Salmon season off to slow start, but there are signs of hope
Courtesy of The Sacramento Bee
July 31, 2017 12:21 PM
Here are the best places to fish in the Sacramento region, Northern California and beyond for the week of July 31.
Flows remained at 3,500 cfs over the weekend. Anglers are catching salmon trolling spinners near the mouth of the American. The best fishing is first thing in the morning. A few fish are being caught by anglers fishing jigs, or anchoring and running plugs.
The East Carson last week received 1,200 pounds of trout. Rainbows from 10 inches to 4 pounds were released. The river has dropped into a green color. Salmon eggs have been the best bait. Best spinner is a Panther Martin. The West Carson received 600 pounds liberally sprinkled from Sorenson’s to Woodfords. Bait – salmon eggs – is working best there, too.
DELTA: Sacramento River
The salmon bite remains slow in the north Delta, but there were signs of hope on the weekend from the shorelines in Suisun Bay. A total of 5 salmon to 19 pounds have been landed off of First Street in Benicia, and there were no fish taken during the first two weeks of the season last week. Striped bass are starting to trickle in, and the north Delta near the Sacramento Deep Water Channel has been the top location. The wind has put a damper on sturgeon fishing in Suisun Bay, and few fishermen are targeting the diamondbacks. The top area for sturgeon remains Broad Slough and the Pittsburg PG&E plant. Smallmouth bass are found in the sloughs of the north Delta with deep-diving crankbaits, wacky-rigged Senkos, or plastics on the drop-shot working. Grass shrimp is plentiful in area bait shops.
DELTA: San Joaquin River
The first of the two large specialty frog tournaments was a success in terms of the number of participants, but the wind on day two slowed down the bite to a crawl for most anglers. The mats are thickest on the incoming tide, and the largemouth bass are oriented to shade and current with the hot weather. The Snag Proof Open will take place out of Russo’s Marina this weekend, and the triple-digit weather should spur on the frog bite. A few stripers are taken in Broad Slough with grass shrimp or fresh shad while schoolie stripers are found upriver off of Whiskey Slough. Catfishing is best in the San Joaquin near Windmill Cove or Weston Ranch with sardines, anchovies or fresh shad. Fresh shad has been arriving with regularity in east and south Delta bait shops.
Salmon fishing has improved at the Outlet, where boats are back-bouncing and shore anglers are tossing spinners. The fish are chrome bright. Warm water has slowed fishing between Gridley and the mouth of the Yuba. From Boyds Pump to Star Bend, anglers are catching a few salmon trolling spinners. Striper fishing is slow.
Folsom Lake is at 458 feet, down another 2 feet from a week ago. Full pool is 466 feet. The water temperature is 82 degrees. Brown’s Ravine, Rattlesnake Bar, Folsom Point and Granite Bay launches are open. Boat traffic is heavy. Bank anglers are catching smallmouth, spotted and largemouth bass in crawfish as well as live minnows or nightcrawlers at daybreak. A few trout were caught by trollers fishing early in the morning last week, the first good trout report in several weeks.
NORTH COAST RIVER
CHETCO RIVER, Brookings, Oregon
A few salmon are being caught each morning at the mouth of the river on trolled anchovies. The fish are feeder kings that have moved into the Chetco estuary to eat anchovies. Salmon fishing in the river itself above tidewater won’t pick up until October.
ROGUE RIVER, Gold Beach, Oregon
Salmon fishing has been fair to good in the bay, with the best fishing at first light and again during the afternoon outgoing tide. The water temperature at Agness has been holding around 72 degrees, which will keep salmon kegged up in the cooler bay. Flows at Agness were 3,170 cfs over the weekend. Salmon are being caught on anchovies with gold or green blades. Fishing for surfperch has been good at the South Jetty sandspit.
ROGUE RIVER, Gold Hill to Grants Pass, Oregon
Salmon fishing has perked up, with fish being taken on sardine-wrapped Kwikfish K-15 or Mag 5.0 and 4.5 in green & chartruese or pink & silver, with a sardine wrap, or fish with roe. The steelhead bite is good, too, on roe, nightcrawlers or back-trolled lures in copper, silver & pink, or blue & silver with red dot.
Summertime, and the fishing doesn’t change much this time of year, as smallmouth bass can be targeted early and late, catfish in deeper holes, and during the day river is invaded by waders, tubers and swimmers.
KLAMATH RIVER, Hornbrook
Flows at Iron Gate Dam were 996 cfs over the weekend, perfect for summer steelhead and native rainbows. Fly anglers are doing well with caddis patterns. Bait anglers are running nightcrawlers behind divers or running 3.0 and 2.5 MagLip plugs. Hot weather has kept most anglers away from the river. Near-record highs are expected this week.
KLAMATH RIVER, Happy Camp
Flows Sunday at Seiad Valley were 1,240 cfs, while flows at Orleans were 2,350 cfs. The river is in prime shape for trout fishing, although hot weather has limited effort to the early morning hours.
KLAMATH RIVER, Klamath Glen
Flows are down to 4,230 cfs at Terwer, down from 5,170 cfs a week ago. Side-drifting for summer steelhead between Klamath Glen and Blue Creek improved last week. Conditions are better as the Trinity River drops to normal summertime flows. Trolling spinners or Kastmasters in the estuary is producing a few kings a day for the guide boats. The river is open to salmon fishing through Aug. 14.
Flows Sunday at Lewiston were 680 cfs over the weekend, down from 1,024 cfs the week before. The river is now is good shape for bank anglers and driftboaters fishing for the spring-run of salmon. Flows were 844 cfs at Douglas City, 831 cfs at Junction City, and 1,520 cfs at Hoopa. Flows are approaching the normal summertime levels. Guides running MagLip plugs or roe from drift boaters are catching springers from Steel Bridge to Junction City. Salmon will now hold in the deeper holes as the river drops. The Trinity is open to salmon fishing through Aug. 31.
NORTH COAST LAKES
The Eagle Lake strain rainbows are still fishing good on RMT spoons, Apex spoons, Brad’s kokanee cut plugs, Speedy spinners and Needlefish, all tipped with Pautzke’s red Firecorn with herring scent. Bass fishing has been slow to fair on jigs, plastic worms and crank plugs.
BLACK BUTTE LAKE
Bass fishing has been fair on Texas rigs and spinnerbaits, and a few catfish are being caught on cut mackerel. Not much news on the crappie fishing.
Bass are on the bite again on most kinds of lures. Crankbaits, both shallow and deep divers, jigs and drop-shot Robo worms are still the main baits for numbers. Crappie action remains fair in the Redbud area on worms and small jigs.
Best bet has been topwater early in the morning with frogs, Buzzbaits or poppers fished in and around the abundant grass throughout the lake. There are three good feeder creeks that are good areas to find bait and bass.
Not much bass fishing action has been reported this week.
Lots of bluegill are being caught on worms, and some bass action is being posted in the coves on nightcrawlers.
Bass anglers taking the night shift are scoring on some good action on Buzzbaits, spinnerbaits, Senkos and brush hogs. Some bassers are resorting to drop-shotting or fishing jigs in 15 to 30 feet of water off main lake primary and secondary points. The main body in the no ski area has been the best.
UPPER BLUE LAKES
Trout fishing remains very slow, but a few bass were caught, including a 9 pounder by a youngster but resort did not get his name. Algae problem has finally cleared.
FAR NORTH LAKES AND RIVER
Fish continue to hunker down in deeper colder water, between 36 and 50 feet deep keeping angler lines within 10 feet of the bottom. Nightcrawlers and baits have been the top producers. There are pond smelt throughout the lake and fish are making them their main diet choice.
Good trout action is posted by shore anglers on most Power Baits, while fly fishing is also good on No. 15 size caddis flies and others.
Mackinaw fishing has been fair to good and lots of kokanee are being taken on trolled lures. Trout anglers are finding fair action, too, on rainbows and brookies. Highway 152 to the lake remains closed.
Fishing continues to be slow with most anglers getting skunked or picking up just one or two trout. Hot weather is expected to be even hotter this week.
Fly fishing is good with Hex hatches happening; try swinging leeches.
Trout fishing remains good with lots of limits being caught,bBait anglers are scoring with red and white Power Bait, while trollers are scoring with dodgers and Kastmaster rigs.
Trout fishing is fair.
Sections 3 and 4 continue as best areas for fly fishing for rainbows.
Fish are going deep with very hot weather setting in. Trout are down 60 to 70 feet, while bass are mostly at 15 to 25 feet deep. Good action reported on jigs and worms for crappie at most docks and brushy areas.
Bass action continues to be good in the upper part of the lake, off rocky points, on Gitzits, Senko plastics and drop-shot rigs. There is some surface action for bass early and late in the day on poppers and buzzbaits. Work areas near the dam, trolling a variety of lures, to connect on kokanee.
Kokanee action has been good at the buoy line. The northeast side has been holding fish as has the bridge. Whiskey Creek arm is starting to hold fish also.
Trout plants have kept the action solid with trout dough bait, Power Eggs, or nightcrawlers from the banks along with Kastmasters or similar spoons. Trollers are pulling blade/’crawler combinations or Wedding Rings tipped with a nightcrawler behind a dodger near the deeper water close to the dam. Drifting the bottom with a nightcrawler is another option.
The planted rainbows are still holding in the deepest part of the lake, and few fishermen are trying for the big planters. Bass fishing is taking center stage with several tournaments in the coming month starting with the 2017 Moonlighter Team Bass Tournament this coming weekend on August 5 from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Information is available at (209) 274-4739.
Trollers continue to work the deepest water of the lake near the dam at depths to 80 feet for the holdover rainbow trout, and despite few fishermen trying at this time of year, there are quality rainbows to be found. Bass fishermen continue to work up the river arm with topwater lures early in the mornings or evenings before working the bottom with jigs or plastics on the drop-shot. Recreational boating is heavy during weekends and even on weekdays with the triple-digit weather. The lake dropped to 90 percent.
LAKE DON PEDRO
Bass fishing is fair with a topwater bite in the mornings with the River2Sea Rover or wake baits, but the fish drop to the bottom at up to 50 feet by mid-day. Berserk’s Purple Hornet jigs or plastics on the drop-shot are working on the bottom. Trout action is good with shad-patterned spoons at depths to 60 feet as the rainbows are dropping with the shad schools in response to the warming surface temperature. The lake has dropped to 98 percent.
Bass fishing is similar to Don Pedro with a good topwater bite in the morning with Rovers before working the bottom with jigs or plastics on the drop-shot. The Pro Worm 124 p or 300 are top options for those working the bottom. The lake has dropped to 94 percent of capacity. No reports of trout, kokanee, or salmon.
Still no trout plants at the lake since April, and with the hot temperatures, fishing is limited to the early mornings or late evening hours at the normal locations of theBrush Pile, Handicapped Docks, and peninsula near the marina. Trollers are working the deepest part of the lake up the river arm, but the action is slow.
The summer bass bite is tough, but there are quality fish to be had with topwater lures in the early mornings or evenings with River2Sea Whopper Plopper or similar lures before dropping to the bottom with plastics or jigs. There have been trophy bass to 8 pounds landed on the topwater lures first thing in the morning. Trout action is limited to the deepest parts of the lake with shad-patterned spoons, and few fishermen are braving the triple-digit temperatures. Catfishing has improved with the hot weather, and live minnows, cutbaits, or nightcrawlers scented with garlic are all effective near the shorelines with deep water access. The lake has dropped a few feet to 89 percent.
Few fishermen are targeting kokanee with the hot bite in the upper Sierra lakes of Stampede and Union Valley, but there are still a few landlocked salmon to 17 inches to be found at depths to 50 feet with hoochie spinners, Apex lures, or spinners from the Buoy Line to the south end of the lake. Quality rainbow trout over 7 pounds have been landed this week by trollers pulling a variety of lure. Bass fishing is best up the river arm with jigs, Senkos, or plastics on the drop-shot. The lake is at 98 percent.
SIERRA LAKES AND RIVERS
Fish the morning from daybreak until the hordes hit the water. Some browns have been caught near the dam and anglers in float tubes get rainbows near the inlet.
A few anglers have been able to troll for trout to 2 pounds but most are struggling to get fish. Best spot has been near Woods Creek.
The kokanee bite at Ice House has slowed, possibly due to the recent heat spell. Union Valley trout bite has been decent. One angler reported limits with a rainbow weighing 3 3/4 pounds. The recently planted trout are from Mt. Lassen and significantly larger than the DFW planters. Surface temp is 72 degrees. Trout are found at 20 feet. Loon Lake action remains slow.
Surface temperatures in the 77- to 80-degree range. Trout are available early trolling around the Big Island or off Camp Five. Shore anglers have caught a few trout from Mallards. The early bite finishes by 9 or 10 a.m. A 2 1/2-pound bass last week was caught near Lightning Tree.
Mack bite remains on the slow side but kokanee are available 55 to 65 feet deep between Loch Laven and China Cove. Planted trout can be caught in the morning off public piers and from deep coves. Trollers can pick planters with flashers/crawlers 25 to 40 feet deep.
FEATHER RIVER (Middle Fork)
There’s a chance at catching trout when the sun is off the water. Small spinners or bait tossed to the top of pools provides the best chance.
FRENCHMAN RESERVOIR (Middle Fork)
Trout are in deep water but willing. Use downriggers and get down 40 feet with flashers/Needlefish for rainbows 16 to 19 inches.
GOLD LAKES BASIN
Salmon, Sardine and Packer lakes all are producing action for those putting bait just off the bottom. Power Bait, nightcrawlers both work well. Bite is over by late morning.
INDIAN CREEK RESERVOIR
A plant from DFW was delivered this week. Action has been best early and late.
Slow trout bite here. Best reports have been a few small rainbows for trollers.
Anglers are cashing in on a recent trout plant and plenty of 6- to 8-inch rainbows are being caught in the deep water near the first dam. No one is complaining about the size because it has been so long since there has been any trout action. Bass bite has slowed but there is still a few coming from the narrows.
Mackinaw bite is picking up a bit after two weeks of slow pickings. It is far from red hot, but if you get out early and hit the right spot it’s possible to get limits of three- to six-pound macks. If you hit the wrong spot early you may be in for a long morning. Afternoon bite is very tough. The few kokanee being caught are far between and small.
Lake will open to cutthroat fishing on Oct. 1.
A slow fishing season continues, according to reports from Kit Carson Lodge.
Kokanee bite remains very good with limits common to guides getting out early. Fish can be found from 25 to 65 feet but have begun grouping into small pods. A few cutthroat are being caught with the kokes. Kokes show few signs of spawning, so there is a lot of time remaining in this season.
Smallmouth bass are biting on the northeastern side of the lake near the state park. Nightcrawlers with garlic or dipped in garlic scent is working. A 4 1/2-pound smallie was landed by a nine-year old boy last week. Trout bite has been dead for weeks.
Action is hit or miss from one area to the next. There is a solid PMD hatch from Glenshire to the Boca outlet. From Boca down to stateline nymphing is a better bet. There is a prolific caddis hatch throughout the river, accompanied by little yellow stones.
WEST WALKER RIVER
River continues to drop as conditions improve daily. A 4-pound-plus brown was caught last week with a nightcrawler and a 4 1/2-pound rainbow also was landed. Both were checked into the “How Big is Big” derby at the Walker General Store. At press time the derby was led by a 5-pound rainbow caught two weeks ago. The derby ended July 1. DFW is putting a trout plant in Section III this week and next week.
RANCHO SECO LAKE
Fishing is slow.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Dunsmuir
Flows at the Delta gauge remained at 328 cfs. The river is in prime shape. Trout fishing is good, with afternoon hatches for fly anglers. Caddis patterns are working well. Spinners and spoons are working for gear anglers.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Redding to Red Bluff
Flows from Keswick Dam remained at 10,500 cfs, where they have been running since June. The section of river between Keswick and the Highway 44 bridge re-opend Aug. 1. Good fishing is expected. Salmon season also opened Aug. 1 between Anderson and Red Bluff. Conditions are prime on the Anderson-Red Bluff stretch.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Red Bluff to Colusa
Salmon fishing was slow again last week, although some salmon were caught on T-50 FlatFish plugs with sardine wraps. Pressure has been light. With good flows, salmon may move quickly into the stretch as they begin migrating upstream from the ocean.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Sacramento
Trolling spinners near the mouth of the American River has been producing a handful of kings each morning. Salmon fishing is slow at Freeport and Garcia Bend. With big numbers of kings being caught out of the Golden Gate, fresh kings are expected anytime in the Sacramento River. Striper fishing is slow, but fish are still being caught at Bright Beach.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Verona to Colusa
Fishing for catfish has been wide open at Knight’s Landing, where chicken liver, sardines and anchovies are working well. Salmon fishing has been slow. A few stripers are still being caught, but most are small shakers.
Kokanee have moved into deeper water. Bite is best at 55 feet and 10 fish limits are being hauled in.
CAMP FAR WEST
Slow bite here. “Ron” from Folsom was able to manage 6 small spots during a morning effort last week. Three came from Quarter Mile Cove and three from Rock Creek. All with a green pumpkin lizard 12 feet down. Water temp ranges from 80 to 83 degrees.
Surface temps in the low 80s has made fishing very slow. No large fish reported over the past two weeks.
Trout fishing is good where cold water enters the lake. Resident trout and pen-raised rainbows are caught with lime green Power Bait. Black Ravine has been a productive spot.
FRENCH MEADOWS RESERVOIR
Trout bite continues to hang on here. Best results come with a watermelon dodger and a nightcrawler.
HELL HOLE RESERVOIR
The host at the Big Meadows Campground reported to Pete Robinson at the Georgetown Ranger Station that fishing has been very slow. “They are catching a few kokanee once in a while,” Robinson said. “No one can figure out the right color combo and depth.”
Small bass chase topwater early before retreating to depths of 30 feet where tubes, Senkos and ZMan worms come into play. Surface temps get into the low 80s once the sun hits the water. Guide Brett Brady was able to land a limit of salmon in the 15-inch range on Sunday, fishing 55 to 80 feet deep near the Green Bridge.
Bass bite re-ignited last week. Some anglers reported 20 and 30 fish days near the inlet. Most are spotted bass by there are smallmouth in the mix. No trout reported caught last week. Surface temperatures are in the low- to mid-70s. Lake is five feet from full.
Stick a jig on the rocks and you might tie into a big largemouth. Justin Bolen of Paradise did just that and was rewarded with a 6 1/2-pound bass. Green pumpkin or black and blue are good colors. Swimming jigs in perch colors are working well near the grass. “Use a 3/8-ounce leadhead and swim the jigs on the top of the grass,” said Bruce Gibson of Paradise Tackle. “As soon as you feel the grass, speed it up a bit and keep it right at the top of the grass.” Double tail and single tail grubs work.
Whether fishing rockfish and lingcod or going for salmon, the counts were from good to stellar. Happy Hooker, California Dawn, Golden Eye 2000 and Sunfish worked on rockfish, lingcod and halibut. New Easy Rider, New El Dorado III and El Dorado reported two solid weeks of limits of salmon for all passengers every day.
Limits of rockfish and high counts of lingcod came from up near Fort Ross. Off of Bodega Head the salmon bit like crazy and when focused on salmon, New Sea Angler scored full limits. Halibut near Hog Island in Tomales Bay were still a viable option and surf fishers in the area picked up a nice variety of surf perch.
Salmon action sizzled with the fleet focusing their attention southwest of the Gate and enjoying early limits aboard New Salmon Queen, Tigerfish, Sundance, C Gull IIand other boats. Sea Wolf hit the islands for lingcod and rockfish, coming back with heavy sacks. Shore fishers spent their days or evenings casting lures or soaking baits for striped bass.
The California halibut bite inside Humboldt Bay has been a blessing by giving anglers a great bite on a delicious and sizable fish while big winds and seas kept them off of the open ocean. Jetty fishing was improved for lingcod and continued good for black rockfish and kelp greenling.
A lone private boat made it out to the warmer water in spite of weather and scored an impressive 47 count of albacore at Noyo Canyon. Sea Hawk fished local reef zones, boating plenty of rockfish with some large lings mixed in. Shore fishers utilized the protected water at Noyo Jetty when they needed to and ventured out to Old Mill to score much bigger fish when the weather settled.
HALF MOON BAY
The salmon bite at Deep Reef turned into the best epic bite in decades. Que Sera Sera, New Capt. Pete, Huli Cat and numerous private boats were back by mid-morning or earlier with limits and needing ice for the drive home. WON’s Editor, Bill Karr fished aboard Huli Cat and had his limit in 8 minutes, before 7:00 a.m. Rockfish runs down the coast were productive at Ritz Carlton, San Gregorio and other reef zones.
San Francisco Bay boats rocked the salmon at Deep Reef with non-stop action and plenty of limits. Wacky Jacky, Bass Tub and Lovely Martha all got in their licks boating king salmon and releasing quite a number of Coho salmon. Flash II fished halibut up the coast until the tides eased over the weekend and the boat switched back to halibut. Locally, along the beaches, striped bass and surf perch kept beach fishers busily happy.