North state fishing report for week of Dec. 10

LAKE OROVILLE: The lake held at 30 percent, and the launch ramps at both the Spillway and Bidwell are now open. The bass bite is excellent for spotted bass with 3.5-inch Dry Creek Tubes, small Keitech swimbaits, or Bass Union Finesse jigs with a Yamamoto Twin Tail Trailer at depths from 15 to 20 feet. A few diehard salmon trollers were out over the weekend only to find no takers as the lake remains low to the point that it is far too easy to hang a downrigger into the submerged trees.

LAKE SHASTA: Phil’s Propellers held a tournament on Sunday with 119 fishermen arriving on the lake. John Boitano of JB’s Guide Service reported a good bass bite as the fish are feeding heavily on shad. A mix of larger swim baits including Hawg Hunters and Sneaky Pete’s glide baits in the 8- and 10 inch size have been the best producing lures for the larger bass. Smaller reaction baits fished such as Keitech swimbaits or umbrella rigs slow-rolled out to 35 feet are producing on 17- to 20-pound monofilament or fluorocarbon line. Trout trolling is decent with shallow trolling Junior Optimizers and Speedy Shiners in gold or orange/gold from the surface to 20 feet. Side planers are also effective. The trout are up shallow and have also been feeding on the shad. Browns to 9 pounds and rainbows to 5 pounds have been reported this week. The lake held at 25 percent, and Bridge Bay is one of the only launch ramps available.

TRINITY RIVER, Willow Creek: The lower Trinity is clear with not much fishing pressure. A few more boats are around as the upper section is crowded. There are some half-pounders around and a few adult steelhead. The adult winter steelhead should start to show with the next rise in flows. Downstream of the Highway 299 Bridge at Cedar Flat to the Denny Road Bridge in Hawkins Bar is closed to fishing September 1 through December 31. As of Thursday, flows were nearing 1,050 cfs on the Hoopa gauge.

AMERICAN RIVER/Sacramento: There are still some salmon holding at the mouth, but the river is so low that many of the fish are bypassing the American and heading upriver on the Sacramento. Salmon are still being caught at the river mouth near Discovery Park by guide boats back trolling flatfish and by bank anglers throwing Blue Fox spinners in size 4, 5, or 6 along with Flying C’s in size 4 or 5. #5. The flows at Fair Oaks have come up a bit from 611 to 662 cfs., but they are still seasonably low.

AMERICAN RIVER/Above Folsom: The flows dropped to 176 cfs at Chili Bar, and Craig Newton of Will Fish Tackle in Auburn reported trout fishing is pool to pool with the low water levels continuing to recede. The American River watershed above Folsom Dam will be closed for bait fishing or retention of trout until the week prior to Memorial Day.

FEATHER RIVER: An occasional ‘half-pounder’ steelhead is caught, but the water is extremely low and is limiting holding areas. The flows at Gridley are 1524 cfs and 1991 cfs at Boyd’s Pump.

SACRAMENTO RIVER, Red Bluff to Chico: Slow for salmon early in the week but better mid- week and over the weekend. The flows at Colusa are 3578 cfs.

SACRAMENTO RIVER, Metro area: The river is still slightly off-color but salmon fishing has been decent. The salmon bite has been fair at best for the experienced guides fishing sardine-wrapped Flatfish near the mouth of the American at Discovery Park and from below Miller Park to Freeport. Some bank action reported below Highway 80. using Blue Fox spinners in size 4,5, or 6 along with Flying C’s in sizes 4 or 5. The steelhead bite is still slow. The boats fishing Knight’s Landing are seeing some decent action, and it should continue to improve until the season closes on December 15 th . The flows have dropped to 6495 cfs. at Verona and 10,092 cfs. at Freeport. The Port of Sacramento has been ‘hit or miss’ for striped bass as ocean-going vessels will cloud up the water when they arrive, driving out the stripers.

The weekly fishing report, compiled by Western Outdoor News, highlights the best angling opportunities in the north state. A longer version, with many more lakes and rivers, can be seen online at

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