Anglers can keep their catch starting this weekend

Doug Busey
Special to the Tribune


Hello fellow anglers. It is time again for the California opening fishing season. This year there is a twist to it. Most of the rivers in California have been open to catch and release since March 1.

But on April 24, most waters will change to spring-summer regulations, meaning you are allowed to use bait or artificial lures or flies, and the bag limit will change from zero to a five-fish limit per day.

I recommend checking the regulations for each water you fish. You can do that only online or download the California Department of Fish and Wildlife fishing application.

Regulation booklets are no longer available in stores. As we venture out next weekend, take your time getting to your destination by planning ahead.

A few simple rules to note, if you are pulling a trailer, put a twist on your chains so they do not hit the ground and spark a wildfire. When you are traveling across the California state line, all firewood you have must have been debarked, or have come from a retail store. This is to reduce the spread of bark beetles and other unwanted pests. Campfires are only allowed in designated camp areas and many counties require a campfire permit. When you have ended your evening and are putting out your campfire. Pour water on it to extinguish and use a shovel to spread embers out within the ring and douse it again with water. Do this a couple times and do not throw dirt on it. Make sure it is completely out before you turn in for the night. We need to do all we can not to repeat the wildfire season we experienced last year. Statistics show that 87 percent of all wildfires are human caused.

LAKE TAHOE: Fishing has been good for anglers fishing the ledges off Tahoe City or the deeper water near Cal/Neva point. Right now, only Tahoe sealed boats will be allowed to launch at Tahoe. The boat inspection stations are scheduled to open on May 1 in Meyers and at the intersection of highways 50 and 28.

CAPLE LAKE: The ice is getting questionable. I would recommend staying off the lake until it has thawed. When the shore starts showing open water. This is when a nightcrawler and a pinch weight works very well. Kastmasters are also effective. The resort is looking to open in mid-May if the weather cooperates. for more information call the Caple lake resort at 209-258-8888. Note: The Caples Lake campground will be opening this year in late May.

WOOD LAKE: Campground is not open as of this week.

RED LAKE: The ice is coming off the lake and not recommended to venture out. the lake may look solid, but the edges can be unstable.

BLUE LAKES: The road is not open to Blues Lakes as of this week.

INDIAN CREEK RESERVOIR: The campground is not open until possibly May 1, I have not received confirmation yet. The water level is low but very fishable. Fishing has been slow for most anglers. The lake holds rainbow, cutthroat and brown trout. Average fish is 8-14 inches, with some as big as 2-8 pounds.

CARSON RIVER WEST FORK CALIFORNIA SIDE: The water level has come up with the warming temps. Right now, the river is open to catch and release with artificial lures or flies only until April 23. On April 24, regulations change to a five fish limit, and you will be allowed to use bait, lures or flies with barbed or barbless hooks. Alpine County Fish and Game Commission has planted the river this week with nice sized rainbow trout from Woodfords to Hope Valley. With the hold overs and this recent plant, fishing will be outstanding.

CARSON RIVER EAST FORK CALIFORNIA SIDE: The river is running very well for this time of year. I had a report of a 3- and a 5-pound rainbow caught last week. I am glad they did not have a photo, because right now it is catch and release with artificial lures or flies only. On April 24, the regulations change to a five-fish limit and bait, lures or flies will be allowed. The Alpine County Fish and Game Commission planted the river this week with 900 pounds of nice sized rainbow trout. On or after April 24, bring in your catch to the Carson River Resort to get your picture taken for the Naw hall of fame and their personal book of fame. The general store is open for all the fishing and camping items you need. I would call ahead to make reservations to stay. They offer camping on the river, RV full hook ups and old log cabins with some modernizations of comfort. For more information call 530-694-2229.

TOPAZ LAKE: The water level is still low. Fishing has been fair to good for trollers. Flashers with a night crawler or a dick slammer have been productive. Rapalas have also been productive, best patterns have been blk/gold or a perch. Shore anglers have been doing fair with green or yellow power bait. Inflated nightcrawlers have also been successful. The Douglas county boat ramp is open for launching. The park also has tent camping, RV with some hookups. They also have primitive camping right on the shore of the lake. Remember that we are still in April, the air temps may be in the mid 60’s or 70’s, but the water temperature is still in the mid 40’s.

JUNE LAKE AREA: The June Lake Loop will open to fishing on April 24. Many of the lakes have been planted with Monster rainbow trout. On the loop, they call it the great Fishmas season.

TWIN LAKES: Fishing season opens to fishing on April 24.

BRIDGEPORT RESERVOIR: The water level is very low. The Bridgeport Marina as of this point will be renting boats, but due to low water, boat launching will not be available at the Marina.

UPPER TRUCKEE RIVER, TAYLOR CREEK. TROUT CREEK: All located on the south end of Lake Tahoe. Fishing is closed until the Saturday preceding Memorial weekend.

Good luck on your next adventure. If you have a photo of your catch, send it to I hope to see you out on the waters. Good fishin’ and tight lines.

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