Fishing Line

Fishing Line: As sturgeon leave spotlight, rainbow trout move in

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▪ DELTA: SACRAMENTO RIVER – Interest in sturgeon fishing has waned, but the diamondbacks remain in the lower Delta. Montezuma Slough has been the top spot. The wind has kept most of the striper fishermen out of the main river, but there is great action upriver by drifting live bait or trolling deep or shallow lures.

▪ DELTA: SAN JOAQUIN RIVER - Striped bass have come to life with action reported from the Antioch Bridge up to Prisoner’s Point along all of the shoals. Both shallow and deep diving lures are working. Bass fishing is solid with a variety of techniques, and the largemouths will be gorging themselves after the final spawn of the year. Bluegill, catfish, and crappie are showing in the south and east Delta sloughs. Construction on the False River rock barrier will start this week and continue for up to two months.

▪ SACRAMENTO RIVER, Knight’s Landing to Colusa – Fishing for stripers has been slow, as many of the fish have already spawned and returned to the delta. Lots of shakers were reported last week. Crappie fishing is very good in the lower river sloughs. Catfish also are being caught near Verona.

▪ CARSON RIVER (East, West) – The Markleeville General Store reported the opener was very good considering the snowy, wet weather. Anglers checked in with numerous 3- to 6 1/2-pound rainbows and lots of limits taken on salmon eggs, worms, and gold or silver lures. The water flows were off-color early this past week due to the melting snow, but were clearing by the weekend. Get out early this season while there’s still enough water to sustain the fishing.

▪ COLLINS LAKE – The lake is 25 feet from full and received a double plant this past week and is scheduled for a double plants the next three weeks. Trout fishing was very good with fish to 11 1/2 pounds caught by trollers. Shore fishing was good for limits of trout and the occasional catfish to 16 pounds.


▪ North Coast streams and rivers are regulated by low flow closures. Always call ahead to determine the condition of the river you want to fish. If not mentioned, the river is closed or no reports. The DFG’s Low Flow Closure Hotline for north coast rivers is (707) 822-3164. South Central Coast streams number is (831) 649-2886.New low flow closures for Mendocino, Sonoma and Marin counties, Oct. 1-April 30, call (707) 822-3164 for Mendocino, (707) 944-5533 for Sonoma, Marin and Napa.

▪ ROGUE RIVER, Gold Beach, Ore.--Spring salmon fishing has been slow on the lower Rogue. “Normally the month of May can have some spectuacular days,” said WON Field Reporter and guide Curtis Palmer of River Secrets. “But what I’m hearing is that fishing has not been very good. There’s been a few salmon from Agness down to the mouth, and early morning has been the best fishing. Water temperature in Agness has been close to 65 degrees and this is warm for early May. A mid-sized spinner could be the correct choice for the conditions.”

▪ ROGUE RIVER, Grants Pass, Ore. -- “We’ve got warmer water now and it’s slow fishing,” said Troy Whitabker at U-Save Tackle in Grant’s Pass. “There are still a few steelhead being caught, but they are mostly downers. It was a pretty good year for steelhead. Best salmon action is in the upper river, from Gold Hill up through Shady Cove, where a little more flow from the dam has the water cooler. Action for salmon is fair and best baits are sardine-wrapped Kwikfish. Some guides are also picking up salmon down in the Rainey Falls area. In the Grants Pass area, fish early to avoid the Hellgate Jet Boat tours. For the lake anglers, the trout fishing remains good on most of the high elevation lakes, such as Applegate, Lost Creek, Fish Lake, Lake of the Woods, Hyatt Lake and Howard Prairie. Lake Selmac continues to produce bass and trout action. Most action is on trolled Wedding Rings with a nightcrawler attached or Power Magnets. Bank anglers are scoring with Pautzke’s, marshmallows, or Pautzke’s Fire Bait and Power Bait, or nightcrawlers floated off the bottom.”

▪ UMPQUA RIVER, Elkton, Ore. --”Slow is how I must describe the fishing for spring Chinooks on the lower Umpqua River last week,” said guide Curtis Palmer of River Secrets. “The salmon are throughout the entire river, but not very many people are catching any. Moss is terrible this year and the tackle has to be cleaned every 10 minutes. I have had my takedowns on two different lures: Spinner’s and small plugs, like the Mag Lip in the 3.5-inch size. Shad are starting to show in the Umpqua River. A couple reports came from near the Umpqua boat landing this last weekend. The Umpqua has a very large run of American shad that are in the hundreds of thousands. They are known in Southern Oregon to be the best crab bait available.”

▪ UMPQUA, North Fork, Glide, Ore. --It seems to be the same story across Southern Oregon when it comes to salmon fishing last week--slow. Yes, it was slow for spring Chinook fishing on the North Umpqua River also, said guide Curtis Palmer. “It wasn’t quite as slow as the other rivers, but it was much slower than the week before,” he said. “The salmon are starting to fill some of the big pools where they hold for extended time periods. The fish that are being caught are at daybreak or near dusk. Bobber and roe seems to be the best chance at catching one of these Springer’s.”


▪ KLAMATH RIVER, Iron Gate - Fishing for halfpounder and small adult steelhead has been good with the warming weather and frequent hatches. Salmon flies will soon begin hatching.

▪ KLAMATH RIVER, Happy Camp - Conditions are good and anglers are catching a mix of spawned out adult steelhead and half pounder steelhead. Pressure is very light.

▪ KLAMATH RIVER, Klamath Glen - Fishing is slow for spring salmon, which usually show up in late May or June. This year’s fall salmon limit is two adults and one jack.

▪ TRINITY RIVER - Anglers expect to see the first spring king salmon of the season by the first of June. Halfpounders and brown trout are available from Lewiston to Junction City.


▪ LAKE ALMANOR--Good bug hatches continue in both basins and fish are biting aggressively. Troll fast and use hardware such as Needlefish.

▪ BATTLECREEK RESERVOIR--Kastmasters and worms always do well here, so these would be good choices to start out your day. Check special regulations here.

▪ BAUM LAKE--The good trout bite continues for those that can get on the water and reach them. The Fly Shop in Redding suggests using a pram, pontoon boat, or float tube. The bite is usually consistently good because the water conditions are controlled, cold and clear.

▪ BUCKS LAKE--Plenty of fish were being marked but there weren’t as many takers. Run gear from 35 to 55 feet down for the Macs and gear from 20 to 30 for the kokes. A variety of plugs and spoons have been working with greens and blues being the best producers.

▪ CASSEL FOREBAY--There is always more pressure on the weekends, but there should be plenty of fish for everyone. Power Bait, worms and eggs are good go to baits to start the season.

▪ EAGLE LAKE-- Opens on May 23 to Dec. 31 with one ramp. Anglers are allowed to keep two fish per day with a total of four in possession.

▪ FALL RIVER--The Fly Shop in Redding suggests fishing above the Island Rd. Bridge midday. Fishing was rated fair to good this past week.

▪ UPPER HAT CREEK--These waters are spring fed so the drought should not impact it. Some of the Forest Service campgrounds are open. Worms, eggs and lures all work well here. Water conditions are great.

▪ MANZANITA LAKE--Rainbow and brown trout have been active earlier this year with the warmer water temperatures. Fish the shoreline and structure for better action. Remember that this is a catch and release, single hook, artificial lure only lake. Remember to check Lassen Park’s special regulations for this lake.

▪ McCLOUD RIVER--River conditions are good and so is the brown and rainbow trout fishing.

▪ PIT RIVER--Water conditions are good and with plenty of hatches going off, the fishing has been good.

▪ SHASTA LAKE--It was all about the brown trout bite with a few rainbows mixed in, but the salmon fishing has been nonexistent. A good bite continues for a ton of smaller bass with a few of the larger ones still on beds as well as some post spawners available now. Fish from the surface down to 10 feet with topwater gear early and late in the day and then worms and Senkos during the day. All colors are working.

▪ TRINITY LAKE--The bass bite has been good here but they are dumping water now and the water has muddied up.

▪ TRINITY RIVER--It’s been slower here due to all of the releases which have increased flows.


▪ BERKELEY--Bay fishing was the game of the week for boats out of Berkeley. It was hard to decide to run offshore into the teeth of rough seas when stripers and halibut were so active on Berkeley Flats and Southampton Shoals. California Dawn, Happy Hooker, Jilly Sea and Dream Fisher tore into the bass and halibut with gusto.

▪ BODEGA BAY--New Sea Angler focused on big rockfish and plenty of lingcod to 23 pounds down by Point Reyes where the action was off the hook. Working Girl, a 6-pak boat skippered by Capt. Tim Wong, got limits of lings, limits of rockfish and 1 critter shy of limits of crabs.

▪ EMERYVILLE--Sea Wolf and Tiger Fish ran outside the Gate and tore into the rockfish and lingcod. Limits of rockfish were standard fare and near-limits of lingcod to 17 pounds were taken. C Gull II, New Huck Finn, New Salmon Queen and Sundance fished the Bay and caught right at limits of bass.

▪ EUREKA--The salmon opener held promise and fish were caught in as little as 10 minutes of fishing, however the seas were brutal and hard to fish. Most skippers and boaters feel that as soon as the winds die and the seas calm down, it will be game-on! Pacific halibut also opened up, but the seas were too messy to even try to work that deep, so it is on hold until better weather. An 8-pound lingcod was caught at the jetty. Red tail perch were caught at the north end of Stone Lagoon.

▪ FORT BRAGG--Crab counts were surprisingly high, with Telstar getting full limits. Salmon counts varied widely, from a few fish per boat, to better than a fish per rod. Swells were too big to safely fish the jetties for part of the week, but when possible, people caught perch, kelp greenling, rockfish and cabezon.

▪ HALF MOON BAY/PACIFICA--Groundfish action was great, topped by a 15-pound octopus caught aboard Huli Cat. New Capt. Pete got limits of lings plus rockfish. Striped bass bit wildly in the surf and most of the action was on artificials. Deep Reef produced the best salmon bite, though 6 hookups aboard Queen of Hearts was a good day.

▪ SAN FRANCISCO--Each skipper picked a direction outside the Gate to fight high winds and tall seas for salmon counts that might top a fish per rod... or inside the Bay to Berkeley Flats or Southampton Shoals where stripers and halibut lie in wait. Bass Tub, Flash and others opted to stay in the Bay.


▪ AMERICAN RIVER - A few shad have been reported at Discovery Park. Overall fishing is slow.

▪ EATHER RIVER - Flows increased about a foot with water releases for ag use, but fishing is still slow in the Feather for stripers. Shad are being caught at Boyds Pump and also have been reported at Shanghai Bend.

▪ FOLSOM LAKE - Fishing for spotted bass and smallmouth has been good, while largemouth bass are now on their spawning beds. Boat traffic has increased. Landlocked kings are being caught trolling in the Salmon Falls Arm.

▪ RANCHO SECO LAKE - Bass and trout fishing is slow to fair.

▪ SACRAMENTO RIVER, Dunsmuir - The upper river is in prime shape. March brown hatches in the morning and caddis in the afternoon have fly anglers catching fish throughout the day.

▪ SACRAMENTO RIVER, Redding to Red Bluff -The river is closed to all fishing between Keswick Dam and the Highway 44 bridge from April 27 to July 31. Trout are available below the Highway 44 bridge. Some shad have arrived.


▪ LAKE AMADOR - 1200 pounds of Mt. Lassen Trout Farm rainbows to 12 pounds continue to be planted into the lake on a weekly basis, and the plants will continue for the next few weeks depending upon the water temperature.

▪ LAKE CAMANCHE --1200 pounds of rainbow trout from the Mt. Lassen Trout Farm were released evenly into the lake during the past week at the North Shore Launch Ramp and the South Shore Pond. Trollers are finding the largest trout in the deepest water near the dam and spillway with large plugs or grubs. The South Shore Ramp is operational once again as it is on the lowest ramp.

▪ DON PEDRO - King salmon and kokanee remain the top species with the larger kings holding under the kokanee schools. The Fleming Meadows Launch Ramp is open with only one lane at the present time, and patience is required to launch with long lines on the weekends.

▪ LAKE MCCLURE-The North Barrett Cove Launch Ramp is still operational with the lake at 10% of capacity. Bass fishing is excellent with a variety of presentations. Information on the launch ramp is available at (855) 222-5253.

▪ LAKE MCSWAIN- The Calaveras Trout Farm in Snelling closed during the past week, limiting plants to the Department of Fish and Wildlife. There are still rainbow trout in the lake from the plant prior to the Merced Irrigation Trout Derby a few weeks ago.

▪ NEW MELONES-Trout fishing was very good near the surface and along the shoreline as the rainbows are keying on the spawning shad. Kokanee fishing continued to improve, and the salmon are found throughout the lake at depths to 70 feet near the dam, Rose Island, and the spillway. Launch ramp is limited to the dirt ramp at Glory Hole Point, and a 4WD tow vehicle in essential.

▪ NEW HOGAN--Low lake levels have contributed to a concentration of organic matter, leading to water violations at Stockton East Water District. Striped bass action is hit or miss with anchovies or shad on a harness rig.

▪ LAKE PARDEE- Trout plants will now be from the Mt. Lassen Hatchery due to the closure of the Calaveras Trout Farm. Kokanee fishing has been outstanding with the best action near the dam or the river arm. Reconstruction of the Recreational Vehicle Park will result in the lake’s closure on July 10. All boats are required to pass a Quagga Mussel inspection prior to launching.

▪ LAKE TULLOCH-Plans have been announced to drain the lake in September to meet agricultural and environmental obligations, but it appears that the lake will be open for the summer months.


▪ BOCA LAKE--The lake is at 17-percent capacity. With the lake so low, it looks like you’re fishing a creek instead of a lake. The inlet and the dam were still the best places to try for rainbows, browns, and the occasional mack.

▪ CAPLES LAKE--The lake is at 86.4-percent capacity and scheduled for a DFW trout plant this week. The EID boat facility opened May 1 and the Caples Lake Resort ramp and boat rentals are open. Fishing was good, according to John Voss at Caples Lake Resort.

▪ AVIS LAKE--The lake is at 56-percent capacity. Ed Dillard at Dillard’s Guided Fishing reported trolling was slower than expected, though on his last trip his client caught and released 6 rainbows to 3 1/2 pounds. Dillard was trolling a copper/red head Wee Dick Nite at 12 to 17 feet deep around the island. Shore fishing improved at Fairview, but flyfishing was slow. Boats can launch at Honker Cove.

▪ DONNER LAKE--The lake is at 66-percent capacity. This is the only Truckee area lake where you can safely launch a boat. Kokanee were hitting at 40 feet deep but they were only 8 to 9 inchers--too small to draw much interest.

▪ FEATHER RIVER CANYON--Mike Hanson at Caribou Crossroads Resort reported fishing in the North Fork was still good for 12- to 14-inch rainbows using salmon eggs.

▪ FRENCHMAN LAKE--The lake is at 36-percent capacity. Ed Dillard at Dillard’s Guided Fishing reported trolling was very good here for 14- to 16-inch rainbows. On a trip this past week, his clients caught 15 fish in 4 hours trolling Needlefish 7 to 10 feet deep near the bottom. He did best trolling west of the Frenchman boat ramp.

▪ GOLD LAKES BASIN--Mark Tieslau at Mountain Hardware and Sports reported trolling at Gold Lake was good for macks to 5 pounds using a Lyman Lure at 35 feet deep. Sardine Lake was kicking out a planter rainbow every half-hour on floating dough bait.

▪ ICE HOUSE RESERVOIR--The lake is at 84-percent capacity. Dale Daneman at Dale’s Foothill Fishing Service reported trolling was good for a mix of planter and holdover rainbows using spoons and grubs in the top 20 feet.

▪ INDIAN CREEK RESERVOIR--Fishing pressure was very light here with the Carson River so heavily stocked and the fishing so good.

▪ JACKSON MEADOW RESERVOIR--The lake is full according to the NID website, but Mountain Hardware and Sports reports the lake is too low to launch a boat at either Pass Creek or Woodcamp according to what they’ve heard from disappointed anglers. Fishing off the dam should be good.

▪ JENKINSON LAKE (Sly Park)--Shore anglers were picking up planter rainbows, a few small macks, and smallmouth bass at the dam.

▪ LAKE TAHOE--Chuck Self at Chuck’s Charter Fishing had a tough week trolling for macks and had to work hard for limits of fish to 7 pounds. He was fishing the North Shore area from 160 to 350 feet deep. Mike Nielsen at Tahoe Topliners Sportfishing reported trolling for browns was very slow this past week, but 4- to 5-pound macks were hitting spoons and plugs at 170 to 220 feet deep at Sugar Pine. Zach Gordon at Tahoe Sportfishing reported good action for 3- to 6-pound macks at Rubicon and Sugar Pine at 200 to 220 feet deep.

▪ LOON LAKE--The lake is at 40-percent capacity. The USFS announced they opened the gate to the launch ramp on May 1. Trolling should be good for holdover rainbows.

▪ PROSSER LAKE--The lake is at 23.5-percent capacity. With the lake so low, there was little fishing pressure. Look for planter rainbows at the dam or in the Prosser Creek arm channel at Old Hobart Mills Road.

▪ PYRAMID LAKE--Trolling was very good this past week for Joe Mendes at Eagle Eye Charters and George Molino at Cutthroat Charters. They were averaging 17 fish per day on Apex at 25 to 45 feet deep from Pelican Point to Spider Point. The fish were running 17 to 26 inches.

▪ RED LAKE--The best access off Hwy 88 is at the dam. Try worms, salmon eggs, and Kastmaster spoons for cutthroats.

▪ SILVER LAKE--The lake is at 94.5-percent capacity. Trolling should be good for rainbows and macks.

▪ STAMPEDE RESERVOIR--The lake is at 19-percent capacity. With the lake so low, boating is restricted to cartop aluminums, canoes, and kayaks. Kokanee trolling was still good for small boaters toplining pink or green dodgers, spinners, and Wiggle Things. Smallmouth bass were hitting crawdad lures in the Davies Creek and Little Truckee arms cast from shore.

▪ TOPAZ LAKE--Chuck Fields at Topaz Landing Marina reported trout trolling was very slow. What few trout were caught were 25 feet deep. Boat launching was still possible at the marina and the County Park. Topaz Landing Marina could launch small aluminum boats on trailers with 12-inch or smaller wheels only. The County Park could launch larger boats.

▪ TRUCKEE RIVER--The flows were very low this past week and trout were stacked up in the deeper pools and runs. March Browns were hatching in the afternoons and it was almost hot enough for yellow sallies to show.

▪ UNION VALLEY RESERVOIR--The lake is at 89-percent capacity. Ken Mathis at Ken’s Custom Tackle and Guide Service put a client on to a 19- to 20-pound mack and a 7-pound mack trolling a dodger/herring on rocky mid-lake humps at 37 feet deep. These were the only hits in 3 days of fishing, so it’s slow at best. The gate to the Sunset ramp was opened by the USFS on May 1.

▪ WEST WALKER RIVER--Runoff from opening weekend’s rain and snow muddied up the river and bumped up the flows slowing the fishing most of this past week. With hot weather in the forecast, the river should clear quickly and there should be plenty of fish after storms chased off a lot of the expected opening weekend crowds.


▪ AMERICAN RIVER--The North Fork, Middle Fork, and South Fork above Folsom Lake are now open to fishing with barbed hooks and bait with a 5-fish limit. The South Fork at Coloma and the Silver Fork were stocked by the DFW.

▪ BULLARDS BAR--The lake is at 60-percent capacity. Emerald Cove Marina reported the DFW stocked rainbows this past week. Marina employees were catching bass around the docks.

▪ CAMP FAR WEST--The lake is still full. Recreational boat traffic was getting heavy on weekends with the hot weather, so fishermen should get out during the week or early on weekends to avoid the crowd. North Shore Resort reported bass fishing was very good with anglers catching 20 to 30 fish per day on plastic worms and lizards.

▪ ENGLEBRIGHT RESERVOIR--The lake is at 97-percent capacity. Recreational boat and houseboat traffic was increasing with the hot weather, so Skippers Cove Marina recommended that fishermen run up the lake to the 5 mph zone for trout.

▪ FRENCH MEADOWS RESERVOIR--The lake is at 43.8-percent capacity. The Foresthill Ranger Station reported the French Meadows campground was open with no fee since there were no services available--haul your own water in, and pack your trash out. Both boat ramps were reported to be open. Shore fishing and trolling should be good for a mix of browns and rainbows.

▪ FULLER LAKE--The lake is scheduled for a DFW trout plant this week.

▪ HELL HOLE RESERVOIR--The lake is at 50.8-percent capacity. The Georgetown Ranger Station reported the Hell Hole campground and the parking lot near the boat ramp were open for camping with no fee since no services were available--no water system yet!! Small cartop boats were launching and the kokanee bite was good according to Ken Mathis at Ken’s Custom Tackle and Guide Service.

▪ LAKE OROVILLE--The lake is now at 50-percent capacity--look for the water level to continue to drop as Sac Valley rice fields get irrigated. Guide Ron Gandolfi reported fishing was very good with anglers catching 40 to 70 fish per rod, mostly 1 1/2- to 1 3/4-pound post-spawn spots as well as lots of little smallmouth bass. There was a limited early morning topwater bite. Most of the action was on tubes, worms, swimbaits, Senkos, blades, cranks, and grubs--pretty much anything you want to throw!! The fish were located on points and walls outside the spawning coves and flats. King salmon trolling had slowed according to the last report from James Netzel at Tight Lines Guide Service.

▪ ROLLINS LAKE--The lake is at 96.5-percent capacity. Trout and bass fishing should be good, but recreational boat traffic will be heavy on the weekends.

▪ SCOTT’S FLAT LAKE--The lake is at 66.3-percent capacity. Trout fishing was good between the marina and the dam from shore. Smallmouth bass were still hitting on the rocky banks from Cascade Shore to the dam.

▪ SUGAR PINE RESERVOIR--The Foresthill Ranger Station reported the campgrounds were currently open on a first come, first served cash basis until reservations are excepted beginning May 21. Fishing should be decent from the shore between the boat ramp and the dam. Trollers should be picking up planters on flasher/worms in the top 20 feet.

▪ STUMPY MEADOWS RESERVOIR--The Georgetown Ranger Station reported work was progressing on opening the campgrounds. Small cartop boaters were launching off the shore and picking up a few rainbows on flasher/worms and Rapalas. The Ponderosa Cove camp and the boat ramp area were open for camping with no fees since there were no service available-- bring your own water.

▪ THERMOLITO AFTERBAY--The lake was at 134.7-foot elevation at press time--86.8-percent capacity. Bass fishing was good around the tule banks using Senkos and blades. Try jigs and crawdad cranks on the rocky banks after the water warms up in the afternoon.