Compiled by Dave Hurley and edited by Roger George, a central San Joaquin Valley native and local fishing expert.
Huntington trout still eating, Dick Nichols said. New Melones bass and rainbow bites pretty good, Melanie Lewis reported. McClure trout kicking out limits, Jason Mello said. Don Pedro rainbows hitting, Monte Smith reported.
ROGER'S REMARKSRoger’s remarks
I was talking to a few older experienced anglers who were discussing the topic of being a good listener, a lost art that we all agreed was in short supply in today’s me oriented world. We are all guilty of not paying attention to what another angler may be saying for a multitude of reasons, but these guys pointed out that most folks are more concerned about giving their opinions, rather than being quiet and learning from a more accomplished fishermen. As one friend who’s a good angler put it, you may be listening to what I say, but are you really hearing me?
Now I’m not saying that listening to everyone is what they’re advocating, but rather being careful to have some good questions for someone who has actually performed at a high level and making sure you understand what they mean when they answer your question. How many times have you seen someone corner a respected angler and all the guy can do is hardly wait for the good angler to finish answering his so-called question just so he can talk some more about all he knows. Yeah, the guy may be excited to have the chance to talk with an expert, but it’s not necessary to prove to him how great an angler he is, it’s already painfully evident from the conversation.
Knowing about something is very different than successfully implementing it, and many folks make the mistake of believing that knowledge is all that’s needed to succeed. Spanning the gap between the intellectual assent of how something works theoretically and the actual successful field application of a technique are worlds apart. Great anglers have bridged this chasm through hard work and intense study of their sport, just like in other any field of endeavor, and they know the difference.
Since accomplished anglers tend to be students of their trade and have usually paid a high price for their expertise and knowledge. They also have a great respect for what they have learned and treasure it. Sincerely approaching someone like this to find out all you can, usually tells them you are the kind of person who will also treasure the effort it’s taken to accumulate the gems of information you are asking them to share. Listening carefully is the hallmark of the right attitude great athletes exhibit.
I just heard about a phenomenon called the Normalcy Bias, and I understand it’s a theory that says most folks have a very hard time dealing with something they have never experienced before, or even considering it’s possibility, no matter how facts suggest otherwise. Folks will tend to deny anything that could possibly be so different. This is why I think we have a hard time listening as it can challenge our preconceived ideas of what we think our normal is. I admit it is hard to change things you’ve done all your fishing life. I’ve found that it’s certainly easier to just keep on doing the same things, even when the results suck!
If someone’s catching more and bigger fish than you are, or is an established bona fide accomplished fisherman, it might be a real game-changing experience to decide to ask for some help and then really listen to what the guy is telling you-and then go do it. Being humble helps. None of us knows it all!
What’s more important: Trying to impress another angler with your knowledge, or learning something new you’ve never considered before that could change everything for the better in 2012? Can you hear me?
Roger George can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Take your digital camera with you so you can send us your pictures for our galleries. Please send your photos to email@example.com. Please include the following information: Your name, city, type of fish, length and weight of fish, when and where caught, and what type of bait used. Large photos work best – we can crop and reduce a picture, but we can't expand a small picture and make it look decent. You can also send photos to firstname.lastname@example.org.
* 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 improved trout fishing with bank anglers at Glory Hole Point or Angels Cove having more success than trollers with Power Bait, Power Eggs and night crawler/marshmallow combinations from the access areas. She said, “It is important that your bait floats, so small hooks, light leader material and a gob of floating bait are necessary.” Lewis added that trollers should tie on small flashers or dodgers with night crawlers hanging from 3 to 5 feet behind. Sep’s Sidekicks or Micro Minis are excellent smaller dodgers for this presentation. Minnow-like lures fished alone without any flashers have been working, and a tandem Needlefish set-up is another good bet. Lewis advised, “It is very important to use light line when the water is as clear as it is now, and a 3- to 5-foot piece of 4- to 6-pound fluorocarbon will do the trick.” The smaller fish are biting on the surface, and the bigger fish are down at 15 to 25 feet. It is very early for kokanee, but there also have been reports of kokanee to 15 inches landed near the surface by anglers targeting trout. Lewis rated bass fishing as pretty good with the fish in their winter haunts at depths from 25 to 65 feet along main lake structure. Shad-patterned plastics on a drop-shot rig or Yamamoto Hula Grubs in natural crawdad colors are working best, but the upcoming stormy weather should bring out the opportunity for a few large fish with big swim baits, such as a Spro BBZ or a Huddleston. Few anglers are targeting catfish, but Lewis advised trying at depths from 35 to 70 feet along deep ledges and main lake points with night crawlers, frozen shad or anchovies. Soaking the baits in Pro Cure scents has increased the number of bites, as well as using a weightless rig on an open bail for less resistance. Bill Heinle of Arnold landed an 8.5-pound catfish this week for the big fish of the week. Crappie and bluegill action is still slow to fair with the best action on small minnows, red worms or mealworms on a slip-float rig at depths from 15 to 25 feet with 4- to 6-pound test. The lake dropped a half foot to 1,049.69 feet in elevation and 82% 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 **
The bass bite remains quiet with experienced fishermen pulling out a few large fish on big plastic worms worked in deep water. Trout fishing is the best thing going with the top action still around the Auxiliary Dam and Piney Point with Chunky Cheese, rainbow/garlic or chartreuse/garlic Power Bait. Another trout plant is scheduled for next week. The 23rd annual Isabella Lake Fishing Derby is set to offer record prizes of over $250,000 this year, and it is scheduled for March 31-April 2.
Applications are available at the Kern River Valley Chamber of Commerce office, local merchants in the Kern River Valley as well as in Bakersfield. Visit www.isabellafishingderby.com to enter and get information. Crappie fishing has slowed down, and anglers have to search the deep water to find the fish holding on structure. The catfish bite is still decent with clams, frozen shad or anchovies from the bank access areas. The lake remained stable at 2,559.81 feet in elevation and 29% capacity. There have been few reports of the upper river, and the trout plants are limited from the Johnsondale Bridge to the inlet of the reservoir. The lower river has been productive to smallmouth bass, catfish and trout, and Pete Cormier of Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield said, “Quality rainbows to 4 pounds have been taken on live crickets, night crawlers or salmon eggs.” On the local scene, heavy holiday plants in the local reservoirs have pleased bank fishermen with Power Bait, and there have been some larger rainbows in the 3- to 4-pound range have been taken in the smaller impoundments. Buena Vista is gearing up for the Kern County Parks Trout Derby this weekend, and the last plant of the year will occur prior to the derby. Information is available at www.co.kern.ca.us/parks/pdf/trout-derby-2012.pdf. The crappie bite remains good with small minnows. The small local lakes of Truxton, Woollomes, Ming, Hart Park and the Park at River Walk will be planted next week.
Call: Bob’s Bait (661) 833-8657; North Fork Marina (760) 376-1812
San Luis Reservoir and O’Neill Forebay
Striper ** Catfish ** Bass * Crappie *
The striper bite is slowing down, and Mickey Clements of Coyote Bait in Morgan Hill reported a few legal striper have been taken from the shoreline at Romero Visitor Center with anchovies. The top-water bite remains good on overcast days for experienced fishermen with Paul Jolley landing quality linesides on the 6-inch Lunker Punker in rainbow trout near Dinosaur Point. Clements said, “The white Lunker Punker is also very good, but it is hard to find.” He added that sales of jumbo minnows has slowed in the past week with anglers purchasing six to eight minnows instead of dozens. The Forebay also has slowed down, but a few fish can be taken on pile worms, anchovies or jumbo minnows from the banks. Parking access to the shore area at the Highway 33 Bridge is prohibited, and anglers will have to park elsewhere and hike to the bridge. The main lake remains high at 96% with heavy inflows from the Delta.
Important note: EFFECTIVE OCT. 1, 2011, 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 *
Mark Inman of Lefty’s Lures reported light boat traffic on Saturday, and they counted only three shore fishermen for trout. He said, “The trout were boiling and working on the surface, so I can’t figure out why there weren’t more boats out trolling.” He said the bass bite has been slower with only four fish on Saturday, but one of these was 4.5
Bass ** Trout ** Catfish *** Crappie **
Hensley continues to be very slow for bass, but limits of trout have been taken from the Swim Beach with rainbow or chartreuse Power Bait. As experienced at nearby Eastman, boat traffic has been light with few fishermen trolling. A trout plant is scheduled for next week. The lake rose slightly to 491.54 vertical feet and 33% capacity.
Call: 225-1838; 292-3474; 673-5151
The resumption of trout plants has greatly improved the action, but overall fishing interest has been down despite some large fish taken during the past week. Tony Decerbo landed an 8-pound rainbow on chartreuse Power Bait at the Brush Pile. Stephanie Powell of the McSwain Marina reported the Brush Pile has been productive as well as the marina area and the Handicapped Docks. Night crawlers, Power Bait Nuggets or Power Bait have been the top offerings. There have only been a few boats on the lake, but the majority of action has been near the Floating Restrooms with Wedding Rings tipped with a piece of crawler behind a dodger, blade/crawler combinations or small spoons. The regular trout plants between the Department of Fish and Game and Calaveras Trout Farm are back on tap. Call: (209) 378-2534 Delta Mendota Canal and Sloughs
Striper ** Catfish **
The south aqueduct has been the hot spot along the entire water conveyance system in the valley, but the striper action slowed down in the past week according to Pete Cormier of Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield. A few small striper have been landed, but most anglers are grumbling about the slower bite. In the northern sections of the Central Valley, the majority of striper fishermen continue to bypass the canals for San Luis Reservoir.
Millerton Lake/San Joaquin River
Bass ** Striper **
Randy Pringle, the Fishing Instructor, presided over the inaugural Best Bass Tournament on Saturday, and 23 of the 36 teams weighed in at least four bass. Pringle said, “Dragging worms with a slow, methodical presentation took most of the fish, and the new Berkley Havoc Bottom Hopper was productive on a Zappu head.” A few fish were taken on jigs, but the reaction bite was nonexistent. Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis was pleasantly surprised by the 10.59-pound winning limit of Roger Lockhart and John Scott, with the action taking place between 20 and 50 feet with Texas-rigged or drop-shotting plastics. Patrick Movey of the Fisherman’s Warehouse in Fresno thought the Pro Worms Pro Gold Willow Leaf or green weenie plastics were a good bet, and he predicted improved bass action with the upcoming stormy weather. No striper reported. The lake dropped 2 feet to 531.80 feet in elevation and 62% capacity with the launch ramp on the Second Ramp. Woodward Park is scheduled for another trout plant this week. Access to the San Joaquin River continues to be limited to the Broken Bridge with the continued closure of the Lost Lake areas, but anglers are scoring planters with yellow or chartreuse Power Bait, Kastmasters, and Gulp! Worms.
Call: 225-1838; 292-3474
Pine Flat Reservoir/Kings River
Bass ** Trout ** King salmon * Catfish **
Trout fishing continues to be decent with plenty of fish holding in the Trimmer area at depths from the surface to 2 to 3 colors of lead core. Merritt Gilbert said, “An occasional rainbow to 15 inches has been taken, but the majority of trout are in the 12- to 14.5-inch range.” Dick’s Trout Busters on a 2-ounce weight, Rainbow Runners, ExCels, orange Speedy Shiners or gold/orange Rapalas have been the best lures, according to Gilbert and Patrick Movey. A few larger rainbows at 19 and 17 inches were taken at a depth of 40 feet on Needlefish from the Power Lines to Lefevre Creek. Movey thought the schools of trout are moving back into the main lake, and he predicted they should be showing up in good numbers near Windy Gap. For bass, a limit between 7 and 7.5 pounds is a good weight, but you have to work hard for them with the best action in the main lake to Windy Gap with jigs, or plastics on the drop-shot or dart-head. Dark colors such as green pumpkin or watermelon are working in addition to shad-patterns. Senkos have picked up a few fish, and Hula Grubs in green pumpkin, Color 208, or smoke/black/purple also are working. The lake rose a half foot to 865.28 feet in elevation and 56%. Trout plants continue on the lower Kings for the at least the next two weeks, and some trophies have been put into the river. Chartreuse Roostertails have produced some trophies, and Kastmasters, Roostertails, Joe’s Flies and Power Bait in yellow, chartreuse and garlic all are working. Avocado Lake continues to kick out limits of planted trout with the best action in the morning with rainbow or orange Power Bait. This lake is scheduled to be planted for the next two weeks.
Call: 787-2387; 225-1838; 292-3474
Bass ** Crappie ** Trout *** Catfish **
Trout fishing is the most consistent thing going due to the recent plants from the first or second launch ramps. Power Bait, night crawlers, Kastmasters or Roostertails are working for the planted trout along shorelines. Another trout plant is scheduled for next week. There were some large bass taken in the past week on jigs or drop-shotting in deep water from 35 to 40 feet. Sierra Sporting Goods in Exeter reported largemouths of 8, 5.5 and 5 pounds have been brought to the shop within the week. The upcoming storm should provide improvement for the bass bite. Crappie fishing has been fair on small minnows at the Houseboats, and bass fishermen have landed catfish in deep water while targeting largemouths with heavy spoons. The lake rose over 2 feet to 595.09 feet in elevation and 9%.
Bass ** Trout *** Catfish **
Trout fishing is taken center stage with the recent trout plants, and the Rocky Hill side of the lake has been producing planters on Power Bait, night crawlers or Kastmasters. Another plant is scheduled for next week. Bass fishing continues to be on the slow side with the fish moving into the shallows in the early mornings before dropping deep by mid-morning in search of warmer water and shad schools. Jigs, spoons or drop-shotting are the top techniques. The Tule Point south and Rocky Hill launch ramps are still open, but the best access remains at Rocky Hill. The lake rose nearly a foot to 602.57 feet and 18% capacity.Call: 784-0215
Bass ** Trout *** King salmon ** Kokanee * Crappie ** Catfish **
The trout bite continues to be the best thing going with limits taken up the river arm near Bagby from the banks on green Power Bait or by trollers near the dam with blade/crawler combinations. Jason Mello of A-1 Bait in Snelling targeted crappie with small minnows at night under lights from the Houseboats, but they found catfish instead. The bass continue to be deep, holding at 40 feet or more, and drop-shotting with shad-patterned plastics has been productive off McClure Point. Manny Basi of the Bait Barn touted the 4-inch Pro Worm leech, 3.5-inch green/pepper tubes or brown jigs with a green pumpkin trailer on a very slow presentation. Live crawdads have produced spotted bass to 3.75 pounds, and A-1 sold out of large minnows due to demand in the past week. The lake dropped a half foot to 805.51 feet in elevation and 64% capacity.
Call: A-1 Bait (209) 563-6505; Bub Tosh (209) 404-0053 Lake Don Pedro
Bass ** Trout *** Kokanee * King salmon **
Monte Smith of Gold Country Sport Fishing trolled the lake with a friend on Sunday, and they caught a total of 15 rainbows to 2.5 pounds, keeping only a limit. He said, “The bite was a bit slower than it has been, most likely due to the rapid change in barometric pressure.” He continues to fast-troll heavy spoons on lead core at 6 to 7 colors, and their largest fish came on the downrigger at 25 feet. Smith added, “We marked some large schools of fish from 25 to 50 feet deep, and these were most likely either kokanee or salmon.” Locating birds has been a key to finding the trout schools, and Smith reported a huge flock of grebes in the open water off Schoolhouse Point. Manny Basi of the Bait Barn reported a good bank bite for planted trout off shorelines in Fleming Meadows or the Blue Oaks Launch Ramp with Kastmasters, Power Bait or night crawlers. Basi added that bass fishing continues to be slow with the only action taking place in deep water with 4-inch Pro Worms leech 261S light which is salt/pepper with a violet streak or with 3.5-inch tubes in green pumpkin/pepper. Brown jigs with a green pumpkin trailer also have produced fish. A very slow and methodical presentation is necessary in the depths to 40 feet.
Call: Monte Smith (209) 581-4734; Danny Layne-Fishn’ Dan (209) 586-2383; Gary Vella (209) 652-7550; Bait Barn (209) 874-3011
HIGH SIERRA Bass Lake
Bass ** Trout ** Kokanee *\
The lake remains low and cold; and despite the recent trout plant, fishing remains very slow. This trend will continue until more trout plants are established. The Pines boat launch was retrofitted by PG&E with ramp extensions allowing boat access during low lake levels through the winter months weather permitting and for four-wheel drive vehicles only. Todd Wittwer of Kokanee.net Guide Service will be providing a seminar on Bass Lake kokanee fishing at 6:15 p.m. Jan. 26 at the Fisherman’s Warehouse in Fresno. The lake held to 38%.
There are two scheduled blasts this week: one was 3:45 p.m. Tuesday, the second is 3:45 p.m. Thursday. A blasting schedule should be updated every Friday and is available at cranevalleydam.com/blasting-schedule.
Call: Todd Wittwer 288-8100; Mike Beighey 642-3748
Shaver Lake/Huntington Lake
Kokanee * Trout *** Smallmouth *
Huntington continues to produce good numbers of rainbow trout to 14 inches off the banks with Power Bait. Dick Nichols of Dick’s Fishing Charters said, “The majority of fish are catchables, but there have been some big ones in the mix with green, yellow and pink Power Bait around Deer Creek and along the west side of the lake.” The lake is dropping, and the only boats that are able to be launched have to be dragged to the lakeshore along the launch ramp. Boaters are advised to obtain a Sno-Park pass from the Forest Service before parking at the launch ramp lot since there have been a number of tickets issued for no Sno-Pass on the vehicle although the parking lot area is bare of snow. Shaver Lake continues to be high and dry, but the main work to the dam is completed, and the lake should be filling up within the next few months. Shaver Lake Trophy Trout Project Trophy Club member Brett Burch of Sanger made the first contribution toward the big fish for 2014. With the success of donations and the annual dinner, the SLTTP will provide approximately 2,500 trophy-sized trout for 2013. Tackle manufacturer Captain Jack Yandell and Dick Nichols will be providing seminars on Shaver Lake in Fresno at Herb Bauer’s on Feb. 23 and Valley Rod and Gun on March 31. Huntington dropped to 52% capacity and Shaver Lake remains at 0%.
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
The gates to Wishon and Courtright are closed and awaiting a spring date in which to reopen.
Call: Wishon RV Park 865-5361
The gate at Kaiser Pass is closed until spring. The lakes remain high for this time of year with Edison at 79%, Florence at 58%, Mammoth Pool at 39% and Redinger at 89%.
San Francisco Bay
Striper ** Leopard shark ** Sturgeon **
Sturgeon fishing was slow with the small tides during the past week, but Keith Fraser of Loch Lomond Bait in San Rafael likes the tides beginning on Wednesday through the weekend with the latest series of minuses. Fishing was slow over the weekend. The 49ers’ Catch 3.0 was the best thing landed near the bay over the weekend. Fraser said, “The bait shop was like a ghost town on Saturday, and the winds on Sunday made things very uncomfortable for boaters.” The majority of fishermen were from the shorelines, but one angler landed a 65-inch sturgeon near the Pumphouse on Saturday afternoon. Fraser has gotten in a supply of live mud shrimp in addition to live herring, and there was a herring spawn at the Marin Islands on Friday. Fraser said, “That is right outside of our harbor.”A few herring spawns have been taking place near Paradise Cove which is within the seasonal closed zone in the bay.
The DFG regulations state: 27.95. STURGEON CLOSURE. Green sturgeon and white sturgeon may not be taken in the following described area between Jan.
Joel Sinkay of Leonard’s Bait in Port Sonoma said, “Patrick Clifton has done it again with a 58-inch sturgeon in the Round Mountain area.” He reported striper limits were taken at the Pumphouse by Armando Mendoza, and he reported an overall fair bite in San Pablo Bay over the weekend. Sinkay said, “Our bullheads are still happy, and we have loads of grass shrimp.” John Akina of Oyster Point Bait, Tackle and Deli in South San Francisco was able to land another sturgeon at 51 inches on a ghost shrimp/herring combination in 40 feet of water north of the Coyote Point marker on Saturday. Their fish was the only one landed in the area. A few sturgeon have been taken on the Hayward side of the San Bruno Shoals within the past several days. In the extreme south bay, the area south of the Dunbarton Bridge has produced a few sturgeon on ghost shrimp/herring combinations in the deeper waters of the main channel.
Half Moon Bay
Captain Tom Mattusch on the Huli Cat has been taking either sand dab/crab combination trips or whale watching over the past couple of weeks. Crab limits have been relatively easy with a long soak, and he didn’t have to finish his string to find limits on Saturday. He put his customers onto plenty of sand dabs in a couple of locations as he went 9 miles southeast of where they had found them the day before. Mattusch reported good sand dab action off Martin’s Beach in 210 feet of water, and the private boaters have been calling for the location before moving in to share the action. They also landed a highly unusual fish on Saturday identified as a longspine combfish which was released unharmed.
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
Chris Arcoleo of Chris’ Landing in Monterey said it was blowing on the outside Sunday, but they were still able to get out both weekend days on the sand dab/crab combination trips. Saturday’s trips produced 15 limits of Dungeness crab and plenty of sand dabs, but Sunday’s load of 20 passengers settled for 3.5 crab per fishermen with a couple of the pots coming up empty for some reason. Arcoleo said, “We are just smashing the sand dabs.” They are running combination trips on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
Call: Chris’ Landing (831) 375-5951; Bayside Marine (831) 475-2173; usafishing.com
San Luis Obispo
With the rockfish season ending, whale watching and nature excursions are taking center stage at both ports. Virg’s Landing in Morro Bay is offering whale watching on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. for $39 for adults and $29 for children 15 and under. During the week, a minimum of 10 passengers is necessary for a trip. Group discounts, private charters are available from their three boats ranging from 55 to 90 feet in length. A photographer will be available on most trips. On Friday’s trip, over 30 whales were sighted on the Princess. A 10% discount is being offered for early booking of all 2012 rockfish trips. Out of Port San Luis, Patriot Sport Fishing will be taking crab/ocean excursion combination trips on Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon with ocean excursions only on Saturday and Sunday from 1-3 p.m. These trips are $45 for adults and $20 for children 5 to 12. They also are scheduling 2-hour Ocean Excursions from 1-3 p.m. for $35 and $15 (5-12), and they advise bringing your cameras and binoculars to locate the gray whale pods, seals and seabird life. The 2012 rockfish season begins May 1.
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 ** Striper ** Catfish ** Crappie **
There have been few reports from the coastal reservoirs, but two tournaments took place on Nacimiento last weekend. Nacimiento will be hosting several tournaments this month, including the inaugural Best Bass Tournament on Jan. 28. At Santa Margarita, a few quality bass to 4
Nacimiento and San Antonio are holding at 66 and 72%.
Call: (805) 238-1056 ext. 3, (805) 472-2818; Central Coast Bass Fishing.com (805) 466-6557
The tides were less than ideal for sturgeon fishing, but there will be more water movement this week culminating with minuses beginning Wednesday. However, one boat caught and kept huge striped bass at 45, 35 and 22 pounds in the middle of last week at the Firing Line on splittail. The fishermen is using large splittail ranging from 20 to 24 inches for the huge bass, and they also lost two others at the boat. After putting three massive striper on his boat on Tuesday, they didn’t get a bite the following day. Tony Lopez at Benicia Bait said a 25-pound striper was landed at the Fleet on a bullhead, and a bank angler under the Benicia/Martinez Bridge landed a limit at 12 and 14 pounds on a grass shrimp/pile worm combination. Bullheads are getting increasingly scarce. Mark Delnero of Fin Addict Sport Fishing went on a fun trip Saturday, and he metered a load of sturgeon off Roe and Ryer islands to the north of the main channel. Despite the tremendous number of fish on the fish finder, getting bites has proven problematic. Delnero said, “It is not for a lack of fish in the area.” They ended up with a limit of small striper. One of his friends landed a 57-inch sturgeon on a grass/ghost shrimp combination at the mouth of Mallard Slough at the west end of the PG&E Plant in Pittsburg. Mike Pipkins of Gotcha Bait in Antioch said, “Sturgeon fishing has been decent off Sherman Island and Collinsville, and there are plenty of starry flounder in the area.” For striper, mudsuckers or sardines are working much better than the limited supply of frozen shad. Crappie have been taken around the docks in Discovery Park with anglers tossing minijigs weighed down with a split-shot in 8 to 9 feet of water in front of the weed beds. Pipkins said, “You have to drag the bottom to locate the fish, and if you find a hole in the weeds, it is a good area to try.” Some anglers are pulling from eight to 10 crappie out of each hole. Stripers also are holding in the back bays chasing the shad schools. For largemouth bass, Randy Pringle, the Fishing Instructor, said the incoming storms will change conditions in the Delta. With the unseasonably warm January temperatures, there have been more bass moving up into the shallows, and the reaction bite has improved with half-ounce Persuader Spinnerbaits or the Timber Tiger DC8 crank bait. Pringle advised working the tops of the weeds at high tide in oxbows or flats. He additionally recommended using a stall technique with the crankbait by reeling it down and letting it rest for a bit once it bumps something. The plastic bite still is productive with the Berkley Chigger Craw or Hand-Poured Worm on a slow, methodical presentation. The temperature has dropped significantly in the past few days, and the fish will need to adjust for a few days to the changing conditions. Pringle will be presenting at the Ultimate Bass Demonstration Tank at the International Sportsmen’s Exposition in Sacramento at 11:30 a.m. Thursday and 5:30 p.m. Friday.
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 EVENTS
Best Bass Tournament at Millerton on Jan. 14: 1, Roger Lockhart/John Scott, 10.59 pounds; 2, Nick Beck/Joe Guzman, 9.17 (big fish, 3.80); 3, Jim Henry/Rich Hale, 8.91
American Bass Association at Delta on Jan. 14: 1, Jim LaRosa/Brent Zieska, 23.77 pounds (big fish, 6.56); 2, John Martin/Danny Nguyen, 16.17; 3,
Thursday: Larry Hodge on Bass Fishing, 6:15 p.m. at Fresno Fisherman’s Warehouse
Thursday-Sunday: International Sportsmen’s Exposition at Cal Expo in Sacramento, information: sportsexpos.com
Saturday: SLO Bass Ambushers at Nacimiento; Tri Valley Bass Club at Lopez; Angler’s Choice at San Antonio; Kern County Bassmasters at Pine Flat; Sierra Bass Club at McClure; American Bass Association at Kaweah; Angler’s Choice at Millerton
Saturday-Sunday: Kern County Parks and Recreation Trout Derby at Buena Vista, information: www.co.kern.ca.us/parks/pdf/trout-derby-2012.pdf
Sunday: Kings River Bass Club at Pine Flat; Fresno Bass Club at Millerton
Jan. 26: Todd Wittwer of Kokanee.net Guide Service on Bass Lake Kokanee Fishing, 6:15 p.m. at Fresno Fisherman’s Warehouse
Jan. 28: Sixth annual Diamond Classic Catch and Release Sturgeon Derby at Martinez Marina; Best Bass Tournament at Nacimiento; American Bass Association at McClure; Angler’s Choice at Pine Flat
Jan. 29: Angler’s Choice at McClure
Feb. 4: Keith Fraser’s 37th annual Stugeon Seminar “Sturgeon Fishing in Bay Waters,” 7:15 p.m. at Marin Rod and Gun Club, information: (415) 456-0321 TROUT PLANTS
Fresno County: Avocado Lake; Kings River below the Pine Flat Reservoir; San Joaquin River below the Friant Dam; Woodward Park Lake
Tips and techniques: Podcast and Video Archive