Fishing Line

Salmon fishing inconsistent in Delta region

Shawn Gallagher of Costa Mesa displays a salmon he caught on the Sacramento river near Los Molinos on Thursday, September 3, 2015.
Shawn Gallagher of Costa Mesa displays a salmon he caught on the Sacramento river near Los Molinos on Thursday, September 3, 2015.

Here are the best places to fish in the Sacramento region, Northern California and beyond for the week of Oct. 12, 2015.


▪ DELTA REGION: Sacramento River

Salmon fishing is up and down with some excellent days out of Freeport in the upper Delta and also in lower Suisun Bay, as the schools are still moving through in force. Shore fishermen are tossing Vee-Zee or Flying C spinners while boaters are spooning jigs. Freeport has been experiencing heavy boat pressure from anglers jigging. A larger grade of stripers is also on the move, and bass to 42 pounds have been caught and released within the past week by trollers. Casting wide profile swimbaits or topwater lures are also productive. The brackish water continues to push further east into the Sacramento River with small jellyfish observed around Sherman Island. Sturgeon fishermen are starting to come out of the woodwork, and the deepwater spots near Pittsburg on the top draws. Grass shrimp remains very scarce.

▪ DELTA REGION: San Joaquin River

The removal of the False River saltwater barrier is in process, and the barrier will be removed by November 15. Boaters are advised to use extreme caution while traveling through this popular route as construction and large floating equipment is in the water. Hyacinth is starting to take over the sloughs, but bass fishermen are finding good action punching through the weeds with creature baits. Striper fishing is best from the Antioch Bridge to the mouth of the Mokelumne River for trollers, plug casters, and dropping spoons. Fresh shad is readily available in area bait shops.


Crosby’s Lodge reported they weighed in 40 fish over 10 pounds this past week including an 18, three 17’s, a 16, four 15’s, a 14, four 13’s, eight 12’s, six 11’s, and eight 10’s!! The 18 fell for a blue jig fished at Hell’s Kitchen by Matt Ebert of Fernley, NV. George Molino at Cutthroat Charters reported picking up limits of fish for a grandfather/grandson team up to 14 1/2 pounds jigging and trolling. Joe Mendes at Eagle Eye Charters reported his clients caught 62 fish to 17 pounds on his last trip to Anderson Bay where they were jigging with a P-Line Laser Minn

▪ SACRAMENTO RIVER, Knight’s Landing to Colusa

Salmon are spread throughout the lower river, with boaters doing well near Verona and Knight’s Landing. Sardine-wrapped FlatFish are producing kings up to 35 pounds.

▪ SACRAMENTO RIVER, Red Bluff to Colusa

The Corning and Chico areas have been good to excellent for anglers drifting roe with spinning gear. Some nice kings also are being caught on plugs. Pressure is relatively light.

▪ SACRAMENTO RIVER, Redding to Red Bluff

The peak season for kings has arrived at the Barge Hole, where limits are now common. Near Red Bluff, anglers are averaging better than a fish per rod on brighter, fresher fish. Trout fishing is very good near Redding.


Salmon are being caught from shore by anglers fluttering Flying C and Gibbs jigs. More salmon are present now near Freeport than at any time so far this season.


▪ CHETCO RIVER, Brookings, Oregon

Salmon numbers continue to build in the tidewater and at the mouth of the river, and anglers are catching them trolling herring and anchovies along the jetties and at the mouth, according to WON Staff Writer and guide Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing. The river is open to trolling to river mile 2.2 at the powerlines above the Hwy. 101 bridge, and above there, anglers must have a bobber to eliminate snaggers.

▪ COOS BAY, Coos Bay, Oregon

Fishing pressure was light to very light last week. Boats concentrated on the Chandler Bridge area of the river. Only a few salmon were caught in the upper section of the Coos River.

▪ COOS BAY, South Fork, Coos Bay, Oregon

Lot of jacks being caught during late week on this river, mostly on spinners while being trolled, said tackle manufacturer Curtis Palmer. “We caught and lost some nice king salmon while trolling spinners. No luck while trolling bait for us, but I saw others catch a few nice kings and spoke with others who couldn't buy a bite. Bobber fishing high on this river is doing very well also.”

▪ COQUILLE RIVER, Bandon, Oregon

Things were slow to begin with last week on the lower Coquille River, but on Wednesday things turned around to what most are use to on this river, according to WON Field Reporter Curtis Palmer of River Secrets Tackle Company. “It was a very good bite at Rocky Point on Wednesday and Thursday, with a 47-inch Chinook being caught by a camper at Bullards State Park, which is right on the river with a nice boat launch in the town of Coquille about 20 miles upriver. They have been catching a few nice Chinook's in front of the lumber mill and Sturdoven Park most of the week. Coho are still in the lower river heavy and thick.”

▪ MILLACOMA RIVER, Coos Bay, Oregon

The bobber fishing was very good in this small fork of the Coos River over the weekend, according to Curtis Palmer of River Secrets Tackle Company. “The bite wasn't constant, it would come in spurts like trolling does,” he said. “The bobber fisherman caught way more in these spurts than you will most likely see while trolling.”


Salmon are moving into the lower river in anticipation of the upcoming rains and their move upriver to spawn, and anglers are catching them daily at the Sand Hole, according to guide Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing, who is switching off between the Smith and the Chetco. Fishing is currently only allowed from the mouth of Rowdy Creek downstream. The fish are spread all the way from the mouth up to the Forks.

▪ UMPQUA RIVER, Reedsport, Oregon

There are a bunch of silvers in the lower river and they are being caught,” said Curtis Palmer of River Secrets Tackle Company. “Some Chinook's are also still in the lower river and fishing pressure is light. It is a good time to learn the river if you don't know it well. Also there are more than enough salmon to make days enjoyable. Near Roseburg, fishing remains still. There have been a few nice big Chinooks caught this last week at Cleaveland Rapids and Forks River Park. Coho are just not showing up yet.”



Salmon fishing has been hot and cold, with guides reporting up to a dozen fish one day and then just a few the next. Salmon are spread from the hatchery to I-5. Roe is outfishing plugs. Flows on Sunday ay Iron Gate were 1,080 cfs.


Salmon and steelhead are being caught throughout the middle Klamath. Steelhead are aggressively feeding on eggs. Flows at Seiad Valley were 1,230 cfs on Sunday.

▪ KLAMATH RIVER, Klamath Glen

Fishing has been inconsistent on the lower Klamath, as fish quickly move upriver. The salmon run has begun to wind down. Flows at Terwer were 2,260 cfs on Sunday.


Steelhead fishing is now better than salmon fishing, although both are being caught from Lewiston clear down to the mouth. Most of the fishing pressure is centered around Junction City, with lots of driftboats fly fishing. The majority of the steelhead are wild fish. Flows at Lewiston were 467 cfs on Sunday. They were 580 cfs at Hoopa.



There are still a huge number of smaller 12-inch bass being caught but there were lots of limits in the 12- to 15-pound range, which makes for a fun day for most anglers. Jigs, swimbaits, crankbaits, spinnerbaits and chatterbaits will get you bigger fish. Clearer water will trigger a better topwater bite on walking baits and buzzbaits. 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. Look for fishing pressure to ramp up as the major fall tournaments are underway. Catfish and crappie are only being caught as incidental catch.


Until the lake turns over, look to use downriggers to get down to the trout. Covering water with an LV500 or square bill crankbaits in shad patterns will produce both largemouth and smallmouth bass. The weather and water are still too warm for any fall bite yet.


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. Early morning topwater bites are few 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.



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. Brown trout will be spawning soon, so please release them. They don’t taste good during their spawn anyway. Areas that have springs nearby will have fish moving in and out for spawning.


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 regularly. Expect the fishing to improve even more as the weather cools off and days get shorter.


The lake is low so trim your motor when heading out. The earlier you get out the better chance you will have at getting your limits. Anglers are being treated to some big trout, the largest todate was a 4.4 pounder caught on a Sure Catch Brown Trout lure. As the water cools down the bite will continue to improve as fish fatten up for the winter.


The river is cold and clear and in good shape. Larger fish are moving up and anglers are finding trout to 17 and 18 inches now with a few larger are possible. 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 it’ll get better as the weather cools a bit more. In the meantime look for trout holding in deeper pockets with shade.


You can fish from a float tube, pontoon boat or even a driftboat, 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. The beautiful fall colors are a plus.


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. Not many folks fishing here so you’ll have it to yourself. Great fall colors now and a river that’s in good shape make this a good bet.


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. The best fishing is going to happen near the inflow of the upper McCloud.


Catch trout in the 16- to 18-inch range with cinnamon pupae, birdsnests and small pheasant tails. It’s time for the October caddis. Look for fish close to the bottom of the river rising to these hatches.


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. Both the bass and trout bite are in good shape, as fall is a great time to fish here, but it will be a little more crowded now that the bass tournaments are happening. Trout are in the top 25 feet over bait balls. A blue Wiggle Hoochie produced an 18-inch Pitt River rainbow.



With salmon fishing very slow, fishing pressure is light. Very few salmon have been reported in the river.


Anglers are catching salmon on jigs at Star Bend and under the Fifth Street Bridge. The river closes to salmon fishing above Live Oak on Oct. 15. A few stripers are being caught.


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


Bass and trout fishing is slow.


Anglers using small nymphs are catching rainbows throughout the day.



The lake is at 13.3-percent capacity. Mountain Hardware and Sports reported anglers were catching the occasional rainbow, brown or mack. The bigger browns were moving up the Little Truckee River to spawn, while the younger fish preferred the area around the dam. Rainbows and macks were congregating at the inlet. Be prepared for a short hike to the water’s edge.


The lake is at 64-percent capacity. Caples Lake Resort will shut down all but 2 cabins beginning this week. The store marina will now be open 9 to 4 weekdays and 8 to 5 weekends. Trout fishing was improving with the colder water temps. Jon Voss reported a 4-pound brown trout was caught by the dam. The EID boat ramp was still open.

▪ CARSON RIVER (East, West)

Todd Sodaro at Todd’s Bait and Tackle at the Creekside Lodge reported anglers were still picking up limits of 9- to 12-inch DFW rainbows with a little work—no sitting on a deep pool when the fish prefer the faster water.


The lake is at 45-percent capacity. Ed Dillard at Dillard’s Guided Fishing reported good trolling for quality rainbows to 22 inches. With only 12- to 14-foot aluminum boats able to launch at Honker Cove. Small boaters were trolling copper/redhead Wee Dick Nites, red-dot frog and yellow watermelon Needlefish at 5 to 10 feet deep. Woolly buggers and leeches were also working for trollers. Shore anglers were doing well at Mallard Point using nightcrawlers and floating dough bait for limits of 17- to 20-inch rainbows. Flyfishermen were picking up some good fish on woolly buggers and leeches around the weed beds along the east side and around the island.


The lake is at 38-percent capacity. The older kokanee were spawning, but trollers after the smaller bright “next year” fish were picking them up at China Cove, Loch Leven, and along the north shore between Loch Leven and the handicap dock.


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 that local anglers Bob and Pam Parry caught limits of 19-inch average rainbows at the dam using nightcrawlers.


Mark Tieslau at Mountain Hardware and Sports reported the latest hot spell slowed the bite at Gold Lake, though one angler picked up a nice brown at the island casting Rapalas. Salmon, Sardine and Packer lakes were all slow.


The lake is at 70-percent capacity. Dale Daneman at Dale’s Foothill Fishing service reported slow trolling here, only catching 6 rainbows in 7 hours. The fish were a mix of 8- to 11-inch DFW planters and 15-inch SMUD stockers. Daneman was using a Sep’s brown grub with and without a Sep’s watermelon Strike Master Dodger to 30 feet deep. Launching was still good on the concrete ramp.


Flyfishermen were plagued by winds here, but managed to pick up some rainbows to 17 inches on leeches.


The lake is at 48.7-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 66-percent capacity. Denise Cole at Sly Park Resort reported fishermen were still picking up bass and bluegill. With the warmer than expected fall, the trout were deep.


Chuck Self at Chuck’s Charter Fishing reported he was “hammering the macks” at 160 to 300 feet deep from 6 to 9 a.m. The fish were running 3 to 7 pounds and hitting a mix of small plugs and spoons from Crystal Bay Point to Tahoe City. Zach Gordon at Tahoe Sportfishing reported the fleet was doing well on 3- to 5-pound macks at Sugar Pine mooching dodgers and live minnows at 160 to 190 feet deep. The kokanee bite was over as the fish were now spawning up Taylor Creek.


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. Mountain Hardware and Sports reported anglers were catching the occasional brown and smallmouth at the dam. A few rainbows were coming out of the Prosser Creek inlet area.


Try the dam for the occasional cutthroat and rainbow using worms and floating dough bait.


The lake is at 44.8-percent capacity. Colder nights and cooler water temps should be improving the trout action for shore anglers and trollers.


The lake is at 13-percent capacity. Few, if any, anglers were here due to the low lake level according to Mountain Hardware and Sports.


With the browns spawning now, special consideration must be taken to avoid catching these big fish off the redds. Mountain Hardware and Sports still recommended leaving this struggling resource alone until normal flows return.


The lake is at 56-percent capacity. What few anglers who were coming up here were picking up some of the 14- to 16-inch SMUD stockers trolling dodgers and worms or spoons in the top 30 feet.


The Toiyabe Motel closed for the season October 11. Fishing pressure was very low this past week, but anglers were still picking up some DFW planters in the deeper pools and runs. Look out for some of the trophy fish that are lurking in the deeper water in the Canyon and at Pickel Meadows.



Happy Hooker and California Dawn both ran to the Farallones to put aboard limits of quality rockfish, adding some lingcod to 16 pounds. Berkeley Charter Boats sent salmon boats out and they had a great week with fish to 30 pounds until late in the week when the salmon became quiet for a few days.


White seabass to 62 pounds and halibut to 24 pounds were the big dogs of the fishing scene aboard New Sea Angler. Lingcod came in next, followed by salmon, then rockfish. Squid spawns gathered up the big fish and made targeting them feasible. Bluefin tuna were spotted offshore and boaters are thinking about making exploratory runs.


Early in the week, salmon fishing was good, then big swells from the south shut things down into the weekend and hopes are high that the salmon will tie on the feed bag early in the week when things have settled. Over the weekend, New Huck Finn, New Seeker, Sundance and Tiger Fish all worked on rockfish, lingcod and leopard sharks.


Four consecutive days of bluebird weather and flat seas gave boaters multiple chances to run down to Cape Mendocino and fight with the legendary lingcod there, which are sometimes so voracious that it becomes difficult to catch a limit of rockfish. Jetty fishing was good on the South Jetty for cabezon, rockfish, kelp greenling and an increasing count of lingcod.


Lingcod was the prime target and near limits of rockfish came willingly along with the lings aboard Telstar which fished near the Lighthouse and also up off of Virgin Creek. Shore fishers hooked up with cabezon, rockfish and lingcod at MacKerricher, Mendocino Headlands and at the Old Mill.


Party boats, Huli Cat, Queen of Hearts, Riptide, New Capt. Pete worked on denting the population of rockfish down the coast from Pillar Point Harbor. Private boaters and shore fishers worked the harbor and caught returning salmon. Along area beaches, especially near Pacifica, the striped bass bite came back to life in a meaningful way.


Early week salmon fishing was pretty good and then the bite slowed over the weekend. New Rayann got the biggest Bay area salmon of the week, a 32 pounder. Salty Lady and Wacky Jacky also put whoppers on the list. Bass Tub fished salmon early in the week until the counts dropped below a fish per rod, then the skipper switched to lingcod (nailed limits on Saturday) and rockfish. Flash I and Flash II were reported to have fished sharks inside the Bay and lingcod/rockfish on the Marin Coast.



Trophy trout are expected to arrive by the third week of October depending upon water temperatures. The water temperature is currently at 73 degrees, and trout plants normally start when the temperatures hit 70 degrees. The lake is 43 feet down, but water releases will stop soon. 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 and catfish remain the top species at the lake. Fishermen are eagerly awaiting trout plants from the Mount Lassen Hatchery during the month of November. A major cleanup of the Mokelumne River above the lake will occur on October 24. The South Shore Ramp 2 is open, along with both ramps at the North Shore.


The lake is in the doldrums with few trout trollers or bass anglers heading to the lake. Cooler water temperatures are needed for the schools of shad to start balling up, attracting the bass from their current suspended position and drawing the rainbows and king salmon from the depths. Bank fishermen are working the banks with nightcrawlers or medium to large minnows. The boat launch has a slight curve, but once you get around the curve, launching two boats at the same time is possible. A grant for the improvement of the Fleming Meadows Launch Ramp has been approved, and construction to create a two-lane ramp should start shortly. The lake dropped to 31% of capacity.


The lake continues to release water, but fishermen willing to make the trek down to the lake’s edge are finding good action for spotted bass to 2 pounds with plastics on the drop-shot or darthead as well as Senkos. 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 out fourth 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.


Catfish are the top species in the lake with the whiskerfish cruising the shallows in search of shad. The cooler temperatures have made for better conditions for daytime action. 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. 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 9% of capacity, and the boat launch is problematic at best. 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.



No change here, 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 40-percent capacity. Emerald Cove Marina reported the kokanee bite was about over as the fish were moving up the Yuba River to spawn. Bass anglers were picking up mostly small fish on drop-shot worms.


The lake is at 9-percent capacity. North Shore Resort reported that Ron Franks of Folsom fished 2 days this past week and caught 45 and 39 fish bass to 2 pounds using oxblood and green pumpkin lizards at 10 to 15 feet deep on main lake points and up in the Bear River arm. Boats can still launch with 2-wheel drive on the dirt near the ramp.


The lake is 63 feet from full. The fall trout plants will start soon with 7000 pounds of rainbows scheduled to be stocked between mid-October and Thanksgiving. Guide Larry Hemphill reported that the fall bass bite was beginning. He was seeing large schools of shad and a good topwater bite using a Spook for fish to 3 pounds. Bait fishermen were still scoring mostly catfish.


The lake is at 96-percent capacity. Skippers Cove Marina reported PG&E stocked 1250 pounds of rainbows early this past week and trollers were doing well in the marina using flasher/worms.


The lake is at 30-percent capacity. With the campgrounds closed and the lake so low, no one was coming all the way up here. This will be the last report until next spring—hopefully there will be some water by then.


The lake is at 23.7-percent capacity. With the campgrounds closed and the lake so low, no one was coming all the way up here. This will be the last report until next spring—hopefully there will be some water by then.


The lake is at 30-percent capacity. Guide Ron Gandolfi reported bass fishing was good with anglers catching 40 to 60 fish on half-day trips. Drop-shot worms were working best for numbers of smaller fish, but tubes and darthead worms were best for bigger fish to 2 pounds at 20 feet deep on steeper points and walls on the main body. Launching was still “4-wheel drive only” at the Spillway and Bidwell Marina.


The lake is at 74-percent capacity. Clyde Crow at NID reported slower fishing for bass as they moved deeper. Drop-shotting morning dawn worms worked well for 1 1/2- to 2-pound spots at 15 to 20 feet deep on points. The best launching was at Long Ravine Resort; launching was okay at Greenhorn but no courtesy dock; getting low at Orchard Springs Resort.


The lake is at 36.8-percent capacity. Launching was okay for small 12-foot aluminum boats. Boaters need to watch out for buoy cables. Bass fishing was good for smallmouths and spots using crankbaits on points at 5 to 12 feet deep.


The campgrounds were closed as of October 12. Fishing was slow with no DFW plants in months.


The lake is at 41-percent capacity. With the campgrounds closed and the water level so low, no one was coming up here. This will be the last report until conditions change for the better.


The lake was at 134.6-foot elevation at press time—86-percent capacity. Bruce Gibson at the Paradise Tackle Company reported that the bass bite had slowed due to cold water conditions. Gibson did best throwing crankbaits and spinnerbaits for bass to 4 1/2 pounds on the rock banks where the water was a little warmer—temps varied from 59 to 68 degrees around the lake.

– Western Outdoor News