Fishing Line

Salmon fishing busts open in Sacramento River

Here are the best places to fish in the Sacramento region, Northern California and beyond for the week of Sept. 28, 2015.


▪ CARSON RIVER (East, West)

Alpine County has decided to suspend further trout plants due to low water flows in both the East and West Carson. Todd Sodaro at Todd’s Bait and Tackle at the Creekside Lodge reported anglers were still catching limits of 9- to 12-inch rainbows on worms and salmon eggs in an hour or so in the faster running water on the East Carson.

▪ DELTA REGION: Sacramento River

Salmon continue to move into the Delta, but they are moving quickly upriver in search of cooler water. An average of 5 to 7 fish are taken by spooning on a daily basis below the Freeport Bridge, and there have been up to 22 salmon landed at the Dillon Point State Park in lower Suisun Bay. Striped bass trolling was at the mercy of wind and huge tides over the past week, but smaller tides should jump start the fall run once again. Smallmouth bass are still in the upper river along the rocky structure, and live large minnows, small crawdads, or drop-shot plastics are effective. Catfishing is slowing down in the Sacramento Deep Water Channel. Sturgeon fishermen are coming out of the woodwork, and diamondbacks are starting to be tagged in Suisun Bay.

▪ DELTA REGION: San Joaquin River

Striped bass are thick throughout the river from the Antioch Bridge upriver towards Mossdale, and the number of shakers is remarkable. Larger linesides are possible, but they are the exception and not the rule. Bait fishing with frozen or fresh shad and live mudsuckers are producing numerous undersized fish, and guides have switched to jigging spoons to avoid running up the bait bill. Largemouth bass numbers are impressive with a variety of techniques, but the larger fish have been scarce. Bluegill are abundant throughout the south Delta on wax or jumbo red worms. Fresh and frozen shad is now available in bait shops.

▪ SACRAMENTO RIVER, Red Bluff to Colusa

Corning was the hot spot much of last week for salmon before the action moved closer to Red Bluff. Anglers are drifting roe with good success, many reporting limits. Steelhead are showing up in the catch as well.

▪ SACRAMENTO RIVER, Redding to Red Bluff

Salmon fishing busted wide open last week, with many boaters finding limits. Plugs are working best at first light, while roe, either back-bounced or drifted, is working after the sun comes up. Big numbers of kings are now in the river. Trout fishing remains excellent near Redding.


Stripers are being caught in the deepwater channel at the Port of Sacramento and there's been quite a few salmon caught out of Freeport. Reports of big schools of salmon in the delta have anglers expecting fresh fish in the lower river this week.


▪ CHETCO RIVER, Brookings, Oregon

Anglers trolling the lower river and estuary are already doing well on king salmon that are staging to run up the river with the first rains, and that spells good news for the river proper opener. WON Staff Writer and guide Andy Martin said he begins in tidewater at first light with bobber and roe, then trolls the estuary when it’s light.

▪ COOS BAY, Coos Bay, Oregon

Fishing on the river for salmon slowed a little compared to the prior week, according to Curtis Palmer of River Secrets Tackle Company. “Chinooks and coho had been being caught during short lived frenzies mid-week that only lasted 20 to 40 minutes. Then, there were slow periods of few salmon being caught. The start of the weekend was absolutely terrible fishing. There were very few fish caught on Saturday and the reports from the South Fork of the Coos were slightly better than near Marshfield Channel. I blame the terrible fishing on the full moon and the lunar eclipse.”

▪ COQUILLE RIVER, Bandon, Oregon

The fishing last week for kings and silver salmon was once again slow. Near hide tide has been the best opportunity to catch a fish. “I am stumped as to why this river has been so slow for producing the quality fish that it is known for,” said WON Field Reporter Curtis Palmer of River Secrets Tackle Compnay. “As my favorite river to fish in the fall, I still grasp at the hope that the season will turn around.”

▪ ROGUE RIVER, Grant’s Pass, Oregon

Salmon fishing is still fairly strong in various areas. Best action is on bait, Clancys, SSTs or Kwikfish with sardine wraps below Indian Mary, said Troy Whitaker at U-Save Tackle in Grants Pass. “In our area, the bite is good from Gold Hill down to Pierce Ferry,” Whitaker said. “Baker Park to the mouth of the Applegate River is also a good area, and also Robertson Bridge and Finley Bend with the best action on Kwikfish with sardine or back-bouncing roe. We’re also getting ready to switch over to steelhead fishing, using Glo-Bugs or with small orange roe, or even pink or dark red roe. Boaters are advised not go below Pierce Ferry as the water level is low and a few boats have been grounded there. The mouth of the Rogue starting to show cohos, which could also move up here soon.”


Bass fishing continues to be excellent in the river, with the fish fattening up for the change of seasons, according to Scott Heemstra of King’s Sport and Tackle in Guerneville. Due to low flow numbers on the Russian River, the new “Special” low flow restrictions go into effect on Oct. 1 on all rivers in Sonoma, Marin and Napa counties, including the Russian. The phone numbers to call for updated information on what rivers are open or closed are (707) 822-3164 for Mendocino County and (707) 944-5533 for Sonoma, Marin, and Napa counties.

▪ UMPQUA RIVER, Reedsport, Oregon

My reports for the Umpqua River during the business week were few and far between,” said tackle manufacturer Curtis Palmer of River Secrets. “There were still some very nice daily catches of salmon being posted by a couple friends. The Umpqua left most anglers stunned after a day of nearly no salmon being during midweek. Saturday’s fishing near Reedsport was red hot for Chinooks and some coho. One report mentioned they had two salmon come unhooked and a third takedown had produced a really nice Chinook, which all occured during their first pass at the start of the day. Several text messages and phone calls late Saturday shared that anywhere between 4 and 8 salmon were being caught per group of anglers.”



More than 1,400 king salmon have now been counted at the Iron Gate Hatchery fish ladder. Anglers reported their first catches of salmon last week. Some used plugs, while others are back-bouncing roe. Fish are spread from the mouth of the Shasta River all the way to the dam. Flows on Sunday ay Iron Gate were 1,020 cfs.


Anglers are now catching limits of salmon at Orleans and at the mouth of the Trinity. Salmon and wild steelhead are present throughout the river. Flows at Seiad Valley were 1,250 cfs on Sunday.

▪ KLAMATH RIVER, Klamath Glen

The mouth of the Klamath sanded in last week, bringing fishing to a near standstill. Fishing was poor on Sunday because few fresh salmon are able to enter the river. Salmon that moved in earlier have already shot upriver. Flows at Terwer were 2,140 cfs on Sunday.


Salmon fishing is in peak season form throughout the Trinity. Many anglers reported limits last week. MagLip plugs are working well at first light, while roe and tuna balls also are catching fish. Good numbers of steelhead also are present. Flows at Lewiston were 467 cfs on Sunday. They were 630 cfs at Hoopa.



The launch ramp in Lucerne has closed due to low water. The ramps at Clearlake Oaks, Redbud, Clear Lake State Park, Lakeside County Park and in downtown Lakeport all remain open and in good shape. Overall good fishing if you don't mind wading through a bunch of 8- to11-inch fish. Fish are being caught on just about everything and at all depths. Look for fishing pressure to ramp up as the major fall rush of tournaments get under way with fish-offs and a rescheduled FLW event through October.


Until the lake turns over, look to use downriggers to get to the trout. The good news here is whatever technique you like for bass fishing you can probably use to find some good bass action.


Early morning topwater bites are fewer and far between, but the ones that bite are better quality bass. The few anglers targeting channel catfish have had the best success with cut mackerel fished in the creek channels in 20 to 30 feet of water. Steelhead are tougher to locate. Trout trollers have been struggling to find anything consistent with reports of 1 to 4 hookups a day. Trollers working the 35- to 50-foot range with shad patterned flies, hardware and even a nightcrawler behind a small dodger are working. The public ramp is still accessible.



Lake Almanor’s waters are warmer down deeper this year due to PG&E taking cold water off the bottom releases at Canyon Dam, something the locals have been fighting for years to stop, because it will transform this great trout fishing lake. This in turn has slowed the trout bite some. There have been tons of bass boats on the lake.


Check DFW’s website for trout plant dates by the boat ramp. The Fly Shop said fishing continues to be good here although very few are fishing it.


The lake is low so trim your motor when heading out. Limits were had by all but the earlier you get out the quicker you’ll get your limits. Anglers are being treated to some big trout and the good news is that it is happening sooner than last year.


The river is in good shape and some bigger fish are moving up. Small olive birds nest in No. 14 and 16 work well. Rising fish are taking cripple mayfly patterns and callibaetis. Trout are 17 and 18 inches now with a few larger.


It’s been a little tougher in the creek as water is a little low. A few more weeks and it’ll get better when rains hit.


You can fish from a float tube, pontoon boat or even a drift boat or raft but no motors. Check the regulations for where you can fish and what you can use on this catch and release only lake. No new reports here as no one seems to be fishing it right now.


Is still fishing well even with a little color to it. Try rubber legs up high, and October caddis will be here soon. Move around to find fish. Trout are typically 12 to 14 inches but you can also get into 20-inch big browns.


Drained by PG& E and all the fish have been killed.


The Fly Shop said it’s fishing really well with trout in the 16- to 18-inch range. Cinnamon pupae, birds’ nests and small pheasant tails have been getting the job done here.


Still tough but you can still catch fish. McCloud River was windy with winds coming from the north down the canyon. A few spotted bass were caught at 20 feet on rolled shad intended for trout that never really showed up. In a few weeks the transition from summer to fall will be complete and the bite will be on.


The kokanee are staging for the spawn up in Whiskey Creek, one of three spawning creeks on the lake and the fish have been up shallow. A nickel Crystal Basin Tackle Wild Thing dodger rigged with a Yakima Spin-N-Glo tipped with corn soaked in Smelly Jelly Ultra Tuna down 40 feet deep in 50 feet of water did the trick.



Warmer water has slowed king salmon fishing. Water temperatures were up to 75 degrees last week. Some steelhead are being caught.


Salmon fishing is fair to good. FlatFish plugs are working best for boaters, while bank anglers have been jigging the deeper holes. The Yuba City boat launch has re-opened.


All boat launches are now closed because of low water. Bank fishing for bass is fair.


Bass and trout fishing is slow.


Trout fishing remains good near Dunsmuir, as pressure has eased for the summer.

▪ SACRAMENTO RIVER, Knight’s Landing to Colusa

Salmon fishing was slow again last week, although some fish are being caught on spinners trolled downstream, as well as plugs fished at anchor. The salmon are quickly moving through the lower river. Fishing for catfish remains good.


Stripers are being caught in the deepwater channel at the Port of Sacramento. Salmon are quickly moving through the lower river into the section above Colusa.



The lake is at 13.5-percent capacity. Hike down to the outlet and fish in the channel with worms and spoons.


The lake is at 65-percent capacity. The EID public ramp was still open and could be until November. Caples Lake Resort closed their ramp. The Resort will close most of the lodging and cabins on Oct. 20, leaving 2 cabins available into November. Not much word on the fishing, though it should be improving with the colder weather.


The lake is at 46-percent capacity. With cooler water temps, the fishing was much improved here for all anglers. Flyfishermen were doing well on the west side from float tubes. Shore anglers were catching limits of 16- to 18-inch rainbows at Mallard Point on floating dough bait. Trollers in 12-foot aluminum boats were picking up limits running copper/redhead Wee and Number 1 Dick Nite spoons and red-dot frog Needlefish between Honker Cove and the island at 5 to 10 feet deep. The USFS was notifying shore fishermen that they could not park near the edge of the lake, but had to park up on the gravel and walk to the water’s edge. Launching at Honker Cove was restricted to small aluminum boats only with only 20 inches of water on the end of the ramp and a big boulder off the end that would block a larger boat.


The lake is at 44-percent capacity. Mountain Hardware and Sports reported a good kokanee bite at China Cove on the hump at 60 feet deep and 70 to 75 feet deep at Loch Leven using orange or peach hoochies and UV pink dodgers. The “current year” kokes were running 13 to 14 inches and were beginning to turn, while the “next year” kokes were 10 to 12 inches and bright. Some trollers were picking up kokes along the north shore at 30 to 35 feet. Boats longer than 20 feet long will have a tough time launching—trailers can drop off the end of the concrete.


Mike Hanson at Caribou Crossroads Resort reported fishing was slow in the North Fork, but experienced anglers were picking up limits of rainbows to 2 1/2 pounds at the Caribou Powerhouse on crappie jigs and worms on a bobber in the generator wash.


Wiggins Trading Post report a couple of Reno anglers caught limits of 17- to 19-inch rainbows at the dam using floating dough bait. Another Reno angler fished nightcrawlers at the dam and caught a 3 3/4-pound rainbow.


Mark Tieslau at Mountain Hardware and Sports in Blairsden reported trollers were still picking up limits of planter rainbows using flasher/worms at 10 to 15 feet deep at Gold Lake. Larger macks and browns had lockjaw near the bottom in 50 feet of water. Fishing was slow at Salmon Lake and Sardine Lake, but still productive for 10-inch planters at Packer Lake.


The lake is at 71-percent capacity. Dale Daneman reported rainbows to 16 inches were hitting Sep’s brown grubs from 7 to 27 feet deep. He metered 1000’s of fish, but the bite was relatively slow. The fall feeding frenzy should be fantastic when the water temp drops into the 50’s from the current 63 degrees.


Todd Sodaro at Todd’s Bait and Tackle at the Creekside Lodge reported fishing was slow except for those with a small boat or float tube fishing in the deep water in front of the dam. The lake will be stocked by Alpine County in mid-November.


The lake is at 50.5-percent capacity. Trollers should still be able to pick up limits of rainbows trolling a dodger/threaded nightcrawler in the middle of the lake at 40 to 50 feet deep. The fish should only get shallower as the water temp drops.


The lake is at 68-percent capacity. Denise Cole at Sly Park Resort reported shore anglers were picking up rainbows near the Narrows on Kastmaster spoons.


Chuck Self at Chuck’s Charter Fishing reported steady action for 3- to 7 1/2-pound macks trolling 160 to 220 feet deep from Crystal Bay Point to Tahoe City. Zach Gordon at Tahoe Sportfishing said kokanee action was wide-open from the Tahoe Keys to Camp Richardson using flasher/Wedding Rings at 60 to 80 feet deep. 2- to 5-pound macks were still hitting flasher/minnows at 140 to 180 feet deep at Rubicon.


The lake is at 47-percent capacity. Boating was tough here due to the numerous shallow hazards. Shore fishing was slow by the last report.


The lake is at 24.8-percent capacity. The best bet here was trying for smallmouth bass at the dam and north shore near the dam using tubes, darthead worms, and small jigs. Flyfishermen were using a woolly bugger or minnow imitation for the bass.


The season opens on Thursday, Oct. 1. Fishing should be fantastic, according to Joe Mendes at Eagle Eye Charters and George Molino at Cutthroat Charters.


Reports were few and far between, but try the dam area now that the water temps were dropping.


The lake is at 45.4-percent capacity. Dale Daneman reported a fishing club outing here found slow trout action.


The lake is at 13-percent capacity. The lake is so low that few boats were capable of launching and fishing pressure was non-existent.


The lake trout season closes on Wednesday, Sept. 30 and doesn’t reopen until Jan. 1. The DFW scheduled a trout plant this week—fish that will have a chance to grow until Jan. 1.


Flows in the Little Truckee were cut coming out of Stampede Reservoir, so fishing was no longer recommended. With no flows coming out of the Boca Outlet, flows in the main Truckee at Farad were down to 90 cfs—much too low for anyone to fish this precious resource, so leave it alone.


The lake is at 57-percent capacity. Fishing was slow. Boaters were picking up a few rainbows, a kokanee or two, but few if any macks. Cooler water temps should improve the bite this fall.


The Little Walker River and West Walker at Pickel Meadows and the Canyon were scheduled for DFW trout plants this week. Sam Foster at the Toiyabe Motel reported anglers were finding plenty of 13- to 14-inch rainbows in deeper running water—the deeper pools were slow. Salmon eggs, worms, and spinners were all working. The Toiyabe Motel will close on October 15 for the season.



Rockfish and lingcod were common targets for California Dawn, Happy Hooker and other boats making the run outside the Gate and turning upcoast to the Marin Coast or running out to the Farralon Islands. Salmon in the mid 20s were caught off Double Point and Duxbury aboard Flying Fish and El Dorado. Overall the scores were near a salmon per angler.


Big white seabass showed for private boaters working the Point Reyes area and for passengers aboard New Sea Angler fishing Ten Mile Beach, where halibut were also hungry and willing to bite baits. Rockpiles in the same general vicinity had swarms of hungry rockfish and limits were the rule. Bill Nakaki and 2 friends ran to Point Reyes to catch 6 white seabass to 54 pounds, plus 9 halibut to 25 pounds.


With the salmon bite up and down, so were the counts, with lows of 4 fish for 13 people to over a fish per rod. More and more salmon are showing outside the gate and beginning to show inside the Gate, so the counts should stabilize. Lingcod and rockfish bit exceptionally well both at the islands where Sea Wolf and New Huck Finn fished and along the Marin Coast where New Seeker, Tiger Fish and C Gull II fished.


Trips for albacore did not turn up any longfins, however blufin were seen (but not caught). Cape Mendocino gave up all the rockfish and lingcod a person could need to fill limits. Jetty fishing was good on both the North and South jetties. Surf fisherfolk pulled in red tail perch using sand crabs.


Lingcod counts spiked for Telstar passengers fishing Cleone Reef and they hauled in plenty of quality rockfish along with them. Shore fishers also accounted for a few lingcod plus kelp greenling and rockfish at the dynamite shack and also at MacKerricher. There was a pick at the salmon for private boaters and kayakers near the Harbor.


A 53-pound white seabass aboard Queen of Hearts topped the local charts for the week. Halibut to 22 pounds were caught aboard Huli Cat. Salmon fishers filled the harbor because so did the salmon, with fish to 20 pounds being caught. Rockfish and lingcod were powerfully hungry from Ritz Carleton on down to Pescador.


Wacky Jacky had a crew trip that tallied nearly full limits of salmon, including a whopper list entry for Capt. Jacky Douglas. Lovely Martha also ran salmon trips and made the whopper list. Bass Tub had a salmon day outside and a half-day trip that saw 4 halibut and a salmon from inside the Bay. Flash I and Flash II ran shark trips to the South Bay targeting sevengill and leopard sharks.



Largemouth bass to 8 pounds have been the story during the past week along with a few quality catfish. Overall, the interest in fishing is slow, but the lake will once again become extremely busy with the arrival of trophy trout expected in mid-October depending upon the water temperature. The lake’s concessionaires will once again be purchasing their rainbows from the Mount Lassen Hatchery with the drought continuing to affect their local hatchery on site. Fishing fees have been dropped to $5 for the summer, but the use fee remains at $10 with a launch fee at $5.


Largemouth bass dominate action for the few fishermen heading to the lake. The occasional quality catfish is taken from the shoreline with chicken livers, nightcrawlers, or frozen shad. The lake’s level has risen with releases from upstream Lake Pardee. The South Shore Ramp 2 is open along with both ramps at the North Shore. Trout plants will resume within the month of November depending upon the water temperature, and the Mount Lassen Hatchery will be providing the quality rainbows.


Trout fishing remains very slow with the fish reluctant to bite. Bass fishing is best with drop-shot plastics in shad patterns at depths from 40 to 60 feet. The boat launch has a slight curve, but once you get around the curve, launching two boats at the same time is possible. The lake held at 32% of capacity.


Bass fishing continued to be very good for anglers willing to launch at the Barrett’s North Shore ramp and make the long walk back to the parking lot. Plastics on the drop-shot or darthead as well as Senkos are working for spotted bass to 2 pounds. The minnow bite has been slow. Trout are taken with dough bait or nightcrawlers on a sliding sinker rig with a 4- to 5-foot leader. The Merced River is now closed to fishing until January 1 between the Crocker-Huffman Bridge to G Street in Snelling due to warm water conditions.


The annual Merced Irrigation Derby Fall Trout Derby has been postponed until April 9/10. The Turlock RC Float Fly Club took over the lake over the past weekend during their annual flying show. The campgrounds were filled during the event. With no trout plants for the past several months, action remained very slow. The McSwain Marina is now closed on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays.


Catfish remain the top species in the lake with the whiskerfish cruising the shallows in search of the abundant schools of small shad. Sardines, anchovies, or frozen shad are the top baits for catfish, as Melones catfish tend to focus on fish. The bass are suspending in open water, and a few quality largemouth bass have been caught and released by trollers. Few, if any, trout trollers are working the lake, but trout action should heat up once the water cools. The launch ramp is limited to the dirt ramp at Glory Hole Point, and a 4WD tow vehicle in essential.


The lake has dropped to the point where the courtesy dock is now unavailable. Few fishermen are willing to launch their boats given the conditions to chase the abundant supply of small striped bass.


The lake has closed due to a major reconstruction of the RV Park over the remainder of the summer, and it will reopen in February 2016 with heavy trout plants anticipated for the opener.


Night fishing for bass is the only game in the afterbay for New Melones with heavy recreational boating during the daylight hours. The drawdown of the lake has begun with the lake currently at 82%, dropping from 96% two weeks back.



The river flows were very low in the North Fork. The Middle Fork flows were better due to releases from French Meadows and Oxbow Lake. Fishermen hiking down to the North Fork at Italian Bar should find plenty of rainbows in the deeper pools.


The lake is at 41-percent capacity. A recent bass tournament only posted 2 limits and the winning weight for 5-fish was 5 pounds, so little fish only and even those were far and few between. Boaters can still launch at Dark Day.


North Shore Resort reported bass fishing was improving with cooler weather. Ron Franks of Folsom caught 31 bass and over half were keepers that included some largemouths. Franks fished 10 to 15 feet deep on the main body and in Rock Creek with green pumpkin and morning dawn lizards. Another angler did well cranking bone white Bomber Model A’s on main body points.


The lake is 55 feet from full. Catfish to 3 3/4 pounds were still hitting shrimp and worms off the rental docks at night. Some bass and crappie were hitting worms at the dam. Trout fishing was non-existent. Collins Lake Resort will begin the fall stocking program in mid-October and make 3 plants up to Thanksgiving week.


The lake is at 97-percent capacity. Skippers Cove reported seeing kokanee or brown trout moving up the North Yuba at Missouri Bar—they’re going to check to confirm the possibility of spawning kokes. Trollers were picking up some nice kokanee to 16 inches on dodger/hoochies earlier this season so it’s not unreasonable that there could be a good population of fish here that have washed down from Bullards Bar.


The lake is at 30.2-percent capacity. The campgrounds will close for the season on October 12. With the lake so low, fishing pressure has been the same—low.


The lake is at 24-percent capacity. The campgrounds close on October 12. The Georgetown Ranger Station reported no fishing pressure with the extremely low water level.


The lake is at 30-percent capacity. Guide Ron Gandolfi reported the bass fishing was still very good with fish counts climbing as the water temp drops. Gandolfi said fish were moving up the river arms into inflowing water. The main body was loaded with fish on the steeper points and walls at 5 to 20 feet deep. Tubes, drop-shot and darthead worms were working well for 50 to 60 fish on half-day trips and 75 to 80 fish on full day trips. There was a decent reaction bite on mudlines, if you could find one, using lipless crankbaits, ripbaits, and spinnerbaits. Trollers were still picking up salmon.


The lake is at 86.5-percent capacity. Clyde Crow at NID reported a good early morning topwater bite for smaller spotted bass. Later in the day, drop-shot worms and Senkos were working well around abandoned docks.


The lake is at 39-percent capacity. Clyde Crow at NID reported a great crankbait bite for spots to 3 1/2 pounds and smallmouths to 2 pounds. The fish were found on points and isolated large rocks. A Bandit 300 in chrome or baby bass worked well.


The campgrounds close on October 12. With the low lake level, fishing was slow.


The lake is at 42-percent capacity. The campgrounds close on October 12. Fishing was very slow.


The lake was at 135.4-foot elevation at press time—91.8-percent capacity. Bruce Gibson at the Paradise Tackle Company reported decent fishing for bass to 4 pounds using lipless crankbaits and Senkos around the tules and weedbeds in 6 to 10 feet of water on the south end of the lake.

– Western Outdoor News