Compiled by Dave Hurley and edited by Roger George, a central San Joaquin Valley native and local fishing expert.
Never miss a local story.
Monterey Albacore bite wide open, Sonny Arcoleo said. Delta sturgeon, striper and bass action opening up, Randy Pringle said. Eastman bass improved, Patrick Movey said. San Luis stripers on the prowl, Merritt Gilbert said. Courtright rainbows hot, Dave Dungy said.
The battle against invasive species of mussels is on and not knowing the inspection rules beforehand can be quite bothersome.
I experienced my first mandatory Quagga mussel inspection at San Luis and, fortunately, I passed it with my very dry and in-good-condition boat. It was more intense and thorough than I would have guessed and I ended up asking inspectors and rangers questions about things I was sure were going to become major angler issues very quickly.
This fight is a serious one, as invasive Quagga and Zebra mussels are costing hundreds of millions of dollars to combat in the Great Lakes and other regions where they've taken hold, most notably on power plants and other water-consuming facilities. Boater-specific problems these mussels pose include ruining your engine, jamming steering equipment and potentially leading to the closure of boating in affected waterways.
As with any new problem, figuring out how the inspection process will be enforced will take time. But knowing the rules in advance could prevent anglers the heartache of making a long and expensive trip for nothing after a failed inspection. I already know a few who have been turned back from San Luis and then have had to make the drive back to Fresno totally furious.
Here's what I found out from my unofficial conversation with one of the inspectors:
1. Your vessel must be clean, dry and drained. No weeds or residue can be attached to the hull or engine. All compartments must be dry. Inspectors will look over the hull for places where mussels can get stuck and they even will have you fully lower the engine to see if any water runs out.
2. You can't put minnows in your livewell prior to inspection. The water in the livewell could be contaminated and, in addition, you will be given a red band on your boat that means you are quarantined at least seven days at any monitored lake. A computer log-in of all boats inspected and their CF numbers is kept, so if you remove the tag and try to return before the full quarantine period you'll earn a misdemeanor and a fine. Quarantines can be for up to a month if there are multiple violations. Note: If you bring minnows in a separate bucket, inspectors are considering a strainer mechanism that would allow the minnows to be transferred by replacing your water with lake water and using a refill bucket. At this point, it didn't seem like they are checking drive-in anglers without a vessel who have minnows in a bucket.
3. Do not remove blue band. A passed inspection earns a blue band inserted through the nose ring of your boat. If it's broken prior to launching, you will need to go back to square one and get back in line. Inspection stations at the entrance to the Forebay and the big lake (both Basalt and Dinosaur) will be manned every day from 6 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Gates will be opened at 6 a.m. with uninspected boats lined up for inspection. But here's a tip: You can get your band the night before a trip, skipping potentially long lines the next morning on heavy fishing weekends.
4. Overnight anglers must park outside gates. Due to the lack of control of what might be entering the park overnight, gates will be closed until 6 a.m. Anglers still could park outside the gates and walk in to fish.
5. Do not mess this up! San Luis is the northernmost lake in the program and if the infestation moves our way, a ban of any live or dead bait will be considered, leaving anglers to use only artificial lures.
We may not have ever seen a Quagga or Zebra mussel, but I can tell you this is no joke.
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 *
The trout bite continues to be strong with trollers picking up easy limits of rainbows from 1 to 3 pounds. The key still is locating the shad schools and trolling through the bait. Shasta Tackle Cripplures, Needlefish, ExCels or similar shad-patterned spoons are working at depths from 30 to 50 feet in Carson and Coyote coves. This week's rain and colder temperatures should bring the fish closer to the surface. Night fishing with minnows, night crawlers or Power Bait under lights continues to produce holdover rainbows in the deeper sections of the lake. The bank bite should take off with the cooler surface temperatures. Bass fishing remains slow with the fish suspended as the water continues to recede. The best action still is on 6-inch Roboworm Hologram or Prism Shad plastics on a split shot with top-water PopRs, Zara Spooks or Lucky Craft Gunfish working in the early mornings or late evenings. Catfishing remains good as the fish are in the shallower water of the coves. Weightless offerings on an open bale are working the best with the catfish able to take off with the bait without detection. 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 2.5 feet to 1,056.17 feet in elevation and 84% 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 **
Pete Cormier of Bob's Bait in Bakersfield said, "There has been little change in the past week with bass fishing still on the slow side and crappie remaining in deep water." Drop-shotting, Senkos or big plastic worms continue to be the best techniques at depths to 12 feet for the largemouths. Crappie still are hanging out near structure in the deeper waters near Rocky Point, but they can be found holding near the docks in the marinas for those with access. Frozen shad, clams, night crawlers and mackerel are working for catfish in the main river channel at depths from 30 to 40 feet between Kissack and Paradise in the South Fork. Trout fishing is improving with rainbow Power Bait, salmon eggs and night crawlers around the Marina and the Wilford Heights Cemetery. The lake dropped over 2 feet to 2,568.01 feet in elevation and 39% as the seasonal water releases continue. Trout fishing remains good in the upper and lower Kern River with plants continuing in the upper and lower river. Live crickets, salmon eggs, night crawlers or Power Bait are the top baits. In the Bakersfield area, not much is different with crappie and bluegill action decent at Buena Vista Lake with small minnows for the slabsides and wax worms for the bluegill. Small catfish and bass are possible. Local anglers are anticipating the first of the trout plants in the coming months.
Call: Bob's Bait (661) 833-8657; North Fork Marina (760) 376-1812
San Luis Reservoir and O'Neill Forebay
Stripers *** Catfish ** Bass ** Crappie **
Various sources report very good action at the main lake for striped bass. Mickey Clements at Coyote Bait in San Jose touted tossing Lucky Craft Pointer 128s, big top-water lures or swimbaits along Dinosaur Point and Portuguese Cove. Anglers are graphing bait with their electronics and either jigging spoons or dropping jumbo minnows on the fish near the Trash Racks. Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis confirmed this technique with Fresno area striper anglers trolling to locate the fish and then dropping down jumbo minnows. Magnum flukes in white ice or pearl, ABT Banshees in chartreuse/shad or perch, or SPRO Aruka chartreuse/shad also are excellent choices for the linesides. Patrick Movey of the Fisherman's Warehouse in Fresno reported the Forebay is improving for trollers working the clear sections of the impoundment with shallow or deep diving Yozuris. The grass still is holding in the Forebay, but it is starting to diminish. Small catfish can be taken around Check 12 with frozen shad, anchovies or mackerel. The main lake is holding at 74% capacity. Important Note: EFFECTIVE OCT. 1, VESSEL INSPECTIONS FOR QUAGGA AND ZEBRA MUSSELS TO BEGIN AT SAN LUIS RESERVOIR SRA. All boats, personal watercraft, kayaks, canoes, sailboards, inflatables and float tubes must undergo a mandatory inspection. These invasive species threaten recreational opportunities, the water delivery infrastructure of California and the aquatic habitat of San Luis Reservoir SRA. Please look at "Roger's remark's" today for more information.
Call: Ly's Fishing Goods (408) 629-9644; Coyote Bait and Tackle (408) 463-0711
Bass *** Trout * Bluegill ** Catfish ** Crappie *
Eastman continues to improve as more and more area bass anglers start to focus upon this lake. Merritt Gilbert reported fishermen are averaging eight or nine fish per rod, primarily on spinnerbaits or crankbaits, but Senkos, jigs or drop-shotting is effective by mid-morning. Patrick Movey seconded the improved bass action as the fish are digging crawdads out of the rocks; and with the crustaceans molting, greens are working at the present time. He also touted swimbaits for larger fish to 4 pounds. The dam area, Keep Out Buoys and the back side of the lake have been the most productive. Catfishing is fair in the evenings with sardines, mackerel or chicken livers. The area of the lake extending upstream along the Chowchilla River still is closed beyond the Buoy Line. The lake held at 567.40 feet and 79%.
Bass ** Trout * Catfish ** Crappie **
Hensley still is very slow for bass with only a few area fishermen targeting the lake. Merritt Gilbert said, "One angler walked the banks for nine fish to 12 inches, but he couldn't find anything larger." Catfishing remains fair sardines, chicken livers or mackerel from the banks or upriver from a boat. The lake dropped 1.5 feet to 492.88 feet and 35% capacity.
Call: 225-1838; 292-3474; 673-5151
Stephanie Powell of the McSwain Marina reported excellent trolling action from the Floating Restrooms to Gilligan's Island with pearl or ruby red Wedding Rings tipped with a piece of crawler behind a dodger, blade/crawler combinations or Needlefish in response to last week's plant from Calaveras Trout Farm. Bank anglers are working the Brush Pile for limits with garlic, rainbow glitter, or yellow or white Power Bait.
Call: (209) 378-2534
Delta Mendota Canal and Sloughs
Stripers ** Catfish **
Few anglers are targeting the local canals with the excellent striper fishing in San Luis Reservoir, but a few anglers continue to soak anchovies or mackerel for catfish at Mendota Slough. In the south Aqueduct near Taft, Pete Cormier of Bob's Bait in Bakersfield reported an improved top-water bite with large surface lures working despite the accumulation of debris that normally occurs at this time of the year. Anglers still have to clean their lines on every cast to keep the moss off their baits.
Millerton Lake/San Joaquin River
Bass ** Stripers * Shad * Trout **
The bass bite remains very tough with catching legal fish still a rarity. Merritt Gilbert fished the lake last week for 12 fish, but no keeper using his normal technique of drop- or split-shotting. He thought that scratching out a 5.5- to 6-pound limit would be enough to take the upcoming Clovis Police Department tournament on Oct. 15 featuring an improved payback. Striper reports rare. The big ramp is around halfway out of the water, and the lake is dropping steadily. The receding water levels are keeping the bass suspended throughout the lake. The lake dropped 4 feet to 540.07 feet in elevation and 68%. In lower San Joaquin River, trout plants continue, and Roostertails or Mepp's spinners are working for bank anglers around the Broken Bridge.
Call: 225-1838; 292-3474
Pine Flat Reservoir/Kings River
Bass ** Trout ** King salmon *** Catfish **
King salmon have been the rage with several landlocked Chinooks in the 3.5- to 4-pound range taken by rolling small frozen shad or Needlefish from the Dam to the Power Lines at depths from 70 to 90 feet. Merritt Gilbert said, "The smaller fish in the 7- to 8-inch range are found at depths from 20 to 30 feet, but anglers will have to work deeper for quality fish." Trout fishing remains decent, but most trollers are seeking the salmon. Numbers of bass are no problem, but size still is a concern. Gilbert said, "It is tough to land a 13-inch fish." There is a small window for top water in the early mornings, but once the sun hits the water, jigs and drop-shotting are working best at depths to 25 to 30 feet. The lake dropped 5 feet to 875.95 feet in elevation and 61%. The lower Kings is starting to recede, but anglers still report losing gear on the bottom with the flows. Doyal's Store in Piedra said planter trout are taken on Power Bait, night crawlers or Roostertails, but there still is the occasional brooder to 3-pounds still in the river. A trout plant is scheduled for this week.
Call: 787-2387; 225-1838; 292-3474
Bass *** Crappie ** Trout * Catfish ***
Pete Cormier of Bob's Bait in Bakersfield said, "The lake has finally stabilized, and the bass are biting." There is top-water and jerk-bait action in the morning with drop-shotting, jigs and Senkos effective at depths to 20 feet by mid-morning. The great action comes just in time for the Visalia Bass Club Tournament this Saturday. Catfishing remains good with chicken livers or anchovies from the banks. Crappie still are holding in the deeper water along the Houseboats with small minnows or minijigs. The lake dropped 18 feet to 579.79 feet in elevation and 5% capacity.
Bass ** Trout * Catfish **
The lake continues to drop at a steady pace, and bass action has slowed in response. Dragging plastic lizard or Brush Hogs and drop-shotting along the ledges and drop-offs produce a few fish to 3 pounds, but the best action still is a few weeks away with stable water and cooler surface temperatures. The lake dropped 5.5 feet to 596.82 feet in elevation and 14% capacity. The Rocky Hill launch still is accessible.
Bass *** Trout ** King salmon ** Kokanee * Crappie ** Catfish ***
Diana Mello at A-1 Bait in Snelling had a number of good reports from the past week with bass, crappie and trout fishing all on the upswing. Limits of palm-sized crappie have been taken with red worms or small minnows in Horseshoe Bend. Jason Mello scored several bass with the Pro Worm Pro Gold 200 plastic from the banks along Barrett's Coves, and live crawdads continue to be hot for both bass and catfish. A 7-pound whiskerfish was taken in Cottonwood Creek at a depth of 20 feet on a crawdad. Trout fishermen are starting to get in on the act with limits located at 50 feet on Wedding Rings tipped with a night crawler behind a dodger near McClure Point. Manny Basi of the Bait Barn in Waterford reported an early morning top-water bite with the Super Spook in Okie Shad before dropping to the bottom with Reaction Innovation's Bad Shad Green or the Pro Worm Pro Gold. The lake dropped 3.5 feet to 825.63 feet in elevation and 74%.
Call: A-1 Bait (209) 563-6505; Bub Tosh (209) 404-0053
Lake Don Pedro Bass ** Trout *** Kokanee * King salmon ** Crappie ***
Manny Basi said bass fishing is slow which is typical for this time of year, but there is a bit of action in the early mornings on the Super Spook top-water lure in Okie Shad. Drop-shotting with Bad Shad Green or Pro Gold is the next option as the fish move to the bottom by mid-morning. He also touted catfishing from the banks at Fleming Meadows or Blue Oaks with frozen shad or anchovies. Trout fishing remains excellent for trollers in the open waters at depths from 20 to 45 feet with the fish loading up on the abundant shad. Heavy spoons still are a good action, but rolling shad also is effective. King salmon still are holding in Woods Creek at depths from 60 to 100 feet with rolled shad.
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 window for kokanee fishing is essentially over, and the next species on the horizon is for planted trout. Trout fishing will be the focus for the remainder of the fall and winter once the plants begin. A few bass fishermen have been launching in the late afternoons and working the docks for a handful of fish to 1.5 pounds by drop-shotting in a vertical motion. The weeds are thick in a number of locations. 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 continues to drop and is at 61% capacity.
Call: Todd Wittwer 288-8100; Mike Beighey 642-3748
Shaver Lake/Huntington Lake
Kokanee * Trout ** Smallmouth bass **
With Shaver Lake inaccessible for the remainder of the season, Huntington is the top option in this area. Trout anglers continue to score rainbows from 12 to 14 inches with Apex, Needlefish or small Rapalas trolled from the surface to four colors of lead core. Huntington is holding at 98% capacity. Shaver 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. Shaver is at 18% 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
Wishon has dropped to the level in which launching on the concrete ramp is no longer an option, but those putting in small boats have been scoring limits with blade/crawler combinations, Speedy Shiners or Needlefish at three to four colors of lead core. The headwaters of the lake remains strong from the banks for quality rainbows with inflated night crawlers and various colors of Power Bait. Dave Dungy of the Shaver Lake Trophy Trout Project reported excellent trout action at Courtright with night crawlers behind a Mountain Flasher long-lined between 40 and 60 feet behind the boat. They caught and released over 40 fish to 16 inches in 4 hours. Chuck Crane of Wishon Village RV Park said the lake levels at Courtright still are only 9 feet from full, and bank fishing remains fair around the Dam with inflated night crawlers and various colors of Power Bait. Crane added that deer hunting in on the upswing with between eight and 10 deer brought to the store for pictures this week. Joey Penney of Bakersfield bagged a 3-by-4 buck on Saturday morning. Merritt Gilbert said, "The majority of deer action appears to be in the 2,000- to 6,000-foot range with slower action in the higher country." The local creeks finally have dropped to the level of barely moving, and the deeper holes in Dinkey Creek are the only options. Trout plants have ceased for the year in the high county.
Call: Wishon RV Park 865-5361
Brown trout ** Trout ***
Few anglers are heading for the Kaiser Pass lakes, but deer hunters on overnight adventures are tossing lures from the banks at Lake Edison for rainbows and the occasional brown trout to 15.5 inches. At Mammoth Pool, Patrick Movey reported good action for rainbows and browns at 40 feet on the downrigger with Rapalas. Most anglers are targeting the browns but coming up with rainbows. All of the lakes are high for this time of year with Edison at 88%, Florence at 78%, Mammoth Pool at 49% and Redinger at 93%.
San Francisco Bay
Halibut ** Stripers ** Rockfish *** Leopard shark *** Salmon ***
The salmon bite off the Marin coastline continues, but private boaters maintain a higher fish per rod average than the larger party boats. The C Gull II out of Emeryville mooched up nine salmon to 12 pounds for 17 anglers Sunday, and the Captain Hook went out on a crew trip for three limits to 12 pounds. Out of Sausalito, the New Rayanne and Hog Heaven had better fortune, trolling up 26 salmon to 22 pounds for 34 anglers in absolutely flat calm conditions Sunday. Bob Wright ran the Happy Hooker over the weekend, and he put his passengers on to consecutive days of rockfish limits. Friday's trip was a true potluck adventure with 26 limits of rockfish, three salmon, 17 lingcod, three stripers and a halibut. On Saturday, they boated an eye-popping 37 limits of rockfish, eight lings and a salmon. Sunday's trip came back with 21 limits of rockfish, three salmon, 15 ling cod and a 40-pound thresher shark taken by Anthony Campbell of Sonora. There were several huge black rockfish in the 6- to 7-pound range in the sacks. The New Huck Finn, New Seeker and New Salmon Queen went to the Farallon Islands on Sunday for a combined 77 limits of rockfish and 23 lingcod to 12 pounds. Few boats are working inside the bay with the heavy interest in salmon fishing outside the Gate, but California City is kicking out a few salmon per day. Keith Fraser of Loch Lomond Bait and Tackle in San Rafael said, "Jim Cox of the Touch of Gray will start running his half-day Cal City Specials this week with the better tides." The minus tides have murked up the water, slowing things down. Halibut and bass fishing has been very good with the Morningstar putting in the range of 1.5 fish per rod Saturday and Sunday, drifting Loch Lomond shiners or live anchovies at South Hampton and Red Rock for numerous bass and halibut to 17 pounds. Bank fishing remains excellent for striped bass with live bullheads or pile worms, and a few anglers are drifting live shiners from the decks of McNear's Pier. John Akina at Oyster Point Bait, Tackle and Deli in South San Francisco said, "Most boats launching out of here are heading outside of the Gate for salmon, and we are selling lots of Green and Red Label herring or tray anchovies." A few boats stopped west of Alcatraz on their way back from boating limits of salmon and they picked up halibut drifting dead bait. In the Oyster Point area, striped bass are the best thing going with fish taken off the shoreline near Genentech Point, Candlestick Point and the Oyster Point banks. A few halibut continue to come from the Green Building in Brisbane, the A Crane and the Bird Cage and Akina said more and more commercial fishermen are starting to target halibut. Joel Sinkay of Leonard's Bait at Port Sonoma continues to tout live bullheads or grass shrimp for striped bass along the shorelines in San Pablo Bay or the feeder rivers.
Half Moon Bay
Rockfish **** Salmon ** Stripers **
"Rockfish, rockfish and more rockfish," said Peggy Beckett of Huck Finn Sport Fishing in response to what was taking place in this stretch of the coast. Whether the boats are running south of the harbor as far as Pigeon Point or to the Farallon Islands; the result is the same, limits with a few lingcod and cabezon in the mix. The Tigerfish out of Huck Finn Sport Fishing went to the Farallons on Saturday for 27 limits of rockfish and 18 lingcod to 22 pounds. They followed this up with eight limits Sunday fishing locally from Buoy One South of the Ritz Hotel. Also out of Huck Finn, The New Captain Pete boated 17 limits at San Gregorio and the Ankeny Street put in 16 limits in 90 feet of water from the Ritz south to Martin's Beach. To go with the theme of more rockfish, Half Moon Bay Sport Fishing had more of the same with the Queen of Hearts posting 24 limits of browns, vermilions and gophers with three lings to 10 pounds at Pigeon Point, and the Rip Tide finding 16 limits and three cabezon fishing shallow water near Martin's Beach. Captain Tom Mattusch of the Huli Cat added to these similar scores with18 limits off San Gregorio to go with two lingcod. Mattusch said, "We dropped a number of hitchhiking lings, but the anglers got a kick out of seeing the big lings hanging on at the surface." Justin Isabel of Livermore took the jackpot ling on a shrimp fly. Captain Guy Anthony of the New Gravy additionally got in on the rockfish action with eight limits and a 10-pound lingcod along Martin's Beach on Saturday. A few boats continue to run north to Duxbury for a try at salmon, and Captain Kelly Sponseller ran the Connie O on Sunday along the Marin coast for a single salmon before switching to rockfishing on the way home at Pedro Point. There is a warm bubble of water in the 12 miles off Pigeon Point, but the incredible tuna bite farther south off Monterey has drawn all skiffs away from the Half Moon Bay harbor. North of the harbor, Sheryl Jimno of the Rusty Hook in Pacifica reported stripers on blood or pile worms from the pier or the beaches are the best thing going, but a few salmon fishermen continue to work the end of the pier with their specialized rigs.
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 **** Albacore ****
The big story was the wide open albacore bite at the area known as the "Dogbone" over the weekend. Sonny Arcoleo said, "The skiffs just annihilated them over the weekend, and there were boats coming back to the harbor at 10 a.m. since they couldn't fit anymore fish on the decks." He said there were at between 60 and 70 boats fishing a wide area from below Point Sur to above the Dogbone. One boat was reported to land fish 15 miles out of the harbor. Arcoleo added, "Everybody got them, and they are all big." He tried to put an albacore trip together Sunday, but there wasn't enough interest, so they filled the boat for a white sea bass trip. Arcoleo will continue to offer an alternative for those without access to private skiffs with fresh dead squid for bait stops. Their white sea bass trip on Sunday produced a single ghost, but one commercial angler boated 12 sea bass, but he had eight before they even arrived on the grounds. The commercial boats have a definite advantage since the sea bass are more susceptible to a stealthy approach. Chris' boats ran south to Point Sur for rockfish on Saturday and Sunday, and, according to Arcoleo, they smashed them with boats averaging limits all around with a number of vermilions in the sacks. The Checkmate had one day with 18 lings, but a normal count has been in the half-dozen per trip range. Captain Guy Anthony on the New Gravy got in on the hot albacore bite on Saturday on a private boat, and they quit after boating 40 longfins with nothing under 20 pounds and a few fish up to 40 pounds. They took out live sardines from the Santa Cruz harbor, but the albacore didn't want anything to do with the sardines. With the fish spitting up squid, they pinned on some regurgitated squid and landed fish. He thought the albacore were hanging out in the area due to the large mass of squid. One skiff was reported to return with 60 big fish. These types of stories were repeated over and over by private boaters posting scores from over the weekend, including an angler that landed a mako shark weighing between 120 to 150 pounds on a big fire tiger Rapala. A few numbers where anglers are trolling are 36'37/122'28 and 36'25/122'17. A few bluefin tuna have also made their way onto the decks.
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 150 anglers landed 44 ling cod to 15 pounds, 421 vermilion, 839 assorted rockfish, 130 coppers and one barracuda on trips over the past week. The local trip with 32 passengers on the Princess with Captain Brad League landed near limits with 18 ling cod to 10 pounds, 175 vermilions, 117 assorted rockfish and 28 coppers south of the harbor. Their next two-day trip is to Lopez Point and Cape San Martin is Saturday-Sunday with an albacore trip scheduled for Saturday. Patriot Sport Fishing in Avila Beach said their first albacore trip is scheduled to leave 8 p.m. Friday and will return 8 a.m. Sunday. For the first two weeks, they have scheduled 1.5-day trips leaving on Friday, Sunday and Wednesday nights and one overnight trip on Tuesday night returning Wednesday night. As the season progresses, they will determine whether there will be more overnight trips depending on the movement of the fish. Rockfishing trips will be continue through Dec. 31, and at this time of year there are typically very light loads during the week. Their rockfishing trips continue to post limits with the Pacific Horizon and Patriot bringing in a combined 30 limits of rockfish, 41 lingcod and 11 cabezon to 13.5 pounds. Previously the two boats combined for 43 limits of rockfish, 16 lingcod and a 14-pound white sea bass. Top local angler was Connie Martinez of Tulare with a 10-pound lingcod. They have landed a running total of 1,963 lingcod since the May 1 opener. The 7th annual Ling Cod contest will run until Dec. 31, and current leaders are: 1. Guy Leo (26 pounds, 4 ounces), 2. William Chong (19-0) and 3. Brad Hudson (18-12).
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 **
San Antonio Marina held its first annual bass derby Saturday with a winning weight of 10.1 pounds and a big fish being a 3.2-pound smallmouth out of the 20 boats participating. Most anglers struggled for a fish or two. Santa Margarita also had its first tournament on Jim's Pro Bass Tackle's 101 Bass circuit, and 15-plus pounds was the winning weight, as this lake still is the top big fish option on the central coast. Anglers are advised to make sure their boats are clean and dry for all coastal lakes or access will be denied during the required Quagga mussel inspections. Randy Pringle is starting a new bass circuit known as Best Bass Tournaments in the central coast lakes. Information is at bestbasstournaments.com. The coastal lakes are dropping steadily with San Antonio at 74% and Nacimiento at 73%.
Call: (805) 238-1056 ext. 3, (805) 472-2818; Central Coast Bass Fishing.com (805) 466-6557
Bass *** Salmon ** Stripers *** Sturgeon *** Catfish ***
The Delta will be packed with boats this coming weekend with the participants in the 63rd annual Rio Vista Bass Derby running up and down the river in search of the target-length striped bass. The salmon bite along the Benicia shoreline has slowed at First Street with zero fish taken Sunday. Action at the State Park was better with 11 salmon on Sunday, and shoreline striper fishing remains outstanding with blood or pile worms. Live bullheads also have been very effective. The sturgeon bite in Grizzly Bay was affected by the numerous duck boats running over the shallows in the process of setting up their blinds for the season opener. The sturgeon are there, but they became gunshy from the boat traffic. James Nguyen at Dockside Bait in Pittsburgh said the parking lot at the launch ramp was nearly full over the weekend with good striper and sturgeon fishing in the area. Stripers to 20 pounds have been landed on bullheads or mudsuckers at the mouth of Montezuma Slough and around Chain Island, and sturgeon are biting shrimp baits in front of the marina and the PG&E Plant. Two or three salmon are taken daily off the rocks near the public launch ramp. Mike Pipkins of Gotcha Bait in Antioch said striper fishing has improved with frozen shad or mudsuckers along West Island. One boat has been limiting out on a daily basis with linesides in the 4- to 8-pound range, but he also picked up an 18-pounder. A 31-pound striper was caught and kept at Humphrey's on the Delta. Bluegill fishing is outstanding in the San Joaquin River system with wax or meal worms, and catfish are biting clams. The weeds in the San Joaquin River are prohibiting anglers from sitting very long on the anchor without having to clean their lines. Ly Tu of Ly's Fishing Goods in San Jose reported a 43-pound female striped bass was caught and released in Big Break on a Lunker Punker top-water lure. Randy Pringle, the Fishing Instructor, thought this week's cooler temperatures, winds and rain would lower the surface temperature on the San Joaquin River; and if the temperatures move into the 60s, the larger female stripers will start their migration inland. He said, "The big stripers are already moving into the cooler locations of Sherman Lake and Big Break, and within the next few weeks the big spawners will arrive." For largemouth bass, Pringle continued to advise focusing upon the reaction bite with the half-ounce Persuader spinnerbait in chartreuse/white with a silver/gold willow leaf blade or the Timber Tiger DC 8 crankbait in red/craw. Once the water turns dingy, Pringle will switch over to chartreuse and blue colors. The fish are on a feeding frenzy in response to the cooling water temperatures. In the northeast Delta, the salmon bite in the Old Sacramento near Isleton remains fair with Captain Stan Koenigsberger of Quetzal Adventures hooking two salmon to 15 pounds on Friday using a chartreuse Blue Fox No. 6 spinner.
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
California Bass Federation State Team Fish-off at Delta/Russo's Marina on Sept. 30-Oct. 1: 1, Mark Daniels, 42.8 pounds (big fish 6.72); 2, John Lake, 33.27; 3, Cameron Smith, 32.73 (big fish 8.47) Note: Fresno's Spencer Bush and Mark Corrente, and Hanford's Scott Douglas and Bill Kunz earned spots on the state team.
Kerman Bass Club at Delta/Ladd's on Oct. 2: 1, Steve Swarts, 13.14 pounds (big fish 3.73); 2, James Horton, 8.42; 3, Rusty Baron 7.29
Thursday: Mark Wilson of Mark Wilson's Sport Fishing on Delta Striper Trolling Techniques, 6 p.m. at Manteca Fisherman's Warehouse
Friday-Sunday: 63rd annual Rio Vista Bass Derby, information and registration: bassfestival.org
Saturday: 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
Saturday-Sunday: Fresno Bass TOC Fish-off at Pine Flat and Millerton, information: Mark Corrente, 284-2768
Oct. 13: J.R. Taylor on Bass Fishing Techniques, 6:15 p.m. at Fresno Fisherman's Warehouse
Oct. 13: Captain Mike Gravert of Intimidator Sport Fishing on Fall Striper Techniques, 6 p.m. at Manteca Fisherman's Warehouse
Oct. 15: Clovis Police Department's 13th annual fundraising tournament at Millerton, information: Valley Rod and Gun, 292-3974; 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 Fairview Dam to Falling Waters Lodge
Tuolumne County: Lyons Reservoir; Middle Fork Stanislaus River; South Fork Stanislaus River; Stanislaus River Clark Fork