How to pick the best top-water lure
Here are the best places to fish in the Sacramento region, Northern California and beyond for the week of June 26.
Shad fishing has been good at Harrington Access, as the American River remains the best bet for that species. Heavy boat traffic has slowed fishing near Discovery Park. There are shad clear up to the dam. Flows were down to 3,600 cfs over the weekend, about half of what they were a week ago.
LAKE DON PEDRO
Trout fishing is excellent with shad-patterned spoons at depths from 10 to 45 feet, but the fish are scattered, according to guide Monte Smith of Gold Country Sportfishing. Kokanee are scarce, but there were fish weighing nearly 2.5 pounds landed during the Kokanee Power Team Tournament. There were only six kokanee landed out of nearly 80 participants, and the lack of planting in 2015 may be the cause of the few huge kokanee in the lake. King salmon are also scarce, with only two kings brought to the weigh-in at the event. Bonds Flat Road is expected to reopen by July 4, and this will avoid the 45-minute drive around the lake to Fleming Meadows. The lake has jumped up to 97 percent, and Blue Oaks is on the highest ramp.
Trout plants will continue on a bi-weekly basis starting July 21 after a single plant on June 29. Kokanee fishing remains good with the fish high in the water column in the first cove of the river arm with the cold water coming out of the Mokelumne River watershed. The bass bite is solid in the river arm with Senkos or swimbaits. The lake is currently at 101 percent.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Sacramento
Shad and stripers are being caught at Freeport, Miller Park and Discovery Park. Boat traffic has been heavy. Salmon season opens July 16.
NORTH COAST RIVER
CHETCO RIVER, Brookings, Oregon
King salmon are being caught by trollers in the estuary as schools of kings feed on anchovies moving into the river mouth. They are likely Sacramento River kings, not early Chetco spawners, said guide Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing.
ROGUE RIVER, Gold Beach, Oregon
The fishing for king salmon by trollers in the estuary of the Rogue River started up a week or so ago, but was kept quiet until over the weekend when word got out. Warming temperatures in the river are keeping the early kings from moving up the river, and trollers were scoring well between the Highway 101 bridge and the Riverview Resaurant, according to guide and WON Staff Writer Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing.
ROGUE RIVER, Grants Pass to Shady Cove, Oregon
Flows are down to 1,200 cfs. The water is still cool, allowing anglers targeting sea-run cutthroat trout to catch fish on spinners and other small lures. Target where riffles meet the deeper pools.
We are settling into our summertime pattern with lots of river users during the day and into the evening, according to Scott Heemstra of Kings Sport & Tackle in Guerneville. Both of the recreational dams are up for the summer, those interested in targeting shad try below the Monte Rio riffle. Once the smallmouth settle into their new holding water expect action to pick up by targeting areas with lots of structure. There are still reports of the occasional striper being caught, so be ready for a large tug! Water flows are at 226 cfs with water temps in the low to mid 70's.
KLAMATH RIVER, Hornbrook
Flows at Iron Gate Dam are down to 1,020 cfs, perfect for trout and steelhead fishing. The salmon fly hatch took off last week above Iron Gate and with lower flows should be in full swing below the dam. Trout will also hit small plugs and worms fished behind divers.
KLAMATH RIVER, Happy Camp
Flows at Seiad Valley were 2,550 cfs on Sunday, down from 3,200 cfs a week ago. Flows near Orleans were 5,660 cfs, down from 8,110 cfs. The river is in good shape for trout and steelhead fishing.
KLAMATH RIVER, Klamath Glen
Spring salmon are being caught near Blake’s Riffle on spinners fished from anchored jet boats. The river is in the best conditions it has been the entire year. Flows Sunday were 10,000 cfs, down from 14,000 cfs a week ago. Guides are reporting one to four kings a day. Steelhead fishing is still slow. The Klamath is open to spring king salmon through Aug. 14.
Flows on the upper Trinity at Lewiston dropped from 2,560 cfs last week to 2,080 cfs over the weekend. The river is still high for spring salmon fishing, but some bank anglers hiking into the falls caught several fish last week. Flows at Douglas City were 2,340 cfs, while flows at Hoopa are 3,820 cfs, down from 4,950 cfs. The Trinity is open to salmon fishing through Aug. 31.
NORTH COAST LAKES
Bass fishing remains fair to good for anglers working the points of the lake with crank plugs and some surface plug action is also noted. Trout fishing has been slowed by the hot weather.
BLACK BUTTE LAKE
Hot weather kept most anglers at home this week. A few crappie and bass were caught in brushy areas.
The bite for numbers of bass has definitely turned on. Catching 20- to 40-plus fish for an outing is not out of reason. Bass are being caught on drop-shot worms, Senkos, crankbaits and jigs, and topwater action on poppers such as the full-sized Rico’s has also been working well. Crappie action remains pretty good on jigs and minnows off Redbud and Indian Beach rockpiles.
Fair bass fishing has been on tap here, on plastics worms, jigs and crank plugs, but no large fish catches reported.
Fishing remains on the slow side with few anglers on the water.
Plenty of quality largemouth and smallmouth are being caught by a variety of techniques. Early-morning risers can take advantage of that great topwater bite with walking baits, poppers and Buzzbaits in and around primary and secondary points. This is the best method to catch smallmouth to 2 pounds and largemouth to 6 pounds.
UPPER BLUE LAKES
Weather has been extremely hot, and very few anglers have been on the lake all week, with not much trout action found, said Art Cerini at The Narrows Resort.
FAR NORTH LAKES AND RIVER
Fishing has been generally tough this week for trout anglers. Slow trolling has produced some action.
Trout anglers are getting action on 12- to 14-inch rainbows on midges and damsel flies. Best action is near Hat Creek.
Trout fishing showed a big improvement with good catches of 12- to 14-inch rainbows being caught by anglers tossing Kastmaster lures or fishing with live nightcrawlers.
Trout fishing is very slow and the water temperature is up to 73.4 degrees. Guides report trolling lures down 3 to 6 colors of leadcore, but did not even get a strike all morning.
Weed growth is showing here and fishing is improving for fly anglers.
Trout fishing was hot for several days but cooled by the weekend. Lots of limits taken on flies, nightcrawlers and Power Baits.
Fishing remains slow.
Sections 4 and 5 still high and blown out for trout action, but there is still some action on No. 3, though it is high, too.
Bass fishing remains the best bet in the main body and upper areas of the lake. Fish are being taken on topwater lures and finesse plastics. Trout action is fair in deep waters of Digger Bay and in the dam area.
Bass fishing remains good off the points and the upper lake areas on cranks, plastic worms and jigs. Some good catches of king salmon are being made by trollers.
Kokanee salmon fishing remains good, but the fish have gone deeper, down to about 40 feet. Bass fishing is fair in brushy areas on cranks and plastic worms.
The summer doldrums have arrived with triple-digit temperatures keeping anglers away in droves. The trout have retreated to the deepest portions of the lake. The best action has been in the evening hours from the docks, but fishermen have to arrive before 10:00 p.m. in order to access the lake.
Recreational boating has taken over the lake with the extreme heat in the valley, and both marinas have been very busy with jet skis and water skiers. Fishing has taken a back seat to recreational users, although there are still planted rainbows holding in the deepest water in the lake near the dam. The lake jumped up to 94 percent.
Striped bass are the best bet with trollers working in the early morning hours to stay out of the brutal heat. Using live perch or bluegill at New Hogan is illegal, and rangers have been citing for this violation. There is no size restriction for striped bass with a 10-fish daily limit. The lake has dropped slightly to 76 percent.
Huge largemouth bass over 10 pounds have been landed on topwater lures such as the River2Sea Whopper Plopper, but these fish are few and far between. The most consistent bass action has been with plastics or jigs. Kokanee fishing is extremely slow with the occasional large fish taken on hoochies near the dam and spillway areas. The trout have gone deep in the water column with the hot temperatures, and most trollers continue to work between the two bridges with shad-patterned lures. Catfish and crappie are still possibilities, but the heat has been keeping fishermen off of the water until the early morning or evening hours. Fishing under lights is the best option for crappie and rainbow trout. The lake is high at 90 percent.
SIERRA LAKES AND RIVERS
Road to Blue Lakes was expected to be open earlier in the week.
Lake is so high there is no shore launching. Fishing is slow. A lot of water going in and out of Boca and may be the reason for tough fishing.
The resort is open and all launch ramps are in operation. Lake is filling and fishing has been so-so. A trout plant went in June 23 so that should help start the summer bite.
East Carson still unfishable. The West Carson is fishable and will received a trout plant this week and will get another one next week. Markleeville Creek will get identical treatment.
Very slow trout bite here. Best results come to those anchoring on the west side of the big island and baitfishing with Power Bait. Trolling is poor. Shore action is non-existent. Catfish to two pounds are plentiful in Catfish Cove and bass are attacking Rat-L-Traps or poppers off Eagle Point and Camp Five. Nothing larger than a pound or two, though.
Mackinaw fishing remains excellent for three to four-pounders. Kokanee fishing is very good early in the morning. Most are 11 to 11 1/2 inches. A few are 12 inches long. Guide Shaun Rainsbarger is pulling kokes from 53 feet deep, although graphing them as shallow as 30 feet. Pink is the hot color with tuna-scented white corn on the hook.
FEATHER RIVER (MIDDLE FORK)
Bounce nightcrawlers or cast Panther Martins for rainbows and browns. Don’t expect limits or size, but there is some action. Access from any of the bridges near Clio or Graeagle and walk a bit to find best action.
FEATHER RIVER (NORTH FORK)
River is in excellent shape but fishing has been poor. Better reports are up at Caribou Reservoir.
Guide Ed Dillard fished here every day last week and scored five to 10 trout per outing. The bite goes on and off through the day. Sometimes in the morning, sometimes in afternoon. The trout are within seven feet of the surface in the morning and then drop to 25 to 40 feet deep. Needlefish (rainbow trout or brown trout) or Dick Nite Brass Red Heads work well. Most trout are 15 to 17 inches long. Biggest was a 19-inch, 2-pound plus rainbow.
GOLD LAKES BASIN
Everything is open, but fishing has been a challenge. A 12-pound mack was caught at Gold Lake by an angler trolling a Tomic Lure 20 feet down in 40 feet of water. “It was long and skinny,” said Mark Tieslau from Mountain Hardware and Sports in Blairsden. “It’s slow there, but there’s a shot at big fish.” Action at the other basin lakes is slow. Only Sardine has had a plant and that was weeks ago.
Ice House Reservoir’s surface temperature is up to 69 degrees and guide Dale Daneman reported the fishing is slow for small trout. Most of the trout he caught in two trips last week were 10-inch planters. There is an occasional Mount Lassen Hatchery fish in the 18-inch range. All the fish he caught last week were in 10 to 30 feet of water with Sep’s brown grubs, with and without a dodger. Union Valley is reportedly slow. No word yet on Loon, which opened last week.
INDIAN CREEK RESERVOIR
Shore anglers use Power Bait or nightcrawlers to get trout. Attention will go to the West Carson and Markleeville Creek because they will get plants again, but this still has most of the two tons of trout that went in earlier in the spring.
JACKSON MEADOWS RESERVOIR
Road to Jackson Meadows is open and clear. No word on fishing success.
Mackinaw bite is best on the north end of the lake. Find macks off the shelf or on the bottom. They can be caught trolling, jigging or bouncing live bait. Lake is inches from maximum capacity.
Smallmouth bass are done spawning and are starting to feed aggressively again. Find them in the vicinity of the dam. Spinners, plastics will work.
Lake closed to cutthroat fishing as of Friday, June 30.
Fishing for kokanee is good but far from wide open. “You have to work for your fish,” said guide Marc Christophel. “If you are in an area of heavy pressure you will struggle. If you can find the fish away from pressure you will do pretty well.” On Sunday, Christophel limited on kokanee with three clients by noon. Trout fishing is slow.
River continues to run high and fast. Some are fishing caddis. San Juan worms also will work if you can find slow water.
Trollers are getting rainbow trout by pulling flashers/’crawlers near the bottom. This lake will be managed for cutthroat trout, but those plants have yet to be made.
WEST WALKER RIVER
Still very high, fast and murky.
DELTA, Sacramento side
Experienced fishermen out of McAvoy’s Boat Harbor in Bay Point are taking advantage of the right tides to use live splittail for a huge grade of striped bass in lower Suisun Bay. There is a debate as to whether the stripers are coming back into the Delta or on their way to the bay, but the fish are clean and bright like those in the ocean. Sturgeon fishing is best in Suisun Bay, but despite the ideal tides, there have been few anglers. Smallmouth bass are showing up in the north Delta sloughs with flies, plastics, or crankbaits.. Grass shrimp is once again available in selected bait shops.
DELTA, San Joaquin side
The largemouth bass bite has taken off again with frogs, Senkos, or topwater lures with the arrival of triple-digit temperatures. Several largemouth bass in excess of 9 pounds were landed during the weekend’s Yamamoto Big Bass Challenge on Senkos. The bass are oriented to moving water and shade, and punching the weeds is another solid option. Striped bass fishing has slowed, but a few linesides to 5 pounds can be taken on live bluegill in the south Delta. Fresh shad and grass shrimp is available in area bait shops. Bluegill are hugging the shaded docks in the sloughs.
Low water has made boating more difficult in the Feather, where striper fishing is quickly winding down. Anglers are still catching fish near the mouth of the Yuba, as well as Boyd’s Pump and Star Bend on cut sardines and swimbaits. Shad fishing remains good in the Yuba River, but is slow on the Feather.
Folsom Lake rose from 461.5 feet to 463 feet over the weekend and is 3 feet from full capacity. Brown’s Ravine, Rattlesnake Bar, Folsom Point and Granite Bay launches are open. The water temperature is 84 degrees. Boat traffic is heavy. Bank anglers are catching smallmouth, spotted and largemouth bass in crawfish as well as live minnows or nightcrawlers. Boaters are finding the largest bass near submerged wood piles, where drop-shot rigs are working best.
RANCHO SECO LAKE
Trout fishing has slowed.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Dunsmuir
Flows at the Delta gauge dropped to 598 cfs, down from 750 cfs. The river is in prime shape. Trout fishing is fair to good, with afternoon hatches for fly anglers. Spinners and spoons are working for gear anglers.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Redding to Red Bluff
Flows from Keswick Dam remained at 10,500 cfs. The section of river between Keswick and the Highway 44 bridge is now closed. Trout fishing has been good from Redding to Red Bluff, with the best fishing from the Highway 44 bridge to Anderson. The uppermost stretch is crowded. Small plugs are working very well, although with Glo Bugs, crickets and roe work well, too. Salmon season opens Aug. 1 between Anderson and Red Bluff.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Red Bluff to Colusa
Salmon season opens July 16. Striper fishing is slow. Some shad are still being caught near Red Bluff.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Verona to Colusa
Fishing for catfish has been good near Verona and Knight’s Landing. Striper fishing is best at Verona to the Airport Hole, and is slow near Colusa and Tisdale. Shad fishing also is slow. Salmon season opens July 16.
Guide Rustic Rob Reimers went scouting for kokanee last week and caught 17 kokes and lost just as many. “They are all over the lake, nothing big – 11 or 12 inches - but the perfect smoking size,” he said. Reimers used pink Brad’s Cut Plugs and found the fish 35 feet deep. Some were caught near the dam and others were caught on the way to the backside of the lake.
CAMP FAR WEST
There is too much weekend boat traffic for quality fishing, but during the week bass anglers are heading to the creek arm where cooler water is holding bass. One angler last week caught-and-released 16 bass in the 1- to 2-pound range with a spinnerbait. A 10-pound catfish was landed Saturday night from the shore along with five others weighing around 2 pounds. All were released and all were caught with nightcrawlers.
Catfish bite has started and anglers are able to pick them from all over the shoreline. Bass and crappie are in the submerged brush. Trout are deep.
The only success being had here is at first light. Once the sun hits the water the trout bite is done. That’s the word from Skippers Cove Marina.
FRENCH MEADOWS RESERVOIR
Trollers pulling Dodgers and nightcrawlers continue to get limits of rainbows to 15 inches.
HELL HOLE RESERVOIR
The scuttlebutt is the kokanee fishing is worth the two hour-plus drive. But the Forest Service Ranger hasn’t had any firsthand reports and the campground host didn’t arrive until last weekend. More to come.
Guide Rustic Rob has been out twice fishing for landlocked salmon and skunked twice. He said two of his acquaintances also have been out twice with no luck. This is usually a productive time, but nothing yet.
Fishing has slowed. With last week’s heat it was a party on the water with all sort of recreational craft. No anglers.
Largemouth bass fishing is very good here. There’s a morning topwater bite and an entertaining frog bite in the evening. In between you can throw Senkos or crankbaits near the grass.
The Bay Area fleet of party and charter boats stayed on the halibut and comments were made that this is the best halibut season in memory. Happy Hooker, California Dawn, Bass Tub, Lovely Martha, New Huck Finn and others merged on Berkeley Flats to fluster the flatties and bust the bass. Bass Tub had the big fish, a 30-pound halibut. Some of the boats including Happy Hooker and California Dawn caught bonus leopard sharks.
Good weekend weather brought out the anglers and the anticipated results were very heavy sacks of fish from Point Reyes and also reef zones north of town. Tomales Bay halibut gave anglers a week of catching as well as fishing, as that bite continued to improve. A few salmon were caught by moochers off of Elephant Rock. Surf fishing was good for perch and a few stripers. Crab season ended without much excitement as the crabbing was generally slow.
New Huck Finn had a high score of 23 halibut to 19 pounds plus 6 striped bass fishing Central Bay. So far there is no sign of the halibut bite slacking off. Sundance ran for salmon and made her landing proud with limits for all passengers. Professional boat crews believe the best of the salmon season is just getting started.
The California halibut bite went wild in the northern portion of Humboldt Bay and drifting live bait has been the hot technique. Finally over the weekend the weather calmed and boats could make the run to Cape Mendocino where they found famished lings and rockfish that bit like maniacs. Jetty and beach fishing was good for perch, cabezon, kelp greenling, rockfish and lingcod.
Fort Bragg anglers had to work protected spots inside Noyo Bay for the early part of the week, but then the weather laid down over the weekend and people fished all their favorite spots. Party boats like Bragg-n and Sea Hawk worked up the coast for heavy sacks and shore anglers fished hotspots like Mendocino Headlands and MacKerricher.
HALF MOON BAY
Rockfish and lingcod action heated up thanks to nicer sea conditions for boats like Queen of Hearts and Huli Cat which were able to make the trek to the Deep Reef area or fish down south. Salmon came aboard New Capt. Pete at about a fish per rod, fishing off on Montara. Striped bass smacked lures or chomped baits along beaches from below the Ritz to Mussel Rock.
It was a wild week of salmon fishing with Wacky Jacky slamming salmon at the Buoys and Point Reyes. Bass Tub scored nicely on halibut to 30 pounds, stripers and leopard sharks in Central Bay. Flash I worked live bait fishing for bass and halibut while Flash II fished sharks in South Bay. Lovely Martha fished Berkeley Flat and also posted nice counts of flatties and bass.