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 email@example.com with “fish photo” in the subject line.
Delta stripers, bass and sturgeon on the prowl, Randy Pringle said. Eastman best bet bass lake, Steve Newman reported. Aqueduct and Forebay stripers hitting, Meng Xyong said. Lake Success bass active, Chuck Stokke reported.
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2-Have to work hard
4-Fish jumpin’ in boat
Delta Mendota Canal and Sloughs
Stripers 3; Catfish 3
The California Aqueduct is starting to get more play, and sales of reaction baits are picking up in area bait shops. Meng Xyong reported, “The bigger cut of fish are beginning to show in the California Aqueduct. Although anglers will have to sort through a lot of smaller fish to get to the bigger ones, the bigger fish have become more active. Jerkbaits such as SpeedLures, Duo Realis and Luckycraft Pointers continue to be the top lures searching for these fish. Stink baits have become the top baits for anglers targeting catfish. Water flow is strong throughout the water system.” In the south aqueduct in Kern County, Bob Rutledge of Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield said, “The Aqueduct has been the best thing going down here with numbers of catfish and striped bass. The majority of fish are on the small side, but they are plentiful. Sonny ‘Super Stinky’ Channel Cat Bait around current is working for catfish with various baits effective for striped bass.” Fishermen are encouraged to leave the aqueduct area clean after fishing.
Bass 3; Trout 1; Bluegill 2; Catfish 2; Crappie 2
Steve Newman of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis reported that this is the top lake in the region for size of largemouth bass, with a good reaction bite with lipless or squarebill crankbaits at 15-20 feet in depth. Swimbaits with a heavy boot tail also are working such as Huddlestons or K-Techs. Ripbaits at 20-25 feet are effective, too. The algae bloom is dying down and the lake’s color becoming clearer. Eastman 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 is at 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
Despite the huge 9.16-pound largemouth landed last week on a jig, limits of small fish are the rule with plastics in a craw pattern with a big craw trailer on a Texas-rig. This bait is worked best around vegetation. The lake held at 19 percent capacity and 475.00 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 2; Trout 2; Kokanee 1; King salmon 1; Crappie 2
Don Pedro is rising to the top of the Mother Lode bass lakes with low water affecting a number of nearby reservoirs. Don Pedro is still relatively filled at 65 percent capacity while New Melones has dropped to 21 percent with the concrete launch ramps out of the water, McClure has dropped to 36 percent capacity with the Barrett’s Cove South requiring a long backup in muddy conditions, New Hogan is at 24 percent with the launch ramp still on the concrete, and Lake Pardee has closed until Feb. 17. As a result, Don Pedro has been the place to go. Mike Gomez of the Bait Barn in Waterford said, “There have been very few bass fishermen out this week with the weather conditions, but if I was fishing, it would be at Don Pedro. The water should be getting stained, and I would switch to a darker color of plastic worm such as a greenpumpkin or something with a chartreuse tail on a three-sixteenths- to one-quarter-ounce drop-shot weight to work depths from 25-50 feet.” Don Pedro is hosting the most bass tournaments in the Mother Lode during November, includiing the Kerman and Sonora Bass Club’s on Saturday, the Christian Bass League on Nov. 12, and the Modesto Ambassadors on Nov. 13. The lake rose close to a half foot to 65 percent capacity and 765.60 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
Bob Rutledge of Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield reported a good catfish bite in the deeper water near the dam, but largemouth bass and crappie reports remain scarce. Sonny’s Stinky Bait, Katnip Beef Bait or Terminator stink bait are all working for the whiskerfish. The lake dropped slightly to 2,544.13 feet in elevation and 16 percent capacity. In the lower Kern River below the dam, smallmouth bass are plentiful with small swimbaits or plastics on the drop-shot while catfishing is best with nightcrawlers or anchovies. There have been few reports from the upper Kern River above Lake Isabella. The local lakes remain quiet, but trout plants at Buena Vista are expected ahead of the Taft Chamber of Commerce Trout Derby on Nov. 19 at Lake Evans in the Buena Vista Aquatic Recreation Area. Registration is $20 for adults and $10 for children (13 and younger) with a grand prize of $1,000 cash. Register at 400 Kern St. in Taft or at Bob’s Bait Bucket or Cope’s Tackle and Rod in Bakersfield. Trout plants started at Lake Pyramid over the Grapevine, and local fishermen have been heading to this impoundment for the planted rainbows and the striped bass feeding on the rainbows.
Call: Bob’s Bait (661) 833-8657; North Fork Marina (760) 376-1812
Bass 2; Crappie 2; Trout 1; Catfish 3
The lake rose slightly to 6 percent capacity. With the low lake levels, the bass are concentrated and chasing the abundant shad schools. There is a topwater bite early in the morning and in the late afternoons, and plastics on the drop-shot, jigs, or deep-diving crankbaits are all working over submerged rockpiles or ledges in the shallow lake. 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 2; Catfish 2; Crappie 1
Chuck Stokke of the Sequoia Fishing Co. in Springville reported, “The Tule River is flowing into the lake due to the weekend’s rain, but the lake is still low. Fishermen are doing well by working the shad schools with crankbaits, spinnerbaits, or Senkos. The bass bite has been good.” The lake held at 581.49 feet in elevation and 6 percent capacity. In the Tule River, Stokke reported fair trout action with mostly native rainbows picking up nymph patterns. Balch Park is still open, but the road to Hidden Falls is closed. All other roads remain open.
Call: Sequoia Fishing Co. 539-5626, sequoiafishingcompany.com
Bass 3; Trout 2; King salmon 1; Kokanee 1; Crappie 2; Catfish 3
Launch conditions at Barrett Cove South have limited the number of fishermen heading to the lake as the end of the ramp has been muddy with a steep grade. The recent inflow is staining the water at the creek channels and around shore. The bass are there for the taking, but it is a matter of access. The lake rose 3 feet to 36 percent capacity and 737.73 in elevation.
Call: A-1 Bait (209) 563-6505
A few holdover rainbows from the late September plant have been taken from the shoreline with garlic trout dough bait, salmon eggs, or nightcrawlers. There have been no additional trout plants since prior to the Merced Irrigation Fall Trout Derby during the first weekend of October.
Call: McSwain Marina (209) 378-2534
Millerton Lake/San Joaquin River
Bass 2; Striped bass 1; Shad 1; Bluegill 2
Steve Newman said, “The typical Millerton spots ranging from 1.5-2 pounds are taken on shad-patterned crankbaits such as DT 10’s in silver with a black back at depths from 10-12 feet, but there are some larger fish at 3 pounds found using reaction baits such as Rat-L-Traps or jerkbaits. The normal topwater and swimbait bite when the wind is blowing has not been happening yet, and this normally takes place when it is windy. Shad-patterned plastic worms on the drop-shot above rocky structure with deep water access to 30 feet in depth remain a good technique when the sun is up. Few fishermen are targeting striped bass.” Millerton is hosting a rare tournament Nov. 19 with a visit by the California Tournament Trail series. The lake is at 497.68 feet in elevation and 40 percent capacity. In the San Joaquin River, a few bass fishermen are trying from the banks around Sycamore Island while jet boats are launching and running up the lower river west of Highway 99. 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.
Call: Valley Rod & Gun 292-3474
New Melones Reservoir/Tulloch
Bass 2; Crappie 2; Catfish 2; Trout 2; Kokanee 1
Holdover rainbow trout continue to make a showing at New Melones, leading John Liechty of Glory Hole Sports in Angels Camp to state, “This last week we saw one of the biggest trout we have seen in years with the 5.5- pound rainbow landed by Bob James of Murphys on a brightly-painted Rapala trolled as deep as 110 feet in the main lake. The trout are holding in deep water, and they are feeding heavily on shad. As water temperatures cool, the fish will start to move upward to the surface. Right now, most fishermen are not catching numbers of rainbows, but when they do hook up, they are usually rewarded with a fat rainbow in the 3- to 5-pound range. Fast trolling speeds from 2.6-3.6 mph is working best, and shad patterns as well bright colored spons or plugs are attracting fish from a distance. Bank anglers should also start to get active as the recent rainfall will draw the rainbows into the moving water in the feeder creeks and drainages.” The Glory Hole Sports Fall Catfish Contest is under way and runs until the end of November. The contest is limited to the first 50 entries. Frozen shad, mackerel, and anchovies coated with Mike’s Lunker Lotion or similar catfish attractants are your best options along with soaking a huge ball of nightcrawlers. The bass bite continues to be a bit tough and finding actively feeding fish has become a challenge. Liechty added, “The fish have been in a fairly negative mood and not willing to chase moving baits. Deadsticking and slow moving baits have been working best. A drop-shot rig with a shad patterned worm has been working when using a light weight and fish patiently. Hopefully the recent rainfall and cooler temperatures will push the fish closer to a fall bite.” Crappie action has slowed, but there have been a few 2-pound slabs taken around tall standing timber near deep water as the crappie are feeding on the schools of migrating shad. Live minnows or minijigs under a slip-float rig are working. The Glory Hole launch ramp is on the dirt until the lake rises during the winter. A courtesy dock is available. The drawdown of the lake has increased, with a drop of 2 vertical feet this week to 859.87 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 2; Trout 2; King salmon 1; Catfish 2; Crappie 1
Steve Newman of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “Pine Flat is definitely better, but the fish are spread out following the shad schools. The water has come up 6 feet in the past few weeks, and the fish are not stacked up. Most of the bass are the typical small Pine Flat fish, but there are some decent 2.5- to 3-pound spots found in deeper water with lipless or squarebill crankbaits in shad-patterns. The bait is on the small size, and a few fishermen are spooning small metal jigs at 30-40 feet. Once the sun comes up, you have to drop to the bottom with either plastics on a Texas-rig, drop-shot, or dart head or work spoons. Most fishermen are working the main lake points, but there has been some action along the rocky ledges or vertical drop offs with ripbaits or jerkbaits.” The trout bite remains non-existent with few trollers even trying at the present time. Pine Flat has the lion’s share of upcoming tournaments with the Bass 101 Team Open Two-Day Event on Nov. 5-6, the Clovis Police Foundation on Nov. 12, and the Kings River Bass Club on Nov. 13. The lake is at 752.15 feet in elevation and 18 percent capacity. 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 2; Crappie 1
San Luis Reservoir has climbed up to 28 percent capacity within the past 60 days because of continued pumping out of the south Delta after reaching a 27-year low at 10 percent in August. Low-water conditions may have contributed to the results of the recent toxicity test, resulting in a cautionary notice from the California Department of Water Resources regarding the blue-green algal bloom. The advisory level has been upgraded from caution to warning, and Voluntary Statewide Guidance for Blue-Green Algae Blooms are in effect with no swimming. For fish caught in the reservoir, throw away the guts and clean fillets with tap or bottled water before cooking. The Forebay has been the top location with Steve Newman of Valley Rod and Gun stating, “It is red hot right now with lots of numbers of stripers with aggressive jerkbait techniques along the edges of the weeds past the flats. Some fishermen are using Rat-L-Traps over the tops of the weeds or through the grass. The numbers are good, but the size is limited.” Also in the Forebay, Meng Xyong of the Fishaholics said, “Allen Day of Morgan Hill and Ryan Bailey of Clovis had an epic day fishing over the weekend with over 70 fish between the two. They were throwing an assortment of lures with the majority of the fish being landed on Speedlure 110MD. I fished twice and was rained on both times on Friday and Sunday. Even with the rain, the fish were still biting. The fish seem to be most active right before and in between periods of no rain. Most fish caught were in the shallows and deep channels.” Newman added, “There have been some decent fish trolling as the stripers are targeting shad instead of the freshwater shrimp, and larger Rapalas are working above submerged islands in 30 to 40 feet in depth. There have been boils in the early mornings or late evenings, and shore fishermen have been casting 5-inch ripbaits in ghost patterns or Magnum Flukes during this time.” Mickey Clements of Coyote Bait and Tackle in Morgan Hill added, “We have been selling more jumbo minnows for both the big lake and the Forebay, and during the past two weeks, we haven’t sold out of either blood worms or pile worms which is unusual. There is some topwater action in the forebay with Poppers or Spooks along with small flukes, but after the fish go down, fishermen are turning to the jumbo minnows.”
Call: Coyote Bait and Tackle (408) 463-0711, Roger George of rogergeorgeguideservice.com (559) 905-2954; San Luis Reservoir and O’Neill Forebay Wind Conditions (800) 805-4805
Bass 2; Trout 2; Kokanee 1
The bass bite remains tough with a few spotted or largemouth bass taken on finesse techniques at depths from 30-40 feet. Plastics on the drop-shot or dart head are the best techniques, and there are fish taken on a Ned rig with a mushroom head jig. Trout remain scarce. The lake is at 74 percent capacity.
Call: Mike Beighey 642-3748; Bass Lake Watersports 642-3200
Brown trout 2; Trout 2
Rain and a dusty of snow arrived in the high country over the weekend, and interest in the Kaiser Pass lakes has waned. Edison dropped slightly to 51 percent capacity while Florence rose to 8 percent Mammoth Pool up significantly to 59 percent.
Call: Vermilion Valley Resort at Edison Lake 259-4000
Shaver Lake/Huntington Lake
Kokanee 1; Trout 2; Smallmouth 2
Shaver Lake has also been very slow with Steve Newman of Valley Rod and Gun stating, “I was at the lake within the week, and there were four boats out trolling in very windy conditions, and I didn’t see a net out all day. We were casting from the shoreline for a few smallmouth bass.” Lake levels at Huntington have dropped to the point where launching a boat is a challenge, and few fishermen have been trying. Bass Lake remains a major disappointment for trout fishermen with very few anglers reporting any success after the annual Chamber of Commerce Trout Derby in May. Shaver is high at 89 percent and Huntington continues to drop at 33 percent.
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
It’s all but over for the central Sierra trout lakes with Shaver, Huntington, Wishon and Courtright getting ready for the winter months. However, the late fall is one of the times when the brown trout trollers bring out their small aluminums to the high country lakes in order to catch and release a trophy brown. These are among the most secretive of anglers and information about any success is generally shared weeks after the fish was landed. At Wishon on the Kings drainage, Chuck Crane of the Wishon Village RV Park and Store said, “We closed for the season on Oct. 30, and there will be no services at the lake until the spring, and the campgrounds are closed. There was one fishermen on the lake over the weekend, and they landed four rainbows trolling blade/’crawler combinations or Speedy Shiners for these fish. A few bank fishermen were out, but they didn’t have anything going. I did not talk with one fisherman from Courtright this past week, with the rain and cold weather keeping people away.”
Call: Wishon RV Park 865-5361
Half Moon Bay
Salmon 3; Rockfish 3; Striper 2
Rockfishing remains the top option out of Pillar Point, but there is a solid showing of salmon inside of the harbor. The Dungeness crab season is anticipated to open Saturday, and the campgrounds and launch ramps will be filled for the opening weekend. Sherry Ingles of Half Moon Bay Sport Fishing reported the Queen of Hearts was able to make it out one day this past week for nine limits of rockfish and three lings for a small load. She said, “The rockfish bite really went well considering it had been rough out there for several days, and the limits came easy. On the weekend in rough conditions, we were fortunate to put together half limits of rockfish. Inside the harbor, anglers are still picking up salmon on a daily basis, and they are mostly using Corkies, Fish Pills, or floating Power Bait on an egg sinker or split-shot using a barbless hook. One popular hook for the shore fishermen has been the Maruto Single Sickle Barbless Grabber Hook which has a reverse barb.” Captain Tom Mattusch of the Huli Cat is the only large party boat running crab/rockfish combination trips starting Saturday, and the domoic acid levels have been low for Dungeness in this section of the coastline. Mattusch has been taking scientific research trips to locate the large, older female canary rockfish which have been scarce. They will be searching in deeper water as one of the reasons for the depth restriction has been the impact on canary rockfish. During the 2017 rockfish season, anglers will be able to keep one canary rockfish. The Huli Cat is filled on the combination trips for the opening weekend, but there is plenty of room during the following weekdays and on subsequent weekends. The recreational rock crab season remains closed north of Pigeon Point in San Mateo County because of high levels of domoic acid, and there is little optimism for this species to open up anytime soon.
Call: Happy Hooker (510) 223-5388; Captain Roger Thomas, Salty Lady (415) 760-9362; Emeryville Sport Fishing (510) 654-6040
Rockfish 3; Striper 2; White sea bass 1
Chris Arcoleo of Chris’s Landing in Monterey said, “It was wet this weekend, but it was calm in the morning with the Check Mate making it out for 16 limits of rockfish and five ling cod. We canceled our whale watching trips with the weather. There have been few lings in the recent weeks, and the squid schools are basically gone so it has been difficult to get live bait for the lings. Mackerel and squid are easy to pick up, but if you have to go out for sand dabs, that takes a few hours off of your trips.” Chris’ will be taking combination Dungeness crab/rockfish trips starting Saturday, and they are sold out all weekends in November, but there is some room this Monday and Tuesday. Their primary focus on these trips will be rockfish with the diminished ling cod counts. Allen Bushnell of Santa Cruz Kayak Fishing and Surfcasting Guide Service reported, “Monterey Bay anglers are excited about the 2016-2017 Dungeness crab season, scheduled to open (Saturday).” A few regulations must be noted prior to going out and dropping traps: First, traps cannot be deployed until 12:01 a.m. Saturday. Nov. 5. As of this year, all traps must be equipped with a “destruct device” also known as “rotten cotton.” Essentially, this is a hole in the crab trap sealed off only by a string that will decompose quickly. In the case of lost or abandoned traps, this allows crab and other organisms to escape the trap if not harvested or returned to the sea by fishermen in the hauling process. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife describes rotten cotton as “a single strand of untreated cotton twine size No. 120 or less that creates an unobstructed opening in the top or upper half of the trap that is at least five inches in diameter when the device material corrodes.” Also, all crab pot buoys now must be clearly marked with the operator’s “Go-ID,” the number assigned by DFW during the licensing process. Other Dungeness regulations remain the same as last year, DFW informs us. “The daily bag and possession limit for Dungeness crab remains at ten crabs per day with the minimum size limit of 5.75 inches measured by the shortest distance through the body from the edges of the shell directly in front of and excluding the points (lateral spines).” A couple of surprise catches underscore the transitional aspect of fishing this time of year. Bayside Marine’s Todd Fraser reported a notable catch by one of his private boater clients Sunday. “There was a nice 90-pound thresher shark caught at Five-Mile beach today.” We still have a few fingers of warm water close offshore, and anglers continue to look for the elusive bluefin tuna. Skipper Tom Joseph on the Sara Bella slow-trolled live sardines last week on the tuna hunt, coming home with another exotic. “Today we went looking for tuna out of Santa Cruz. Weather was not the best but we gave it a try. We ended the day with our prize fish being a 78-pound Opah. We did mark a few bluefin tuna, but could not get them to bite,” Joseph reported.
Call: Chris’ Landing (831) 375-5951; Bayside Marine (831) 475-2173; usafishing.com
San Francisco Bay
Halibut 2; Striper 2; Rockfish 3; Leopard shark 3; Sturgeon 1
The ocean salmon season ended Monday, with no boats going out Sunday or Monday because of high winds. The Lovely Martha out of San Francisco made at least one customer happy Saturday with a bright 32-pound salmon. Rockfishing remains solid with the boats out Saturday heading to the Farallon Islands, but the ling cod counts are down significantly. The New Huck Finn and Sea Wolf out of Emeryville Sport Fishing returned with a combined 41 limits and 11 lings to 13 pounds Saturday. The Dungeness crab recreational season starts Saturday, and party boats are in a dilemma as to how to observe the rule that will be enforced this year with the crab pots not being able to be set until 12:01 a.m. that morning. A few boats will be heading out in the middle of the night to dump their pots, but this creates a dangerous option in addition to captains being limited to 12 hours at the wheel. The most consistent option seems to be taking out both crab pots and passengers in the morning of the opener to drop the pots before fishing for a few hours before returning to the pots. If there is a long enough period of slack water and enough crab in the area, 10-crab limits may be possible during the short soak, but they aren’t guaranteed. Bringing out passengers and a load of pots is also a concern with the amount of weight on the boat – hopefully the weather will make for more comfortable conditions. Some party boats are planning on dropping the pots on Saturday, and these guys are on their own as far as being vulnerable to a big fine. The weather made for difficult conditions in the bay, but the Tiger Fish out of Emeryville Sport Fishing went out with 23 anglers on Saturday for four halibut to 12 pounds along with a 22-pound leopard shark. Captain Jim Smith of the Happy Hooker out of Berkeley is running crab-only combination trips on Mondays and Tuesdays for $90 per angler with combination rockfish/crab trips for $130 per angler. The California Dawn took their final big shark trip of the season Thursday; once again, big sharks came over the rails in droves from the deep water near Yellow Bluff.
San Luis Obispo
Rockfish continue to be the story. Out of Port San Luis, the Avenger went out with 14 anglers on a half-day trip onday for 11 ling cod to 12 pounds, 60 assorted rockfish, 10 vermilion and 10 copper rockfish for three-quarter limits. The Fiesta, Rita G, and Princess out of Virg’s Landing in Morro Bay took a combined 49 anglers Sunday for 59 lings to 15.6 pounds with the big fish taken by Juan Garcia of Hanford. In addition to the lings, they combined for 173 vermilion rockfish, 184 assorted rockfish and 78 copper rockfish. Richard Webb of Clovis took the jackpot on the Rita G with a 4.9-pound ling. Virg’s last two-day trip of the year with any room starts Dec. 30 as all two-day trips prior to this date are sold out.
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 3; Sturgeon 3; Catfish 3; Bluegill 2; Salmon 2
Sturgeon fishing has improved considerably from Pittsburg to Rio Vista with a number of diamondbacks landed within the past week. The salmon bite took a dip with Benicia Bait reporting a single salmon was landed at the State Park during the week, but after five salmon were caught at First Street on Saturday, both the Dillon Point State Park and First Street were crowded with fishermen Sunday despite a pouring thunderstorm. With the big fish found outside the Golden Gate within the past weeks, this school should be blasting through this week. The recent schools appear to be moving through the Sacramento-Delta as soon as possible in order to make their way up into the American River. Out of Viera’s Riverside Bait near Isleton, Sylvia Viera said, “Salmon fishing has slowed down quite a bit with most of our regular campers leaving, but sturgeon fishing has been on the rise with one boat landed three and losing another sturgeon during Friday’s rainstorm in Cache Slough.” Neil Simpson of Lodi was in Liberty Island on Saturday, and he said, “There were a number of boats and lots of small fish. Most boats were fishing the breaks with the majority of stripers in the 16- to 20-inch range. The biggest fish we saw weighed between 10 and 12 pounds.” Uncle Larry Barnes of Sacramento Pro Tackle reported the salmon are blasting through the metropolitan area as there was a good number of fish at the mouth of the American River on Monday, but the action has slowed. Huge striped bass have been taken in deep water in upper Suisun Bay by fishermen transporting jack smelt from San Pablo Bay. Live bait can only be transported via water, but it appears that some are transporting bait on vehicles through the use of aerated buckets. There have been stripers in excess of 40 pounds caught and kept within the past week. The stripers appear to have recently arrived from the ocean with clear, transparent flesh. Sturgeon fishing has been slower in Suisun Bay, but Tony Lopez of Benicia Bait said, “It is typical for Cache Slough or the section of river from Pittsburg to Rio Vista to be the best at this time of year.” There have been a number of sturgeon landed from Sherman Island to Rio Vista, and Mike Pipkins of Gotcha Bait in Antioch said, “It is unbelievable right now the number of sturgeon that have been caught from the area around Broad Slough and Chain Island.” More shops are carrying ghost shrimp, and there has been grass shrimp is selected shops. There are two sturgeon derbies on the Sacramento-Delta this week – the Addathon Iron Man Derby out of Antioch on Saturday and Sunday and the Central Valley Anglers Sturgeon Derby out of Brannan Island State Park on Sunday. Information is available at www.centralvalleyanglers.org. Striped bass hordes have swarmed into the San Joaquin Delta in biblical proportions, but the size of the bass remain miniscule. A good series of tides and clear water have created good conditions for a reaction bite for largemouth bass. Cooler weather and rain should push a larger grade of striped bass from downstream further into the San Joaquin. Randy Pringle, the Fishing Instructor, was out on overcast conditions on a recent trip, and they caught and released more than 80 stripers with around one-third being of legal-size. He said, “If you land a 3- to 4-pounder, you think you have gold as there have been no real big ones as the average size is way down. We scored with the Optima Bad Bubba shad swimbait in shad-pattern with a slow retrieve while the bass were pushing the shad towards the shorelines. Once the stripers moved out to the ledges, we switched over to spooning with P-Line Laser Minnows. The birds were crashing bait as the stripers were herding the schools into the banks, and there were egrets feeding all along the shallows. When we are using the spoons, it makes for a easier release with less damage to the small fish by either pinching the barbs on the trebles or using a single Siwash hook. The following day was sunny and bright, and we were able to focus on largemouth bass with the ima Flit in American shad or the Bottom Hopper on a Zappu head. The American shad has a little flash in the clear water, and the bass bit good on the outside edges on the low tide.” Dan Mathisen of Dan’s Delta Outdoors in Oakley said, “It was a striper extravaganza this weekend in the Antioch area. Hair jigs and the Bad Bubba Shad are working best along with the Strike King’s Red Eye Shad. We have fresh shad in the shop for the weekend. The numbers of salmon have slowed down, but there are still fish taken off of Humphrey’s Pier with Mepp’s Flying C spinners.” Alan Fong, manager of the Fisherman’s Warehouse in Sacramento said, “The striper bite is really good in the San Joaquin from Prisoner’s Point to Antioch, and most fishermen are either spooning or drifting bluegill with the larger fish taken on the live bait.” Sturgeon have been landed from the Antioch Pier and in the San Joaquin River with ghost shrimp or pile worms. He added, “Wax worms are really picking up the bluegill with small minnows working for crappie around any of the back sloughs from Orwood Marina towards Discovery Bay.” Steve Santucci of Steve Santucci’s Guide Service reported, “Striper fishing has really picked up with larger fish mixed in. The fish are pretty much scattered all over the entire Delta. You can catch fish in all five areas of the Delta. The fish are hitting small as well as large offerings. I always opt for the larger offerings if they are hitting both sizes. The rain has definitely helped with more fish and great water temps with no change in clarity.” In Stockton area, H and R Bait reported some quality striped bass to 17 pounds have been taken on Middle and Old River.
Call: Randy Pringle (209) 543-6260; Intimidator Sport Fishing (916) 806-3030; Captain Steve Mitchell – Hook’d Up Sport Fishing (707) 655-6736
Lake Nacimiento/San Antonio/Santa Margarita/Lopez
Bass 2; White bass 2; Catfish 2; Crappie 2
The much-needed rains came to the central coast lakes, and more of the wet stuff is needed to bring them back to speed. The top local option for spotted bass remains Nacimiento with a topwater bite with small Poppers in the early mornings or late evenings followed by a subsurface bite with shallow crankbaits, small swimbaits, or jerkbaits. Once the sun arrives, working the bottom with plastics on the drop-shot, jigs or Brush Hogs is the best bet. There are white bass for the taking with white Kastmasters or Roostertails around the Narrows or Las Tablas. At Lopez, the launch ramp out of the water has limited the number of fishermen, but there is a solid topwater bite early or late along with working the bottom with plastics by mid-morning. At Santa Margarita, catfish are the top species with mackerel, anchovies, or nightcrawlers. There is a spinnerbait bite for largemouth bass, but few anglers are focusing upon the lake. Panfish can be taken with jumbo red worms or wax worms. Santa Margarita’s launch ramp remains out of the water, but the marina has rental boats. San Antonio Reservoir is closed indefinitely.
Call: Lake Nacimiento (805) 238-1056, ext. 3; Lake San Antonio Marina (805) 472-2818; CentralCoastBassFishing.com (805) 466-6557
- Nov. 5: Tracy Bass Club at Delta/Tracy Oasis; Bass Anglers of Northern California at Delta/Russo’s Marina; Kerman Bass Club/Sonora Bass Club at Don Pedro; Sierra Bass Club at Bass Lake; Visalia Bass Club at Kaweah; Golden Empire Bass Club at Nacimiento
- Nov. 5-6: Addathon Iron Man Sturgeon Derby at Delta/Antioch; Dan’s Delta Outdoors at Delta/Big Break Marina; Bass 101 Team Open Two-Day Event at Pine Flat, 284-2768; Bakersfield Bass Club at Nacimiento
- Nov. 6: Manteca Bassin’ Buddies at Delta/Ladd’s Marina; Central Valley Anglers Sturgeon Derby at Delta/Brannon Island State Park
- Nov. 12: Mid Valley Bass Club at Delta/B and W Resort; Christian Bass League at Don Pedro; Clovis Police Foundation at Pine Flat; Visalia Bass Club/River Rat at Kaweah; Point Seekers Bass Club at Nacimiento
- Nov. 12-13: Taft Bass Club/Bass N’ Tubes at Nacimiento
- Nov. 13: Hook, Line, and Sinker at Delta/Russo’s Marina; Tracy Bass Club at Delta/Tracy Oasis; Riverbank Bass Anglers at New Hogan; Modesto Ambassadors at Don Pedro; Kings River Bass Club at Pine Flat; Kings VIII Bass Club at Kaweah
- Nov. 18-20: Best Bass Tournaments Striped Bass Tournament at Delta/Russo’s Marina
- Nov. 19: Tracy Oasis Marina at Delta/Tracy Oasis; California Tournament Trail at Millerton
- Nov. 19-20: California Hmong Bass Tournament at Lake Berryessa –
- Nov. 20: Fresno Bass Club at McClure
> = peak activity