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.
Best bets Don Pedro bass and trout bites good, Monte Smith said. McClure bass bite steady, Mike Gomez reported. Millerton spotted bass hitting, Merritt Gilbert said. New Melones kicking out big trout and bass, Gary Burns reported.
Never miss a local story.
2-Have to work hard
4-Fish jumpin’ in boat
Delta Mendota Canal and Sloughs
Stripers 2; Catfish 2
A few anglers are tossing Duo Realis or Lucky Craft jerkbaits for striped bass to 22 inches. The flows are high and cold. In addition to cold water, freezing temperatures and mud make for dangerous icy and slippery conditions on the concrete in the morning hours. Vehicles also have been stuck in the mud after heavy rains. To avoid a greater tragedy, fishermen are advised to be prepared with life jackets and a throwing device while targeting striped bass in the aqueduct. There are safety ladders every 1,000 feet along the concrete walls of the aqueducts in the unfortunate event of a person falling into the water. The aqueduct has been hit or miss for anglers, but baits such as shad, liver or stink baits have been working for smaller stripers and catfish. The bigger cut of fish is coming from the central and south ’ducts. With most of the vegetation gone, the headgates are good locations to target for stripers waiting in ambush for prey. In the south aqueduct near Bakersfield, Jacob Rutledge of Bob’s Bait Bucket reported striped bass in the aqueduct has been the top species in the area with pile worms or sardines. He said, “I expect the Lucky Craft 128 Pointer bite to pick up as the water continues to cool. There is a lot of water running down the aqueduct, and it is muddy in some spots.” Catfishing has slowed with the colder water. Anglers are encouraged to keep their area clean to avoid future closures.
Bass 2; Trout 1; Bluegill 1; Catfish 2; Crappie 2
After kicking out some huge largemouths during the fall, including bass in excess of 11 pounds, Eastman remains extremely slow for Central Valley Bass fishermen. The lake has been affected by four-plus years of drought and is still only at 11 percent capacity and 477.47 feet in elevation. The newly-formed River Rats Club out of Fresno hosted a New Year’s Day tournament, but there are no other scheduled in the coming months. Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “One fisherman was out at Eastman this past week, and he threw swimbaits for 4 hours without a single bite. The water is both cold and muddy.”
Call: Six Star Tackle Box 673-5688; Eastman Lake 689-3255
Bass 2; Trout 1; Catfish 1; Bluegill 1; Crappie 2
The story here is similar to that at Eastman. Hensley is on the Fresno River with Eastman on the Chowchilla and are tributaries of the San Joaquin River with no snowpack in either watershed. As a result, the minimal flows have kept the lakes low during the past several years. When inflow does arrive in the winter, the fresh water brings mud and debris into the lake. Among the populations of largemouth bass, their metabolism slows considerably in the cold water. Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “I have heard nothing out of Hensley for several weeks.” The lake did rise three-quarters of a foot to 482.36 in elevation and 25 percent capacity after dropping to 5 percent during the summer.
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 3; King salmon 2; Crappie 2
After a slow rainbow trout and king salmon season from the fall of 2015 and on into spring 2016, the final weeks of the year finally brought out the rainbow trout. Monte Smith of Gold Country Sport Fishing trolled the lake twice in the past week with outstanding results. He said, “It was really slow last year at this time, but I think we have turned the corner and are back onto good times at Don Pedro. I went out on Wednesday to scout the lake, and we trolled four to five locations, finding willing biters in all but one location. This trip ended up with 17 rainbows caught and released before I took out my first clients on Friday. During Friday’s trip, the first two locations we tried were unproductive, so I went to one spot, and we never had to change lures, keeping 8 rainbows to 2 pounds along with releasing another 4 to 5 fish and several other hits. Everything is in the top 15 feet, and I am fast-trolling heavy spoons on leadcore so there is no need to use a downrigger. Dead end coves and the shorelines are the productive areas, but you have to hunt them down. The water clarity is clear despite the recent inflow, but there is some grass in the water. There was another boat working the shoreline, and they trolled Rebels for 4 trout to 3 pounds and 6 spotted bass. The rainbows are in the 12- to 14-inch range with the occasional 17-incher.” A few king salmon can be found up the Tuolumne River arm, but trollers have to be cautious of the submerged trees grabbing their gear. With several bass tournaments in the upcoming months, McClure and Don Pedro are rounding into shape just in time. Mike Gomez of the Bait Barn in Waterford said, “Don Pedro is on fire with the occasional largemouth bass over 8 pounds taken on Huddleston swimbaits in rainbow trout, but you have to throw the big lure all day long for the chance at a single big bite. The most consistent technique is to work at depths from 10-30 feet with Pro Worms in 124p or 300 along with the Berserk Purple Hornet or Brown/Purple jig. There are some quality spotted bass in the 2- to 4-pound range to be taken, and it will be interesting to see how Saturday’s storm has affected the bite.”
Call: Monte Smith (209) 581-4734; Danny Layne-Fish’n Dan (209) 586-2383; Gary Vella (209) 652-7550
Lake Isabella/Bakersfield area
Bass 2; Trout 2; Crappie 1; Catfish 2; Bluegill 1
At Isabella, snow fell at the lake’s edge over the weekend and fishing has been very slow given the cold weather. That includes the largemouth bass bite and catfishing. The lake dropped slightly to 2,545.07 feet in elevation and 16 percent capacity. The River Walk and Ming are kicking out of few planted rainbows; the next plant at River Walk will be during the second week of January. Buena Vista was planted with quality rainbows to 4 pounds prior to Christmas, but the action is hit or miss. The Kern River section 4 near Kernville was planted last week, and there has been some interest in fishing the river with salmon eggs, nightcrawlers or live crickets.
Call: Bob’s Bait (661) 833-8657; North Fork Marina (760) 376-1812
Bass 2; Crappie 2; Trout 1; Catfish 2
The lake continues to rise rapidly, with the water cold and muddy. Shad are balled up in the deepest portions of the lake, and vertically jigging spoons or plastics on the drop-shot are effective for bass. A deadstick presentation is necessary. Live minnows or crawdads also are producing.
Call: Sierra Sporting Goods 592-5212
Bass 2; Trout 1; Catfish 2; Crappie 1
Similar to nearby Kaweah, muddy water and debris has entered the lake with the recent rains. The Tule River also is high following the storms, but was stabilizing in the past few days. The lake came up 2 feet to 598.61 in elevation and 15 percent capacity.
Call: Sequoia Fishing Co. 539-5626, sequoiafishingcompany.com
Bass 3; Trout 2; King salmon 1; Kokanee 1; Crappie 2; Catfish 2
At McClure, Mike Gomez of the Bait Barn in Waterford said, “It is still a good bite with the same techniques as Don Pedro, and I found good action this week using the 6-inch Pro Worm 124p on a shakey head at depths from 25-40 feet. The lake has come up, and locations I was fishing a few weeks ago in 25 feet of water are now at 40 feet of water.” The water clarity is still very good despite the inflow. Launch ramps at McClure Point and Barrett Cove South are open, but the Horseshoe Bend and Barrett Cove North ramps are closed.
Call: Bait Barn (209) 874-3011
Calaveras Trout Farm is back in operation and there is hope for biweekly plants in the coming months. The last trout plant was Oct. 14, and fishing is limited to a few planters taken from the peninsula near the marina, handicapped docks or the brush pile with garlic trout dough bait, Power Eggs or nightcrawlers. The marina will not be installing bait tanks for live minnows, but live crawdads are still a possibility in the future.
Call: McSwain Marina (209) 378-2534
Millerton Lake/San Joaquin River
Bass 3; Striped bass 1; Shad 1; Bluegill 1
Millerton and Pine Flat continue to rise with inflow from the San Joaquin and Kings River watershed, and the abundant spotted bass along with upcoming tournaments are drawing anglers. Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “I pre-fished this week for the Bass 101 tournament coming on New Year’s Day, and we released 13 spotted bass with seven being dinks but there were six good fish to 2.5 pounds. Everything was taken on the drop-shot with the best action at 30-45 feet in the main lake. I ran up the river arm to check things out, but we only found small fish. There were only a few boats on the lake, and they were all in the main lake. The water in the main lake was quite a bit warmer at temperatures between 52 and 54 degrees. The key is to use a deadstick presentation where you let it sit for 10-15 seconds before moving it slowly. The spotted bass became active once the water warmed up a bit in the afternoon.” In the San Joaquin River, there have been few reports, but local anglers are taking their children to fish Woodward Park – planted again with rainbow trout last week. 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 3; Crappie 2; Catfish 2; Trout 3
New Melones continues to pump out some quality rainbows, and the time for truly trophy bass is coming quickly within the next two months. The lake is coming up steadily from the recent rainstorms, and water clarity is good throughout the majority of the lake. Gary Burns of Take It To The Limit Guide Service said, “We trolled twice this week, and we did very well above the Highway 49 Bridge and into the main lake around the dam. Although the rainbows were only up to 14 inches, there were plenty of them to catch. Toplining Rapalas, Needlefish, and Excel spoons was the trick, and fishing this way is just a kick when you see the rod go down like it does. All different colors of lures worked at 2.8 mph, and we put limits in the boat and released quite a few more rainbows. At one point, we went into the main lake in search of larger trout, but we landed similarly sized rainbows along with spotted bass around the shad schools at a depth of 80 feet.” As the lake has turned over, shore fishing with light line and hooks using trout dough bait in various colors along with nightcrawlers are producing rainbows from the bank areas. For bass, John Liechty of Glory Hole Sports in Angels Camp said, “The winter bite is in full swing, and most anglers are catching some really nice spotted and largemouth bass as the fish are relatively active and willing to bite. Most of the fish are holding at depths from 30-50 feet, but some fish are moving shallow to feed and can be caught near the shoreline. The shad and trout have moved into creek channels and pockets off of the main lake, and the bass will follow the bait. A great deep water technique that will work during the cold winter months is a vertical jigging spoon. Some anglers are catching big largemouths on trout patterned swimbaits.” Glory Hole Sports is holding its Big Bass Bass on Jan. 28 with 100 percent payback and a two-fish limit of one spotted bass and one largemouth bass at a team fee of $165. Catfishing remains slow during the winter, but the occasional large whiskerfish is taken at this time of year with nightcrawlers or trout dough bait intended for rainbow trout. Recent rains have brought the lake up 4 more feet to 884.02 in elevation and 26 percent capacity.
Call: Glory Hole Sports (209) 736-4333; Monte Smith (209) 581-4734; Danny Layne-Fish’n Dan (209) 586-2383
Pine Flat Reservoir/Kings River
Bass 2; Trout 2; King salmon 1; Catfish 1; Crappie 2
At Pine Flat, Gilbert reported a good spoon bite, but the overall action is not as good as it was a few weeks ago. He said, “There are limits in the 8- to 10-pound range taken, and there is more of a jig bite at the lake along with tubes at depths from 30-50 feet. Spoons remain a good technique, but the bite has tapered off a bit over the past few weeks.” The California Bass Federation is holding a tournament at Pine Flat on Jan. 8. Trout fishing is limited to one or two fish per rod, but the quality of rainbow is decent at 15-18 inches using Apex lures, Needlefish or Wedding Rings tipped with a nightcrawler from the surface to 20 feet in depth. Pine Flat rose to 28 percent capacity. In the lower Kings below Pine Flat Dam, Gilbert reported good trout action with some larger planted rainbows to 18 inches taken on occasion. Power Bait, Mepp’s spinners, or Roostertails are the top offerings. No trout plants are scheduled this week. 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. The area from Cobbles (Alta) Weir downstream to the Highway 180 crossing is open all year with only artificial lures with barbless hooks with a zero limit. The Thorburn Spawning Channel (the 2,200-foot long channel located 5 miles downstream from Pine Flat Dam) and the reach of river within a 200-foot radius of the channel exit are closed to all fishing all year.
Call: Valley Rod & Gun 292-3474; Sequoia Fishing Co. 539-5626
San Luis Reservoir and O’Neill Forebay
Striper 2; Catfish 2; Bass 1; Crappie 1
The main San Luis Reservoir continues to rise with the lake climbing another 6 percent this past week to 62 percent as the pumping out of the South Delta continues. The rising water has created challenging conditions, but experienced fishermen are finding some limited success on schoolie-sized fish. The lake is changing in elevation every day. Previously, the stripers were located deep in the flats but with the incoming weather system are relating to structure such as ledges, dropoffs and points. Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “I haven’t heard anything out of either the forebay or the main lake during the past week with most of our striper fishermen heading instead to the California Aqueduct.” Roger George of Roger George Guide Service said that the rising water, changing weather patterns and passing fronts have created changing patterns each time he’s fished. “I fished two times in the last week and I caught and released eight and 10 fish on the trips to 24 inches – but I had to use every trick I know to do that,” George said. “Most guys I talked to were in the 1-3 fish per boat category. Minnows were working a week ago, but it seemed that the troll guys began doing better latter this week. The fish were holding very deep earlier, but they seem to be coming back up to more normal depths – however they aren’t easy to find as they are moving around in the unstable conditions . I would recommend trolling the 50- to 90-foot range. I think trolling is working better because it lets you cover more territory in a bigger lake and improves your chances of finding the few active and biting fish in the 53 degree water. The spoon bite has died too. A lot of fish are not biting, just sitting.” Coyote Bait reported the bass have gone deep in the main lake at depths from 60-90 feet near the trash racks or the mouth of Portuguese Cove, and a few striped bass are taken on jumbo minnows with the best action in the warmer water of the afternoons. Vertically jigging spoons such as Duh! Spoons in 1.75 ounces or Rapala Ice Jigs is another option for some success. O’Neill Forebay is receiving an inflow of water from the California Aqueduct and Delta-Mendota Canal, and the incoming water is attracting active fish to areas with more current. Water is stained in the forebay with all of the inflow, reducing clarity.
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
Few reports were made and boaters need to call one of the marinas to check on the conditions of the launch ramps with the lake expected to drop to 50 percent capacity at some point. Webcams are available at http://basslakeca.com/.
Call: Mike Beighey 642-3748; Bass Lake Watersports 642-3200
The final section of Kaiser Pass Road at Eastwood closed Dec. 1 and access to Edison and Florence lakes is limited to snowmobiles,
Call: Vermilion Valley Resort at Edison Lake 259-4000
Shaver Lake/Huntington Lake
A foot of snow fell in the area during the last storm, and few fishermen are heading to work the shorelines given the cold temperatures. The parking lot is covered with snow, but the Sierra Marina launch ramp is clear. A webcam of the launch ramp and parking lot is available at www.sierramarina.com/camera.html. The Shaver Lake Trophy Trout Program welcomes tax-deductible donations or unwanted water craft that can be sold to help fund project programs. Donations can be sent to SLTTP, P.O. Box 908, Shaver Lake 9366, with more information at www.shaverlaketrophytrout.com.
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 gates on McKinley Grove Road are closed, and there is no vehicle access to Wishon or Courtright until the gates reopen in the spring.
Call: Wishon RV Park 865-5361
Half Moon Bay
Striper 2; Crabs 2
Rockfishing ended Dec. 31 and the party boats will be limited to sand dab/crab or whale- and bird-watching trips for the next few months. The Huli Cat will continue to run sand dab/crab, crab-only, or whale watching trips until the anticipated salmon opener in April. Captain Roger Thomas of the Salty Lady has brought his vessel down to Pillar Point for the winter months, and they will be running three-hour whale-watching trips until the ocean salmon opener. There have been sightings of a white whale estimated at 30 feet in length outside Half Moon Bay over the past few weeks.
Call: Happy Hooker (510) 223-5388; Captain Roger Thomas, Salty Lady (415) 760-9362; Emeryville Sport Fishing (510) 654-6040
Striper 2; Crab 2
Chris Arcoleo of Chris’ Landing in Monterey reported outstanding ling cod action at the end of the current season. The crab counts remain extremely low at 1-2 per anglers, and this port has never taken off on the crab front this year. The Check Mate has been using live mackerel for 13 limits of ling cod along with quarter limits of rockfish while the Caroline posted 25 lings, 44 Dungeness crab and quarter limits of rockfish for 18 anglers. Arcoleo said, “There have been several big female lings in the 20-pound range, and one angler released a huge 35-pounder after taking a weight.” Chris’ is running sand dab/crab trips through the winter months. Allen Bushnell of Santa Cruz Kayak Fishing and Surfcasting Guide Service reported, “Ocean swells are still kicking up lots of old seaweed and seagrass, which hampers surfcasting efforts. Usually within a day or two, the weeds subside and the water cleans up. Perch fishing, in general, has been a little slower the past couple of weeks, but we expect things to pick up as we move into the ‘real season’ for perch, from January through April.” Jeff Goyert reminds us to add the Santa Cruz Flyfishers Annual Fund Raising Dinner to our calendars. Scheduled for Jan. 21, this will be a “wild caught salmon dinner catered by Jozseph Schultz of ‘India Joze’ fame, ” says Goyert. The dinner is being held at the Peace United Church of Christ, 900 High St. in Santa Cruz. Tickets will be available at the door starting at 5 p.m.; $40 for adults, $25 for youths 12 and younger. For more information, visit www.santacruzflyfishermen.org.
Call: Chris’ Landing (831) 375-5951; Bayside Marine (831) 475-2173; usafishing.com
San Francisco Bay
Striper 2; Leopard shark 2; Sturgeon 2; Crab 2
We are in the doldrums as far as ocean fishing is concerned, and the next few months will be limited to sand dabs and crab. And with the crab counts down, the sand dab trips will be harder to fill. Bodega Bay remains the top location for crab counts with an available sand dab population. Keith Fraser of Loch Lomond Bait and Tackle reported a few sturgeon were landed on the party boats Soleman and Fury over the weekend, but cold and windy conditions along with the holiday kept most fishermen from heading out into San Pablo Bay. Loch Lomond is loaded with quality ghost shrimp, frozen herring, eel and all frozen baits. With the current commercial crab strike, Loch Lomond still has some live crab swimming around in the tanks for those desiring live Dungeness. Commercial crabbers from Morro Bay to Westport, Wash., are on strike over the major distributor lowering the price of crab to $2.75 per pound from $3 per pound.
San Luis Obispo
The final day of 2016 also marked the end of rockfishing before the season reopens April 1. The Patriot out of Patriot Sport Fishing out of Port San Luis finished in style with 28 limits of rockfish and 16 ling cod to 12 pounds – running its annual haul to 6,171 legal ling cod, an increase of 766 lings from the 2015 final count. Out of Virg’s Landing in Morro Bay, the Princess went on a closing two-day trip up the coast with 27 anglers for 162 ling cod to 21 pounds, 368 vermilion rockfish, 119 assorted rockfish, 46 copper rockfish and two cabezon while the Fiesta went on a long range trip for 60 ling cod to a whopping 30 pounds, 180 vermilion, 60 assorted and 20 copper rockfish for limits for their 26 anglers. Virg’s finished the 2016 rockfish season with a total of 8,277 lings, an increase of 57 from the 2015 total. Boats will focus on nature and whale-watching trips until the 2017 rockfish reopener.
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 2; Sturgeon 2; Catfish 2; Bluegill 2
The wall of muddy water has made its way throughout the Sacramento-Delta and after more than a week of cold temperatures, the sturgeon are starting to adjust to the rapid change. However, fresh water from the Sacramento River also has brought grass, weeds and other debris into the Delta, making for challenging conditions. Striped bass action is limited to a few linesides taken on cut baits loaded with scent as the muddy water has slowed the trolling and plugging bite to a crawl. Sturgeon have clearly taken over the top spot in the Delta with scores coming out of the north from Cache Slough down to Suisun Bay. Captain Jay Lopes on the Right Hook out of Martinez Marina has been finding good action in Suisun Bay, and Captain John Badger of Barbarian Sport Fishing, also out of Martinez, has been heading into San Pablo Bay during this past week of good tides. Badger said, “My week started working the shallows with minimal action, and we went farther upriver and marked a few fish. After anchoring above the fish, we fought weeds for the rest of the day, but we did put in two keepers and a few shakers.” In the upper river near Freeport, Johnny Tran of New Romeo’s Bait and Tackle in Freeport said, “The Sacramento River has dropped back to normal height, but the current is still strong. Bank anglers are using 10-14 ounces of weight in order to stay down, but a few sturgeon are being landed from the bank areas off of Steamboat Slough near the Hogback Boat Launch, Freeport, and Merritt’s Landing with eel/nightcrawler combinations, eel/pile worm combinations, or ghost shrimp. Coating your bait with Sturgeon Cocktail is a must in the muddy water. There are also sturgeon taken at the mouth of Steamboat Slough and in Cache Slough with the same baits. A few striped bass in the system, and the Deep Water Channel has been the top location with frozen shad or sardines loaded with garlic spray. Cut baits work much better than live bait in the cold water.” The first major sturgeon derbies of the season are scheduled for Jan. 28 with the Diamond Classic Catch and Release Derby out of Martinez Marina followed on the weekend of Feb. 4-5 with the Foundation Sportsmen’s Club Original, aka “Super Bowl,” Sturgeon Derby out of McAvoy’s Boat Harbor in Bay Point. Information and registration is available at www.originalsturgeonderby.com. At this time of year with heavy flows on the river bringing down trees and stumps, boaters need to be particularly cautious while anchoring at night. Having a knife available to cut the anchor line is essential as a big log can cause a boat to capsize within minutes. Clear water has become all but impossible to find on the San Joaquin-Delta. With loss of that clarity, anglers must adjust techniques. The recent inflow has affected even the south Delta below Mildred Island into Discovery Bay. Randy Pringle, the Fishing Instructor, said, “It is hard to find clear water right now so the key is vibration and scent. I will be working the mud with big blades on spinnerbaits since you need the thump and vibration in order to attract a strike. The big blades allow you to slow down your presentation and keep it in the strike zone longer. Jigs in three-eights or one-quarter-ounce with a bigger profile such as a lizard on the back of the jig are best. You have to keep the profile compact and not long as the fish will realize the longer bait doesn’t look natural. Scent is an absolute, and I use various combinations of Pro-Cure to bring out the bite. The other key is the color of the lures with brighter colors than the water necessary such as orange. Vibration, scent, and color are essential in the muddy and cold water. The Chigger Craw or Power Bait lures are very effective with their built-in scent.”
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 1; Catfish 2; Crappie 2
At Nacimiento, the cold water temperatures have limited bass action to working the bottom with plastics or spoons. Jigs, lizards, small creature baits or plastics on the drop-shot are best on a deadstick presentation. Small spoons jigged vertically in deep water is also working for the occasional spotted bass to 2 pounds. White bass are absent in the cold water. Nacimiento will be hosting a number of tournaments within the coming months. At Lopez, few fishermen are targeting the lake with the launch ramp out of the water, but there is a reaction bite with a variety of lures including deep-diving crankbaits, spinnerbaits, or underspins during periods of wind while the best action remains on the bottom with plastics on the drop-shot or jigs on finesse presentation. There is the occasional whiskerfish taken on cut baits or nightcrawlers. At Santa Margarita, the lake is slightly over 9 percent of capacity, and the launch ramp remains out of the water, leaving rental boats at the marina the only power option. There is a bass bite with jigs, Brush Hogs, or plastics on a deadstick presentation on the bottom while spoons are also a good option. Catfish can be taken on cut baits or nightcrawlers. San Antonio Reservoir is closed indefinitely with the lake at 6 percent. Reminder: consuming white bass, black bass, crappie, catfish, or carp are subject to safe eating guidelines due to excessive mercury.
Call: Lake Nacimiento (805) 238-1056, ext. 3; Lake San Antonio Marina (805) 472-2818; CentralCoastBassFishing.com (805) 466-6557
- Fresno Bass Club on Dec. 11 at McClure: 1, Harold Hass 13.02 pounds (big fish 4.00); 2, Mark Corrente 12.88; 3rd –Jose Guzman 12.46
- Jan. 7: Tracy Bass Club at Delta/Tracy Oasis; Sonora Bass Club at New Melones; Kerman Bass Club at McClure; American Bass Association at Nacimiento
- Jan. 8: Kings VIII Bass Club/California Bass Federation at Pine Flat
- Jan. 14: Best Bass Tournaments/Manteca Bassin’ Buddies at Don Pedro; Christian Bass League at McClure; California Tournament Trail at Pine Flat; Bakersfield Bass Club at Nacimiento
- Jan. 15: Hook and Line West Magazine at Delta/Russo’s Marina; Riverbank Bass Anglers at McClure
- Jan. 21: Best Bass Tournaments at Don Pedro; Kern County Bassmasters/Golden Empire Bass Club at Pine Flat; New Jen at Kaweah; Best Bass Tournaments/Taft Bass Club at Nacimiento
- Jan. 22: Tracy Bass Club at Delta/Tracy Oasis; Fresno Bass Club/Kings River Bass Club at Pine Flat
- Jan. 28: American Bass Association at Delta/Russo’s Marina; Glory Hole Sports Bass Tournament at New Melones; Best Bass Tournaments at Don Pedro; American Bass Association at Pine Flat
- Jan. 29: Success Bass Club at Pine Flat February 4th/5th –
- Feb. 4-5: Foundation Sportsmen’s Club Original, aka “Super Bowl”Sturgeon Derby, at Delta/McAvoy’s Boat Harbor, originalsturgeonderby.com
- Jan. 19-22: International Sportsmen’s Exposition at Cal Expo in Sacramento, www.sportsexpos.com
- Fresno County: Avocado Lake; Kings River, below Pine Flat Dam; Pine Flat Reservoir
q = quarter moon