Fishing for striped bass an adventure amid controversy
Here are the best places to fish in the Sacramento region, Northern California and beyond for the week of Aug. 14.
CARSON RIVER (East, West)
The East and West were stocked by Alpine County this past week with 1,800 pounds of rainbows from 10 inches to five pounds, 900 pounds in each. The fishing was great and water conditions were fantastic because of the heavy winter snowpack. Alpine County will stock the rivers 6 more times this season.
DELTA: Sacramento River
The big news is the arrival of striped bass in the Sacramento River-Delta, and experienced trollers have been catching and releasing linesides to 12 pounds with deep-diving lures along the West Bank. The fish are moving quickly through the system, and they are usually not in the same location the next day. Salmon fishing remains slow, but a few fish are caught near the Freeport Bridge and off of First Street and the Dillon Point State Park in Suisun Bay. Sturgeon and striped bass are starting to show up as well, and live grass shrimp has been the trick. In addition to an abundance of live grass shrimp, bullheads are starting to trickle in to area bait shops. Striped bass can be found along the Benicia shoreline with grass shrimp. Smallmouth bass fishing is solid in the sloughs of the north Delta with deep-diving crankbaits, wacky-rigged Senkos, or plastics on the drop-shot are working.
HALF MOON BAY
Big smiles all around the fleet were worn steadily in celebration of the best salmon season in memory. Party boats like New Capt. Pete, Queen of Hearts and Huli Cat managed limits and private boats were back in early (in some cases after being off the dock for just 2 hours) with limits of salmon. Queen of Hearts and Huli Cat also worked on lingcod and rockfish at Deep Reef, with large-scale results.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Sacramento
Trolling spinners near the mouth of the American River has been producing a handful of kings each morning. Jiggers are catching more salmon now at Freeport. With big numbers of kings being caught out of the Golden Gate, fresh kings are expected anytime in the Sacramento River. Striper fishing is slow, but fish are still being caught at Bright Beach.
NORTH COAST RIVER
ROGUE RIVER, Gold Beach, Oregon
Wide open, fast king salmon fishing in the estuary for trollers, as river temperatures are 74, keeping the salmon in the estuary, where guide are putting limits of king salmon in the boats almost daily, and everyone is catching fish. “Best fishing in decades” were the comments from longtime sources.
ROGUE RIVER, Grants Pass to Shady Cove, Oregon
Salmon fishing got a little tough this week, but more fish are expected to move up this week, according to Troy Whitaker, guide/owner at U-Save Tackle in Grants Pass. Best catches have still been on sardine or tuna wrapped Kwikfish. Also try back bouncing roe and sardine wrap. More steelhead are showing now, with action on Panther Martin spinners in black/gold No. 9 or No. 15 sizes. Back troll the small lures in pink and silver colors or in black. A huge run of kings is holding in the estuary with high river temps, so when the water cools and the kings move, they will hit this area hard.
Standard summer action here with all smallmouth and catfish action limited to early and late before the water users hit the river, which disrupts the fishing action.
KLAMATH RIVER, Hornbrook
Salmon season is now closed. Flows at Iron Gate Dam were 996 cfs over the weekend, down slightly from 1,030 cfs the week before. Conditions are prime for trout and steelhead, but hot, smoky weather has limited effort. Fly anglers are doing well with caddis patterns. Bait anglers are running nightcrawlers behind divers or running 3.0 and 2.5 MagLip plugs.
KLAMATH RIVER, Happy Camp
Flows Sunday at Seiad Valley were 1,310 cfs, while flows at Orleans were 2,210 cfs. The river is in prime shape for trout fishing, although hot weather has limited effort to the early morning hours. Salmon season is now closed.
KLAMATH RIVER, Klamath Glen
The river is now closed to salmon fishing, but remains open to summer steelhead fishing. Flows are down to 3,480 cfs at Terwer, down from 3,802 cfs a week ago. Steelhead fishing has been fair at Starwin, Cleveland and near Blue Creek, but improved compared to previous weeks. Conditions are now prime.
The river remains open to salmon fishing through the end of August. Flows Sunday at Lewiston were 435 cfs over the weekend, down from 650 cfs the week before. The river is now down to normal summer flows. Flows were 629 cfs at Douglas City, 606 cfs at Junction City, and 1,070 cfs at Hoopa. Guides running MagLip plugs or roe from driftboaters are catching springers from Steel Bridge to Junction City. Salmon will now hold in the deeper holes as the river is at a steady summer flow.
NORTH COAST LAKES
Bass fishing has been only slow to fair, with not much action really reported. A few catfish catches were made this week on cut baits.
BLACK BUTTE LAKE
Bass fishing has been fair on 4-inch plastic worms in the Buckhorn area. Bluegill fishing is fair in the Eagle Pass area, but crappie fishing has been on the slow side.
Bass fishing remains good for most anglers, who are catching 50 or more bass on most outings. Rodman Slough has been one of the better areas. Crappie action is still fair off the Red Bud area, but not much action is posted on catfish.
Not much action reported from here last week.
Fishing here remains very slow.
Bass fishing has slowed a little, but some fish are being taken on jigs down to 25 feet deep. Catfish action is fair on chicken liver fished under the bridge. A few landlocked salmon are caught on trolled lures.
UPPER BLUE LAKES
Fishing remains on the slow side; most activity on the lake is for swimmers.
FAR NORTH LAKES AND RIVER
Rainbows averaging 3 to 4 pounds were common, but a 7-plus-pound rainbow topped catches. Slow trolling with nightcrawlers has been the preferred method for trout with or without dodgers, in water between 40 to 55 feet deep.
Trout fishing is good with frequent stocking. Fly anglers are scoring well with midges.
Action slowed a little this week on small mackinaw for trollers down about 35 feet deep, but kokanee action remains fair on trolled flashers and pink-colored lures also down 30 to 35 feet deep.
Fishing remains on the slow side with anglers getting only a few scattered trout.
Trout fishing remains fair to good for fly anglers.
Warm weather has evening hatches for fly fishermen.
Trout fishing remains good with anglers using purple Power Baits or trolling a flasher/worm combo.
Section 3 still has pretty good fly fishing, but sections 3 & 4 are still slow due to high water levels.
Bass fishing continues to be good on deep-diving plugs, drop-shot rigs and wacky-rigged plugs and plastics. Most bass catches are made in waters 10 to 20 feet deep with the better bass in the 3- and 4-pound range. Trout are being caught on trolled lures at 20 to 40 feet deep in the main body of the lake.
Anglers are trolling pink or orange colored lures to bag their limits of kokanee along the east shoreline and also deep-trolled lures in the main body of the lake. Bass fishing remains steady at the upper part of Trinity Lake, while action is also fair for trout at the lower end of the lake.
Kokanee are starting to group up in the Whiskey Creek arm. Fishing has been really good from the Hwy. 299 bridge back into the Whiskey Creek Arm.
Bass fishing has been solid with jigs or plastics for largemouth bass to 9 pounds. 17 boats participated in the Moonlight Classic a few weeks back with a winning weight of 34.32 pounds with a big fish at 9.36 pounds. Crappie can be found along the shorelines with live minnows or mini-jigs while catfishing is good with nightcrawlers or cut baits. Trout have vamoosed to the deeper part of the lake, but they will emerge once the water cools in the fall.
The trout bite continues to be solid for those willing to put up with the recreational boating, and the triangle from Big Hat, Little Hat, and the dam along with upriver near Lancha Plana are the top areas. The rainbows can be found at depths from 35 to 35 feet with Speedy Shiners in purple/nickel or copper/red coated with scent. Bass fishing is best with Senkos or brown/purple jigs at depths from 12 to 15 feet along with medium-diving crankbaits in shad patterns. Bouncing the crankbaits off of the rocks is the best technique. Catfishing has been slow. Recreational boating is heavy during weekends and even on weekdays with the triple-digit weather. The lake dropped slightly to 88 percent.
LAKE DON PEDRO
Trout fishing continues to be excellent with shad-patterned spoons coated with scent at depths from 35 to 65 feet in the main lake, according to guide Monte Smith of Gold Country Sport Fishing. Rainbows to 4 pounds are possible, and the fish are actively feeding on the shad schools. Bass fishing is also solid with wake baits early in the morning for the largest grade of fish before throwing topwater lures such as the River2Sea’s Rover or Zara Spooks. By mid-morning, working the bottom with Berserk’s brown/purple jigs or Pro Worms in 124 p or 300 is the best technique at depths to 50 feet. The lake dropped to 95 percent.
Striped bass action has been excellent with topwater lures or swimjigs in the boils. The stripers are holding up for several hours of boiling in the early mornings and late evenings, and when one boils stops, another one starts nearby. Boaters are getting savvy and not charging full bore into the boils. The lake dropped to 69 percent.
Bass action is solid with wakebaits in the early mornings before switching to brown/purple jigs or plastics on the drop-shot at depths to 50 feet. Using light line along with light weights is a key to getting to the deeper zone for bass, and with the dropping water, the fish are schooling up and suspending. The lake has dropped to 91 percent.
Bass fishing has been excellent for numbers, but the larger fish have been less active with the dropping water levels and hot surface temperatures to 84 degrees. Plastics on the drop-shot are the best technique for numbers, and along with the few quality spots and largemouth bass to 4 pounds, there are numerous 8- to 12-inch bass. The fish are schooling up in specific areas, and main lake points or island tops are the top locations. The reaction bite remains slow with the warm water. Trout trolling has been good for big fish to 4 pounds but locating numbers of rainbows has been a challenge. Kokanee gear is still pulling in rainbows at depths from 60 to 80 feet, but shad-patterned lures in the 4-inch range could be even more effective. The lake dropped to 87 percent.
Bimonthly trout plants from the Calaveras Trout Farm are scheduled for the next two months with one additional plant in October. Planted rainbows can be found in the south end of the lake and up the river arm along with the occasional big kokanee. Fewer anglers are targeting kokanee, but the trout bite should remain consistent until the lake closes for the season in November. Bass fishing is best up the river arm with jigs, Senkos, or plastics on the drop-shot. The lake dropped to 95 percent.
SIERRA LAKES AND RIVERS
Upper Blue Lake and Lower Blue Lake are scheduled for DFW trout plants this week.
Upper Blue Lake and Lower Blue Lake are scheduled for DFW trout plants this week.
The lake is at 97-percent capacity. Joe Voss at Caples Lake Resort reported that trout fishing was good at the Wood’s Creek and Emigrant Creek inlets, and at the spillway. Trollers were looking for bigger fish in deeper water, but bites were far and few between. The DFW and EID have both stocked the lake. The resort will stay open until October.
The lake is at 91-percent capacity. In a word, trout fishing was SLOW! Jeanne Graham at J&J Grizzly Store recommended fishing for small bass, panfish and bullheads north of Camp 5—a great place for the kids. Bass to 4 pounds were hitting from Lightning Tree to Mosquito. Mark Tieslau at Mountain Hardware and Sports in Blairsden reported one of his friends was catching some 15- to 18-inch rainbows between Camp 5 and the dam trolling Dick Nite spoons at 11 to 15 feet deep.
The lake is at 94-percent capacity. Brian Nylund at Mountain Hardware and Sports reported a few macks and 10- to 12-inch kokanee were hitting for trollers, but action was hit-or-miss. The public docks were producing a few rainbows on Power Bait.
FEATHER RIVER CANYON
Mike Hanson at Caribou Crossroads Resort reported trout fishing in the North Fork was good for DFW rainbows running 12 to 14 inches using worms and salmon eggs.
The lake is at 91-percent capacity. Ed Dillard at Dillard Guided Fishing reported a good bite for limits of 15- to 18-inch rainbows using No. 1 copper/red and chrome/red Dick Nite spoons at 35 to 40 feet deep. Get out early and troll from the Narrows to the dam or out in front of the Frenchman ramp.
GOLD LAKES BASIN
Gold Lake is scheduled for a DFW trout plant next week. Mark Tieslau at Mountain Hardware and Sports reported fishing was slow throughout the basin. With Gold Lake getting planted, fishing should improve near the boat ramp until the fish disperse.
ICE HOUSE RESERVOIR
The lake is at 78-percent capacity.
INDIAN CREEK RESERVOIR
Alpine County stocked the lake with 3600 pounds of trout in June due to the high flows in the Carson River. This was the last plant the lake will receive this year. Fishing was best very early and very late in the day when the sun was off the water.
The lake is at 78-percent capacity. Jim Caldwell at NID reported some big rainbows and browns were caught this past week. A 5-pound rainbow and 7- and 9-pound browns were caught by trollers probing deep water near the dam. Other than the few lunkers, fishing overall was slow.
The lake is at 91-percent capacity. Lots of DFW minnows being caught from shore on Power Bait and worms.
Fallen Leaf Lake is scheduled for a DFW trout plant this week. Trolling for macks was hit-or-miss all week and the best bite was during the first hour or so in the morning before sunrise. Chuck Self reported working hard for fish to 10 pounds. He was getting 5 to 8 bites in the first hour but after sunrise fishing was a struggle. Mike Nielsen at Tahoe Topliners reported the same at the south end—the best action was very early then it got very tough. He was catching limits of 2 to 5 pounders and a few kokanee. Zach Gordon at Tahoe Sportfishing reported decent kokanee action but it slowed dramatically as the pressure increased—from 50 a trip to 10!! Macks were hitting mooched live bait along the west side at 180 to 220 feet.
The lake is at 81-percent capacity.
The lake is at 73-percent capacity. Smallmouth bass fishing was good at the dam for shore anglers and boaters. A local caught a 5-pound smallie from a boat—the fish usually run 1 1/2 to 2 pounds. A few rainbows were hitting at the Prosser Creek inlet.
Caples Lake Resort reported the trout fishing was good at the dam using worms and salmon eggs.
The lake is at 92-percent capacity. Caples Lake Resort reported fishing was slow.
The lake is at 98-percent capacity. The kokanee bite was still strong with limits of 14- to 15 1/2-inch fish coming in by noon for full boat charters according to Brett Brady at Bare Bones Guide Service. Paulina Tackle micro hoochies in pink, purple, and green and Uncle Larry’s Mad Cow and Mad Irishman spinners tipped with tuna oil soaked corn at 35 to 45 feet deep in front of the ramp, at the island, and Jay’s Cove worked best.
Smallmouth bass fishing was the only thing going with little happening with the trout.
Brian Nylund at Mountain Hardware and Sports reports fishing was good in the faster water early and late in the day or on overcast days, but slow mid-day when it was hotter. PMD’s, yellow stones were working in the evening as were black caddis, while golden stones were good all day. Try crayfish patterns with molting craws more prevalent.
UNION VALLEY RESERVOIR
The lake is at 94-percent capacity. There was a decent rainbow bite with some kokanee showing for trollers.
WEST WALKER RIVER
The Little Walker River and West Walker at Pickel Meadows are scheduled for DFW trout plants this week. With weekly DFW plants and Mono County and the Northern Mono County Chamber of Commerce stocking last week, the week before, and this week, the fishing is GREAT!! The County and Chamber plants consist mostly of rainbows 1 to 3 pounders with 400 pounds of 6 to 9 pounders coming this week.
SAN JOAQUIN RIVER side
Bass fishing continues to take center stage, and with the specialty tournaments over, anglers are using a variety of techniques for the largemouth. Numbers can be taken on the bottom with plastics while there is a solid topwater bite in the early mornings and evenings. Striped bass are moving into the system, and trollers are starting to get in on the action along with those soaking fresh shad. The shad have been available on a daily basis in Stockton-area bait shops. A few salmon have been caught off of Humphrey’s Pier on Flying C’s. Catfishing is best in the San Joaquin near Bacon Island or Inland Roads with fresh shad.
Flows remained at 3,520 cfs over the weekend. Anglers are catching salmon trolling spinners near the mouth of the American, where the water is cooler than the Sacramento River. The best fishing is first thing in the morning. A few kings have been caught on spinners near Sailor Bar. Jiggers are catching some kings between 12th Street and the railroad bridge. A few stripers were reported last week by anglers using crawfish.
A handful of salmon are being caught each morning by anglers running plugs at the Outlet, as well as trolling spinners at Boyd’s Pump and Shanghai Bend. The largest school of salmon, fewer than 100 fish, is holding at the Outlet. Striper fishing is slow.
Folsom Lake is at 453 feet, down 2 feet from a week ago. Full pool is 466 feet. The water temperature is 81 degrees. Most of the woody debris has been removed. Brown’s Ravine, Rattlesnake Bar, Folsom Point and Granite Bay launches are open. Boat traffic is heavy. A few trout are being caught by trollers fishing early in the morning. Bass fishing remains good. Catfish have been caught near Brown’s Ravine.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Dunsmuir
Flows at the Delta gauge are 302 cfs. The river is in prime shape. Trout fishing is good, with afternoon hatches for fly anglers. Caddis patterns are working well. Spinners and spoons are working for gear anglers.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Redding to Red Bluff
Flows from Keswick Dam remained at 10,400 cfs, where they have been running since June. The Barge Hole opened Aug. 1 with slow fishing. Anglers are waiting for bigger numbers of kings to arrive. Trout fishing re-opened between Keswick Dam and the Highway 44 bridge. Fishing has been good, although the best action for bigger fish is still from the Posse Grounds downstream.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Red Bluff to Colusa
Salmon fishing remains slow. Pressure has been light as anglers await more kings to move in from the ocean.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Verona to Colusa
Fishing for catfish has been wide open at Knight’s Landing, where chicken liver, sardines and anchovies are working well. A few stripers are being caught at night’s Landing. Salmon fishing has been slow.
Flows were normal, but the water was very clear and trout fishing was tough.
The lake is at 82-percent capacity. Brett Brady at Bare Bones Guide Service reported good kokanee fishing for limits of 10- to 12 1/2-inch fish. The kokes were hitting Uncle Larry spinners behind dodgers at 45 to 55 feet deep in the shade line outside the houseboats near the marina and dam.
CAMP FAR WEST
The lake was at 70- to 75-percent capacity. North Shore Resort reported one angler caught 8 bass to 4 pounds on buzzbaits across from the campgrounds. Get out during the week or early in the morning on weekends to avoid the heavy recreational boat traffic.
The lake is 13 feet from full. Trout fishing was very slow with the rainbows below 40 feet deep. Catfishing was very good at night with fish to 10 pounds weighed in this past week. The rental dock, Beach, and Bridge areas were producing the cats on a variety of baits.
The lake is at 97-percent capacity. A few brown trout were caught in the cooler water at the confluence of the North Fork Yuba and South Fork Yuba on the upper end of the lake. Some rainbows were caught from the houseboats moored across from the marina on nightcrawlers.
FRENCH MEADOWS RESERVOIR
The lake is at 76-percent capacity. Will Fish Tackle in Auburn reported trout fishing was slow here though a few rainbows were being caught trolling near the dam.
HELL HOLE RESERVOIR
The lake is at 80-percent capacity. The Georgetown Ranger Station reported access to the lake was closed from Georgetown. The only way to get to the lake was from Foresthill past French Meadows. The boaters making the trip were picking up some nice kokanee and a few small macks.
The lake is at 55-percent capacity. The lake was dropping a foot per day and the fish were moving into deeper water off the points and steep walls. Guide Ron Gandolfi reported half-day trips were producing 25- to 35-fish on topwater and worms, tubes, jigs, and Senkos. The topwater bite was best on Whopper Ploppers very early in the morning. The fish were moving down to 30 feet deep after the sun hit the water. Weekend recreational bait traffic was very heavy. The DWR plans on lowering the lake to 670 feet. The Spillway ramp will be closed indefinitely; the Loafer Creek ramp and parking will be expanded; Lime Saddle ramp will be extended and parking expanded.
The lake is at 91-percent capacity. Ryan Drake at NID reported decent bass and trout fishing in the cooler water at the Bear River inlet. The main lake was overrun with recreational boat traffic, so get out early in the morning on weekends, or better yet during the week.
SCOTTS FLAT LAKE
The lake is at 88-percent capacity. Jim Caldwell at NID reported good numbers of 2- to 3-pound smallmouth bass were hitting worms and jigs at Cascade Shores. Trout fishing was slower.
STUMPY MEADOWS RESERVOIR
The lake is at 95-percent capacity. The Georgetown Ranger Station reported the campgrounds were full and reservations were necessary to get a site. Trollers were catching 12- to 14-inch rainbows in deeper water with the warm weather.
The lake was at 134.1-foot elevation—82-percent capacity. Bruce Gibson at the Paradise Tackle Company reported bass action for fish to 6 1/2 pounds was good around the sparse tules using swimjigs in perch or bluegill, or punching the grass beds with a brown/orange jig. Smaller bass were hitting small swimbaits along the rocks.
Happy Hooker and California Dawn put together some darned impressive rockfish and lingcod scores at the Farallon Islands and along the Marin Coast. New El Dorado III, El Dorado and New Easy Rider focused entirely on salmon and usually scored limits or close to it.
Salmon were caught off Bodega Head, Bird Rock, Elephant Rock and Ten Mile Beach. New Sea Angler found voracious lingcod down off of Point Reyes and caught individual fish up to 21 pounds, along with full limits of rockfish. Some combined sacks weighed as much as 65 pounds.
Emeryville boats scattered and chased whatever target species the customers wanted. Some like Sundance scored limits of salmon, which ranged from barely legal on up to 18 pounds, some went for rockfish and lingcod and there were halibut/bass trips inside the Bay.
Pacific halibut chomped some baits for Eureka boaters on calmer days and fish to nearly 50 pounds were taken locally. California halibut kept up the pace inside Humboldt Bay where skiff and kayak anglers drifted live baits and put some nice flatties aboard. Jetty fishers did well on perch, rockies and kelp greenling. Table Bluff saw some fun action on red tail surf perch.
Close-by rockfish and lingcod action saved the day on rougher days because party boats and private boats could make quick runs to spots like Cleone and score impressive counts before ducking back inside. Shore fishers had great catches of lings, rockfish, cabezon and kelp greenling at Old Mill. A couple of PBers made it out after albacore and did catch a handful.
Fisherman’s Wharf boats, Wacky Jacky, Bass Tub, Lovely Martha and Nautilus went after salmon in a meaningful way, scoring limits and often returning early. Flash Fishing boats fished rockfish and lingcod or tied into sharks in South Bay. Bass Tub’s Capt. Erik Anfinson was involved in a rescue operation that saved 10 people who were in the water after their private boat ran aground on Alcatraz.