North state fishing report
By Western Outdoor News
TRINITY RIVER >> Low, clear, cold water is challenging steelhead anglers, but fish are being caught near Junction City on small plugs or roe. Small plugs, especially 3.0 MagLips, are working best. Fish are staging near creek mouths, waiting for rain.
FEATHER RIVER >> A few stripers are being caught near Boyd’s Pump and Shanghai Bend on cut anchovies and sardines. Steelhead fishing is fair in the low flow section as well as near the mouth of the Yuba River. Sturgeon fishing is slow at the mouth of the Bear River. The river is extremely low.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Verona to Colusa >> Although a few sturgeon are being caught at Knights Landing and Verona, rain is needed to draw in more fish. Ghost shrimp combined with pile worms or eel is working best. Fishing for catfish has slowed at Knights Landing. A few small stripers also are being caught.
BULLARDS BAR >> It’s time for the big spotted bass, and the search for a new world record continues. Another 9-pound spot was caught this week. This one was hooked by an angler drop-shotting a Senko 40 feet deep.
COLLINS LAKE >> Shoreline anglers near the dam or the beach get two to three trout per outing using nightcrawlers or Power Bait. Trollers are working the middle of the lake between the beach and the dam with typical trolling lures for half limits. Most trout are 16 to 18 inches long. A few 4- to 6-pound trout are caught each week. Bass bite has picked up. Water temperature is 53 degrees.
LAKE OROVILLE >> Water temps range from the high 40s to the low 50s which has given the bass lockjaw. Bite is slow and fish being caught are small. Unchanging weather forecast makes prospects less than promising.
LAKE ALMANOR >> Fishing pressure has been light, with just a few boats on the water and most of those are staying close to Canyon Dam. Water temperatures continue to drop and fishing has been difficult at best.
BAUM LAKE >> Trout fishing is slow to fair.
BUCKS LAKE >> Fishing remains slow. The marina is closed until springtime.
EAGLE LAKE >> Few anglers are out and the season ends Dec. 31, to reopen in the spring. Marina is already shut down for the winter.
LEWISTON LAKE >> Trout fishing has been slow near the marina and also at the upper end of the lake.
PIT RIVER >> Some trout action is being posted by fly anglers at areas 3 and 4, but not much is happening at other spots.
SHASTA LAKE >> Bass fishing is pretty good off the main body points and some up-lake areas. Lots of small bass, in the 2-pound range mostly, can be caught on a wide variety of enticers such as plastic worms, jigs and crank plugs. Trollers are still picking up some trout with flashers and lures fish 60 to 100 feet deep.
TRINITY LAKE >> Still not much going on with few anglers hitting the lake.
WHISKEYTOWN LAKE >> Fishing remains very slow with only a few anglers testing the water. The marina is closed for the winter.
AMERICAN RIVER >> Anglers are now focusing on steelhead, which are being caught near Watt Avenue and Howe Avenue on roe, nightcrawlers and beads. Kastmasters also are working. There is a mix of wild and hatchery fish up to 3 pounds.
FOLSOM LAKE >> Trout fishing is slow. Bass fishing has slowed down, but some spotted bass and smallmouth are being reported.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Dunsmuir >> Trout fishing has slowed with winter weather near Dunsmuir.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Redding to Red Bluff >> Flows from Keswick Dam remained near 5,000 cfs. Salmon fishing closed Dec. 16. Trout fishing is slow to fair in the Redding area, while steelhead fishing is decent near Anderson. Anglers are drifting roe, beads, Glo Bugs or crickets, or fishing size 50 Hot Shots or 3.0 MagLip plugs.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Red Bluff to Colusa >> A few stripers are being caught near Colusa. Sturgeon fishing is slow near Colusa.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Sacramento >> A few stripers are being caught in the deepwater channel but fishing is slow.
KLAMATH RIVER, Hornbrook >> The river is closed to salmon fishing. Steelhead fishing has been very good near Hornbrook. Guide Scott Caldwell has reported fish to 9 pounds. Small plugs and worms fished below divers are working best. Fly anglers are catching steelhead on beads below indicators.
KLAMATH RIVER, Happy Camp >> Steelhead fishing is good near Happy Camp, with lots of half-pounders and some larger adult fish. Small plugs and yarn and roe are working best.
KLAMATH RIVER, Klamath Glen >> Fishing is slow, although some fresh winter fish have been reported.
FRENCH MEADOWS >> Caution is needed to navigate the road because of sometimes icy conditions. If you can make it, fishing from the shore near the inlet has been very good. Anglers are catching-and-releasing 30 trout per day.
ROLLINS >> Trout bite is good here, especially near the Greenhorn Inlet and near the dam. Trollers topline with Kastmasters, Needlefish and Wedding rings. Most trout are small. Smallmouth bass are worth pursuing.
SCOTTS FLAT >> A 4-pound brown was landed last week by an angler trolling with a shad-colored Shad Rap. Smallmouth bass bite is decent.
THERMALITO AFTERBAY >> Still not time to fish here.
LAKE BERRYESSA >> Trout trollers working the top 15 feet of the water column are either topline trolling or using a downrigger for quality rainbows to 22 inches. Most bass anglers have found a tougher bite as water temps dipped into the low 50’s and the fall bite is scaling back into winter mode. Best techniques this past week have been fishing brown jigs, Senkos and worms slow off deeper main body points in the 20- to 35-foot of water range.
BLACK BUTTE LAKE >> Fishing remains on the slow side with not many anglers on the water.
CLEAR LAKE >> Crappie continue lead the action, but a few nice bass catches were also made this week. Crappie and bluegill are leading the action with good catches made in deep waters off Red Hill, Shag Rock, Horseshoe and Indian Beach.
LAKE MENDOCINO >> Only a few bass catches were reported with not many anglers out.
LAKE PILLSBURY >> Fishing remains slow with few angers on hand.
LAKE SONOMA >> Bass anglers reported the good bite all over the lake with the top techniques being jigs, shaking worms, LV 500’s and Senkos fished in 15 to 40 feet of water, with the lion’s share of the bass being largemouth with a few smallmouth to 2 pounds mixed in. With water temperatures in the low 50’s, the trout trollers continue to hook a few landlocked steelhead in the top 15 feet of water. Best areas so far have still been from the dam up to the no ski bouys in the main body.
UPPER BLUE LAKES >> A trout plant was finally made here a week ago, with rainbows in the 2- to 2 1/2-pound range included in the plants.
CHETCO RIVER, Brookings, Ore. >> The Chetco rose from 800 cfs to 2,500 cfs the middle of last week, bringing in adult steelhead and a few late kings. Fishing was best between Ice Box and Social Security Bar, according to guide Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing.
ELK RIVER, Port Orford, Ore. >> Rain last week brought in good numbers of salmon. More than 125 salmon were counted at the trap last Wednesday. More rain early this week should keep the Elk fishable, with a mix of late kings and early steelhead. Unlike the nearby Sixes, the Elk remains open for salmon in January.
ROGUE RIVER, Gold Beach, Ore. >> Plunkers are starting to catch a few winter steelhead from the lower river gravel bars with large Spin-N-Glos and clusters of roe. Rain this week could draw in more steelhead.
ROGUE RIVER, Grants Pass, Ore. >> “We are still waiting for new steelhead and cohos to move up from the coastal waters and the mouth of the Rogue,” said river guide Troy Whitaker of U-Save Tackle in Grants Pass, “But we need more rain and higher water levels. There are still some holdover steelies and salmon up here, which can be caught by anglers side-drifting yarn balls, roe, nightcrawlers or pink rubber worms. Trollers can score with lures in pink-and-silver or pink-and-black. Bank fishermen are picking up some fish, plunking baits at Alameda, Robertson Bridge and Whitehorse.”
SMITH RIVER >> The Smith remains clear, but rose more than a foot last week. More rain is expected this week, which could get the winter steelhead season going. So far, fishing has been slow.
SIXES RIVER, Port Orford, Ore. >> The Sixes was back in shape for salmon late last week. It remains open to salmon fishing through Dec. 31.
BLUE LAKES >> Road is closed for the winter at the second gate.
BOCA RESERVOIR >> Ice continues to build on the shore.
CAPLES LAKE >> There is still a lot of open water here, but it may be frozen by the end of the week. Definitely not fishing ready.
DAVIS LAKE >> There is open water at Camp 5 and Mallards, but ice continues to spread out from the dam.
DONNER LAKE >> Shore anglers are getting rainbow trout and Mackinaw from shore. Lake has receded and docks are out of the water. Fishing the banks near the exposed docks has been productive. Use nightcrawlers, Power Bait or Kastmasters.
EAST CARSON RIVER >> More than half of the catch-and-release section below Hangman Bridge is covered in ice.
INDIAN CREEK RESERVOIR >> Lake is frozen.
FRENCHMAN LAKE >> Mark Tieslau of Mountain Hardware and Sports in Blairsden said there is open water at Frenchman and anglers have caught rainbows weighing 4 and 5 pounds at Lunker Cove.
GOLD LAKE BASIN >> Gold Lake Road is open but lake is iced over. Use caution as road has ice.
LAKE TAHOE >> Mackinaw bite is very good just offshore of Ski Run Boulevard, according to reports from Tahoe Sportfishing in South Lake Tahoe. Limits are routine on both morning and afternoon trips. Most Macks weigh 3 to 5 pounds, but a 12-pounder was caught Monday.
PROSSER RESERVOIR >> Freeze is underway but ice isn’t thick enough to access.
PYRAMID LAKE >> Action has been mixed — good for some, not so much for others. Bite is sporadic and not concentrated off any beaches as fish move from the shelf to the shallows.
RED LAKE >> Lake is frozen and safe to access.
SLY PARK >> Planted rainbows and small Mackinaw in the 15-inch range are being caught. Action is brisk and limits are possible. Nightcrawlers will get Macks and rainbows. Bite has been best in the afternoon.
TOPAZ LAKE >> Lake opens to fishing Jan. 1. Nevada Department of Wildlife and California DFW both have been planting the lake. Lake is at 80 percent of capacity and water temps is in the low 40s or high 30s.
TRUCKEE RIVER >> The river is flowing beautifully and is in great shape, said Steve Soulan from Mountain Hardware and Sports in Truckee. “It’s cold, so there’s not a lot of bug activity,” Soulan said. “Use small mayfly nymphs or streamers.” Most fly fishers are going below Glenshire.
BERKELEY >> Not many boats ventured out this week, but those that did came home with some fish and crab for their anglers. New El Dorado III made it to the fishing grounds and were able to limit of rockfish and score half limits of crab. California Dawn succeed with a trip that yielded limits of rockfish and 7 to 8 crab apiece for their 18 people. Capt. Bill Clapp of Bill’s Sportfishing and Guide Service limited on rockfish and hauled in lingcod up to 12 pounds. The Happy Hooker also got decent numbers of rockfish and lingcod as well as near limits of crab for their customers.
BODEGA BAY >> Bottom fish season is coming to a close, but boats are still hauling in high numbers of rockfish and crab counts have been some of the highest this year. Captain Rick Powers of Bodega Bay Sport Fishing reported tremendous rockfish numbers and good counts of lingcod when the swell is down. Reports of good rockfish yields are coming from Dillon Beach now that the winds have died down and large lingcod have been reported to hit the decks and add to the weights of the sacks.
EMERYVILLE >> Emeryville Sportfishing Center reported New Huck Finn, New Salmon Queen and the Sea Wolf all had decent counts on crab combos. All boats reported limits of rockfish for their anglers and good counts of lingcod up to 17 pounds. Crabbing has slowed down, but they are still pulling in some numbers for their customers to take home.
EUREKA >> Fishing is still going strong. Those venturing north and booking a spot on a boat means reaping limits of crab for this holiday season. Full Throttle Sportfishing reported full crab pots.
FORT BRAGG >> Noyo Fishing Center reported limits of crab and lingcod for those boats that are still going after the winter fishery. The Seahawk also went out and limited out on lingcod and crab for their customers, keeping a strong presence for this fishery through its end.
HALF MOON BAY >> Rockfish and lingcod action continued with some Dungeness crab mixed in to sweeten the pot. The Huli Cat will be running every day except for Christmas until the end of the year then will switch focus away from bottom fish to include sanddab and petrale sole with the crab. The Queen of Hearts and Riptide are also fishing through the end of the year and then will switch focus to whale and bird watching.
SAN FRANCISCO >> Things are quieter in the city this time of year. Captain Craig Hanson on the Argo has been fishing every day in San Pablo Bay for stripers, with limits for his customers up to 7 pounds. Staying on the anchor has proven to be a bountiful move for getting fish in the boat. Lovely Martha made her way out for a sturgeon and striper combo in San Pablo Bay and although the sturgeon did not cooperate, they had some meaty stripers come over the rail.