AMERICAN RIVER — Egg-taking at Nimbus Hatchery has inexplicably ended, even though steelhead are still entering the river, and, they are very vulnerable to the very low flows still being kept at 500 cfs. Anglers still have a shot at them below the closure, if they use light gear and take a stealthy approach, staying close to shore in very shallow water. Try above and below faster water at Watt Avenue and River Bend Park.
FEATHER RIVER — It may take a trip or two to hook up, but some big striped bass weighing up to 30 pounds have been attracted to the lower end of the river below Shanghai Bend because of smolts that are coming downstream from the hatchery. Fish around Shanghai Bend, Boyd’s Pump, Beer can Beach, and Verona with swimbaits, topwater plugs and deep-divers.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Sacramento — Striped bass fishing continued to improve, mostly on bait like bloodworms and sardines, except at Verona where bigger fish, but not many, were being caught on swimbaits, and topwater plugs. Sturgeon fishing continued to be outstanding with fish being caught from Clarksburg to Verona.
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SACRAMENTO, Tisdale — Sturgeon fishing was outstanding most days with an off-day occasionally. The river is loaded fish, from Verona to Colusa, but most being caught have been over the 60-inch max size limit measured at the fork of the tail. Nightcrawler/ghost shrimp comb combos have been almost as good at pileworms/ghost shrimp.
DELTA REGION: SACRAMENTO RIVER side — Sturgeon fishing remained very good around Suisun Bay from the Big Cut towards the Mothball Fleet. Grass shrimp has been added to the arsenal of baits that has been dominated in the past months by salmon roe or lamprey eel. The high winds limited boaters during the past weekend’s storm, but by the end of the weekend, party and private boats were lined up in the Big Cut. Sturgeon have been very aggressive in sucking in the bait. A smaller grade of stripers has migrated into the Sacramento River system, and there is hope of larger fish to come with the inflow of fresh water from the recent storms. Sturgeon are also on the move with the inflow, and diamondbacks are reported through the Delta into metropolitan Sacramento.
DELTA REGION: SAN JOAQUIN RIVER side — Numbers of striped bass and largemouth bass aren’t hard to find with artificial lures, but the size of the fish has been somewhat lacking. Finding clear water is the key to getting bit. The overcast days have brought out the topwater bite, and Pencil Poppers are finding striped bass working bait over shallow flats. Sturgeon fishing has been best on the western edge of the San Joaquin River with an occasional diamondback taken near Antioch. Largemouth action has improved with live minnows, rip baits or jigs. Red-eared perch and bluegill action remained solid with jumbo red worms, wax worms, or mini-crawlers near the bridge along King Island and Paradise off of Eight Mile Road and Whiskey Slough southwest of Stockton.
NORTH COAST RIVERS
CHETCO RIVER, Oregon — The river was in good shape all last week and produced limit-style steelheading for almost all the guide boats, and it was down to 1700 cfs on Saturday and still producing well. Heavy rains early this week are expected to blow the river out for a few days, but should also bring in fresh steelhead, said WON Field Reporter Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing. The fish are now a mix of fresh and spawned-out fish, with more fresh fish in the lower river. According to guide Harvey Young of Fishawk River Company, fishing was good all week with multiple hookups for all, and the river was rising at 2000 cfs on Sunday.
ROGUE RIVER, Gold Beach, Oregon — The first spring salmon of the year were caught last week in a good early showing for the “springer” run, that normally peaks in April and May, according to WON Field Reporter and guide Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing. They were probably brought in by good flows from the recent rains. Plunkers caught most of the kings, but so did some of the boat guides. Steelhead fishing was “wide open” last week, Martin said.
RUSSIAN RIVER — Emergency river closure in effect, so no steelhead fishing. Warm Springs Hatchery began spawning steelies, and had a good early showing of 96 fish spawned out last week.
SMITH RIVER — According to WON Field Reporter Phil Desautel of Phil’s Smiling Salmon Guide Service, the Smith has been “real good this past week. We have been catching a combination of fresh fish as well as downrunners on every trip,” Desautel said. “We have been hooking and landing 4 to 10 fish on every trip, and most all guide boats are reporting the same results. David Spruill of Brookings, Ore., was 3 for 4, releasing 3 native fish 9 to 13 pounds on the Smith. We have rain and showers forecast through mid-week and we still have new fish coming as well as downrunners, so there is plenty of action to be had.
UMPQUA RIVER, North Fork, Glide, Oregon — The steelies are here, and with only a few boats on the emerald green waters of the North Umpqua River this last Sunday, “it made for exceptional days of relaxation and fishing,” said one of the few clients when WON Staffer Curtis Palmer of River Secrets asked how their day went. Jon Snow guide service caught 11 steelhead of the 14 hooked up on a full day trip with only a single client. Jon said that he was catching the fish on yarn balls one day and the next day he was using Pink Worms. The season is just now beginning to enter the peak.
UMPQUA RIVER, South Fork, Tiller, Oregon — This entire river has winter steelhead spread throughout it. You can find holding single fish almost anywhere, and if you are fortunate, you could catch a school of these steelhead in some holding water and have dozens of them wanting to bite the next offering that drifts by. It sounds like the area behind the casino is doing alright from what a group of 5 had to say.
UMPQUA RIVER, Sutherlin, Oregon — The river is still a little on the high side from what I prefer to fish steelhead in, but the bank anglers are currently still picking up some fish. Until the river drops below 6.0 feet at the Elkton gauge reading, there are various spot's to fish from the bank or boat to catch winter steelhead in the upper sections of the river and below where the forks of the river meet. There should be good fishing the entire month of March.
KLAMATH RIVER, Iron Gate — Fresh steelies were still showing up, and the river was in decent shape down to I-5, but more rain was expected. An angler can expect to catch several adult steelhead to about 5 pounds and a like number of halfpounders on flies, small Hot Shots, crawdad plugs, drifted nightcrawlers, Glo-Bugs and roe.
TRINITY RIVER, Junction City — The Trinity was picking up some color and was up a bit by Saturday night, but more rain was expected so call ahead. New fish were showing up and fishing was good. It looks to continue to be worth making a trip throughout March. Fishing pressure picked up, however, as word of fresh steelies got out.
FOLSOM LAKE — The lake has continued to rise and is now holding more than double what it was less than three weeks ago. Ramps are open at Granite Bay, and the 5 mph speed limit is likely to soon be lifted. The lake is somewhat off-color though. Bass are coming into shallower water, especially where creeks are entering coves and being caught on minnows, reaction baits, as well as slowly worked jigs and plastic worms. Planter trout were being caught from shore on worms and Power Bait, while trollers were catching some bigger fish trolling near the surface.
RANCHO SECO LAKE — Trout fishing continued to be good on Power Bait and Power Worms, nightcrawlers from shore, and trolling Kastmasters, small, jointed Rapalas, nightcrawlers and wooly buggers near the surface on sinking fly lines.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Redding — Tributaries have mudded up again, and trout fishing was restricted mostly to the Redding area. But, it was still good for fly fishers dead-drifting small caddis nymph imitations as well as spin fishermen drifting nightcrawlers.
YUBA RIVER—Fishing was still somewhat iffy as the river was still a bit off-color. A few trout were being caught, though, on nymphs.
BOCA LAKE — The lake is at 18-percent capacity. The storms this past week only dumped rain in the area. Fishing pressure was low, but for those hardy enough to get out, the trout were hitting best at the dam and the inlet.
CAPLES LAKE — The lake is at 58-percent capacity. The area received 2 to 3 feet of snow this past week with more forecast by mid-week—this might be a good week to stay home! Icefishing was still good at the dam and spillway using Power Bait, worms, and bay shrimp when the weather allowed.
CARSON RIVER (East) — 10 inches of snow this past week pretty much shut down fishing here—wait for the weather to clear as more storms were in the forecast for this week. Catch-and-release only.
DAVIS LAKE — The lake is at 66-percent capacity and was stocked by the DFW this past week. The rainbows appeared to be transitioning into spawning mode and were seen cruising the shores in big schools. Bank fishing slowed at Mallard Point, according to Ed Dillard at Dillard’s Guided Fishing, but the bite improved at Camp 5 and Fairview. Mark Tieslau at Mountain Hardware and Sports in Blairsden reported that flyfishermen were picking up 50 fish to 2 to 4 pounds per day at Coot and Grasshopper stripping size 16 or smaller nymphs or fishing them 3-foot under an indicator.
DONNER LAKE — The lake is at 43-percent capacity. Rainbow trout were still hitting along the north and west shores on Power Bait and worms. Boaters were still trolling or jigging for macks in deep water, according to Mountain Hardware and Sports.
FRENCHMAN LAKE — The lake is at 50-percent capacity. Wiggins Trading Post reported that fishing was good at Lunker Point and the dam using nightcrawlers and Power Bait. The boat ramps were open at Frenchman and Lunker Point and the roads were all clear with only rain at this elevation this past week.
ICE HOUSE RESERVOIR — The lake is at 63-percent capacity. Kyle Neeser at Crystal Basin Tackle and Guide Service reported that trollers were picking up easy limits of 10- to 12-inch rainbows toplining dodgers and worms. The roads were clear with mostly rain and only a dusting of snow at this elevation this past week.
INDIAN CREEK RESERVOIR — Markleeville got 10 inches of snow this past week and the gate to Airport Road was closed, according to Todd Sodaro at Todd’s Bait and Tackle at the Creekside Lodge. You might get through to the lake on Diamond Valley Rd. with 4-wheel drive, but do you really want to go fishing that bad?!
JENKINSON LAKE (Sly Park) — Denise Cole at Sly Park Resort reported that macks and rainbows were still hitting for shore anglers using marshmallow/worm combos and garlic Power Bait.
LAKE TAHOE — Windy, wet, cold weather made for tough fishing conditions this past week. Chuck Self at Chuck’s Charter Fishing barely made it out on Sunday and caught limits of macks running 2 to 7 pounds trolling spoons and Lucky Craft minnows 165 to 220 feet deep from Dollar Point to Crystal Bay Point.
PROSSER LAKE — The lake is at 31-percent capacity. The best action for nice rainbows was at the dam, according to Brian Nylund at Mountain Hardware.
PYRAMID LAKE — Windy weather kept most boaters off the lake this past week, but Joe Mendes at Eagle Eye Charters made it out one day and caught 8 fish to 24 inches from the South Nets to Indian Head trolling bleeding frog FlatFish and rainbow trout Apex. Shore anglers did well in the weather on 17 of the 18 double-digit cutthroats weighed in at Crosby’s this past week--they weighed in a 17, a 15, five 14s, a 13, two 12s, four 11s, and three 10s in addition to a big 21 pounder. The shore guys were casting black marabou jigs, spoons, and black woolly buggers on the SW side of the lake.
RED LAKE — Call Tahoe Fly Fishing Outfitters for the latest ice conditions at 530-541-8208.
SILVER LAKE — The lake is at 18-percent capacity. Open water showing made icefishing at least unwise, but mostly dangerous.
STAMPEDE RESERVOIR — The lake is at 49-percent capacity. The best fishing was trolling in front of the dam for browns and macks using FlatFish, Kwikfish, Lymans, and J-Plugs. Fishing pressure was very low this past week with the poor weather.
TOPAZ LAKE — Rain and snow this past week raised the lake level 1-foot and Topaz Landing Marina can now launch 12- to 14-foot aluminum boats on their ramp. The County Park ramp could be open soon also. Call Topaz Landing Marina for the latest lake conditions at 775-266-3550. Fishing pressure was very low due to the foul weather.
TRUCKEE RIVER — The cold, rainy weather slowed the flyfishing. On clearer days, try the midge bite from noon to 2 p.m. after the water has had a chance to warm up, otherwise dredge a streamer through the deeper holes.
UNION VALLEY RESERVOIR — The lake is at 53-percent capacity. The road to the lake was in very bad condition due to heavy logging truck traffic and wet weather, according to Ken Mathis at Ken’s Custom Tackle. Kyle Neeser at Crystal Basin Tackle reported that some friends of his made it to the lake this past week and did well on macks to 15 pounds trolling a glow Hoochie Thing 2 at 50 to 80 feet deep on ledges and humps.
WEST WALKER RIVER — The DFW stocked the river this past week as scheduled for the catch-and-release opener. Rain and a dusting of snow put a damper on the catch-and-release opener according to members of the Northern Mono Chamber of Commerce. There were plenty of fish stocked in the river with the 750 pounds of 2-pound average rainbows by the C of C, and 500 pounds of brown trout from the DFW. Fishing should be good when the weather clears.
BERKELEY — Berkley Charterboats, Happy Hooker and most other boats out of the marina were off for the week. California Dawnran Saturday and Sunday. The combined score was a 51 incher, 2 oversized and 7 undersized sturgeon. Shore fishers scored well on perch, mostly pogeys and rubberlip. A few starry flounder were hauled in, however the numbers seemed to dwindle.
BODEGA BAY — Crabbers and fishers found jetty action to their liking, though it was necessary to wait for periods when the swells were not too dangerous. Perch and rockfish were the main catches, plus a decent pick at the crabs. Up the coast at Jenner, anglers caught a mixed bag of fish including perch, greenling and rockfish.
EMERYVILLE — Staff at Emeryville Sportfishing reported that they will begin running trips on the salmon opener in early April.
EUREKA — South jetty teemed with fish. Dan Dowd of Loleta caught a brace of lingcod to 28 inches. People fishing the jetty also caught blue and black rockfish, cabezon and greenling.
FORT BRAGG — Telstar ran a crab trip, producing limits of heavy crabs up to a very impressive 3.6 pounds. The hotspot was in 140 feet of water off of Ten Mile Beach. Shore and jetty fishers had to pick their safe times to avoid big swells, however catches of rockfish, greenling and perch were made. Jetty crabbers did well with snares. Hook & liners caught red tail perch. Mendocino Headlands gave up rockfish, cabezon and lingcod.
HALF MOON BAY — Boat traffic was light. Jetty fishing proved to be the best bet. Josh from Half Moon Bay Sportfishing reported that he and a buddy got 19 rock crabs and one legal Dungy with traps at the jetty. Poke-pollers hauled up four monkeyface prickleback eels that were observed and perhaps more.
VALLEJO — Napa River produced numerous catches of sturgeon and stripers. Strong freshwater flows got the fish to moving and feeding. Sonoma Creek was generally slow. Petaluma River gave up good numbers of fish when the water flows were at their strongest. A few flounder were still caught along the shoreline.
AMADOR LAKE – Trout fishing is still good, but weather has kept most fishermen away last weekend. Debbie Grayson at Lake Amador Store said, “The bass are starting to bite as a 5-pound fish was caught on a Rebel the other day.” The dam and the boathouse are good spots for bank fishermen to try with Power Bait.
CAMANCHE LAKE – Trout fishing is good at the lake and the pond and one local fisherman caught a 1.87-pound crappie! The most popular spots for anglers fishing from the bank were the North Shore Day Use area as well as the South Shore Trout Pond. The most popular baits for bank anglers were Power Bait, power worms, or different types of lures. The best spots for boat anglers last week were Big Hat Island and the area in front of the dam. Anglers are still having luck fishing back in the Narrows. Rapala Lures are hands down the most frequently used lure for boat anglers, but people are still having success using grubs and ‘crawlers as well.
DON PEDRO RESERVOIR – Trout fishing has been hit and miss. The bass were on the bank before the storm hit last week. Vella Adventures took Bob Newhuf and John Stulich fishing out of Moccasin Creek area of Don Pedro Reservoir for limits of trout to two pounds slow rolling shad. The bass were on the bank in 5 to 10 feet of water before the storm hit sunning their eggs biting on Wright Baits 607g, wb001rg and 4-inch spring break.
LAKE MCCLURE – Fishing is good with most species of fish starting to bite. Bank fishing with Power Bait has been slow. Trolling 3 or 4 colors using purple PPK Tomahawk spinners is working upriver around Hunters Point. Jason Mello at A-1 Bait Shop said “Crappie and bass were being caught up around Horseshoe Bend on minnows.” Bass were biting minnows around Barrett’s Cove south ramp, also.
LAKE MCSWAIN – Fishing for trout was good before the storm. Victoria Sturdevant at McSwain Marina said, “The recent trout plants have helped the fishing. The Handicapped Docks and near the Marina was good for bank fishermen and the floating restroom and near the dam for trollers. Chartreuse garlic Power Bait was good off the banks while flashers or Wedding Rings and ‘crawlers were good for trollers. Jason Mello at A-1 Bait Shop said, “A mother and daughter caught limits of trout near the marina with red garlic eggs.”
LAKE PARDEE – Fishing is good. Plants continue to prowl the Recreation Area longer than expected. Blue Herron Point and Stoney Point Landing were good before the storm hit. White Power Bait or eggs with garlic and orange mouse tails with a half full water bubble has been the best combo thus far. Trollers continued to work the river mouth and back and forth to the face of the Dam. The fish are very near the surface at 5 to 15 feet. Troll three to five colors of lead core, trolling with beaded spinners, Uncle Larry’s pinkies and white/pink hoochies all behind a medium dodger for trout. German Brown trout have been hitting Rapalas, broken back or not, gold or rainbow minnows.
NEW MELONES RESERVOIR – Trout fishing is fair but bass fishing is good and getting better. Bank anglers are catching trout off of Glory Hole Point and near the Tuttletown boat launch. Kokanee are starting to show up. Bass fishing is good, look for them to stack up in the creek channels looking for food from the recent runoff. Fishing for catfish is slow this time of year but will get better as the water warms up.
AMERICAN RIVER — 3 to 4 inches of rain in the region this past week bumped up the flows, but the sloppy weather kept most folks at home, so fishing pressure was nil where the river is open below the Hwy. 49 bridge.
BULLARDS BAR — The lake is at 50-percent capacity. The boat ramp at Emerald Cove Marina opened for launching with the last rains. Dark Day launch ramp was still being used by most boaters. Bass anglers this past week were experiencing hit-or-miss action on big spotted bass—some anglers only caught dinks, while others scored fish to 8 pounds. Crankbaits were good for the fish that were up shallow, and Senkos were working for those 30 to 50 feet deep.
CAMP FAR WEST — The lake was up and muddy. The North Shore Resort Team Tournament held this past weekend hosted 33 boats—the top team weighed 10.30 pounds with a 3.24-pound big fish. Crankbaits and jigs worked best, according to most reports.
COLLINS LAKE — The lake is 31 feet from full and scheduled for a DFW trout plant this week. The resort stocked 1800 pounds of rainbows on Feb. 27, so fishing was very good for shore anglers and trollers. Dalton Branson of Orangevale caught a 4-pound rainbow from his campsite on a Kastmaster. The dam produced trout to 5 pounds on Power Bait. Trollers working from the island to the dam scored on trout to 3 1/2 pounds. Guide Ron Gandolfi fished for bass this past week with his son and caught 40 to 45 fish on darthead worms to 6 pounds on walls up river and on flats near the dam.
ENGLEBRIGHT RESERVOIR — The lake is at 92-percent capacity. The DFW stocked trout this past week. Trollers were picking up rainbows to 4 pounds in the marina on Power Bait.
FRENCH MEADOWS RESERVOIR — The roads to the lake were open, but the rains kept anglers at home.
HELL HOLE RESERVOIR — The Georgetown Ranger Station reported that the road to the lake was open, but no one was visiting the area during the rainy weather.
LAKE OROVILLE — The lake is at 40-percent capacity. Guide Ron Gandolfi reported that the rains had put more color in the water. Bass fishing was good for anglers willing to SLOW DOWN their retrieve using tubes and Senkos from 5 to 20 feet deep. The North Fork, West Branch, and Slot produced a 12.74-pound limit and 3.78-pound big fish for Gandolfi in last weekend’s Nor Cal 90 team tournament good for 4th place. The winning weight was 14 pounds with a 5-pound big fish. Watch out for debris.
ROLLINS LAKE — The lake is at 98-percent capacity. The DFW stocked trout this past week at Greenhorn Resort. Trollers were picking up rainbows near the dam.
SCOTT’S FLAT LAKE — The lake is at 75-percent capacity. Jim Caldwell at the marina reported that fishing pressure was slow most of the week with the rain, but trollers were still picking up a few trout at the inlet.
SUGAR PINE RESERVOIR — Lots of rain this past week helped the lake level but did little to inspire anglers to come out and get wet for a chance at a trout or two.
STUMPY MEADOWS RESERVOIR — The Georgetown Ranger Station reported that free launching was available here, but few were taking advantage of the opportunity due to the rain this past week.
THERMOLITO AFTERBAY — The lake was at the 134.9-foot elevation at press time—91-percent capacity. Lots of rain this past week, but bass fishing should be improving. The tule banks were all well into the water and attracting bass, along with rocky flats. Jigs were working best based on the last report.
NORTH COAST LAKES
CLEAR LAKE — The south end Rattlesnake Island is still drawing a lot of attention. On the Redbud arm it is mostly the western shoreline. The shallower north end is warming up and bass responding in the shallows as they move into their pre-spawning stage.
LAKE BERRYESSA — Bass have moved to the banks and the pre-spawn bite has begun. Check the creeks such as Putah. It was not consistent with recent rains, but a few big fish have been caught on A-rigs in the north end of the main body. Quite a few smaller ones were caught on spinnerbaits, LV500s, Pointer Minnows and Senkos. No trout reports yet.
LAKE SONOMA — Rain has muddied up the waters in the creek arms and the bass are responding with less clarity now. Target points, secondary points and transitions into the flats. In stained water work spinnerbaits, A-rigs and chatterbaits while covering water.
LAKE ALMANOR — Water temperatures are unusually warm so baitfish will start to move closer inshore, as will brown and rainbow trout once the storms pass. Try black and silver rapalas 10 feet or less for 2 1/2-pound brown trout. For salmon use Arctic Fox flies or soft plastic smelt at 45 feet for fish from 16 to 19 inches. Mark your calendars for Kokanee Power’s June 14 Lake Almanor Trout & Salmon Derby. For information visit kokaneepower.org.
BAUM LAKE — The Fly Shop in Redding said fishing has been good on overcast days. Rainy days also brought the wind. The best BWO hatches happen on overcast days. Reports have been good with a few even great.
PIT RIVER — From Nov. 16 through the Friday proceeding the last Saturday in April only artificial lures with barbless hooks may be used. Fishing has improved and so have the hatches. The Fly Shop in Redding said it’s probably muddy below Pit no. 3. Best conditions will be below Lake Britton along the Pit no. 3 section.
SHASTA LAKE — Rising waters have helped reduce water clarity, which in turn has helped bass fishing. Fish are keying in on small bluish colored crawdads. Try a 4-inch wacky rigged Senko in brown with red/blue fleck. Few reports for trout yet, but try toplining in the top 25 feet. Kings will still be down deep. Mark your calendars for Kokanee Power’s May 3-4 Shasta Lake Classic Team Tournament. For information visit kokaneepower.org.
-Western Outdoor News