Fishing Line

Fishing Line: Fall salmon run still strong

Fishing continues to give up good catches on various waterways of the north state.
Fishing continues to give up good catches on various waterways of the north state. Sacramento Bee file


▪ DELTA REGION: SACRAMENTO RIVER side — Salmon fishing was best in lower Suisun Bay with solid scores on a daily basis from the Benicia shoreline. In the upper Delta, the salmon bite continued to be slow with the occasional salmon taken by trollers in the Old Sacramento or from the shoreline near Freeport. Water hyacinth dominates the Sacramento River from Decker Island north to the Deep Water Channel with the aquatic vegetation moving up and down with the tide. Liberty Island remained a good bet for larger striped bass in the shallows, but the fish vacate the region on windy days. Sturgeon fishing is ready to pop near Pittsburg, but there is optimism of a good bite within the week.

▪ DELTA REGION: SAN JOAQUIN RIVER side - Water hyacinth has been dominating the story in the San Joaquin River, but the striped bass and largemouth bass don’t seem to mind the heavy vegetation. Finding clear patches of water has been the key, but drifting mudsuckers in the main San Joaquin River has been a productive technique. Tossing topwater lures or swimbaits in the early morning has resulted in quality catches and releases for experienced fishermen. Sardines are working best near the shoreline in Antioch while boaters are finding success with butterflied shad. Largemouth bass fishing is solid with the larger fish holding below the mats. Punching the weeds with Sweet Beavers or similar creature baits using heavy weights have brought forth quality bass during tournament time. Fresh shad is readily available throughout the Delta bait shops from Stockton west to Pittsburg. Bluegill action continued to be excellent off of Eight Mile Road, Holland Tract, Bethel Island, or Big Break with wax worms being the top bait. Catfishing has slowed with the best action in the extreme south Delta.

▪ AMERICAN RIVERThe salmon spawning area on the American River above the power lines at the lower end of Ancil Hoffman Park closes to fishing on Oct. 31. Unfortunately, thousands of fish have gone under the fish racks, which were put in the river in the river in August to block the fish from getting into Nimbus Basin, and fishermen have been having a field day fishing for them. DFW game wardens have been handing out lots of tickets for snagging. Steelhead fishing has been slow, but a few have been caught on nightcrawlers, Little Cleos and Kastmasters.

▪ FEATHER RIVERThe fall king salmon run has been holding steady with around 2 to 4 fish a boat per outing, but some of the fish have been getting darker. Boyd’s Pump, Mosquito Beach, downstream, have been good in the downstream stretches of river, to Shanghai Bend and Gridley. Steelhead fishing has been good, and the number of salmon has been dropping down.

▪ SACRAMENTO RIVER, SacramentoSalmon fishing was up and down again last week as spurts of salmon went bolting upstream. Flying “C” spinners in chartreuse at places like Minnow Hole and Discovery Park , Miller Park, Garcia Bend, Freeport, and Verona have been producing some fish. Jigs have been catching a few down by Freeport.

▪ SACRAMENTO RIVER, Woodson’s BridgeSalmon fishing was good at times, and lots of limits were being caught with some fish approaching 40 pounds. Fish were even being caught around Grimes and Colusa, but spots above Chico continued to be better. All the older fish at the Barge Hole went into tributaries, and some newer fish are moving in.


▪ CHETCO RIVER, Brookings, Oregon – The bobber-only fishing in the Chetco proper was good at first light, but slowed dramatically when the sun hit the water, which meant it was time to go upriver and drift down into un-pressured schools of kings holding in the river, according to guide Any Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing, who kept his clients on nice fish. Roe was the best bet. The main run will enter the river with the next good rain.

▪ COOS RIVER, Coos Bay, Oregon – The Coos was tough fishing on Saturday. Some guides were having to put in extra hours to make a bountiful catch for clients when it came to the kings in the river, according to WON Field Reporter and guide Curtis Palmer of River Secrets. “However the silvers were slashing below the Mill Casino and across Marshfield Channel. The silvers were strong early week around the 101 Bridge.”

▪ COQUILLE RIVER, Bandon, Oregon – “I missed it at the beginning of last week from Rocky Point downriver to the mouth when the kings, that seemed to never amount to much so far this year, just started looking better,” said guide Curtis Palmer of River Secrets. “A bunch of late season fish came in and I am being told everyone was limiting out at the beginning of the week by 10:00 - 10:30 each day. The silvers keep flowing into the river and making their presence known.”

▪ ROGUE RIVER, Grant’s Pass, Oregon I went out today (Sunday) and caught four steelhead up to an 11-pound hatchery steelie on K-9 plugs in silver-and-pink,” said guide Troy Whitaker at U-Save Tackle in Grants Pass. “Other anglers drifted by, and they seemed to be catching a few in each boat. We were fishing in the Schroder Park area. We saw dark salmon rolling on beds here and upriver. Most anglers seem to be drifting from Valley of the Rogue to Pierce boat ramp. Some salmon are being taken on small pieces roe and Glo bugs dipped in Pautke’s nectar.”

▪ RUSSIAN RIVER, Oregon – Kings Sport and Tackle in Guerneville said “there’s not much going on with the Russian.” The mouth has been closed for a month and it is now at 8 feet in Jenner,” was the report. “A projected opening may be sometime in the next week if the ocean conditions permit,” said Scott from the shop. “Smallmouth bass fishing is slowing, so we are in need of some fresh ocean steelies!”

▪ SMITH RIVER, Oregon – The Smith was only open for a brief window from the low flows, and that one day was great for the few salmon anglers who were on the river. Guide and WON Field Reporter Andy Martin of Wild Rivers fishing put his clients on 9 kings to 30 pounds, a mix of jacks and adults. It was expected to open again this week during the early week rain that was forecast at press time, but not expected to remain open.

▪ UMPQUA RIVER, Roseburg, Oregon – Fall bass anglers are doing well for hungry smallies a short drive from town, according to guide Curtis Palmer of River Secrets. “Coho are around, but the river is low and there’s not much public access for bank fishing. Summer steelhead are being found in riffles during the day time.”


▪ KLAMATH RIVER, Klamath Glen – Fishing has slowed down with some jacks and a few adult as well as coho jacks were being caught. All must be released and pressure has gone way down.

▪ KLAMATH RIVER, Iron Gate Dam – Lots of those salmon that were being caught in the lower Klamath have gone upstream to Iron Gate Dam, and are being caught on backbounced roe. Some days there might be well over a dozen caught.

▪ TRINITY RIVER – Fishing on the Trinity River has been fair to good above Del Loma. However, hundreds of thousands of smolts have been released into the river and fishing will be difficult for about another week. Steelheadfishing was improving before the smolt infusion and should be good again in a few days. Red Copper John’s and stone flies have been good for fly fishermen, as well as dead-drifted nymphs under indicators. Back-trolled Hot Shots and Brad’s Wigglers have been good early in the morning.


▪ CLEAR LAKE – As the water continues to cool, reaction baits like chatter baits, crankbaits, and rip baits will become effective tools. Jigs and plastics will work well, too, on the rocks of the midlake and southern sections of the lake. Right now it’s junk fishing, but look for the live bait bite to kick into gear and some of the better fish that have been eluding anglers will start showing up.

▪ LAKE BERRYESSA – Read your electronics and key in on bait balls. Bass are balling up the bait for their fall feed. Right now it’s still junk fishing (using your entire tackle box) but the fishing is good. Salmon and trout are in the deeper, colder waters by the dam.

▪ LAKE SONOMA - Both bass and trout are feeding on the surface early in the day so look for the bait balls and you’ll find fish.


▪ ALMANOR LAKE – Fast action lures were getting more trout than any other method. Launch out of Rec. 2 and troll out toward Goose Island and back with downrigged No. 2 Needlefish or Speedy Shiners in the top 15 feet. As the sun goes up fish deeper. Nice, clean rainbow to 3 pounds are being caught.

▪ BAUM LAKE – Water conditions continue to be good here. Try to fish early and late when the sun is not high. Fishing has been fair to good, but should get even better with a little rain.

▪ FALL RIVERWater conditions are great and the fishing has been good. The better hatches have been going off in the mornings so come early. This is one of the rivers that will close on Nov. 15.

▪ UPPER HAT CREEK – Fishing here is at its best early in the day before the sun gets high in the sky and then right at sunset. The Power House no. 2 riffle is still worth checking out. This is one of the rivers that will close on Nov. 15.

▪ McCLOUD RIVERBoth water conditions and fishing has been fair to good. This is one of the rivers that will close on Nov. 15.

▪ PIT RIVERIt continues to fish well. September and into October are high season months here. but bring a staff as the rocks and boulders in here are unforgiving. This is one of the rivers that will close on Nov. 15.

▪ SHASTA LAKE – Cover lots of water and target the first 5 feet with crankbaits and spinnerbaits for bass. If you can find shade on hard structure like rock or wood in the afternoon head to that. Best bet has been the first two and last two hours of the day. Look for bass rounding up the baitfish.


▪ BERKELEY – Salmon fishing continued at a good pace. Berkeley boats El Dorado III, El Dorado and Flying Fish got 45 salmon to 34 pounds for 49 people. California Dawn got her passengers into some excellent rockfish and lingcod action along the Marin coast. Jilly Sea fished South Bay for 38 sharks. Boats fishing San Pablo Bay enjoyed an all-out assault from striped bass at the Brothers, Point Pinole and other regular hotspots.

▪ BODEGA BAY/LAWSON’S LANDING New Sea Angler crew had a blast, running people up to Fort Ross for tall stacks of rockfish and lingcod to 26 pounds, or taking them to Ten Mile Beach where an ongoing salmon bite continued to pump out a nice grade of salmon to 28 pounds. Willy Vogler at Lawson’s Landing reported a few stripers in the surf and that divers are seeing lots of large Dungeness crabs.

▪ EMERYVILLE – A few boats stayed on the salmon, as the bite waxed and waned. Tiger Fish on Sunday managed a fish per rod to 21 pounds. New Salmon Queen and New Seekeralso scored on the salmon. Sea Wolf managed limits of rockfish and lingcod on Sunday. On Saturday, amid limits-style fishing, a 12-pound wolf eel was brought aboard the Sea Wolf, making for an appropriate catch, considering the boat’s name.

▪ EUREKA – An 18-pound Pacific halibut was caught by Bob Reed of Arcata, in spite of foul weather. It was a hard-earned fish. Other boats stayed firmly tied to their docks. Jetties provided some opportunities for rockfish and greenling, but the few people who gave it a go had to watch carefully for big swells that washed the jetty rocks. Perchers did fine inside Humboldt Bay behind the PG&E Plant.

▪ FORT BRAGG – Big seas hampered fishing activities, however not all was lost. Abalone gatherers worked Van Damme Beach State Park. Shore fishers went after rockfish and cabezon at Mackerricher State Park and at the Mendocino Headlands. The jetty at Fort Bragg produced some rockfish and perch, during periods of calmer swells.

▪ HALF MOON BAY – The long-running salmon bite inside and just outside of the harbor continued, with spinning lures being the most-used lures. Party boats Queen of Hearts andRiptide slayed the rockfish and achieved about a fish per rod on the lingcod. Striped bass bit at night in the surf above Pacifica. Other catches included 3 species of perch.

▪ SAN FRANCISCO/SAUSALITO – Salmon boats like Wacky Jacky, Lovely Martha, Argo, Salty Lady, New Rayann and Outer Limits kept up the assault on salmon near Duxbury. Bass Tub and Happy Hooker made successful runs to the Marin Coast for rockfish and lingcod. Results were great and passengers were happy.


▪ FOLSOM LAKE – The lake has continued to drop lower and lower by the day. Bass are in their fall pattern. Fish using your electronics over old rock tailings and river channels at the end of the Peninsula. Fish 20 to 30 feet deep with jigs, drop-shotting and Carolina-rigging. Some reaction bites can be good in the morning.

▪ RANCHO SECO LAKE – Some nice bass are continuing to be being caught on weightless Senkos close to dark, and even topwater plugs might get a strike early or late. Red-eared sunfish are biting worms under bobbers.

▪ SACRAMENTO RIVER, Redding – Most folks are concentrating on salmon, but trout fishing continued to be outstanding for fly fishing with nymphs under indicators, and small egg patterns.

▪ YUBA RIVER – The Yuba River is flowing at about 400 cfs. The lower Yuba below DeGuerre dam down to Sycamore Ranch has been good for trout in the warmer weather on hopper indicators with a small caddis nymph dropper.


▪ BOCA LAKE – The lake is at 21.8-percent capacity. The inlet was holding browns staging for the spawn and some nice macks. Mountain Hardware and Sports recommended using a bobber/worm or a nymph/indicator.

▪ CAPLES LAKE – The lake is at 69-percent capacity. Caples Lake Resort will have a couple of cabins and a couple of rental boats available for the next week or so then will close until Christmas. Fishing was improving with the water temp at 54 degrees and launching was still available at the EID ramp, according to John Voss at the resort. Resort guest Chris Jennings and his son caught a 3-pound rainbow on pink floating dough bait from a rental boat.

▪ CARSON RIVER (East, West) – Todd Sodaro at Todd’s Bait and Tackle at the Creekside Lodge reported fishing in the East Carson was excellent for rainbows to 4 pounds. Most anglers were catching limits and flyfishermen were having great days of catch-and-release fishing on woolly buggers and dry/droppers. The West Carson was still producing a few fish. The Carson will be stocked one more time this season.

▪ DAVIS LAKE – The lake is at 53-percent capacity. Ed Dillard at Dillard’s Guided Fishing reported doing well trolling on the lower end of the lake from Coot Bay to the dam using a copper/red head Wee Dick Nite at 8 feet deep for 16- to 20-inch rainbows. Flyfishing was improving at Fairview and Mosquito Slough for float tubers stripping woolly buggers and Wiggle Tails at 6 to 8 feet deep. Stripping a Wiggle Tail on a floating line north of Jenkins was producing for anglers sight casting to cruising rainbows. Shore fishing was hit-or-miss at Mallard—limits one day and one fish the next using inflated nightcrawlers.

▪ DONNER LAKE – The lake is at 50-percent capacity. The kokanee “turned” and were in spawning mode so most anglers turned their attention to the macks. Boaters were jigging and trolling on the bottom at 70 to 80 feet deep as the macks bunch up to spawn.

▪ FEATHER RIVER CANYON – Butt Valley Lake is at 86-percent capacity. Dick Mason at Dick’s Guide Service was still scheduling trips on this great trophy trout lake. Trolling with a threaded nightcrawler was producing 17- to 19-inch rainbows with the possibility of a 5 pounder. The North Fork Feather was kicking out a few native rainbows from below the Caribou Powerhouse dam to the campgrounds.

▪ FRENCHMAN LAKE – The lake is at 35-percent capacity. Wiggins Trading Post reported most anglers were doing well from the shore at the dam using inflated nightcrawlers for rainbows to 3 pounds.

▪ GOLD LAKES BASIN – Mark Tieslau at Mountain Hardware and Sports in Blairsden reported good action for a mix of browns, rainbows, and macks in the cove by the Gold Lake boat ramp in the late evening—the windier, the better—casting a 1/4- or 3/8-ounce gold Kastmaster. With no plants since June, Salmon Lake, Sardine Lake and Packer Lake were slow.

▪ ICE HOUSE RESERVOIR – The lake is at 82-percent capacity. Dale Daneman at Dale’s Foothill Fishing Service reported good action trolling for planter rainbows using a Sep’s brown grub in the top 10 feet. 20- to 30-fish days were a possibility.

▪ INDIAN CREEK RESERVOIR – Not much happening here. Alpine County will stock the lake with 1800 pounds of rainbows after the November 15 close of the stream trout season.

▪ JACKSON MEADOW RESERVOIR – The lake is at 62.5-percent capacity. Trolling a Rapala at the Yuba River inlet was producing some nice brown trout that were staging for the spawn.

▪ JENKINSON LAKE (Sly Park) – The lake is at 73-percent capacity. Jeff Cole at Sly Park Resort reported fishing pressure was too light to give an accurate fishing report.

▪ LAKE TAHOEChuck Self at Chuck’s Charter Fishing reported mack trolling was still excellent with limits coming in 2 to 3 1/2 hours running spoons and Lucky Craft minnow plugs at 140 to 350 feet deep from Tahoe City to Crystal Bay Point. Clients were keeping limits of 4 to 9 pounder and releasing the 2 and 3 pounders. Mike Nielsen at Tahoe Topliners Sportfishing reported an excellent jigging bite for macks at Sugar Pine Point with one drift producing 22 1- to 4-pound macks. Clients were releasing the smaller fish and keeping 4 to 7 pounders. Zack Gordon at Tahoe Sportfishing reported mooching and trolling for macks was good all day. One client caught a 15 pounder on a dodger/minnow at Dollar Point at 150 feet deep. The big female was spilling eggs—the macks were definitely spawning. The boat scored limits for 10 anglers along with the big fish.

▪ LOON LAKE – The lake is at 52-percent capacity. The Georgetown Ranger Station reported the campgrounds were closed but the boat ramp was still open. Trolling was good for planter rainbows and a few holdovers running dodger/nightcrawlers in the top 10 feet.

▪ PROSSER LAKE – The lake is at 27-percent capacity. Smallmouth bass fishing was good on the rocky points and banks in the Prosser Creek using tube jigs, worms, and spoons, according to Mountain Hardware and Sports.

▪ PYRAMID LAKE – Cutthroat trout action was very good this past week for trollers and jiggers. The top fish reported by Crosby’s Lodge was a 21 pounder caught trolling at Hell’s Kitchen. Joe Mendes at Eagle Eye Charters reported catching 87 fish to 14 pounds off one big bait school jigging north of the Pyramid this past week. George Molino art Cutthroat Charters reported catching 12 to 15 trout per day to 15 1/4 pounds trolling at Warrior Point at 80 feet deep with bloody frog Apex.

▪ RED LAKE – Little to report from here—try the dam and the inlet with worms and salmon eggs.

▪ SILVER LAKE – The lake is at 49-percent capacity. With the water temp in the mid-50s, fishing should be good for trollers and shore anglers. Troll flasher/worms and Rapalas in the top 20 feet.

▪ STAMPEDE RESERVOIR – The lake is at 24-percent capacity. Not much happening here with boats unable to launch due to the extremely low water level.

▪ TRUCKEE RIVER – The whole river was running less than 100 cfs and the trout population in this fantastic fishery was in dire straits according to Mountain Hardware and Sports. Fishermen were being asked to refrain from fishing here to reduce stress on the trout—too much delayed mortality after fish were released. If you must, try the remaining deeper holes where the fish were concentrated and vulnerable.

▪ UNION VALLEY RESERVOIR – The lake is at 61-percent capacity. This lake is still in the King Fire closure zone.

▪ WEST WALKER RIVER – Fishing was still good though angling pressure was light. Fishing the deeper pools in the canyon south of Walker was producing lots of DFW planters and a few holdover Mono County and Chamber of Commerce trophy fish on bait, spinners, and flies.


▪ AMADOR LAKE – Bass anglers have been doing great. Anglers have been fishing frequent boils with topwater lures and nailing the bass. Trout planting is scheduled to begin again on October 23.

▪ DON PEDRO RESERVOIR– Very few trout and salmon anglers have been trying this week, but with the cooling water temperatures, the baitfish should be starting to ball up in the deeper areas of the lake. Bass anglers have been doing the best soaking large minnows along the shoreline.

▪ LAKE McCLURE – Low water has restricted access to the lake and as a result, few anglers are trying. Despite the low numbers of people, anglers on the shore or in small boats caught a few bass and catfish. Live baits, such as minnows and crawfish, proved to be the best option for both bass and catfish.

▪ LAKE McSWAIN – Cooler weather perked the trout up a bit. Shore anglers picked up more fish than the trollers while fishing dough baits and nightcrawlers from the marina towards the lower dam. Trollers fished flashers and spinners close to the surface for good numbers of fish. Trollers did the best from the chimney to the floating restrooms.

▪ NEW MELONES RESERVOIR – Bass fishing remains good and anglers have been picking up bigger fish this week. Jigs fished in 30 to 40 feet of water have been the best. Catfish anglers also scored good numbers of fish. Frozen shad, anchovies, sardines, and nightcrawlers with added scent has been the ticket for fish up 12 pounds.

▪ LAKE PARDEE – Anglers picked up a few trout fishing near the boat launch in shallow water. Dough baits and nightcrawlers were the best options. Bass also showed up in decent numbers for anglers fishing the river arm with crankbaits, drop-shot rigged plastics and jigs.


▪ AMERICAN RIVER – The river was running low and clear. Many areas were still closed for cleanup after the King Fire. Check with the Foresthill Ranger Station at 530-367-2224 M-F, or the Georgetown Ranger Station at 530-333-4312 S-S, for the latest updates on closure areas as they can change daily as cleanup work progresses.

▪ BULLARDS BAR – The lake is at 41-percent capacity. Launching was still available at the Dark Day ramp. Bass fishing should be good on the points and walls using Senkos, worms, and tubes.

▪ CAMP FAR WEST – The lake is at 5.6-percent capacity. Small boats can launch off the shore near the concrete ramp but 4-wheel drive is mandatory. Ron Franks of Folsom fished this past week and caught 24 bass on green pumpkin lizards and Brush Hogs on the main body at 15 to 20 feet deep.

▪ COLLINS LAKEThe lake is 54 feet from full and boat launching is still available on the auxiliary ramp at the dam. The lake will be stocked again late this week with 1800 pounds of rainbows—half 3- to 5-pound trophy fish and half 1- to 1 1/2-pound catchables. As one would expect, trout fishing was good this past week with fish to 5 pounds being caught by shore anglers and trollers. Big fish of the week though was a 6 1/2-pound bass caught by a troller using a Kastmaster.

▪ ENGLEBRIGHT RESERVOIR – The lake is at 92-percent capacity. Skippers Cove Marina reported that PG&E had 625 pounds of 12-inch rainbows delivered for the pen rearing program and stocked 1250 pounds into the lake this past week, and another 625 pounds will fill two more pens this week. These pen-reared fish will be raised over the winter and released in late March. The fishing tackle at the marina store was completely revamped to reflect the trout, kokanee, and bass fishing at the lake. Trolling should be excellent in the marina using flasher/worms in the lanes between the moored houseboats.

▪ FRENCH MEADOWS RESERVOIR – The lake is at 32.5-percent capacity. The Foresthill Ranger Station announced that Mosquito Ridge Rd. was open to the lake. The campgrounds at the lake were closed already, and both launch ramps were out of the water. Not much reason to come here unless you want to fish off the shore near the dam.

▪ HELL HOLE RESERVOIR – The lake is at 26-percent capacity. The Georgetown Ranger Station reported the roads to the lake were still closed for fire cleanup.

▪ LAKE OROVILLE – The lake is at 29-percent capacity. Guide Ron Gandolfi reported the bass fishing was “as good as it gets” with clients catching 180 fish one day this past week and following it up the next day with over 100 fish. Tubes produced non-stop action on steep walls and points from the main body up through the Slot into the North Fork and West Branch. Early morning topwater was very good until the sun hit the water, then lipless and deep diving cranks and spinnerbaits produced lots of 2 to 2 1/2 pounders.

▪ ROLLINS LAKE – The lake is at 77.5-percent capacity. Ryan Drake at Orchard Springs reported bass fishing was still good using jigs, worms, and topwater. Boaters need to use caution if running into the Bear River inlet area due to shallow water hazards.

▪ SCOTT’S FLAT LAKE – The lake is at 48-percent capacity. Jim Caldwell at the marina reported smallmouth bass fishing was good for 2 to 3 pounders at the dam. A few 10- to 12-inch rainbow trout were showing for trollers. Small boats and bass boats can still launch at the marina, but boaters need to look out for obstacles while idling away from the ramp.

▪ SUGAR PINE RESERVOIR – The Foresthill Ranger Station reported the facilities here were not affected by the King Fire and were open for use. Fishing was very slow with no DFW plant since late spring.

▪ STUMPY MEADOWS RESERVOIR – The Georgetown Ranger Station reported the lake was open for shore fishing. The campgrounds were burned by the King Fire, and with the lake very low, boat launching was no longer possible.

▪ THERMOLITO AFTERBAY – The lake was at 134.4-foot elevation at press time—84.5-percent capacity. Guide Ron Gandolfi reported fishing was still good around the tules and grass beds using Senkos and jigs on calm days, and on spinnerbaits and crankbaits on windy days for bass to 4 to 5 pounds.

– Western Outdoor News