North state fishing report for week of Jan. 25 – Chico Enterprise-Record


SHASTA LAKE: With the low pressure storm front that moved through, the fishing was great this past week with some really nice reaction bite fish reported. Alabama rigs, spinnerbaits, crankbaits, glidebaits, and jerkbaits were all great for putting shallow feeding fish in the boat. The water clarity is stained around the lake and it is on the rise so be cautious when boating and watch for debris.

SACRAMENTO RIVER, Red Bluff to Colusa: Fishing slowed for trout and steelhead over the weekend as the river blew out from Keswick Dam through the metro area. A few trophy-size stripers were being caught near Corning and Colusa before the storm on swim baits

SACRAMENTO RIVER, Verona to Colusa: Sturgeon fishing is slow at First Beach and Second Beach at Knights Landing but should improve with last week’s storms. Heavy rain fell over the weekend. Striper fishing is slow near Knights Landing and Verona, but a few fish are being caught on swimbaits. Salmon season is closed.

FEATHER RIVER: Striper and sturgeon fishing remains slow. The river blew out late last week because of heavy rain. Anglers are awaiting February’s steelhead smolt release to boost striper fishing, while sturgeon fishing could pick up this week at the mouth of the Bear River. Steelhead are being caught from Gridley up to Oroville Dam.

LAKE OROVILLE: Jamey Sorensen of North Valley Tackle said the lake water level is rising daily due to the recent storms. It’s cold and dirty everywhere, but there’s hope, as larger 2-pound bass are finally showing once again. Sorensen said he’d target them using reaction baits in the incoming water. Those who want numbers should continue to use finesse baits.

THERMALITO AFTERBAY: Jamey Soresen of North Valley Tackle said there’s a good ripbait bass bite along the rock wall, but stay away from the tules just a bit longer until the end of duck hunting season.

Far North Lakes and Rivers

LAKE ALMANOR: Due to winter storms that dropped substantial amounts of snow and rain there hasn’t been much going on around the lake as far as fishing goes. Ice continues to build in the shallows and coves and the lake level has risen slightly. The Canyon dam boat ramp is open and able to be launched from. Weather outlook for the next week is spring like and should improve the fishing around the lake.

BAUM LAKE: Fishing is still great for fly fisherman that have ventured out. The average size of the fish has not improved much yet, but the bigger fish should start to show themselves. Midging is still the best choice for this fishery.

LEWISTON LAKE: Not a lot of reports but the few anglers that have gone have had some great success. Same as last week, fish are spooky in the really clear water conditions, so you will need to sneak around from spot to spot carefully and use a longer leader. Midging has been best for fly fisherman around the lake.

PIT RIVER: Due to recent storms the pit is blown out and unable to be waded. Next week has clear weather in the forecast so the best thing you can do is keep an eye on the flows until they drop enough to get out there and give it a shot.

Sacramento Valley

AMERICAN RIVER: The river opened between Hazel Avenue and Nimbus Hatchery for steelhead on Jan. 1. Fishing has been best in the Sunrise area, where anglers are drifting roe or pieces of nightcrawlers, but is slow overall. Egg patterns also are working for fly fishermen. Flows over the weekend at Fair Oaks were 1,780 cfs, but could increase as water is released from Folsom Lake, where levels increased more than 12 feet last week.

FOLSOM LAKE: The lake level increased from 393 feet elevation to 407.5 feet after last week’s big rainstorms. The 5 mph speed limit has been lifted. Parks officials warned about logs and other debris. The low water ramp at Granite Bay and the Hobie Cove ramp at Brown’s Ravine are the only two ramps in operation. Fishing is slow for bass and trout, with little effort. Speedy Shiners with flashers are tricking a few trout and salmon near Brown’s Ravine 20 to 35 feet down.

SACRAMENTO RIVER, Dunsmuir: Rapidly changing flows have trout fishing slow. Flows hit 10,000 cfs last week at the Delta gauge, and were down to 6,500 cfs over the weekend. The river is blown out.

SACRAMENTO RIVER, Redding to Red Bluff: The Sacramento River turned muddy over the weekend after heavy rain in the Redding area. Trout fishing was good prior to last week’s rain, but stalled as the river blew out. Expect good conditions again this week, although the water may be muddy because of this summer’s fires.

SACRAMENTO RIVER, Sacramento: Sturgeon and striper fishing has been slow. More sturgeon should move in with rain. A few stripers are being caught in the deepwater channel on large and jumbo minnows.

Trinity/Klamath Rivers

KLAMATH RIVER, Hornbrook: The Upper Klamath near Hornbrook remained fishable after last week’s heavy rain, as flows were held back at Iron Gate Dam. The river  was blown out below Interstate 5. Expect fresh fish to move up from the lower river with the rain. Flows at Iron Gate rose from 950 cfs to 1,250 cfs.

KLAMATH RIVER, Happy Camp: Steelhead fishing was good before last week’s rain pushed the Middle Klamath over its banks. The river may drop into shape by the weekend. At Seiad Valley near Happy Camp, flows jumped from 1,752 cfs to more than 10,000 cfs. They were down to 9,500 cfs late Sunday. Flows at Orleans increased from 3,630 cfs to 50,200 cfs.

KLAMATH RIVER, Klamath Glen: The Klamath hits its highest level since February 2017 over the weekend when flows at Klamath Glen jumped from 12 feet to 29 feet over four days. Heavy rain increased flows from 14,450 cfs a week ago to 123,000 cfs on Sunday. The river is high and muddy, but the higher flows should draw in winter steelhead from the ocean.

TRINITY RIVER: The river blew out with last week’s heavy rain, but should have fresh adult steelhead spread throughout the Trinity after flows drop this week. Flows at Lewiston remained 300 cfs, but quickly increased below the dam. Flows at Douglas City shot up from 475 cfs a week ago to 3,000 cfs, and were down to 1,670 cfs late Sunday. Flows at Junction City went up from 544 cfs to more than 4,000 cfs before dropping back to 2,530 cfs. The lower end was already high at 4,624 cfs at Hoopa, but rose to 34,200 cfs.

Northern Foothills

BULLARDS BAR: The dam at 40 feet on typical kokanee baits had been the ticket, but the lake has come up more than 10 feet in the past week. It’s dirty and cold. Brett Brady of Bare Bones Guide Service recommended giving it a week for conditions to stabilize and the bite to get back its typical full speed.

CAMP FAR WEST: Recent rains have brought the lake level up high enough to use one lane of the concrete launch ramp at North Shore Resort, according to Kathy DeRossett. Camp Far West will hold a bass tournament on February 23. We’ll have more details as they become available.

COLLINS LAKE: A rare zero fish on the Collins Lake Recreation Area lunker list this week was due to storms that dampened angler traffic. Next to no one was fishing. Fortunately the upcoming forecast looks better. Those who go should consider the higher lake water level 17 feet from full, colder temperatures and a healthy stain on the water, and use fish scented baits.

HALSEY: This small afterbay located in Auburn was stocked, according to Craig Newton of Will Fish Tackle. It’s typical planter fishing, but quite possibly fished the best of the local lakes.

North Coast lakes

LAKE BERRYESSA: The fishing is still steady, but not quite as red hot as it has been the past few weeks. The spots that are holding the concentration of baitfish seemed to be tougher for catching fish than they had been. Alabama rigs are still getting bit, but for the most part the bite has been down deeper and more of a finesse style bite all around.

BLACK BUTTE LAKE: The lake has filled almost completely after the last storm but it is extremely muddy and there is an enormous amount of debris floating, some of which are full sized trees floating dangerously below the surface making them hard to see. Although fishing is completely shut off, the duck hunters have been doing well this past week now that you can set up in the creeks and willows. Use caution in the strong winds, only Eagles Pass launch is open, making it a long dangerous boat ride in whitecaps.

CLEAR LAKE: Bass fishing is improving some with most fish being caught on Alabama rigs and rip baits. The crappie are biting again on the redbud side of the lake, but there are a lot of boats concentrated in small areas where the fish are holding. The catfish bite is picking up and will continue to improve the next few weeks with more of the bigger fish showing up. Giant bluegills can still be caught just about anywhere around the lake right now with many being caught over 1-pound.

LAKE SONOMA: The lake has gotten pretty stained after recent storms with more debris floating as well. Not many anglers went out this past week, but for those that did the fish were all down deeper and it was a finesse bite and a small football jig bite.

UPPER BLUE LAKES: The water remains very muddy and there haven’t been any reports from anglers going out and attempting to catch bass or trout.

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 blew out at 30,000 cfs over the weekend, its highest level in two years. Steelhead fishing was on the slow side before last week’s rain, but should improve this week as new fish enter with the high water. The river is expected to be in prime shape for the weekend, said guide Andy Martin of Wild Rivers fishing. According to guide Phil Desautel of Phil’s Smiling Salmon Guide Service, “On the Chetco, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday before the storm, just about every boat had and were cleaning fish.  It was 1 to 5 hook ups per boats with mostly one or two landed. Jim Cooper of Oakland caught a 9-pound buck hatchery fish.

ELK RIVER, Port Orford, Ore.: The Elk hit 10 feet on Saturday and was down to 7 feet on Sunday. It fishes best around 4 feet. Expect new steelhead as the river drops this week.

ROGUE RIVER, Gold Beach, Ore.: Steelhead fishing was good on the lower river before last week’s storms. Flows at Agness jumped from 3,000 cfs to 70,000 cfs. With combined flows from the Illinois River and other tributaries, flows were close to 100,000 cfs on Sunday at Gold Beach. The river may remain too high all week.

RUSSIAN RIVER: As of Saturday, January 19, the Russian was dropping after the storm that produced 9.5 inches of rain in the hills North of Guerneville.  “We are looking at a high muddy river, but the good news is long term forecasts are calling for a drying spell starting on Monday and could last through the weekend and maybe longer,” Scott Heemstra of Kings Sport and Tackle in Guerneville said. “This would be great news for the Russian, since it will give it some time to drop and clear up a bit.  My fishing forecast is calling for plunking conditions to start by the end of the week and drift or lure fishing by the weekend. We are moving into prime steelhead time, so there should be plenty of fish throughout the entire system when it comes into shape.”

SMITH RIVER: The Smith remained fishable through Friday before blowing out on Saturday 70,000 cfs at Jed Smith, which is 24 feet, said guide Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing. It was down to 19 feet on Sunday, or 38,500 cfs, and should fish from Tuesday on. Expect fresh steelhead as the river drops. Guide Phil Desautel of Phil’s Smiling Salmon Guide Service said it was the best fishing of the season prior to the storm, and should be very good for steelhead when it clears up.

SIXES RIVER, Port Orford, Ore.: The Sixes was well over its bank on Sunday and could remain too high to fish most of this week.

Sierra Lakes and Rivers

BOCA RESERVOIR: Miles Zimmerman of Mountain Hardware and Sports said the area received rain. He is advising anglers to stay off the ice.

CARSON RIVER (East, West): Todd Sodaro of Todd’s Bait and Tackle and the Alpine County Fish and Game Commission finally saw a car parked at the year-round C&R artificials only section of the East Carson, but he couldn’t get a report. The rivers are up, but the East Carson still has a beautiful green tinge. The weather was terrible but is expected to improve dramatically through the end of January. Better times are ahead.

DAVIS LAKE: Jeanne Graham, J&J’s Grizzly Store said it has been raining, but more snow was expected Sunday night. The condition of the ice at the dam is unknown. Mallard is likely inaccessible, as two feet of snow fell before it started raining.

DONNER LAKE: Miles Zimmerman of Mountain Hardware and Sports said Donner is about the only lake option in the Truckee area because it has areas plowed for parking, and the best you can expect is shore fishing for rainbows.

INDIAN CREEK RESERVOIR: Todd Sodaro of the Alpine County Fish and Game Commission and Todd’s Bait and Tackle in Markleeville said the lake froze and melted – again! On Sunday he was unsure of the condition of the ice.

JENKINSON LAKE (Sly Park): Karen Ward at Sly Park Resort said the week’s storms kept anglers at bay. The lake has come up a bit but she said the water isn’t too muddy.

LAKE TAHOE: Zach Gordon of Tahoe Sportfishing said his company based out of the Ski Run Marina in South Lake Tahoe has been getting a few trips out between the rain and the wind, but when they do, they are finding solid, fun fishing for Mackinaw off the west shore. He said the fish are deep, and they are getting them by dangling live bait right on the bottom at roughly 180 feet.

PROSSER RESERVOIR: Miles Zimmerman of Mountain Hardware and Sports in Truckee said it rained following recent snows. He advised staying off the ice at Prosser until the weather cools again.

PYRAMID LAKE: A parade of pre-frontal jumbos bit midnight cowboys and popcorn beetles from shore. Reports of 10-plus-pound fish were common, WON heard about a 16, there was photographic evidence of a 19 and unsubstantiated word of a 20. For the few boaters who got out between storms, it was more of a numbers than size game, although it can’t be overstressed that January has been about quality at Pyramid Lake. Guides gush and say these results promise a tremendous season.

STAMPEDE RESERVOIR: Miles Zimmerman of Mountain Hardware and Sports said Stampede is inaccessible due to unplowed roads.

TOPAZ LAKE: The annual trout derby is underway and is currently led by a 9-pound trout caught by Aaron Talhelm, according to staff at the Topaz General Store. 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 offers good access at Hirschdale (Glenshire has limited access due to snow on the parking areas), and recommended nymphing with stoneflies and worms. Remember, barbless, artificials, catch and release only.

WEBBER LAKE: The access gate has been closed for the season. Determined anglers can walk in. The road may be covered in snow.

WEST WALKER RIVER: Staffers at the Walker General Store are still reporting they haven’t seen any fishermen in weeks on the C&R, barbless, artificials only fishery.

North Saltwater

BERKELEY: Partyboats from Berkeley were not operating and crew were busily readying them for the upcoming season. Private boats ventured from Berkeley marina all throughout the Bay area to fish sturgeon in South Bay, San Pablo Bay or pretty much anywhere lots of fresh water runoff entered the Bay. Striped bass and flounder were all around the shorelines from Berkeley down around South Bay and up to San Francisco.

BODEGA BAY: Fantastic crabbing was on tap for passengers of New Sea Angler. The boat scores limits for 11 passengers and crew in just two hours. Sanddabs were readily available in deeper water. Shore spots had been shut down by weather and seas until the weekend,which was so nice that people came out to give fishing and crabbing a try from boats and also from shore spots like the jetty, Doran Beach and Salmon Creek.

EMERYVILLE: The partyboat fleet is undergoing maintenance and upgrades, but private party boats made it out to chase sturgeon, stripers, flounder and kingfish. Both boats and local shore fishers did well at nearby Alameda Rock Wall. The best sturgeon fishing was near the bridges in South Bay or right off major freshwater inflows.

EUREKA: Crabbers out of Trinidad, Eureka and Crescent City got good news because domoic acid testing of Dungeness crab showed no significant health threat and all areas became open to recreational crabbers and soon to commercial crabbers. Herring runs continued in Humboldt Bay. Shore anglers were out of luck all week due to wind and seas and rain.

FORT BRAGG: Shore spots were all blown out, even good ol’ Noyo Jetty, which is the last safe spot in most conditions. Finally, by the weekend things calmed enough and the weather turned nice, so people came back out and made a go of it, though high Noyo River flows were still a problem.

HALF MOON BAY: Crab and sanddab combo trips were a success beginning Friday on. People could catch all the sanddabs they felt they needed for an extended family feast. The crew pulled easy limits of Dungeness crab for passengers and crew alike. Weekend weather was so nice that crowds of people came out to line the jetty and public pier to crab and fish inside Pillar Point harbor. Local beaches were good for surfperch.

SAN FRANCISCO: The Fisherman’s Wharf fleet was at dock or hauled out for maintenance and upgrades. Argo ran trips to San Pablo Bay when the weather calmed to catch stripers and sturgeon. Private boats and shore anglers worked the shoreline from AT&T Park to below Coyote Point, hooking up with stripers, kingfish, flounder, sharks and rays.

The weekly fishing report, compiled by Western Outdoor News, highlights the best angling opportunities in the north state. A longer version, with many more lakes and rivers, can be seen online at