Fishing Line

Striper bite improves near Discovery Park, but upriver on American is slow

Striped bass are being taken more frequently near Discover Park at the confluence of the Sacramento and American rivers, but farther up the American, the bite is slow.
Striped bass are being taken more frequently near Discover Park at the confluence of the Sacramento and American rivers, but farther up the American, the bite is slow. Sacramento Bee file

Here are the best places to fish in the Sacramento region, Northern California and beyond for the week of April 4, 2016.



Flows on the American were down to 3,020 cfs on Sunday. Stripers are being caught at Discovery Park on pile worms in big numbers by big crowds of anglers, as well as cut anchovies or sardines. While stripers have moved upriver into the American, fishing has been slow above Discovery Park.


Flows from Oroville Dam were cut from 10,000 cfs to 5,000 cfs last week, sparking another hot bite for stripers on the Feather with lots of limits being caught as the spring run grows. A 39-pounder was caught Sunday at Boyd’s Pump on a minnow. Boyd’s Pump, Shanghai Bend, Star Bend and Beercan Beach are all fishing well. Pile worms are working best, followed by minnows. Stripers have been running 18 to 20 inches on the Feather, with plenty of bigger fish mixed in. Flows from the Yuba cleared last week.

▪ SACRAMENTO RIVER, Knight’s Landing to Colusa

Striper fishing is very good, with pile worms fishing best, followed by minnows. A big school of stripers has been reported near Knight’s Landing. Many guides are focusing on the Verona area. Most of the fish in the Sacramento are running 19 to 22 inches, with some bigger fish mixed in. Expect good striper fishing into May, as new fish continue to move in from the delta.

▪ SACRAMENTO RIVER, Red Bluff to Colusa

Stripers have moved as high as the Chico Straights, with great spring run striped bass fishing last week for boaters anchoring and fishing pile worms, or bouncing minnows in the holes the stripers have been moving through.


Striper fishing has been hot from shore at Discovery Park, where big crowds are loading up on stripers. Pile worms, sardines and anchovies all are working well. Some fish were reported on chicken livers. Crappie have been caught in the ditches and sloughs around Sacramento. Medium-size minnows are working best.



The Chetco closed for the season March 31 and re-opens to trout fishing Memorial Day Weekend. Salmon won't show up until October.

▪ ELK, SIXES RIVERS, Port Orford, Oregon

Both rivers closed for the season on March 31. They re-open to trout fishing Memorial Day weekend.

▪ ROGUE RIVER, Gold Beach, Oregon

Spring salmon fishing has been fair, with a handful of fish being caught each day. Good tides are expected the end of this week, which should pull in some fresh fish. Flows on Sunday night at Agness were 6,500 cfs, perfect for springer fishing. The water temperature is in the low 50s. Hatchery springers, which can be kept, are making up about 50 percent of the catch.

▪ ROGUE RIVER, Grants Pass, Oregon

Not much being caught on the river, but the water level is finally lower. Best action is probably down in the Galice area, or perhaps from Shady Cove down past Dodge Bridge, said Troy Whitaker at U-Save Tackle. “The hatchery count I’ve seen is low and not many downers,” he said of the steelhead fishing. “Best fishing has been on the lakes. Galesville has been producing some good action for smallmouth bass on small plugs and plastics. Trout trollers are using Wedding Rings with flashers, Berkley nymphs or Power Wigglers. Bass fishing remains pretty good at Lake Selmac on plastics. Trout action is good with Power Bait or nighrcrawlers under bobbers. The Applegate and Illinois Rivers closed to fishing on April 1.


Bait may no longer be used here as of April 1, but barbless hooks and lures are still fine. Flows are still dropping.


The Smith is now at its lowest flow of the entire steelhead season, running at 2,900 cfs, or 8 feet, which are still good levels for productive fishing. Few boats are still fishing, but some of the local guides are still catching steelhead. Guides Mick Thomas and Harvey Young both landed steelhead last week and over the weekend. Most of the fish are downrunners headed back to the ocean. The Smith remains open through April to steelhead fishing.


▪ KLAMATH RIVER, Hornbrook

Flows from Iron Gate Dam were 2,540 cfs on Sunday, with dirty water from the hatchery down. Fishing is slow.


Steelhead fishing has been poor. Flows Sunday at Seiad Valley were 6,140 cfs, and 24,000 cfs at Orleans.

▪ KLAMATH RIVER, Klamath Glen

Flows on Sunday at Terwer were 47,200 cfs. The river has been blown out the entire year. Anglers will begin spring salmon fishing in late May.


Steelhead fishing has been slow as the run comes to an end. A few downrunners are still available. The river is in good shape from Lewiston to Junction City. Flows at Lewiston were 312 cfs on Sunday, and 905 cfs at Junction City. The lower Trinity is still high and muddy.



As bass move onto beds and crappie hang in the shallows, things are getting busy again and will for the rest of the month. Overall the bite is still better on the upper end of the lake but look for the lower ends to start kicking into gear with the warming lake and air temperatures. Crappie are still being caught all over the lake on mini-jigs. But there are still no reports of catfish.


Trout trollers will be out soon, since the waters are clearing. But in the meantime there has been a good bass bite in 10 feet of water in Markley Cove on Senkos. Bass guide Donald Paganelli fished Sunday and said he launched on the main ramp at Markley Cove for bass up to 4 pounds. The biggest was caught by 8-year-old Julian Mayo, a 4-pound spotted bass and both his brother Nicholas and dad did well with 15 fish total and some nice ones lost at the boat using grubs, drop-shot and tubes in the top 15 feet of water.


From now until the end of May, largemouth bass will occupy the spawning flats in the back of the creeks. Catch and release is highly recommended this time of year as they are vulnerable in shallow waters. Throw a 6-inch splitshot in natural colors in and around bedding areas.


The lake is at full pool, both the north and south launch ramps are operational and the lake is getting busy. Good numbers of smallmouth and largemouth bass have been reported. The peninsula is finally under water and a popular place to find plenty hard fighting smallies. Some of the flatter protected coves on the east shoreline will hold most of the largemouth bass, which can still be caught on Pointer 100s, spinnerbaits or Senkos in 5 to 15 feet of water.



The smallmouth bass fishing has been slow, but with warming weather should start to pick up with the hatches. It should be a good fishing season here. The west basin is being flushed out with much clearer water and that's the area trout are moving into.


Still good fishing here, but slowing down a little. Fish later into the afternoon when the water waters up. Midges are all over the lake but up by the Powerhouse was the best spot.


This beautiful little sleeper has some good trout fishing and not a single sole on it. Try leeches, sinking flies, sinking lines or dry flies near the dam or midges.


Early season tackle like dark or red nymphs or copper Johns should do the trick here. It’s still high so be careful wading here due to runoff and releases. No hatches yet, but the weather is getting warmer so it won’t be long. Fast running water has the Pit 3 still the better bet. The Fly Shop in Redding will be holding their big annual season opener party on Friday the 29th with plenty of fly tying presentations and all the manufacturer reps will be there to demonstrate their stuff, plus there’s a free a barbeque lunch.


The Salt, Squaw, McCloud arms and Jones Valley have been good for bass to 3 pounds. The bite has been from 30 feet to the surface on spinnerbaits, tubes and Senkos in any color. For trout look for the cleanest water you can find. It’s warming up and trout will be deeper at 30 to 40 feet.



A trout plant of 1200 pounds was released during the final week of March, and a double plant of 2400 pounds will be dumped in the lake during the second week of April. The lake is full with a water clarity ranging from 6 to 10 feet. Rainbow trout are taken from the banks with Kastmasters, Mice Tails, nightcrawlers, or trout dough bait. Crappie jigs and flies are also effective, and a number of boaters are heading into Jackson, Rock, and Mountain Springs Creek in order to still fish. Bass fishing has been outstanding with Baby Brush Hogs or plastic worms, and catch and release during the spawning period is requested.


Trout plants continue at the lake with 600 pounds at both the South Shore Pond and South Shore launch ramp within the past week. Trollers continue to score with Speedy Shiners, Rapalas, or grubs in the triangle from the dam to Big Hat and Little Hat Islands and also in the Narrows. The bass have moved into the shallows in 3 to 5 feet of water, and Senkos or Brush Hogs are working for the numerous spots. Crappie to 2.5 pounds can be taken in submerged trees with Beetle Spins. Catfishing is heating up from the banks in the Day Use Area.


The trout bite has exploded with the rainbows holding at the 15 to 30 feet level in various locations throughout the lake. Apex lures or Rocky Mountain Tackle’s spinner hoochies behind a Vance’s dodger are effective for the numerous rainbows. Kokanee are possible, but you have to get through the trout to find the kokanee. No reports of king salmon, but these will be coming. Bass fishing remains tough with the rising water levels. All three launch ramps are open.


Spotted bass are the story with the largest grade taken on topwater lures such as the River2 Sea Rover as the water clarity has improved. Numbers can be taken on a variety of techniques. The River2Sea SWaver in yellow trout has been another solid option. The lake has risen 7 feet in the last week to 728.52 feet in elevation and 32% of capacity, but the lake is still below the 50% average at this time of year. The water is clearing steadily enough for a reaction bait bite.


The Merced Irrigation District’s annual trout derby is this coming Saturday and Sunday, and the lake will be closed to fishing on Friday night in order to plant rainbow trout. The lake is full, and it is clearing up. Bank fishing has been best at the Marina, the Brush Pile, and the Handicapped Docks with Kastmasters, trout dough bait, or inflated nightcrawlers.


The lake is nearly full, and there is the anticipation of a huge plant of rainbows in the 1- to 10-pound range sometime after April 11. German brown to 12 pounds have been taken near the dam on Rapalas, and since the browns will no longer be planted into the lake, a release of brown trout is recommended. Bass are in the shallows, along with crappie near the marina. Kokanee are found in the river arm near the surface on a long-line with small hoochies. The RV Park is scheduled to open between May and July, depending upon the pace of construction.


Bass to 11 pounds have been landed as the fish have moved into the shallows. The River2Sea SWaver along with Berserk Purple Hornet jigs are effective in the shallows from the banks to 10 feet in depth. A few more rainbow trout are showing up in the main river channel with a variety of spoons or plugs, but bank fishing remains slow. Catfish action is heating up with the warmer water, and crappie fishing is the best in several years near submerged structure.



The lake is at 56-percent capacity. Mountain Hardware and Sports reported little was happening here. Flows from the Little Truckee River were down to 40 cfs.


The lake is at 61.1-percent capacity. Caples Lake Resort reported there was still 3 to 4 feet of ice on the lake and the spring thaw wasn’t expected until late May. Try the ice fishing at the dam and spillway using worms, bay shrimp, and Kastmaster spoons. Victor Babbitt at Tahoe Fly Fishing Outfitters (TFFO) reported the fishing here was slow. On the last guide trip, a group of 6 anglers got skunked—that’s slow.


The river was in beautiful shape and 2 to 3 vehicles were parked at Hangman’s Bridge daily indicating some fishing pressure, but no one was reporting any success.


The lake is at 65-percent capacity. Ed Dillard at Dillard’s Guided Fishing reported shore fishing was still very slow with shore anglers only scoring 1 or 2 rainbows at Mallard Point in 4 to 5 hours of fishing. One group of 4 anglers fished 3 hours with no bites, so it’s SLOW! The Honker Cove boat ramp was free of snow, but there’s no dock in place—if you can launch without a dock, the ramp is usable. A few of the campgrounds will be opening by the end of April—Lightning Tree Campground is currently open, according to the USFS.


The lake is at 48-percent capacity. Mountain Hardware and Sports reported trollers were still picking up lots of 4- to 5-pound macks on Humdinger and Needlefish spoons run 80 to 90 feet deep over 115 to 120 feet of water along the south shore from China Cove to the west end.


The lake is at 39-percent capacity. Shirley Wiggins at Wiggins Trading Post reported fishing was good all around the lake with reports coming in from Lunker Point, Turkey Point, Big Cove, and the dam. Nightcrawlers were by far the most popular bait. A culvert collapsed on the road to the Frenchman ramp so repairs need to be made before it can be opened.


The County was beginning to plow Gold Lake Road but it was still weeks away from opening. Upper Salmon Lake and Lower Sardine Lake were still closed due to snow.


The lake is at 78-percent capacity. The road was open to the lake, but little was happening here according to Kyle Neeser at Crystal Basin Tackle and Guide Service.


Todd Sodaro at Todd’s Bait and Tackle at the Creekside Lodge reported shore fishing was good at the dam for 1 1/2- to 3 1/2-pound rainbows using inflated nightcrawlers. Victor Babbitt at TFFO reported flyfishing was good here.


The lake is full. Since the DFW plant a month ago, shore anglers have been picking up planter rainbows at the first dam using floating dough bait and worms. Early this past week, a 5 1/2-pound mack and 4.8-pound brown trout were caught by two different anglers from the shore on nightcrawlers.


Chuck Self at Chuck’s Charter Fishing reported excellent trolling for limits of 3- to 7-pound macks in 300 to 500 feet of water from Dollar Point to Crystal Bay Point at North Shore. 20 anglers from the Quality Steel construction company of Utah working on a building project at UNR fished from 4 boats and limited out in 4 hours. Mike Nielsen at Tahoe Topliners Sportfishing was out with his kids when WON called Sunday morning and his daughter had just reeled in a 4-pound brown trout caught trolling a Rapala Shadow Rap set back 120 feet on downriggers set at 40 to 60 feet deep over 50 to 80 feet of water on the west shore and along South Shore. A Saturday trip produced six 4- to 5-pound browns in shallow water and limits of macks were hitting at 150 to 170 feet deep. Zach Gordon at Tahoe Sportfishing reported easy limits of 3- to 5-pound macks on morning trips to Sugar Pine in 220 feet of water. Afternoon trips were producing macks at 90 to 100 feet deep right out in front of Ski Run at South Shore.


The lake has dropped to 25.5-percent capacity. With the lake dropping so fast, little was happening here except maybe a little smallmouth bass fishing.


Crosby’s Lodge reported a slow week with only one fish recorded—an 11 1/2 pounder caught by Frank Morrill from the shore at Spider Point while casting a black/white spoon. George Molino at Cutthroat Charters reported good trolling action all this past week. His last trip with 5 anglers produced 30 cutthroats to 23 inches trolling Apex at 10 to 30 feet deep at Warrior Point. His trips earlier in the week kicked out 20 to 25 fish per day in the same area. Flyfishermen at Pelican Point reported seeing scores of big cutthroats to over 15 pounds cruising the shoreline during the day and rolling on the surface in the evenings.


Victor Babbitt at TFFO reported there was still a lot of ice and snow on the lake, but the edges were beginning to break up. Fishing here has been sporadic at best.


The lake is at 48.1-percent capacity. There was plenty of ice and snow but few fish being caught.


The lake is at 28-percent capacity. The road was accessible by 4x4 to the dam. Rumors flying around Mountain Hardware and Sports were that the main boat ramp was getting closer to the water.


Topaz Lodge and Casino reported only 15 rainbows over 2 pounds were weighed in this past week. The biggest fish of the week was a 5-pound 9-ounce fish caught by Jimmy McKinney of North Carolina while shore fishing with worms. The 12th Annual Ken Hembree Hook, Line & Sinker Fishing Derby will be held April 9-10 with a $65 entry. The grand prize is a 2016 Polaris Sportsman 570 ATV valued at $9500.


Victor Babbitt at TFFO reported flyfishing on the main river was really good from Glenshire to Stateline. BWO dries and nymphs and skwala stones were working for 6 to 8 fish per day. Sculpin patterns were accounting for some browns in the 18- to 28-inch class!! The Little Truckee between Boca and Stampede was slow due to extremely low flows at 40 cfs.


The lake is at 83-percent capacity. The road to the ramp at the dam off Pea Vine Ridge Rd. was passable, but trolling for rainbows and macks was spotty according to the last report.


Pam Hamic at the West Walker Motel reported flyfishermen were active from the bridge on the upper end of the Canyon to Topaz Lane north of Walker. The Northern Mono County Chamber of Commerce will stock the river with 3 to 5 pounders just before the April 30 trout opener. River flows were “glorious” and there’s still the snowmelt to look forward to in May-June.



Sturgeon action remains excellent in lower Suisun Bay from the Buoy 4 to the Benicia/Martinez Bridge with lamprey eel being the top bait. Striper fishing is back on schedule with the clearing water in the upper sloughs, and Steamboat, Cache, and Miner are the top location for trollers. Bait fishermen are finding a few huge stripers with live splittail or jumbo minnows in upper Suisun Bay. The striped bite should be outstanding over the next few weeks.


Big limits of largemouth bass are possible for those targeting fish off of the shoreline with chatterbaits or squarebill crankbaits. As the big fish move into the shoreline, Senkos will be the best choice. Striper trollers are finding success with shallow-diving lures in the flats from the Antioch Bridge east to Prisoner’s Point. Chartreuse or red head/white are the top color patterns. Crappie are starting to move into the shallows in the back sloughs, and bluegill and red ear perch are there for the taking with waxworms or jumbo red worms.



Landlocked salmon are now being caught up the North and South Fork arms. While fishing is still on the slow side, it has improved. Trolling 40 to 60 feet down is working best. Fishing for bass continues to be good in the main body using small grubs, Senkos or tubes fished with light jigheads. The best fishing has been in 15 feet of water close to shore. The lake was at 439 feet on Sunday.


The lake was stocked in mid-March with rainbow trout.


The far upper river was down to 1,630 cfs at the Delta gauge on Sunday, still too high for effective fishing. Anglers will begin fly fishing as the river drops, although a big snowpack on Mount Shasta may keep the river high all spring.

▪ SACRAMENTO RIVER, Redding to Red Bluff

Fishing is now closed form Keswick Dam to the Highway 44 bridge, a 5.5-mile stretch. From the Highway 44 bridge to Anderson, fishing for wild rainbow trout has been good. Anglers are launching at the Posse Grounds. Carp spawn-colored beads, roe, nightcrawlers and Glo Bugs all are working. With higher flows, anglers are dragging baits behind them out of jet boats. The river was flowing at 5,030 on Sunday at Keswick Dam.



All the forks were running high but clear. Releases in the South Fork were attracting lots of kayakers and rafters all the way down to Coloma. Little fishing pressure was reported.


The lake is at 85-percent capacity. A local weighed an 11-pound bass in at Emerald Cove Marina and quickly released it. Bass were moving up on the flatter points and coves to spawn. Also, look for pre-spawn fish staging on the points and walls leading onto the flats and into the coves. Crankbaits, Senkos, shakey-head worms, and swimbaits were all working. The water color was clear and the water agency removed the majority of the floating debris.


The lake is full and spilling. The water color was murky brown with lots of debris floating, so boaters beware! Bass fishing was reported to be good.


The lake is full, scheduled to receive a double plant of 1800 to 2000 pounds of rainbows this week. Trout fishing has been excellent with lots of limits showing including many around 2 1/2 pounds. Big fish of the week was a 6 3/4-pound rainbow caught trolling a Rapala out in front of the Beach. Shore anglers were doing well at the Beach and dam using floating dough bait and worms. Suzanne Cari landed a 5 3/4-pound trout from the shore at the Beach.


The lake is at 95-percent capacity. Skippers Cove Marina reported trout fishing in the marina was excellent for 2- to 4-pound rainbows drifting floating dough bait and worms around the docks and trolling in the mooring area.


The lake is at 61-percent capacity. The road was still snowed in.


The lake was stocked by the DFW this past week.


The lake is at 67.5-percent capacity. There’s one lane open to the top of the ramp, but boats still cannot launch. Still a lot of snow in the area.


The lake is at 87-percent capacity—up 4.3 feet this past week and only 30 feet from full!!! Guide Ron Gandolfi reported excellent bass fishing with clients scoring 50 fish per day on drop-shot and darthead worms, Senkos, tubes, and Keitech swimbaits on a 5/16-ounce jig head. The fish were spread out from 1 to 20 feet deep on south facing points, coves, and walls. Most of the bass were 1 1/2 to 2 pounders with an occasional 3 pounder. A shore angler caught a 13-pound largemouth on a Senko near Lime Saddle Marina. Salmon were hitting trolled dodger/minnow imitations near the dam at 30 to 50 feet deep. Moochers were also catching kings at the buoy line at the dam using anchovy tails.


The lake is full and spilling. NID reported the lake was still muddy and loaded with floating debris.


The lake is full. NID reported the water color was improving and debris was being removed. Bass fishing was good at the dam for both smallmouth bass and largemouth bass.


The lake was stocked by the DFW this past week.


The lake is full and spilling, and scheduled for a DFW trout plant this week.


The lake was at 134.6-foot elevation at press time—86.1-percent capacity. Bruce Gibson at the Paradise Tackle Company reported bass fishing was good on the tules banks and warmer flats and coves. Cranking an S-Waver was working well as was pitching Senkos around the tules.



Berkeley boats kinda had it made, with striped bass and halibut on the Berkeley Flats, crab limits waiting outside the Gate and the possibility of a salmon. Boats likeHappy Hooker and California Dawn mixed things up to give passengers a fine variety of bass, halibut and crabs. Berkeley Charter boats sent New Huck Finn and New Salmon Queento catch salmon and pull crabs.


New Sea Angler scored 3 salmon on the opening day and 5 on Sunday (still fishing as the report came in, so maybe more) and overall, “modest” was the watchword as private boaters got mostly zeros and any boat with better than zero was a hero. New Sea Angler also scored consistent limits of crabs for all comers. Shore fishing was much better, with the dynamite shack and MacKerricher producing kelp greenlings, rockfish and cabezon. Scott Heemstra of King’sTackle caught both perch and striped bass on fly gear at Salmon Creek.


New Huck Finn and New Salmon Queen took on the opener and came back with a combined 9 salmon, with New Huck Finn being the highliner with 7 fish and New Salmon Queen taking big fish honors among the fleet with an 18 pounder. New Huck Finn has been running steady crab trips and thus far getting limits has not been a problem.


Not many salmon were caught out of Fort Bragg, though some of the best boats, like Telstar and Ambush were out working hard. A handful of fish were pulled by the large private boat fleet, according to John Gebers at Noyo Fishing Center who also reported that shore fishing was very good at Noyo Beach, dynamite shack and MacKerricher. Abalone season started well with good sea conditions and lots of people getting their first fresh abalone dinners of the season.


Salmon were caught offshore, just above Half Moon Bay and some PBers had some success after running up to fish the shipping channel outside the Gate. Huli Cat and Riptide ran downcoast to fish rockfish and lingcod below Pigeon Point where the groundfish season opened on Friday. Fishing was tough due to conditions, but boats came back with an average of 6 or 7 rockfish apiece plus a few nice lingcod.


Wacky Jacky and Lovely Martha worked hard and achieved reasonable early-season salmon success, though hopes are for the season to improve as spring progresses. Bass Tub trolled up halibut and bass inside the Bay. Flash II ran successful half-day shark trips in the Bay. PBers found some halibut in South Bay and shore fishers cast lures for stripers near Coyote Point. Crabbing outside the gate continued to be a limit affair.


Serving as a salmon hotspot –relatively speaking –Shelter Cove saw an estimated 30 fish caught on the opener and WON Field Reporter Lonnie Dollarhide was out among the fleet and providing a report for WON. Up at Eureka, shore fishers did well on kelp greenlings and perch, with the water calming and clearing up.