LAKE OROVILLE: Jamie Sorensen of North Valley Tackle said his customers are telling him bass numbers are improving, and while most are catching them on finesse baits, an early topwater bite has just started up. Retired guide Craig Bentley said that he and a friend found the fish stacked up on secondary points and the ledges of those points in the South Fork, and caught them with finesse baits and Keitech swimbaits. With warmer temperatures on the way late in the week, the bass might start their spawning dance, he said.
FEATHER RIVER: Striper fishing busted open last week as the flows dropped some, with boaters catching limits on minnows while releasing big numbers of fish. The Live Oak, Yuba City, Boyds Pump and Verona launches are open. The water is still high, but shore anglers are catching fish on pile worms, sardines and anchovies at Mosquito Beach and Boyd’s Pump.
FRENCHMAN LAKE: Matthew Goodwin, owner of Goodwin’s and Sons General Store, said the lake is ice free and the roads on the west side are open to Lunker Point. The spillway area is open, but on the east side there’s no access past the dam due to snow. Goodwin said he saw a small boat in the lake on Saturday, but noted the lake is so full the ramp is underwater. The Goodwin’s General Store trout derby will fish Saturday, May 4. Sign up at the store or by calling 951-446-2471.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Red Bluff to Colusa: Anglers expect good fishing for stripers as the river drops. It was still too high over the weekend, but is expected to drop to fishable levels as early as Friday or Saturday.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Verona to Colusa: Sturgeon are being caught near Knights Landing. Striper fishing is slow because of high water, but should be good as flows drop later this week.
Far North lakes and rivers
LAKE ALMANOR: The trout and salmon are still biting well for boaters out trolling but you have to cover water. There was the first bass tournament of the year up there and with the increased boat traffic it has scattered the fish.
BAUM LAKE: There are still plenty of fish to be caught on balanced leeches, midges and small streamers.
LEWISTON LAKE: Quality trout are being caught on midges and woolly buggers with strike indicators. Bank anglers are using crawlers and Power Bait in red and white combined. The trinity dam is increasing flows throughout the week and will be 9800 by Thursday, so use caution while fishing.
SHASTA LAKE: The lake rose to near full capacity and then they began dropping it shortly after, leaving the fish confused. The water temperatures are still cool and the bass are down deeper out to 30 feet and are being caught best on soft plastics. Crappie are being caught in Jones Valley and Silverthorn and trout can be caught trolling between 30 and 50 feet deep.
TRINITY LAKE: Big smallmouth are being caught as well as some nice-sized largemouth, and most of the fish are still in deeper water, but on days that warm up in the afternoon fish have been moving in shallow to feed and can be caught on reaction style baits. As it continues to warm up the bite will get better but the lake level will be dropping over the next week.
WHISKEYTOWN LAKE: The bite remains up and down from day to day. There are fish to be caught, but some days they are all smaller fish and others the bigger fish are mixed in. The heavy north winds have had the bite down deeper and on soft plastics.
AMERICAN RIVER: No shad have been reported yet, but soon. Steelhead fishing is slow. Stripers are being caught near Discovery Park, but most are shakers. Flows remained at 10,100 cfs all week.
FOLSOM LAKE: The water temperature reached 62 degrees over the weekend. Granite Bay, Brown’s Ravine, Folsom Point, Rattlesnake bar and Peninsula boat ramps are now open. The lake level increased 2 feet last week, from 447 feet of elevation to 449 feet. Bass fishing is good, with plastics working well. Shore anglers are catching bass on minnows. Trout fishing is good.
RANCHO SECO LAKE: Trout fishing is fair, thanks to plants every other week. Power Bait is working best. The big trout derby will be held in April.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Dunsmuir: Trout fishing is poor because of high water. Flows hit 15,200 cfs lastr week before dropping back to 3,650 cfs.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Redding to Red Bluff: Flows at Keswick Dam jumped to 40,000 cfs last week as water was dumped from Shasta Lake. They were down to 33,800 cfs over the weekend. Trout fishing is fair near Anderson. The river is closed above the Highway 44 bridge.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Sacramento: Striper fishing has slowed with more water being released from Shasta dam. A few shad have been reported near Freeport. Fishing is slow in the deepwater channel.
KLAMATH RIVER, Hornbrook: The river flooded last week, with releases of 10,000 cfs from Iron Gate Dams. Flows were down to 4,800 cfs over the weekend, still way too high for steelhead fishing.
KLAMATH RIVER, Happy Camp: The Middle Klamath near Happy Camp is blown out with flows of 10,500 cfs. Flows could be fishable by the weekend.
KLAMATH RIVER, Klamath Glen: The river crested at 130,000 cfs last week, near flood stage. It was down to 45,000 cfs over the weekend. This year’s salmon quota will be announced this week.
TRINITY RIVER: Fishing is slow on the Trinity because of high water. Flows from Lewiston Dam were 307 cfs, while flows at Douglas City were 1,104 cfs and flows at Junction City were 1,420 cfs. Flows at Hoopa were 12,292 cfs.
BULLARDS BAR: Craig Newton of Will Fish Tackle said the lake’s plentiful kokanee have moved up in the water column to the top 10 feet. Many anglers are fishing deeper and finding only frustration.
CAMP FAR WEST: Pre-spawn bass are holding in 10 to 15 feet. Anglers are catching a few.
COLLINS LAKE: The trout came up to the surface at Collins Lake, bringing the shallow, shelving beach back into play for shore anglers. Trollers also found success toplining. The bass are not quite pre-spawn, and although most are small, you can have a bundle of fun throwing small Keitech swimbaits at them.
ENGLEBRIGHT RESERVOIR: The DFW stocked Engelbright this week, and Craig Newton of Will Fish Tackle in Auburn said anglers are catching them.
THERMALITO AFTERBAY: Water managers continue to repeatedly and quickly fill and drain the Afterbay. It was low again this week, the tules at least 2 feet out of the water. Few anglers even tried, it was so windy and the bass bite has been horrible due to changing conditions and the influx of cold water. If you go, the best bet may be the southwest corner where a flashy ripbait thrown at the rocks might entice a bass or two.
North Coast lakes
LAKE BERRYESSA: The changing fronts and the big north winds had the bite tougher, with the fish being caught out deeper on finesse style baits. The weekend brought warmer weather and the bite picked up, especially in shallow water on reaction baits and jigs.
BLACK BUTTE LAKE: The lake is looking beautiful but it has a little ways to go before it takes off. This lake is the last of the 3 lakes that are connected together so it gets the cold water out of the dam of the other 2. There are some bass being caught and they have moved up with the lake and water level and can be caught in the creek arms on senkos and jigs.
CLEAR LAKE: After a week straight of tournaments the lake is still kicking out nice giant bass. Swimbaits, jigs, Senkos, spinnerbaits and reaction baits all produced fish. With the warming weather, many people will be sight fishing and looking for bed fish.
EAST PARK RESERVOIR: Fishing is great and the lake is free for camping and boating until the end of the week. Many of the bass are spawning but there are still many that are feeding voraciously. The bite has been so good that you can catch fish on just about anything you throw right now.
STONEY GORGE RESERVOIR: Anglers were catching crappie on jigs, swimbaits, and minnows near the willows. Bass are looking to spawn and are moving up into shallower waters. The water has a stain to it that makes sight fishing hard but it should continue to improve without rains to stir things up.
LAKE SONOMA: The lake is still murky but the bass and crappie are biting. The fish have moved into the backs of the creek arms and you can catch both species in the same areas right now and sometimes even on the same baits. Both were hitting the smaller 3-inch Keitech swimbaits on a jighead.
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.: Salmon, trout and steelhead fishing is closed until May. Surfperch are available along the jetties. The river reached 52,000 cfs last week, its highest level since 2012.
ELK RIVER, Port Orford, Ore.: Fishing is closed until May.
ROGUE RIVER, Gold Beach, Ore.: Flooding sidelined spring salmon anglers last week, as flows hit 90,000 cfs at Agness. Flows remained high over the weekend, but could drop to fishable levels late this week.
RUSSIAN RIVER: Scott Heemstra at Kings Sport & Tackle in Guerneville said the river is still high, murky and green with flows at 2800 cfs and a foot of visibility. “I would expect things to start improving with the warm dry weather,” Heemstra said. “We should be able to target some downstreamer steelhead in the next week or so. Early shad should also start showing, but we need the water to drop a few more feet to effectively target them.”
SMITH RIVER: The river remains open for steelhead through the end of April. Flows hit 30 feet, or 90,000 cfs at Jed Smith, during last week’s flood. The river was back to a steelhead green color over the weekend. Steelhead fishing is slow.
Sierra lakes and rivers
BOCA LAKE: Tony Marotta of Mountain Hardware and Sports in Truckee said Boca is starting to open up, but the parking area is far away so few are trying it.
CARSON RIVER: Todd Sodaro of Todd’s Bait and Tackle and the Alpine County Fish and Game Commission said the East and West Carson are both running high and marginal for fishing due to snowmelt.
DAVIS LAKE: Ed Dillard of Dillard Guided Fishing and Jeanne Graham of J&J’s Grizzly Store both said Davis is still mostly covered in rotten ice and slush. There’s just a little bit of open water, about 20 feet at Mallard, and it’s fishable from shore. Cast out onto the ice and reel until your offering drops into the water, Graham suggested. Dillard said that the launch ramp access road at Honker Cove is still covered by at least 2 feet of snow and remains inaccessible.
DONNER LAKE: Mark Christophel of Christophel’s Guide Service said the public launch ramp opened Thursday. He took an exploratory trip on Saturday, finding 39.5-degree water from the surface all the way to 120 feet, very cold, and as expected the Mackinaw bite was tentative.
LAKE TAHOE: It was an off week at Tahoe. The brown trout bite in the shallows seems to have fizzled, and Mike Nielsen of Tahoe Topliners found only a few Mackinaw at the mid-depths. He expects fishing to improve soon.
PROSSER LAKE: Tony Marotta of Mountain Hardware and Sports in Truckee said that Prosser is opening up, but reaching the water requires a long hike with the aid of snowshoes so few are trying it.
PYRAMID LAKE: The water temperature along the shorelines hit the 52-degree mark, bringing the cutthroat into the shallows where fly fishers have been capitalizing. It’s slower but still mostly productive for boat-based anglers. The shorelines have been crowded – go early if you want a spot on the beach, despite the bite being better in the afternoons. Seek out clear water – the Truckee is dumping mud into the southern part of the big lake.
TOPAZ LAKE: The Topaz Lake Trout Derby ended Sunday. The Week 15 leaders as of Sunday morning were Bob Webster (3 pounds, 6.4 ounces) and John Wait (2 pounds, 10.3 ounces). The overall leaders were Jeff Sullivan (9 pounds, 11.1 ounces), Aaron Talhelm (9 pounds, 7.7 ounces) and Bob Brister (9 pounds, 4.8 ounces).
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 is closed for the season. Tony Marotta of Mountain Hardware and Sports said the river continues to run high and fast, and there’s more water the farther downstream you go. Access is wide open at Glenshire.
WEST WALKER RIVER: Jenna Casanova of the Walker General Store said a group of anglers was on the river on Saturday, and while fishing was slow for them, they found perfect water.
BERKELEY: Berkeley boat California Dawn, Happy Hooker and Pacific Dream put passengers on high counts of striped bass (usually limits or near limits) and halibut which will go nuts when live bait is available to Bay boats. New Easy Rider went for salmon and bested the fish per rod mark with 16 salmon for 15 people.
BODEGA BAY: Bodega Bay enjoyed the best opener on the coast. The opener dawned calm after a week-long wind event and the salmon were hungry partway down to Point Reyes. New Sea Angler scored 43 salmon for 23 people, reaching close to limits. Sunday’s fishing was happily similar. With the ocean so riled up during the week, boats remained tied to the dock. Jetty fishers caught perch, rockfish, cabezon and lingcod.
EMERYVILLE: Over the weekend, Fish Emeryville boats were sending boats out for most available species. Pacific Pearl had 13 salmon for 17 people. New Huck Finn, Tigerfish and C-Gull II fished the south bay for near limits or full limits of bass plus some nice halibut. Sea Wolf ventured out through the Gate to crank up rockfish and lingcod.
EUREKA: Winds blew and seas raged for much of the week, so fishing was mostly limited to the jetties and not all of the jetty area was safe to fish. People used mostly baits to catch rockfish, perch, and kelp greenling. People who worked small swimbaits along the deeper parts of the jetty pulled in lingcod. In the north Humboldt Bay, sharks and rays gave people some practice pulling on big fish. Down the coast off Shelter Cove, better than a dozen boats made it out and caught salmon a mile offshore.
FORT BRAGG: The salmon opener was a bit slow, however given more boats and more time to find the pockets of fish productivity is expected to increase. Seven boats went out and caught a total of 17 fish. Two fish to 8 pounds came over the rail of Sea Hawk. By the weekend when the weather improved, people fished Old Mill, Mendocino Headlands and other top shore spots.
HALF MOON BAY: Huli Cat took 7 salmon for 8 anglers on the opener. Que Sera Sera had 5 fish for 6 guys. Riptide had 5 fish. New Capt. Pete had a father-son team who both caught their limits of salmon. Queen of Hearts kept the faith with rockfish and lingcod anglers by taking them out to Deep Reef where their numbers were very good. Surf fishing was good for perch and seemed to be getting better by the day for striped bass on both baits and lures.
SAN FRANCISCO: Wacky Jacky went for salmon up near Point Reyes with a group of regulars who all got to take salmon fillets home. Lovely Martha got 12 salmon on the opener. Lovely Martha got limits of bass and halibut to 32 pounds on weekday trips. Bass Tub had epic days of limit-style bass fishing with some nice halibut mixed in. Flash II fished San Pablo Bay to pull in bass, sturgeon and leopard sharks.