Lake Oroville’s bass fishing is improving, and salmon are slow
Lake Orville: Bass fishing continues to improve with quality spots being caught in great presentations that mimic the scent of a lake pond. The Middle Fork is getting fish out of 20 to 30 feet of water using a 3-inch swimbait on a 3/16-ounce darthead. King salmon fishing remains slow, and there is concern about DFW planting small kings in the spring because predation by spotted and largemouth bass along with birds has been excessive. The lake rose 4 feet in two weeks to an elevation of 822.19 feet and a 69 percent drop.
Lake Shasta: 64 boats showed up for the first Pro/Am Championship of the season with a two-day winning weight of 28.51 pounds. John Boitano of Phil’s Propellers has reported some very good main body action with bass feeding on plastics and jigs in deeper water between 30 and 50 feet. Some blade work and slow rolling Keitechs are also produced. Jeff Goodwin is reporting a strong winter trout bite with fish shallow in the water column. Side flats were best with 1- to 2-ounce snap weights. Trolling speeds vary from 2.5 to 2.8 mph. Our lure of choice was a Trinidad Tackle Optimizer Jr’s. Dark colors early and bright UV colors after the sun hits the water.
Trinity River, Willow Creek: The lower Trinity River was muddy Friday with flows of about 7,500 cfs on the Hoopa gauge. Conditions don’t appear to be improving anytime soon as Saturday’s storm is expected to push flows to nearly 26,000 cfs. With more rain expected mid-next week, fishing may not happen all week. Fishing pressure is still light, but that should change as winter head start showing up in larger numbers.
American River/Above Folsom: Flows rose to 953 cfs at Chili Bar, and a weekend storm will bring more mud and debris to the Middle Fork due to the burn scar from the Mosquito Fire. The upper river is baited, artificial, and barbed hooks only until the end of May.
American River/Sacramento: Steelhead season opened on January 1st. There were some good numbers of fish returning to the hatchery indicating good performance overall, but business was mixed. The crowds at Sailor Bar were manageable but getting to the initial water can be difficult if you don’t get there early. The beads under the popper were the best producing platform but there was some spinning action as well. There was a water release on January 3, but flows are now steady at about 1,808 cfs.
Feathers River: There are no good reports currently. Conditions are good and steelhead should be present. Water levels are variable.
Sacramento River, Keswick Reservoir to Red Bluff: The Fly Shop in Redding reports the river remains fishable with good water clarity from top to bottom to Cottonwood Creek. There was a moderate water release on January 6, but the river has stabilized again, and flows are holding around 5,360 to 5,500 cfs and are still wadeable. Midge and BWO hatches hunt for smaller Dark Flies in the morning and Zebra Midges, Micro Mays and BP Weiss Nymphs later in the day. Guide Garrett Kenyon has reported a slower bite but some late fall/winter salmon are still spawning and trout, with steelhead hitting the smaller beads below.
Sacramento River, from Colusa to Tisdale: No change. Reports from Colusa remain light, but anglers are reporting some action with the resident angler. Social media keeps posting decent fish, but these are intelligent, resident fish whose numbers are low. Most are taken on large glide baits.
Sacramento River, metro area: Traffic in the metro area remains mixed to poor for the occasional resident with some movement in the port. Low delta action remains mixed with some good numbers in the Rio Vista area.
The bi-weekly fishing report, prepared by Western Outdoor News, highlights the best fishing opportunities in the North State.