Shaver Lake trout bite is thriving in cold, Dick Nichols said. San Luis striper bite has slowed, Paul Jolley reported. Coastal rockfishing is still a bright spot, Chris Arcolero said. Delta stripers are working, Randy Pringle reported.
Bee fishing expert Roger George's column will return. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 the 559 calling area unless noted.
• Try dynamite
• • Have to work hard
• • • Limits possible
• • • • Fish jumpin' in boat
Delta Mendota Canal and Sloughs
Striper • • Catfish • •
Freezing temperatures have limited fishermen hugging the banks of the canal and most Fresno-area striper fishermen continue to drive to the O'Neill Forebay or San Luis Reservoir. The best striper action in the canals continues in the southern portion of the Valley in Kern County. Bob's Bait in Bakersfield reported blood worms and sand worms are the top baits for striper to 5 pounds with the occasional fish taken on either Gitzits or RatLTraps.
Bass • • Trout • • Bluegill • • Catfish • • Crappie • •
Pat Huddleston, camp host, reported very slow action with a dusting of snow hitting the lake's edge on Saturday morning. He passed on advice from Kenny Allen of Monterey: Work jigs on a slow presentation in rocks at 20 to 30 feet for only three to four bites in the cold water. Live crawdads or minnows are effective along steep banks. With temps dropping into the 40s, it will take a few days for fish to acclimate. A trout plant is next week. The river arm is closed beyond the Keep Out Buoys. The Day Use and Codorniz Recreation sides have active ramps. The lake held at 471 feet in elevation and 9% capacity with no water releases this week.
Call: Six Star Tackle Box 673-5688; Eastman Lake 689-3255
Bass • • Trout • • Crappie • • Catfish • • Bluegill • •
The only thing going on is catfishing from the banks with chicken livers, mackerel, sardines or anchovies, and even that has slowed considerably with the arrival of freezing temps. A trout plant is next week. Launch ramps are closed with levels at 5% and 448 feet.
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 at the Bait Barn in Waterford reported continued slow action with the freezing temps. Live minnows or night crawlers from the banks is the only thing happening with Basi saying, "A few hardcore guys are going out, but they aren't coming back very happy." Trout trolling is slow, but the lake should have turned over with the cold spell and fish should move toward the surface and the shorelines as temperatures stabilize. A trout plant is next week at Don Pedro and also the reservoirs of Modesto and Woodward.
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 • •
Cold weather is the story at Isabella with snow dropping on the lake. Trout fishing with Power Bait coated with Berkley Power Dust has been effective near the Auxiliary Dam while a few catfish are hitting night crawlers. A trout plant is next week. Small boats are still able to access the lake through the few open launch ramps, but there are no courtesy docks available. The lake is at 2,533 feet and 10% with increased inflow from the upper river. The upper Kern River around Kernville is the best bet for stream action with salmon eggs or night crawlers in response to recent trout plants. The lower river is very low and trout action has been slow. Buena Vista is slow, but the first plant in three weeks is this week. River Walk, Truxtun, Hart Part and Ming will be planted this week and the week of Dec. 22. Chunky Cheese Power Bait coated with Lip Ripperz Hatchery Dust or Berkley Power Dust is the top bait.
Call: Bob's Bait (661) 833-8657; North Fork Marina (760) 376-1812
Bass • • Crappie • • Trout • • Catfish •
Sierra Sporting Goods in Exeter reported trout fishermen are lining the banks with Power Bait, night crawlers or Kastmasters in search of planters, but the bite slows down considerably a few days after plants. The next plant is the week of Dec. 22. The bass have dropped deep in the water column and drop-shotting, jigs or spoons to 40 feet over the bait balls are producing small bass. The lake is at 579 feet and 5%.
Call: Sierra Sporting Goods 592-5212
Bass • • Trout • • Catfish • • Crappie • • •
Chuck Stokke of Sequoia Fishing Company in Springville reported very slow action on the Tule River and Success Lake due to freezing temps. "Very few fishermen are trying at the lake and the brooder trout are providing the greatest incentive although few continue to be landed," he said. The next trout plant is the week of Dec. 22. Bass fishing is at a standstill. The only launch is on the Rocky Hill side, but it takes some skill to get the boat in the water without getting wet. The lake is at 581 feet and 6%. In the Tule River, the trout bite has slowed dramatically and Stokke said, "Nymphing in the only game in town and one or two fish is the best to be expected." In local ponds, Stokke continues to report that the crappie are biting like crazy, and they broke the sheet of ice on top of a pond to access them through the holes.
Call: Sequoia Fishing Company 539-5626, www.sequoiafishingcompany.com
Bass • • Trout • • King salmon • Kokanee • Crappie • • Catfish • •
Jason Mello of A-1Bait in Snelling reported very slow bass fishing in response to freezing temperatures. Live bait is the only game in town and this pattern will remain until weather warms. Trout fishing continues to be slow with few reports, but the Department of Fish and Wildlife will plant next week. The lake should have turned over during the cold snap and the trout are close to the surface and also along the shorelines. The lake dropped a foot to 691 feet in elevation and 24% capacity.
Call: A-1 Bait (209) 563-6505; Bub Tosh (209) 404-0053
Trout • •
Similar to every other location in Northern California, freezing weather has limited action. The McSwain Marina reported a DFW trout plant occurred this week with another from Calaveras Trout Farm set for the near future. Jason Mello of A-1 Bait in Snelling said a few bank fishermen have braved the cold for limits to near limits of rainbows from the Brush Pile or Handicapped Docks with garlic Power Bait or garlic Power Eggs. Trolling has been slow, but the PPK Tomahawk spinner in chartreuse continues to be the top lure.
Call: McSwain Marina (209) 378-2534
Millerton Lake/San Joaquin River
Bass • • Striper • Shad • Bluegill • •
Bass action has been very slow with minimal interest due to freezing weather and the slate of anglers prefishing for tournaments at Pine Flat. Bass fishing remains best on the bottom with a very slow presentation of drop-shotting, dart-heading and jigs in shad patterns as fish are moving into deeper water. The lake dropped nearly 3 feet to 508 feet and 46%. Boats must fill a Quagga mussel self-inspection before launching. In the lower San Joaquin, weekly trout plants continue on both sides of the river, and plants are set for the next three weeks at Sycamore Island Pond. Plants also are set at the kid-friendly reservoirs of Woodward Park this week and the week of Dec. 22. In the river, most anglers continue to head south to the lower Kings and interest remains slow with most action around Lost Lake or Broken Bridge with Power Bait or night crawlers. The two-fish limit has resulted in regular trout anglers seeking other locations. There are new regulations on the lower San Joaquin and from Friant Dam to the Highway 140 Bridge: Only two hatchery trout and 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 •
Melanie Lewis of Glory Hole Sporting Goods in Angels Camp said, "The cold snap has forced the lake to turnover and the trout are moving into the shorelines and toward the surface." Trout fishing continues to be fair with trollers concentrating efforts from the surface to 30 feet with blade/crawler combinations, particularly on a side planer to get very close to the shore. Bank fishing continues to improve and most continue to work the bottom with sliding sinker rigs loaded with Power Bait, Power Eggs, marshmallows, night crawlers or combinations of the above. "Another great technique is to toss out a Kastmaster in order to cover water and locate feeding fish," Lewis said. Jeremy Ortega of Mountain Ranch caught a limit of rainbow trout to 2 pounds bank fishing off Glory Hole Point with Power Bait. There are trout plants the next two weeks. Bass fishing continues to be slow, but the lake is turning over, causing a late fall/winter bite with fish spread from 5 to 70 feet in depth. Vertical jigging over the bait balls, dragging jigs on a three-quarter-ounce football head or drop-shotting with shad-patterned plastics on a slow presentation are the top techniques. Margaret Shelton caught and released an estimated 6-pound spotted bass on a half-ounce brown/purple jig with a twin tail green pumpkin trailer along a rock wall. With the colder water, catfishing is slow with the fish moving toward the ledges and the deep water near the mouths of creeks. Crappie and bluegill action is non-existent. New Melones is at 43% and 948 feet; Tulloch is 501 feet and 84%. No trout reports for Tulloch, but the action should be decent once the cold nighttime temperatures cease.
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
Kokanee • Bass • • Crappie • Trout • • King salmon • Catfish • •
Upcoming bass tournaments have brought most interest in the area to Pine Flat, but action is slow with most keeping their successes to themselves. Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, "A 7- to 8-pound weight is possible, but everything is on the bottom with a slow presentation. Jigs, drop-shotting plastics or brass 'n' glass are the top techniques in relatively shallow water at 15 to 25 feet." Patrick Movey of the Fisherman's Warehouse in Fresno advised using Robo Worms in Warmouth or Green Weenie in deeper water to 60 feet. Trout fishing remains very slow with regular trollers heading to other venues such as Shaver Lake. A trout plant is next week. The lake rose a half foot 747 feet and 17%. Trout plants in the lower Kings continue, and most Valley stream fishermen are congregating along the stretch below Pine Flat Dam with Kastmasters in gold or silver, Joe's Flies or various colors of Power Bait. There are special regulations in the Kings River above and below Pine Flat Dam. The season is over from Pine Flat Dam to U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Bridge on Pine Flat Road.
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 •
Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis reported a 62-pound striped bass was landed in the Forebay by a troller. He said, "The fish was huge in the picture that I saw and it was longer than the 9-year-old boy that was lying beside it on a garage floor." There is no more detail on this huge fish other than it was landed on a trolled lure. Paul Jolley at Coyote Bait in Morgan Hill reported the cold weather has slowed interest, but a few continue to drift extra-large and jumbo minnows off the Trash Racks for small striper. Blood worms and pile worms are the top baits from the banks, and Jolley said, "There is a top-water bite in the Forebay and main lake in the very early morning." Trolling at 30 to 90 feet in front of the Trash Racks with Smithwicks, P-Line Predators, Rebels or Yozuris continues to work for a few fish. Roger George of Roger's Guide Service said the few anglers that braved the cold picked up a few fish trolling. "The overall bite should improve with the warming weather this week, and the lower water temps should cause bait fish to start to accumulate into tight groupings, too." The lake rose to 26% capacity with an import of 2,331 acre-feet of Delta water.
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 George of Roger's Guide Service (559) 905-2954
Bass • • Trout • • Kokanee •
Trout fishing is the best thing going, but the lake experienced more than a dusting of snow over the weekend. With freezing temps, snow is holding around edges of the lake. Launching a large boat is problematic as the lake has dropped to 48% with no courtesy dock. Small boats or kayaks are the order of the day and trollers are concentrating around the middle of the lake near the Sheriff's Tower with Wedding Rings tipped by a crawler behind a dodger or blade/crawler combo. A trout plant is next week. Check www.BassLakeFishing.com or www.BassLakeCA.com for webcams.
Call: Todd Wittwer 288-8100; Mike Beighey 642-3748; Bass Lake Water Sports 642-3200
Brown trout • • Trout • •
Friday's snow storm was the de facto end to the fishing season at the Kaiser Pass Lakes. Edison is at 4%, Florence 8% and Mammoth Pool 12%.
Call: Vermilion Valley Resort at Edison Lake 259-4000
Kokanee • Trout • • • Smallmouth • •
Weather has been extremely cold, but Dick Nichols of Dick's Fishing Charters said, "The fishing is hot, although few fishermen have been taking advantage since a foot of snow dropped on the lake's edge on Saturday morning. Those that braved the conditions came up with a limit or two per boat trolling from the surface to 10 feet near the dam, the Island, Roads 1 and 2, and the Point." Bank anglers are finding a few trophy trout mixed in with the planters, and Joe Beck of Shaver Lake landed two trophies to 2.5 pounds near the dam using Power Bait. The kokanee action is over until spring, but a few smallmouth bass have been reported. Bald eagles have been observed near the Island and Black Rock while a golden eagle is hanging around near Road 1. The Sierra Launch Ramp is open most of the time, depending on the depth of snow. Check conditions at www.sierramarinawebcam.com. The Shaver Lake Trophy Trout Project will not meet in December, but will resume monthly meetings on Jan. 15 at the new time of 10 a.m. The SLTTP is asking for donations for the 2014 plant at SLTTP, P.O. Box 908, Shaver Lake, CA 93664. At Huntington, heavy snow has shut down the lakeside for anglers, but hardcore brown trout fishermen have been waiting for this storm in order to drag their aluminum boats over the snow to take advantage of solitude. Shaver is at 60%, Huntington 29%.
Call: Dick's Fishing Charters 841-2740; Dinkey Creek Inn 841-3435; Rancheria Marina 893-3234; Shaver Lake Sports Inc. 841-2740
Trout • •
The cold and snowy weather has put a stop to recent rainbow action from the banks at Wishon, and the McKinley Grove Road may be closed for the season. Contact the Sierra National Forest prior to attempting access.
Call: Wishon RV Park 865-5361
Half Moon Bay
Rockfish • • • Striper •
Rockfishing is strong for party boats running rockfish or rockfish/Dungeness crab trips. Captain Tom Mattusch of the Huli Cat said, "The commercial pressure has made an impact, but we have been able to score limits for our clients with an average of four to eight crab per pot out of our shallow and deep strings." Sherry Ingles of Half Moon Bay Sport Fishing confirmed the excellent rockfish action. The Huli Cat and Ankeny Street are the only party boats offering crab/rockfish trips.
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 • • • Striper • Crab • • •
Chris Arcoleo at Chris' Landing in Monterey said the Check Mate and Star of Monterey were on whale watching trips Sunday while the Caroline went rockfishing for half limits of rockfish, 19 ling cod and 19 limits of Dungeness crab. They are running combo trips throughout the week. Whale watching remains outstanding with huge schools of anchovies remaining in the bay. The market-grade squid has moved out of the bay, but they have been jigging up live sand dabs to entice ling cod.
Call: Chris' Landing (831) 375-5951; Bayside Marine (831) 475-2173; usafishing.com
San Francisco Bay
Halibut • Striper • • Sturgeon • • Rockfish • • • Leopard shark • • •
The rockfish bite slowed a bit, but Captain Jim Smith on the Happy Hooker was able to rouse up 29 limits of Dungeness crab after putting in limits of rockfish and two quality ling cod at 12 and 17 pounds. The New Huck Finn out of Emeryville Sport Fishing found better ling cod action at the Farallon Islands on Sunday with 15 lings to 16 pounds to go with 26 limits of rockfish and Dungeness crab. Keith Fraser of Loch Lomond Bait and Tackle in San Rafael reported cold weather slowed interest to a crawl, but he likes the minus tide series starting on Friday. "It's time to put a sturgeon under your Christmas Tree," he quipped. In the south bay, Craig Hanson of Argo Sport Fishing out of San Francisco continues to catch and release leopard sharks despite the cold weather.
San Luis Obispo
Rock cod • • •
The boat parades are the highlight over the weekend with the San Luis Holiday at the Port from 2-7 p.m. The Sea Angler from Patriot Sport Fishing will head out for $20/person with a check in at 5 p.m. In Morro Bay, there is space for Saturday's Boat Parade with Virg's Landing at $25/angler with children 12 and under free. Rockfish counts remains solid. Out of Port San Luis, the Sea Angler of Patriot Sport Fishing scored half limits of rockfish at 60 to go with 17 ling cod to 12.5 pounds on Monday after a spectacular day of rockfish Sunday with 38 limits of rockfish and 27 ling cod to 12 pounds. Their ling cod count is at 3,275. Patriot offers half price for children 12 and under with a paid adult on specific half-day trips. Patriot will be offering the popular Rock N' Crab combination trips until the rockfish season ends Dec. 31.
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 • •
Tony Lopez of Benicia Bait said, "There have been few anglers with the cold weather and interest in striper fishing has slowed." Dockside Bait reported slow action for sturgeon and striper once temperatures plummeted. Fishing was much better earlier in the week with striper to 18 pounds taken on live bullheads. Mark Wilson of Mark Wilson's Sport Fishing, one of the area's top striper trollers, has bait fished with fresh shad on his past two trips around Light 2 for a total of seven striper to 6 pounds. Upriver, Alan Fong of the Fisherman's Warehouse reported very slow striper action in the north Delta near Liberty Island with only one 10-inch striper released on his last trip spooning. "I graphed a load of fish on the meter, but they weren't biting," Fong said. Randy Pringle, the Fishing Instructor, reported good striper action Monday in the San Joaquin River, landing over 20 linesides to 10 pounds throwing 5-inch Optimum AA swimbaits in chartreuse/silver flake, shad, silver/white or white/chartreuse on a three-eighths- or half-ounce Persuader jig head over the flats. "The key is to work the flats with current and fishing from the incoming to the high and into the outgoing, watching the current rip over the flats, Pringle said. "The key is to line up with the current and grind the bait along the bottom." For largemouth bass, rip baits continue to be tops and Pringle has added bone (Color 120) to the arsenal in the ima Flit, while Misty Shad, Olive Herring or American Shad are effective when used on 12-pound, 100% Trilene fluorocarbon line. Working the bottom with Berkley Havoc Bottom Hoppers on a Zappu Head is producing largemouths, but Pringle has been using smaller worms at 4 and 5 inches in earth tones such as green pumpkin or green pumpkin/redflake on a very slow presentation in the cold water.
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
Nacimiento/San Antonio/Santa Margarita/Lopez
Bass • • White bass • • Striper • Catfish • • Crappie •
Nacimiento -- at 24% and 729 feet -- is the best option of the coastal lakes, but most spotted bass remain small with a solitary report of a 4-pounder in the past week. There are several tournaments in the coming months. At San Antonio, there are no rental boats or launch ramps available, but there are reports of striper biting plugs or cut bait in the lowered water pool -- which dropped a foot to 657 feet and 9% -- by kayak and other small-craft anglers, and shore fishermen. Fish are accumulated in deeper water near the dam. The majority of the lake is dry with launch ramps out of the water.
Call: Lake Nacimiento (805) 238-1056, ext. 3; Lake San Antonio Marina (805) 472-2818; Central Coast Bass Fishing.com (805) 466-6557
Fresno Bass Club at Pine Flat on Dec. 8: 1, Mark Corrente, 8.26 pounds; 2, Roger Lockhart, 8.13 (Big Fish, 2.21); 3, Walt Austin, 7.95; 4, Vincent Garcia (first-year angler and non-boater), 6.79
Saturday: Manteca Bassin' Buddies at McClure; Sierra Bass Club/New J Bass Club at Pine Flat; Lake Isabella Bass Club at Isabella; American Bass Association at Lopez
Saturday-Sunday: Sierra Bass Club at Pine Flat
Sunday: Fresno Bass Club at McClure; New J Bass Club at Eastman
Dec. 29: Pete McCoy Boat Doctor at McClure
Jan. 1: Stockton Bass Club at Delta/Ladd's Marina; Tracy Bass Club at Delta/Tracy Oasis; New Year's Day Open at Pine Flat, info: Mark Corrente 284-2768; Visalia Bass Club at Kaweah; Bakersfield Bass Club at Nacimiento
Jan. 4: American Bass Association at Delta/Russo's Marina; Tracy Bass Club at Delta/Tracy Oasis; Best Bass Tournaments/Christian Bass League at McClure; American Bass Association at Kaweah; American Bass Association at Nacimiento
Jan. 5: The Bass Federation at Pine Flat, info: Mark Corrente 284-2768
Fresno County: Woodward Park Lake; Kings River, Below Pine Flat Dam; San Joaquin River, below Friant Dam
Kern County: Cat Fish Lake; Hart Park Lake; Ming Lake; River Walk Lake; Truxtun Lake
Madera County: San Joaquin River, below Friant Dam; Sycamore Island Pond
Mariposa County: McClure Reservoir; McSwain Reservoir
Tuolumne County: Don Pedro Reservoir; New Melones Reservoir
Minor Major Minor Major
Wednesday ---- 6:05 12:17 6:29
Thursday 12:36 6:48 1:00 7:12
Friday 1:18 7:30 1:42 7:54
Saturday 2:01 8:13 2:25 8:37
Sunday 2:45 8:58 3:10 9:22
>Monday 3:31 9:44 3:56 10:08
>Tuesday 4:19 10:31 4:44 10:56
> = peak activity