Watch water pour out of Fair Oaks' Nimbus Dam after heavy rains
Here are the best places to fish in the Sacramento region, Northern California and beyond for the week of April 9, 2018.
Bass fishing was on fire prior to the weekend storm with largemouth to near 13 pounds plucked off of the beds with swimbaits. Plastics, jigs, or Senkos are all working for bass in shallow water, and the water clarity remains good despite the lake rising. Trout fishing remains slow, but there is the occasional quality rainbow to 8 pounds taken on spoons at depths to 30 feet. The lake-record crappie at 3 pounds, 4 ounces was landed this week on a live minnow near Tuttletown, and the crappie are holding close to the shorelines in structure. The lake rose to 85 percent this week.
INDIAN CREEK RESERVOIR
Now that it’s accessible, anglers are finding Indian Creek Reservoir fishing spectacularly for rainbows. Guests at Creekside Lodge fished it two days last week and found non-stop action according to Todd Sodaro of Todd’s Bait and Tackle.
The lake is full to the brim and fishing very well for chunky 3- to 7-pound mackinaw, according to Chuck Self of Chuck’s Charter Fishing. Afternoon trips have been very good as well. The only downside is fishing very deep. The surface water temperature was 42.5 degrees, a bit cold for the larger rainbows to play. Zach Gordon of Tahoe Sportfishing also enjoyed fast action for mackinaw. Surface action for browns continues for Mike Nielsen of Tahoe Topliners of Tahoe Sportfishing. The fish are hitting Storm Thundersticks in gold and black.
DELTA, SACRAMENTO SIDE
The water has become dirty from upstream inflow, and the bulk of muddy water will arrive early this week from the upstream tributaries. Striped bass and sturgeon are on the move with the best sturgeon action in Suisun Bay in the Big Cut and Montezuma Slough. Finding clear water is the key to success for trollers and lure casters for striped bass, and there have been some huge fish caught and released in the north Delta on glide baits. Trollers are finding good action in the clear water with deep-diving lures in a variety of colors. In the upper Sacramento Delta, sardines coated with garlic spray, pile worms, or blood worms are working in the dirtier water. The majority of six-pack operators have left for San Francisco Bay to enjoy the live bait action, but there are still plenty of sturgeon in the Delta.
DELTA, SAN JOAQUIN SIDE
The Mokelumne River is pumping out mud, but the water on the San Joaquin-Delta has some areas with clear water. There are plenty of school-sized striped bass to be had for trollers with various colors of deep-diving lures such as P-Line Predator Minnows, Yozuri Crystal Minnows, or broken-backed Rebels. The clearest water has been upstream of the mouth of the Mokelumne and also from the Antioch Bridge to the Santa Clara Shoals. Scent and vibration are necessary for success for largemouth bass in the dirty water, but there are a few bass starting to hit topwater frogs.
CHETCO RIVER, BROOKINGS, OREGON
The river closed to fishing March 31 and will re-open May 22. Steehead fishing was fair last week, with good flows.
ELK RIVER, PORT ORFORD, OREGON
The Elk River closed to fishing March 31 and re-opens May 22.
ROGUE RIVER, GOLD BEACH, OREGON
The lower Rogue remained fishable after last week’s rain, but fishing for spring salmon was fairly slow over the weekend. A few hatchery salmon are being caught. Recent rains may draw in more fish.
ROGUE RIVER, GRANT’S PASS, OREGON
There were a couple of days of muddy waters, but It’s clearing now, said guide Troy Whitaker at U-Save Tackle in Grants Pass. Steelhead anglers should try back-trolling with dark-colored plugs or pink rubber worms. Also side-drifting roe is producing steelhead action. There have been some salmon moving up, too, and being caught on sardine fillets. A little rain is expected this week, but it should not be enough slow the fishing action.
As of Sunday it was flowing very high and very muddy river. The Russian River basin picked up anywhere from 3-7 inches of rain on Friday, so it will be a while before it is fishable, according to Scott Heemstra from Kings Sport & Tackle in Guerneville. “Before the rain, the river was in excellent shape and there were a lot of downrunners and some new steelhead being caught. There is still a chance to get some late steelhead when the river comes into shape. The good news with the high flows is that it will make for a good American shad run. We should expect to find them in the system when the river comes around. It is also time for black bass to get active, since the water temps will start warming as we move into spring.”
Heavy rain blew the Smith out from top to bottom over the weekend. The river was muddy on Sunday but expected to be fishable by late week. Steelhead fishing remains open through April, but has been slow.
SIXES RIVER, PORT ORFORD, OREGON
Steelhead season closed March 31. The river re-opens May 22.
KLAMATH RIVER, HORNBROOK
The river remains blown out. Flows over the weekend at Iron Gate Dam were 6,700 cfs, up from 2,100 cfs a week ago.KLAMATH RIVER, Happy Camp — The river remains too high for late-season steelhead fishing. Flows at Seiad Valley were 12,000 cfs over the weekend, up from 3,563 cfs. Flows at Orleans were 28,600 cfs, up from 10,900 cfs.
KLAMATH RIVER, KLAMATH GLEN
The river is high and off-color. Spring salmon season is still a month away. Flows at Terwer over the weekend were 70,600 cfs, up from 20,000 cfs a week ago. They crested at 91,000 cfs before beginning to drop.
The river blew out from top to bottom, and remained high from Douglas City down over the weekend. Flows at Douglas City shot up from 400 cfs to 4,000 cfs. They were down to 849 cfs late Sunday. Flows at Junction City went from 500 cfs to 4,400 cfs. They had dropped to 1,240 cfs on Sunday. Flows at Lewiston held steady at 300 cfs all week, as water is being held back at Trinity Lake.
NORTH COAST LAKES
Bass anglers are enjoying catching good numbers of smallmouth and largemouth bass all over the lake. Most are males in the 1- to 3-pound range with a few over 10 pounds. The major creeks (Putah and Pope ) remain stained so spinnerbaits, chatterbaits, A-rigs and a variety of plastics are working up the creeks. From the narrows and on up the main lake to the north end you'll find clear water and plenty of bed fish. Best technique has been drop-shotting 6-inch Robo worms in oxblood, Aaron's Magic or weightless Senkos in the trees in 5 to 10 feet of water.
BLACK BUTTE LAKE
Fishing has been slow, but some action seen on crappie and bass near the damage coves.
Bass fishing has been fair to good on plastics and jerk baits at the north end of the lake. Crappie fishing is good on jigs and minnows.
No reports of action by bass anglers.
Fishing remains slow for trout and bass.
Not much action reported with few anglers out.
FAR AND NORTH LAKES AND RIVERS
The recent storms dropped over 2 1/2 inches of rain. The Hamilton Branch and the Super Ditch are bringing in lots of muddy and the lake is on the rise. Water surface temps have settled and fluctuated between 41.5 to 48 degrees. With more unsettled weather on the way you can expect the trend to continue. Forecasts calls for some cooling temps with a chance of snow later this week. Fishing has been good this past week when weather allowed, good numbers, just no large fish.
Recently stocked and produced fair to good action for fly fishermen and shoreline bait anglers.
Trout action is holding at a pretty good pace, with fly fishermen picking up rainbows near the marina on a variety of may flies and other assorted dry flies. Up towards the dam area, most of the action on similar rainbows is being posted by boat anglers anchoring or drifting white Power Bait.
Pretty much blown by high water flowing through.
Excellent trout and improved landlocked king salmon fishing was posted. Upper arms of the lake are producing smaller 14- to 16-inch trout. The lower sections of the lake arms are still seeing the best brown fishing of the year. Bass fishing remains good in the coves and off points on plugs and plastics.
Fishing is slow.
Bass fishing has been slow, but is starting to pick up. Trout action remains fair to good at creek inlets.
Kokanee fishing is best on the surface early and down to 25 feet by the afternoon. Boats anglers are getting 16-plus-inch fish right now. Anglers can start trolling at the buoy line in the Whiskey Creek in 40 feet of water and get into them. Trolling by the bridge has been fair, but the dam and Curtain areas have been doing well. Over by the inlet near Brandy Creek in deep waters has been a good spot also.
The bass moved up into the shallows prior to the weekends storm, but they moved back into slightly deeper water once the pressure dropped. A few huge largemouth were taken during Saturday’s NewJen Bass tournament, and the winning limit was over 32 pounds. Trout trolling in the river arm near the Moccasin launch ramp has been outstanding due to the salvage of 39,000 pounds from the washout at the Moccasin Hatchery. Trolling with custom spoons on leadcore or at depths from 25 to 35 feet has produced up to 60 rainbow and brook trout to 3 pounds.
The Lake Amador Resort released 1,200 pounds of Mt. Lassen Hatchery rainbow trout in the launch cove on Friday, and they stock fish with an average size of 2 pounds with 10 percent of the plants being rainbows from 4 to 12 pounds. The launch cove isn’t the primary release location, but with the rain on Friday, it was the safest location to release. The lake is spilling over, and it is heavily stained with floating debris. Using bait with scent and vibration is the best, and shore fishing is far superior to trolling with the stained water. The fish are holding near the shorelines and the surface. The Nor Cal Trout Angler’s Challenge will arrive on April 24.
Trout plants continue with 1,800 pounds of Mt. Lassen Hatchery rainbows split evenly between the South Shore Marina, the South Shore Pond, and the North Shore launch ramp. The water of the main lake and the river arm remains clear, and trolling continues to be solid near the dam at 25 feet with Speedy Shiners, Needlefish, or Rapalas. Bass fishing has been outstanding in the shallows from 3 to 5 feet with plastics on the drop-shot, brown/purple jigs, or Senkos on the beds. There are also a number of smaller fish in the 1.5 to 2.5-pound range in the shallows with most of the bass in the main lake being largemouth while the river arm is loaded with spotted bass. The lake rose to 82 percent.
The annual Merced Irrigation Trout Derby was a big success with 400 participants catching plenty of the planted rainbows on garlic dough bait, nightcrawlers, or minnows from the shoreline from the marina to the dam. There are still plenty of planted rainbows in the lake, and regular plants from the Calaveras Trout Farm in Snelling are expected. The lake’s water is stained from inflow from Lake McClure, and scent is important for enticing strikes.
Bass fishing is solid for spotted bass to 5 pounds with plastics or live minnows while crappie fishing has taken over the lake. Limits of slabs are common from the shorelines near the North Ramp at McClure with live minnows. The bass are moving into the shallows, but they moved back off over the weekend with the low pressure system. Catfishing is decent with anchovies, sardines, or chicken livers. The lake rose slightly to 82 percent this week.
Trout plants continue with 1,000 pounds of Calaveras Trout Farm rainbows released every Friday, and trout fishing remains best in the main lake and the river arm with spoons or spinners. Trollers have found rainbows to nearly 8 pounds near the dam with blade/’crawler combinations or firetiger Rapalas. Kokanee have yet to emerge, and there is some concern over the number of kokanee available in the lake. There is debris floating in the river arm up to the log boom, and boaters need to be cautious of the floating and submerged debris. Crappie are showing up with minijigs around structure. The lake dropped slightly to 99 percent.
The water in the river arm is muddy, and the main lake is murky, but there are still striped bass to be had for trollers willing to pull anchovies on a harness rig. The lake rose to 68 percent.
SIERRA LAKES AND RIVERS
Rising slightly. Shore launching is the only option. The boat ramp is muddy and the dam road is closed, according to Brian Nylund of Mountain Hardware and Sports.
Recent heavy rains “completely blew out” the East Carson, according to Todd Sodaro of Todd’s Bait and Tackle. He expects the year-round catch-and-release section to be shut down for several days to a week.
The lake is 100-percent ice free and 95-percent full. The launch at Lightning Trail is open. Mallard is still covered by snow. The east side is fully plowed. The west side of the lake is inaccessible due to snow.
The shoreline mackinaw bite has slowed, according to Brian Nylund of Mountain Hardware and Sports. Boat anglers are faring better. Toplining for kokanee recently started. For now, they are typically smaller fish. Toplining for rainbows is an option. On Sunday, guide Shaun Rainsbarger said the mackinaw bite was a little tough. Fish are scattered through the water column. The surface water temperature is a frigid 39.5 degrees.
Prosser is fishing well from the shoreline for anglers soaking Power Bait, according to Brian Nylund of Mountain Hardware and Sports. The bass fishing is slow due to cold water.
While most boats were tied up due to high winds, shoreline anglers cleaned up, according to Capt. Robert Hagerty of Pyramid Fly Company. Hagerty said the locals have been spanking the fish from the shoreline. “Candy Apple John” and “Greg the Professor” caught 74 fish up to 14 pounds in 8 hours. Hagerty, with Joe Contaldi and Capt. Tom Berg, landed more than 100 fish up to 10 pounds. Midges have been a top producer but don’t disregard stripping woolly buggers and popcorn beetles.
Fishing is tough due to runoff from recent warm rains according to Brian Nylund of Mountain Hardware and Sports. Flows are up to 6,000 cfs down the hill, 500 out of the head dam, and 2,500 at Glenshire. If you want to try it, fish the edges and soft water. Nymphing with heavy weights is the best option.
Flows jumped from 8,500 cfs to 24,600 cfs late last week after a big storm hit the region. The American River is completely blown out.
Striper fishing was hot early last week on the Feather, with minnows working well along with swimbaits. High water made fishing tough over the weekend, but keeper-size fish were being caught on cut bait. Conditions are expected to improve by mid-week. All of the boat launches remain open.
The lake is muddy with inflows topping 30,000 cfs late last week. The lake is 85-percent full, and 122-percent of it 15-year average. The lake level Sunday was 449 feet. Fishing is poor with the heavy inflow. Brown’s Ravine, Folsom Point, Granite Bay and Rattlesnake Ramp are all open.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, DUNSMUIR
The river blew out, then reached 6,000 cfs before dropping back to 2,500 cfs over the weekend.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, REDDING TO RED BLUFF
Flows from Keswick Dam have remained stable at 3,220 cfs, as water is held back at Shasta Dam. Trout fishing has been good 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, RED BLUFF TO COLUSA
Heavy runoff slowed striper fishing above Colusa. Sturgeon are being caught on eel and pile worms. Flows at Colusa jumped from 7,000 cfs to 37,200 cfs over the weekend.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, VERONA TO COLUSA
Sturgeon fishing has been fair from Knight’s Landing to Colusa, with eel and nightcrawler combos working best. Striper fishing is fair near Verona and Tisdale, although high water is making access difficult. Boaters are anchoring and fishing cut sardines or pile worms. Anglers have reported big numbers of fish in the river. Flows at Verona went from 20,000 cfs to 57,200 cfs.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, SACRAMENTO
Striper fishing was good early last week at Discovery Park and Bright Beach before rains blew the river out over the weekend. Boat access is now difficult in the Sacramento area because of high water. Flows at Freeport jumped from 30,000 cfs to 72,700 cfs.
Bullards is still good for kokanee, although the bite has slowed. Anglers are scoring while trolling dodgers and hoochies. Most fish are in the 12- to 13-inch range. The bass bite continues to be good for numbers, with some nice quality mixed in. The bass are up shallow.
CAMP FAR WEST
The bass bite is going strong. Anglers are reporting big numbers on 1 to 2 pounders, on jigs, Twist Tails, and other plastics. Crappie are starting to bite. The trout bite up the Bear River arm has slowed. The lake is full and spilling. It’s stained and 62 degrees on the surface.
Weekly 1,800-pound trout plants continue from Mt. Lassen Trout Farm. Trout weighing 5 to 8 pounds are in the mix. The recent storm has stained the water again. It seems to make no difference to the fish. Limits and near limits were common, and trout up to 5 pounds were caught. Meanwhile, crappie entered the counts at Collins Lake Recreation Area, and Bob Arfsten of Yuba City caught a 13.25-pound catfish.
Warm rain pounded Oroville leading into last weekend, but it didn’t hamper the bite. The April 7 Nor-Cal 90 tournament had 35 boats fish right through the foul weather. Incoming water produced some good fish, but not all incoming water was equal. Ryan Friend and Clint Isbell motored miles around the lake to find productive incoming water. They tanked two 6 pounders and a couple 4-pound largemouth to bag the winning weight of 20.87 pounds.
SCOTT’S FLAT LAKE
The DFW stocked Scott’s Flat on March 18. Last week, they were still hitting well. Smallmouth bass are okay. Rainbows are the heaviest catch. The lake is full and spilling.
During the first week of April, the DFW Feather River Hatchery will stock 51,800 yearling steelhead into the Thermalito Afterbay near Oroville. This is the second juvenile steelhead release of the year and brings the total number of steelhead stocked in the Afterbay this season to 234,000. They are going in at 1/4 of a pound each but are expected to grow quickly to 20 inches by late summer and fall.
Berkeley boats hammered halibut and busted bass throughout the week, with bass, halibut and even white seabass all over the deck on California Dawn and Happy Hooker. California Dawn had amazing success on white seabass. Berkeley Charterboat vessels like New El Dorado III caught halibut to 28 pounds at Berkeley Pier and Alameda.
While waiting for word on salmon season, Bodega Bay boaters stayed on crab, finding enough in their traps to keep running them. Tomales Bay offered a reasonable chance at a halibut especially for bait drifters and slow-trollers working near Hog Island and near the entrance to the Bay. Surf fishers had good times with various surf perch at Lawson’s Landing and Doran Beach. New Sea Angler will be ready to fish rockfish daily beginning the day after the opener.
Boaters worked the area for halibut and striped bass aboard most anything that would float including larger craft, skiffs and kayaks. Even with the water freshening up from the rains, halibut were fond of conditions and appreciative of the live bait availability which gave the fish exactly what they wanted.
Shore-based fishing was the one opportunity for the week because rockfish and salmon seasons haven’t yet begun (salmon season is as yet undetermined). Fishing the south jetty was good for lingcod on herring and anchovies. On calmer days people could fish from the parking lot almost out to the dolos where they caught plenty of black snappers, kelp greenling and other fish.
Crabbing was kinda quiet due to sea state and dwindling interest late in the season. Shore fishing and crabbing was viable and even very good at times. Noyo Jetty was always fishable. Westport and Ward Avenue were great for redtail perch. Rockfish and cabezon were on the bite at The Mill and other rocky spots when the swells would allow folks to fish the good spots.
HALF MOON BAY
The first full week of rockfish season below Pigeon Point was very good and limited only by wind and seas. Half Moon Bay boats Queen of Hearts, New Captain Pete and Riptide got into some solid action with full sacks. Huli Cat came back from the boatyard and is ready to rock & roll. Striped bass bass bit for surf anglers from Mussel Rock to Montara. Pacifica Pier people found improved crab action and slower perch fishing.
Live bait (anchovies) were available for sale and this ignited bass, halibut and even white seabass action throughout San Francisco Bay for boats like Bass Tub, Argo and Lovely Martha which fished comfortable waters and stacked their decks with fish. Shore anglers found decent striped bass action along the Pacific side of town and perch fishing inside the Bay.
- Western Outdoor News