Fishing Line

Steelhead are making a real run of it

Word on the street is that the steelhead run is about to heat up.
Word on the street is that the steelhead run is about to heat up. Sacramento Bee file


▪ CHETCO RIVER, Oregon – The biggest storm so far this fall blew out the River late last week, paving the way for what is expected to be start of steelhead season. King salmon, meanwhile, continued to bite well last week, with some of the biggest fish of the season showing up in the catch. Guide Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing got his customers into three kings topping 40 pounds last week, including a 42 pounder caught Monday by Gary Jatzer of Grants Pass, Ore., and a 45 pounder reeled in by Mark Roberti of Sand Diego on Friday. Janzter’s big king bit a 4.5 MagLip plug, while Roberti was fishing a gob of eggs fished below a bobber. Nearly four inches of rain Thursday and Friday swelled the Chetco to 18,000 cfs Saturday morning. The river was down to 6,500 cfs on Sunday, and expected to begin fishing by Tuesday.

▪ ELK RIVER, Oregon – From one extreme to another. The low-water condition of the start of the week left anglers fishing at the beach where the salmon come into the river on the incoming tide. This is a great place for a fly fisherman to try their luck at getting a king salmon on a fly. As quick as the river rose, the drift boater’s appeared. On Saturday the river was cresting at around 7 feet and the color was dark brown. To make things more difficult as the water levels drop, the leaves are dropping. Thanksgiving weekend should be a good time to fish the river.

▪ ROGUE RIVER, Oregon– Heavy rains raised the river about 3 feet and muddy the past few days, but without more rain in the forecast, it should drop and resume good steelhead fishing we’ve had in the Grants Pass area for the past couple of weeks, says Troy Whitaker at U-Save Tackle in Grants Pass. Action has been good on drifted nightcrawlers, Corkies and yarn balls, but we’re also going to be drifting and back-trolling dark-colored plugs… black, purple, etc. Bank anglers are using bobbers and floating nightcrawlers. Best areas still seem to be below Caveman, Matson Park, Griffin Park and Panther Chutes.

▪ RUSSIAN RIVER – The squirt of rain we got was enough to bring up the flow slightly and color up the water but that was about it. A few fish were able to come in but mostly salmon which are a non-target species in the Russian. NOAA is calling for another system for the end of the weekend which would help since the rain we got so far has mostly soaked in and any new water should run off.

▪ SAN PABLO RESERVOIR — Trout plants have been occurring, and fishing for them has been picking up either by trolling or with bait, but anglers have only until Monday, Dec. 1 to fish for them. Fishing for catfish continued to be good, and so has bass fishing in the coves.

▪ SHADOW CLIFFS RESERVOIR — Trout fishing has picked up big time, off the First, Second, and on the trail to the Third dock. Bass were biting in the backs of coves. You can only use float tubes, barbless hooks and no bait.

▪ SIXES RIVER, Oregon – Anglers got the much need rain during the later end of last week. However, the high winds of the storm kept many people home and the overwhelming floodgates opening from the sky for moments. Late fall kings are all through the river system and when the river begins to drop and the color lightens a shade or two. This river should be red-hot for catching salmon.

▪ SOUTH BAY LAKES — Bass fishing at Anderson has continued to be very good at Woodchopper’s Cove. Fish are in 5 to 10 feet of water and are hitting spinnerbaits, and Hula Grubs. Fish jigs and drop-shot later on. At Calero, boating is still allowed, and some larger fish are being caught, too, even on top-water lures. The water is critically low at Uvas and Chesbro reservoirs.


▪ KLAMATH RIVER, Iron Gate Dam – Steelheading continued to be very good, and pressure is low compared to the Upper Trinity. Fly fishers are dead-drifting egg patterns under indicators, egg clusters, or even glass beads. Lots of fish are only a couple of pounds, but some weigh up to 8 pounds. Some of the fish are big for the upper Klamath — up to 10 pounds.

▪ TRINITY RIVER – Steelhead fishing on the Trinity River has been picking up, except for last weekend’s rains. Fishing pressure has is going to be heavy through Thanksgiving week. And adult Chinooks may be kept again — except they are way past their prime and spawning or will be soon. The river is at a good flow of about 550 cfs. Fly fishers are casting red copper John’s, Psycho prince nymphs, and stone flies dead-drifted under indicators, but they also are swing fishing Silver Hiltons and Burlaps. Spin fishers are back-trolling Hot Shots and Brad’s Wigglers and drifting roe.


▪ CLEAR LAKE – It was a tougher week with some weather that brought cooler temperatures, a little rain and some wind. The Redbud launch remains closed for improvements but the Oaks, Braito’s and the two ramps near Library Park in Lakeport are still currently open and usable. Most of the bass fishing was from Shag Rock to the Horseshoe Bend area, around the mid-lake island areas and points as well as the Rattlesnake area.

▪ LAKE BERRYESSA – Target deeper cuts off the main body for bass in 50 feet. Both bass and trout have gone deeper and the bait is scattered. Not many reports but most were of smaller fish.

▪ LAKE SONOMA - With a little rain the waters stained up some and the bass bite picked up as well. Try around the creek arms where the water will be more stained in 5 to 15 feet and slowly roll spinnerbaits off transitions.


▪ ALMANOR LAKE – Most boats have been trolling fast action lures in the east basin since that where the smelt are.

▪ BAUM LAKE – This will continue to be a good option, especially since other bodies of water have closed. Try to fish early and late when the sun is not high. More rain will also bring more hatches and consistent fishing.

▪ EAGLE LAKE – Fishing here has been excellent with 20 to 30 hits a day possible. Trolling, fishing off the bottom with a nightcrawler and marshmallow and flyfishing have all been good. Fishing here should continue to be great up until it closes Dec. 31.

▪ FALL RIVER – This is one of the rivers that closed on Nov. 15.

▪ UPPER HAT CREEK – Closed for the season.

▪ McCLOUD RIVER – Closed for the season.

▪ PIT RIVER This is another good option as fishing continues to be consistent. But don’t stay in one spot too long, you have to keep moving up and down the runs and pools.

▪ SHASTA LAKE – Bass are scattered throughout the lake chasing bait which are also scattered. Try the trees in the Pitt arm with topwater baits, weightless Senkos, or spinnerbaits. If you launch at Jones Valley you’ll be right in the middle of some trees. Bass are holding under bait.


▪ BERKELEY – Happy Hooker fished the mainland coast and managed to do her passengers proud with limits of crabs and rockfish, plus some sizable lingcod. California Dawn took limits of rockfish all week and the lingcod fishing was so good that on one trip, 34 lingcod came along for the ride. Berkeley Charter Boats also fished the coast, for similar results.

▪ BODEGA BAY– New Sea Angler was routinely back to dock by noon with limits of rockfish and crabs, plus some lingcod. The crabs were healthy and heavy, for the most part. Fort Ross area kicked out some bragging size rockfish and lingcod. Rugged shoreline spots above town was very good for rockfish and cabezon and even a few lingcod.

▪ EMERYVILLE – Most trips throughout the week were to the Marin Coast, due to rough weather and very large swells outside. Even so, the results were appealing, with steady limits of both crabs and rockfish, plus some impressive lingcod. New Salmon Queen, Sea Wolf, New Huck Finn and New Seeker all made runs late in the week and over the weekend.

▪ EUREKA – Rainy weather with sometimes unfriendly seas didn’t make it easy for Eureka crabbers, but thankfully, they are accustomed to this and so they went out anyway and managed limits. Dungies started to come up on snares and in nets inside Humboldt Bay, where they had been missing. Jetty fishers, working in areas protected from the swells, enjoyed success on rockfish and lingcod.

▪ FORT BRAGG – Better than expected weather and pots chock full of heavy crabs made it pretty easy for Fort Bragg boats to bring passengers back to dock early with full limits of Dungeness crabs. Telstar, Trek II and Seahawk all pulled pots and scored easy limits. Surf fishers at MacKerricher and Mendocino Headlands plowed into very hungry rockfish, cabezon and other delights of rocky shorelines.

▪ HALF MOON BAY/PACIFICA – A surprising spike in the striped bass bite brought people out in droves to fish alongside crab hoopsters and snare casters both from shore and from Pacifica Pier. A 27-inch bass was caught from the beach near Pacifica. Crabbers at the Pier did well on Dungeness. Boaters out of Half Moon Bay also did very well running crab pots. Queen of Hearts slayed the rockfish, getting limits for all, plus some lingcod. Southside Anglers fished on Huli Cat for some large lingcod and plenty of rockfish and limits of crabs.

▪ SAN FRANCISCO – Argo battled big swells Sunday but put anglers onto good numbers of rockfish and lingcod off of Bolinas. On another trip, this time inside the Bay, 10 year old Sofia Tyler caught a 16-pound leopard shark.


▪ BOCA LAKE – The lake is at 27-percent capacity. No change here — Browns, rainbows, and macks were congregating at the inlet. Anglers should be able to catch some big fish here on lures and bait.

▪ CAPLES LAKE – The lake is at 67 percent capacity. The area received snow this past weekend and fishing pressure was zip. It’s been cold up here.

▪ CARSON RIVER (East) – With cold, wet weather all this past week, fishing pressure was very light. Todd Sodaro at Todd’s Bait and Tackle at the Creekside Lodge reported seeing one vehicle parked at Hangman’s Bridge before the weather moved in early in the week.

▪ DAVIS LAKE – The lake is at 52-percent capacity. The weather was cold and windy all this past week. Both Ed Dillard at Dillard’s Guided Fishing and Mark Tieslau at Mountain Hardware and Sports in Blairsden reported fishing was slow at best. The best recommendation was trying the shore fishing at Mallard Point if the weather stabilizes.

▪ DONNER LAKE – The lake is at 37-percent capacity. No change here — Mountain Hardware and Sports reported fishing overall was slow, but macks should be moving shallower to spawn. Casting a large Rapala or Krocodile spoon could yield a big laker.

▪ FRENCHMAN LAKE – The lake is at 34-percent capacity. Wiggins Trading Post reported shore anglers were still picking up some 17- to 21-inch rainbows using nightcrawlers at the dam and Turkey Point. Boaters were flyfishing or drifting nightcrawlers at Turkey Point, too.

▪ GOLD LAKES BASIN – Mark Tieslau at Mountain Hardware and Sports in Blairsden reported some big browns and macks were seen cruising the shallows near the boat ramp and the outlet. Cast a large Krocodile or Kastmaster spoon, or a large Rapala in the evenings on windy days for a chance at a lunker trout.

▪ ICE HOUSE RESERVOIR – The lake is at 65-percent capacity. With the cold, wet weather most of this past week, fishing pressure was non-existent according to Kyle Neeser at Crystal Basin Tackle and Guide Service.

▪ INDIAN CREEK RESERVOIR – Alpine County stocked 1,800 pounds of rainbows this past Friday. Todd Sodaro from the County Fish and Game Commission watched the lake after the plant for 11⁄2 hours and saw 40 fish to 4 pounds caught by shore anglers, flyfishermen, and canoeists.

▪ JACKSON MEADOW RESERVOIR – The lake is at 61-percent capacity. No change here — Small aluminum boats launching off the Pass Creek ramp were trolling with good results at the dam. Shore anglers were catching a few rainbows off the dam, too.

▪ JENKINSON LAKE (Sly Park) – Sly Park Resort reported smallmouth bass to 3 pounds were still hitting plastic worms and jigs on the upper end of the lake into the Narrows. There was little word about any trout fishing success.

▪ LAKE TAHOE Chuck Self at Chuck’s Charter Fishing reported an “incredible bite” for macks running 4 to 81⁄2 pounds trolling 160 to 300 feet deep from Dollar Point to Crystal Bay. After scoring limits of macks, Self was moving into shallow water and picking up a few 1- to 51⁄2-pound rainbows on every trip. Zack Gordon at Tahoe Sportfishing reported good mack fishing for 5- to 8-pound fish mooching 280 to 350 feet deep off South Shore.

▪ LOON LAKE – The lake is at 40-percent capacity. The gate to the boat ramp was closed. Small boats can still launch at the primitive gravel ramp at the dam. It’s been COLD up here.

▪ PROSSER LAKE – The lake is at 27-percent capacity. No change here — smallmouth bass fishing was still the best bet here at the dam and the rocky banks leading to the dam using jigs, tubes, crawdad crankbaits, and Rapalas.

▪ PYRAMID LAKE – Valarie Taylor at Crosby’s Lodge reported 25 fish over 10 pounds were weighed in this past week — caught almost exclusively by shore anglers since it was so windy and tough on boaters most days. The top fish weighed 17 pounds and was caught on a black fly by Jay Oaks of Spanish Springs, Nev. Joe Mendes at Eagle Eye Charters took advantage of a break in the winds on Friday and scored 44 fish to 91⁄2 pounds trolling Apex at 30 to 50 feet deep in Red Bay and Anderson. John Opio of Sparks on Eagle Eye 2 fished the south end of the lake and caught-and-released 17-, 16-, and 101⁄2-pound cutthroats by himself trolling a Kwikfish along the drop-offs on the west side.

▪ RED LAKE – The area saw snow this past week, but access should be open to the dam.

▪ SILVER LAKE – The lake is at 36-percent capacity. The area received snow this past week, but access should be open to the dam and boat ramp.

▪ STAMPEDE RESERVOIR – The lake is at 24-percent capacity. No change here — Small boaters launching off the shore near the boat ramp were catching some rainbows around the island and at the mouth of the Little Truckee arm. Smallmouth bass fishing was still good in the Davies Creek arm.

▪ TRUCKEE RIVER – The rains this past week bumped the flows up a little but they should be short lived according to Brian Nylund at Mountain Hardware and Sports. Even with a drop in the water temp, the fishery is in a delicate state and needs to be left alone until normal flows return, according to Nylund.

▪ UNION VALLEY RESERVOIR – The lake is at 59-percent capacity. Ken Mathis at Ken’s Custom Tackle and Guide Service reported the road to the ramp at the dam off Pea Vine Ridge Rd. was in very poor condition and a slow go for boaters trailering to the lake. Cold, wet weather this past week made the trip even less inviting.

▪ WEST WALKER RIVER – Pam Hamic at the West Walker Motel reported fishing pressure was low with cold, windy weather this past week. Flows were low in the river, but there should be plenty of rainbows left for catch-and-release fishing with artificial barbless lures only.


▪ LAKE AMADOR — Regular trout plants are scheduled from Mt. Lassen Trout Farm on a weekly basis for the remainder of the season. The annual Trout Derby started on Nov. 24, and it will run until March 1st for an entry fee of $7.00. Few boats are launching with the low water conditions, but anglers have been renting boats and tossing plugs for holdovers to 6.5 pounds. Bank anglers are scoring with trout dough bait, white crappie jigs, or nightcrawlers.

▪ CAMANCHE LAKE — Trout plants continued with 1,200 pounds of Mount Lassen Trout released into the lake at both the North and South Shore launch ramps as well as another 2,000 pounds into the South Shore Trout Pond. Trout dough bait or nightcrawlers are working from the banks with fishermen finding new locations holding fish due to the low water conditions. Trollers are picking up holdover rainbows with spoons at depths from 10 to 20 feet, and the cooling water temperatures will bring the rainbows to the surface and vulnerable to various colors of grubs or Rapalas. Large catfish have been landed from the banks with a variety of baits.

▪ DON PEDRO RESERVOIR – The troll bite has taken off with the schools of rainbows moving from open water into the shallows along the shorelines. Recent plants from the Department of Fish and Wildlife has contributed to solid action from the banks with medium minnows, salmon eggs, or trout dough baits. Trollers are scoring with heavy spoons on a long set back on lead core line at depths to 20 feet. The bass bite continued to be slow with the best action on live minnows from the shorelines. The Flemings Meadow Launch Ramp is still a viable option for launching, and the Marina is still in the water. There is a new 5 MPH speed limit from the ramp at Blue Oaks Recreation Area to the Buoy Line at the mouth of Fleming Bay.

▪ LAKE McCLURE – Barrett Cove North Ramp is still listed as the sole entrance for boat accessing the lake, and the ramp is open only during daylight hours. There are anglers taking the long walk to the lake’s shoreline, and crappie are showing up along submerged structure with small or medium minnows. Bass are also available from the banks with plastics or live minnows. The South Boat Ramp at Barrett Cove remains closed as a result of the drought, and both the Barrett Cove and McClure Point Marinas remain closed. Small boats such as kayaks and canoes are able to be launched from the shoreline. Rainbow trout have been landed below Exchequer Dam with Kastmasters or Rooster Tails.

▪ LAKE McSWAIN – Trout action remained fair at best with trollers scoring with Wedding Rings tipped with a nightcrawler or Kastmasters in chrome/blue above the Floating Restrooms. A 500 pound stocking occurred on Nov. 14th from Calaveras Trout Farm. Bank fishing has been best with rainbow or chartreuse dough bait from the Brush Pile, Handicapped Docks, or the points near the Marina. The lake levels have returned to full after the lake was lowered for maintenance at the end of October. The water clarity has returned.

▪ NEW HOGAN RESERVOIR – The lake is low at 13% of capacity, but the launch ramp is still open without a courtesy dock. Launching is a two-person job. Casting a small white Rooster Tail or Kastmaster is a good option for striped bass who are focusing on the small shad throughout the lake.

▪ NEW MELONES RESERVOIR – Big catfish were the story of the week with whiskerfish in excess of 10 pounds landed throughout the lake on a variety of baits. The recent rains should further improve the action. Trout trolling is on the upswing with shad-patterned lures at depths to 20 feet in open water and at the mouth of major coves. Shad schools are forming, and the rainbows and spotted bass are keying on the baitfish.

▪ LAKE PARDEE – Closed for the season until February 2015.

▪ TULLOCH RESERVOIR – Planted trout are abundant, and trolling near the surface with shad-patterned spoons or blade/crawler combinations are producing numbers of small rainbows. The best fishing occurs during the quieter periods on weekdays with few recreational boats on the lake.


▪ AMERICAN RIVER – The salmon spawning area on the American River above the power lines at the lower end of Ancil Hoffman Park to below the Nimbus Fish Hatchery closed to fishing as of Oct. 31. There have been no reports of steelhead entering the hatchery yet, and it’ only rarely that steelhead are being caught in the lower river. Lots of salmon somehow entered Nimbus Basin above the weir, but those fish are very dark and not worth keeping.

▪ FEATHER RIVER — Fishing for steelhead in the Low Flow Section was still good last week, but the numbers of spawning salmon has dropped off, and so has the fishing pressure. Fish nymphs and egg flies under an indicator, or swing egg patterns and egg-sucking leeches.

▪ FOLSOM LAKE – The lake has continued to drop lower and lower by the day. The speed limit is 5 mph. Bass fishing has been good, but fish are deep. Fish 20 to 30 feet deep over old rock tailings and river channels off the end of the Peninsula. Jigs, drop-shotting and Carolina-rigging should get some fish to about 2 pounds. Some hold-over trout are taking small Rapalas and Speedy Shiners at about 15 to 25 feet deep.

▪ RANCHO SECO LAKE – Some nice bass to about 6 pounds are continuing to be being caught on 6- to 8-inch plastic worms. However fishing for panfish has slowed down and there is still no word on when trout plants will begin again.

▪ SACRAMENTO RIVER, Sacramento – Salmon fishing continued to be slow with patient waiting as small schools come trickling though. Verona, Rio Ramaza, and Knight’s Landing were a few of the better spots. Flying “C” spinners in chartreuse were good and Jigs have been catching a few down by Freeport. Some nice striped bass were being caught at Prospect, Shag Slough, and in the Deep Water Channel.

▪ SACRAMENTO, Hamilton City – The river was still very muddy because of slides on Mount Shasta, and heavy rains dumped a bunch of mud into the river at Cow Creek and Deer Creek. But, before the rain hit, steelhead fishing was outstanding. They are taking roe, and weigh from 4 to 6 pounds and up to 9 pounds.

▪ YUBA RIVER – The Yuba River is producing some nice 16- to 17-inch rainbow trout. They’re taking egg and caddis patterns below indicators below DeGuerre dam down to Sycamore Ranch.


▪ AMERICAN RIVER — The recent rains bumped up the flows, but the cold, wet weather was not conducive to fishing which is catch-and-release only with artificial barbless lures only on all the forks above Folsom Lake.

▪ BULLARDS BAR – The lake is at 40-percent capacity. Lots of wind and rain all this past week kept anglers off the lake. Boaters can still launch at Dark Day. Bass fishing should be good.

▪ CAMP FAR WEST – Small boats can still launch in the mud near the boat ramp — 4x4 only!! Ron Franks of Folsom fished the Bear River arm and caught 21 bass to 21⁄2 pounds using green pumpkin lizards and Speed Craws in the top 15 feet.

▪ COLLINS LAKE – The lake is 57 feet from full and won’t drop any lower. The final fall plant was made on Nov. 20, so trout fishing was very good for both shore anglers and trollers with fish to 61⁄2 pounds weighed in this past week. Trollers were doing best in the top 10 feet using Kastmasters, Rapalas, and flasher/worms. The dam and marina docks were best for shore anglers using worms and floating dough baits. Some boaters did well drifting bait near the powerlines.

▪ ENGLEBRIGHT RESERVOIR – The lake is at 95-percent capacity. Houseboaters soaking worms in the marina were picking up some nice rainbows. Trollers were absent this past week due to the poor weather.

▪ FRENCH MEADOWS RESERVOIR – The lake is at 29-percent capacity. The Foresthill Ranger Station reported the poor weather all this past week kept folks out of the area.

▪ HELL HOLE RESERVOIR – The lake is at 26-percent capacity. The Georgetown Ranger Station said the lake was still closed.

▪ LAKE OROVILLE – The lake is at 25-percent capacity. Guide Ron Gandolfi reported that lake had muddied up with the heavy rains late this past week. Before the weather hit, his last trip produced 55 bass to 21⁄4 pounds for one client. Main body points, and steep walls and points in the West Branch produced fish from the shore to 20 feet deep using spinnerbaits, drop-shot worms, and tubes. One angler reported doing very well in the South Fork using a deep-diving crankbait at 10 to 15 feet deep for bass to 31⁄2 pounds. The only boat ramp open now is the one at the Spillway — and it is definitely 4X4 only. Don’t drive past the 3 sets of signs warning about the mandatory 4-wheel drive only and expect to launch with a 2-wheel drive truck.

▪ ROLLINS LAKE – The lake is at 78-percent capacity. Ryan Drake at Orchard Springs reported bass fishing was good at the dam on overcast days using a 1⁄4-ounce chartreuse Pop-R for bass to 3 pounds. One angler reported missing several big bass on the topwaters.

▪ SCOTT’S FLAT LAKE – The lake is at 49-percent capacity. Fishing pressure was very light due to the poor weather this past week. As the weather settles, look for smallmouth bass action at the dam to improve.

▪ SUGAR PINE RESERVOIR – The Foresthill Ranger Station reported the campgrounds were closed, but the boat ramp was still open. Fishing pressure was very light due to the poor weather all this past week.

▪ STUMPY MEADOWS RESERVOIR – The Georgetown Ranger Station reported the lake was now closed.

▪ THERMOLITO AFTERBAY – The lake was at 135.1-foot elevation at press time — 90-percent capacity. The best bet here was the steelhead fishing in the channel at Wilbur Rd. Drift a nightcrawler under a bobber or use an inflated nightcrawler from shore. Boaters can drift a nightcrawlers along the bottom or drag a set of small flashers rigged with a nightcrawler in the current below the bridge. The main lake has lots of duck hunters that should be avoided.


SACRAMENTO RIVER side — Striper fishing is taking center stage with the corresponding slowdown in salmon action. The north Delta continued to be the most productive location with a variety of techniques, but linesides are found throughout the system from above the Rio Vista Bridge to the Carquinez Bridge. Bullheads are in good supply in area bait shops, and they remain in high demand. Sturgeon are on the move, and they are migrating into the cuts in Suisun Bay and starting to move into the upper Delta.

SAN JOAQUIN RIVER side — Water hyacinth continued to limit fishermen in the areas to be targeted, and the vegetation has no limited the ability to produce fresh shad. Avoiding the floating mats is a key to finding stripers, and several boats have overheated after sucking up the vegetation in their intakes. Live mudsuckers, spoons, topwater lures, bluegill, or shad are working for school-sized linesides. Largemouth bass fishing continued to be solid with ripbaits, crankbaits or plastics. Large bluegill and redeared perch are available from the shorelines in the south Delta. Crappie are starting to appear with small or medium minnows near Tiki Lagun, Turner Cut, or Whiskey Slough.

– Western Outdoor News