Fishing Line

Fishing Line: Pyramid Lake has exceptional opener for cutthroats

Cutthroats such as this one caught in 2013 are being taken from Pyramid Lake in large numbers and impressive sizes.
Cutthroats such as this one caught in 2013 are being taken from Pyramid Lake in large numbers and impressive sizes.

Here are the best places to fish in the Sacramento region, Northern California and beyond for the week of Oct. 5, 2015.


▪ DELTA REGION: Sacramento River

Salmon fishing has been very good some days near Freeport in the upper Delta and along the Dillon Point State Park in Suisun Bay, depending on the location and timing of the schools. Jigging spoons near Freeport or casting heavy spinners from the shoreline in Suisun Bay are producing. A smaller grade of stripers has moved into the Delta along with a heavy influx of brackish water in response to the lack of fresh water flow from the Sacramento River and heavy pumping out of the Delta. Salmon fishing in the Old Sacramento has taken off, but so have the marauding sea lions. Sturgeon fishermen are advised to target deep water, and local shops are starting to stock shrimp baits.

▪ DELTA REGION: San Joaquin River

Bass fishermen invaded the San Joaquin River with a major event held out of Russo’s Marina over the past weekend. Largemouth bass are responding to a variety of techniques including topwater with the recent overcast conditions. The larger striped bass are holding in the west Delta around Antioch, but there are thousands and thousands of undersized stripers in the San Joaquin. Hyacinth and hydrilla are accumulating in the east Delta, making for tough conditions from the banks. Fresh shad is increasingly available in area bait shops, and it is getting larger and larger.


Salmon fishing improved last week at Shanghai Bend and Star Bend. A 30-pound striper was caught last week at Shanghai Bend. The Yuba City boat launch has re-opened.


Despite wind and rain, the opener was incredible, according to Valarie Taylor at Crosby’s Lodge where she weighed in 60 fish over 10 pounds topped by two 20 pounders by Sunday. An Oroville group reported they caught 65 to 70 cutthroats to 10 1/2 pounds on opening day trolling bleeding frog spoons from Crosby’s to the Nets. On Thursday, on a half-day trip, the group landed 40 fish to 7 pounds in the same area. George Molino at Cutthroat Charters fished one day and his 3 clients caught 16 fish to 10 pounds trolling Apex at Warrior Point at 40 to 60 feet deep. Joe Mendes at Eagle Eye Charters reported excellent action jigging P-Line Laser Minnows in Anderson Bay for 52 and 48 fish on Friday and Saturday trips. IMPORTANT--Check the Crosby’s Lodge website for the new fee and regulation changes at Pyramid—

▪ SACRAMENTO RIVER, Knight’s Landing to Colusa

The best week of salmon fishing so far this year was reported last week. Boaters are anchoring and running plugs near Verona. Trollers are finding salmon on spinners near Discovery Park. Jigging has been good at Freeport.

▪ SACRAMENTO RIVER, Red Bluff to Colusa

Fishing has been good near Woodson Bridge, where new kings arrived last week.

▪ SACRAMENTO RIVER, Redding to Red Bluff

Fishing was slow early in the week at the Barge Hole before a large school of fish arrived just before the weekend. Guides are now reporting fish over 40 pounds. The peak season is expected to last at least another week. Trout fishing has been very good.



Salmon are stacking up outside the mouth of the Chetco River, in the ocean and the estuary up to tidewater, and now that the ocean has re-opened, anglers are taking advantage of fishing both. WON Staff Writer and guide Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing has been putting his clients onto fish every day, including a 29 pounder caught Oct. 1 by Kim Parara of Shady Cove, Ore.

▪ COOS BAY, South Fork, Coos Bay, Oregon

Fishing over the last week on this river was pretty darn good. At times, anglers were catching close to as many salmon as some of the better known areas on the Coos River like the Marshfield Channel. The traffic on the South Fork Coos has been extremely busy. Some anglers complained that there was so much boat traffic it was impossible to find a safe place to anchor and fish bobber and bait in the deeper holes.

▪ MILLACOMA RIVER, Coos Bay, Oregon

Fishing on this almost single lane river that winds and turns it's way through the base of the coastal hills, was exceptional last weekend,” said Curtis Palmer of River Secrets Tackle Company. “As the northern fork of the upstream side of the Coos River, it will receive a generous portion of the salmon returning to spawn. One of my friends sent me a report saying that he and a co-worker had caught 16 king salmon out of the 19 they had hooked. They managed these numbers first, due to the number of fish in the river. Secondly, the technique of silently fishing bobbers and good roe.”

▪ ROGUE RIVER, Gold Beach, Oregon

There were many great days last week for those who fished the mouth of the Rogue River,” reported WON Field Reporter Curtis Palmer. “The silvers are flooding into the bay and have not been shy about taking an anchovy or a spinner when it is trolled near them. There are still fresh Chinook's entering the Rogue River as well. I have been receiving some reports of really nice-sized salmon weighing 24 pounds on up to king's weighing in the high 30's.

▪ UMPQUA RIVER, Reedsport, Oregon

There have been salmon caught in the river near Roseburg, Oregon. These king salmon have had a long journey and usually have scars and scratches. “With the recent tragedy in my hometown of Roseburg, it has left me, my friends, family and community recovering from the emotional trauma instead of fishing,” said Curtis Palmer of River Secrets Tackle Company and WON Field Reporter.



Salmon are stacking up between Interstate 5 and Iron Gate Hatchery. Windy weather stalled action over the weekend, but anglers expect fishing to improve this week as the weather calms down and more fish arrive. Flows on Sunday ay Iron Gate were 1,030 cfs.


Salmon fishing is good near Orleans and fair to good at Happy Camp. Side-drifting roe with Puff Balls is working best. Fresh steelhead also are arriving. Flows at Seiad Valley were 1,230 cfs on Sunday.

▪ KLAMATH RIVER, Klamath Glen

New salmon surged into the river on Thursday as the mouth blew open. Fishing slowed again over the weekend as the sand spit once again blocked the mouth. Fishing has been best upstream at Johnson’s Riffle. Flows at Terwer were 2,120 cfs on Sunday.


The river has been crowded with bank anglers and boaters, who are catching a mix of bright and dark salmon. King fishing has been good. Plugs, roe and tuna balls all are working. New steelhead are arriving daily. Flows at Lewiston were 467 cfs on Sunday. They were 630 cfs at Hoopa.



The launch ramp at 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. Look for fishing pressure to ramp up as the major fall tournaments get underway. A huge amount of smaller 6- to 12-inch fish are being caught with only a few keeper sized fish. Jigs, swimbaits, crankbaits, spinnerbaits and chatterbaits will get you bigger fish.


Until the lake turns over, look to use downriggers to get to the trout. Covering water with search baits like an LV500 or square bill crankbaits in shad patterns will produce numbers of both largemouth and smallmouth bass.


The public ramp is still accessible. Water temperatures are starting to fall and trout trollers are working the east shoreline from the dam up to the no ski buoys in 20 to 40 feet of water for landlocked steelhead.



Most boats are working the east basin from Canyon Dam along the east shore up to the Hamilton Branch and into Big Springs where there are lots of bait fish.


The Fly Shop said fishing continues to be good here, although very few are fishing it. There should be plenty of fish here since DFW plants trout here.


The lake is low, so trim your motor when heading out. The earlier you get out the quicker you’ll get your limits. Anglers are being treated to some big trout, and the largest todate was a 4.4 pounder caught on a Sure Catch Brown Trout lure.


The river is in good shape and larger fish are moving up. Trout are 17 and 18 inches now with a few larger. Rising fish are taking cripple mayfly patterns and callibaetis.


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


You can fish from a float tube, pontoon boat or even a driftboat 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. Fish here and you’ll have the lake to yourself.


Move around to find fish. The fishing has been good here. Trout are typically 12 to 14 inches but you can also get into 20-inch big browns.


No new reports here as no one seems to be fishing it right now. Fish here and you’ll have the whole reservoir to yourself.


Catch trout in the 16- to 18-inch range with cinnamon poopers, birds’ nests and small pheasant tails.


Early and late, use your favorite topwater baits for bass up to 6 pounds, though most are around 2 pounds and spotted bass mostly. Worms, Senkos and shad patterned spoons have been working well. An orange Speedy Shiner and a watermelon Apex produced the only 2 trout reported.



Salmon fishing has been very slow. A few steelhead are holding in the riffles.


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.


Stripers are being caught in the deepwater channel at the Port of Sacramento.



The lake is at 13.7-percent capacity. Hike down to the inlet below any current and fish in the channel with worms and spoons. If you’re in current from the Little Truckee River, river regulations apply—artificial barbless lures only.


The lake is at 64.6-percent capacity. Caples Lake Resort will remain open into November. John Voss reported the lake was cooling and fishing was improving. George Osborne of Apple Hill caught a limit of rainbows to 3 pounds trolling a flasher/worm combo in the middle of the lake at 15 feet deep.

▪ CARSON RIVER (East, West)

Todd Sodaro at Todd’s Bait and Tackle at the Creekside Lodge reported fishing on the East Carson was still very good. Anglers were catching easy limits of 9- to 12-inch DFW planters and some big Alpine County holdovers to over 7 pounds made it to the scale at the Markleeville General Store. Heenan Lake cutthroat fishing was spectacular, with one angler reporting he caught 60 fish to 34 inches on Panther Martins this past week.


The lake is at 45-percent capacity. Ed Dillard at Dillard’s Guided Fishing reported trout fishing had improved dramatically for trollers and shore anglers. Trollers in boats to 16 feet (they cleared the boulder out of the way at the ramp) were catching limits of rainbows to 24 inches on red-dot frog and yellow watermelon Needlefish at 2 1/2 colors. Shore anglers were doing well on floating dough bait at Mallard Point and on Kastmaster spoons on the east end of the dam. Flyfishermen were picking up a few fish at Jenkins.


The lake is at 41-percent capacity. Mountain Hardware and Sports reported a fair 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 well into turning, 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. With the lake level steadily dropping, boats longer than 16 feet long will now 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 under a bobber in the generator wash.


The lake is at 22-percent capacity. Wiggins Trading Post reported a couple of Reno regulars were still catching limits of 17- to 19-inch rainbows at the dam using floating dough bait and nightcrawlers.


Mark Tieslau at Mountain Hardware and Sports in Blairsden reported a shore angler landed a 29-inch brown trout near the boat ramp using a nightcrawler. Another lucky shore angler picked up a big Mackinaw on a spoon fishing near the Gold Lake Beach Resort according to resort owner Jimmy Reid. With the colder weather, the fish are definitely moving into shallower water, but the best bite was still early morning or late afternoon for now.


The lake is at 71-percent capacity. Fishing pressure was very low with most locals concentrating on deer season.


Todd Sodaro at Todd’s Bait and Tackle at the Creekside Lodge reported a 6 1/2-pound rainbow was caught here—an Alpine County trophy plant holdover. Another Alpine County trophy plant will be made in mid-November.


The lake is at 49.7-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 30 to 40 feet deep.


The lake is at 67-percent capacity. Sly Park Resort reported small bass and trout were still being caught from shore at the mouth of the Narrows.


Mike Nielsen at Tahoe Topliners Sportfishing reported having to work for limits of macks at South Shore and Rubicon trolling and jigging 120 to 160 feet deep. Nielsen said the Nevada DOW stocked trout at Cave Rock and trollers were catching limits of rainbows to 14 inches at 30 feet deep on dodger/nightcrawlers. Look for big Mackinaw in the same area feeding on the planters. Zach Gordon at Tahoe Sportfishing reported the fleet was still picking up some kokanee trolling inside Emerald Bay this past week, but the fish were rapidly turning and they will stop fishing for them soon. Mooching for 2- to 5-pound macks was still productive in 140 to 180 feet of water at Rubicon.


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


The lake is at 24.9-percent capacity. The bite was fair at best 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.


No reports were available.


The lake is at 44.4-percent capacity. The fishing should be improving here as the water temp drops, but reports are far and few between.


The lake is at 13-percent capacity. No one was fishing due to the low lake level. The DFW and volunteer organizations were scheduled to collect kokanee eggs from fish spawning up the Little Truckee River this week.


The lake is closed and reopens on January 1. This will be the last report until the opener.


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 56-percent capacity. Ken Mathis at Ken’s Custom Tackle and Guide Service reported limits of 12- to 16-inch kokanee were hitting dodgers and hoochies at the dam at 50 to 60 feet deep. Some holdover or recent SMUD/Mt. Lassen Trout Farms stocker rainbows were also being caught with the kokes.


The Little Walker River and West Walker at Pickel Meadows and the Canyon were stocked by the DFW this past week. The West Walker Motel and Toiyabe Motel reported little fishing pressure here this past week. Sam Foster at the Toiyabe Motel said a father/son team hit the Pickel Meadows area out and got broke off 3 times by big fish in deeper pools, though they did manage to land some 12- to 13-inch rainbows. The Toiyabe Motel will close for the season on October 11.



Happy Hooker hammered the lingcod and rockfish along the Marin Coast. California Dawn fished both the Farallones and the coast and put limits of lingcod aboard along with limits of rockfish at the islands. Boats from Berkeley Charter Boats divvied up the duties, with some boats running for bottomfish and others working the salmon with pretty good success.


Ten Mile Beach below Elephant Rock put out some big fish for New Sea Angler and for private boaters. There were white seabass to 55 pounds caught and halibut into the low 30s. Reef zones gave up massively-heavy sacks of rockfish and lingcod.


Sundance got 8 salmon for 6 passengers on Sunday. Steady limits of rockfish as well as satisfying lingcod counts to folks aboard Sea Wolf, New Huck Finn and New Salmon Queen.


Trips to Cape Mendocino produced fairly easy limits of lingcod, especially for those using swimbaits and jigs. Sanddab trips just began and buckets fill almost too quickly. Both jetties at Eureka were productive for black rockfish, kelp greenlings and perch.


Lingcod fishing took top billing, with fish up to 15 pounds on Telstar. Limits of lings--or very close to it--were attainable on the rocky reef zones upcoast from town. Surf fishing was a great option, with cabezon, rockfish and an occasional lingcod caught.


Fishing was great for rockfish and lingcod down the coast off of Ritz Carlton and Martins Beach where Huli Cat, Queen of Hearts and other boats got good scores including a couple of wolf eels. Salmon were plentiful, if hard to catch, right outside of the harbor and even inside the harbor. There were Bluefin tuna jumpers offshore and some catches were made, but mostly it was a case of watching jumpers.


Bass Tub went after salmon and caught several including a 31 pounder. Wacky Jacky and Lovely Martha worked Duxbury and other salmon hotspots to keep their people in fish. Flash I and Flash II both worked the salmon, picked at halibut and did very well on sharks in the South Bay. Striped bass and halibut went on the feed from Hunter’s Point to San Mateo Bridge.



Overall, 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 water temperatures. The lake is dropping and the launch ramp is narrow and a single lane. 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.


Largemouth bass are the top species at the lake. Recreational boating has slowed down considerably, and fishermen are eagerly awaiting trout plants from the Mount Lassen Hatchery during the month of November. The lake’s level has risen to 25% with releases from upstream Lake Pardee. The South Shore Ramp 2 is open along with both ramps at the North Shore.


Few bass or trout fishermen are heading to the lake at the present time. Most bass reports have been from the banks with medium to large minnows or nightcrawlers. Cooler temperatures are needed to improve action for bass, rainbow trout, and king salmon. 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 dropped to 31% of capacity.


The lake is very low at 9% of capacity, but spotted bass action 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 numerous spotted bass to 2 pounds. 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 due to warm water conditions at the lake during our 4th year of the drought. The McSwain Marina is now closed on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays. Spotted bass are as plentiful in the lake as rainbow trout with the fish arriving over the dam at Lake McClure.


Bass fishing is good for numbers for experienced fishermen working the shad schools with drop-shot plastics, crankbaits or ripbaits. The fish are staging along main lake points when the wind is blowing. Catfish are cruising the shallows, and they are inhaling remnants of shad left over from the bass boils. Sardines, anchovies, or frozen shad are the top baits. 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 area around the dam has been buoyed off due to strong currents from water releases.


The lake has dropped to the point where the courtesy dock is now unavailable. A few anglers are launching small aluminum boats into the lake, and they are scoring small striped bass by trolling or casting small shad-patterned spoons.


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.


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. The ramp at Dark Day is being maintained weekly as the water continues to drop. Emerald Cove Marina reported trollers were trying for kokanee near the marina at 60 feet deep.


North Shore Resort reported bass fishing was really picking up. One angler caught 101 bass using swimbaits and topwater near the dam outlet. Ron Franks of Folsom caught 26 bass to 2 1/2 pounds on the main lake and Bear River arm.


The lake is 62 feet from full. Collins Lake Resort reported that catfish were still the main target for anglers with fish to 10 1/2 pounds weighed in this past week. Boat launching was still good on the auxiliary ramp at the dam. Trout plants will start the week of October 19.


The lake is at 93-percent capacity. PG&E was scheduled to stock 1250 pounds of rainbows on Oct. 6. PG&E will also provide the fish for the Skippers Cove Marina pen-rearing program.


The lake is at 29.8-percent capacity. The Foresthill Ranger Station reported that with the lake level so low, few anglers were at the lake, and the campgrounds would be closing for the season on Oct. 12.


The lake is at 22.8-percent capacity. The Georgetown Ranger Station reported the lake was too low for any boat launching. The campgrounds will close on Oct. 12.


The lake is still 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 too 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 using lipless crankbaits, ripbaits, and spinnerbaits. Trollers were still picking up some king salmon in the North Fork and between the dam and the Green Bridge.


The lake is at 80-percent capacity. Clyde Crow at NID reported there was still 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 36.8-percent capacity. Clyde Crow at NID reported there was still 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.


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


The lake is at 41-percent capacity. The campgrounds close on October 12. Fishing was very slow.


The lake was at 135.2-foot elevation at press time—90.3-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. Steelhead should still be hitting nightcrawlers at Wilbur Road.

– Western Outdoor News