‘Salmon cannon’ gives fish a much-needed boost over dams
Here are the best places to fish in the Sacramento region, Northern California and beyond for the week of Aug. 28.
Flows remained at 3,530 cfs over the weekend. More salmon have arrived at the Wall. Jiggers are catching some kings between 12th Street and the railroad bridge. The salmon that were holding near Discovery Park have moved upstream, leading to slower fishing from Howe Avenue down.
Several guides fishing FlatFish plugs with sardine wraps reported limited at the Outlet last week as more fresh king salmon arrived. Anglers are also catching kings by trolling spinners near Boyd’s Pump. Last week produced the best salmon fishing so far this season. Resident stripers are hitting cut anchovies or nightcrawlers near the mouth of the Yuba River.
The striped bass boils are back on with the extended period of triple-digit heat, and as many as 50 boils have been seen throughout the lake in a single day. Swim flukes or Rat-L-Traps are the top baits for those chasing the boils. Largemouth bass are also getting on the boils, and they are mixed in with the striped bass. Recreational boating remains high on the weekends. The lake dropped to 67 percent.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Verona to Colusa
Half a dozen kings are being caught daily near Verona on spinners. Boats anchoring and running plugs are reporting slow fishing. Fishing for catfish has been wide open at Knight’s Landing, where chicken liver, sardines and anchovies are working well. Catfish also are biting near Verona.
The kokanee bite shows no sign of slowing and 13- to 15-inch kokes are filling out limits, according to guide James Netzel of Tight Lines Guide Service. Some go as large as 16 inches. Fish are moving throughout the lake so be prepared to move. Best action is early. Peach roe-colored hoochies or silver/orange Humdingers have been effective, said guide Marc Christophel.
NORTH COAST RIVER
CHETCO RIVER, Brookings
Fires have burned 100,000 acres along the Chetco and hundreds have been evacuated near here, with Miller Bar, Nook, Redwood Bar and the South Fork all within the burn area. Chetco River closed on North Bank and South Bank roads. Loeb Park and At Rivers Edge RV Park evacuated. Port of Brookings is open, access restricted to the river. Check ahead.
ROGUE RIVER, Gold Beach, Oregon
Cooling waters to 66 degrees allowed hundreds of salmon to move up the river, but more keep coming into the Rogue Bay and trollers keep finding success trolling the estuary. Water now back to 70 and fishing was good over the weekend with most guides scoring on multiple kings, according to guide Andy Martin. Some kings to 40 pounds caught.
ROGUE RIVER, Grants Pass, Oregon
Salmon fishing has been good this week with action posted from Gold Hill down through Taylor Canyon, reported guide Troy Whitaker from U-Save Tackle in Grants Pass. Fish are being caught on sardines with Kwikfish, back-bounced roe, sand shrimp, or a bobber with roe. Steelhead are falling for Brad's Wigglers, or K-9 and K-11 Kwikfish in black-and-gold, or pink-and-silver, in most Grants Pass areas of the river.
Things on the Russian are pretty much in late summer mode, according to Scott Heemstra of Kings Sport and Tackle in Guerneville. “Flows continue to hover around 120 cfs with temps in the upper 60's to low 70's, which I expect to change due to the hot weather. Got out a few times last week and each day seemed different. I went from only scratching a couple of pike minnows one evening to finding nice sized small and largemouth bass in almost every spot I hit. Best bet was a 3-inch olive leech pattern with a black head fished deep and often with fast strips. Gear fisherman should work the same deep structured water with watermelon Senkos or baby Brush Hogs or try crankbaits like Rebel Crawfish.”
KLAMATH RIVER, Hornbrook
Salmon season is now closed. Flows at Iron Gate Dam were 900 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 1,189 cfs, while flows at Orleans were 2,097 cfs. The river is in prime shape for trout fishing, although hot weather and thick smoke from several Siskiyou County fires have 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 3,345 cfs at Terwer, down from 3,480 cfs a week ago. Steelhead fishing has been good at Starwin, Cleveland and near Blue Creek.
Salmon fishing closed for the season Aug. 31. Steelhead fishing is open, and a few adult fish have been reported between Junction City and Lewiston. Halfpounders should arrive any time on the lower river near Hoopa. Flows over the weekend at Lewiston were 471 cfs. Flows at Douglas City were 516 cfs, while flows at Junction City were 486 cfs. Flows at Hoopa were 916 cfs.
NORTH COAST LAKES
Bass anglers are still experiencing some decent action with the typical early morning and late evening topwater bite using walking baits, poppers or Buzzbaits around the trees. All three species of bass––smallmouth, spotted and largemouth––are in the mix for topwater action. Trollers after trout are continuing to fill limits in the 14- to 20-inch range, targeting 30 to 45 feet of water, pulling a grab bag of shad offerings. Most trollers are using downriggers to get down while fishing from the mouth of Skiers Cove to the Big island.
BLACK BUTTE LAKE
Fishing remains slow with only a few bass and crappie being caught. Weather remains very hot.
Sheer numbers of bass are being caught in the 1- to 2-pound range. The bigger fish have remained elusive. Efforts have been towards using a drop-shot rig, lots of fish were being caught on a variety of crankbaits and most people fishing the lake seem to be using that fishing technique. There is also some good nighttime action reported for bass on frog lures and spinnerbaits. Crappie fishing remains fair in the Red Bud area.
Few reports available of successful bass fishing here.
Not many fishermen have been on the water, and the weather remains hot.
A few quality largemouth bass are being caught with a shad Chatterbait and LV500. Target the grass edges in the major creek arms of Cherry, Yorty and Dry creeks. Most of the bass are averaging 1 to 3 pounds. Trollers are still averaging 2 to 4 hookups a day for the landlocked steelhead or trout, working shad imitations in 25 to 35 feet of water. Most of the action is from the dam up to the No Ski buoys along the east shoreline of the main body.
UPPER BLUE LAKES
The fishing remains slow here with no recent trout plants made, and no reports of when they will resume. The weather has been hot––up to 103 degrees a few days!
FAR NORTH LAKES AND RIVER
Anglers continue to slow troll nightcrawlers and Gulp! baits, concentrating efforts around large balls of pond smelt. There are lots of smaller bass, salmon and rainbows being caught. Bank and the fly fishing pressure is light and will remain so until water temps start to drop.
Lots of limits of trout are being caught on baits and lures following regular plants from the local hatchery.
Trout fishing has been very slow lately and the weather has been hot.
Action remains on the slow side for trout anglers.
Trout fishing was slow last week.
Trout fishing has been very good with lots of limits being caught. Big trout of the week was a 6-pounder.
Areas 3 and 4 continue to produce the fair trout action for fly fishermen.
Some big rainbow and brown trout are down to about 110 feet, but best bites are coming from 90 to 95 feet on Mack's Lure Sling Blades with a Humdinger trailing on a 3-foot P-Line fluorocarbon leader. Trout are gorging on shad so any pattern that resembles a small shad will catch fish. Pro-Cure Gel Scents in shad or anchovy are helpful when looking for bites. Trolling 1.5-2.0 mph seems to work the best.
Smallmouth bass action is good on topwater plugs in the mornings off creek mouths, while trout anglers are scoring on trolled Apex lures and wiggle hoochies behind flashers on waters about 60 feet deep near the dam and main body.
Fishing is very good and kokanee to 18 inches are available. Lake is still full and the surface temps are holding steady at about 77 to 78 degrees, with 56-degree water at 30 feet. The lake water is in the 50's from 30 feet down beyond 100 feet. Best bites are at 60 to 65 feet. Run Mack's Lure Sling Blade and Double D 4-inch dodgers in UV blue/pearl. Also catch fish on Mack's Lure Wedding Rings, or hoochie rigs with a smile blade on top. Tip with garlic scented Pro-Cure shoepeg corn.
Holdover rainbows are possible for experienced trollers working shad-patterned spoons in the main river channel near the dam at depths from 40 to 45 feet. Coating the spoons with scent as well as running as fast as 3 mph. Bass fishing is best up the river arm for largemouths to 6 pounds with topwater lures in the early mornings or late afternoons. Recreational boating remains high, and it will stay high on the weekends through the Labor Day Weekend.
LAKE DON PEDRO
Bass fishing remains slow with the best opportunity at depths from 25 to 60 feet with Berserk’s Purple Hornet or brown/purple jigs along with the Pro Worm 300 on the drop-shot as the fish are oriented to the deep shad schools. The shad are small in the 1.5-inch range, and the bass are spitting up shad. There is a tremendous amount of bait in the water, and rainbow trout trolling has been fair at depths to 75 feet with shad-patterned spoons. Finding bait it the key to success for both species. The lake dropped to 90 percent.
Bass fishing has slowed with the fish going deep in the triple-digit temperatures. The water temperature has risen to 84 degrees, and the fish are found at depths from 25 to 60 feet with purple jigs or plastics on the drop-shot. Trout fishing remains very slow despite the high water levels. Water releases have started in earnest, and the lake is dropping rapidly. It is currently at 87 percent.
The bait scattered out this week in response to dropping water level, and the big trout moved into different locations in search of the baitfish. Big healthy rainbows are still available, but the bite slowed down. Trolling shad-patterned spoons at depths to 75 feet are producing the rainbows with the possibility of a holdover brown trout. Bass fishing is limited to a small grade of fish with plastics on the drop-shot, and staying with the schools is the key. The lake dropped to 86 percent.
Bimonthly trout plants from the Calaveras Trout Farm continue with three more plants scheduled through October. Trout fishing has been slow with most trollers targeting kokanee in the south end of the lake into the river arm with hoochies or wiggle hoochies at depths to 70 feet. Bass action has been hit or miss. The lake will close in early November until February 2018.
SIERRA LAKES AND RIVERS
Shaded inlets with cool, incoming water provide a chance at trout.
Both upper and lower Blue Lakes were planted last week and the lakes were heavily fished over the weekend, reported Todd Sodaro from Creekside Lodge in Markleeville. No reports on success rates.
With just two plants of small, DFW trout all summer, fishing has been a struggle. Trolling is slow. Best action is near Woods Creek or Emigrant Creek, according to Tim at Caples Lake Resort. Float tubers throwing large streamers are having success getting rainbows from inlets, according to Eric Meza of Tahoe Fly Fishing Outfitters.
East Fork is in very good shape and well-stocked. Salmon eggs, orange Power Bait, nightcrawlers and Panther Martins – in that order – have been most effective said Todd Sodaro from Creekside Lodge in Markleeville. Both the east and west forks will get large plants of trout next week prior to the Labor Day Weekend. There’s great dry fly fishing on the West Carson in the evening. Caddis, little yellow sallies and stoneflies are prolific, said Eric Meza of Tahoe Fly Fishing Outfitters.
A 4 1/2-pound brown was caught this week at Loon Lake, said Julie Siebert from Ice House Resort. Generally fishing has been slow at Loon. The boat ramp at Loon closes for repair after Labor Day Weekend. The trout bite at Ice House is picking up and trout are moving closer to the surface where trollers are picking the planters, Siebert said. She also said the kokanee action at Union Valley has picked up again now that the weather has cooled.
A 4-pound largemouth was caught last week from Catfish Cove with nightcrawlers. Lots of catfish in the 1- to 2-pound range are coming from Eagle Point, Fairview and Catfish Cove. Trout bite remains challenging, but they are shallow early before going deep by 9 a.m., said Jeannie Graham from J&J’s Grizzly Store.
Kokanee bite is productive for fish 10 to 12 1/2 inches. Be prepared to release a lot of small fish to get to the larger kokes. Mackinaw are feeding beneath the schools of kokanee, said guide Shaun Rainsbarger and most of the kokes have teeth marks. The Mackinaw bite has been tough. Use wounded baitfish imitations off the bottom, 85 to 120 feet deep. Mack’s are focused on the kokanee. Most of the Macks are 18 to 24 inches with a few larger fish to 4 pounds (and larger, of course).
FEATHER RIVER (Middle Fork)
Dry fly anglers starting in the evening at the bridge in Graeagle and walking either way cash in using little yellow sallies or parachute bluewing olives.
FEATHER RIVER (North Fork)
The river has favorable flows, no algae and enough planted trout to keep things interesting, said Mike Hanson from Caribou Crossroads Resort. “They did a good plant two weeks ago and there haven’t been many people, so it has lasted,” Hanson said. “We have been going through worms and salmon eggs like crazy. One guy caught a 4 pound rainbow but most are 12 to 14 inches.” Trout were planted at little North Fork, Ganser Bar and Queen Lily campgrounds.
GOLD LAKES BASIN
Troll with flashers and nightcrawlers around the Gold Lake Island for limits of planted rainbows, said Mark Tieslau from Mountain Hardware & Sports. Big fish are hard to come by and shore fishing is slow. Best shore spot is to the left of the boat ramp. Fishing at neighboring lakes has been slow, Tieslau said.
INDIAN CREEK RESERVOIR
There are plenty of trout here but not much pressure due to the heavily planted Carson forks.
Slow fishing continues. There have been no trout plants here this summer.
A few juvenile Mackinaw were caught last week by trollers, said Denise Cole from Sly Park Resort. Best action is for smallmouth bass. Use nightcrawlers toward the back of the lake or near the island. Not a great bite but it’s possible to catch three or four. Trout action is slow.
Mackinaw bite continues to be a grind for charter boat anglers. Fish are scattered from 120 feet to 400 feet and reluctant to bite. Kokanee have been willing for some, not all, said Zach Gordon of Tahoe Sportfishing. Gordon’s charters have been getting 30 to 50 kokanee per trip, ranging from 10 to 14 inches with an occasional 16 incher. Fish are 60 to 75 feet deep. Green over red and gold/copper have been effective colors. The bite stops when boat traffic grows in the fishing area.
Smallmouth are spread throughout the lake. Crawdad imitations work well. Some smallies are as large as 4 pounds but most are a pound.
Lake will open to cutthroat fishing on Oct. 1.
This lake received plants at the end of June and the end of July but there hasn’t been a positive report from here all season.
Large fish are getting scarce but pan-sized rainbows can be caught with dry flies in the evening. Caddis and little yellow sallies are out near dusk.
WEST WALKER RIVER
This is in ideal shape and fishing has been quite good. A 6-pound rainbow and a 5-pound brown were caught this week and weighed in at the Walker General Store. Both fell to Panther Martin spinners. River is in mid-June shape and promises a productive fall season.
SACRAMENTO RIVER side
Salmon action took an uptick in the Freeport area for those trolling Silvertron spinners, jigging spoons, or tossing Flying C spinners from the banks, but it remains slowed in lower Suisun Bay. Striped bass are holding up in the north Delta near Liberty Island, and the troll bite has been good despite the wind along the West Bank with both deep-diving P-Line Predator Minnows and shallow-diving Rat-L-Traps. Sturgeon are starting to make a push in Suisun Bay with oversized diamondbacks in deep water near the Carquinez Bridge. Smallmouth bass remain abundant in the upper river sloughs with deep-diving crankbaits or live minnows on the drop-shot. Grass shrimp is available in Suisun Bay bait shops, and live bullheads are going in and out rapidly in selected bait shops.
SAN JOAQUIN RIVER side
Largemouth bass remain the top species with a variety of baits, and the punch bite, Senkos, ima Rock N’Vibe suspend and spinnerbaits are all working for the bass. Tournament anglers are finding feast or famine with limits in excess of 20 pounds with most participants weighing in a limit. September 9 Bass Fest out of Russo’s Marina is the next big event on the Delta, and with the $50/team entry fee, angler participation is expected to be high. Live bait is working best for striped bass, but trollers are working either shallow or deep from the Antioch Bridge to the mouth of Three Mile Slough. Channel catfish are landed in the Old River or in Discovery Bay with fresh shad. Crappie are reported on live minnows out of Louis Park in Stockton, and fresh shad remains in area bait shops.
Folsom Lake is at 448 feet, down 2 feet from a week ago. Full pool is 466 feet. The lake is 50 feet higher than last year. The water temperature is 81 degrees. 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 before the water skiers arrive. Trollers are fishing 35 to 40 feet down with Speedy Shiners. Bass fishing remains good, although crowded conditions are making it tough for anglers. Catfish have been caught near Brown’s Ravine.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Dunsmuir
Flows at the Delta gauge are 270 cfs, down from 284 cfs last week. 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. The Barge Hole opened Aug. 1. Salmon fishing is still slow, but more kings are being caught daily on sardine-wrapped FlatFish. Many of the salmon are jacks. 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
A few guides fishing below Red Bluff reported new schools of salmon over the weekend, with some limiting out running FlatFish with sardine wraps early in the morning. Pressure has been light as anglers await more kings to move in from the ocean. September and early October should produce improved catch rates.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Sacramento
Trolling spinners near the mouth of the American River has been slow. Jiggers are catching more salmon now at Freeport. Fishing for catfish has improved at the Port of Sacramento.
There has been a steady trout bite on the Middle Fork from the water above the Rucky Chucky Road. Follow that dirt Forest Service Road to the river and go upstream. There have been regular limits of large rainbows coming out. Lure doesn’t matter, fish are willing, said Mike Cunningham of Will Fish Tackle in Auburn.
Kokanee bite continues to be strong. Customers of Will Fish Tackle in Auburn report limits of smallish kokanee. Some are approaching the spawn and gathering near the inlet. Smallmouth larger than 2 pounds also are being caught here with more frequency.
CAMP FAR WEST
This lake is still quite warm, with a surface temperature of 82 degrees. Spotted bass are being caught from deep water. “Ron” of Folsom last week caught 18 spots using bold bluegill or hologram shad Senkos. Some bass came from as deep as 60 feet. All from the main body of the Bear Creek Arm. Half of the catch were keepers, the other half juveniles. A shore angler using chicken liver had his line snapped by a 10-pound plus catfish. Mid-week boat traffic is light.
Water is warm, fishing pressure is light. Labor Day weekend promises crowds but fishing conditions haven’t changed much and the bite is slow for trout, catfish and bass. Surface temperature remains 80 degrees.
Very few boaters were on the water last week, said Lisa Rogers from Skipper’s Cove Marina. That will change this weekend and will make fishing a challenge. Once Labor Day passes, anglers get out on the water again. Surface temperature is 76 degrees at the Marina but much cooler up the lake where cold water comes in. Lake is 94 percent of capacity.
FRENCH MEADOWS RESERVOIR
Rainbow trout remain willing for those fishing in and near the inlet. Browns have been scarce but the quality of trout being caught has kept anglers satisfied. Trout to 24 inches are taking Kastmasters or Panther Martins from shore. Trollers need downriggers to reach action. Start at 30 feet and adjust until you find action.
Anglers are reporting easy limits of planted rainbows using Power Bait or nightcrawlers from shore, said Mike Cunningham of Will Fish Tackle in Auburn.
Lake continues to drop about a foot per day and is at 50 percent of capacity. Fishing conditions haven’t changed. One- to 2-pound spots chase topwater lures early and then bite tubes, jigs in deep water when the shade line disappears. A 6-pound largemouth last week was caught from shore by a local youngster.
There is fair action for smallmouth bass. Mike Cunningham of Will Fish Tackle in Auburn said the most effective way to get bass is to troll a Rapala jointed shad rap in crawdad colors 100 feet behind the boat. Target depths of 25 to 30 feet and skirt the shoreline. Most of the bass are 1 to 2 pounds. Trout bite is slow.
SCOTTS FLAT LAKE
Smallmouth bass can be caught with Senkos at Cascade near the overflow. Not a lot of numbers, but there is a chance at some action. An 18-inch rainbow was caught near the buoy line at the Marina from a sailboat. Noteworthy because so few trout have been caught this season. Surface temperature is near 70 degrees.
STUMPY MEADOWS RESERVOIR
Shore anglers struggle for action but those in boats can catch a fish or two per outing, said Pete Robinson from the Georgetown Ranger Stations.
Fluctuating water levels has made for an inconsistent bass bite. Incoming water cools the Afterbay and sends bass to warmer coves. When the water is held back from release and has a chance to warm, the action spreads. Frogs work in the coves and crankbaits also are effective.
Mixed options ruled the week and the Berkeley Fleet was in the midst of the action. California Dawn hammered the bass and pulled some halibut inside the Bay. Happy Hooker made mincemeat of the rockfish and lingcod outside the Gate. El Dorado and New Easy Rider fished salmon for a fish per rod to full limits. Jilly Sea worked the bottom at Duxbury for a fine mess of miscellaneous fish.
Salmon were active off of Ten Mile Beach and numerous boats were there, especially early in the week, to take advantage of the local bite. Rockfish and lingcod catches aboard New Sea Angler were impressive, not only because of their quantities (often limits) but also because of the quality. The boat ran some combo trips to send passengers home with very heavy sacks. Scott Heemstra of King’s Tackle caught a 12-pound striper in the surf on the Sonoma Coast.
Skippers from Fish Emeryville divvied up the duties and all came home successful. Sundance, New Salmon Queen and C-Gull II worked on salmon to 34 pounds. Sea Wolf and New Huck Finn fished for lingcod and rockfish, coming home daily with limits of rockfish and lingcod counts ranging from a fish per rod to limits.
For yet another week the California halibut bite in the northern part of Humboldt Bay continued to give fisherfolk plenty to do when the weather raged outside on the open ocean. On calmer days, boats such as Reel Steel blasted down the coast to load up on quality rockfish and lingcod.
Early in the week the salmon were on a tear up the coast near Cleone Reef, chewing up anchovies on the troll. A whopping 35 pounder was caught aboard Bragg-n. Later in the week the salmon bite softened but the lingcod and rockfish hardened, providing partyboat anglers and private boaters with plenty of good fish. Capt. Tuna ran 47 miles offshore Sunday for tuna and put 24 nice albies onboard.
HALF MOON BAY
Que Sera Sera posted limits of salmon, which were caught in good numbers between Mussel Rock and Thornton Beach where New Capt. Pete also caught fish. Huli Cat got into the salmon action as well and made runs down the coast to near Pigeon Point for heavy rockfish and lingcod from deeper spots. Queen of Hearts worked lings and rockfish at Deep Reef and points southward for limit quantities of impressive fish.
Flash boats worked successfully on bass in Central Bay or sharks in South Bay. Bass Tub mixed things up by fishing the Bay for bass and halibut and the Farallones for rockfish and lingcod. Wacky Jacky and Lovely Martha posted high counts of salmon from the Channel Buoys and other nearby spots. Nautilus hauled in salmon to 20 pounds.