At the end of a difficult day of fishing and you've done pretty poorly, how do you handle questions about your success when other anglers ask? There are many creative strategies to preserve your reputation after a bad trip while also keeping the hecklers and competition at bay — and still thinking you're a good fisherman, which is the very reason for the subterfuge in the first place.
The first thing I usually hear after a bad trip is the "bait and switch" strategy. It happens after someone innocently asks an angler how he did yesterday, prompting him to quickly change the topic: "Hey, I don't think I told you about how well I did last week!" At this point, the angler becomes enthusiastic, throwing out all kinds of info about the last trip, hoping to divert any more embarrassing questions. Some anglers get so desperate about avoiding any admittance of failure that they go to the next step, bringing out the heavy artillery: the latest pictures. How can you argue with a big fish? By now, the person who asked about yesterday's trip is getting the idea he's treading on sensitive ground and all the baloney getting thrown at him suggests it might be better not to go there again for now.
Another tactic I've heard is blaming a partner for forcing them to go home before the fish started biting. They will say, "Another angler I know stayed and got his limit, which I know I would have caught, too, if I could have stayed longer!" Blaming the buddy for not having the right lures, colors and equipment also works to spread the responsibility for a bad trip and avoids personal confessions of failure. (Hint: It's time for a new partner!)
On the other hand, one of the most popular excuses for a lack of success is putting it on the salesman at the bait shop. It goes like this: "He told me that this lure was killing 'em and I stayed with it all day long, but I caught nothing. They just wanted to sell what they had." Would any angler in their right mind really cast a certain lure all day — with no bites — without ever changing to something else? To be fair, I've seen bait shop folks get a lot of grief over their recommendations, especially from anglers who say they did just what they were told but in reality they didn't follow the instructions at all. The shop guys are easy targets to pin failures on.
One of the trickiest tactics I've seen to avoid any hint of failure was when I met a guy who said he fished hard all day but didn't get a bite. Pretty honest — it seemed. However, he went on to tell me that he knew the fish were only biting jigs, but that he never liked to fish jigs and won't even try them! Then he said he stubbornly threw his favorite top-water lures all day. His not-so-subtle point: He couldn't be blamed or his skills questioned, because he was going to do it his way and fail on purpose if he chose. Did you get that? Glad I didn't use that line of reasoning while training for the Olympics — ouch!
There are all kinds of other ways to avoid talking about a bad day at the lake, but I think most of us are a lot more sensitive about failing than we might let on at times. The lengths we will go to as anglers to protect our egos can be funny, but it's awesome when we're able to redeem our failures with a big catch — one you don't have to spin. Never give up!
Roger George is The Bee's fishing expert. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Delta striper, bass and sturgeon bites are going, Randy Pringle said. Aqueduct striper action is hot and Bass Lake trout are on good bite, Patrick Movey reported. Hensley bass have woke up, Mark Inman said. Don Pedro trout action is solid, Monte Smith reported. Millerton remains the top bass pick, Merritt Gilbert 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 • •
The aqueduct continue to produce striped bass to 23 inches and Patrick Movey of the Fisherman's Warehouse in Fresno said, "The canals are still going strong with anchovies, white flukes or swimbaits in the moving water near the headgates." Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun added, "We have sold 15 bags of white flukes this week along with quarter- to half-ounce jigs heads, which is unusual for this time of year." In the south aqueduct in Kern County, Clay Rutledge of Bob's Bait in Bakersfield said, "The aqueduct is red hot for numbers and it will take around 20 striper to locate a legal fish. However, Dave Polinsky of Bakersfield landed a limit at 8 and 14 pounds using Gitzits." The majority are in the 16- to 17-inch range, but they are plentiful. Sardines, blood worms and Gitzits are effective. Said Rutledge, "Anglers are working access areas from the Buena Vista Golf Course to Lardo Highway."
Bass • • Trout • • • Bluegill • • Catfish • • Crappie •
Pat Huddleston, Eastman Lake Camp Host, reported planted rainbow to 7 pounds taken from the banks with Power Bait or night crawlers, adding, "The trout are still active with several in the 2-, 3- and four-pound range being caught." Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun reported few trollers, but one boat landed three trout, including an 8-pounder dragging a Rapala. Mark Inman of Six Star Tackle Box reported bass are holding from 14 to 30 feet and dead-sticking jigs or vertical jigging is working. Greenpumpkin/black flake Crystal jigs tipped with either a 4-inch Yamamoto twin-tail grub or a 5-inch single or twin-tail Yamamoto grub watermelon red/black flake (color 208) on a quarter-, three-eighths- or half-ounce jig head were advised. Inman added drop-shotting with 4- to 6-inch shad patterned worms such as Pro Worms Pro Gold or Baby Brush Hogs on a quarter-ounce bullet head jigs as good options. The catfish action has been slow. The river arm is closed at the Keep Out Buoys until Aug. 1. The Day Use and Codorniz sides have active ramps. The lake is holding at 471 feet in elevation and 9% capacity.
Call: Six Star Tackle Box 673-5688; Eastman Lake 689-3255
Bass • • • Trout • • Crappie • Catfish • • Bluegill • •
The lake seems to have waken up with the bass moving up toward the banks for shoreline fishermen and those with small carry-in boats. Mark Inman of Six Star Tackle Box reported a 10.10-pound largemouth caught and released by a bank angler, and one at 9.5 pounds was taken on a swimbait from a small boat. "This angler also landed several in the 3- to 5-pound range, and he released every fish," Inman said. Trout fishing has improved with Inman, stating, "Several nice trout have come through the store with Power Bait from the banks while catfish are starting to show up with anchovies or large night crawlers." The launch ramps remain closed although the lake rose 2 feet to 451 feet and 6% capacity.
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 •
Monte Smith of Gold County Sport Fishing reported solid rainbow action on Monday with a father and son landing 15 rainbows, keeping seven of the bleeding fish instead of focusing on limits. Smith said, "We also had several hits and we worked a number of areas with heavy spoons at 3 to 6 colors of lead core on a fast troll. The rainbows are growing larger with planters reaching 15 inches." They found an area with a bait ball, but the rainbows were holding in the bait and one location was loaded with 200 grebes on the surface, but the fish were absent near the birds. The surface temperature is 54 to 56 degrees. They also marked fish that were possibly king salmon or kokanee near the dam at 30 to 40 feet, but they couldn't get them to bite. Bank fishermen are scoring with night crawler/marshmallow combos with chartreuse or hot pink marshmallows under a bobber around Fleming Meadows. Manny Basi of the Bait Barn in Waterford reported jumbo minnows are the top option for bass and they have been selling dozens despite their high price tag. Drop-shotting shad patterned plastics such as Robo Worm's Hologram Shad or Pro Worm Pro Gold 300 sfrd are working at depths to 50 feet. Boats over 20 feet are advised to launch at Fleming Meadows. The lake rose 1.5 feet to 735 feet in elevation and 52% capacity.
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 • •
At Isabella, Clay Rutledge of Bob's Bait in Bakersfield reported an improved trout bite due to recent plants with Berkley Mice Tails, Power Bait or night crawlers from the shorelines near the Auxiliary Dam. Catfishing has been decent with garlic shrimp, garlic scented clam meat or night crawler while crappie can be had inside French Gulch Marina with live minnows. Few bass fishermen are willing to launch boats in the low water, now at 10% and 2,535 feet. A 4WD vehicle is helpful with the ramps barely in the water. The Lake Isabella Trout Derby is April 12-14 with plants heavy in the weeks leading up to the derby. Trout plants in three sections of the upper Kern River from Kernville Park to the Power House have improved action with night crawlers, crickets or salmon eggs. Rutledge said, "The river is very slow and spinners are not a good option as most anglers are soaking bait." The lower river remains very low and it is too cold for bass to become active. Buena Vista is set for a trout plant this week, and action picked up immediately after a plant with garlic Power Bait or night crawlers. Ming, Hart Park, Truxtun and the River Walk were planted last week and Ming has been particularly good for trout and bass with Chunky Cheese Power Bait with garlic, rainbow Power Bait or green crawlers. The Bakersfield Fire Fighters Trout Derby is March 8 at the River Walk, and 25 tagged fish to $1,000 will be released. There also will be a boat raffle, pancake breakfast and BBQ.
Call: Bob's Bait (661) 833-8657; North Fork Marina (760) 376-1812
Bass • • Crappie • Trout • • Catfish •
Jigs and drop-shot plastics are the best bets for bass with the occasional big fish landed on a trout-patterned swimbait. Planted trout provided action from the second launch ramp with Power Bait, crawlers or Kastmasters. The lake rose 4.5 feet to 591 feet in elevation and 8% capacity.
Call: Sierra Sporting Goods 592-5212
Bass • • Trout • • Catfish • • Crappie •
Planted trout remains the top option with bank anglers tossing out Power Bait, night crawlers or spinners from the Rocky Hill side. The occasional bass is taken by drop-shotting or jigs on a slow presentation on the bottom. Swimbait action has been fair for the intermittent larger fish. The only launch is on the Rocky Hill side, and launching without getting soaked takes effort. The lake rose 1.5 feet to 587 feet and 8%.
Call: Sequoia Fishing Company 539-5626, www.sequoiafishingcompany.com
Bass • • Trout • • King salmon • Kokanee • Crappie • • Catfish • •
The Roosevelt High Bass Club held its February Open on the low waters of McClure -- the lake dropped 2 feet to 679 feet and 21% capacity. Mike Spencer, club adviser and the boat captain for the runner-up entry, wrote:
"Teams had to work hard for small limits as the fish continue to suffer from winter lock-jaw, and a full moon didn't seem to help their mood. The water temperature was moving up toward the high 50s, though, and the fish did seem to be moving into a pre-spawn pattern. The early bite was deep between 25 and 40 feet with small plastics like the Pro Worm's Pro Gold Leach proving successful. That same pattern worked throughout the day, but some anglers found fish shallow later in the day on stickbaits from Bray's Serious Baits and Yamamoto in shad and green pumpkin. A good fish was taken on a Neko-Rigged smoke-colored J.E.M. Plastics Chubby Worm late and shallow as well, but the best fish was also the latest with Blake Cline boating a 3.92-pound spot on a swim bait as his captain was waiting his turn to take out at the end of the day."
Also, Manny Basi of the Bait Barn in Waterford reported jumbo minnows have been very popular for bass fishermen, and although medium minnows are effective, the larger ones have been the best. Drop-shotting with shad-patterned plastics is another possibility with the bass holding as deep as 50 feet. The trout plant last week brought out the bite for bank fishermen along McClure Point and Barrett's Cove, and Basi touted marshmallow/night crawler combos under a bobber. Trollers are finding decent action near Temperance or the dam with blade/crawler combinations or Wedding Rings tipped with a night crawler behind a dodger.
Call: A-1 Bait (209) 563-6505; Bub Tosh (209) 404-0053
Trout • •
Last week's DFW trout plant assisted bank anglers in finding better action with various colors of Power Bait with garlic or white Power Eggs. Trollers worked purple PPK Tomahawk spinners, Rapalas or night crawlers behind silver flashers up the river arm.
Call: McSwain Marina (209) 378-2534
Millerton Lake/San Joaquin River
Bass • • • Striper • Shad • Bluegill • • Trout • •
Millerton remains the top bass lake in the region with Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis, stating, "A 7.5-pound limit is the norm and it took over 11 pounds to with the 100 Plus Bass Tournament this past weekend." The bass have been moving up in the afternoon on sunny days, and the reaction bite with spinnerbaits or crankbaits are working in shallower water at 10 to 20 feet. The majority of bass continue to be found on the bottom as deep as 50 feet, and Patrick Movey of the Fisherman's Warehouse in Fresno said, "Drop-shotting or jigs are the most productive, but a few fish are moving up into the shallows." Striped bass continue to be a mystery. The lake dropped 6 feet to 487 feet and 35%, with the launch on the fifth ramp. All boats must fill a Quagga mussel self-inspection before launching. In the lower San Joaquin, there are no trout plants the next two weeks, and action slowed considerably. Trout plants are set at Woodward Park in Fresno and Sycamore Island Pond the next two weeks. Gilbert said, "There has been more action at Woodward Park and anglers are coating their Power Bait with Lip Ripperz Hatchery Dust. Rainbow or yellow glitter Power Bait have been the top sellers." 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. The hatchery fish have a healed adipose fin clip. All wild steelhead or trout with an adipose fin must be released. The San Joaquin River is closed to the take of salmon; they may not be targeted, and any inadvertently caught must be released.
Call: Fresno Fisherman's Warehouse 225-1838; Valley Rod & Gun 292-3474
Bass • • • Crappie • Catfish • • Trout • • Kokanee • •
Randy Pringle, the Fishing Instructor, reported excellent bass action on a mid-week trip with various techniques and locations. "We started off tossing ima Flit rip baits before switching to Persuader Rock Jigs dragged along the bottom," he said. "Then we went searching for some wood and started tossing the Berkley Havoc Flat Dawg on a Texas-rigs for spots to nearly 5 pounds." They ended up catching and releasing nearly 30 at depths of 5 to 25 feet. Melanie Lewis of Glory Hole Sporting Goods in Angels Camp confirmed the good bass bite, stating, "The action is getting better every day with plenty of spotted bass in the 2- to 4-pound range with the occasional larger fish to 9 pounds. The fish are spread out from deep to shallow and they are in transition." Carolina-rigged Brush Hogs, Senkos, quarter-ounce dart-heads on a tube or jigs are working. Trout fishing is fair as the fish have left the surface with sunny days. Rainbows are cruising the shorelines at 15 to 30 feet, and Randy Pringle observed a huge school in the back of one cove. Bank anglers are finding their best action near Glory Hole Point or the Tuttletown Boat Launch with Power Bait, Gulp! Eggs or night crawler/marshmallow combinations. Trollers continued to find their best action from the surface to 15 feet long-lining a small F5 or F7 Rapala at least 150 feet behind the boat. A threaded night crawler behind a tear drop dodger worked close to the shoreline with a side planer is another good trolling technique. Large brown trout continue to be landed on a weekly basis.The kokanee generally start biting around mid-April, but reports of kokanee in the 10- to 13-inch range are trickling in. Lewis advised trolling a pink Micro-hootchie behind a teardrop dodger within the next several weeks for the opportunity for a kokanee. Catfishing continues to be slow with the fish moving toward the ledges and the deep water near the mouths of creeks. Rains should improve action. Bob James of Murphys landed a 7.5-pound whiskerfish using garlic-scented Power Bait at the south end. Crappie and bluegill action is non-existent. New Melones rose 1.5 feet to 950 feet and 44% capacity with Tulloch dropping to 500 feet and 83%. A double trout plant occurred at Tulloch last week, but there have been no reports of success.
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 • •
The overall bass bite has slowed and the swimbait bite has dropped off. Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, " There have been none of the 4-, 5- and 6-pounders landed every day or so that was occurring a few weeks ago, but anglers can average around 7.5 pounds working the bottom with drop-shotting or jigs." Patrick Movey of the Fisherman's Warehouse in Fresno confirmed the best action with jigs or plastics on the drop-shot or dart-head. Trout fishing remained slow with boats reporting two or three rainbows at depths from 35 to 50 feet on the downrigger with Apex lures or Needlefish working best. The occasional rainbow is taken on the surface on a Rapala with a long set back. Gilbert thought the full moon had affected the bass and trout bite at all lakes. The lake rose 3 feet to 753 feet and 18%. Weekly trout plants in the lower Kings continue with fishermen congregating along the stretch of the river below Pine Flat Dam. Plants are the next two weeks for Avocado Lake. Power Bait in rainbow or yellow glitter have been the top sellers and coating the bait with Lip Ripperz Hatchery Dust is a popular option. 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 •
Anthony Lopez of Coyote Bait and Tackle in Morgan Hill reported the main lake has been more productive than the Forebay with anglers dropping jumbo minnows to 90 feet with action near the Trash Racks. In the afternoon, striped bass are up in the coves chasing bait on the surface. Live minnows, white flukes or rip baits are working once striper move into the shallows. The majority of striped bass are in the 18- to 24-inch range. Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis confirmed the minnow bite for striper to 25 inches, saying, "We are selling far more white flukes at this time of year than I would have expected." Roger George of Roger's Guide Service said the bite was affected negatively by the full moon and the passing storm front. "It was tough sledding late last week in the big lake, as well as Saturday and Sunday, with fish very scattered and suspended. A few guys did well when the pumps were running, but otherwise it was barely decent for the guys I talked to. The pumps are running some days, or they are turning them off, contributing to a sporadic bite," George said. The lake rose to 32% capacity with the inflow of 10,408 acre-feet of water from the California Delta. In the Forebay, Lopez said, "The action isn't as good as in the main lake and most anglers are working the banks near Check 12 and along Highway 152 with blood worms, pile worms or anchovies. Numbers of fish aren't a problem, but it is difficult to find a striper over 18 inches." A few are tossing RatLTraps or rip baits.
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 •
Bass Lake continues to offer solid trout action with Patrick Movey of the Fisherman's Warehouse in Fresno reporting, "Wedding Rings or spoons with or without a nightcrawler are working for trollers from the surface to 15 feet." Bank anglers are tossing Power Bait or crawlers from the access near the Sheriff's Tower. Bass fishing remains slow due to cold water. The most consistent action has been with small swimbaits in the 3- to 4-inch range such as K-Tech in trout patterns. Inflow rose the lake levels to 50%, but launching a large boat remains difficult. Check www.BassLakeFishing.com or www.BassLakeCA.com for conditions.
Call: Todd Wittwer 288-8100; Mike Beighey 642-3748; Bass Lake Water Sports 642-3200
Brown trout • • Trout • •
Kaiser Pass is closed and access to the lakes is limited to snowmobiles. Edison held at 4%, Florence held at 8% and Mammoth Pool rose to 17%.
Call: Vermilion Valley Resort at Edison Lake 259-4000
Kokanee • Trout • • Smallmouth •
Dick Nichols of Dick's Fishing Charters reported, "It was another slow week at Shaver with only a few fish reported. A few boats ended up with a couple of rainbows, but most trollers had little, if any, luck." Blade/crawler trips or Apex lures are working best from the surface to 15 feet at the Point, the dam, and Roads 1 and 2. Shaver regular Dave Dungy and a friend trolled for a solitary rainbow, and Nichols added, "When Dungy is having problems locating a fish, many others are having the same problem."Bank anglers are scoring the occasional trophy trout with Power Bait or night crawlers in the same area enjoyed by trollers. With the unseasonably warm weather, Nichols will begin his charter operation early on March 1. The Shaver Lake Trophy Trout Project has returned to its regular meeting location of Tiffany Pines on the third Wednesday of each month. The Shaver Lake Trophy Trout Project has received a donation of a 21-foot Cuddy Sea Ray boat. The sale price is $4,850. For information, call Bob Bernier at (559) 360-7185. All proceeds from the sale will go to for the purchase of trophy trout. Launch conditions can be observed via webcam at www.sierraamarina.com. At Huntington, few reports continue to be the rule. Shaver is holding at 60% with Huntington rising slightly to 30%.
Call: Dick's Fishing Charters 841-2740; Dinkey Creek Inn 841-3435; Rancheria Marina 893-3234; Shaver Lake Sports Inc. 841-2740
Trout • •
McKinley Grove Road is closed at Dinkey Creek. Wishon and Courtright are inaccessible for the winter.
Call: Wishon RV Park 865-5361
Half Moon Bay
Striper • •
Captain Tom Mattusch of the Huli Cat was back out Saturday on a sand dab/crab trip and ended up with nine limits of Dungeness crab and plenty of sand dabs only 3 miles from the harbor. Captain Roger Thomas of the Salty Lady plans on running whale watching trips for the Oceanic Society every weekend out of Half Moon Bay until the salmon opener. Reservations are available through the Oceanic Society or (415) 256-9604. The California gray whales will be migrating north and south the next few weeks. The occasional striped bass is taken from the shore, but action is limited.
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
Todd Arcoleo of Chris' Landing in Monterey said, "We were able to bring in four crab apiece for our larger than normal load of 22 fishermen on Sunday in addition to plenty of sand dabs and lots of blue mackerel." They have trips planned for today and Friday. Allen Bushnell of Santa Cruz Kayak Fishing reported good perch action from the Santa Cruz beaches with the 10th-annual Sand Crab Classic Perch Derby coming March 8. Entries, which can be picked up at Bayside Marine in the Santa Cruz Harbor or downloaded from www.lgfrs.net, close Thursday. This year, contestants can sign up online as well from the website. Hosted by The Let's Go Fishing Radio Show, the derby serves as a benefit for the Monterey Bay Salmon and Trout Project. The family-friendly event features a giant raffle and banquet at Portuguese Hall in Santa Cruz.
Call: Chris' Landing (831) 375-5951; Bayside Marine (831) 475-2173; usafishing.com
San Francisco Bay
Halibut • Striper • • Leopard shark • • Sturgeon • •
Out of the Golden Gate, Emeryville Sport Fishing hasn't had a trip out since the rockfish closure. Keith Fraser of Loch Lomond Bait and Tackle in San Rafael reported a decent sturgeon bite in the Pumphouse area with Loch Lomond mud shrimp. Victor Le at Phu Quy Bait and Supply in Oakland reported slow fishing in the central bay with the exception of jack smelt from the Alameda Rockwall or from Crab Cove in Alameda. Bay Farm Island continues to be slow for sturgeon. Tom Dudenhoeffer of Sweeney's Sports in Napa reported bank anglers are lining up at Cuttings Wharf, the Sea Ranch and under the Highway 29 Bridge for decent action for striped bass and sturgeon. The majority of sturgeon have been undersized, but there have been a few keepers taken from the shoreline. Striper are landed on cut or live bait.
San Luis Obispo
Whale watching and crab/dab trips fill the docket until the anticipated salmon opener April 5. Both harbors offer whale watching and nature trips through the winter. Rockfish season starts May 1.
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 • • • Bluegill • • Sturgeon • • Catfish • •
The inflow of fresh water has moved sturgeon around in Suisun Bay and the action has been outstanding on some days. Captain Steve Talmadge of Flash Fishing out of Martinez said, "The water temperature is up and the rain seems to help at the sturgeon bite." J.D. Richey of Richey's Guide Service continued to find a solid striped bass bite north and south of the Rio Vista Bridge with Robo Worm's Ocean swimbaits for linesides to 10 pounds. Alan Fong of the Fisherman's Warehouse in Sacramento continued to tout the Liberty Island area for striper with swimbaits or glide baits, but he cautioned boaters to be extremely cautious in shallow water, particularly at low tide. The striper bite has taken off in the San Joaquin River system with the bass seeking clearer water after last weekend's storms. Fong said, "The San Joaquin turned on Saturday with a great top-water bite with Lunker Punker's in white for striper to 20 pounds." Doug Chapman at Gotcha Bait in Antioch reported a few sturgeon have shown up in the San Joaquin River between the River View Lodge Pier and the Humphrey's Pier, but most sturgeon fishermen are targeting the Sacramento River. For largemouth bass, Randy Pringle, the Fishing Instructor, reported the San Joaquin River provided good action for 15 to 20 largemouth bass with a rip bait bite in the morning with the ima Flit in Olive Herring before flipping and pitching Berkley 10-inch Power Worms in green pumpkin. "Once the wind starts to blow, the reaction bite will really take off," he said. "The water temperature ranges from 53 to 57 degrees and the fish are more active in the warmer pockets of water. The back slough was the most off-color and we found our best action in the dingy water since the fish weren't able to see the line." He thought the spawn would arrive early during this unseasonably dry winter. Overnight closures on Highway 160 from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. from Wilbur Avenue, south of the Antioch Toll Bridge, to the junction of Highway 12 for a $2.98 million rehabilitation project to the Three Mile Slough Bridge could remain for the next two months.
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 •
Lopez kicked out huge limits during Saturday's American Bass Association Tournament with 12 limits over 15 pounds, including three limits in excess of 20 pounds. Swimbaits and umbrella rigs are producing the larger fish, but the most consistent action has been by dragging worms or lizards along the bottom. At Nacimiento, jigs or drop-shotting shad-patterned plastics are working for skinny spotted bass. No white bass reports this year. Nacimiento dropped again to 725 feet and 21% capacity. San Antonio held at 656 feet and 5%. There are no ramps open at San Antonio, so tournaments switched to Lopez or Nacimiento.
Call: Lake Nacimiento (805) 238-1056, ext. 3; Lake San Antonio Marina(805) 472-2818; Central Coast Bass Fishing.com (805) 466-6557
American Bass Association at Don Pedro on Feb. 15: 1, Randy and Glenn Pierson, 19.17 pounds (Big Fish, 7.18 pounds); 2, Jason Remmers/Jeff Frey, 15.71; 3, Keith Rakoncza/Kyle Rasmussen, 13.20
Kerman Bass Club at McClure on Feb. 15: 1, Jon Smith, 6.81 pounds; 2, Steve Swarts, 6.78; 3, Jeff Farmer, 6.69; Big Fish, Ed Kerber, 2.77 pounds
American Bass Association at Lopez on Feb. 15: 1, Jim Dobbs/
Bob Grayson, 21.51 pounds (Big Fish, 6.49 pounds); 2, Darrin Bishop/Dean Miller, 21.03; 3, Randy McAbee Jr./Ty McCutcheon, 20.20
Roosevelt High Bass Club's February Open at McClure on Feb. 15: 1, Blake Cline/Connor Celum, Buchanan High, with boat captain Marvin Stewart, 9.28 pounds (Big Fish, Cline, 3.92 pounds); 2, Justin Grenier, Roosevelt High, with boat captain Mike Spencer, 6.26; 3, Dominic Moua/Calem Bell, Hanford West High, with boat captain Larry Hodge, 6.08
Saturday-Sunday: California Tournament Trail at New Melones
Saturday: Mother Lode Bass Anglers at McClure; New J Bass Club at Eastman; Sierra Bass Club at Pine Flat; Kern County Bass Masters at Pine Flat; Dinuba High Bass Club at Kaweah, info: John Celum, 797-5793; 101 Bass at Lopez; Golden Empire Bass Club at Santa Margarita
Sunday: Hook, Line and Sinker at Delta/Russo's Marina; Success Bass Club at Kaweah
March 1: American Bass Association at Delta/Russo's Marina; Mother Lode Bass Anglers at Tulloch; Angler's Choice at Don Pedro; Best Bass Tournaments at Pine Flat; San Luis Obispo County Bass Ambushers at Lopez; 101 Bass at Santa Margarita
March 2: Stockton Bass at Delta/Ladd's Marina; Western Outdoor News at Delta/Russo's Marina
March 8: 10th annual Sand Crab Surf Perch Derby at Portuguese Hall in Santa Cruz, info: www.theletsgofishingradioshow.com or through Allen Bushnell at email@example.com; Roosevelt High Bass Club at Millerton (Day Use Launch), info: Mike Spencer, 261-5296 or firstname.lastname@example.org
March 15: Visalia Bass Club at Kaweah
April 5: Roosevelt High Bass Club at Eastman (Campground Side), info: Mike Spencer, 261-5296 or email@example.com
May 18: Student Angler Federation's California State Championship at Delta/Russo's, info: Mike Spencer, 261-5296 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Fresno County: Avocado Lake; Fresno City Woodward Park Lake; Kings River, Below Pine Flat Dam
Kern County: Brite Valley Reservoir; Cat Fish Lake; Hart Park Lake; Lake Isabella; Ming Lake; River Walk Lake; Truxtun Lake; Woollomes Lake
Madera County: Eastman Lake; Hensley Lake; Sycamore Island Pond
Mariposa County: Eastman Lake
Stanislaus County: Turlock Reservoir
Tuolumne County: Tulloch Lake
Minor Major Minor Major
Wednesday 8:03 1:51 8:26 2:15
Thursday 8:56 2:44 9:21 3:08
q Friday 9:51 3:38 10:17 4:04
q Saturday 10:47 4:33 11:14 5:00
Sunday 11:42 5:28 ---- 5:57
Monday 12:08 6:23 12:37 6:52
Tuesday 1:01 7:16 1:31 7:46
q = quarter moon