Fishing Report: Week of May 21

The Fresno BeeMay 20, 2014 

Roosevelt High School Bass Fishing Club president Corrie Williams, left, and Bryce Her, right, hold forth the bass they caught midway through the April Extravaganza bass fishing tournament at Eastman Lake on April 14, 2013.



I've heard from anglers that it's harder than ever to keep anything secret. One slip to the wrong person about a special lure, a new technique or a special hole you're trying to keep under the radar and your proverbial goose is cooked. What can you do to avoid this, before it quickly turns into an angling nightmare?

First, I think many fishermen are eager to share information with anglers who will respect and protect the knowledge, mostly because they enjoy sharing with those who truly appreciate assistance. Unfortunately these days, a slip of the tongue often leads to a social-media posting, which can potentially reach hundreds of additional anglers in a matter of minutes. Before you know, there could be a full conversation going on between folks who you didn't want to have the information in the first place -- under any circumstances. That sort of passing of knowledge is a great way to rip apart trust. It's worse when the person who shares your information says he found or developed it, and claims bragging rights. At that point, the genie is out of the bottle, never to be put back.

I think many anglers have had to tighten their standards of what and when to share -- especially on non-planted species such as bass, crappie and stripers -- to keep the potential flood of anglers who would descend on their spot or use their special tactics to catch fish until nothing was left. I just got a posted picture of an angler in California who had a stringer of 57 dead bass. As he fended off angry comments from others, he made it clear he thought he was a superior angler, that he was going to keep on doing it and that the whole thing was funny. Why would any angler want to "friend" this guy or give him any help?

So what does this mean to most of us? I think it emphasizes the sad fact that anglers need to be more careful than ever. It also makes me think that doing things in a highly visible way can be used against you -- especially if others are looking to "borrow" your best stuff. I'm seeing folks using binoculars more and more to get the lowdown on how someone is catching fish -- and I've also experienced folks tracking spots you're fishing. I've seen online posts that describe somebody fishing a certain area and at what time. Before you know it, you've got 10 boats in the same area. This never happened 15 or 20 years ago.

Six months ago, I was at the dock at the Basalt ramp when a fancy striper boat with three anglers closed in. They stopped about 20 feet away, and I asked how they had done. Rather than answer, the main guy said, "Hey, did you eat that big striper yet?" Confused, I asked what he meant. "You know, the one you guys got two weeks ago." I responded, "Oh, the 32-pounder my fishing buddy got?" They replied, "Yeah, that one." I asked them where they were from and they told me Livermore. So how did they know it was me? "We saw your picture on the Internet and brought it with us and we've been watching you all day." I stammered, "You have?" They went on to tell of how: "We saw you go to the dam first, then to the point, back to the dam ... with our binoculars." Pretty scary.

It's unfortunate, but I think we all need to be more careful. I've had to rethink some things, but I will still help everyone I can. Never give up!

Roger George is The Bee's fishing expert. He can be reached at, at and @StriperWars on Twitter.


California aqueduct stripers are eating, Mickey Clements said. Delta striper and bass bites are hot, Randy Pringle reported. Eastman Lake bass bite is good, Ranger Myers said. Success bass are hitting, Chuck Stokke reported. Pine Flat trout bite is solid, Patrick Movey said.


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 ••

Bait fishing on the California Aqueduct and Delta Mendota Canal from Los Banos to below Firebaugh has improved with blood worms, pile worms, or anchovies, and there has been more interest in the canals within the past few weeks. There is also a reaction bite with rip baits such as RC Sticks, Reaction Innovation's Skinny Dippers, Lucky Craft Slender 127's, Pointer 100's or 128's in ghost minnow or American shad along the access areas with moving water near the headgates. Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, "Small stripers are the rule, and anglers are reporting landing 15 to 20 linesides, but it is difficult to land a legal fish." Mickey Clements of Coyote Bait in Morgan Hill reported an improved catfish bite in the aqueducts. In the south aqueduct in Kern County, Jacob Rutledge of Bob's Bait reported striped bass to 8.5 pounds were landed on Cordell Spot Lures, and the action continued for bait fishermen with anchovies, sardines, lug worms, blood worms. Bob's annual Striper Derby is in June. Anglers are advised to be very careful in measuring any fish close to the 18-inch limit in order to remain legal.

Eastman Lake

Bass ••• Trout ••• Bluegill •• Catfish ••• Crappie •

Ranger Myers of the US Army Corp of Engineers reported an excellent bass bite with with crank baits, jigs, or drop-shot plastics in shad patterns. He said, "Trout fishing continued to be strong with Power Bait or night crawlers and catfish are landed on stinkbait or night crawlers, with whiskerfish to 15 pounds taken on a dark blue crank bait." Worms or small crappie jigs are working for bluegill or sun fish. The New J-Bass Club tournament Saturday produced a huge winning limit over 30 pounds. Myers advised, "Eastman is a trophy-bass fishery, and has a special bass limit of one fish per day, 22 inches or longer." The lake continued to drop because of evaporation, and it is on the lowest ramp level on both sides of the reservoir. The river arm is closed beyond the Keep Out Buoys, and will not reopen until Aug. 1. Bank fishing also is off limits in the area and fines costly. Boaters continue to venture up the river arm, and expensive citations have been issued to violators. The Lakeview Trail is closed until further notice. Orange buoys show the numerous rockpiles and hazards along the surface and should be avoided. The day-use and Codorniz recreation side have active ramps. The lake is at 472.46 feet in elevation and 9% capacity.

Call: Six Star Tackle Box 673-5688; Eastman Lake 689-3255

Hensley Lake

Bass •• Trout •• Catfish •• Bluegill •• Crappie ••

Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis reported bass fishermen have found a few largemouths in the 3- to 3.5-pound range working off the dam with lizards or Senkos. Walking the banks with similar baits also has been producing smaller male bass. Crappie fishing is slow, but a few slabsides are taken on minnows for patient fishermen. Catfishing is picking up with anchovies or mackerel from the banks. Low-water levels continue to require extreme caution when maneuvering a boat around the lake. The ramp at Hensley still is barely in the water. The lake held at 458.87 feet in elevation and 10% 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 •

Danny Layne of Fish'n Dan's Guide Service reported improved kokanee action with fat fish found off Jenkins Hill, in Graveyard Bay, off Oat Hill, and at the mouth of Six-Bit Gulch at depths of 45-70 feet with Glitter Bug Hootchies, Uncle Larry's spinners, or Marni Bugs tipped with Pautske's Fire Corn behind a Shasta Tackle Sling Blade in silver Cracked Ice or Vance's dodgers in watermelon. He added, "Rainbows are located in the same areas at depths from 35 to 50 feet with small blade/crawler combinations, while king salmon are found in the river channel off of Hatch Creek with rolled shad." Jeff Boyle of Bass Pro Shops in Manteca and Tony Lopes of Turlock trolled the lake Monday during the period of unsettled weather with a front moving through the region. Boyle said, "The kokanee were scattered, and we had to work hard at depths from 60 to 100 feet for mixed limits of kokanee and rainbow trout with a solitary king to 2.5 pounds." Manny Basi of the Bait Barn in Waterford reported good bass action on Pro Worms Pro Gold 300 small red flake either on the drop-shot or dragged along the bottom, and the 4.5-inch Reaction Innovation's Bad Shad Green on the drop-shot also is a good choice. Jigs such as the half-ounce Berserk Purple Hornet are effective, and Basi touted Pop'R's in shad pattern for topwater action. Randy Pringle, the Fishing Instructor, reported topwater lures landed the big winning limit over 30 pounds at Saturday's Best Bass Tournament. Jumbo minnows continued to be hot for bank fishermen.

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 ••

Windy conditions over the past week limited the number of anglers at Isabella, but there are still crappie in the lake, particularly around Paradise Cove with small minnows or minijigs. Jacob Rutledge of Bob's Bait in Bakersfield reported catfishing has improved with garlic shrimp or stink baits, and one fishermen reported landing 20 bass on jigs near Paradise Cove. Bluegill are biting jumbo red worms or wax worms. The lake rose over a foot to 2,540.09 feet in elevation and 13% capacity. Trout plants continued on the upper Kern River, and the action is fair for the recently planted trout with live crickets, Power Bait, salmon eggs, or spinners. In the lower river, Democrat Beach continues to be decent for bass, crappie, and catfish. In the Bakersfield area, the catfish bite has turned on at Buena Vista with garlic shrimp, shad, or clams. On the local scene, Truxton is the best option for bass with Ming and Hart Park being "hit or miss." Bob's will host their annual Striped Bass Derby in June.

Call: Bob's Bait (661) 833-8657; North Fork Marina (760) 376-1812

Lake Kaweah

Bass •• Crappie •• Trout •• Catfish ••

The Vox Pops Influentials Trout Derby took center stage over the past weekend, and the lake was lined with fishermen in warm and windy conditions. For bass, Brush Hogs, Senkos, or lizards are working best in the shallows. Crappie action has slowed in recent weeks. Trout are moving toward Slick Rock and cooler water. Small catfish can be taken at night with chicken livers or anchovies. The lake rose 6 feet to 653.71 feet in elevation and 41% capacity.

Call: Sierra Sporting Goods 592-5212

Lake Success

Bass ••• Trout •• Catfish •• Crappie ••

Chuck Stokke of Sequoia Fish Co. reported good bass action with drop-shot plastics or topwater lures. Larry Kerns of the Visalia Bass Club, holder of the Success Lake bass record, thought he had another record-winning fish, but within a few runs realized there was another species on the end of his line, landing a 16.5-pound catfish at Saturday's Visalia Bass Club tournament. He reported plenty of action with plastic worms or jigs at depths from 10-15 feet. Crappie fishing remains slow. Planted rainbow trout are migrating up the river arm, and the bite has been limited to an occasional fish with few fishermen trying. The only launch available is on the Rocky Hill side; rising water is making it easier to launch. The lake held at 601.20 feet in elevation and 16% capacity, and there will be water releases within the next few months. A fish die-off is a distinct possibility during the summer months becasue of low water and lack of oxygen. In the Tule River, Stokke reported an excellent brown trout bite with dry flies as the trout are active in the upper part of the river. Planted rainbows are available at Balch Park with Panther Martin spinners.

Call: Sequoia Fishing Co. 539-5626,

McClure Reservoir

Bass ••• Trout •• King salmon •• Kokanee • Crappie •• Catfish •••

Despite the low-water conditions, trout and king salmon are found at depths from 50-70 feet with Needlefish near the dam. Jason Mello of A-1 Bait found good action from the banks at McClure Point for planted trout. Bass fishing has been best with live large or extra-large minnows or live crawdads near McClure Point and Barrett's Cove. Anglers have been lining the banks on the weekends to toss out the live bait. A-1 and the Bait Barn are stocked up with all sizes of minnows due to high demand.

Call: A-1 Bait (209) 563-6505; Bub Tosh (209) 404-0053

McSwain Reservoir

Trout •••

Recent trout plants from the Department of Fish and Wildlife and Calaveras Trout Farm have spurred on the action. Trollers are scoring with Rapalas, PPK Tomahawk spinners in orange, pink sparkle, or chartreuse past the floating restrooms. Victoria Sturdivant of the McSwain Marina reported selling out of Sep's Flashers, with blade/crawler combinations also effective. The lake's relatively full status is drawing fishermen to the reservoir. Bank fishing has been solid, because of recent plants, with chartreuse garlic Power Bait or white Power Eggs.

Call: McSwain Marina (209) 378-2534

Millerton Lake/San Joaquin River

Bass ••• Striper • Shad •• Bluebill •• Trout ••

Water releases have started from the lake, and the bass bite has slowed from its zenith a few weeks back, but Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun said, "Although it is not as good as it was a few weeks back, it is still solid for numbers with topwater lures in the mornings or evenings, rip baits, plastic worms on the drop-shot, jigs, or Senkos at depths from the bank to 25 feet." There have been no confirmed striper catches in the past two weeks with the rising water. All boats must fill out a Quagga mussel self-inspection form before launching. In the lower San Joaquin, no trout plants are scheduled this week, so fishing interest remains low. There are new regulations on the lower San Joaquin, and from Friant Dam downstream to the Highway 140 Bridge, with only two hatchery trout or hatchery steelhead allowed and a total of four hatchery trout or hatchery steelhead 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. The San Joaquin River is closed to the take of salmon. They may not be targeted by fishermen and must be released immediately if inadvertently caught.

Call: Fresno Fisherman's Warehouse 225-1838; Valley Rod & Gun 292-3474

New Melones Reservoir/Tulloch

Bass •• Crappie •• Catfish ••• Trout •• Kokanee ••

Kokanee are getting fatter each week, according to guide Gary Burns of Take it to the Limit Guide Service, as the water is green and loaded with plankton. He said, "We put in several fat kokanee this week in the 12- to 15-inch range, and we are using a single hook in order to easily release the smaller fish so they can grow." He is scoring with pink or orange Uncle Larry's spinners or Simon Baby Wobblers in pink or pink tiger behind a Rocky Mountain Tackle UV Pink Thunder or Simon Wobblers in blue at depths from 38-55 feet. He said, "I'm not seeing big schools of kokanee yet, so it is best to try different areas of the lake until you start getting some hookups, and the water temperature hit 73 degrees, so the fish will start to go deeper." There are submerged trees along the shore, so anglers are best to work the main channel to stay out of the snags. In addition to the lures, John Lietchy of Glory Hole Sporting Goods in Angels Camp advised scenting your corn with Pro Cure garlic, anise, Kokanee Special, or Bloody Tuna. Trout fishing remained slow, but there are a few large brown trout to be found since they are holding near the schools of kokanee. Glory Hole encourages catch and release for the brown trout as The Department of Fish and Wildlife will no longer be planting them. Carefully measure, weigh and photograph trophy fish and send pictures and information. Trout season is open for rivers and streams, and it might be best for anglers to try their luck in these areas. Those fishing at night have been having success under submersible lights. The fish will be in deep water throughout the day and move into shallower water at night to feed. Nightcrawlers and Power Bait will work well and also live minnows are hard to beat on a slip-float and a bobber stop to set the presentation at exact depths. Lietchy reported fair bass action as the water is dropping rapidly, slowing the bite with most fish moving deeper. The spawn is complete and the fish are in a post-spawn stage. He said, "They will be feeding heavily in the morning and evenings and will be hanging in the deep water midday, so you are best using reaction type baits to catch the fish that are eager to feed," adding, "As the sun comes up switch to slower-moving baits fished sub-surface, as the fish are feeding on bluegill, shad, crawdads, and baby bass." Catfishing has improved considerably as the water is warming and the cats are moving shallow to feed and spawn. Lietchy advised using one of the following setups: The most common would be a standard bait rig with a sliding sinker. This rig is fished off of the bottom. Be sure to leave your bail open. Once the fish picks up the bait if they feel any weight or tension on the line they will be more likely to drop the bait. Another setup is a weightless rig. Use an ample amount of bait to make long cast without any lead. This allows your bait to naturally drift in the current. Catfish feed primarily by scent. The stink baits will draw many fish from a long distance and the more natural scented baits will often trigger strikes from the largest, wisest cats. Try using a variety of baits and scents until you find one that appeals to the fish. Anchovies (top), mackerel(middle) and sardines(bottom) will all catch fish, but on clear reservoirs such as New Melones, the catfish often feed on schools of shad. Try using frozen shad to catch these fish that are accustomed to feeding on small baitfish. Crappie fishing is slow, with the few slabsides found around exposed wood or standing timber with minijigs or Beetle Spins in red/white. New Melones dropped 6 feet to 916.98 feet in elevation and 34% capacity with the release of 3,010 acre-feet of water. Downstream reservoir Tulloch rose 2 feet to 508.15 feet in elevation and 95% of 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 Reservoir/Kings River

Kokanee • Bass ••• Trout ••• King salmon • Catfish •• Crappie ••

Patrick Movey at the Fisherman's Warehouse in Fresno reported a solid trout bite with ExCel lures, blade/crawler combinations, Wedding Rings tipped with a night crawler, or Shasta Tackle's Wiggle Hootchies in shad-patterns at depths from 25-35 feet in the main lake from Deer Creek Marina to Pine Flat Lake Resort and also near the Power Lines to the dam. Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis confirmed the good bite and added Apex lures, Needlefish in silver/blue, or Rainbow Runners to the arsenal. Bass fishing has improved, with limits in the 10- to 11-pound range possible with rip baits or Senkos; spotted bass are concentrating in the main lake, with the largemouths up the river arm. Lizards, Brush Hogs, or drop-shot plastics are effective for bass to 2 pounds. The occasional crappie are found near the docks at Deer Creek Marina with small minnows or minijigs. The lake rose 10 feet to 821.67 feet in elevation and 39% capacity with 3,123 acre-feet of inflow due to snowmelt. Trout plants in the lower Kings continue on a weekly basis, but trophy fish remain scarce in the open and catch-and-release sections. Anglers are encouraged to leave the banks of the river clean upon departure. There are special regulations along the Kings River above and below Pine Flat Dam. The season is open to Nov. 15 from Pine Flat Dam downstream to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Bridge on Pine Flat Road with a five-fish limit. The area from Cobbles (Alta) Weir downstream to the Highway 180 crossing is open all year, with only artificial lures with barbless hooks with a zero limit. The Thorburn Spawning Channel, the 2,200-foot long channel 5 miles downstream from Pine Flat Dam, and the reach of river within a 200-foot radius of the channel exit is closed to all fishing all year. In the upper river, the South Fork from its confluence with Copper Creek downstream to the Highway 180 crossing at Boyden Cave and also from Garnet Dike Campground downstream to Pine Flat Lake is open all year with a two-fish limit. Tthe South Fork, from the Highway 180 crossing at Boyden Cave downstream to the main stem; Middle Fork, from the western boundary of Kings Canyon National Park downstream to the main stem; and main stem, from the confluence of the South and Middle forks downstream to Garnet Dike Campground are open all year -- with only artificial lures with barbless hooks with zero 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 ••

The Forebay continued to tout the best action for striped bass and catfish around Check 12 and the Highway 152 Bridge, with linesides to 25 inches taken on pile worms, blood worms, or chicken livers. Mickey Clements of Coyote Bait in Morgan Hill reported selling more blood worms this week than normal. In the main lake, bank fishermen are tossing out blood or pile worms near the Romero Visitor Center. Trolling and drifting minnows near the Trash Racks is losing momentum, and the high winds worked to keep boaters off of lake during the weekend. 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


Bass Lake

Bass •• Trout •• Kokanee ••

Todd Wittwer of Guide Service said, "One boat found five big kokanee to 19 inches in the early morning from 5:15 to 7:30 a.m., but the bite died after 8 a.m." Action such as this has been rare, but this angler risked losing his downrigger weight by trolling through the submerged structure at depths from 30-45 feet in order to find these large fish. Wittwer said, "There are trees as shallow as 14 feet below the surface, and you really have to be aware of where you are at when you are dropping your downriggers down." Pink hootchies behind Rocky Mountain's Hyperplaid Dodgers have been the top kokanee setup. Trout action is fair, but there is minimal action in the northern portion. A major trout plant will occur Wednesday, including a number of trophy-sized rainbows, but boat pressure will rise exponentially for the Memorial Day weekend starting Thursday afternoon. Wittwer thought it would take at least into the middle of the week in order for the lake to settle down after heavy weekend boat traffic. The Sheriff's Motor Fee is required on all boats starting Wednesday. Senkos are the top artificial bait for bass, as the fish are holding in 10-12 feet of water near the docks. A webcam is available at or

Call: Todd Wittwer 288-8100; Mike Beighey 642-3748; Bass Lake Water Sports 642-3200

Edison/Florence/Mammoth Pool

Brown trout •• Trout ••

Edison is at 13%, Florence rose to 53% and Mammoth Pool fell to 37%. The reservoir is closed for fishing and boating through June 16 for the annual deer migration.

Call: Vermilion Valley Resort at Edison Lake 259-4000

Shaver Lake/Huntington Lake

Kokanee ••• Trout ••

The kokanee bite has taken off, with Dick Nichols of Dick's Fishing Charters saying, "We knocked them dead over the weekend with Alan and Liz Changaala of Porterville putting in limits on two consecutive days in no time, not including culled fish." The action started slowly at the start of last week, but the bite heated up at depths from 18-60 feet depending on the location in the lake, with Nichols reporting good action at 38 feet east of Eagle Point. The Point and the Island required dropping to 60 feet in depth on the downrigger. Apex lures in orange behind a Captain Jack's CJ Flasher or Dick's Trout Busters tipped with a piece of night crawler and corn behind a weighted Mountain Flasher are Nichols' top rigs. Bob Bernier of the Shaver Lake Trophy Trout Project landed a 5-pound rainbow on the Trout Busters on his side poles at 18-22 feet in depth. Paul Kalpakoff of Central Sierra Outfitters found limits fishing, with Lynn Streit and Hal Hilgemann of Fresno scoring three limits of kokanee from 12-14 inches with Vance's #1 Sockeye Slammer in Hot Candy Pink tipped with red corn behind a Shasta Tackle #3 UV Sling Blade Tiger on a long 28-inch leader 32 feet behind the downrigger ball. Kalpakoff is using silver ball trolls on the downrigger cable at 50 feet. He found his best action in the deep channel toward Boy Scout Cove. Bank anglers are picking up recently planted trout and an occasional trophy trout near the dam, Point and Dorabella Cove with Power Bait in chartreuse, night crawlers, or orange Power Bait. The SLTTP annual Sportsmen's Dinner is Aug. 9 at Shaver Lake Community Center. Tickets go on sale July 1 at Shaver Lake Sports, Ken's Market and Captain Jack's Tackle in Shaver. The event is expected to sell out fast. Contact Treasurer Bob Bernier at 360-7185 for more information. 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, the lake is low, and boats must be dragged to the edge to be launched from shore. The best fishing remains holdover rainbow trout near the mouth of Rancheria Creek with night crawlers or Power Bait. The launch ramp may or may not be open during the summer months. Huntington is at 57% capacity with Shaver at 62%.

Call: Dick's Fishing Charters 841-2740; Dinkey Creek Inn 841-3435; Rancheria Marina 893-3234; Shaver Lake Sports Inc. 841-2740


Trout •••

Wishon and Courtright are kicking out quick limits for trollers. Chuck Crane of Wishon Village RV Park and Store reports solid action at Wishon with "lots of limits." Frank Telare, the organizer for the Kiwanis Special Olympics Derby on July 12, landed a 22-inch rainbow on a Wedding Ring tipped with a night crawler at three colors of lead core. Bob and Diane Pearcy of Visalia have been limiting with rainbows in the 12- to 16-inch range with rainbow-trout Rapalas on a long line from 100-200 feet behind the boat or trolling flies at three colors. Crane reported a slow bank bite at Wishon. Shore action is much better at Courtright with garlic salmon eggs or pink Power Bait. Trollers are picking up limits with Speedy Shiners, ExCel spoons, or blade/crawler combinations at depths to three colors. The launch is on the concrete ramp at both lakes, but there is no courtesy dock at either lake at present. For stream fishermen, the water level is decent, and there are trout in the deep holes in Dinkey Creek. The streams will be all but over by July with the lack of snowpack remaining in the Sierra.

Call: Wishon RV Park 865-5361


Half Moon Bay

Rockfish ••• Salmon •• Striper ••

Salmon fishing has improved significantly since the start of the season, with a long line of fish stretching along the 50 Fathom Curve from the Deep Reef to south of the Farallon Islands. Getting to the fish has been limited by periods of wind, and once the fish are hooked, marauding fur bags are ready to pounce. On Saturday, Captain Dennis Baxter of the New Captain Pete went north in "obnoxious" weather conditions for seven salmon for 12 anglers, saying, "If you got there in the early morning, you were on the fish, but the fish stopped biting and went back down by mid-morning," adding, "The conditions are all there with the fish loaded with krill." Captain Tom Mattuch of the Huli Cat went 11 miles southwest of the harbor Saturday, only to find a healthy population of sea lions waiting for an easy meal. He said, "We hooked one big fish and a monster Stellar's sea lion erupted out of the water like a depth charge going off and pounced on the salmon, jumping completely out of the water." His advice to his fishermen are to keep reeling, as they have brought in salmon after they have been slapped around and chewed on by the sea lions. They ended up with 13 salmon to 22 pounds for 15 fishermen. Mattusch added, "There is a long line of good-looking water, and there has been great sign at the Deep Reef with birds, bait, and whales, but the salmon have been absent so far this season in the area." Captain Bob Ingles on the Queen of Hearts out of Half Moon Bay Sport Fishing reported three salmon to 20 pounds Sunday,losing another estimated 25 hookups because of a combination of sea-lion marauding or inexperience. He had a similar score to the New Captain Pete on Saturday with seven salmon for 11 anglers. The Riptide, also out of HMB Sport Fishing, went south below Pigeon Point for 152 rockfish including a big cabezon and a number of hard-heads to go with 12 ling cod to 15 pounds. The local rockfish season opens June 1 from Pigeon Point to Point Arena. Further north in Pacifica, striped bass fishing has improved with hair raisers and metal spoons from the beach access areas both north and south of the Pacifica Pier. Crabbing remained decent with the season closing June 30. Perch fishing has been fair with blood worms, pile worms, or grass shrimp.

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

Monterey/Santa Cruz

Rockfish •••• Salmon •• Striper •• White sea bass •

Chris Arcoleo of Chris' Landing in Monterey reported slow salmon fishing, but terrific rockfishing in the area. The Caroline went out Saturday and Sunday for salmon, only to be skunked before taking another path for three-quarters limits of rockfish. The Star of Monterey went to the local reefs for 32 limits of rockfish and eight ling cod. They are running rockfish trips throughout the week and will continue to look for salmon in the local waters. Action further south at Point Sur has been tremendous when the combination of weather and enough anglers to make the trip occurs.

Call: Chris' Landing(831) 375-5951; Bayside Marine (831) 475-2173;

San Francisco Bay

Halibut ••• Striper ••• Leopard shark ••• Salmon •• Sturgeon ••

Salmon scores have been ranging from limits to much less than a fish per rod. The Salty Lady out of Sausalito found terrific action Friday with seven limits of salmon to 24-pounds while the Outer Limits, also out of Sausalito, was the highliner on Sunday with 7 limits to 27-pounds. Boats have been running south of the Farallon Islands and meeting up with the Half Moon Bay boats running north. Out of Emeryville, the New Super Fish returned with three salmon for eight fishermen, while the New Easy Rider and El Dorado out of Berkeley combined for 17 salmon to 30 pounds for 21 fishermen. The Blue Runner out of Sausalito posted an impressive score with 14 salmon for 13 fishermen. The key was getting on the fish early and making the most of the opportunities. Tremendous numbers of striped bass are holding in San Francisco Bay, leaving one to wonder where these fish have been over the past two seasons. Bass fishing remained the best thing in the central bay, with Captain Jim Smith on the Happy Hooker finding 32 stripers to 12 pounds Sunday after scoring 31 to 14 pounds Saturday to go with two halibut to 24 pounds. Craig Beaslanowitch from Manteca was the jackpot winner with the big halibut and a limit of stripers to 12 pounds. Captain James Smith on the California Dawn out of Berkeley had literally a "boat full of women" on Saturday, saying, "They did great and put up one of the better scores of all the party boats working the Berkeley flats, Mel's Reef and Southhampton." They landed 21 stripers to 10 pounds and one halibut and only lost a handful. Despite not much experience, James said "they listened and followed through, not what our male novices do very well". Speaking of a female trip, the annual "Couples Challenge" on the California Dawn is June 5. James Smith put in limits of striped bass and a few bonus halibut Monday. Keith Fraser of Loch Lomond Bait and Tackle in San Rafael said, "Sunday was the windiest of all recent windy days, with even the whitecaps having whitecaps." He answered the phone, "Windy Gulch Bait Shop," and they closed at 2 p.m. given lack of interest in those conditions, with even "shore fishermen being absent." He touted the halibut action at the Paradise Park Pier when the tides are right with up to 15 halibut taken off the short pier on a single day. The tides are getting smaller every day, with only a 0.9-minus Monday before they really started winding down Tuesday. Halibut action should improve with the better tides by midweek.

San Luis Obispo

Salmon • Rock cod •

Patriot Sport Fishing rockfishing in the only game in town out of Patriot Sport Fishing in Avila Beach and Virg's Landing in Morro Bay. Rockfish action was slow Sunday in Avila Beach, with the Patriot returning with 15 ling cod, 37 assorted rockfish, eight bolina, and a cabezon on Sunday's trip. The Black Pearl boated 45 assorted rockfish, 45 bolina and three lings for 45 anglers. Monday, the Rita G out of Morro Bay scored four lings, 26 vermilion, and 234 assorted rockfish for 26 limits; the Fiesta put in 16 limits Sunday including 80 vermilion and a bonus ling cod. Virg's is starting "John Rowley's Biggest, Baddest Ling Cod Contest," with $1 from each fare for 30 weeks being placed into a pool for the Grand Finale for the top 30 anglers on December 6. The Fiesta is featuring half-price Ladies Day on Wednesdays. Both harbors are running a variety of trips, including the first two-day rockfish trip out of Morro Bay on June 7-8.

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 •••

Few anglers are targeting sturgeon, but the diamondbacks remain ready to be had for fishermen anchoring during the brief windows without wind. After 10 days of windy weather, the Delta succumbed to a short-lived heat spell featuring triple-digit temperatures before the wind made a reappearance starting Friday with an apex Sunday. Striped bass are scattered throughout the Sacramento River system, but the wind has limited access to the top trolling areas of the West Bank. Shad fishing has improved from Clarksburg upstream, and the bulk of the female fish are on their way, especially with heavy water releases coming down from the Feather River. Tony Lopez of Benicia Bait continued to catch and release legal sturgeon on his infrequent trips, and he has been concentrating on the area right outside of his home harbor at McAvoy's in Bay Point in 20 feet of water with eel strips. He said, "I keep telling people that the fish are there, but they have a hard time believing that the fish are this close to the harbor and they want to run to the Big Cut or Montezuma Slough." Salmon smolt releases moved upriver during the middle of the week from San Pablo Bay into the Carquinez Straits, and shore fishermen at Dillon Point State Park and along the Benicia access points have been scoring with RatLTraps or hair raisers in rainbow trout patterns. Lopez said, "Guys are reporting up to 30 fish days with the big stripers going 26 inches." Grass shrimp was difficult to obtain by the end of the week with the big tides and constant wind, but the shrimp will be easier to gather as the tides continue to recede. James Nguyen of Dockside Bait in Pittsburg reported slow action on the main Sacramento River during the weekend, with the big tides and high wind making anchoring impossible on their section of the river. Doug Chapman of Gotcha Bait in Antioch confirmed that most sturgeon fishermen are "throwing in the towel," but a few diehards are finding action in Suisun Bay, Montezuma Slough and Grizzly Bay. Striper fishing has been best in the Sacramento River around Sherman and Decker Islands with frozen shad or sardines on the few days that boats are able to keep on the anchor. Shad fishing has improved in the Sacramento River from Clarksburg upriver with Alan Fong of Fisherman's Warehouse in Sacramento stating, "Shad fishing is the hottest thing going right now, and the Freeport area is loaded with boaters drop-shotting 1-inch shad grubs in champagne or chartreuse while bank anglers use a three-quarers-ounce egg sinker with one or two shad darts on a 3-foot leader." The females should be on their way shortly, but most of the fish remain the smaller males. Between extended periods of high winds, a truncated heat wave hit the east Delta for a few days before the winds returned with a vengeance. Searching for stripers has preoccupied most anglers, but bluegill and largemouth bass action from the banks are becoming more and more viable with the water temperatures rising. In the Antioch area of the river, Doug Chapman of Gotcha Bait said, "There are still plenty of stripers around here, but the fish are scattered out with a number of undersized fish starting to show up," adding, "Fresh shad and frozen sardines have been the top baits, and the best action has been around the Antioch Bridge in locations like Dutch Slough." Largemouth bass have been found in the back sloughs with extra-large and large minnows while red-eared perch and bluegill are biting jumbo red worms or wax worms around Bethel Island. Catfish are developing more interest, and sales of frozen clams and mackerel have spiked. Captain Stan Koenigsberger of Quetzal Adventures out of Bethel Harbor reported "epic" striped bass action on the San Joaquin River near the mouth of Three Mile Slough on Sunday with 23 stripers to the boat including ninw keepers in the 21-inch range. All of his action came on the outgoing tide with frozen shad. He said, "The water cooled off to 68 degrees after all of the wind." He was close to Sherman Island near the mouth of Three Mile on the outgoing, but after the water become full of debris, he moved out deeper into the shelf to find clearer conditions. In the extreme south Delta, Brandon Gallegos of H and R Bait in Stockton reported limits of stripers are taken from the access areas along Whiskey Slough Road as the bass are chasing shad and bait fish in the early mornings. He added, "We have been catching bluegill at first light and finding limits between 8 and 10 pounds within 45 minutes of soaking the live bluegill." The Old River near the Highway 4 Bridge has been another hot area with live bluegill, while the best bluegill action has been in Whiskey Slough or Grimes Road near the Tracy Oasis. They are receiving around 30 pounds of fresh shad on a daily basis along with fresh clams for catfish. For largemouth bass, Randy Pringle, the Fishing Instructor, continued to find a great reaction bite in the wind, with largemouth bass to 6 pounds being landed on a variety of methods. He has been scoring with the ima Big Stick in the mornings or the Berkley Flat Dog in watermelon/blue copper flake with a circle hook and a nail weight to keep the bait on the bottom. The 6-inch Bottom Hooper on a Zappu head continued to be effective as well as the ima Squarebill crank bait. He said, "The crankbait bite has been phenomenal, and we crushed them with the Squarebill." The wind has returned to the Delta, and Pringle advised tossing the Persuader Double Buzz Bait, the Ace in the Hole, the Strike King Pure Poison vibrating jig, or crank baits. Spinnerbaits in the wind are also a possibility.

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 •••

At Nacimiento, spotted bass are hitting plastics or creature baits with fish to 2 pounds possible. White bass are found from Las Tablas to the dam with small white spoons or Roostertails. Lopez is producing crank-bait fish along the bluffs, rip-bait fish along main lake points, or Senkos on the wacky-rig along wood structure. Crappie action has been solid with small minnows or minijigs in the Vasquez Arm or Cottonwood Cove. At Santa Margarita, catfishing has improved with mackerel or other cut baits. The launch ramp is expected to be available for another month, with the lake holding around 35% capacity. San Antonio is limited to kayaks, canoes, or inflatables with the low water, Nacimiento dropped over a foot to 724.50 feet in elevation and 21% capacity and San Antonio also dropped to 654.15 feet in elevation and 4% capacity. Boat pressure is expected to be high at Nacimiento over the holiday weekend, but there are hazards because of the low water. Reminder: consuming white bass, black bass, crappie, catfish, or carp are subject to safe eating guidelines because of excessive mercury. There is a calendar of coastal lake tournaments available at Quagga mussel inspections are now required before boat launching is allowed.

Call: Lake Nacimiento (805) 238-1056, ext. 3; Lake San Antonio Marina(805) 472-2818; Central Coast Bass (805) 466-6557



Fresno Bass Club at Clear Lake on May 17-18 (two-day totals): 1, Morgan Swisher 36.80 (big fish 8.10); 2, Ron Red Sr. 27.36; 3, Joe Alanis 26.60

Best Bass Tournaments at Berryessa on May 17: 1, Claudio Silva Jr./Juan Velazquez 29.41 (big fish 8.93); 2, Brent Zieska/Jeff Eddings 23.27; 3, John Joslyn/James Paschall 21.83

Kerman Bass Club at New Melones on May 17: 1, Ross Aoki 18.97 (big fish 6.97); 2, Ron Orbacher- 11.04; 3, Rusty Baron 10.52

Best Bass Tournaments at Don Pedro on May 17: 1, Mike Goncalves/Robert Mansor- 32.37 (big fish 10.92); 2, Robert Muraco/Robert O'Kirschner 17.12; 3, Chad Smith/Steve Melander 16.98

New J Bass Club at Eastman on May 17: 1, Michael and Anthony Her 32.88; 2, LA Xiong/Cong Thao 18.53; 3, Cheng and William Her 16.06 (big fish 11.06)

Visalia Bass Club at Success on May 17: 1, Kyle Manes/Bobby Blaswich 18.45 (big fish 6.90); 2, Terry Hamlin/Bryan Shishido 15.39; 3, Dave Simpson/Isaac Adams 13.04

Best Bass Tournaments at Nacimiento on May 18: 1, Clark Poulsen/Robert Duncan 10.57 (big fish 3.46); 2, Martin and Eric Zillig 9.79; 3, Jason Ballew/Doug Slayton 9.50


May 24: 100 Plus Bass at Pine Flat, Tim Torres 859-1822; Kern County Bass Masters at Lopez; San Luis Obispo Bass Ambassadors at Nacimiento

May 25: Tracy Bass Club at Delta/Tracy Oasis

May 31: American Bass Association at Delta/Russo's Marina; Mother Lode Bass Anglers at Don Pedro; Kokanee Power Team Kokanee Derby at Don Pedro,; Angler's Choice at McClure; Best Bass Tournaments at Pine Flat

May 31-June 1: Tracy Bass Club at Delta/Tracy Oasis

June 7: Future Pro Tour/Kerman Bass Club at McClure


Fresno County: Big Creek, Huntington; Courtright Reservoir; Dinkey Creek; Hume Lake; Huntington Lake; Kings River, Below Pine Flat; Portal Forebay; Rancheria Creek; San Joaquin River, South Fork; Tamarack Creek; Tenmile Creek, Upper; Ward Lake; Wishon Reservoir

Kern County: Alder Creek; Cedar Creek; Kern River, Sections 1-3, 5

Mariposa County: Big Creek, Madera Mariposa; Merced River, Section ll

Merced County: Yosemite Lake

Tulare County: Balch Park Lake Lower; Balch Park Lake Upper; Big Meadows Creek; Bone Creek; Deer Creek; Dry Meadow Creek; Freeman Creek; Hedrick Pond (Redwood Lake); Kern River, Sections 5-6; Nobe Young Creek; Peppermint Creek, Lower; Peppermint Creek, Upper; Spear Creek (aka Poso Creek); Stony Creek; Tule River Middle Fork; Tule River North Fork, Middle Fork No. 1; Tule River South Fork, Middle Fork 2-3; White River


AM PM Minor Major Minor Major

q-Wednesday ---- 5:49 12:02, 6:15

Thursday 12:27 6:40 12:53 7:05

Friday 1:14 7:27 1:39 7:52

Saturday 1:59 8:11 2:24 8:36

Sunday 2:43 8:55 3:08 9:20

Monday 3:27 9:40 3:5 10:05

>Tuesday 4:14 10:27 4:39 10:52

> = peak activity; q-quarter

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