Here are the best places to fish in the Sacramento region, Northern California and beyond for the week of Jan. 15.
Trout plants continue with 1,600 pounds released within the past week, and bank anglers are scoring with white Power Eggs, white crappie jigs, Kastmasters, and trout dough bait from the launch cove, the spillway, and the dam. The rainbows are oriented to the shoreline and the surface. 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 with their own Donaldson plants to be released in fall 2018. The lake rose to 20 feet from spilling.
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DELTA REGION: Sacramento River
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.
DELTA REGION: San Joaquin River
The water is clearer on the San Joaquin side of the Delta, and largemouth bass are oriented towards slightly moving water with green vegetation. A slow presentation with the ima Flit in shad patterns or the Rock N’Vibe Suspend as the bass are feeding on shad. Bait fishing is tops for striped bass with frozen shad or mudsuckers, but a few linesides have been taken on topwater lures in the flats. Crappie are located around the marina docks with small minnows or mini-jigs. Fresh shad is no longer available in area bait shops, but most shops have a large supply of frozen shad.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Red Bluff to Colusa
Striper fishing has been good near Colusa, where trophy-size resident stripers, between 40 and 50 pounds, have been feasting on recently-released hatchery steelhead smolts. Large swimbaits are working best, but some anglers are using jumbo minnows. Flows jumped from 4,000 cfs to 11,000 cfs last week, slowing the action.
NORTH COAST RIVER
CHETCO RIVER, Brookings
The Chetco blew out the middle of last week before dropping to ideal conditions over the weekend, with flows around 3,000 cfs. Steelhead fishing was fair, with the best fishing between the North Fork and Social Security Bar. Heavy rain is expected to blow the river out for most of this week.
ELK RIVER, Port Orford, Oregon
The river was in good shape Friday and Saturday, with decent fishing for steelhead. Rains could blow the river out mid week, but since the Elk clears so fast after a storm, it may be one of the only bets this weekend.
ROGUE RIVER, Gold Beach, Oregon
Steelhead fishing has improved for plunkers fishing Spin-N-Glos at Lobster Creek and Huntley Park. Anglers reported the best fishing of the season last week. Rains this week could draw in more steelhead.
ROGUE RIVER, Grant’s Pass
It’s been a good week with lots of half-pounders showing up in the the area, said guide Troy Whitaker at U-Save Tackle in Grants Pass. Many hatchery fish are also showing up, along with some winter steelhead. Catches can be made on side-drifted roe or nightcrawlers. Some of the bigger steelhead can be caught on Luhr Jensen plugs, yarn balls and Pautzke’s nectar. Rain due this weekeek, however, which may wipe out the action for a few days if the river rises.
Scott Heemstra of Kings Sport & Tackle in Guerneville said that it’s a different story on the river this week. “On Monday there was a heavy storm that dropped 3 to 6 inches of water around the drainage and brought flows up to 8000 cfs. All the fish that were holding in the lower river moved up and by Thursday the river had dropped enough to float the Healdsburg run. Fishing was hottest around Dry Creek with plunkers and drifters using bait. Water clarity near Guerneville was still limited as of Sunday, with only about 18 inches of visibility. This week the forecast is calling for a small system on Monday, which won't do much to the river, but then a more significant one on Thursday which will most likely blow it out again. Best bet is to get out drifting bait before the Thursday storm. Fly fisherman should be using larger patterns like intruders in dark colors with flash. The fish are traveling, so work the runs closer to shore and the soft edges.”
SIXES RIVER, Port Orford, Oregon
The river has been muddy from recent rains, but was fishable over the weekend. This week's rains will likely blow it out for several days.
WON Field Reporter Phile Desautel of Phil’s Smiling Salmon Guide Service said that fishing on the Smith remains tough. “We got a little rain this week and the river came up 2 feet and brought in a few fish, but not as many as we would have liked to see. It has been 0s, 1s and 2s per boat. We are still in need of a big gullywasher. We need the river to come up 6 to 8 feet to bring in more Fish. WON Field Reporter Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing said, “The river is in prime shape for steelhead fishing and should remain fishable most of this week, as rains blow out other nearby rivers. Flows at the Highway 101 bridge are expected to jump from 14 feet to nearly 19 feet this week. A mix of wild and hatchery steelhead are spread throughout the river.”
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 have remained near 950 cfs.
KLAMATH RIVER, Happy Camp
Steelhead fishing has been very good near Happy Camp. Guide Mario Gomez of Ironhead Guide Service has been getting customers into 20 to 30 fish a day drifting roe and yarn. Some of the adults are over 10 pounds. Flows at Seiad Valley jumped from 1,500 cfs to 1,650 cfs. Flows at Orleans hit 4,150 cfs.
KLAMATH RIVER, Klamath Glen
Fishing is slow, although some fresh winter fish have been reported. Flows near the mouth at Terwer jumped from 8,750 cfs to 12,000 cfs over the weekend.
Steelhead fishing has been fair to good, with anglers facing low, clear conditions. The best fishing is near Junction City, where roe fished with bobbers, or beads fished with indicators are working best. Flows at Lewiston are 315 cfs, while flows at Douglas City are 365 cfs and flows at Junction City are 415 cfs. Hoopa crested at 2,100 cfs before dropping back to 1,830 cfs for the weekend.
NORTH COAST LAKES
A mild winter has kept bass anglers happy with plenty of great fishing and water temps remaining in the low 50's. A recent NewJen bass derby with 26 boats showed just how good the bass fishing is with limits for 25 out of 26 teams. Limits of largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass were mixed in. Trout anglers continue to troll the main body just east of the Big Island for their big trout at various depths. Trollers are working the top 15 feet in early mornings, then dropping down to the 15- to 35-foot range when the sun gets high. They are trolling using shad imitations with Needlefish, flies and grubs.
BLACK BUTTE LAKE
Not much action reported except for a few bass and crappie catches made in brushy areas near the dam.
Bass fishing is showing signs of improving after a few weeks of poor action. Fish in the 2- to 4-pound range are being picked up in brushy areas on jigs and spinnerbaits. Good action is being posted in brushy areas and crappie and bluegill.
Few fishermen out here with only a little action reported on bass.
Fishing is still on the slow side. It was raining here on Sunday.
Eleven teams showed up for the Redwood Empire Bass Club derby and all 11 teams reported catching a 5-bass limit. Plenty of largemouth and a few smallmouth bass came to the scales. Brown jigs seemed to be the top technique of the day, and a few bass were also caught on LV500's, jerkbaits and drop-shots. Trout trollers are finding scattered bites from the dam all the way up to the mouth of the creeks. Early morning topliners are picking up a fish or two, but it hasn't been good for the landlocked steelhead that average 14 to 19 inches this time of year.
UPPER BLUE LAKES
Fishing remains slow with no recent trout plant made.
FAR NORTH LAKES AND RIVER
Trout action remains up and down, changing daily. Water temperatures continue to hover around the 42-degree mark and the ice that was starting to form on the North end of the lake is gone. Bank and fly fishermen are still catching planters in the coves, and planted catchable browns and rainbows over the past few months continue to hang out around Canyon Dam. They are getting lots of pressure and while they make for easy limits, they are fresh from the hatchery and don’t make for good table fare.
The lake continues to produce pretty good trout fishing for fly anglers working midges and woolly buggers.
Trout fishing remains fair for anglers near the marina and upriver below the dam.
Good action reported for fly anglers tossing midges and woolly buggers in area 3.
Overall bass fishing remains good on 2- to 4-pound fish with most action off the points at 4 to 10 feet on white spinnerbaits and crank plugs, and even deeper on leadhead jigs. Trout anglers continue to find good action in most areas of the lake, and especially in the dam area on lures and baits. The water clarity remains good with clarity down to about 30 feet in most areas.
A few trout catches are made off the creek inlets, but not much action reported for bass anglers.
Fishing remains slow for kokanee. The marina is shut down for the winter.
1200 pounds of Mt. Lassen Hatchery rainbows were released this week at the North Shore launch ramp, and the best trolling action is in the Narrows with grubs, F-9 Rapalas, or Speedy Shiners at speeds from 2.4 to 2.7 mph. Trophy trout to nearly 10 pounds have been taken from the banks at the South Shore with Power Eggs. Bass fishing is best with jigs at depths to 40 feet. The lake rose to 74 percent.
Trout trollers have been primarily absent from the lake over the past few weeks, but there are quality rainbows to be found with shad-patterned spoons around the shad schools. The bait has scattered and dropped in the water column. The lake is still clear despite last week’s rain, and more rain is necessary to improve the trout bite. 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 rose to 81 percent this week.
The Best Bass Tournaments held an event this past Saturday with 48 limits to over 13 pounds weighed in by 55 boats. The bite is best with finesse techniques at depths from 35 to 50 feet with plastics on the shakey head, drop-shot, or dart head 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 these fish are hard to locate. The lake held at 65 percent.
Bass fishing is excellent for numbers of spotted bass with plastics in shad, sculpin, or crawdad patterns on the drop-shot or shakey head at depths from 35 to 50 feet. The reaction bite is slow in the gin clear water, but this week’s rains should cloud up the water in the upper reservoir. Dragging a Carolina-rig has also been productive. Rolling shad has been a top technique for trollers seeking trophy rainbows in the open water in the south of the lake. The best time for big fish is during the months of January and February. The lake rose slightly to 84 percent.
SIERRA LAKES AND RIVERS
Snowmobilers report open water at Upper Blue Lake.
Lake is ice free and angling pressure has increased. No reports of catching, however.
Ice is too thin to access after warm days last week.
CARSON RIVER (East Fork)
The stretch of river below Hangman Bridge is ice-free and catch-and-release fishing is fair. Worm patterns, Stoneflies, baetis, beadhead nymphs, midges and small woolly buggers are worthy offerings.
Lake is virtually ice free, but fishing has been poor, although few are pursuing trout.
Water temperature has dropped to 42 degrees and lake rose three feet after last week’s rain. Fishing has been hit-and-miss. Small Macks are the most frequent catch but this is a good time to bag a 10-pound plus laker.
INDIAN CREEK RESERVOIR
Lake is clear of ice.
Mackinaw fishing is very good. There are macks in the shallows off South Shore feeding on mudsuckers. Charter boats are finding them 25 to 65 feet deep. Bite on the north shore continues to be very good, but fish are deeper. There is good action during morning and afternoon trips.
Bite is inconsistent for trollers and shore anglers. Just two 10-pound plus cutts were weighed in last week. One was from shore and the other from boat. Fly fishers do best stripping while trollers pull Apexes, FlatFish.
Warm days have made for soft ice. Best to use caution.
Anglers use nightcrawler/salmon egg combination to catch trout near the dam. Boaters troll between the back of the island to the second dam. Bite is good and limits possible. Fish are just under the surface. A few browns to two pounds have been caught by trollers.
Shoreline bait dunkers get rainbows to 2 to 3 pounds. Trollers toplining for trout are getting action.
Shore anglers continue to catch the largest fish, although shore access is limited due to high water. Trollers get good numbers of trout. Cash derby is being run from the Topaz Lodge General Store.
River has dropped back into shape and fishing is good again. The catch-and-release, artificial-only stretch between Reno and Mustang has been very productive of late, said Tony Marotta of Mountain Hardware and Sports in Truckee.
Steelhead season in the salmon spawning area above Ancil Hoffman Park opened Jan. 1. Fishing has been slow, but some fish are being caught between Watt Avenue and Rossmoor Bar. Flows jumped from 2,200 cfs to 3,000 cfs after last week’s rain, which might move some of the steelies upriver.
Low water has resulted in slow fishing riverwide, although some stripers are being caught on the lower river. Sturgeon fishing is slow. Many of the boat launches are too low to use.
Folsom Lake is at 426 feet, up 5 feet from last week. Heavy rain has increased inflows. 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.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Dunsmuir
Trout fishing has slowed with winter weather near Dunsmuir. Flows peaked at 1,500 cfs last week at Delta, but were down to 550 cfs over the weekend.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Redding to Red Bluff
Flows from Keswick Dam remained stable at 4,100 cfs all week. Salmon fishing closed Dec. 16. Trout fishing has been good between Keswick and the Highway 44 bridge. Roe is working best, although Glo Bugs and soft beads 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. Sturgeon are starting to move through the mid-town Sacramento area.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Verona to Colusa
Heavy rain last week caused flows to double in the Verona and Knight’s Landing area, giving sturgeon fishing a boost. Fresh fish are starting to move in from the bay, and guides expect action to pick up through the week. Bank anglers are using pile worms and ghost shrimp at Second Beach to catch a few keepers. Striper fishing is slow.
Not a lot of info coming out. Craig Newton of Will Fish Tackle in Auburn said one of his customers caught a 7-pound spot using plastics down 85 feet.
CAMP FAR WEST
Lake continues to rise and is at 95-percent of capacity. Cathy DeRossett of the North Shore Store said customers are catching bass in the 2-pound range, but have to move around to do so. Best spots include near the dam, where the river enters the lake and any points.
Trout plant slated for this week should help improve a slow bite. Power Bait or nightcrawlers are the best bet, but most anglers are lucky to get one or two fish per outing.
The road to the lake is clear and trout fishing continues to be very good here, said Craig Newton of Will Fish Tackle in Auburn. Shore anglers are getting healthy trout by offering nightcrawlers off the bottom, throwing paddle-tail jigs or casting Shad Raps. Rainbows in the 14- to 18-inch range are common.
Lake this week received a plant of trout from DFW.
Fish slowly with plastics on walls outside of coves and long points with crests for best results. Bite is subtle, fish are small.
Browns in the 4- to 6-pound range are focusing on planted rainbows, and those trolling rainbow Rapalas have cashed in. The key is to troll 200 feet behind the boat.
DFW will plant trout next week.
A few bass in the 2- to 3-pound range were caught last week by those fishing the rip-rap, but the water is low and the bite is slow.
The mighty Berkeley fleet was quiet for the week, tending to annual maintenance on boat and gear. Private boaters ran up into San Pablo Bay to nail some sturgeon and striped bass. Shore fishing for perch and an occasional striped bass was good.
Crabbing on Bodega Bay was good, though affected by swells and high seas on some days. Inside Tomales Bay the crabbing fell off and relatively few were taken. The herring spawn near Marshall kept going. Local surf perch fishing was good on the right tides.
The Fish Emeryville fleet busied all hands with maintenance work on boats and gear, so no fish or crab reports from them. Shore fishing through the area, including nearby Alameda Rock Wall was quite good for perch and there were a few striped bass hooked.
Reel Steel, Sea Weasle II and other boats pulled and stacked their crab pots for the season, releasing good numbers of crabs as they did so. Herring moved into Humboldt Bay in good numbers, providing an opportunity for folks to load up on them. Jetty fishing on both jetties was good for cabezon, kelp greenling and rockfish.
Phenomenal crabbing continued with short soaks off of Ten Mile beach being sufficient to limit out on commercial-grade Dungeness. Sea Hawk reported steady limits of 2- to 3-pound crab. Crabbing and fishing from Noyo Jetty was sufficiently rewarding. On calmer days people were able to fish Old Mill, MacKerricher and Mendocino headlands for lingcod, cabezon and rockfish.
HALF MOON BAY
Crab and ‘dab trips were highly successful aboard Huli Cat and other boats from Half Moon Bay. Up at Pacifica, pier crabbers found that the results were best out near the end of the pier. Local beaches put out some good numbers of barred surf perch and some redtail perch.
Lovely Martha and Argo made weekend runs up into San Pablo Bay for sturgeon to 54 inches plus some striped bass, finding that the outgoing tide was best for fishing. Local beaches from Ocean Beach out to Mussell Rock were good for barred surf perch, redtail perch and a few striped bass.