I had several learning moments during my week-long striper fishing trip to Connecticut with Greg Myerson, the four-time striper world record-holder. I tried to act like a fly on the wall during this once-in a-lifetime trip and absorb all I could to improve my own game — and I got way more than I anticipated.
It was the last day of my trip, and Myerson had invited me to go to StriperFest in Falmouth, Mass., where he was to receive his third "Angler of the Year" award. This event, attended by about 4,000, was the culmination of the Striper Cup series tournament that goes from May through September and covers the coastal area from South Carolina to Maine. The award was based on the three biggest stripers weighed in or recorded and released. Myerson's total was 181 pounds — including a 74-pounder — 20 pounds more than the nearest angler, giving him the title. That's when I had lunch with two of his competitors by accident!
I had picked a place at random to eat, right across from two nice guys as they struck up a conversation about stripers. Like Myerson, they also fished out of Connecticut and had done well earlier in the season — telling me about their catches to 50 pounds — when they asked why I was there from California. Telling them I had come out to fish with Myerson, they looked taken aback at first then asked where we had been and what techniques we had used. I explained we had used the same outfits that Myerson talked about publicly all the time — fishing a special rattle sinker that he developed about 4 feet above a bunker or reefs. Not pausing to soak in what I had just said, they immediately wanted to know exactly where we had been. I answered that we had gone out to the infamous "Race" at the mouth of Long Island sound in Myerson's 18-foot Triton. Incredulous, they couldn't believe that we had gone out to this spot in his boat. Tough ride, I thought to myself, but I had felt pretty safe.
Lastly, they prodded me about Myerson's secret holes — they were just positive this was the key of his success. Yes, I said, we fished the spot where he scored the world-record 81.88-pounder as well as several other lunker spots. We also visited lots of other places, I added. Totally ignoring my information about the rig he credits with making the difference on all his big fish, as well as Myerson's willingness to fish an area others wouldn't venture to, they were intent only on discussing the "secret spots."
As we talked, I realized that even though both were good anglers, their preconceived ideas about Myerson's skills got in the way of them hearing the obvious truth. Yes, Myerson knows exactly where the special spots are, but he also knows that you need the right gear, bait and technique all aligned during small windows of opportunity to consistently catch the monsters. These anglers, though, were missing the boat — totally. They completely discounted a specific technique they didn't understand as well as Myerson's willingness to fish way harder than they could even imagine.
After fishing side-by-side with Myerson and seeing (again) how other anglers process information, the trip ended up confirming my belief that anglers from all over tend to discount anything that doesn't fit their belief systems — even when the source is a world record-holder.
We are all more invested in supporting our preconceived ideas than actually listening. I do it, too! In addition, anglers lying doesn't help matters. Myerson says helping other anglers can be difficult — even when the results are verified and spectacular. Few listen, but the best do!
Roger George is The Bee's fishing expert. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Delta fishing for all species is good, Randy Pringle said. San Luis stripers are hitting, Mickey Clements said. Millerton is the best bass lake in the area, Adam Moore said. Shaver Lake trout action is sporadic, Dick Nichols said.
THE FISHING REPORT
Compiled by Dave Hurley and edited by Roger George, a former Olympic- class decathlete at Fresno State and striper record-holder at Millerton Lake who now guides in the greater Fresno area. Telephone numbers are in 559 calling area unless noted.
* Try dynamite
** Have to work hard
*** Limits possible
**** Fish jumpin' in boat
Delta Mendota Canal and Sloughs
Striper *** Catfish ** Most Fresno-area striper fishermen are heading to San Luis Reservoir or O'Neill Forebay for good action. The best action for striped bass in the canals remains in the California Aqueduct in Kern County with Pete Cormier of Bob's Bait in Bakersfield reporting fishermen catching plenty on live minnows, blood worms, Gitzits or anchovies. The moss is dissipating and catfish can be found with live minnows, chicken livers, anchovies or mackerel.
Bass ** Trout * Bluegill ** Catfish ** Crappie * Eastman is closed due to the federal closure of facilities. Prior to the closure, Adam Moore at Valley Rod and Gun reported a good bass bite in front of the dam with top-water lures such as the Black Dog Lunker Punker or Shell Cracker or working the rockpiles from 20 to 40 feet with jigs or Brush Hogs. "Experienced anglers are using their GPS to work the same rockpiles which are holding most of the fish," Moore said. Once the lake reopens, boaters will have to be very careful as even running at 5 mph can be problematic with the bottom lurking just under the surface. Water releases have stopped, but the lake still is at only 9% capacity and 472 feet in elevation. The area from 1,000 feet south of the Raymond Bridge to the Corps Buoy Line near the Codorniz Boat Ramp is open through Nov. 30, but access is limited.
Call: Six Star Tackle Box 673-5688; Eastman Lake 689-3255
Bass * Trout * Crappie * Catfish *** Bluegill ** Hensley is closed due to the federal closure. Prior to the shutdown, catfishing from the banks was the only game in town. The lake held at 5% and 447 feet, and all boat ramps are out of commission.
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 ** Manny Basi of the Bait Barn in Waterford reported slow bass fishing, but there is action on the surface with the River2Sea Whopper Plopper in white or on the bottom to 30 feet with shad-patterned plastics or Senkos in natural shad. Basi touted Robo Worm's Hologram Shad as the top plastics. Trout fishing is fair and will improve as the water cools. Rainbows are keying on shad schools and anglers need to work them with shad-imitation lures.
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 ** Low water conditions rule at Lake Isabella — at 2,533 feet and 10% — but the lake remains open. Pete Cormier of Bob's Bait in Bakersfield reported a good catfish bite with garlic-scented clam meat, anchovies, chicken livers or frozen shad from the banks. Bass action has slowed, but boaters are able to launch small boats for crappie in the main river channel close to the marina in submerged trees. Small minnows or minijigs are working for the slabsides. A boat is essential to get to the panfish and the only launch available is on the South Fork, but there is no dock. In the Kern River system, water levels remain very low, but trout were planted in the upper river within the past week and rainbows were holding in deeper pools with live crickets, salmon eggs or spinners. Lakes around Bakersfield are limited to bluegill, carp and occasional bass with Ming, Hart Park and Woollomes holding the most water. Cormier said, "Most are waiting for the plants to start in the small reservoirs."
Call: Bob's Bait (661) 833-8657; North Fork Marina (760) 376-1812
Bass *** Crappie ** Trout * Catfish *** Lake Kaweah is temporarily closed, but Sierra Sporting Goods in Exeter reported largemouth bass to 11 pounds were landed. One caught and released largemouths at 11 and 6 pounds while trolling a crankbait. There have been a number of fish in the 3- to 4-pound range. Shad schools are thick in the lowered pool. Catfish to 30 pounds have been taken on anchovies, sardine or chicken livers. The lake dropped 3 feet to 587 feet in elevation and 7%.
Call: Sierra Sporting Goods 592-5212
Bass ** Trout *** Catfish ** Crappie ** Chuck Stokke of Sequoia Fishing Company in Springville reported barriers placed around the closed lake. He touted action in the upper Tule River above Balch Park, and he he found unlimited numbers of Eastern Brook trout willing to bite yellow caddis patterns on a recent trip on horseback to Blossom Lake and the creek at Green Meadows. The Tule River is still fishable and size 14 stimulators in front of a size 18 gnat pattern have been extremely productive. Success dropped nearly a foot to 582 feet and 6%.
Call: Sequoia Fishing Company 539-5626; Lake Success 784-0215
Bass ** Trout ** King salmon ** Kokanee * Crappie ** Catfish ** Fishing has been slow according to Jason Mello of A-1 Bait in Snelling, but he is encouraged about bass gorging on abundant shad in the low pool. He anticipates a lake-record bass may be landed in the next few months. Few are targeting trout by trolling, but Manny Basi of the Bait Barn in Waterford touted tossing out night crawlers or small minnows under a bobber from the banks for trout or bass. Sales of large minnows and live crawdads are slow at A-1 Bait in Snelling. The lake dropped 3 feet to 712 feet and 29%.
Call: A-1 Bait (209) 563-6505; Bub Tosh (209) 404-0053
Trout *** Heavy trout plants by Calaveras Trout Farm for last weekend's Merced Irrigation Trout Derby brought out a good bite from the banks and on boats. Shore anglers are soaking white garlic Power Eggs or night crawlers from the Brush Pile or Handicapped Docks while trollers are working upriver to 20 feet with the chartreuse Tomahawk PPKs. The McSwain Marina reported, "This was the best trout derby we have ever had with 500 participants landing plenty of fish, including eight of the lesser tagged fish." The largest fish was a 44.7-ounce rainbow and the No. 1 tagged fish is worth $500 for all registered participants until Dec. 31.
Call: McSwain Marina (209) 378-2534
Millerton Lake/San Joaquin River
Bass *** Striper * Shad * Bluegill ** Trout ** Millerton is open since it is a state facility and it remains the best bass lake in the area. Adam Moore of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, "Once you find the fish, stick with the same area and you will find more than one bass." Working rockpiles from 20 to 40 feet with shad-patterned plastics, deep-diving crankbaits, spoons or jigs are good techniques, according to Moore. Dragging jigs at 20 feet also is productive. Numbers of bass remain very good and bass to 2.75 pounds are possible. No reports of striped bass. Bluegill are found on red worms on a split-shot worked in the brush above Finegold. All boats must fill out a Quagga mussel self-inspection form before launching. In the lower San Joaquin, the two-fish limit regulation has limited the number of anglers. The majority of action for rainbow trout is around the Broken Bridge, especially on weekends. Action remains slow for most anglers soaking Power Bait or night crawlers. There are regulations on the lower San Joaquin and from Friant Dam to the Highway 140 Bridge: Only two hatchery trout and two hatchery steelhead are allowed in possession. The hatchery fish have a healed adipose fin clip. All wild steelhead or trout with an adipose fin present must be released immediately.
Call: Fresno Fisherman's Warehouse 225-1838; Valley Rod & Gun 292-3474
Bass ** Crappie ** Catfish *** Trout *** Kokanee * New Melones closed last week. As a result, Danny Layne of Fishn' Dan's Guide Service has been trolling at Tulloch, saying, "Rainbows are on a good bite and we found fish trolling small shad-patterned lures, blade/crawler combinations or rolling shad from 35 to 50 feet in front of the dam or in Black Creek near the old Copper Cove ramp." The resort is closed and the only ramp open to the public is the south shore ramp in front of the dam. With the closure of Melones, Glory Hole Sporting Goods is holding a 20% off sale on all tackle ending today. New Melones held at 949 feet and 43%. Tulloch dropped 2.5 feet to 503 feet and 87% capacity.
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/Kings River
Bass ** Trout ** Crappie * King salmon * Catfish ** Pine Flat Lake closed over the weekend, but the Roosevelt High School Bass Club held the inaugural Rotary Club of Fresno's Student-Angler Federation Central California Open on Saturday with 33 students in 18 volunteer boat captains representing nine high schools from the Central Valley. Adam Moore of Valley Rod and Gun reported a limit over 8 pounds won the event and drop-shotting shad-patterned plastics produced numbers while there was an early morning top-water or rip bait bite. Roosevelt advisor Mike Spencer confirmed this, adding that drop-shotting plastics or jigging spoons around trees from 20 to 40 worked best and the action seemed to be better up river past the buoys. Spencer said there were no reports of a reaction bite and most described the fishing as a grind, but 11 teams managed to bring in limits and everyone seemed to have a good time. Prior to the shutdown, trout fishing has been slow, but experienced trollers are focusing on shad schools at 40 to 60 feet with chartreuse Wedding Rings or Apex lures for the rainbows. The key is to find the bait balls, but all of this is on hold until the lake reopens. The lake held at 740 feet and 15%. In the lower Kings, the recent trout plants, sufficient water levels and closure of Pine Flat have brought more fishermen and they are scoring with Power Bait or spinners such as Joe's Flies or Roostertails in white/black or Grasshopper. There are special regulations in the Kings River above and below Pine Flat Dam.
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 * The striper bite in O'Neill Forebay and the San Luis Reservoir remains very good for small linesides. Mickey Clements of Coyote Bait in Morgan Hill reported boaters are drifting jumbo minnows or live grass shrimp near the Trash Racks or along the rockwall adjacent to Highway 152 from 40 to 60 feet for numbers. Grass shrimp has been difficult to obtain in the shop. Trollers are pulling P-Line Predators, Smithwick's or broken-backed Rebels at similar depths for solid action. In the Forebay, striper continue to boil from sunrise to 9 a.m. and white flukes on a half-ounce jig head, Umbrella-rigs, lipless crank baits, top-water lures or rip baits such as Lucky Craft 68s, 78s and 100s or Pointer Staycees in Ghost Minnow, Chartreuse Shad or American Shad are producing. Clements said, "Some bank anglers are wading far out into the lake to avoid the grass and tossing weightless flukes on a spinning rod to reach the fish." Most boats are launching at Basalt Recreational Area with the ramp at Dinosaur Point remaining via a dirt road. San Luis continues to pump heavy amounts of water and it was at 24% capacity.
Important note: All boats, personal watercraft, kayaks, canoes, sailboards, inflatables and float tubes must undergo a mandatory inspection for Quagga and Zebra mussels. These invasive species threaten recreational opportunities, the water delivery infrastructure of California and the aquatic habitat of San Luis Reservoir. Failure to allow inspection will result in the refusal to launch.
Call: Coyote Bait and Tackle (408) 463-0711; Roger George's Guide Service (559) 905-2954, rogergeorgeguideservice.com
Bass ** Trout ** Kokanee ** The kokanee bite is slow with few targeting the species. Trout trolling is picking up with cooler water bringing rainbows closer to the surface. Blade/crawler combinations or Wedding Rings tipped with a crawler are starting to produce. Adam Moore of Valley Rod and Gun reported dragging Senkos next to the docks or drop-shotting along natural banks produced spotted bass to 2 pounds. The action will improve once several evenings of cold temperature have been strung together. A webcam is at www.BassLakeFishing.com or www.BassLakeCA.com. The lake dropped significantly to 66%.
Call: Todd Wittwer 288-8100; Mike Beighey 642-3748; Bass Lake Water Sports 642-3200
Brown trout ** Trout ** Along the Kaiser Pass lakes, low water conditions have limited interest. Deer hunters find a diversion by landing small brown trout from the shorelines at Edison, which held at 4%. Florence held at 8%. Mammoth Pool rose to 6%.
Call: Vermilion Valley Resort at Edison Lake 259-4000
Shaver Lake/Huntington Lake
Kokanee ** Trout *** Smallmouth ** Morning hours remain best for mixed limits of kokanee and rainbow trout but there is a lull by mid-morning followed by another flurry in the late morning, according to Dick Nichols of Dick's Fishing Charters. He has been trolling with clients around Stevenson Creek for small juvenile kokanee and rainbows to 12 inches. The best action remains at 20 to 30 feet with his trademark standard fare of Trout Busters behind mini-Mountain Flashers or Captain Jack's Super Hootchies behind a CJ Dodger on the downriggers at 30 feet. Bank fishing is hit or miss with the best action near Roads 1 or 2 or the Point with Power Bait or night crawlers. Both marinas will be closing by mid-October, but they are equipped with fishing equipment and rental boats. At Huntington, the Southern California Edison Company continues with the rapid drawdown due to contractual water rights. The lake dropped to 40%. A few rainbows can be found on Power Bait in Rancheria Cove. Fishermen can check www.sierramarinawebcam.com for conditions. Shaver is at 63%.
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 the Wishon Village RV Park reported launching conditions can change on a daily basis. He said, "Trolling has been best in the morning hours with boaters working hard for limits. The best action is at 2 to 4 colors of lead core with blade/crawler combinations, Speedy Shiners or Needlefish." Shore fishing is fair and Crane advised patience for a few fish per rod with the best action early in the morning with orange Power Bait. Anglers are tossing Sierra Spinners from the shoreline for the occasional salmon. At Courtright, cold weather conditions have limited the number of fishermen and once again, shore fishing is best early in the morning with orange Power Bait near the dam.
Call: Wishon RV Park 865-5361
Half Moon Bay
Albacore ** Rockfish *** Salmon ** Striper ** Captain Tom Mattusch on the Huli Cat went to San Gregorio and Pescadero for nine limits of rockfish and a lingcod. In Pacifica, the Rusty Hook reported interest has been on the slow side, but surf perch and various bait fish can be taken off the pier.
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
Rockfish *** Salmon * Striper ** White sea bass * Albacore *** Todd Arcoleo of Chris' Landing in Monterey reported limits of rockfish. Out of Santa Cruz, a batch of albacore arrived southwest of Monterey Bay. Joseph said, "We found a hard break at 36.19 and 123.03 and there were fish everywhere with jumpers chasing bait and lots of good sign." They plugged the boat with 25 fish by 2 p.m.
Call: Chris' Landing (831) 375-5951; Bayside Marine (831) 475-2173; usafishing.com
San Francisco Bay
Albacore ** Halibut ** Striper ** Rockfish *** Leopard shark *** Salmon ** Sturgeon * Captain Bob Wright of the Happy Hooker put in two great days of rockfishing up the Marin coast. Second Captain Chris Smith of the California Dawn ran the boat on Sunday and he reported excellent ling cod action past Duxbury. Salmon fishing remains a hit or miss situation with the two boats out of Sausalito scoring 11 salmon. Keith Fraser of Loch Lomond Bait and Tackle said, "Salmon fishing at California City is nothing to brag about, although a few fish continue to be taken." Striper are abundant, but most are undersized. Halibut fishing is hit or miss and the annual Lord of the Sea Summer Striped Bass/Halibut derby will end on Oct. 28 with a 26.5-pound halibut leading.
San Luis Obispo
Salmon ** Rock cod *** The albacore trips out of Virg's Landing in Morro Bay were put on hold until better conditions arrive. Both ports are running a variety of trips.
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 ** Bluegill *** Salmon fishing from the Benicia shoreline remains solid. Striper fishing remains very good from the shoreline and larger fish continue to be found outside of McAvoy's Boat Harbor. The Fleet, the Middle Grounds, inside the Fleet and Honker Bay are good areas for striper. Sturgeon fishing is strong with Ron Reisinger of Chico catching and releasing 10 Saturday. Dockside Bait in Pittsburg confirmed the good sturgeon action. Striper in the 6- to 8-pound range have been available on fresh shad, mudsuckers or bullheads, and one brought in a limit at 8 and 13 pounds. Mike Pipkins at Gotcha Bait in Antioch reported fishermen are lining up at the Humphrey's Pier for an average of 12 to 14 salmon per day to 40 pounds tossing Flying C's in chartreuse, pink or red. Bob Wright of Bob Wright's Guide Service out of Lauritzen's Yacht Harbor in Oakley reported an excellent striped bass bite with live bluegill in the Antioch section of the river. For largemouth bass, Randy Pringle, the Fishing Instructor, reported an excellent bite on rip baits including the ima Flit in Misty Shad or Olive Herring with the new Helly-P also working for larger fish. He said, "We had a huge bass blow up on the Helli-P, but it didn't stick." The Berkeley Power Worm on a Zappu Head has been outstanding for numbers worked along the edge of the weeds. Pringle is sticking with the perch and crawdad patterns until the shad schools start to dominate the baitfish scene. Alan Fong of the Fisherman's Warehouse in Sacramento reported jigs such as Duh! spoons or P-Line Laser Minnows are producing most of the salmon in the metropolitan area. At Verona, a few fish are taken by trolling spinners, but spooning is the top technique.
Call: Randy Pringle (209) 543-6260; Captain Stan Koenigsberger, Quetzal Adventures (925) 570-5303; 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 * Low water conditions continue to plague San Antonio, which has dropped 7 feet to 5% and 659 feet. Due to the low pool, the Tournament of Champions Day One event has been moved to Nacimiento. At Nacimiento, which is at 28% after dropping 2 feet to 735 feet, Will Hesch of Central Coast Bass Fishing reported an excellent top-water bite. Reminder: Consuming white bass, black bass, crappie, catfish or carp are subject to safe eating guidelines due to excessive mercury.
Call: Lake Nacimiento (805) 238-1056, ext. 3; Lake San Antonio Marina(805) 472-2818; Central Coast Bass Fishing.com (805) 466-6557
Inaugural Rotary Club Of Fresno's SAF Central California High School Open at Pine Flat on Oct. 5: Two-person team results — 1, Austin Yang/Brandon Thao, Clovis East, with boat captain Michael Murphy, 7.82 pounds; 2, Calem Bell/Dominic Moua, Hanford, with boat captain Jeff Farmer, 7.40; 3, Tyler Wells/Reece Wells, Wells Academy, with boat Captain Tim Wells, 7.08 pounds; Big Fish, Tony Yang, Roosevelt, 2.04 pounds. School results — 1, Roosevelt A (Joscelyn Cervantes, John Her, Tou Leng Thao, Tony Vang, Jorge Ruelas, Patrick Jenson), 11.64 pounds; 2, Dinuba (Victor Reyes, Daniel Arce, Kelsey Lowery, Elena Ramos, Lane McLaughlin), 10.96; 3, Roosevelt B (Tony Yang, Savannah Orosco, Chandler Bresseman, Kheng Her), 10.06
Oct. 31: Professional Bass Angler Ish Monroe on Techniques for the River2Sea Tournament, 6 p.m. at Fisherman's Warehouse in Manteca
Friday-Sunday: 65th annual Rio Vista Striped Bass Derby at Rio Vista, info: www.bassfestival.org
Saturday: Bass Anglers of Northern California at Delta/Russo's Marina; Tracy Bass Club at Delta/Tracy Oasis; New J Bass Club at Pine Flat; Lake Isabella Bass Club at Isabella; Golden Empire Bass Club at Santa Margarita
Saturday-Sunday: SLO County Bass Ambushers at Nacimiento; Perris Valley Bass Club at Lopez
Sunday: Modesto Ambassadors at New Hogan; Kings VIII Bass Club at Eastman
Nov. TBA: Roosevelt High Bass Club at TBA, info: Mike Spencer, 261-5296 or email@example.com
Calaveras County: White Pines Lake
Fresno County: Hume Lake; Kings River, Below Pine Flat Dam
Kern County: Brite Valley Reservoir; Kern River sections 1, 2, 3, 4 & 5
Tulare County: Kern River sections 5 & 6
Tuolumne County: Moccasin Creek
Minor Major Minor Major
Wednesday 9:21 3:07 9:51 3:36
Thursday 10:25 4:10 10:54 4:40
Friday 11:26 5:12 11:55 5:40
q Saturday — 6:09 12:23 6:36
Sunday 12:48 7:01 1:14 7:28
Monday 1:36 7:49 2:02 8:15
Tuesday 2:21 8:34 2:46 8:59
q = quarter moon