Fishing Line

Salmon still king in the Sacramento River

Fishing for Chinook salmon continues to be productive in north-state waters.
Fishing for Chinook salmon continues to be productive in north-state waters. Sacramento Bee file

Here are the best places to fish in the Sacramento region, Northern California and beyond for the week of Oct. 19, 2015.


▪ DELTA REGION: Sacramento River

Salmon fishing has been solid from the banks from lower Suisun Bay through Pittsburg and Antioch and along the Freeport shorelines with heavy spinners such as Mepp’s Flying C’s or Vee-Zee spinners. The majority of salmon are chrome-bright jacks in the 3- to 10-pound range with an occasional larger fish. Striped bass are moving on a regular basis, and the bait bite is improving with fresh shad, live mudsuckers, or live bluegill. Sturgeon fishermen have been scarce, but six-pack operators are starting their seasons out of Pittsburg Marina. So far, the action has been up and down with great fishing one day, followed by a number of shakers the following day. Small globs of roe have been the top bait. Grass shrimp and live bullheads are next to non-existent with only a few shops such as Benicia Bait able to keep up with a few pounds of grass shrimp. Highway 12 will face closures the next four weekends from 10:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. for maintenance on the Mokelumne River Bridge.

▪ DELTA REGION: San Joaquin River

Hyacinth is the order of the day in the south and east Delta, and the Stockton area is socked in with the weedy vegetation despite an additional 4 million dollars for eradication. The Lighted Boat Parade in Stockton has been cancelled for the second straight year due to hyacinth in the main river channel. Small stripers are the rule, but they are plentiful in the San Joaquin system. Live bluegill are producing the largest fish. Largemouth bass fishing is excellent for numbers with a morning topwater bite followed by Senkos or punching the weeds with Creature Baits. 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. Fresh shad is readily available in area bait shops.


The lake has turned on like a “light switch” with the cooling water temperatures and stable lake levels. Bass are congregating on the shad schools at various depths throughout the water column. Vertical jigging with 1/2- to 3/4-ounce P-Line Laser Minnows are effective for numbers while drop-shotting shad-patterned plastics is also effective. Catfish are hunting along the shorelines for easy meals of shad, and anchovies, sardines, frozen shad, or live crawadads. The cooler temperatures have made for better conditions for daytime action. Trout trollers are finally starting to score limits with blade/’crawler combinations or shad-patterned spoons as the fish are rising in the water column. 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.

▪ SACRAMENTO RIVER, Knight’s Landing to Colusa

Trolling FlatFish and Kwikfish has been fair near Verona. Sturgeon fishing is slow.

▪ SACRAMENTO RIVER, Red Bluff to Colusa

Boondogging remains good for kings, although fishing has slowed below Red Bluff compared to the section above Red Bluff. Steelhead are showing in greater numbers.


A 30-pound striper was caught last week at the Port of Sacramento on a trolled minnow lure. Salmon fishing is best near Freeport. Catfish are biting well in the deepwater channel.



It’s been tough fishing on the lower Chetco due to low, clear water, but there are loads of fish already awaiting the rains, and plenty more fish to come. There is some fishing by trolling below the Hwy. 101 bridge, and some in tidewater by bobber fishing. When the rains hit, the river should be full of bright kings, according to Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing.

▪ ROGUE RIVER, Gold Beach, Oregon

Catching salmon here isn’t hard, but wading through all the wild fish for a hatchery fish you can keep has been hard. “There are lots of wild silvers in Rogue Bay, but very few hatchery silvers or kings,” said guide Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing. “There’s lot of action catching and releasing silvers near Indian Creek.”

▪ ROGUE RIVER, Grant’s Pass, Oregon

Steelhead fishing is picking up with good catches being made on imitation eggs, pieces of roe, Glo-Bugs dipped in Pautzke’s Nectar or back trolling small plugs. The best action seems to be in the mornings, said guide Troy Whitaker at U-Save Tackle. The salmon are moving to the spawning beds and a few cohos might be caught, too.


Closed to all fishing due to low flow closure.


Salmon are stacking up in big numbers off the mouth of the Smith River, and in the few tidewater holes and the estuary, waiting for rains to head upriver. Currently the river is open to fishing below the mouth of Rowdy Creek, but there are also plenty of fish above there already, where they are off limits until low flow closures are lifted. Guide andWON Staff Writer Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing has been finding some nice fish trolling.



Salmon fishing was more consistent last week, with drift boaters hooking between five and 10 kings a day. Some salmon have already started to spawn, while a group of fresh fish moved into the Hornbrook area over the weekend. Flows on Sunday at Iron Gate were 990 cfs.


Steelhead fishing has picked up, while salmon fishing is fair near Happy Camp and Orleans. Flows at Seiad Valley were 1,190 cfs on Sunday.

▪ KLAMATH RIVER, Klamath Glen

Salmon season is winding down on the lower Klamath, with most of the guides leaving to other rivers. Steelhead fishing has been fair. Flows at Terwer were 2,200 cfs on Sunday.


Steelhead fishing is good behind spawning salmon, with beads and Glo-Bugs both tricking fish. Some kings are still being caught on MagLip plugs. Flows from Trinity Lake were reduced last week. Flows at Lewiston were 403 cfs on Sunday.



Don’t expect to have the lake to yourself any time soon, as tourney season has started. For a few big bass it is hard to beat a plastic worm in the mid lake area. Fishing a depth range of 10 to 18 feet will provide consistent action and at least some keeper fish in the 2-pound up to 5-pound range. For numbers try some minnows. Catfish and crappie are still only being caught as incidental catch. Although it is still under investigation, a carp die-off recently was presumed to be related to a carp virus. Lake County officials recommend that dead carp be buried above the high water mark or placed in a plastic bag in the trash can.


With both bass and trout targeting the shad, pulling out your shad patterns makes good sense. Target shallow water (5 to 10 feet) with shallow cranks and LV500s in shad patterns along the east shore’s grass lines. There were no giant fish, but plenty of action with mostly largemouth bass in the 2- to 3-pound range and a few smallmouth mixed in to 2 pounds. This is a good time for trout trollers to start toplining their favorite shad imitations in the top 10 feet of water the first thing in the morning. Keep a 1-ounce shad patterned spoon handy and cast it into the trout boils.


Cooler nights and dropping water temperatures means the fall bite has started. Although the lake hasn’t quite turned yet, the largemouth bass are strapping on their feed bags for the upcoming winter months and chasing shad throughout the lake. 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 in 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.



Head to 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.


Despite the low water scenario the 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 bite is very good and everyone is catching trout. Most are going to the Youth Camp and trolling since the fish are moving around. They are chasing bait (minnows) which are very abundant. Two-inch orange grubs behind a Wiggle Finn did best one day although the “All Around Best” orange J-Fairs did better other days. Just switch up your colors.


The river is cold and clear and in good shape. Larger fish continue to move up and finding trout to 17 and 18 inches now with a few larger ones is possible. Rising fish are taking cripple mayfly patterns and callibaetis.


It’s been a little tougher in the creek as the water is a little low. A few more weeks and it’ll get better as the weather cools a bit more and hopefully the area gets some more rain. 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 here are a plus.


Fishing has been good here but you’ll have to move around. There are not many folks fishing here so you’ll have the great fall colors and fishing to yourself now and a river that’s in good shape make this a good bet.


This is another body of water where you’ll have it all 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 poopas, birds’ nests and small pheasant tails. It’s also time for the October caddis. Look for fish close to the bottom among the rocks rising to these hatches.


With both trout and bass balling up bait in the shallows the shoreline has seen a lot of pressure. The bass haven’t been very big, but there have been a ton of them. Using darter heads in 15 to 20 feet with spinnerbaits, Senkos, wacky head and crankbaits has been productive. For trout troll in the top 25 feet over bait balls as they are feeding up for the winter and will hit just about anything right now.



Salmon fishing continues to be slow in the American, with very little effort.


Anglers are catching salmon on jigs at Star Bend and under the Fifth Street Bridge. Striper fishing is slow.


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.

▪ SACRAMENTO RIVER, Redding to Red Bluff

Fishing for wild rainbows is very good between Redding and Anderson as salmon begin to spawn. Salmon fishing is good at the Barge Hole, although the number of dark fish is increasing. New groups of salmon have moved above Red Bluff.



The lake is at 13-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 63.5-percent capacity. Caples Lake Resort closed for the season on October 19. Fishing was good for a father/son from Santa Cruz who caught a nice stringer of 2- to 3-pound rainbows. The fishing was improving as the water temp dropped to 56 degrees.

▪ CARSON RIVER (East, West)

Todd Sodaro at Todd’s Bait and Tackle at the Creekside Lodge reported some anglers were still picking up limits of 9- to 12-inch rainbows on salmon eggs in the East Carson where rains helped maintain the flows. Heenan Lake fishing slowed dramatically due to the thunderstorm activity with strong winds and rain—it closes for the season on Oct. 25.


The lake is at 45-percent capacity. The cold front with heavy thunderstorm activity slowed the fishing for shore anglers. Small boaters who made it past the sand bar at the Honker Cove ramp were picking up 3 or 4 rainbows on Wee Dick Nites and red-dot frog or yellow watermelon Needlefish.


The lake is at 37-percent capacity. Will Fish Tackle in Auburn reported a troller caught rainbows, browns, macks and kokanee—a lake grand slam—on a dodger trailing a orange/white hoochie worked along the north shore at 45 feet deep. Boat launching was very difficult with 12-foot aluminums having to be lifted off the trailers to get them in the water.


Mike Hanson at Caribou Crossroads Resort reported Caribou Powerhouse was still producing 2- to 2 1/2-pound rainbows on worms and jigs under a bobber in the generator wash. Butt Valley Lake was kicking out some nice trout for shore anglers on the point near the dam.


The lake is at 22-percent capacity. Some nice rainbows were still coming in for shore anglers soaking nightcrawlers at the dam.


The thunderstorm activity late this past week shot down the bite at Gold Lake, according to Mark Tieslau at Mountain Hardware and Sports in Blairsden. Salmon, Sardine, and Packer were all very slow to dead.


The lake is at 70-percent capacity. Try a Sep’s watermelon Strike Master Dodger with a Sep’s brown grub or a threaded nightcrawler for a mix of 8- to 11-inch DFW planters and 15-inch SMUD stockers from the top to 30 feet deep. The concrete ramp was good for launching.


Todd Sodaro at Todd’s Bait and Tackle reported a float tuber caught-and-released 15 rainbows and cutthroats while casting a 1/4-ounce silver Kastmaster in the middle of the lake near the dam.


The lake is at 47.8-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 20 to 30 feet deep--the fish are moving shallower as the water cools.


The lake is at 66-percent capacity. Denise Cole at Sly Park Resort reported a local jigged up 7 bass and rainbows from the deeper holes near the Narrows and between the islands.


Chuck Self at Chuck’s Charter Fishing reported he was “slaying” 3- to 10-pound macks trolling 140 to 350 feet deep. The fish were feeding on shrimp and following the forage, so start out shallow in the early morning and work deeper as the sun rises. Mike Nielsen at Tahoe Topliners Sportfishing reported having to work for six to eight 3- to 5-pound macks per trip trolling 160 to 170 feet deep off South Shore. Zach Gordon at Tahoe Sportfishing said the mack bite was tougher with fish stacked 100 feet thick off the bottom but not hitting. The fleet was scratching out limits of 2 to 4 pounders in 180 to 200 feet of water at Homewood. The kokanee were still pouring into Taylor Creek for the spawn—a nice day trip to view one of the marvels of nature.


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 25-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.


Crosby’s Lodge reported another amazing week of fishing with a 19 3/4-pound cutthroat topping the board this past week—they weighed in 17 fish over 10 pounds. George Molino at Cutthroat Charters reported his trips were producing 12 to 25 fish to 11 pounds trolling Apex from Warrior Point to spider Point at 60 to 80 feet deep. Joe Mendes at Eagle Eye Charters reported his trips have yielded 535 cutthroats so far this season (Oct 1-Oct 17). Mendes has been jigging P-Line Laser Minnows at Anderson Bay, North of Pyramid Rock and Hell’s Kitchen at 35 to 80 feet deep and picking up 40 to 60 fish per trip with the top 3 on the last charter running 15, 12 1/2, and 11 pounds—all in just 4 to 5 hours.


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


The lake is at 41.6-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. Rains this past week did little to increase flows.


The lake is at 54-percent capacity. Ken Mathis at Ken’s Custom Tackle and Guide Service recommended trying a dodger/nightcrawler on top for the holdover and SMUD planter rainbows.


The area received rain this past week and some snow at the higher elevations, according to Pam Hamic at the West Walker Motel. The flows were up in the river, but fishing pressure was very low to the point where fishing reports were getting hard to come by.



Salmon fishing still remained viable and at times it was a fish or better per rod, with El Dorado and New El Dorado III trying for them. For the most part, signs of the season winding down were apparent. It was easy pickings for boats working the Marin Coast for rockfish and lingcod. Boats working the Central Bay found good halibut counts at Alcatraz and Raccoon Straits.


A 95-pound bluefin tuna was taken at the Cordell Banks by Nick Bauer and Willy Vogler, two more bluefins in the forties were checked in from other boats. White Seabass to 58 pounds and halibut to 24 pounds were taken near Elephant Rock.


It is not too late yet for salmon and Sundance proved that point by catching limits on Sunday. Tiger Fish, New Huck Finn and other boats worked the Marin Coast and piled on rockfish and lingcod.


Jetty fishing for rockfish, greenling and cabezon was okay, but limited by large breakers which kept folks from going out to the most productive areas on the jetties. A 3-day weather window gave folks opportunities to run down to Cape Mendocino for wide open lingcod and rockfish.


Heavy sacks including loads of lingcod came off party boats like Telstar, charter boats and private boats. The Gebers from Noyo Fishing Center limited out at Casper’s Bay. Shore fishing was excellent at The Old Mill.


Salmon inside of Pillar Point Harbor caused great excitement and lots of shore fishing. Rockfish and lingcod bit well enough for limits down the coast at Ritz Carleton and Martins Beach. The striped bass bite along area beaches looks to have slowed. Pacific Pier fishers caught perch, kingfish and jacksmelt for the most part.


Flash pulled up limits of rockfish and hefty lingcod to 18 pounds, scoring 10 lings on a half-day trip. On another trip, the destination was South Bay where plenty of leopard sharks were biting aggressively off of AT&T Park. Charterboat Fish-n-Game went after salmon and scored limits. Capt. Frank Rescino caught a 28-pound salmon aboard his family’s boat Lovely Martha. Capt. Jacky Douglas saw a 25 pounder come aboard her Wacky Jacky.



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 are just below 70 degrees. 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 while 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 remains in the doldrums, and the trout and king salmon action will not improve until the water cools. As a result, there are few trout fishermen heading to the lake. Bass fishing is fair at best with live minnows or shad-patterned plastics on the drop-shot. 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.


Bass fishing from the banks remains good, and shad-patterned plastics such as Robo Worm’s in Hologram Shad are effective on the drop-shot, darthead, or splitshot. There is a long walk to the shoreline with the lake level at 8% of capacity and still dropping. The North Barrett Cove launch ramp is open for small boats after a long and winding reverse. 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 4 year of the drought. The McSwain Marina is now closed on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays. Few fishermen have been heading to the lake with the lack of trout plants since April.


The lake is holding at 9% of capacity, and only small aluminum boats are able to be launched from the ramp. Kayakers are finding good action for striped bass with vertical spoons as the fish are schooling. Striped bass are breaking the surface chasing bait into the coves, and shore fishermen are finding good action for schoolie linesides with ripbaits, jerkbaits, and small swimbaits.


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.


Trout trolling should be hitting its stride with November the key month for trout action at this lake as the water has cooled and the recreational boating season is over. The lake has actually risen to 84% of capacity within the past week.



Still 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 area saw 2 to 2 1/2 inches of rain but the dry ground soaked it all in—we need a lot more to get the flows up.


The lake is at 39-percent capacity. Emerald Cove Marina had to move the docks out toward the dam and some berth renters have been pulling their boats out of the slips due to the low lake level. Boats can still launch at Dark Day. Bass fishing has been slow with mostly small spots being caught on drop-shot worms.


North Shore Resort reported Ron Franks of Folsom fished this past week and caught 47 bass to 2 1/2 pounds using oxblood worms and green pumpkin lizards in the Bear River arm at 5 to 15 feet deep. More than half of Franks’ fish were keepers. Boaters can still launch off the shore near the ramp, but 4-wheel drive is recommended.


The lake is at 66 feet from full. The lake will receive the first fall trout plant late this week—about 2000 pounds of trophy and catchable rainbows. Fishing was slow this past week with only the occasional bass or catfish landed.


The lake is at 96-percent capacity. The Lake Wildwood Fishing Club hit the lake this past week, but only caught a few rainbows while trolling.


The lake is at 29-percent capacity—down 230 feet!! Guide Ron Gandolfi reported the bass bite was hot with fish counts running up to 100 per day. Drop-shot and darthead worms and tubes were the most consistent producers on points and steep rocky walls at 5 to 30 feet deep on the main body and in the North Fork and Middle Fork. Most bass were 1 1/2 pounders. Lots of 2 pounders were showing along with one 3 to 4 pounder each day. Boaters were still launching with 4-wheel drive only at the Spillway and Bidwell Marina.


The lake is at 69.7-percent capacity. Clyde Crow at NID reported boaters could still launch at Long Ravine with no problems. Sand on the ramp was a problem at Orchard Springs, while the Peninsula Resort ramp was closed. Crow said bass fishing was good on the points at 15 to 20 feet deep using drop-shot worms. Dink bass were hitting poppers early and late in the day.


The lake is at 36.7-percent capacity. Boat launching was very difficult here due to the shallow water on the ramp, and the maze of cables on the docks and moorings. Shore fishing was the safest bet with some bass hitting crankbaits early and late in the day.


The campgrounds were closed and fishing was very slow.


The lake was at 134.3-foot elevation at press time—84-percent capacity. The cold front this past week moved the bass offshore into deeper water at 8 to 10 feet deep. Bruce Gibson at the Paradise Tackle Company reported a good bite using swimbaits and Senkos around thicker grass beds for 2- to 4-pound largemouths. Late in the afternoon on hot days, frogs were good for bass to 5 1/2 pounds on the grass beds.

– Western Outdoor News