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Lake Amador Trout Derby begins, salmon fishing slow on American River

Courtesy of SacBee Fishing Line 

November 27, 2017

Here are the best places to fish in the Sacramento region, Northern California and beyond for the week of Nov. 27.



The annual Lake Amador Trout Derby started on November 24, and it will run through March 4, 2018 with a one-time entry fee of $7. Over 300 tagged fish will be released for a total in excess of $5,000 of cash and prizes. Trout plants will average around 1200 pounds on a weekly basis, and the concessionaires are releasing somewhere in the neighborhood of 250 pounds daily. 100 tagged fish have already been released into the lake. The best action is with trout dough bait, nightcrawlers, or crappie jigs under a bobber from the shoreline although the water is still clear enough to troll. The lake is 24 feet from spilling, and it is expected to rise to feet from the latest storm. A huge largemouth bass at 8.68 pounds was caught and released on an umbrella rig by Grant Harnist of Reno, Nevada.


Anglers are now focusing on steelhead, which are being caught near Watt Avenue and Howe Avenue on roe, nightcrawlers and beads. There is a mix of wild and hatchery fish up to 4 pounds. Salmon fishing has been slow.


Rumor has it a pair of 10-pound spots were caught last week. That kicks off big bass season, which runs during the spawn between now and February. Three world records have been set in the last three years during the winter. Time is now. Lake is 72 percent of capacity.


Another 4800 pounds of Mt. Lassen Hatchery plants were split between the North Shore launch ramp, South Shore launch ramp, and South Shore Pond during the Thanksgiving week, and the best trolling is occurring in the Narrows with 3-inch white grubs at a slow speed close to the surface. The swimbait bite for bass is picking up, and a 9-pound largemouth was reported on a rainbow trout swimbait. The lake held at 70 percent.

DELTA REGION: Sacramento River

Salmon fishing is next to dead, and salmon guides are transitioning to other locations. The sturgeon bite brought out in a big way in Suisun Bay over the past week despite the small tides. The drop in barometric pressure slowed the action down over the weekend, but this won’t last long, as there are a number of diamondbacks in the system. Fresh skein roe has been the key to success for six-pack operators who have brought in as many as 7 slot-limit sturgeon on a single trip. Striped bass are also on the upswing with topwater lures along with spoons in deep water. Bluegill and redear perch can be found on the bottom with red worms in Liberty Slough.

DELTA REGION: San Joaquin River

Striped bass continue to move into the San Joaquin side of the Delta, and a variety of techniques including topwater lures, drifting live mudsuckers, fresh shad on the anchor, or spooning in deep water are working for schoolies to 24 inches. There are some larger fish in the mix. Largemouth bass fishing is best along the outside of the weed lines with reaction baits such as chatterbaits, ripbaits, spinnerbaits, and prop baits. Crappie and large bluegill to 13 inches are found in Whiskey Slough and the first and second bridges off of Eight Mile Road with minnows or large red worms on the drop-shot.



The river was blown out and unfishable all of last week, but is expected to be in prime shape by this weekend. It crested at 17,000 cfs the middle of last week, and was down to 8,200 cfs on Sunday. It is expected to be below 3,000 cfs by the end of the week. Expect a mix of late salmon and early steelhead when it becomes fishable.

ELK RIVER, Port Orford, Oregon

The Elk was fishable most of last week, with fair success for salmon. It blew out Sunday, but was dropping quickly.

ROGUE RIVER, Gold Beach, Oregon

Anglers have begun to fish for winter steelhead, but success has been slow so far. The first steelhead of the year generally arrive around Thanksgiving. Flowing at 8,000 cfs over the weekend, the Rogue has been in good shape for plunking large Spin-N-Glos from shore.

ROGUE RIVER, Grants Pass, Oregon

Blown out and unfishable.


The Russian River continues to stay open to fishing with the rain we keep getting, reported Scott Heemstra of Kings Sport and Tackle in Guerneville. “Currently the flows are at 330 cfs, but with all the rain we got last night this should change. Flows are predicted to go up to around 700 cfs by Monday. There is a happy mix of chinook, coho and small steelhead in the system right now. Remember, all salmon and wild steelhead must be released and only two hatchery steelhead are allowed to be kept. Casting spinners, and Cleos, plunking bait and swinging flies have all been productive. Remember to call the low flow hotline to ensure the Russian is open to fishing at 707-944-5533.”

SIXES RIVER, Port Orford, Oregon

Salmon fishing has been good when the river has been in shape. It was over 3 feet on Sunday and unfishable, but should be in prime shape much of this week. The Sixes has fished better than the Elk this fall.


WON Field Reporter and guide Phil Desautel of Phil’s Smiling Salmon Guide Service said the river has been high since last week’s storm that brought the river 4 feet higher then any time this season. “The high water brought in a few more fish. And they are spread out from top to bottom. The fishing has been the best all season. Most all the guides reported 1 to 3 fish per trip on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. I have seen fish caught from the Forks down to Ruby with an occasional fish roll here and there. Friday I had Gene and Judy Stewart from Carmichael, and they went 2 for 3 with two nice bright kings of 16 and 25 pounds. The fish were caught on T-55 Flatfish with a sardine wrap.” A few steelhead have been reported by plunkers on the lower river, according to WON Field Reporter and guide Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing. Salmon counts at Rowdy Creek Hatchery are below average, and similar to last year's returns.



The river is closed to salmon fishing. Steelhead fishing has been very good near Hornbrook. Small plugs and worms fished below divers are working best. Fly anglers are catching steelhead on beads below indicators. Flows over the weekend at Iron Gate Dam were 1,000 cfs.


Salmon season is closed. Steelhead fishing had been good near Happy Camp, but slowed with the first big high water event of the season last week. Flows at Seiad Valley peaked at 4,000 cfs last week and were down to 2,600 cfs over the weekend. Flows at Orleans reached 30,000 cfs, but were down to 10,000 cfs Sunday.


The lower Klamath blew out last week and is expected to remain high this week. Near the mouth, flows crested at 50,000 cfs last week and had dropped to 14,500 cfs on Sunday.


Steelhead fishing has been good near Douglas City and Junction City. The steelhead are running 4 to 6 pounds, with about half of the fish hatchery fish. Small MagLip plugs are working best, but roe also is taking fish. The upper river was fishable last week, despite rains, but crowded. Flows from Lewiston Dam have remained steady near 350 cfs. Flows at Douglas City were 448 cfs over the weekend, down from 720 cfs the middle of last week. Flows hit 800 cfs at Junction City last week, but were down to 460 cfs over the weekend. Flows at Hoopa crested at 10,000 cfs.



Good fishing all the way around was seen recently. Whether you’re targeting trout, bass, crappie or catfish the fish are biting. Trollers are hooking plenty of trout in the 14- to 20-inch range, while toplining Needlefish, grubs or mini-crawlers 100 feet behind the boat. Bass anglers are catching all three species in many different ways, with a few bigger largemouths to 7 pounds hitting topwater along the east shoreline at first light or late afternoon. Other techniques are to find the bait and spoon shad imitations over the massive baitballs right now.


Fishing remains slow for most anglers with a few crappie and bass caught.


The vast majority of bass being caught are in the 1- to 2-pound range with an occasional 3 pounder. The basic dropshot, Ned rig, Senkos and small squarebill crankbaits are still the main techniques being used. Using live bait action with jumbo minnows will start to be productive. Crappie action is now starting to show up and they are being caught in various locations around the lake, but just not in the big numbers that anglers will see later on as they start to school up. The fish that seem to be in vast numbers almost anywhere on the lake are the bluegill.


Bass fishing remains slow with few anglers out.


Action remains slow with no recent trout plants made.


There are still plenty of bass opportunities with anglers slowing down fishing jigs, plastics or yo-yoing LV500's in shad pattern. Other bass anglers report a few fish on drop-shots, Senkos and LV500's. Trout trollers are also waiting for cooler water to keep the landlocked steelhead on the surface throughout the day.


Finally got the first trout plant of the season this week, so action has been fair on small rainbows.



Warm rains with little snow, mornings temps in the high 30s, reaching into the 50s. Anglers caught fish fast trolling hardware in water between 10 and 30 feet deep, fishing in the top half of the water column from the dam to Fox Farm and the dam to the beginning of the houses on the East shore. There were lots of fishermen targeting fish over the holidays in the coves around the Canyon Dam boat launch. Fly fishermen and bank anglers are picking up a few fish.


Trout fishing has been fair to good for bait anglers and also for fly fishermen tossing woolly buggers and midges.


Marina is shut down for the season. It will re-open in April. No reports available on current action.


Trout action has been fair, but snowstorms have kept angler pressure low. Season runs through Dec. 31 then opens again in Spring.


Now closed for season.


Season is now closed.


Trout fishing remains good in the area near Pine Cove Marina and upriver towards the dam. Action is being posted on Power Bait, nightcrawlers and trolled spoons and spinners.


Areas No. 3 and No. 4 are still producing action for fly anglers working small, dark colored midges and woolly buggers.


Trout fishing remains fair in the dam area, about 80 feet deep on trolled lures. Bass fishing is pretty good off main lake points on plastics, jigs, hula grubs, spoons and even on large Osprey-type swimbaits. Most of the fish are only about 2 pounders. Lots of crappie action is being posted near Jones Valley Marina and off the Ski Bar area in the Sacramento arm of the lake. Catfish action has been slow.


Few anglers on the lake, and catches have been light.


Fishing remains slow with only a few bass and kokanee being caught.



A small turkey shoot was held over the Thanksgiving weekend with 14.5-pound winning limit, and although rainbow trout are observed along the surface, the swimbait bite hasn’t taken off as of yet. The bass are holding in deeper water, and plastics on the drop-shot or jigs remain the top baits. Trout fishing will be back on once the lake turns over, and with the warmer temperatures, this may not occur until December. The lake rose to 80 percent this week.


Huge trout are still a possibility, and the action should improve as the lake turns over in the near future. With the warmer temperatures, the trout and bass are holding in deeper water near the massive shad schools at depths from 25 to 60 feet. The Spillway has been holding huge bait schools, and shad-patterned lures or rolled shad are the best bets. Bass fishing is best with plastics on the drop-shot for numbers, but the grade of fish is small. The big fish time is coming with swimbaits as the water cools. Catfish and crappie action has slowed. The lake rose slightly to 83 percent.


The last trout plant was on November 9, and although trout plants are anticipated in the near future, the rainbows from the earlier plant have either scattered into deeper water or have been landed. Overall, trout fishing is fair at best with trout dough bait or nightcrawlers from the normal locations of the Handicapped Docks, Brush Pile, and the peninsula near the marina.



Road is closed at the second gate.


Trout action is good for those using bait from the dam.


Don’t expect limits but quality trout can be caught with bait from Mallards, Honker Cove. Rumor of an 8-pound trout from Honker is circulating. Fly fishers can get trout near Jenkins Cove.


Mackinaw can be caught from the shore near the launch ramp with Kastmasters, silver spoons. Jigging from a float tube can also work. Slow trolling the deep water in China Cove can result in Mackinaws weighing in the teens. Water temperature is in the low 40s.


The snow from the storm 10 days ago is gone and there was access to Gold Lake and Salmon Lake, but that may have changed with the Sunday storm, so call ahead.


Light pressure here but rainbow Power Bait or inflated nightcrawlers will produce here.


Good action on rainbows to 20 inches for those throwing bait from the shore.


Fishing for Mackinaw is productive in the north, south and west sides. Rainbows and browns are being caught along the south side.


Lake is low. No reports from last week.


Water temperature is in the low 50s and larger cutthroat are nudging closer to shore. More than a half-dozen 10-pound plus fish were weighed in last week at Crosby’s Lodge. Trollers do well all over the lake and shore anglers get action from a variety of beaches.


Trout plant last week greatly improved success here. Plant was made at the first boat dock and best action is at the first dam. Nothing big reported, but steady action on pansized rainbows.


Lake is closed to fishing. It will re-open Jan. 1.


The outflow from Lake Tahoe was increased to 1,200 CFS. That has pushed trout to the banks. Fishing the edges with streamers or larger nymphs will be the best bet, said Miles Zimmerman of Mountain Sports and Hardware in Truckee.



The Outlet Hole closed Oct. 15. Salmon fishing is slow. A few stripers are being caught near Boyd’s Pump and Shanghai Bend. Steelhead fishing is best in the Low Flow section as well as near the mouth of the Yuba River. Catfish are being caught near Star Bend and just above Verona.


Folsom Lake is at 427 feet, up 2 feet from last week. Full pool is 466 feet. The water temperature is 63 degrees. Trout fishing is slow. Bass fishing has slowed down.


Trout fishing has slowed. Flows at Delta were 1,473 cfs over the weekend, up from 350 cfs the week before.

SACRAMENTO RIVER, Red Bluff to Colusa

Fishing for salmon is slow in the Woodson Bridge area. It is slow above Colusa.

SACRAMENTO RIVER, Redding to Red Bluff

Flows from Keswick Dam remained near 5,100 cfs. Salmon fishing has heated up again at the Barge Hole, where bright late-fall kings have arrived. The fish are bright and averaging around 6 pounds, with several in the mid-teens reported last week. FlatFish plugs are working well with sardine wraps, although roe also is working well. A few steelhead are being caught. Trout fishing is only fair.


Salmon fishing has slowed down in the mid-town area between Miller Park and Garcia Bend, with very few kings still being caught. A few stripers are being caught.

SACRAMENTO RIVER, Verona to Colusa

Fishing for catfish has been good at Knight’s Landing. A few small stripers also are being caught. Anglers expect sturgeon to begin to arrive soon. Salmon fishing is slow.



Lake is 80 percent of capacity – unusually high for this time of year. The fishing remains slow, however.


The final trout plant of the fall season went in last week, bringing the total to 10,600 pounds of trout planted in October and November. Planting will resume in the spring. Most of those five-plus tons of trout await anglers and water is clear and lake has plenty of water.


There has been good action in the deep water off the rock wall just outside the 5 mph zone for those trolling with flashers/nightcrawlers. A DFW trout plant will take place this week. Lake is at 95 percent of capacity.


Road is open but most are using it to get Christmas trees.


DFW will plant here this week.


Bass are off steep walls from the bank to 30 feet. Larger bass are in even deeper water. Plastics offered on the bottom get action. Best bet for larger fish is to vertically jig off deep points, 50 to 60 feet deep.


The trout plant that took place the week of Nov. 5 is paying dividends to anglers. Trout went in at Long Ravine and Greenhorn Cove. Worms, Power Bait or Kastmasters have been rewarding anglers. Smallmouth bass measuring 9 to 16 inches can be caught employing finesse techniques. Some bassers are getting 4 to 7 fish per day. Lake has turned over and has a surface temperature of 56 degrees, said Nevada Irrigation Supervisor Ryan Drake. “Watch out for debris on the water,” Drake said. “The lake level goes up and down and there are floaters out there.”


DFW will plant trout here this week.


It’s best to leave this to the duck hunters, for safety’s sake. If you must fish, do it in the afternoon when the bulk of the hunters have departed. “Go as far south as you can and stay away from the tules,” said Bruce Gibson of Paradise Tackle Company. “Stay away from the tules where the hunters are. Better yet, wait until duck season is over and then the swimbait bite will be on.”



The Farallon Islands were a main destination for boats out of Berkeley including Happy Hooker, New El Dorado III and El Dorado. The quality of the rockfish was impressive and thanks to calm sea conditions until Sunday, the lingcod counts were high.


Crabbing was pretty good for Bodega Bay boats especially with longer soaks. Rockfish and lingcod were easy targets with the best catches coming aboard New Sea Angler working down near Point Reyes where skilled anglers worked wonders, including one passenger who used Diamond Jigs to catch 17 lingcod to 15 pounds.


Steady limits of rockfish and some impressive lingcod greeted passengers aboard New Huck Finn, Sea Wolf and New Salmon Queen. Dungeness crab counts were all over the place as one spot would produce better than another and pots had to be moved. New Huck Finn did manage full limits on one trip.


Dungeness crabs were plentiful and available for Eureka boaters and even from shore for snare casters and hoop netters working from Del Norte Pier. Most crabs proved full and heavy with only the jumbos still having some room for fill in. Red tail perch bit very well at Table Bluff.


Lingcod, rockfish and crabs were targeted with good success by both the party/charter boats as well as private boats. Most productive areas were fairly local so fuel expenses were manageable. Shore-based fishing (both for perch at sandy areas and for ground fish at the rocky spots) and crabbing was excellent until Sunday when the weather came up.


Runs to the south to Pescadero, San Gregorio and Martins Beach were handsomely productive for Half Moon Bay boats Huli Cat, Queen of Hearts and Riptide searching for lingcod and rockfish. Crabbing however was getting tougher by the day, though good hard effort generally paid off.


Boat action included Wacky Jacky, Bass Tub and Lovely Martha and most trips were for lingcod and rockfish along the Marin Coast or better yet out by the Farallones where the average fish was bigger. Nearby shore fishing was good for redtail perch and barred surfperch and also an occasional hookup with a striped bass.

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