North Freshwater Fish Report
Updated September 13, 2021
ALMANOR LAKE — The Dixie Fire continues to devastate the region with fire surrounding the lake with the exception of the northeastern corner around the town of Chester. All roads leading to Lake Almanor are closed and the entire Lake Almanor Community is under, either, mandatory evacuation or warning orders (as is most of Plumas County). The fire has consumed over 910,000 acres. National forest temporary closures will limit access until at least September 17th, and most likely well into the future.
AMADOR LAKE — Catfishing remains the best option as the lake is in a holding pattern due to the combination of low water levels and triple-digit temperatures. The best action is in the evening with chicken livers, nightcrawlers, or cut baits. Fishing interest will not resume until trout plants start toward the end of the October at the earliest. The summer gate hours of 5:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 5 to 10 on Friday, and 5 to 9 on Saturday are now in effect.
AMERICAN RIVER/Sacramento — The American remains in real trouble due to minimal water releases anticipated starting in October at 515 cfs. The current flows have dropped from 675 to 624 cfs at Fair Oaks. The salmon run in the American River is traditionally the latest of all of the rivers, and the flows will be low and warm when they arrive.
AMERICAN RIVER/Above Folsom — The area has cleared up, but due to the closure of the national forests, the only access is at the Auburn State Recreation Area. The flows are low in the mornings before releases later in the day for rafters.
LAKE BERRYESSA — Kokanee are still an option although the males have lost their scales while the females are looking better. There will be a few more weeks before the kokanee have completely gone into deep spawn mode, and they are found at depths from 60 to 100 feet on either vertical or horizontal flats with Silver Skalez Koko Leaf spoons or spinners with bigger blades behind a 5.5-inch Rocky Mountain Tackle dodger. Pautske’s Fire Corn continues to work on the lures. The bass are starting to congregate in deep water, and spooning has been the trick. The lake dropped to 58 percent, but it still has more water than most of northern California’s lakes.
BOCA — The temporary closure of the national forests until at September 17th at the soonest has effectively ended the season for the lake’s kokanee guides.
BULLARDS BAR — The kokanee are clearly starting to turn, and angling interest has slowed considerably. The kokanee are found in schools at depths to 70 feet with pink, orange, or green spinners or hoochies behind a larger blade. There is a single lane at the Dark Day launch ramp, and guides are unable to use this launch ramp for commercial purposes without a lake permit. The lake dropped to 43 percent.
CALERO RESEVOIR — Tough fishing. The bass bite has been tough with smaller fish on soft plastics.
CAMANCHE LAKE — The lake held at 42 percent, but the launch ramp at the North Shore is getting close to the end, and it will transition to the low water ramp soon. Few fishermen are heading to the lake with the continuation of heavy recreational boating pressure. Holdover rainbow trout are a possibility in the main river channel as deep as 70 feet, but the supply of rainbows will not be replenished until late October at the earliest. Bass fishing remains best with plastics on a Ned-rig or deep-diving crankbaits at depths to 35 feet along sloping banks.
LAKE CHABOT — The catfish bite has picked back up with whiskerfish at 11 and 12 pounds landed near Racoon Point. An occasional trout is taken, but bass fishing is slow. The lake will receive another 600 pounds of Mt. Lassen Farms catfish this week.
CHESBRO RESERVOIR — Tough, an occasional bass on small finesse baits, and lipless crankbaits.
CLEAR LAKE — Bass fishing is decent with Senkos, underspins, or squarebilled crankbaits off shore. There are still bass taken from the banks in a single foot of water, but the majority of fish are in deep water due to the historic low water levels. Library Park is the only launch ramp accessible, and 160 boats are expected to attempt to launch off of the double lane ramp during an upcoming tournament of champions with pre-fishing starting on September 14th. After this last major tournament, there are still small club or kayak tournaments scheduled for the rest of the month with 13 of the remaining 19 days of September hosting at least one tournament.
COYOTE LAKE — No real changes. Some bass on jigs, drop-shots, and bottom bouncers near the dam.
DAVIS LAKE — The temporary closure of the national forest has limited access to the lake for visitors, and the Dixie Fire has led to mandatory evacuations of the dam north as the fire has reached the north side of the lake. Roads into the lake are closed to all but local traffic. The lake held at 51 percent.
DON CASTRO — The lake received 600 pounds Mt. Lassen catfish last week.
DONNER — Easy kokanee limits are the rule at depths from 55 to 60 feet with Paulina Peak’s Tahoe Krack spinners or Flutter Bugs behind a Peak Performer Dodger. The kokanee are still in good shape, and they should remain this way until the middle of October. Mackinaw fishing is slower will a tremendous amount of bait in the lake. The best time for the lake trout is coming starting in October. The lake remains relatively full although dropping from 69 to 57 percent.
DON PEDRO — Bass fishing has been a struggle for some, but there is a topwater bite offshore with the Berkley Choppo 120 or the D and M Custom’s ½-ounce buzzbait along with spooning 3/4th -ounce Hopkin’s Shorty spoons at depths from 25 to 65 feet. Trout fishing is also strong with shad-patterned spoons at depths from 40 to 60 feet in the shad schools. Finding the schools is the key to success. The lake dropped to 52 percent, and a buoy line has been installed outside of Fleming Meadows towards Schoolhouse Point. The Fleming Meadows and Moccasin will remain open throughout the summer.
EAGLE LAKE — The temporary closure of the national forests until at least September 17th will limit access to campgrounds on the west side of the lake. Smoke from the Dixie Fire continues to drift into the region. The launch ramp at Gallatin remains open due to recent renovations to the ramp as well as the dock.
EEL RIVER (main stem) — The main Eel is open all year to fishing. From Fulmor Rd. to the South Fork, only artificial lures with barbless hooks may be used from Apr. 1 through Sept. 30. As of Sunday, flows were roughly 37 cfs on the Scotia gauge.
ELK RIVER, Port Orford, Ore. — Still too early for fall kings.
ENGLEBRIGHT — The lake is to be a good option for trout trollers due to cold water from the Yuba River along with high water levels at 99 percent. Trout trolling remains solid at depths to 50 feet in the cove near the houseboat, around the dam, or near the 5 mph buoys with blade/’crawler combinations, Wedding Rings tipped with a nightcrawler, or Rapalas.
FEATHER RIVER — Salmon are starting to show in the Boyd’s Pump area as well as Gridley but numbers are still low. Very slow at the Outlet Hole with few anglers, few boats and few fish. The water flow is very low. The water flows at Gridley are steady at 1200 cfs.
FOLSOM LAKE — The lake held at 24 percent, and the low water ramp at Granite Bay remain in operation, but it is difficult to put in large vessels. With the 5 MPH restriction in place along with difficulty launching, few recreational boaters have accessed the lake. With all of the snags from the submerged trees, fewer trollers are accessing the lake.
KLAMATH RIVER, Klamath Glen — The salmon bite was red-hot over the weekend even with the increase in flows. The river is full of jacks and quite a few adult kings are mixed in. Fish are being caught side-drifting the riffles and dragging bait through the deeper holes. The adult quota was met Sept. 7. The daily bag limit is now two Chinook less than or equal to 23 inches and the possession limit is six. For more information, visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/News/lower-klamath-river-adult-fall-run-chinook-salmon-quota-met. River flows on Sunday were 2,500 cfs at the mouth of the Klamath, 1,370 cfs at Orleans, and 1,019 cfs further upstream in the Seiad Valley.
LAKE DEL VALLE — Conditions are good and getting better. “The stripers are starting to boil like crazy”, and the Narrows and the dam remain the best bet for stripers using anchovies. The boats trolling scented Panther Martins in various colors between the dam and the rock wall heading into Heron Bay and near Swallow Bay are seeing some smallmouth bass action with an occasional striper as well. The lake levels are very good, clear. and the water temperatures are 76 degrees. 600 pounds of Mt. Lassen catfish will be planted this week.
LOS VAQUEROS RESERVOIR — Things slowed down a bit from the bank but striper boils are getting more and more frequent. Fly fishermen have started throwing for the stripers and are doing ok. Use a 6/7 to 7/8 weight rods with about 9 foot of tapered leader and a 10-pound tippet. Bucktail teasers in a 4.0 hook size, Polarflash Clousers, Crystal Clousers and Silver Flash minnows are all good.
McCLURE LAKE — Bass fishing is best with plastics on the drop-shot such as 4.5-inch Robo Worms Prism Shad or Hologram Shad. Numbers of bass are possible at depths from 10 to 20 feet. Jigs with a ½-ounce jig head are also effective. Bagby, Horseshoe Bend, and McClure Point North launch ramps are closed due to water levels. The lake dropped from 24 to 23 percent.
LAKE McSWAIN — Trout fishing has slowed down with the lack of plants in the past few weeks, but there will be sizable plants before the upcoming Merced Irrigation District’s Fall Trout Derby on the weekend of October 2/3. The best trout action is occurring from the banks in the evenings with Power Bait, nightcrawlers, or Kastmasters from the Brush Pile, Handicapped Docks, or peninsula near the Marina.
NEW HOGAN — The lake dropped to 30 percent, and striper trollers have returned to the lake to work the triangle between the launch ramp, dam, and Deer Island with anchovies or fresh shad on a Trinidad Tackle or similar bait holder. Boats are also casting small shad-patterned topwater lures into the boils.
NEW MELONES —The lake dropped to 36 percent, but trollers are finding excellent action for rainbow trout at depths from 40 to 60 feet with shad patterned spoons. Similar to Don Pedro, finding the shad schools is the key, and there is a tremendous amount of bait in the lake with the decreased water levels. With plenty of hilltops and points coming out of the water, opportunity is wide open on bass fishing. There is a topwater bite early or late with Poppers or Whopper Ploppers along with crankbaits or spinnerbaits. Plastics on the drop-shot are working over the submerged island tops. Catfishing is good at night with chicken livers, cut baits with scent, or nightcrawlers from the banks. There are numerous unmarked hazards throughout the lake. Boaters have to be extremely cautious.
NORTH COAST RIVERS — Sections of the main Eel (South Fork to Cape Horn Dam), South Fork Eel (South Fork Eel River from mouth to Rattlesnake Creek) Van Duzen, Mad, Little River, Mattole and Smith re-opened on Saturday, May 29th. On most rivers, only artificial lures with barbless hooks may be used. For a complete list of river openings and regulations visit https://nrm.dfg.ca.gov/FileHandler.ashx?DocumentID=190456&inline
NORTH BAY LAKES — Walk-in fishing is allowed at Lagunitas Creek, Alpine Lakes, Kent Lake, Bon Tempe Reservoir, and Nicasio Reservoir, all managed by the Marin Municipal Water District.
LAKE OROVILLE — The launch ramp at the Spillway remains closed as the lake held at 23 percent. It may reopen if the lake continues to drop as the slope will flatten out. The hydroelectric turbines have been shut down for the first time since the inception of the dam in 1961.
LAKE PARDEE — The lake held at 82 percent, and it is one of the best options for trout trolling in the Mother Lode due to the high water level. There are still a number of holdover rainbows in the lake although the last plant was over 2 months ago. The lake will close in early November until mid-February. The marina has been relocated to Blue Heron Point. The new hours for the Pardee Marina are from 7 A.M to 6 P.M., but the café is now closed for the remainder of the summer.
PYRAMID LAKE — The season for Lahontan cutthroat trout ended on June 30th, and it will reopen on October 1st. The lake is open year-round for Sacramento perch with a 10-fish limit.
RUSSIAN RIVER — The low flows have led to blue-green algae warnings throughout the lower river. Few, if any, fishermen are targeting smallmouth with the river with the current conditions. The conditions won’t improve without rain this winter.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Keswick Reservoir to Red Bluff — Salmon numbers are still high, but the bite slowed a bit towards the end of the week. Roe and tray baits/plugs remain the bait of choice. The water flows below the Keswick Reservoir are stable at 7103 cfs. Trout numbers remain very good from the Posse Grounds all the way down to Anderson. Drift boats are still catching big trout in good numbers, drift fishing egg patterns under bobbers or throwing flies in mayfly, caddis, PMD’s, Copper John’s or other bead heads with tight bodies. The Barge Hole continues to put out very good numbers. The best bite remains on plugs in the early am, and then side drift roe when sun comes up.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Red Bluff to Chico — Salmon numbers still high. with some limits. Salmon starting to show in Colusa area of the river. Water levels at the Colusa Bridge have dropped from 4676 to 4740 cfs.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Metro area — Several salmon taken in the vicinity of the Interstate 80 bridge on the Yolo side using Flying-C’s. The water 74-degree water has slowed action for trollers, and the fish aren’t slowing down until they reach Knight’s Landing which has seen increased action for those anchoring with Silvertron spinners.
SAN PABLO RESEVOIR — Nice limits of catfish with some big fish mixed in. Two fish caught this week weighed in at over 16 pounds with another at 7.5 pounds. Good numbers of fish in the 2/3-pound range. The best action is with chicken livers near Round Top Point or the back end of Scow Canyon.
LAKE SHASTA — John Boitano of JB’s Guide Service fished Lake Shasta fished the steeper canyons of the main body of the lake and found some good bass numbers in the 20- to 30- foot range with plastics in green pumpkins, watermelon candy, or purple with a 3/16 to 1/4-ounce head. Hula Grub jigs also in the 1/2- to 3/4-ounce range are also effective. The key right now is getting the bait down in the water column. He reported that the reaction bait bite is tough right now but that there is a fair early morning topwater bite if you get on ‘em just before dawn. Annual boat permits are now on sale at Bay Bridge. There are only three operable boats ramps. Bridge Bay is down to a single lane 4 wheel-drive track, Jones Valley resort is now a dirt ramp only with no dock. Centimudi still has 2 paved lanes and is workable for 2-wheel drive. The lake has dropped from 26 to 25 percent, and there are unmarked hazards throughout the lake below the surface.
SHADOW CLIFFS — The lake received 600 pounds Mt. Lassen catfish last week.
LAKE SONOMA — Historic low water levels for this reservoir at 30 percent with few fishermen or boaters due to submerged obstructions in the lake.
STAMPEDE RESERVOIR — The temporary closure of the national forest until at least September 17th has closed access to the lake. The lake held at 36 percent.
LAKE TAHOE — The lakeside residents have returned after the Caldor Fire was beaten back from threatening the Tahoe Basin communities, but with continued closure of Highways 50 and 88, few visitors have been arriving. The skies are clear of smoke, and kokanee fishing is red hot at depths from 60 to 80 feet on the south side of the lake. Some of the kokanee are starting to turn, and it is unclear if they will be able to migrate into Taylor Creek due to low water levels.
LAKE TEMESCAL, Oakland — The lake will receive another 379 pounds of Mt. Lassen Hatchery catfish this week.
TRINITY RIVER, Willow Creek — Flows were ramping back down and should be back to 450 cfs coming out of Lewiston Friday. With the increase in flows the previous week, there should be no shortage of fall kings making their way through the lower Trinity. In limited trapping by CDFW the week of Aug. 27, 105 adult kings were counted. Conditions should be prime this week. Fall regulations for Chinook salmon fishing went into effect on Sept. 1 and run through Dec. 31, with a sport quota of 402 adults. Fishing is open upstream of the confluence with the South Fork. As of Sunday, flows were 680 cfs on the Hoopa gauge.
TRINITY LAKE — Fishing reports have been inconsistent due to fire closures. Swimbaits on a slow presentation to 30 feet along with plastic worms from 6 to 8 feet are productive. With the lake dropping to 33 percent, boaters are advised to launch at the Trinity Center public boat launch.
TRUCKEE RIVER — The only access to the river is now in the Reno area due to the temporary closure of the national forests in California or the river within the Truckee town limits. There are few visitors due to the temporary closures and the evacuation of South Lake Tahoe. The flows held at 195 cfs at Farad. A warning has been issued to stop fishing by 12:00 p.m. to avoid fish mortality. There is optimism due to the recent cooler weather.
UVAS RESERVOIR — Some small bass, on small finesse baits, and lipless crank baits. No real numbers.
WHISKEYTOWN RESERVOIR — The kokanee bite is solid with fish in pre-spawn and are holding at the creek mouths and down under the Whiskey Creek Bridge. Orange or pink hoochies at 50 feet trolling between 1.2 to 1.6 miles per hour with a 25-foot set back are effective on a 15-pound leader on a 10-pound test main lake. Alex Ross of Trinity Guide Service said, “The slow trolling speed and setback length will make the difference between catching or not catching fish.” The Whiskey Creek boat launch is the best as it is the closest ramp to Redding, has plenty of parking, is close to the fishing and sheltered during most windy days. The lake is nearly full at 99 percent.
BASS LAKE — A few large kokanee to 18 inches have been taken by jigging between the Buoy Line and the dam, but overall, fishing interest remains slow. The closure of California’s national The lake held at 65 percent.
COURTRIGHT/WISHON RESERVOIRS — The temporary closure of the Sierra National Forest until at least September 17th has limited access to the high Sierra reservoirs.
EASTMAN/HENSLEY — No change or relief on the horizon as the sad situation at both lakes continues, and it will remain until there is any rain. In observance of National Public Lands Day, a family-friend day will take place on Saturday, September 25th with a number of outdoor projects at Hensley from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. with registration beginning at 8:00 a.m. All ages are welcome to participate, and participants are requested to pre-register with Ranger Shay Perryman by September 17th at (559) 831-7026 or firstname.lastname@example.org. An algae bloom continues to form on both lakes. Catfishing is the only game in town with chicken livers, cut baits, or nightcrawlers from the banks near the launch ramps.
HUNTINGTON — Water releases have started, and the lake dropped significantly from 83 to 76 percent. The temporary closure of the Sierra National Forest has put a damper on visitors to the region.
MILLERTON — The lake rose once again to 48 percent with water releases on the San Joaquin River system out of Shaver and Huntington. Michael Crayne of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis reported good action for spotted bass inside of Winchell Cove near the rockwall with jerkbaits, 5-inch swimbaits, or plastics on the drop-shot. There is a catfish bite with chicken livers or anchovies.
O’NEILL FOREBAY — There is little change here with primarily undersized striped bass taken on pile worms, blood worms, or anchovies from the clear areas under the Highway 152 Bridge or near the channel at Highway 33. It is possible to put together a legal limit, but it is a challenge. Largemouth bass are hitting plastics or Senkos along the rockwall and near the old Medeiros launch ramp.
PINE FLAT/LOWER KINGS —The lake is balancing inflow with outflow, and it held at 20 percent. The bass bite is picking up with creature baits on a slow roll such as Missle’s D Bombs along with wakebaits. The best action is in the coolest water near Trimmer or Sycamore in the river arm near the submerged trees or rock. A trout plant occurred in the lower Kings last week, and with the lower flows, the action remains strong with spinners, Power Bait, salmon eggs, or nightcrawlers in the transition from fast to slow water. Fly fishermen are scoring in the catch-and-release zone at Cobbles Weir. The flows rose from 126 to 160 cfs at Trimmer.
SAN LUIS — The lake is approaching an all-time low at 12 percent, and the action has slowed from the banks as the fish are moving into deep water. A few large striped bass have been caught and released by experienced trollers willing to work all day for a few big bites, but these are the exception and not the rule. Vehicles illegally traversing the newly exposed dry lake bottom of San Luis Reservoir have caused the park to now close at sundown instead of the usual 10:00 p.m. closure. Both the Basalt Recreation Area and Dinosaur Point launch ramps are back in service, but a 4xD tow vehicle is advised.
SHAVER LAKE — The Kokanee Power Tournament drew 46 boats with 33 of the teams weighing in 3-fish limits. The local teams led by Jim Travis of Affordable Tackle and guide Jared Romero took 1st and 3rd place in a very close competition. The best action was found at 84 feet with a 12-foot setback with Dick’s Mountain Hoochies or tubes tipped with scented corn behind 5.7-inch Dick’s Mountain Dodgers or orange or pink Radical Glow Tubes behind a Rocky Mountain 5.5-inch dodger. The lake dropped to 68 percent, necessitating the movement of the docks at the Shaver Lake Marina.