AMERICAN RIVER — The river closes to fishing from the power lines crossing the river at Ancil Hoffman Park to Nimbus Dam this weekend (Feb. 23), but a few fresh steelhead were still being caught in the upper section. Since the season is still at its prime time, fishing for steelhead should be okay below the closure at places like upstream of Watt Ave. and River Bend Park.
LAKE PARDEE–Fishing for trout was great for the opening weekend, but crowded. Water level is down approximately 20 feet. Try Rainbow Point and Stoney Point Landing, both areas give you better access to deeper water. Trolling with leadcore or downriggers to get into the 10- to 20-foot depths at the face of the Dam, the river mouth or in the vicinity of Columbia Gulch area is where the trout usually hang out this time of year.
DELTA REGION: SACRAMENTO RIVER side — Sturgeon fishing has been outstanding one day, followed by a day of scratching heads. Salmon roe, grass shrimp, and lamprey eel all have been effective, with the best action from the Mothball Fleet towards the Big Cut. There are signs of the fish moving east in search of brackish water due to the recent inflow of fresh water from the Sacramento River, with evidence of San Pablo Bay mud shrimp in their bellies. Striper fishing turned on during mid-week for trollers on the West Bank, and tossing swimbaits on the bottom with a slow presentation continued to pay dividends for experienced anglers near the Rio Vista Bridge.
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SAN JOAQUIN RIVER side — Striped bass action heated up with a solid topwater bite on overcast days from Three Mile Slough to the mouth of the Mokelumne. There is evidence that the stripers are getting more active with the increased water temperatures, as boils on the surface have attracted diving birds. Sturgeon fishing has been best near Antioch, but overall, the bite is much better on the Sacramento River side. Panfish picked back up where it left off prior to the recent storms with jumbo red worms, wax worms, or mini-crawlers near the bridge along King Island and Paradise off of Eight Mile Road, Whiskey Slough southwest of Stockton, or in Clifton Court Forebay.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Tisdale — Sturgeon fishing broke wide open with 19 reported caught on Saturday night between Tisdale and Knight’s Landing. Pileworms were in short supply, but anglers were scoring on nightcrawler/ghost shrimp combos and eels.
NORTH COAST RIVERS
CHETCO RIVER, Oregon — The river went to 30,000 cfs on Friday but was down to 18,100 on Sunday, according to guide and WONField Reporter Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing, who did great on Monday and Tuesday last week before the blow out. High water conditions were expected all this week, but call ahead to get the conditions. Guide Harvey Young of Fishawk River Company had the same report, adding “the steelhead run is in its prime.”
COOS RIVER, Oregon — The Coos River and other coastal streams are seeing late returns of steelhead. With all of the Southern Oregon Rivers blown out of shape this last week, it should allow the steelhead to move upriver easily as the water flow drops into shape. “I recommend watching these river flows closely for the perfect day to be on the water,” said Curtis Palmer of River Secrets Guide Service.
COQUILLE RIVER, South Fork, Powers, Oregon — This river was on fire during the beginning of last week. “I have not seen that consistent of high numbered catches in a days’ time by so many anglers and for multiple days,” said guide Curtis Palmer of River Secrets. “It might fish on Thursday. However I think it will be closer to the weekend before this river fishes again. When it does clear up and come into shape for fishing it will be completely stuffed full of winter steelhead,” he said.
MAD RIVER — Hatchery operations have finally been approved to begin by a judge, and they began taking wild and hatchery steelhead on Feb. 4. Fortunately, the late rain brought in the majority of the fish just this month anyway. Fishing was phenomenal right after the rain with steelies stacked up in every hole and riffle.
ROGUE RIVER — The river is way blown out after all the rains, but there is still one fishable section at the very top from the hatchery down to Casey Park around Shady Cove, where guide Randy Wells of Oregon Fishing Adventure has moved to take advantage of the bright steelhead moving in. Flows were 923 cfs and the water was 41 degrees.
SMITH RIVER — The Smith River got the best rain in years last week, boosting flows to 70,000 last Wednesday, according to guides Phil Desautel of Phil’s Smiling Salmon Guide Service and Harvey Young of Fishawk River Company, but it was fishing well on the prior Monday and Tuesday, when both guides boated numerous bright steelies. Flows were down to 28,000 as of press time, and dropping hard.
UMPQUA RIVER, Roseburg, Oregon — The first of the week had a few winter steelhead being caught by most guides and other anglers alike, according to WON Field Reporter and guide Curtis Palmer of River Secrets Guide Service. “I would say the average number of steelhead caught by a boat were 3- 5 a day.” With heavy rains and high winds it was not many days before all three forks of the Umpqua had turned to high flows and were the color of mocha coffee. It will be the end of the week before the North or South Forks of the Umpqua River is fishable, Palmer said.
KLAMATH RIVER, Iron Gate — Steelheading was good from Iron Gate Dam down to the Salmon River, but it rained again mid-week and was still muddy downstream of there to the mouth. Anglers were catching 4 or 5 adult steelhead plus a like number of halfpounders in the fishable stretch on Hot Shots, crawdad plugs, drifted nightcrawlers, Glo-Bugs and roe.
TRINITY RIVER — The Trinity below the North Fork was high and off-color again because of the mid-week rain, but the river was dropping and starting to clear below the North Fork. Fishing for some beautiful, bright steelhead in the upper river down to Junction City was good for most of the week until Sunday when a cold front went through and temps dropped over 20 degrees over night and turned off the bite. It should turn back on as the weather settles again, especially since those fresh, newly-arrived steelies will still be around.
FEATHER RIVER — Some steelhead, although fishing was slow, were still being caught around the green bridge to just below the Hatchery. Flies only.
FOLSOM LAKE — The lake has gone up 20 feet, and the Granite Bay paved ramps are now available for launching. However the lake is off-color and full of debris. Still, trout were being caught near the surface near Granite Bay where the water was clearer using nightcrawlers behind Sidekicks, and at 35 deep for the landlocked king salmon on glo-in-the-dark Apexes. For bass and catfish, fish the coves where bait is being flushed from creeks like New York Creek.
RANCHO SECO LAKE — Trout fishing continued to be good by soaking Power Bait and nightcrawlers, and trolling with Kastmasters, small jointed Rapalas, and woolly buggers on sinking fly lines.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Sacramento — Striped bass fishing was slow again on the main river, but some were being caught in the Port. Much better was the sturgeon fishing, which really took off after the storm. Courtland and Knight’s Landing were the two best spots.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Redding — Some nice trout, but not many, were being caught at the very upper end at Posse Grounds where the water remained pretty clear.
YUBA RIVER—Fishing for trout was fair one day, slow the next, but it was nymph fishing only as the dry fly bite slowed down in the unsettled weather. Dry fly fishing using squala imitations should pick up again as the weather warms up.
BOCA LAKE — The lake is at 15-percent capacity. No more icefishing!! Try shore fishing any open water you can reach around the lake—most folks just go to Stampede.
CAPLES LAKE — The lake is at 58-percent capacity. The area received 8 feet of new snow this past week leaving 2 feet of ice on the lake with a 2-foot blanket of snow for anglers to auger through. John Voss at Caples Lake Resort reported that fishing for rainbows was good at the dam and Spillway. A few good brown trout and Mackinaw were also coming through the ice.
CARSON RIVER (East) — The area received some good rains this past week and the river was in beautiful shape, according to Todd Sodaro at Todd’s Bait and Tackle at the Creekside Lodge. The wind and rain this past week kept anglers off the river.
DAVIS LAKE — The lake is at 65-percent capacity. Ed Dillard at Dillard’s Guided Fishing and Mark Tieslau at Mountain Hardware and Sports in Blairsden both reported good shore fishing at Mallard Point for rainbows running 18 to 20 inches using Gulp! Power Eggs. Dillard said fishing was picking up at Eagle Point, too. There was still no boat launching with ice at Camp 5 and construction still pending at Honker Cove.
DONNER LAKE — The lake is at 47-percent capacity. Mountain Hardware and Sports reported that a few rainbows were still hitting bait at the west end docks and boaters were catching the occasional mack trolling and jigging in deep water. Just a dusting of snow fell here over the weekend.
FRENCHMAN LAKE — The lake is at 50-percent capacity. Wiggins Trading Post reported that the lake was ice free and anglers were picking up limits of rainbows in the Narrows and at the dam on Power Bait.
GOLD LAKES BASIN — The road to Gold Lake was still closed, but Sardine Lake was accessible.
ICE HOUSE RESERVOIR — The lake is at 61-percent capacity. Not much happening here with heavy rains and windy weather this past week.
INDIAN CREEK RESERVOIR — Airport Rd. was closed to the lake. Diamond Valley Rd. should be open, according to Todd Sodaro at Todd’s Bait and Tackle at the Creekside Lodge. Fish the open water near the dam.
JENKINSON LAKE (Sly Park) — Sly Park Resort reported that several big macks to 13 pounds, plus a nice brown trout or two were caught this past week. Both shore anglers and trollers scored on big fish. Casting Rapalas from shore and trolling AC Plugs accounted for the big macks, and Power Bait enticed a 3 1/2-pound brown. The lake level was up with all the rain.
LAKE TAHOE — Wind and rain shut down fishing here this past week. Mack trolling should be good when the weather calms down.
PROSSER LAKE — The lake is at 30-percent capacity. No more icefishing!! Try the open water at the dam from the shore for rainbows using Power Bait and worms.
PYRAMID LAKE — The 27th Annual Presidents Day Fishing Derby was led by a 21-pound, 9-ounce cutthroat caught by Jeff Morris. Strong winds kept boaters off the lake this past Saturday for the second half of the derby. Before the winds, trollers were lucky to score 5 or 6 fish a day using FlatFish and Apex all over the lake. There were huge schools of bait seen everywhere on the lake to keep the fish full and reluctant to strike a lure.
RED LAKE — Victor Babbitt at Tahoe Fly Fishing Outfitters reported that 30 people were on the lake on Saturday despite the wind. Fishing was fair at best for a few cutthroats and brookies. The lake has 6 to 8 inches of ice, 1-foot of slush, and 1-foot of snow to fish through.
SILVER LAKE — The lake is at 16-percent capacity. Victor Babbitt at Tahoe Fly Fishing Outfitters reported that the lake never refroze, so there was no more icefishing here!! Try shore fishing near the dam.
STAMPEDE RESERVOIR — The lake is at 49-percent capacity. The lake was ice free and shore anglers and boaters were catching fish. Shore anglers were using bait for rainbows or casting Rapalas and Krocodile spoons for the occasional mack and brown. Boaters were trolling or jigging for macks near the dam.
TOPAZ LAKE — The rains didn’t make it this far over the mountains this past week, leaving boaters high and dry again with no launching available.
TRUCKEE RIVER — The river flows were near those seen during the summer—150 cfs above Boca and 400 cfs below. Small nymphs were the most consistent producers, while BWO and midges were hatching on overcast days. A week of strong winds made fishing virtually impossible.
UNION VALLEY RESERVOIR — The lake is at 50-percent capacity. A friend of Kyle Neeser at Crystal Basin Tackle and Guide Service reported landing 10 Mackinaw from 5 to 8 pounds and getting broke off by a big fish, all by noon this past week. He was trolling Crystal Basin Tackle Glow Hoochie Thing 2 behind a silver dodger at 50 to 80 feet deep over rock/sand ledges.
BERKELEY — Perch fishing along the pier and nearby shore spots kept shore fishers busy. Berkeley Charterboats did not run any boat trips through the week. California Dawn and Happy Hooker were undergoing some work.
BODEGA BAY — Crab and sanddab trips aboard the New Sea Angler were highly successful. Capt. Rick Powers called on Sundaymorning during a trip to report they already had limits of Dungeness crabs and had just stopped on their first sanddab spot, dropped down and rigs were coming up loaded with fish. The beach at Salmon Creek produced good catches of red tail perch, according to Tom Jimenez at Outdoor Pro Shop in Cotati.
EUREKA — Weather kept folks off the water for the most part, except for commercial crabbers, who reported seeing salmon while they were offshore working their gear.
FORT BRAGG — Offshore crabbing improved for Telstar, with limits coming up and on Sunday an average of 6 keeper crabs per pot. Jetty fishers cast snares for crabs and caught red tail perch to 2 pounds. At Glass Beach and MacKerricher State Beach, people caught rockfish, cabezon, greenling and a number of keeper lingcod.
HALF MOON BAY/PACIFICA — Sanddabs moved in close enough that it was easy pickings on Huli Cat, just over 3 miles from Pillar Point Harbor. Farther out, Dungeness crabs came up in decent numbers when hauling pots. Jetty and pier fishers caught crabs, rockfish and eels. Mussel Rock area was the best bet for shoreline rockfish and cabezon.
SAN RAFAEL/POINT SAN PABLO — Keith Frazer at Loch Lomond Bait Shop reported lots of shaker sturgeon, two oversize (the bigger of the two being 75 inches) sturgeon and a fair number of striped bass, all caught near the Pumphouse. The herring spawns appear to be over, the rains increased runoff and it all resulted in much better sturgeon fishing. Fury out of Point San Pablo Marina got into striped bass near the Pumphouse.
SHELTER COVE—Shoreline rockfishing really turned on during the brief weather windows when it was safe to go out. Capt. Jared Morris, owner/operator of C’Mon out of Shelter Cove and friends went shore fishing and scored a nice rack of large black rockfish. A 20-plus-pound lingcod grabbed one of their fish, but busted off.
SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO — Sturgeon were caught near the San Mateo Bridge by boaters who anchored off of the Channel and then soaked herring or anchovies for bait, according to Hippo at Hi’s Tackle Box in South San Francisco. Hippo also reported an invasion of jacksmelt at Oyster Point and Coyote Point.
VALLEJO — Sturgeon counts rose dramatically after the rains. Fish up to 60 pounds were reported to Norm’s bait & Tackle in Vallejo. Striped bass were willing biters, however most attention was on the sturgeon. Starry flounder continued to bite pile worms along the waterfront. Napa River got most of the fishing effort, however the Petaluma River and Sonoma Creek also produced.
AMADOR LAKE – Very few fishing reports, but they planted over 6,000 pounds of trout this week. “The lake rose 13 feet and the courtesy docks are in the water,” said Debbie Grayson at the Lake Amador Store. The water is stained from all the runoff!
CAMANCHE LAKE – Another great week for trout anglers at Lake Camanche, with several big trout caught at the South Shore Trout Pond. Other popular places were North Shore Day Use Area, and upriver in the Narrows. Most anglers were using Power Baits and Power Eggs, and color didn’t seem to matter. Anglers have also been successful using lures, and Rapala’s are one of their favorite lures to use trolling.
DON PEDRO RESERVOIR – Trout fishing is good. The trout are still on top, but a lot of the trout are going down to 20 to 30 feet. Excel, Speedy Shiners, Rapalas are all working with 2 to 4 colors. Bass are moving to the back of creek channels and up onto main lake points. Drop-shotting and dartheading is working. Some anglers are using crankbaits and swimbaits to catch bass.
LAKE MCCLURE – Trout fishing is fair and bass fishing is good. Jason Mello at A-1 Bait in Snelling said, “One of my customers had a great day on the water using a ripbait, catching largemouth and spotted bass up to 4 pounds.” Drop-shotting and dartheading shad or crawdad pattern worms should just get better and better with the upcoming storms. There was a trout plant last week, so blades or flashers/’crawler combinations and Wedding Rings tipped with a ‘crawler should work.
LAKE MCSWAIN – Trout fishing is good. Victoria Sturtevant and Lake McSwain Marina said, “Calaveras Trout Farm planted another 1,000 pounds of trout last Friday.” Trollers are using yellow or red Wedding Rings and ‘crawlers, flashers/ ‘crawlers and original Rapalas catching trout. Bank anglers have been success using garlic chartreuse Power Bait and white Power Bait Balls. The floating restroom was a good spot for trollers and main lake points, the Handicap Dock and the Brush Pile for bank fishermen. Jason Mello at A-1 Bait said, “A couple customers used gold and black J-5 Rapalas and Wedding Rings /‘crawler for limits.
NEW MELONES RESERVOIR – The trout bite is good with the bass bite improving. The recent rain and cloud cover the fish cruising near the shoreline in search of food. Bank anglers are catching fish off of Glory Hole Point and near the Tuttletown boat launch. Trolling anglers should try fishing from 15 feet to the surface. The bass bite is still hit or miss. With the Department of Fish and Game planting rainbows, now is a good time to target giant fish with trout patterned swimbaits.
AMERICAN RIVER — The Georgetown Ranger Station reported that the river was still running low and clear despite the rain. With the weather this past week there was little, if any, fishing pressure.
BULLARDS BAR — The lake is at 47-percent capacity. Boats were still only able to launch at Dark Day—they still need at least 6 more feet of water at Emerald Cove, even though the lake level rose 20 feet. Bass fishing was very good for spotted bass to 9 1/2 pounds. One angler fished this past Thursday and landed twenty 4 to 6 pounders using tubes, worms, and Senkos on walls and points at 10 to 15 feet deep. Guide Ron Gandolfi was on the lake on Sunday, but was only catching small fish. The water temp was 50 degrees.
CAMP FAR WEST — The lake level came up 17 feet with the rain and boats can launch on two lanes at the boat ramp. The lake was muddy with some debris floating. Bass fishing was good for one boater who caught 20 to 25 fish to 2 pounds on worms and jigs. The water temp was 50 to 53 degrees.
COLLINS LAKE — The lake is 34.5 feet from full—up 14 feet from its low before the rains. The lake received an 1800-pound private plant early this past week—a mix of catchables and trophy fish. Trout fishing was good from the shore at the beach and dam for anglers using Power Bait and worms. Bass boaters reported good action.
ENGLEBRIGHT RESERVOIR — The lake is at 94-percent capacity. The lake was muddy and fishing pressure was non-existent, according to Skippers Cove Marina.
FRENCH MEADOWS RESERVOIR — The Foresthill Ranger Station reported that the road to the lake had some snow in sections, which made access difficult—they recommended staying out of the area with poor weather in the forecast.
HELL HOLE RESERVOIR — The Georgetown Ranger Station reported that the road to the lake was open but wet, windy weather made travel in the area unadvisable.
LAKE OROVILLE — The lake is at 38-percent capacity. The lake rose over 13 feet and there is a LOT of debris floating on the surface now. Lime Saddle Marina opened back up for boat launching, but the ramp at the Spillway suffered some damage due to the rain and was not open yet. Guide Ron Gandolfi reported that bass fishing was very good with better quality fish showing up in larger numbers all the time—his best five fish last Friday weighed 15 pounds topped by a 4 pounder. The best action came on tubes and worms on walls and points from the bank to 20 feet deep. Check incoming water with a spinnerbait.
ROLLINS LAKE — The lake is at 95-percent capacity. Ryan Drake at NID reported that the ramps at Orchard Springs and Long Ravine were open with courtesy docks in place. Trout fishing was slow, but a few rainbows were being caught by trollers at the inlet and Freeloaders Cove at 20 to 35 feet deep.
SCOTT’S FLAT LAKE — The lake is at 72-percent capacity. Jim Caldwell at the marina reported that bass anglers were catching smallmouths to 4 to 5 pounds. One bass angler was doing well casting a Rapala at the dam. Trout trollers were still picking up a few rainbows at the inlet on flasher or dodger/worm combos.
SUGAR PINE RESERVOIR — The Foresthill Ranger Station reported that the lake level came up a little with the rain and access to the day-use area and boat ramp was open. The poor weather kept fishing pressure light at best.
STUMPY MEADOWS RESERVOIR — The lake level was up 2 feet with the rain. There was still no boat launching from the ramp, but cartoppers could put in off the shore. With the rainy weather, no one was fishing according to the Georgetown Ranger Station.
THERMOLITO AFTERBAY — The lake was at 1 the 35.4-foot elevation mark and 95-percent capacity. Windy, rainy weather kept boaters off the lake late this past week. Look for pre-spawn bass to begin moving toward the shallows after the weather improves.
NORTH COAST LAKES
CLEAR LAKE — It’s getting close to pre-spawning action as all that is needed is the water to warm up to 50 degrees. This will jumpstart the switch from winter fishing into spring. The south end is where everyone is fishing, since it is almost at 50 degrees. The upper end is in the low 40s. Jumbo minnows and a bobber have been producing some nice fish, as have jigs, plastic worms, rattlebaits and swimbaits on rocks and rocky ledges.
LAKE BERRYESSA — With rising water and warmer water temperatures (52 to 54 degrees) the largemouth bass have moved to the banks and the pre-spawn bite has started. Try Pointer Minnows, spinnerbaits, and LVs at the creek mouths if they are not blown out.
LAKE SONOMA — The best bass areas have been in the creek arms from the 5 mph buoys back. The rain can only help the bite. The steelhead have been scattered waiting for rain and should also be heading up the creek arms.
LAKE ALMANOR — Muddy waters coming out of the Hamilton Branch Power House have not hampered the fishing north and south of it. A mix of brown and rainbow trout to 5 pounds where taken on Arctic Fox flies on top and spoons deep on outriggers.
BAUM LAKE — If you can find a windless day the fishing has been good, even in the rain. Cloudy overcast days have been the best. Bring chains.
PIT RIVER — From Nov. 16 through the Friday proceeding the last Saturday in April only artificial lures with barbless hooks may be used. Due to weather conditions this may not be the best choice this week. The tributaries will be running and the water muddied up.
SHASTA LAKE — The rain has not impacted the fishing here, in fact, it has put everything on the rise. Fish your strengths for bass as just about everything is working. Bass will be in the main body and on secondary points. Rotate your target zone in 15 to 20 feet and you will do well. Trout will be on top.
-Western Outdoor News