Fishing for American shad in the American River
Here are the best places to fish in the Sacramento region, Northern California and beyond for the week of May 29.
Shad fishing is wide open at Gristmill and Harrington Access. A few shad have shown up at Sailor Bar. The river dropped over the weekend for rafters, but is expected to rise again this week. Some large stripers have been caught as they chase shad.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Red Bluff to Colusa
Striper fishing has been good near Colusa, although the river is crowded and the launches have been crowded. Minnows are working best. A few shad are showing up.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Verona to Colusa
Striper and shad fishing has been slow at Knight’s Landing. Striper fishing is good at Verona, with sardines and pile worms working best. Some fish also are being taken on minnows. Fishing for catfish has been slow.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Sacramento
Shad fishing is best at Miller Park and Discovery Park. The launch at Discovery Park is now open. A few large stripers are still being caught, but most of the action is upstream toward Verona.
3,800 pounds of rainbows were released prior to Memorial Day weekend, and the fish are in the 3- to 4-pound range. Bank fishing has improved with the trout plant, and the Stony Point Landing in the top location with nightcrawlers, trout dough bait, or Kastmasters in silver/gold. Trollers are working the mouth of the river or the south end near the Buoy Line at depths from 20 to 40 feet for kokanee to 16.5 inches along with the rainbows. Bass fishing is best in the shallows of the river arm, and catfish are also moving into the shallows. Trollers will arrive this week to prepare for the upcoming Saturday, June 3, Kokanee Power Team tournament.
DELTA, Sacramento Side
American shad remain the top species in the north Delta with more females moving through to the American, Feather, Yuba, and upper Sacramento Rivers. Bank anglers are using at least 1-ounce to keep their shad darts close to the bottom. Stripers are on the way back from spawning in the upper river, and sardines coated with garlic spray or pile worms are best from the banks. The troll bite should pick up along the West Bank from Rio Vista to Collinsville. Sturgeon fishing is best in Suisun Bay between the two major bridges or the Big Cut with lamprey eel, salmon roe, or ghost shrimp. Wind has been a limiting factor for anchoring in the deeper water. Pile worms, blood worms, or anchovies are taking small stripers from the Benicia shoreline from 1st Street to the State Park and all shore locations in between. Grass shrimp may be available once again as two shrimpers are back in business.
DELTA, San Joaquin side
Largemouth bass fishing requires a slow approach with plastics on the drop-shot or Zappu head. The stable weather conditions should turn the bite back on to a more normal level for this time of year. Fewer striper trollers are working the San Joaquin, but the action on the Sacramento should be heating up with the fish coming back down. Live bluegill, minnows, or shiners are working for quality linesides in the Mokelumne River. Bluegill action is solid from the banks along Eight Mile Road in Stockton with red worms. Crappie are found in Whiskey Slough with small to medium minnows. A change in the restrictions for several areas in the south Delta occurred on May 22, and information on the closures can be found at https://www.sjgov.org/department/oes/current.
NORTH COAST RIVERS
CHETCO RIVER, Brookings, Oregon
The river is open to trout fishing, with the best success being reported near Social Security Bar and Tide Rock. Sea-run cutthroat trout are hitting Rooster Tail spinners. Flows over the weekend were 718 cfs, high enough to get a driftboat down the river.
ROGUE RIVER, Gold Beach, Oregon
Anglers can keep wild king salmon beginning June 1. Wild springers continue to be caught near Elephant Rock and the Willows. Flows at Agness on May 28 were 7,280 cfs, good for salmon fishing, with a water temperature of 62 degrees. Flows are too high for trolling the bay.
ROGUE RIVER, Grants Pass to Shady Cove, Oregon
Springer fishing is still pretty good with the most action up in the Shady Cove area, said Troy Whitaker, guide at U-Save Tackle in Grants Pass. Fish are scattered through the river but best upriver. Anglers are scoring with Kwikfish wrapped with sardine or tuna fillets. Action is also being posted on back-bounced roe or sand shrimp. Bass fishing has perked up at Selmac Lake with a few lunkers from 7 to 9 pounds on jigs, plastics and crank plugs. Trout action is good at Selmac on Power Baits and nightcrawlers. Trout fishing is fair on trolled flashers with wedding rings at Applegate Lake, and at Lost Creek Lake, smallmouth bass action is productive in the dam area.
KLAMATH RIVER, Hornbrook
The Klamath River remains blown out on the entire upper stretch. Flows over the weekend from Iron Gate Dam were 2,544 cfs.
KLAMATH RIVER, Happy Camp
Flows at Seiad Valley were 8,146 cfs on Sunday, up from 7,000 cfs a week ago. Flows near Orleans were 17,800 cfs. The river is blown out for steelhead and trout.
KLAMATH RIVER, Klamath Glen
Spring salmon fishing has been slow, although a few springers have been caught. Flows over the weekend were 30,400 cfs. The river is green. The Klamath is open to spring king salmon through Aug. 14.
High water from the spring runoff has kept the Trinity unfishable from top to bottom. Flows over the weekend at Lewiston were 4,500, and 5,000 cfs at Junction City. Flows at Hoopa were 9,500 cfs. Expect spring salmon to arrive in the upper river by mid-June.
NORTH COAST LAKES
Drop-shot rigs are producing fair to good action on spotted and smallmouth bass in the 2-pound range at the south end of the lake.
BLACK BUTTE LAKE
Good numbers of crappie are being caught on jigs in the dam area, with some bass action found in Grizzly and Burris Creek areas. Lake is at full level now.
The crappie fishing remains good in the Redbud area on jigs and minnows, while action for catfish is pretty good in the Cache Creek area on cut mackerel or anchovies. The best bass action seems to be with drop-shot, wacky rigged Senkos or shakey head jigs with a worm. Crankbaits are also putting some fish in the boat. The topwater frog action also seems to be picking up, but as always it is in specific and limited areas. The crappie action continues to remain strong around the lake.
Still not a lot of anglers out, and there were only a few reports of slow bass fishing.
The resort season opened again last weekend with a large crowd on hand getting a few bass and trout catches.
The water is clearing and bass fishing is picking up, Anglers are also getting improved action on the landlocked steelhead and the water is clearing in most parts of the lake.
UPPER BLUE LAKES
It was a very busy holiday weekend at the resort with lots of anglers picking up rainbows following a plant of 1,000 pounds of fish.
FAR NORTH LAKES AND RIVERS
Trout fishermen are concentrating their efforts from the tip of Rec #2 to Bailey Creek. Slow-trolling nightcrawlers appears to be the preferred method for catching fish. Bass fishermen are targeting fish on beds and limits totaling in the mid-teens have been the norm.
Trout fishing has slowed a little, but action is still fair on flies and baits for shore anglers.
The lake is at its full level and fair numbers of small rainbows and brown trout are being caught on spinners and minnows.
Good action seen here for fly fishermen, following salmon fly hatch.
It was kind of a slow opener last weekend for trout anglers. Unusually clear water and a massive bug hatch probably hurt the fishing success.
Good action also seen here for fly fishermen, following salmon fly hatch.
The water level is still high with not many anglers on the water. Bank trout fishing is fair near the marina shoreline.
The water level is high but fishable for trout.
Still unfishable, under winter conditions.
Areas 4 and 5 are still unfishable due to high water flows, but area 3 remains fishable, though it’s still a little high, too.
The bass bite continues to be good in the post-spawn at Shasta Lake, with boat traffic creating a mudline along the shores, but bass anglers were still scoring with Senkos, finesse baits, and topwater lures early and late in the day. The trout action continues to be fair at depths of 5 to 25 feet, with anglers trolling Kastmaster lures or dodgers followed by crank plugs or spinners.
Located near Montague, this lake is open only three days a week and features bass and trout fishing.
Bass fishing is fair at the north end of the lake on topwater plugs, Senkos and Gitzits. Fish are mostly 2 to 4 pounders. Some trout catches continue to be made on Power Baits, salmon eggs. Marshmallows and Kastmaster lures.
Kokanee fishing is still a little slow, with fewer boats out this week. Fish are ranging mostly from 25 to 40 feet deep, hitting on trolled lures. Not much bass action reported.
The final load of trout was planted before Memorial Day Weekend with 600 lbs. of rainbows and 600 lbs. of Lightning trout released. The trout are holding from 12 to 15 feet in the morning, dropping to the 20- to 25-foot range later in the day. Kastmasters, nightcrawlers, and trout dough bait are working, with trollers pulling a variety of lures. The water in the launch cove has heated up, and the rainbows have moved out into deeper water. The trout bite should continue through July with the full lake. The swim pond is open.
The last trout plant of the season occurred on Thursday with 3,000 pounds of Mt. Lassen Hatchery rainbows were split between the South Pond, South Shore, and North Shore. The holiday boat traffic was high, but experienced trollers like Robbie Dunham of Galt scored three limits running Speedy Shiners coated with Kokanee Feast at depths from 25 to 40 feet from Little Hat Island to the river channel at trolling speeds from 2.7 to 3.0 on the GPS. The rainbows will continue to drop in the water column as the lake warms up. The bass are in post-spawn mode, and they are actively feeding along structure off of the shoreline. Crappie continue to be taken on grubs. Camanche was recently recognized as one of California’s top six bass lakes. The lake is currently at 71 percent.
LAKE DON PEDRO
Huge kokanee is excess of 2 pounds are possible, but the numbers are limited. The kokanee are holding at depths from 30 to 40 feet. Trout are actually found below the kokanee. The kokanee are scattered and they are not schooled up. The rising lake waters have slowed down the trout and kokanee bite. Bass fishing is solid with Berserk’s Purple Hornet jigs or Pro Worm’s 5-inch 300p at depths from 25 to 45 feet. 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 rose slightly to 83 percent.
The lake has risen again to 77 percent, and the bass are suspending with the rising water. The action remains solid with with Pro Worm’s 266 or Berserk Baits Green Craw jigs at depths from 25 to 45 feet as they in post-spawn mode and actively feeding. The launch ramps at Barrett Cove and McClure Point are open. The lake is as full as it has been in several years.
The cold water afterbay of Lake McClure has finally been planted with rainbow trout for the first time since October, 2016, and 1,500 pounds including 220 pounds of trophy-sized rainbows in excess of 3 pounds were released before Memorial Day. Bank fishermen are focusing on the normal locations of the Brush Pile, Handicapped Docks, and the peninsula near the marina with trout dough bait, nightcrawlers, or Kastmasters.
Striped bass action remains solid in the main lake for trollers pulling shad or anchovies on a harness rig at depths from just below the surface to 27 feet. Side planers have been effective on the side rods while downriggers are working best later in the day. The lake held at 78 percent, and the launch ramp is open with one lane and one dock.
Huge largemouth bass are possible on large swimbaits or topwater lures, and there have been several bass from 5 to 9 pounds caught and released in the past two weeks. Overall, the bass action is hit or miss, but the arrival of stable weather should improve the consistency. Kokanee are found near the spillway and the dam at depths to 16 feet with hoochies behind a dodger. Catfish are moving into the shallows while crappie are still found near structure in the coves. The lake held at 86 percent in spite of water releases.
SIERRA LAKES AND RIVER
Kokanee bite shut down by the end of last weekend. Fishing and boating pressure has been quite heavy.
This is still under three feet of ice and snow and no reports of ice fishing, but getting to that time of year where it would likely be unsafe.
Both forks are running high and fast but water temperatures have risen to the mid-40s. If the rivers drop a foot or so, there may be trout plants as soon as next week.
The trout bite slowed last week, but that may have more to do with anglers still looking for where the fish are concentrated than a case of lockjaw.
Mackinaw weighing 3 to 5 pounds are being caught from 80 to 140 feet. Kokanee to 11 inches are starting to bite.
FEATHER RIVER (Middle Fork)
Trout fishing continues to be worthwhile as the Feather continues to drop. Small spinners or bait get pansized rainbows and browns.
FEATHER RIVER (North Fork)
Flows were cut dramatically last Friday and the river fell into fishable shape. “People are finally starting to catch fish,” said Mike Hanson at Caribou Crossroads Resort. “Most are 13 to 14 inches but salmon eggs, nightcrawlers and spinners are working. The river has perfect color. Everything is looking good.”
Lake is full and spilling, all campgrounds are open and fishing is very good. Bank anglers and trollers are scoring trout averaging 16 to 18 inches. Power Bait or nightcrawlers have worked best.
GOLD LAKES BASIN
Gold Lake Road is open but the lake has patches of ice. Campgrounds are not open. Only fishable lake in the basin is Lower Sardine, which received a plant of trout last week. Fishing has been slow.
Guide Dale Daneman last week fished Ice House and landed a limit of trout between 16 and 18 inches. He caught three on Sep’s brown grubs and two on naked nightcrawlers. All the fish came from the top 10 feet of water. He said that he considered that a tough bite, other anglers fared poorer.
INDIAN CREEK RESERVOIR
Received a DFW trout plant last week, and a plant of 1,800 pounds of privately purchased trout. With both forks of the Carson running high, this is the only game in town and not a bad one at that. Nightcrawlers or Power Bait will do the trick.
JENKINSON LAKE (Sly Park)
Bass are the best bet here. Find them in the shallows in the back of the narrows. Most weigh 2 to 3 pounds. Plastic worms, Senkos, nightcrawlers will draw spawning bass. Some are reporting a dozen fish caught in a day, said Jeff Cole from the Sly Park Resort.
The Mackinaw bite has shifted to the north shore where fish have been chunky and eager during the morning hours. Limits have been regular and usually completed within three hours. Afternoon bite has been slower. Water temperatures have risen to the mid- to high-50s.
Up and down results during the week. Trollers are doing better than the shore anglers, but shore pressure has lessened greatly. Lake closes to cutthroat fishing at the end of June.
Great kokanee bite here. Guide James Netzel of Tight Lines Guide Service caught 40 kokanee each day he went out. Fish deep and troll slowly.
River is high but fishable on soft margins.
WEST WALKER RIVER
The Walker is running fast and is off-color due to snow runoff. Some anglers have had success near Pickle Meadows and working the softer water in the Canyon. Panther Martins, Rapalas, nightcrawlers and mini-jigs are worth trying.
Cold water coming from the bottom of the Oroville spillway has slowed down the striper spawn, which has given anglers a longer window to catch fresh stripers. Cut sardines and pile worms are working well from shore, while boaters are fishing jumbo minnows and trolling deep-diving plugs. Shad fishing is slow on the Feather, but good on the Yuba.
The Brown’s Ravine, Rattlesnake Bar, Folsom Point and Granite Bay launches are open. The lake level is 458 feet, up 6 feet from last week, with a water temperature of 71 degrees. Bank anglers are catching smallmouth, spotted and largemouth bass in crawfish as well as live minnows or nightcrawlers. Boaters are finding big numbers of bass in the North Fork and South Fork on small tubes. Trout and salmon fishing remains slow. The lake remains full of floating woody debris.
RANCHO SECO LAKE
Trout fishing has been fair to good and bass anglers are targeting the large Florida-strain largemouth in the lake.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Dunsmuir
Flows at the Delta gauge dropped from 1,680 cfs to 1,500 cfs over the weekend. The river is high but fishable for trout, with some anglers fishing the slower edges.
Consider the American blown out, said Craig Newton at Will Fish Tackle in Auburn. However, customers seeking trout in smaller, feeder streams have been able to catch fish. Anyone near the American is urged to exercise extreme caution and stay out of the water.
Guide Ron Gandolfi said he and a client had some success floating Senkos near submerged bushes. “We had to bounce around to find fish,” he said. Best bass was a five pounder. It helps to know where the submerged bushes and points are. Fishing pressure during the week is very light.
CAMP FAR WEST
Jet-skis and recreational boaters took over the lake and anglers stayed away during the Memorial Day Weekend. “They started coming in last Tuesday and Wednesday and it has been crazy ever since,” said Kathy DeRossett from the North Shore Resort. “My normal fishermen said they would see me after the holiday.”
Full campgrounds and a lake full of water and trout made for a productive Memorial Day Weekend. Water near the dam has been good for both boaters and shore anglers. Boaters do well trolling and drifting in front of the Marina. Bass, crappie and bluegill also are being caught.
Lots of pressure from recreational boaters, but there were no fish were reported to Skippers Cove Marina.
FRENCH MEADOWS RESERVOIR
No recent reports but anglers are making the drive to the lake.
Road to the lake opens Thursday, June 1. Lake will not be planted with trout until late July, according to a DFW spokesperson.
HELL HOLE RESERVOIR
It’s a long drive from Auburn but anglers have been making the run. No word yet if the reward is worth the effort.
Lake is at 71 percent of capacity. Heavy boat traffic has caused an increase in mud lines and that’s where the bass are hiding. There are still some bass spawning in coves, but most have moved back to the main body for post-spawn feeding.
Great bass bite continues here. Half Senkos, grubs on jigheads in pumpkin colors with silver flakes have been getting bass weighing 2 to 4 pounds. Some anglers have landed 30 to 40 fish in a day. Water temperature is in the low 60s. The fuel dock is open at Long Ravine.
Bass bite is good for smallmouth and largemouth to 3 1/2 pounds. Largest last week was a 5 1/2-pound largemouth. Productive areas include the Ditch Digger’s House to the inlet and the Cascade side of the lake. Target depths of 8 to 15 feet. Water temperature is 57 degrees.
Anglers are getting holdover rainbows in the 14-inch class using Power Bait from shore. Trolling has been slow, although some are getting action with flashers/nightcrawlers near the inlet. No insect activity on the surface. “Hatch seems to be late this year. We are not seeing a lot of bugs,” said Dan Teter, fishery biologist at the Foresthill Ranger Station.
Afterbay came up more than three feet on May 26 when Bruce Gibson was fishing. “It was slow but we caught two fish right away,” Gibson said. “And that was it.” The water temperature went from 70 to 64 as water came into the Afterbay. “The Afterbay won’t be good for a while,” Gibson said.
Boats had great options. Golden Eye 2000 and El Dorado fished South Bay for halibut to 32 pounds. New El Dorado III had success with lingcod and rockfish at the Farallones. New Easy Rider caught salmon to 25 pounds. Happy Hooker and California Dawn whacked the halibut with a keeper per person plus some bass. Cal Dawn made an early-week trip outside the Gate and got full limits of lings and rockfish.
Lingcod fishing went absolutely wide open early in the week with exceptionally high counts. In a 1-hour period early in the week, passengers aboard New Sea Angler brought aboard 54 lingcod in less than an hour, while fishing down south towards Point Reyes. Limits of rockfish came along with the lings. Shore fishers caught surf perch along sandy beaches like Lawson’s Landing and Doran. Rocky spots were good for cabezon and rockfish.
The fabled boats of the Emeryville fleet spread out to chase varied species. C Gull II got 13 salmon for 10 passengers. New Huck Finn racked up good counts of halibut to 32 pounds and striped bass to 20 pounds. Sea Wolf took limits of both lingcod and rockfish nearly every day.
Taking full advantage of good weather and calm seas, boaters fished Cape Mendocino where the rockfish were thick and lingcod were biting everything in sight. Pacific halibut were on the chew off of Eureka at the 51 line in 300 feet of water. Reel Steel pulled in 5 in one trip. Inside Humboldt Bay California halibut bit in better numbers. Jetty and beach fishers did quite well on perch, kelp greenling, cabezon and rockfish. A Shellback passenger brought up a giant lingcod that mouthed a 7-pound vermillion.
Short runs were all that was needed to find a nice grade of lingcod and plenty of rockfish to go along with them. The reefs off of Cleone were productive, allowing for plenty of fishing time instead of travel time. Shore fishers had a blast with cabezon, kelp greenling, rockfish and perch at Old Mill, Glass Beach and Mac Kerricher. Salmon fishing was slow locally but some folks ran up to near Shelter Cove to find them.
HALF MOON BAY
Rockfish and lingcod fishing was excellent with limits of both possible for folks who used the right tackle and bait. Queen of Hearts, Riptide and Huli Cat all hammered out big numbers of fish from the deeper waters available this season. Queen of Hearts reported hefty lingcod to 14 pounds. Shore fishers worked for stripers but didn’t provide much in the way of reports.
Wacky Jacky caught better than a salmon per rod for her passengers and some got their limits. Bass Tub did well with halibut, putting 11 aboard for 9 people who released countless shorts while they were at it. Capt. Erik Anfinson also mentioned that Bass Tub is now running salmon and rockfish trips outside the Gate. Lovely Martha also fished halibut and bass, pulling one of each per rod, in the South Bay.