Northern CA Freshwater Report
Published: May 25, 2011

Lake Oroville bass and coho action in high gear


By PAT YOUNG/WON Staff Writer

OROVILLE — Bass fishing was excellent this past week for anglers preparing for a big tournament held over the weekend, and if catching 75 bass a day wasn’t good enough, coho salmon to 4½ pounds were unmercifully harassing bass anglers in the shallows.

“I pre-fished for the Future-Pro tournament this past week and found wide-open action on spawned out spots, plus good numbers of both largemouth and smallmouth bass,” Bruce Gibson at the Paradise Tackle Company said.  “We stayed in the ‘Slot’ on the main body all day and caught fish from the bank down to 20 feet.  My 3/8-ounce brown/green pumpkin/purple jig accounted for most of the bass and the bigger fish all came out of deeper water on steeper red banks at 10 to 20 feet.  There were lots of dinks right up on the bank. 

"The guys I talked to that headed up into the North Fork and the West Branch found smaller fish on the average than those we caught in the ‘Slot’, but the further north we went, the better the average size," Gibson said.   In the tournament, he picked up a 4½-pound largemouth and a 2½-pound spot.

Larry Hemphill, a Yuba City guide, took a client out on Wednesday when the weather broke after a few days of rain and found good action. Hemphill said he and his client caught 35 to 40 fish, mostly on Senkos and Roboworms. Bass were stacked up around the submerged willow trees found along the shore in many areas of the lake. Due to the weather, the fish that day were down at the base of the trees. Most of Hemphill’s fish were 13 to 14 inchers, but he managed to land a nice 2¼-pound smallmouth in the North Fork.

“The coho bite for trollers has been dead, but the bass guys were screaming about all the salmon eating their lures,” Gibson said. “We caught coho from 8 to 10 inches up to 3½ pounds on jigs during the tournament and I talked to one guy who said he landed 7 big coho on crankbaits — he had more weight in salmon than he did in bass. Another tournament angler said he picked up a 4½-pound coho on a Senko.” 

Hemphill reported having small groups of nice sized salmon chasing lures all the way back to the boat, but never hooked any. Want to catch salmon at Lake Oroville? — go bass fishing!

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