Compiled by Dave Hurley and edited by local fishing expert Roger George, a former Olympic-class decathlete at Fresno State and striper record-holder at Millerton Lake.
Telephone numbers are in 559 calling area unless noted.
Delta striper and sturgeon action touted as best in years, Tony Lopez said. Millerton and Pine Flat bass are best bets, Merritt Gilbert reported. Huntington and Shaver trout steady after storm, Dick Nichols reported. McClure bass hitting, Jason Mello said. Kaweah bass still working, Larry Kerns said.
After fishing the big lake at San Luis last week, I pulled out on the Basalt ramp to clean my boat and parked next to some other guys with a truck and boat. I asked how they had done, and they said they had been fishing off the bank and hadn't gotten anything. Embarrassed, the older angler quickly told me that they weren't planning on fishing from the shore but this was their first trip from Tracy and they had not accounted for the Quagga inspection. They pointed out the bright red tag on the front of their boat and admitted they had been officially quarantined. The Quaggas had struck once again!
A little irritated, they asked if we knew the rules were about going to another lake. I told him it was my opinion as an experienced "quarantined boater" and offender that they were out of luck launching on any other body of water for now. Going somewhere else and taking the red tag off while launching before the quarantine was lifted was not a good idea from what I had been told by the inspectors. Sometimes, I told the anglers, you just have to grin and bear it -- and that led to a discussion of why the whole Quagga program is enforced so differently all over California.
I later called over to San Antonio to see if they enforced the Quagga inspection like they did at San Luis. I wanted to know if a passed inspection tag from San Luis would be accepted at San Antonio. The inspector told me that it would carry some weight, but they would still do a visual and once-over on the boat anyway. In my book, that means it's the inspectors choice.
As I delved into their procedures, the inspector told me they were trying to put together a complete statewide Quagga inspection monitoring system that uses bar codes to track all the lakes the boat had launched at in the past year. It would track the boats that came from infected lakes, and the ones that didn't, making the inspection process more specific and effective.
Great idea, since most of us are fishing the same lakes in the Valley. This would save a lot of time and money enforcing quarantine regulations on boats that haven't come within 200 miles of a known infected lake.
On the other hand, one of the big questions has been what happens when it rains -- or even a heavy mist or fog? The San Antonio inspector said they tried to use common sense and that the main concern then would be livewells and that sealed bilges were dry and there was no growth on the hull. OK, but what about pour-through floors, where excess water flows down to the bilge? At San Luis, the unofficial new take I've gotten on rain, fog, and mist situations is that they will just do a visual growth check, check the dry lockers, livewells and bilge. Better than what I saw last year, but there are some pretty big what-if gray areas and how they are actually handled.
The protocol seems to be a moving target that inspectors are trying to codify as they go along. I have to confess, designing a zero-tolerance program to keep the Quagga out is a knotty issue.