‘Outrageous’ Mackinaw fishing at North Lake Tahoe, Calif.
By Don Quilici
LAKE ALMANOR, CALIF: Shasta Cascade Wonderland Association (530-365-7500): Bank fishing is the only way to go until the ice melts around the edges of the lake. The Hamilton Branch area has seen good action for limits of rainbows, and a few big brown trout on white jigs, Kastmasters or a nightcrawler/bobber combination. Another good area for bank fishing has been Big Springs, were bank anglers using white jigs have been netting fish the past two days, especially salmon, as they seem to be everywhere.
BLUE LAKES AREA, CALIF: Dave Kirby of the Woodfords Station (530-694-2930): Beautiful weather over the weekend, but it was basically quiet up here.
CROWLEY LAKE AREA, CALIF: Steve Osterman of Performance Anglers of Mammoth Lakes (760) 924-2181:
Crowley Lake: Closed.
Hot Creek: Water flow is 4 CFS. If you are planning to fish the creek, be prepared for a bit of a hike. Snow shoes or X-country skis are an asset. Fishing is good with small Nymphs and there is a limited amount of surface activity on BWO’s. Best fishing is during the mid day hours. Recent warm up in weather has helped to improve fishing here.
DAVIS LAKE, CALIF: Shasta Cascade Wonderland Association (530-365-7500): Some ice fishing going on here, but reports of success have been limited. Access is still difficult along the east-side road which has been plowed as far as Mallard Cove. The snowplow has left a berm up to about 6 feet high along the road and getting over that has made accessing the lake difficult. More good weather should improve this situation.
FEATHER RIVER, CALIF: Shasta Cascade Wonderland Association (530-365-7500): Some Steelhead were being caught in the Low Flow Section on flies and nightcrawlers, but the bigger news was the annual plant of young Steelhead at boat ramps around Yuba City which attracted striped bass. They were willing to hit just about anything thrown at them, and it didn’t have to be a close rainbow trout imitation.
FRENCHMAN RESERVOIR, CALIF: Wiggin’s Trading Post at Chilcoot, Calif. (530-993-4683): The ice is still good and solid, about a foot thick. Most everyone is fishing at the dam or off the rocks to the left of the dam. Those fishing early seem to be getting the best results. Try nightcrawlers and jigs. There is still no access around the lake without a snowmobile.
FRENCHMAN RESERVOIR, CALIF: Shasta Cascade Wonderland Association (530-365-7500): Good ice fishing reported here, with some anglers getting limits of rainbows. The dam area and nearby rocks have been productive areas. Fish have been running between 14 and 18 inches.
FT. CHURCHILL COOLING PONDS (on the Mason Valley Wildlife Management Area): Doug Busey of Douglas County reported that Dave Rodway of Gardnerville fishe over the weekend and caught nice Channel Catfish (up to 2 pounds), a couple small bass and a large Blue Gill. He was using nightcrawlers and marshmallows.
INDIAN CREEK RESERVOIR, CALIF: Dave Kirby reported that the paved road is now plowed to the airport, but you’ll probably need cross county skis or snowshoes from there to the reservoir. The dirt road from the other side is still closed due to snow.
OROVILLE LAKE, CALIF: Shasta Cascade Wonderland Association (530-365-7500): Bass fishing has been slow, but fair this past week with slowly rising lake levels. The fish will hit jigs and plastic worms at 25 to 40 feet and can be caught with plastic worms, tube baits and jigs. A few 12-18 inch Coho Salmon were hitting trolled lures in the creek arms and even bass baits.
OWENS RIVER, CALIF: Steven Osterman:
Upper Owens: Water flow is 91 CFS. Fishing is good with Hares Ears, Pheasant Tails, WD-40’s and most standard Nymph patterns.
Lower Owens: Water flow is currently 109 CFS. Fly fishing is very good. The fish are not too picky about the fly but still demand a good presentation. For Nymphing, try Pheasant Tails, Cased Caddis, green rock worms, WD-40’s, Prince Nymphs, Hares Ears, Fox’s Caddis Poopa and Brassies. Some surface action with Baetis patterns. Mid day BWO hatch is beginning to intensify. Dry fly fishing should turn on in the next couple of weeks.
PYRAMID LAKE, NEV: Valerie and Linda at Crosby’s Lodge at (775) 476-0400: We had a total of 330 people entered in our two-weekend derby. The weather for this last weekend was absolutely gorgeous. The first place winner was Lisa Stevens with 12-pounds, 12-ounces. Second place was Tim Zahniser of Reno with 11-pounds, 2-ounces. Third place was Molly O’Daye of Pyramid Lake with 11 pounds.
PYRAMID LAKE, NEV: George and Carla Molino of the Pyramid Lake Store at (775) 476-0555: The weather was good over the weekend. The fishing was a little bit slow for George (Cutthroat Charters). He did OK on Saturday but had to work hard on Sunday, they caught fish but no “keepers.”
PYRAMID LAKE, NEV: Chris and Jeri Grellman of Sparks of Hog Charters (358-5199): We caught and released 18 on Saturday and 28 on Sunday. They were in the 20-23 inch class. We were trolling with Apex lures up north at a depth of 40 feet in 80 feet. Our biggest fish was 7 pounds.
PYRAMID LAKE, NEV: Jim Hartfiel of Just Rite Fishing at Pyramid Lake at (775) 575-7850 (home) or (775) 813-3411 (Cell): We did it! A fish caught on the Just Rite Fishing boat won the Crosby Derby. Lisa Stevens of Eureka caught a 12-pound, 12-ounce (33 inch) cutthroat on Saturday, Feb. 9, about 10 minutes after we began fishing. We were trolling a rainbow-colored lure at a depth of 40 feet in 100 feet of water at Hell’s Kitchen. She won $4,000. Fishing over the weekend was “Stupendous!” There were a couple of 12 pounders and a couple of 10 pounders. We fished up north by dragging Flatfish lures along the bottom in about 12 feet of water.
SHASTA LAKE, CALIF: Shasta Cascade Wonderland Association (530-365-7500): Use your electronics to help find bass as they are scattered in both range and depths still while hunting down the shad, which are everywhere. A few reaction fish already being found, but Hula grubs and jigs worked from 5 to 55 feet down saw the most consistent action. You will still need to fish very slowly, though.
LAKE TAHOE – North Shore: Gene St. Denis of Blue Ribbon Charters and Tahoe Trophy Trout at South Lake Tahoe, Calif. (530-544-6552): The fishing has absolutely “outrageous,” ranging from excellent to very excellent. Limits every day for everyone. We have been trolling 140-260 feet deep. We locate the fish on the fish finder and then troll Dodgers and a live minnow in a “Figure Eight” pattern, bouncing the bottom. I’ve been fishing at Cal-Nevada Point, Dollar Point and Sugar Pine Point. Saturday, we caught a total of 14 Mackinaw, up to 33.5 inches in length. Sunday, was the very same as Saturday with the largest being 34 inches. The Macks are feeding very heavily on shrimp, crawdads and Kokanee Salmon.
LAKE TAHOE – South Shore: Gene St. Denis: No report, as the fishing at the north end is too good to pass up.
LAKE TAHOE – East Shore: Gene St. Denis: The Cave Rock Ramp has been plowed for one lane, and I recommend a 4WD vehicle for launching your boat.
TOPAZ LAKE: Chuck and Linda Fields at the Topaz Lake Marina (775-266-3550): You can now launch boats from our marina with no problems. There is some ice in the middle of the lake until about mid-afternoon. The boaters are doing OK but not catching limits. The are catching their fish in the top 5 feet of water by trolling flashers and nightcrawlers or Needlefish lure. Shore fishing is very slow. Doug Busey was on the north end on Friday. He and his wife Renee fished 4 hours and neither one got a bite.
TOPAZ LAKE: Doug Busey of Douglas County reported he and his wife got skunked from shore on Friday. He went back on Saturday, borrowed a boat from the Marina and fished at the far south end, with no action on Spinners, Rapalas, Kastmasters, etc. He switched to cowbell flasher blades and a nightcrawler at about noon and the fishing picked up. He caught fish up to 16-18 inches until about 2 p.m. when the wind came up.
WALKER RIVERS, CALIF: Steve Osterman:
East Walker River (From Bridgeport Dam to the Nevada Stateline): The West Walker River, from the Bridgeport Dam downstream to the Nevada stateline, is now open, year round, with special restrictions. The water flow is down to 20 CFS. Fishing is very tough as ice is forming in the channel. Prince Nymphs, WD-40’s, Flashback Pheasant Tails, Sparkle Caddis Pupa, Stimulators and E/C Caddis. Some decent reports from anglers fishing on the Nevada side.
WILDHORSE RESERVOIR, NEV: Dennis Dunn, Jerry, Fred, Ron and Debbie at the Wild Horse Resort (775) 758-6472: Another fishing derby has come and gone. Fishing was only fair, with no small trout or perch being caught. The two largest trout were 20.5 inches and 20 inches. Channel Catfish are showing up, 4 to date. Might be an early spring?