Lake Almanor – Tough Bite for Rainbows, Browns and Bass, American River/Sacramento Area – Central Valley Salmon Seasons Finalized, Shad Are Hitting

Almanor Fishing Report

Tough Bite for Rainbows, Browns and Bass

Chester – High winds coupled with unsettled weather have made for uncomfortable fishing conditions the past few days. The bite remains tough at best. That said the fish we are catching are in great shape. Water level seems to have peaked the past few days, and clarity remains at 10-15’. Water temp has dropped the past week; I saw 57 degrees on the fish finder today.

The bite has been tough for bass fishermen as well, there was a small club tournament this weekend and the top boat (five fish limit) was ten and a half pounds. Plastics, crank baits and top water all caught fish. Trout trollers are targeting the north/west section of the lake alternating between fast and slow depending on weather. We are covering lots of ground and fishing hard for a half dozen bites. Today I slow trolled for two hours without a grab, sped up with hardware and ended up with five fish. Red/gold at 20’ on the wire was our top producer.   I have not seen or heard of any positive reports on the hex hatch, we are at least two weeks away from the hex hatch getting into full swing.

Traffic has been light during the week, both USFS boat ramps are open and most campgrounds are open as well. Our weather is expected to improve this next week and I would hope fishing does as well.

Reported By: Quail Lodge Lake Almanor Lodging & Guide Service


American River/Sacramento Area

Central Valley Salmon Seasons Finalized, Shad Are Hitting

SACRAMENTO – The Central Valley salmon seasons have been finalized. The season will open on July 1 on the American, Sacramento, Feather and Mokelumne Rivers, with the exception of the Sacramento from the Red Bluff Diversion Dam to the Deschutes Bridge that will open on August 1.

The CDFW and NOAA Fisheries predict a total run with an estimated 151,000 total run with estimated 21,000 adults harvested., according to James Stone of the Nor-Cal Guides and Sportsman’s Association. There is expected to be a very minimal return to the Central Valley system in this drought year, based on the jack (two-year-old) counts in the fall of 2020.

The bag limit is 2 per day with 4 in possession on the Sacramento, American, Mokelumne, and Feather rivers, although some guides would like to lower the bag limit to one based upon the poor anticipated returns.

Shad fishing is the hot item on the Sacramento and American River in the Sacramento metropolitan area. Boaters are doing the best on the Sacramento from Discovery to I Street, reported Uncle Larry Barnes at Sacramento Pro Tackle.

“Other boaters are anchoring up and fishing the deeper holes with 1/32 oz. jigheads with chartreuse and pink tails in the Sacramento River from the Sacramento Marina to just above the Interstate 80 Bridge,” said Barnes.

Craig Newton at Willfish Bait and Tackle reported solid shad fishing on the American from Sailor Bar to Harrington’s Access. 

“The fishing is best in evenings,” he noted. “I found success during a recent evening while swinging 1/8 oz. jigheads with chartreuse grub tails in the Harrington’s Access area.

Written By: Dan Bacher


Lake Berryessa

All Three Bass Species Biting

NAPA – All three species of black bass – largemouth, smallmouth and spotted – are biting at Lake Berryessa mow.

Dom Paganelli of Paganelli’s Bass Fishing Experience found top-notch fishing on his latest fishing adventure at Berryessa.

“The two anglers fishing with me caught around 20 fish to 2-1/2 pounds,” said Paganelli. “They fished with Senkos and tubes in 3 to 10 feet of water. They also lost a number of bass.”

Paganelli stayed in the Narrows all day, due to the winds hitting the lake that day. The surface water temperature was already 71 degrees.

Kokanee fishing continues to be “really good” at Berryessa, according to Troy Barr of T-Roy’s Guide Service.

“We had a father son trip for Max’s tenth birthday,” reported Barr after his most recent trip. “The two anglers put the hammer to the fish, catching their limits. This was a first trip with our C4 Custom Rods and they performed as expected.”

“We dropped in the morning over a clump of fish in the 30-35 ft. range. We used RMT dodgers, Apex lures, Uncle Larry’s spinners, AA Lures and RMT micro squids, tipped with Pautzke fire corn and with fire gel on the hardware at 30 to 57 feet deep,” said Barr. 

Lake Berryessa is holding 1,107,096 acre feet of water, 69 percent of capacity and 80 percent of capacity.


Bullards Bar Reservoir

Kokanee Highlight Spring Angling Parade

DOBBINS – If you want to catch scrappy kokanee salmon, Bullards Bar Reservoir remains one of the top prospects in northern California.

“I made a run to Bullards Bar yesterday,” reported Craig Newton at Willfish Bait and Tackle. “It was a nice day with a little wind from time to time. The two of us found a few fish right out of Dark Day, but it was a slow pick so we made the run up the river. We found fish, but it was the same story. We went through the gear and got a couple over 12 inches.”

“Then we Hit Mill Creek on the way back,” said Newton. “We should have started there, since were lots of fish there. We ended the day with 12 landed, 6 released, 6 kept (3 over 12″), and several long-distance releases. The hot setup was a pink GVF dodger and Pink Paulina Peak hoochie. The fish came from 25′ to 50′.”

Englebright Reservoir continues to produce recently stocked rainbow trout, along with some larger holdover rainbows and an occasional German brown. Anglers should troll with worms behind dodgers or Rapalas in the Yuba River Arm.

Bullards Bar is holding 572,540 feet of water, 59 percent of capacity and 71 percent of average.

Englebright is holding 64,242 feet of water, 92 percent of capacity and 95 percent of average

Written By: Dan Bacher


Clear Lake

23.72 Lb. Channel Catfish Tops Annual Derby

CLEARLAKE  Robert Cooker of Sacramento won first place in the adult division of  the 21st annual Clearlake Oaks-Glenhaven Business Association Catfish Derby on May 14-16 by catching a 23.72 lb. channel catfish.

Donald Hall Jr. of San Jose placed second in the event with a 23.57 lb. catfish.

Scarlett Reordan of Lakeport won first place in the kids to 10 years old division with a 22.43 lb. catfish.

Dylan Neuharth of Clearlake placed first in the kids 11 to 15 years old division with a 22.62 lb. catfish. 

The Clearlake Oaks-Glenhaven Catfish Derby is the largest catfish tournament west of the Mississippi. Each May hundreds of eager fishermen and women visit Clear Lake for a chance to land the big one and win one of many prizes.

The tournament features:  separate divisions for adults and kids; food and entertainment; a $5,000 prize cash for the largest fish caught in the adult division; $100 for the largest fish caught in each of two kids divisions; over $10,000 total in cash and merchandise prizes.

The bass bite also continues to be solid at Clear Lake. “The fish are in all stages of the spawn – pre-spawn, pre-spawn and post-spawn,” stated Tanner Messimer at Clear Lake Outdoors. “The key is to find a big concentration of fish. Most of the fish are in the 3 to 4 lb. range.”

He recommended fishing frogs in the early morning and evening hours and throwing out Keitech swimbaits, Senkos, drop shot rigs and jigs during the day.


Folsom Lake 

Trollers Battle Rainbows and Kings

FOLSOM – Boaters trolling in the low waters of Folsom Lake are still catching good numbers of rainbow trout and a few king salmon.

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, Folsom rainbows are still chewing nightcrawlers behind the watermelon sidekicks on the top lines and pink GVF Draggins a little deeper,” said Jerry Lampkin of T.N.G. Motorsports Guide Service. “The one king we caught on our latest trip made it a baker’s dozen. The king hit GVF Pina colada spinner bug, of course.”

“Most trollers at Folsom now are catching the rainbows from the South Fork to the dam at 25 to 35 feet deep and the kings at 60 to 70 feet deep,” said Craig Newton at Willfish Bait and Tackle in Auburn.

Black bass fishing is also very good at Folsom. “One customer reported that he and his fishing partner caught and released over 50 fish during one recent trip,” said Newton. “The fish were mostly spotted bass, with a few largemouths and smallmouths mixed in. He was fishing Ned-rigged Senkos.”

The low water ramp at Browns Ravine is the only ramp open at this time. The speed limit on the entire lake remains 5 mph.

Folsom Lake is holding 369,738-acre feet of water, 38 percent of capacity and 47 percent of average.


Los Vaqueros Reservoir

Shore Anglers Hook Trout in South Cove

BURSON – The rainbow trout plants continue at Los Vaqueros, due to a combined 5,000 pounds of Mt. Lassen rainbows going into the lake over the past month. Plants will continue to be bi-weekly as weather allows.

Shore anglers are picking up good numbers of rainbows while fishing with PowerBait, Kastmasters and other offerings in the South Cove, the dock near the marina and Cowboy Cove.

For example, two brothers, Gary and Dan Brown, caught their limits of rainbows. 10 fish total, on their three last trips to the lake. They were fishing with PowerBait in South Cove, reported Miriam at the Los Vaqueros Marina.

“We haven’t rented out a boat for a week because of the strong winds,” she stated.

Stripers are also providing solid action at Los Vaqueros. Most of the keeper stripers being caught by rental boaters and boaters are in the 18-22 inch range. Your best bet for the stripers is to bait fish with anchovies, troll with Rapalas or other plugs or to cast out trout pattern swimbaits and top water lures.

For those wishing to target catfish, chicken liver and anchovies are the top baits. South Cove, Cowboy Cove and Oak Point have been mentioned by anglers as some of the better spots.

The water level is currently at 126K-acre feet. The water temperature is 62 degrees. The water clarity has been good except for windy days. 

If you are looking to rent a boat it is always a good idea to call ahead to check current wind conditions. Remember; rental boats are first come first serve. Weekends and some weekdays sell out quickly. For more information, call 925-371-2628.


Lake Oroville  

 Trollers Nail Chunky Kings

OROVILLE –You probably won’t catch a quick limit of landlocked king salmon if you fish at Lake Oroville now, but the fish you catch will likely be quality ones.

Just ask Edward Joe of San Francisco, who landed an 8-pound, 12-ounce king at Oroville while fishing with Rob Reimers of Rustic Rob’s Guide Service on Monday, May 17. Joe and his father, Lee, caught a total of three salmon while trolling with Brad’s Mini Cut Plugs in the gold diver down color. 

“The other two fish they landed weighed 6 and 4 pounds,” said Reimers. “We caught the largest fish at 25 feet deep and the other two at 50 feet near the dam and the Highway 162 Bridge.” 

On Reimers’ previous trip on May 15, Stacy Barawad of Stacy Goes Outside on You Tube landed two salmon weighing 5-1/2 and 6 pounds and lost another while trolling around the dam and bridge at 50 to 55 feet deep. The fish hit the Brad’s Mini-Cut Pugs in the gold diver down and hot tiger patterns.

Even bigger kings have been caught lately at Oroville. Dave Koistenen of the Tornado Flasher Company in Chico landed kings weighing 10.3, 11.5, and 11.92 pounds recently while trolling a Brad’s Cut Plug in Christine loaded with tuna and an anchovy fillet behind one of his custom green/chrome 8-inch 360 Tornado Flashers. He has been fishing from 50 to 75 feet deep at 2 mph.  

The Feather River Fish Hatchery, operated by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) plants the reservoir with fingerling king salmon every year. The facility stocked 132,000 subcatchable kings in the lake last May and planted 108,000 subcatchable kings on April 23 this year, reported Penny Crawshaw, fish hatchery manager 1.

“We normally plant in late October or early November, but we stocked the salmon in the spring in 2020 and 2021 because our UV system is not working at the optimum level and because of warming water conditions,” said Crawshaw. “Our hatchery collects all of the eggs for the lakes in the CDFW inland chinook program.”

A State Water Project reservoir, Lake Oroville was formed by the tallest earth-filled dam in the country at 900 feet at maximum level, 770 feet
above the Feather River streambed. The lake is currently holding 1,421,812-acre feet of water, 40 percent of capacity and 48 percent of average.


Chad Smith landed this hefty 7.2lb king salmon. He was fishing with Brett Brady of Barebones Guide Service when he caught this beauty! Photo Courtesy of Barebones Guide Service