Northern CA Freshwater Fishing Report

Bass and coho action improving at Lake Oroville with recent heavy rains

BY PAT YOUNG/WON Staff WriterPublished: Feb 02, 2012

PARADISE WON Staffer Pat Young met up with Paradise Tackle Company owner Bruce Gibson, and guide Ron Gandolfi in Paradise this past week and caught bass and saw plenty of coho salmon in the rising water of Lake Oroville.  

Gandolfi said the lake had come up 2¼ feet after the heavy rains seen the previous weekend and fish were attracted to the incoming water found in the backs of pockets and creeks in the West Branch and North Fork.

This writer met up with Gibson on Tuesday morning and headed to Lime Saddle Marina to catch up with Ron Gandolfi. After launching, we made a quick run up the North Fork and started fishing pockets with incoming water. The day before, Gandolfi had found schools of spots in the dirty water running into the lake, but the mud had settled by the time we fished and the bass were suddenly elusive. There were still schools of 10- to 13-inch coho salmon attacking lures in the back of Berry Creek. I had dozens of salmon following worms and grubs right to the boat.

A move to the West Branch produced some bass on steeper points with small broken rock and mud. Gandolfi did the best with the 5/16-ounce brown/blue Paradise finesse jig dressed with a brown 4-inch Senko picking up a half-dozen spots from 1¼ to 2¼ pounds at 10 to 20 feet deep. I decided to throw something different and stuck with a Kalin Lunker Worm and a Kalin 3-inch grub on a 1/8-ounce darthead, but only landed a few smaller bass. Trust me when I say — throw the jig!!

When we got back into Lime Saddle and pulled the boat out, we bumped into an angler who had caught a pair of nice coho salmon. Bob McGriff of Paradise showed off two spawning salmon — a  20-inch female that was spilling ripe eggs all over the pavement when it was taken out of the Ranger livewell, and an 18½-inch hook-jawed male dripping milt. McGriff said he caught the fish on drop-shot worms and tubes in the West Branch.

The rising water level has the lake’s fish population heading for the bank to take advantage of newly flooded shoreline. Though there were big schools of pond smelt seen on the meter at 60 to 80 feet deep, the bass were keying on crawdads in much shallower water. Fish a brown jig or tube for better quality bass and salmon on main points and be prepared for a light bite. Keep a spinning rod with a Kastmaster handy for the small coho in the creeks and pockets.

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