Fishing for American shad in the American River
Here are the best places to fish in the Sacramento region, Northern California and beyond for the week of April 30, 2018.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, RED BLUFF TO COLUSA
Shad have been caught as high was Butte City. Striper fishing is very good in the Colusa area, with jumbo minnows working best, along with swimbaits. A few sturgeon are still being caught.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, VERONA TO COLUSA
The Verona area has been hot for stripers, with live minnows and swimbaits working best. Stripers also are being caught near Grimes, Tisdale and Colusa. Fishing for catfish has been very good at Verona and Knight’s Landing. Shad began to arrive last week. A few sturgeon are still being caught.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, SACRAMENTO
Shad fishing is good at Miller Park, Discovery Park and Bright Beach. Small stripers also continue to bite well, although more shakers than keepers are being caught. Reports of more stripers moving through the delta should give fishing a boost on the lower Sacramento River this week as water is released into the Feather and from Shasta Dam.
DELTA, SACRAMENTO SIDE
The river has cleared up, and the American shad run is building momentum around Freeport with shad darts or curly-tail grubs on the drop-shot. Stripers are moving in both directions, as the Sunday’s full moon was prime time for spawning in the upper river. Sturgeon fishing remains excellent for the few boats still trying, but the wind has been the limiting factor in Suisun Bay.
In preparation for Saturday’s CIFFI Trout Derby, the lake was double stocked last week, which should fire up fishing for some time. The winning fish was reportedly a little over 4 pounds. Detailed results were unavailable. The water clarity is good. Limits to near limits of trout are still common. The bass are becoming more active. The Collins Lake Family Trout Derby is May 12. Register at CollinsLake.com.
NORTH COAST RIVERS
ROGUE RIVER, GOLD BEACH, OREGON
After a week of good fishing in mid-April, spring salmon fishing slowed last week, although a few guides still got customers into hatchery fish. The best slot has been just above the Riverview Restaurant, and it has been crowded. Only hatchery salmon can be kept through May.
The Russian is in prime shape for fishing right now with flows at 620 cfs and 5-plus feet of clarity. “We have gotten reports of down-running steelhead being caught, with the hatcheries still seeing some new fish but slowing way down,” said Scott Heemstra of Kings Sport and Tackle in Guerneville. “A few reports also in of some American shad being caught at Johnsons Beach, but the bite is not wide open yet. I was out with my kids last week at the river, just tossing a silver Little Cleo to poke around and managed to land a nice smallmouth close to 2 pounds! That being said, there is a variety of species to fish for on the Russian right now.”
The Smith closed for the season Monday evening. Steelhead fishing was slow in April before the closure.
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 for the fall fishery.
KLAMATH RIVER, HAPPY CAMP
The river was still high last week for late steelhead. Flows at Seiad Valley were 2,960 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 of which may be a jack. Anglers have begun to fish for spring salmon, but success has been poor.
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
Bass action is turning on. In between north winds, the fishing is steady. All the usual spots are holding fish. The mouth of the narrows, the flats on the east side from the mouth up past the ranch house north and from the ranch house to the island in the afternoon when the fish are over deep water.
BLACK BUTTE LAKE
Lake rangers report that bass are hitting well on jigs and plastic worms fished in the Angler’s Cove and near the dam. Catfish action is also good with best catches being made in Angler’s Cove and Stoney Creek.
The bass spawn seems to be in full swing and lot’s of bed fish are being seen and lots of people are fishing for them. The upcoming full moon should see another wave of spawners moving in as the spawn will continue on into and through May. Lake clarity has been very good and with the clarity comes the weed growth.
Not much action reported here.
Fishing was slow last week.
Bass have moved into spawning areas and are being caught on jigs, cranks and surface plugs.
UPPER BLUE LAKES
Trout fishing has been fair.
FAR NORTH LAKES AND RIVERS
Water temperatures fluctuated this past week with surface temperatures ranging between the mid-40s to upper-50s. Lots of bass fishermen are on the water these days and the action has been good to very good at times. The smallies are in the pre-spawn mode and aggressive. The flats and points are producing bass up to five pounds. Trout fishing has been fair with lots of boat traffic on the north end of the lake. Trollers are picking up fish fast trolling hardware. Red/gold continues to be the color of choice with Red Dot Frog producing fish.
Very good trout fishing is posted by both bait and fly fishermen.
Trout fishing has been good for bait and fly fishermen with fish to over 20 niches caught. Limits are plentiful.
River is running very high, and fishing is tough.
Bass fishing is pretty good on plastic worms, swimbaits, topwater plugs and crank plugs. Trout fishing remains fair in the dam area on trolled flashers/lure combos. Crappie hitting off most marina docks.
On days when the anglers can get out the fishing is fair for bass on Ned rigs and Kitech swimbaits. Trout fishing has been good most days with rainbows showing well at the mouths of inflowing creeks.
Lake is nearing full capacity and the kokanee bite is picking up. Fishing from 5 to 50 feet seems to be productive right now since the water is still in the high 50's.
Trout fishing has been great with kokanee gear at depths to 50 feet. Bass fishing has slowed with the high water. The lake has risen to 92 percent.
150 adults and 40 youth participants entered the Nor-Cal Trout Angler’s Challenge, won by Rich Tupen with a 6.03-pound rainbow. Trout dough bait from the shorelines are working best. 1,200 pounds of Lassen Hatchery trout including 600 Lightning trout were released prior to the derby.
Trout plants continue with 1,200 pounds released, 600 in the South Shore and 600 at the North Shore. Speedy Shiners at depths to 25 feet are best. Bass fishing has slowed with the moving fronts. The lake rose to 91 percent.
Spotted bass fishing remains excellent with jigs, plastics on the drop-shot or Berserk’s Purple Hornet or brown/purple jigs with a Yamamoto 221 brown/purple flake trailer. Live crawdads are available at Lake McSwain Marina, and they are also producing spotted bass. The lake rose slightly to 89 percent.
Trout plants have returned to 1,000 pounds every Friday, and the best fishing has been up the river arm. One small kokanee has been reported after a few were reported at the start of the season in February. Bass fishing is best in the river with plastics on the drop-shot or jigs. Pardee rose back to 100 percent.
Bass fishing is outstanding with finesse techniques to 35 feet with wacky-rigged or nail-weighted Senkos. There is a brief window for topwater along with crankbaits or swimbaits. Trout fishing remains slow, but rainbows from the Kokanee Power net pens to 3 pounds were released this week. The lake held at 86 percent.
SIERRA LAKES AND RIVERS
Action slowed for anglers fishing bait from shore by the dam, according to Miles Zimmerman of Mountain Hardware and Sports. Shore launching only for boats, but if you can get out and top-line for rainbows, browns and kokanee you stand a good chance.
The general Sierra trout opener was a tale of two rivers according to Todd Sodaro of Todd’s Bait and Tackle. The East Carson was slow due to cold, 41-degree water and high flows. Give it a few days for the trout to acclimate. The West Carson was a much better bet, with fish to 9 pounds caught on Saturday’s opener. Both waters, as well as Markleeville Creek, were stocked heavily just before the opener.
The lake is 99 percent full. Jeanne Graham at J&J’s Grizzly Store reported action slowed as the weather got funky as the weekend approached. Prior to the front, one group of trollers did well, but bank fishing was picky. If you’re after trout, it’s important to fish your baits from the top down, as offerings fished from the bottom up have been catching catfish.
Donner Lake was planted last week, according to Miles Zimmerman of Mountain Hardware and Sports. He suggests anglers try bigger Rapalas for Mackinaw. From shore, Power Bait or worms work well for the stocked trout.
FEATHER RIVER CANYON
The general Sierra trout opener was celebrated at Caribou Crossroads Resort with a fishing derby and festivities. It rained, but that didn’t dampen the fun. Chad Ericson of Concow won with a 21 3/4-inch trout. Brian G. from Micalai wasn’t far behind with a 21-inch trout. Joey Stephans of Red Bluff was third with an 18-inch trout. In kids’ division, Mason McNabb was first with a 14 3/4-inch trout. Paige Sell and Tyson Lolmaugh tied for second with a 14 1/4-inch trout. The youngest fisherman was Jameson Jones, just two years old, who caught a 12-inch trout.
INDIAN CREEK RESERVOIR
According to Todd Sodaro of Todd’s Bait and Tackle, the fishing at Indian Creek was spectacular the weekend of the opener.
The weather turned for the worse this weekend, with high winds that made for mixed results. On Saturday at Chuck’s Charter Fishing, the catching was good with fish averaging 3 to 11 pounds despite conditions that Capt. Chuck Self called “rough as heck.” Self caught his fish at 120 feet. Tahoe Topliners was scoring great results early in the week, had a rough trip on Friday, but knocked ‘em dead on Sunday. At Tahoe Sportfishing, Capt. Zach Gordon said they got all their trips out in spite of the weather. Fishing shallow in 40 to 80 feet was fun and productive near Camp Richardson and the Tahoe Keys.
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. In general, fishing is slow.
A number of nice 10-plus pounders were checked in at Crosby’s Lodge this weekend, and they came equally from boaters and shore anglers. Capt. Robert Hagerty of Pyramid Fly Co. said that the fish have responded well to water temperatures rising into the low 50s. He said the cutts are in spawn and post-spawn mode. The streamer bite has picked up. Some Tui chubs are being seen in the shallows at times, which is the main source of forage for these trout and just in time for the post spawn bite when the fish put on the feed bag.
The boat ramp is open. The kokanee bite finally turned on with warmer water temperatures. It was fishing best around the island, according to Miles Zimmerman of Mountain Hardware and Sports. Topline hoochies and dodgers in pinks.
Nymphing and streamer fishing is best, according to Miles Zimmerman of Mountain Hardware and Sports. Dry flies have been unproductive. Flows have been very good and steadily dropping. The Truckee is running crystal clear. As of the trout opener, general trout regulations prevail on the upper Truckee. Now that nearby creeks are open, the angling pressure has dropped as fishermen spread out their efforts. Zimmerman said the trout are spawning on the Little Truckee. He asked anglers to avoid the redds.
DELTA, SAN JOAQUIN SIDE
The wind has been the story during the past week, but largemouth and striped bass fishing remain solid. Trollers are finding good action for linesides to 8 pounds along the Santa Clara Shoals with firetiger Yozuri Crystal Minnows. Scent and a slow presentation is the key for largemouth bass, and D-Worms, the General, and Power Worms with Max Scent on a dead-stick presentation are working in the small pockets of clear water.
Flows were down to 2,460 cfs over the weekend. Although shad have arrived in the Sacramento River, there have been no reports of shad in the American yet. Some stripers are being caught at Discovery Park.
Striper fishing has been very good from Verona to Star Bend. Minnows, pile worms and swimbaits are all working well. An expected boost in flows this week should draw in some shad, as well as more stripers. A few sturgeon are still biting near the Bear River.
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 455 feet, up 5 feet from last week. 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 762 cfs over the weekend, but still high for trout fishing.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, REDDING TO RED BLUFF
Flows from Keswick Dam jumped to 7,500 cfs over the weekend. Trout fishing has been good 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.
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 (2 to 15 feet) and biting drop-shotted Robo Worms and creature baits everywhere according to “Lunker” Larry Hemphill, who, with a client, caught over 50 spotted bass on Friday. Most were small. He said the water level is around 95-percent of capacity. In a report from Tuesday, Ron Gandolfi of Gandolfi Bass Guide Service said much the same, only bigger fish to 7 pounds were active.
CAMP FAR WEST
The lake is full. Kathy DeRossett of North Shore Resort said the 23-boat Camp Far West Bass Tournament Saturday was won by Mark McCord and Mike Caddick with a limit of 8.73 pounds backstopped by a 2.21-pound big fish.
The gate to the lake and nearby Hellhole Reservoir are open. Hellhole was dirty but fishing. Both lakes are full. An unidentified angler pulled a 20-pound Mackinaw and an 8-pund brown out of out Hellhole this week according to Craig Newton of Will Fish Tackle, who saw the photos.
Oroville really turned on this week, according to Ron Gandolfi of Gandolfi Bass Guide Service. He fished the lake 4 times and found increased numbers each successive trip as the water warmed from 57 to the low to mid 60s. It culminated in two 100 fish days at the end of the week. Senkos, tubes, drop-shots, and anything else that falls slowly were productive with these post-spawn bass. Fish are located from a foot deep to 15-20 feet.
You can spit in the water and catch a fish, according to Bruce Gibson of Paradise Tackle Company, who with a friend tallied more than 50 bass on Saturday’s trip. They were using worms, small swimbaits, Senkos, and Roboworms – almost anything other than reaction baits worked. The water is 61 to 63 degrees, and Gibson said the fish are pre-spawn going into the spawn. 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 of a pound each but are expected to grow quickly to 20 inches by late summer and fall.
Most Berkeley boats like New Huck Finn, California Dawn and Happy Hooker fished the Bay and enjoyed some of the best bass fishing in memory and also a darn good bite on halibut. Drifting live bait was the key to success and many trips were as nearby as Berkeley Flats or Alameda Rock Wall.
Halibut were caught in decent numbers in the southern portion of Tomales Bay, where the seasonal fishery is picking up steam. Along the beaches of the area, surfperch were biting much better on overcast days than bright sunny days. New Sea Angler had solid success with rockfish and lingcod during early week trips to Point Reyes and also on weekend trips to Fort Ross.
Bay fishing was awesome. New Huck Finn, for example, turned in a score of 30 striped bass and 23 halibut for 15 anglers. Drifting live baits was the key to success. Sea Wolf ran through the Golden Gate and made mincemeat of rockfish and lingcod at the Farallones. Skiff anglers fished along the Emeryville shoreline for stripers and halibut.
On a shakedown trip with buddy boats Scrimshaw and Reel Steel caught loads of sanddabs and also petrale sole. Incidental catches of Pacific halibut and lingcod were released unharmed. While out there, the crew saw great signs of feeding salmon. Jetty fishing was good on both jetties, however the South fished slightly better than the North.
Outside of a few crab trips, most Fort Bragg activity was all about preparing and outfitting boats for the rockfish opener May 1. Expectations are very high for easy limits of rockfish and possibly full limits of lingcod for boats like Capt. Tuna, Bragg-n and Sea Hawk. Shore fishing was good at Noyo Jetty and much better at Old Mill, Glass Beach and nearby state park beaches.
HALF MOON BAY
New Capt. Pete made a foray for salmon down south of Pigeon Point and scored roughly a fish per rod, with at least that many again coming unbuttoned. Other boats, Huli Cat, Queen of Hearts and Riptide fished rockfish and lingcod with good success at Deep Reef and spots down the coast like Pescadero. Shore fishing was good for various surfperch and a few striped bass were also taken.
Flash II fished inside the Bay for nice counts of striped bass and halibut. The boat was joined by Bass Tub which had equally positive results. With bass roaming the entire bay, even shore fishers got into the act along the San Francisco shore inside the Bay and outside down to Mussel Rock and below. Bass Tub also made a run out to the Farallones to knock out full count of rockfish and some lingcod.
- Western Outdoor News