Here are the best places to fish in the Sacramento region, Northern California and beyond for the week of Jan. 9.
The Lake Amador Resort Company is increasing the stocking program up to 1,500 pounds per week throughout the remainder of the season, which lasts through May, and the plants have been occurring on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. They are holding the Mt. Lassen Hatchery rainbows in their hatchery until they are put into the lake, and the high-quality feed is definitely bulking up the rainbows with most fish weighing over 2.5 pounds. The launch ramp cove has been the top area for bank fishermen with trout dough bait or Power Eggs. The lake is 24 feet from spilling.
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1,400 pounds of Mt. Lassen Hatchery rainbows were released this week at the South Shore launch ramp, and the best trolling action remains in the Narrows with grubs on a slow troll. The action has been up and down, and patience is a key. Bank fishing is improving with trout dough bait from the Day Use Areas. Bass action is on the rise with the fish moving from the main lake above island tops to the river arm in the shallows. The lake rose to 73 percent.
Folsom Lake is at 421 feet, down 3 feet from last week. Full pool is 466 feet. The water temperature is 54 degrees. Trout fishing has improved near the dam, where anglers are trolling spoons behind flashers 20 to 40 feet down. A few bass are being caught.
1,000 pounds of rainbow trout were released into the lake including 250 pounds of trophy-sized trout, and the bite from the shoreline from the normal locations of the Handicapped Docks, Brush Pile, or peninsula around the marina has improved with trout dough bait in garlic or Power Eggs. Kastmasters are working in sunny days. The new Lake McSwain park-model cabins will be available for rent in the coming weeks. Each of the six lodgings has a lake-front view, is furnished, has a kitchen, full bathroom, heating and air conditioning, and sleeps from 6 to 8 people. Finishing touches on the cabins are being completed now. Additional information about reservations and pricing will be provided soon.
NORTH COAST RIVER
CHETCO RIVER, Brookings
The Chetco blew out last Friday after the heaviest rain in several weeks, but was in prime shape over the weekend, and fished the best it has for steelhead so far this season. Guide Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing said his clients caught easy limits on Sunday drifting roe. More rain is expected this week.
ELK RIVER, Port Orford, Oregon
A few late salmon arrived with last week's rain. Steelhead fishing has been slow. More rain expected this week should have the river in decent shape this weekend.
ROGUE RIVER, Gold Beach, Oregon
Steelhead fishing has been slow, although fresh fish were caught by plunkers over the weekend. Lobster Creek and Huntley Park are good bets.
Wide open fishing over the weekend after a rain freshened the river last week, but the rains expected Monday and Tuesday are expected to blow the river out and muddy it up this week, so call ahead. A lot of steelhead were caught last week with a high number of hatchery fish, and it’s looking like one of the better years for steelhead over here.
SIXES RIVER, Port Orford, Oregon
Salmon season is now closed. Steelhead fishing has been slow.
Fishing on the Smith River has improved with the last little storm, according to guide Phil DeSautel of Phils Smiling Salmon Guide Servie. “The river only came up a foot but that helped. Angler numbers also went up. It has been 1 to 3 fish per boat. Most everyone is catching them side drifting yarn or bait. I fished Glen Hanko and John Hampton from Crescent City and Sacramento and they went 1 for 3 the first day and 2 for 3 the second. The crew released 3 native bucks in the 8- to 12-pound range. WON Field Reporter and guide Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Guide Service said, “The Smith rose to 7.5 feet at the Jed Smith gauge over the weekend. Steelhead fishing was good, with most boats catching a fish or two. Heavy rain is expected this week, which could lead to ideal conditions this weekend.”
KLAMATH RIVER, Hornbrook
Steelhead fishing has been very good near Hornbrook. Small plugs and worms fished below divers are working best. Fly anglers are catching steelhead on beads below indicators. Flows over the weekend at Iron Gate Dam were 972 cfs, up from 960 cfs a week ago. Salmon season remains closed.
KLAMATH RIVER, Happy Camp
Steelhead fishing is fair to good near Happy Camp, with lots of halfpounders and some larger adult fish. Small plugs and yarn and roe are working best. Flows at Seiad Valley area were 1,596 cfs over the weekend, up from 1,456 cfs a week ago. Flows at Orleans are 3,200 cfs, up from 2,914 cfs. Rain is expected this week.
KLAMATH RIVER, Klamath Glen
Fishing is slow, although some fresh winter fish have been reported. Flows near the mouth at Terwer are 6,568 cfs, up from 5,669 cfs a week ago.
Rain improved flows over the weekend and gave steelhead fishing a boost riverwide. Adult steelhead to 11 pounds are being caught near Douglas City and Junction City, as well as on the lower river. Roe fished with bobbers is working well. Flows last week at Douglas City jumped from 350 cfs to 415 cfs. They were back down to 365 cfs on Sunday. Flows at Junction City went from 390 to 440 cfs. They were down to 401 cfs on Sunday. Flows at Lewiston have been steady at 310 cfs, while flows at Hoopa 1,200 cfs to 1,600 cfs. They were down to 1,400 cfs on Sunday.
NORTH COAST LAKES
Bass anglers reported tougher conditions with cold mornings and a better bite in the afternoons with plastics, jigs and spoons fished in the 20- to 35-foot range. Trolling anglers continue to pull shad imitations in the top 15 feet of water for some decent rainbow trout to 22 inches and most are averaging 16 to 18 inches.
BLACK BUTTE LAKE
A few bass to 16 inches are being caught. Catfish to about 4 pounds were caught in the English Cove area on cut baits.
Bass fishing has slowed for most anglers but some action is being posted on live jumbo shiners. Rain and cold weather is keeping the action down. Some anglers reported that a few crappie and bluegill catches were made in shoreline brushy areas.
Smallmouth bass in the 1- to 2-pound range and a few largemouth to 3 pounds have been caught by anglers slowing down to fish a brown jig or drop-shotting a 6-inch Robo worm in natural colors.
Fishing remains slow with not many anglers out.
Bass fishing has been on the slow side with a few small fish caught on jigs, plastic worms and jerk baits. Some trout action is seen on trolled lures in the top 15 to 20 feet of water.
UPPER BLUE LAKES
A few trout in the 2-pound range are still being caught from recent plant, but no new plants slated for this week.
FAR NORTH LAKES AND RIVER
Anglers are picking up some recently stocked rainbows and brown trout. At Roadside Cove, anglers caught rainbows around 4 pounds and beautifully colored.
Trout fishing has been good for shore anglers using baits or fly fishing with nymphs and midges.
Trout fishing has been good with lots of limits. Power Bait or any silver lures are working well. Fly fishermen are also scoring well on black nymphs.
Area #3 continues to produce good trout action for fly anglers on midges and nymphs.
Trout anglers are scoring well on trolled Rapala lures or black-and-yellow spinners in the main body of the lake and near the dam. Trout action is actually rated fair on lures trolled on downriggers, about 60 feet deep. Some action is also posted on baits fished in the dam area. Bass anglers are finding lots of action off most points with the spotted bass hitting well on spinnerbaits, topwater plugs, plastic worms and jigs.
Some trout action can be seen in the upper reaches of the lake, but bass fishing remains slow.
Kokanee salmon fishing has been slow. A few bass were taken along brushy shore near the 299 bridge.
Few boats have been targeting rainbow trout at the lake, but there are some quality fish to be had, as evidenced by the 5-pound brown landed by Mike Brown of Oakdale in the top 10 feet of the surface. The majority of bait has dropped in the water column into deep water. Rain and weather are needed to put some color in the water. The bass are following the shad into deeper water, and jigs, plastics on the drop-shot and swimbaits on a slow roll are the top techniques. The lake held at 81 percent this week.
Bass fishing remains best with finesse techniques at depths from 35 to 50 feet with plastics on the shakey head, drop-shot, or darthead along with Berserk’s Purple Hornet jig. Light line is a must with the finesse technique. A larger grade of bass can be found on reaction baits, but the action is few and far between. The lake is releasing water, but it remains at 65 percent.
Quality trout are possible with rainbows or browns to 5 pounds, but the bites are few and far between. Rolling shad has been a top technique. Bass fishing remains solid with a number of healthy spotted bass in the 2- to 2.5- pound range found on plastics on the shakey head, darthead, or drop-shot at depths between 35 and 50 feet as the overcast conditions have brought the shad schools out of the depths. Light line and light tackle is best. The best time for big fish is just around the corner during the months of January and February. The lake held at 83 percent.
SIERRA LAKES AND RIVERS
Road is closed for the winter at the second gate.
Trout fishing has been slow recently, said Miles Zimmerman from Mountain Hardware and Sports in Truckee.
Ice is too thin to access after warm days last week.
CARSON RIVER (East Fork)
There is little pressure on the catch-and-release section below Hangman’s Bridge, which is ice-free and fishing has been decent, said Eric Meza of Tahoe Fly Fishing Outfitters. “The further downriver you go, the better the fishing,” Meza said. Stoneflies, worm patterns, small baetis, beadhead nymphs, midges and small woolly buggers are candidates. Trout to 25 inches are available.
There is thin ice at the dam but open water at Mallards and along the north end of the lake. Upcoming winter ice derby on Feb. 3.
Shore anglers can get rainbow trout from the shore with nightcrawlers or Power Bait. Kayakers jig for Mackinaw and boaters troll for the same. Anglers have had trouble getting numbers of fish or fish of much size.
INDIAN CREEK RESERVOIR
Warm weather during the day may have compromised the ice. No fishing going on here.
With little snow to ski on and mild temperatures, charter boats have been busy. Early bite can be very good but the afternoon bite provides limits to near-limits of Macks in the 3- to 5-pound class.
Cutthroat bite has slowed for both shore anglers and trollers. Fish are being caught, but it isn’t easy. The two 10-pound plus fish caught last week were caught off Pelican – one by boat with a frog FlatFish and the other from shore with a black fly.
Lake is frozen but very slick because of the lack of snow. Ice may have softened due to warm daytime temps last week.
Fishing is good for both planted trout and Mackinaw, said Karen Ward from Sly Park Resort. Rainbows are being caught all over the lake. Macks are caught with nightcrawlers near the first dam or by trolling plugs. Bass can be caught between the island and the Narrows.
Trollers toplining for trout are taking quick limits, said Miles Zimmerman of Mountain Hardware and Sports in Truckee.
Lake opened to fishing Jan. 1 and five rainbow trout weighing between 6- and 9-pounds were caught. Four of those came from the shore with Power Bait or Power Bait nightcrawler combination. Lake is close to full which limits shoreline access. Cash derby is being run from the Topaz Lodge General Store.
Rain last week increased the flow and dirtied the river. It should settle back into shape in time for this week’s storm.
The cold water in the Delta continues to plague action for both striped bass and sturgeon, but this week’s storm should improve conditions by sweetening up the fresh water flows. The best action for sturgeon has been in the deep water from the Mothball Fleet towards the Benicia/Martinez Bridge, and eel is the best bait. The key is patience and the ability to make the bites stick, as the number of opportunities has been limited. Striped bass remain scarce in the cold water, and there is a question as to where they are holding out. The Diamond Classic Catch and Release Sturgeon Derby will be held out of Martinez Marina on January 27.
SAN JOAQUIN RIVER
Cold water is a major factor in the slow striped bass, crappie, and bluegill bite, but there is a decent largemouth bite with ripbaits or the ima Rock N’Vibe Suspend on a deadstick presentation. The key is to find live weeds that are moving slightly in the current as the bass are staying out of the main current. Finding quality largemouth bass over 3 pounds is a challenge, but these fish should reappear in the coming months. Fresh shad is all but over in Stockton-area shops due to the cold water, and the sales of medium to large minnows have tapered off as well in response to a slowdown in the crappie bite in the south Delta.
Steelhead season in the salmon spawning area above Ancil Hoffman Park opened Jan. 1. Fishing has been slow. Flows dropped from 3,700 cfs on Jan. 1 to 2,190 cfs over the weekend.
Low water has resulted in slow fishing riverwide. Many of the boat launches are too low to use. Some stripers are available, but access is limited.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Dunsmuir
Trout fishing has slowed with winter weather near Dunsmuir. Flows were 560 cfs late last week.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Red Bluff to Colusa
Salmon season closed Dec. 16. A few stripers are being caught near Colusa. Sturgeon fishing is slow near Colusa.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Redding to Red Bluff
Flows from Keswick Dam dropped from 5,000 cfs to 4,100 cfs. Salmon fishing closed Dec. 16. Trout fishing has been good between Keswick and the Highway 44 bridge. Roe is working best, although Glo Bugs also are tricking fish. Some hatchery steelhead are being caught in the Anderson area.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Sacramento
A few stripers are being caught in the deepwater channel, but fishing is slow. Rain should draw in more sturgeon.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Verona to Colusa
Although a few sturgeon are being caught at Knight’s Landing and Verona, rain is needed to draw in more fish. Rain is expected during the early part of the week. Ghost shrimp combined with pile worms or eel is working best, especially near Second Beach. Fishing for catfish has slowed at Knight’s Landing. A few small stripers also are being caught.
Anglers are employing drop-shots or worms at 60 to 80 feet. No reports of big bass since before New Year’s.
CAMP FAR WEST
Lake is at 90 percent of capacity. Some anglers are catching bass near the river and dam. One angler reported catching-and-releasing 21 bass and a half-dozen weighed more than two pounds. Others are saying they have to work for bass weighing 1 1/2 to 2 pounds. Lake is clear but mid-week storm could change that.
Trout bite is slow, but better for trollers than shore anglers. A 7-pound, 9-ounce trout was caught last week with a trolled Rapala. Bass fishing has been so-so.
Heavy holiday pressure knocked back a good trout bite. Recent action has been rated as slow, said Craig Newton at Will Fish Tackle in Auburn. Lake is 96 percent of capacity.
Water temp ranges from high 40s to 52 degrees. Find warmest water off south-facing walls. Bass are small – getting a two pounder is an occasion for celebration. But steady action is possible if you fish slowly with tubes, ZMans.
A few trout here and a few bass there. It’s hard to catch more than a few fish of any species.
Trollers pulling stick baits have been able to fool large rainbows to 6 pounds.
Fish the rip-rap with crankbaits for the chance at largemouth weighing 2 to 3 pounds, said Jamie Sorenson at North Valley Tackle in Oroville.
California Dawn, Happy Hooker and boats from Berkeley Charter boats finished the season with impressive counts of rockfish, lingcod and crab. After boat work or runs from the Carquinez Straits area for the winter, halibut trips will begin in March. From shore, anglers caught perch and a few striped bass.
Crabbing was good for boaters on Bodega Bay, with overnight soaks generally producing limits and soaks of several hours (while boaters catch some sanddabs) produced about half-limits and sometimes better. Crabbers in Tomales Bay also had enough for a family dinner. Herring spawned back by Marshal. Surf perch fishing near Lawson's Landing was very good on the right tides.
After a successful year end close with rockfish and lingcod hitting the decks of Sea Wolf, New Salmon Queen and other Fish Emeryville boats, fishing effort switched to private boats and shore anglers. Private boats ran up to San Pablo Bay or down to South Bay for sturgeon and stripers, which bit well before the mid-week weather and again by the weekend. Shore fishers worked the tides and did well for various perch.
Calm water and comfortable weather allowed crab boats to work outside Humboldt Bay and the limits came fast for boats like Reel Steel. Even inside the Bay boaters could pull limits with an overnight soak. Both the North and South jetties produced good catches of cabezon, lingcod, kelp greenling, rockfish and perch.
Easy limits of lingcod and high rockfish counts finished the 2017 groundfish season for Sea Hawk, Bragg-n and Capt. Tuna. After the New Year, Sea Hawk reported limits of heavy crabs. Shore fishing was excellent, thanks to good weather and seas, at the Dynamite Shack, Glass Beach and Mendocino Headlands where cabezon and rockfish were fairly plentiful.
HALF MOON BAY
Huli Cat, Riptide and Queen of Hearts finished 2017 catching loads of rockfish and lingcod, then attention shifted to crab and dab trips aboard Huli Cat. Crabbing was decent but not great out of Half Moon Bay and from the pier at Pacifica. Shore fishing was quite good on rising and high tides for barred surf perch and some red tail perch.
Bass Tub out of Fisherman’s Wharf had good luck with keeper sturgeon, plenty of striped bass and a leopard shark on a fun great-weather trip. Argo had similar luck with limits of striped bass. Local shore fishing from Ocean Beach down to Pacifica was very good for barred surf perch and red tail perch.