Fishing report: Week of May 1

The Fresno BeeMay 1, 2013 

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.


South Valley Aqueduct stripers feeding, Pete Cormier said. New Melones kokanee bite hot, Monte Smith said. Isabella crappie on a tear, Jason Rutledge said. McClure trout hitting, Paul Kalpakoff said. Bass Lake bass biting, Larry Kerns reported. Shaver bite improving, Dick Nichols said.


Opening weekend went well and some streams are on the low side already. Stoneflies Nos. 16-18 were hatching on streams at 6,500-feet elevation. Good size No. 16 Grey Mayflies were also showing up. Water temps were around 50 degrees. Open house at the shop this weekend. Free fly lessons. Call Sierra Flyfisher Guide Service (559) 683-7664; Yosemite Rivers Fly Shop (559) 641-7788


I've been pondering a few issues that I wanted to share to see if you might have also considered these same conundrums.

1. It seems obvious that our lakes are very low -- and I watch them pretty closely -- for this time of year and we have very little snow pack to get us through the summer, but I've heard little about trying to conserve what we have. Could our reservoirs become puddles, causing potential fish die-offs this summer? One other unfortunate outcome of low water is watching a pond-sized lake get fished to death. We saw this at a South Valley lake during the last drought. Just a thought, but if we're in danger of reaching that tipping point again, it makes sense for the Department of Fish and Wildlife to institute emergency limit regulations on the affected waters before they're destroyed. A very hot summer combined with high usage and low water reserves could put our whole fishery in jeopardy. And several years like this would be unthinkable.

2. I'm happy for the coastal charter boat captains and related businesses that are having a good salmon season so far, as well as an impending rock cod season on the horizon. The past few years, I've wondered if they could even stay in business much longer. Just 30 years ago, who would have thought that the offshore marine fishery would be the one that would become the controlled, politicized and convoluted mess it is now. We have to be aware that this same process -- mostly political in my humble estimation -- will bleed into our regular fishing more each year. The lesson is that it takes well-informed organized sportsmen fighting the right battles to offset forces that would eliminate fishing altogether. So far, most of us are not responding as though we realize this very real issue is on the horizon and closing.

3. I have had several questions about the future of the San Joaquin River salmon run restoration, and here are some of my concerns. First, I applaud the idea of a salmon run restoration, but my understanding is that the river will need to be cold enough for the salmon to survive and that means enhancing the channel to handle a sluice-like run of cold water. If that is the intent, doesn't that mean that the warm backwaters need to be cut off? And that would mean all the warm-water fish, amphibians and wildlife that depend on this ponding water would be ignored? That's not good. In addition, the river has always seemed to have had a poaching problem -- wouldn't one well-placed net running through private property just about decimate the run? I haven't heard of any plans to enforce the law to protect the fish. I hate to say this, but if there are any concerns about the run, would they consider closing the river to all fishing to protect the salmon from accidental catches? These protected fish would also probably never be accessible to anglers during our lifetimes. We're already having trouble with our water, so would it be reasonable if there is no water for several years that the run could be salvaged? Will we ever see a plan to build something that might give us more storage capacity that will allow us to reasonably put the water down the river that's needed to sustain the run? Yeah, it's a great idea, but I worry that there may be some unintended consequences we may not be considering.

Roger George is The Bee's fishing expert. He can be reached at


* Try dynamite

** Have to work hard

*** Limits possible

**** Fish jumpin' in boat


Delta Mendota Canal and Sloughs

Striper * * * Catfish * *

Large striper are showing up in the mid range of the California Aqueduct, and a 26-pounder reportedly was landed on a Lucky Craft Pointer 128. However, the most consistent action remains in the south aqueduct in Kern County near the Buena Vista Golf Course or other bank access areas with blood worms, sand worms, extra-large minnows, sardines, RatLTraps or Gitzit tube baits. With the hot weather, striper is a great option in the south valley.

Eastman Lake

Bass * * Trout * * Bluegill * * Catfish * * * Crappie * *

Quality bass remain with spinnerbaits in early mornings and Brush Hogs or jigs later, but numbers are down. Patrick Movey of the Fisherman’s Warehouse in Fresno touted Senkos, jigs and Brush Hogs for bass. Few trout reports, but action should be on the upswing with a plant last week and one this week. Catfish in the 3.5- to 4-pound range are found from the banks on sardines, especially in the evening. Catfishing is best at night with sardines, mackerel or chicken livers. The Lakeview Trail is open at its northern and southern ends to hiking, biking and equestrian use. The middle section is closed because of an active bald eagle nest. The area of the lake extending upstream from the Keep Out buoy line is closed to fishing and boating. New regulations specify the area 1,000 feet south of Raymond Bridge downstream to the Corps Buoy Line near the Codorniz Boat Ramp will be open to recreational fishing annually from Aug. 1 through Nov. 30. Contact park headquarters, open from 7:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday to Friday, at (559) 689-3255 for info. The lake is on the middle ramp on the Codorniz side and the top ramp on the Chowchilla Day Use side. The lake held at 516 feet in elevation and 33% capacity.
Call: Six Star Tackle Box 673-5688; Eastman Lake 689-3255

Hensley Lake

Bass * * Trout * * Crappie * * Catfish * * * Bluegill * *

Crappie fishermen continue to head to Kaweah or Isabella since action at Hensley is slow. Bass fishing is best for numbers with jigs in the shallows. Trout fishing has improved with a limit of 15- and 16-inch trout taken on chartreuse Power Bait near the dam. Catfishing remains good at night with chicken livers, mackerel or sardines. The lake rose slightly to 493 feet and 35%.
Call: Fresno Fisherman’s Warehouse 225-1838; Valley Rod Gun, Clovis 292-3474; Six Star Tackle Box 673-5688; U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Hensley Lake Hidden Dam 673-5151

Lake Don Pedro

Bass * * Trout * * * Crappie * * Kokanee * * King salmon * *

Randy Pringle, the Fishing Instructor, reported a slow bass bite during Saturday’s Best Bass Tournaments Open with most action on plastic worms. He said, “The high winds and hot weather surge has upset the bass.” Manny Basi of the Bait Barn in Waterford touted live bait such as minnows or night crawlers for bass and trout. The half-ounce Berserk Purple Hornet jig with a Yamamoto twin tail trailer in cinnamon purple is an option as well as top-water action with shad-patterned Ricos or similar small profile lures. The River2Sea Rover is another possibility. Rainbow trout action remains good from the surface to 30 feet with blade/crawler combos, spinners or small silver spoons near Mexican Gulch, Fleming Bay and off Big Oak Island. Kokanee action is decent with spinners or hootchies at around 60 feet. Monte Smith of Gold Country Sport Fishing will be targeting king salmon with rolled shad in deep water during a mid-week trip.
Call: Monte Smith (209) 581-4734; Danny Layne-Fishn’ Dan (209) 586-2383; Gary Vella (209) 652-7550; Bait Barn (209) 874-3011

Lake Isabella/Bakersfield area

Bass * * Trout * * * Crappie * * * * Catfish * * * Bluegill * *

The crappie bite has exploded and fishermen are finding easy limits within 45 minutes using a variety of lures including Fin-S-Fish, Crappie Stingers or Triple-Tail Grubs. Jason Rutledge of Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield confirmed the good action near Paradise Cove and Boulder Gulch with small minnows or crappie jigs. There are plenty of trout left from heavy plants for the Chamber of Commerce Trout Derby, and Lake Isabella Fishing Derby organizers have extended the opportunity to reel in thousands of dollars over the summer. Derby Headquarters has announced they are extending the deadline for registered derby participants to catch and cash in several tagged trout, to include nine $10,000 fish and the prized $20,000 fish, through Labor Day, Sept.2. Bass are moving into the shallows and Baby Brush Hogs, spinnerbaits or plastic worms are working from the banks from 5 to 10 feet. Catfishing remains good with frozen shad, clams, live minnows or chicken livers. The lake rose 1 foot to 2,545 feet and 17%. Heavy trout plants have improved action in the upper river and Rutledge reported one fisherman caught and released over 30 rainbows on Power Eggs near the Johnsondale Bridge. Salmon eggs, night crawlers or live crickets also are working.
Call: Bob’s Bait (661) 833-8657; North Fork Marina (760) 376-1812

Lake Kaweah

Bass * * Crappie * * * Trout * * * Catfish * * *

Sierra Sporting Goods in Exeter said warmer temps are putting bass off the bite. Crappie have been the hot species with small minnows or minijigs in the submerged trees or brush around Horse Creek and along lake edges. Quite a few fishermen continue to head to Kaweah or Isabella in search of the slabsides. Trout fishing is solid with live crickets, Power Bait or crawlers in the cool waters of the river arm. Catfishing is best at night with anchovies or chicken livers. The VoxPops Influentials Magazine Lake Kaweah Trout Derby is May 18-19. Tagged fish prizes of $10K cash, a 2013 Voyager Pontoon Boat, a 2013 Ford Fusion and more will be planted. The lake rose 7 feet to 653 feet in elevation and 40% capacity.
Call: Sierra Sporting Goods 592-5212

Lake Success

Bass * * Trout * * * * Catfish * * Crappie * * *

The bass bite at Success continues to be hit or miss with some action on top-water lures and spinnerbaits in the early mornings before switching to the bottom with plastic worms or jigs. The most action from banks has been along the Rocky Hill side or Tule Point side in the willows. The Wounded Warrior Bass Tournament is this weekend and there will be a number of disabled veterans participating with volunteer fishermen. Crappie action remains good in the submerged trees under the bridge with small minnows or minjigs. The lake rose less than a foot to 620 feet and 35%. All launch ramps are operational. In the Tule River, Chuck Stokke of Sequoia Fishing Company reported phenomenal action for brown trout with green stimulators in sizes 8 or 10 with a hatch of black ants and caddis flies in full swing. He said, “This was the first time I have seen rainbow trout spawning on the Tule River and the browns were on a rampage.” Although there have been a number of trout plants in the system, Stokke didn’t see any planters. Stokke is a distributor for Stage Fly Rods. The already low river will be very low by the end of May.
Call: Sequoia Fishing Company 539-5626, Lake Success 784-0215

McClure Reservoir

Bass * * * Trout * * * King salmon * * Kokanee * * Crappie * * * Catfish * *

Despite a full moon, trout fishing is on the upswing and Tom Gillespie of LeGrand and Paul Kalpakoff of Central Sierra Outfitters scored near limits of rainbows in 4 hours using Tomahawk PPK spinners in red sparkle, green sparkle or chartreuse sparkle behind Shasta Tackle Sling Blades. Upon seeing a school of fish at 200 feet, Kalpakoff switched to a purple Shasta Tackle Cripplure for a 16-inch king salmon with a 3-inch shad in its gullet. A-1 Bait in Snelling reported kokanee have been found at 110 feet near the dam while bass action remains good with Zoom Trick Worms or Keeper 1001c from the banks to 15 feet. Manny Basi of the Bait Barn in Waterford reported a good top-water bite with shad-patterned Ricos or similar small profile poppers while there is a window in the early mornings for Rovers by River2Sea. Jigs are a good option with the Berserk Purple Hornet combined with a Yamamoto twin tail trailer in cinnamon/purple. Crappie action is improved with Gitzits, small minnows or crappie jigs. Live minnows and crawdads are popular for bass and catfish. The lake rose 6 feet to 780 feet and 52%, and there is floating debris.
Call: A-1 Bait (209) 563-6505; Bub Tosh (209) 404-0053

McSwain Reservoir

Trout * * *

Heavy plants prior to the Merced Irrigation District Trout Derby are paying dividends with trollers finding action pulling night crawlers behind a Sep’s Watermelon Sidekick or chrome dodgers from Gilligan’s Island to the Second Fence Line. PPK Tomahawk spinners in a variety of colors or Wedding Rings tipped by a crawler behind a dodger are options. Bank fishing is best near the Brush Pile, Handicapped Docks and peninsula near the Marina with Power Bait, Power Eggs or night crawlers.
Call: McSwain Marina (209) 378-2534

Millerton Lake/San Joaquin River

Bass * * * Striper * Shad * Trout * *

Numbers of bass have backed off, but it is possible to land 20 to 30 using Senko’s, drop-shotting, spinnerbaits or rip baits. Merritt Gilbert said, “A few bass in the 3.5- to 4-pound range have been taken, but it is difficult to land a 14-inch fish.” The action is primarily in the main lake. Patrick Movey of the Fisherman’s Warehouse in Fresno confirmed the slowdown and advised using dart-head or drop-shot plastics. No striped bass reports. All boats must fill out a Quagga mussel self-inspection form before launching. The lake rose nearly 2 feet to 533 feet and 63%. In the lower San Joaquin, despite regular trout plants, the areas around the Broken Bridge and Lost Lake remain very slow. Heavy water releases into the San Joaquin River have made fishing with bait difficult and the best bet is to keep a spinner moving to keep from getting hung up on the bottom.
Call: Fresno Fisherman’s Warehouse 225-1838; Valley Rod & Gun 292-3474

New Melones Reservoir/Tulloch

Bass * * * Crappie * * * Trout * * Catfish * * * Kokanee * * * *

Monte Smith of Gold Country Sport Fishing said, “Now is the time to go to New Melones. The kokanee action is just too easy.” After waiting through a period of high winds on a mid-week trip, Smith put his clients on to quick limits in the 12- to 13-inch range with Uncle Larry’s spinners, Rocky Mountain Tackle hootchies or Vance’s Hootchies tipped with corn scented in shrimp/prawn behind a RMT or Vance’s dodger at 40 to 75 feet. Gary Burns of Take It to the Limit Guide Service confirmed the hot bite with Uncle Larry’s Sierra Spray, Glitter Bugs micro hootchies, Tube Bugs in pink and Angler’s Market orange Kokanee Bugs behind a Glitter Bug chrome tear drop dodger, and he said, “The fish are spread out and we found them in the north part, south part, Coyote Cove, around the dam and near Rose Island.” Melanie Lewis of Glory Hole Sporting Goods in Angels Camp said, “Trout are showing up in the main lake pockets and over the river channel targeting the shad balls in shallow and deep water.” A few brown trout to 13.25 pounds have been landed, but Lewis is encouraging catch and release. Bank fishermen are scoring a few trout using Power Egg/night crawler combinations. Lewis said, “A good number of bass are being caught in the shallows with the fish in all three phases of the spawn. The larger fish will be found in deeper water.” The early morning top-water bite is good with Zara Spooks, Lucky Craft Sammies or River2Sea Rovers. Carolina-rigged Brush Hogs are an option. Catfishing has improved and Chris Limas of Manteca got a 14.75-pounder. Live minnows, frozen shad, mackerel or anchovies are working on a sliding sinker rig. Crappie fishing is good with small minnows under slip-float bobber around standing timber or brush. The lake dropped 6 feet to 1,000 feet and 61%. Tulloch rose 1.5 feet to 504 feet and 89%. Jay Graham of the Fresno Bass Club reported excellent action during Sunday’s tournament with fish in great shape and a 12-inch bass at over a pound. Jigs, dart-heads and drop-shotting produced the most fish; only a few bass were taken off beds.
Call: Glory Hole Sports (209) 736-4333; Monte Smith (209)581-4734; Danny Layne-Fishn’ Dan (209) 586-2383; Sierra Sport Fishing (209) 599-2023

Pine Flat Reservoir/Kings River

Kokanee * * Bass * * Trout * * King salmon * * Catfish * * Crappie * *

Fishermen are fortunate to pick up one or two kings salmon per trip. The opening of Wishon drew regular trout fishermen to the mountains and Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “Trout fishermen are having to work at putting in limits, but Rainbow Runners, Needlefish, Wedding Rings tipped with a crawler or Apex lures are working for the occasional fish to 15.5 inches.” No kokanee reports. Bass fishing remains decent with Senkos, drop-shotting, rip baits or crank baits with some fish still on the beds. Merritt Gilbert said, “The best bass action has been from Trimmer below into the main lake and an occasional 4.5- to 5.5-pound bass is taken with the best action around 15 to 18 feet.” Patrick Movey of the Fisherman’s Warehouse touted crawdad colors of plastics such as Green Weenie, Oxblood or Oxblood red on the drop-shot. A few catfish or crappie are taken from docks at Deer Creek Marina, particularly at night. The lake rose 7 feet to 831 feet and 42%. Plants continue in the lower Kings, but high water has resulted in better action with spinners such as Joe’s Flies.
Call: Fresno Fisherman’s Warehouse 225-1838; Valley Rod & Gun 292-3474; Sequoia Fishing Company 539-5626; The I Forgot Store 787-3689

San Luis Reservoir and O’Neill Forebay

Striper * * Catfish * * Bass * * Crappie * *

Heavy water releases at the main lake into the California Aqueduct have drawn the lake down and the striped bass action is fair. Mickey Clements at Coyote and Tackle in Morgan Hill reported the best action with jumbo minnows on a slow troll from the shallows to 80 to 90 feet. Trolling Lucky Craft 128s or Smithwick Deep Suspending Rattlin’ Rogues have been another option. Fishermen are starting out at the mouth of Portuguese Cove. Roger George of Roger’s Guide Service reported slow action right after the full moon with lots of suspended fish, but he said the bite should improve soon. Water temps are running around 64 degrees. In the Forebay, bank action has slowed, but the best action remains near Check 12 or under the 152 Bridge with jumbo blood worms or jumbo minnows. The bite turns on once the pumps start moving water into the Aqueduct. The main lake released nearly 8,000 acre-feet of water to drop to 55% capacity.

Important note: All boats, personal watercraft, kayaks, canoes, sailboards, inflatables and float tubes must undergo a mandatory inspection for Quagga and Zebra mussels. Failure to allow inspection will result in the refusal to launch.
Call: Coyote Bait and Tackle (408) 463-0711; Roger’s Guide Service (559) 905-2954


Bass Lake

Bass * * * Trout * * Kokanee * *

The Bass Lake Chamber of Commerce Trout Derby is this weekend. It’s $25/licensed adult and $60/family by 9 a.m. Saturday. Go to Todd Wittwer of Guide Service reported extra loads of fish will be planted. He said, “The action on Friday and Saturday was decent for kokanee and rainbows, but Sunday and Monday were much tougher. Almost all of the action remains in the northern end of the lake from the Sheriff’s Tower to the inlets.” Wedding Rings tipped with a small piece of night crawler, orange Apex’s behind a silver jackblade dodger, rainbow Needlefish behind a 5-blade Dave Davis flasher, D.R Minnows in Black Gold Fire and Tasmanian Devil lures in firetiger are working for rainbows from the surface to 20 feet. Kokanee are found with Rocky Mountain Tackle’s pink Radical Glow Tubes or Cotton Candy Hootchies tipped with corn scented with Herring Oil at 10 to 20 feet. Bee sports reporter Andy Boogaard limited out with rainbows in the 15- to 16-inch range with blade/crawler combinations in the clearer water. Larry Kerns of the Visalia Bass Club took fourth out of 23boats at the New J Bass Club tournament, saying, “The fish were taken off the beds along the docks and rockpiles with jigs or swimbaits.” There have been several bass in the 10-pound range landed. The lake has risen to 75% capacity. A webcam is available at or
Call: Todd Wittwer 288-8100; Mike Beighey 642-3748; Bass Lake Water Sports 642-3200

Edison/Florence/Mammoth Pool

Kaiser Pass should be open soon. Jim Clements of Vermilion Valley Resort will be providing two-day fly fishing clinics on June 21-22, a women’s-only clinic on June 29-30 and a family clinic on July 15-16 for $250. The clinics are for beginners to intermediate with morning classroom instruction and afternoon field training on the waters of the high Sierra. Vermilion has ATV trips into Edison with three-day packages including meals for $389/person beginning Friday. The Mono Springs or Vermilion campgrounds are open and accessible by ATV for camping. Edison is at 17%, Florence 36%, Mammoth Pool 93% and Redinger 96%.
Call: Vermilion Valley Resort at Edison Lake 259-4000

Shaver Lake/Huntington Lake

Kokanee * * * Trout * * *

Summer-like weather arrived at Shaver Lake, and Dick Nichols of Dick’s Fishing Charters said, “Things couldn’t be much better as we have been limiting. Jeff Francis, his son Conner and Ross Arve accounted for about 50 hookups for 23 fish, keeping three limits to 15 inches.” The problem according to Nichols is keeping the second-year kokanee off the hook. Trollers have been scoring small kokanee at 20 to 25 feet around the Point with Trout Busters behind a Mountain Flasher. The Captain Jack’s pink Super Hootchie is productive for kokanee. Bank fishermen are picking up the occasional trophy-sized trout throughout the lake with Power Bait or night crawlers and limits to near-limits are possible. The Point, Sierra Marina and shore access near roads 1 and 2 are good spots, and Captain Jack Yandell reported trophies have been taken on rainbow glitter Power Bait. The Shaver Lake Trophy Trout Project welcomes all usable boats for donation. Their sale will go toward purchase of more trophies. Contact SLTTP treasurer Bob Bernier at (559) 360-7185. Shaver held at 63% capacity with Huntington rising to 63%. Check for conditions at
Call: Dick’s Fishing Charters 841-2740; Dinkey Creek Inn 841-3435; Rancheria Marina 893-3234; Shaver Lake Sports Inc. 841-2740


Trout * * *

Chuck Crane of Wishon Village RV Park and Campground said anglers made to Wishon for opening weekend, and the action was good for trollers pulling Speedy Shiners, Needlefish and blade/crawler combinations at 3 to 4 colors of lead core. Levels fluctuating and the launch has been on and off the concrete ramp. There have only been a few bank fishermen. Courtright remains closed, but Crane advised calling the Forest Service to determine if the road is open. The parking lot at Courtright is full of snow, but the launch is in the water. The upper campground is open, campers may call 865-6361.
Call: Wishon RV Park 865-5361


Half Moon Bay

Salmon * * * Striper * *

The San Mateo coast remains the center of the California salmon universe and quick limits have been the rule for party boats. Captain Dennis Baxter of the New Captain Pete has found spectacular action for four consecutive trips with up to 26 limits of salmon to 15 pounds. He said, “The boats have been spread out for miles and we have been working the high side of the range at 37’31 to 37’37/122’51 along the 50 Fathom Curve. The fish are just loaded with krill, crab larvae and for the first time we gutted a fish full of 7-inch fresh anchovies.” Out of Half Moon Bay Sport Fishing, the Queen of Hearts and Riptide returned with a combined 38 limits of salmon to 21 pounds. Captain Tom Mattusch of the Huli Cat said, “We had a slow start, but once we got into the fish, it was “unmanaged pandemonium” going through 22 trays of anchovies, adding, “That’s krill fishing.” In Pacifica, Sheryl Jimno of the Rusty Hook reported a few striper are showing up with lures, particularly during the night. Surf perch action is fair with blood or pile worms and crabbing remains steady.
Call: Happy Hooker (510) 223-5388; Roger Thomas, Salty Lady (415) 760-9362; Bait and Switch Sport Fishing Center (650) 726-7133, (650) 726-7133; Emeryville Sport Fishing (510) 654-6040; Don Franklin, Soleman (510) 703-4148

Monterey/Santa Cruz

Salmon * * Striper * *

Chris Arcoleo of Chris’ Landing in Monterey sent the Star of Monterey across the bay to the Three Trees area along the Santa Cruz coast and they were able to put in five salmon for 17 anglers. Inside the bay, Arcoleo said, “The water has a green tinge with minimal signs of bait. Fish already are pushing north and moving up the beach.” The commercial salmon season starts Wednesday, but with the 27-inch minimum size, they may be hard pressed to consistently locate legal fish. The local rockfish season south of Pigeon Point also opens Wednesday. Chris’ will start rockfish trips in addition to salmon trips. Out of Santa Cruz, Bayside Marine reported an improved bite Monday with some boats limiting during a good morning bite at 36’50/122’00 up to 36’49/122’05.
Call: Chris’ Landing (831) 375-5951; Bayside Marine (831) 475-2173;

San Francisco Bay

Halibut * * Striper * * Leopard shark * * * Salmon * * * Sturgeon * *

Captain Jim Smith on the Happy Hooker was able to get in on the action off the San Mateo coastline Sunday with 23 limits to 16 pounds. Out of Emeryville Sport Fishing, the C Gull II, New Huck Finn, New Salmon Queen and Tigerfish combined for 98 limits to 25 pounds. Saturday’s action in San Pablo Bay was limited to two shaker sturgeon, a small seven-gill shark, and numerous sharks and rays in the muddy waters. The huge tides have caused water to turn brown and slowed action. Keith Fraser at Loch Lomond Bait and Tackle reported the minus tides have scattered striped bass and the action went from a B+ to an F- minus. Sharks and rays have invaded San Pablo Bay. Joel Sinkay of Leonard’s Bait and Tackle in Port Sonoma confirmed heavy shark and ray action, but one angler lost a sturgeon while fishing below the Petaluma River Train Trestle. He said, “Everything is a month early since the sharks and rays generally don’t arrive in numbers until June.” Sinkay touted Sonoma Creek or the Napa River as the best locations for striped bass and advised, “Get a pack of red worms and catch a few bullheads in the morning and then bass fish in the afternoon.” A few halibut have been taken out in front of the harbor or over near the Alameda Rockwall, but the bite has slowed with the minus tides.

San Luis Obispo

Salmon * *

Both ports are greeting Wednesday’s rockfish opener — with a 240-foot depth restriction — with open arms since salmon fishing is slow. Virg’s Landing is selling custom rockfish/ling cod jigs for $5. Virg’s first two-day rockfish/ling cod trip is May 18-19, and they have lowered their overnight trip price to $205/angler.
Call: Virg’s Landing, (805) 772-1222, (800) 762-5263; Patriot Sports Fishing (805)595-4100; Port Side Marine Sports Launch (805) 595-7214



Bass * * * Striper * * * Sturgeon * * * Catfish * *

Flows into the Delta have been minimal and Tony Lopez of Benicia Bait reported tiny bait-stealing Dungeness crabs have invaded. Lures are far less attractive to crab, and RatLTraps, hair raisers and swimbaits are working from the shorelines at Dillon Point State Park. A 59-inch sturgeon was weighed in and two huge striper at 22 and 25 pounds were kept by a pair of brothers using splittails. Allen Parsons at Gotcha Bait in Antioch reported good sturgeon action. Keeper sturgeon are scarce, but there are plenty of undersized and oversized diamondbacks. There is a good striper bite in the early mornings with Zara Spooks, Lunker Punkers, RatLTraps and Fish Traps in the Frank’s Tract and Big Break areas. Crappie fishing remains good. Alan Fong of the Fisherman’s Warehouse in Sacramento said, “It is easy pickings for largemouth bass in the Delta.” The water is clearing up and the fish are in all stages of spawning. Randy Pringle, the Fishing Instructor, said, “The warmer water temperatures have brought out the top-water bite and we have been scoring with the half-ounce Persuader Double Buzzie buzzbait in chartreuse/white in stained water or the black/red in clear water.” The fish are in various stages of spawning with many males guarding the fry. On the low tide, Pringle has been targeting the edges of the weed line since the fish are right on the break instead of the ledge.
Call: Randy Pringle (209) 543-6260; Vella’s Fishing Adventures (209) 521-0164; Mark Wilson Sport Fishing (916) 682-1630; Intimidator Sport Fishing (916) 806-3030

Lake Nacimiento/San Antonio/Santa Margarita/Lopez

Bass * * * White bass * * * Striper * * Catfish * * Crappie * *

Big limits dominated the 101 Bass tournament at Santa Margarita with the fish moving into shallows. Big fish are plucked off beds with plastics. Similar action at Lopez and San Antonio. At Nacimiento, spotted and white bass are boiling on the surface, in the No Wake Zone around the Narrows. Chrome Kastmasters in three-eighths- or half-ounce are working best. Spotted bass are hitting plastics on the drop-shot, Texas-rig, split-shot or pea-head with a reaction bite with spinnerbaits, spoons, and Lucky Craft Sammies or Pointers. Quagga mussel inspections are required before boat launching. Nacimiento dropped slightly to 757 feet and 46% with San Antonio dropping 1.5 feet to 739 feet and 47%.
Call: Lake Nacimiento (805) 238-1056, ext. 3; Lake San Antonio Marina(805) 472-2818; Central Coast Bass (805) 466-6557



Best Bass Tournaments Open at Don Pedro on April 27: 1, Dan Scott/Bruce Robertson, 12.99 pounds (Big Fish, 5.09); 2, Bub Tosh/Shawn Pauly, 11.89; 3, Gerry Johnson, 11.73

New J Bass Club at Bass Lake on April 27: 1, Matt Dolph/Casey Case, 26.81 pounds (Big Fish, 10.66); 2, Xang Vang/LA Xiong, 20.70; 3, David Simpson/Bobby Blaswich, 18.68

101 Bass at Santa Margarita on April 27: 1, Dean Miller/Daryl Masterson, 25.20 pounds; 2, Byron Hallet/George Stamper, 24.26; 3, Austin Bonjour/Graham Grove, 24.15

Fresno Bass Club at Tulloch on April 28: 1, Walt Austin, 17.38 pounds (Big Fish, 7.45); 2, Nick Beck, 13.27; 3, Ron Red Sr., 12.77



Thursday: Byron Strickler on Brown Trout Fishing Techniques, 6:15 p.m. at Fisherman’s Warehouse in Fresno


Friday: California Correctional Officers at Don Pedro

Saturday: Mid-Valley Bass Club at Delta/Ladd’s Marina; Kerman Bass Club at Delta/Russo’s Marina; Northern California Bass Federation at Don Pedro; Angler’s Choice at McClure; Best Bass Tournaments at Millerton; Fresno Bass Club at Success; American Bass Association at Isabella

Saturday-Sunday: Yamamoto Big Bass Challenge at Delta/Russo’s Marina; Taft Bass Club at Don Pedro; Chamber of Commerce Trout Derby at Bass Lake

Sunday: California Bass Federation at Delta/Ladd’s Marina; Fresno Bass Club Open Tournament at Kaweah, info: Mark Corrente 284-2768

May 10: California Correctional Officers at Don Pedro; Stockton Bass Club at Delta/Ladd’s Marina

May 11: Western Outdoor News at Delta/Russo’s Marina; Angler’s Choice/Sonora Bass Club at Don Pedro; Best Bass Tournaments at McClure; American Bass Association at Kaweah; Lake Isabella Bass Club at Isabella; Santa Barbara Bass Club at Lopez; 101 Bass at Nacimiento

May 11-12: Tracy Bass Club at Delta/Tracy Oasis

May 15: Kings River Bass Club at Bass Lake

May 17: California Correctional Officers at Don Pedro

May 18: Future Pro Tour at Delta/Ladd’s Marina; Kerman Bass Club at New Melones; Angler’s Choice at Don Pedro; Future Pro Tour at Millerton; Visalia Bass Club at Kaweah; Angler’s

Choice at Isabella; San Luis Obispo Bass Ambushers/Tri Valley Bass Club at Nacimiento; Golden Empire Bass Club/Kern County Bass Masters at Lopez; Best Bass Tournaments at San Antonio

May 18-19: Sierra Bass Club at Delta/Russo’s Marina; VoxPops Influentials Magazine Trout Derby at Kaweah, info:

May 19: Roosevelt High Bass Club at Delta/Russo’s, info: Mike Spencer, 261-5296 or; Stockton Bass at Delta/Ladd’s Marina; Angler’s Choice at Delta/B and W Resort; Angler’s Choice/FLW Outdoors at Delta/Russo’s Marina; Kings VIII Bass Club at McClure; Success Bass Club at Success

May 24: California Correctional Officers at Don Pedro; Jim’s Pro Bass Tackle at Nacimiento

May 25: New J Bass Club at McClure; Western Outdoor News at Isabella; Western Outdoor News at Nacimiento

June 22: Roosevelt High Bass Club at Pine Flat, info: Mike Spencer, 261-5296 or

July TBA: Roosevelt High Bass Club at TBA, info: Mike Spencer, 261-5296 or

Aug. 3: Roosevelt High Bass Club at Eastman, info: Mike Spencer, 261-5296 or

Sept. 14: Roosevelt High Bass Club at TBA, info: Mike Spencer, 261-5296 or

Oct. 12: Roosevelt High Bass Club at TBA, info: Mike Spencer, 261-5296 or

Nov. 9: Roosevelt High Bass Club at TBA, info: Mike Spencer, 261-5296 or

Dec. 7: Roosevelt High Bass Club at Pine Flat, info: Mike Spencer, 261-5296 or


Calaveras County: Angels Creek; Stanislaus River North Fork; White Pines Lake

Kern County: Alder Creek; Cedar Creek; Cuddy Creek Pond

Mariposa County: Merced River, Section II

Tulare County: Deer Creek; Spear Creek (aka Poso Creek); White River

Tuolumne County: Beaver Creek; Cherry Valley Reservoir; Lyons Canal (Columbia Ditch); Lyons Reservoir; Moccasin Creek; Pinecrest Lake; Powerhouse Stream; Stanislaus River, South, Middle, North and Clarks forks; Tuolumne River, South, Middle and North forks

Solunar Table
Minor Major MinorMajor
Wednesday 11:15 5:01 11:43 5:29
q Thursday -- 5:57 12:10 6:23
Friday 12:35 6:47 12:59 7:12
Saturday 1:20 7:32 1:44 7:56
Sunday 2:02 8:13 2:25 8:36
Monday 2:42 8:54 3:05 9:17
Tuesday 3:23 9:34 3:46 9:57
q = quarter moon

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