Fishing Line

Best places to fish right now on Sacramento region waterways

Here are the best places to fish in the Sacramento region, Northern California and beyond for the week of Sept. 11.

TOP PICKS

AMERICAN RIVER

Flows are just over 3,500 cfs. A few salmon are being caught by anglers trolling spinners near Discovery Park. Salmon also have been reported at The Wall and Sailors Bar.

CARSON RIVER

The forks of the Carson will receive plants of 900 pounds each for the second consecutive week. Salmon eggs, nightcrawlers, small spinners all will do the trick. The West will get planted from the Blue Lakes Road to below the Highway 89 Bridge in Hope Valley.

DELTA REGION, Sacramento River

Salmon fishing from the shorelines is showing signs of life near Freeport with Flying C’s or in Suisun Bay at 1st Street or the Dillon Point State Park with Vee-Zee Spinners. Stripers are found in the west Delta from Collinsville to Broad Slough, and large linesides have been caught and released on big wooden plugs in the mornings. Smallmouth fishing remains good in Steamboat Slough and near Walnut Grove with large minnows or Robo Worms on the drop-shot. The Big Cut is the top location for sturgeon fishermen. Grass shrimp is available in Suisun Bay bait shops, and live bullheads are going in and out rapidly in selected bait shops with access to a shrimp boat.

DELTA REGION, San Joaquin River

Largemouth bass continue to be desiring cooler water and finding current and shade are keys to success. There is an excellent reaction bite with crankbaits, ripbaits, frogs, or spinnerbaits throughout the San Joaquin around the edges of weedlines or current. Finding staging areas between weeds is also important. Striper fishing is best from the Antioch Bridge towards Eddo’s Marina with both deep and shallow trolling lures. Salmon fishing continues to be slow from the Antioch and Pittsburg shorelines. Bluegill are thick in the sloughs in the south and east Delta. Big channel cats are found in the extreme south Delta and near Mossdale on the San Joaquin River. Fresh shad remains in area bait shops.

FEATHER RIVER

The Outlet Hole remains the best bet for salmon in the area, but it is crowded with hundreds of bank anglers and dozens of boaters. Fresh kings were observed over the weekend at Live Oak and Gridley. More kings are now being caught by trollers fishing spinners out of Boyd’s Pump. Striper fishing is fair in Boyd’s Pump and Shanghai Bend, with anchovies working best.

FOLSOM LAKE

Folsom Lake is at 443 feet, down another 3 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. Trout are being caught at first light before the waterskiers arrive. Bass fishing is fair. There is still a lot of boating pressure on weekends, but mid-week, anglers can find undisturbed waters for a few hours each morning.

LAKE PARDEE

2000 pounds of rainbow trout from Calaveras Trout Farm will be released into the lake on September 15 and 29 with the possibility of another plant in October. There is a possibility also of a Department of Fish and Wildlife plant in October. There are still kokanee to be had at depths from 48 to 55 feet with Apex lures or pink hoochies behind chrome and purple dodgers. Bass fishing is improving in the river are with blue/purple jigs, Senkos, or plastics on the drop-shot. The lake will close in early November until February 2018. The lake is at 94 percent.

NORTH COAST RIVER

CHETCO RIVER, Brookings

Salmon fishing remains slow in the Chetco River estuary. Access above tidewater is closed because of the Chetco Bar Fire.

ROGUE RIVER, Gold Beach, Oregon

Salmon fishing remains very good in the bay at Gold Beach, where guides continue to limit while trolling anchovies. A 44 pounder was caught late last week by a client of guide Bruce Craviotto. The water temperature at Agness is back to 72 degrees, which is causing the salmon to hold in the bay.

ROGUE RIVER, Grants Pass, Oregon

The Grants Pass area has been real good for both salmon and steelhead this week, said Troy Whitaker at U-Save Tackle in Grants Pass. The action has been pretty good all week with anglers drifting and back-trolling with Kwikfish, sardine wraps, and most enticers, in areas such as Baker to Whitehorse, Griffin Park and most traditional areas along the river.

RUSSIAN RIVER

Currently the Russian is flowing at 160 cfs with temps hovering in the low 70's. “ I got out on the water last week for a few hours and managed a handful of bass using the usual fly rig of deep sinking lines and streamer patterns,” said Scott Heemstra of Kings Sport and Tackle. “The gear guys have also been scoring some nice fish working soft plastics like tubes and crawfish patterns. The bite has picked up and the fish are getting ready for winter, which means feeding heavily! Some chinook salmon have been spotted moving though but keep in mind the Russian is closed to salmon fishing. Also a heads up as we only have the rest of the month to fish until ‘low flow’ regulations kick in on October 1st, which means unless the flow in the river is above 300 cfs the river is closed to fishing for ALL species. Consult your regulations manual for more information.

TRINITY/KLAMATH RIVER

KLAMATH RIVER, Hornbrook

Hot, smoky weather has kept steelhead anglers away. Salmon season is closed. The Klamath was flowing at 1,140 cfs over the weekend up from 996 cfs the week before. As the salmon begin spawning in October, steelhead fishing will improve as the fish feast on salmon eggs, with good fishing expected between the Fish Hook and Klamathon Bridge.

KLAMATH RIVER, Happy Camp

Salmon season is closed. Flows Sunday at Seiad Valley were 1,420 cfs, while flows at Orleans were 2,150 cfs. Hot weather and smoke from forest fires has kept steelhead anglers away.

KLAMATH RIVER, Klamath Glen

The river is now closed to salmon fishing, but remains open to summer steelhead fishing. Steelhead are spread throughout the lower river. Flows were 3,270 cfs over the weekend at Terwer, up from 2,957 cfs a week ago.

TRINITY RIVER

Salmon fishing is closed. Fires have kept steelhead anglers away. Flows Sunday at Lewiston were 452 cfs, while flows at Junction City were 475 cfs. Flows at Hoopa were 847 cfs.

NORTH COAST LAKES

LAKE BERRYESSA

Look to the deeper water to hold some decent numbers of spotted and smallmouth bass in the south end of the lake. Trollers are continuing to find some trout action in 35 to 50 feet of water for trout to 18 inches. Grubs, Kokanee bugs and small shad imitations continue to be the top producers.

BLACK BUTTE LAKE

Fishing has remained slow for bass and crappie anglers.

CLEAR LAKE

Bass fishing is holding a fair to good pace with the best action being reported on the many rockpiles in mid-lake areas. The fish are still mostly in the 2- and 3-pound range, but a 10 pounder was bagged in a bass tournament.

LAKE MENDOCINO

Bass fishing is fair on jigs and plastic worms, but some good topwater action has also been reported with fish up to 3 pounds caught.

LAKE PILLSBURY

Fishing remains slow with few anglers on the water due to hot weather.

LAKE SONOMA

Warm surface temps in the high 70's, clear water and high sun, have the bite toughened up for bass anglers as they have to drop down to deeper waters. Fishing worms, Senkos or jigs in and around the standing timber is producing some fish to 3 pounds.

UPPER BLUE LAKES

Fishing remains slow here and lake officials are still waiting for trout plants to resume. Only carp are presently being caught by a few anglers.

FAR NORTH LAKES AND RIVER

LAKE ALMANOR

Slow trolling with nightcrawlers and/or Gulp! baits has been catching lots of smaller fish (rainbows and salmon) mixed in with a few larger bow’s up to 4 pounds.

BAUM LAKE

Good numbers of planted trout are being caught by both bait anglers. and fly fishermen.

BUCKS LAKE

Trout fishing remains poor, according to marina officials.

EAGLE LAKE

Trout fishing is still on the slow side.

FALL RIVER

Fly fishing remains very good.

HAT CREEK

Fly fishermen continue to post good catches.

LEWISTON LAKE

Trout fishing remains good with lots of quick limits caught by bait anglers near the marina and trollers in the dam area.

PIT RIVER

Area #3 remains good for fly fishermen, but areas 4 and 5 remain at high water levels with slow fishing.

SHASTA LAKE

Trout fishing has been good for trollers with flashers and pin minnows fished 20 to 30 feet deep. Bass fishing remains fair to good off the points on topwater plugs and most other rigs.

TRINITY LAKE

Very little action was reported this week with several brush fires in the area keeping most anglers off the lake.

WHISKEYTOWN LAKE

The Whiskey Creek arm has had the best kokanee action in the 50-foot range. The surface temperatures in the lake are sitting around 75 degrees. Pink or orange Spin-N-Glo rigs are getting bites, which is typical for this time of the year.

MOTHERLODE

LAKE AMADOR

Trout plants should start by the middle of October once the water temperatures cool, but for now, it is all about catfish, bluegill, and crappie at this low elevation reservoir. Night fishing has been best for the whiskerfish with chicken livers, nightcrawlers, or shad.

LAKE CAMANCHE

The bass bite is best up the river arm with topwater lures in the early mornings before switching to crankbaits at mid-range or plastics on the drop-shot on the bottom once the sun hits the water. Trout fishing is best either up the river arm as far as possible or near the dam at depths to 80 feet. Catfishing is improving at night with the fish moving into the shorelines. The lake is at 84 percent.

LAKE DON PEDRO

The bass and trout bite has slowed over the past few weeks as water releases continue. The bass are suspending at depths to 60 feet, and finesse presentations are working best. Trout trolling has been slow with the vast amount of bait in the lake. Finding bait it the key to success for both species. The lake dropped to 86 percent.

NEW HOGAN

Striped bass boils continue to excite fishermen, and small swimbaits or swimjigs are producing numerous stripers and largemouth bass participating in the process of chasing bait on the surface. Largemouth bass are chasing shad along the shorelines. Shore fishermen are scoring striped bass with anchovies or sardines in the evenings. The lake dropped to 64 percent. Watch for rattlesnakes.

LAKE MCSWAIN

Another 1500 pounds of rainbow trout were released into the lake this week for a total of 3000 pounds over the past two weeks. Shore fishermen are finding good action for the plants with trout dough bait, inflated nightcrawlers, or gold Kastmasters from the Brush Pile, Handicapped Docks, and the marina. The Merced Irrigation District annual fall trout derby is on October 7.

NEW MELONES

Large rainbow trout are attracting trollers to the deepest parts of the main lake with rainbows to 5 pounds hitting various shad-patterned lures as deep as 75 feet. Bass fishing has been hit or miss with great action on crankbaits one day before the reaction bite slows the following day. There is a brief window for topwater lures in the early mornings along with a solid finesse bite with Senkos or plastics on the drop-shot. Catfishing is good with cut baits or live minnows with Glory Hole Sports holding their annual month-long tournament from October 1 to November.

SIERRA LAKES AND RIVERS

BOCA RESERVOIR

Slow here.

BLUE LAKES

Reports of decent action here for planted trout.

CAPLES LAKE

Daily rain last week plus mild temps have been a relief for anglers from the valley. Trout plant last week improved prospects. Planters were reported caught at the spillway and trollers with flashers/nightcrawlers were able to pick fish from Emigrant Cove and Woods Creek. Guests at the Caples Lake Resort caught two rainbows weighing 4 pounds from the shore near the cabins.

CRYSTAL BASIN

The water temperature at Ice House has dropped to the mid-60s and small trout are willing to bite just about anything offered. A group of anglers last week trolled and boats reported plenty of fish but few larger than 11 inches. Fish hit naked grubs, Needlefish, or fire tiger spinners tipped with nightcrawlers.

DAVIS LAKE

The surface temperature has dropped to 72 degrees but needs further cooling to ignite slow trout action. Go early and go deep to have a shot at trout. Bass and catfish remain active from Lightning Tree to Fairview.

DONNER LAKE

Kokanee are plentiful and available all over the lake. Macks are starting to gather in China Cove and a few Macks last week were caught from shore.

FEATHER RIVER (Middle Fork)

Run un-weighted nightcrawlers through moving water for a shot at pansized rainbows. Dry flies can work in the evening.

GOLD LAKES BASIN

Snag Lake may be the best option in the basin, said Mark Tieslau from Mountain Hardware and Sports in Blairsden. Fish early from the shore at Gold Lake in the vicinity of the boat ramp for planted trout. Salmon Lake puts out trout early. Sardine Lake action has been slow.

JENKINSON LAKE

Short smallmouth can be caught with nightcrawlers or plastics, but don’t expect numbers.

LAKE TAHOE

Mack bite is up-or-down, but some larger than 10 pounds were caught last week. Kokanee are starting to turn but half are silver. Bite is on the south end for kokanee. Rainbows are in the shallows on the north side and guide Chuck Self is finding them from Dollar Point to Crystal Bay Point. He expects the action to improve as boat traffic diminishes.

PROSSER RESERVOIR

Smallmouth are worth pursuing along the face of the dam and in the creek arms.

PYRAMID LAKE

Lake will open to cutthroat fishing on Oct. 1.

STAMPEDE RESERVOIR

Kokanee are starting to school and some are starting to turn, but action should be good through the month. Pink continues to be the top color and tuna scent applied to the shoe peg corn is better than garlic.

TRUCKEE RIVER

Best fishing is downstream from the Boca Outlet. Nymph during the day and take advantage of dry fly hatches in the evening. A cold front predicted for next week may bring out October caddis.

WEBBER LAKE

Get down 20 to 30 feet for holdover rainbows 14 to 16 inches long and cutthroat trout. Needlefish, Dodger/flashers with nightcrawlers or big woolly buggers on a sinking tip can get trout. Action has been decent.

WEST WALKER RIVER

Excellent water conditions and a good trout bite here. Fly anglers can nymph while bait anglers can score with salmon eggs, nightcrawlers or Power Eggs. Small Panther Martins also are effective.

SACRAMENTO VALLEY

SACRAMENTO RIVER, Dunsmuir

Flows at the Delta gauge are 260 cfs, unchanged from last week. The river is in prime shape. Trout fishing is good, with afternoon hatches for fly anglers.

SACRAMENTO RIVER, Redding to Red Bluff

Flows from Keswick Dam dropped to 8,980 cfs. Salmon fishing has improved at the Barge Hole, where anglers are using FlatFish to catch kings at first light and then roe later in the day. Some guides are limiting, with a mix of mostly jacks and small adults. Trout fishing has 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

More salmon are moving through the Colusa area on their way to the upper river near Red Bluff and Anderson. Pressure remains light as most anglers are either fishing the Feather or the Barge Hole upstream.

SACRAMENTO RIVER, Sacramento

Salmon fishing remains slow, although anglers using jigs are having success at the Minnow Hole and Freeport.

SACRAMENTO RIVER, Verona to Colusa

Kings are being caught daily on spinners trolled near Verona, while some salmon also are being caught on FlatFish plugs. More salmon have been reported between Tisdale and Ward’s.

NORTHERN FOOTHILLS

AMERICAN RIVER

Craig Newton of Will Fish Tackle in Auburn said both the North Fork and Middle Fork are producing good trout fishing. The water is clear so a careful presentation is required.

BULLARDS BAR

With the waning kokanee bite it’s time to wait for the winter spotted bass bite.

CAMP FAR WEST

Weekend boat traffic remains heavy although not summer peak. Water is warm and the few fishing are reporting very small bass. And to get those it requires going very deep. Lake is just under 50 percent of capacity – better than it has been in years so the expectations are high for a strong fall bite.

COLLINS LAKE

Fishing remains slow but not as slow as the past few weeks. A few bass to three pounds, a few catfish – the largest five pounds - and even a few trout were caught last week. Water temp hasn’t been taken in three weeks but estimates are high 70s. Lake is 17 feet from full.

ENGLEBRIGHT RESERVOIR

With recreational boats gone, the water is open to anglers. No direct reports last week. Trout bite can be good where the river enters the lakes. Fall bite usually is very good here.

FRENCH MEADOWS RESERVOIR

A family of anglers fishing through the previous week’s heat wave reported good action on rainbows and browns to 14 inches while deep trolling. Craig Newton of Will Fish Tackle said his customer told him he enjoyed fast action trolling orange fire tiger Needlefish 40 to 50 feet deep. They even hooked a few doubles. Neither browns or rainbows were larger than 15 inches.

LAKE OROVILLE

Lake is dropping a foot per day and is down to 44 percent of capacity. Surface temp last week was steady at 80 degrees. Lime Saddle Marina has another three weeks or so before the water is too low for launching. Topwater in the morning and then shift to lipless crankbaits, tubes or Senkos later. Fish are 10 feet below the surface.

SCOTTS FLAT LAKE

Lake was busy last weekend, but mainly with swimmers and skiers, said Jim Caldwell of the Nevada Irrigation District. The few who were fishing were able to get smallmouth bass from 1 to 2 1/2-pounds using nightcrawlers near the Cascade shoreline. No trout reported caught.

STUMPY MEADOWS

Fishing has been slow but it’s possible to catch trout with a boat using Power Bait in deep water. Shore fishing has been slow according to the camp hosts.

THERMALITO AFTERBAY

With all the cold water being pumped from the lake through the Afterbay to both draw down the lake for repairs and draw the fall run up the Feather, the bass bite has become an afternoon/evening affair. Find warm water and use crankbaits or jigs on the rocks and Senkos or frogs in the tules. Plenty of 2- and 3-pound bass are being caught and some have been able to hook 4s and 5s. There’s a topwater bite in the evening. “It takes a little more work now than it has been but you can still catch them,” said Jamie Sorenson of North Valley Tackle in Oroville.

NORTH SALTWATER

BERKELEY

Salmon fishing was wide-open on Wednesday and good on other days. El Dorado, New El Dorado III and New Easy Rider from Berkeley Charter boats worked salmon. Rockfish, lingcod, bass, halibut and sharks kept a number of boats busy including Happy Hooker, California Dawn, Ms. Marin, Sea Wolf and Golden Eye 2000.

BODEGA BAY

Salmon and rockfish both bit enthusiastically. Ten Mile Beach was the undisputed hotspot for salmon up to the 20s. New Sea Angler put her passengers on some excellent lingcod and rockfish action, also adding some salmon on a combo trip. Fort Ross and Point Reyes were both highly productive for the bottom fish.

EMERYVILLE

Sea Wolf fished the Farallones all week and returned with daily limits of rockfish and good lingcod counts. Sundance pulled limits of salmon at mid-week. C Gull II and New Salmon Queen also got out after the salmon, scoring between a fish per rod and limits.

EUREKA

Albacore fishing was wild, with high counts and a range of sizes. The tuna bit trolled jigs behind Redwood Coast Spreader Bars and on the slide it was Flatfall jigs, swimbaits and live anchovies. Pacific halibut season was closed Sunday, but before it closed, WON Field Reporter Lonnie Dollarhide caught his personal best, an 81.5-pound beast aboard Reel Steel. California halibut kept right on biting inside Humboldt Bay for boaters drifting or slow-trolling live anchovies.

FORT BRAGG

Albacore showed up and the weather cooperated, which resulted in private boat catch counts ranging from 10 to 50 fish, ranging in size from peanuts to fish in their 20s. Salmon were another possibility and the bite was close-by and pretty darned good. Rockfish and lingcod were also good, but with tuna and salmon available the groundfish were given a bit of a break. Shore anglers caught cabezon and lingcod at the Old Mill.

HALF MOON BAY

Rockfish and lingcod counts were up and the size was excellent thanks to plenty of deep water structure available this season due to easing of depth restrictions. Hot spots utilized by Queen of Hearts and Huli Cat were Deep Reef, Pescadero and Pigeon Point. Salmon were very active and the best area was right out in front of the harbor. Private boats and Huli Cat hit the salmon less than a minute outside the harbor.

SAN FRANCISCO

Salmon were successfully targeted and counts ranged from under a fish per rod all the way to full limits aboard Fisherman’s Wharf boats Wacky Jacky, Lovely Martha and Bass Tub, all of which found the fish close by and ranging from the mid-teens to high 20s. Duxbury was the spot where most of the whopper list salmon came from.

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