'Electrofishing' for predators in the Delta
Here are the best places to fish in the Sacramento region, Northern California and beyond for the week of April 23, 2018.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, REDDING TO RED BLUFF
Flows from Keswick Dam increased from 3,220 cfs to 4,190 cfs. Trout fishing has been near Anderson. Glo Bugs, beads and roe are working well. Small plugs also are working. The river is now closed above the Highway 44 bridge.
Striper fishing took off last week, with boaters getting into big numbers of fish from 10th Street Bridge to Boyd’s Pump. The mouth of the Yuba has been hot. Drifting minnows or fishing swimbaits has been effective. Limits are being caught. Bank anglers are doing best at Mosquito Beach and Star Bend.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, RED BLUFF TO COLUSA
Striper fishing is very good near Colusa, where anglers drifting minnows are getting into big numbers of fish. A few sturgeon also are being caught. Last week produced the best action so far this season for keeper stripers.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, VERONA TO COLUSA
Ward’s, Tisdale and Verona have all been producing good striper fishing for anglers drifting jumbo minnows or fishing swimbaits. Guides are reporting early limits. Bank anglers also are doing well at Knight’s Landing and Verona with pile worms or cut anchovies or sardines. Sturgeon fishing has slowed, but some fish are still around.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, SACRAMENTO
Stripers are being caught at Bright Beach, Miller Park and Discovery Park. Lots of shakers and plenty of keepers are showing up in the catch. No shad have been reported yet. The deepwater channel is fair for stripers.
The Lake Amador Resort continues to release over 1,000 pounds of Mt. Lassen Hatchery rainbow trout per week, and bank anglers are scoring consistent limits with trout dough bait in bright colors scented with garlic. The lake is the normal “Lake Amador stained,” and the water level is just below the spillway.
Trout plants continue with 1,200 pounds released into the Catfish Pond along with 600 in the South Shore and 1,200 in the South Pond. Trollers are scoring with Speedy Shiners at depths from 15 to 35 feet in the main river channel from the dam to the North Shore Marina. Bass fishing is improving with the fish in the shallows from 5 to 15 feet with swimbaits including the River2Sea Swaver. The 4th Annual Kid’s Free Fishing Derby was a huge success at the Catfish Pond with over 300 youth participating. The lake rose to 88 percent.
NORTH COAST RIVERS
ROGUE RIVER, GOLD BEACH, OREGON
Spring salmon fishing was fair to good last week, with some guides getting up to four fish a day. More than half of the fish have been hatchery keepers. The action slowed over the weekend, mainly because the bite shifted to the late afternoon and evening. Conditions remain good, with ideal flows.
The river is in a transition period, according to Scott Heemstra of Kings Sport & Tackle in Guerneville. “We are still seeing down running steelhead and at Johnsons Beach last week there were steelhead caught casting Little Cleos. It is also that time of year when our resident black bass get active, since water temps are now in the low to mid 60's. That being said, American shad begin to migrate in from the ocean with the occasional striper not far behind. Flows are still a little high as of today, April 22, at 1,000 cfs, but should be dropped considerably by the next weekend.”
The Smith closes for the season April 30. Steelhead fishing has been slow, with virtually no effort.
KLAMATH RIVER, HORNBROOK
Flows were just over 1,650 cfs over the weekend, high but fishable. A few steelhead are being caught. Fall salmon anglers will be allowed two salmon a day on the Klamath, one of which can be a jack. A quota of 593 adult kings was set last week for the upper and middle sections of the Klamath.
KLAMATH RIVER, HAPPY CAMP
The river was still high last week for late steelhead. Flows at Seiad Valley were 3,500 cfs over the weekend. Fall salmon anglers will be allowed two salmon a day on the Klamath, one of which can be a jack. A quota of 593 adult kings was set last week for the upper and middle sections of the Klamath.
KLAMATH RIVER, KLAMATH GLEN
The river is still high and off-color. The fall salmon quota beginning Aug. 15 is 1,745 adult kings for the lower Klamath River. Anglers are allowed two salmon a day, one adult and a jack.
The river is dropping back into shape after last week’s big water release. Steelhead fishing is slow. Flows hit 2,000 at Lewiston and Junction City after releases from Trinity Lake. The fall salmon limit will be two salmon a day, one of which may be an adult.
NORTH COAST LAKES
Water temperatures continue to climb into the low to mid 60's and another wave of fish are beginning their annual spawn. A recent bass derby with 15 boats was held and the weights were from zero fish to 19.54 pounds for the first team. Many of the teams fished the east shoreline around many of the trees in the lake from 5- to 10-feet of water, while other teams ventured into Pope and Putah Creeks for their fish.
BLACK BUTTE LAKE
Some bass action reported in dam area and nearby cove.
The water clarity is good all around the lake, in a warm weather pattern, and the fish are starting to bed. The sight fisherman will have a lot of fun and action for the rest of this month and into May with the spawning fish. Most of the fish being caught are in the 1- to 3-pound range, but in recent tournaments, several 7 and 8 pounders have been caught with three or four in the 9- to 10-pound range.
A few bass are being caught, but not many anglers are out.
Trout fishing has been fair in areas near the dam.
Bassers are catching pre-spawn, spawn and post-spawn bass right now so be prepared. There has been some topwater catches for post spawn fish using walking baits like Zara spook, Gunfish or Sammy's across main lake primary and secondary points before the sun comes up and the trick is to fish as many points as you can.
UPPER BLUE LAKES
Trout fishing has been very good with trout to over 3 pounds taken. Best action has been for trollers using worms behind flashers.
FAR NORTH LAKES AND RIVERS
Spring has sprung with 60-degree weather in the afternoon mid-30s overnight, water temp rising into the 50’s, insects hatching, full parking lots and lots of boat traffic. The bass tournament schedule is also in full swing with close to 40 boats participating in this past Saturday’s event. Fishing has picked up the past few days with a mix of browns, rainbows, salmon and bass on the menu. Fast trolling (2.5-3 mph) hardware, Rapala’s and Arctic Fox trolling flies continue to be our preferred fishing options. Bank fishing is difficult at best with limited bank access.
Stocked and producing good trout action on Power Baits and flies like midges, woolly buggers and calibetis.
Trout fishing has been good with fish to 20 inches caught on yellow Power Baits, while fly fishermen are scoring with nymphs and stone flies.
When water flows permit, action is fair on small black flies.
Bass fishing is fair to good on cranks and plastic worms fished around any willows in the main body and uplake. Live minnows also working well. Some good-sized trout continue to be caught on Optimizer rigs fished in the dam area.
Bass action is perking up on the lower lake and at the upper lake in the Trinity Center areas. Trout fishing is fair at creek inlets.
Sort of ready to bust wide open, but water managers have yet to fill the lake to full pool. Until that happens, expect some changes in water conditions when they do fill the lake. An influx of very cold water from Lewiston Lake can dramatically impact the bite until lake temperatures stabilize, which will cause the kokanee to school up. It’s still very much worth fishing, but some of the less experienced kokanee anglers will likely struggle to get into some fast kokanee action.
The bass bite slowed down over the weekend, but earlier in the week there were limits in excess of 30 pounds. The lake has risen, and the spawning bass are under several feet of water. Glide baits and swimbaits have been the top producers. The trout released as part of the salvage of the Moccasin Hatchery are moving out into the main lake. The lake has risen to 91 percent.
Spotted bass fishing remains excellent with jigs, plastics on the drop-shot, or with big swimbaits such as River2Sea Swavers or Huddlestons in rainbow trout. The bass are shallow, and there are fish on the beds. Crappie action remains solid with live minnows or white crappie jigs near submerged brush or rock. Catfishing is improving with anchovies, frozen shad, or sardines, while a few trout have been caught. The lake rose slightly to 86 percent.
Trout plants have been limited to 500 pounds of Calaveras Trout Farm rainbows released every Friday, and there is still debris in the south part of the lake and the river arm. The best trout fishing is occurring in the river arm for holdover rainbows from last year’s plants, but the debris has been a limiting factor for trollers. Kokanee are scarce, and there is concern about the viability of the fishery this year as at this time in 2017, limits of kokanee were the rule. Bass fishing is improving with Robo Worms up the river arm. Pardee dropped to 99 percent.
Bass fishing continues to be excellent with a brief window for topwater action in the mornings and evenings before working the bottom at depths to 35 feet with wacky-rigged or nail-weighted Senkos. Crappie have also been biting bass gear, and they are liking small swimbaits such as the 2.8-inch Kei Techs along with mini-jigs or live minnows. Trout fishing is slow, but the rainbows are growing in the Kokanee Power net pens. The lake held at 86 percent.
SIERRA LAKES AND RIVERS
Anglers fishing bait from shore by the dam are doing well, according to Miles Zimmerman of Mountain Hardware and Sports. Shore launching only of boats, but if you can get out and topline for rainbows you stand a good chance.
Water levels are running a little hard, but otherwise the east and west Carson and Markleeville Creek are looking prime with a nice green tinge for the Sierra general trout opener. According to Todd Sodaro of Todd’s Bait and Tackle and the Alpine County Fish and Game Commission, all three rivers plus Silver Creek (if accessible) are set to be stocked with 1,800 pounds of trout from 2 to 7 pounds just prior to the opener. DFW also plans to plant these same rivers.
The lake is 99 percent full. Jeanne Graham at J&J’s Grizzly Store reported anglers are catching fish from Mallard Cove from the bank using worms. She is also getting good reports out of Camp 5, where even bass are making a showing. The water temperature is 44 degrees.
On Friday, guide Shaun Rainsberger’s client caught a 13-pound, 3-ounce mackinaw. He said action for the smaller ones has been pretty steady. The water is warming quickly. It started at 42 and reached 50 by the end of the day. Meanwhile, Marc Christophel of Christophel’s Guide Service confirmed that the mackinaw bite went hot this weekend. Miles Zimmerman of Mountain Hardware and Sports reported a rainbow stock is expected this week, which should fire up the mackinaw bite. He recommended anglers throw larger lures.
INDIAN CREEK RESERVOIR
The fishing here for holdover rainbows slowed this week. It’s okay, just not on fire.
Mackinaw fishing is off the charts, with limits of 3 to 5 pounders the rule, often quickly. The fish are being caught from 140 to 220 feet down. Tahoe’s surface clarity is still poor, but that hasn’t stopped Tahoe Topliners from catching browns and rainbows from 1 to 4 pounds in 25 feet of water off Dead Man’s Point. They are using Krocodile spoons in gold and silver trolled at 2.5 to 3.5 miles per hour.
Reports are scarce. The water level is low, hanging in the 40 percent range. There are some trout lingering around. It is cold for the bass.
With air temperatures now up to 80 degrees, the fishing is improving considerably for boat anglers. There’s a lot of bait in 20 to 40 feet, which has triggered the cutthroat into feeding. In two outings, Joe Mendes of Eagle Eye Charter said his clients caught 65 fish. Meanwhile, Joe Cantaldi of Cantaldi Performance Angler’s Guide Service said shore fishing has been on and off. Saturday was slow, but Sunday was better. His fish were in the 20- to 26-inch range. At Crosby’s Lodge, an 11-pound, 12-ounce cutthroat caught by Jim Crayne of Petaluma was checked in. It ate a Tasmanian Devil fished from a boat at Anderson Bay.
The boat ramp is open. The water temperature is hanging in the low 40s, a little cold for kokanee. It is okay for rainbows. Once the lake hits the mid 50s the fishing should pick up.
Flows have dropped to fishable levels, according to Miles Zimmerman of Mountain Hardware and Sports. Anglers are finding best results while nymphing.
DELTA, SACRAMENTO SIDE
The river is just starting to clear after dropping a few feet, but there is still grass and debris on the main river. Striped bass are moving up and down the system, and a big push of fish should be coming back downstream within a week. Sturgeon are also on the move back to the big water, and sardines coated with garlic spray are working for both species. Jumbo minnows have been effective in the north Delta sloughs. Sturgeon fishing remains excellent with salmon roe or lamprey eel in Suisun Bay for the few guides still working the area.
DELTA, SAN JOAQUIN SIDE
Slowing down with scented plastic worms has been the key to success on the San Joaquin-Delta. D-Worms, the General, and Power Worms with Max Scent on a dead-stick presentation are effective. Finding clearer water is the key. The Santa Clara Shoals has been the best spot for trollers with bright colors of plugs in chartreuse or orange. Bluegill fishing is good off of Eight Mile Road with jumbo red worms.
Flows dropped from 7,500 cfs to 3,500 cfs last week. Fishing has been slow on the American. No reports of shad yet.
Lake levels have stabilized, producing good fishing for bass, trout and landlocked salmon. Bass anglers are doing well fishing plastics close to shore near the North Fork. Bank anglers are using minnows. Some anglers got into trout and salmon trolling 20 to 40 feet down. Needlefish are working well. The lake level Sunday was 450 feet. Brown’s Ravine, Folsom Point, Granite Bay and Rattlesnake Ramp are all open. The water temperature is 65 degrees.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, DUNSMUIR
Flows were down to 794 cfs over the weekend, but still high for trout fishing.
Bullards continues to crank out the kokanee. Anglers are scoring while trolling pink dodgers and hoochies. According to Craig Newton of Will Fish Tackle, this durable bite should hold up well for some time. The bass are up shallow, on the points and in the coves. Ron Gandolfi of Gandolfi Bass Guide Service said he’s been finding fish in 10 to 20 feet of water. The numbers and the quality are good. His client logged a 5-fish limit of roughly 23 pounds. The bass ate Senkos, tubes, and darthead Zman worms. The lake is nearly full.
CAMP FAR WEST
The lake is full. While the Bear River arm is muddy, the Rock Creek area is clear. Kathy DeRossett of North Shore Resort said one angler reported catching 8 bass on baby Brush Hogs in watermelon and pumpkin up Rock Creek, where the water temperature was 60. The overall action is slow. The Yuba City Bass Masters club tournament was reportedly won with a 7-pound bag.
Large trout plants continue from Mt. Lassen Trout Farm. Rainbow trout weighing 5 to 8 pounds are in the mix. Once again, this week two 7 pounders were landed. The water visibility is 3 to 4 feet. Limits and near limits remain common. Bass are active too. The Collins Lake Family Trout Derby benefitting Yuba Sutter Young Life is coming up May 12. See CollinsLake.com for more information or to sign up.
The gate to the lake and nearby Hellhole Reservoir are open. Hellhole was dirty but fishing. Both lakes are full.
Oroville is fishing well for bass, especially now that the temperatures and weather are stabilizing. Post-spawn fish are headed back to steeper walls, while pre-spawn fish are on the walls heading into coves. The coves are loading up with spawners. While the numbers are good to very good, the quality has been lacking, according to Ron Gandolfi of Gandolfi Bass Guide Service.
During the first week of April, the DFW Feather River Hatchery stocked 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 went in at 1/4-pound each but are expected to grow quickly to 20 inches by late summer and fall.
Bay fishing was hot stuff for Berkeley boats targeting halibut and striped bass. Boats like California Dawn, Happy Hooker, New El Dorado III, New Easy Rider and Ms. Marin fished Central bay and South Bay to hook halibut into the high 20s and more bass than a person can shake a cane rod at. With rockfish season open, once would think more boats would go outside to target them, but the action in the Bay has been too good to ignore.
Rockfish and lingcod season is in full swing with most all boats going out to fill sacks with nice fat rockfish and voracious lingcod. New Sea Angler fished down near Point Arena and reached limits or near limits of rockfish plus some lingcod to 18 pounds in the mornings before the wind came up and sent the boat heading for the barn. People fishing Tomales Bay had luck on halibut in the back end of the Bay in 6 to 8 feet of water. Perch bit well at Dillon Beach.
Emeryville boats made differing choices and all of them panned out. Sea Wolf and Tigerfish running outside to load up on limits of rockfish and lingcod counts ranging from half a fish per rod to full limits. The boats fished both the Farallon Islands and the Marin Coast with solid success. New Huck Finn fished inside the Bay and scored on halibut and striped bass with counts like 33 halibut and 8 bass.
Baitballs began moving into Humboldt Bay and California halibut are moving in with them. That action, which was so great last year, gives the local fleet something fun to do when the wind is howling and the seas are high outside on the open ocean. Jetty fishing along the North and South jetties was good for perch, black rockfish, kelp greenling and included some catches of keeper lingcod.
Rockfish season opens May 1 and preparations are well underway. The fleet is ready to rock(fish) and roll on opening day. Meanwhile folks wanting a fresh fish dinner took to the shoreline and found good fishing. On rougher days, Noyo Jetty and Dog Park were good for smaller fish and Old Mill (especially near the Dynamite Shack) was good for rockfish, kelp greenling, cabezon and lingcod.
HALF MOON BAY
Partyboat salmon fishing was a tough go. A few private boats that made the trek down below Pigeon Point had some luck on a nice grade of fish. Party boats, Queen of Hearts, Huli Cat, New Capt. Pete and Riptide fished for rockfish and lingcod, enjoying good luck at places like Deep Reef and San Gregorio. Near Pacifica the striped bass bite improved along beaches like Mussel Rock and Linda Mar.
Fisherman’s Wharf boats had options, with rockfish in one direction and good halibut and bass fishing inside the Bay. Most trips were inside the Bay where halibut were taken at Paradise, Berkeley Flats and Angel Island. Striped bass seemed like they were everywhere, so good catches were made while drifting live anchovies for halibut. Bass Tub posted nice scores over the weekend as did Argo and Lovely Martha.
- Western Outdoor News