Fishing Line

Planted rainbow trout promise increased action; salmon bite wanes

Trout anglers should have decent action after the planting of thousands of pounds of rainbows in Northern California lakes.
Trout anglers should have decent action after the planting of thousands of pounds of rainbows in Northern California lakes.

Here are the best places to fish in the Sacramento region, Northern California and beyond for the week of Nov. 9, 2015.



The second plant of the season at 2,200 pounds of catchable rainbow trout in the 1- to 2-pound range were released during the past week. Bank anglers have the upper hand, and limits have been common from the shorelines along the dam and also at the Boat House Docks with silver Kastmasters, white crappie jigs tipped with a piece of nightcrawler, or trout dough bait. The larger trophy rainbows will be released around Thanksgiving as the water continues to cool. The annual derby will start during the third week of November. Plants of up to 5000 pounds will occur on a weekly basis through May 2017.


The first trout plant of the year arrived at the end of the week with 2,000 pounds in the South Shore Pond and 1,000 pounds each at the North and South Shore launch ramps. Bank fishermen are finding the best action with trout dough bait or Kastmasters in the South Pond. The pond has been crowded on the weekends with the arrival of the rainbows. More plants are anticipated on a regular basis. In the main lake, the rainbows have scattered out, making for slow action for trollers, but shore fishermen are picking up a few from the banks around the launch ramps. The crappie bite has slowed considerably since the solid action last week. The South Shore Ramp 2 is open along with both ramps at the North Shore.

▪ DELTA REGION: Sacramento River

Interest in salmon fishing is on the wane, but a few salmon can still be taken off of the Freeport shoreline as well as at 1st Street in Benicia. Striped bass of a larger grade have appeared in the last week, joining big numbers of smaller stripers, and the bait fishermen are finding limits with live mudsuckers, fresh shad, and live bait. Trolling is a challenge, as the grass is thick in the upper stretches of the Delta, but quality linesides can be found in Broad Slough and the Collinsville area. Sturgeon fishing is also showing improvement in Cache and Prospect Sloughs, near Pittsburg, and at the Middle Grounds. Grass shrimp remains scarce, but ghost shrimp is in area shops with more regularity. The weekend closure on Highway 12 has been lifted due to the completion of the majority of work. Delays are still anticipated on the weekend, but the road is open.

▪ DELTA REGION: San Joaquin River

Hyacinth still dominates the eastern portion of the Delta, and the launch ramps in Stockton remain closed with the exception of the Morelli Launch. Striped bass fishing has taken off in the west Delta with bait, topwater lures, and swimbaits. The fresh shad bite has exploded, and lure tossers are working the shallows with the stripers pushing the shad into the shorelines. Largemouth bass fishing is best with Senkos or glide baits in the back sloughs. 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.

▪ SACRAMENTO RIVER, Knight’s Landing to Colusa

Striper fishing has improved near Verona and Knight’s Landing as an apparently delayed fall run of stripers moves into the area, coming up from the Delta. Some fish up to 20 pounds are being caught on jumbo minnows and pile worms. Salmon fishing has slowed, although a few kings are still being caught on plugs trolled downstream.


The Smith River was blowing out on Sunday after heavy rains, according to WON Field Reporter and guide Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing, and the river went from 300 cfs to 1400 cfs late Sunday, opening up. King salmon fishing will improve as the river drops and clears this week. Call the hotline at (707) 822-3164 for updates.


Steelhead are stacking up near Junction City, and slowly moving between there and Lewiston. Weekend rain helped move some of the fish around. Small plugs and roe fished below bobbers or side-drifted has been tricking steelhead, which were biting better with the stormy weather. More rain is expected this weekend. Flows at Lewiston were 326 cfs on Sunday.



The Chetco went from low to 1200 cfs and still rising on Sunday, and “impressive numbers of kings” showed up just before the rains, spurring the bite, according to WON Staff Writer and guide Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing. Periodic rains were predicted this week, which should keep the river in great shape for fishing.

▪ COOS RIVER, Coos Bay, Oregon

“I received one report from a boat full of anglers who came across a school of Chinooks down by the Hwy. 101 Bridge, and all three of them tagged out by trolling between the railroad bridge and the 101 bridge,” said Curtis Palmer of River Secrets Tackle Company.

▪ ELK RIVER, Port Orford, Oregon

This is one of the best starts to fall Chinook season on the Elk River that I can remember,” said WON Field Reporter and tackle manufacturer Curtis Palmer of River Secrets Tackle Company. “Last week was much better fishing than the week before, and there were a few really good days of fishing then. The weather was fairly nice last week and that made ocean conditions favorable for the Chinooks to enter the sand stone bottom of the river. The rains have come and gone so fast, it’s only given the salmon a short time to move upriver to deeper pockets and wait for more water to move upriver again. We will probably have two more weeks of better fishing at the mouth of the river. I have always timed the solid driftboat fishing to begin the day after Thanksgiving.”

▪ ROGUE RIVER, Grant’s Pass, Oregon

Fishing is starting to pick up on cohos now, with some in local areas by side-drifting or trolling plugs. Still plenty of steelhead being caught on back trolled lures, drifted nightcrawlers, Puffballs and small pieces of roe. Lakes are still low and hard to launch boats. ODFW stocked some trout in Rhinegart Park and Lake Selmac, with some fish to 3 pounds.

▪ SIXES RIVER, Port Orford, Oregon

The heavy downpour of rain did open the mouth up, so the king salmon could come into the Sixes river, reported Curtis Palmer of River Secrets Tackle Company. “This process sometimes take several big storms,” he said. “One of the more popular holes is the Orchard Hole, and some anglers are using fly rods in that area. The high rock outcroppings at Hughes House had some nice salmon caught out of the back eddy pool on two days last week. Fishing on the Sixes is difficult because this river is very shallow and the salmon are mainly pooled in a few holes at the very lowest sections of the river.”



Steelhead are eating eggs from spawning salmon. Guides have been doing well on crawfish plugs as well as nightcrawlers fished behind divers. FlowsSunday at Iron Gate were 1,050 cfs.


New steelhead moved up from the mouth last week and were slowing down between Weitchpec and Happy Camp. Drifting roe and fishing nightcrawlers behind divers has been working. Flows at Seiad Valley were 1,260 cfs on Sunday.

▪ KLAMATH RIVER, Klamath Glen

A fresh group of steelhead as well as a few late salmon were seen in the Johnson’s Riffle area last week. Flows at Terwer were 2,490 cfs on Sunday.



The lake is cooling down and producing more bites. Early and later in the day plastics, chatterbaits, rattlebaits and jigs as well as swimbaits and shallow to deep diving crankbaits have been productive. Fish are in very shallow water out to about 20 feet all over the lake.


The bass bite has been good yo-yoing LV500s in ghost minnow in bait balls in 5 to 15 feet of water. Smallmouth bass in the 3- to 4-pound range are being spooned in 35 to 40 feet of water around bait. The trout are spread out all over the water column waiting for the lake to turn. Troll for them anywhere from the surface down to 40 feet from the mouth at the Narrows to Big Island where there’s plenty of bait.


Cover lots of water with search baits like LuckyCraft’s LV500 in a shad pattern for bass. Or try key ledges, creek channels and transitions with a slow jig, Senko or drop-shot worm in 10 to 20 feet of water. The best depth for landlocked steelhead has been at 25 feet pulling a No. 2 Needlefish in the cop car color.



You’ll have to put your time in, so get here early. Trout are in the top 15 feet and moving into the shallows. Canyon Dam to Rocky Point has been the best trolling lane lately. Fast action lures like Speedy Shiners, Needlefish, Moose Looks Wobblers and Rapalas or ripping trolling flies and slow action rigs like dodger/’crawler combos have been working. Try to return brown trout without taking them out of the water or using nets, as they are spawning.


The trout fishing has been good all around the lake. Try blue wing olive patterns. Be prepared for changing weather and carry chains now.


From here on out keep chains and warm clothes handy. It may be getting cold here, but the fishing is still hot. Try Jay Fair's All around Best, Sep’s orange grubs or Sure Catch red dog. Pikes Point and the Christie Day Use Area have been popular. Or drive over to the Eagles Nest area and fish off the shore. Most of the trolled fish are being caught in the top 10 feet of water.


Closes this weekend on Sunday, Nov. 15. Fishing has been good with baetis or blue wing olives in sizes 15 to 18.


Closes this weekend on Sunday, Nov. 15. Try an October Caddis dry fly just before sunset.


Trout are bedding down for the winter, so the bite is shutting down as the water temperatures drop. Try early and late in the day but make sure you check the regulations here for when and where you can and can’t fish.


The brown trout are migrating to the Ash area but it closes this weekend on Sunday, Nov. 15.


Still fishing very well and will be a go-to body of water once many of the rivers shut down this weekend. Midge patterns work well at the access at the dam.


The river is open to fishing year-round and fishing well. Move around and look for trout hanging out off the bottom by rocks, boulders and pockets with weighted nymphs.


Bass are in their usual fall pattern with an early/late topwater bite as they follow the abundant baitfish along the shorelines. Still waiting for the lake to turn over. Trout are spread throughout the water column and filling up on shad. Find the baitfish and you’ll find both the bass and trout.



A few salmon were reported last week, but overall action remains slow.


Fresh kings arrived last week between the Fifth Street bridge and trestle, with a few salmon also caught at Shanghai Bend. Stripers were being caught on swimbaits at Star Bend.


All boat launches remain closed because of low water.


Bass and trout fishing is slow.


As the weather cools, crowds have left the upper river, despite decent fly fishing for native rainbows. Flows at Dunsmuir were 172 cfs on Sunday.

▪ SACRAMENTO RIVER, Red Bluff to Colusa

Fresh late-fall run kings were reported near Corning last week.

▪ SACRAMENTO RIVER, Redding to Red Bluff

Trout fishing is very good between Redding and Red Bluff, with egg patterns resembling eggs from spawning salmon working best. Some late-fall kings have arrived at the Barge Hole, while the main run begins to wind down.


Jigging for stripers in the deepwater channel has improved as fall-run fish move up from the delta. Salmon fishing has once again slowed.



The lake is at 13.4-percent capacity. Fishing was very slow here with the low lake level, according to Mountain Hardware and Sports. It was snowing here on Sundaywhen WON called.


The lake is at 62.9-percent capacity. WON Editor Bill Karr reported a few anglers were fishing off the dam this past weekend. Snow was in the forecast for early this week.

▪ CARSON RIVER (East, West)

Todd Sodaro said the fishing on the Carson River is terrible. Two Creekside Lodge guests fished 10 hours over two days and caught one 7-inch rainbow.


The lake is at 44-percent capacity. Ed Dillard at Dillard’s Guided Fishing fished from shore at Mallard Point this past week and caught a 15-inch rainbow while a nearby angler netted a 20 incher—both were using floating dough bait. Reports indicated most shore anglers were scoring 2 or 3 fish in 4 hours. Boating was not recommended due to icy conditions at the Honker Cove ramp, plus the dock was pulled out of the water.


The lake is at 37-percent capacity. Mountain Hardware and Sports reported nothing had changed here--trollers were still picking up kokanee but they were unfit to eat since they were ready to spawn. Jiggers were picking up some macks to 8 pounds in 100 feet of water at China Cove and Loch Leven.


The Middle Fork and North Fork Feather River and Caribou Power House close on Sunday, Nov. 15. This will be the last report until April 30.


The lake is at 22-percent capacity. Wiggins Trading Post reported the best shore fishing was at the dam using nightcrawlers.


Mark Tieslau at Mountain Hardware and Sports in Blairsden reported shore anglers were picking up a few 16-inch rainbows and browns casting silver or gold Kastmaster spoons off the points. Upper Salmon Lake was producing brook trout to 14 inches by the boat ramp on inflated nightcrawlers.


The lake is at 70-percent capacity. Dale Daneman at Dale’s Foothill Fishing Service reported the colder weather should drop the water temp into the low to mid 50s and get the fall bite going—it’s long overdue. Trolling a dodger/nightcrawler in the top 10 feet should be producing lots of DFW planters and a few SMUD stockers. The region might get some snow early this week.


Todd Sodaro at Todd’s Bait and Tackle at the Creekside Lodge reported shore anglers were picking up a few rainbows near the east end of the dam and small boaters and float tubers were scoring in the deep water in front of the dam.


The lake is at 45.6-percent capacity. Mountain Hardware and Sports reported snow had closed the roads to the lake.


The lake is at 64-percent capacity. Sly Park Resort reported Carl Branco of Pollock Pines caught a 6 1/2-pound brown trolling a Speedy Shiner from his kayak at the mouth of the Narrows. Shore anglers were still picking up a few small rainbows at the dam on bait.


Chuck Self at Chuck’s Charter Fishing reported incredible fishing for 2- to 12-pound macks trolling 180- to 360 feet deep at North Shore—10 to 12 fish for limits in 2 to 2 1/2 hours in the early morning—the only thing missing was enough anglers to get in on the action!! Mike Nielsen at Tahoe Topliners Sportfishing reported jigging and trolling for 3- to 7-pound macks outside the Keys at 150 to 220 feet deep. Zach Gordon at Tahoe Sportfishing reported boats were catching easy limits of 3- to 6-pound macks mooching live bait on the bottom in 160 to 190 feet of water off Ski Run and Baldwin at South Shore.


The lake is at 48-percent capacity. Not much happening here and snow was in the forecast.


The lake is at 25.5-percent capacity. Still the best bet here, according to Mountain Hardware and Sports, was casting spoons or jigs from shore for smallmouth bass at the dam or nearby rocky banks.


Crosby’s Lodge reported checking in 5 double-digit cutthroats topped by a pair of 17 pounders for brothers Peter and Mark Thompson, and 4 of the 5 were caught from shore on flies and plugs. George Molino at Cutthroat Charters reported his trips were producing 10 to 25 fish with most running 17 to 24 inches. His last trip on Saturday yielded 17 fish with 3 limits of 17 to 20 inchers and the rest 20- to 24-inch slot fish while trolling Apex at 60 to 80 feet deep on the south end of the lake at Cattle Guard and Block House.


Low and slow and waiting for ice-over.


The lake is at 39.6-percent capacity. WON Editor Bill Karr reported there was no fishing pressure here with the low lake level.


The lake is at 12-percent capacity. Shore anglers were picking up some nice smallmouth bass to 3 pounds casting spoons off the dam, but access could become a problem since snow was falling when WON called on Sunday afternoon.


No change here--flows in the main river were down to 77 cfs at Farad, so leave this resource alone. The main river switches over to catch-and-release only with artificial barbless lures from Trout Creek in Truckee to the Nevada State line on November 16. Snow was falling here when WON called Sunday afternoon.


The lake is at 53-percent capacity. Ken Mathis at Ken’s Custom Tackle still recommended toplining for rainbows with dodgers or flashers and worms.


There was little fishing pressure here, according to Pam Hamic at the West Walker Motel. The river switches over to fishing with artificial lures with barbless hooks only and a zero daily bag and possession limits beginning November 16 from the Little Truckee to the Topaz Lake inlet.



Berkeley Flats were good for halibut and nearby water held plenty of striped bass. California Dawn managed limits of lingcod for 31 people in just one drift at the Farallones. Happy Hooker also worked the islands for limits of lingcod to 24 pounds. El Dorado and New El Dorado III fished the Marin coast for limits of rockfish and high counts of lingcod (often 2 per rod).


Bluefin tuna to 65 pounds were caught at the Cordell Bank by private boaters. Mako and blue sharks were also pretty thick out there. New Sea Angler and private boaters fished down the coast near Point Reyes or up the coast near Fort Ross to get in on the excellent rockfish and lingcod action.


Weekend fishing trips to the Farallon Islands were featured aboard New Huck Finn, New Salmon Queen and Sea Wolf out of Emeryville. Conditions were ideal and the fish came aboard quickly, with steady limits of rockfish and copious counts of lingcod to 15 pounds.


Large schools of jumping albacore were seen 43 southwest of Eureka. The lone boat out there couldn’t get them to bite, but plenty of boats are now looking for the opportunity to go tuna hunting. Shore fishers worked the North and South jetties for perch and smaller rockfish. Big swells prevented fishing the better spots out farther out along the jetties.


Shore fishing shored up the stock of fresh fish in the freezer for Fort Braggers who faced a closed groundfish season and a delayed crab opener. Hotspots for shore fishing were; Noyo Jetty, behind the Mill and down the coast at the south corner of Mendocino Headlands.


Party boat fishing for rockfish and lingcod was very good with limits of rockfish common at rocky reefs down the coast where Queen of Hearts and Huli Cat hunted. Bonito schooled up near the green buoy outside of the Harbor and treated skiff fishers to some real fun. Striped bass went off nicely for pier and surf anglers at Pacifica.


Bass Tub ran to the Farallones on calm water and found rockfish and lingcod to be quite hungry and aggressive. Flash fished mornings in the South Bay hauling in big leopard sharks and then afternoon trips targeted lings and rockfish along the Marin Coast, which produced nicely all week.



Few fishermen are heading to the lake, and most are targeting bass with plastics on the drop-shot. The minnow bite has slowed as the fish are suspended and holding in deeper water around the shad schools. The shad are balling up as the water continues to school. The lake should turn over within a few weeks depending upon the arrival of cold storms, and the rainbows and kings will migrate toward the surface. 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 held at 32% of capacity.


Bass fishing continues to be outstanding as the spotted bass are actively feeding before the winter months. The bass are chasing balls of threadfin shad, and once the shad schools are located, the bass will be holding near the bait. Shad-patterned plastics, vertical jigging with 1/2- to 3/4-ounce P-Line Laser Minnows, or small shad-patterned swimbaits are effective for the suspended fish. Catfishing from the banks also remained good with frozen shad, anchovies, sardines, or mackerel as the whiskerfish are roaming the shallows. Trolling for trout will improve with the rainbows coming up in the water column towards the surface. 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 largemouth and striped bass bite has been good with crawdad-patterned crankbaits working for both species from the shorelines. The lake is very low at 8% of capacity, and launching a trailered boat is next to impossible without getting wet.



The North Fork, Middle Fork, South Fork and their tributaries above Folsom Lake switch over to fishing with artificial lures with barbless hooks only with a zero daily bag and possession limit beginning Monday, Nov. 16.


The lake is at 37-percent capacity. Emerald Cove Marina reported the lake was at a historic low. One angler reported catching lots of dink spots on morning dawn worms cast to stumps and boulders in shallow water. Some bigger fish were hitting poppers around shad pushed to the surface.


The store at North Shore Resort was closed when WON called due to a poor weather forecast, so no report was available. Past reports indicated there was good bass action on plastics on rocky points near the dam and up in the Bear River arm.


The lake is 68 feet from full. Collins Lake Resort stocked another 1800 pounds of catchable and trophy rainbows this past week. Trollers were doing better than the shore anglers though most boaters were only catching 1 or 2 fish with some to 4 pounds. Catfish were still hitting in good numbers mostly for shore anglers. Jennifer McNally of Oroville caught 10 1/2- and 5-pound cats by the boat ramp on mackerel.


The lake is at 93-percent capacity. Skippers Cove Marina reported fishing pressure was very light this past week and no reports were available.


The lake is at 28-percent capacity. Guide Ron Gandolfi reported bass fishing was still great with trips averaging 75 fish mostly on darthead worms and Senkos and drop-shot worms at 5 to 20 feet deep on steep shady walls and main body points. His last 3 trips produced 8 spots to 3 pounds and lots of 2 pounders with only a few fish under 12 inches—the size was dramatically better this past week. Buzzbaits and spinnerbaits were working well on standing trees in Spring Valley, Dark Cove, and Railroad Cove. Launching was still 4-wheel drive only at the Spillway and Bidwell Marina.


The lake is at 68.7-percent capacity. With unsettled weather this past week, Clyde Crow at NID reported little or no fishing pressure, so no report was available.


The lake is at 40.4-percent capacity. With the recent rains, the lake level rose enough to submerge the marina mooring cables allowing easier access to the main lake for 12- to 14-foot aluminum boats. Fishing pressure was non-existent this past week, so no report was available from Jim Caldwell at NID. Smallmouth bass and brown trout should be active.


The lake was at 135.1-foot elevation at press time—89.6-percent capacity. Bass fishing pressure was light due to the duck hunters. Steelhead can be found in the canal at Wilbur Road—try nightcrawlers under a bobber drifted in the current or inflated on the bottom.

– Western Outdoor News