Here are the best places to fish in the Sacramento region, Northern California and beyond for the week of April 25, 2016.
▪ LAKE AMADOR
The first plant of Lightning trout from the Mt. Lassen Hatchery has spurred interest in the unusually light-colored strain of rainbows. The Lightnings are mixed in with the regular rainbow planters, and they are holding near the surface and the shoreline. The trout are bred from a recessive gene in the rainbow species, occurring about 1 per 50,000 rainbows. Lake Amador concessionaires will be planting catfish in the coming weeks. The lake level is full, and the bass bite is solid with plastics on the drop-shot, Senkos, or jigs. Trout fishing is best with Power Bait, Mice Tails, trout dough bait, and nightcrawlers in the top 10 feet. A bow and spear carp fishing tournament is planned within the coming months.
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▪ LAKE CAMANCHE
Trout plants continue at the lake with 600 pounds at both the North Shore and South Shore launch ramps. The 2nd Annual Kid’s Fishing Event will be held Sunday, May 1 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the South Shore Children’s Pond. Entrance is free, and the first 100 children 12 and under will receive a free fishing rod. Fishing is free for both children and parents. Experienced fishermen will be on hand to teach angling techniques, and there is a free lunch served from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
▪ SACRAMENTO RIVER, Red Bluff to Colusa
Striper fishing was wide open last week near Colusa, although the action began to slow over the weekend as some of the fish appear to be moving back downstream. Drifting or back-bouncing live minnows has been working well. Anglers are sorting through several under-size fish for each keeper.
▪ SACRAMENTO RIVER, Redding to Red Bluff
Fishing is now closed from 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. Flows held steady at 5,010 cfs from Keswick Dam all week. 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.
▪ SACRAMENTO RIVER, Sacramento
Striper fishing is good at Discovery Park, where some shad also are being caught. Minnows, pile worms and blood worms are tricking shad, along with S-Wavers and white or white and chartreuse swimbaits. Shad also are available at Courtland and Freeport. The sloughs around Sacramento are full of crappie and catfish.
▪ SACRAMENTO RIVER, Verona to Colusa
The Verona area continues to fish well for stripers, with big numbers of fish staging near the mouth of the Feather. Jumbo minnows, pile worms, blood worms, anchovies, sardines, shad and nightcrawlers all have been working. Many fish are under-size, but keepers are being caught. Some sturgeon are being caught at Knight’s Landing and Verona, where large catfish also are showing in the catch. The wingdams near Verona have been hot for catfish.
NORTH COAST RIVERS
▪ ROGUE RIVER, Gold Beach, Oregon
Spring salmon fishing remained slow last week, despite ideal conditions. Guides say the springers have been racing upriver. The afternoon tides fished best last week, but only a handful of fish were reported each day from all the boats combined. Flows on Sunday were 6,180 cfs at the Agness gauge. High flows are keeping the fish moving, and they aren’t holding in the estuary.
▪ ROGUE RIVER, Grants Pass, Oregon
Lots of rain has the river running high and colored, but more and more spring kings are in the river, and some steelies still available. Rains and high flows have provided an open freeway for kings coming in at the mouth to just race up the river.
▪ SMITH RIVER
The Smith closes to steelhead fishing April 30. Some rain last week and over the weekend let some anglers out on the river, and they still caught a few fish, almost all of the spawned out steelies on their way back to the ocean. Overall, guides said the steelhead season was good, although a lot of high water kept anglers off the river, but allowed steelhead plenty of uninterrupted access to the river.
▪ KLAMATH RIVER, Hornbrook
Flows from Iron Gate Dam shot up from 1,800 cfs to 2,230 cfs on Sunday. Fishing has been slow. The fall salmon quotas were set last week. The upper river will get a quota of 188 adult kings this summer and fall, an 85-percent reduction from last year.
▪ KLAMATH RIVER, Happy Camp
Steelhead fishing has been poor. Flows Sunday at Seiad Valley were 5,290 cfs, and 12,100 cfs at Orleans. The upper river will get a quota of 188 adult kings this summer and fall, an 85-percent reduction from last year.
▪ KLAMATH RIVER, Klamath Glen
Flows on Sunday at Terwer were 19,000 cfs. Spring salmon fishing has been slow. The lower Klamath will get a fall salmon quota of 555 adult kings this summer and fall, beginning Aug. 15. Anglers will be allowed to keep two salmon per day until the quota is filled, only one of which can be an adult over 22 inches.
▪ TRINITY RIVER
Flows were just under 500 cfs at Lewiston on Sunday and 798 cfs at Junction City. Steelhead fishing has slowed down for the season. A few brown trout are being caught. The California Fish and Game Commission approved fall salmon quotas last week, with 183 adult kings allocated to the upper Trinity above Cedar Flat and 183 adult kings set aside for the Trinity below Cedar Flat. Spring salmon caught before Aug. 15 are not subject to the quotas.
NORTH COAST LAKES
▪ CLEAR LAKE
Look for the fishing pressure to back off and hopefully we’ll see some improvement in the weather. The bite is definitely not easy and the posted tournament results support that fact. But it is spring on Clear Lake and there are definitely some big girls up and around.
▪ LAKE BERRYESSA
Trout can be caught with a dodger nightcrawler combo or some type of in line flashers. 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.
▪ LAKE SONOMA
Target the main lake with shad swimbaits on a lead head in 5 to 15 feet of water for bass. 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.
▪ LAKE ALMANOR
Hatches are going of all over now after a full week of warming sunshine and the trout bite has been great.
▪ BAUM LAKE
This is the most amazing time to be here and with more hatches going off the trout bite picked up a notch.
▪ HAT CREEK
Opening day below Power House 2 will be good, but crowded, so get there early.
▪ MCCLOUD RESERVOIR
There is good trout fishing here on leeches and dry flies down by the dam.
▪ PIT RIVER
Check for big releases and always look at stream flow reports. This river is only for the advanced outdoor person and angler –so be careful out there.
▪ SHASTA LAKE
The bass fishing has been excellent but fish are scattered out to 25 feet. Live minnows, plastics, cranks, spinnerbaits and topwater tackle are the way to go. Try rolling shad in Digger Bay, by the dam and Dry Creek for a chance at trout or the dam for salmon.
▪ TRINITY LAKE
Has not been a good option due to launch conditions and lower water levels but rising.
▪ DON PEDRO
The water clarity has improved considerably, and guide Monte Smith of Gold Country Sport Fishing found great action for his clients on a recent trip running heavy spoons on leadcore for multiple limits of rainbows. Bass fishing is showing signs of life with plastics on the drop-shot or jigs. The water level is starting to stabilize, and the fish are getting oriented to the banks. The lake is at 66% with all three launch ramps open.
▪ EBBETTS PASS CORRIDER
The High Sierra trout opener is this coming Saturday, April 30, and White Pines Lake, the North Fork of The Stanislaus, Beaver Creek and Angels Creek will all be planted this upcoming week prior to the opener.
▪ NEW HOGAN
Striped bass action is showing some signs of resurgence as the water has cleared. Running shad or anchovies on a harness is the top technique for the linesides. The lake has risen to 40% of capacity, and launching a boat is no problem.
▪ LAKE McCLURE
The water has cleared up considerably, and there is a short window for topwater lures. Bass to 4 pounds are taken on a variety of techniques including jigs and plastics on the drop-shot along with the occasional ripbait fish. The bass are in all stages of spawning. The McClure Point and Barrett Cove South launch ramps are open with the Barrett Cove North ramp under construction. The lake has risen 11 feet in the last week to 761.08 feet in elevation and 45% of capacity, but the lake is still below the 50% average at this time of year.
▪ LAKE MCSWAIN
Not much change from the past week with no plants occurring. The lake is full and clear, and various colors of trout dough bait are working for a few fish per rod at the normal locations of the Brush Pile, the marina, and the Handicapped Docks. 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 Marina Store is open from Thursday through Sunday.
▪ NEW MELONES
The kokanee bite has emerged with legitimate fish to 14 inches taken on Uncle Larry’s spinners tipped with garlic-scented corn behind a dodger in the main lake at depths to 30 feet. The kokanee are expected to grow to 17 inches by the end of the summer. The bass are in all phases of spawning, and there is a good topwater bite in the morning before switching to Senkos. Trout limits have been coming for trollers working from 15 to 30 feet with blade/’crawler combinations or spoons in the main lake. Catfish action is heating up with the warmer water, and crappie fishing is the best in several years near submerged structure.
SIERRA LAKES AND RIVERS
▪ BOCA LAKE
The lake is at 61.6-percent capacity. Mountain Hardware and Sports reported there was little happening here. Try at the dam for the occasional rainbow or brown and pray for a DFW plant. The Truckee Ranger Station reported the launch ramp was not in the water yet.
▪ CAPLES LAKE
The lake is at 67.8-percent capacity. Caples Lake Resort reported there was still 2 feet of ice on the lake in places and the area saw new snow this past weekend. There was open water at the Wood’s Creek inlet. The ice was reportedly getting unstable and with the general trout season opening this weekend, the ice fishing season should be considered done for the year.
▪ CARSON RIVER (East)
The East Carson and West Carson are scheduled for DFW trout plants this week. Alpine County will stock 3600 pounds of 1- to 3-pound rainbows in the East Carson, West Carson, Markleeville Creek, and Silver Creek for the April 30 opener.
▪ DAVIS LAKE
The lake is at 68-percent capacity. Ed Dillard at Dillard Guided Fishing reported trolling was improving. His last trip produced 7 strikes and 4 landed rainbows in the 18- to 20-inch class with a 5 pounder lost at the net. Other trollers reported catching 7 or 8 fish per trip. Red-dot frog Needlefish and firetiger Sockeye Slammers trolled 10 to 15 feet deep between Honker Cove and the island did the trick. Shore fishing and fly fishing were still slow.
▪ DONNER LAKE
The lake is at 71-percent capacity and scheduled for a DFW trout plant this week. With the lake up 15-percent in one week, the lake was unsettled and the bite slow.
▪ FEATHER RIVER CANYON
The trout season opens on April 30. The North Fork Feather River at Belden will be stocked the week of May 1 after the opener. Caribou Crossroads Resort will be holding their annual opening weekend fishing derby with a pancake breakfast and big fish prizes for adults and juniors with a $5 entry fee. Every child that enters the derby will receive a prize at the awards presentation. Call for info.
▪ FRENCHMAN LAKE
The lake is at 43-percent capacity. Wiggins Trading Post reported trout fishing was very good at the lake with most shore anglers doing well at the dam using nightcrawlers for rainbows running 1 to 2 pounds. Trollers were doing well in front of the Frenchman ramp using Dick Nite and Needlefish spoons at 15 to 18 feet deep. The Frenchman ramp was open without a dock. The Frenchman, Chilcoot, and Spring Creek campgrounds were open. The local creeks open on Saturday, April 30.
▪ GOLD LAKES BASIN
Snow this past weekend kept the area inaccessible.
▪ ICE HOUSE RESERVOIR
The lake is at 95-percent capacity and scheduled for a DFW trout plant this week. Fishing should be good after the plant. Watch out for heavy debris on the upper end of the lake with this high water level.
▪ INDIAN CREEK RESERVOIR
Todd Sodaro at Todd’s Bait and Tackle at the Creekside Lodge reported shore anglers were picking up a few nice rainbows at the campground and the dam using nightcrawlers and floating dough bait.
▪ JACKSON MEADOW RESERVOIR
The lake is at 83.6-percent capacity, but still snowed in.
▪ JENKINSON LAKE (Sly Park)
The lake is full and spilling. Trout fishing slowed near the boat ramp as the DFW planters dispersed out into the main body of the lake. A few fish were still being caught at the first dam.
▪ LAKE TAHOE
Chuck Self at Chuck’s Charter Fishing reported great action for macks in deep water along North Shore with limits of 4 to 7 pounder hitting in only 2 to 3 hours. His clients were releasing lots of 2 to 3 pounders. Mike Nielsen at Tahoe Topliners Sportfishing said the brown trout trolling was good along South Shore for fish running 2 to 5 pounds. The browns were hitting Shadow Raps and Krocodile spoons trolled 30 to 50 feet deep along big rock banks. Macks were hitting Rapalas and ThunderStiks at 120 to 150 feet deep. The mack bite was good with one trip producing 8 fish in 45 minutes. Zach Gordon at Tahoe Sportfishing reported the fleet was doing well for easy limits of 2- to 4-pound macks mooching live bait at 180 to 200 feet deep along South Shore.
▪ PROSSER LAKE
The lake is at 29.3-percent capacity. The Truckee Ranger Station reported the boat ramp was nowhere near the water yet. Fishing was slow with the low lake level.
▪ PYRAMID LAKE
Crosby’s Lodge reported a very slow week with no big fish checked in at all. George Molino at Cutthroat Charters reported his last 2 trips only yielded 6 or 7 fish each—small trout in the 16- to 19-inch range trolling Apex, FlatFish, and spoons at 20 to 35 feet deep at Warrior Point.
▪ RED LAKE
The ice was getting soft around the edges of the lake and Victor Babbitt at TFFO didn’t recommend any further ice fishing. With the Carson River opening this weekend, no one needs to do anymore ice fishing!
▪ SILVER LAKE
The lake is at 56.3-percent capacity. The lake was getting unstable around the edges and it might be time to say goodbye to ice fishing for the year. With the general trout season opening this weekend, there will be too many other good choices to pick from anyway.
▪ STAMPEDE RESERVOIR
The lake is at 37-percent capacity. The Truckee Ranger Station reported the boat ramp had at least 10 feet of concrete in the water. A local kokanee guru visited the lake and found a big concentration of unidentified fish stacked up near the bottom at the dam in 80 to 100 feet of water—they wouldn’t touch anything trolled through them. He metered the rest of the lake and found little to get excited about.
▪ TOPAZ LAKE
The lake was at 50-percent capacity and launching was easy at the Douglas County Park ramp and Topaz Landing Marina. Shore fishermen and trollers were still picking up some nice rainbows.
▪ TRUCKEE RIVER
Victor Babbitt at TFFO recommended flyfishing above the Boca Outlet with BWO, sqwala stones, and San Juan Worms. The general regulation section from Trout Creek to Lake Tahoe along Hwy 89 opens Saturday, April 30.
▪ UNION VALLEY RESERVOIR
The lake is at 91-percent capacity and loaded with heavy debris, so boaters beware.
▪ WEST WALKER RIVER
The Little Walker River and West Walker River are scheduled for DFW trout plants this week for the April 30 opener. Beginning April 30, anglers can use bait and barbed hooks, and keep 5 fish per day.
▪ SACRAMENTO RIVER
American shad have made their inaugural annual appearance into the Sacramento-Delta, and bank fishermen below the Freeport Bridge are finding success with shad darts while boaters are anchoring with shad grubs on a drop-shot rig. Striper fishing was limited by the weekend winds, but a few large fish have been taken from Collinsville upstream to Steamboat Slough. Sturgeon are still found in lower Suisun Bay with lamprey eel or salmon roe, but the numbers of fishermen targeting sturgeon has dropped within the past month.
▪ SAN JOAQUIN RIVER
The striper bite is still going, but the schools are isolated and scattered. Trollers are finding success with both shallow and deep-diving lures while there is a small early morning window for casting topwater lures. Small stripers in the 6-pound range are common. Spooning or drifting live bait is another solid option. Largemouth bass are in all phases of spawning, and some huge limits have been caught and released on a variety of techniques. Accurate casting is essential for the chance at a trophy fish.
▪ AMERICAN RIVER
Striper fishing continues to be good at Discovery Park at the mouth of the American. Some shad have been reported upriver, although fishing pressure has been light for stripers and shad above Discovery Park. Flows held steady all last week at 2,870 cfs.
▪ FEATHER RIVER
Striper fishing continues to be very good from Star Bend to the mouth of the Feather at Verona. Jumbo minnows and working well for boaters, while bank anglers are using pile worms, blood worms or nightcrawlers. Small swimbaits and S-Wavers also are working. Shad have been reported at Boyd’s Pump and Shanghai Bend.
▪ FOLSOM LAKE
The lake rose 4 feet last week to 451 feet of elevation, less than 15 feet from being completely full. Officials said the lake should reach full capacity by the end of May. Bass fishing continues to be good for shore and boat anglers. Bank anglers are using live minnows with slip bobbers. Boaters are using small plastics with drop-shot rigs close to shore at first light and then suspended over deeper water as the sun hits the water. Small grubs, Senkos and tubes are working. Trout trollers are focusing on the North and South forks, but trout and salmon action has been slow.
▪ RANCHO SECO LAKE
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.
▪ SACRAMENTO RIVER, Dunsmuir
After spiking at 2,000 cfs on Friday, flows were down to 1,390 cfs at the Delta gauge over the weekend, a high but fishable level. Nymphs have been working on the soft edges and side channels.
▪ AMERICAN RIVER
All the forks were running high and clear. The South Fork at Coloma will not be planted until after opening weekend.
▪ BULLARDS BAR
The lake is at 90-percent capacity. Guide Larry Hemphill fished 2 days this past week and caught lots of 8- to 12-inch spots and 2 good ones. Hemphill landed a 4 1/4-pound spot on a Roboworm and client Steve Johnson of Portola Valley caught a personal best 7-pound, 14-ounce spot on a morning dawn Roboworm--both caught on submerged trees near the Dark Day boat ramp.
▪ CAMP FAR WEST
North Shore Resort held a team tournament this past weekend and 28 teams fished. Top weight was 11.67 pounds with a 4.46-pound big fish. Ron Franks of Folsom fished during the week and caught 49 bass in the Rock Creek and Bear River arms on watermelon lizards and Brush Hogs in 1 to 10 feet of water. Water temp was 63 to 66 degrees.
▪ COLLINS LAKE
The lake is full and scheduled for a DFW trout plant this week. Trout fishing was fantastic with lots of limits caught. Two derbies fished the lake this past weekend and top fish in the “Young Life” benefit derby was won with a 6 1/4-pound rainbow with lots of 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 pounders caught. Shore anglers were catching limits at the dam and Beach, while trollers scored consistently larger trout on Rapalas and Apex. Collins Lake Resort will stock another 1800 to 2000 pounds each week for the next month.
▪ ENGLEBRIGHT RESERVOIR
The lake is at 94-percent capacity. Trout fishing was good in the marina and on the upper end of the lake using worms and floating dough bait. Bass fishing was good with the fish up in the shallows to spawn.
▪ FRENCH MEADOWS RESERVOIR
The lake is at 79-percent capacity. Snow this past weekend may have closed the road again, so check with the Foresthill Ranger Station at 530-367-2224 for the latest conditions.
▪ FULLER LAKE
The lake is scheduled for a DFW trout plant this week.
▪ HELL HOLE RESERVOIR
The lake is at 74-percent capacity. The Georgetown Ranger Station reported the road to the lake was open but could have closed again with the snow that hit this past weekend. The boat ramp was in the water.
▪ LAKE OROVILLE
The lake is at 94-percent capacity—only 13 feet from full!! WON Staffer Pat Young hit the lake this past Thursday with guide Ron Gandolfi and they caught over 100 bass in the 1 1/4- to 2-pound class on steep walls in the West Branch and upper Slot on tubes in 1 to 20 feet of water. Spinnerbaits worked well in the mudlines for a better grade of fish.
▪ ROLLINS LAKE
The lake is full and spilling and was stocked by the DFW this past week. NID reported the lake was still murky and the debris was making its way to the shoreline. Trout fishing should be good near the stocking sites.
▪ SCOTT’S FLAT LAKE
The lake is at 98.7-percent capacity and was stocked by the DFW this past week. Bass were corralling the trout in the marina after the plant—a swimbait could bring a big strike. Smallmouth bass action was good on the rocky banks with the fish up shallow to spawn. Trout should be hitting worms and floating dough bait on the point near the marina.
▪ SUGAR PINE RESERVOIR
The campgrounds and day-use area opened on April 22. The lake was full and fishing should be good since it was recently planted by the DFW.
▪ STUMPY MEADOWS RESERVOIR
The lake is full and spilling. Unforeseen problems have delayed the campground opening—call the Georgetown Ranger Station at 530-333-4312 before planning on camping. Shore fishermen and trollers were picking up a few fish.
▪ THERMALITO AFTERBAY
The lake was at 134.2-foot elevation at press time—83.3-percent capacity. WON Staffer Pat Young fished the lake this past Wednesday with Bruce Gibson of the Paradise Tackle Company and caught 20 to 25 largemouth bass on spinnerbaits, Senkos and crankbaits. The crankbaits worked well on the riprap banks. Tule islands in the east side bays were loaded with 1 1/4- to 2-pound bass that hit chartreuse/white spinnerbaits—the Senkos worked well as a follow-up after a missed strike.
A 30-pound halibut was caught aboard California Dawn, along with lots of other flatties. Happy Hooker got halibut to 19 pounds and some stripers to 5 pounds fishing the South Bay with live bait. Jilly Sea also did well on the flatfish. Berkeley Flats saw plenty of halibut and striped bass action with people drifting live shiners or trolling frozen herring. El Dorado had good solid salmon reports from 3 days of fishing at the Light Bucket. Golden Eye 2000 got limits of rockfish and nearly 2 lingcod per rod at the islands.
▪ BODEGA BAY
Salmon action was so-so, with boats coming with zero, a couple of higher counts and all a matter of being in the right place at the right time with the right lures or bait. Surf Scooter hooked 6 salmon including 3 at once. New Sea Angler had a heck of a good week of fishing for lingcod and rockfish. Crabbing opened up Friday and there were some taken over the weekend, though weather was very much a factor. Surf fishers had the best time of anyone thanks to some exceptionally hungry surf perch and an influx of striped bass in the surf zone.
New Huck Finn prowled the Bay and found plenty of striped bass to play with at various locales since the bass seem to be everywhere. Sea Wolf ran Saturday, posting 27 limits of rockfish and 2 lingcod to 13 pounds.
Long days were in store for salmon fishers heading down to Shelter Cove and the best that could be said was that some were caught. There were no reports of high counts or big individual fish. Large swells and winds came up just at the same time as Dungeness crab season was opened from the North Jetty southward so the sudden opportunity was ill-timed. When conditions settle crabbers will be all over them. Lots of preparations are underway for the May 1 opener of Pacific halibut season. Jetty fishers did very well on both South and North jetties, until the weather came up.
▪ FORT BRAGG
Salmon showed off of Pudding Creek and a couple of boats got on them… Telstar and Sea Hawk. Few boats could do much about the Friday open of Dungeness crabs due to swells and winds, but snare casters lined Noyo Jetty after visiting Noyo Fishing Center. Shore fishers hit good fish at Old Mill and MacKerricher during the week and then at protected Noyo Jetty over the weekend when swells and winds limited spots to fish.
▪ HALF MOON BAY
Salmon were caught off of Half Moon Bay, as Salty Lady from Sausalito was seen off the coast and was reported to have 17 salmon aboard. Huli Cat ran combo rockfish/lingcod/crab trips and made her people happy with the results. Riptide out of Half Moon Bay Sportfishing got into the lingcod and rockfish with overall good counts and good fish.
▪ SAN FRANCISCO
Flash fished South Bay for sharks and did herself proud with multiple catches of very large leopard sharks up to 51 inches. Bass Tub went for halibut and turned in a score of 2 keepers on Saturday and 4 on Sunday, plus striped bass and leopard shark. Lovely Martha nailed a dozen halibut during this rich bite and topped the halibut charts with a 31-pound grande caught by Jose Ruiz. Deadliest Kast worked South Bay for halibut and managed to stay right on top of them the whole time.