Compiled by Dave Hurley and edited by Roger George, a central San Joaquin Valley native and local fishing expert.
Never miss a local story.
New Melones trout on a tear, Melanie Lewis said. Eastman bass bite improves, Merritt Gilbert said. Don Pedro rainbows hitting, Monte Smith said. Pine Flat bass small, plentiful, Larry Kerns said. Wishon and Courtright trout on good bites, Chuck Crane said. Half Moon Bay albacore scores up, Jeremy Kangas said. Benicia salmon bite goes wild, Tony Lopez said.
I just picked up another floating money pit – aka a boat – and once again I'm having to go through the painful cycle of learning a new system of switches, procedures, equipment and hidden glitches. It's like moving into a new house: Everything feels strange, and you have stop and think about what you're doing. Unfortunately, getting out of your normal routine is easy to do on a different rig, and this is when boo boos happen – like forgetting to put the plug in before you launch.
Now a thing like that should never happen ... usually. In this case I did what I vowed never to do and put the plug on the driver's seat, convinced I would see it before I launched. Foolproof, except I forgot I might put the boat in the water by myself, meaning I wouldn't be inside before launching. Ouch!
Just after floating it off the trailer, I realized the doggone bilge pump was pumping water, but I figured there might be water in the bilge after recently washing out the interior. After parking the car, I ran back and about 20 yards from the boat it hit me that the water being pumped out was a real jet! Reversing course I sprinted up the ramp and backed the trailer down in record time.
I could just see the headline: Bee fishing editor sinks boat at dock in stupid move!
But instead there was good news: I got the boat on the trailer and out of the water, happy to find that my new boat had a capable heavy duty bilge pump. Lesson: Never put you plug down!
In the process of discovery, I noted a few other concerns:
1. While trying out the wonderful livewell system, I managed to inundate all the motor and boat manuals that I didn't know were stored there – as well as all the warranty info on everything else. Lesson: Think before you throw new switches.
2. I decided to test the boat out on a trial run 12 miles up the lake in no man's land. Way upriver, I tried to start the engine, and kerplunk, the whole key assembly feel out in my hand, while the inner wires fell back into the almost unreachable area under the dash. Desperate, I squirmed around where I could get one hand up under the almost fully contained dash while holding the inner wiring, then by sheer feel I put the key in somehow from the outside. I started the boat by holding both pieces together from underneath, and then turned on the key before it fell out again. Lesson: Stay close to home for a while; unknown issues are lurking.
3. Running up the lake, I heard a loud clunk that later turned out to be my electronics transducer getting torn off the rear of the boat. Wasn't obvious until my unit said there was no transducer attached and the screen got all fuzzy. A lone ripped wire running down the stern of the boat led to a new $250 unit plus labor. Lesson: Check everything three times.
4. Putting my new toy on the trailer for the first time, I thought I had carefully protected it from the dock and the side guides until I took it out of the water and saw the first scraped paint. Irritated, I admit I uttered some bad words under my breathe. Later, I get home, my son takes one look and says "Dad, I can't believe you've already scraped up the boat. Glad I didn't do that!" Lesson: Get over it. It's gonna get dinged sometime.
If I can avoid damaging a new toy in the first few outings things will be fine, but sometimes the battle scars are going to happen with your new love!
Roger George can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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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 reported great trout action for trollers for rainbows ranging from 1 to 3 pounds. She said, "The fish are feeding heavily on shad, and anglers are advised to locate the shad schools and troll through them at depths from 30 to 50 feet with shad-pattern or firetiger ExCels, Apex, Needlefish or Countdown Rapalas scented with Bang or Pro Cure threadfin shad scent." Fishing at night under lights also is very productive for the larger holdover trout at depths from 10 to 20 feet in 60 to 80 feet of water near the Dam or Spillway. Bank anglers are advised to head to the local creeks or work a small minnow on a slip float rig at depths from 30 to 40 feet off of Glory Hole Point or under the Highway 49 Bridge. Bank fishing will improve as soon as the surface temperature cools. Kokanee are done for the season, but the occasional salmon is taken as part of a trout limit. The kokanee will be moving up the creek channels and schooling in the shallows in the coming weeks. Lewis said, "The bass are moving into deeper water and suspending due to the falling water levels." As a result, the bass bite has slowed down, although the fish are feeding heavily on the threadfin shad. The 6-inch Roboworm Hologram or Prism Shad plastics are working on a split shot with top-water PopRs, Zara Spooks or Lucky Craft Gunfish working in the early mornings or late evenings. Catfishing remains very good as the fish are in the shallower water of the coves. Weightless offerings on an open bait are working the best with the catfish able to take off with the bait without detection. Successful fishermen are moving their baits often, rather than letting it sit still for a length of time. The best action continues at night, but there are fish landed in the daytime. Crappie also can be found under submersible lights at night with small minnows or minijigs. They also are hiding under and around large boulders up the river arm. With the fish in the shade pockets, a small minnow or half night crawler on a sixteenth-ounce jig head are working with a jigging up-and-down motion. The lake dropped 2 feet to 1,061.60 feet in elevation and 87% capacity.
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 **
Bass fishing has improved with experienced fishermen taking quality largemouths to 7 pounds. Pete Cormier of Bob's Bait in Bakersfield said, "Senkos and large plastics worms over 10 inches have been the top techniques and most anglers are dragging the worms at depths around 12 feet. I just received a large order for my large Deadly Duo plastics." Crappie still are holding in the deeper sections of the lake, and small minnows have been the ticket. One pair of fishermen used both minnows and minijigs, and the jigs didn't hook a single fish. Trout are found in a number of locations including around the Marina and the Wilford Heights Cemetery with Power Bait, Power Eggs or night crawlers. Catfishing remains very good with frozen shad, anchovies or mackerel in the flats in the South Fork. The lake dropped 1.5 feet to 2,572.60 feet in elevation and 44% as the seasonal water releases have begun. Trout fishing in the upper river remains very good action near the Johnsondale Bridge as there have been a number of 18- to 22-inch rainbows taken on live crickets, salmon eggs, night crawlers or Power Bait. The lower river also has improved with a few bass, trout and catfish on similar baits. In the Bakersfield area, crappie action continues to be fair at Buena Vista Lake with small minnows. There is the occasional striped bass landed in Buena Vista, and largemouth bass can be taken on Senkos, plastics worms or top-water lures. Local impoundments are limited to bluegill or catfish with wax worms, meal worms or crickets.
Call: Bob's Bait (661) 833-8657; North Fork Marina (760) 376-1812
San Luis Reservoir and O'Neill Forebay
Stripers ** Catfish ** Bass ** Crappie **
As the main lake continues to drop, the best striper action has been in the early mornings or after dark with top-water lures. The Lucky Craft Pointer 128 continues to be a top seller at local tackle shops with a spurt of interest in the rainbow trout pattern. Ly Tu of Ly's Fishing Goods in San Jose said, "Bank anglers are tossing the lures in the early mornings off Dinosaur Point for small stripers to 5 pounds, but the fish are very skinny with large heads." He touted the Rebel Jumbo Minnow or white Zoom flukes are good choices. Coyote Bait in San Jose confirmed the top-water bite in the early mornings, and they added small Big Hammer swimbaits, Zara Spooks and Lunker Punkers to the tackle arsenal. Drifting jumbo minnows or anchovy fillets over the bait balls in Portuguese Cove or around the Trash Racks have been picking up a few quality linesides. The key is to find the schools. In the Forebay, weeds still are the limiting factor, but small catfish can be taken around Check 12 with frozen shad, anchovies or mackerel.
Call: Ly's Fishing Goods (408) 629-9644; Coyote Bait and Tackle (408) 463-0711
Bass *** Trout * Bluegill ** Catfish ** Crappie **
The bass bite at Eastman continues to improve with Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis touting night action with spinnerbaits, Senkos or jigs around the Dam near the rocks. The daytime bite is slower, but Brush Hogs and brown jigs are the top producers. Catfishing remains fair in the evenings with sardines, mackerel or chicken livers. The Wildcat and Codorniz Recreation Areas are open to the public, which means boaters have the option of launching from the Chowchilla or Codorniz ramps. The Lakeview Trail has re-opened between the Codorniz Recreation Area and Raymond Bridge, but the area of the lake extending upstream along the Chowchilla River still is closed beyond the Buoy Line. The lake dropped 1 foot to 568.89 feet in elevation and 80% capacity.
Bass ** Trout * Catfish ** Crappie **
Few reports from Hensley, but during the daytime, the bass are hugging the bottom at depths to 20 feet, and Brush Hogs, Lizards, jigs or Senkos are a good option. With the fish moving into the shallows at night, top-water lures or wake baits are productive. Small crappie can be taken on crappie jigs with catfish available on sardines, mackerel or chicken livers from the banks. The lake dropped 1 foot to 495.56 vertical feet and 37% capacity.
Call: 225-1838; 292-3474; 673-5151
Stephanie Powell of the McSwain Marina said the troll bite improved with the introduction of planted trout during the past week, and boaters are picking up rainbows from the Floating Restrooms to the Chimney on blade/crawler combinations or Wedding Rings tipped with a night crawler behind a dodger. A Calaveras Trout Farm plant is scheduled for this week. Bank anglers are scoring with Power Eggs, Power Bait or inflated night crawlers with the action around the Handicapped Docks picking up at the end of the past week. The area from the Marina to the McSwain Dam will be closed to fishing during the coming Saturday and Sunday for the annual Turlock Radio Controlled Airplane Association event. The lake still will be open from the Launch Ramp back to the Exchequer Dam.
Call: (209) 378-2534
Delta Mendota Canal and Sloughs
Stripers ** Catfish **
Fresno area striper fishermen continue to avoid the canals and drive north to either San Luis Reservoir or the O'Neill Forebay for linesides to 5 pounds. Catfish are the best thing going in the local canals with cut or dip baits. With the hot daytime temperatures, the best action occurs after the sun sets. In the south Aqueduct near Taft, Pete Cormier of Bob's Bait in Bakersfield reported a solid striper and catfish bite, although the moss and debris continue to accumulate. Anglers are cleaning their lines on every cast to keep the moss off their baits. Blood worms and live jumbo minnows are best for the larger stripers, with live crickets, chicken livers, sardines or anchovies working for the whiskerfish.
Millerton Lake/San Joaquin River
Bass ** Stripers ** Shad *
There have been few reports from Millerton during the past week, but bass fishing continues to be tough with 6 pounds being the high end of a limit for experienced anglers. The fish are oriented to shade, holding in the covered areas even in the early mornings, and working the bottom with jigs or plastics is the most consistent technique. There is a small window for reaction baits in the early morning. The dropping water levels are keeping the bass suspended throughout the lake. Striper action has been slow the past week with no reports of success. The American shad schools have moved out of the river area, taking the stripers with them into the now cooler lake waters. The lake dropped 2 feet to 550.15 feet in elevation and 76%. In lower San Joaquin River, a trout plant is scheduled for this week with angler pressure remaining high on the weekends around the Broken Bridge.
Call: 225-1838; 292-3474
Pine Flat Reservoir/Kings River
Bass *** Trout ** King salmon ** Catfish **
Bass are plentiful, but finding large fish is difficult. Larry Kerns of the Visalia Bass Club said, "Unlimited numbers of cookie cutters in the 12.5 -to 13-inch range are available, and we must have caught 50 fish apiece during Saturday's tournament won by a 12-plus-pound limit." The winning limit was taken on crankbaits, but Kerns scored by drop-shotting or dragging plastics near the bottom. Trout fishing is best up the river arm, and king salmon to 1 pound are becoming more regular in the deeper water near the Power Lines. Catfish are located around the Pine Flat Lake Marina with anchovies or chicken livers. The lake dropped 4 feet to 884.62 feet in elevation and 65%. The lower Kings continues to run high with the water releases, and more and more anglers are switching to a Power Bait or night crawlers under a water bubble to keep from losing gear. Doyal's Store reported bank fishermen have been scoring rainbows and brook trout on salmon eggs, night crawlers or Roostertails. Another trout plant is scheduled for this week.
Call: 787-2387; 225-1838; 292-3474
Bass *** Crappie ** Trout * Catfish **
The lake is dropping rapidly, and the bass are suspended outside the submerged trees. Crank baits, jigs, plastics and top-water lures are working for numbers of bass, and the bite should continue to improve as fall approaches. Crappie are found only in deep water from the Houseboats with small minnows, and catfishing has improved, particularly at night with anchovies, chicken livers or night crawlers. The lake dropped 12 feet to 598.79 feet in elevation and 22%.
Bass ** Trout * Catfish **
Larry Kerns of the Visalia Bass Club fished the Success Bass Club tournament on Sunday, and he said the fish were scattered throughout the lake as they are moving out of the trees. Weights were all over the place with 12-plus pounds taking the event, but there were plenty of blanks or one-fish bags. The best techniques were dragging plastic worms or drop-shotting along the ledges and drop-offs. There is a small window for top water in the early mornings. The lake dropped 4 feet to 607.20 feet in elevation and 22% capacity. The Rocky Hill launch still is accessible.
Bass ** Trout ** King salmon ** Kokanee * Crappie ** Catfish ***
Manny Basi of the Bait Barn in Waterford reported overall slow action for bass, but there is a small window for top water with Super Spooks in Okie Shad. Drop-shotting with Reaction Innovations Bad Shad Green or Pro Worms Pro Gold are working at depths to 20 feet. Diana Mello at A-1 Bait in Snelling reported jerk baits or live crawdads are working for numbers of bass. Sales of minnows have slowed down. Catfishing is very good from the banks with whiskerfish to 14 pounds taken on anchovies near McClure Point or the waterfall in Arnold Bay. Trout trollers are scoring near limits with blade/crawler combinations, Needlefish or Wedding Rings tipped with a crawler behind a flasher at depths from 25 to 50 feet near McClure Point or in Cottonwood Creek. A 3.75-pound rainbow was landed in the Merced River near Merced Falls on a night crawler. The lake dropped 4 feet to 832.86 feet in elevation and 78%.
Call: A-1 Bait (209) 563-6505; Bub Tosh (209) 404-0053
Lake Don Pedro
Bass ** Trout **** Kokanee * King salmon **
The trout action has been outstanding with Monte Smith of Gold Country Sport Fishing putting in three quick limits Monday morning with the heavy 2.5-inch Chucker T spoons fast-trolled at depths from 23 to 35 feet near Middle Bay. He also ran a line at 60 feet in depth, and they picked up a few small kings and a large rainbow on the deep rig. Smith said, "We were on the water by 6:45 a.m., and we had landed over 20 fish in by 8:45 a.m." The bait was scattered in the 76 degree surface temperature, and the fish were in open water. The bass action has slowed, and Manny Basi said, "The bite has been tough with the best action on drop-shotting with Bad Shad Green or Pro Worms Pro Gold at depths to 20 feet." There is a small window for top water with Super Spooks in Okie Shad. Trout and catfishing has been good from the banks with medium minnows or night crawlers for the trout and frozen shad or anchovies for catfish, particularly in the evenings. Basi said, "With the full moon, the bass have been eating at night." The lake is releasing water, and it is at 799.65 feet in elevation and 82% 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 kokanee season is quickly wrapping up, but there still are fish to be taken near the Dam in the mornings at depths from 30 to 45 feet with the blue Radical Glow Tube behind a Hyperplaid Dodger, hootchies in pink or orange behind a matching dodger, or the pink UV hootchie behind a pink UV blade. Trout fishing still is good in the early evenings. There are two scheduled blasts this week: one was 12:15 p.m. Tuesday, the second is 12:15 p.m. Thursday. A blasting schedule should be updated every Friday and is available at cranevalleydam.com/blasting-schedule. The lake has dropped to 69%.
Call: Todd Wittwer 288-8100; Mike Beighey 642-3748
Shaver Lake/Huntington Lake
Kokanee ** Trout *** Smallmouth bass **
The lake is lowering quickly each week, and it is down to 36% capacity. The Sierra Marina Launch ramp is slightly below the bottom of the auxiliary ramp, and aluminum boats should be able to launch in the sloped rock and mud for the coming weekend, but this will be the end of any boating for the season. Boaters are highly advised to check the ramp conditions at sierramarina.com/camera.html before arriving with a boat since the water is dropping at least 2% daily. Dick Nichol's of Dick's Fishing Charters reported bank fishing is wide open with shoreline access all over the place. Dave Strawn of Shaver Lake Sports reported bank success on Power Bait and eggs soaked off the Road 1 and 2 areas and between the dam and Sierra Marina. Strawn reminds fishermen that there still are some big trophy-sized trout that were planted earlier this year. The small mouth bass bite is off and on around rocks with crickets and small spinners. Shaver Lake will be closed to access around Oct. 1, and the lake will be dormant through the winter when the trophy trout will be introduced in April. At Huntington, Strawn reported nice limits of rainbows and small kokanee have been taken on Trout Busters tipped with a night crawlers behind a Mountain Flasher. Dick Gomez confirms the strong bite with blade/crawler combinations or Wedding Rings tipped with a crawler at depths to 20 feet. Bank anglers are scoring with Power Bait or inflated crawlers near the Auxiliary Dam. Huntington remains stable at 99% capacity.
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 reported very good fishing at Wishon, particularly from the banks at the headwaters with orange Power Bait or inflated night crawlers. Crane said, "Bank anglers have been running their boats to the other side of the lake and fishing from the banks for limits of 18- to 22-inch rainbows. Wishon is dropping, but boats still can be launched on the concrete ramp. Trollers are scoring with blade/crawler combinations, Needlefish or Speedy Shiners at three to four colors of lead core. Courtright continues to be excellent for trollers with Thomas Buoyants, Speedy Shiners, Needlefish or blade/crawler combinations at three to four colors. Shore fishing is best around the Dam with orange or garlic Power Bait or inflated night crawlers. Dick Gomez of Young's Sporting Goods said, "Dinkey Creek still is fishable with plenty of ripples and pools, and it has more water now than the past several years." Fly fishermen still are picking up browns and rainbows up or down the creek. Young's Sporting Goods will be open primarily on weekends for the remainder of the fall. Chuck Crane said at least six bucks were brought to the store Saturday for pictures, but hunters are having to work hard for success.
Call: Wishon RV Park 865-5361
Brown trout ** Trout ***
Few fishermen have been driving to the Kaiser Pass lakes, but action has been very good for those willing to go the distance. Merritt Gilbert said, "Small Rapalas or blade/crawler combinations are picking up rainbows and the occasional brown trout." Dick Gomez reported good action for fly fishermen on the San Joaquin River near Florence Lake. There were a number of deer hunters in the area during the opening weekend of rifle season, but the deer herds are scattered. All of the lakes are high for this time of year with Edison at 88%, Florence at 82%, Mammoth Pool at 56% and Redinger at 90%.
San Francisco Bay
Halibut ** Stripers ** Rockfish **** Leopard shark *** Salmon **
The salmon bite was a bit slower on Sunday with scores ranging up to 1.5 fish per rod up the Marin coast. Thresher sharks have been a frequent visitor to the trolled baits, and there have been a number of the sharks landed. Captain Bob Wright of the Happy Hooker started off salmon mooching on both weekend days before putting in rockfish limits and impressive ling counts. On Saturday, they started off with four salmon to 12-pounds before putting in 22 limits of rockfish and 15 lings to 18 pounds. There were a number of thresher shark in the Stinson Beach area, and they hooked four while salmon mooching before losing them. On Saturday, they put in an impressive score of seven salmon to 12 pounds, 26 limits of rockfish, one cabezon and 35 ling cod to 25 pounds. The Emeryville boats focused on salmon over the weekend, and the scores were higher Saturday with the Auk Nu, New Salmon Queen, Talisman and Sundance combining for 27 limits of salmon to 20 pounds, adding four halibut to 20 pounds. The New Seeker went mooching Saturday, and they averaged a fish per rod Saturday with 25 to 18 pounds. Sunday's scores fell off a bit with the Sundance and Auk Nu trolling for 15 salmon to 15 pounds to go with five halibut to 15 pounds and a barracuda for 10 rods. The New Salmon Queen mooched for two salmon to 14 pounds and 14 thresher sharks to 38 pounds, adding a single 6-pound halibut. The Sausalito boats put in 45 salmon to 16 pounds for 53 anglers Saturday, adding a 16-pound halibut while trolling between Muir Beach and Duxbury. Sunday's scores followed the pattern of a decrease with less than a fish per rod with 33 salmon to 29 pounds for 43 anglers, but there were a number of fish in the 15- to 29-pound range. The weather along the coast was reported to be outstanding throughout the weekend with incredible conditions Sunday. Rockfishing remains fantastic with full limits all around. The C Gull II, Captain Hook, New Huck Finn and Super Fish out of Emeryville combined for 93 limits of rockfish Saturday to go with 41 lings to 18 pounds, a 32-pound thresher shark and four salmon to 12 pounds working the Farallons or along the Marin coast. On Sunday, the C Gull II, New Salmon Queen and New Seeker teamed up for 68 limits of rockfish, 44 lings to 13 pounds, seven salmon to 13 pounds, and a 30-pound thresher shark. Inside the bays, Keith Fraser of Loch Lomond Bait in San Rafael said, "Weather conditions around here were spectacular over the weekend with the temperatures near 85 degrees, a light breeze, and just a textbook day." He thought halibut fishing was pretty good with around a fish and a half per rod with Loch Lomond shiners on the drift, adding, "Red Rock has been particularly hot the past two days." A few fish have been taken at the other popular locations, but Red Rock has been the spot. Shore fishing remains outstanding off the San Pablo Bay shoreline with pile worms and live bullheads. Salmon action at California City has been nothing to brag about, but it's coming, according to Fraser. He said. "The bite will be slow and all of a sudden, there will a 20-minute flurry before things slow down again." Joel Sinkay of Leonard's Bait at Port Sonoma said Sonoma Creek is starting to heat up as well as the upper Napa and Petaluma rivers with live bullheads. Shore anglers also have been parking in the Bird Watching turnout on Highway 37 and hiking the 2 miles to the access at Sears Point for good striper action.
Half Moon Bay
Rockfish *** Salmon ** Albacore ***
Rockfish limits remain the rule south of the harbor, and intermittent weather windows have allowed private boaters and six-pack operators to post some impressive tuna scores. On Saturday, Captain Jeremy Kangas on A Salt Weapon ran 10 miles west of the Weather Buoy to 37'13/124'13 in fairly rough weather conditions for three hours of tremendous action with 36 longfins in the box on the troll. The wind made using the outriggers too difficult, so they landed the fish on four rods and two meat lines with the Mexican Flag Tuna Clue working best overall. Kangas reported, "It was nonstop action with singles, double, triples and a couple of quad hookups." Things were quite a bit different Sunday with a big wind chop and occasional 11-foot wave. With a straight trolling course difficult to maintain, they ended up with seven fish for their beatdown. Local rockfishing continues to be excellent with the Tigerfish out of Huck Finn Sport Fishing putting in consecutive days of 29 and 30 limits over the weekend with a couple of ling cod and cabezon in the sacks fishing between Buoy One South to San Gregorio. Captain Guy Anthony on the New Gravy also went south on Saturday to fish shallow water from 50 to 90 feet off Pigeon Point for 14 limits of a mixed grade of rockfish, four ling cod to 12 pounds and a pair of cabezon. The Rip Tide out of Half Moon Bay Sport Fishing also posted limits of rockfish with 20 full sacks and two ling and two cabezon Sunday off Pigeon Point. Salmon are scattered along the San Mateo coast, and party boats are running north of the Golden Gate to Duxbury. The Connie O put in five salmon to 12 pounds for five anglers Saturday north of the Gate, and the New Gravy will be taking private groups to troll for salmon north of the Gate in the coming weeks. North of the harbor, Sheryl Jimno at the Rusty Hook in Pacifica reported salmon are being caught from the end of the pier by those soaking tray bait under a large bobber. Blood and pile worms are popular for the occasional striped bass and perch, and Jimno said, "More and more anglers are using bait instead of artificials."
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
Rockfish **** White seabass ***
Salmon season closed south of Pigeon Point on Sunday. Sonny Arcoleo of Chris' Landing in Monterey said, "Rockfishing was lights out down at Point Sur over the weekend with 30 limits Saturday, followed by 40 limits of good quality Sunday. They put in 18 lings Saturday with somewhat less than this number Sunday. Their salmon trip Sunday ended with two salmon and a halibut, and Arcoleo will be focusing on the abundant white sea bass on trips during the current week. He said, "The skiffs pounded them on Saturday with an average of four to six sea bass in our Monterey area. There were at least 200 boats on the Soquel side on Sunday with another 25 to 30 boats near the Monterey Hotel." Pajaro has been the hot location at depths between 60 and 90 with fly-lined fresh dead squid. Chris' will be running white sea bass and rockfish trips throughout the week. The ocean salmon season south of Pigeon Point ended Sunday.
Call: Chris' Landing (831) 375-5951; Bayside Marine (831) 475-2173; usafishing.com
San Luis Obispo
Rock cod ***
Virg's Landing in Morro Bay reported 144 anglers landed 23 ling cod to 12 pounds, 386 vermilion, 870 assorted rockfish, 102 coppers, 10 bocaccio, one cabezon and one ocean whitefish on their trips over the past week. The local trip with 16 passengers landed near limits with 21 ling cod, 30 vermilions, 32 coppers and 46 assorted rockfish in the Motel Area. The top local angler was John Van Dam of Tipton with a 12-pound ling cod at the Shell Mound. Their next two-day trip is to Lopez Point and Cape San Martin on Oct. 8-9. Patriot Sport Fishing in Avila Beach also reported great rockfishing with the Pacific Horizon posting limits Saturday, Sunday and Monday. Sunday's trip brought home 20 limits including 14 ling cod to 24 pounds, 6 ounces. Top local anglers were Colby Moe of Bakersfield and Frank Alva of Tulare with 12- and 8-pound ling cod. They have a running count of 1,802 legal lings since the May 1 opener. The seventh-annual Ling Cod contest will run until Dec. 31, and the leaders are: 1, Guy Leo (26 pounds, 4 ounces); 2, William Chong (19 pounds); and 3, Brad Hudson (18 pounds, 12 ounces). Albacore trips on the Pacific Queen will start Oct. 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
Lake Nacimiento/San Antonio/Santa Margarita/Lopez
Bass ** White bass ** Stripers ** Catfish ** Crappie **
At Nacimiento, spotted bass action continues to be fair with small plastics or jigs on the bottom with a small window for top water in the early mornings or evenings. Lopez is sporting a resurgent bass bite with spoons in 30 feet in depth with a couple of crappie also hitting the spoons on the way down. At San Antonio, trollers are working through the shad schools with Kastmasters or plugs for striped bass to 12 pounds. The San Antonio Marina is running a bass tournament on Oct. 1 with a tagged fish worth $25,000. Santa Margarita is sporting a punch bite through the mats, but there is a frog and buzzbait bite in the early morning when the marine layer is over the lake. Anglers are advised to make sure their boats are clean and dry for all coastal lakes or access will be denied during the required inspections for the invasive Quagga mussel, which are required before boat launching is allowed. Jim Slusher of Jim's Pro Bass is starting a new bass circuit known as 101 Bass with a guaranteed 100% payback. Its first tournament is Dec. 10 at Lopez. The coastal lakes are dropping with Nacimiento at 76% and San Antonio at 74%.
Call: (805) 238-1056 ext. 3, (805) 472-2818; Central Coast Bass Fishing.com (805) 466-6557
Bass *** Salmon *** Stripers ** Sturgeon ** Catfish **
The salmon bite went crazy off the Benicia shoreline over the weekend with 50-plus fish to 26.5 pounds Saturday with over 100 anglers casting from the rocks at the State Park. First Street also heated up Saturday with 12 fish to 18 pounds with the anglers standing shoulder-to-shoulder. Tony Lopez of Benicia Bait confirmed the hot bite with the Mepp's Flying C being a popular lure. John Gonzalez landed a 26.5-pounder and 10-year-old Ryan Mahaffey put in a 28.1-pound fish on a boat trolling along First Street. Lopez said, "The shoreline has been crowded with around 200 people at the State Park and also a big crowd at First Street. It was hard to squeeze in there over the weekend." A few coho salmon were caught and released with the majority of fishermen knowing the difference between the species. There are more and more fresh females in the mix. Striper fishing has slowed, and the best action has been at the Middle Grounds and the Firing Line with live bullheads. Sturgeon fishing is picking up in the Big Cut. Benicia Bait has plenty of bullheads and a good supply of grass shrimp. James Nguyen of Dockside Bait in Pittsburg weighed in a number of large stripers Saturday, including linesides of 21, a pair of 18s, and a 10-pounder, all taken by drifting jumbo minnows in the back sloughs. Anglers primarily are using bullheads or jumbo minnows for the linesides. Alan Fong of the Fisherman's Warehouse in Sacramento continues to punch the weeds in the central Delta for largemouth bass. Randy Pringle, the Fishing Instructor, said, "The hot windless days have made for a great largemouth bite on the red/black Chigger Craw on either a three-sixteenths- or quarter-ounce Texas rig with a 2/0 offset hook. The key is to work the bait slowly and methodically tight to the banks and on the outside the weed lines." There are loads of crawdads visible on the banks at low tide, and Pringle has been tossed the red/black Timber Tiger DC 8 crankbait when the wind comes up. The wind activates the fish by allowing them to move out of the heavy cover and become more aggressive. He is tossing the crankbait close to the banks and working it back through the tops of the weed, kicking it occasionally to simulate a wounded baitfish. The half-ounce Persuader spinnerbait with gold/silver or white/chartreuse willow leaf blades also are working. The hyacinth clumps are extremely thick in the back sloughs of the central Delta, making access to some marinas problematic.
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
Kokanee Power at Shaver Lake on Sept. 10: 1, Gary Coe/John Lico, 47.30 pounds; 2, Fred and Ryan McAllister, 47.05; 3, Jack Schultz/Alan Traynor, 46.75
Visalia Bass Club at Pine Flat on Sept. 17: 1, Isaac and Josh Adams, 11.99 pounds (big fish 5.30); 2, Kyle Manes/Bobby Blaswich, 6.85; 3, Matt Chase/Matt Davidian, 6.58
New J Bass Club at Eastman on Sept. 17: 1, Al Posella/Kong Moua, 13.44 pounds (big fish 5.22); 2, Ge and Tony Yang, 10.38; 3, Dave Coson/Dave Basseres, 10.15
Angler's Choice at Isabella on Sept. 17: 1, Randy McAbee Jr./Loren Serda, 17.94 pounds; 2, Jason Newby/Mike Stiles, 17.10; 3, Jim Dobbs/Bob Grayson, 14.18 (big fish 7.43)
Fresno Bass Club at Delta/B and W Resort on Sept. 18: 1, Walt Austin, 15.45 pounds (big fish 5.04); 2, Gene Bruns, 15.36; 3, Ken Eddy, 14.67
Hook, Line, and Sinker (7-fish limit) at Delta/Russo's Marina on Sept. 18: 1, Dylan Waldrop/Cody Remick, 17.41 pounds; 2, Tom and Paul Lutz, 17.02; 3, Ray and Ryan Nowakowski, 16.83
Saturday: Rio Vista Bass Derby Seminar, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Hap's Bait in Rio Vista featuring Mark Wilson, Clyde Wands, Don Paganelli, Bob Sims and Barry Canevaro
Sept. 29-Oct. 2: California Bass Federation at Delta/Russo's Marina
Oct. 1: Lake San Antonio Marina Bass Derby at San Antonio; Kerman Bass Club at Delta/Ladd's Marina; Tracy Bass Club at Delta/Tracy Oasis; Jim's Pro Bass Tackle at Santa Margarita; Western Outdoor News at Isabella
Oct. 2: Stockton Bass at Delta/Ladd's
Oct. 6: Mark Wilson of Mark Wilson's Sport Fishing on Delta Striper Trolling Techniques, 6 p.m. at Manteca Fisherman's Warehouse
Oct. 8: Visalia Bass Club at Kaweah; Fresno Bass at Pine Flat; American Bass Association at Delta/Russo's Marina; Jig's Fall Classic at Don Pedro
Oct. 13: Captain Mike Gravert of Intimidator Sport Fishing on Fall Striper Techniques, 6 p.m. at Manteca Fisherman's Warehouse
Oct. 15: Tri City Lunkers at Lopez
Oct. 20: Randy Pringle, the Fishing Instructor, on Delta Largemouth and Striper Techniques, 6 p.m. at Manteca Fisherman's Warehouse
Oct. 23: Tracy Bass at Delta/Tracy Oasis
Oct. 27: Barry Canevaro of Fish Hookers Sport Fishing on Striper Techniques, 6 p.m. at Manteca Fisherman's Warehouse
Oct. 29: Angler's Choice at Nacimiento; Stockton Bass at Delta/Ladd's Marina
Fresno County: Kings River below the Pine Flat Reservoir; San Joaquin River below the Friant Dam
Kern County: Kern River from Powerhouse No. 3 to Riverside Park, Kernville
Madera County: Corrine Lake
Tulare County: Kern River from Brush Creek to Fairview Dam; Kern River from Fairview Dam to Falling Waters Lodge; North Fork of Middle Fork Tule River at Wishon Campground; South Fork of Middle Fork Tule River at Camp Nelson; South Fork of Middle Fork Tule River at Ceder Slopes
Tuolumne County: Lyons Canal; Middle Fork Stanislaus River; Moccasin Creek; Powerhouse Stream