17 May 19
FEATHER RIVER: Peak season has arrived for striper fishing on the Feather, with guides, private boaters and bank anglers getting limits, and releasing big numbers of fish. The action is expected to last through Memorial Day. Shad are thick near the mouth of the Yuba River.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Red Bluff to Colusa: Stripers are moving up from Colusa to Chico, with the best action so far this season last week. Fishing is expected to remain good into Memorial Day weekend. Extra large minnows are working well, along with swimbaits. Shad fishing is improving as fish begin to move upriver.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Verona to Colusa: Striped bass fishing improved in the Colusa area last week as the river continues to drop. Swimbaits, minnows and cut bait are all working. Shad are beginning to move upriver. Sturgeon fishing is slow.
COLLINS LAKE: Craig Newton of Will Fish Tackle said Collins is fishing well for larger trout. The water temperature is rising (it was 69 degrees on Saturday), and the end of the spring planting schedule is approaching. Now’s the time to take advantage of the big trout that have been planted. Catfish and bass are also active.
LAKE OROVILLE: Jamey Sorensen of North Valley Tackle said the spotted bass bite remains exceptional for numbers. It’s about as good as it gets. The fish are right on the bank and down to 20 feet. Finesse baits are accounting for the bulk of the bass, but at times there’s been a fun topwater bite.
Far North lakes and rivers
LAKE ALMANOR: Trout and salmon are being caught best by boats that are able to troll and cover water. The fish have been gorging on insect hatches around the lake and have gotten selective, but once you hook one it’s a bigger quality fish. Bass are starting to move up into shallower waters and are looking to spawn on main lake points and in shallow coves.
BAUM LAKE: The fishing is still good but the lake is still very crowded on the weekends. Leeches, zebra midges, and small emergers are the way to go.
FALL RIVER: The fishing is starting to improve and the fish are getting bigger. As temperatures continue to warm up, this fishery will only improve as insects continue to hatch. Fly fisherman are using callibaetis nymphs, olive mayfly in size 18. The hex hatch has not started yet but can anytime.
HAT CREEK: The fishing is still good and the flows are starting to recede a little, making some areas easier to access. Rubberlegs, micromays, and small gold Kastmasters are still producing fish.
LEWISTON LAKE: The aquatic wasp hatch is starting and fly anglers with the right equipment are taking advantage of this hatch and are catching some quality fish despite the fluctuating lake levels from dam releases. One more big release is expected before things stabilize for the summer.
SHASTA LAKE: Browns were released at Sugarloaf Marina last week and a big kokanee release on Monday is taking place in the McCloud arm of the lake. Bass fishing is still on fire around the lake with a great topwater bite in the morning and afternoon.
TRINITY LAKE: The bass are finally moving up on beds as temperatures in the lake rise. There haven’t been any of the truly monstrous fish caught yet that everyone expects that lake to produce but they are all nice quality fish right now. Deep baits are working well for the fish on beds in deeper water that you can’t see, reaction baits for the fish closer up to the shore looking to feed.
WHISKEYTOWN LAKE: There are some boats that have been out trolling for kokanee but there aren’t many being caught yet and the ones that are have been very small fish. The bass are still on the bite, but they are also the small cookie cutter spotted bass. The bigger fish are being caught right at first light and right at dusk on topwaters and glidebaits.
AMERICAN RIVER: Shad fishing is good at Discovery Park, but remains slow upriver. There have been no reports of success yet at Harrington Access or Watt Avenue.
FOLSOM LAKE: The water temperature is now 70 degrees. Bass fishing is very good as largemouth are sitting on their nests. Spotted bass are biting minnows suspended under bobbers by shore anglers. The lake is 7 feet from full pool, increasing one foot last week from 458 feet to 459 feet. Granite Bay, Brown’s Ravine, Folsom Point, Rattlesnake bar and Peninsula boat ramps are now open. Trout fishing is good near Granite Bay.
RANCHO SECO LAKE: Trout fishing is fair, but some big bass and small bluegill are also available.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Dunsmuir: The river remains high for trout anglers, with flows of 2,200 cfs over the weekend. Expect high water as snow melts.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Redding to Red Bluff: Trout fishing is very good on beads, crickets, roe or Glo Bugs from the Highway 44 bridge down to Anderson. Fly fishing also has improved. Flows from Keswick Dam remained at 8,500 cfs all week. The river is in prime shape for Memorial Day weekend.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Sacramento: Fishing is good for shad at Discovery and Miller parks. Small stripers are being caught at Miller Park, Bright Beach and Discovery Park, along with a few small keepers. A few big stripers have been caught on trolled extra large minnows. Pile worms and nightcrawlers are also producing fish.
KLAMATH RIVER, Hornbrook: Releases from Iron Gate Dam were 1,800 cfs over the weekend, down from 2,100 cfs the week before. Anglers are awaiting the annual salmon fly hatch. Fishing effort has been light because of high water.
KLAMATH RIVER, Happy Camp: The river is high, resulting in poor steelhead fishing. Flows over the weekend at Seiad Valley were 4,580 cfs, while flows at Orleans were 10,200 cfs.
KLAMATH RIVER, Klamath Glen: Spring salmon fishing will open July 1, with a one-fish limit. Flows were down to 19,000 cfs over the weekend.
TRINITY RIVER: The spring runoff continues until Aug. 1, with scheduled releases from Lewiston Dam ranging from 2,500 cfs to 10,000 cfs. The high water has halted fishing. Flows on Sunday at Lewiston were 2,500 cfs, down from 3,200 cfs the week before. Flows at Douglas City were 2,950 cfs, while flows at Junction City were 2,750 cfs. Flows at Hoopa were 6,300 cfs.
CAMP FAR WEST LAKE: Anglers are reportedly catching bass and crappie up Rock Creek and in the Bear Arm, but most aren’t saying much. One anonymous angler bucked the trend and told lake staffers he caught a dozen keeper size bass on small crawfish plastics in red, gold and green.
FRENCH MEADOWS RESERVOIR: Craig Newton of Will Fish Tackle said as of a week ago, there was still a lot of snow on the ramp side. It’s possible to get to the dam, but launching a boat was out of the question. Conditions may have changed in the interim.
HELLHOLE RESERVOIR: Craig Newton of Will Fish Tackle said the water level has come up, and it’s back on the ramp for the first time in quite a while. Customers of his that have gone reported good trips for rainbows. Newton said now’s the time to target the lake’s big Mackinaw, although if anyone’s tried it they’ve been quiet.
THERMALITO AFTERBAY: Craig Bentley, past WON contributor, said the water in the Afterbay is cold, which is slowing the bass bite. Jamey Sorensen of North Valley Tackle concurred, saying the water along the rocks was in the 50s. The backs of coves are better, with water up to 73 degrees, but fishing there too is slow for bass. Now might be a good time to try for crappie and bluegill where the water’s warmer. The stocked steelhead bite remains very slow, with 1/3 to 1/2 fish per rod the expectation for anglers who put in the time.
North Coast lakes
LAKE BERRYESSA: The bass are nearing the end of the spawn and are feeding back up aggressively. There is a topwater bite in the morning and late afternoons and a good reaction bite during the day.
BLACK BUTTE LAKE: Catfish are starting to be caught in the creek channels and near the dam on live bait, sardines, and chicken livers. The bass are everywhere and can be caught on just about anything right now. Crappie are focused in the entrance of Burress Creek and Stoney Creek in submerged willow bushes.
BLUE LAKES: The trout are still biting at the Narrows Resort. There is a wide range of sizes being caught from 12 inches up to 19 inches on ‘crawlers, Power Bait, and from boats trolling with flashers.
CLEAR LAKE: The bigger catfish are starting to bite with a new lake record at 33.57 pounds being caught on a ‘crawler. Bass are also biting well up shallow on reaction baits and on deeper tule edges. Crappie and bluegill are being caught in numbers with small swimbaits and jigs.
EAST PARK: The bass and crappie are still on the bite, the spawn is all but over and a majority of the bigger fish are sitting out suspended.
LAKE SONOMA: The bass bite is still good up the creeks and there are also post spawn fish starting to cruise the main lake points and pockets. Spinnerbaits, jigs, Senko, and topwater are all producing nice fish. There were reports of landlocked steelhead being caught accidently while bass fishing the main lake.
STONEY GORGE: The crappie bite was really good early in the week but has tapered off towards the weekend as the lake started to receive more pressure. The bass are finishing up with the spawn, but there were bass still reported to be on beds, so it might be another week. Post spawn fish are guarding fry in the willows and are very aggressive. Buzzbaits and spinnerbaits are great for agitating those fish that are guarding.
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 river re-opens to salmon, trout and steelhead fishing May 22. With rain expected this week, flows should be good for the start of trout season. Casting Rooster Tail spinners at the head of the tidewater is generally a productive technique for catching sea-run cutthroat trout.
ROGUE RIVER, Gold Beach, Ore.: A few anglers have begun to troll the bay for salmon with poor success. Spring salmon fishing is slow upriver, with a few wild fish caught last week. Rain expected this week could draw more springers into the river.
RUSSIAN RIVER: The American shad fishing continues to be good with fish now spread throughout the river from Healdsburg down, according to Scott Heemstra from Kings Sport & Tackle in Guerneville. Flows are hovering around 600 cfs with water temps in the low to mid 60’s. The smallmouth and largemouth bass fishing is also picking up with fish coming off their spawn and feeding. Using soft plastics, swimbaits and diving plugs work well.
SMITH RIVER: The river is closed to fishing until May 25. Expect good fishing for sea-run cutthroat trout when it opens.
Sierra lakes and rivers
BOCA LAKE: Miles Zimmerman of Mountain Hardware and Sports in Truckee said Boca has been drained very low for dam work. For now, anglers can still fish around the dam, which is one of the better places to try for trout. The other is the inlet.
CARSON RIVER: Todd Sodaro of Todd’s Bait and Tackle and the Alpine County Fish and Game Commission said the rivers are starting to come down, not much, but enough to plan back-to-back 1,800-pound private trout stockings Monday through Tuesday, May 19-20. Unfortunately, some weather is forecast to come in between now and then. If the rivers rise, the stocks will be postponed once again.
DAVIS LAKE: Ed Dillard of Dillard Guided Fishing and Jeanne Graham of J&J’s Grizzly Store both confirmed the Honker Cove launch ramp dock has been put in. Fishing for trout has been fair as anglers try to figure it out. Trollers are dialing in different baits and trying offerings such as the flasher / worm combo, Dick Nite spoons, and Red Dot Frog Needlefish. Shore anglers are nearly matching trollers fish for fish. Mallard has been productive from shore.
DONNER LAKE: According to Miles Zimmerman of Mountain Hardware and Sports, shore anglers are catching trout and an occasional small Mackinaw. Trollers are trying the China Cove area for larger Macks. Guide Marc Christophel reported slow action for lake trout, with tentative bites that don’t stick. The lake is 50 percent full. Due to a drop-off at the bottom of the boat ramp, only smaller boats are recommended.
FRENCHMAN LAKE: Johnny Hernandez of Goodwin’s and Sons General Store reported there was an electro-shocking survey this week aimed at carp. As a result, there wasn’t much trout fishing. Better spots for those who want to try are the dam and the northern point, but the best spots of all have been the lake’s feeder creeks.
ICE HOUSE RESERVOIR: Guide Kyle Neeser of Crystal Basin Tackle and Guide Service said the lake is open and the launch ramp dock is in.
INDIAN CREEK RESERVOIR: Todd Sodaro of Todd’s Bait and Tackle and the Alpine County Fish and Game Commission said the lake will receive an 1,800-pound private trout stock on May 19, and a second DFW stocking just three days later. It should be stuffed with trout by then.
JACKSON MEADOWS LAKE: The road to this Truckee area water is rumored to have been plowed. The gates are expected to open in approximately one to two weeks, according to Miles Zimmerman of Mountain Hardware and Sports.
JENKINSON LAKE (Sly Park): Karen Ward of Sly Park Resort said there are a lot of fishermen at the lake and many are catching trout from boats or from shore. Nothing big has been reported recently.
LAKE TAHOE: Tahoe is firing for Mackinaw and even afternoon trips are picking up limits and maybe a couple of browns too, for good measure.
LOON LAKE: Guide Kyle Neeser of Crystal Basin Tackle and Guide Service reported this lake is still snowbound.
PROSSER LAKE: Miles Zimmerman of Mountain Hardware and Sports in Truckee said Prosser remains low, but the smallmouth are stirring. He recommends the Prosser Creek inlet or the area by the dam for the best shot at a bass.
PYRAMID LAKE: Shore fishing has dramatically slowed, with fewer anglers seen on the beaches. Post-spawn cutthroat are expected to move to deeper water and begin feeding heavily as the month progresses and the water continues to warm. The surface water temperature was 58 degrees on Saturday according to George Molino of Cutthroat Charters. His boat trips yielded less than 10 fish an outing, so it’s not there yet. Only 3 fish were checked in at Crosby’s Lodge, and all were caught from boats.
STAMPEDE RESERVOIR: The early season has the lake’s bountiful kokanee spread out, with larger fish hard to find, according to Marc Christophel of Christophel’s Guide Service. Guide Shaun Rainsbarger concurred, saying he’s rapidly changing bait colors while trying to figure out the bite. It must not be too bad, Rainsbarger said his last trip out yielded limits. The kokes are reportedly holding between 10 and 30 feet.
TRUCKEE RIVER: Miles Zimmerman of Mountain Hardware and Sports said the main stem of the river below town is still running high. It’s fishable for those who target slower water, but many anglers prefer the upper section immediately below Lake Tahoe where flows are safer and more fishable. That area poses its own challenges, chiefly extremely clear water. Zimmerman said it’s important to exercise stealth and give the fish what they want, which are streamers and smaller nymphs such as bluewing olives and midges. Conventional fishermen are advised to try natural pattern Rapala hardbaits.
BERKELEY: Boats out of Berkeley didn’t have to go far, since the Berkeley Flats area was loaded with halibut and bass.California Dawn, Happy Hooker and Pacific Dream often did better than 2 fish per rod on halibut and bass. El Dorado, New El Dorado III and New Easy Rider from Berkeley charter boats fished the same area with live bait and enjoyed similar results. Early in the week there was a bonus bite when a school of white seabass went on the chew and fish to 20 pounds were caught.
BODEGA BAY: Lingcod counts rose through the week as the ancient ones moved into shallower water. Rockfish limits were common for boaters and limits of crab were taken on combo trips aboard New Sea Angler. Pinhead anchovies moved into Tomales Bay and halibut followed them, giving private boaters and kayakers some nice catches.
EMERYVILLE: Live bait potluck trips inside the Bay proved productive with high halibut counts and bonus bass. A high count on halibut for the week was 61 fish aboard New Huck Finn. White seabass were taken early in the week near the Berkeley Pier. Fish Emeryville boats got their fish from Berkeley to Alameda and also across the South Bay near Coyote Point. Sea Wolf fished outside the Gate, scoring limits of rockfish and half-to-full limits of lingcod.
EUREKA: Pacific halibut catches held steady off Eureka and other North Coast ports, with the highly-successful early season going strong. Fish up to 50 pounds were taken. California halibut showed up inside Humboldt Bay and several nice ones were caught near the Coast Guard Station and in the north part of the Bay. Runs to Cape Mendocino meant 3/4-limits of rockfish and limits of lingcod.
FORT BRAGG: Crabbing was much better than expected, with limits coming in on private boats working off Ten-Mile Beach. Locals feel it is because commercial crabbers and charter boats already pulled their gear, so the crab are moving back in shallow. Sea Hawk had limits of both rockfish and lingcod. The skipper of Capt. Tuna noted an increase in the percentage of reds among sacks of rockfish. Shore fishing for lingcod and cabezon was very good at Russian Gulch and Todd’s Point.
HALF MOON BAY: An exploratory trip by New Capt. Pete to Pigeon Point for salmon was not productive until the skipper made the call to switch to rockfish and the olive rockfish came aboard in droves. Queen of Hearts, Huli Catand Riptide fished Deep Reef for limits of rockfish and some lingcod. Beach fishing was good for surf perch and a pick at the striped bass. Huli Cat pulled pots to add crab to the sacks on some trips.
SAN FRANCISCO: Halibut fishing inside the Bay was great for Fisherman’s Wharf boats. Bass Tub had better than a halibut per person. Flash I and Flash II are both now running live bait trips out of Fisherman’s Wharf and they found good fish first in South Bay and then in Central Bay.Lovely Martha scored limits of bass four days in a row and pulled in halibut to 29 pounds.