Here are the best places to fish in the Sacramento region, Northern California and beyond for the week of February 22, 2015.
▪ LAKE CAMANCHE
A huge largemouth bass at 15.75 pounds was landed this week, as the bass are moving into the shallows. The Lake Camanche Recreation Company continues to plant Mt. Lassen rainbows, and 1200 pounds went into the South Shore Pond this week. Next week’s plant will be split between the pond and the South Shore launch ramp. Trout dough bait, Kastmasters, Krocodiles or crappie jigs are working best in the pond, while trollers are finding the best action with Speedy Shiners, Rapalas or grubs. The South Shore Ramp 2 is open along with both ramps at the North Shore, and the ramps are expected to remain open through the season with anticipated water releases from upstream Lake Pardee.
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▪ LAKE COLLINS
The lake is 22 feet from full. The lake was scheduled for another 1,800-pound trout plant this week -- 1350 pounds of catchables and 450 pounds of trophy fish. Shore anglers and trollers were doing well this past week for rainbows to 4 1/2 pounds. The shore anglers did best at the dam, beach and boat ramp on worms, floating dough bait and Kastmaster spoons. The trollers scored near the dam using flasher/worms and Kastmaster spoons.
▪ DELTA REGION: SACRAMENTO RIVER
Striped bass are showing up in force in the clearer waters of the north Delta, and trollers, bait fishermen and plug casters are getting in on the action. Sturgeon are also found throughout the Delta from the Freeport Bridge west to the Carquinez Bridge, and the bite has been most consistent in the north Delta with pile worms, eel/nightcrawler or pile worm/eel combinations. The action in Suisun Bay is variable with great fishing one day, followed by slower action the following day. The fish are being marked on the meter, and it is only a matter of finding the right time and tide when they are feeding. Live bait is still a concern, but ghost shrimp is becoming more plentiful.
▪ DELTA REGION: SAN JOAQUIN RIVER
Largemouth bass continue to move up in the water column, and they are responding to a variety of baits including 1/4-oz. white/chartreuse spinnerbaits, Senkos, chatterbaits, or 10-inch Power Worms. There is a small window for topwater action depending on the tide and light conditions. Striped bass are also starting to show up in the clearer water, and Holland Tract and Discovery Bay continue to be the clearest areas. Bluegill and redear perch can be found in the south Delta sloughs with red worms.
▪ FEATHER RIVER
Striped bass continued to bite well last week from Shanghai Bend to Star Bend. Fish to 25 pounds were reported. S-Waver swimbaits with a rainbow trout finish have worked best, but live minnows and sardines used as cut bait also caught fish. Pencil poppers have worked well during the evening topwater bite. The stripers are feeding on hatchery steelhead smolts released earlier in the month. The first of the spring spawning fish are expected in mid-March, and they’ve already entered the Delta. Egg patterns are catching steelhead in the Low Flow area, while some large steelhead have been reported below the Outlet.
NORTH COAST RIVERS
▪ CHETCO RIVER, Brookings
It was good fishing most of last week, at least until a big storm blew the river out over the weekend, which sent all the 44 guides from the Rowdy Creek Derby on Friday and Saturday to the Smith. Guide Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing was putting his clients on 2 to 6 steelhead a day, both hatchery and wild. The river is expected to be back in shape this week, with no storms in the forecast.
▪ ELK/SIXES RIVER, Port Orford, Oregon
According to Andy Martin of Wild River Fishing the Elk fished well last week but was down to 3.5 feet on Sunday, and the Sixes River is in the best shape it has been so far this season, fishing well for steelhead from Edson Creek to the Grange.
▪ ROGUE RIVER, Gold Beach, Oregon
The river fished well for steelhead before the rain last week, but it should be back in good shape by this weekend. Boaters are anchoring and running 3.5 MagLip plugs.
▪ RUSSIAN RIVER
The river was fishing great before the rains late last week, with some boats getting up to 6 hookups a trip. The rain brought flows up to 2000 cfs at Hacienda, but it was on the way down by Sunday and expected to be in great shape when you read this. Still some fresh steelhead in the river, mixed with downrunners.
▪ SMITH RIVER
The Smith was high all week, but still lower than the Chetco, so it drew the focus of the Rowdy Creek Derby and all 44 guides during the 2-day derby on Friday andSaturday. It was won by Guides Mike Coopman and Dave Carney, who led their team to a first-place finish, as their four anglers landed eight steelhead totaling 230 inches. The winning team was made up of Tommy Chew, Eric Schweikl, Jason Shanle and Nick Angeli. Guides Kevin Brock and Mario Arguilles led their team to second place with eight fish that measured 226 inches. WON Staff Writer and guide Andy Martin and guide Albert Kutzkey led their team to third place with seven fish that measured 198 inches. The biggest fish was 38 inches. The rains brought in a new batch of fresh steelhead.
▪ KLAMATH RIVER, Iron Gate
Heavy rain last week increased flows at Iron Gate from 1,100 cfs to 1,700 cfs on Sunday. The river was fishable, but high. Anglers expect improved conditions by this weekend. Look for a mix of fresh steelhead and spawned out fish heading back to the ocean.
▪ KLAMATH RIVER, Happy Camp
Flows at Seiad Valley were 5,010 cfs on Sunday. The river had just come back into shape last week before a new storm blew it out over the weekend. Expect good conditions later this week, and a fresh batch of steelhead from the lower river. Side-drifting roe and Puff Balls generally works best in the higher water.
▪ KLAMATH RIVER, Klamath Glen
With flows of 26,000 cfs, the lower river is too high for productive fishing.
▪ TRINITY RIVER
Rains blew the lower section of the Trinity out again over the weekend. Flows at Lewiston were 321 cfs on Sunday, making the stretch from the dam to Junction City the best bet for steelhead. Flows at Junction City were 781 cfs on Sunday. Many of the steelhead have now spawned and are headed back to the ocean. Drifting roe below bobbers has worked best in the fishable sections of the river, while small plugs also are taking steelhead.
NORTH COAST LAKES
▪ CLEAR LAKE
It’s been more of an afternoon bite than morning bite, so sleep in. Things are looking better here, and bass to 7 pounds are showing, with anglers catching as many as 40 bass or more a day, but many of them can be smaller fish. Some limits to 30 pounds. Good all over the lake, which has been stabilizing. A lot of 12- to 15-inch fish. Crappie action has been improving.
▪ MENDOCINO LAKE
The lake received a lot of much-needed rainfall, and the bass are on the chomp here. Not much pressure at all, and largemouth to 3 pounds are being caught, with smallies to 2 pounds. The peninsular area and east side have been good, in 5 to 10 feet of water.
▪ LAKE SONOMA
Bass went into high gear here with the warm weather and in a pre-spawn mode. Good numbers being caught, with fish to 7 pounds. You can use about anything in the way of lures, including spinnerbiats, Pointer minnows, chatterbaits, cranks, swimbaits, etc.
▪ LAKE ALMANOR
Beautiful weather up here has anglers hitting the water and catching fish. The north end of the east basin is still murky, while the Hamilton Branch has cleared a little, with the Powerhouse flowing again. The west side of the lake is much better fishing from Goose Island to the USFS ramp to Airport Flats, especially good between 9:30 to 10.
▪ BAUM LAKE
The upper section of the lake has been fishing well for trout with tiny zebra midges, little leeches or black midge patterns and pheasant tails.
▪ McCLOUD RESERVOIR
Leeches are always good bet here. As always this time of year, check weather and road conditions even though things are warming up.
▪ PIT RIVER
The river is starting to clear, but this could change with the weather. Pit 3 was the better bet this past week and dark nymphs the way to go.
▪ SHASTA LAKE
Greg Gutierrez of Red bluff won the Costa FLW Series Western Division by weighing in a total of 15 bass over the 3 days during the pre-spawn bite, with a 40-plus-pound total. He won $36,376. Richard Dobyns had 15 bass totally 35-9 pounds for $13,921 in the event. While Ken Phillips came in third with 15 bass weighing 33-15 pounds for $10,778. Bass are starting to make beds and are in the shallows, but also down to 80 feet during the transition.
▪ AMERICAN RIVER
Water releases from Folsom Lake kept flows in the American River at 3,040 cfs all last week and over the weekend. Steelhead fishing was slow, although some fish have been caught by anglers drifting roe or using small spoons. Larry Barnes of Sacramento Pro Tackle said he expects new steelhead to move into the American with the increased flows from Folsom Lake.
▪ FOLSOM LAKE
Trout, landlocked salmon and bass fishing remained slow last week, in part because of the dirty water from recent storms. The lake rose 2 feet last week to 432 feet of elevation. Inflows on Sunday were 3,830 cfs, while outflows were 2,713 cfs. The Granite Bay, Brown’s Ravine and Folsom Point launches are now open. Boaters also have been allowed to moor their boats at Folsom Lake Marina.
▪ RANCHO SECO LAKE
This year’s trout derby will be held April 2-3. The lake has been stocked with trout and fish are being caught with Power Bait.
▪ SACRAMENTO RIVER, Dunsmuir
Heavy rain late last week swelled the upper Sacramento River at Dunsmuir to nearly 4,000 cfs. It was down to 2,290 cfs on Sunday, nearly double the flows from a week earlier. Fishing has been poor because of the high water.
▪ SACRAMENTO RIVER, Knight’s Landing to Colusa
Sturgeon fishing remained good near Knight’s Landing and up to Colusa. Sturgeon have moved upriver to spawn, with keeper-size fish present from Verona to Colusa. Combinations of eel, pile worm, ghost shrimp and nightcrawlers are working. First and Second Beach at Knight’s Landing have been among the most consistent areas for bank anglers.
▪ SACRAMENTO RIVER, Red Bluff to Colusa
Fishing for sturgeon improved last week as more fish entered the river to spawn. Eel and nightcrawler combinations are working best. Several keeper-size fish were reported last week and over the weekend. Fishing is expected to continue to improve in March.
▪ SACRAMENTO RIVER, Redding to Red Bluff
Flows at Keswick Dam have held steady at 3,300 cfs. Fishing for wild rainbow trout has been good to excellent from the Sundial Bridge to Anderson. Fly fishermen have been enjoying a mid-day baetis hatch along with a few caddis flies. Brown or black rubber legs and tiny mayfly patterns have been working well. Egg patterns also are catching fish. Some trout also are being caught on beads and small plugs.
▪ SACRAMENTO RIVER, Sacramento
A few sturgeon were reported in the deepwater channel but overall fishing is slow.
▪ BOCA LAKE
The lake is at 35.4-percent capacity. Brian Nylund at Mountain Hardware and Sports recommended staying off the lake due to snow covering soft spots in the ice where a fisherman could break through and have a big problem.
▪ CAPLES LAKE
The lake is at 66.3-percent capacity. Victor Babbitt at Tahoe Fly Fishing Outfitters (TFFO) reported the ice/snow was 3 to 4 feet thick and ice fishermen were going to need extensions on their augers to reach the water below. Rainbows and macks were hitting worms, bay shrimp, and jigged 1/4- and 3/8-ounce Kastmaster spoons in 5 to 20 feet of water. Tip the Kastmaster with a worm or shrimp. Call TFFO for more info about equipment needs at 530-541-8208.
▪ DAVIS LAKE
The lake is at 51-percent capacity. Ed Dillard at Dillard’s Guided Fishing reported the storm this past week dumped a foot of snow at the lake. With fishing so slow, no one had augered any new holes since before the storm and fishing pressure was nil.
▪ DONNER LAKE
The lake is at 46-percent capacity. Shore fishermen were picking up the occasional rainbow or small mack along the north shore or west end using nightcrawlers or floating dough bait. Boaters were rare this past week with 16 inches of new snow in Truckee and 2-plus feet at the higher elevations.
▪ FRENCHMAN LAKE
The lake is at 27-percent capacity. Wiggins Trading Post reported ice fishing was very productive at the dam for 12- to 16-inch rainbows using inflated nightcrawlers and nightcrawler/floating dough bait combos. With warm weather in the forecast for this week, watch out for soft ice along the edges of the lake.
▪ ICE HOUSE RESERVOIR
The lake is at 74-percent capacity. New snow this past week made access 4-wheel drive only. There was little fishing pressure here, according to Kyle Neeser at Crystal Basin Tackle and Guide Service.
▪ INDIAN CREEK RESERVOIR
Todd Sodaro at Todd’s Bait and Tackle at the Creekside Lodge reported the gate on Airport Road may still be locked. Call ahead for the latest access report at 530-694-2511. Ice fishing was fair at the dam using worms and floating dough bait when access was open.
▪ JENKINSON LAKE (Sly Park)
The lake is at 90-percent capacity. Denise Cole at Sly Park Resort reported fishing was good for shore anglers and trollers. An 18-inch mack and 18-inch rainbow were caught from shore using inflated nightcrawlers and floating dough bait. A troller picked up a 3 1/2-pound mack on a Shasta Tackle Humdinger.
▪ LAKE TAHOE
Zach Gordon at Tahoe Sportfishing reported very good mack fishing all along South Shore mooching minnows 80 to 120 feet deep for limits of 3 to 5 pounders.
▪ PROSSER LAKE
The lake is at 28.1-percent capacity. Brian Nylund at Mountain Hardware and Sports recommended staying off the lake due to snow covering soft spots in the ice where a fisherman could break through and have a big problem.
▪ PYRAMID LAKE
Valarie Taylor at Crosby’s Lodge said things were quiet there with only 5 fish recorded all this past week. The biggest fish were caught by flyfishermen using Popcorn Beetles at the Nets—16 and 17 pounders. The biggest fish checked in by a troller was a 13 3/4-pound cutt’ taken at Pelican Point by Roy White of Las Vegas. George Molino at Cutthroat Charters reported catching 15 and 10 fish on his last 2 trips trolling Apex at 18 to 32 feet deep from the nets to Spider Point. His 8 clients were one fish short of limits of 17- to 20-inch keepers.
▪ RED LAKE
Victor Babbitt at TFFO reported ice fishing was still very sporadic here. Ice fishermen need to add extensions to their augers to get through the 4-foot plus snow and ice to get to water and the slow action doesn’t appear to make it worth the effort.
▪ SILVER LAKE
The lake is at 46.3-percent capacity. Ice fishermen need to add extensions to their augers to get through 3 to 4 feet of ice/snow at the dam. A mix of rainbows and macks were hitting worms, bay shrimp, and Kastmasters at the dam.
▪ TOPAZ LAKE
Ginger Buzzard at Topaz Lodge and Casino reported the trout fishing had slowed but fish were still being weighed in for the derby, which runs until April 15. Chuck Fields at Topaz Landing Marina reported he was open for launching and berthing, since he had more than 8 feet of water in the marina now. Shore anglers were using worms and floating dough along the north shore. Trollers were scoring with Rapalas in the top 10 feet.
▪ TRUCKEE LAKE
Victor Babbitt at TFFO reported the main Truckee from the Boca Outlet to Verdi was fishing pretty well using BWO, midge, and skwala stones. The Little Truckee access was snowed in above Boca Lake.
▪ UNION VALLEY RESERVOIR
The lake is at 66-percent capacity. Ken Mathis at Ken’s Custom Tackle and Guide Service reported mack trolling was slow, and with the recent storm, access to the ramp at the dam was 4-wheel drive only. Dodger/herring combos and Double Flutter spoons were working at 80 to 100 feet deep over structure.
Crabbing gained steam among the fleet and results were enough to smile about. Happy Hooker took limits of crabs with none under 2 pounds, off of the Marin Coast. El Dorado did similarly with equipment working hard to haul up heavy pots stuffed with crabs.
An early season scouting foray went very well for New Huck Finn, which posted full limits of Dungies during a run outside the Gate.
▪ EUREKA/CRESCENT CITY
There were 6 solid days of intense herring spawn at Crescent City, during which time people used rod & reel and also cast nets to stock up on enough herring for the fishing season ahead. Jetty fishing at Eureka was fair for kelp greenlings and perch, while local beach fishing at Table Bluff and near the mouth of Eel River was very good for red tail perch.
▪ FORT BRAGG
Boats remained tied to dock waiting for recreational crab season to open locally or for the rockfish season to open… whichever comes first. Meanwhile, occasional periods of diminished swells allowed people to fish some real hotspots, including MacKerricher and Mendocino Headlands where they caught cabezon to 5 pounds, loads of rockfish and more lingcod than usual. Noyo Jetty and the northern Mill area also produced better than they had been recently.
▪ HALF MOON BAY/PACIFICA
Quick limits of crabs awaited Huli Cat working a weekend trip just offshore from Pillar Point Harbor. Jetty and pier people cast snares or dropped loops but with considerably less success. Striped bass assaulted the surf at Pacifica where Rob Chaney from Rusty Hook caught a 26-pound striped bass.
▪ LAWSON’S LANDING/BODEGA BAY
The daunting 20-plus mile trek down coast to the open crabbing area below Point Reyes was just too far for the prevailing sea conditions, so people fished locally. At Lawson’s Landing the catches were barred surf perch and jumbo jacksmelt. Near Bodega Bay people caught perch at Doran Beach and Salmon Creek and caught rockfish and cabezon at the harbor rock wall or up at Salmon Creek.
▪ SAN FRANCISCO/EMERYVILLE
New charter boat Nautilus ran out of Fisherman’s Wharf and got into leopard sharks to 32 pounds in the South Bay. A 15-pound halibut was caught from Oyster Point Pier and an early halibut season looks promising. New Huck Finn from Emeryville Sportfishing went outside the Gate and came back with full limits of Dungeness crabs.
▪ LAKE AMADOR
The lake is 4.5 feet from spilling. Trout plants are taking place on the 1st and 3rd weeks of the month, and 1200 pounds were released into the lake on Friday. Bank fishermen are scoring near the docks and the RV Point with trout dough bait or Kastmasters. The rainbows have dropped in the water column, and trollers are finding the best action at depths to 15 feet with either white grubs or broken back Rapalas. Bass are also starting to come to life with the warmer weather triggering the pre-spawn mode. Largemouth bass have been taken on nightcrawlers in the launch ramp cove. The annual trout derby will run until March 6, 2016 with a one-time $7.00 entry fee. The launch is now open with two ramps and two docks as the cove is full of water.
▪ DON PEDRO
Bass fishing is the best show in town with 76 teams of anglers descending on the lake during Saturday’s Best Bass Tournament with 19 limits in excess of 10 pounds with the top limit at 15.47 pounds. There were a number of smallmouth bass weighed in during the tournament. A variety of techniques are working including drop-shot plastics, swimbaits, glide baits, and jigs. Some fish are moving into the shallows, but the majority of action remains from 10 to 30 feet in depth. Monte Smith of Gold Country Sport Fishing will start hitting the lake soon, and he scouted the back portion of the lake near Moccasin, and there is a launch ramp operation for shallow drafting boats there. This is an option in addition to the Flemings Meadow ramp.
▪ LAKE McCLURE
Boats are able to be launched at Barrett Cove North, and bass fishing has been solid for spotted bass with jigs on the bottom as well as topwater lures in low-light conditions. The lake is clearing, but it is still stained the color of red clay from the rapid runoff from previous storms. Maintenance work is being completed on one of the gates at the dam. The lake has risen to 17% of capacity.
▪ LAKE McSWAIN
Trout fishing has been best from the banks near the campgrounds with blue/chrome Kastmasters or garlic rainbow trout dough bait. Bass are also showing up for trout fishermen as a number of fish came over the spillway from Lake McClure with the water releases over the past several months. The lake is down a few feet as work on the Exchequer Dam at Lake McClure continues.
▪ LAKE PARDEE
Camping and fishing will resume on Friday, March 11 at 5:00 a.m. after an 8-month closure for the reconstruction and remodel of the RV Park. Reservations are available via telephone only starting March 1 at 9:00 a.m.
▪ NEW HOGAN
Striped bass fishing has been slow with the cold and muddy water, but a few linesides are being pulled out of the lake. The lake level has risen slightly, and launching a boat is still a possibility.
▪ NEW MELONES
Bass remain the top draw at the lake with a variety of techniques, but a slow presentation remains necessary for the best action. Working the bottom at depths from 30 to 45 feet with plastics on the Texas-rig or jigs on a football head are the top techniques. Trout action is fair at best with trollers working over the main river channel at depths to 40 feet to avoid submerged timber. Bank fishing is best at either Glory Hole Point or around the Highway 49 Bridge with Kastmasters or trout dough bait. The launch ramp is now two lanes of dirt/gravel at Glory Hole Point, and a 4WD tow vehicle is advised. The lake has risen to 18% of capacity.
▪ BULLARDS BAR
The lake is at 69-percent capacity. A small local tournament was won with 23 pounds for only 3 fish and, of course, no one was saying how they were caught. Launching was good at Emerald Cove Marina and Dark Day.
▪ CAMP FAR WEST
The lake is full, but no longer spilling over the dam. The water was clearing and bass fishing was good. Ron Franks of Folsom fished twice this past week, catching 14 and 30 bass to 2 1/2 pounds on bold bluegill, oxblood and morning dawn Roboworms and watermelon lizards in the Rock Creek arm at 10 feet deep where the water temp was 51 to 54 degrees. Robert Grimes of Sacramento caught 7 small bass at the dam on watermelon Brush Hogs in 7 to 8 feet of water in less than ideal weather.
▪ ENGLEBRIGHT RESERVOIR
The lake is at 94-percent capacity. Lisa Rogers at Skippers Cove Marina reported the water was clearing and no major debris was floating on the lower end of the lake. There was no fishing pressure this past week so no report was available.
▪ LAKE OROVILLE
The lake is at 50-percent capacity—up 7 feet this past week. Bruce Gibson at the Paradise Tackle Company reported bass fishing was good where the water temp was 52 to 54 degrees in the Slot, main body, South Fork, and Middle Fork. South facing banks with softball-sized rock and the adjacent transition areas were producing bass to 3 pounds on finesse jigs and tubes at 10 to 30 feet deep.
▪ ROLLINS LAKE
The lake is at 97.4-percent capacity. The lake was beginning to clear, but debris was still a problem for boaters.
▪ SCOTT’S FLAT LAKE
The lake is at 78-percent capacity. NID reported lots of debris floating on the lake so boaters need to use caution while running. Fishing pressure was very low but the ramps were open at the marina and Cascade Shore.
▪ STUMPY MEADOWS RESERVOIR
The lake is at 85-percent capacity and the launch ramp is open. Kalan Richards of Cameron Park fished here this past week and caught 3 planter-sized rainbows and 2 browns to 16 inches trolling at the Pilot Creek inlet. The browns hit a rainbow trout CD 7 Rapala and the rainbows were caught on small Krocadile spoons in the top 15 feet over 40 feet of water.
▪ THERMOLITO AFTERBAY
The lake was at 131.4-foot elevation at press time—64.8-percent capacity. Bruce Gibson at the Paradise Tackle Company reported bass action was good on the rock banks using swimbaits, jigs, and weighted Senkos.
– Western Outdoor News