Compiled by Dave Hurley and edited by Roger George, a central San Joaquin Valley native and local fishing expert.
New Melones trout action steady, Melanie Lewis said. San Luis stripers hitting, Mickey Clements reported. Eastman bass biting, James Mize reported. Lake Success bass bite breaks out, Dave Hurley said. Courtright and Wishon trout fishing excellent, Chuck Crane reported. San Francisco striper action hot, Keith Fraser reported.
Fishing is a funny sport. Where you can go all day with just a few bites, then all heck breaks loose and you hit the jackpot? Or it can be vice versa, with things shutting down for no reason.
I had one of those weird trips prefishing for our CSBA Derby with a good fishing buddy, Allen Borden, Friday morning at San Luis. Everywhere we went, the fish would show up on the scope but they didn't hit what we were offering. Calm conditions in the warm sunshine left us sweaty hot and the fish in a coma. I hate fishing in "Dead Sea" conditions! The worst part of it was that the reports I had been getting were glowing with easy limits for everyone a few days before. Yes, this is fishing, and things change!
At around 2 p.m., Allen decided to call it a day, while I wanted to give it one more shot to try to find a pattern that would work the next day at the derby. Letting him off at the dock, I pondered where I should go to find some biting fish, deciding on a deep flat that had worked in the past.
Arriving at the area, I started a deep trolling pattern. Inadvertently, I pulled out one of Allen's plugs that had an unusual custom paint job and thought this might just work.
Letting it out, I got about 50 yards when the pole doubled over – got one already! It was about 3 pounds, but it had seen something about the lure good enough to eat. Calling Allen on the road, I told him I had got a fish on his custom bait. "Yeah. Good job, Rog," he said with all the enthusiasm of a guy who doesn't want to hear it's on, now that he's left.
Back at it again, I pulled the lure another 100 yards and got a 7-pounder, this time on a hard strike. It's only been 5 minutes since the last call, but I call Allen again to tell him. Throwing the fish back, I resume trolling the hot lure and, lo and behold, another mid-range striper socks the bait right away. I'm definitely onto something, and once again I call my now upset partner who usually smokes me. Three calls in 10 minutes, and I'm just getting started.
In a good hour and a half I had landed and released over 15 good stripers, being very careful to retie the line each time so I wouldn't accidentally lose the incredible lure ... I needed this baby to win the striper derby!
Deciding to maybe catch and release a few more fish, I kept on trolling when it happened. Carefully playing a wildly thrashing striper, things suddenly went slack. Incredulous, I realized that the one-of-a-kind hot lure was now swimming around in a little shaker's mouth.
I knew better, but sometimes greed gets the best of all of us. I called and asked Allen if he could please paint me up another "Borden Special" and bring it back to his penitent partner. But his paint gun had "gotten clogged" and his memory was fuzzy about the exact pattern. I was on my own.
Despite missing a hot bite, a good fishing buddy is going to be as happy as he can be for you ... not! In my defense, it's not my fault they were biting.
If you're wondering how the derby went, well it wasn't so bad, my partner Andy Bedell and I ended up getting first and second, respectively using ... another one of Allen's Banshee lures after all!
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 slowdown in trout fishing from last week's hot action, but there are still plenty of fish to be caught. The trout are feeding heavily on the shad that are staging outside the major creek channels. Lewis said, "In the fall, the shad will move to the backs of coves and the fish will follow." She advised trolling at depths from 15 to 35 feet with various trolling speeds to entice strikes. With the fish moving higher in the water column, it is important to leave plenty of line out behind your boat, so your lure is away from your boat chop. Lewis advised trolling a large Needlefish with a small Needlefish or Sockeye Slammer tied directly to the hook with a 24- to 36-inch leader. Fishing at night under a submersible light has produced some nice holdover trout with anchoring the boat in 60 to 80 feet in depth with the light 10 to 20 feet below the surface. Guide Gary Burns of Take It To The Limit Guide Service has been bringing in nice rainbows with Shasta Tackle Humdingers or Excel lures in silver/black or silver/blue, trolled in the main lake, especially south of the dam. The bass are moving into deeper water due to falling water levels and the bite continues to be slow. The best action is on shad imitation plastics as the fish are feeding heavily on the abundant shad schools. A 6-inch Roboworm Hologram shad or Prism Shad or vertically jigging over the shad schools have been the best techniques. Catfish are in coves and in shallower water with some large whiskerfish being landed on sliding sinker rigs with a ball of night crawlers, anchovies or frozen shad. Lewis advised moving the bait often, even dragging it along the bottom, rather than letting it sit still. A few catfish have been taken by trollers targeting rainbow trout. The crappie and bluegill bite has slowed down with the cooling water temperatures. The lake dropped 1 foot to 1,052.26 feet in elevation and 83% 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 ***
Catfishing is still the best thing going, and clams are the top baits for the whiskerfish in the deeper water. Frozen shad, anchovies or mackerel also are effective. Bass fishing remains slow, and Matt Barton of Sierra Gateway Sporting Goods said, "The bite is on and off with the fluctuating lake levels." Barton added that bluegill has improved with mealworms in the deep water near rocky areas. With the cooler water temperatures, trout fishing continues to improve with Power Bait, salmon eggs or night crawlers in the river inlets, the Auxiliary Dam, the Wilford Heights Cemetery and the Marina. The lake dropped 2 feet to 2,564.77 feet in elevation and 35% as the seasonal water releases continue. Pete Cormier of Bob's Bait in Bakersfield said, "Anglers continue to work the upper river with live crickets, salmon eggs, night crawlers or Power Bait." Buena Vista Lake is scheduled for trout plants prior to the Nov. 12 Taft Chamber of Commerce Trout Derby. Plants are scheduled to begin next week if the water temperatures are cool enough in the small impoundments of Truxton, Woollomes, Ming, Hart Park and the Park at River Walk.
Call: Bob's Bait (661) 833-8657; North Fork Marina (760) 376-1812
San Luis Reservoir and O'Neill Forebay
Stripers ** Catfish ** Bass ** Crappie *
San Luis Reservoir still is producing striped bass to 10 pounds with a variety of techniques. Mickey Clements of Coyote Bait in San Jose said, "Fishing hasn't been this good in the big lake in a long time. Ninety percent of the fishermen are working the big lake as opposed to the Forebay." Fishermen are drifting jumbo minnows, mudsuckers or live grass shrimp with the key being finding the bait balls. Clements said, "Once the bait schools are located, anglers are catching and releasing a number of fish to 10 pounds." Small rip baits such as Lucky Craft 78 ST or 100s in ghost minnow, American shad or chartreuse shad are effective, and there is a good top-water bite on Lucky Craft Sammy 128s, white Repo Man or Super Spooks. The walking baits have been working best on the surface. In the Forebay, the heavy grass cover is dying off and smaller fish are the rule. The Fresno Chapter of CSBA Derby produced a winning fish of 12.5 pounds for Andy Bedell on a trolled new prototype 8-inch ABT Banshee swimbait – the same lure gave Roger George a 10-pounder for second. Most anglers caught fish in the 4- to 6-pound category on minnows. The main lake still is receiving water from the Delta, and it is at 79% 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. Failure to allow inspection of any watercraft will result in the refusal to launch.
Call: Ly's Fishing Goods (408) 629-9644; Coyote Bait and Tackle (408) 463-0711
Bass *** Trout * Bluegill ** Catfish ** Crappie **
The US Army Corp of Engineers Ranger Station reported an improved bass bite with 8-year-old Adam Rich Jr. of Modesto catching and releasing a 6-pound largemouth from a rock below the Codorniz Campground with a purple plastic worm. Overall, the bass bite has been the best in the area with brown/green jigs worked in deep water for fish to 4 pounds. James Mize of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said one angler landed seven bass to 2.5 pounds off rockpile with jigs and a 7.5-pound largemouth was taken at a depth of 40 feet over a submerged rockpile. Patrick Movey touted brown/green jigs or drop-shotting similar colors for bass to 3 pounds. Mark Inman mirrored the good bite reports, saying that vertical jigging was the ticket right now in 18 to 30 feet of water. Trout plants are scheduled to begin within a few weeks. Water releases are scheduled for the end of the month beginning Oct. 28. 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 567.46 feet in elevation and 79% capacity.
Bass ** Trout * Catfish *** Crappie **
There still are very few reports from Hensley with few fishermen even trying. The majority of bass fishermen are heading to nearby Eastman. Catfishing still is the best option with chicken livers, sardines or anchovies from the banks. The lake dropped 1 foot to 490.84 vertical feet and 33% capacity.
Call: 225-1838; 292-3474; 673-5151
Stephanie Powell of the McSwain Marina said, "The weekend was fantastic with over 500 anglers participating in the Merced Irrigation District Trout Derby." Bank anglers had the upper hand with the largest trout at 3.9 pounds landed by Mario Perreira of Hilmar at the Brush Pile. There were several tagged fish landed, but the top prize, fish No. 51, is still worth $500 for any registered derby participant until Dec. 31. Powell said, "The lures of the day were the blue/white Kastmasters, blue/pink Tasmanian Devils or Roostertails." Bait fishermen scored with white Gulp! Power Eggs with garlic. Trolling was slow during the derby with anglers averaging only one or two fish per rod with the best action near the dam, but things picked back up Monday with decreased fishing pressure on the lake. A Calaveras trout plant is scheduled for this week.
Call: (209) 378-2534
Delta Mendota Canal and Sloughs
Stripers ** Catfish **
The excellent striper bite in San Luis Reservoir continues to draw local anglers past the California Aqueduct and the Delta-Mendota Canal. A few catfish can be taken in the canals with frozen anchovies, chicken livers or mackerel. In the south Aqueduct near Taft, Pete Cormier said the water has cleared without moss or debris, but the flows have diminished. The best action has been during the periods of water movement with sardines, anchovies or mackerel for catfish and stripers to barely legal size.
Millerton Lake/San Joaquin River
Bass ** Stripers **
The bass bite at Millerton remains very tough with small fish being the rule. Saturday's Clovis Police Department tournament produced a number of teams with less than limits at the weigh-in. With the water dropping, the bass remain suspended. There is a small window for top water in the early morning, but the most consistent action is on the bottom with jigs, drop-shotting or dragging lizards. Striper reports continue to be scarce in the past two weeks with the last report of a lineside being a 12-pounder taken by an angler drop-shotting for spotted bass. The lake dropped 2 feet to 535.10 feet and 64%. In lower San Joaquin River, a plant of 17- to 20-inch trout was released at Lost Lake. Patrick Movey of the Fisherman's Warehouse touted various colors of Power Bait or Roostertails for the larger fish.
Call: 225-1838; 292-3474
Pine Flat Reservoir/Kings River
Bass ** Trout ** King salmon ** Catfish **
The king salmon bite has slowed within the past week, but a few kings in the 3- to 4-pound range can be taken around the Power Lines at depths from 70 to 90 feet with rolled anchovies or blue/silver spoons. The smaller salmon are found higher in the water column, but these fish should be released to grow. Patrick Movey touted a decent bite for rainbow trout under the Power Lines with blade/crawler combinations or shad-patterned spoons such as ExCels, Needlefish, Thomas Buoyants or Shasta Tackle's Humdingers. There are plenty of small bass willing to bite, but keeper fish are scarce. There is a small window for top water in the early mornings, but finesse fishing with jigs or drop-shotting are working best at depths to 25 to 30 feet. The lake dropped 8 feet to 872.83 feet in elevation and 59% capacity. The lower Kings has slowed down and trout fishing is fair for planters with salmon eggs, live crickets, Kastmasters or Roostertails. Trout plants are scheduled for the next two weeks.
Call: 787-2387; 225-1838; 292-3474
Bass *** Crappie ** Trout * Catfish **
Sierra Sport Fishing in Exeter reported great water conditions and a healthy bass bite for fish to 6 pounds. Live crawdads or jumbo minnows have been very productive, and the lake is loaded with shad schools. The bass have been boiling on the surface in the early mornings and small top-water lures such as PopRs or Ricos are effective. The majority of bass can be found from the banks to 13 feet in depth. Jigs, plastic worms, Brush Hogs and crankbaits all are working with the best quality of fish found at 12 to 13 feet. Crappie are found in the deeper water near the Houseboats with small minnows. The lake rose 8 feet to 598.48 feet in elevation and 10% capacity.
Bass *** Trout * Catfish **
The bass bite broke loose as the lake has stabilized, and Jerry Williams of the Success Bass Club weighed in a limit over 20 pounds using plastics on the drop shot or shad-patterned crankbaits. The bass bite should continue to improve with the stable and cooling water as the fish move out of the trees to along the ledges and drop-offs. The lake dropped 3 feet to 593.48 feet in elevation and 12% capacity. The Rocky Hill launch is still accessible.
Bass ** Trout *** King salmon *** Kokanee * Crappie ** Catfish **
Trout fishing has improved in the past week with more anglers trolling in the main lake. Diana Mello of A-1 Bait in Snelling reported limits of rainbows have been located in Cottonwood and Temperance creeks at depths from 30 to 60 feet with blade/crawler combinations, shad-patterned spoons or rolled shad. King salmon from 15 to 17 inches have been found north of Cottonwood Creek with rolled shad behind a Sling Blade at depths to 70 feet. Bass fishing is decent with drop-shotting Pro Worm Pro Gold or Keeper 082 plastics at depths to 30 feet. Live crawdads still are productive for bass or crawdads from the banks near the Horseshoe, Barretts Cove or McClure Point. Manny Basi of the Bait Barn in Waterford touted the new Reaction Innovations Kinky Beaver creature bait in sprayed grass or green pumpkin used as a jig trailer have been a top seller. He has nearly sold out of his first shipment of this new bait. There is a small window for top-water lures, but the best action has been with finesse techniques on the bottom. Baby Brush Hogs in watermelon/red also are effective. Catfishing has slowed down in the past week with the cooling water temperatures. The lake dropped 3 feet to 819.91 feet in elevation and 71%.
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 continues to put his clients onto limits, but they have to work a bit harder to locate the fish. Smith said, "This is the time of year in which you will have to search for signs to locate the schools as the fish will be in one location one day and move a half mile by the next day." On his last trip, it took nearly an hour to entice a strike when Smith saw at least 150 grebes working the surface and he moved over the area and immediately began marking fish. Smith trolled heavy spoons at depths from 25 to 50 feet through the area for limits of a mixed grade of trout to 3 pounds. The Woods Creek Arm, the areas around the Flume, off Hatch Creek and in Fleming Bay are the most productive locations. Manny Basi said, "Overall the bass bite continues to be slow, but the Reaction Innovations Kinky Beaver with narrow features with more tentacles in sprayed grass or green pumpkin have been a big hit with anglers. There is a small window for top-water action with small surface lures, but the action is limited. Finesse techniques are far more effective at the present time. Catfishing has slowed down with the cooling water temperatures. The lake has dropped to 794.48 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 is in a transition from the kokanee season to the winter trout season. Bass anglers are vertically drop-shotting through the weeds to 20 feet for spots in the 1.5- to 2-pound range. Trout fishing will improve once the plants start. The lake has dropped to 55%, which is on the edge of difficulty for launching a large boat.
Call: Todd Wittwer 288-8100; Mike Beighey 642-3748
Shaver Lake/Huntington Lake
Kokanee * Trout ** Smallmouth bass *
There is minimal interest in the high country lakes as the temperature continues to drop with the intermittent show shower. Huntington is starting to drop at 96% capacity. At Shaver Lake, the lake has dropped to 4% capacity and the lake will be dormant through the winter when the trophy trout will be introduced in April.
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, "The lake has come up a bit and launching a small boat is still possible off the concrete ramp." However, Crane advised anglers to call for lake conditions prior to heading up the hill since the lake levels have been fluctuating. Fishing has been excellent from the shorelines, particularly at the upper end of the lake with anglers casting a variety of lures including Thomas Buoyants. "Anglers are hooking fish on every cast at the upper end," Crane said. Night crawlers and Power Bait also are effective. Trollers are scoring with blade/crawler combinations, Speedy Shiners, Thomas Buoyants and Needlefish at depths from three to four colors. Trolling flies in orange or olive colors pulled 4 feet below the surfaces also are effective. Courtright is still nearly full, but the courtesy dock has been removed from the launch ramp area. Crane said, "Fishing is great from the shoreline with Thomas Buoyants or Kastmasters and trollers are hanging them left and right at depths from two to four colors on blade/crawler combinations." Power Bait and inflated night crawlers also are working in the Dam area. The creeks are very low, and fishing is pretty much over in the high country with the exception of the deep pools in Dinkey Creek. Trout plants have ceased for the year in the high country.
Call: Wishon RV Park 865-5361
Brown trout ** Trout **
Few fishermen are heading over Kaiser Pass. The lakes remain high for this time of year with Edison at 88%, Florence at 78%, Mammoth Pool at 57% and Redinger at 51%.
San Francisco Bay
Halibut ** Stripers ****
Rockfish **** Leopard shark *** Salmon ** Sturgeon **
Salmon fishing has slowed to a crawl with the New Rayanne and Hog Heaven out of Sausalito trolling up three salmon to 15 pounds for 44 anglers on Sunday after the same two boats picked up 11 salmon to 26 pounds for 40 anglers. The best score of the weekend came from a mooching trip on the C Gull II out of Emeryville on Saturday with a fish per rod at 10 for eight anglers to 12 pounds plus two thresher shark to 23 pounds. Their trolling trip produced 7 to 15 pounds for 21 anglers Saturday, and things really got slow on Sunday with the New Salmon Queen boating two salmon to 13 pounds for 17 anglers. Rockfishing remains outstanding with limits on all party boat trips. Jim Smith of the Happy Hooker was back at the helm on Saturday, and he ran outside the Gate for 24 limits of rockfish before returning to the central bay rockpiles for 17 stripers with a bonus three halibut on the Treasure Island flats. Captain James Smith of the California Dawn ran up the Marin coast for 27 limits of rockfish and one ling before returning to the bay for 13 stripers and two halibut to 20 pounds. The New Huck Finn, New Seeker and Wet Spot out of Emeryville Sport Fishing boated 48 limits of rockfish and 42 ling cod to 12 pounds with the larger boats at the Farallons while the four-pack Wet Spot stayed along the Marin Coast on Sunday. Saturday's trips were Groundhog Day with four Emeryville boats posting 96 limits of rockfish and nine lings to 12 pounds at the Farallons with the Wet Spot staying along the coast. Inside the bay, Keith Fraser of Loch Lomond Bait in San Rafael said, "We are currently the bass capital of the world, as trollers have the opportunity to land between 40 and 50 fish at the top of the tide. However, 10% of these fish at the most are legal with the linesides averaging between 14 and 24 inches." One boat with three anglers on Friday landed 150 bass with only one of the fish being a 21-inch keeper. The best action remains at the top of the tide anywhere in lower San Pablo Bay. Fraser said, "There has been fish busting the surface, and anglers are advised to turn their big motor off when plugging." He added that drifting for stripers also is great when the tides are right, and the tides will be good starting Wednesday through the next week. A few boats are on the anchor with shrimp baits, bullheads or mudsuckers, and the larger fish are taken on the anchor or by drifting. "A fish in the teens is newsworthy," Fraser quipped. California City has not been hot, but an occasional salmon can be taken from the number of boats working the area. The big minus tides to 1.4 feet next week will spur on the sturgeon bite. Joel Sinkay of Leonard's Bait in Port Sonoma confirmed the hot striped bass bite, and he added live bullheads as the top bait from the Port Sonoma shoreline. Oyster Point Bait, Tackle and Deli in South San Francisco reported the pier is limited to sharks or rays with the occasional striped bass. The better bass action has been coming from the boats working near the Oakland Airport, Alameda Island and also north near Candlestick Point. Dungeness crab season opens Nov. 5, and The Happy Hooker and California Dawn out of Berkeley and several boats out of Emeryville Sport Fishing will be running the popular crab/rockfish combination trips.
Half Moon Bay
Rockfish **** Salmon ** Albacore **
A little bit of everything has been taking place in Half Moon Bay, but the staple remains rockfish south of the harbor or at the Farallon Islands. The Queen of Hearts out of Half Moon Bay Sport Fishing put in 25 quick limits of quality bottom fish including vermilions and browns to go with six ling cod to 15 pounds Sunday, fishing south off Ano Nuevo Island. The Tigerfish out of Huck Finn Sport Fishing picked up 16 limits of rockfish and a pair of lings fishing from Buoy One South to Martin's Beach. Guy Anthony on the New Gravy also reported 14 quick limits of rockfish with six lings to 25 pounds and eight limits, three lings and a halibut on two midweek trips. There are positive signs ling cod are moving closer to the shallows to spawn. The annual Pumpkin Festival during the weekend of Oct. 14-16 slowed angling interest with over a hundred thousand people making the trek to Half Moon Bay for the event. Some white sea bass have been plucked out of the small schools of market-grade squid off Martin's Beach by private boaters, but you have to be both good and lucky to locate the ghosts. A few private boats ran to the Pioneer Seamount on Saturday for five long longfins in the 30-pound range, losing three others in the process. The Connie O made the run up to the Marin coast with five anglers for salmon, and they returned with a pair of salmon and a rough ride through the summer southerly wind. There is great anticipation for the Dungeness crab/rockfish combination trips out of the harbor beginning on Nov. 5, and the New Captain Pete and Tigerfish out of Huck Finn Sport Fishing and the Huli Cat are all running the combination trips. North of the harbor, Sheryl Jimno at the Rusty Hook in Pacifica reported the occasional striper and surf perch is being taken from the pier. Locals are getting their gear together for the crab open with the Pacifica Pier an ideal location for crab nets or snatchers. Some fishermen are already testing the waters and the limits by crabbing for red and rock crab.
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 news is the potential state record white sea bass landed off Pajaro over the weekend. Bayside Marine in Santa Cruz said the huge fish was landed by regular ghost hunter Justin Barry on 12-pound test using a 30-pound leader. Although this fish was exceptional, the white sea bass action is hit or miss near Pajaro. Bayside Marine added that rockfish action is good up the coast, and a few halibut have been taken at the Mile Buoy and near Natural Bridges in 45 to 60 feet of water. One boat ran for albacore at 36'00/122'55 for a solitary fish. Sonny Arcoleo of Chris' Landing in Monterey said their tuna trip Friday was a bust with zero fish while the boat out of Randy's came back with a single longfin. As a result, he cancelled two tuna boats for Sunday. Arcoleo said, "We slammed the rockfish once again at Point Sur over the weekend in the absolutely beautiful weather conditions. The sacks were full of big yellows, vermilions and a few ling cod." He is planning rockfish trips throughout the week, but the weather is expected to ramp up between 25 and 30 knots by Wednesday. He said white sea bass fishing has been slow in Monterey with a few located off Pajaro and also further north along Davenport.
Call: Chris' Landing (831) 375-5951; Bayside Marine (831) 475-2173; usafishing.com
San Luis Obispo
Rock cod *** Albacore **
Virg's Landing in Morro Bay reported 285 passengers landed eight albacore to 30 pounds, 44 ling cod to 12 pounds, 527 vermilions, 1,080 assorted rockfish, 265 coppers, 20 bocaccio and two cabezon on their bottom fishing trips this week. Their long range trip north of the Lighthouse on Friday produced 22 limits of quality rockfish and 10 lings to 12 pounds. Top local rockfish anglers were John Moore, Grayson Davis and Jim Hauser of Bakersfield with lingcod of 8, 7 and 7 pounds. John Van Dam of Tipton landed an 8-pound ling to go with his second jackpot winning albacore at 30 pounds in consecutive trips. Their albacore trip off Cape San Martin brought home eight longfins to 30 pounds. Their next albacore trip departs Saturday and runs through Sunday. The Pacific Queen out of Patriot Sport Fishing took two consecutive 22-hour albacore trips and returned with seven longfins for 16 passengers on the first, followed by 16 tuna for 27 anglers over the weekend. Rockfishing is a much better bet with limits on most trips through the weekend, including the Pacific Horizon's 26 limit, 22 ling cod and a 14-pound halibut trip on Friday. They followed this up with 25 limits and six ling cod on Sunday while the Pacific Queen came back with 29 limits and 12 ling cod. Top local anglers were Craig Gong of Selma with a 12-pound ling, Isaiah Castor of Bakersfield with a 10-pound ling and Richard Windham of Lake Isabella with a 7.5-pound ling. Shane Hasbro of Wasco boated a 7-pound vermilion. They have landed a running total of 2,071 ling cod since the May 1 opener. The seventh annual Ling Cod contest will run until Dec. 31, and current leaders are: 1, Guy Leo (26 pounds, 4 ounces); 2, William Chong (19 pounds, 0 ounces); 3, Brad Hudson (18 pounds, 12 ounces).
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, the lake record spotted bass at 6.5 pounds was taken by Dean Guzman of Paso Robles on Oct. 6 on a Zara Spook near the launch ramp in Snake Creek. There is a small window early in the morning or in the evenings for top water, but the best technique remains working the bottom with small plastics. White bass are scarce, but there are a few surface boils. In San Antonio, there is a top-water bite early in the day with PopRs, Ricos or Zara Spooks in the abundant boils. Striper action is fair with the best action on large shad-patterned spoons with top-water baits such as Zara Spooks or Pencil Poppers working early or late. Drop-shotting plastics or jigs on structure are the top techniques for smallmouth bass, but when the fish are chasing bait. Quagga and Zebra mussel inspections are required before boat launching is allowed. Randy Pringle is starting a new bass circuit known as Best Bass Tournaments in the central coast lakes. Information is at bestbasstournaments.com. Its first tournament is Dec. 10 at Lopez. Nacimiento is stable at 71%. San Antonio has dropped to 72%. Santa Margarita and Lopez are at 83.2% and 89.9%.
Call: (805) 238-1056 ext. 3, (805) 472-2818; Central Coast Bass Fishing.com (805) 466-6557
Bass *** Salmon ** Stripers *** Sturgeon ** Catfish **
Salmon fishing from the Benicia shoreline continues to be very slow, as Tony Lopez at Benicia Bait said, "The action at First Street and the State Park has slowed to a crawl, but the fish that are being caught have been much larger in the past week." Striper fishing continues to improve, and boat anglers are picking up lineside to 22 pounds near the Mothball Fleet. The large fish was taken by an angler targeting sturgeon on a grass shrimp/pile worm combination. Shoreline anglers are throwing the small bullheads while boaters are using the larger sculpins. The sturgeon have moved out of Grizzly Bay into the deeper water east of the Fleet. Straight eel has been the top bait. Jeremy Kangas of Stick'Em Sport Fishing has been targeting stripers in shallow water upstream of the Mothball Fleet with live bullheads for lineside limits up to 13 pounds. After posting the three limits, they fished above the Fleet at the Horseshoe for two keepers at 56 and 53 inches within 30 minutes. Mike Pipkins of Gotcha Bait in Antioch said, "Striper fishing is getting better all of the time with great action in the shallows of Sherman Island, Big Break, the right side of Broad Slough and in certain areas inside of Frank's Tract with live mud suckers." They have been selling loads of mud suckers. Sturgeon fishing is improving from Chain Island to Montezuma Slough on shrimp baits, pile worms and eel. Pipkins continued to advise using the better quality of frozen shad, as the fresh shad is still on the small side. Alan Fong of the Fisherman's Warehouse in Sacramento is looking forward to throwing top-water bait in the lower San Joaquin River since there are reports of stripers at 30 and 26 pounds taken on Pencil Poppers in the past couple of days. Striper expert, Rich Tietz, and Fong will be giving a seminar on spooning for stripers at 6 p.m. Thursday at the Sacramento Fisherman's Warehouse. Keeper stripers were more difficult to locate in the San Joaquin River with Captain Stan Koenigsberg sitting on the anchor with fresh shad from H and R Bait in Stockton for numerous shaker fish to 17 inches in 28 feet of water on both tides off Twitchell Island. Salmon fishing also has slowed on the Old Sacramento River in the north Delta near Isleton with less than a fish per boat in the past few days.
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
Golden Empire Bass Club at San Antonio on Oct. 15: 1, Mike Merlo/Duane Delke, 10.28 pounds; 2, Roy and Justin Neal, 10.02; 3, Erik Loyd/Lonnie Sullivan, 8.61
Fresno CSBA Striper Derby at San Luis on Oct. 15: 1andy Bedell, 12.5 pounds; 2, Roger George, 10.0; Louis Moosios, 8.9
Thursday: Randy Pringle, the Fishing Instructor, on Delta Largemouth and Striper Techniques, 6 p.m. at Manteca Fisherman's Warehouse
Saturday: Kern County Bass Masters at Success; Sierra Bass Club at Eastman; Bakersfield Bass Club at Lopez; Fresno Bass Club at Delta/B and W Resort; New-J Bass Club at Kaweah
Sunday: Tracy Bass at Delta/Tracy Oasis
Oct. 27: Ed Allen on Electronics, 6:15 p.m. at Fresno Fisherman's Warehouse
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
Nov. 5: Western Outdoor News at Nacimiento; Orange County Bass Club at Pine Flat
Nov. 6: Angler's Choice at Pine Flat; Hook, Line and Sinker at Delta/Russo's Marina; Future Pro Tour at Delta/Ladd's Marina,
Nov. 12: Taft Chamber of Commerce Trout Derby at Buena Vista
Nov. 12-13: California Striped Bass Association Fresno Chapter at San Luis
Nov. 19-20: Catch and Release RatLTrap Striper Derby at Delta/Lauritzen's Yacht Harbor in Antioch
Kern County: Kern River from Powerhouse No. 3 to Riverside Park, Kernville
Tulare County: Kern River from Fairview Dam to Falling Waters Lodge
Tuolumne County: Lyons Canal; Middle Fork Stanislaus River; Moccasin Creek; Powerhouse Stream