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.
Aqueduct and San Luis Forebay striper bite hot, Merritt Gilbert said. Kaweah bass active, Jacob Rutledge reported. McClure bass on a run, Harold Haas said.
Never miss a local story.
2-Have to work hard
4-Fish jumpin’ in boat
Delta Mendota Canal and Sloughs
Stripers 3; Catfish 2
The California Aqueduct is clearly picking up with far more fishermen heading to the aqueducts within the past few weeks. Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “Duo Realis, Speedlures, and Lucky Craft Pointers have been popular lately.” Meng Xyong of the Fishaholics reported, “The bite has turned on with anglers landing several shakers with an occasional keeper in the mix. Fishermen are throwing SpeedLures, Duo Realis 120 and Lucky Craft Pointers jerkbaits and searching for the fish. Checkgates remain popular for anglers soaking bait.” Fishermen need to take precautions to secure their vehicles and gear while at the aqueduct, as a female driver with a male accomplice driving in a late 1980s to early-90s white Ford pickup truck have been breaking into cars while anglers are away from their vehicles in the northern section of the aqueduct around Highway 132. Any suspicious activity should be reported to the proper authorities. In the south aqueduct in Kern County, Jacob Rutledge of Bob’s Bait and Tackle in Bakersfield reported striper fishing is best with blood worms or sardines while they are also selling more Lucky Craft Pointers. Catfishing remains solid with Sonny’s “Super Stinky” Channel Cat Bait, Terminator Catfish Bait, chicken livers, anchovies or frozen shad. Fishermen are requested to leave shoreline areas in the water-impoundment areas free of trash and debris after fishing.
Bass 2; Trout 1; Bluegill 2; Catfish 2; Crappie 1
Eastman Lake is California’s first Trophy Bass Fishery as designated by the California Department of Fish and Game; anglers may keep only one bass with a minimum length of 22 inches. Kevin Cheng Moau of Fresno landed his personal-best largemouth at Eastman at 11.08 pounds using a half-ounce War Eagle heavy finesse jig with a 4-inch Yamamoto Double-tail grub in green pumpkin while fishing in 25 feet of water. Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “Other than this big fish, there haven’t been as many bass in the 4-pound range recently as there were several weeks ago. The bite is not gangbusters, but a 2-pound fish is possible working the bottom with jigs or plastics.” The lake remains at 8 percent and 468.59 feet in elevation.
Call: Six Star Tackle Box 673-5688; Eastman Lake 689-3255
Bass 2; Trout 1; Catfish 2; Bluegill 2; Crappie 2
Hensley remains very slow, and fishermen that were finding decent action for bass in the 3- to 4-pound range several weeks ago are starting to give up on the lake after only picking up a few spotted bass to 11 inches. The lake held at 19 percent and 475.26 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 2; Crappie 2
There have been few reports. As the water temperature gets closer to turnover, the bass will be heading deeper while the rainbow trout and king salmon will be rising toward the surface. There are few bass tournaments scheduled on the lake in the coming month, but all of the launches are still in the water as the lake came up another half foot to 768.63 in elevation and 66 percent capacity.
Call: Monte Smith (209) 581-4734; Danny Layne-Fish’n Dan (209) 586-2383; Gary Vella (209) 652-7550; Bait Barn (209) 874-3011
Bass 2; Trout 2; Crappie 2; Catfish 3; Bluegill 2
Jacob Rutledge of Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield reported the bass bite is finally starting to show signs of life at Lake Isabella with medium diving crankbaits at depths from 10-12 feet. Catfish remain the top species in deeper water near the dam with Sonny’s Stink Bait, frozen shad or nightcrawlers. The crappie bite has yet to emerge. The lake dropped slightly to 2,543.83 feet in elevation and 16 percent capacity. The Taft Chamber of Commerce Trout Derby at Lake Evans at the Buena Vista Aquatic Center brought out nearly 400 anglers, but the early returns were lukewarm with very slow trout action despite heavy plants. The lake is expected to be planted on a biweekly basis. There are still planted trout in the River Walk and Lake Ming, and at least one angler picked up a limit at River Walk on Power Bait. Section 4 of the Kern River just above Isabella near Kernville received a trout plant last week, and there has been more interest in this area with nightcrawlers, salmon eggs or Roostertails. In the lower river, bass fishing remains best with small swimbaits or plastics on the drop-shot.
Call: Bob’s Bait (661) 833-8657; North Fork Marina (760) 376-1812
Bass 3; Crappie 2; Trout 1; Catfish 2
The bass bite continues despite the overall low water levels. Jacob Rutledge of Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield reported local fishermen have been scoring with deep-diving crankbaits in shad patterns along with plastics on the drop-shot. The bass are holding around the shad schools.
Call: Sierra Sporting Goods 592-5212
Bass 2; Trout 2; Catfish 2; Crappie 1
Chuck Stokke of the Sequoia Fishing Co. in Springville said, “There haven’t been many anglers on the lake this weeks, and the shad balls have been few and far between due to cooler water temperatures.” Crankbaits, jigs, and Senkos are picking up a few bass in the 15-foot range. The lake rose slightly to 582.77 feet in elevation and 6 percent capacity. In the Tule River, Stokke said, “The natives are hitting spinners, and while the brown trout are still spawning, they are susceptible to small dry flies or nymphs.”
Call: Sequoia Fishing Co. 539-5626, sequoiafishingcompany.com
Bass 3; Trout 2; King salmon 1; Kokanee 1; Crappie 2; Catfish 3
With the lake continuing to rise rapidly, Lake McClure launch ramps are back in play at the Barrett’s Cove North and South launch ramps. The ramps are on the concrete, and there is more than 100 feet of water on the concrete at both ramps with the ability to launch two boats side-by-side on the south ramp. Harold Haas of the Fresno Bass Club reported wet, cold and windy weather greeted the club on during Sunday’s tournament, but the good news was, the fish were biting several baits and at depths from the shallows to deep water. He said, “Largemouth, spots, and the occasional smallmouth filled many limits with Mike Brossard taking first at 15.99 pounds with a big fish at 4.28 pounds. The Bait Barn in Waterford reported improved trout action for trollers pulling a variety of Wedding Rings tipped with a piece of nightcrawler or shad-patterned spoons. The lake held at 38 percent of capacity and 742.63 feet in elevation, but water releases have started.
Call: A-1 Bait (209) 563-6505
The planted rainbows are moving into the river arm as they have acclimated to the lake. The best action from the shore is in the early mornings or late afternoons along the normal locations of the brush pile, handicapped docks and the Marina with various colors of Power Bait along with inflated nightcrawlers or silver/blue Kastmasters.
Call: McSwain Marina (209) 378-2534
Millerton Lake/San Joaquin River
Bass 2; Striped bass 1; Shad 1; Bluegill 2
Millerton is still best for numbers, and the California Tournament Trail tournament on Nov. 19 brought out 30 boats with a winning limit over 11 pounds. Merritt Gilbert said, “The big fish was 2.85 pounds, but you have to work through a bunch of smaller fish to find keepers. The best action is still on the bottom. One fisherman landed a striped bass in the 4.5- to 5-pound range, and this is the first striper less than 10 pounds caught in the lake in some time so there is the possibility that the stripers are spawning at the lake.” Millerton has risen 7 feet this past week to 50 percent of capacity and 514.59 in elevation with inflow from the high country. In the San Joaquin River, there is minimal change with a few bass fishermen 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. 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 2
The trout bite continues to roll on for the few fishermen heading to the lake, and the rainbows have moved up from below 100 feet in depth to the 80- to 90-foot range. The bass bite is improving on a weekly basis with the water temperatures starting to drop, and the occasional quality bass is available as evidenced by the 9-pounder caught and released by Dave Long while fishing with John Liechty of Xperience Guide Service. Liechty did it again on Friday with a 9-pound, 6-ounce largemouth bass on the same swimbait. Like the rainbow bite, the action isn’t hot or heavy as Liechty put in 14 hours to land this fish, but he said, “It is time to start looking for the big fish, and this is typical swimbait fishing. Once the lake turns over, the bass bite should improve considerably as the fish move higher in the water column.” Other than the massive largemouth bass, the general bass bite has been tough with anglers struggling with plastics on the drop-shot or jigs. The shad have yet to ball up, and the bass are holding in deep water from 35 to below 50 feet. Gary Burns of Take It to the Limit Guide Service said, “The rainbows this week are still in the same areas from the main lake to the dam and the spillway, and we have been trolling at 2.4 mph with our best fortune with the Gary Yamamoto 3-inch SwimSenko in Electric Chicken. It’s green and pink with a paddle tail. The bite is not fast, but if you want to put big ’bows in the boat, stay on the water since the best action comes from the late morning into the afternoon.” The rainbows should be moving toward the surface and the shore as the water continues to cool, and Liechty said, “It should get good from the banks as the fish move in as shallow as 5 feet in depth. We will find out if there are a number of these beautiful holdover rainbows in the lake as the majority of trout landed by trollers are in the 3- to 5-pound range.” The Glory Hole Sports Catfish Derby started at the beginning of the month, and with the recent inflow into the lake, the catfish have moved into the lake’s inlets in search of easy meals washed down from the shorelines. Frozen anchovies, sardines, mackerel or shad work well at this time of year on a weightless rig, particularly when the bait is soaked with various scents. The crappie bite has slowed with few fishermen targeting the slabs, but the cold winter months can be a good time to target crappie by looking in the back of major creek channels around standing timber with small minnows or minijigs. Glory Hole launch is on the dirt until the lake rises during the winter. A courtesy dock will be available throughout the coming months. Recent rains have brought the lake up a foot to 861.26 in elevation and 22 percent.
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 3
Pine Flat continues to be relatively slow for bass with spoons or plastics on the drop-shot on the bottom, but there is a good crappie bite around the docks. Gilbert added, “The only problem is there is limited access to the docks. Crappie jigs or live minnows are picking up the slabs, and there are trees holding crappie in the river arm with minnows working best for these fish.” Trout trolling at Pine Flat remains limited to one or two quality rainbows in the 15- to 16-inch range on blade/’crawler combinations, Apex lures or shad-patterned Needlefish. The catfish bite has slowed near Deer Creek. The lake is at 759.79 feet in elevation and 20 percent capacity. Trout plants are scheduled in the lower Kings River below the dam over the next two weeks, and Merritt Gilbert reported improved action for bank fishermen with various patterns of Power Bait, nightcrawlers, Roostertails or Panther Martins. 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
O’Neill Forebay is the prime location for central Valley striped bass anglers with the emergence of lure tossers taking precedence over soaking bait. The lake is loaded with striped bass in the 16- to 22-inch range, and ripbaits, swimbaits, and topwater lures such as small Poppers are working for the linesides. The main San Luis Reservoir is now at 36 percent capacity, and it is starting to release water down the aqueduct in the wake of heavy pumping of water out of the south Delta. Live jumbo minnows are taking precedence in the main lake near the mouth of Portuguese Cove or the trash racks. Meng Xyong of the Fishaholics out of Fresno said, “With the colder weather, the bigger cut of stripers have moved into the water system in the forebay. Anglers targeting the shallows are throwing Speedlures and Duo Realis in the morning for several stripers before moving to the deeper water column trolling C-Rigs. Vegetation around the lake is disappearing with the colder weather.” Paul Jolley of Coyote Bait and Tackle in Morgan Hill added, “Trollers are pulling broken-backed Rebels or small Lucky Craft Pointers along the rockwall, and live minnows are also doing well. We have plenty of minnows in the shop, but they are going out quickly within a few days of their arrival. Same with pile and blood worms as they arrive in the shop on Thursday, and they are generally gone early in the weekend.” Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun confirmed the interest in the forebay with Duo Realis jerkbaits, River2Sea Whopper Ploppers and Lucky Craft Pointers for numerous stripers in the 16- to 22-inch range. In the main lake, the stripers are kegged up at the mouth of Portuguese Cove and the trash racks with the moving water from the pumps, and Jolley added, “They stack up at the trash racks at this time of year.” Fishermen are locating the schools on the bottom as shallow as 22 feet, and stripers to 8 pounds can be taken using combination of ripbaits and swimbaits on a jig head. Jumbo minnows drifted over the trash racks are the most consistent technique. Quagga boat inspections are in effect, as well as having compliant engines under the new rules this year.
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: 1 (800) 805-4805.
Bass 2; Trout 2; Kokanee 1
The occasional rainbow trout can be taken by trolling blade/’crawler combinations or Wedding Rings tipped with a nightcrawler behind a dodger at depths from the surface in the early morning to 20 feet in depth. Bass fishing is fair with plastics on the drop-shot or jigs. The lake rose a few feet to 76 percent, but water releases are expected to drop it to 50 percent in the coming months.
Call: Mike Beighey 642-3748; Bass Lake Watersports 642-3200
Brown trout 2; Trout 2
There have been few reports from the Kaiser Pass Lakes with Edison at 47 percent capacity, Florence at 17 percent and Mammoth Pool dropping to 42 percent.
Call: Vermilion Valley Resort at Edison Lake 259-4000
Shaver Lake/Huntington Lake
Kokanee 1; Trout 2
The high country lakes of Shaver Lake, Huntington, Wishon and Courtright have been quiet over the past few months. But the Shaver Lake Trophy Trout Project has been working behind the scenes in preparation for their 2017 schedule of events. Dave Dungy of Shaver Lake, project program director, said, “Our events begin with our involvement in the ‘Trout in the Classroom’ program as this is a great youth program that provides hands-on education for students in the local mountain schools, but we are hoping to add additional schools in the near future.” The 2017 program kicks off in February with the delivery of rainbow trout eggs provided by state Fish and Wildlife to the classrooms, and the teachers will educate their students on the life of trout while the students maintain the special aquariums that are provided by the project. Prior to the end of the current school year, schools will gather at their favorite water area and plant their young trout. The project will host lunch at Edison Campground in Shaver for the students and those involved. Added Dungy: “We are really pumped on this project. This group loves helping young people learn more about trout and the environment they live in.” Another youth program hosted by the project is the long-standing Shaver Lake Youth Fishing Derby, founded by Greg Marks of Auberry – a longtime U.S. Forest Service Ranger. Shaver fishing expert Captain Jack Yandell, also a project vice president, has encouraged SLTTP to take over the annual youth derby which is on the second Saturday of June. The entire membership joined Yandell and voted to run the program, which next year would be June 10. The derby will now be called the Greg Marks/SLTTP annual Youth Fishing Derby. Marks will be on hand to help with the direction. Yandell said, “We are so excited to host this most worthy event that provides a great day for the Valley’s youth. We will have special games, fishing, and a lunch, along with many prizes for the kids. If it was not for Greg Marks, many kids would have never experienced such a wonderful day.” SLTTP will continue its trophy trout planting in 2017 under the direction of treasurer Bob Bernier. “We are in contact with the same hatchery in southern Oregon for purchase of more trophies,” Bernier said, “as the fish we received last year were beautiful and provided a hard battle. We are very enthused to continue this annual plant thanks to many sponsors who came forward to help us..” The trophy plants average $7 per pound so a 12-pound fish can cost $84. Those interested in contributing can send their donations to the SLTTP, P.O. box 908, Shaver Lake 9366 and visit www.shaverlaketrophytrout.com for more information. Shaver remains high at 88 percent and Huntington held at 31 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
The Wishon Village RV Park and Store closed for the season Oct. 30 and the campgrounds also will be closed.
Call: Wishon RV Park 865-5361
Half Moon Bay
Rockfish 2; Striper 2; Crabs 3
Huli Cat Captain Tom Mattusch reported, “Rock fishing along the coast continues to be slow. While the Dungeness crab catch is not as big as some years, the Huli Cat is still seeing limits every day.” The Huli Cat skipper also says this is a more typical winter with wind and rough seas interspersed with rain becoming more common lately. The Huli Cat went out on a rock cod and crab combo off Half Moon Bay on Friday, and Cesar Milan from Burlingame caught a 5-pound vermillion on a live bait rig and a whole squid. Captain Cabanas was out Monday with 21 anglers for limits of Dungeness crab along with ling cod to 16 pounds taken on a whole squid on a live bait rig. Out of Pacifica, Sheryl Jimno of the Rusty Hook Bait and Tackle said, “The ocean is still rough, and it hasn’t settled down since the opener. The winds are down, but the swell is big on the pier.” Crabbers are still out there throwing their snares, and the Rusty Hook has been selling the custom snares like hotcakes. A few fishermen are trying for striped bass or perch with blood worms or pile worms.
Call: Happy Hooker (510) 223-5388; Captain Roger Thomas, Salty Lady (415) 760-9362; Emeryville Sport Fishing (510) 654-6040
Rockfish 3; Striper 2; Crab 2
Chris Arcoleo of Chris’ Landing in Monterey reported improved Dungeness crab action over the past week with the Check Mate returning with six crab per angler Sunday along with 16 limits of rockfish and three lings while the Caroline scored three-quarter limits of rockfish, a ling cod and 37 Dungeness crab for 15 anglers. He said, “The swell came back up again on Sunday to the 8- to 10-foot range after backing off on Saturday; however, there was no wind.” They are filled until this coming Sunday with a few spaces available, and they are closed Thanksgiving Day.
Call: Chris’ Landing (831) 375-5951; Bayside Marine (831) 475-2173; usafishing.com
San Francisco Bay
Striper 2; Rockfish 3; Leopard shark 3; Sturgeon 2; Crab 3
The weather was the story Sunday, and the few boats that tried to make it through the Gate were turned around by a sea that was breaking from the North Bar to Point Bonita. The Fish Emeryville boats thoughtfully canceled Sunday, but Dungeness crab limits were the rule Saturday with the Sea Wolf, New Huck Finn and New Salmon Queen combining for 74 limits of crab along with 600 rockfish and 16 ling cod to 12 pounds. Captain Jim Smith of the Happy Hooker has open load crab/rockfish combination trips on Friday and Saturday this week, and he is thinking about pulling his crab pots first to see what the story is before heading out for rockfish, weather permitting. The commercial crab season has started, and the action has been tremendous for the first week of the season. With the commercial pressure mounting, boats will be scratching for limits within the coming weeks. The best crab action is still in deep water off the shorelines. Captain Trent Slate of Shelter Cove Sport Fishing is running a crab-only trip Wednesday before Thanksgiving, and he is running both crab-only, crab/rockfish or sturgeon/striper trips in the coming weeks. Inside the bay, Keith Fraser of Loch Lomond Bait and Tackle reported few fishermen were out over the weekend, but there are signs of an impending sturgeon bite. One boat was out with straight Loch Lomond ghost shrimp this week, and they caught limits of striped bass to 14 pounds and released two undersized sturgeon along with an oversized sturgeon at 65 inches. They also dealt with a number of small shark, but the bait-stealing crabs were absent. Over at McNear’s Pier, shark and bait rays were the story, but the crabs also were absent there. Fraser said, “I really like the outgoing tides starting on Thanksgiving, and we have live ghost shrimp, pile worms, mudsuckers and anchovies in the shop along with a few hundred midshipmen. The midshipmen are still accounting for leopard and seven-gill shark.”
San Luis Obispo
The rockfish season ends Dec. 31, and bottom-fishing is the only game in town. Out of Patriot Sport Fishing in Port San Luis, the Patriot went on a half-day trip with 11 anglers Saturday for one shy of ling cod limits, with 32 lings to 12 pounds along with five vermilion, 10 copper and 50 assorted rockfish. Joe Dudd of Bakersfield took the jackpot with the 12-pounder. From Virg’s Landing in Morro Bay, the Fiesta and the Rita G took out 51 anglers Saturday for a combined 23 ling cod to 11.9 pounds, 68 vermilion, 27 copper and 355 assorted rockfish for nine-tenths limits of rockfish. Scott Ussery of Hickman in Stanislaus County took the jackpot ling on the private charter on the Fiesta. Virg’s third annual Biggest, Baddest Ling Cod Contest is Dec. 10th, but this trip has been sold out for months. Virg’s has a number of different types of trips during the final six weeks of the season including Ladies Day, Senior Days and First Responders Trips. Their two-day trip Dec. 30-31 still has openings.
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 2; Striper 3; Sturgeon 2; Catfish 2; Bluegill 3; Salmon 2
Sturgeon are starting to take center stage in the Delta, but the action has slowed a bit entering midweek. The fish are there, and the six-pack operators have been scratching up a few fish. Salmon continue to make their way through the Delta, but the run is coming to a close within the next few weeks. Tim Boggs of Elkhorn Outdoors in Rio Linda said, “The sturgeon run has begun as I have weighed sturgeon from as far south as Montezuma Slough and north to Verona. In the past week, we had several sturgeon from Montezuma Slough, the Mothball Fleet, Prospect Slough and from Freeport with ghost shrimp being the top bait along with eel/pile worm combinations. The run is early this year probably due to the wet October, and with the rain this past week along with the prediction of a wetter than normal November, I think folks are in for some pretty exciting fishing in the coming days.” Benicia Bait reported an improved sturgeon bite at the Fleet along with Big Cut and Montezuma Slough. Striped bass action has improved off Cuttings Wharf in the Napa River, under the Benicia/Martinez Bridge and off Soscal Ferry Road. Salmon fishing has slowed from the State Park and off First Street over the past few days. Johnny Tran of New Romeo’s Bait in Freeport reported a few fresh salmon are in the Sacramento River, and the technique of using a Brad’s Cut Plug behind an 11-inch Pro-Troll flasher is the best producer for the intermittent salmon. Sturgeon fishing is best near Courtland and Merritt’s Landing with eel/nightcrawler combinations, eel/pile worm combinations, or straight pile worms. Cache Slough, the Sherman Island Power Lines, and Prospect Slough are also good locations. Striped bass are holding in Liberty Island, the Sacramento Deep Water Channel and Steamboat Slough with live mudsuckers or frozen shad. Alan Fong, manager of Fisherman’s Warehouse in Sacramento, confirmed the solid sturgeon fishing around Sherman Island, and he said, “The diamondbacks will start moving upriver with all of the rain.” There is more interest in sturgeon fishing from first-time anglers, and it is important to prepare your anchor on a buoy/float in case you have to release anchor and chase down the fish. If fishing at night, glow sticks zip-tied to the float will help you find it after releasing it to chase down a fish. You will only have to break the glow stick in half before your toss out the buoy, Marking your spot with a GPS is also recommended in order to find your way back after releasing anchor. There are some larger stripers moving into the Delta, and a huge striped bass at 40.5 pounds was caught and kept in the main Sacramento River on a live splittail on a double-hook rig. The fish was brought into Gotcha Bait in Antioch over the past weekend. Dan Mathisen of Dan’s Delta Outdoors in Oakley reported larger stripers are moving into the Delta, and he has been averaging around 40 fish per tide while throwing the Optima 5-inch Bubba Shad swimbait or hair jigs on the shallow humps in 6-8 feet of water in the middle of the river. He said, “You can get into batches of bigger fish in the 8- to 22-pound range, but you can also find schools of undersized fish. The hair jig has been a hot lure in the past month, and I think it is due to the subtlety of the lure. With the water temperature still in the 62- 63-degree range, the glide bait bite that we experienced last year has yet to emerge, and you may be able to find one blowup per morning on topwater lures. Other than in the back of Liberty Island, the glidebait bite hasn’t happened.” Largemouth bass in the 3- to 5-pound range have been mixed in with the striper schools working the humps, but the bass have been “stuck in transition” for a month with the best action with finesse techniques of drop-shotting. He said, “You can’t go out and use one bait since there has been a good wakebait big on foggy mornings along with a spinnerbait bite when a front is moving in. There is also a crankbait bite that no one is talking about on the main river at depths from 6 to 10 feet. The Fat Sack Golden Shiner or white on white have been good options, and it is junk fishing at its finest right now.” Steve Santucci of Steve Santucci’s Fly Fishing Guide Service reported, “Fishing has been good some days and not so good on others. I think this will change as we lose our full moon.”
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 3; White bass 2; Catfish 2; Crappie 2
Nacimiento will be hosting several tournaments in the coming months. The best action for spotted bass is with medium crankbaits or suspending jerkbaits along with jigs, plastics on the drop-shot or flukes worked on the bottom. There is a small window for topwater lures in the early morning or late afternoons. White bass have become scarce, and the action has slowed to a crawl. The lake rose risen slightly to 24 percent capacity and 729.95 feet in elevation. At Lopez, the lake remains very low at 20.5 percent, and the launch ramp remains out of the water. With the inability to launch private boats, bass fishing is limited to rental boats or working the shore. Bass fishing remains best with spinnerbaits or crankbaits along main lake points when the wind is moving the bait. Working the bottom with plastics on the split-shot or drop-shot along with jigs are picking up a few bass. Catfishing has slowed, but the occasional whiskerfish is taken on cut baits or nightcrawlers. At Santa Margarita, the lake is at slightly more than 9 percent capacity, and the launch ramp remains out of the water, leaving rental boats at the marina there as the only power option. Fishing pressure remains very light, but catfishing is the No. 1 species with anchovies, nightcrawlers, or mackerel. A few bass are taken on spinnerbaits, crankbaits, plastics, or jigs. San Antonio Reservoir is closed indefinitely with the lake at 6 percent.
Call: Lake Nacimiento (805) 238-1056, ext. 3; Lake San Antonio Marina (805) 472-2818; CentralCoastBassFishing.com (805) 466-6557
- Fresno Bass Club on Nov. 20 at McClure: 1, Mike Brossard 15.99 pounds (big fish 4.28); 2, Ron Red 14.45; 3, Byron Taylor 12.80
- Dec. 3: American Bass Association at Delta/Russo’s Marina; Kerman Bass Club at Pine Flat; American Bass Association at Nacimiento
- Dec. 3-4: California Bass Nation at Nacimiento
- Dec. 4: Riverbank Bass Anglers at New Melones
- Dec. 10: Tracy Bass Club at Delta/Tracy Oasis; Sonora Bass Anglers at New Melones
- Dec. 10-11: Sierra Bass Club at Pine Flat
- Dec. 11: Hook, Line, and Sinker at Delta/Russo’s Marina; Fresno Bass Club/Modesto Ambassadors at McClure; Kings VIII Bass Club at Pine Flat
- Jan. 1: RiverRat Bass Club at Eastman; Bakersfield Bass Club at Nacimiento
- Fresno County: Kings River, below Pine Flat Dam
- Kern County: Brite Valley Reservoir; Kern River, section 4
n = new moon > = peak activity