Fishing Line

Trout fishing improves, salmon sluggish in parts of Sacramento region

Anglers flock to 'combat fishing' zone in Oroville

Every year, fall-run Chinook salmon run up the Feather River to spawn. Near the end of their journey, they congregate in an oxygen-rich deep pool fed with water from the Thermalito Afterbay, a small reservoir below Oroville Dam. Here, anglers gath
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Every year, fall-run Chinook salmon run up the Feather River to spawn. Near the end of their journey, they congregate in an oxygen-rich deep pool fed with water from the Thermalito Afterbay, a small reservoir below Oroville Dam. Here, anglers gath

Here are the best places to fish in the Sacramento region, Northern California and beyond for the week of Sept. 25.

TOP PICKS

CAPLES LAKE

Trout fishing has greatly improved here with shore anglers cashing in on planted rainbows and occasional holdovers. Fly fishers walking the shore and casting are reporting solid action, too. Nightcrawlers have been the most productive bait. Trollers targeting large fish have had less success, but planted trout just under the surface are more than willing to bite.

CARSON RIVER

The East Carson last Thursday received a plant of 1,800 pounds of trout, 75 percent of which weighed 2 to 6 pounds. A cold front moved in that evening, dropping the water temp more than 10 degrees, resulting in a sluggish bite. The trout planted by the state were more than willing to bite, but the recently planted big trout were lethargic, said Todd Sodaro from Creekside Lodge in Markleeville. Warming weather this week should change that. There will be at least two more plants in the East and West Carson between now and the end of October.

FEATHER RIVER

Steelhead are being caught in the Low Flow area. Salmon fishing has been very good at the Outlet, where conditions are crowded, but big numbers of salmon are leading to limits for boaters fishing roe and bank anglers tossing spinners or drifting beads. Fresh schools of fish are arriving daily. Some kings are being caught on plugs or roe in the Gridley area. A few stripers are showing in the catch at Boyd’s Pump.

LAKE PARDEE

The final trout plant of the season occurred on September 29 with 2000 pounds of rainbow trout from Calaveras Trout Farm to be released at the launch ramp. The rainbows are moving quickly into the main lake. There still are a few kokanee found at depths from 100 to 140 feet at the mouth of the river arm, but the fish are turning red and moving upriver for the spawn. Bass fishing is best in the river arm with a variety of plastics or crankbaits. The Pardee Recreation Company is selling off assets unneeded by the new concessionaires. The lake will close in early November until February 2018. The lake is at 94 percent.

SACRAMENTO RIVER, Sacramento

Trollers reported their best success so far this season last week between Miller Park and Garcia Bend. Water temperatures dropped from 70 degrees to 62 degrees, causing fresh salmon to hold up instead of blasting upriver. Jiggers are catching a few salmon at Freeport and the Minnow Hole.

NORTH COAST RIVER

CHETCO RIVER, Brookings

Jacks and a few adult kings have been caught in the estuary along the jetties. Last week's rain brought more salmon into the tidewater near Social Security Bar. The Chetco Bar Fire is 90-percent contained and access has been re-opened to the lower Chetco.

COOS RIVER, Coos Bay, Oregon

Salmon fishing is fair, with guides reporting a fish per rod last week.

ROGUE RIVER, Gold Beach, Oregon

After a couple of slow days last week because of rain, salmon fishing improved again over the weekend, with a couple of fish in the 45-pound range caught in the bay. Anglers are calling the salmon action the best since the 1980s. Summer steelhead fishing has improved near Agness.

ROGUE RIVER, Grants Pass, Oregon

Gold Hill downriver past Galice remains a very good area with lots of salmon being caught, reported guide Troy Whitaker at U-Save Tackle in Grants Pass. “There are lots of fish in there and they are being caught on Kwikfish with a sardine wrap, or back-bounced roe or large wobbling lures,” he said. Bank fishermen are also scoring from the traditional banking areas along the river, using beads or Corkies. Steelhead fishing has been good on No. 15 Panther Martin spinners in black or gold, or small wobbling plugs.

RUSSIAN RIVER

Black bass fishing continues to be hot with lots of action in the entire river. “I have seen pictures of some nice largemouth to 4 pounds and fat football smallies to a couple of pounds,” said Scott Heemstra of Kings Sport & Tackle in Guerneville. “Water temps have dropped with the cooler longer nights. Daily fluctuations are in the low to mid 60's with flows hovering around 150 cfs. The mouth of the river remains closed and water levels are high with backed up water all the way to Vacation Beach. Low Flow closure begins on Sunday October 1, so get out while the getting is good.”

SMITH RIVER

Last week's rain drew more jacks into the Bailey Hole area. Low flow closures take effect Oct. 1.

TRINITY/KLAMATH RIVER

KLAMATH RIVER, Hornbrook

The river is closed to salmon fishing, just as the first fall kings would be arriving below Iron Gate Dam. Trout and steelhead fishing is good, although smoke has kept many anglers away. Flows over the weekend at Iron Gate Dam were 1,199 cfs. More than 500 salmon have been counted in the Shasta River, including 90 fish last week. A total of three salmon have been counted at Bogus Creek below the hatchery.

KLAMATH RIVER, Happy Camp

Salmon season is closed. Flows Sunday at Seiad Valley were 1,499 cfs, while flows at Orleans were 2,168 cfs. Fresh steelhead have been staging near the mouth of the Trinity River.

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 and fishing has been good for native and hatchery adult and halfpounder steelhead. Flows were 3,363 cfs over the weekend at Terwer, up from 3,060 cfs a week ago.

TRINITY RIVER

Salmon fishing is closed. Fresh steelhead are stacking up at the mouth of the Trinity. Flows over the weekend at Lewiston Dam were 485 cfs. Flows at Douglas City were 504 cfs, while flows at Junction City were 473 cfs. Flows at Cedar Flat were 616 cfs. Flows at Hoopa were 884 cfs.

NORTH COAST LAKES

LAKE BERRYESSA

Some smallmouth and spotted bass are being caught on jigs, but overall action has been on the slow side.

BLACK BUTTE LAKE

Few fishermen on hand with fishing rated slow by park rangers.

CLEAR LAKE

Bass fishing slowed down last week, but a couple of up-coming bass tournaments could see more reports coming in.

LAKE MENDOCINO

Only a few bass anglers out and they found slow fishing.

LAKE PILLSBURY

Fishing remains slow with few anglers on the water.

LAKE SONOMA

Bass fishing has been fair on jigs and drop-shot rigs fished 15 to 20 feet deep in the Yorty area.

UPPER BLUE LAKES

Still not much action here with lake officials waiting for trout plants to resume.

FAR NORTH LAKES AND RIVER

LAKE ALMANOR

Cooler weather is settling in and fishing is a little tougher now. Target the popular areas of Peninsula, Rec #1 &2, Big Springs, Hamilton Branch and the East Shore. Bank fishermen are picking up fish at Hamilton Branch and there were a few fish caught at Geritol. Floating nightcrawlers, eggs, Power Bait or crickets are all good choices.

BAUM LAKE

Trout fishing remains good following plants from the nearby hatchery.

BUCKS LAKE

Fishing has been slow, but this week showed a few signs of improving.

EAGLE LAKE

Trout fishing is starting to pick up a little on trolled lures.

FALL RIVER

Trout fishing remains fair for fly fishermen.

HAT CREEK

Fly anglers continue to find fair action.

LEWISTON LAKE

Trout fishing remains very good with most anglers posting limits of trout on Power Baits and trolled red or gold spoons-type lures.

LAKE MENDOCINO

Jigs and plastic worms produced some bass action, and a few fish are rising to topwater plugs.

MCCLOUD RESERVOIR

It’s easy limits of trout at McCloud Reservoir, said guide Scott Caldwell of SC Guide Service. A Sep's Dodger and worm is all you need. Head out from the ramp and start catching. Last trip he stopped at 41 fish, but could have caught another easy.

PIT RIVER

Area #3 remains the best area for fly fishermen, but areas 4 and 5 are still too high for any trout catches.

SHASTA LAKE

Bass fishermen are finding action off most points and submerged islands at depths from 20 to 40 feet, on jigs, crankbaits and plastic worms. Whopper Stopper lures have been very effective. Trout are still being taken on trolled spoons and flashers fished in waters 70 to 80 feet deep. The best action has been in the Shasta and McCloud arms of the big lake. Some kokanee also are being caught in these areas.

TRINITY LAKE

Few anglers have been on the water with most avoiding the lake during recent brush fires. There are more hunters than fishermen out in the field.

WHISKEYTOWN LAKE

The kokanee bite is pretty much over for the year, said guide Keith Kerrigan. He has been jigging for them in the Whiskey Creek arm, using small buzz bombs that he has painted in kokanee colors. Not a great jig bite but fun to do. The kokes are now starting to turn.

MOTHERLODE

LAKE AMADOR

Trout plants are still a month or so away, but there will be Donaldson trout from the Lake Amador fish hatchery released along with plants from Mt. Lassen Hatchery this winter. Catfish, bluegill, and bass remain the top species with the whiskerfish taken with chicken livers, nightcrawlers, or cut baits in the coves with the best action in the evenings from dusk until the following morning. Jumbo bluegill are biting red worms or jumbo red worms in the coves near structure.

LAKE CAMANCHE

Bass fishing is improving in the main lake over island tops with structure or main lake points with topwater lures in the early mornings before switching to ripbaits and finally plastics on a heavy splitshot or drop-shot. Trout are still to be found in the deepest part of the lake at depths from 35 to 45 feet with Speedy Shiners or similar spoons on a fast-troll. Catfishing is solid in the evenings with cut baits, nightcrawlers, or chicken livers. The lake is at 83 percent.

DON PEDRO

Bass fishing has been on the slow side, but it should improve with the coming of cooler water temperatures. There is a small window for topwater lures before working the bottom at depths to 30 feet with Berserk’s Purple Hornet jigs or the Pro Worm Pro Gold 300 on a shakey head. The fish are holding on the bottom and not suspending at the present time. Finding bait is the key to success for both species. Few trout fishermen are targeting the lake, but with the abundant shad schools, the rainbows are holding around the shad balls.

LAKE MCCLURE

Bass fishing is slow with a small window for topwater lures before working the bottom at depths to 30 feet with Berserk’s Purple Hornet jigs or the Pro Worm’s Pro Gold 300 on a shakey head at depths from 17 to 30 feet. Catfishing is best along muddy, sloping banks with anchovies, nightcrawlers, mackerel, or jumbo minnows. No reports of trout, kokanee, or salmon. The lake is at 77 percent.

LAKE MCSWAIN

Trout fishing was slow over the past weekend due to the annual remote plane event at the lake. The trout bite improved with the total plant of 3000 pounds planted getting ready for the October 7-8 annual Lake McSwain trout derby hosted by the Merced Irrigation Company. Registration for the event will close on October 5 or earlier if 200 boats or 500 participants are registered prior to this date. The entry fee is $15.00/individual and $35.00 for a family of 2 adults and 3 children, and it will be limited to the first 200 boats or 500 entrants.

NEW HOGAN

The striped bass bite has slowed with the cooler temperatures, and with the opening of squirrel and deer seasons, fewer fishermen are targeting the lake. The lake will celebrate National Public Lands Day with a single-day volunteer effort on Saturday, September 30 from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the lake’s park headquarters.

NEW MELONES

Large rainbow trout to 5 pounds remain the story, but there have been few trollers targeting the species. Bass fishing is set to break out with the abundant shad schools, but the water still needs to stabilize both in temperature and level. There is a brief window for topwater lures in the early mornings. Catfishing is good with cut baits or live minnows with Glory Hole Sports holding their annual month-long tournament from November 1 to November 30. The lake dropped slightly to 84 percent.

SIERRA LAKES AND RIVERS

ALPINE LAKE

Alpine County Fish & Game this week is putting in 1,800 pounds of rainbow trout.

BLUE LAKES

Upper and lower Blue Lakes were planted last week by DFW.

BOCA RESERVOIR

Trout fishing has improved, especially in the morning along the dam and near the inlet.

CRYSTAL BASIN

Planted trout at Ice House Lake are near the surface and available to trollers and bank fishermen. The boat launch is closed at Loon Lake. Kokanee are finished at Union Valley.

DAVIS LAKE

Water temp on the north end was measured at 57 degrees last Friday, a drop of 13 degrees from the previous week. The sudden temperature changed has yet to make a positive impact on fishing. But a slight warming trend this week may do the trick. A troller on Friday caught two 18 inchers with a small Rapala. Both trout had minnows inside. He was fishing three colors between the dam and Honker.

DONNER LAKE

Kokanee schools are abundant, although a 13-inch fish is nearly a trophy. Kokes are silver and not showing signs of spawning. Mack bite is fair for 3- to 5-pound fish but there are far larger lake trout here for those who target them with larger lures below the kokanee schools. Shore fishing for rainbows has been fair.

FRENCHMAN LAKE

Cold nights should make fishing better throughout the day instead of just a morning event. Turkey Point has been the top spot for shoreline anglers to get trout 14 to 18 inches long. Nightcrawlers and nightcrawler/egg combos work well.

GOLD LAKES BASIN

Few reports last week but the cold weather should be turning over the lakes. “The browns in Gold Lake should be starting to cruise the shallows,” said Mark Tieslau of Mountain Hardware & Sports in Blairsden. Trolling with plugs along the shoreline in 20 feet of water may result in big trout.

HEENAN LAKE

Snow on Thursday night-Friday morning kept a lot of anglers away. Although this cutthroat trout in this lake typically respond well to cold weather, the sudden change resulted in a slow bite to the few anglers who ventured up last weekend. The lake closes to fishing at the end of October.

JACKSON MEADOWS

The first trout plant of the season went in last week, but that wasn’t enough to attract anglers out given the skimpy quality of planted trout.

JENKINSON LAKE

Fishing for trout has taken a significant upswing as a few limits came out of the back of the Narrows where the creek enters the lake. Highlight of the week was an 8-pound bass caught by Mike Faber, Sr. of Pollock Pines, who was throwing a Bad Shad swimbait. Faber later transitioned to Power Bait and caught a limit of trout, too. The trout were all in the 10- to 12-inch range, said Karen Ward from Sly Park Resort.

LAKE TAHOE

Tough weather last week with wind, cold and snow. Macks are in various stages of spawning but the bite has been good on both the south and north ends. Kokanee bite is rapidly fading.

PROSSER RESERVOIR

Trout fishing remains fair but last week’s cold snap turned off the smallmouth bass bite.

PYRAMID LAKE

Lake opens to fishing on Sunday, Oct. 1. Lake is more than 10 feet higher than last year. Surface temps are in the low 70s. Conditions are ripe for a strong season and cutthroats over 20 pounds are always caught here every year.

STAMPEDE RESERVOIR

Kokanee bite was inconsistent last week. Whether that was because of a dramatic temperature swing or that the fish are turning to spawn will be determined this week.

TOPAZ LAKE

Lake closes to fishing on Sept. 30. It will re-open Jan. 1.

TRUCKEE RIVER

Water temperature last week dropped six to eight degrees and that put the bite off for a few days, said Brian Nylund from Mountain Hardware and Sports in Truckee. By Saturday the trout had acclimated and the fishing became very good. “It’s a timing thing,” Nylund said. “You have to fish a good pattern at the right time and getting a good drift is essential to getting fish.” Nylund said it’s a nymphing game given the lack of surface activity.

WEBBER LAKE

Fishing in the shallows near the weed lines was productive for those employing leech patterns. Boaters use small Needlefish or Dick Nites off the shelf.

WEST WALKER RIVER

Recent rain and snow has dirtied the water a bit. Very little angling pressure here. There are more deer hunters in the area than anglers.

DELTA REGION

SACRAMENTO RIVER

Salmon fishing continues to improve in the north Delta from Clarksburg to the Freeport Bridge, and it is also showing signs of life in Suisun Bay near Benicia. The salmon are starting to hold in the river longer in response to cooler water temperatures. Striped bass are moving rapidly, and the best locations appear to be along the West Bank north to Liberty Island for trollers pulling both deep and shallow diving lures along with casting topwater lures or glide baits in shallow water. Smallmouth fishing has slowed down with the colder water temperatures, but they are still holding along the rocks in Steamboat Slough and near Walnut Grove with large minnows or Robo Worms on the drop-shot. Grass shrimp is available in Suisun Bay bait shops, and live bullheads continue to be very popular at shops with shrimp boat access.

SAN JOAQUIN RIVER

Largemouth bass are the top species, but salmon are making a determined showing off of Humphrey’s Pier in Antioch. As many as 28 salmon have been landed in one day off of the pier with Vee-Zee or Flying C spinners, and there have been several days with more than 20 fish taken within the past week. Striped bass are scattered throughout the system, and there are loads of small undersized fish in the San Joaquin and Mokelumne Rivers. Largemouth bass are oriented to vibrating baits with the cooler water temperatures. Fresh shad are available most days in Stockton-area bait shops. Bluegill are abundant in the south Delta sloughs with red worms or jumbo red worms.

SACRAMENTO VALLEY

AMERICAN RIVER

Flows are just over 3,470 cfs. A few salmon are being caught at the Wall. Fishing has been slow at Sailors Bar, as the salmon there appear to have moved on. Fishing also is slow at Discovery Park.

FOLSOM LAKE

Folsom Lake is at 438 feet, down 3 feet from a week ago. Full pool is 466 feet. The water temperature is 72 degrees. Brown’s Ravine, Rattlesnake Bar, Folsom Point and Granite Bay launches are open. Trout fishing is slow. Bass anglers are doing well form shore at Rattlesnake Bar, where they are throwing Senkos and other plastics and catching mainly smallmouths, but also some largemouth and spotted bass.

SACRAMENTO RIVER, Dunsmuir

Flows at the Delta gauge remain 256 cfs. 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 are 8,970 cfs. Salmon fishing is good at the Barge Hole, but the majority of the fish are jacks. Some kings are being caught in the canyon below the Barge Hole. FlatFish plugs with sardine wraps are working well. Trout fishing is fair in the Redding area, but expected to bust open again in October as salmon begin spawning.

SACRAMENTO RIVER, Red Bluff to Colusa

More kings arrived in the Woodson Bridge area last week. Sardine-wrapped FlatFish plugs have been working best at first light, while drifting roe also is taking kings. Guides are reporting a fish per rod.

SACRAMENTO RIVER, Verona to Colusa

Trolling spinners has been working best for kings in the Verona area, while some fish also are being taken on M2 FlatFish in the mornings. Fishing for catfish remains good at Knight’s Landing and fair to good near Verona.

NORTHERN FOOTHILLS

CAMP FAR WEST

Surface temperatures have dropped six degrees in a week to 74 degrees. Bass bite remains slow. Ron Franks of Folsom caught only 8 bass on his weekly outing and most were small. He used bold bluegill and oxblood Senkos in 8 to 10 feet of water. He fished both the Rock Creek arm and Bear River arm. Lake is 45 percent of capacity and the launch ramp is in the water.

COLLINS LAKE

Water temp dropped another four degrees to 73 degrees. Trout remain scarce but catfish, bass and crappie prospects have been good. Best fish last week was a 9 1/4-pound cat caught with a nightcrawler/salmon egg combo in Boat Dock Cove. Trout plants are scheduled for mid-October.

ENGLEBRIGHT RESERVOIR

Rainbow trout and spotted bass were reported caught last weekend, said Lisa Rogers at Skipper’s Cove Marina. The trout were taking pink, garlic-scented Power Bait in the Boston Bar area while bass in the 3- to 4-pound class were landed in Keystone Cove. Plastic worms did the trick on the bass. Lake is 96 percent of capacity.

FRENCH MEADOWS RESERVOIR

It’s generally slow here but anglers can scratch out a few rainbows from deep water, said Craig Newton of Will Fish Tackle in Auburn. “Fishing should get better as the weather cools,” Newton said.

FULLER LAKE

Lake was planted last week.

LAKE OROVILLE

Lake is 40 percent full and the water temp ranges from the high 60s to low 70s. Lake continues to drop a foot per day, that gives the Lime Saddle launch ramp another two weeks before it closes and moves all launching to Bidwell Marina. With lake dropping fish will be concentrating and become easier to locate during the fall bite.

ROLLINS LAKE

Cold weather late in the week snapped a solid bass bite. Action dropped dramatically since Thursday.

SCOTTS FLAT LAKE

Little fishing pressure here. Weekend recreational activity rules the water.

STUMPY MEADOWS

Very little pressure here last week.

THERMALITO AFTERBAY

Cold water translates to slow bass fishing. Bass can be caught using crankbaits along the rocks, said Jamie Sorenson of North Valley Tackle in Oroville. There also is some frog action throughout the day. Bite is best in the afternoon. Water temperature is in the high 60s later in the day.

NORTH SALTWATER

BERKELEY

New Easy Rider was the only salmon boat from Berkeley Charterboats and found slow fishing. Their other boats had very successful forays to the Marin Coast or Farallon Islands. Happy Hooker and California Dawn, both run by the Smith family of captains, fared very well at the islands, catching quality rockfish and lingcod big enough to heavily weight customers’ sacks. Ms. Marin had a great week of Bay fishing for a real variety of tasty dinner fish.

BODEGA BAY

Combo trips for salmon and rockfish aboard New Sea Angler were productive with salmon counts ranging from a few fish to near limits and dependable limits of rockfish along with lings to 21 pounds. On a birdwatching trip the crew trolled a Zuker near the Cordell Banks and caught a bluefin tuna. Tomales Bay was decent for halibut using live bait and Dillon beach had a good size striped bass caught along with various perches.

EMERYVILLE

C Gull II had 7 salmon to 14 pounds for 15 anglers. The skipper expects another shot or two of salmon before it’s over for the season. New Huck Finn, Sea Wolf and Tigerfish scored a collective 77 limits of rockcod and 94 lingcod to 21 pounds. Best fishing was early in the week and again late in the week and over the weekend, when the weather was best.

EUREKA

The number 37 was magic because Scrimshaw ran 37 miles offshore and boated 37 albacore. We only wish we could report that the biggest was 37 pounds, but the tuna were primarily in the upper teens. Shellback and Reel Steel had a field day off of Cape Mendocino where the lings and rockies were on a tear. A 42 pounder was taken aboard Shellback. California halibut were active inside Humboldt Bay and jetty fishers got black rockfish, kelp greenling and lingcod.

FORT BRAGG

Rockfish bit happily, with a 90 percent success rate on getting limits aboard Sea Hawk and other Fort Bragg boats. The lingcod bite was up and down, but at times there were limits taken. Not many salmon were caught but some nice 15- to 30-pound units were brought in. Shore fishers had to be content with semi-protected spots such as Noyo Jetty and Dog Park where they could fish safely.

HALF MOON BAY

Lingcod and rockfish were targeted on most trips onboard Queen of Hearts, Huli Cat, Riptide and Que Sera Sera. Destinations were Deep Reef or special spots down near Pigeon Point. Salmon continued moving into Pillar Point Harbor and were caught by shore-based anglers casting artificials for reaction bites. Most salmon were in the low to mid-teens but one 30 pounder was caught inside the Harbor.

SAN FRANCISCO

Bass Tub scored limits of striped bass, a good count on halibut and one surprise white seabass. The Flash boats hunted rockfish and lingcod with catches up to 17 pounds and on other trips worked the Bay for sharks. Wacky Jacky and Lovely Martha scratched for salmon and caught some nice ones.

The Whooshh Fish Transport System, also known as the "salmon cannon" gives fish a much-needed boost over dams so they can swim upstream to spawn. Research has shown no significant differences in injury rates, immune response, stress response, or g

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