Fishing Line

Snow, cold weather slow down Northern California fishing action

Here are the best places to fish in the Sacramento region, Northern California and beyond for the week of Feb. 26.

TOP PICKS

SACRAMENTO RIVER, RED BLUFF TO COLUSA

A few sturgeon are being caught above Colusa. Striper fishing has been good at times near Colusa, with some trophy-size resident fish being caught. Large swimbaits are working best, but some anglers are using jumbo minnows. Bait is working best for smaller keepers between the Chico Straights and Colusa. A few sturgeon are being caught on ghost shrimp and eel combinations.

FEATHER RIVER

Fishing for striped bass remained fair on the lower Feather River after steelheadsmolts were released in mid-February. The stripers are biting from East Nicolaus to Verona. With colder weather, cut bait, especially pile worms or anchovies, are working best.

LAKE AMADOR

The Lake Amador Resort released 4,000 pounds of Mt. Lassen Hatchery rainbow trout this past week including 400 pounds of Lightening trout. The trout can be found at depths from 10 to 12 feet around 20 feet off of the shoreline. Stillfishing from a boat in the back of the lake is working with nightcrawlers or trout dough bait while trollers using downriggers are starting to find some action. The rainbows are scattered throughout the lake with the best action near the shorelines. The lake held at 18 feet from spilling. The Nor Cal Trout Anglers Challenge will arrive at the lake on April 28.

LAKE CAMANCHE

Bass fishing took a dive with the cold temperatures, and a mixture of spots and largemouth bass have gone deep to 35 feet with Ned Rigs or plastics on the drop-shot working best. Trout fishing remains solid for trollers working up the river arm with Speedy Shiners or grubs towards the LanchaPlana Bridge. A double-plant of 2400 pounds of rainbows was released into the South Shore, North Shore, and South Shore Pond. Bank action from the pond is good with small crankbaits or crappie jigs on a slow presentation. The lake dropped slightly to 73 percent.

NORTH COAST RIVERS



CHETCO RIVER, BROOKINGS, OREGON

The Chetco was low and clear all of last week, but then blew out Sunday night as heavy rain fell in Brookings. The river is expected to drop part of the week before more rain falls over the weekend. Fishing was slow during the Rowdy Creek derby, although a 22 pounder was caught at Pepperwood on a plug.

ELK RIVER, PORT ORFORD, OREGON

Heavy rain had the river quickly rising on Sunday night. The river should be fishable part of this week, but more rain is expected for the weekend.

ROGUE RIVER, GOLD BEACH, OREGON

Rain this week is expected to provide relief from low, clear conditions that have slowed steelhead fishing. Expect more spring salmon to arrive as the river rises this week. March is typically the kickoff of springer season on the lower Rogue.

ROGUE RIVER, GRANT’S PASS, OREGON

Steelhead fishing remained slow this week, but impending rain could push steelhead up from the lower river, said guide Troy Whitaker at U-Save Tackle in Grants Pass. Most have been halfpounders with an occasional adult. Use roe, ‘crawlers or yarn ball. Lures also working. Applegate and Illinois rivers also seeing some steelies.

RUSSIAN RIVER

After a slow start to the week with water temperatures dropping 10 degrees due to very cold nights things picked back up by the weekend, according to Scott Heemstra of Kings Sport & Tackle in Guerneville. “The highlight of the season was a drift in the lower river with Chelsea Bacon, Dan Tensfeldt and Dave Delmue going 15 for 19 hookups! Best method seems to be drifting cured roe or jigs under a float. With flows hovering around 380 cfs and clear conditions it is ideal for fly fisherman swinging small intruders like Aqua Flies BrettsKlamath Intruders or small comets and bosses with a slow sink tip. There is a system coming in mid week which could make the fish move around some more and stop holding in the lower river.”

SMITH RIVER

The Smith is expected to remain fishable during this week's rain. Fishing was slow last week, with just a handful of fish caught during the Rowdy Creek derby. Expect some of the bigger native fish to arrive in the next few weeks, as early March is prime time for trophy fish on the Smith.

SIXES RIVER, PORT ORFORD, OREGON

After being low and clear for a week, the Sixes blew out over the weekend. Steelhead fishing has been fair, but could be good once it falls back into shape.

TRINITY/KLAMATH RIVERS

KLAMATH RIVER, HORNBROOK

Steelhead fishing has been good near Hornbrook, but few anglers are fishing because of snowy, freezing weather. A mix of adult steelhead and halfpounders are being caught. Small plugs, especially 3.0 MagLips, and worms fished below divers are working best. Flows over the weekend at Iron Gate Dam were 985 cfs.

KLAMATH RIVER, HAPPY CAMP

The middle section of the Klamath is in good shape for steelhead, with local guides reporting two to four adults a day, along with nearly a dozen halfpounders. Yarn balls are working well. Flows over the weekend at Seiad Valley were 1,610 cfs, down from 1,730 cfs a week ago. Flows at Orleans were 3,650 cfs, down from 4,550 cfs a week ago.

KLAMATH RIVER, KLAMATH GLEN

Steelhead fishing is good for anglers drifting roe and yarn from jet boats on the lower river. Conditions have been good, except for freezing temperatures during the jet boat ride upriver in the morning. Flows at Terwer were 7,820 cfs. They were 10,100 cfs a week ago.

TRINITY RIVER

Steelhead fishing is slow, with few anglers trying. Tim Brady of Trinity Outdoors said the lack of rain in February made the month dismal for fishing. Flows over the weekend at Lewiston were 321 cfs, where the Trinity has been all winter. Flows at Douglas City were 354 cfs, down from 365 cfs last week. Flows at Junction City were 405 cfs, down from 418 cfs. Flows at Hoopa were 1,770 cfs, down from 2,100 cfs a week ago. Guides reported mainly down-runners last week.

NORTH COAST LAKES

LAKE BERRYESSA

Bass fishing has been fair, but there are not many anglers on the water due to bad weather.

BLACK BUTTE LAKE

Fishing remains slow to fair in the dam area for crappie and bass.

CLEAR LAKE

The news here is that despite a week of up and down weather fronts and nighttime temperatures dipping into the high 20’s, the bass are still biting. The trick is to use a variety of techniques to see what they want or will react to and also to keep on the move until you locate a concentration of fish.

LAKE PILLSBURY

Fishing has been slow with few anglers out due to bad weather.

LAKE SONOMA

Not much action seen here due to bad weather.

UPPER BLUE LAKES

Some trout action has been reported, with another stock supposed to be made this week.

FAR NORTH LAKES AND RIVERS

LAKE ALMANOR

Fishing pressure has been light in the coves, a few of the hardcore fishermen are braving the wintry weather and picking up fish on bait, hardware and flies.

BAUM LAKE

Some anglers are getting a few trout, but overall fishing is slow.

LEWISTON LAKE

Trout fishing remains fair at the lake, though the water is very clear. Anglers are still catching plenty of trout on nightcrawlers and Power Baits.

PIT RIVER

Some trout action reported by fly fishermen in the Pit #3 area.

SHASTA LAKE

The water temperature on the lake has been in the low to mid 50's for a couple of months now, but a cold snap this week may change the temperature to the high 40's for a while. The spotted bass can be found along bank lines that have the longest amount of sun, warming them throughout the day. Trollers are picking up a few trout with flashers and lures in the main body of the lake.

TRINITY LAKE

Bass and trout fishing continue to be slow with few anglers on the water.

WHISKEYTOWN LAKE

Kokanee fishing is going really strong with all the spring-like weather, and the fish are clearly confused and biting very well in the 48-degree water. Trollers are using dodgers and small hooch jigs tipped with Pautzke’s Fire Corn. Pink and orange are the best colors.

MOTHERLODE

DON PEDRO

The big largemouth bass that were present last week in shallow water have moved out into deeper water as a result of the freezing temperatures bringing the water into the high 40’s. The largemouth bass are more affected by the cold than spotted bass, but the extreme temperature change led to the bass moving out into 40 to 60 feet of water. Plastics on the Ned Rig or drop-shot are working best on a very slow presentation. Trout and king salmon action remains slow, but the action should improve as we move into the spring. The few rainbows that are taken by trollers are in the 2- to 5-pound range. The lake held at 83 percent.

LAKE PARDEE

Trout limits continued to be the rule during the second weekend of operation from the new concessionaies, the Rocky Mountain Recreation Company. In addition to the opening release of 13,000 pounds, another 1000 pounds of Calaveras Trout Farm catchables to 2 pounds was released this past week. The big news is kokanee to 16 inches are already being taken by topliners near the mouth of the river along with holdover rainbows. The Nor Cal Trout Angler’s Challenge will make their annual stop this coming Saturday, March 3. The lake rose slightly to 91 percent,

LAKE McCLURE

The spotted bass bite has slowed from an outstanding reaction bite to a finesse presentation with plastics on the Ned Rig or drop-shot at depths from 40 to 60 feet as the bass have reacted to the recent freezing temperatures by moving out into deep water. The lake held 66 percent.

NEW MELONES

The bass bite was poised to bust wide open, but the week of freezing temperatures have moved the fish off of the shorelines into deep water. Finesse techniques of plastics on the darthead, drop-shot, or Ned Rig are working best on a very slow presentation. The bass following up swimbaits has ceased for the time being, but the arrival of warmer temperatures should create more active conditions. Trout fishing remains slow overall, but there remains the possibility of landing a trophy to 7 pounds from the shoreline or by trolling. The lake rose dropped to 81 percent.

SIERRA LAKES AND RIVERS

BOCA RESERVOIR

Fair trout action reported in the dam area on worms and Kastmaster lures.

CAPLES LAKE

Snowstorm kept everyone away.

CARSON RIVER

The only section open is the catch-and-release fly-fishing area, and nobody even tried to get there with the weekend snowstorm.

DAVIS LAKE

Snow made access tough around the lake and launching very difficult. No reports of anyone trying.

DONNER LAKE

Shore fishing only as ramp is closed due to snow.

GOLD LAKES BASIN

Closed by snow, and probably for the winter.

ICE HOUSE

Snow kept everyone off the lake over the weekend and impossible to launch, even if you could get to the lake in the snowstorm. Beginning to freeze along the edges.

JACKSON MEADOWS

Snowed in.

JENSINSON LAKE (Sly Park)

Snow covered the roads and launch ramp here, but there were still a few diehards trying for trout from the bank at the first dam.

LOON LAKE

Inaccessible due to snow.

PROSSER RESERVOIR

Iced over at inlets. Limited access.

PYRAMID LAKE

Jamie at the Crosby Lodge said that the cutthroat fishing wasn’t great, but there were a few caught “here and there” on Friday. Saturday was better, but Sunday was slow, although Bobby Wheeler of Susanville used a black woolly bugger for a 10-pound ‘cut from the South Nets catch and release. There was no snow on the ground on Sunday and it was 40 degrees.

STAMPEDE RESERVOIR

Mostly snowed in last week, with limited access now. Launching very iffy if you do get in to the lake.

TAHOE LAKE

The front, wind and snow kept anglers off the lake over the weekend, but when things calm down again trollers will get right back into the Mackinaw lake trout.

TRUCKEE RIVER

Trout fishing is fair with nymphingstoneflies getting a few trout.

TRUCKEE RIVER, LITTLE

Inaccessible due to snow.

UNION VALLEY

Snow covered the roads and kept everyone away.

WEBBER LAKE

Roads closed due to snow.

DELTA

DELTA, SACRAMENTO SIDE

Striped bass are starting to make their move up the river with linesides found on the shallow troll in Steamboat Slough and the Old Sacramento River. Bait fishing with sardines coated with garlic spray or pile worms are effective near Freeport. Sturgeon fishing has been good for some and a struggle for others in Suisun Bay as the water temperatures plummeted up to 9 degrees during the past week. Big striped bass were caught earlier in the weekend in San Pablo Bay, and these fish are on the move outside of Ozol Pier and the Martinez Marina on their journey up the river. The Big Cut, Chain Island, and Roe/Ryer Island are the top areas for sturgeon, and the action should improve considerably as the weather stabilizes.

DELTA, SAN JOAQUIN SIDE

Largemouth bass continue to be the top species, but a slow presentation is essential for success. Working the ima Flit or a blue/black jig tipped with a Max Scent Chunk on a 1/2-ounce jigs head are effective, but the presentation has to stay in the strike zone as long as possible. Plug casters are finding small striped bass from Eddo’s Marina to the San Andreas Shoals on Fish Traps or River2Sea Swavers, but the grade of striped bass is limited. Crappie are showing up in the south Delta sloughs with small to medium minnows along with mini-jigs while bluegill to 1.5 pounds are abundant on waxworms or jumbo red worms on a drop-shot presentation. Fresh shad is no longer available in area bait shops, but most shops have a large supply of frozen shad.

SACRAMENTO VALLEY

AMERICAN RIVER

Steelhead fishing was slow last week at Watt Avenue and Sailor Bar. Anglers are drifting roe or worms with Corkies, but success has been poor because of low water. Flows rose slightly to 2,970 cfs from 2,400 cfs over the weekend at Fair Oaks.

FOLSOM LAKE

Cold weather has kept many anglers away, but trout and salmon are being caught. Bass fishing has slowed, although some are still hitting minnows. The lake level dropped from 423 to 421 feet the past week. The water temperature is 53 degrees, down from 55 degrees a week ago. Currently, the Hobie Ramp at Brown’s Ravine, Folsom Point and Granite Bay Stage 1 ramps are open. The Peninsula and Rattlesnake ramps are among those that are closed.

SACRAMENTO RIVER, DUNSMUIR

Trout fishing has slowed with winter weather near Dunsmuir. Flows were just over 415 cfs over the weekend.

SACRAMENTO RIVER, REDDING TO RED BLUFF

Flows from Keswick Dam remained stable at 3,320 cfs. Trout fishing has picked up, with good fishing from Keswick to Anderson. Glo Bugs, beads and roe are working well. Some hatches are helping fly anglers in the afternoons. The river remains open above Highway 44 until April 15.

SACRAMENTO RIVER, VERONA TO COLUSA

Fishing for sturgeon has been best at First Beach and Second Beach at Knight’s Landing, as well as near Verona. Roe and herring combinations are working, along with eel and nightcrawler. Ghost shrimp and pile also are working. Striper fishing has improved at Verona and Knight’s Landing, with artificial lures working at first light and minnows or cut bait working mid-day. Large swimbaits are tricking trophy-size stripers out of Verona.

SACRAMENTO RIVER, SACRAMENTO

Fishing for sturgeon and stripers has been slow at Bright Beach, Miller Park and Discovery Park. A few sturgeon have been reported below Freeport and Clarksburg. Fishing has been slow at the port and in the deepwater channel.

NORTHERN FOOTHILLS

BULLARDS BAR

Dangerous conditions even getting to the lake, with ice and snow on the roads and lake itself, let alone the launch ramp.

CAMP FAR WEST

Not a lot of fishing activity over the weekend, but bass have been decent.

COLLINS LAKE

Trout fishing has been fair and getting better all the time. Bass fishing has been fair to good on Ned Rigs and plastic worms. Cold weather and snow around the area.

EMIGRANT GAP

Snow kept anglers off the lake and off the roads over the weekend.

ENGLEBRIGHT RESERVOIR

Cold weather slowed the fishing as temperature dropped quickly and kept most anglers off the lake

FRENCH MEADOWS

Angling slowed and in most cases stopped by 6 inches of snow.

FULLER LAKE

Action slowed by cold, snowy weather.

HELL HOLE RESERVOIR

Snow kept anglers out entirely.

LAKE OROVILLE

Cold weather and snow slowed the bite here for bass anglers. Best action was on reaction baits such as swimbaits and jerkbaits off the points. The afterbay bass action was fair to good, but water temperatures dropped.

ROLLINS LAKE

Fair trout action reported for trollers working the arms of the lake.

SCOTT’S FLAT LAKE

Anglers basically snowed out last week.

STUMPY MEADOWS RESERVOIR

Fishing was slowed by snowstorm last week.

NORTH SALTWATER

BERKELEY

Berkeley Flats saw bent rods thanks to schools of striped bass ranging from sub-legal on up to over 20 inches. The bite was primarily on the anchor while soaking various shrimp baits. California Dawn is out getting some annual maintenance work done, then she will be running halibut/bass combo trips out of Berkeley Marina

BODEGA BAY

Crabbing remained fair to good for Bodega Bay boaters with substantial enough boats and good enough sea legs to brave the conditions. Overnight soaks were most productive. Shore fishing for jumbo redtail perch was popular near Point Reyes, Lawson’s Landing, Ten Mile Beach and Doran Beach. New Sea Angler skipper Capt. Rick Powers reported seeing mega-tonnage of finfish baits and krill while running one of his boats down to San Francisco Bay for annual work.

EMERYVILLE

Striped bass kept private boaters busy soaking baits and pulling on fish off of Emeryville and on down to Alameda Rock Wall. Shore fishers had an occasional encounter with a striper, but mostly their catches were various perches. The Fish Emeryville Fleet was undergoing annual maintenance and upgrades for the approaching season.

EUREKA

Jetty fishing was surprisingly good with some of the better spots reachable in spots of generally snotty weather. Common catches were kelp greenling, black rockfish and perch, but cabezon and even a limit of lingcod came up. Crabbers inside Humboldt Bay had limited success, but generally nowhere near limits. Local lagoons held some hungry trout.

FORT BRAGG

Partyboat Sea Hawk pulled limits of Dungeness crab on every trip, however the skipper mentioned that they are now pulling more pots to achieve limits. Shore fishers were limited to Noyo Jetty and Dog Park when the weather howled and the swells ran large. There were selected opportunities however to wet a line at Glass Beach and MacKerricher.

HALF MOON BAY

The partyboat fleet consisting of Queen of Hearts, Huli Cat, New Capt. Pete and others were undergoing winter maintenance. Private boaters got out a few times to test the crabbing which was generally slow. Folks casting snares from the jetty or hoops from the public poer got a keeper crab every now and then. Along the shore, striped bass bit now and then from below Pacifica on up to Ocean Beach.

SAN FRANCISCO

Bass Tub ran halibut/bass combos and so the WON whopper list shows halibut catches hopefully from here on through autumn. Argo had catches of striped bass, sturgeon and halibut. Flash II ran to San Pablo Bay for sturgeon. On local beaches people cast to catch striped bass and various perches.

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