Some of the more popular programs on TV are the monster fish shows in which hosts travel the world in search of giant catches. I think the popularity is because of our fascination about what may be underwater -- the kind of fish we don't see but suspect are there. I usually take giant fish stories with a grain of salt, but here's one I've waited to tell that happened to Allen Borden around 11 years ago at San Luis Reservoir.
To set the stage: Allen owns ABT Lures in Oakhurst and holds the Bass Lake largemouth record and he's been a fanatical angler all his life -- with plenty of stripers up to 40 pounds to his credit. Needless to say, when my old striper fishing buddy talks about big fish, I listen.
Allen this day was in front of the pumps in the big lake with a buddy fishing with downriggers at around 60-70 feet with lures. The bite that season had been good for stripers in the 10- to 13-pound range, and the two were doing pretty well that day -- landing several over 10 pounds -- when it happened: The downrigger pole popped loose, indicating another fish had hit the lure and was hooked. Allen said he could tell quickly the fish was another good one, around 12 pounds, as it fought below the boat. Using a large level wind reel, a 71/2-foot pole and a 25-pound line, he started bringing the fish up when suddenly he felt like he had hooked a train going the other way! With Allen hanging on for dear life, the streaking fish went about 40 yards when the line went soft and once again he could feel a regular-sized striper fighting him.
Perplexed, he fought the fish up to around 40 feet when it happened again. A force slammed the pole, pulling out the line at a tremendous speed and power as Allen hung on and tried to not get pulled overboard. Cranking the drag down, he attempted to slow the fish -- realizing it would spool him at some point if he couldn't react quickly -- when the line once again went limp after a 50-yard run. Reeling up, he could feel a weight on the other end, but no fighting fish. What was going on?
Allen reeled up the striper to the side of the boat then lifted the barely moving and seemingly dead 12-pound fish into the boat. At about this same time he glanced over the side of the boat and saw a monstrous striper just finning there. Allen whispered to his buddy to look over the side, and they both saw the striper from 3 feet away for at least 5 seconds as it sat there. Allen said he believed it was all of 5 feet long with an eyeball the size of a tennis ball. It had obviously followed up its meal and knew the fish was somewhere in the vicinity. As it turned sideways and took off, Allen said it appeared like the side of the striper continued to go on forever!
Allen and I, of course, have talked about the incident many times since and I've asked what he thought the striper weighed. Conservatively, he has said, it was over 75 pounds but it possibly could have pushed 100 -- a striper big enough to try to choke down a 12-pounder. Wow!
It was an incredible close encounter with an alien-sized striper that I also hope to have someday, too! Time to get bigger equipment and ... never give up!
Pine Flat bass are hitting, Merritt Gilbert said. Don Pedro kokanee bite has broken out, Monte Smith reported. San Luis stripers are on the rebound, Cas Castrence said. Delta multi-species bite continues, Randy Pringle reported. Shaver Lake trout and kokanee limits are possible, Dick Nichols said. New Melones kokanee are starting to hit, Danny Layne reported.
THE FISHING REPORT
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.
• Try dynamite
•• Have to work hard
••• Limits possible
•••• Fish jumpin' in boat
Delta Mendota Canal and Sloughs
Striper •• Catfish ••
Sales of Lucky Craft Pointer 128's and white flukes have increased, a sign of the crappie fishing slowdown in the south Valley lakes and return of local fishermen to the Delta Mendota Canal and California Aqueduct for striped bass. The most consistent action remains in the southern aqueduct in Kern County, with Jacob Rutledge of Bob's Bait in Bakersfield reporting, "Numbers of striped bass remained consistent with blood worms, lug worms, or sardines, but fishermen have to go through a dozen stripers before finding one over 18 inches." Buena Vista Golf Course had the heaviest concentration of anglers, but there is also good action off Tupman Road.
Bass •• Trout •• Bluegill •• Catfish •• Crappie ••
Water visibility remained limited with the lack of inflow, and the bass are holding in the 8- to 12-foot range. Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod in Clovis reported fishermen have been picking up about a dozen bass per trip to 2.5 pounds dragging lizards on the Texas-rig, drop-shotting plastic worms, or with jigs. One bass at 11 pounds was reportedly landed on a live crawdad, and the fish had the tell-tale spawning sign of a bloody tail. Patrick Movey of the Fisherman's Warehouse confirmed the overall tough bass bite, and the warm water has affected the trout action, but a few planted rainbows are found at depths from 12-15 feet with Power Bait or night crawlers. Catfish to 16 inches have been landed on anchovies, sardines, or chicken livers from the banks. The river arm is closed beyond the Keep Out Buoys, and will not reopen until Aug. 1. Bank fishing is also off limits in the area. Lakeview Trail is closed for the next few months. The day-use and Codorniz recreation sides have active ramps. The lake held at 472.69 feet in elevation and 9% capacity. Boaters remain advised to be cautious of shallow water, rockpiles, and unexposed underwater hazards.
Call: Six Star Tackle Box 673-5688; Eastman Lake 689-3255
Bass •• Trout •• Catfish •• Bluegill •• Crappie ••
Bass fishing is fair at best, but the occasional largemouth of trophy size has been landed, with a 10.75-pounder taken on a KTech swimbait within the past week. Water visibility is also extremely limited. Crappie fishing is spotty. Low water levels continue to require extreme caution when maneuvering a boat around the lake. The lake rose a half-foot to 458.02 in elevation and 9% 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 ••• Kokanee ••• King salmon •• Crappie ••
Kokanee action has started in earnest. Monte Smith of Gold Country Sport Fishing reported solid action over trips Saturday, Sunday and Monday. Kokanee to just under 14 inches have been taken, and Smith said, "These fish are fat butterballs, and you can barely get your hand around them." Kokanee are scattered at depths from 48-80 feet and throughout the lake. Smith said, "The water hasn't stratified yet; it is forming, but it is not there yet, and you will find a pod of fish in one location and another 100 yards away." He has been scoring mixed limits of rainbows, kokanee, and the occasional king salmon with Uncle Larry's spinners or Rocky Mountain Tackle hootchies behind a Vance's or RMT dodger, adding, "Copper or gold dodgers are working best in the morning while silver, chartreuse, or green dodgers are best in the middle of the day or in deeper water." Danny Layne of Fish'n Dan's Guide Service confirmed good action for both species, with rainbows to 2 pounds found off the dam and in the river channel toward Jenkins Hill at depths of 30-55 feet with spoons, rolled shad, or small hootchies tipped with a small piece of night crawler. Kokanee are in open water off Schoolhouse Point and in the cut between Big Oak Island and Jenkins Hill. Layne added, "12-year old Nicole Ryan of San Jose landed a 2-plus pound German brown on Monday, and we are targeting king salmon with rolled shad and Shasta Tackle's Matrix Paddle Tails." The surface temperature cooled from 67 to 63 degrees in the past week. For bass, live minnows continued to be popular for anglers working the banks. For artificial lures, drop-shotting with shad-patterned plastics such as the Bad Shad Green Flirt from Reaction Innovations or the Smallie Beaver is productive, as well as swimbaits such as the River2Sea SWaver. The lake dropped 1.5 feet to 737.64 in elevation and 53% capacity.
Call: Monte Smith (209) 581-4734; Danny Layne-Fish'n Dan (209) 586-2383; Gary Vella (209) 652-7550; Bait Barn (209) 874-3011
Lake Isabella/Bakersfield area
Bass •• Trout •• Crappie •• Catfish •• Bluegill ••
High winds over the past week limited overall action at Lake Isabella, but crappie action remained decent with small minnows or minijigs, particularly near Paradise Cove. Jacob Rutledge of Bob's Bait in Bakersfield said, "Catfishing has been on or off, but there have been whiskerfish to 12 pounds landed in the past week with garlic shrimp or frozen shad." Bass fishing remained slow, with few attempting to launch in the low water. The lake rose three-quarters of a foot to 2,536.89 in elevation and 11% capacity. The upper Kern River in sections 1-6 received trout plants last week, but there have been few reports of success. Sales of live crickets have increased, and night crawlers, Power Bait,salmon eggs, or spinners remain staples for the planters. In the lower river, trout plants also occurred, and the action has centered around Democrat Beach with various types of bait. In the Bakersfield area, a 17-pound largemouth was caught and released at Truxtun, and most fishermen have transitioned to targeting bass, catfish, or carp at the local lakes with the water warming enough to drive the planted rainbows to the deepest water in the lakes.
Call: Bob's Bait (661) 833-8657; North Fork Marina (760) 376-1812
Bass ••• Crappie •• Trout •• Catfish ••
Larry Kerns of the Visalia Bass Club reported numbers of bass aren't a problem, as they put together a 9-pound limit at Saturday's 100% Bass Tournament. Drop-shotting and Texas-rigged lizards were his most consistent producers. Jerry Williams of Porterville came through with a 7-pound largemouth on a Senko to post a 17-pound limit for yet another tournament win. Kerns said, "The water is rising rapidly, and it is hard to tell if the fish are on the beds with the limited visibility." Banks remained lined with anglers tossing live minnows, Brush Hogs or lizards in search of bass. Crappie fishing has slowed. Trout action is slow, with fish seeking warmer water, but plants will occur prior to the Vox Pops Influentials Trout Derby on May 17. The lake rose 8 feet to 634.23 in elevation and 27% capacity.
Call: Sierra Sporting Goods 592-5212
Bass •• Trout •• Catfish •• Crappie ••
Chuck Stokke of Sequoia Fish Co. in Springville reported the storm Friday slowed bass action on Success as the water temperature fell. Fish have become sluggish, and the reaction bite has decreased. Best action is with slow presentations of plastics on the Texas-rig or drop-shot. Crappie action has been on the slow side over the past few weeks. The planted rainbow trout are migrating up the river arm, and the bite has been limited to an occasional fish. The only launch available is on the Rocky Hill side, but the rising water is making it easier. The lake rose 9 feet to 599.40 in elevation to 15% capacity. Stokke reported the Tule River has shut down with the cold water and heavy inflow. Higher temperatures should turn on the action, but the window will be short-lived.
Call: Sequoia Fishing Co. 539-5626, www.sequoiafishingcompany.com
Bass •• Trout ••• King salmon •• Kokanee •• Crappie •• Catfish ••
Patrick Cole of Fishing Cole Guide Service reported limits of rainbows and a few bonus kings were taken on a recent trip at depths from 30-55 feet near the dam with custom spoons or hootchies behind a Shasta Tackle's Sling Blade. Bass action has been solid in the main lake with Robo Worm's Margarita Mutilators on a Texas-rig or wacky-rigged Senkos, particularly color 927- smoke/pearl laminate. Large minnows have been popular for spotted bass. Medium minnows have been less popular, but there are crappie to be had in various locations near submerged structure. Trout have moved deeper, and Wedding Rings tipped with a night crawler behind a flasher are producing rainbows; king salmon are starting to bite rolled shad at depths of 45-50 feet near the dam. A-1 and the Bait Barn are stocked up with all sizes of minnows. The lake rose 5 feet to 704.64 in elevation and 27% capacity.
Call: A-1 Bait (209) 563-6505; Bub Tosh (209) 404-0053
McSwain Marina reported high winds limited the number of anglers Monday. A 24-inch rainbow was landed from the bank on an orange/red Power Bait combination. Trollers are scoring with PPK Tomahawk spinners in pink sparkle or chartreuse, Kastmasters in blue/silver, or naked night crawlers behind Ford Fender flashers from the Chimney to the second fence line. The new Berkley Magnum Power Egg color CGFO (Clear-Green/Fluorescent Orange) and rainbow or chartreuse garlic Power Bait has been popular with bank anglers from the handicapped docks, brush pile, and near the marina. Call: McSwain Marina (209) 378-2534
Millerton Lake/San Joaquin River
Bass ••• Striper • Shad • Trout •• Bluegill ••
Millerton continued to produce ready and willing bass, with small spots being the rule on 4-inch plastics on the drop-shot or dart head. Merritt Gilbert said, "Every fifth or sixth fish will be a keeper over 13 inches, but most fish are in the 11- to 12-inch range." The lake rose 11 feet in the past week to 501.98 in elevation and 43% capacity. All boats must fill out a Quagga mussel self-inspection form before launching. In the lower San Joaquin, fishing interest remains low with the lack of plants. There are new regulations on the lower San Joaquin, and from Friant Dam downstream to the Highway 140 Bridge: Only two hatchery trout or hatchery steelhead are allowed with a total of four in possession. San Joaquin Hatchery will host the kid-friendly Trout Fest on Saturday.
Call: Fresno Fisherman's Warehouse 225-1838; Valley Rod & Gun 292-3474
New Melones Reservoir/Tulloch
Bass ••• Crappie •• Catfish •• Trout •• Kokanee •••
Kokanee action is heating up, with Danny Layne of Fish'n Dan's Guide Service reporting schools in the 10- to 12-inch range off Glory Hole Point to the south of the spillway at depths of 35-40 feet with Uncle Larry's spinners, Glitter Bug hootchies, or small ExCel spoons tipped with Pautske's Fire Corn with a touch of garlic. Gary Burns of Take it to the Limit Guide Service confirmed the good action, adding, "A slow troll from 1.4-1.6 mph is triggering most strikes at depths from 38-50 feet, and we are also tipping our lures with shoepeg corn scented with Pro Cure's Bloody Tuna or garlic." For rainbow trout, action continued to be slow with the fish moving into open water. Trollers are working the main lake at depths from 30-60 feet over the old river channel with brighter-colored lures for an occasional rainbow, but bank fishing has been very tough. A few rainbows have been taken from the banks with deep-water access near Glory Hole Point or Highway 49 Bridge with night crawlers or Power Bait in chartreuse or rainbow garlic. John Liechty of Xperience Bass Fishing Guide Service said, "The water has been dropping around a foot a day for the past week, and although this normally would have a negative effect on bass fishing, at this point it doesn't seem to be bothering the action," adding, "The bass are very cooperative and eager to bite on each outing." He has been finding a 50-50 mix of largemouth and spotted bass with a variety of lures including Senkos during the day and topwater lures in low light conditions. There is an improved reaction bite with the warming water, and spinner baits, crank baits, and jerk baits are all working. Lietchy added that the big catfish should be up and eager to feed in preparation for the spawn with the water warming every day. The crappie bite should be taking off soon, and there have been slabsides ranging from 1-2 pounds taken. New Melones dropped 6 feet to 933.34 in elevation and 39% capacity, with Tulloch rising slightly to 505.00 and 89%.
Call: Glory Hole Sports (209) 736-4333; Monte Smith (209) 581-4734; Danny Layne-Fish'n Dan (209) 586-2383; Sierra Sport Fishing(209) 599-2023
Pine Flat Reservoir/Kings River
Kokanee • Bass ••• Trout •• King salmon • Catfish •• Crappie ••
Bass fishing remained strong, with anglers averaging 8-10 fish per day for limits in the 9.5- to 10-pound range and the best action on Senkos. The bed fish have moved into deeper water, and males are guarding the fry. The best depth has been in the 15- to 20-foot range. The topwater bite hasn't taken off, but there is action with spinner baits, rip baits, or crank baits when the wind is blowing. Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun said, "Next to Millerton, it is our top bass lake for numbers." Trout fishing continued to be fair at depths from 20-25 feet in the main lake with Apex lures, Needlefish, or hootchies. Patrick Movey of the Fisherman's Warehouse said, "Anglers are struggling to land limits, with most action taking place in front of the Deer Creek Marina, the Power Lines, and Trimmer." Crappie are found near the docks at the Deer Creek Marina with small minnows or minijigs. A few catfish are found with anchovies from banks around Pine Flat Lake Resort. The lake rose 8 feet to 793.26 in elevation and 29% capacity. Trophy fish are scarce, both in the open and catch-and-release sections of the lower Kings. Power Bait, night crawlers, or spinners are producing a few planters. There are special regulations in the Kings River above and below Pine Flat Dam. In the river above the reservoir, Patrick Movey of the Fisherman's Warehouse reported good trout fishing with spinners or flies. The season is open to Nov. 15 from Pine Flat down to the Corps of Engineers Bridge on Pine Flat Road with a five-fish limit.
Call: Fresno Fisherman's Warehouse 225-1838; Valley Rod & Gun 292-3474, Sequoia Fishing Co. 539-5626, The I Forgot Store 787-3689.
San Luis Reservoir and O'Neill Forebay
Striper ••• Catfish •• Bass •• Crappie •
Striper action has been best in the Forebay, with Cas Castrence of Coyote Bait and Tackle in Morgan Hill reporting anglers have been scoring linesides to 27 inches soaking pile worms, blood worms or anchovies at night under the Highway 152 Bridge or around Check 12. Also in the Forebay, Patrick Movey of Fisherman's Warehouse in Fresno reported a topwater and fluke bite for schoolies, with the occasional large lineside in the mix. Water movement has been greatest in the evenings due to continual pumping, and striped bass are actively seeking easy meals. In the main lake, Castrence said, "The stripers have scattered all over, and when the wind has been down, boaters are still drifting jumbo minnows in front of the Trash Racks." Patrick Cole of Fishing Cole Guide Service said, "The schoolie stripers have been absolutely piled up in front of the trash racks, and we found great action for stripers in the 22- to 28-inch range with Yo-Zuris or Rapalas at depths from 40 to 60 feet." Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis added that fishermen have been walking banks along the main lake tossing Lucky Craft Pointers in Ghost Minnow or topwater Super Spooks for school-sized striped bass to 22 inches. The lake held at 47% capacity with 2756 acre-feet from the Delta matching outflow from the reservoir. 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
Bass •• Trout ••• Kokanee ••
The annual Bass Lake Chamber of Commerce Trout Derby is Saturday and Sunday, and there is always the shot at a big payday since a $10,000 fish was landed last year. Trout fishing is taking center stage, with anglers picking up 3-5 rainbows in the 13- to 14-inch range and up to 2 pounds pulling Wedding Rings tipped with a night crawler or blade crawler combo at depths to 20 feet. Another plant will occur May 21, with a bonus of 750 pounds of trophies. Best action remained between the Sheriff's Tower and Wishon Point, with some action near the back of the dam. For bass, previously solid action for big fish has slowed after the end of the spawn and the recent storm, but a 15-pound-plus limit took this past weekend's Sierra Bass Club tournament. A webcam is available at www.BassLakeFishing.com or BassLakeCA.com. The lake is at 61% capacity.
Call: Todd Wittwer 288-8100; Mike Beighey 642-3748; Bass Lake Water Sports 642-3200.
Brown trout •• Trout ••
Kaiser Pass is scheduled to open May 20, a bit earlier than normal. Edison rose to 11% and Florence to 27%. Mammoth Pool dropped slightly to 47%. Merritt Gilbert reported good action at Mammoth Pool for both bank fishermen and trollers for brown trout to 15 inches, with good numbers of rainbows in the 12- to 14-inch range.
Call: Vermilion Valley Resort at Edison Lake 259-4000
Shaver Lake/Huntington Lake
Kokanee ••• Trout ••
The weekend brought four inches of snow, but Dick Nichols of Dick's Fishing Charters found good success for mixed limits of trout and kokanee near the island, the point and the mouth of Dorabella Cove with orange Apex lures tipped with shoepeg corn behind a Mini-Mountain flasher at depths of 30-40 feet on the downrigger or Dick's Trout Busters tipped with a corn on the top hook and a piece of night crawler on the trail hook at depths to 20 feet on side poles. Blade/crawler combinations, Needlefish, or Thomas Buoyants are also working. Some anglers are finding success for rainbows dragging Rapalas on the surface. Bank fishermen are scoring planter and the occasional trophy rainbow near the point, Edison Campground and Road 2 with night crawlers, Gulp! Worms, or various colors of Power Bait. Nichols said, "Bank anglers are reporting landing quality rainbows with as many as three hooks broken off in the jaws, a sign of using poor quality monofilament or too light of tackle. The SLTTP fourth annual Sportsmen's Dinner is Aug. 9 at the Shaver Lake Community Center. Contact Treasurer Bob Bernier at 360-7185 for information. Shaver Lake dropped slightly to 62% capacity. The leading fish in the Fresno Ag Hardware/SLTTP season derby is a 16.2-pounder, but there are three positions in this year's derby. Weigh-in stations are Shaver Lake Sports, Young's Sporting Goods, and Ken's Market, all in Shaver. At Huntington, Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis reported launching an aluminum boat is a major undertaking, but a few dedicated fishermen are doing it, landing brown trout to 22 inches. The launch ramp may or may not be open this summer; the lake has risen to 47%.
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 opened up to Wishon over the past weekend, but 16 inches of snow fell in the area. Chuck Crane of Wishon Village RV Park and Store reported the hot weather melted the snow, and the road is clear to Wishon with the store to open Thursday. Only a few anglers have been on the lake, but the concrete launch is in the water and putting in a boat isn't a concern. He advised fishermen desiring night crawlers to bring supplies since the store hasn't received a shipment. He added that the road to Courtright also will be open Thursday night, and the ramp is on the concrete at the lake.
Call: Wishon RV Park 865-5361
Half Moon Bay
Salmon •• Striper ••
The Disabled Veterans Tournament was held this past week, and the salmon bite was slow with only a pair of shakers on the Huli Cat. Captain Dennis Baxter of the New Captain Pete ran south to Davenport on Sunday for four legal salmon, saying, "It was no big bonanza down there, with a minimum of life as there were no birds working the surface." Further north in Pacifica, Sheryl Jimno of the Rusty Hook reported crabbing remained solid from the pier, crowded Sunday morning despite a steady sprinkle. Striped bass have been taken from the pier and along the beaches with hair raisers, pile worms, blood worms, and other lures. Rockfishing below Pigeon Point, 18 miles south of the Pillar Point Harbor, starts Thursday.
Call: Happy Hooker (510) 223-5388; Roger Thomas, Salty Lady (415) 760-9362, Bait and Switch Sport Fishing Center (650) 726-7133; Emeryville Sport Fishing (510) 654-6040; Don Franklin, Soleman (510) 703-4148
Salmon •• Striper ••
Chris Arcoleo of Chris' Landing in Monterey said, "It was slow again on Sunday, with the Star of Monterey only returning with one legal salmon and the Check Mate scoring two for a combined 33 fishermen, but there were several shakers in the 20- to 23-inch range released." Conditions look productive, but action has been slow since the opening flurry to start the season. Rockfishing starts Thursday, and they have trips for either salmon or rockfish scheduled after this date.
Call: Chris' Landing (831) 375-5951; Bayside Marine (831) 475-2173; usafishing.com
San Francisco Bay
Halibut •• Striper ••• Leopard shark •• Salmon •• Sturgeon ••
All it took was a day of flat weather in order for the party boats to find the salmon, as five from the Golden Gate Fleet returned with limits Sunday from the area seven miles west of Point Reyes. The Outer Limits and New Rayanne from Sausalito repeated Sunday's performance with 45 salmon to 20 pounds for 23 fishermen Monday. Captain Jim Smith of the Happy Hooker out of Berkeley scored 11 bass to 11 pounds Sunday to go with nine halibut to 18 pounds for 11 anglers working the central and north bay with live shiners. The New Huck Finn out of Emeryville Sport Fishing trolled up seven bass to 13 pounds to go with seven halibut to 18 pounds for 13 anglers. Keith Fraser of Loch Lomond Bait and Tackle in San Rafael reported anchoring in the Pumphouse area of San Pablo Bay holds the possibility of sturgeon and striped bass.
San Luis Obispo
Rockfish season couldn't arrive fast enough. The Fiesta out of Virg's Landing in Morro Bay was able to land a single legal salmon during their last trip Friday. The Patriot out of Patriot Sport Fishing in Port San Luis released only one shaker Saturday.
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 •••
Captain Steve Talmadge of Flash Fishing put Jeannie Jasper of San Andreas onto her first keeper sturgeon at 51 inches on a grass shrimp/lamprey eel combination. One private boat out of Martinez on the anchor adjacent to Talmadge landed three legal sturgeon at 51, 48, and 43 inches, releasing the two smaller fish while another boat in the area also put in a keeper. Talmadge added, "The month of May is usually very good for sturgeon, but we will be heading to San Francisco this week in order to fish live bait in the bay in addition to salmon and rockfish trips." For largemouth bass, Randy Pringle, the fishing Instructor, reported an emerging topwater bite with the Persuader Double Buzz Bait in black/red or chartreuse/white or the ima Big Stick in shad-patterns. Bass are in all stages of spawning, with some guarding fry, some still on the beds, and others moving up to spawn. Large schools of stripers are working the surface, and the occasional lineside to 5 pounds can be plucked from the schools while busting on the surface. The next big tournament in the Delta is the Yamamoto Big Bass Challenge this weekend at Russo's Marina on Bethel Island. Alan Fong of Fisherman's Warehouse in Sacramento reported shad fishing has taken off, with freshwater tarpons to 7 pounds taken on shad darts in the past week. Best location has been above Sacramento at the mouth of the Feather River.
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 ••
Lopez and Santa Margarita have been the most productive coastal lakes, with fuller reservoirs than Nacimiento and San Antonio. Lopez is kicking out largemouth and smallmouth bass in the 3-pound range with spinnerbaits or live bait such as night crawlers. Catfish to 20 pounds have been landed on night crawlers, and crappie action is solid with minijigs or grubs around structure. At Santa Margarita, the marina and store closed mid-April, but the lake remains open for day use, camping, and boat launching at the main launch. Crappie action is fair with minijigs or Crappie Niblets with largemouth bass to 6 pounds taken on live bait, swimbaits, or drop-shot plastics. At Nacimiento, white bass spawned out a few weeks back, but whites are active around the mouth of Snake Creek with small white lures. Nacimiento dropped nearly a half-foot to 726 in elevation and 22% capacity; San Antonio fell to 654.60 and 5%.
Call: Lake Nacimiento (805) 238-1056, ext. 3; Lake San Antonio Marina(805) 472-2818; Central Coast Bass Fishing.com (805) 466-6557
Sierra Bass Club at Bass Lake on April 26: 1, Randy Rowe/Nicholas Thao- 15.11 (big fish 4.38); 2, Ryan Reynolds/Ron Moreno 13.52; 3, Martin DeHaven/Carlos Contreras 10.83.
Saturday: Tracy Bass Club at Delta/Tracy Oasis; Riverbank Bass Club at New Melones; Best Bass Tournaments/Taft Bass Club at Don Pedro; Army Corp of Engineers/Take a Warrior Fishing at Pine Flat; Tri Valley Bass Masters at Lopez
Saturday-Sunday: Yamamoto Big Bass Challenge at Delta/Russo's Marina; Bass Lake Chamber of Commerce Trout Derby at Bass Lake; Ventura County Bass Club at Santa Margarita; 36th annual Fishing Derby for Kids, Woodward Park, 8a.m.-noon, 15 and younger, Mr. Hernandez 375-4616
Sunday: Stockton Bass Club at Delta/Ladd's Marina; California Bass Federation at New Melones; Taft Bass Club at McClure
May 10: Bass 101 Open Tournament at Bass Lake, Mark Corrente 284-2768
May 17-18: Vox Pops Influential Magazine Trout Derby at Kaweah
AM PMMinor Major Minor Major
>Wednesday 6:22 12:09 6:48 12:35
>Thursday7:18 1:05 7:43 1:30
Friday8:14 2:01 8:39 2:26
Saturday9:09 2:57 9:33 3:21
Sunday10:02 3:50 10:26 4:14
Monday10:53 4:41 11:15 5:04
q-Tuesday11:40 5:29 ---- 5:51
> = peak activity; q = quarter