Streams and Rivers in the Sierra, and the Eastern Sierra lakes and streams open to fishing on Saturday, April 27.
BULLARDS BAR: Clara Ricabal of Angler West TV was fishing with guide Larry Hemphill when she hooked into an unofficial womanâ€™s world record spotted bass at 7 pounds, 2 ounces while using 6-pound test on a spinning reel. She was fishing a wacky rigged Senko. See the story in this issue for full details, but this much is obvious â€“ itâ€™s time to fish bass at Bullards. As for the kokanee that feature in every weekly report, Craig Newton of Will Fish Tackle said they are piled up far up the river arm. If you make the run, youâ€™ll get them.
FRENCHMAN LAKE: Matthew Goodwin, owner of Goodwinâ€™s and Sons General Store, said the lake is ice free and the roads are open. You can now get around the entire lake, but the only place to launch a boat is Lunker Point, although thereâ€™s no dock. Goodwin said the trout are settling in and started to bite. The Goodwinâ€™s General Store trout derby will fish Saturday, May 4. Sign up at the store or by calling 951-446-2471.
FEATHER RIVER: The Feather remains the best bet for stripers, with fish from Yuba City to Verona. Fishing tight to shore is the key with higher flows. Big schools of fish have been reported, but they are moving, so anglers need to be mobile. DFW is proposing to extend salmon season to the end of October instead of closing much of the river Oct. 15.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Red Bluff to Colusa: High water continues to slow striper fishing, but flows from Shasta Lake have decreased and conditions could be ideal by this weekend. A few stripers are being caught between Chico and Colusa on minnows. Big schools of fish have been reported in the river
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Verona to Colusa: Sturgeon are being caught near Knights Landing. High water continues to slow striper fishing, mainly because of closed boat launches. Flows are dropping this week.
LAKE ALMANOR: The fishing is good right now for all species. Trout anglers are catching every species while trolling hardware, trolling flies, Gulps! and â€˜crawlers. Bass anglers are catching fish on the main lake points on soft plastics.
BAUM LAKE: Balanced leeches, midges, small streamers, and woolly buggers are proving the best baits for fly anglers still. The lake has had quite a bit of fishing pressure the last month with the great bite that is happening, but with the rest of the streams opening next weekend that should subside some.
LEWISTON LAKE: The last reports were from mid-week and the lake condition has not vastly improved since they started releasing water from the Trinity dam. The marina owner said that fish can still be caught, but it can be more treacherous with the flows being so high if you fish the inlet arm.
SHASTA LAKE: Fishing is still good for bass and trout anglers. The largemouth have moved into the back of coves to spawn while the spots are still using main lake points and creeks as temperatures rise. Soft plastics are working well for fish in numbers but there has been a reaction bite on spinnerbaits and crankbaits as well. Trout anglers are catching fish on the main lake trolling Optimizers and Bay Rat stick baits in 50 to 60 feet of water.
TRINITY LAKE: The bass bite is improving significantly with this warmer weather. Not many anglers are heading up to fish yet, making it a nice lake to escape to with little boating pressure. The first part of the day before the sun hits the water offers the best bite with reaction baits. Fish are hitting big swimbaits and glidebaits until mid-morning when the bite goes deep and you have to switch to soft plastics and down baits.
WHISKEYTOWN LAKE: There have been anglers out trolling for kokanee but no reports have come in about whether anyone is catching them or not yet. Bass anglers are doing well on spotted bass with soft plastics from the shore out to 20 feet deep. If there is some wind there has been a reaction bite and reports of some of the better quality spots being caught in those conditions.
AMERICAN RIVER: Some small stripers are being caught at Discovery Park. Shad have yet to arrive. Flows dropped from 10,000 cfs last week to 7,500 cfs over the weekend.
FOLSOM LAKE: The water temperature remains 62 degrees. Granite Bay, Brownâ€™s Ravine, Folsom Point, Rattlesnake bar and Peninsula boat ramps are now open. The lake level increased 3 feet last week, from 449 feet of elevation to 452 feet. Bass fishing is good, with plastics working well. Shore anglers are catching bass on minnows. Trout fishing is good.
RANCHO SECO LAKE: Trout fishing is fair, thanks to plants every other week. Power Bait is working best.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Dunsmuir: High water is keeping most trout anglers away. Flows remained over 3,500 cfs most of last week.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Redding to Red Bluff: Trout fishing has taken off as flows from Keswick Dam decrease. Flows dropped form 40,000 cfs a week ago to 10,000 cfs over the weekend. The river is closed above the Highway 44 bridge. Glo Bugs, roe and beads are all working for wild rainbows.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Sacramento: Small stripers are being caught at Miller Park, Bright Beach and Discovery Park, along with a few keepers. Pile worms and nightcrawlers are producing fish. Fishing is slow for shad.
KLAMATH RIVER, Hornbrook: High flows are keeping anglers away, as releases from Iron Gate Dam topped 5,000 cfs last week and remained above 3,000 cfs over the weekend. The salmon fly hatch generally begins in late May and early June.
KLAMATH RIVER, Happy Camp: Flows are too high for fishing, with big releases from Iron Gate Dam. Flows hit 10,000 cfs last week and were 7,660 cfs over the weekend.
KLAMATH RIVER, Klamath Glen: This yearâ€™s fall salmon quota is twice as big as last yearâ€™s with an estimated 3,800 adult kings allocated to lower river sport anglers. DFW is recommending a bag limit of three salmon a day, including two adults beginning Aug. 15. Spring salmon fishing will open July 1, with a one-fish limit, after initially being closed until Aug. 15. The river is currently high and muddy, with flows of 45,000 cfs.
TRINITY RIVER: Spring water releases from Trinity Lake will keep the river blown out until late July. Flows hit 9,000 cfs last week and could hit 11,000 cfs the end of this week. Salmon fishing will re-open July 1, while the fall quota will be around 1,200 adult kings on the upper river and 1,200 adult kings on the lower river.
CAMP FAR WEST: Pre-spawn bass are holding in 10 to 15 feet. Anglers are catching a few on shaky heads and Senkos. Crappie are showing as well.
COLLINS LAKE: Consistent weather brought out the anglers and they caught plenty of trout from shore and boats. The Beach and the Dam were both shore hotspots. Boaters are finding success trolling for trout in the top 11 feet.
ENGLEBRIGHT RESERVOIR: A recent trout stock has the fish biting, according to Craig Newton of Will Fish Tackle in Auburn. The marina and the cove across from it are some of the more productive areas.
LAKE OROVILLE: Jamey Sorensen of North Valley Tackle said he measured water temperatures as high as 64 degrees on Thursday, and itâ€™s fired up the bass. He and his fishing partner caught them on a variety of finesse baits right up on the bank, but the backs of cuts were particularly productive. A customer who fished Oroville on a windy day caught 30 bass while tossing a ripbait, Sorensen said. He also had a caution to share, the South Fork is full of debris from bank to bank. Exercise caution when boating in the area.
PARADISE LAKE: This popular small water in the town of Paradise has reopened, and by most accounts it was largely spared damage. Itâ€™s fishing well for trout due to a recent stock, according to Chris Main at Fins, Fur and Feathers in Paradise.
ROLLINS LAKE: The water is cleaning up, and that is helping anglers target trout. Quite a few are trolling toplines with dodgers and worms and catching quality 2 to 3 pounders, according to Craig Newton of Will Fish Tackle.
THERMALITO AFTERBAY: The Afterbay had been poor, but according to Chris Main at Fins, Fur and Feathers in Paradise the bass bite is finally improving. However, this is traditionally a fickle impoundment, and ongoing water management operations continue to repeatedly fill and drain it. Craig Bentley, past WON staffer, said the formerly decent bite on steelhead fizzled to nothing under weather conditions more suitable for bass.
LAKE BERRYESSA: Fishing has been good around the lake and after the full moon and temperatures expected to reach 90 degrees next week, many bass will take to their beds for the spawn. Fish are up shallow and biting just about anything you throw their way right now. The top baits have been spinnerbaits, crankbaits, small swimbaits, tubes, jigs, drop-shot rigs and Ned rigs.
EAST PARK RESERVOIR: After a very busy opening week with heavy fishing pressure the bite got tough for a couple days. Each day that passes the water clarity improves and the temperatures rise. Many bass and crappie are already on beds but with the dirty water sight fishing for them can be difficult. Spinnerbaits and jigs are great this time of year in dirty water, but fish are skittish so you want your approach to be silent and stealthy so the fish donâ€™t spook.
STONEY GORGE: Anglers report good numbers of both bass and crappies being caught in the middle of the week. Many anglers have been able to throw the bait of their choice for bass and catch fish. For crappie you will want to find submerged structure and under water willow bushes that can be used for spawning and ambush points.
BLACK BUTTE LAKE: The bass and crappie bite has been slow with the heavy winds that have been blowing this past week. This lake is the last reservoir behind two others in the mountains, so it receives the cold water from the bottom of two dams that have been running heavy all spring. They recently slowed the flows down allowing the water clarity to improve and the temperatures to rise so bass and crappies will push into the willow trees and be looking to spawn.
CLEAR LAKE: The full moon and heavy winds have made the bite tough the past few days. Anglers having the most success are stumbling across multiple fish in a single area that they have to sit there and keep working until they can entice a fish into biting. With the warmer temperatures the bass are in full spawn mode and can be found in very shallow water, sometimes less than a foot deep. The crappie are congregating on lush green tule edges where they are spawning in numbers
UPPER BLUE LAKES: The Narrows Resort is under new ownership and with the trout opener next Saturday they are expecting to have a big turnout. They have been stocking the lake monthly with rainbows and the water conditions are finally starting to improve after a long winter. Anglers have been going out and fishing catch-and-release for trout and bass and have been catching some smaller fish.
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 DFWâ€™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.: Closed until late May.
ELK RIVER, Port Orford, Ore.: Closed until late May.
ROGUE RIVER, Gold Beach, Ore.: Spring salmon fishing improved last week, with good numbers of hatchery fish and wild fish. Guide Steve Huber said he caught hatchery fish on straight anchovies. Some guides are reporting up to six salmon a day, as the run begins to peak.
SMITH RIVER: The river remains open for steelhead through the end of April. A few fish are being caught near Patrick Creek by shore anglers. Fishing is slow for the few driftboaters still fishing from the Forks to Ruby, despite good conditions.
BOCA LAKE: Steve Soulam of Mountain Hardware and Sports in Truckee said Boca is open along its east shore. The lake is down quite a bit. Thereâ€™s no longer any ice. Exercise caution driving in the area he said because itâ€™s muddy and sloppy due to the recently melted snows.
CARSON RIVER: Todd Sodaro of Toddâ€™s Bait and Tackle and the Alpine County Fish and Game Commission said the East and West Carson are both running high and potentially dangerous due to snowmelt. He rescheduled the Commissionâ€™s first planned trout stock of the year, an 1,800-pound plant, due to the poor conditions.
DAVIS LAKE: Ed Dillard of Dillard Guided Fishing and Jeanne Graham of J&Jâ€™s Grizzly Store both said Davis is still mostly covered in rotten ice and slush, but itâ€™s getting better. Thereâ€™s just a little bit of open water at Mallard, and itâ€™s fishable from shore. Dillard said that the launch ramp access road at Honker Cove is still covered by 1 1/2 feet of snow and remains inaccessible, but itâ€™s getting close. Grizzly is plowed to the Lightning Tree campground, but thereâ€™s a wall of snow at the entrance and the campground, like the others at the lake, is inaccessible.
DONNER LAKE: Fishing has been somewhat slow for Mackinaw this early season, although the water temperature is prime for lakers. Browns have been biting. Aiden Rainsbarger, son of Shaun of Shaunâ€™s Guide Service, caught a 7 pounder on Friday. The lake is 50 percent full. Due to a drop-off at the bottom of the boat ramp, only smaller boats are recommended. Â Â .
JENKINSON LAKE (Sly Park): The lake was stocked with trout, and fish averaging 14 to 16 inches are coming out with some consistency for shore and boat anglers. The Mackinaw bite is slow.
LAKE TAHOE: Good weather brought out the anglers and the Mackinaw bite was reliable as usual. Of interest, on the south and west side the lake trout were very shallow, at 50 to 80 feet with a few even at 20 to 30.
PROSSER LAKE: Steve Soulam of Mountain Hardware and Sports in Truckee cautioned that the Prosser area is sloppy, snowy and muddy, and even 4-wheel-drives should exercise caution. Boats can be launched by hand but itâ€™s a walk. All the ice has melted.
PYRAMID LAKE: Cutthroat are still cruising shorelines, preparing to spawn in the Â with clean water. Doug Ouellette of Pyramid Lake Guide Service said it was good for shore-based fly casters. Floater and no â€˜cator (indicator) was productive, with No. 2 midge pupae, and popcorn beetles turning up some larger fish. A wind advisory kept boaters off the water over the weekend, but prior to that a number of 10-pound and up cutthroat were caught.
TRUCKEE RIVER: The Truckee River opens on Saturday, April 27 to general regulations, but it is running high and fast, although clear. Wading isnâ€™t recommended, as at these flows the river is a threat to sweep an angler away. Focus on quiet water, Steve Soulam of Mountain Hardware and Sports said, and try nymphing with San Juan worms or stonefly patterns.
WEST WALKER RIVER: Debbie Bush of the Walker General Store said the water is coming Â up, and warm weather during the week should bring it up even further as the April 27 general trout opener approaches.
BERKELEY: Smith family boats Pacific Dream, Happy Hooker and California Dawn had good counts of stripers, sometimes limits and improving numbers of halibut while waiting for live bait to become available. New El Dorado III averaged 2 to 3 fish per person inside the Bay. New Easy Rider stayed on the salmon and had consecutive days of limits from south of the islands.
BODEGA BAY: Salmon action was up and down, but is expected to improve because of massive numbers of anchovy baitballs holding in Bodega Bay. New Sea Angler put passengers on limits of rockfish, a few lingcod and a few salmon to 15 pounds fishing up off Russian River, off Bodega Head and down towards Point Reyes. Lawsonâ€™s Landing boats got out on a couple of calmer days and found rockfish but not many salmon.
EMERYVILLE: Most Fish Emeryville boats stayed inside the bay and took advantage of the good fishing for striped bass and halibut. New Huck Finnscored limits (66 fish) by 9:00a.m. in South bay and similar fishing was enjoyed by anglers on Tigerfish, Pacific Pearl, and C Gull II. Rockfish and lingcod from the Farallones were the targets on runs aboard Sea Wolf. The results were steady limits of quality rockfish plus some lingcod.
EUREKA: The jetties of Humboldt bay provided many dinners through the week and over the weekend for families or individuals who came out to fish baits on 2-hook surf leaders or cast and retrieve swimbaits for lingcod. Most catches were perch, rockfish and kelp greenling. Some of the locals made the drive to Shelter Cove to get in on a nice salmon bite by the whistle buoy. Humboldt Area Salt Water Angler fundraiser event is Saturday, April 27 at 6:00p.m., at the Arcata Community Center.
FORT BRAGG: Much of the Fort Bragg fleet stayed tied to dock, awaiting the rockfish opener on May 1, because after that they can offer combo rockfish and salmon trips. Meanwhile, Sea Hawk made salmon runs through the week and Capt. Tim Gillespie said that his best day was 8 fish in the box for 11 anglers. Shore anglers did very well on rockfish, kelp greenling, cabezon and lingcod at Dynamite Shack and Cape Mendocino.
HALF MOON BAY: New Capt. Pete, even on a rough day (Saturday) ended up with 19 salmon for 12 people. Queen of Hearts and Huli Cat fished nearby along Deep Reef and caught their share of salmon. Other trips were for rockfish and limits were the rule, with some lingcod added in for good measure. Surf fishers caught barred surfperch, redtail perch and striped bass along local beaches.
SAN FRANCISCO: Bass Tub scored about a bass per rod fishing the South Bay. Much of the week featured agreeable weather, except for Saturday which was a white-knuckle day due to winds. Lovely Martha, also from Fishermanâ€™s Wharf had almost a keeper halibut per rod and released numerous shorts. Shore fishing near Coyote and Oyster points was good for both perch and stripers. Beaches outside the gate produced various surf perches and stripers. Flash II had an awesome week of sturgeon fishing in San Pablo Bay.