North state fishing report for week of March 15
BULLARDS BAR: Bullards Bar is in good shape despite being full and spilling according to multiple guides. The kokanee bite is proving to be durable as usual, with fish caught from 25 feet down to 50, although the fish are scattered. Good places to look are by the dam and up in the Willow Creek Arm. Productive baits include pink and orange hoochies and Brad’s Cut Plugs. The surface water temperature was 48 degrees.
LAKE OROVILLE: Nor-Cal 90 held a bass tournament Saturday and found tough going in cold, dirty water that continues to rise rapidly. The lake elevation was 830 feet on Sunday, 17 feet above main spillway chutes. Still, it took 17.56 pounds to win the tournament, an encouraging sign that the fishing, however rough, is improving. Jamey Sorensen of North Valley Tackle singled out one somewhat effective pattern, reaction baits on wind-blown points.
THERMALITO AFTERBAY: WON Staff Writer and guide Billy Driessen fished the Afterbay this week, discovering an excellent bass bite on reaction baits, chiefly a 6-inch ABT wag tail. The bass ranged from the middle of the lake on the south side in 8 to 12 feet of water and also up tight staging to spawn in 1 to 3 feet of water near the main boat ramp. Retired guide Craig Bentley was back fishing planted steelhead from shore this week with a group of friends. He said a school of fish came through chasing bait, and before it fizzled the group managed 4, 15 to 16 inchers. The water is very cold, 45 to 46 degrees.
FEATHER RIVER: Fishing for stripers picked up over the weekend near Boyd’s Pump, with shore and boat anglers having the best success on pile worms. Schools of stripers have entered the river. A few steelhead are being caught in the Low Flow section.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Verona to Colusa: A few sturgeon are being caught near Knights Landing, but high water is making fishing difficult. Sturgeon can be seen rolling throughout the river. A few stripers are being caught on pile worms.
Far North Lakes and Rivers
LAKE ALMANOR: Plumas county is still being pummeled by snow and rain, making bank access limited to zerp. There have been fish caught trolling Artic fox flies near the dam early in the day and quality rainbows landed fast trolling hardware at Almanor West in red/gold color combinations in 15 feet of water.
BAUM LAKE: Fishing has been on fire with just about any fly you throw at them, you’re going to get bit. The size of fish varies right now from 12 inchers up to 18 inchers being caught daily.
LEWISTON LAKE: No info on how the fishing is but the lake received more snow this weekend restricting roadways. Make sure and call about road conditions before attempting to drive up the hill.
PIT RIVER: Remains blown out currently.
SHASTA LAKE: Fishing is good for both bass and trout anglers but the lake has a lot of debris right now floating in giant mats with fine bark and twigs that are causing jet pumps and intakes to clog on boats. There are full sized trees floating in some places. Bass are moving up into the back of creeks and into coves where there is warmer water flowing in and can be caught on reaction and finesse style baits.
TRINITY LAKE: Bass fishing was good this past weekend if you were in the right place, with some larger fish being caught. The Trinity Center ramp is still under construction and is a dirt launch, but the Fairview ramp is open with a dock. Fish are being caught out deep until it warms up in the afternoon and then can be found up shallow with small swimbaits and reaction style baits.
WHISKEYTOWN LAKE: The bite remains slow after recent downpours, and there have been few fisherman hitting the water. The fish that are being caught are down deep and on finesse style baits.
AMERICAN RIVER: Steehead fishing is slow on the American River, with flows holding at 16,000 cfs last week.
FOLSOM LAKE: The Folsom Point, Brown’s Ravine, Granite Bay and Rattlesnake Bar launches are open. The lake level rose 4 feet last week, from 430 feet to 434 feet. The 5 mph speed limit has been lifted. Some bass are being caught by bank anglers fishing minnows. Very few people are fishing because of big inflows and lots of logs and other debris.
RANCHO SECO LAKE: Trout fishing is fair, thanks to plants every other week. Power Bait is working best. The big trout derby will be held in April.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Dunsmuir: Trout fishing is poor because of high water.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Redding to Red Bluff: Flows at Keswick Dam jumped from 30,000 cfs last week to 40,000 cfs over the weekend, blowing out the Sacramento River in the Redding area.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Red Bluff to Colusa: High water has kept most anglers away. A few people are fishing for stripers and sturgeon close to Colusa with slow success.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Sacramento: The river remains high and muddy, leading to slow sturgeon fishing.
KLAMATH RIVER, Hornbrook: The Upper Klamath blew out last week, hitting 2,600 cfs at Iron Gate. Flows dropped to 2,14o cfs on Sunday, but remained too high for steelhead fishing.
KLAMATH RIVER, Happy Camp: The Middle Klamath near Happy Camp was blown out again last week. Flows were down to 4,850 cfs on Sunday at Seiad Valley, but remained too high for steelhead. Flows at Orleans were down to 11,700 cfs.
KLAMATH RIVER, Klamath Glen: High water continues to slow steelhead fishing on the lower Klamath. Flows hit 59,000 cfs last week and were down to 36,200 cfs on Sunday.
TRINITY RIVER: High water plagued steelhead anglers again last week, although the upper section near Lewiston remained fishable. The rest of the river was blown out. Flows crested at 4,000 cfs last week at Junction City. They were down to 1,940 cfs on Sunday at Junction City, and 1,200 cfs at Douglas City. At Hoopa, flows crested at 27,000 cfs before dropping to 14,900 cfs on Sunday.
CAMP FAR WEST: This lake is full and spilling. Kathy DeRossett of North Shore Resort reported a lot of fishermen on the lake, but said overall fishing is slow.
COLLINS LAKE: Collins is still full and spilling, its waters rather dirty and murky. Spicing offerings with scent is a must, although it seems many anglers are choosing to wait out the dirty conditions. The DFW added another 800 pounds of trout to the lake and has another 1,000-pound plant scheduled somewhere between March 11 and 16. Collins is plugged with trout. It’s just a matter of time before they go off.
ENGLEBRIGHT RESERVOIR: Lisa Rogers of Skipper’s Cove Marina had no fresh fishing reports to share but said the launch ramp was busy and the sun was shining on Sunday. The water was murky green but not muddy, and the lake is open and ready for business.
North Coast lakes
LAKE BERRYESSA: Fishing has been tough for bass anglers after lake fluctuations and recent storms. The fish that are being caught are using the warmer muddy waters at the north end of the lake and are out in 20 feet of water or deeper. The WWBT event is coming up and boat traffic will increase.
BLACK BUTTE LAKE: The lake had reached the spillway for the first time in over a decade and there was so much water being released it was causing erosion in the lower creek and encroaching on the town. Due to muddy water and debris no one has been out fishing, but a week of sunshine should have fishing pushing to feed.
CLEAR LAKE: Muddy water and whitecap swells have kept a majority of boaters off the water, but those who did brave the weather had success for crappie in the coves and near the creeks running into the lake. Bass anglers are catching fish on A rigs, spinnerbaits, drop-shot rigs, and jumbo minnows.
LAKE SONOMA: The water level remains at 120 percent above full capacity and they have restricted the use of the dock at the launch ramp. The water clarity has improved, although the water temperature is still cold and the bite tough.
North Coast Rivers
North Coast streams and rivers are regulated by low flow closures. Always call ahead to determine the condition of the river you want to fish. If not mentioned, the river is closed or no reports. The DFW’s Low Flow Closure Hotline for north coast rivers is (707) 822-3164. South Central Coast streams number is (831) 649-2886.New low flow closures for Mendocino, Sonoma and Marin counties, Oct. 1-April 30, call (707) 822-3164 for Mendocino, (707) 944-5533 for Sonoma, Marin and Napa.
CHETCO RIVER, Brookings, Ore.: The Chetco continued to fish well last week for late-season steelhead, with guides averaging four fish a day. Guide Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing said there is a mix of fresh and spawned out steelhead in the river. Steelhead season runs through March 31.
ELK RIVER, Port Orford, Ore.: The Elk is low and clear, but could rise enough for driftboats with rain expected the middle of this week.
ROGUE RIVER, Gold Beach, Ore.: The first spring king salmon of the season was landed last week by a plunker on the lower river. Guides continue to catch limits of steelhead anchoring close to shore and running plugs.
RUSSIAN RIVER: No word from our contacts on the river this week.
SMITH RIVER: Steelhead fishing was slow last week, with guides catching one or two fish a day. Conditions remain good.
SIXES RIVER, Port Orford, Ore.: The Sixes fished well late last week before dropping to low levels over the weekend.
Sierra Lakes and Rivers
BOCA LAKE: Miles Zimmerman of Mountain Hardware and Sports in Truckee said the ice on Boca is no longer safe.
CARSON RIVER: Todd Sodaro of Todd’s Bait and Tackle and the Alpine County Fish and Game Commission reported improved conditions and access on the year-round, special regulations section of the East Carson. The water is running with a nice green tint, and there’s only a little snow on the banks.
DAVIS LAKE: The ice here is no longer safe for ice fishing, according to Mark Tieslau of Mountain Hardware and Sports in Blairsden. He told the story of a group of customers who attempted it, only to have their shovel plunge straight through rotten ice.
DONNER LAKE: Miles Zimmerman of Mountain Hardware and Sports said Donner Lake is now just partially covered by thin ice. Some shore fishing access has opened, and there’s limited parking at the public boat ramp.
GOLD LAKES BASIN: Mark Tieslau of Mountain Hardware and Sports in Blairsden repeated that there is 6 feet of snow on Gold Lake, then 3 feet of slush before you get to the ice.
JENKINSON LAKE (AKA SLY PARK): Kyle Neeser of Crystal Basin Tackle and Guide Service said there hasn’t been much fishing at Jenkinson due to the weather. He added that the lake is full to the brim, leaving no shoreline for anglers to fish. He further said everything is just starting, and there’s still no access to any of the nearby Crystal Basin lakes unless you have snowshoes.
LAKE TAHOE: Zach Gordon of Tahoe Sportfishing said the weather was very nice (finally!) over the weekend, allowing them to get at least two trips a day out. The boats are fishing right in front of Ski Run, in 200 feet of water, picking away at lake average 3- to 5-pound Mackinaw. With the weather looking good and a warming trend expected, it’s a good time to go up and enjoy light loads.
PROSSER LAKE: Miles Zimmerman of Mountain Hardware and Sports in Truckee said, like Boca, the ice on Prosser is no longer safe.
PYRAMID LAKE: Most shore-based fly anglers averaged a fish or two per outing. Some guides said they experienced better than usual fishing when they fortuitously camped out on the “right” beach and encountered schools of big fish moving in as storms arrived. As usual, popcorn beetles, midnight cowboys and black midges were some of the most effective baits.
TOPAZ LAKE: The annual trout derby is underway and is currently led by a 9-pound, 7-ounce trout caught by Aaron Talhelm on Week 1, according to staff at the Topaz General Store. The week 10 leader, as of Sunday morning, was Jeff Bovero, 3 pounds, 12.8 ounces, followed by Robert Hartman, 3 pounds, 5.5 ounces. There’s no registration fee to enter, and there are weekly prizes for first and second place. 21 and over only.
TRUCKEE RIVER: Except for the special regulations section from the mouth of Trout Creek at Glenshire Drive to the Nevada state line, the Truckee River has closed for the season. Miles Zimmerman of Mountain Hardware and Sports said the river has come up dramatically. The Tahoe City Dam is releasing 1,000 cfs, which swells to 1,600 cfs by the time the river reaches Hirschdale. It’s nearly too much to fish, but it is running relatively clearly. Zimmerman tried it for himself this week, and managed to catch 2 trout while working stone flies and worms along the stream sides. He said larger flies are producing better.
BERKELEY: Berkeley Charter Boats reported most of the fleet was getting annual Coast Guard inspections and maintenance done before the April 1 rockcod opener. Sturgeon and stripers are on a tear in the North Bay. Partyboats will begin halibut trolling in the South Bay starting March 16.
BODEGA BAY: Rick Powers on the New Sea Angler reported he made no trips this past week due to the foul weather. When the weather allows, he has been making crab-only trips and getting boat limits. The rockcod season opens on April 1. Lawson’s Landing reported folks were snaring a few red rock and Dungeness crabs off Dillon beach. On the calmer days, perch fishing was productive for barred perch to 16 inches using, you guessed it, Gulp! Sandworms!
EMERYVILLE: Striper and sturgeon action was good in the North Bay and San Pablo Bay. Halibut were hitting in the South Bay where the water clarity was better using drifted dead anchovies or trolled herring. The rockcod season opens April 1. Most of the fleet was still getting annual Coast Guard inspections and maintenance done.
EUREKA: The herring spawn finally came to an end in Crescent City Harbor. Humboldt Bay fishing activity was confined to chasing perch, greenling, rockcod, and a few lings off the North and South jetties using shrimp, squid, anchovies, and swimbaits. Redtail perch were hitting off Dry Lagoon north of town.
FORT BRAGG: The Sea Hawk made it out one day during a break in the weather and pulled limits of crabs for 8 anglers. The rockcod season opens May 1. Noyo Fishing Center reported good perch action at Chadbourne and Westport for redtails to 2 1/2 pounds using Gulp! Sandworms.
HALF MOON BAY: The Huli Cat has been pulling consistent limits of crabs on its trips all season–when it can get out with all the sloppy weather. On the good days, sanddabs and petrale sole were targeted in deeper water. Most of the boats in the fleet were still tied up for annual CG inspections and maintenance in advance of the April 1 rockcod opener.
SAN FRANCISCO: Most of the sportfishing fleet is still down for CG annual inspections and maintenance in advance of the April 1 rockcod season opener. A few boats were fishing for stripers and sturgeon. Captain Steve Talmage at Flash Fishing said his SF boat was running up to San Pablo for stripers which were abundant and eating up ghost shrimp meant for sturgeon. Craig Hanson on the Argo reported catching a keeper sturgeon and 3 keeper stripers along with a bunch of shorts on a recent trip despite the lousy weather. [related_articles location=”left” show_article_date=”false” article_type=”automatic-primary-tag”]