Meandering Angler: April showers help fishing

We’ve had more rain this month than the first three months of the year put together. While it doesn’t come close to breaking the drought, it’s still going to help improve the fishing for the statewide trout opener April 30.

What was looking like a low-water opening day may turn out to be the opposite. My friend Bob Grace at the Ted Fay Fly Shop in Dunsmuir reports that winter has returned to his area. Unusually warm days in the 70s and have dropped back down to the 40s and nights are below freezing. He’s even had dustings of snow.

The Cascades around Shasta seem to be the dead center of the most recent series of storms out of the Pacific and the results are one wet day after another with runoff increasing the flows in the upper Sacramento River, McCloud River, and other streams in the north part of the state. The upper Sac is already open, so you don’t have to wait until the 30th.

If you’re looking for a good place to fly fish for trout, consider the upper Sacramento. And check with Bob at his shop in Dunsmuir, not only for the best flies to use, but also for help connecting with a guide. Call Bob at 530-235-2969.

Another good place to fish right now is the Sacramento River between Redding and Anderson. The flows there are regulated by releases from Lake Shasta, which means that they’re nearly perfect for fishing in spite of the recent rains. You have several choices for guides including The Fly Shop in Redding or Kirk Portocarrero (

Anthony Carruesco of AC Flyfishing also guides on the Sacramento River in Redding and other rivers in the north state, and offered an optimistic forecast for good May fishing.

There is virtually no place in Sonoma Valley that you can fish for trout. Sonoma Creek and all of its tributaries are closed to fishing below Sugarloaf Ridge State Park.

Trout fishing is allowed in the main stem of the Russian River, but it is not known for good trout action. Many streams are regulated by specific restrictions and it is best to check the California Department of Fish and Wildlife regulations before you go fishing. Remember also that you need a California fishing license. You can get them locally at Brocco’s Old Barn on Arnold Driver, and on line at the CDFW website.

Meanwhile, Capt. Rick Powers of Bodega Bay Sportsfishing has managed to take clients out in between storms with good results, especially for rock and ling cod. The salmon bite has been fair, but he expects it will improve as we move into May. Rick says he has plenty of room on his party boat. Give him a call at 707-875-3344,

Halibut and striped bass are also biting in San Francisco Bay. Keith Fraser at Loch Lomond Bait Shop in San Rafael is the guy to call for the latest information on where to fish and you can go to his shop to get live shiners, which are the best bait for halibut. Keith’s shop is virtually the only place to get live shiners in the North Bay.

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