Fishing Line

Shad, stripers biting in Sacramento River

A fisherman stows his gear after catching his limit of shad.
A fisherman stows his gear after catching his limit of shad. AP

Here are the best places to fish in the Sacramento region, Northern California and beyond for the week of April 18, 2016.



Shad have shown up on the Sacramento River near Freeport and Courtland, and are expected to arrive at the mouth of the American by the end of the week. Stripers are being caught out of Discovery Park where the American and Sacramento meet.


Striper fishing continues to be hot on the Feather, with Shanghai Bend, Boyd’s Pump, Star Bend and Beercan Beach are all fishing well. The water has cleared, allowing anglers to do well with jumbo minnows. Pile worms also are working well. Artificials are now producing, including swimbaits, pencil poppers and spooks. Sturgeon are being caught at the mouth of the Bear River.


The massive plant of 8500 pounds of Nebraska-bred rainbows brought out the fishermen, and limits were routine over the past weekend in the marina area with Kastmasters, crappie jigs, trout dough bait, or nightcrawlers. A few anglers caught and released over 200 rainbows, and fish to 10 pounds have been taken. Bass fishing is best up the river arm. Catfish are moving into the shallows, and kokanee are starting to transition deeper in the water column. The RV Park is scheduled to open between May and July, depending upon the pace of construction.

▪ SACRAMENTO RIVER, Knight’s Landing to Colusa

Striper fishing remains very good, with pile worms fishing best, followed by minnows. Many guides are focusing on the Verona area. Bigger females are expected to move in from the delta soon, as the water temperature at Colusa is now 62 degrees.

▪ SACRAMENTO RIVER, Red Bluff to Colusa

Stripers are present from Colusa to Butte City, with very good fishing near Colusa. Jumbo minnows, pile worms, 5-inch swimbaits and pencil poppers are working. Fish to 20 pounds have been reported on the Sacramento, with many anglers finding fairly easy limits.


Shad were reported over the weekend at Freeport and Courtland. Catfish are being caught in the slower water on nightcrawlers. Striper fishing has been excellent near Sacramento, with pile worms and blood worms working best. With the Sacramento dirtier than the Feather, anchoring and running baits is out-producing trolling, or fishing minnows. Some large stripers also are being caught in the deepwater channel.


▪ ROGUE RIVER, Gold Beach, Oregon

Spring salmon fishing remained slow last week on the lower Rogue, with most of the fish being wild fish that have to be released. Longtime guides said the continuous high water has allowed the early portion of the springer run to shoot upriver. Flows on Sunday at the Agness gauge were 7,480 cfs, down from 10,000 cfson Friday. A second wave of fish generally arrives in early May. Plunkers are fishing large Spin-N-Glos from the gravel bar at Huntley Park and Lobster Creek.

▪ ROGUE RIVER, Grants Pass, Oregon

Spring king fishing is definitely improving on the river with warm weather setting in, reported Troy Whitaker, guide at U-Save Tackle. There’s a mixed bag of uppers and downers with some springers in the mid and upper river. Bank anglers are scoring using Corkies. Boat anglers are anchoring and using Kwikfish with a sardine wrap. Or using large spinners or back-bouncing roe. Some steelhead are going for roe, Puffballs in all black, or silver-and-black with a red dot, or pink-and-silver, or copper. Applegate Lake anglers are picking up 22- to 24-inch trout trolling flashers with Wedding Rings tipped with a nightcrawler or Power Maggots or Nymphs. Lake Selmac is still producing some good bass action on buzzbaits, chatter baits and Senkos. Trout fishing is also good on Power Bait or a nightcrawler/bobber combo. Lost Creek Lake is producing fair bass action on plugs and plastics. The lake recently received some good trout plants, including 400 trophy-sized rainbows.


The river is running around 800 cfs and dropping slowly. American shad are starting to show in the river from Monte Rio up to Forestville. Plus there are lots of downstream, spawned out steelhead. Water conditions are perfect. April through October it’s artificials only, and no bait.


The Smith was back in prime shape over the weekend with flows of 3,330 cfs, or 8.4 feet, after heavy rain briefly blew the river out last week. The river hit 10,000 cfs, or 11 feet, on Thursday after a big storm hit the coast Wednesday. A few steelhead are still being caught by side-drifters fishing from the Forks to Ruby. Most of the fish are downrunners. Steelhead fishing remains open through the end of April from the Forks down, according to guide Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing.


▪ KLAMATH RIVER, Hornbrook

Flows from Iron Gate Dam were down to 1,780 cfs on Sunday. Once the river gets below 1,000 cfs expect good fishing for native rainbows and steelhead.


Steelhead fishing has been poor. Flows Sunday at Seiad Valley were 4,790 cfs, and 12,100 cfs at Orleans.

▪ KLAMATH RIVER, Klamath Glen

Flows on Sunday at Terwer were 18,800 cfs. The river has been blown out the entire year. Anglers will begin spring salmon fishing in late May.


The annual spring flush begins this week, with a major water release from Trinity Lake. Flows at Lewiston are expected to increase from Sunday’s level of 316 cfs to 10,000 cfs on Friday. They will drop to 4,500 cfs for half a day, then back to 10,000 cfs for another 12 hours. Some steelhead and browns are being caught in the Willow Creek area. Expect decent fishing this week until the high flows hit the lower river.



The docks and shoreline access areas around Lakeport, the County Park, State Park and Indian Beach continue to kick out crappie for shore anglers and boaters. But there are still no reports of catfish. The bass have spawning on their minds and those not spawning have all they want to eat with the massive amount of shad in the lake. Even though the artificial bite is tough, the live bait bite remains strong.


Senkos or drop-shot 6-inch Roboworms in Morning Dawn have been deadly for smallies and spotted bass. Smallmouth and spotted bass have been on main body secondary points with baseball-sized rocks. The water has come up so fast that the lake is stained, so you’ll have to wait a few more weeks for trout.


Most of the male bass are on the spawning flats in creeks and bays with the big girls right behind. Largemouth bass are on the banks. Target the main lake with shad swimbaits on a lead head in 5 to 15 feet of water. Senkos, jerkbaits, swimbaits and plastics are also working. A few crappie are being caught in and around the campgrounds in 10 to 15 feet on crappie jigs or live minnows under a slip bobber.


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. Both the north and south launch ramps are open and good numbers of smallmouth and largemouth bass have been reported.



It should be a good fishing season here for everything with plenty of water. The lake continues to rise. Anglers have been seeing about a 50/50 mix of rainbows and brown trout on spoons from the surface down to 35 feet. Smallmouth bass fishing has been slow, but with warming weather should start to pick up with more hatches.


This is the most amazing time to be here. It doesn’t get any prettier than it is right now. And with more hatches going off, the trout bite picked up a notch too.


DFW is getting ready for the stream opener (last Saturday of April) with trout plants. Opening day below Power House 2 will be good.


There is good trout fishing here and not a single sole on it. Try leeches and dry flies down by the dam.


Check for big releases and always look at stream flow reports. The Fly Shop in Redding keeps up-to-date reports. The river is only for the advanced outdoor people and anglers--it’s tricky here.


The bass fishing has been excellent. Live minnows, plastics, cranks, spinnerbaits and topwater tackle have been good fished from the bank out to 25 feet all over as fish are scattered. Try rolling shad in Digger Bay, by the dam and Dry Creek for a chance at trout or the dam for salmon.


Has not been a good option due to launch conditions and lower water levels, but rising.



A plant of 1500 pounds of Lightning trout along with 900 pounds of Mt. Lassen rainbows were released into the lake within the past week from the lake front area near the Recreation Cove. Crappie jigs, small Kastmasters, curly-tailed grubs, or various colors of trout dough bait are all working. Bank anglers are advised to move around to locate the roaming schools of rainbows along the edges of the dam. The back coves or Jackson, Rock, and Carson Creeks are also solid areas for bank fishing for boaters. Bass fishing is solid along the campground in Carson Cove with plastics on the drop-shot, Senkos, or jigs. Catch and release of largemouth bass during the spawn is requested by the concessionaires in order to maintain a healthy population. The lake remains full with both launch ramps in the water. Crappie are taken from the big dock or Mountain Springs with crappie jigs. A bow and spear carp fishing tournament is planned within the coming months.


Trout plants continue at the lake with 600 pounds at the South Shore Pond and the South Shore launch ramp within the past week. Bank fishing for rainbows is best in the pond with Power Worms on a water bobber in order to get out to deeper water. The rainbows have gone deep in the main lake, and trollers are pulling Speedy Shiners, Rapalas, or blade/’crawler combinations near the dam for a few fish per rod. Bass are still in the shallows in all stages of the spawn, and Senkos or Brush Hogs are still the top lures. Crappie are holding in submerged structure near Hat Island. Catfishing is best in the shallow coves with chicken livers. A Kid’s Fishing Event will be held on Sunday, May 1 in the Kid’s Fishing Pond with the first 100 children receiving a rod/reel combination.


Cooler water and decreased water clarity have contributed to a slower rainbow trout bite within the past week, but guide Monte Smith of Gold Country Guide Service has been putting his clients onto rainbows, kokanee, kings and bass. The best locations for rainbows are in Fleming Bay and into Middle Bay from the surface to 20 feet with king salmon found in the cut between Jenkins Hill and Big Oak Island along with Hatch Creek at depths from 60 to 80 feet. A few scattered pods of kokanee at 40 feet in depth in Fleming Bay. Bass are in the process of spawning, but the rising water has proven challenging.


The lake continues to rise rapidly, but the bass bite is solid with River2Sea SWavers in yellow trout or Berserk jigs in Purple Hornet or Sprayed Grass from the banks to 15 feet in depth. There are still fish in the process of the spawn. A few large fish to 8 pounds have been reported. The McClure Point and Barrett Cove South launch ramps are open with the Barrett Cove North ramp under construction. The lake has risen 10 feet in the last week to 750.73 feet in elevation and 41% of capacity, but the lake is still below the 50% average at this time of year.


The lake is full and clear, and the banks have been filled with fishermen along the Brush Pile, the marina, and the Handicapped Docks with chartreuse trout dough bait or orange Power Eggs. There are still several tagged fish in the lake from the MID Derby, and registered participants can still pick up the number 1 fish worth $500.00.


The trout bite continues to be solid in the main lake in front of the dam with kokanee gear picking up limits of rainbows and the occasional kokanee. The kokanee bite should break out within the next few weeks. Bass fishing is solid with ripbaits, spinnerbaits, or small swimbaits along with Senkos and Brush Hogs. Catfish action is heating up with the warmer water, and crappie fishing is the best in several years near submerged structure. Glory Hole Sporting Goods will hold a grand re-opening this Saturday.


Rainbow trout fishing is best from the mouth of Black Creek at depths to 25 feet with small shad-imitation lures tipped with a piece of nightcrawler. A few 15- to 16-inch kokanee are taken in the Green Springs area at depths to 40 feet with Uncle Larry’s Copper Pop spinners tipped with scented shoepeg corn behind a copper dodger. The lake is at its wintertime level at 8 feet from full with the South Shore ramp open with two courtesy docks.



The lake is at 59.9-percent capacity. The launch ramp should be in the water. Boaters should be trolling for browns, macks and rainbows at the dam and inlet. Shore anglers usually spend the most time at the dam.


The lake is at 65.4-percent capacity. Caples Lake Resort reported the ice was 2 feet thick with a foot of slush and snow on top. The ice was breaking up at the creek inlets, especially at Wood’s Creek. The ice was getting unstable and ice fishing could be over for the season. The lake should thaw by mid-May.


The flows were high and murky due to rain and snowmelt. The East and West Carson, Markleeville Creek and Silver Creek will all be stocked before the season opener on April 30.


The lake is at 67-percent capacity. Ed Dillard at Dillard Guided Fishing reported the dock was installed at the Honker Cove ramp and the Camp 5 ramp was open with no dock. Fishing was still very slow—only a fish or two per day! There was no appreciable spawning activity seen at the creek inlet at Honker Cove, which is normally common this time of year.


The lake is at 56-percent capacity. Trolling for macks along the south shore was still good for 4 to 5 pounders with the occasional double-digit fish. Humdingers, Needlefish, Krocodiles, and Speedy Shiners run 80 to 90 feet deep over 115 to 120 feet of water were doing the trick.


The lake is at 42-percent capacity. Wiggins Trading Post reported shore anglers were catching 1 to 3 rainbows on nightcrawlers at Lunker Point, Turkey Point, Big Cove and the dam. The Frenchman ramp was open without a dock.


The Basin lakes were still closed due to snow on the roads, according to Mountain Hardware and Sports in Blairsden. The Middle Feather River through Graeagle has been fishing well for browns to 2 pounds using yellow Rooster Tails and Panther Martins.


The lake is at 90-percent capacity. The lake is accessible and the ramp was open. The lake will be stocked by the DFW before April 30.


Todd Sodaro at Todd’s Bait and Tackle at the Creekside Lodge reported there was little fishing pressure here. Shore anglers can pick up a few rainbows at the dam and near the campground.


The lake is full and spilling, and was stocked by the DFW this past week. Sly Park Resort reported fishing was good near the boat ramp and at the first dam after the DFW plant.


Mike Nielsen at Tahoe Topliners Sportfishing reported he was doing well on brown trout and macks trolling at North Shore from Tahoe City to Kings Beach. The browns were running up to 6 pounds and hitting Shadow Raps in 30 to 50 feet deep over 40 to 60 feet of water. Nielsen was trolling and jigging for macks at 140 to 220 feet deep. The troll fish were mostly 4 to 5 pounders with the occasional fish to 10 pounds, while the jig fish were 1 to 4 pounders. Zach Gordon at Tahoe Sportfishing reported a “wide-open” bite along South Shore mooching live bait at 100 to 180 feet deep. The macks were running 2 to 5 pounds with a few to 6 to 7 pounds.


The lake is at 27.5-percent capacity. Still not much happening here with the low lake level.


Valarie Taylor at Crosby’s Lodge reported a slow week of fishing due to the spawn, and only recorded one fish—an 11-pound, 7.2-ounce cutthroat caught by Ken Olufs of Petaluma while trolling at Red Bay. George Molino at Cutthroat Charters reported very slow fishing getting skunked on his last trip. Molino said the spawn should be over and fish feeding again by mid-May.


Caples Lake Resort reported the ice was beginning to break up here and did not recommend any further ice fishing.


The lake is at 52.6-percent capacity. The ice was beginning to break up here and ice fishing was no longer recommended.


The lake is at 34-percent capacity. Mountain Hardware and Sports reported the concrete launch ramp was in the water now and said the water agency was going to let the lake fill as much as possible. Trolling for browns and macks should be good.


Chuck Fields at Topaz Landing Marina reported little fishing pressure on the lake. Topaz Lodge and Casino reported their own derby had weighed in 727 rainbows over 2 pounds since the start on Jan.1. The top fish in the Hook, Line & Sinker Derby was a 6.23-pound rainbow caught on a nightcrawler from shore by Tricia Kermodle of Minden, NV.


The main river was running high below the Boca Outlet and Victor Babbitt at TFFO recommended fishing in the Glenshire area with BWO, San Juan Worms, and sqwala stone patterns. Mountain Hardware and Sports reported flows in the Little Truckee below Stampede were going to be restricted to 40 to 70 cfs all summer, much to the dismay of the flyfishing community.


The lake is at 88-percent capacity. The ramp at the dam off Pea Vine Ridge Rd. was open. No reports were available.


Flyfisherman Paul Christensen of Santa Rosa, staying at the West Walker Motel, reported the river was running high and a little cloudy, but a few nice fish were coming out of the deeper pools, catch and release. The river will be stocked by the DFW and Mono County before the April 30 opener.



Sturgeon action has been red hot in lower Suisun Bridge in the Big and Little Cuts with both salmon roe and eel. The fish are biting in the 64-degree water, and there are keepers along with oversized diamondbacks in the mix. The main river is clearing up, and striper trolling is starting to pick up along the West Bank from Collinsville to Sandy Beach. Bait fishing below the Freeport Bridge with blood worms, pile worms, or sardines coated with garlic spray are producing stripers.


Trollers and plug casters found tremendous action for large female bass earlier in the week, and most anglers are catching and releasing any fish over 10 pounds. The action slowed down over the weekend, as there are signs that the majority of stripers have spawned. Shallow-diving lures are producing the larger bass with the best section from Eddo’s east to Prisoner’s Point. Largemouth bass have moved into the shallows, and Brush Hogs and Senkos are producing big weights. The water is getting warm quickly, bringing out an early frog bite. Drifting live bluegill is also producing quality stripers in the back sloughs in the east Delta.



The lake rose 3 feet last week to 447 feet of elevation, less than 20 feet from being completely full. Officials said the lake should reach full capacity by the end of May. Some rainbows and a few landlocked salmon have been caught, but most anglers are focusing on bass fishing, which has been very good. From shore, bass anglers are fishing minnows below bobbers. Most of the fish are spots and smallmouth bass, but a few largemouth also are being caught. Boaters fishing the main body are doing well with small grubs, Senkos and tubes fished with light jigheads. Trout trollers are focusing on the North and South Forks.


Trout fishing has been good since the lake was heavily stocked for the derby at the beginning of the month. Kastmasters and Power Bait both have been taking limits.


Flows were down to 1,320 cfs at the Delta gauge over the weekend, near fishable levels. Nymphs have been working on the soft edges and side channels.

▪ 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 are still working, but some dry flies and nymphs also are getting action, as well as tiny plugs. The river was flowing at 4,960 on Sunday at Keswick Dam.



The Georgetown Ranger Station reported the rivers were running high and clear. The North Fork and Middle Fork flows were reduced over the weekend to help recover a drowning victim near the Hwy 49 confluence.


The lake is at 90-percent capacity. Emerald Cove Marina reported the lake was in beautiful condition with both launch facilities in great shape. The marina store should open by the end of April. Guide Ron Gandolfi took a novice bass fishermen here this past week and the newby scored a 7-pound, 14-ounce spot on a tube. The only other fish were dinks that weighed less than a pound. The bass were stacked up on the points.


The lake is full. Recreational boat traffic increased dramatically with the nice weather, but bass fishing was still good up in the Rock Creek and Bear Rivers arms.


The lake is full. Trout fishing was excellent after Collins Lake Resort stocked another 3600 pounds of rainbows in the lake. Shore fishermen and trollers were all doing very well for rainbows up to 6 3/4 pounds. Shore anglers did best at the Beach and the dam using worms and floating dough bait. Trollers scored on flasher/worms and Rapalas. Bass fishing was good as the fish move up into shallow water to spawn. One angler caught a 6 1/4-pound spotted bass.


The lake is at 90-percent capacity. Skippers Cove Marina reported trout fishing was good in the marina and up lake at Buck’s Beach. Houseboaters were catching 16- to 17-inch rainbows in the marina on worms and floating dough bait. A boat rental customer and his two kids reported limiting out 3 days in a row at Buck’s Beach.


The lake is at 64.5-percent capacity. The Placer County Water Agency reported they plowed the road open to the lake, but the campgrounds aren’t open yet.


The ramp was open and the lake was stocked by the DFW at the beginning of April.


The lake is at 73-percent capacity. The Georgetown Ranger Station reported the road to the lake was clear and the launch ramp was open. The campgrounds should open by late May.


The lake is at 92-percent capacity—up 5 feet this past week and only 18 feet from full. Bass fishing was excellent, according to guide Ron Gandolfi who said his clients were catching 60 to 75 bass per day on tubes, darthead and drop-shot worms, Senkos, and Keitech swimbaits fished on the outside points and walls since most of the bass were post-spawners. On windy days, cast spinnerbaits into the mudlines. Gandolfi said the bite was great all over the lake.


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


The lake is at 98.9-percent capacity and scheduled for a DFW trout plant this week.


The lake was full, was recently stocked by the DFW, and the campgrounds will open on April 22.


The lake was full and spilling and was stocked by the DFW 3 weeks ago. The campgrounds were scheduled to open on April 15, but someone vandalized the water pumping system and repairs need to be made—the new opening was set for April 22. Shore anglers and trollers were working the lake with fair success.


The lake was at 133.8-foot elevation at press time—80.5-percent capacity. Bruce Gibson at the Paradise Tackle Company reported fishing was good later in the day after the water had a chance to warm up—lots of cold water was coming in from Lake Oroville. Bass were hitting on the riprap, tule banks, and south facing rock and gravel banks.



Happy Hooker passengers boated crabs, bass and halibut, thanks to good exploration of fishing options. California Dawn focused on crabs and pulled limits for all. Private boaters fishing the Berkeley Flats did great on stripers and caught a few halibut.


Rockfish opener was blown out, but subsequent days were decent and some nice lingcod came in along with rockfish, although among the private boat fleet success rates varied widely. New Sea Angler folks caught limits of rockfish, 31 lings to 18 pounds and 241 Dungeness crabs to 3 pounds. Halibut followed bait schools inside of Tomales Bay and some were taken near Hog Island. Crabbing was just okay inside the Bay, however one boater who freshened baits frequently had a great day on the crabs.


Boats from the Landing went out after rockfish and caught plenty. A combined weekend score was 600 rockfish and 61 lingcod taken on Sea Wolf, New Huck Finnand New Salmon Queen. Friday’s report was similar, but with Sea Wolf going over the lingcod per rod mark.


Salmon sizes came up on average about a pound and the catch counts were decent at best and far from good. Shore fishers were able to safely fish Noyo Jetty all week and at times could work spots at Old Mill, MacKerricher and Glass Beach for great catches of kelp greenling, rockfish and increasing counts of lingcod.


Salmon fishing wasn’t so hot but some were caught up towards the shipping channels. Sherry Ingles at Half Moon Bay Sportfishing got reports of some salmon on krill about 6 miles out of Pillar Point Harbor. Rockfish and crab combos went well for Huli Cat and rockfish trips were the go-to things for Riptide out of Half Moon Bay Sportfishing.


Wacky Jacky on Sunday caught 5 salmon and lost 4 with fish ranging up to 14 pounds. Lovely Martha went after halibut, bringing 8 home and releasing 12. From Sausalito, Outer Limits fished the Channel Buoys and got 8 salmon to 14 pounds.


Salmon fishing was slow to medium, although Capt. Jared Morris of C’Mon Sportfishing achieved a fish and a half per rod, which was the best report received from anywhere along the coast. The fish ranged from 8 to 12 pounds. Jetty fishers at Humboldt Bay found hungry kelp greenling, perch, rockfish plus lingcod from both North and South jetties. Surf perch bit quite well off of Table Bluff and near the mouth of Eel River.