Emergency flooding at Oroville Dam halts fishing in Feather River – Sacramento Bee
Here are the best places to fish in the Sacramento region, Northern California and beyond for the week of Feb. 13, 2017.
The concessionaires released 2400 pounds of Mt. Lassen Hatchery rainbows this past week into the muddy, chocolate milk waters of the lake. The reservoir is still full and spilling, and scent and vibration are keys to catching the planted rainbows. White Power Eggs, garlic trout dough bait in almost any color, and nightcrawlers are working best, and the rainbows are within the top 5 feet of the surface and close to shore. The concessionaires have dropped the fishing fee from $9 to $7. Camping reservations start this Friday at 8:00 a.m. The annual Tagged Trout Derby continues until March 19.
The lake rose 20 feet in a week despite heavy water releases for flood control. Lake Pardee is spilling at a rapid rate into Camanche, and the river arm of the lake is heavily stained. The clearest water is near the dam, and trout trollers continue to find success with Speedy Shiners, Rapalas, or grubs within the top 10 feet of the surface. Bass fishing slowed with the stained water, and vibration and scent are very important. 1200 pounds of Mt. Lassen Hatchery rainbows were split between the South Shore launch ramp and the South Shore Fishing Pond this week. Crappie are still found at depths to 30 feet with grubs or Rapalas.
Flows from Oroville Dam have fluctuated between 60,000 cfs, and over 100,000 cfs, bringing fishing to a halt on the Feather, and 180,000 people have been evacuated below the dam due to potential failure of the emergency dam. Work is now underway. The water from the damaged spillway is so silty more than 6 million smolts had to be evacuated from Feather River Hatchery. Nobody is fishing in the muddy flood waters.
Lake is full and spilled over the emergency spillway for the first time ever. 180,000 people evacuated below the dam due to the threat of a failure of the emergency spillway. Work is now underway on the spillway now that lake level has dropped below emergency spillway. Main spillway is heavily damaged. Spillway launch ramp is out until further notice. Parking lot flooded over the weekend. Launching will be possible at Loafer Creek Launch Ramp, Bidwell Marina and Lime Saddle Marina. There is a lot of debris in the water, including large trees. Use extreme caution.
The lake is reopening on Feb. 16 for camping and Feb. 17 for fishing with a total plant of 6000 pounds of rainbows averaging 1.5 pounds released on the opening days. Trout plants of 3000 pounds per week are anticipated for the first 7 weeks of the season with additional fish from other sources possible. The Nor Cal Trout Anglers Challenge will take place on Feb. 19.
NORTH COAST RIVERS
CHETCO RIVER, Brookings, Oregon
The river was blown out for a week and was just dropping back into shape this week when another front was expected to hit the coast. Flows were at 38,000 cfs last week and were at 7,000 Sunday. Flows are expected to be back to 15,000 cfs or higher this weekend, so don’t plan a trip without calling ahead.
ELKS RIVER, Port Orford, Oregon
After being blown out for a week, the Elk River was down to 5.1 feet on Sunday, high but fishable for steelhead. It will be in prime shape for the first half of the week before a new storm arrives Thursday. The Elk has fished well this season at higher flows. It fishes best between 3 and 4 feet. For current flows, call Elk River Hatchery at 541-332-0405.
ROGUE RIVER, Gold Beach, Oregon
The Rogue crested at 70,000 cfs last week at the Agness gauge and was down to 26,400 cfs on Sunday. It may be too high to fish all week. Plunkers fishing Spin-N-Glos usually begin catching steelhead around 10,000 cfs.
ROGUE RIVER, Shady Cove to Grants Pass, Oregon
The fishing remains very slow with very high water making driftboat fishing almost nil, said guide Troy Whitaker at U-Save Tackle in Grants Pass. Lots of muddy water being dumped into the river above Shady Cove.
The river hasn’t been fishable for almost two months with all the rain and high flows, so steelhead anglers haven’t had much of a shot at the fish this season, and steelhead counts at the hatchery haven’t been very good, either, according to Scott Heemstra of King’s Sport and Tackle in Guerneville. He said that counts are starting to pick up now, and most of the fish are released in February and March, so if the river drops and clears there still may be a season.
SIXES RIVER, Port Orford, Oregon
The Sixes was still high and muddy over the weekend and likely will remain blown out this week, as a new storm is expected to hit Thursday.
Very little fishing last week, according to WON Field Reporter and guide Phil Desautel of Phil’s Smiling Salmon Guide Service, as the river has been above the 20-foot level at the 101 bridge and above the 14-foot level at Jed Smith Park. “It has been like a rollercoaster all week long,” Desautel said. “There have been a handful of plunkers out fishing with mixed results. Most of the hot spots had too much water to access them. The water is dropping and we expect good fishing for the next few days.”
KLAMATH RIVER, Hornbrook
High water brought fishing to a halt on the section of the Klamath River between Iron Gate Dam and Interstate 5. Flows hit 9,000 cfs last week and were down to 6,240 cfs on Sunday. The river is expected to remain high this week.
KLAMATH RIVER, Happy Camp
Flows at Seiad Valley jumped from 8,000 cfs to 40,000 cfs, covering parts of Highway 96 near Happy Camp. Flows were down to 18,000 cfs on Sunday, still way too high for steelhead fishing.
KLAMATH RIVER, Klamath Glen
The river hit its highest level in several years last week, cresting at 250,000 cfs. It was down to 99,500 cfs on Sunday evening.
High water has again brought steelhead fishing to a halt on the Trinity. Flows at Lewiston have remained near 320 cfs, but were high and muddy not far below. Flows at Douglas City were 1,810 cfs on Sunday, down from its crest of 7,000 cfs a few days before. Flows at Junction City were 3,120 cfs. They had reached 10,000 cfs. On the lower river, flows were much higher, with Hoopa reporting 30,000 cfs. Flows at the mouth of the Trinity where it enters the Klamath are estimated to be around 75,000 cfs. Steelhead fishing has been slow.
NORTH COAST LAKES
Lake has reached the full level and bass fishing has perked up a little, but trout fishing is still poor.
BLACK BUTTE LAKE
A few bass anglers were out and caught some fish on plastic worms and crank plugs, but the lake remains muddy, but not full, as releases are more than inflows.
No anglers have been out due to very muddy waters, said Art Cerini at The Narrows Resort.
It was another tough week for bass anglers, but one positive note is that the crappie bite is on fire in several locations around the lake. For those bass fishermen who have been able to get out, A-Rigs and jerk baits seem to be the best bets for putting some fish in the boat. Action is best from the narrows to the south end. A few catfish and bass are being caught on worms at the north end.
The lake has muddy waters, with no anglers reported.
Christina Diaz at the lake resort said no anglers have been out lately. The lake remains nearly full with more runoff expected.
Another week of heavy rain kept the waters muddy at Lake Sonoma, but the good news for bass anglers is that the weather and water warmed up a little. The water temps jumped from the high 40′s to the low 50′s and that triggered a stingy bass bite.
FAR NORTH LAKE AND RIVERS
The trout bite finally perked up on trolled Rapala lures, but water continues to pour into the lake and visibility of the lake is poor. Brown and rainbow trout are being caught with browns over 5 pounds.
The lake continues to produce some fair to good action for fly fishermen using midges, woolly buggers and baettis flies.
No anglers out due to muddy/green water conditions.
No report available due to snowy conditions.
At flood stage in the Canby area, no fishing is being reported in lower areas by John Dietz at The Fly Shop in Redding.
The lake level rose quickly this week and is now only 6 feet from being full, but dam releases are high. Bass fishing has been erratic with the better catches made on swimbaits, Senkos and tubes in clear water areas in the backs of coves.
Snow and icy roads limit access to the lake.
A few spotted bass catches have been reported but not many anglers are out. Lake is only about 65% full, and boat launching has improved at the dam area marina.
Not much bass action reported here with few anglers out.
Monte Smith of Gold Country Sport Fishing is taking a trolling trip this week, and he expected solid action with Vance’s Slim Willies tipped with a nightcrawler near the surface. Smith anticipates excellent rainbow and king salmon action this year as the lake has flooded acres of areas left without water for years. The lake has risen to 98 percent within the past week, and the Blue Oaks launch ramp was closed over the weekend. Bass fishing has slowed with the rising and muddy water, and the best action is with plastics or jigs on a slow presentation at depths from 25 to 50 feet.
The past two series of storms pushed the lake up from 73 to 90 percent within the week despite water releases up to 5000 cfs. Bass fishing is decent with Berserk jigs in brown/purple or Purple Hornet along with 5- to 6-inch Pro Worms in pattern 266 at depths from 25 to 50 feet. The key is to work slow and to stay on the school once you locate a single biter. The launch ramps at Barretts Cove South and McClure Point are open.
The lake rose another 33 feet in elevation this week to 54-percent of capacity. The water is stained throughout the lake with some areas clearing up earlier than others. Bass fishing is best with weedless presentations since new areas of flooded vegetation are available. A Future Pro Tournament will be held on February 18. The shoreline area is stained, and bank fishing for trout has slowed to some degree. Scent and vibration are essential with the best action near Glory Hole Point or along the Highway 49 Bridge. Trolling is best with larger lures coated with scent on a long set back with the fish just under the surface. Crappie fishing has improved, and Glory Hole will have live minnows within the next week.
SIERRA LAKES AND RIVERS
Unsafe for ice fishing.
Deep blanket of snow covers the ice but people are ice fishing. Parking is limited. No reports on whether the fishing has been productive.
There is ice, but edges are slushy and there is a lot of water on the ice.
Lake has thawed but the launch ramp is snowed under. Very little shore access.
Warm rain last week caused the ice to thaw. Unsafe until it re-freezes.
GOLD LAKE BASIN
Road is closed. See you in spring.
JENKINSON LAKE (Sly Park)
Lake is high and brown but anglers came out when the sun came out. Fishing has been poor.
Mackinaw in the 2- to 5-pound range have been willing to take live bait or trolled plugs.
Ice is not safe for fishing.
Lake is closed to all recreational activity until early April due to road damage.
Ice is thick and safe but few have been out due to weather and lots of snow on the ice.
Deep snow has closed access.
Trout fishing remains very good. Weather kept angling pressure to a minimum last week, but when the sun came out on the weekend, so did the anglers. Trout greeted them with open jaws.
River is running faster than 5,000 cfs and more rain was predicted for this weekend.
WEST WALKER RIVER
River is dirty and running fast.
The main Sacramento River Delta has only risen higher with heavy releases out of upstream reservoirs as well as inflow from streams. The high water has closed most of the north Delta launch ramps, and the river will need to drop before launch ramps are reopened. Boating in the north Delta is dangerous due to floating and submerged debris and high flows. The best locations for action and safe boating is in the sloughs and main bays in the lower Delta, and sturgeon are coming out of Suisun Bay near the Benicia/Martinez Bridge and Mothball Fleet along with Montezuma Slough. Sturgeon fishing should remain solid through April while striped bass may be arriving later than normal.
SAN JOAQUIN RIVER
The south Delta was starting to clear, but the last two storms have kept most boats off of the water. The clearest water is in the south Delta near Discovery Bay, and the water temperatures are rising due to the warm storms. Bass fishing is best in the sloughs with spinnerbaits, but boaters need to be cautious with the high water. The overall result of the flushing out of the San Joaquin River will be an excellent largemouth bass bite in the coming months.
Flows jumped from 12,000 cfs to 70,000 cfs over the weekend at Fair Oaks. The flooding has brought all fishing to a halt on the American, while Discovery Park was under 6 feet of water on Sunday. High flows have plagued steelhead fishing since the Jan. 1 opener between Hazel Avenue and Nimbus Fish Hatchery.
The lake jumped from 408 feet a week ago to nearly 450 feet last Friday before dropping to 441 feet Sunday afternoon. With inflows near 80,000 cfs and outflows around 40,000 cfs, fishing has been poor. The lake was filled with logs over the weekend, with muddy water making fishing tough. The 5 mph speed limit is lifted as long as the lake is above 400 feet, but floating debris have made all boating tough. Currently the Granite Bay and Brown’s Ravine’s Hobie Cove ramps are open. The water temperature was 49 degrees on Sunday.
RANCHO SECO LAKE
Trout fishing has been fair from the dock, dam and north shore. Power Bait is working well. Another trout plant is expected this week. The lake is full. The annual trout derby is set for April 1 and 2.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Dunsmuir
Flows at the Delta gauge crested at 40,000 cfs the middle of last week, causing some flood damage in the Dunsmuir area. Flows were down to 6,270 cfs on Sunday, still way too high for trout fishing.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Red Bluff to Colusa
Flood conditions have brought all striper and sturgeon fishing to a halt. There is a brief break in the weather this week before more rain arrives before the weekend.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Redding to Red Bluff
With Shasta Lake nearing full capacity, more water is being released into the Sacramento River. Flows at Keswick hit 70,000 cfs on Sunday, completely blowing out the Sacramento River below.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Sacramento
Fishing has been slow in the deepwater channel and Port of Sacramento. Discovery Park was underwater over the weekend, and most boat launches are closed because of flooding.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Verona to Colusa
Boat launches remain closed on the Sacramento River because of flood conditions. Few anglers have tried to fish in the high, muddy water, and success has been poor. Stripers and sturgeon are expected to be in the river once it drops.
Lake is 84 percent of capacity, no reports on the fishing.
CAMP FAR WEST
Water last week spilled into campsites but it has receded. Lake is muddy, full of debris and moving swiftly. Fishing is poor.
Lake is full and muddy. First trout plant of 2017 goes in next week, a load of 1,800 pounds of catchables and trophies.
Lake continues to spill at 110 percent of capacity.
FRENCH MEADOWS RESERVOIR
Snowed in. That’s it until spring.
HELL HOLE RESERVOIR
Snowed in with no access.
The Bear River Inlet is packed with debris. Water is brown. Greenhorn Launch is off-limits because of debris. Lake was rounding into shape before last week’s rain. The main body of the lake seems to be clear but caution is needed.
SCOTT’S FLAT LAKE
NID supervisor Jim Caldwell reported one angler gave it a go last week and was rewarded with a 25-inch rainbow caught with a trolled Rapala in eight feet of water near the Ditch Digger’s House at the inlet. The lake has a murky green, without much debris. It is full and spilling, but quite fishable.
Berkeley served as a busy jump-off spot for party and private boats heading up into San Pablo Bay or through the Carquinez Straits to get in on the fantastic sturgeon bite. Happy Hooker fished San Pablo Bay for sturgeon and stripers, catching sturgeon to 43 inches. Local waters were good for perch from the shoreline or stripers from boats.
Crabbing and sanddab trips were productive for boats like New Sea Angler. Shore fishing near the Harbor entrance was good for perch, rockfish, cabezon and kelp greenling. Tomales Bay continued to be a viable area to work for Dungeness crabs and local beaches were very good for barred surf perch, red tail perch and rainbow perch.
The party boat fleet stayed tied to the docks or in for annual maintenance. Private boats headed for San Pablo Bay or went down into South Bay to chase striped bass and sturgeon. Along the shoreline from Emeryville to Alameda Rock Wall, perch fishers had good times with the hungry fish.
Rough seas prevented boats from heading out for crabs, sanddabs and petrale sole, so folks went shore fishing instead. Both the North and South jetties produced perch, rockfish, kelp greenling, cabezon and a few lingcod. Big Lagoon broke open, allowing a fresh bunch of fish to swim in from the sea.
Telstar skipper Capt. Randy Thornton reported that Capt. Tim Gillespie on Sea Hawk brought passengers in early with limits of healthy Dungeness crabs and Capt. Gillespie backed it up… out at 8:00 a.m., back by 11:00 a.m. with limits. Calm surf allowed people to fish some awesome spots like Dynamite Shack, MacKerricher and Glass Beach to catch lingcod, cabezon and rockfish.
HALF MOON BAY
Private and commercial boats made it out for crabs and sanddabs, but party boats stayed tied to their docks. The jetty was fishable and people caught perch, rockfish and cabezon or they cast snares for rock crabs and a few Dungeness. Striped bass were caught along beaches from pacifica to Mussel Rock.
Bass Tub is back in the water, ready to rumble and Argo made a successful Sunday sturgeon trip to San Pablo Bay. South San Francisco shoreline saw some action on striped bass and even sturgeon. Perch fishing was good on the Bay side of the Penninsula while striped bass fishing was decent along the beaches outside the Gate.
- Western Outdoor News