Fishing Line

Fishing line: Look for stripers, sturgeon as weather, water clears

The weather is clearing, and action is expected to be for a variety of species.
The weather is clearing, and action is expected to be for a variety of species.


▪ DELTA REGION: SACRAMENTO RIVER Sturgeon fishing has been solid with a high incidence of undersized fish in lower Suisun Bay. Sturgeon in the jumbo shaker size between 35 and 39 inches have been common near the Benicia/Martinez Bridge. The large tides drew many of the sturgeon anglers into the shallows over the past weekend, but the smaller tides this week should bring out the bite in deeper water. Striper fishing is improving with trolling starting to pick up in the clearer stretches of the north Delta into Steamboat Slough.

▪ DELTA REGION: SAN JOAQUIN RIVER Clear water is the key to finding success for striped bass and largemouth bass, and a change of tactics is necessary to catch fish. A few sturgeon are showing up on the east side of the Antioch Bridge. As the water continues to clear with the lack of rain, the striper action should improve with live bait, trolling, and vertical jigging with spoons. Bass fishing is best with a “dead-stick” presentation with heavily-scented plastics, squarebill crankbaits, or light spinnerbaits in various shades of chartreuse.

▪ LAKE PARDEE The lake will open on February 12 for camping with the fishing opener the following day. Reconstruction of the Recreational Vehicle Park will result in the lake’s closure on July 10 for a short season. All boats are required to pass a Quagga Mussel inspection prior to launching.

▪ NEW MELONES The occasional huge largemouth continued to be taken on large baits, like the 15.73 pounder caught by Alex Niapas, but the most consistent action remained with shad-patterned plastics or spoons over the shad schools. Trout fishing is solid from the banks near the Highway 49 Bridge or the Glory Hole Launch Ramp with various colors of garlic-scented trout dough bait, nightcrawlers, or spoons such as Kastmasters or Tasmanian Devils. Trout trolling has been decent near the dam or near the Highway 49 Bridge with spinners tipped with a nightcrawler or bright colors of Needlefish, ExCel’s, or Speedy Shiners. The Glory Hole Launch Ramp is open, but the Tuttletown Launch Ramp remained closed.

▪ SACRAMENTO RIVER, Knight’s Landing to Colusa — The Port of Sacramento continues to be the hot spot for stripers, with some big fish showing in the catch. Trolling P-Line Predators has worked well. Some anglers also are jigging spoons.

▪ SACRAMENTO RIVER, Redding to Red Bluff – Sturgeon fishing came to a brief halt over the weekend as heavy rain blew the river out and filled it with debris. The stretch from Colusa to Verona had been good. As the river clears this week, look for fishing to improve again.


▪ CHETCO RIVER, Oregon – Totally blown out for 7 days, and running at 15,600 cfs on Sunday afternoon, down from 40,000 cfs on Friday. When it gets back down to 4,000 cfs it will start fishing again, with plunkers first, then driftboaters. While a lot of steelhead already came into the river, WON Staff Writer and guide Andy Martin said there will be more fresh fish after this rain.

▪ EEL RIVER - Blown out after all the heavy rains.

▪ EEL RIVER, South Fork - Unfishable conditions, high and muddy after the storm. WON Field Reporter Lonnie Dollarhide of Eureka fished it before the rains and it was good, but he expects it to be much better when it comes down.

▪ ROGUE RIVER, Gold Beach, Oregon – Recent storms across Southern Oregon brought rising rivers and streams along the Rogue drainage. “The Illinois River at Agness is one of the most influential rivers on the lower Rogue River, and the river height spiked up to 25.45 feet Friday after,” said guide Curtis Palmer. “Anglers will have to watch river levels and tides to see when fishing will be decent again for steelhead.”

▪ ROGUE RIVER, Grant’s Pass, Oregon It may take a week or so to clear up, as our three rivers are high and muddy,” said Troy Whitaker at U-Save Tackle in Grant’s Pass. “The Applegate and Illinois rivers will probably clear first, but it might be several days for the Rogue. When conditions get right, we should have a ton of steelhead moving up from below. Best action should be on Cleos and roe or nightcrawlers on the Applegate, but bait is not allowed on the Illinois. A little rain might blow through early in the week, but forecasts are for clearing the rest of the week.”

▪ RUSSIAN RIVER – SCWA opened the river on Monday and the fishing was hot until midday Friday, according to Scott Heemstra of Kings Sport and Tackle in Guerneville. “3-4 fish per boat was the norm using bait under floats, and jigs as well as Little Cleos,” he said. “ Friday, the bite was red hot downstream of Johnson’s Beach with cured roe under floats until the river blew out around noon. Water went up to 21 feet on Saturday. According to the hydrograph, it looks like we won’t be down to a 10-foot river until Friday, which is still too high. We are looking at 7 to days at least unless it drops out faster.”

▪ UMPQUA RIVER, Elkton, Oregon - The river blew out and reached a height of 27.71 ft. and 95,500 cfs. on Saturday, Feb. 7, around noon, according to WON Field Reporter and guide Curtis Palmer of River Secrets. “With logs floating downriver, along with any other debris, the river is a raging torrent caused by the recent storms. The Umpqua River will not be fishable for over a week.”

▪ UMPQUA RIVER, North Fork, Roseburg, Oregon Steelhead fishing had been fairly good for some anglers during the first part of last week, but foul weather during mid-week became nastier towards the weekend,” said guide Curtis Palmer of River Secrets. “The gauges for measuring river flow has been out of service since Friday. It appears that the very fast rising river conditions have caused a problem with the gauges. There are storm warnings for the middle of Douglas County in Oregon.”

▪ UMPQUA RIVER, South Fork, Canyonville, Oregon - -Fishing was slow early last week. “Thursday the river started rising quickly and became too high and muddy by Friday morning for fishing,” said guide Curtis Palmer. “With more storms on the way during the first of the week, it could be another 10 days before there are any good fishing conditions.”


▪ KLAMATH RIVER, Iron Gate Dam – Flows hit 4,000 cfs, well above the normal 1,000 cfs this time of year, bringing steelhead fishing to a temporary halt. The river could be fishable again before the end of the week. Before the rain, fishing for steelhead was good, with the few guides fishing getting customers into half a dozen to a dozen steelhead a day between 1 and 7 pounds.

▪ KLAMATH RIVER, Happy Camp – The river was flowing at 22,000 cfs on Sunday near Happy Camp and 55,000 cfs near Orleans. With high, muddy conditions, steelhead fishing is slow and will likely remain so for at least a week.

▪ KLAMATH RIVER, Klamath Glenn – With flows over 120,000 cfs on Sunday, don’t expect the lower Klamath to fish any time soon. The storm hit the coast hard, knocking out power in the community of Klamath for more than 24 hours.

▪ TRINITY RIVER – The river was high and muddy on Sunday, but could fish near Douglas City as early as Friday. Anglers have been catching one to two adult steelhead and several half pounders each day prior to the rain. Expect plugs to work best when the river falls back into shape.


▪ BERKELEY – Boaters headed to the Pumphouse for sturgeon, or ran up to Carquinez Straits or the Mothball Fleet for sturgeon. There were a lot more stripers caught than sturgeon, but overall action was good. Pier fishers caught appreciable numbers of rubberlip and pogie perch, which seem to be thick in the Bay.

▪ BODEGA BAY/LAWSON’S LANDING – Rough water kept boaters at bay. Inside Tomales Bay some Dungeness were caught from boats and from the pier. Very little surf fishing was done, however one skilled guy caught 14 surf perch. Doran Beach was good for barred surfperch and red tail perch. The jetty saw action for perch, rockfish and cabezon.

▪ EUREKA/CRESCENT CITY – Market squid showed up in 100 feet of water just outside of Humboldt Bay, giving boaters something worthwhile to do during weather windows. Red rock crab showed in decent numbers at Del Norte and Englund Marine piers inside the Bay. At Crescent City, the herring spawn has begun attracting people who were throwing nets or jigging with Sabikis.

▪ FORT BRAGG Telstar pulled her more vulnerable pots before the storm and came up with an average of 4 keeper crabs per pot. Off of the jetties, snare casters averaged 1 to 2 crabs per person. Striped perch and red tail perch bit well up the coast at MacKerricher and West Port.

▪ HALF MOON BAY/PACIFICA – Striped bass showed along Pacifica area beaches, though most were smaller units caught as incidentals by people fishing for barred surf perch and red tail perch. Those perch were hungrier than they have been in weeks. Crabbing picked up steam at Pacifica Pier and at the public pier, docks and jetty at half Moon Bay.

▪ SAN FRANCISCO – Options for boaters included heading to San Pablo Bay for stripers and sturgeon, or heading for the South Bay to try for stripers and halibut. Argo, out of Fisherman’s Wharf ran to San Pablo Bay and caught bass and sturgeon. South San Francisco locals caught stripers from shore at Fisherman’s Park and Coyote Point.


▪ BOCA LAKE – The lake is at 19.7-percent capacity. Mountain Hardware and Sports reported fishing was slow with the poor weather this past weekend, but at least the rain bumped the lake level up a little!

▪ CAPLES LAKE – The lake is at 67-percent capacity. The lake received 4 to 6 inches of snow on Friday, but hurricane force winds broke up the ice and open water was showing, so ice fishing was no longer recommended by Caples Lake Resort. Rain on Saturday melted the snow and further compromised the ice.

▪ CARSON RIVER (East) – With rain and 95 mph winds this past weekend, no one in their right mind was outside trying to flyfish below Hangman’s Bridge.

▪ DAVIS LAKE – The lake is at 56-percent capacity. Ed Dillard reported strong winds and rain this past Friday. A break in the weather on Saturday allowed the American Cancer Society benefit trout derby to come off without a hitch. Limits of 18- to 21-inch rainbows were common in 2 to 3 hours while shore fishing along the east side using scented artificial eggs and floating dough bait. Mallard Point was the hotspot, where derby winner Troy Pryor caught his 3.53-pound rainbow on home-cured roe. Small boats were able to launch at Camp 5 and Honker Cove.

▪ DONNER LAKE – The lake is at 44-percent capacity. Fishing was slow with the poor weather that hit the region this past weekend.

▪ FEATHER RIVER CANYON Butt Valley Reservoir is at 83-percent capacity. Mountain Hardware and Sports recommended fishing the powerhouse for big rainbows when it’s running.

▪ FRENCHMAN LAKE – The lake is at 35-percent capacity. Wiggins Trading Post reported shore anglers were picking up a few rainbows to 2 1/2 pounds at the dam on nightcrawlers.

▪ ICE HOUSE RESERVOIR – The lake is at 68-percent capacity. Strong wind and rain this past weekend made for extremely poor fishing conditions.

▪ INDIAN CREEK RESERVOIR – Todd Sodaro at Todd’s Bait and Tackle at the Creekside Lodge reported strong winds to 95 mph made fishing impossible this past weekend.

▪ JACKSON MEADOW RESERVOIR — The lake is at 79.7-percent capacity. Mountain Hardware and Sports said snow might have closed access to this lake again this past weekend. Call ahead to the Sierraville Ranger Station during the week at 530-994-3401.

▪ JENKINSON LAKE (Sly Park) – The lake is at 67.5-percent capacity. Sly Park Resort reported the DFW stocked 700 pounds of rainbows this past week. Shore anglers at the first and second dam were doing well on rainbows and picking up the occasional mack to 5 pounds. The macks were no doubt attracted to the shallows to feed on the rainbows.

▪ LAKE TAHOE Strong winds, rain, and some snow kept boaters off the lake after Thursday of this past week. Earlier in the week, Zack Gordon at Tahoe Sportfishing reported their fleet was doing well on 3- to 6-pound macks mooching live bait in 180 to 230 feet of water at South Shore. Chuck Self at Chuck’s Charter Fishing recommended shore fishing for rainbows on windy rocky banks using an inflated nightcrawler.

▪ PROSSER LAKE – The lake is at 32.4-percent capacity. Mountain Hardware and Sports reported the lake was muddy from the winds and rain this past weekend and fishing was very slow.

▪ PYRAMID LAKEThe Presidents’ Day Derby at Crosby’s Lodge was being lead by a 20 1/2 pounder caught from shore by Travis Lee of Sparks. The Top 20 included two 20s, a 17, a 16, two 15s, three 14s, five 13s, two 12, three 11s, and a 10 in the first two days. All but one fish were caught from shore and all but one were released. No one was talking about how or where they caught their fish, with the derby running through this weekend Feb. 14-15.

▪ RED LAKE – No report was available, but the ice could have been compromised by the gale force winds that hit the Carson Pass area over the weekend.

▪ SILVER LAKE – The lake is at 51.5-percent capacity. Strong winds broke up the ice at Caples Lake, so it’s possible the ice broke here. No current report was available.

▪ STAMPEDE RESERVOIR – The lake is at 22-percent capacity. Strong winds and rain this past weekend made for tough fishing conditions. After the weather settles down, small boaters can launch off the shore with 4-wheel drive and try for macks at the dam at 60 to 80 feet deep.

▪ TOPAZ LAKE — Flows in the West Walker were up after some much needed rain this past week, so hopefully the lake will raise enough to allow boat launching. Currently shore fishing or launching cartoppers to troll were the only options open to fishermen.

▪ TRUCKEE RIVER – Mountain Hardware and Sports reported the main river was blown out and muddy with all the rain. The Little Truckee below Stampede was running clear and getting a lot of pressure by flyfishermen.

▪ UNION VALLEY RESERVOIR – The lake is at 63-percent capacity. This area was blown out by strong winds and rain this past weekend. Look for mack trolling to improve as the weather stabilizes.

▪ WEST WALKER RIVER – Sam Foster at the Toiyabe Motel reported strong winds knocked out power and did a lot of damage to homes and ranches throughout the valley. The river was running high and murky from all the rain. Fishing pressure was nil.


▪ LAKE AMADOR – Trout plants continue with another 1200 pounds of Mt. Lassen Trout Farm rainbows released into the lake with a total of over 22,000 pounds of rainbows to 14 pounds in addition to 600 pounds of catchables released into the lake since October. Bank fishing continued to be around the Boathouse Docks, spillway, and dam with trout dough bait, nightcrawlers, and Power Worms. Trolling has been slower with the lake becoming stained from the heavy inflow during the past week. The annual Lake Amador Trout Derby lasts until March 1.

▪ CAMANCHE LAKE – 1200 pounds of Mt. Lassen Trout Farm rainbows were released into the lake with 600 pounds at the South Shore Launch Ramp and the remainder at the South Shore Pond. Bank fishing has been best near the launch ramps with Mice Tails, trout dough bait, nightcrawlers, or Power Eggs. Trollers are scoring with bright-colored Rapalas or grubs in white, chartreuse or firetiger near the surface. Bass fishing has improved with Senkos or plastics on the drop-shot. A 13.73-pound largemouth was landed on a 6-inch plastic worm. The Central Valley Anglers rescheduled their annual Club Members Derby at the South Shore Launch Ramp until March due to the weekend’s inclement weather.

▪ DON PEDRO – Bass fishing is improving for larger fish with Huddleston swimbaits in light trout, 68 Specials, or Reaction Innovation’s Skinny Dippers on a 1/4-ounce jig head rolled along the bottom. The most consistent action for numbers continued with drop-shotting or dartheading plastic worms at depths from 25 to 65 feet. Kokanee have been reported on the surface, and a long setback is most effective in the clear and cold water of the lake. The Fleming Meadows Launch Ramp is open with one lane open, but Blue Oaks is closed.

▪ LAKE McCLURE – The lake continues to release water, and the only access for boats is from the shoreline for small portable vessels such as kayaks or canoes. Bass tournaments scheduled for McClure are being switched to neighboring reservoirs such as Don Pedro for the spring months. All launch ramps are currently closed, and few fishermen are heading to the lake.

▪ LAKE McSWAIN – Trout plants have been occurring on a monthly basis with another 500-pound plant from Calaveras Trout Farm taking place at the end of January. The previous plant occurred in December. In the off-colored water due to continued releases from Lake McClure, bank action has been best around the Handicapped Docks, Brush Pile, or the points near the Marina with garlic-scented trout dough bait, yellow Power Eggs, or garlic Power Eggs. Trolling continued to be slow in the limited water clarity.

▪ NEW HOGAN RESERVOIR – The launch ramp is in the water with a courtesy dock. Few anglers are targeting the lake, but striped bass to 3 pounds can be found on live minnows.

▪ LAKE TULLOCH – Trout trolling can be solid one day and tough the following day in the cold 49-degree and clear water. Heavy spoons on a fast-troll on lead core line are producing a few smaller rainbows while blade/’crawler combinations on sideplaners are another productive option. Launching a boat is not a problem.


▪ AMERICAN RIVER – Steelhead fishing remains slow, but expect anglers to give fishing a try again after the river clears from heavy rain over the weekend. Fresh fish may have followed the high flows up the river.

▪ FEATHER RIVER — The heavy rain late last week and again Sunday brought a good early striper bite to a halt. Night fishing had been best. The river should be fishable again by late this week.

▪ FOLSOM LAKE – Trolling for king salmon has slightly improved, although fishing is still relatively slow, with anglers finding up to two fish per rod. Trolling white hoochies 30 feet down near the dam has been the best bet. Slow trolling has been a key in the cold water.

▪ RANCHO SECO LAKE – Not many people were fishing over the weekend because of the stormy weather, but trout fishing has been good for anglers using Power Bait. The area across from the park office has been best. The lake was stocked last week by the DFW and will be stocked again this week. An 8.9-pound rainbow was caught last week.

▪ SACRAMENTO RIVER, Dunsmuir – Fly fishing for native rainbows came to a halt over the weekend as heavy rain blew the upper river out, according to Bob Grace of the Ted Fay Fly Shop. Flows went from 500 cfs to nearly 20,000 cfs. They were down to 8,070 cfs on Sunday.


▪ AMERICAN RIVER — The Georgetown Ranger Station reported the river was up 5 to 6 feet and murky—poor fishing conditions.

▪ BULLARDS BAR – The lake is at 54-percent capacity. Drop-shot worms, shakey head worms, and jigs were working for spotted bass on long steep points and walls.

▪ CAMP FAR WEST – The lake is at 75-percent capacity. North Shore Resort was closed during the storm, so no fishing report was available.

▪ COLLINS LAKEThe lake is 29 feet from full. The DFW was scheduled to make a trout plant this week—they never made it out this past week as previously reported. Collins Lake Resort will stock 1800 pounds of catchables and trophy fish next week for the Presidents’ Day holiday. Fishing was good for trollers before the weather moved in. Shore anglers were doing well at the dam and the marina using nightcrawlers and floating dough bait.

▪ ENGLEBRIGHT RESERVOIR – The lake is at 89-percent capacity and scheduled for a DFW trout plant this week. Skippers Cove Resort will release their 4 pens of rainbows this week also, so fishing should be excellent by the end of the week with about 6000 pounds of rainbows swimming around in the marina cove.

▪ LAKE OROVILLEThe lake is at 42-percent capacity—up 6 feet between Friday and Sunday morning during the storm!! Guide Ron Gandolfi reported bass fishing was still very good with 40 fish days possible for anglers who could detect the soft bite—just feeling weight rather than a tap. The fish were deeper with the weather, 10 to 30 feet deep, but still hitting spinnerbaits, Senkos, darthead worms, and tubes. The fish were beginning to move toward the incoming water, so this bite should just get better as the weather stabilizes. A weekend tournament was won with 11 pounds including a 4-pound kicker, but many of the 53 boats did not catch limits.

▪ ROLLINS LAKE – The lake is at 93-percent capacity. Caden Caldwell at NID reported he did not see a boat on the lake all this past week so fishing reports were hard to come by. The lake was rising fast with the rain.

▪ SCOTT’S FLAT LAKE – The lake is at 62.5-percent capacity. Jim Caldwell at NID reported fishing pressure on the lake was nil—no reports were available.

▪ SUGAR PINE RESERVOIR – The strong winds and heavy rain kept anglers at home, but fishing was tough here anyway, with no trout plants since last summer.

▪ STUMPY MEADOWS RESERVOIR The lake is at 53-percent capacity. The Georgetown Ranger Station reported the launch ramp area and Ponderosa Cove would be open to the public. The lake was still too low to launch a trailered boat, but cartoppers, kayaks, and canoes can put in off the shore.

▪ THERMOLITO AFTERBAY – The lake was at 134.1-foot elevation at press time—82.5-percent capacity. The storm slowed bass fishing on the lake. Shore anglers were still picking up a few steelhead at Wilbur Road using nightcrawlers, but fishing was slow with the weather.

– Western Outdoor News