Kings, Bows and Browns
Shasta Lake – Rob Hower reports that Shasta is at 88′ an will top out at 80′ according to the B.O.R. water is already sold to bottom at 150′ at the end of the summer. Fishing right now is still intermittent with slow days and decent days. Fish are clean and nice browns are being caught along the shoreline trolling rolled shad or spoons. Water temp is coming up as well starting at 52° and mid-day temperature as high as 57° although still surface temperature. Rainbows are being caught throughout all areas of the lake on a variety of attractants spoons, roll baits, worms, and flies. As more insects hatch it will be a bit tougher as they will strictly be feeding on them. But some fish can’t resist the array of trolled attractants. Seems like right now better bites have been late morning and late afternoon. Fish stomachs are filled with small aquatic insects and bugs. Large schools of shad are still far up the arms and rainbows are following.
Jeff Goodwin reports that Shasta Lake is fishing pretty darn good most days for rainbow trout, brown trout, and Kokanee salmon. I’ve been targeting big browns mainly, but the rainbows and Kokanee salmon are showing up in the mix. Big browns will be around through summer, and the rainbows will show in bigger numbers in May. The big news is that we’re catching Kokanee salmon daily now and they are 13″-14″ inches and as clean as they get. We’ll see 18″-19″ Kokanee before summer ends this year for sure. I’m guessing the Kokanee in Shasta will average 3 lbs. but I’m sure we’ll see some 4 lb Kokanee in the mix. The plankton in Shasta is very abundant and the Kokanee are stuffed with them! Water temps have come up and are averaging 56 degrees right now. With more warm weather on the way and lower than normal lake levels, we’ll see Shasta warm up quickly! We’ve caught a few King salmon lately as well, but I think we’ll see the King fishing pick up by May again this year. We’re looking forward to another great year on Shasta Lake and can’t wait to see all the great fish we’re going to see coming over the rail!
Salmon Are Big, But Not Numerous
OROV(ILLE – The Chinook salmon that anglers are catching at Lake Oroville are quality fish, but they’re not very numerous at this time.
“Experienced anglers are hooking maybe 2 to 4 fish in a trip while trolling at Oroville,” disclosed Craig Newton at Willfish Bait and Tackle, “However, they’re good-sized, with a few over 6 pounds reported in the catches lately.”
Most anglers are trolling with hoochies, tipped with anchovy strips, behind dodgers or Brad’s Cut Plugs at 60 feet deep. The two top areas are by the dam and the Bidwell Canyon/Highway 162 Bridge.
During the latest bass tournament at Lake Oroville, the team of Ryan Friend and Clint Isbell placed first in the Wild West Bass Trail event with a limit weighing 17.32 pounds. They won a total of $6,000.
Joseph Orozco and Colby Cine placed second with 17.05 pounds and a big fish going 6.02 pounds. They won a total of $3,350.
Lake Oroville is holding 1,431,895 acre-feet of water, 40 percent of capacity, and 53 percent of average.
New Melones Lake
14.02, 10.56 and 10.05 Lb. Largemouths Landed!
ANGELS CAMP – Adam caught and released a 14.02 lb. largemouth while fishing atNew Melones on March 23 with Josh Parris Guide Service. “Adam came out to swing big and got swung on,” said Parris.
Then just a few days later, on March 28, Adam caught and released a 10.05 lb. largemouth while fishing with Parris.
Big fish honors also go to Jonathan Groves, who hooked and released a 10.56 lb. largemouth bass, also while fishing with Josh Parris Guide Service, on March 27.
“The bass fishing has turned on for anglers fishing big swimbaits and smaller soft plastics,” said Tucker Tarap of Glory Hole “The fish are moving onto the beds.”
“The trout fishing has been pretty good for trollers, but slow for bank anglers with the warming water conditions,” said Tarap. “The trollers are using small shad imitation lures at 20 to 30 feet deep near the dam and in Mormon Creek. Most of the fish are around 14 inches long, but some bigger ones in the 3 to 4 lb. class s are being caught.”
Bass Go Shallow On North End
NAPA – Black bass are moving into the shallows at Lake Berryessa – and increasing numbers of fish are moving onto the spawning beds as the weather warms up. Anglers are catching all three bass species – largemouths, smallmouths and “spots” – at Berryessa now.
Luke Lipinovich of Sweeney’s Sports in Napa reported that jerkbaits like the Lucky Craft Pointer Minnow in the Ghost Minnow pattern are producing good numbers of bass. For a chance at a spring trophy largemouth, he recommends using big swimbaits.
Fishing pressure for kokanee salmon has increased with the pleasant weather, particularly on the weekends. Boaters are trolling for the landlocked sockeyes in the top 30 feet of water with purple/pink spinner hoochies, tipped with white shoepeg corn, behind an array of dodgers in the lake’s north end.
For kings, anglers should mooch with Gitzits with anchovy fillets under the Putah Creek Bridge.
Big Browns – Best Bet
CHESTER – There is lots of activity on Almanor, bass boats, trollers, fly and bank fishermen are all testing their skills. Water temp raised another couple of degrees this past week and is quickly approaching the fifty-degree mark. Snow at lake level is melting quickly and our smaller creeks are depositing water into the lake. Lake level currently sits at 4481 approximately three feet less than last year, visibility has increased to 8-10’.
Boat traffic has been off the charts and it will only increase over the next few weeks with numerous bass tournaments scheduled. The canyon dam boat ramp remains the only public boat ramp and I counted 32 trailers in the lot yesterday. I have not heard of an official opening date for the USFS public ramp at Almanor West, there are reports of 50+ boats, bass tournaments in the next few weeks, which will make for crowded conditions at best.
Bass boats are struggling to catch fish as are trollers. Hamilton Branch remains your best shot at catching mature fish from shore. Trollers continue to catch more browns than bows and the quality of fish is superb with browns approaching the double-digit mark. Rainbows remain elusive. Insects are hatching throughout the lake; I would expect the rainbow bite to improve over the next few weeks.
It’s that time of year, we are all anxious to get out on the water, catch some fish and enjoy our beautiful lake. As boat pressure increases, our boat ramps are going to get crowded and patience will run thin. There have been at least two well-written articles in the AFA annual newsletter on launching and retrieving your boat. We can all use a good refresher in both. Regretfully Saturday, I witnessed firsthand a complete disregard for posted USFS rules and boat ramp etiquette as a fellow fisherman set up camp in his cab over camper in the Canyon Dam parking lot and left his boat in the water overnight attached to the only public boat ramp on Lake Almanor on perhaps the busiest day of the season this year. Please be prepared at the ramp, offer your assistance if needed and be courteous, don’t let a bad experience at the boat ramp ruin your day on the water! – Quail Lodge Lake Almanor Lodging & Guide Service
Written By: Dan Bacher