Compiled by Dave Hurley and edited by Roger George, a former Olympic-class decathlete at Fresno State and striper record-holder at Millerton Lake and who now guides in the greater Fresno area. Telephone numbers are in 559 calling area unless noted. Have a photo of a recent catch to share? Email it to firstname.lastname@example.org with “fish photo” in the subject line.
Eastman and Pine Flat bass on good bites, Merritt Gilbert said. Don Pedro and McClure bass hitting, Mike Gomez reported. Delta salmon action breaks open, Alan Fong said. San Luis schoolie stripers pick up pace, Mickey Clements reported
2-Have to work hard
4-Fish jumpin’ in boat
Delta Mendota Canal and Sloughs
Stripers 2; Catfish 2
The second annual Fishaholics California Aqueduct Striped Bass Tournament is Saturday at the Cottonwood Fishing Access. Registered participants must check in at the tournament headquarters prior to the event, which is from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Take the CA-33 exit toward Santa Nella/Gustine and head north. Make a left on Cotton Wood Road, cross over I-5 and the tournament site will be along the aqueduct on the right. Contestants can only fish on the Aqueduct in the following counties: Stanislaus, Merced, Fresno, Kings and Kern. The following bodies of waters cannot be fished for the tournament: O’Neill Forebay (including water south of Check 12 and west of Check 13), San Luis Reservoir and those in the Delta-Mendota canal system. Smaller canals that are openly connected to and draw water from the Aqueduct are permissible. Register at www.thefishaholics.com. The payout is 60 percent for first, 30 percent for second and 10 percent for third. In the south aqueduct in Kern County, Jacob Rutledge of Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield said, “Local catfish expert Jake Rath landed a stringer of catfish in the 2- to 5-pound range using Sonny “Super Stinky” Channel Cat Bait. The local aqueduct is still kicking out schoolie stripers and catfish.”
Bass 3; Trout 1; Bluegill 2; Catfish 2; Crappie 2
Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis reported, “There is a good bite with deep-diving crankbaits or lipless crankbaits around 15 feet in depth, and with the stained water, patterns such as Sexy Shad or similar lures with a chartreuse lateral line are working best. There is some action from the banks with reaction baits in the shallows.” Eastman Lake has been designated as California’s first Trophy Bass Fishery by the California Department of Fish and Game. Anglers may keep only one bass with a minimum length of 22 inches. The lake actually dropped slightly to 468.65 feet in elevation and 8 percent capacity.
Call: Six Star Tackle Box 673-5688; Eastman Lake 689-3255
Bass 2; Trout 1; Catfish 2; Bluegill 2; Crappie 2
The grade and numbers of bass at Hensley remain less than nearby Eastman, and fewer fishermen are heading to the lake. The bass bite has been slow with reaction baits, but wacky-rigged Senkos or plastics on the Texas-rig or drop-shot are working along the deep drop-offs for a few smaller bass. The lake held at 19 percent capacity, dropping only slightly to 475.03 feet in elevation.
Call: Valley Rod & Gun, Clovis 292-3474; Six Star Tackle Box 673-5688; U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Hensley Lake Hidden Dam 673-5151
Lake Don Pedro
Bass 3; Trout 2; Kokanee 1; King salmon 2; Crappie 2
The weather was uncooperative during Saturday’s Future Pro Tour event at Lake Don Pedro, but high winds didn’t stop the small bass from biting jigs or plastics on the drop-shot. Mike Gomez of the Bait Barn in Waterford reported, “The weather was beautiful in the early morning, but after 8:30 a.m., it blew hard with winds in the 30- to 45-mph range. It was very trying to control the boat in the high winds, but we still managed to catch between 40 and 50 fish for a limit at 10.80 pounds for fifth place out of 46 teams. The winning weight was 12.99 pounds, and this is half of what Pedro should be producing at this time of year. We starting off throwing topwater lures first thing in the morning, but we couldn’t get bit so I switched over to the Berserk Junior Special jig or the Pro Worm 124p on the drop-shot for all of our fish. There were a number of small fish caught, and we culled at least eight keepers for our limit. The surface temperature was 67 degrees in the morning, and I thought the topwater bite would be on, but it wasn’t happening for us or the other teams. The best action came on jigs in green or brown/purple at depths from 25-40 feet.” There have been few trout or king salmon trollers heading to the lake, but once the lake turns over near the end of November, the fish should rise to the surface, leading to improved action. The lake dropped slightly to 64 percent capacity and 764.61 feet in elevation.
Call: Monte Smith (209) 581-4734; Danny Layne-Fish’n Dan (209) 586-2383; Gary Vella (209) 652-7550; Bait Barn (209) 874-3011
Lake Isabella/Bakersfield area
Bass 2; Trout 2; Crappie 2; Catfish 3; Bluegill 2
Jacob Rutledge of Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield reported catfish remain the top species in the deeper water near the dam with Sonny’s Stinky Bait, Katnip Beef Bait, or Terminator stink bait. Crappie and bass fishing remain very slow. The lake dropped three-quarters of a foot to 2,544.69 in elevation and 16 percent capacity. In the lower Kern River below the dam, smallmouth and largemouth bass are still available with small swimbaits or plastics on the drop-shot. There have been few reports from the upper Kern River above Lake Isabella. The local lakes have been quiet, but Rutledge believes the bass bite will improve at Truxton and Ming with the cooler temperatures. Lake Castaic over the Grapevine has been a solid location for striped bass with south Valley fishermen willing to take the 90-minute drive south.
Call: Bob’s Bait (661) 833-8657; North Fork Marina (760) 376-1812
Bass 3; Crappie 2; Trout 1; Catfish 2
The lake is very low at 5 percent capacity and 578.59 feet in elevation. Jacob Rutledge of Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield reported good action for numbers of largemouth bass with shad-patterned plastics on the drop-shot or small swimbaits. With the low lake levels, the bass are concentrated and chasing the abundant shad schools. The Success Bass Club is holding its second annual 50/50 Cancer Benefit Tournament on Saturday. Catfish remain a good option in the early mornings, evenings or later at night with stinkbaits, sardines or live crawdads.
Call: Sierra Sporting Goods 592-5212
Bass 3; Trout 3; Catfish 2; Crappie 2
Chuck Stokke of the Sequoia Fishing Co. in Springville reported, “The lake is low, and the bite ranges from fair to good. Fishermen are working the points using jigs, swimbaits, or Senkos, but few fishermen are on the lake. Catfish are an option with stink baits.” The lake dropped three-quarters of a foot to 583.04 in elevation and 6 percent capacity. In the Tule River, Stokke reported good action on dry flies as the brown trout are spawning.
Call: Sequoia Fishing Co. 539-5626, sequoiafishingcompany.com
Bass 3; Trout 2; King salmon 1; Kokanee 1; Crappie 2; Catfish 2
At Lake McClure on the Merced River watershed, the Barrett Cove South ramp is still in the water but requires a long back up to launch a boat. Gomez added, “I have talked to at least four fishermen this week who report that McClure is on fire for spotted bass in the 3- to 4-pound range with topwater lures or jigs. The launch ramp situation is difficult, but if you don’t mind difficult, you are able to get into quality bass fishing.” The lake has dropped to 36 percent capacity with the lake falling 2.5 feet to 734.93 in elevation.
Call: A-1 Bait (209) 563-6505; Bub Tosh (209) 404-0053
Trout fishing is fair with the catchable rainbows from the plant at the beginning of the month moving out from shoreline areas into deeper water toward Exchequer Dam up the river arm. The best action is in the early mornings or late evenings with Power Bait, inflated nightcrawlers or Kastmasters near the brush pile, handicapped docks or along the marina. Trolling is best in the river arm with Wedding Rings tipped with a nightcrawler behind a flasher, blade/’crawler combinations or Kastmasters in blue/chrome at depths to 20 feet.
Call: McSwain Marina (209) 378-2534
Millerton Lake/San Joaquin River
Bass 3; Striped bass 1; Shad 1; Bluegill 1; Trout 2
Merritt Gilbert reported good action for numbers of spotted bass to 1.5 pounds working on the bottom with jigs or plastics on the drop-shot. Lipless crankbaits are working at depths to 10 feet around main lake points as the bass are holding there. Striper fishermen are still primarily absent, but there have been striped bass following up hooked spotted bass above Finegold. American shad can be found in the upper river with small white spoons or spinners. Millerton dropped slightly over a foot to 502.15 in elevation and 43 percent capacity. In the San Joaquin River, there is not any real change due to the stoppage of trout plants with their impact on the reintroduction of native Chinook salmon into the river. A few jet boats are launching and running up the lower river west of Highway 99 for largemouth bass. Regulations on the lower San Joaquin, and from Friant Dam downstream to the Highway 140 Bridge, allow only two hatchery trout or hatchery steelhead with a total of four in possession. The hatchery fish have a healed adipose fin clip.
Call: Valley Rod & Gun 292-3474
New Melones Reservoir/Tulloch
Bass 2; Crappie 2; Catfish 2; Trout 2; Kokanee 1
Holdover rainbow trout are starting to make their mark on the lake, and with the advent of cooling weather the rainbows should be moving in closer to the surface and shore. Catfish are another solid bet, as this is the time when the big whiskerfish move into the shallows. John Liechty of Glory Hole Sports in Angels Camp said, “The lake is kicking out some big 3- to 5-pound holdover rainbow trout, and although fishermen are not catching a bunch of fish, the ones landed are extremely healthy. The rainbows are gorging on shad over the deepest portions of the lake where the water temperature is coolest. Bob James of Murphys took our big fish of the week with a 5.5-pound rainbow trolling a brightly colored Rapala as deep as 110 feet near the dam. Right now, trollers are finding the fish at depths from 70-90 feet with shad-patterned lures. Bright-colored lures are working best on overcast days while natural patterns are best on sunny days.” Bank fishermen should start to find rainbows within the next few weeks. Glory Hole Sporting Goods in Angels Camp is holding a Catfish Derby in November, with registration under way at $10 per angler. A total of three fish may be weighed in per angler during business hours at Glory Hole Sporting Goods, and there is 100 percent payback for the top three places. Liechty added, “We are seeing some big catfish being caught and we hope to see some giants come to the scales during the month of November. Many of the biggest catfish will be caught on frozen fish. Shad, mackerel and anchovies are all good choices for bait. Be sure to grab a box of crawlers before each outing and try using them in combination with other stink baits, catfish dipping worms and dough baits.” The bass bite has been a bit slow and many anglers are struggling to catch fish. There is an abundance of shad and the fish are feeding in short bursts and then resting. Finding actively feeding fish is the key to catching a bunch. The lake is full of healthy 2-pound spotted bass and has some giant largemouth as well. The crappie bite has slowed, but as the water cools the slabs will concentrate around the mouth of creek channels. The Glory Hole launch ramp is on the dirt and will remain so until the lake rises during the winter. A courtesy dock is available. The drawdown has slowed, with the lake dropping slightly to 863.25 feet in elevation and 22 percent capacity.
Call: Glory Hole Sports (209) 736-4333; Monte Smith (209) 581-4734; Danny Layne-Fish’n Dan (209) 586-2383; Sierra Sport Fishing (209) 599-2023
Pine Flat Reservoir/Kings River
Bass 3; Trout 2; King salmon 1; Catfish 2; Crappie 2
Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “Pine Flat is the next best option for a larger grade of bass with limits ranging from 9-10 pounds, and there was a 5.6-pound spotted bass taken on a topwater lure this week. There hasn’t been much pressure on the lake, but the bite is getting better with lipless crankbaits or ripbaits at depths from 10-15 feet. The bass are foraging on shad, and they are schooling in the main lake. Another option is to work the rockpiles with crawdad-imitation plastics as there are bass also feeding on crawdads. Texas-rigged plastics or jigs are working best for the fish on the bottom.” Pine Flat actually rose 2 feet within the past week to 17 percent capacity and 748.65 feet in elevation. Not much change on the lower Kings River below the dam, although the water flow is slowing down and trout fishing should be easier with less water movement. However, with the lack of consistent planting, fewer fishermen are targeting rainbows in the area. Regulations in the Kings River above and below Pine Flat Dam set the season as running from the last Saturday in April to Nov. 15 from Pine Flat Dam downstream to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Bridge on Pine Flat Road with a five-fish limit. The bridge is the first one west of the dam.
Call: Valley Rod & Gun 292-3474; Sequoia Fishing Co. 539-5626
San Luis Reservoir and O’Neill Forebay
Striper 3 Catfish 2 Bass 1 Crappie 1
High winds kept boats off the main San Luis Reservoir and Forebay over the past weekend, but both are kicking out numbers of striped bass as November nears. The main reservoir is starting to release water once again, but it held at 25 percent capacity because of pumping out of the Delta. In the main lake, Mickey Clements of Coyote Bait and Tackle in Morgan Hill reported, “The striped bite is on right now with many fishermen taking out jumbo minnows for numbers of stripers in the 18- to 20-inch range. There haven’t been many large fish caught, but it is close to the time when the bigger stripers start showing up. The trash racks have been the top location for those drifting jumbo minnows, and every once in awhile, someone hooks a larger fish.” Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun confirmed the good action for schoolie stripers from 18-20 inches, though Dan Green of Fresno landed a 23-pound striped bass while trolling in the main lake near the trash racks. Roger George of Roger George Guide Service said that the high winds put a damper on the bite at San Luis but it should rebound this weekend with the predicted high pressure settling in. “Meng Xyong and I put on a striper seminar at Sportsman’s Warehouse on Saturday covering San Luis, the Forebay and the Aqueduct and we had over 100 anglers attend it,” George said. “That kind of attendance just shows you how many anglers are interested in learning how to catch stripers. Sportsman’s is talking about making it an annual event with more boats, vendors, company reps and Prostaff next year!” In the O’Neill Forebay, Clements said, “There is a good topwater bite in the early mornings or late afternoons with Poppers, larger Zara Spooks or flukes with or without an underspin head near the boat dock along the North Shore, around the twin islands or near the flats along Highway 152. The stripers range from 8-20 inches, and there are a number of small, undersized fish in the mix. The blood worm and pile worm bite has slowed down, and most fishermen are using either jumbo minnows or lures from the shorelines.”
Call: Coyote Bait and Tackle (408) 463-0711; Roger George of rogergeorgeguideservice.com 905-2954; San Luis Reservoir and O’Neill Forebay Wind Conditions (800) 805-4805.
Bass 2; Trout 2; Kokanee 1; Crappie 2
The lake is starting to receive more interest from bass fishermen, and 14 teams participated in the Kerman Bass Club tournament with a total weight of 103 pounds for the 70 fish brought to the weigh-in. The big fish was 2.05 pounds. The best fishing for numbers is with plastics on the drop-shot or dart head along the weed lines with some action on crankbaits in the clear water. The Sheriff’s Motor Fee is on hold until Memorial Day 2018. Trout fishing remains exceedingly slow. Numbers of crappie from 8 inches to 1.5 pounds have been caught and released off the docks with minijigs. The lake is starting to release water, and it dropped this week to 81 percent capacity.
Call: Mike Beighey 642-3748; Bass Lake Watersports 642-3200
Brown trout 2; Trout 2
There has been minimal interest in the Kaiser Pass lakes, but Edison and Florence are kicking out a few rainbow and brown trout. Edison dropped slightly to 52 percent capacity while Florence held at 6 percent and Mammoth Pool rose slightly to 29 percent.
Call: Vermilion Valley Resort at Edison Lake 259-4000
Shaver Lake/Huntington Lake
Kokanee 1; Trout 2
The lack of trout plants in the high country lakes in the central Sierra has led to exceedingly slow trout fishing during the past few months. After experiencing heavy plants from the removal of fish from the Friant Hatchery in the late summer of 2015, Courtright, Wishon, and Shaver were producing solid limits at this time last year. This year has been the opposite experience for local anglers, and the slow action points out the importance of hatchery programs. At Shaver, trout action remains a bust and interest in fishing the lake has decreased with each passing week. The action will not resume until the lake is planted once again with catchable rainbows. The large number of rainbows planted by the Shaver Lake Trophy Trout Project this past spring either have been landed or are holding in the colder portions of the lake. Shaver rose to 87 percent capacity. At Huntington, the trout action is also slow with few fishermen heading to the lake. Huntington dropped rapidly to 40 percent capacity this week.
Call: Dick’s Fishing Charters 841-2740; Dinkey Creek Inn 841-3435; Rancheria Marina 893-3234; Shaver Lake Sports Inc. 841-2740; Todd Wittwer 288-8100
Wishon is holding in capacity, and the few kayakers working the lake are picking up the occasional rainbow pulling Wedding Rings tipped with a nightcrawler at the upper end of the lake. Shore fishing is slow, but a few rainbows have been taken at the mouth of Short Hair Creek with Power Bait in pink or orange. At Courtright, trollers are using blade/’crawler combinations or Woolley Buggers ran close to the rocks at the upper end of the lake. Chuck Crane of the Wishon Village RV Park and Store added, “The action is best when there is a ripple on the water.” Shore fishing is best with Power Bait in rainbow, pink, or orange at the upper end of the lake.
Call: Wishon RV Park 865-5361
Half Moon Bay
Salmon 2; Rockfish 3; Striper 2
Rockfish remain the top story out of Pillar Point in advance of the upcoming Dungeness crab season opening Nov. 5. The recreational crab opener out of Half Moon Bay has become one of the highlights of the entire year with private boaters arriving from throughout Northern California to camp, congregate and prepare for some massive crab boils. The salmon bite outside of the harbor has slowed considerably over the past two weeks with few boats trolling between the buoys, but the harbor is loaded with shore fishermen tossing Mad River pink worms on a floatie or tossing heavy spinners. Second captain Michael Cabanas of the Huli Cat has been conducting rockfish/ling cod trips south of the harbor, and in addition to consistent limits of rockfish and a healthy ling cod count, a surprise bonus halibut makes a showing on occasion. During the past week on the Huli Cat, John Yang of San Mateo dropped down a swimbait on the first stop of the day, and he was rewarded with a 22-pound halibut. The Huli Cat is taking Dungeness crab/rockfish combination trips starting with the crab opener on Nov. 5. They are filled for the opening weekend, but there is room during the weekdays and on subsequent weekends. A few boats are still optimistically making the long run in search of albacore, but so far, the longfins have yet to make a showing. One private boat ran out to the Guide Seamount and trolled southwest of the seamount for a good bird show from a flock working the surface, but there were no albacore hooked despite witnessing at least one jumper. The recreational rock crab season is closed north of Pigeon Point in San Mateo County due to high levels of domoic acid.
Call: Happy Hooker (510) 223-5388; Roger Thomas, Salty Lady (415) 760-9362; Emeryville Sport Fishing (510) 654-6040
Rockfish 3; Striper 2
Chris Arcoleo of Chris’s Fishing Trips in Monterey said, “We were able to get out on both Friday and Saturday for 19 limits of rockfish along with a ling on the Caroline with 30 limits of rockfish on the Caroline. We didn’t use any live bait, and the goal was to focus on rockfish in the challenging weather conditions. It was good that we canceled on Sunday because it was less than ideal out there. Other than a charter on Wednesday, we are open for rockfish/ling cod trips throughout the week.” Allen Bushnell of Santa Cruz Kayak Fishing and Surfcasting said, “The past week was very productive all around the bay. Go Fish Santa Cruz took the beautiful Miss Beth off Natural Bridges and Wilder Ranch areas on Wednesday and Thursday. Captain Jim Rubin called conditions ‘drop-dead gorgeous,’ and clients caught full limits of rockfish including blues, blacks and olives. Launching from Moss Landing, Kahuna Sportfishing fished the Big Sur area on Monday. Owner Carol Jones called it a ‘spectacular’ day down the coast fishing for rockfish and lingcod. Our group of 15 anglers landed limits of rockfish with some nice coppers, vermilion, a few cabezone and two around on the lingcod to 15 pounds.” Perhaps most exciting is the increasing number of bluefin tuna sighted within Monterey Bay. A number of reports were forwarded over the past couple of weeks claiming bluefin jumpers near Point Pinos in Monterey. This week the rumors are solidifying, according to Todd Fraser at Bayside Marine. Fraser says, “There have been a few boats looking for bluefin and seeing them. The bluefin are in the same area as last year about 9-13 miles out. The anglers are having a hard time getting these fish to bite due to their spooky nature.” In 2015 we enjoyed a month or so of bluefin fishing with the tuna grounds stretching from Davenport down to just outside Santa Cruz, in 400-1,400 feet of water. Hopefully the weekend storm didn’t drive these fish away. Speaking of tuna, everyone is invited to the 39th annual Albacore Feed, a benefit dinner for the Monterey Bay Salmon and Trout Project. Fresh albacore is coming from Oregon this year for the yearly dinner and raffle extravaganza. The event takes place on Nov. 12 at the Castroville Recreation Center, 11621 Crane St., Castroville. Tickets are $20 and available at the door or via www.mbstp.org.
Call: Chris’ Landing (831) 375-5951; Bayside Marine (831) 475-2173
San Francisco Bay
Halibut 2; Striper 2; Rockfish 3; Leopard shark 3; Sturgeon 1; Salmon 2
All boats were tied up to the docks over the weekend with the rough weather outside the Gate, but Captain Jim Smith of the Happy Hooker was able to take a charter out into the bay Friday for striped bass at Red Rock and the Brothers. He said, “We made a few passes at the Brothers for stripers to 8 pounds, but the fish scattered very quickly just like they had in the Delta earlier in the week.“ The salmon season wraps out at the end of this month, and the trolling trips before the weekend’s storm produced far less than a fish per rod. Many of the party boats are filled for the opening weekend of the Dungeness crab season starting Nov. 5, and the best action for the largest crab will occur within the first two weeks of the season before the commercial crab opener. Captain Jim Smith of the Happy Hooker is filled for the opening weekend, but he has plenty of room during the weekdays as well as the following weekend. The combination trips are going for $130 per angler with crab-only trips Tuesdays and Wednesdays for $90. The 10-crab limit has been a big incentive for fishermen to head out on a party boat.
San Luis Obispo
Rockfish take center stage out of these ports, but the weekend’s weather limited the number of trips. Out of Port San Luis, the Patriot out of Patriot Sport Fishing was able to get out Saturday on an all-day trip for 110 vermilion rockfish, 60 assorted rockfish, three copper rockfish, 30 bolina and a 10-pound ling cod for half limits of rockfish for 34 anglers. The Fiesta out of Virg’s Landing in Morro Bay took out a 15-person charter on Friday for limits of rockfish and nine ling cod to 12 pounds. Ash Knowlton of Fresno took the jackpot with the big ling, and the remainder of the group returned with limits consisting of 75 vermilion rockfish, 45 copper rockfish and 30 assorted rockfish.
Call: Virg’s Landing, (805) 772-1222; (800) 762-5263; Patriot Sports Fishing (805) 595-4100; Port Side Marine Sports Launch (805) 595-7214
Bass 3; Striper 2; Sturgeon 1; Catfish 3; Bluegill 3; Salmon 3
The 69th annual Rio Vista Bass Derby and Festival was a huge success with 430-440 participants competing for cash prizes in three divisions: striped bass, sturgeon and salmon. Barry Canevaro, organizer of the Rio Vista Bass Derby fishing event, stated, ”This was the best derby since I’ve been involved. We had the best weather, and we also had the most fish of all categories check in. We had over 25 sturgeon brought in this year, and last year, there were only three. Most striped bass were caught on bait, and many stripers were caught in the Sherman Island and Decker Islands below Rio Vista. We are all volunteers, and both the California Striped Bass Association and the Chamber all work hard to put this on.” A mixed grade of salmon continue to move through the Sacramento-Delta with solid action on the main Sacramento River north of the Rio Vista Bridge to the mouth of the Old Sacramento. Alan Fong, manager of the Fisherman’s Warehouse in Sacramento, said, “The salmon bite has been really good north of Rio Vista, and regulars are scoring limits every weekday pulling Silvertron spinners. I think these are fish that were released 4-5 years ago out of the Rio Vista area, and the salmon are holding outside of the Old Sacramento River as if they are confused. In the past, few fishermen have been trolling for salmon in the main river north of the bridge, but this has been the best location for trollers the past couple of years.” Johnny Tran of New Romeo’s Bait and Tackle in Freeport added, “Salmon are still coming below the Freeport Bridge, and some are changing color while others are still bright. A 28-pounder was brought in on Sunday from below the bridge on a Mepp’s Flying C spinner. Trollers continue to score with Silvertron spinners or Kwikfish while spooning with P-Line Predator Minnows or Slammer Minnows remain a good option.” In the Mokelumne River, Ted Handel of the Central Valley Anglers in Lodi reported a good turnout during the past weekend’s annual Salmon Derby with 64 anglers enjoying a culminating taco feed at the end of the event at Wimpy’s Marina. Handel added, “Most fishermen were using double-bladed Silvertrons with 2 ounces of weight in the 63-degree water temperatures.” For striped bass, Mark Wilson, striper trolling expert, was out twice within the past week, and he said, “The action really slowed down with only five keepers to 21 inches taken from Decker Island to Montezuma Slough and into the San Joaquin River to False River. There was some larger striper carcasses in the dumpster at Brannan Island State Park so it may be a better bait bite right now than a troll bite.” In the Benicia area, Tony Lopez of Benicia Bait said, “There was a report of 26 salmon landed at First Street in Benicia early in the week, and the State Park remains crowded along the shorelines, particularly on the weekends.” Alan Fong was in Liberty Island for striped bass earlier in the week, and he reported only a few keeper stripers, but the largemouth bass action was hot with chatterbaits and Brush Hogs. The water was clear at the end of the weekend, but the area may muddy up with the flows coming down from the upper Sacramento River. Sturgeon fishing has improved considerably, and Sherman Island to the Rio Vista Bridge has been a top location with grass shrimp, ghost shrimp, or lamprey eel/nightcrawler combinations. Brandon Gallegos of H and R Bait in Stockton reported a 56-incher was taken from the bank area off Sherman Island with an eel/nightcrawler combination. Striped bass and sturgeon are showing up with greater consistency in the San Joaquin-Delta while salmon are taken along the Antioch shore while still in the Sacramento system. Dan Mathisen of Dan’s Delta Outdoors in Oakley said, “There are lots of small stripers in the system, and a big one will run 12 pounds. The bass bite is ‘iffy,’ there is a wakebait bite in moving water along points as well as swimjigs and chatterbaits. The Bobby D’s Golden Shiner spinnerbait is in high demand as it is working when the wind is blowing. There is also an emerging bite on Rat-L-Traps and the Strike King’s Red Eye Shad. There is a topwater bite coming, and I am planning to head out with topwater expert, Tom Amberson, on the coming weekend to check things out.” Salmon have arrived in force in the Antioch area, and Mathisen reported 30 fish per day are coming from the deep water trough in front of the Humphrey’s Pier in Antioch. Mepp’s Flying C or Captain Stan’s heavy spinner are working best. A number of salmon have been landed by bass fishermen throwing crankbaits on the San Joaquin River including one uniformed individual who posted his salmon fillets on Facebook. Salmon fishing is prohibited in the San Joaquin River. Steffen Masters of Lost Anchor Bait and Tackle in Antioch confirmed the excellent salmon bite from Humphrey’s Pier with Uncle Mike’s Custom Spinners. Also out of Antioch, Mike Pipkins of Gotcha Bait reported sturgeon fishing has been good from Bay Point to Rio Vista, and a legal sturgeon was landed off Antioch Fishing Pier on ghost shrimp. He said, “Stripers in the 24- to 27-inch range have been caught inside of Sherman Lake on shad or live mudsuckers, and salmon are being taken from the shoreline off Big Break or Humphrey’s Pier.” The first major sturgeon derby of the year, the Addathon IronMan Derby, is coming to Antioch on Nov. 5-6.
Call: Randy Pringle (209) 543-6260; Captain Stan Koenigsberger – Quetzal Adventures (925) 570-5303; Intimidator Sport Fishing (916) 806-3030
Lake Nacimiento/San Antonio/Santa Margarita/Lopez
Bass 3; White bass 2; Catfish 2; Crappie 2
There is a topwater bite for largemouth bass at Lopez in the early mornings or late afternoons along with spinnerbaits when the wind is blowing. The fish are holding on main lake points during periods of wind. Plastics or jigs on the drop-shot at depths to 20 feet are producing numbers. The launch ramp is out of the water at Lopez. Catfish can be taken on sardines, anchovies, or mackerel. At Nacimiento, there is also topwater action in the early mornings and late afternoons as the bass are chasing bait on the surface. By midmorning, working the bottom with plastics or jigs is producing small spotted bass. White bass can be found near the surface near the marina, Las Tablas and Snake Creek. Santa Margarita’s launch ramp remains out of the water, but the marina has rental boats. Catfishing is best with cut baits, chicken livers, or nightcrawlers. San Antonio Reservoir is closed once again.
Call: Lake Nacimiento (805) 238-1056, ext. 3; Lake San Antonio Marina (805) 472-2818; CentralCoastBassFishing.com (805) 466-6557
- Delta/Rio Vista Bass Derby and Festival on Oct. 7-9: 1, striped bass division, Andy Doudna 29.50 inches; 1, sturgeon division, Michael Allen, 47.96 inches; 1, salmon division, Donald Jefferies 23.25 pounds
- Central Valley Anglers Salmon Derby on October 8 at Delta/Wimpy’s Marina: 1, Terry Shoeffler 22.2 pounds; 2, Lois Doty 17.6 pounds; 3, Stan Ita 16.4 pounds
- Saturday: Dan’s Delta Outdoors at Delta/Big Break Marina; Redwood Empire Bass Club at New Melones; Sierra Bass Club at Hensley; Success Bass Club second annual 50/50 Cancer Benefit at Kaweah
- Saturday-Sunday: Fresno Bass Club at Delta/B and W Resort
- Sunday: Hook, Line, and Sinker at Delta/B and W Resort; Tracy Bass Club at Delta/Tracy Oasis
- Oct. 28-29: California Bass Federation at Delta/Ladd’s Marina
- Oct. 29: Delta Bass Club at Delta/Russo’s Marina; California Tournament Trail at Pine Flat
- Nov. 5-6: Addathon Iron Man Sturgeon Derby at Delta/Antioch
- Merced County: Yosemite Lake
- Stanislaus County: Turlock Reservoir
- Tuolumne County: Lyons Canal (Columbia Ditch); Powerhouse Stream; Tulloch Lake
q = quarter moon