Here are the best places to fish in the Sacramento region, Northern California and beyond for the week of Nov. 30, 2015.
▪ LAKE AMADOR
A total of 1200 pounds of Mt. Lassen rainbows were released into the lake on Thanksgiving Day, including 100 tagged fish in preparation for the start of the annual Trout Derby. The derby will run until March 6, 2016, with a one-time $7.00 entry fee. Weekly plants are scheduled. Bank fishing is best with yellow trout dough bait, nightcrawlers, Kastmasters, or crappie jigs tipped with a piece of ‘crawler under a bobber. The best action is around the Boat House Docks or along the dam. Trollers are starting to frequent the lake, and the launch is still on the pavement with a courtesy dock.
▪ COLLINS LAKE
The lake is holding at 68 feet from full. Trout fishing success improved dramatically with a drop in the water temp over the past 2 weeks. WON Staffer Pat Young visited the lake to observe the stocking of the net pens and talked to the “Slow Trollers” of Yuba City and checked out their big catch that included rainbows up to 7 pounds caught topline trolling a CD5 Rapala in the channel between the marina and the dam. Shore anglers did well near the dam using floating dough bait for rainbows to 6 pounds. 1200 more pounds of rainbows were stocked in the lake this week on Monday.
▪ DELTA REGION: Sacramento River
A few salmon continue to work their way through the Sacramento River system, but few fishermen are targeting the species. Dropping water temperatures have been the story over the past week, and the plunging temperatures have slowed down the action for both sturgeon and striped bass. The fish are in the system, but they need to adjust to the colder water. The sturgeon bite should break out within the week with the combination of good tides and stable water temperatures. Liberty Island continues to be a top area, and there are some crappie showing up in the region. The stripers are moving in response to the cold, clear water in the north Delta. Sturgeon fishing has been best in the Pittsburg area in deep water with salmon roe or lamprey eel as shrimp baits are difficult to obtain.
▪ DELTA REGION: San Joaquin River
Hyacinth remains the story in the Stockton area, but there are signs that the floating mats of vegetation are starting to die off in the south Delta. The launch ramps in the Stockton metropolitan area remain closed, but Paradise Point Marina off of Eight Mile Road remains operational. Bait fishing has been solid for legal stripers to 15 pounds in the San Joaquin system, and there was a trickling of fresh shad in Stockton shops over the holiday weekend. The removal of the False River saltwater barrier has been completed, but boaters must use extreme caution and pay attention to the buoys when traveling through this popular route.
▪ SACRAMENTO RIVER, Sacramento
Some kings are still being caught by anglers trolling FlatFish downstream. Striper fishing has slowed in the deepwater channel. Some sturgeon are beginning to move upriver, and could turn on with this week’s rain.
NORTH COAST RIVERS
▪ CHETCO RIVER, Oregon
Salmon fishing was good last week and a 55-pound king came out for guide Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing, but it will be winding down after the storm forecast for this week as the last of the kings move into and up the river. Guides will be focusing mostly on steelhead from now on. River conditions will be iffy with the upcoming storm, so call ahead.
▪ ELK RIVER, Port Orford, Oregon
Over Thanksgiving week the fishing for king salmon on the Elk river was above average. The river is low and clear, and most of the salmon being caught are on the upper end of the drift from the hatchery to Iron Head take out, according to Curtis Palmer of River Secrets Tackle Company. Fishing preasure has been light for this time of the season, which is peak season. “I have received reports of catches of 3 to 7 kings a boat in a hard day of fishing,” he said.
▪ ROGUE RIVER, Grant’s Pass, Oregon
“Cold weather and cooling water is the news this week, but fishing has been good despite tough conditions,” said Troy Whitaker of U-Save Tackle in Grant’s Pass. “Our latest trip produced a couple of steelhead on plugs,” said Troy Whitaker at U-Save Tackle. “There are lots of hatchery fish in the Grants Pass areas. Anglers continue to take steelhead on pieces of roe, nightcrawlers or yarn balls. There are fair numbers of Coho being taken near Valley of Rogue Park. They seem to be hitting best on light colored plugs. Anglers are having to contend with freezing line most days.”
▪ SMITH RIVER
Low and clear river conditions at 772 cfs on Sunday will be climbing to about 8,000 cfs this week due to incoming storms, and that should bring in some more Rowdy Creek kings and some early steelhead, accoding to guide Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing. Kings are already spawning, but more fresh kings are expected through December.
▪ UMPQUA RIVER, Roseburg, Oregon
Cold evenings during the Thanksgiving week helped the fishing on the upper part of the Umpqua, and coho salmon are being caught by anglers from the bank and/or boats. “The river is extremely low and making it difficult to operate boats in most areas,” said Curtis Palmer of River Secrets Tackle. “The Umpqua River is one of those rivers that allows anglers to harvest a native coho salmon a day and two for the season. There is still a large percentage of healthy bright Coho in the river. Late Summer run steelhead are being caught in many place of the same places where the coho have been reported. Steelhead must be adipose-fin-clipped to be legally harvested.
▪ UMPQUA RIVER, South Fork, Roseburg, Oregon
The South Umpqua River opens on December 1st for steelhead fishing.
▪ KLAMATH RIVER, Iron Gate
Steelhead fishing continues to be good between Iron Gate Dam and I-5, despite freezing weather. Slower presentations are working better, with nightcrawlers fished behind divers and baits fished below bobbers working well. Flows Sunday at Iron Gate were 1,050 cfs.
▪ KLAMATH RIVER, Happy Camp
Side-drifting for steelhead has been good, with some guides reporting double-digit hookups. Yarns and roe are working best. Storms this week are expected to raise temperatures into the 40s and 50s, compared to morning lows in the 20s. Flows at Seiad Valley were 1,280 cfs on Sunday.
▪ KLAMATH RIVER, Klamath Glen
Salmon and steelhead fishing is slow. Rains expected this week may draw in fresh steelhead from the ocean. Flows at Terwer were 3,410 cfs on Sunday.
▪ TRINITY RIVER
Big numbers of hatchery steelhead continue to hold near Junction City. Rains this week could move the fish up toward Lewiston. The river has been crowded, but catches were good last week, especially with roe fished below bobbers. Flows at Lewiston were 326 cfs on Sunday.
NORTH COAST LAKES
▪ CLEAR LAKE
Cold mornings this past week dropped the water temperature from the upper 50s last week to the upper 40s this week. The bite continues to be good for some, at least for numbers but not for big fish. The live bait bite is steadily improving. Nothing big, but consistent action in water from 4 to 8 feet and just about everything is working.
▪ LAKE BERRYESSA
Trout are still spread throughout the water column waiting for the lake to turn. Cast a P-Line Laser Minnow to trout boils when they surface. Smallmouth and spots were the only bass biting this past week. They were caught in 15 to 25 feet of water with football jigs and drop-shot Roboworms in the main body.
▪ LAKE SONOMA
Spinnerbaits, LV500s, jigs and drop-shot Roboworms in 10 to 20 feet pulled a few bass into the nets, but the overall bite backed off. Landlocked steelhead are starting to come up in the water column. Try trolling a No. 2 Needlefish in the cop car color.
▪ LAKE ALMANOR
Troll Speedy Shiners, Needlefish and Rapalas or a dodger/nightcrawler combination, but stay away from shallow areas. Some are too shallow now for props. Plumas Pine to the USFS ramp is a short trolling lane that has been producing good action in the top 12 feet. Some the other usual places like Big Springs, Hamilton Branch and the east and west sides of the peninsula also reported a few quality hookups.
▪ BAUM LAKE
The trout fishing has been good all around the lake, although very few have been fishing this great winter fishery. Try midges and blue-winged olives in sizes 16 to 18. Be prepared for changing weather and carry chains now.
▪ FALL RIVER
Closed Nov. 15.
▪ UPPER HAT CREEK
Closed Nov. 15.
▪ MANZANITA LAKE
Now frozen and closed.
▪ McCLOUD RIVER
Closed Nov. 15.
▪ MCCLOUD RESERVOIR
Fishing well, but it snowed. Try little zebra midges for trout.
▪ PIT RIVER
The river is open to fishing year-round and fishing well but due to snow no one fished it over the weekend. Be very careful wading here. Try little bugs and micro mayflies, zebra midges are also good here. Just throw small stuff.
▪ SHASTA LAKE
Find the baitfish and you’ll find both the bass and trout. The lake has not turned over yet. Baitfish are pushing deeper and not on the surface anymore. For bass try 6-inch darterheads in sexy shad. PD&J green pumpkin or tubes. Try the dam from the shoreline for salmon that should show up soon. Trout will be moving to the arms.
▪ AMERICAN RIVER
Effort and catches have been light as the salmon season comes toward its end.
▪ FEATHER RIVER
Large stripers were reported at Boyd’s Pump. Striper anglers have been catching largemouth, spotted and smallmouth bass on swimabits. A few kings are still holding near the Fifth Street Bridge.
▪ FOLSOM LAKE
All boat launches remain closed because of low water.
▪ RANCHO SECO LAKE
Bass and trout fishing is slow.
▪ SACRAMENTO RIVER, Dunsmuir
Fly fishing for trout has been fair, although cold weather has limited effort.
▪ SACRAMENTO RIVER, Knight’s Landing to Colusa
Stripers are moving through the river and biting swimbaits and small bait fish. Salmon fishing overall is slow.
▪ SACRAMENTO RIVER, Red Bluff to Colusa
Salmon fishing is slow. Some stripers are being caught near Colusa on swimbaits. Striper anglers are catching lots of black bass.
▪ SACRAMENTO RIVER, Redding to Red Bluff
Native trout fishing is very good, with egg patterns working best. Some kings are still being caught in the Barge Hole, while brighter late fall kings are showing up between Anderson and Red Bluff. Salmon season closes Dec. 16.
▪ BOCA LAKE
The lake is at 13.8-percent capacity. Brian Nylund at Mountain Hardware and Sports reported the lake was beginning to ice over. Shore fishing was tough due to the ice in the shallows.
▪ CAPLES LAKE
The lake is at 62.3-percent capacity. Caples Lake Resort will re-open for the winter season on Dec. 19. The lake should be icing over with cold temps brought on by last week’s storm.
▪ CARSON RIVER (East)
Todd Sodaro at Todd’s Bait and Tackle at the Creekside Lodge reported low temps to -5 degrees with snow, and the river was icing over—much too cold for any thoughts about fishing.
▪ DAVIS LAKE
The lake is at 44-percent capacity. Ed Dillard at Dillard’s Guided Fishing reported the lake was icing over, but there was some open water at Mallard Point. Shore fishing was slow with the bitter cold weather with lows running minus-7 to 0 degrees and daytime temps to 30 degrees. Wait for the lake to freeze and safe ice to form.
▪ DONNER LAKE
The lake is at 36-percent capacity. Brian Nylund at Mountain Hardware and Sports reported this is the last lake in the Truckee area to ice over. At this low level, launching was difficult for even small aluminum boats. Boaters able to get out were jigging for macks in 50 to 80 feet of water.
▪ FRENCHMAN LAKE
The lake is at 22-percent capacity. Wiggins Trading Post reported the lake was very low and beginning to ice over. The road to the lake was icy and extreme caution and 4-wheel drive was recommended. No ice fishing yet.
▪ GOLD LAKES BASIN
Mark Tieslau at Mountain Hardware and Sports in Blairsden reported the road to the outlet at Gold Lake was still open after snow fell this past week. Shore anglers were casting spoons off the points for rainbows and browns.
▪ ICE HOUSE RESERVOIR
The lake is at 70-percent capacity. Dale Daneman at Dale’s Foothill Fishing Service reported a friend fished with a couple buddies this past week and caught 5 Mt. Lassen Trout Farms/SMUD rainbows trolling spoons from the top to 40 feet deep. The fish were scattered. The road to the lake was icy and caution while driving was critical to one’s survival.
▪ INDIAN CREEK RESERVOIR
Todd Sodaro at Todd’s Bait and Tackle at the Creekside Lodge reported snow had fallen this past week, but the county had plowed the Airport Road and access should be open. Shore fishing was good before the storm from the east end of the dam using floating dough bait.
▪ JENKINSON LAKE (Sly Park)
The lake is at 63-percent capacity. Denise Cole at Sly Park Resort reported Jacob Bruner of Pollock Pines caught a 30-inch mack from the shore near the boat docks while using a Kastmaster spoon. The main boat ramp was closed due to the low lake level.
▪ LAKE TAHOE
Chuck Self at Chuck’s Charter Fishing reported great fishing but terrible weather with snow and wind this past week. On his last trip, 5 clients put limits of 3- to 6-pound macks in the boat in 3 hours trolling 180 to 270 feet deep from Dollar Point to Crystal Bay Point. Some nice browns and rainbows were cruising the ledges and shelves in shallow water.
▪ PROSSER LAKE
The lake is at 25.8-percent capacity. Brian Nylund at Mountain Hardware and Sports reported the lake was beginning to ice over and shore fishing was tough due to the ice in the shallows. Wait for the lake to freeze and safe ice to form.
▪ PYRAMID LAKE
Valarie Taylor at Crosby’s Lodge reported they weighed in 5 big fish this past week, topped by an 18 1/2 pounder. 3 of the 5 big fish were caught by shore anglers on south end beaches. George Molino at Cutthroat Charters reported trolling was slower this past week as the fish moved into shallower water closer to shore. His last trip only produced 5 hookups out of 8 strikes—two 17- to 2-inch keepers, two fish less than 17 inches and one over 20 inches—all trolling Apex on the south end of the lake at Cattle Guard at 15 to 50 feet deep. An earlier trip produce 6 and 7 pounders for Dale Hempen of Vacaville trolling Apex at the South Nets at 15 feet deep.
▪ RED LAKE
This small lake iced over quickly after the brutal cold weather that hit this past week and settled in with lows below zero and daytime highs in the 20’s to 30 degrees. Ice fishing should be coming soon, but as of now the ice is not safe.
▪ SILVER LAKE
The lake is at 39.9-percent capacity. The lake was icing over, but not safe enough for ice fishing yet.
▪ STAMPEDE RESERVOIR
The lake is at 12-percent capacity. Brian Nylund at Mountain Hardware and Sports reported the lake was beginning to ice over. Fishing was very slow here before the storm and access will only be more difficult if any more snow falls in the near future.
▪ TRUCKEE RIVER
With the bitter cold weather, the slower water where the fish were holding was icing over, so fishing was terrible. Leave this river alone until normal flows resume, if we’re lucky, in the spring.
▪ UNION VALLEY RESERVOIR
The lake is at 50-percent capacity. Too much snow and ice on Pea Vine Ridge Rd. to safely get to the lake since the Sunset gate was closed weeks ago.
▪ WEST WALKER RIVER
Pam Hamic at the West Walker Motel reported there was no fishing pressure on the river with the bitter cold weather.
Party boats went outside the Bay for rockfish and lingcod, with good catches coming from the Marin Coast and from the Farallones. Happy Hooker, El Dorado and New El Dorado III all had great counts. Some private boats opted to stay inside Central bay and fish halibut and stripers around Angel Island.
▪ BODEGA BAY/LAWSON’S LANDING
Gage Vogler caught a 13-pound striped bass in the surf at Dillon Beach. Hog Island hosted some halibut fishing on the drift with frozen baits.New Sea Angler worked the Timber Cove area for at or near limits of lingcod to 24 pounds and steady limits of rockfish.
Emeryville boats went out along the Marin Coast to clobber the groundfish and came back in quite successful. New Huck Finn, New Salmon Queen, New Seeker and Tigerfish all ran passengers and sent them home with limits of rockfish and some lingcod to boot.
Swells subsided and people were able to work the North and South jetties all along their lengths, which include some notoriously good spots like the dolos. Rockfish and kelp greenling were the primary catches. Shore fishers found mostly perch to play with.
▪ FORT BRAGG
Fishing was difficult because shore fishing was the only game available. Fortunately, it wasn’t a bad option and great catches came from the Old Mill, MacKerricher and Mendocino Headlands where cabezon, kelp greenling and rockfish bit like crazy.
▪ HALF MOON BAY/PACIFICA
Successful trips down the coast to Martins Beach, Ritz Carlton and other structure zones produced solid counts of rockfish and lingcod for Half Moon Bay boats including Huli Cat, Queen of Hearts and Riptide. Anglers on Pacifica Pier enjoyed a wild flurry of schoolie-size striped bass through mid-week.
▪ SAN FRANCISCO
Limits of lingcod and limits of rockfish were caught during a half-day venture aboard Bass Tub. Flash II used salmon bellies for bait to catch leopard sharks off of the San Francisco Shipyard. Lovely Martha hooked halibut and striped bass.
▪ LAKE CAMANCHE
A major trout plant of 3600 pounds was split between the North Shore Launch Ramp, the South Shore Launch Ramp, and the South Shore Pond occurred on Thanksgiving Day to bring the total for the season to 11,700 pounds. The bank action is best in the South Pond with trout dough bait, nightcrawlers, or Kastmasters while a few fish per rod are possible at the launch ramp. Trolling is slow, but it should pick up as the fish migrate toward the surface of the lake. Bass fishermen are still working around the islands near the dam with crankbaits or jigging spoons. The South Shore Ramp 2 is open along with both ramps at the North Shore.
▪ DON PEDRO
Bass fishing has been decent for numbers of small fish with jigs, plastics on the drop-shot, or spoons as the fish are moving into deep water with the arrival of cold temperatures. Fresno-area fishermen are heading north to the lake to take advantage of the relatively good action compared to their local lakes. 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.
▪ NEW McCLURE
The launch ramp is closed, with the lake at 7% of capacity, but bass fishing remained good from the shoreline for spotted bass in the 1- to 1.5-pound range. Plastics on the drop-shot or darthead are the top techniques, and a few decent catfish have been landed on live crawdads. A-1 Bait in Snelling is open on the weekends with a full supply of live minnows and crawdads.
▪ NEW HOGAN
Striped bass fishing is decent from the shoreline for the few fishermen trying. Spoons, Hairraisers, or swimbaits are all working for the linesides. The lake is very low, but a boat can be launched at the ramp despite the lack of courtesy dock.
▪ NEW MELONES
Bass action is the best thing going as the trout bite has yet to start. Experienced fishermen are finding the bass in deep water with finesse techniques of plastics on the drop-shot, vertically jigged spoons, or jigs. The lake should turn over soon, bringing the rainbows to the surface and further driving the bass into deep water. Catfishing has slowed with the cooler water temperatures. 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 is at 11% of capacity.
▪ AMERICAN RIVER
It was too cold to do any fishing this past week with snow and ice from the mid-week storm.
▪ BULLARDS BAR
The lake is at 36-percent capacity. Emerald Cove Marina reported little boat traffic on the lake after the cold front that hit Tue-Wed this past week. Boaters can still launch at Dark Day. Spotted bass should be hitting Senkos, darthead worms, and swimbaits on the steep walls and points down to 40 feet deep.
▪ CAMP FAR WEST
North Shore Resort reported Ron Franks fished a couple days this past week and caught 25 and 47 bass in the Bear River arm using orange craws, oxblood worms, and green pumpkin lizards at 1 to 10 feet deep. Most of the fish were keepers to 2 1/2 pounds. Boaters can still launch on the gravel near the ramp with 2-wheel drive.
▪ ENGLEBRIGHT RESERVOIR
The lake is at 92-percent capacity. Lisa Rogers at Skippers Cove Marina reported that houseboaters were catching rainbows to 19 inches off the backs of their boats in the marina using nightcrawlers and floating dough bait.
▪ LAKE OROVILLE
The lake is at 26-percent capacity—down 246 feet. Guide Ron Gandolfi reported another great week of bass fishing with novices catching 40-plus fish per day on drop-shot worms and flukes in 5 to 30 feet of water on steep rocky walls and points all over the lake—main body, slot, and all river arms. Anglers caught more spots to 2 pounds this past week, and 6-year-old Zurill Lee caught a 3-pound largemouth and a 4-pound king salmon drop-shotting. Launching was tough due to the shallow water on the ramp at Bidwell Marina. Launching was still 4-wheel-drive only at both Bidwell and the Spillway.
▪ ROLLINS LAKE
The lake is at 88.2-percent capacity. Fishing pressure was very light with the cold weather according to NID staff, and no reports of success were available.
▪ SCOTT’S FLAT LAKE
The lake is at 37.3-percent capacity. The water level dropped this past week and the lake received a dusting of snow, but small aluminum boats could still launch at the marina. With the cold weather, fishing pressure was non-existent according to Jim Caldwell at NID.
▪ THERMOLITO AFTERBAY
The lake was at 134.1-foot elevation at press time—82.6-percent capacity. The cold weather and cold water releases slowed the bass bite. Try for steelhead in the channel at Wilbur Road using nightcrawlers. Watch out for duck hunters on the weekends—this cold front surely drove a lot of ducks south out of Oregon and Washington so hunting activity will increase.
– Western Outdoor News