OROVILLE LAKE: Bass are back in the shallow waters after receding for a few days, and numbers continue to rule the roost, especially with the new Bass Union weedless dart head being worked in the grass. Spotted bass up to 3 pounds are possible. King salmon remain elusive, but there has been an occasional king found rolling anchovies behind a flashing green Tornado or TopCoat above submerged trees in the main channel. Loafer Creek is the best launch, and the Lime Saddle Marina ramp is open, as is the Bidwell Canyon ramp is in Stage 1, but the Spillway ramp remains closed for construction. The lake held at 48 percent.
SHASTA LAKE: Trout action is great, but many guides have moved to the Sacramento River to focus on stripers. The action remains solid with fish staying shallow in the morning then moving to 35-40ft by midday. The smaller spoons, Spinner Magic by Paulina Peak, Trinidad T-PEX-001-in orange, Speedy Shiners, Optimizer Juniors and Humdingers are all effective. Orange/Gold, Silver/Blue or Cop Car are the best deals. The bass bite remains incredible despite the tough weather this week. The Pit Arm continues to produce on Z-Man, skirted bass jigs or plastics on a shaking head fished from shore up to 20 feet. The Squaw and the McCloud were also outstanding. A few centimeters of rain fell in the watershed, but the lake held at 38%. Several boat ramps remain open.
TRINITY RIVER, Willow Creek: The combination of rain and water from behind the dam will cause flows to spike throughout the week on Lower Trinity. This will make fishing conditions difficult, but will work wonders in helping fry and spawners navigate safely downstream. Fishing pressure was low. Peak flows are expected to reach 12,300 cfs on Friday. On Sunday, flows were 4,600 cfs on the Hoopa gauge.
AMERICAN RIVER/Above Folsom: The rain raised flows from a low of 520 to 1881 cfs at the Chili Bar, and the water turned dirty. It will stay dirty for a few days before cleaning again. Catch and release fishing continues to be excellent with beautiful rainbow and brown trout in the Middle Fork. Many anglers wait until the Saturday before Memorial Day for the river to open for bait fishing. Catch-and-release barbless artificial hook fishing is best with small presentations in clear waters for fly anglers and those casting lures.
AMERICAN RIVER/Sacramento: The fishing remains slow because the fishermen are waiting for the shad. It’s one of the biggest fly fishing events of the year and Kienes expects it to be a great year. Spearfishing opens May 1st, but spearguns are not permitted to be brought into the river from state or county parks. Flows are stable at 1068 cfs in Fair Oaks.
PLUME RIVER: Weak and slow. Stripers continue to infiltrate but water levels have dropped to levels not seen since the 1977 drought as flows at Gridley fell from 1137 to 664 cfs.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, from Keswick Reservoir to Red Bluff: Wild rainbow trout fishing is excellent with decent numbers of fish below Hwy 44 and for drift boats fishing as far downstream from Red Bluff. Redding’s Fly Shop reported decent fishing throughout the day with most fish being caught with PMDs. Flows under Keswick are stable at 3303 cfs.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Colusa to Tisdale: Striped bass activity has been in full swing for the past week, and guides have arrived from across the northern state to enjoy the action. The Nor Cal Guides and Sportsmen’s Association is hosting a two-day striped bass derby Saturday and Sunday at Colusa State Park. Profits go towards the development of a fisheries management plan for the species. Johnson’s Bait and Tackle in Yuba City reported that trolling, casting, drifting live bait or dipping cut bait all work Rob Reimers, Rustic Rob’s Guide Service reports scattered fish in Knight’s River Landing at Colusa. Spawning will be short-lived with low water. The river went from 4008 to 4928 cfs at Colusa.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, metro area: More and more strippers are arriving every day and the quality of the fish caught is constantly improving. Sacramento Pro Tackle reported that 10 to 12 pound striped bass are being caught both in the subway and near Freeport. Sturgeons are still present in the area between Elkhorn and Verona. Bob Sparre of the Bob Sparre Guide Service has fished the lower reaches of the river and is now interested in larger females with 12 pound fish caught trolling and jigging. There are a lot of small fish in the mix. The river rose to 12,781 in Freeport.
The weekly fishing report, compiled by Western Outdoor News, highlights the best angling opportunities in the northern state.