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.
McClure bass hitting, Dave Hurley said. Don Pedro bass on a tear, Kevin Cheek reported. New Melones bass and trout kicking it, Mike Gomez reported. Millerton and Pine Flat bass continue feeding, Steve Burrows said. Delta bass feeding, Alan Fong 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 its entire stretch because of increased water diversions. The muddy water has limited the number of fishermen in the northern parts of the aqueduct. The flushing will pay dividends as the water clears. Jacob Rutledge of Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield reported the water is still moving fast, but one fishermen throwing Gitzits caught and released 12-15 striped bass to 24 inches. Anglers are encouraged to remove their trash and other debris to avoid reductions in access.
Bass 2; Trout 1; Bluegill 1; Catfish 1; Crappie 1
The lake dropped 11.5 feet to 565.02 in elevation and 76 percent capacity, with little to report meaning the best action yet to come. One angler fished 6 hours for a single bass, but the Rat-L-Trap bite will take off once the water stabilizes.
Call: Six Star Tackle Box 673-5688; Eastman Lake 689-3255
Bass 2; Trout 1; Catfish 1; Bluegill 1; Crappie 1
Water releases lowered the lake 13 feet to 495.32 in elevation and 37 percent capacity. Only a few kayakers are heading to the lake and bass action remains slow. Fishing should be outstanding once the lake clears, given new food sources from all of the inundated ground.
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 2
Don Pedro is reaching near-maximum storage at 830 feet in elevation. For the first time in 20 years, the controlled spillway was opened Monday. The combined forecasts for Monday and Tuesday had projected a total of 5.7 inches of precipitation in the upper watershed. The following is a press release regarding recreational boating on the lake issued by the Turlock Irrigation District: Bonds Flat Road and Lake Closure: Due to the planned operation of the Controlled Spillway at Don Pedro Lake, the Turlock Irrigation District and the Don Pedro Recreation Agency have closed all launch ramps and are NOT allowing recreational boating on Don Pedro Lake until further notice. In addition, the Don Pedro Recreation Agency Visitor Center/Headquarters is also closed. The campgrounds and the Blue Oaks Houseboat Repair Yard will remain open. Fleming Meadows can be accessed via Hwy 132 and Bonds Flat Road. Blue Oaks can be accessed via La Grange Road (J-59) and Bonds Flat Road. Bonds Flat Road will remain closed just beyond the entrances to Fleming Meadows and Blue Oaks and no vehicle or pedestrian traffic will be permitted beyond the road closures. We will continue to provide updates as necessary. For further information visit tid.org/flows, www.donpedrolake.com, tid.org/water/hydrological-data, www.stanemergency.com, StanAware.com. If you have other questions or concerns, please contact the Don Pedro Recreation Agency at 209-852-2396, ext. 3. Bass fishing was outstanding at Saturday’s Best Bass Tournament, with director Kevin Cheek saying, “The winning limit was taken by the team of Kevin Davidson and Bryan Cox at 22.11 pounds with a big fish at 6.65 pounds and the top three weights were all over 18.42 pounds. Alabama rigs were attributed to the winning limit, and the fish were found at depth from 2-22 feet. The lake was dirty in some spots, but it was clear in others. Jigs and plastics on the Carolina-rig were also listed as the best options. There were a total of 316 fish weighed in for a total of 772.03 pounds – a 2.44-pound average.” Mike Gomez of the Bait Barn in Waterford said, “Jigs and plastics are working well, particularly the Berserk Purple Hornet Jig or Pro Worms in colors 124p or 300 on a drop-shot.” The main lake is reported to be clear, but the section from the Highway 49 Bridge to Moccasin is chocolate brown with floating and submerged trees throughout the lake. The parking lot is flooded at Blue Oaks, leaving Fleming Meadows as the current available launch ramp. One complicating factor of water releases from Don Pedro into the Tuolumne River is the narrow canyon below the dam, limiting the volume that can be released without flooding portions of Modesto. High water releases also will affect the San Joaquin River near Lathrop and in Weston Ranch southwest of Stockton. The lake dropped to 825.37 feet in elevation and 97 percent capacity.
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 2 Catfish 2 Bluegill 2
Jacob Rutledge of Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield reported one of their regulars took a scouting trip to Lake Isabella to check out the crappie possibilities, and they marked the slabs in deeper water, preparing to stage up into the shallows. Bass also are starting to get active in the warming water, and the few fishermen trying are scoring with deep-diving crankbaits or jigs in 14-20 feet of water. 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. For reservations, call the Sequoia Recreation Office at 760-376-1815. The lake came up 3 feet to 2,583.09 in elevation and 60 percent capacity. There are two upcoming tournaments at the River Walk, with the Kern County Sheriff’s Trout Derby on Feb. 25 and the Bakersfield Firefighters Trout Derby on March 4. The River Walk will be planted prior to both events. The small lake at Buena Vista was planted with trout this week. There are few reports from either the upper or lower Kern River with the high flows.
Call: Bob’s Bait (661) 833-8657; North Fork Marina (760) 376-1812
Bass 3; Crappie 2; Trout 1; Catfish 2
The lake rose three feet this week to 663.46 in elevation and 48 percent capacity. There have been some huge largemouth bass taken within the past week, including a 9.66-pounder as the big fish at Saturday’s New Jen tournament – part of a winning 20.36-pound limit. Bank anglers are using red worms or live minnows from the banks near the second launch ramp for crappie.
Call: Sierra Sporting Goods 592-5212
Bass 2; Trout 1; Catfish 1; Crappie 1
The lake dropped 5 feet to 638.70 in elevation and 65 percent capacity. The water remains stained, and few bass fishermen are targeting the lake because of the conditions and paucity of upcoming tournaments. The Tule River continues to flow high and is unfishable.
Call: Sequoia Fishing Co. 539-5626, sequoiafishingcompany.com
Bass 3; Trout 2; King salmon 1; Kokanee 1; Crappie 2; Catfish 2
The lake has held at 90 percent within the week despite water releases into the Merced River up to 5000 cfs. The bass bite is still good with Berserk jigs in brown/purple or Purple Hornet along with 5- to 6-inch Pro Worms in patterns 124p or 300 at depths from 25-50 feet. Boaters are advised to use caution given floating and submerged debris, including logs, on the lake. Launch ramps at Barretts Cove South and McClure Point are open. The Barrett Cove Marina has been returned to its location on the northeast side of the lake and should be back in operation this week along with the café/store and a new fuel system. The Merced Irrigation District has constructed a new boat launch and parking areas at McClure Point, with a spring opening expected.
Call: Bait Barn (209) 874-3011
A few holdover rainbows from the October plant can be taken on garlic trout dough bait, clear Gulp! Power Eggs or nightcrawlers on an 18- to 24-inch leader, but recent trout plants remain absent. There are small park-model rental cabins overlooking the lake that are under construction and slated to be open in the coming months. The Exchequer Bike Park will be opened with a constructed cross-country bike loop. There is hope for biweekly plants at the lake in the coming months.
Call: McSwain Marina (209) 378-2534
Millerton Lake/San Joaquin River
Bass 3; Striped bass 1; Shad 1; Bluegill 1; Trout 2
Numbers of spotted bass are abundant for fishermen targeting Millerton Lake. Striped bass remain absent, but high water levels at the lake should contribute to a much improved bite once the weather stabilizes. Steve Burrows of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “It is a matter of numbers versus size, and there are plenty of spotted bass to be caught with an early-morning reaction bite with Alabama rigs loaded with 2.5- to 3-inch KeiTech swimbaits in shad patterns or rainbow shad along with swimbaits on an underspin head. The water is dirty on top, but plastics on the drop-shot or dart head at depths from 40-60 feet are working, particularly if the 6-inch worm has a little bit of purple or blue. A jig is not a bad option either. The reaction fish are all tight to the banks, and these have been the better quality of spotted bass.” The river arm is stained and is holding the majority of floating and submerged debris while the clearest water in the lake is in the main lake. Lake administrators are attempting to balance inflow with releases, and the level dropped to 82 percent this past week. Few tournaments are scheduled on the lake given the high costs of holding an event there including the launch fees. In the San Joaquin River, Sycamore Island Pond is open Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and all state holidays. The trout pond is stocked and all other ponds are open. Day passes are $9 and a season pass is $85. Passes 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 4; Crappie 2; Catfish 2; Trout 3
New Melones continues to rise to heights not experienced in several years; it is one of the only reservoirs in the state with room for inflow. The lake came up to 58 percent this week, and as the state’s third-largest reservoir, it should rise more in the coming week. Bass fishing is starting to take off, and there were some impressive weights landed during Saturday’s Future Pro Tour event. As the main lake is clear, trout trolling is consistent on a long setback with spoons or plugs. Mike Gomez of the Bait Barn in Waterford participated in the tour event with brother Victor and said, “The bass bite was fantastic as we landed 60 fish for a limit at 16.23 pounds – good for seventh place. We were culling 2-pound fish all day long, and the reaction bite has turned on. I was fishing a River2Sea SWaver in Yellow Trout for most of the day while my brother was using a FattieWorm Copy Cat on a drop-shot. Most of my fish came in the top 10 feet, and the water clarity was 5 feet in the main lake with a temperature at 54 degrees. There were 86 teams in tournament, and the top weight came in at over 20 pounds. The winning team was reported to be using underspins. By mid-March, there should be a wide-open pre-spawn bite as the fish are stacking up and stacking up fast.” John Liechty of Glory Hole Sports in Angels Camp said, “The bass are getting active as the water temperatures have come up a few degrees, and the big fish should be coming out soon. Last year, an 11 pounder was landed at the end of February, and I expect some great action this spring. We have consistently been finding larger bass on our recent trips. Trout fishermen are still finding limits trolling in the main lake, but there is a large amount of decomposing grass and debris on the lake. You have to be willing to clean your lines regularly. One of our regulars trolls the lake at least three times per week, and he is limiting out with planters within two hours. The most difficult challenge is keeping your lines clean.” Bank fishing with trout dough bait with scent, nightcrawlers or Power Eggs is fair in the stained water, and once the water clears, the action should improve. New Melones came up 32 feet to 983.88 in elevation and 55 percent.
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 remains the top location for bass fishermen in the Central Valley with regular tournaments scheduled at the lake. The water level continues to rise steadily; floating and submerged debris upriver has resulted in the temporary closure of the Trimmer Marina launch ramp. Steve Burrows of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “The bass bite has been a bit spotty, but the numbers are there. With the high water and the winds, there is a mud line along the lake’s edge, and there is a reaction bite in the early-morning hours with A-rigs, chatterbaits, or spinnerbaits with larger blades in bright colors such as chartreuse. You need something with vibration. After the early morning reaction bite for the better cut of bass, the best action is with plastics in Oxblood or People’s worms on a finesse presentation on a drop-shot or dart head at depths from 30-40 feet for a smaller grade of spotted bass. The reaction bite is taking place at depths from the banks to 20 feet on the flats adjacent to deep water.” Although most of the debris is in the river arm above the trash barrier, there are floating and submerged logs in the main lake. Burrows said, “I was out there during last weekend’s Roosevelt High School Bass Fisher’s tournament, and there were around 30 teams representing 8-10 schools. The limits were comparable to previous day’s limits at the Best Bass Tournaments event with the top high school team weighing in at 13.5 pounds. The high school fishermen landed a few rainbow trout in the 16- to 18-inch range while drop-shotting or spooning at depths around 30 feet in the main lake. Trollers are finding mixed results with Needlefish near the dam area at depths from 20-30 feet.” The lake rose only 1.5 feet to 903.86 in elevation and 74 percent capacity this week. In the lower Kings below Pine Flat Dam, water releases are making for challenging conditions, but anglers are scoring planted rainbows with Power Bait or Kastmasters. The river calms down a bit past Winton Park. 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 2; Crappie 1
San Luis Reservoir has risen to 94 percent capacity and the stripers have been on a decent bite at times for trollers. With the lake inundating new areas untouched by water for months (if not years), combined with warm air temperatures, the striped bass are becoming more active. There have been reports of stripers boiling on the surface near Dinosaur Point within the past week. Jesus Reyes Silva of JKings Lures in Hollister has been finding quality stripers trolling his custom jerkbaits in 110 mm pearl green or purple halo at depths from 5-40 feet in the main lake. Jeremy Souza of Los Banos landed a 15-pound striped bass trolling a C-rig loaded with small shad-patterned swimbaits. Roger George of Roger George Guide Service said that he scouted the big lake alone, in the light rain Saturday, and that the fish are beginning to develop some new patterns. “I worked for half a day to find the right combination of factors and around noon I finally hit it, releasing over 11 fish to over 24 inches in just 2 hours –while losing several more – before the wind came up,” George said. “Regular minnow lures in shad colors were working. I expect the bite pattern to completely change again very soon, as water temps rise and the fish spread out, making the pattern much more specific and tough to find. Water temps are up to 52 degrees now, and it’s just 7 feet from the top – an ocean!” George said. Steve Burrows of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “Trollers have been finding good action in the middle of the lake in the open water with Speed Lures, and I spoke with Nick Xjool of Speed Lures and he is getting away from the boat traffic and working open water at depths around 30 feet. The best action for stripers in our area has been in the big lake with deep-diving crankbaits or jerkbaits. The forebay is a muddy mess right now so most fishermen are in the main lake.” Coyote Bait and Tackle in Morgan Hill reported there is some action in the forebay with blood worms, sardines or anchovies around Check 12.
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
Water temperatures are creeping higher after early snowmelt dropped the lake into the high 30-degree range. The big bass bite with swimbaits is only a few weeks off, and many Central Valley fishermen are eagerly awaiting for this to happen. The magic mark is 45 degrees; the lake is currently about 41 degrees and 78 percent capacity. Webcams are available at basslakeca.com/.
Call: Mike Beighey 642-3748; Bass Lake Watersports 642-3200
Access to Edison and Florence lakes is limited to those on snowmobiles. Edison dropped slightly to 30 percent capacity, Florence is at 13 percent and Mammoth Pool at 99 percent.
Call: Vermilion Valley Resort at Edison Lake 259-4000
Shaver Lake/Huntington Lake
Bob Bernier of the Shaver Lake Trophy Trout Project said, “There have been few boats on the lake, but the few boats on the lake are picking up a few rainbows near the dam with blade/’crawler combinations in the upper 5 feet of the surface. The fish are all close to the surface, and those using downriggers at 15 feet are not getting bit.” Shore fishing is slow with an average of 1-3 rainbows to 16 inches with trout dough bait/nightcrawler combinations. A webcam of the launch ramp and parking lot is available at www.sierramarina.com/camera.html. Plants from the Trout Project will occur in the coming months. The lake held at 62 percent capacity with Huntington at 45 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 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
Sand dab/Dungeness crab or crab-only trips are still on the slate, but the combination of limited interest and steady storms along the coast have led to the voyages being few and far between. The Huli Cat is the only large party boat running the combo trips; they also will operate crab-only or whale-watching trips until the anticipated salmon opener in April. Captain Michael Cabanas of the Huli Cat said, “Our last trip was on Feb. 4, and we found good action for both crab and sand dabs for a light load of fishermen including Mark Ortega from Daly City and Jake Pos from Escalon. The best set up for sand dabs has been Sabiki rigs tipped with squid.” The Titans of Mavericks Big Wave Surf Contest has been a bonanza for local party boats. But with its likely cancellation this year, those crafts are limited to nature and whale-watching trips. Farther north in Pacifica, crabbing at the Pacifica Pier remains steady with crab snares, and striped bass are showing up along the beaches at Linda Mar and Mori’s Point with metal jigs or hair raisers. The bottom-fish season opens April 1 south of Pigeon Point and April 15 in local waters; the ocean salmon opener and seasonal restrictions have yet to be announced.
Call: Happy Hooker (510) 223-5388; Captain Roger Thomas, Salty Lady (415) 760-9362; Emeryville Sport Fishing (510) 654-6040
Striper 2, Crab 3
The Check Mate out of Chris’s Fishing Trips in Monterey went out Sunday for a total of 320 sand dabs and 78 crab for 16 anglers. They are taking these trips depending on weather conditions and angler interest. Chris Arcoleo said, “This coming rockfish season should be really good with 10 more fathoms of water available, the opening of Point Sur, and the keeping of a single canary in the 10-fish limit. All of this fresh water will only create great conditions for the coastal rockfish.” The 13th annual Sand Crab Classic is coming to Santa Cruz and the adjacent coastline March 11. Allen Bushnell of Santa Cruz Kayak Fishing and Surfcasting Guide Service reported, “The big waves that accompanied our most recent storms have radically sculpted beaches from Santa Cruz to Monterey. It may take a bit of exploring to find your favorite spot, but most of the historical surfcasting beaches should be in very good shape. Along East Cliff Drive in Santa Cruz, many of the beaches are scoured down to bedrock. This makes wonderful deep spots for perch to feed, but can also be very snaggy. Expect to lose some gear if fishing over a rocky bottom.” Farther south, Rio Del Mar, Manresa and Sunset beaches have developed very nice structure with multiple sandbars and rip current areas in which to fish. Even with good structure, big waves can make things difficult with so much water moving. A few anglers have reported better luck on the lower tides, where the holes and troughs are easier to locate. Santa Cruz Harbor is still suffering from shoaling at the harbor mouth. Any sort of swell over the shallow sandbar makes the harbor entrance not only difficult, but dangerous. Mechanical problems have delayed dredging progress. The effective harbor closure is causing increasing frustration amongst local boaters, especially commercial anglers who call Santa Cruz home. Harbor authorities share this frustration. Port Director Lisa Ekers provided an update Wednesday explaining, “The dredging operation has been shut down due to engine failure on the workboat Dauntless. The dredge cannot work if it can't be moved into position and have its anchors rearranged throughout the day, jobs that can only be performed by a workboat. This is extremely disappointing to the crews who were making tremendous progress against the shoaling last week. We are currently working simultaneously on finding a workboat to hire and on purchasing and installing two new engines for Dauntless.“
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
The weather was the factor in San Francisco Bay, and wind kept most party boats from tucking into the flats in San Pablo Bay near Sonoma Creek. Captain Jim Smith of the Happy Hooker was able to put his customers onto a keeper Saturday despite the winds. Keith Fraser of Loch Lomond Bait and Tackle in San Rafael confirmed slow water movement over the weekend along with the high winds and rainy weather. He said, “There weren’t many boats out, but the McNear’s Pier has been outstanding with 6 sturgeon landed on Saturday and also good action on Monday. Anthony Hampton has caught and released four oversized sturgeon this past week at 63, 68, 75, and 81 inches with two off of the pier and two from the shoreline at Sonoma Creek.” Captain Michael Rescino of the Lovely Martha out of San Francisco is getting in on the sturgeon trips, and they started out with a pair of keeper sturgeon on Saturday to go with five keeper bay on their first trip. Reminder that sturgeon may not be taken in the following described area through March 15: That portion of San Francisco Bay included 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
Rockfish season reopens April 1. In the meantime, party boats out of Port San Luis and Morro Bay will focus on nature and whale-watching trips.
Call: Virg’s Landing, (805) 772-1222; (800) 762-5263; Patriot Sports Fishing (805) 595-4100; Port Side Marine Sports Launch (805) 595-7214
Bass 3; Striper 2; Sturgeon 2; Catfish 2; Bluegill 2
The Sacramento-Delta remains high and muddy, with water levels expected to rise again at the start of this week because of releases out of Shasta, Oroville and Nimbus dams as the latest huge storm hit the upper watershed. The majority of launch ramps in the north Delta are under water or nearly underwater, and boaters will need to check before hooking up their trailer and heading out. Debris and submerged logs are a feature in the north as well, and boating is hazardous at best. Between the Sacramento, Feather and American rivers alone, a total of 159,000 cubic feet per second were flowing out of the reservoirs. That doesn’t include the Calaveras and the Cosumnes/Mokelumne Rivers that come straight into the Delta. Captain Steve Talmadge of Flash Fishing out of Martinez said, “The sturgeon fishing has been good the last few trips. There has been a lot of debris in the water and short flood tides due to all the water coming down river. The temperature is 53 degrees, higher than normal. The sturgeon are more active during the warmer water. And with the large water flows the tides are not as important.” Captain Jim Smith of the Happy Hooker added, “My grandson Jonathan went across the river from Martinez to Benicia to fuel up the six-pack Defiant, and he said it was difficult to get through the debris in the main channel.” Captain Steve Mitchell of Hook’d Up Sport Fishing out of Pittsburg was out Saturday, and he said, “It was rough out there, and we really couldn’t fish where we wanted to without having to clear grass continuously off of our lines. The water temperature was only 51 degrees in the shallows at 14 feet, and I think the drop in temperature from the winds created a tough bite since the fish were there.” Captain Chris Smith of Captain Hook Sport Fishing out of Martinez has been fishing in San Pablo Bay for the past few weeks, but he came above the Benicia/Martinez Bridge for keepers Saturday and Sunday. Smith was hunting around above the fleet before settling on the deep water near Buoys 2/3. Smith put Sarah Lee onto a 43-inch keeper sturgeon on Saturday near Buoy 2 and scored a 43-incher for Ruben Clement of Marysville on Sunday in the Big Cut. He said, “We have been using a combination of salmon roe and eel, and the debris is intense in the area. I really expect the month of March to be outstanding for sturgeon once the river calms down.” Steffan Masters of Lost Anchor Bait and Tackle at McAvoy’s Boat Harbor in Bay Point said, “The sturgeon bite has been excellent with strong reports around the Yellow Can Buoy in front of the harbor.” The Addathon Iron Man Sturgeon Derby is March 11-12 out of Pittsburgh Harbor. The East Delta is being stressed to capacity by high water conditions from increased water releases out of Millerton, Don Pedro and Lake McClure along with inflow from the Calaveras and Mokelumne Rivers. The Tyler Island levee on the Mokelumne River has required emergency repairs in order to avoid the largest levee breech since 2004 on Lower Jones Tract. Many launch ramps are currently out of commission due to high water, and anglers will need to check local conditions before attempting to launch. The San Joaquin River near Vernalis broke through a levee on Monday night, requiring the evacuation of parts of southern San Joaquin County, southwest of Manteca. Alan Fong of the Fisherman’s Warehouse in Sacramento has been launching out of Honker Cut Marina, but he said, “You have to wear waders since the water is way up on the launch ramp. We have been finding great action in the sloughs with spinnerbaits, chatterbaits, or Senkos in chartreuse. The water temperature has been in the 58 to 60 degree range, and although the largemouth bass bite has been very good for us, there are no stripers around in the east Delta.” The launch ramps at Ladd’s Marina in Stockton, B and W Resort and Korth’s Pirates Lair are possibly open, but prior contact is advised. Randy Pringle, the Fishing Instructor, gave this following advice regarding the Delta. He said, “I am not fishing in the Delta with clients right now, and the number one reason is the safety due to the elevation of the water with the inflow and the high tides along with the debris. Operating a boat in the waterways is not helping the fragile levees, and I will relax and wait. The past few days of warm weather has brought up the water temperature, and the bass are ready to go. If I was out there, I would be tossing a 10-inch Power Worm since the big tail gives plenty of wobble along with scent. Vibration and scent are the keys to getting bit in the dirty water conditions. Other productive options are chartreuse spinnerbaits with big thumping willow-leaf blades or chatterbaits. When the conditions are tough, you have to cover a lot of water for success.” Dan Mathisen of Dan’s Delta Outdoors in Oakley said, “Largemouth bass fishing is starting to come back, and we are selling lots of black and blue Senkos, jigs, or Strike King’s Magnum Rage creature bait along with spinnerbaits or chatterbaits. A 23.25-pound limit took the 19-boat American Bass Association out of Russo’s Marina this Saturday, and the average limit was 11.80 pounds. The best action is from south of Mildred Island and into the sloughs with east/west orientation without current such as Whiskey or Latham. The main river is chocolate mud, but there is clear water behind the tules in the shallows, and it is warmer at 55/56 degrees. Sturgeon fishing is best in the shallows near Broad and New York Sloughs, and if we get a week of clear water, watch out since the bite will break out. Anglers are already marking striped bass, but they aren’t biting in the muddy water.” The Department of Boating and Waterways will begin herbicide treatment for various water weeds March 1 and also will be using mechanical harvesting to control spongeplant, water hyacinth, and water primrose infested areas as needed. These aquatic invasive plants have no known natural controls in the west coast’s largest estuary, and new funding from the 2015-16 state budget and partnerships has increased the number of resources available to the division this year. Information is available at www.uscgboating.org.
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
Lake Nacimiento’s spillway was opened up over the weekend, and the Monterey County Water Resources Department will continue making flood control releases of up to 4,000 cubic feet per second (cfs) from Nacimiento Reservoir for the purpose of maintaining flood control space. Timing and release rates will vary depending on natural river flow and weather conditions. Releases from San Antonio Reservoir are expected to remain at 3 cfs. The coastal lakes are rising rapidly, and even San Antonio that held at 4 percent for months is currently above 36 percent and may be opened once again with the coming months. Nacimiento will be hosting a number of tournaments within the coming months, but recent tournaments have been postponed due to floating debris on the surface and just under the surface of the reservoir. A few fishermen are out on the lake, and finesse techniques of drop-shotting plastics or Carolina-rigged creature baits along drop offs are working best. At Lopez, the lake has risen to over 50 percent, and the launch ramp is open to all boats. All boats are inspected prior to launching. All boats must be clean and dry upon arrival. Use caution while on the lake of floating debris and underwater hazards near the shoreline. Finesse techniques work best for numbers, but the larger grade is found on deep-diving crankbaits. At Santa Margarita, the lake has risen from 9.6 percent to spilling within six weeks, and debris on the lake has created hazardous conditions for boaters. Vehicle entry at Santa Margarita and Lopez is reduced to $5 on Tuesdays. San Antonio Reservoir also has risen from less than 5 percent to its current status of 36 percent. The lake may be open for recreation within the coming months.
Call: Lake Nacimiento (805) 238-1056, ext. 3; Lake San Antonio Marina (805) 472-2818; CentralCoastBassFishing.com (805) 466-6557
- River Rats Bass Club on Feb. 11 at McClure: 1, Casey Case/Larry Llanes 16.81 (big fish 3.72): 2, Robbre Standford/Dennis Wainwright 16.59; 3, Bub Tosh/Russell Herring – 16.01
- American Bass Association on Feb. 18 at Delta/Russo’s Marina: 1, Gilbert Moody/Hulen Johnson Jr. 23.25 (big fish 8.93); 2, Brent Potter/Michael Farmer 22.11; 3, Marc Young/Dave Newton 19.42
- Best Bass Tournaments on Feb. 18 at Don Pedro: 1, Kevin Davidson/Bryan Cox 22.11 (big fish 6.65): 2, Jared Perkins/Nick Taiariol 19.96; 3, Scott Burke/Mark Weiglein 18.42
- Sierra Bass Club on Feb. 18 at Pine Flat: 1, Dan Ripportella 11.09 (big fish 3.65); 2, Pete Hennecke 10.63; 3, Ryan Reynolds 8.41; wild card, Gary Johnson, 1.41-pound rainbow trout
- New Jen Bass on Feb. 18 at Kaweah: 1, Tom Mize/James Beasley 20.36 (big fish 9.66): 2, Gary Wasson/Daniel Moreno 15.77; 3, Dave Simpson/Chad Cloyd 10.28
- Kerman Bass Club on Feb. 19 at Don Pedro: 1, Ryan Voorhees 15.40: 2, John Albidrez 14.18 (big fish 3.68); 3, Cory Kerber 14.10
- 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. 12March 11/12th-
- March 11-12: Addathon Ironman Sturgeon Derby at Delta/Pittsburg Marina
- Fresno County: Avocado Lake; Kings River, below Pine Flat Dam
- Kern County: Ming Lake; River Walk Lake
- Madera County: Sycamore Island Pond
n= new moon > = peak activity