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Salmon finally show up on American River

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An Olympic National Park ranger shot a viral video of a bobcat fishing for salmon in the Hoh rainforest.
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An Olympic National Park ranger shot a viral video of a bobcat fishing for salmon in the Hoh rainforest.

Here are the best places to fish in the Sacramento region, Northern California and beyond for the week of Oct. 9.

TOP PICKS

AMERICAN RIVER

Salmon finally showed up last week! Flows dropped from 3,380 cfs a week ago to 2,500 cfs over the weekend. New salmon are starting to show up at Sailor Bar. Trolling FlatFish plugs is catching some salmon in the lower river each morning. Good numbers of kings were caught on roe fished below bobbers last week at Sunrise.

DELTA REGION: San Joaquin side

Salmon fishing has been surprisingly solid off of the Antioch shoreline for those throwing Flying C spinners off of Humphrey’s Pier while fishermen are even trolling for the salmon off of the shoreline. Largemouth bass continue to be the top species as the bass are holding in current and becoming very active, feeding on the abundant threadfin shad and crawdads. Reaction baits are working best, including the Ima Rock N’Vibe Suspend, chatterbaits, spinnerbaits and crankbaits near moving water on the flats. Small striped bass remain the rule, and they are boiling on the surface, chasing shad in the mornings. Fresh shad is available most days in Stockton-area bait shops. Bluegill are abundant in the south Delta sloughs with red worms or jumbo red worms.

FEATHER RIVER

The Outlet Hole closes Sunday. Fishing remains good at the Outlet, with most boaters catching limits. The river will remain open below Live Oak. Guides fishing FlatFish plugs are catching bright kings downstream from the Outlet. Dropping flows slowed fishing near Boyd’s Pump over the weekend. Striper fishing has been slow.

NEW MELONES

A lake-record rainbow trout at 8 pounds, 4 ounces was landed this week by Ken Hopper of Sonora on a Cripplure at 55 feet outside of Carson Cove, and this record may not last throughout the winter as a number of quality rainbows have been landed over the past few months. The rainbows are moving higher in the water column, and heavy shad-patterned spoons seem to be working best at depths from 40 to 60 feet. The larger grade of spotted bass are found off of the shoreline at depths to 30 feet along edges, feeding on bluegill and threadfin shad with smaller fish holding along the shorelines. Glory Hole Sports is holding their annual month-long tournament from Nov. 1-30. Information: www.gloryholesports.com. The lake held at 84 percent.

SACRAMENTO RIVER, Sacramento

Trollers are doing best from Miller Park to Garcia Bend, and catching chrome-bright fish. Fishing is good when schools of salmon move through, as guides reported a few double hookups last week. Jiggers are catching a few salmon at Freeport and the Minnow Hole. Some salmon are holding at Discovery Park.

NORTH COAST RIVER

CHETCO RIVER, Brookings

Salmon fishing in the Chetco estuary was good early last week, but slowed over the weekend as heavy surf conditions kept new salmon from entering the river. The ocean “Bubble” season at the mouth of the Chetco was slow on Saturday, but good on Sunday. The first 50-pounder of the year was caught Sunday by Don Williams of Brookings, Ore. Adult and jack salmon are being caught on bobbers and eggs at Social Security Bar.

ROGUE RIVER, Gold Beach, Ore.

A mix of wild and hatchery silver salmon and king salmon are being caught in the Rogue Bay. Minus tides made mornings slow over the weekend, but good later in the day. Salmon up to 30 pounds are still being caught. Fishing is good near Agness for summer steelhead.

ROGUE RIVER, Grants Pass, Ore.

Grants Pass area anglers can keep Chinook salmon caught only below Hog Creek. Use back-bounced roe or Kwikfish with a sardine wrap. Above Hog Creek anglers can only keep hatchery, fin-clpped coho salmon, no chinooks. Grants Pass area anglers can keep only fin-clipped steelhead or rainbow trout; no wild fish can be kept. Fin-clipped fish are being caught on side-drifted plugs, Glo-Bugs or nightcrawlers.

SMITH RIVER

Low-flow closures are in effect until rains raise the river above 600 cfs. Flows were 257 cfs over the weekend. Fishing is slow at Rowdy Creek and the Piling Hole, but salmon are being caught near the mouth on spinners and spoons.

TRINITY/KLAMATH RIVER

KLAMATH RIVER, Hornbrook

The river is closed to salmon fishing. Early October is generally peak season. Trout and steelhead fishing is good. Flows over the weekend at Iron Gate Dam were 1,129 cfs.

KLAMATH RIVER, Happy Camp

Salmon season is closed. Flows Sunday at Seiad Valley were 1,308 cfs, while flows at Orleans were 2,070 cfs. Fresh steelhead have been staging near the mouth of the Trinity River. Side-drifting roe has been good for halfpounders near Happy Camp, while adult steelhead are being caught on small MagLip plugs.

KLAMATH RIVER, Klamath Glen

The river is now closed to salmon fishing, but remains open to summer steelhead fishing. Fishing has slowed. Flows were 2,957 cfs over the weekend at Terwer, down from 3,170 cfs a week ago.

TRINITY RIVER

Salmon fishing is closed. Fresh steelhead are stacking up at the mouth of the Trinity. Plugs are tricking steelhead in the Lewiston and Junction City areas but few anglers are fishing. Flows at Lewiston Dam were 464 cfs over the weekend. Flows at Douglas City were 492 cfs, while flows at Junction City were 509 cfs. Flows at Hoopa were 804 cfs.

NORTH COAST LAKES

LAKE BERRYESSA

Cooler nights and dropping water temps are finally turning the bass bite up a notch. The three species of largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass are strapping on their feedbags feeding on shad all over the lake. LV500's, squarebills, jerkbaits and spoons are playing a big part in the bass bite.

BLACK BUTTE LAKE

A few bass are being caught in the Angler’s Cove area, but overall fishing has been slow.

CLEAR LAKE

The whole upper end of the lake has a very dark brown color to it, which has concentrated all of the fisherman to mid-lake and the south arms. The reaction bite seems to remain elusive and the drop-shot, shaky head and Carolina rig seems to be the best bet to catch fish, and all of those have to be fished very slowly. Only fair bass fishing at best.

LAKE MENDOCINO

Bass anglers can easily fish point to point in the 15- to 25-foot range with drop-shot plastics, jigs and Senkos for smallmouth in the 1- and 2-pound range. The east shoreline has the bigger coves and bays where anglers find the majority of the largemouth bass as they start to push bait back into these areas to feed.

LAKE PILLSBURY

Bluegill fishing is pretty good in brushy areas all around the shoreline, and a few bass are being caught in the coves.

LAKE SONOMA

Both the landlocked steelhead and the bass are chasing bait. Best areas for the trout were out in front of the dam and up to Sheriff Cove on the east shoreline. Most of the landlocked steelhead are averaging 16 to 18 inches. Bass anglers found success with LV500's, spoons and cranks. Most of the bass are largemouth averaging 1 to 3 pounds, with an occasional smallmouth to 2 pounds.

UPPER BLUE LAKES

A few bass are being caught, but trout action is poor until the lake gets a plant, due this month.

FAR NORTH LAKES AND RIVER

LAKE ALMANOR

Anglers have transitioned from slow trolling plastics and nightcrawlers to fast trolling speedy shiners and trolling flies. Anglers have been targeting fish in the top 20 feet of the water column, trolling between 2.5 and 3 mph. Color selection changes daily with red/gold the top overall producer.

BAUM LAKE

It’s still good trout fishing on baits and flies, with most trout hovering around the weed beds.

BUCKS LAKE

Trout fishing is fair for trout, but the marina is now shut down for the winter and the boat docks have been pulled out. Boat ramps and camping facilities are still open.

EAGLE LAKE

Anglers found action from the shoreline where they could find rocky areas and trout up to 4 pounds were caught by a few anglers using flies or Gulp! minnows.

FALL RIVER

Good for fly fishermen with trout hitting on little Caddis flies.

HAT CREEK

Fly fishermen are scoring some rainbows on Caddis flies.

LEWISTON LAKE

Trout fishing remains good with many anglers getting limits of rainbows to 2 pounds, both from shore near the marina and from boats on the upper end of the lake. Drift fishing or trolling with a worms and Power Bait combo is very effective.

PIT RIVER

The Pit No. 3 area is still the best bet for fly and bait fishing.

SHASTA LAKE

Lots of bass up to 2 pounds continue to be caught on jigs, spinnerbaits and drop-shot rigs fished off of the points. Trout fishing remains fair for trollers getting rigs down deep. Kokanee action is slow as are catfish catches, but good numbers of crappie can be found near most marina docks.

TRINITY LAKE

Still not much action going on here. Few bass reports are coming in. Trout action remains fair in upper reaches of the lake.

WHISKEYTOWN LAKE

Action has slowed for kokanee as they move up into spawning areas, and few catches are being made. Some bass action has been noted on jigs and plastics in brushy shoreline areas.

MOTHERLODE

LAKE AMADOR

Fishing has been slow for all species, but there is plenty of interest in the upcoming trout plants that are planned for the end of October once the water cools. There will be a limited supply of Donaldson trout from the Lake Amador fish hatchery along with regular plants from Mt. Lassen Hatchery this winter.

LAKE CAMANCHE

Bass fishing continues to improve with deep-diving crankbaits along main lake points on windy days and along steep vertical rocky walls on calm days. There is a small window for topwater action, and this should improve in the coming weeks. The water temperature has dropped significantly to 72 degrees, and trout plants should arrive around the end of the month. There are loads of small spotted bass in the lake, and anglers have to weed through the smaller bass in order to find quality. Holdover rainbows are found in the deepest waters near the dam or up the river arm with shad-patterned spoons coated with scent on a fast troll. The lake dropped to 78 percent.

DON PEDRO

Bass fishing remains slow with all species of fish getting their fill of the abundant shad schools in the lake. Bass can be found as deep as 65 feet, and finesse techniques of drop-shotting or jigs are working best around the shad schools. There have only been a few trollers targeting this lake, but the action should improve as the water cools, and the rainbows move towards the surface. The lake held at 84 percent this week.

LAKE MCCLURE

Bass fishing remains slow with a small grade of spotted bass found in deep water from 45 to 60 feet. The fish are getting their fill on the massive amount of shad, and the full moon allowed them to eat throughout the evenings. The bass are more reluctant to hit artificials, but a few fish are taken on shad-colored plastics such as Pro Worm’s 124 p or Pro Gold 300. Catfishing is starting to slow down, but a few whiskerfish are taken from the shorelines with with anchovies, nightcrawlers or cut baits. The lake dropped to 73 percent.

LAKE MCSWAIN

The 22nd Annual Merced Irrigation District’s Trout Derby brought crowds of fishermen to the lake this past weekend, and the planted rainbows were taken from the normal locations of the Brush Pile, Handicapped Docks or the peninsula with a variety of colors of trout dough bait or Power Eggs, nightcrawlers or Kastmasters. There were a number of trollers working the event, and they focused up the river with Wedding Rings tipped with a nightcrawler behind a dodger, blade/’crawler combinations, or Kastmasters.

LAKE PARDEE

The final trout plant of the season from the Lake Pardee Recreation Company was released over a week ago, and in addition to the 65,000 pounds raised at the Mokelumne River Hatchery this year, another 8,000 pounds from Calaveras Trout Farm have made their way into the lake. The Pardee Recreation Company is selling off assets unneeded by the new concessionaires. The lake will close in early November until February 2018 with the Rocky River Company out of Southern California taking over as the concessionaire. The lake is at 92 percent.

SIERRA LAKES AND RIVERS

BLUE LAKES

Good action reported last week for anglers fishing from the dam. Planted rainbows took Power Bait, spinners and plugs from Lower Blue Lake.

BOCA RESERVOIR

Trout fishing remains good here for trollers. DFW will stock this week.

CAPLES LAKE

Trollers picked up browns and Macks during the week, highlighted by a 22-inch brown, according to Tim at Caples Lake Resort. Shore anglers are concentrating near the spillway. The campground across from the resort has closed and the resort will close Oct. 22. The El Dorado Irrigation District launch ramp will stay open until Oct. 31 unless snow comes first.

CARSON RIVER

Nine hundred pounds of trout last Friday went into both forks of the Carson. Two more plants of the same size will go in later this month. It takes a few days for the fish to acclimate and then bite. Should be a productive week.

DAVIS LAKE

Best trout action of the year is going on. Water temperature is 55 degrees and lake is at 86 percent of capacity. Trollers are doing best pulling Dick Nite Copper Red Heads or Needlefish Red Dot Frogs. Fish are found from the surface to 15 feet deep. Shore angling and fly fishing also has picked up.

DONNER LAKE

Guide Shaun Rainsbarger is still landing limits of bright silver kokanee. “They are this year’s fish, all between 12 and 13 1/2-inches,” he said. Best action has been on the southeast side of China Cove. Macks are chasing suspended baits in China Cove, where they are setting up to spawn. DFW will plant trout this week, which should draw Macks within casting distance of shore anglers.

GOLD LAKES BASIN

Gold Lake and Lower Sardine Lake both were planted this week. Larger browns are cruising the shoreline at Gold Lake.

HEENAN LAKE

Colder weather translates to better fishing here. Reports of excellent numbers of cutthroat being hooked and released, but few giants.

INDIAN CREEK RESERVOIR

Trout are moving into shallower water given the cool temperatures. Power Bait or nightcrawlers have been getting rainbows.

JACKSON MEADOWS

A pair of trout plants over the past three weeks hasn’t been enough to attract many anglers. More deer hunters in the woods than anglers on the shore, said Tony Marotta from Mountain Hardware and Sports in Truckee.

LAKE TAHOE

Macks weighing 3 to 6 pounds are common, but a 14 pounder highlighted last week’s action. West shore has been kicking out fish to those jigging or mooching. The spawn is on so fish are concentrated together and action can be fast. A lot of short strikes, but there are plenty more on tap.

PROSSER RESERVOIR

Trout fishing is good where Prosser Creek enters the lake. Bass fishing is slow.

PYRAMID LAKE

Cutthroat are deep but more than a dozen fish larger than 10 pounds were weighed in during opening week at Crosby’s Lodge. Guide George Molino trolled successfully on six trips last week and picked fish from 10 to 50 feet deep using a variety of colored Apexes. “Colors didn’t matter, they all produced,” Molino said.

SLY PARK

Trollers get trout in 20 to 30 feet below the surface. Shore anglers continue to pick trout from the narrows with Power Bait or nightcrawlers. Bass bite has slowed.

STAMPEDE RESERVOIR

Kokanee have turned to spawn leaving trout and smallmouth as targets. A 5-pound smallmouth was reported caught last week on a Senko near the dam. “That’s the biggest bass I’ve heard coming from Stampede,” said Tony Marotta of Mountain Hardware and Sports.

TOPAZ LAKE

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

TRUCKEE RIVER

All the good fishing is below the Boca outlet. Large hare’s ears (No. 14) and October Caddis are productive. Streamers also are a good choice.

WEST WALKER RIVER

Flies, spinners or nightcrawlers will get trout. Flows are very good and river has been well stocked.

DELTA REGION

SACRAMENTO RIVER

Salmon fishing slowed down off of the Benicia shoreline, perhaps in response to dirty water from the larger tides along with dredging at the Benicia Marina. 1st Street has been far more productive than the Dillon Point State Park, and this is the opposite of the trend over the past few years. Vee-Zee or Flying C spinners remain the top lures. Huge striped bass have been caught and released by experienced fishermen throwing big wooden plugs in the north Delta, but these fish are the exception as the majority of striped bass remain on the small side. Sturgeon action is starting at the normal locations of the Mothball Fleet, the Big Cut and at the mouth of Montezuma Slough. Grass shrimp is available in Suisun Bay bait shops, and live bullheads continue to be very popular at shops with shrimp boat access. The Delta will be crowded with participants in the Rio Vista Bass Derby.

SACRAMENTO VALLEY

FOLSOM LAKE

Folsom Lake is at 431 feet, down 4 feet from a week ago. Full pool is 466 feet. The water temperature is now 68 degrees. Brown’s Ravine, Rattlesnake Bar, Folsom Point and Granite Bay launches are open. Trout fishing is slow. Bass anglers are doing well from 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 dropped to 240 cfs. Trout fishing remains good.

SACRAMENTO RIVER, Redding to Red Bluff

Flows from Keswick Dam are 8,040 cfs, unchanged from a week ago. Salmon fishing is good at the Barge Hole, but the majority of the fish are jacks and small adults. Guides are getting four to six fish a day. Some kings are being caught in the canyon below the Barge Hole. FlatFish plugs with sardine wraps are working well at first light, while roe is working the rest of the day. Trout fishing is fair in the Redding area. Steelhead are beginning to show up.

SACRAMENTO RIVER, Red Bluff to Colusa

Fishing for salmon is fair in the Woodson Bridge area. Sardine-wrapped T50 FlatFish plugs have been working best at first light, while drifting roe also is taking kings.

SACRAMENTO RIVER, Verona to Colusa

Salmon fishing is slow to fair. 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

AMERICAN RIVER

Trout fishing has been productive on the Middle Fork near Rucky Chucky, said Crain Newton at Will Fish Tackle in Auburn. A 3-pound brown last week fell to a black/yellow Panther Martin. Small Kastmasters in the cutthroat pattern or Panther Martins get browns and rainbows.

CAMP FAR WEST

Water temperature has dropped to 67-69 degrees, but bite remains on the slow side. Small bass were caught in the middle of the lake, but no reports of success from the arms of the lake. Bass that were caught last week came from 10 to 15 feet deep.

COLLINS LAKE

The water temperature has fallen to 68 degrees which keeps the fall trout planting schedule on track. A double plant will go in next week and every week through late November. A few small bass were reported caught last week along the eastern shoreline. A 9 3/4-pound catfish was the big fish of the week.

ENGLEBRIGHT RESERVOIR

No trout reported last week. Houseboaters reported small bass being caught in the coves.

FRENCH MEADOWS RESERVOIR

Customers of Will Fish Tackle fished here last week and found excellent action on rainbows. Trolling with deep-diving, jointed Rapalas with a red crawdad pattern, the anglers caught and released 40 rainbow trout in the 16- to 20-inch rang, but very few anglers. Lake has been drawn down.

HELL HOLE RESERVOIR

The same anglers that did well at French Meadows also visited Hell Hole and had good action trolling with deep-diving, jointed Rapalas at the far end of the lake. Action was steady, but French Meadows was much more productive.

LAKE OROVILLE

Lake is at 36 percent of capacity and the water temperature has dropped below 70 degrees. Small bass are plentiful. They can be taken on topwater lures in the morning and then Senkos, tubes, worms, crankbaits later in the day. The only ramp in operation is at Bidwell Marina.

ROLLINS LAKE

Water releases ended Thursday, so lake level will stabilize and begin a gradual rise. The stability and cooler weather may help improve slow action of late.

THERMOLITO AFTERBAY

Water coming into the afterbay is lessening which means the water temperature will heat up without the influx of cold water. “You can still catch good fish on the rocks and rip rap,” said Jamie Sorenson of North Valley Tackle in Oroville. “Use crankbaits or jigs.”

NORTH SALTWATER

BERKELEY

Berkeley boats tried a bit of everything. California Dawn, El Dorado and New El Dorado III had fabulous lingcod and rockfish action at the Farallones and Happy Hooker made the most of a Bay trip with limits of bass and 8 halibut. Ms Marin had halibut to 25 pounds and white seabass to 20 pounds fishing Central Bay. New Easy Rider bested a salmon per rod with fish up to 25 pounds.

BODEGA BAY

Fifty-pound sacks weighed anglers down coming off of New Sea Angler after trips to Point Reyes, where big lings and impressive rockfish were on the chew. Ten Mile Beach saw late-season action for salmon and halibut continued to bite for live bait drifters in Tomales Bay near Hog Island.

EMERYVILLE

Sea Wolf fished the Farallones and returned early with limits of good bottomfish. New Huck Finn also posted limits of both lingcod and rockfish. C-Gull II began a day scratching a couple of salmon, then moved back inside the Bay and brought in 16 full limits of stripers to 14 pounds.

EUREKA

Scrimshaw ran up to 50 miles offshore to find albacore and at times the action was so hot that there were eight simultaneous hookups. Reel Steel made a highly successful trip to Cape Mendocino for large lings and rotund rockfish. The California halibut bite inside of Humboldt Bay just won’t quit and fish up to 36 pounds were taken by live bait drifters.

FORT BRAGG

Local reefs to the north gave up limits of rockfish and lingcod for Captain Tuna. Salmon action slowed but PBers still had a chance at a salmon dinner. Shore anglers got kelp greenling and cabezon at Jughandle State Park and Noyo Park on more comfortable days.

HALF MOON BAY

Rockfish and lingcod at the deeper stones from Deep Reef to Pigeon Point were targets for party boats Queen of Hearts and Huli Cat. Que Sera Sera fished salmon one day with good success. Skiffs and kayaks had salmon onboard from near the harbor entrance and shore fishers inside the harbor caught pen-reared salmon.

SAN FRANCISCO

Salmon picked up at times for Wacky Jacky and other local boats with scores of limits or close to it on some days. Flash II got limits of stripers and white seabass to 20 pounds in the Bay. Lovely Martha also fished the Bay for limits of bass plus stray white seabass to 26 pounds and halibut.

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