trolling dodgers and flashers. Shore anglers are getting trout action on Kastmasters and Power Baits.
High water levels are keeping action slow for anglers.
Good numbers of small bass continue to be caught in the shallow waters on surface plugs and crank plugs. A few larger bass to around 4 or 5 pounds are being caught in the deeper waters of 15 to 20 feet, hitting on shaky head jigs, Senko plastic worms and football head jigs. Bait fishermen are also picking up bass on minnows and nightcrawlers.
Lake level has stabilized, but weather has been windy and not many anglers reported success on bass or trout. Bass anglers are catching a few fish throwing Gitzits and Senko plastics. A few trout are still being caught near creek in-flows.
The kokanee bite has been on fire for most anglers trolling down between 10 and 20 feet. Pink and purple combinations have been best with silver or gold dodgers or a green 6-eyed bug with a watermelon dodger.
Rainbow trout continue to be stocked at the lake on a weekly basis, and 1200 pounds of Mt. Lassen trout were released off of Dry Creek Camp point. Trout fishing is best from the surface to 15 feet with the lake temperature in the 66- to 70-degree range. Night fishing at the Blue Docks is a good option. Lightning trout remain in the lake, and most stringers have up to limits of the unique trout. The concessionaires will be stocking rainbows through the end of May, and catfish stocking will begin next week. The Amador Hatchery is back in operation, and the baby Donaldson trout are about 1.5 inches in length.
LAKE DON PEDRO
The trout are scattered, but if you are willing to look around, quality rainbows can be taken on spoons at depths from 25 to 45 feet. Threadfin shad are the top food source for both the rainbow trout and bass, and shad-imitation lures are working best. Bass are in various stages of spawning. Kokanee have yet to emerge, but the landlocked salmon should be showing up soon. The Blue Oaks and Fleming Meadows launch ramps are open, and the main lake is clear of debris. Crews are working to corral the 40-acre mess of floating and submerged logs up the river arm. The lake dropped to 81 percent.
The lake is spilling over, and with the high water levels, both the trout and kokanee bite have slowed. The DFW planted 3,000 pounds of rainbows from 2 to 3 pounds on Thursdays, and ongoing plants on Thursdays through early June. Bank fishing has been slow, but the best is at Porcupine or Rainbow Points with chartreuse trout dough bait. Boaters have been anchoring around Mel’s Cove or from Rosie’s Rock to Twin Coves with Power Worms or nightcrawlers. Kokanee are found in the south end at depths from 5 to 15 feet with pink hoochies or Apex lures in gold or silver. Few bass reports. The lake rose to 100 percent and spilling, and it is clear in the main lake. The river arm is clogged with debris towards the log boom.
Striper trolling has improved with swimbaits or rolled shad for linesides in the 15- to 20-inch range. Anglers are running at depths from 10 to 22 feet, and the larger stripers have disappeared recently. A slow troll with a long setback is the top technique. There is speculation that the female stripers are spawning up the river arm. Bluegill and crappie are biting jigs in the shallows. The lake is high at 78 percent, and the launch ramp is open with one lane and one dock.
The kokanee are showing, and anglers are picking up a few to 16 inches. These are the largest first kokanee of the season in memory on the lake. Trout fishing continues to be solid around the dam, spillway, Angels Cove, and Glory Hole Point with kokanee gear in pink behind pink or purple dodgers. Rainbows are holding out at depths to 20 feet. Bass fishing remains good with a developing reaction bite with swimbaits or glidebaits along with the normal plastics or jigs. The high water has new structure flooded. Catfish are moving into the shallows while crappie are hanging close to structure in the coves. The lake has risen to 85 percent.
SIERRA LAKES AND RIVERS
Lots of pressure but action is variable.
Lake is frozen.
Both the east and west forks are blown out. Markleeville Creek also is unfishable because of high, muddy water.
Docks are in at Lightning Tree and Mallard. West side is still blanketed in snow but east side is accessible. Fishing has been slow.
Mackinaw bite continues to be solid. Guides Marc Christophel and Shaun Rainsbarger both reported good scores every day they plied the lake. Trolling just off the bottom in water ranging from 40 to 180 feet has been productive. Most of the fish weigh less than five pounds.
FEATHER RIVER (MIDDLE FORK)
River has dropped to a few feet below flood stage. Best place to fish is the Clio Bridge area with Panther Martins, Rooster Tails or nightcrawlers. Rainbows and browns in the 12- to 14-inch class have been caught, but don’t expect limits. The water is clear with a couple feet of visibility.
FEATHER RIVER (NORTH FORK)
This is running high and fast with a nice, green tint. Much too fast to fish or get near.
The cable on the dock at Frenchman Campground broke and the dock has been pulled for repair. The dock at Lunker Point is open. Roads are clear and cars can travel around the lake. Fishing has been very good at the inlets and lots of trout in the 18-inch class are being caught. Fly fishing on the west side also has been productive.
GOLD LAKES BASIN
Plumas County side has been plowed to Gold Lake Lodge. None of the lakes are accessible, however.
INDIAN CREEK RESERVOIR
Snow and rain last week kept pressure off this lake.
JENKINSON LAKE (Sly Park)
The bite remains very slow for trout or bass.
Mack action remains steady, especially the morning bite. Wind has been a bother as the day progresses. Shallow water trout show signs of activity as the water warms ever so slowly.
Cold water is keeping cutthroat trout close to shore but warmer water is needed to trigger a post-spawn feeding pattern. Action is fair to slow.
Lake can be reached via Hobart Mills Road but road is very soft, so a 4WD is mandatory. No word on whether the bite is worth the risk.
Lake has come up three feet since Monday and the watery is murky. Trout continue to be caught by boaters and shoreline anglers, reports Ginger Buzzard from the Topaz General Store.
This will be running high for some time. The river is getting 1,300 cfs from Lake Tahoe. It’s at 2,100 cfs through Truckee and 5,160 cfs below Boca. “It’s big water and tough too fish,” said Brian Nylund from Mountain Hardware and Sports in Truckee.
WEST WALKER RIVER
River is muddy, high and not fishable. This could change within a day, so call first.
Flows from Oroville Lake are expected to jump from 8,000 cfs to 40,000 cfs this week. Stripers have already spawned in the Gridley and Live Oak areas and moved back downriver. A large school continues to hold near Mosquito Beach, which has been the best area for shore fishermen. With higher water expected, boaters will be anchoring in 8 to 10 feet of water and fishing minnows. No shad have been reported yet.
RANCHO SECO LAKE
Trout fishing has been decent for left over trout and bass.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Dunsmuir
Flows at the Delta gauge dropped from 5,100 cfs to 2,400 cfs over the weekend. The river is still high for trout fishing, but some anglers are now fishing the slower edges.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Redding to Red Bluff
Flows from Keswick Dam are 13,000 cfs. The section between the dam and Highway 44 bridge will close in mid-May and remain closed through July. Downstream, toward Anderson, expect trout fishing to remain very good. Anglers are drifting Glo Bugs and roe and now running plugs as well.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Red Bluff to Colusa
Striper fishing is slow to fair. No shad have been reported yet.
River is running high, fast and cold. There may be soft pockets below Highway 49 but it may be too unsafe to navigate on foot.
Lake came up to 95-percent of capacity from 92 percent in the past week. Bass guide Ron Gandolfi fished last week and said the water was up in the trees and previously productive places were submerged. Bass are holding to bushes throughout the lake. A client used a natural shad-colored Senko on a splitshot to hook a 6-pound, five-ounce post-spawn fish.
CAMP FAR WEST
Fishing has been productive for bass to 2 pounds in Rock Creek and up Bear River. Most are using plastics in shallow water. Good-sized crappie are coming from brushy areas. Lake continues to spill. The surface temperature is in the low 60s.
Best trout action in the foothills. This is well-planted and more than a ton went in again this week. Top tactic last week was trolling Rapalas, but shore anglers get numbers with Power Bait. Catfish and bass bite are picking up.
Lake is at 104 percent of capacity, up a bit from last week. Trout bite has been just okay, said Craig Newton at Will Fish Tackle in Auburn. Nothing great but customers get a few each outing.
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.
Bass can be found in all three stages of the spawn off points, five to 15 feet deep. Senkos, tubes and ZMan worms are productive. Lake is slated to take another drop this week.
The first trout plant of the season went down last Thursday, but anglers hadn’t cashed in yet. The Greenhorn Inlet has been hot for bass. A 6-pound largemouth was caught there last week. Most of the bass are spots or largemouth, few smallies. There are big logs floating so use extreme caution. Water temperatures are in the mid-50s and inlets have plenty of clarity. Visibility is two to three feet in the main lake body.
Campgrounds open this weekend. Anglers have been going in and fishing, but there haven’t been any reports of success or failure, said Pete Robinson from the Georgetown Ranger Station.
SUGAR PINE RESERVOIR
Lake is full and that allowed a trout plant last week. Valerie Webb at the Foresthill Ranger Station said anglers are getting trout from shore and boats. The Giant Gap campground is open. Shirttail Campground will open May 26.
It’s windy and rough. Don’t do this until conditions improve. Even if it was calm, the water is muddy.
Berkeley would be justified in changing its name to Halibut City after a week of great catches by boats drift fishing with live anchovies on light lines. Some of the successful boats were California Dawn, Happy Hooker, New El Dorado III and New Easy Rider. Hot spots included Berkeley Flats, Treasure Island, Alameda, Coyote Point and the airport.
Fishing deeper water made for catching bigger fish for private boats and party boats alike. New Sea Angler fished off of Point Reyes for lingcod to 13 pounds and rockfish to 8 pounds. Combo trips resulted in adding limits or near-limits of healthy Dungeness crabs. Shore fishers tore into rainbow, red tail and barred surf perch at Doran Beach and near Lawson’s Landing.
Emeryville Sportfishing had Sea Wolf, New Huck Finn and Tigerfish working the Bay for bass and halibut counts that ranged from half a fish per rod to a fish and a half per rod. Early in the week, New Salmon Queen and Sea Wolf made it out the Gate and dominated the lingcod with full limits plus limits of rockfish.
Early week Pacific halibut fishing was good aboard Reel Steel, Scrimshaw and Full Throttle. Fish averaged nearly 30 pounds and bit salmon bellies and tuna bellies. Groundfish season also opened on May 1, however wind and sea conditions did not allow runs to the rockfish and lingcod hotspots. Expectations are high for big ground fish with greater allowable depth this season. Shore fishers did well on red tail perch, kelp greenling, rockfish, cabezon and lingcod.
The sudden passing of Capt. Randy Thornton, skipper of Telstar, was a shocker for the local community and his wide base of loyal customers and friends. Rockfish season opened May 1 and Sea Hawk was able to pull surefire limits of lingcod and rockfish. The skipper, Capt. Tim Gillespie noted that the quality of the fish is impressive. Shore fishers got crabs, perch, rockfish, cabezon and kelp greenling at Noyo Jetty, Glass Beach and Mendocino Headlands.
HALF MOON BAY
The Deep Reef area saw plenty of action by folks aboard Queen of Hearts and Riptide who were very much enjoying the size and color of the rockfish available from the deeper water we can fish this year. Striped bass were biting along area beaches, but it was kept somewhat quiet by the experienced anglers doing the catching. Crabbing was better than expected off of Pacifica Pier, even though swells were running quite high.
Bass Tub busted the fish per rod mark on halibut and added limits of striped bass. Lovely Martha worked the halibut and bass bite inside the Bay from Berkeley southward, boating a 26-pounder. Private boaters and shore anglers worked the South San Francisco Bay shoreline for stripers and halibut.