TRINITY RIVER: Trinity River Hatchery has collected more than 4,800 fall king salmon, allowing the river to re-open to salmon fishing from Indian Creek to the Old Lewiston Bridge. Anglers can now once again keep an adult king over 22 inches as part of a two-fish limit for salmon. Steelhead fishing is good, despite low, clear conditions. Rain this week should draw in fresh steelhead, as well as some brighter salmon from the lower half of the river. Flows at Lewiston were 292 cfs. Flows at Douglas City were 320 cfs, down from 340 cfs, while flows at Junction City were 331 cfs, down from 346 cfs. Flows at Hoopa were 517 cfs, down from 527 cfs.
KLAMATH RIVER, Hornbrook: Steelhead fishing has been good with roe, beads and flies all working well. Conditions are ideal. Very few hatchery steelhead are being caught. Salmon fishing has re-opened between I-5 and Iron Gate Dam, as the hatchery reached its goal of 8,000 kings back to the fish ladder. Most of the salmon are now dark and ready to spawn. Flows at Iron Gate Dam are 1,030 cfs.
FEATHER RIVER: The Outlet Hole closed Oct. 15. Lower water has slowed salmon fishing down river. Boaters are having to deal with low flows. Steelhead are showing up and are biting roe, Glo Bugs and nightcrawlers from Gridley to the Outlet. A few stripers are being caught in the Yuba City area on topwater lures.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Red Bluff to Colusa: Hundreds of fresh late-fall kings moved through the Red Bluff area last week. Anglers did well drifting roe, while T55 FlatFish worked early in the morning. With rain in the forecast this week, more late-fall salmon should arrive, although too much rain will blow the river out.
LAKE OROVILLE: Lake Oroville State Recreation Area remained closed on Sunday, a result of active fires in the area as well as fire suppression efforts. No boats were allowed on the lake. Fishing is an afterthought anyway as the area copes with the massive destruction to lives and property wrought by the Camp Fire.
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.: With flows down to 80 cfs over the weekend, which are summertime levels, the Chetco is too low to float in a driftboat. This week’s rain, if it materializes, should allow anglers to begin drifting the river. Flows are expected to hit at least 1,000 cfs by Thanksgiving.
ELK RIVER, Port Orford, Ore.: The Elk remained too low to fish from a driftboat over the weekend, but major rain is expected this week. The river could be driftable by Thanksgiving weekend, and should be full of salmon.
ROGUE RIVER, Gold Beach, Ore.: The Rogue Bay is slow. A few summer steelhead are being caught in the Agness area. This week’s rain could give steelhead fishing a boost.
RUSSIAN RIVER: “As of Nov. 18, the Russian was still closed due to low flow but there is good news in the future,” said Scott Heemstra of Kings Sport & Tackle in Guerneville. “Hopefully by the time you are reading this, it should be raining!! Forecasters are calling for a pattern change and the opening of the winter storm doors. That being said, it will still take quite a bit of rain to first soak in before it will run off into the river. If you see on the hydrograph that the river is flowing over 300 cfs that does not mean that the river is open. Call the low flow hotline before you go to ensure that the DFW actually opened the river to fishing; 707-944-5533. Lets all do our rain dance!”
SMITH RIVER: Flows are down to 200 cfs at Jed Smith and must reach 600 cfs to allow an opener above Rowdy Creek. The river has been closed to salmon fishing above Rowdy Creek since Oct. 1. Heavy rain is expected this week, and the Smith could be open by Thanksgiving. Fishing has been slow in the estuary, but the upriver holes are reported to be full of salmon, according to guide Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing. Guide Phile Desautel of Phil’s Smiling Salmon Guide Service confirmed that. “We have been down at the Sand Hole at the mouth, and it is good when a school of fish moves in. Thursday I fished it by driftboat and there were 3 bankies, and in a 15-minute period, 3 kings of about 15 pounds each were caught.”
KLAMATH RIVER, Happy Camp: Fishing for steehead has been very good near Happy Camp and Orleans. Roe and yarn, as well as flies are working well for shore anglers near Somes Bar. The fall salmon quota has been reached. Only jack salmon less than 22 inches may be kept. Most of the salmon are now dark. Flows at Seiad Valley near Happy Camp are 1,240 cfs. Flows at Orleans are 1,740 cfs.
KLAMATH RIVER, Klamath Glen: Rain this week could bring in the first of the winter steelhead. Only jack salmon less than 22 inches can be kept, as the adult quota has been met below the Highway 96 bridge. Salmon fishing has slowed between Klamath Glen and Blue Creek as the run winds down. Some salmon and steelhead are being caught above Blue Creek, but few anglers are fishing. Steehead fishing is good, with light pressure. Flows at Klamath Glen near the mouth of the river are 2,430 cfs.
North Coast lakes
LAKE BERRYESSA: Reaction bite has picked up! Underspins with Keitech swimbaits, glidebaits, big swimbaits, crankbaits, lipless cranks, spinnerbaits, and spoons are all working. Lots of bait around, and trout are targeting the shad and bass are targeting the trout.
BLACK BUTTE LAKE: Lake remains a mud puddle. Not much fishing happening right now with low level, and heavy smoke and ash pollution from the Camp Fire. Most of the ducks rafting in the center of the lake have moved off from the smoke.
CLEAR LAKE: Lipless crank LV 500 has still been the bait of choice the past week. Fish it with a yoyo style jigging motion vertically or cast it out and burn it back to the boat. All the bait shops are stocking jumbo minnows and cooler conditions are becoming more conducive to bait fishing.
LAKE MENDOCINO: Football jigs, dartheads, and drop-shot rigs have been the go-to baits for bass in deeper water.
LAKE SONOMA: The steelhead bite has been good, and most of the fish are biting on the surface long lining behind the boat. Kastmaster, Speedy Shiner, and Needlefish, or a small shallow diving crankbait all work. Bass are biting better in 50 feet of water on the drop-shot rig and Ned rig.
UPPER BLUE LAKES: The trout plant happened recently at the resort. The owners said there were 1000 pounds of what they called “Tennessee trout,” released. The resort is currently closed until the first of the year and they said they didn’t know of anyone fishing the lake recently unless they had a key to the gate, although you can fish right off Hwy. 20 that borders the lake.
Far North Lakes and Rivers
LAKE ALMANOR: Fast trolling Speedy Shiners, Artic Fox trolling flies, crawlers, and Gulp! minnows when there is a little wind blowing. When the lake is flat calm switch to the slower gear. With the weather change fish should be moving back into the coves and be easier to target with fly gear.
BAUM LAKE: The colder the weather gets the better the fishing will get! Fly fishing with leeches, zebra midges, and midge dryflies works best.
EAGLE LAKE: Trolling Jay Fair flies in Orange and olive green from 6 to 12 feet deep is working. Bank fishing has been good near Christie Day Use Area with orange Kastmasters and Gulp! minnows 3 feet under a bobber.
FALL RIVER: Closed for the season Nov. 15.
HAT CREEK: Closed for the season Nov. 15.
LEWISTON LAKE: Drifting ‘crawlers, or trolling hardware has been good for the boat anglers. The fish are in big pods, so you want to find them and stay on them. Fly fisherman have been using leeches, woollybuggers, midges and Mercers Midgling.
PIT RIVER: Pit 5 is fishing good, Pits 3 and 4 are too high to fish Amber prince nymphs, tungsten bead pheasant tail prince, dark lord, zebra midge and rubberlegs flies are all working.
SHASTA LAKE: Threadfin shad are the key for bass and trout. Bass can be caught early on topwater. Reaction baits like spinnerbaits, crankbaits, and swimbaits are working better this past week. Trout can be caught on the surface with bigger fish being down deeper. Speedy Shiners, Needlefish, and bank anglers are using the float and fly technique.
TRINITY LAKE: No report, Trinity center closed for season.
WHISKEYTOWN LAKE: No report, very few anglers have been fishing.
Sierra Lakes and Rivers
BOCA RESERVOIR: Boaters who consider launching from the shoreline should be aware of the thick mud exposed by the recent lake drawdown. If you manage to launch you may have the entire lake to yourself, but local guide Marc Christophel says it isn’t worth the risk. The drawdown should continue for some time, as Miles Zimmerman of Mountain Hardware and Sports reported dam work may be in the offing. Trout fishing is still good at the dam using bait or gold Kastmasters.
CARSON RIVER (East, West): Todd Sodaro of Todd’s Bait and Tackle and the Alpine County Fish and Game Commission said very few people fished the rivers the last week before the general Sierra trout season closure. Most area visitors were escaping terrible air quality caused by the Camp Fire. After Nov. 15, he said the East Carson from Hangman’s Bridge to the Nevada border will remain open to catch and release, single hook barbless flies and lures only.
DAVIS LAKE: Jim Graham of J&J’s Grizzly Store said there weren’t many reports this weekend, but the ones she fielded were good. Trolling for trout is doing well between Lightning Tree and Bluff Cove. One of her customers said he caught limits plus each day in about 6 feet of water. Bank anglers are doing well at Mallard on worms or Power Bait.
DONNER LAKE: Trolling for Mackinaw has been slow according to multiple sources. Shore fishing, however, is producing trout and increasing Mackinaw according to Miles Zimmerman of Mountain Hardware and Sports. Zimmerman said he thinks it will get much better when foul weather arrives this week.
INDIAN CREEK RESERVOIR: Todd Sodaro of Todd’s Bait and Tackle and the Alpine County Fish and Game Commission said Indian Creek is loaded with trophy trout stocked in mid-October. It is open to fishing year-round.
JENKINSON LAKE (Sly Park): Karen Ward at Sly Park Resort said Mackinaw are coming out from shore and boat, but there’s been nothing big yet.
LAKE TAHOE: Mackinaw fishing was solid at Tahoe this week. Chuck Self of Chuck’s Charter Fishing on the North Shore said he experienced phenomenal fishing all week, but it was important to follow the fish down deeper as the sun rose. Mike Nielsen of Tahoe Topliners said it wasn’t red hot but it was consistent for both lake trout, rainbows and browns. At Tahoe Sportfishing, Zach Gordon said the afternoon trips were producing limits. Mornings were slower.
PROSSER RESERVOIR: Miles Zimmerman of Mountain Hardware and Sports reported Prosser is dropping quickly. The shoreline is muddy. Boaters should use caution if they plan on launching over the dirt. Bass are now inactive due to cold water. Trout fishing is steady using bait in deeper water.
PYRAMID LAKE: After a slow period a week ago, the cutthroat bite picked up again this week. Counts went from a dozen a day into the 20s and 30s for trollers. Joe Mendes of Eagle Eye Charter said smaller fish are on top, with the larger ones from 47 feet down into the 80s. Algae at the north end is evidence the lake hasn’t finished turning over, but it isn’t affecting the bite. Shore anglers are catching nice fish up into the teens, but they have to work for them.
STAMPEDE RESERVOIR: Miles Zimmerman of Mountain Hardware and Sports said trout fishing is steady from shore, and best at the Little Truckee inlet. Toplining for rainbows is steady, and since the dam road opened, shore casters are offering their lures right from the dam.
TRUCKEE RIVER: Except for the 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 water temperatures are in the low 40s. It isn’t worth your time to show up too early, you’ll just be cold. Fish mid-morning through mid-afternoon. Bluewing olives and midges are coming off.
WEBBER LAKE: The access gate has been closed for the season. Although there is no boat launching, the lake is still open to those who walk in.
WEST WALKER RIVER: Jenna Casanova at the Walker General Store said the river fished well right up to the November 15 general trout closure. Much of it remains open, with special regulations, but she had no additional reports.
AMERICAN RIVER: Salmon fishing has been slow overall on the American, although some kings are being caught below the power lines at Rossmore Bar. Flows at Fair Oaks were 1,850 cfs over the weekend. A few small steelhead are being caught. Fishing is slow near the mouth.
FOLSOM LAKE: The lake level is 394 feet elevation, down 3 feet from a week ago. The lake now has a 5 mph speed limit since it is below 400 feet elevation. Speedy Shiners with flashers are tricking trout and salmon near Brown’s Ravine 30 to 40 feet down. Bass fishing also has improved with the cooler weather. Bank anglers are catching trout on Power Bait and salmon eggs.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Dunsmuir: Fishing has been slow, although fly anglers are still catching trout.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Redding to Red Bluff: Flows from Keswick Dam were down to 4,540 cfs. Salmon fishing has been good at the Barge Hole, with new late-fall fish arriving daily. Last week produced the best fishing in several weeks. T55 FlatFish are working well. Trout fishing remains very good in the Redding area for anglers drifting Glo Bugs, roe or beads. Steelhead also are being caught between Anderson and Red Bluff.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Verona to Colusa: Some big stripers are being caught at Verona and Knight’s Landing. Salmon fishing is slow at Knight’s Landing and Verona. Fishing for catfish also has slowed at Verona and Knight’s Landing.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Sacramento: Salmon fishing is best between Miller Park and Garcia Bend, where bright kings continue to be caught. Fishing is winding down, but some kings are still being caught on Pro Troll Flashers and Brad’s Super Baits early in the morning. Stripers are being caught on minnows at the Port of Sacramento.
BULLARDS BAR: Tony Mello of Johnson’s Bait and Tackle in Yuba City fished this week, reporting he caught quite a few small spotted bass while using shaky heads, Ned rigs and some drop-shot. He had the place nearly to himself, seeing only one other boat during his day.
CAMP FAR WEST: The lake remains extremely low, requiring boaters to launch off a gravel ramp. Small aluminum boats can make it, but owners of larger or fiberglass boats should look elsewhere. Tin boaters are catching and releasing bass.
COLLINS LAKE: Collins Lake Recreation Area made up for a missed trout stock caused by Camp Fire road closures last week with a double stocking this week, 2,000 pounds. Fishing was good but effort was light for trout up to 7 pounds. The action is solid from boat and from shore. As the lake has turned, the trout are up shallow, in the top ten feet of the water column. A couple of nice catfish also chewed for anglers targeting shallow mud in the coves.
ENGLEBRIGHT: The lake remains slow with very little fishing activity.
FRENCH MEADOWS: Craig Newton of Will Fish Tackle reported fishing for rainbows and browns at French Meadows remains good for 18- to 19-inch fish.
HELL HOLE: Hell Hole should be producing browns, it’s that time of year. Be aware, the lake is low, necessitating boat launching off the dirt shoreline.
THERMALITO AFTERBAY: On Sunday, the Afterbay appeared to be open for fishing and boating.
BERKELEY: It was a week of crab/rockfish combos for Berkeley boats like California Dawn and Happy Hooker, both of which fished the coast and the Farallones, scoring daily limits of crabs, daily limits of rockfish and lingcod counts between a fish per rod and limits. Some of the private boat fleet, just looking for some fun and dinner fish worked the Berkeley Flats for striped bass and an occasional halibut.
BODEGA BAY: Swells had been running on the large size for more than a week, impacting anglers’ ability to keep a bait or lure in the strike zone and making it tougher to pull crab pots. Through the latter part of the week and over the weekend the swells diminished to usher in a commensurate increase in the catch count and specially in the average size of rockfish and lingcod aboard boats like New Sea Angler. Crabbing was so good that nothing seemed to endanger a boat’s ability to haul limits.
EMERYVILLE: Crab/rockfish combo trips dominated the talk of the fishing community, when fires weren’t the main topic. Boats New Huck Finn, Salty Lady, Sea Wolf and Pacific Pearl clobbered the rockfish, took half to full limits of lingcod up into the high teens and enjoyed easy limits of rockfish. These were the kinds of trips that give skippers good records. Private boats not wanting to head to the open ocean worked along the Emeryville shoreline and down along the Alameda Rock Wall for striped bass.
EUREKA: Boats ran down coast on calm seas to fish Cape Mendocino where the lingcod seemed as hungry as a fish can get. Limits of lings were the rule for people using swimbaits, Lingslayers, jigs or frozen finfish baits on trap rigs. Crabbers worked closer to home, finding good numbers and good quality within just a few miles of the entrance to Humboldt Bay. Inside the Bay the crabbing was also good however the average size was smaller. Jetty fishing was good for kelp greenling, rockfish, cabezon, lingcod and perch.
FORT BRAGG: Crabbing proved easy for Captain Tuna, Samurai, Sea Hawk and other boats, with short runs to productive areas like Jug Handle. Sportboat skippers say it looks like the commercial crab season won’t open for awhile so sporties should have easy crabbing for holiday meals. Lingcod fishing was very strong and rockfish numbers ranged between 3/4-limits to full limits, depending on how long fisherfolk wanted to keep fishing for rockfish with limits of crab already onboard.
HALF MOON BAY: Reef zones to the south including Pescador, San Gregorio, martins Beach and Ritz Carleton were all good for Huli Cat, Queen of Hearts, Riptide and other Half Moon Bay boats looking to load up on rockfish and lingcod in relatively shallow water. Lings up into the high teens were taken. Some boats made combo trips out of it and pulled steady limits of crab in short order. Shore casters used snares and pier fishers dropped hoops for crab inside Pillar Point Harbor and did okay.
SAN FRANCISCO: After a salmon season which featured short and successful trips for Wacky Jacky, Bass Tub, Flash and Argo, crab season opened and once again it is short and successful trips, this time for Dungeness, rockfish and lingcod along the Marin Coast or Farallon islands. The boats found better fishing, in terms of average size, at the islands, but the crabbing was good in a widespread area.
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