Compiled by Dave Hurley and edited by Roger George, a central San Joaquin Valley native and local fishing expert.
Isabella catfish bite "going insane," Pete Cormier reported. Don Pedro multi species action hot, Monte Smith said. Shaver Kokanee bite is "on," Dick Nichols said. Wishon opens for easy limits, Chuck Crane said. Nacimiento bassing very good, Will Hesch said. New Melones kokanee bite "wide open," Melanie Lewis reported. Delta stripers on the prowl, Gary Vella reported.
I've done it many times, and I'll bet you have, too!
What I'm talking about is a "death march" type of fishing trip, where you – or in this case, someone else – have grand ideas about going to a far-flung place where it would seem the fish are going to be big and numerous.
These trips usually start out with someone who is positive they have a sure deal lined up – but they also casually off-handedly tell you it might take some effort to get there. No big deal. Blinded by their optimistic zeal they neglect to tell you they don't really know how hard it might be to get where they want to go, or they have a bad case of selective memory, where the last trip's disaster is overlooked because they're sure it'll be different this time.
Promising that this trip won't be that bad because the fishing is awesome is said to tempt you to do something you wouldn't normally ever consider. Be forewarned that when they have to sugar coat the pain and suffering they know is part of this trip, or telling you you're tough enough to easily handle it, it all means you're getting sucked in. The deception is designed to get you started and on your way before you discover the painful truth and turn back.
The next part of a trip like this is when it becomes evident you're in over your head, and you're far from the car. Too late now to turn around. That's when the ring leader starts working very hard to keep you motivated with stuff like "it's just a little ways now!" Yeah, just another 2 miles uphill!
I had a trip like this with Chong Yang, a striper fanatic, who told me it was about a mile walk to the fishing hotspot he thought we should try. I followed him to the supposed spot and started casting for about 5 minutes. Wondering where he went, I looked up, and when I finally spied him fading into the far distance, he turned and waved to encourage me to come along. Crud.
Another 2 miles later, I finally caught him, and found out this was the real spot he had in mind! What are friends for anyway? It wouldn't have been too bad, but unknown to him, I had hurt my knee the day before and it was real swollen. Walking peg-legged to protect my leg for 5-plus miles had me mumbling bad things under my breath, as I realized it had been my fault I had believed him. It was slow going as I limped painfully back to the far distant truck. Of course, I told him he was going to have to carry me home on his back in the windy and rainy conditions – which he refused. On top of that we only caught a few small fish, although he had assured me fish were biting. I now do a more thorough interrogation of where we're really going – especially when he tells me there's a "good bite" and my leg's swollen.
Enduring freezing weather, long cross country treks, boiling hot conditions, and/or lack of food and water are the norm in these ordeals. I cringe when a guy says we're headed for that mountain over there, it's a flashing warning sign that your pal Rambo probably has more in mind than I do.
I've learned to ask a lot more questions and delve into the realities of what is being planned because it's just too easy to get pulled along by someone who's sure they have a great plan all figured out at my expense. Getting sucked into this is no fun, but it's usually an experience you'll never forget or want to repeat!
Roger George can be reached at email@example.com
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* Try dynamite
** Have to work hard
*** Limits possible
**** Fish jumpin' in boat
New Melones Reservoir/Tulloch
Bass*** Crappie*** Catfish*** Trout*** Kokanee****
Melanie Lewis of Glory Hole Sporting Goods in Angels Camp reported a wide open kokanee bite for fish from 12.5 to 15 inches long with the fish fat and full of plankton. She advised trollers to start right off at Glory Hole Point and head to the Spillway/Dam area. Danny Layne of Fishn' Dan's Guide Service touted the area around Coyote Creek, Carson Creek, the Spillway and the Dam Pocket at depths from 20 to 35 feet with Uncle Larry's pink tiger spinners behind a Vance's watermelon dodger or a UV Humdinger or Glitterbug Hootchie tipped with Pautske's Fire Corn scented with garlic, vanilla or anise behind a Shasta Tackle Sling Blade. Trout fishing has taken a back seat to the kokanee, but rainbows are hitting the kokanee gear. Kevin Frisk of Lodi landed a 11.5-pound brown trout on a rainbow-patterned Kastmaster up shore from Camp 9 from the banks. Lewis advised trollers to work the entrance of Glory Hole Cove at depths from 5 to 20 feet in depths with the Uncle Larry's Power Spin loaded with Power Bait after the release of the net pens. Joe Caccamo of Arnold caught a 3.25-pound brown trout while trolling a pink hootchie behind a pink Sling Blade dodger 30 deep near the Spillway. Lewis also advised boaters to nose into creek arms where there is running water and still fish there for nice holdovers. Bass fishermen participating in Saturday's Western Rookie League tournament said there were fish all over the lake at depths from the banks to 20 feet with a variety of techniques. Some fish were still on the beds, and top water lures produced a few large bass. Swimbaits such as Toad Thrashers and River2Sea S-Wavers, Lunker Punkers, Zara Spooks, jigs/trailers, Senkos, rip-baits, split-shot baby brush hogs and dart heads all were productive. Catfish are moving into the coves and into shallower water as the water warms up. Dave and Bob Stutzman of Sonora landed a huge 20.75-pound cat caught in Bear Creek on crawlers as part of a eight fish stringer of cats. Zana and Rod Teaney caught a 10.25-pounder in Mormon Cove on a white spinnerbait. Crappie bite is on with the slabsides holding near rocky flat areas to spawn, or nearby where water and feed are running into the lake right now. Paul Santos reported a huge 4.75-pound crappie that he is having mounted. Beetle-spins, red and white crappie jigs, or small or medium minnows all are working. The lake rose 2.5 feet to 1053.96 feet in elevation and 83% capacity. Layne also touted the downstream impoundment of Lake Tulloch for big rainbow trout to 4 pounds with the fish found at depths to 30 feet with Vance's Slim Fins, Humdingers, ExCels, or rolling shad cured in Pautske's Nectar in Black Creek and the Green Springs arm. Layne also landed a bonus 17-inch kokanee off of the south ramp on an Uncle Larry's pink tiger spinner.
Call: (209) 736-4333; Monte Smith (209) 581-4734; Danny Layne-Fishn' Dan (209) 586-2383; Sierra Sport Fishing (209) 599-2023
Lake Isabella/Bakersfield area
Bass** Trout*** Crappie*** Catfish**** Bluegill***
High winds and cold temperatures over the past week have slowed down an already slow bass bite with the water just over 60 degrees. The fish are expected to bed up within the next week. Pete Cormier of Bob's Bait Bucket in Bakersfield expected the Senko bite to pick up shortly with the fish still in the 15- to 20-foot range. Swimbaits are the best bet for big fish. Crappie fishing has slowed a bit with the temperatures, but it is still very good in Joachim and Brown's Cove with small minnows or minijigs. The catfish bite is going insane as the fish are moving into the flats chasing the threadfin shad. Paradise, Hanning Flats, Brown's Cove, Camp 9 and Rabbit Island have been good locations for whiskerfish with clams, frozen shad or night crawlers. Trout fishing continues to be good with Hatchery Pellet or Chunky Cheese Power Bait near the Main Dam or Paradise. The lake rose 1.5 feet to 2582.24 and 58% capacity. The Kern River continues to receive heavy trout plants in various locations, but the flows on the upper river are in the 5700 cubic-feet-per-second range with 3700 cubic-feet-per-second in the lower river. Matt Barton of Sierra Gateway Sporting Goods at Lake Isabella reported a 5.25-pound rainbow was landed in the upper river on a Roostertail. At Buena Vista Lake, the Third-annual Catfish Derby is set for Saturday with the regular gate and fishing permit fees applicable. Catfish is reported to be improving with custom dough baits. Crappie still can be found on live minnows. The cool weather has brought out a few holdover trout at the local reservoirs.
Call: Bob's Bait (661) 833-8657; North Fork Marina (760) 376-1812
San Luis Reservoir and O'Neill Forebay
Stripers** Catfish** Bass** Crappie**
Ly Tu of Ly's Fishing Goods in San Jose said the high water in the big lake has scattered the striper schools which actively are chasing the abundant threadfin shad population. The banks at Dinosaur Point have been producing small legal fish to 22 inches on Lucky Craft 128s in American shad or ghost minnow or Smoking Shad Flukes. A few fishermen are drifting live minnows or pile worms in the big lake, but anglers have to meter the fish at various depths in order to find them. The wind has made for dangerous conditions on the main lake. In the Forebay, pile worms or anchovies are working for small stripers to 5 pounds from the banks. The lake is nearly full at 99% capacity.
Call: Ly's Fishing Goods (408) 629-9644; Coyote Bait and Tackle (408) 463-0711
Bass** Trout** Bluegill** Catfish** Crappie**
The Army Corp of Engineer's Ranger Station said access to the lake is closed for at least another week in order to repair the rockslide on the east end of the lake. The lake rose 1 foot to 579.49 feet in elevation and 92% capacity.
Bass** Trout** Catfish** Bluegill** Crappie***
Small crappie on Crappie Stingers, Fin-S-Shad, white grubs or minijigs are still the best thing going with the bass bite being sporadic. Merritt Gilbert said fishermen can land from 10 to 12 fish one day and next to nothing the following day. Jigs, Brush Hogs or Senkos are working for the few fish. The occasional trout is found around the Dam. Catfishing is improving for whiskerfish in the 4- to 6-pound range with anchovies or mackerel. The lake held at 522.67 vertical feet and 72% capacity.
Call: 225-1838; 292-3474; 673-5151
A trout plant from the Department of Fish and Game is scheduled for this week which should boost action. The lake has been full of fishermen on the weekends working the shoreline at the Handicapped Docks or the Power Lines with various colors of Power Bait. Garlic/yellow, garlic/chartreuse or garlic/rainbow have been popular selections. Chartreuse Wedding Rings tipped with a night crawler behind a flasher near the Dam are working for trollers at depths to 20 feet in the normal trolling pattern from the second Fence Line to the Dam down the river channel. The McSwain Marina has reopened after being closed for several weeks.
Call: (209) 378-2534
Delta Mendota Canal and Sloughs
Patrick Movey said local anglers have been working the canals for catfish on anchovies with a few small stripers in the mix. Most fishermen are heading to the Forebay or the main lake for stripers. In the south aqueduct, Pete Cormier of Bob's Bait Bucket in Bakersfield said the striper bite continues to be steady with blood worms, sand worms or tube baits from the access areas. A 41-pound striper was landed on a sardine by a regular customer Meut Kamvongsa of Bakersfield near the Buena Vista Golf Course after a 1.5-hour fight on 12-pound test.
Millerton Lake/San Joaquin River
Bass** Stripers** Shad* Trout**
The lake is at the bottom of the fifth ramp with the rapid dropping of water over the past several weeks, but the lake is expected to rise as the snowmelt comes rushing back in. Inflows are up to 10,000 cubic-feet-per-second which has pushed the river all the way down to the Big Bend area. Small fish are the rule with limits in the 8- to 9-pound range possible on a variety of techniques. Merritt Gilbert said the hot Senko bite has slowed down, but a few fish can be taken on spinnerbaits, crankbaits or top water in the mornings. The fish are suspended with the fluctuating lake levels. Senkos or plastics on the drop shot or dart head are effective. Stripers continue to chase hooked spots, but there have be no reports of landing. The lake rose a foot to 503.75 feet in elevation and 44% capacity. The releases down the San Joaquin River has slowed, making for better conditions for bank anglers at Lost Lake and the Broken Bridge with Roostertails or Kastmasters.
Call: 225-1838; 292-3474
Pine Flat Reservoir/Kings River
Bass*** Trout*** King salmon** Catfish** Crappie**
Trout fishing remains good for some with David Dungy, and Tom and Larry Johnson of Sanger finding a tough bite in the early morning near the Power Lines before boating two limits from 13- to 20-inches on orange and yellow Dick's Trout Busters behind a Mountain Flasher on side poles with a setback of 80 feet or on with Trout Busters or J7 Rapalas on the downriggers at 25 feet. Dungy said the best bite was down the middle of the lake within a quarter mile of either side of the Power Lines. Merritt Gilbert reported the best action remains around Zebe Creek, and the Power Lines at depths to three colors of lead core with Rainbow Runners, Needlefish or Apex lures. The better cut of fish is reported to be found around the Power Liens, but Patrick Movey said the occasional trout to 21 inches are found up the river arm with trolled spoons or drifted night crawlers. Patrick Movey touted any type of plastics for bass in either browns or green with weightless Senkos, drop shot or dart head techniques working. The bass are holding from the banks to 20 feet in depth. There is a crappie bite somewhere up the river arm for slabsides to 9 inches. The lake rose 2 feet to 888.30 feet in elevation and 67% capacity with a surface temperature in the 63- to 64-degree range. Trout plants continue in the lower Kings River, and, with the decreasing flows, anglers have been able to work the water with Kastmasters or Roostertails.
Call: 787-2387; 225-1838; 292-3474
Bass** Crappie** Trout** Catfish**
Larry Kerns of the Visalia Bass Club said the bass bite continues to be hit or miss with one day good, followed by tough action on the following day. He said the fish are suspended with the fluctuating water levels which are rising again. He was able to land a number of small bass to 3 pounds Saturday using drop-shot plastics or jigs at varied depths. The inaugural Lake Kaweah Trout Derby hosted by Vox Pop Influentials Magazine is May 21-22 with up to $15,000 in prizes with one tagged rainbow trout worth $10,000. Crappie are found around submerged brush with small minnows or minijigs. The lake rose 9 feet to 671.56 feet in elevation and 55% capacity.
Bass** Trout** Catfish** Crappie**
Larry Kerns said the bass bite has been tough for those prefishing for an upcoming club tournament. One angler landed a 4.5-pounder on his first cast but experienced no other bites in the morning. Crappie fishing is fair, and catfish are starting to bite chicken livers, anchovies or mackerel. Trout fishing is basically over for the season. The lake rose a foot to 629.05 feet in elevation and 48% capacity.
Bass*** Trout*** King salmon** Kokanee** Crappie** Catfish**
Manny Basi of the Bait Barn in Waterford touted the Yamamoto Twin-Tailed Hula Grubs on a one-eighth-ounce jig head in colors 301 or 330 with 5-inch Senkos in colors 306 (natural shad) or 330 (greenpumpkin/purpleflake) also working. Drop-shotting Reaction Innovations Bad Shad Green or Pro Worm Pro Gold red flake also are productive at depths from the banks to 30 feet. Jason Mello of A-1 Bait in Snelling said they procured 90 dozen live crawdads just prior to the weekend, and the crustaceans were hot sellers with nearly the entire supply being depleted. The McClure Point area has been producing bass to 18 inches on live minnows. Crappie fishing continues to improve around submerged brush with small or medium minnows. Limits of trout have been taken on blade/crawler combinations up the river arm. Catfishing also has improved with the live crawdads along muddy, sloping banks at depths to 20 feet. A trout plant was made just past the dam near the Hornitos Bridge, and bank fishermen have been scoring limits of planters on various colors of Power Bait or Kastmasters. The lake rose 6 feet to 818.49 feet and 70% capacity.
Call: A-1 Bait (209) 563-6505; Bub Tosh (209) 404-0053
Lake Don Pedro
Bass*** Trout*** Kokanee*** King salmon***
Monte Smith of Gold Country Sport Fishing reported excellent fishing for mixed limits of king salmon, kokanee and rainbow trout with the best action in the mid lake at depths from 30 to 55 feet with Uncle Larry's spinners or various hootchies tipped with Pautske's corn behind a Vance's Dodger for the kokanee; rolling shad or anchovies for king salmon at varied depths from 30 to 100 feet for king salmon; and rainbow trout are found at depths from 20 to 50 feet on spoons or kokanee gear. Danny Layne of Fishn' Dan's Guide Service confirmed the strong action with the rainbows hitting Vance's Slim Willies in front of a night crawler at depths from the surface to 10 feet or on small shad patterned spoons from 15 to 25 feet. The kokanee are holding in Graveyard Bay or off Copper Mountain. Layne put client Don Murphy of Le Grange on to a 5.75-pound/25-inch long king during the past week. Manny Basi of the Bait Barn touted Yamamoto Hula Grubs in colors 208 or 221 on a one-eighth-ounce jig head as tops for bass with the 5-inch Senko in color 297 (greenpumpkin/pepper) also effective at depths from the banks to 30 feet. The lake rose a foot to 793.51 feet in elevation and 79% capacity.
Call: Monte Smith (209) 581-4734; Danny Layne-Fishn' Dan (209) 586-2383; Gary Vella (209) 652-7550; Bait Barn (209) 874-3011
Bass** Trout*** Kokanee*
The lake has risen to 75%, and launching a large boat isn't a problem. Trout fishing continues to be good for planters in the 13- to 14-inch range, with blade/crawler combinations, Wedding Rings tipped with a night crawler, or Rapalas trolled at depths from the surface to two colors of lead core. Bass fishing has slowed down in the past week with good local anglers struggling for a few spotted and largemouths on either plastics or jigs worked on the bottom.
Call: Todd Wittwer 288-8100; Mike Beighey 642-3748
Shaver Lake/Huntington Lake
Kokanee*** Trout** Smallmouth bass*
Dick Nichols of Dick's Fishing Charters said the kokanee bite is on at Shaver Lake with limits or more of salmon ranging from 13 to 14.5 inches being the norm. Mike O'Connell of Tollhouse fished with Nichols, fished in front of the dam for two quick limits of kokanee/trout. On the down riggers, Nichols is using Captain Jack pink Super Hoochie with a tip of corn behind a Shaver Lake Dodger on one and the new C.J. Dodger on the other down rigger at depths from 25 to 32 feet with the side poles loaded with the Stevenson model Trout Busters with a tip of crawler on the back hook and corn on the inside hook, behind Mountain Flashers at depths from 15 to 17 feet. Captain Jack Yandell fished the Eagle Point area for two limits of kokanee to 14 inches in front of Stevenson Creek at 25 feet down with the same setup as Nichols. Two regular local bank fishermen, Mike Clay of the Shaver Lake Hotel and Rocky Pimentel of the Wahtoke Bar and Grille, continue to hammer nice rainbows from the shore at the Point using rainbow glitter Power Bait. The smallmouth bass have yet to show in the 52-degree water. The lake has risen slightly to 75% with Huntington still inaccessible but rising to 50%.
Call: Dick's Fishing Charters 841-2740; Dinkey Creek Inn 841-3435; Rancheria Marina 893-3234; Young's Sporting Goods 841-8271, 841-2522, 841-2740
Chuck Crane of the Wishon Village RV Park said access to the lake is available with the dirt road open completely around the lake. The launch ramp is at the bottom of the concrete, and small boats have no problem launching. Launching a larger boat is still problematic. Crane said boaters scored easy limits of trout on blade/crawler combinations on two to three colors of lead core with one angler landing several large rainbows and a 20-inch brown working a black marabou quarter-ounce jig off the bottom near Woodchuck Creek. Both the lake inlets and outlet are running fast. The RV Park Store will open on Saturday, but the campgrounds are a few weeks away with the heavy snow cover. Crane said the road to Courtright is still buried in snow, and it may be perhaps as long as July 1 before the lake is accessible. The creeks all are running high and fast, but several creeks have been stocked with catchable trout.
Call: Wishon RV Park 865-5361
Brown trout** Trout**
The big news is the first plant of trout at Redinger Lake since 1966 with 1,000 trout released into the lake, several with $10 tags. Once 400 of the tags are returned, the lake will be replanted due to the efforts of local resident Fred Mahoney. Redinger has the coolest surface temperature of any low elevation lake with temperatures rarely above 65 degrees. Edison is at 35%, Florence at 59%, Mammoth Pool at 101% and Redinger at 90%.
San Francisco Bay
Halibut** Stripers*** Sturgeon** Leopard** shark Salmon**
Despite the large tides, halibut and striped bass action is on the upswing, particularly on party boats featuring live bait. Since the live bait receivers in the bay haven't opened for business, captains have been scrounging up live shiners or mudsuckers. Jim Smith of the Happy Hooker had a great day on the bay Saturday with a charter of 17 clients boating a total of 26 legal fish composed of 15 halibut to 18 pounds and 11 bass to a whopping 27 pounds. Smith said, "In all of my career, I have never seen a bass this large in the south bay. I have found these types of fish on the beach, but never in the flats of the south bay." He added that there was plenty of bait in the south bay, and the bait boats will be out Sunday and Tuesday in search of enough anchovies to fill the receivers. Smith has been putting his clients on to fish with live mudsuckers or shiners. There was a pair of 18-pound halibut taken on this trip, and they both came off live mudsuckers. Ed Zerfas of Albuquerque, N.M., had a career day with a 30-pound white sea bass and a limit of stripers, but other than Zerfas's hot rod, things were much slower than the previous day. The New Huck Finn and the Captain Hook out of Emeryville trolled the bay with bag anchovies or tray herring Saturday with 28 customers for seven halibut to 12 pounds and two stripers to 6 pounds. Emeryville is scheduling salmon trolling or halibut trolling trips throughout the week. Also in the south bay, John Akina of Oyster Point Bait, Tackle and Deli in South San Francisco said there were few fishermen out Sunday in observance of Mother's Day with only four or five anglers on the pier. Saturday's halibut action was very good with several fish to 25 pounds brought in with the best action around the Green Building in Brisbane or the San Bruno Shoals. Green Label herring or Red Bag sardines have been the top baits. Captain Jim Cox of the Touch of Gray out of Loch Lomond Marina reported, We had a great trip Saturday with six anglers. They got a double hook-up, and the first fish was a 61-inch diamondback taken by Mike Foss. The second fish was a 63-incher which was released, Cox said, "This is one of the best spring sturgeon bites I have ever seen thanks to the reservoirs releasing water making the conditions more like a normal run-off." Keith Fraser of Loch Lomond Bait thought the tides were backing off, and bass fishing should improve since the fish are there. Patrick Clifford released an oversized and kept a legal sturgeon in front of Sonoma Creek and he fished up the Petaluma River for a 56-inch legal sturgeon, both on grass shrimp.
Half Moon Bay
Peggy Beckett of Huck Finn Sport Fishing said all of the boats cancelled over the weekend due to the high winds with the exception of the Connie O that fished Saturday in 50 to 60 fathoms of water off Pigeon Point at 11/36 to 14/36. They put in three salmon for five anglers using straight bait at either 50 pulls or 75 feet on the downriggers. Up the coast, Sheryl Jimno of the Rusty Hook in Pacifica said the winds have made for a rough surf, but crabbing off of the pier remains good with snares being the best technique. Stripers are coming from the beaches from Mussel Rock to Thornton Beach with hairraisers or blood worms. Perch fishermen using blood or pile worms also are landing the occasional striped bass.
Call: Happy Hooker (510) 223-5388; Huck Finn Sport Fishing Center (650) 726-7133, Emeryville Sport Fishing (510) 654-6040; Don Franklin, Soleman (510) 703-4148
Sonny Arcaleo of Chris' Landing in Monterey was jubilant over the bait that had moved into the outer waters of the bay as far north as Pigeon Point on the San Mateo coastline. He reported commercial salmon fishermen had been smacking them the past couple of days with up to 35 salmon with a solid 15-pound dressed average. The fish were loaded with krill, sardines, anchovies or squid. The Checkmate came in early Monday with only one salmon, but they didn't go to the location further north where the commercial fleet was located. Local rockfishing has been producing limits, but the quality is only fair. Chris' is scheduling salmon and rockfish trips throughout the week. The wind has been a limiting factor in getting around to the grounds north of Santa Cruz. Bayside Marine in Santa Cruz reported rock fishing was the best bet over the weekend with anglers catching nice vermilion's, blues, and blacks near Natural Bridges in 80 to 110 feet of water. A few nice lingcod have been caught at either Natural Bridges or Davenport. A few halibut were caught drifting dead squid in 50 to 60 feet of water near the Mile Buoy.
Call: Chris' Landing (831) 375-5951; Bayside Marine (831) 475-2173; usafishing.com
San Luis Obispo
Virg's Landing in Morro Bay has moved its sport and commercial fishing center to 1169 Market Ave. in Morro Bay. They reported 212 passengers landed 16 ling cod to 10 pounds, 531 vermilions, 1,161 assorted rockfish, 133 coppers, 12 bolina and two cabezon during the week of May 1-7. Top local anglers were John van Dam of Tipton with a 10-pound ling and then Ulises Ramos, Keith Hopkins and Larry Morgan of Fresno with 7-, 7-, and 6-pound lings, respectively. Their first overnight trip of the year to the Lopez area is May 28-29 for $205 per angler. Patriot Sport Fishing in Port San Luis reported steady action with scores ranging from half- to three-quarter-limits on their rockfish trips. Monday's trip produced half-limits with 125 vermilions, 155 rockfish and a pair of ling cod. They have landed 82 ling cod since the May 1 opener. Patriot will be running rockfish/Dungeness crab combination trips on May 13,18, 25 and 28. Children under 12 ride free with a paid adult on Wednesday or Thursday half-day trips.
Call: Virg's Landing, (805) 772-1222, (800) 762-5263; Patriot Sports Fishing (805) 595-4100; Port Side Marine Sports Launch (805) 595-7214
Lake Nacimiento/San Antonio/Santa Margarita/Lopez
Bass*** White bass*** Stripers** Catfish** Crappie**
Will Hesch of Central Coast Bass Fishing reported great action at Nacimiento with clients Allen and Al Sammut from Salinas landing numerous spotted bass on wacky-rigged Senkos, or plastics either Texas-rigged, drop-shotted or on a dart head. Pete Cormier of Bob's Bait Bucket confirmed the hot bite with valley residents driving the 2.5 hours to fish for spotted or white bass. The white bass boils are infrequent with the best action in the mornings near Bee Rock. At Santa Margarita, Nick Simbre landed his personal best largemouth at 7.3 pounds on a Robo Worm Oxblood on the drop shot. Nacimiento dropped slightly to 99%, San Antonio rose slightly to 80%, Santa Margarita at 100% with Lopez at 94.7%.
Call: (805) 238-1056 ext. 3, (805) 472-2818; Central Coast Bass Fishing.com (805) 466-6557
Bass*** Stripers*** Sturgeon**
The wind was the big story over the weekend with gusts in the 30-knot range limiting the ability to anchor or detect bites over the weekend. Curtis Hayes at Benicia Bait said the two days of high winds have kept anglers from testing the waters off 9th Street where the sturgeon have been congregating. A few anglers have been landing stripers to 25 inches from the banks with pile worms, blood worms or bullheads. The recent smolt drop near Antioch may have have the linesides following the smolts downriver towards the Benicia shoreline. Mike Pipkins of Gotcha Bait in Antioch said the winds have been the limiting factor with boaters only able to anchor comfortably for two days in the past week. He said, "We haven't been able to get a break." Stripers are the best thing going with live mudsuckers or pile worms with a few anglers plugging with RatLTraps or white Fish Traps as the water continues to clear. The water temperatures had risen to 58 degrees, but the past week of high winds have dropped the water temperatures back down to 55 degrees. Fresh shad is hit or miss with shadders picking up 25 pounds one day, only to find few fish the following day. The shad are spawning later in the day with the cool morning temperatures. Pipkins said catfishing is picking up with clams in the dead end sloughs and largemouth bass are in full spawn mode. Gary Vella of Vella's Fishing Adventures has been braving the winds on the San Joaquin side of the river for a consistent bite for stripers in the 4- to 6-pound range on bright colors of P-Line Predators. Captain Stan Koenigsberger of Quetzal Adventures landed near limits to 23 inches over the weekend on the San Joaquin River on frozen shad from H and R Bait in Stockton. Koenigsberger said the water temperature on the San Joaquin was 63 degrees with the water clear without debris. Randy Pringle, the Fishing Instructor, has been touting the gaps between the tules as the top areas to search for largemouth bass and working these spaces was the key to landing the winning limit during the three-day FLW EverStart tournament on the Delta. Sean Minderman of Spokane, Wash., was the winner, working the gaps in the tules with a variety of techniques including an unweighted Texas-rigged Senko, flipping a Sweet Beaver, and drop-shotting with a Robo Worm in Oxblood.
Call: Randy Pringle (209) 543-6260; Stan Koenigsberger/Quetzal Adventures (925) 570-5303, Mark Wilson Sport Fishing (916) 682-1630; Intimidator Sport Fishing (916) 806-3030; Jolly Jay's Guide Service (209) 478-6645
FLW Outdoors at Delta/Stockton Marina from May 5-7: 1, Sean Minderman, 68.05 pounds; 2, Charlie Weyer, 67.13; 3, Clifford Pirch, 65.13; 4, Bub Tosh, 65.10
Angler's Choice at Pine Flat on May 7: 1, Darrel Masterson/Dean Miller, 19.19 (Big fish 8.57); 2, Roger Cummings/Don Hendrix, 15.42; 3, Mike Matthews/Mark Pimentel, 11.92
Angler's Choice Western Rookie League at New Melones on May 7: 1, Brian and Destiny Johnson, 16.27; 2, Matthew Schut/Justin Heard, 13.7; 3, James L. Adams/Kevin McGraw, 13.48 (Big fish 8.10)
Western Outdoor News at Santa Margarita on May 7: 1, Graham Grove/Mark Scribner, 20.00 (Big fish 5.68); 2, Danny Knots/Tim Sharpe, 19.15; 3, Jay Short/Gene Gray, 17.98
Thursday: Len Vinci, Hummingbird Electronics, 6 p.m. at Manteca Fisherman's Warehouse; Captain Kirk James, Central Coast Salmon Fishing, 6:15 p.m. at Fresno Fisherman's Warehouse
Saturday: 19th Annual Mike Carrington Memorial Kokanee/Trout Fun Fishing Derby at Pardee, information: (209) 810-9603; Third-annual Catfish Derby at Lake Evans, aka Buena Vista; Angler's Choice at Pine Flat; Kern County BassMasters at Lopez; American Bass Association at Isabella; Future Pro Tour at Tulloch; Northern California Bass Federation at Don Pedro; Tracy Bass at Delta/Tracy Oasis; New Bass Association West at Delta/Russo's Marina; Sonora Bass Anglers at New Hogan; Visalia Bass Club at Kaweah; Golden Empire Bass Club at Lopez
Saturday-Sunday: Central Valley Outdoor Sports Exposition at Clovis Rodeo Grounds
Sunday: Fresno Bass Club Open Tournament at Millerton, info: Mark Corrente 284-2768; American Bass Anglers at Berryessa; Riverbank Bass Anglers at New Melones
May 19: Larry Hodge, Beginning Bass Fishing Techniques, 6:15 p.m. at Fresno Fisherman's Warehouse; Bub Tosh, Punching Weeds in the Delta, 6 p.m. at Manteca Fisherman's Warehouse
May 21: 3rd Annual Warren George Memorial Overnite Striped Bass Derby hosted by the Fresno Chapter of the California Striped Bass Association at Millerton, info: Roger George (559) 905-2954; Hume Lake Christian Youth Camp at Hume Lake; Angler's Choice at Shasta Lake; Angler's Choice at Isabella; American Bass Association at Kaweah; Visalia Bass Club at Success; SLO Bass Ambushers at Nacimiento; Taft Bass Club at Lopez; San Joaquin County-Mid Valley Bass Club at Delta; Kerman Bass Club/American Bass Association at Don Pedro; Sierra Bass Club at Millerton; Bakersfield Bass Club at Santa Margarita; West Coast Bass at Delta/Russo's Marina; New-J Bass Club at Eastman
May 21-22: Inaugural Trout Derby hosted by Vox Pop Influential Magazine at Kaweah, information: www:influentialsmag.com or 597-2526
May 22: Delta Anglers Challenge and Festival, Fishing for a Cure, at Delta/Windmill Cove, information: www:windmillcove.com; Western Outdoor News at New Melones; California Bass Federation at Camanche
May 26: Monte Smith of Gold County Sport Fishing, Kokanee, Trout and King Salmon Fishing, 6 p.m. at Manteca Fisherman's Warehouse
May 28: Angler's Choice at Delta/B and W Resort; Tracy Bass at Delta/Tracy Oasis
June 4: Phil Johnson Memorial Lake Don Pedro Team Kokanee Derby at Don Pedro, information: www:kokaneepower.org; Kerman Bass Club at Millerton; Future Pro Tour at Delta/Russo's Marina; Wasco Bass Club at Isabella
June 4-5: Yamamoto Big Bass Open at Delta/Russo's Marina
June 9: Bruce Hamby, Striper Fishing at New Hogan Reservoir, 6 p.m. at Manteca Fisherman's Warehouse
June 30: Ish Monroe, Frog Fishing in the Delta, 6 p.m. at Manteca Fisherman's Warehouse
Fresno County: Kings River below the Pine Flat Reservoir; San Joaquin River below the Friant Dam
Kern County: Kern River from Democrat Beach to Lower Richbar; Kern River from Isabella Main Dam to Powerhouse No. 3; Kern River from Powerhouse No. 3 to Riverside Park, Kernville; Kern River from Sandy Flat to Democrat Beach
Mariposa County: McSwain Reservoir
Tulare County: Kern River from Brush Creek to Fairview Dam; Kern River from Fairview Dam to Falling Waters Lodge
Tuolumne County: Beaver Creek; Lyons Canal; Middle Fork Stanislaus River; Middle Fork Tuolumne River; Moccasin Creek; Pinecrest Lake; Powerhouse Stream; South Fork Stanislaus River; South Fork Tuolumne River; Stanislaus River Clark Fork