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.
San Francisco sturgeon active, Keith Fraser said. Don Pedro bass working bottom, Mike Gomez reported. Millerton still pumping out spotted bass, Dave Hurley said. New Melones has solid bites for bass and trout, John Liechty reported. Pismo surf perch hitting, Jacob Rutledge said. Pine Flat bass continue biting, Merritt Gilbert reported.
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2-Have to work hard
4-Fish jumpin’ in boat
Delta Mendota Canal and Sloughs
Stripers 2; Catfish 2
The California Aqueduct continues to flow high and muddy throughout the system’s entire stretch. Few are heading to the concrete river at present, but this will change once the water starts to slow and warm up. With the water diversions blasting toward storage in the south Valley and Los Angeles basin, vegetation and debris also are being pushed southward. The flushing will pay dividends once the water clears within the next few months. Heavy exports should keep the section just south of O’Neill Forebay stained for the longest period, with clearer water occurring the farther south you travel from Highway 152. Jacob Rutledge of Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield reported most area fishermen heading to the aqueduct continue to do so with sardines, blood worms or minnows for catfish and striped bass. He said, “The aqueduct is still running high and muddy, but there have been some small stripers taken on swimbaits or rattling baits in the dirty water. Bait remains the top offering.” Anglers are encouraged to keep their area clean to avoid further limitations on access.
Bass 2; Trout 2; Bluegill 1; Catfish 1; Crappie 1
The lake rose an additional 4 feet within the past week to 564.42 in elevation and 76 percent of capacity, but water releases have started. Few anglers are heading to the lake as the water is very muddy and extremely cold. The bass bite should be excellent once the water clears and stabilizes. A trout plant occurred two weeks ago on the Madera and Mariposa County sides, but the bite is slow amid limited visibility.
Call: Six Star Tackle Box 673-5688; Eastman Lake 689-3255
Bass 2; Trout 1; Catfish 1; Bluegill 1; Crappie 1
Water releases have dropped the lake to 34 percent and 492.32 feet in elevation. There is basically nothing going on with fishing at the lake in the cold and stained water, but better times are coming in the spring.
Call: Valley Rod & Gun, Clovis 292-3474; Six Star Tackle Box 673-5688; U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Hensley Lake Hidden Dam 673-5151
Lake Don Pedro
Bass 3; Trout 2; King salmon 1; Crappie 1
The lake is dropping water, and Monte Smith of Gold Country Sport Fishing said, “The trout bite generally slows down a bit when the lake recedes.” He is ready to begin trolling for rainbow trout near the surface as the water continues to clear. Mike Gomez of the Bait Barn in Waterford said, “Bass fishing has slowed with the stained water, but anglers can expect between 10 and 12 bass per trip working the bottom with plastics or jigs. The reaction bite is non-existent.” The extra water this winter should make for a great spring bite. The lake has receded to 87 percent capacity and 807.84 feet in elevation.
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
Jacob Rutledge of Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield provided the first solid report out of Lake Isabella in months with one angler picking up two largemouth bass in excess of 8 pounds using deep-diving crankbaits. The crappie and catfish bites are slow, but there are fishermen purchasing small to medium minnows for crappie within the past week. The 28th annual Isabella Lake Fishing Derby is April 8-10, with early-bird registration closing at 4 p.m. March 4. No entries will be accepted after 7 a.m. April 7. Information and registration is available at www.kernrivervalley.com. Campgrounds open during the derby are Boulder Gulch, Camp 9, French Gulch, Paradise Cove, Pioneer Point and Tillie Creek. Call the Sequoia Recreation Office at (760) 376-1815 for reservations. The lake came up 2.5 feet within the week to 2,570.27 in elevation and 41 percent capacity. The local lakes of the River Walk and Ming are scheduled to be planted this week. There are two upcoming tournaments at the River Walk – the Kern County Sheriff’s Trout Derby on Feb. 25 and the Bakersfield Firefighters Trout Derby on March 4. Buena Vista was scheduled to be planted last week. With the Kern River still running high and muddy, there have been few reports from the upper or lower river.
Call: Bob’s Bait (661) 833-8657; North Fork Marina (760) 376-1812
Bass 2; Crappie 2; Trout 2; Catfish 1
The lake is dropping again amid water releases, receding 14 feet to 624.15 in elevation and 21 percent capacity. Jacob Rutledge of Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield reported bass action is generally slow; working the bottom with plastics on the drop-shot or jigs on a slow presentation is the only effective technique. Crappie fishermen are using small to medium minnows for the slabs around structure.
Call: Sierra Sporting Goods 592-5212
Bass 2; Trout 2; Catfish 1; Crappie 1
The water is still stained, and the best action for bass is with jigs or plastic worms on a very slow presentation. Water releases are balancing the inflow and the outflow, but the water remains loaded with debris and stained after the quick rise, drawing flotsam from the banks. The Tule River continues to flow high and is unfishable for now. The lake dropped 2 feet to 628.94 in elevation and 48 percent capacity.
Call: Sequoia Fishing Co. 539-5626, sequoiafishingcompany.com
Bass 2; Trout 2; King salmon 1; Kokanee 1; Crappie 2; Catfish 2
The lake held at 73 percent, but the cumulative effect of continuous storms has stained the lake’s water. Bass fishing has slowed, and the best action remains on the bottom with jigs or plastics on the drop-shot at depths from 25-45 feet.
Call: Bait Barn (209) 874-3011
Fishing is limited to a few planters with garlic trout dough bait, Power Eggs or nightcrawlers. Trout plants are still absent, but the Calaveras Trout Farm is back in operation, and there is hope for biweekly plants at the lake in the upcoming months. There are no state Fish and Wildlife plants scheduled. The marina will not be installing bait tanks for live minnows, but live crawdads remain 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; Crappie 2
The lake rose slightly to 68 percent with water releases balanced between inflow. The bass limits range from 7-11 pounds with the best action still on the bottom at depths from 20-70 feet with plastics on the drop-shot, spoons or jigs. The lake is muddy in the river arm, but a few quality spotted bass are taken near Temperance Flat. Debris is floating and just under the surface on the lake. A few large crappie to 1.75 pounds are found by bass fishermen. In the San Joaquin River, Sycamore Island Pond opened at 6 a.m. Saturday; it be open every Friday, Saturday and Sunday and all state holidays. The trout pond is stocked and all other ponds are open. Day passes at $9 and season passes at $85 can be purchased online or at the bait shop on the property. 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 remains solid for a variety of species as it rises to levels unheard of for the past several years. The lake has risen to 44 percent capacity after languishing at less than 20 percent for the past year. increased water levels have allowed for all four lanes to be on the concrete at Glory Hole Point and the reopening of the Tuttletown launch ramp for the first time since 2014. The bass bite has been unpredictable with the rising water levels, but John Liechty of Glory Hole Sports in Angels Camp said, “The fish can be found at several different depths throughout the day with the best fishing in 15-50 feet of water. With the cold water temperatures, a slow presentation is best, and most fishermen are catching bass using baits that can be dragged slowly across the bottom. Arkie head jigs are a good choice, and they will pull through grass better than a football jigs, and either Texas- or Carolina-rigs are producing. Some fishermen are finding giant bass throwing swimbaits all day for the one big bite. I landed an 8.22-pound largemouth on a Baby Brush Hog first thing in the morning during our recent tournament.” Mike Gomez of the Bait Barn in Waterford fished the lake on Saturday, and he said, “It took a while before I figured out the pattern, but once I did, I caught and released between 15 and 20 fish including a 5-pound spotted bass using a Berserk Purple Hornet jig on a slow presentation. The best action came at depths from 25-55 feet.” Trout fishing has improved in the cooler temperatures with bank fishermen scoring off Glory Hole Point and near the Highway 49 Bridge with trout dough bait or nightcrawler/marshmallow combinations. Liechty said, “With the water stained, it is best to use a bait with a strong scent. Trollers are finding action in many different parts of the lake with the rainbows holding near the surface. A long setback of between 150-200 feet is necessary and running plugs or spoons in bright colors such as firetiger, orange, or chartreuse are working best.” The crappie bite is showing signs of life around the flooded brush and vegetation with small spinners or minijigs. Catfishing is slow in the cold water, but a few whiskerfish can be located near moving water at the inlets with a ball of nightcrawlers. New Melones is at 44 percent capacity and 951.39 feet in elevation.
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 3; Trout 2; King salmon 1; Catfish 1; Crappie 1
Pine Flat is hosting the majority of bass tournaments in the Fresno area, and the rainbow trout bite for trollers is picking up as the water continues to rise and cool with inflow from the upper Kings River. Upcoming tournaments at the lake are the Best Bass event Feb. 11, the Roosevelt High School Bass Fishers on Feb. 12, and the Sierra Bass and Bakersfield Bass Clubs on Feb. 18. Walt Lee of the Kerman Bass Club said, “Our club held a derby on Saturday, and there were 57 fished weighed in from 19 fishermen including seve limits with the winning limit at 13.02 pounds by Mitch Melikian and big fish at 3.01 pounds by John Albidrez.” Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun said, “Everything is on the bottom, and the bass bite has been hit or miss with limits averaging between 8 and 10 pounds. Some anglers are finding success, but there was a group of three good fishermen that were in the shop on Saturday, and they only had three fish between them on a recent trip. Trout fishing has become a better draw with some quality rainbows from 13-16 inches taken in the main lake with Needlefish or Apex lures at 4-5 colors of leadcore. One boat put in seven rainbows in the main lake, and they were trolling in the clearer waters of the main lake. The upper lake above the debris barrier is stained and loaded with wood.” Pine Flat rose 1 foot to 62 percent capacity and 879.50 feet in elevation. Water releases have begun. In the lower Kings below Pine Flat Dam, water releases are increasing flows, and fishing is a bit more difficult with the increased water running down the river. Planted rainbows are possible in the river or Avocado Lake with Power Bait, nightcrawlers or spinners such as 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 2; Catfish 2; Bass 1; Crappie 1
San Luis Reservoir is at 87 percent and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation portion is expected to fill it to capacity by late March as heavy water exports continue from the south Delta. As more and more shore area of the lake is being inundated, the striped bass are scattering out into unchartered waters in search of new food sources. With the Delta heavily stained, Steve Santucci of Steve Santucci’s Fly Fishing Guide Service has been fishing at San Luis Reservoir for striped bass, and he said, “I fished San Luis for the second time in as many weeks. The lake is shaping up nicely as it is about 25 feet from maximum elevation. We ended up catching some nice schoolie striped bass on large flies.” Roger George of Roger George Guide Service said that the fish are scattered and holding relatively shallow right now because of a thermocline. “The water temp is holding at about 50 degrees and the water is moderately clear in the rising lake, but a strong thermocline at 50 feet has caused the fishing to go shallower than usual,” George said. “There is some success with casting lures and trolling, but it’s changing from day to day with the passing storms. The regular patterns should return when the lake reaches near the top. Anglers need to also remember that they have to have compliant 2-stroke engines now, and go through the Quagga boat inspection if they don’t have a Quagga band attached.” Bank fishermen are finding the best action as Alex Tran of Coyote Bait and Tackle in Morgan Hill reported sales of jumbo minnows are currently down while blood and pile worms are on the increase. He said, “When the blood and pile worms are selling, you know that most fishermen are heading to the banks.” Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “There has been some action at the main lake as one of our customers came in with three striped bass weighing a total of 15 pounds while trolling and casting Speedlures.” In O’Neill Forebay, cold and muddy water has limited the reaction bite, but blood worms and pile worms have been effective near Check 12, particularly when the water is moving.
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 lake is very cold at 39 degrees, and the temperatures will need to rise to 45 before the bass become slightly more active. The boat ramp is in the water with the lake rising slightly to 76 percent. The trout bite should improve given a recent trout plant, but there have been few reports.. Webcams of the lake are available at www.basslakeca.com/.
Call: Mike Beighey 642-3748; Bass Lake Watersports 642-3200
Access to Edison and Florence Lakes remains limited to those on snowmobiles. Edison dropped slightly to 33 percent capacity, Florence is at 15 percent and Mammoth Pool nearly filled at 91 percent.
Call: Vermilion Valley Resort at Edison Lake 259-4000
Shaver Lake/Huntington Lake
Plants from the Shaver Lake Trophy Trout Program will be coming within the next few months; in the meantime, the program is expanding access for youth anglers. Led by classroom chairperson Dave Dungy of Shaver Lake, Pine Ridge school teacher Erin McCandless has been trained by the Department of Fish and Wildlife and she received a full aquarium and supplies for their classroom in order to raise rainbow trout. Dungy said, “The new trout eggs are arriving this week, and our program has been so much of a success, that we will be including other foothill schools next year.” The goals of the Trout in the Classroom program are to raise trout from eggs to fry, monitor tank water quality, engage in stream habitat study, learn to appreciate water resources, begin to foster a conservation ethic, and grow to understand ecosystems. At the end of the year, the fry are released into a state-approved stream near the school or other nearby watershed. Classrooms in Clovis, Oakhurst, Pine Ridge, and Big Creek are currently involved in the program. The Trophy Trout Program receives most of its funding from private and corporate donations as well as proceeds from their annual Sportsmen’s Dinner scheduled for 2017 on Aug. 12 at the Shaver Lake Community Center. Because of the recent trout plant, a few anglers have been braving the cold to set up along the banks for a few trout per rod using trout dough bait or nightcrawlers. Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun said, “One group landed three fish in four hours off of the banks, but it rained this past weekend to 6500 feet so there were few anglers out there.” Lake conditions can be seen at www.sierramarina.com. Shaver has dropped to 63 percent capacity and upstream Huntington slightly to 53 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
Gates on McKinley Grove Road are closed, with no vehicle access to Wishon or Courtright until the spring.
Call: Wishon RV Park 865-5361
Half Moon Bay
Striper 2; Crabs 2
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. Second Captain Michael Cabanas of the Huli Cat went out Saturday on a sand dab/crab combination trip, and they put together some of both species with the sand dabs taken on Sabiki rigs tipped with squid. 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. The annual Mavericks Big Wave Surf Contest may not be held this year as organizers filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy Jan. 31st. The event has been a big draw for party-boat passengers who enjoy the closeup view of the competition; without it, the boats will have far less to look forward to until salmon season. Mavericks has been held every year since 1999 at Pillar Point when the surf is breaking at 25 feet or greater a the Mavericks Reef north of the harbor. The Huli Cat, Captain Roger Thomas of the Salty Lady, Captain Dennis Baxter of the New Captain Pete, and the Queen of Hearts will run whale-watching and nature trips.
Call: Happy Hooker (510) 223-5388; Captain Roger Thomas, Salty Lady (415) 760-9362; Emeryville Sport Fishing (510) 654-6040
Striper 2; Crab 3
Chris Arcoleo of Chris’ Fishing Trips said, “We are running sand dab/Dungeness crab combination trips when the weather cooperates and there is enough interest, and we recorded 360 sand dabs plus 72 Dungeness crab for nine anglers on the Check Mate on one trip while the Caroline enjoyed similar success, bringing home 500 sandabs and 52 Dungies for the 10 anglers aboard.” The 13th annual Sand Crab Classic is coming to Santa Cruz and the adjacent coastline March 11, with entries limited to 300 participants and a registration deadline of Feb.12. Allen Bushnell of Santa Cruz Kayak Fishing and Surfcasting Guide Service reported, “On the Santa Cruz side of the bay, things are much slower. The Santa Cruz harbor entrance remains shoaled. Harbor officials remind boaters to exercise ‘extreme caution’ when attempting to transit the harbor mouth. Last week, Harbormaster Latisha Marshall advised to’be aware of the tides and know how much water your boat drafts.’ Current entrance soundings indicate only a narrow channel with a depth of 6-10 feet on the far east side of the harbor mouth is navigable, and there are very shallow sand bars immediately outside the harbor as well. In the good news column, we’ve had a few more striped bass reported caught from beaches close to the Salinas and Pajaro river mouths. Most of these beach stripers are sub-legal size but still a blast to catch.”
Call: Chris’ Landing (831) 375-5951; Bayside Marine (831) 475-2173; usafishing.com
San Francisco Bay
Striper 2; Leopard shark 2; Sturgeon 3; Crab 2
Captain Chris Smith of Captain Hook Sport Fishing was out on his six-pack, “The Defiant,” and had a stellar day on Saturday with two keepers at 50 and 43 inches along with eight shakers and an oversized sturgeon with three stripers to boot. He said, “It was a great day of sturgeon fishing with Ron Watzke of Tracy landing and releasing a big oversized estimated at 78 inches along with a 50-inch keeper while Jonathan Anderson lost a slot fish in the propeller before landing a 43-inch slot fish.” Smith was fishing in the back of San Pablo Bay in the shallows. Keith Fraser of Loch Lomond Bait and Tackle in San Rafael reported there was a big run on mud shrimp before the sturgeon derby, and he hopes to have more live mud shrimp in the shop by Monday afternoon. He said, “There was one angler on Thursday who had never landed a sturgeon before, and he bought a dozen ghost shrimp since he had 1.5 hours before he had to go to work. I suggested that he go off of the levee at the marina, and he found beginner’s luck with a 43-inch sturgeon on his first cast. He came back 45 minutes later with the sturgeon and 11 ghost shrimp left. He went back out on Friday with another dozen ghost shrimp as he didn’t take care of the original dozen, and he landed another 43-incher in the same spot on his second cast. I believe the majority of sturgeon are dining on herring down bay, but they will be back soon.” There was a massive herring spawn in the south bay near Coyote Point on Friday, and fishermen were out in force with their cast nets. With the herring showing up in the south bay, the sturgeon are sure to be there as well. Reminder that sturgeon may not be taken in the following described area from Jan. 1-March 15: that portion of San Francisco Bay within the following boundaries – a direct line between Point Chauncy (National Marine Fisheries Laboratory) and Point Richmond, the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge and a direct line between Point Lobos and Point Bonita.
San Luis Obispo
Surf perch 3
Surf perch fishing is keeping anglers occupied, and Jacob Rutledge of Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield reported barred and calico perch coming on blood worms from Pismo Beach for Central Valley fishermen. Boats will focus on nature and whale watching trips until the 2017 rockfish opener in April.
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 33rd annual Foundation Sportsmen’s Club Original Sturgeon (aka “Super Bowl”) Derby was impacted by inclement weather and wind over the weekend after experiencing tremendous weather during the 2016 event. Most stayed above the Carquinez Bridge to fish throughout the night since anchoring at night in San Pablo Bay is illegal. Tony Lopez of Benicia Bait said, “The winning fish on Sunday came in with 10 minutes to spare before the 1 o’clock finale, and this fish was only one-quarter of an inch off of the target-length. There were lots of big fish landed, and the ones that came out of San Pablo Bay were loaded with mud shrimp as the Department of Fish and Wildlife researchers were present at the measuring table and inspecting the fish and their stomach contents.” Captain Steve Mitchell of Hook’d Up Sport Fishing out of Pittsburg was out during the full event, and he said, “We had three bites and three hook ups during the 30 hours with Jason Johnson of Valljo releasing a 62-inch oversized, Clifford Terrell of Vallejo releasing a 49-inch slot-limit fish, and I released the baby of the group at 15 inches. There was a lot of trash coming down the river, and we had to constantly clear our lines and the anchor rope.” In addition to the salmon roe, Mitchell advised having a piece of eel on your hook at all times since it will stay on when the other baits fall off, and combinations of eel/pile worms, eel/ghost shrimp, eel/nightcrawlers or eel/roe can all be productive. Once the eel soaks for a bit, Mitchell will inject some Pro Cure Herring Oil, Lamprey Eel, or Pile Worm scent into the bait. Andy Doudna, organizer of Addathon Ironman Sturgeon Derby, said, “This was the hardest fishing I have seen in quite awhile, and I had a hard time finding sturgeon on the chomp. There were sturgeon landed at the Mothball Fleet, Roe and Ryer Island, the Big Cut and Sherman Island that I know of, but the bite was tough for most anglers with only a few fish feeding here and there. The best baits were salmon roe, lamprey eel, and ghost shrimp for the most part as the water temperature was in the 50- to 51-degree range. There was little grass on the surface, but there are some very large deadheads and trash on the surface, making for the necessity to keep your eyes on the water while running around.” The next major sturgeon derby on the Delta will be the spring version of the Addathon Ironman Sturgeon Derby out of Pittsburg in March. The Original Sturgeon Derby was the focus over the past weekend, and although most participants do not target the San Joaquin River, anglers in the south and east Delta have been heading to Suisun Bay for sturgeon as opposed to targeting striped bass in local waters. The river is starting to clear to some degree, but the overall visibility is limited. Alan Fong of the Fisherman’s Warehouse in Sacramento said, “One fishermen was able to put together a limit over 20 pounds throwing dark-patterned spinnerbaits in Whites Slough. The water temperature is warmer at 55 degrees, and the visibility isn’t too bad at 2 feet. He only landed six largemouth bass, but there were all big fish.” Dan Mathisen of Dan’s Delta Outdoors in Oakley said, “It is sturgeon derby weekend, and we have been selling lots of cured ghost shrimp along with pickled and bloody eel for sturgeon fishermen. The Delta is starting to clear up and the water temperatures are stabilizing. There have been some largemouth bass taken on chatterbaits, and I expect the bass bite to go wide open within a few weeks. The best action at the current time has been on south facing banks with jigs on a slow presentation as the water temperature in the south Delta has been in the 51.5- to 53-degree range with the warmest water in the late afternoon.” Steve Santucci of Steve Santucci’s Fly Fishing Guide Service has been fishing at San Luis Reservoir for striped bass amid the poor visibility in the south Delta, but he said, “The Delta is clearing but still off color in most places. I will be fishing the Delta this next week in between fronts.” Gotcha Bait in Antioch reported most fishermen are heading to Suisun Bay, but the Antioch Fishing Pier is the top local spot for striped bass to 22 inches with sardine fillets or live mudsuckers. There is some clearing in the south Delta, and the debris is starting to dissipate.
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 spotted bass bite has slowed down after the rapid rise of the reservoir along with heavy floating and submerged debris on the water. A few spots are taken on the bottom with jigs, spoons, or plastics with the best action along steep ledges. Nacimiento has risnen to 786.55 feet in elevation and 81 percent capacity. Nacimiento will be hosting a number of tournaments within the coming months including the Best Bass Tournament event Saturday. At Lopez, the lake has risen to more than 35 percent, and the launch ramp is open to all boats. Bass fishing is fair at best with live bait such as nightcrawlers or plastics on the drop-shot. Catfish can be take on cut baits. All boats are inspected prior to launching and must be clean and dry upon arrival. Use caution while on the lake given the threat of floating debris and underwater hazards near shore. At Santa Margarita, the marina launch ramp is back in operation, and the lake has risen in excess of 60 percent capacity. The floating debris on the lake has created hazardous conditions for boaters, but a few fishermen are locating bass using a variety of reaction baits, jigs or plastics on the drop-shot. Vehicle entry at Santa Margarita and Lopez is reduced to $5 on Tuesdays. San Antonio Reservoir is closed indefinitely, but the lake has risen to 25 percent. Reminder aht consuming white bass, black bass, crappie, catfish, or carp are subject to safe eating guidelines because of the threat of excessive mercury. Quagga mussel inspections are required before boat launching is allowed.
Call: Lake Nacimiento (805) 238-1056, ext. 3; Lake San Antonio Marina (805) 472-2818; CentralCoastBassFishing.com (805) 466-6557
- Foundation Sportsmen’s Club Original Sturgeon Derby (58-inch target length) on Feb. 4-5 at Delta/McAvoy’s Boat Harbor in Bay Point: Saturday’s winners – 1, Eduardo Lucatero 57 9/16; 2, Michael Johnson 58 7/16; 3, Vernon Jones 58 1/2; 4, Oleg Melnichuk 56 5/8; 5, Patricia Farmer 59 1/16; 6, Larry Turner 56 3/4; 7, Steve Veeningen 56 1/2. Sunday’s winners – 1, Joseph Shade 57 3/4; 2, Daniel Weir 58 5/16; 3, Ba Nguyen 59; 4, Amy Fiala 56 15/16; 5, Mark Wiegel 56 5/8; 6, Joseph Pato 59 11/16; 7, Fred Luxford 59 11/16. Payouts – 1, $5,318; 2, $2,127; 3, $1,037; 4, $850; 5, $531; 6, $425; 7, $320
- Success Bass Club on Jan. 29 at Pine Flat: 1, Chad Cloyd/David Simpson 11.22: 2, Cory Kerber/Jeremy Pitts 11.19; 3, Gary Wasson/Joe Baeza 9.75; big fish, Dave Nishimoto/Pierre Matthews 3.46
- Kerman Bass Club on Feb. 4 at Pine Flat: 1, Mitch Melikian 13.02: 2, Ryan Voorhees 11.53; 3, Darren Graef 11.03.; big fish John Albidrez 3.01
- Feb. 11: Delta Bass Club at Delta/Russo’s Marina; Manteca Bassin’ Buddies at Tulloch; Sonora Bass Anglers/Christian Bass League at Don Pedro; River Rats Bass Club at McClure; Best Bass Tournaments at Pine Flat; Bass N’ Tubes/Kern County Bass Masters at Nacimiento
- Feb. 12: Fresno Bass Club/Kings VIII Bass Club at McClure; Roosevelt High School Bass Fishers at Pine Flat
- Feb. 18: American Bass Association at Delta/Russo’s; Angler’s Press at New Melones; Best Bass Tournaments at Don Pedro; TriValley Bass Masters at McClure; Sierra Bass Club/Bakersfield Bass Club at Pine Flat; Taft Bass Club at Kaweah; New Jen at Success; SLO County Bass Ambushers at Nacimiento
- Feb. 19: Tracy Bass Club at Delta/Tracy Oasis; Kerman Bass Club/Valley Hawg Hunters at Don Pedro
- Feb. 25: California Delta Team Trail/Bass Anglers of Northern California at Delta/Russo’s Marina; Oro Madre Bass Club at Don Pedro; American Bass Association at Kaweah; Best Bass Tournaments/Golden Empire Bass Club at Nacimiento
- Feb. 26: California Bass Federation at Delta/B and W Resort; California Bass Federation at McClure; Kings River Bass Club at Kaweah
- March 4: California Delta Team Trail at Delta/Russo’s Marina; New Jen at Kaweah; American Bass Association at Nacimiento
- March 4-5: Valley Hawg Hunters at Delta/Russo’s Marina
- March 5: Success Bass Club at Success
- March 11: 13th annual Sand Crab Classic Perch Derby at Santa Cruz/Monterey County, sandcrabclassic.com. Final deadline is Feb. 12.
- Fresno County: Fresno City Woodward Park; Kings River, below Pine Flat Dam
- Kern County: Ming Lake; River Walk Lake
- Madera County: Sycamore Island Pond
f = full moon > = peak activity