Here are the best places to fish in the Sacramento region, Northern California and beyond for the week of Jan. 18, 2016.
▪ LAKE AMADOR
Trout plants will continue this week with 1500 pounds of Mount Lassen rainbows expected on Thursday. The lake has risen another foot to 25 feet from spilling, but the water clarity is stained due to the inflow. Trollers are picking up a few rainbows along the shoreline with broken backed Rapalas. The bank and troll bite has been slow the past week with the stained water, but a few fish per rod are possible with white crappie jigs tipped with a nightcrawler under a bobber, various colors of trout dough bait, or green Power Eggs. Weekly plants are scheduled through the month of May, and the annual trout derby will run until March 6, 2016 with a one-time $7.00 entry fee. The launch is still on the pavement with a courtesy dock, and the second lane will open soon as the lake continues to rise.
▪ CAPLES LAKE
The lake is at 64.3-percent capacity. John Voss at Caples Lake Resort reported the resort was fully open for the winter season with cabins, lodge rooms, and the marina store was selling ice fishing supplies. The ice was 1 1/2 feet thick and snow was 0 to 4 feet deep depending on location. Ice fishing was good at the dam where Josh Otto of Kirkwood caught 5 nice rainbows jigging a gold Kastmaster.
▪ DELTA REGION: SACRAMENTO RIVER
Minus tides and freshwater flow are expected to bring out the sturgeon bite during the current week. The best sturgeon action has been in the upper river, but there have been scattered diamondbacks taken in upper Suisun Bay. Striped bass fishing is slow, but the live bait bite is holding out for a few huge fish. The reaction bite is very slow, but experienced fishermen can still squeeze out a fish or two. With the two major upcoming sturgeon derbies, anglers are advised to reserve their bait well in advance. 2015 Sturgeon Report Cards are due by January 31.
▪ DELTA REGION: SAN JOAQUIN RIVER
The water exports have slowed down due to a recent decision for protection of the endangered Delta smelt. Finding clear water is the key to success in the San Joaquin, and the clearest and warmest water is in the south Delta near Discovery Bay. A slow presentation is necessary for all species, and cut baits are working best for striped bass. A wintertime mode is in full swing. The hyacinth is dropping to the bottom, but this week’s minus tides should draw out debris off of the levee banks into the river and sloughs.
▪ SACRAMENTO RIVER, Knight’s Landing to Colusa
Sturgeon fishing has been fair to good at First and Second Beach at Knight’s Landing, with a mix of keepers and oversize sturgeon. Combinations of ghost shrimp and pile worms are working best, followed by ghost shrimp and eel. Muddy water has drawn in fresh sturgeon from the delta.
NORTH COAST RIVERS
▪ CHETCO RIVER, Brookings
Heavy rain and melting snow blew out the Chetco River again over the weekend, but before that there was good fishing action for everyone—boaters and plunkers alike. The lower river was best for hatchery steelies. Plunkers used Spin-N-Glos, and roe has been the best bet for driftboaters. No downrunners reported yet, so the steelhead season is still young, and fishing should be excellent when there’s a break in the storms and the river comes back down.
▪ COOS RIVER, South Fork, Coos Bay, Oregon
Last week, low clear water conditions made spotting steelhead easy, but by Tuesday afternoon the lucky anglers who made it to the stream found perfect fishing conditions. Fishing slowed towards the weekend, and the weekend storm blew out the river, and windy conditions made it unsafe to be driving.
▪ ELK/SIXES RIVER, Port Orford, Oregon
Heavy rain blew the Elk and Sixes out on Sunday, but the Elk had been fishing good late last week for a mix of new winter steelhead and late-run fall salmon, according to WON Staff Writer and guide Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing. A handful of bright kings were caught late last week by anglers side-drifting for steelhead, while guides targeting steelhead were reporting one to four fish a day. The Elk was at 4.9 feet on Sunday, up from 4.3 feet the day before. It is expected to begin fishing again early this week. The Sixes is high and muddy.
▪ MILLACOMA RIVER, West Fork, Coos Bay, Oregon
Early in the week, steelhead fishing was steady with most anglers successful, according to Curtis Palmer of River Secrets Tackle Company, and some caught and released as many as 11 winter steelhead. On Wednesday the river came up and the fish raced upstream. Those fishing higher on the river did much better than other anglers downriver closer to the forks. By Friday it became luck of the cast if you went home emptyhanded or not. Unfortunately, the weekend had the West Fork of the Millacoma River blown out.
▪ MILLACOMA RIVER, East Fork, Coos Bay, Oregon
Fishing was good much of last week and much like the West Fork, steelhead fishing became slower as the week progressed. As the weekend approached, so did a large storm, leaving the rivers blown out and many resident's without power in the area.
▪ ROGUE RIVER, Gold Beach, Oregon
Steelhead fishing from anchored jet boats as well as with Spin-N-Glos plunked from the shore was good on the lower Rogue River last week before rains made flows too high over the weekend. The Rogue was running at 27,000 cfs on Sunday, up substantially from the 6,000 cfs most of last week. Flows are expected to be too high all this week. This year's steelhead run has been good so far, with a mix of hatchery and wild fish running from 4 to 10 pounds.
▪ ROGUE RIVER, Grant’s Pass, Oregon
Fishing might not be on the menu for about a week as heavy rains have the river running high and muddy. More storms are due this week, too.
▪ SMITH RIVER
Guide Phil Desautel of Phil’s Smiling Salmon Guide Service fished Jason and Lynn Hardy of Pasadena for 3 landed steelies out of 5, with fish 9 to 11 pounds while sidedrifting yarn, eggs and Fish Pills, but the river is expected to hit 60,000 cfs this week so will be unfishable for awhile. WON Staff Writer Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing said the river was fishing well since Christmas until the weekend blowup on Jan. 15, and will continue to fish well when the river clears up. The Smith drops out quickly after the rains stop.
▪ UMPQUA RIVER, Roseburg, Oregon
Fishing conditions weren’t good early in the week and fishing was slow, but rain at mid-week had the river high and colored, according to Curtis Palmer of River Secrets Tackle company, who said it was “extremely high and flowing mud by Sunday.”
▪ KLAMATH RIVER, Iron Gate
Flows jumped from 1,000 cfs late last week to nearly 4,000 cfs on Sunday as releases from Iron Gate Dam were increased to account for heavy rain and melting snow.
▪ KLAMATH RIVER, Happy Camp
The middle section of the Klamath was completely blown out as flows near Seiad Valley jumped from 900 cfs to 13,400 cfs. Indian Creek near Happy Camp burst from 200 cfs to more than 6,000 cfs.
▪ KLAMATH RIVER, Klamath Glen
Flows were approaching minor flood stage on Sunday, as the Klamath hit 85,000 cfs at Terwer Sunday evening.
▪ TRINITY RIVER
A small stretch of the Trinity near Lewiston remained fishable, while flows were quickly rising from Junction City to Hoopa. Most of the river is expected to be blown out much of the week. Flows at Lewiston held stable at 320 cfs.
NORTH COAST LAKES
▪ CLEAR LAKE
The dip in temperatures has moved the threadfin shad out to deep water offshore looking for warmer temperatures. And with these conditions the bite has toughened up. Expect more pull downs on dropped baits as there are still a number of active smaller fish around Shag Rock, the Narrows and Henderson. The catfish bite is slow but a few anglers report good bluegill fishing around Shag Rock, Henderson Point and the dock at Indian Beach.
▪ LAKE BERRYESSA
Apex spinners, little Speedy Shiners in gold and silvers or drifting minnows has put a few trout in the box. Key in on 25 to 40 feet of water off creek channel ledges, island tops and primary points with deep water access for bass. Putah Creek and Markley Cove are still your best bets for boat launching.
▪ LAKE SONOMA
Conditions toughened up after recent rains and water temperatures dropping in the 48- to 52-degree marks had bass anglers struggling for bites. Largemouth bass in the 1- to 4-pound range rewarded the patient anglers who slowed down and picked apart primary points, ledges and standing timber in the 15- to 25-foot range. The mouth of Yorty and Cherry creeks are still the best place to target hard fighting trout. Lake Sonoma is at 70% capacity and coming up fast.
▪ LAKE ALMANOR
Very cold north wind has much of the lake iced over for the last two weeks. The only ramp that is useable is Canyon Dam. The east basin is your best bet for bait fishing or trolling if you can launch. Slow action rigs are the way to go or at least try before switching out.
▪ BAUM LAKE
Water conditions are clear and cold. The upper section of the lake flows like a river and fishing has been great. As always this time of year check weather conditions and be prepared for cold weather.
▪ McCLOUD RESERVOIR
Fishing has slowed down but leeches are always a good bet here. As always this time of year, check weather and road conditions and be prepared for cold weather.
▪ PIT RIVER
Expect some color in the water due to the recent heavy rain and snow, but darker water can mean some great streamer fishing. As always this time of year check weather and road conditions and be prepared for cold weather.
▪ SHASTA LAKE
Try the jig bite at 40 feet for numbers of smaller bass, as they have been inhaling them. For the possibility of a big bass, pull out the swimbaits. For trout, go to the top of the McCloud arm and troll your way down.
▪ AMERICAN RIVER
Nearly 400 steelhead have now returned to Nimbus Fish Hatchery, more than double last year’s total. Fishing has been slow, but some fresh steelhead are being caught below the hatchery. The water was muddy over the weekend and flows remain low.
▪ FEATHER RIVER
The river was rising and muddy, especially downstream from the Yuba River. A few stripers are being caught, along with some sturgeon below the mouth of the Bear River. Overall steelhead fishing is slow.
▪ FOLSOM LAKE
The lake was 385 feet above sea level on Sunday, up 32 feet from Dec. 20. The Granite Bay and Brown’s Ravine launches are now open. Boaters are limited to 5 mph. Dirty water has limited success. Look for bass suspended in 20 to 60 feet of water and troll 45 to 60 feet down for landlocked salmon near the dam.
▪ RANCHO SECO LAKE
Bass and trout fishing is slow.
▪ SACRAMENTO RIVER, Dunsmuir
The river is high and muddy, as flows skyrocketed from 500 cfs last Thursday to more than 6,400 cfs on Sunday.
▪ SACRAMENTO RIVER, Red Bluff to Colusa
Some sturgeon have moved into the Colusa area, biting combinations of eel, ghost shrimp and sardines. Flows on Sunday at Colusa were 22,000 cfs and rising, up from 9,000 cfs two days before.
▪ SACRAMENTO RIVER, Redding to Red Bluff
High, muddy water from week-long rains have stalled fishing for native rainbows. Conditions have remained stable next to Keswick dam.
▪ SACRAMENTO RIVER, Sacramento
Striper fishing was slow last week at the Port of Sacramento in the deepwater channel.
▪ BOCA LAKE
The lake is at 24.1-percent capacity. Due to thinning ice conditions, Brian Nylund at Mountain Hardware and Sports recommended that only experienced ice fishermen venture out after browns and rainbows at the dam.
▪ DAVIS LAKE
The lake is at 45-ppercent capacity. Ed Dillard at Dillard’s Fishing Guide Service and Jeanne Graham at J&J’s Grizzly Store agreed at the ice fishing was very slow with anglers scoring only 0 to 1 rainbow at the dam and Camp 5 through 5 to 12 inches of ice using worms, floating dough bait, and jigs. The road gets plowed to the dam, but watch out for ice in the shady areas—4x4 recommended. The Jim Pato Davis Lake Ice Fishing Derby benefitting the American Cancer Society is scheduled for Feb. 6—call J&J’s Grizzly Store for more info at 530-832-0270.
▪ DONNER LAKE
The lake is at 40-percent capacity. The lake was still ice free and boaters were seeing smaller macks hitting F13 orange/gold Rapalas toplined over shallow humps and ridges on the east end of the lake. Bigger macks were stacked up at 80 to 100 feet deep in China Cove and catchable using jigged Buzz Bombs and Laser Minnows. Rainbow action was sporadic on the west end at the boat docks.
▪ FRENCHMAN LAKE
The lake is at 23-percent capacity. Wiggins Trading Post reported ice fishermen were scoring 1 or 2 rainbows at the dam using worms. The road gets plowed to the dam, but watch out for ice in the shady areas—4x4 recommended.
▪ ICE HOUSE RESERVOIR
The lake is at 66-percent capacity. Kyle Neeser at Crystal Basin Tackle and Guide Service reported the region was snowed in and even though SMUD plowed the roads to some of their facilities, icy conditions were a problem.
▪ INDIAN CREEK RESERVOIR
Todd Sodaro at Todd’s Bait and Tackle at the Creekside Lodge reported the road to the lake was passable, but with poor weather in the forecast recommended calling ahead at 530-694-2511 for the latest road conditions. Ice fishing was fair near the dam, but use extreme caution when getting on the ice.
▪ JENKINSON LAKE (Sly Park)
The lake is at 69-percent capacity. Sly Park Resort reported fishing pressure was very low with the poor weather, so there was little to report.
▪ LAKE TAHOE
Chuck Self at Chuck’s Charter Fishing reported good mack action when there was a break in the weather. A morning trip produced limits of 2- to 6-pound macks trolling 160 to 235 feet deep along North Shore while an afternoon trip kicked out limits of 5 to 7 pounders on spoons and minnow imitation plugs.
▪ PROSSER LAKE
The lake is at 22.8-percent capacity. Due to thinning ice conditions, Brian Nylund at Mountain Hardware and Sports recommended that only experienced ice fishermen venture out for rainbows at the dam.
▪ PYRAMID LAKE
Valarie Taylor at Crosby’s Lodge reported a pretty quiet week with only 3 fish weighed in this past week. A 15 pounder caught by local flyfishing guru Peter Thompson at Monument topped the board. The top catch-and-release trout was a 16 1/2-pound cutthroat landed by Sam Porter of Susanville at an undisclosed beach.
▪ RED LAKE
According to Victor Babbitt at TFFO, cutthroat trout fishing was sporadic at the dam using worms and bay shrimp.
▪ SILVER LAKE
The lake is at 44.7-percent capacity. Ice fishing should be good at the dam using worms, bay shrimp, and jigged Kastmaster spoons.
▪ TOPAZ LAKE
Dave Rossman at the Topaz Lodge and Casino reported a big drop in the number of rainbows 2 pounds and up weighed in this past week—31 fish running 2 to 4 pounds and two tagged fish. Top fish of the week was a 4 pounder caught by Jason Mathis of Wellington. Most anglers were fishing from the shore using worms and floating dough bait.
▪ UNION VALLEY RESERVOIR
The lake is at 55-percent capacity. Kyle Neeser at Crystal Basin Tackle and Guide Service reported the region was snowed in and even though SMUD plowed the roads to some of their facilities, icy conditions were a problem.
Happy Hooker was back in action Saturday with 3 bass and 1 sturgeon. Shore fishers hunted up rubberlip and pogey perch using shrimp pieces, pile worms and squid strips. Private boaters ran up around the corner to fish the Napa River or Carquinez Straits where they hooked both striped bass and a few sturgeon.
▪ BODEGA BAY
Fishing action was skimpy due to weather. At the top part of Bodega Bay near the harbor, folks were able to fish the rocks for rockfish, greenling and cabezon. Doran Beach was fishable at times during the week and turned in catches of red tail and barred surf perch.
▪ EUREKA/CRESCENT CITY
Finally, over the weekend, the jetties were safely fishable and plenty of fresh kelp greenling dinners were served throughout the town. The fish were hungry for shrimp and squid strips. At Crescent City people are checking the Harbor daily in expectation of the start of a herring spawn and when it happens, many north coast anglers are going to load up on good bait for the season ahead.
▪ FORT BRAGG
The jetty was the prime spot to fish through the week, thanks to its relative protection from the thundering swells outside. For brief periods when the swells diminished, Old Mill and Soldier’s Point were fishable and produced extra delights such as lingcod and cabezon.
▪ HALF MOON BAY/PACIFICA
Inside the harbor the pier was fished for perch and the rock wall was pretty darned hot for perch. No boats went out, due to the seas. Up at Pacifica, surf fishing was good for barred surfperch and there were decent catches of standard issue-size striped bass. Pacfica Pier withstood the week of big swells without further damage.
▪ SAN FRANCISCO
A trip to San Pablo Bay aboard Lovely Martha produced a 46-inch sturgeon and bass to 12 pounds. The crew of Bass Tub has her hauled and is working diligently on annual maintenance projects in preparation for what they hope will be a stellar season ahead.
▪ LAKE CAMANCHE
The top bank action is in the South Shore Pond with two rainbows over 8 pounds landed on either grubs or trout dough bait during the past week. 1200 pounds of rainbows from Mount Lassen Hatchery were released along the South Shore launch ramp during the past week with another plant scheduled for this week. The season total of plants has grown to 23,800 pounds. The Narrows has been the top location for trollers with experienced fishermen scoring rainbows in excess of 7 pounds within the top 10 feet of the surface. The South Shore Ramp 2 is open along with both ramps at the North Shore although the lake has dropped to 22% of capacity due to water releases.
▪ DON PEDRO
Bass fishing continues to be the top draw at the lake with the paucity of trout fishermen, but the bass action remains tough with only 14 of the 24 teams fishing the Sonora Bass Club weighing in limits with the winning five fish at 12.98 pounds. A barrier debris boom has been installed up the river arm in the Tuolumne River, and the booms are holding back floating woody debris washed down from the aftermath of the Rim Fire. The booms will be moved further upstream as conditions permit. The lake needs to rise to 697 feet for the auxiliary road ramp at Moccasin with a rise to 725 feet necessary for the regular ramp. The Fleming Meadows Launch ramp is the only ramp on the lake, but two boats can be launched at the present time. Trout trolling in the main lake remained slow. The lake rose nearly 3 feet to 690.82 feet in elevation and 37% of capacity.
▪ LAKE McCLURE
The lake rose 4 feet to 618.36 feet in elevation and 10% of capacity, and the launch ramp at Barrett Cove North is finally opened. The water is stained the color of the red clay banks from the recent inflow, and bass fishermen who were anticipating success, found a tough bite in the stained water. A-1 Bait in Snelling is open on the weekends with a full supply of live minnows and crawdads.
▪ LAKE McSWAIN
The Department of Fish and Wildlife planted the lake for the first time in several months with a heavy plant of 2000 pounds last Monday. Several boats have been launching into the lake and the shoreline is lined with bank fishermen in response to the news of the plant. The action has been slow as the main lake is stained from the inflow. The lake level is 8 feet down due to maintenance work on the dam, but the lake should be back to normal soon.
▪ LAKE PARDEE
The anticipated lake opening on President’s Day weekend is on hold as the construction of the RV Park has experienced delays. There is no estimated date of opening at the present time. The lake has risen to 66% of capacity.
▪ NEW MELONES
Trout fishing remains very slow despite recent plants from the Department of Fish and Wildlife on both county sides of the lake. Trollers are working hard for a few planters with the holdovers yet to emerge from the depths. Bass fishing remains the top draw at the lake with the best action on the bottom with plastics on the Texas-rig or drop-shot in crawdad patterns along with jigs on a 3/8- to 3/4-ounce football head. The fish are in a full wintertime bite, and they are holding in small scattered schools. Good electronics are necessary to locate the schools. The launch ramp is limited to the dirt ramp at Glory Hole Point, and a 4WD tow vehicle in essential. The lake is at 14% of capacity, and it rose 3.5 feet this past week.
▪ BULLARDS BAR
The lake is at 43-percent capacity. Emerald Cove Marina reported fishing pressure was very low this past week with the poor weather and rain was forecast for most of this week too. Bruce Gibson at the Paradise Tackle Company reported jigs were working best here in 3/16- to 3/8-ounce sizes in green pumpkin/brown for mostly smaller fish and the occasional good one. Wacky-rigged Senkos were working, too.
▪ CAMP FAR WEST
The lake was at 41.6-percent capacity—up 33-percent as of Jan. 1 and rising rapidly! Fishing pressure was very low with the poor weather this past week and more rain was due this week.
▪ COLLINS LAKE
The lake is at 48 feet from full—up 20 feet from the seasonal low!! Fishing pressure was very low this past week and with more rain this week little angling pressure was expected. Shore anglers were picking up 1 or 2 rainbows at best. The main launch ramp was back in operation.
▪ ENGLEBRIGHT RESERVOIR
The lake is at 94-percent capacity. Skippers Cove Marina reported no fishing pressure this past week though the Lake Wildwood Fishing Club and the ACOE joined forces and placed a number of Christmas tree fish habitats around the lake.
▪ LAKE OROVILLE
The lake is at 31-percent capacity—up another 4 feet. Guide Ron Gandolfi reported fishing was still good for anglers able to detect the subtle bite. Drop-shot and darthead worms, Paradise Tackle Co. finesse jigs, tubes, and wormhead Senkos were all working on walls and points from 10 to 30 feet deep—some bigger fish were hitting down to 60 feet deep. At incoming water sites in the river and creek arms, spinnerbaits and square bill crankbaits were working at 4 to 10 feet deep. Launching was 4x4 only at the Spillway and Bidwell—rain and increased boat traffic from the recent tournaments was softening the ramps.
▪ ROLLINS LAKE
The lake is at 92-percent capacity. There was little fishing pressure with the poor weather according to NID staffer Jim Caldwell.
▪ SCOTT’S FLAT LAKE
The lake is at 55.9-percent capacity. There was little fishing pressure here with the poor weather according to NID staffer Jim Caldwell.
▪ THERMOLITO AFTERBAY
The lake was at 133.6-foot elevation at press time—79.1-percent capacity. Jigs were working on the rock banks. Be sure to give the duck hunters plenty of space to avoid conflicts, or better yet just wait until after Jan. 31 when the waterfowl season closes.
– Western Outdoor News