Fishing Line

Hot trout bite, hit-or-miss salmon on NorCal waterways (Week of Nov. 3, 2014)

Different waterways, different fish biting – that’s the nature of things in Northern California this week.
Different waterways, different fish biting – that’s the nature of things in Northern California this week. Sacramento Bee file


▪ CARSON RIVER (East, West) Todd Sodaro at Todd’s Bait and Tackle at the Creekside Lodge reported trout fishing was excellent, with one angler hooking 14 fish to 6 pounds in 2 hours using salmon eggs in the East Carson. With the last Alpine County plant, there should be plenty of fish to keep the bite great until the end of the season on Nov. 15. Artificial, barbless lure zero limit fishing on the East Carson below Hangman’s Bridge starts Nov. 16.

▪ DELTA REGION: SACRAMENTO RIVER side — Salmon fishing remained “hit or miss” with mostly miss dominating reports. The best fishing continued to be found from the shorelines near Benicia in lower Suisun Bay. Striped bass action improved from Liberty Island west towards the Mothball Fleet with topwater lures, swimbaits, or spoons working for the linesides. Trollers are finding the best action in the clear water west of Broad Slough. Sturgeon fishing remained on an upswing with more and more diamondbacks migrating through the Delta. Chain Island and the Pittsburg PGE Plant are the top locations, but the Mothball Fleet and the Sherman Island Power Lines have also produced fish.

▪ DELTA REGION: SAN JOAQUIN RIVER side — Water hyacinth remained a plague, particularly in the south Delta and in the Stockton region, but fishermen are working to avoid the vegetation by drifting live mudsuckers through the floating masses of weeds. The Department of Boating and Waterways started spraying the hyacinth last week, and the Port of Stockton has contracted with an aquatic vegetation removal service due to the halting of a seagoing vessel on its way to the docks. Bluegill action is solid at 8 Mile Road with jumbo red worms or wax worms. Catfishing is slow with few fishermen purchasing clams. There have been reports of crappie on live medium minnows near Turner Cut Resort.

▪ AMERICAN RIVERThe salmon spawning area on the American River above the power lines at the lower end of Ancil Hoffman Park to below the Nimbus Fish Hatchery closed to fishing. Salmon spawning will begin at Nimbus Hatchery on Nov. 3. It doesn’t require very many salmon to meet the hatchery’s quota, and judging by the poor salmon fishing in the American this season, that’s a good thing. Some night fishermen have been getting a few around the Lower Dredger Hole, but not many. Steelhead fishing has been slow, too, but a few have been caught on nightcrawlers, Little Cleos and Kastmasters.

▪ FEATHER RIVERMany of the fall king salmon now in the Feather River have been around for a very long time and are spawning or about ready, but some bright fish are still coming up. They are spread throughout from below the Outlet through Gridley and even Boyd’s Pump. Much of the fishing has been from shore because flows are so low, but if you use a boat, anchor up or troll very slowly upstream. Steelhead fishing has been good in the Low Flow Section. Fish nymphs and egg flies under an indicator.


▪ CHETCO RIVER, Oregon – Ongoing rains have kept the king salmon pouring into the river, according to WON Field Reporter and guide Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing, who has been putting his clients into up to 10 kings a day to 25 pounds on plugs, but the river is expected to drop, so roe is in the future. The kings should keep coming throughout November, but usually the first few weeks after the first good rains are the best for bright fish.

▪ ELK RIVER, Port Orford, Oregon – The river was kicking out the king salmon last week, according to guide Curtis Palmer of River Secrets Guide Service, but by the end of the weekend, most anglers had moved to the Sixes River nearby. “I didn’t mind, as I chose to enjoy the status of being the only driftboat to run the Elk River Sunday, November 2,” Palmer said. “The low, translucent green water allowed near endless visibility in some spots. After putting in at the Elk River Hatchery, I proceeded rowing downriver and it wasn’t long before lady luck showed her hand by my client catching a small Chinook by the old intake. The day ended with five kings caught by one person and two super-nice size Chinooks getting free.

▪ SMITH RIVER, Oregon – Salmon fishing here continues to be very good, according to WON Field Reporter and guide Phil Desautel of Phil’s Smiling Salmon Guide Service. He took two clients out on Wednesday and the hooked 4 and landed 2 of 16 and 18 pounds. The Smith drops out quickly, so call ahead before booking a trip.


▪ KLAMATH RIVER, Iron Gate Dam – Fishing has transitioned from salmon to steelhead, and it’s been great. Fly fishers are dead-drifting egg patterns under indicators, egg clusters, or even glass beads. Some of the fish are big for the upper Klamath—up to 10 pounds.

▪ TRINITY RIVER – Steelhead fishing on the Trinity River has been picking up. No more adult salmon may be taken, and the jacks have been in the river for a very long time and are not worth keeping. The river has dropped back to fall levels, and more rain would be most welcome. Anglers are catching about 3 steelhead a day, and fishing pressure has greatly increased. Fly fishers are casting red copper John’s, Psycho prince nymphs, and stone flies dead-drifted under indicators. Spin fishers are back-trolling Hot Shots and Brad’s Wigglers and drifting roe.


▪ CLEAR LAKE – The bite continues to be slow for both bass and catfish. But local tackle stores now have jumbo minnows. Current conditions include clarity from 1 to 3 feet around the lake. The Redbud launch ramp is now officially closed for upgrading, leaving the Lakeport, Clear Lake Oaks and Konocti Vista Marina the remaining usable ramps.

▪ LAKE BERRYESSA – Try cranking shallow in the north end of the lake for bass with LuckyCraft BDS3s in Table Rock Shad keeping in contact with the grass. Another good pattern this past week was yo-yoing LV500s in shad patterns in and around the shallow grasses from 5 to 10 feet along the east shoreline.

▪ LAKE SONOMA - Both landlocked steelhead and bass fishing have been slow.


▪ ALMANOR LAKE – For launching, the Canyon Dam ramp is open with a dock, the USFS ramp is open but with no dock, the Rec. 1 ramp is closed due to low water but Rec.2 is open with a dock. With the brown trout getting ready to spawn, some of the biggest browns and rainbows will be on the prowl. Try to release the browns and try not use a net. Their meat is not that good during spawn but the rainbows are.

▪ 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 improving with the rain it got, which helped the hatches.

▪ EAGLE LAKE – Fishing here has been excellent for trollers, fishing off the bottom with a nightcrawler and marshmallow or flyfishing. Fishing here should continue to be great up until it closes Dec. 31.

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

▪ McCLOUD RIVERBoth water conditions and fishing have been fair to good, although some had better luck than others. This is one of the rivers that will close on Nov. 15.

▪ PIT RIVERIt continues to fish well. It should fish well until the season closes, but bring a staff as the rocks and boulders here are unforgiving. This is one of the rivers that will close on Nov. 15.

▪ SHASTA LAKE – Digger Bay had good trout action on the surface, as did Big Backbone. Jones Valley, Centimudi and Bridge Bay are the only launch sites now. Bass are scattered throughout the lake, so move around. They are also schooled up by sizes, so if you are getting small fish move on. Try in the trees in the Pitt arm with topwater baits, weightless Senkos, or spinnerbaits. If you launch at Jones Valley you’ll be right in the middle of some trees.


▪ BERKELEY – Boats from Berkeley added Dungeness to their offerings and the crab scores were generally limits. Rockfish also came in limit quantities aboard all boats and lingcod were the bonus. Salmon scores held up, with New Wave scoring a salmon per rod.

▪ BODEGA BAY – The Dungeness crab season opener saw a boat flip on rough water and lives were lost. That serves as a reminder that what we love to do is indeed, dangerous. Boaters did find plenty of crabs and many were back very early with their limits. New Sea Angler pulled 20 pots to gather 50 limits of crabs to go along with limits of rockfish and 8 lingcod to 10 pounds.

▪ EMERYVILLE – Boats from Emeryville got into the swing of crab season and also stayed on top of rockfish and lingcod. Sea Wolf, New Seaker, New Huck Finn and New Salmon Queen all produced limits of crabs, limits of rockfish and good lingcod counts.

▪ EUREKA – Dungeness crabs were happily cooperative for boaters who made longer runs and got away from the hubbub of the near-harbor environs. Fishy Business had a great start to the crab charter season and is wisely experimenting to find the best spots for traps. Shore crabbers lined the Del Norte Pier to drop hoop nets and throw snares. Pacific halibut season wound down with less than spectacular results.

▪ FORT BRAGG – Shore fishing was great for rockfish, cabezon, greenling and lingcod at Jug Handle and Mendocino Headlands. Heavy line and stout rods were the keys to success. Professional skippers, like Capt. Tim Gillepspie on Sea Hawk, managed limits of crabs, but had to pull many pots to do it. Less experienced boaters set their pots in crowds and too close to harbor, which limited their successes.

▪ HALF MOON BAY/PACIFICA – Limits of rockfish and plenty of lings came up for Queen of Hearts from Half Moon Bay Sportfishing. Huli Cat added limits of crabs. Salmon milled about the Harbor, tempting people to cast everything in the book. Striped bass bit on the beach near Pacifica.

▪ SAN FRANCISCO – A successful crab opener made for enhanced options for the San Francisco Fleet. Bass Tub caught limits of rockfish plus some lingcod and then pulled just 12 pots for limits of crabs. Argo went after crabs and was successful. Wacky Jacky and Lovely Martha kept after the salmon at Duxbury and Rocky Point, in spite of a minefield of crab pot buoys.


▪ FOLSOM LAKE – The lake has continued to drop lower and lower by the day. The speed limit is 5 mph. Bass are in their fall pattern. Fish 20 to 30 feet deep over old rock tailings and river channels off the end of the Peninsula. Jigs, drop-shotting and Carolina-rigging should get some fish to about 2 pounds.

▪ 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, Sacramento – Some good storms came in last week and salmon fishing went up and down last week as small schools of salmon went streaking upstream. There was some good fishing upstream of Sacramento, and some big fish were caught. Flying “C” spinners in chartreuse were good at bank fishing spots like the Minnow, Hole Discovery Park, and Miller Park. Jigs have been catching a few down by Freeport.

▪ SACRAMENTO RIVER, Redding – Most folks are concentrating on salmon, but trout fishing continued to be “magical” on small egg patterns, or nymphs under indicators.

▪ SACRAMENTO RIVER, Woodson’s Bridge – Small schools of bright fall salmon went streaking upstream after the storms of last week, and when the mud stopped flowing out of Battle and Cottonwood Creeks, some beautiful bright late fall king were being caught.

▪ YUBA RIVER – The Yuba River is flowing at about 400 cfs. The lower Yuba below DeGuerre dam down to Sycamore Ranch has been good, but most of the dry fly fishing has ended.


▪ BOCA LAKE – The lake is at 24-percent capacity. Brown trout were moving up into the Little Truckee River to spawn, or returning to the lake after spawning.

▪ CAPLES LAKE – The lake is at 68-percent capacity. Area received several inches of snow this past weekend, but roads should be clear. The resort closed for its fall hiatus and will reopen by Christmas. Fishing should be good.

▪ DAVIS LAKE – The lake is at 53-percent capacity. Trollers were having a tough time due to the amount of floating weeds on the north end of the lake—try the south end from Honker Cove to the dam or the island with a cinnamon fly at 5 to 15 feet deep. Ed Dillard at Dillard’s Guided Fishing reported flyfishing was good on the west side at Jenkins for 18- to 22-inch rainbows using an olive beadhead woolly bugger set 4 to 6 feet under an indicator in 12 feet of water. He and a friend were catching 9 to 11 fish per trip. Mark Tieslau at Mountain Hardware and Sports in Blairsden said he was catching limits of rainbows to 21 inches using pink scented artificial eggs and nightcrawlers at Fairview. If launching at Honker, use the south lane of the ramp to avoid a hump of dirt apparently not removed during the upgrade.

▪ DONNER LAKE – The lake is at 44-percent capacity. The lake is low and fishing was slow this past week, according to Mountain Hardware and Sports.

▪ FEATHER RIVER CANYON – Mike Hanson at the Caribou Crossroads Resort reported things were pretty slow as the season winds down to the Nov. 15 close. Butt Valley Lake was still too low to launch, according to Dick Mason at Dick’s Guide Service.

▪ FRENCHMAN LAKE – The lake is at 35-percent capacity. Wiggins Trading Post reported fishing was still good for shore anglers at the dam and Crystal Point using nightcrawlers and floating dough bait for 14- to 18-inch rainbows.

▪ GOLD LAKES BASIN – Mark Tieslau at Mountain Hardware and Sports in Blairsden reported brown trout were spawning along the rocky shores of Gold Lake. The easiest shore access was at the boat ramp and campground sites 20 and 22 where anglers were picking up some nice fish on nightcrawlers and Kastmaster spoons.

▪ ICE HOUSE RESERVOIR – The lake is at 64-percent capacity. Kyle Neeser at Crystal Basin Tackle and Guide Service reported fishing pressure was very light here with most folks out deer hunting this past week trying to kill a buck as the season came to a close.

▪ INDIAN CREEK RESERVOIR – The lake will be stocked by Alpine County after the Nov. 15 close of the general stream trout season.

▪ JACKSON MEADOW RESERVOIR – The lake is at 61-percent capacity. The boat ramp at Pass Creek was no longer usable, so shore fishing at the dam was the best option.

▪ JENKINSON LAKE (Sly Park) – Denise Cole at Sly Park Resort reported smallmouth bass to 3 pounds were hitting, but trout fishing was slow.

▪ LAKE TAHOEChuck Self at Chuck’s Charter Fishing reported catching limits of 3- to 8-pound macks in 2 to 3 hours most days trolling 160 to 300 feet deep at North Shore. Zack Gordon at Tahoe Sportfishing said the fleet was doing well on 3- to 6-pound macks mooching live bait on the west side from Rubicon to Sugar Pine at 150 to 200 feet deep.

▪ LOON LAKE – The lake is at 51-percent capacity. The Georgetown Ranger Station reported the gate was still open to the boat ramp, but few anglers were heading up to the lake.

▪ PROSSER LAKE – The lake is at 27-percent capacity. Snowy cold weather this past weekend slowed the smallmouth bass bite. Warmer weather in the forecast this week should revive the bite but not to the level it was during the summer and early fall. Use brown jigs, worms and tubes on rocky banks and points, and off the dam.

▪ PYRAMID LAKE – Valarie Taylor at Crosby’s Lodge reported only weighing in 3 big fish this past week. A 15-pound, 13.6-ounce cutthroat topped the board and was caught by Gary Zahniser of Sparks while casting a black spoon form the shore at Block House. A 14-15 and 11-8 were caught trolling. George Molino at Cutthroat Charters reported his trips were producing 12 to 18 fish from 16 to 23 inches. His clients were keeping limits of 19- to 20-inch fish and releasing several more smaller or larger fish.

▪ RED LAKE – The area saw snow this past weekend, but warmer weather was in the forecast for the rest of the week, so access should be no problem—fish worms and salmon eggs off the dam.

▪ SILVER LAKE – The lake is at 38-percent capacity. Snow this past weekend, but access should be good by this week with warmer weather in the forecast.

▪ STAMPEDE RESERVOIR – The lake is at 24-percent capacity. It’s too low for boat launching, so fishing pressure was very light to non-existent, according to Mountain Hardware and Sports.

▪ TRUCKEE RIVER – Mountain Hardware and Sports said “The river is so low it’s scary!!” Ethical anglers will leave this valuable fishery alone.

▪ UNION VALLEY RESERVOIR – The lake is at 58-percent capacity. The Georgetown Ranger Station said the gate was reopened this past Friday.

▪ WEST WALKER RIVER – The Walker General Store reported fishing was slow due to the low flows in the river. Remember that the West Walker River is now a year-round fishery and after Nov.15 it reverts to catch-and-release only with barbless, artificial lures.


▪ AMADOR LAKE – A few bass are still to be had, but the main draw for anglers has been the trout. The trout are hanging in the top couple of feet of water and are biting well for anglers soaking dough baits and nightcrawlers. Kastmasters and Rapalas are also working well.

▪ CAMANCHE LAKE – Anglers have been focusing on trout and catfish. Most of the trout anglers are trolling by the dam with flasher/crawler combinations. Catfish anglers are focusing on the shallower water by the recreation area with nightcrawlers and chicken livers. The lake is slated for it first trout plant of the season within the next few weeks.

▪ LAKE McCLURE – Very few anglers have been heading out due to the low water and lack of boat access. Small boats can be launched by hand and anglers are free to walk the shoreline.

▪ LAKE McSWAIN – Shore anglers continue to score well by the marina and the handicap dock. Dough baits, nightcrawlers, and Kastmasters are doing the best. Trollers are fishing between the dam and the floating restrooms with flashers and Wedding Rings.

▪ NEW MELONES RESERVOIR – Bass are biting well for anglers willing to look for the shad schools. Topwater has been working early and late. Jigs, drop-shot rigs, and crankbaits are better during the day. Catfish are also biting well for anglers soaking frozen shad, anchovies, and mackerel.

▪ LAKE PARDEE – Closed for the winter. It will be reopening in February.


▪ AMERICAN RIVER – Some areas of access were still closed this past week. Call the Foresthill Ranger Station at 530-367-2224 or the Georgetown Ranger Station at 530-333-4312 for the latest road openings because they are changing daily as cleanup work is completed after the King Fire.

▪ BULLARDS BAR – The lake is at 40-percent capacity. Launching was still available at the Dark Day ramp. Bass fishermen were seeing better numbers and size with the drop in water temp. Try jigs, worms, and Senkos on the steeper walls and points.

▪ CAMP FAR WEST – Kathy DeRossett at North Shore Resort reported Ron Franks of Folsom fished the main body and Bear River this past week and caught 12 bass to 2 1/2 pounds using green pumpkin lizards and bluegill worms at 10 to 20 feet deep on points. The water temp was 61 to 64 degrees. Launching is 4X4 only off the bank near the boat ramp.

▪ COLLINS LAKE The lake is 56 feet from full. Trout fishing was good with more limits beginning to show up for trollers and shore anglers. Rick Grimmett of Citrus Heights caught a limit of rainbows trolling Rapalas topped by a 6 pounder. The resort will stock another 1800 pounds of trout this week. Catfish action was good for a couple of lucky fishermen. Luis Garcia of Yuba City landed an 8 1/2 pounder on nightcrawlers at the dam and Linda LaRue caught an 11-pound cat on worms drifting near the island.

▪ ENGLEBRIGHT RESERVOIR – The lake is at 95-percent capacity. Skippers Cove Marina reported trollers were picking up planter rainbows in the marina around the houseboats on flasher/worms.

▪ FRENCH MEADOWS RESERVOIR – The lake is at 30-percent capacity. The road to the lake was open but the campgrounds were closed and boat ramps were out of the water.

▪ HELL HOLE RESERVOIR – The lake is at 27-percent capacity. The Georgetown Ranger Station reported the road to the lake was still closed for King Fire cleanup.

▪ LAKE OROVILLE – The lake is at 27-percent capacity—down 5 more feet this past week to 244 feet from full. Guide Ron Gandolfi reported bass fishing was still very good, with trips producing 60 to 80 fish per day in less than perfect weather. Bass were hitting tubes, worms, finesse jigs, spinnerbaits, and topwater lures on steeper rocky banks from the dam north into the North Fork and West Branch from right up on the bank to 30 feet deep. With stable weather, the bite should get even better.

▪ ROLLINS LAKE – The lake is at 76-percent capacity. Ryan Drake at NID reported bass fishing was good for anglers using drop-shot Roboworms on rocky points, steep banks, and the dam for fish to 4 pounds. Trout fishing was slow.

▪ SCOTT’S FLAT LAKE – The lake is at 49-percent capacity. Jim Caldwell at NID reported smallmouth bass were still active but fishing pressure was very light. Small boats and bass boats can still launch at the marina ramp. Trout fishing was slow.

▪ SUGAR PINE RESERVOIR – Not much happening here with the campgrounds closed and the fishing so slow.

▪ STUMPY MEADOWS RESERVOIR – The Georgetown Ranger Station reported the lake was low, the campgrounds had been burned over by the King Fire, and fishing pressure was very low.

▪ THERMOLITO AFTERBAY – The lake was at 135.4 feet elevation at press time—91-percent capacity. Bruce Gibson at the Paradise Tackle Company reported steelhead fishing was good at Wilbur Road for 18- to 24-inch fish using nightcrawlers from shore, or drifting a nightcrawler along the bottom or drifting a set of small flashers and a nightcrawler with the current from the buoys down toward the lake. Bass fishing in bays on the main lake was being compromised by the presence of duck hunters.

– Western Outdoor News