North state fishing report for week of March 22 – Chico Enterprise-Record


FEATHER RIVER: The Feather was busy with striper anglers last week, with mixed reports of success. Cut bait is working best, although some anglers are using minnows upstream from the mouth of the Yuba and swimbaits. The river is high but fishable. Sturgeon are being caught near the mouth of the Bear River. Mixed reports of some quick limits, and some catching nothing at all, but should improve daily as it clears.

LAKE ALMANOR: Sunshine finally made its way to the lake up here, and it’s been 50 degrees finally, although temps are still dipping into the teens. Still no water in the Super Ditch, but Hamilton Branch and Bayley Creek are dumping dirty water. A lot more boat traffic, according to guide John Crotty, owner of Quail Lodge and Guide Service. Fishing has improved significantly and trolling brought in 2- to 3-year-old rainbows to 3 pounds. Bankies were doing okay in Geritol Cove on DFW planters.

SACRAMENTO RIVER, Verona to Colusa: Shore anglers are catching a few stripers and sturgeon at Knights Landing and the Elkhorn boat launch. Most boat launches are closed, so access to the river is limited. Fishing is expected to improve as the river drops this week.

BULLARDS BAR: By most accounts, the Bullards Bar kokanee bite slowed a bit. Brett Brady of Bare Bones Guide Service said the strongest bite was at Willow Creek on orange and pink hoochies in 30 to 60 feet of water. Guide “Rustic Rob” Reimers said a noon launch on Monday still resulted in a dozen fish, but not limits. The water remains in good shape, nice and clear and warming at 52 degrees.

COLLINS LAKE: Collins went off for jumbo trout, and for the first time this year boaters collected a large share of the fish, indicating the trout are moving out to deeper water. The heaviest fish of the year, a 10.54-pound beauty caught by Paul Nederveld of Rocklin, fell for a trolled Rat-L-Trap offered by the dam. Other troll fish succumbed to broken-back Rapalas. Meanwhile shore anglers still got a nice share, highlighted by an 8 1/4 caught by Bryan Durgan of Placerville while fishing Mice Tails at his campsite. Ed Palma, the Collins Lake Recreation Area fish reporter, recommended shore anglers make long casts to improve their odds. Power Bait dunkers are averaging 1 to 2 fish a stick.


Far North Lakes and Rivers

BAUM LAKE: Fishing remains red hot for fly anglers. Non beaded prince nymph, Eng thing, Tungsten Bead PT Prince, leeches, and midges are all working well with fish up to 18 inches being caught.

SHASTA LAKE: Bass fishing remains good but fish have pulled back into deeper water with the lake level dropping. Anglers are focused on main lake points with soft plastics and A-rigs and if there is some wind, big swimbaits are still working for bigger bass. Trout fishing is holding steady with more browns being caught daily. Anglers are trolling fast in the top 15 feet of the water column and catching browns and rainbows mixed with rainbows up to 5 pounds.

TRINITY LAKE: A couple anglers made it out last week, the water temperatures are still cold and fish are out deep and not very willing to bite yet. They boated a couple fish on soft plastics but after another week or two of warmer weather the bite should improve.

WHISKEYTOWN LAKE: After the long week of north winds the bite has suffered. Some anglers reported getting skunked completely while others managed to land a fish or two. Water temperatures have cooled back off and clarity is limited.

Sacramento Valley

AMERICAN RIVER: Steehead fishing has been slow on the American because of high water, but could improve as the river drops. Flows dropped 10,000 cfs over the last week, from 16,000 cfs to 6,500 cfs on Sunday.

FOLSOM LAKE: The Folsom Point, Brown’s Ravine and Granite Bay launches are open. The lake level dropped 2 feet last week, from 434 feet to 432 feet. The 5 mph speed limit has been lifted. Some bass are being caught by bank anglers fishing minnows as well as boaters using plastics along the shoreline.

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 dropped to 28,000 cfs and could be down to 10,000 cfs by the end of the week. Trout fishing is good for jet boaters drifting beads and roe.

SACRAMENTO RIVER, Red Bluff to Colusa: Stripers and sturgeon are showing up, but the river remains high and difficult to fish.

SACRAMENTO RIVER, Sacramento: Stripers are being caught at Discovery Park, but most are shakers. Sturgeon also are showing up.

Trinity/Klamath Rivers

KLAMATH RIVER, Hornbrook: The Upper Klamath blew out last week, hitting 2,400 cfs at Iron Gate. Flows dropped to 1,600 cfs before rising back to 1,910 cfs. Few anglers are fishing.

KLAMATH RIVER, Happy Camp: The Middle Klamath near Happy Camp remains high for late-season steelhead. At Seiad Valley, flows crested at 5,000 cfs, dropped to 3,500 cfs and then were back up to 4,300 cfs. Flows at Orleans dropped from 13,000 cfs to 9,000 cfs and were back above 10,000 cfs over the weekend.

KLAMATH RIVER, Klamath Glen: Flows on the lower Klamath dropped from 40,000 cfs to 23,500 cfs, but remain high for fishing.

TRINITY RIVER: The upper river fished well for steelhead last week as flows from Lewiston Dam remained at 300 cfs. Flows at Douglas City dropped form 1,300 cfs last week to 700 cfs over the weekend. Flows at Junction City were down to 1,130 cfs after hitting 2,100 cfs. Flows remained high at Hoopa at 8,050 cfs.

Northern Foothills

CAMP FAR WEST: Kathy DeRossett of North Shore Resort reported fishing has improved, but most anglers would still consider it fairly slow. Local tournament fisherman Ron Manley told DeRossett he caught 9 bass of no particular size during his most recent outing, but wouldn’t say where or on what. The lake continues to spill but it is starting to clear.

ENGLEBRIGHT RESERVOIR: Lisa Rogers of Skipper’s Cove Marina said the lake is back to its usual winter green and the sun has been shining, which has lured boaters and anglers back to the water. Although she had no fishing report to share, she said the lake clarity is 3 feet.

LAKE OROVILLE: The bass have acclimated to the higher water level and have started to bite both finesse baits offered from the shore to 20 feet deep, and reaction baits such as swimbaits. Retired guide Craig Bentley reported his friend Dale Marsh cashed in after work on Friday, hooking 18 on a slow retrieve and landing 14 while using Keitech Easy Shiner swimbaits on leadheads. The highest water temperature Marsh found was 52.6 degrees.

THERMALITO AFTERBAY: WON staff writer Billy Driessen fished the Afterbay, reporting that the water levels have been dramatically fluctuating, leading to poor fishing. It was about as low as it gets on Friday, then up several feet by Saturday morning, crashing the water temperature. Before it plummeted he managed good bassing on Huddleston swimbaits, ABT Wagtail Swimbaits and Hiroshima Custom Glidebaits in 9-12 feet while working slowly. By the weekend the boat pressure was intense, too much for the small fishery.

North Coast lakes

LAKE BERRYESSA: The bite remains tough for bass fisherman but there are still fish to be caught and quality ones at that, but not in large numbers. Anglers have to cover a lot of water to find the pattern that works for them. Jigs, Alabama rigs, spinnerbaits, and wacky rigged Senkos have been working with the tougher patterns.

BLACK BUTTE LAKE: They finally slowed down the releases out of the dam allowing the lake to stabilize but the water remains very muddy with little to no visibility. There have been a few anglers trying to catch catfish from shore but the bite hasn’t taken shape yet. One angler reported catching a couple bass in Anglers Cove on minnows but the bite has still been tough overall.

CLEAR LAKE: Once the north winds died down and the sun came out the bite took off. Anglers are catching quality fish on reaction style baits, A-rigs, swimbaits, spinnerbaits, chatterbaits, and swim jigs are a great way to get big, hungry pre-spawn bass fired up to feed.

LAKE SONOMA: The lake remains overfull and water temperatures are still cool. The bite remains slow for the few boats that have gone out but many local anglers didn’t fish this week with the big tournament at Clear Lake. Conditions continue to improve with warmer weather.

UPPER BLUE LAKES: The Narrows Resort reported the lake is still very muddy and that they haven’t seen anyone trying to fish yet, but are expecting conditions to improve quickly if the weather holds out another week.

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.: Steelhead fishing has slowed, but a few bright fish are still being caught. Rain is expected this week, which may draw in a few late fish. Spawned out steelhead are being caught in the entire river no, with some fresh fish.

ELK RIVER, Port Orford, Ore.: The river is low and clear. A few spawned out steelhad are being caught on the upper river near the hatchery.

ROGUE RIVER, Gold Beach, Ore.: Steelhead fishing remains good, although the river is dropping quickly. Rain this week will bring ideal flows. Jet boaters are anchoring and running plugs. A few more spring salmon have been caught.

SMITH RIVER: Steelhead fishing was slow last week, with low, clear conditions. A few more steelhead are expected with this week’s rain.

SIXES RIVER, Port Orford, Ore.: Steelhead fishing is slow, with low, clear conditions.

Sierra Lakes and Rivers

BOCA LAKE: Miles Zimmerman of Mountain Hardware and Sports in Truckee said the ice on Boca is no longer safe.

CAPLES LAKE: Victor Babbitt of Tahoe Flyfishing Outfitters said he and friends dug through six feet of snow and never found the ice, so they gave up, as the effort was too great. He said he didn’t see anyone else out there.

CARSON RIVER: Todd Sodaro of Todd’s Bait and Tackle and the Alpine County Fish and Game Commission said the East Carson River is running with a nice green tint, and although he didn’t have a fishing report, he’s seen cars parked at the head of the year-round catch and release section all week long, so something must be happening. If he were to go, he’d sling a black woolly bugger #8 or #10 with a bead, or try something like a red bodied copper John.

DAVIS LAKE: Mark Tieslau of Mountain Hardware and Sports in Blairsden said his prior report of unsafe ice was premature. Both he and Jim Graham of J&J’s Grizzly Store said ice fishermen have been out at the dam catching trout. Although the ice is not officially monitored and people go at their own risk, reports have it as a foot thick with 9 inches of slush over it at the dam towards Catfish Cove.

DONNER LAKE: Miles Zimmerman of Mountain Hardware and Sports said Donner Lake is open in the middle, although there is still ice covering the east and west ends of the lake. 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): Karen Ward of Sly Park Resort said there have been a lot of fishermen at the lake, and they are catching small trout from both the shore and boats. The lake is full and clearing.

LAKE TAHOE: Zach Gordon of Tahoe Sportfishing said his company has been getting out every day, often with multiple boats on morning and afternoon sessions. Mornings are much better for the Mackinaw, producing limits early on the west shore. Afternoons have been a pick bite. He said they found their fish as shallow as 80 feet and as deep as 150 feet on the bottom.

PROSSER LAKE: Miles Zimmerman of Mountain Hardware and Sports in Truckee said, like Boca, the ice on Prosser is no longer safe.

PYRAMID LAKE: Better weather caused by high pressure has the cutthroat bite best in the early morning or late in the evening. Fewer trophies were caught, but guide Joe Contaldi of Performance Angler’s Guide Service got a beauty at 17.5 pounds while fishing a balanced leech under an indicator near Sand Hole. The water remains frigid, at 43 degrees, and that made for slow boat fishing, according to George Molino of Cutthroat Charters.

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 11 leader as of Sunday morning was Gary Nelson, 6 pounds, 13.2 ounces, followed by Eric Williams, 3 pounds, 8 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 is running high and fast. The Tahoe City Dam is releasing 1,100 cfs, which swells to 1,600 cfs by the time the river reaches Hirschdale, but it is clear. He recommended trying #8 skwala stones. Some people are catching fish on dry flies, but most are nymphing, other than that bluewing olives and midges and some streamer fishing has been effective.

North Saltwater

BERKELEY: Berkeley Charter Fishing sent one boat out this past weekend and drifted for halibut in the South Bay. 20 anglers came away with 5 keepers and released a dozen shorts using frozen bait. The main fleet is waiting for the salmon opener on April 13.

BODEGA BAY: Rick Powers on the New Sea Angler was still running crab-only trips until the April 1 rockcod opener and the April 13 salmon opener. Jetty anglers were picking up some perch and monkeyface eels. Dillon Beach was producing perch and crabbers were snaring enough Dungies for a meal.

EMERYVILLE: The fleet was anxiously awaiting the rockcod opener and salmon opener. Boaters were trolling and drifting for halibut along the Berkeley Flats with some success: lots of short fish were seen.

EUREKA: No reason to go outside with the strong currents, but shore fishing off the jetties produced a mix of perch and greenlings. Freshwater options nearby were Big Lagoon, Stone Lagoon, and Freshwater Lagoon for trout on Power Bait and inflated worms. Rockcod season opens May 1 and salmon is set to open May 25.

FORT BRAGG: Crabbing slowed dramatically so the boats getting out were concentrating on whale watching as the grey whales migrate north to Alaska. Currents were so strong that it was very difficult to find crab pot strings, so whales it is. With better weather, fishing off the jetties, beaches and rocky shores were producing a mix of rockfish, perch, and greenling.

HALF MOON BAY: The Huli Cat was still slamming the crabs and sanddabs on their combo trips. Tom Mattusch reported 16 crab limits, 804 sanddabs and 6 petrale sole on Saturday, and 19 crab limits, 682 sanddabs, and 2 petrale on Sunday: that’s catching, not fishing!!! The harbor jetty was producing rockfish and monkeyface eels, and the beaches were good for perch using pile worms and Gulp! Sandworms.

SAN FRANCISCO: The South Bay was the hot spot for halibut. The Lovely Martha had a great weekend with trips producing 9 ‘buts on Saturday and 14 on Sunday. More significant for the upcoming season were the large numbers of shorts being released: 50 in two days!! The Argo and Bass Tub were hitting San Pablo Bay for a mix of sturgeon, stripers, leopard sharks, and starry flounder.

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