Compiled by Dave Hurley and edited by Roger George, a former Olympic-class decathlete at Fresno State and striper record-holder at Millerton Lake and who now guides in the greater Fresno area. Telephone numbers are in 559 calling area unless noted. Have a photo of a recent catch to share? Email it to firstname.lastname@example.org with “fish photo” in the subject line.
McClure and Don Pedro bass and crappie bites break out, Merritt Gilbert said. Delta stripers, sturgeon and bass bites soaring, Andy Doudna reported. New Melones bass and crappie action takes off, Glory Hole Sports said. Shaver Lake trout fishing picked up, Dick Nichols reported.
2-Have to work hard
4-Fish jumpin’ in boat
Delta Mendota Canal and Sloughs
Stripers 3; Catfish 2
The California Aqueduct remains high and muddy with water releases out of San Luis Reservoir, but once the water clears and slows, striper anglers will be coming out. In the south aqueduct in Kern County, small stripers are the rule. Action is heating up in the clearer water with Gitzits, blood worms or sardines. Catfishing is best with Sonny’s Dip Bait or similar type of stink baits.
Bass 3; Trout 2; Bluegill 2; Catfish 2; Crappie 2
Stable water levels along with warmer water have allowed largemouth bass to become active. Senkos, jigs, Alabama rigs, or crankbaits are all productive. A recent trout plant should improve the swimbait bait as the fish are moving toward shore. The lake has risen to 82 percent capacity and 570.95 feet in elevation.
Call: Six Star Tackle Box 673-5688; Eastman Lake 689-3255
Bass 3; Trout 2; Catfish 1; Bluegill 2; Crappie 2
The lake is starting to heat up for largemouth bass with a variety of techniques as the fish move toward shore. Similar to Eastman, Senkos, jigs and crankbaits are all working for the occasional quality largemouth. Trout can be found near the dam with nightcrawlers; the recent trout plant should help the swimbait bite for bass. The lake has risen to 502.19 feet in elevation and 45 percent capacity.
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 4; Trout 2; King salmon 1; Crappie 4
The crappie and largemouth bass bite at Don Pedro and McClure has broken out, and fishermen are migrating from as far away as Fresno County to chase the slabs. Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “McClure and Don Pedro have been on fire for crappie, and we are selling 40-50 packs of crappie jigs per day to meet demand. The Strike King and Lunker City crappie jigs are popular as are jig heads in one-thirty-second or one-sixteenth ounce.” Mike Gomez of the Bait Barn in Waterford said, “Bass fishermen with Senkos or plastic worms are catching big crappie at both lakes in excess of 3 pounds. There have been some huge crappie reported.” For bass, Gomez said, “At Don Pedro, some anglers are picking up from 50-60 bass per day as the fish are there. The bite is wide open for those who understand the lake, and McClure is the same way. You have to figure out where the fish are at during a particular window of time. I was fishing in deep water on a recent trip, and I stuck within it before figuring out the larger bass are in the backs of cuts. Fish are staging on secondary points, but they are in all stages of spawning with some staging, some on beds, and some already in post-spawn. As soon as the water hit 63 degrees, the fish were spawning. If you want to catch a lot of fish right now, I would be using Senkos or plastics on the drop-shot. We just had one fisherman come in and purchase 25 packs of five different color patterns of Pro Worms including 124p, 266, and 300 so there must be a solid worm bite. For larger fish, I would be throwing the River2Sea SWaver in the shallows or jigs such as the Berserk Purple Hornet, Green Craw, or brown/purple at depths from 25-45 feet. The larger females are holding off of the secondary points right now.” At Don Pedro, water releases will continue to get the lake as low as possible, but must be undertaken slowly to avoid flooding in the Modesto area. Bonds Flat Road will remain closed indefinitely as the spillway may be opened again. Lake status updates are available at www.donpedrolake.com. All launch ramps are available at Don Pedro, with McClure Point and Barretts Cove South available at Lake McClure. The lake is at 809.93 feet in elevation and 88 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
Most fishing action in Kern County is at the California Aqueduct or at the small local lakes of the River Walk or Buena Vista. Few anglers are targeting Lake Isabella with the occasional crappie holding in 15-25 feet of water along the catfish on various prepared stink baits. The action will pick up once the water stabilizes and warms. The 28th annual Isabella Lake Fishing Derby is April 8-10. No entries will be accepted after 7 a.m. April 7. Information and registration is available at www.kernrivervalley.com/online-registration. 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 dropped to 44 percent capacity. Berkley Mice Tails remain the top bait for the small local lakes of Ming and the River Walk, but the action slows within days of the plant. The upper and lower Kern River remain slow.
Call: Bob’s Bait (661) 833-8657; North Fork Marina (760) 376-1812
Bass 3; Crappie 2; Trout 2; Catfish 2
Rapidly dropping water levels have the bass suspended off the banks, but they are moving up in the afternoons. Last week’s trout plant has improved the swimbait bite and quality largemouth bass are possible. Catching and releasing the larger female bass is recommended in order to keep the trophy possibilities for this lake. Crappie fishing has been fair, but the hot bite has yet to start. The lake dropped 14 feet to 643.11 in elevation and 33 percent capacity.
Call: Sierra Sporting Goods 592-5212
Bass 2; Trout 2; Catfish 2; Crappie 3
Chuck Stokke of Sequoia Fishing Co. in Springville reported, “The lake has been on and off, ranging from fair to good with one day on and the next day off. Senkos, jigs, and Brush Hogs are the top lures, Crappie fishing has been good with minijigs once you are able to locate the schools of slabsides.” The lake dropped to 630.89 feet in elevation and 51percent capacity. The Tule River is still at a high flow and difficult to fish.
Call: Sequoia Fishing Co. 539-5626, sequoiafishingcompany.com
Bass 3; Trout 2; King salmon 1; Kokanee 1; Crappie 3; Catfish 2
Bass fishing is excellent with reaction baits such as River2Sea Swavers in the shallows or jigs in deeper water while Senkos or plastics on the drop-shot are producing numbers. The larger females are holding off secondary points, but the fish are in all stages of spawning. The crappie bite has been on fire, Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun said, with anglers purchasing large amounts of crappie jigs for the slabsides. The lake is at 71 percent capacity and 819.41 feet in elevation, and water releases are directed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Launch ramps at Barretts Cove South and McClure Point are open.
Call: Bait Barn (209) 874-3011
Large volumes of water are being bypassed through the spillway of McSwain Dam from upstream Lake McClure; as a result, trout plants are on hold. The last was in October. Merced Irrigation District is examining opportunities such as a possible trout derby at McClure, as well as tournaments and promotions this spring and summer. There are small park-model rental cabins overlooking the lake under construction and scheduled to open in the coming months. Exchequer Bike Park will be opened with a constructed cross-country bike loop.
Call: McSwain Marina (209) 378-2534
Millerton Lake/San Joaquin River
Bass 3; Striped Bass 1; Shad 1; Bluegill 2; Trout 2
At Millerton, Gilbert reported a decent bass bite despite the dropping water as the lake is lowering its capacity in anticipation of heavy snowmelt. He said, “There is a chatterbait, crankbaits, ripbait or fluke bite up the river arm above Finegold, but you just can’t set up on any bank as you have to hunt for them.” With the rapidly dropping water, there is a strong concern regarding the status of the spawn at Pine Flat and Millerton. Even the spotted bass, able to spawn in deeper water, are at risk as the lakes fall 18 inches per day. Millerton is at 496.91 feet in elevation and 40 percent capacity. There were no striper reports. In the San Joaquin, Sycamore Island Pond is open Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and all state holidays. Day passes are $9 and a season pass $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 3; Crappie 2; Catfish 2; Trout 2
Water temperatures have cooled significantly as snowmelt from warmer days is starting to flow into the lake. Prior to the arrival of the colder water, the bass were on the beds, but they have moved out within the past few days. Bass fishing was solid with crankbaits while they were holding in the shallows, but with the fish moving out to 15 feet of water, Senkos and Rat-L-Traps are working best. The bass are loading up on threadfin shad, and Glory Hole Sports in Angels Camp reported two largemouth bass that were cleaned were stuffed with shad. In addition to bass, crappie fishing has taken off with medium minnows around structure as well as minijigs. The crappie are schooling up, and some fishermen are scoring limits. Nick Freedom and his son of Sonora were on the lake Sunday, and he said, “It was a really tough start to the day, but we ended up boating a limit of bass and a quality crappie, but we worked a little too hard for them.” The crappie are moving into the coves and creek channels and are oriented to the submerged brush and vegetation. Catfish have taken off within the past week with three whiskerfish over 8 pounds landed on nightcrawlers near the Highway 49 Bridge. Trout fishing has slowed considerably with one boat finding no action until they started drifting trout dough bait/nightcrawler combinations at depths to 35 feet in the main lake. Scent is important for both the rainbow trout and the catfish. New Melones continues to rise, coming up to 1031.77 feet in elevation and 74 percent capacity. Debris on the surface has dissipated, and the water is clearing. The water temperature dropped from 62 to 52 degrees. The Glory Hole, Angels Cove and Tuttletown launch ramps are all in the water, but Tuttletown is still not on the main ramp. Courtesy docks are available at all ramps.
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 2
Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “At least one largemouth bass nearing 10 pounds was landed on a jig above the trash barrier near Trimmer Marina at Pine Flat within the past week. With the falling water, the debris has been deposited on the banks, but the afternoon winds can make for difficult times putting a boat back on the trailer at the ramp. There is a decent bite in the afternoons for spots in the 1.5- to 2.5-pound range with flukes, ripbaits, and spinnerbaits, but the action has been slow in the morning.” Trout action for trollers has slowed considerably with most anglers reporting one or two fish per rod pulling shad-patterned spoons from the Power Lines to Windy Gap. Crappie are found with various small crappie jigs near structure. The lake has dropped to 63 percent capacity, and the status of the spawn is at risk. Trout fishing from the banks in the lower Kings below the dam has been affected by the water releases, but anglers are still throwing out trout dough bait, nightcrawlers, or spinners for planters. Gilbert said, “Some of the fish are of a larger grade, and the river is planted on a weekly basis.” Lures continue to be more effective in the high water since it is easier to keep from getting hung up on the bottom. The lake is at 63 percent capacity and 879.86 feet in elevation and releasing water to prepare for the upcoming snowmelt. 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 2
The main San Luis Reservoir held at 99 percent, and trolling has been the top draw with Alabama rigs loaded with small shad-patterned swimbaits, P-Line Predator Minnows or Lucky Craft 128’s above island tops or long flats at depths from 20-50 feet. Jumbo minnows are also working for schoolie stripers. Roger George of Roger George Guide Service said that the fishing during the weekend storm front slowed way down with the low pressure. “The changing weather patterns are changing the bite almost every day from decent at times to poor,” George said. “The cooling temps have had an impact on the fish and we are seeing a lot of suspended fish right now. Trolling shallow in the middle of the lake seems to be the best tactic now, which is a weird pattern for this time of year. I talked to some good anglers and they struggled to troll up a couple fish this last weekend, but I expect things to normalize very soon with warmer weather. Of course it could change any day now.” In the forebay, small striped bass remain the rule with anchovies, sardines or pile worms from the shore. Heavy pumping in and out of the main lake has kept the water stained at best.
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 37th annual Bass Lake Fishing Derby is coming to the lake May 6-7, with $55,000 in prize money attached to 1,000 tagged rainbow trout. Two grand prize fish are worth $10,000, with another at $5,000 as well as 150 rainbows at $100 and 847 other tagged fish at $20. Registration for the derby is $25 per individual or $60 for a family consisting of spouses and up to three children younger 16 years of age. Registration is available at www.basslakechamber.com/fishing-derby/. Participants must register by 9 a.m. Saturday, May 6, and pick up wristband at any of the three Fishing Derby Headquarters: Millers Landing Resort, The Forks Resort or Bass Lake Boat Rentals. The derby hours are between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. on the two days of the derby, and a voluntary 5 mph speed limit is requested of all boaters on derby weekend. After a long period of slow fishing for trollers at the lake, the trout bite appears to have picked up considerably over the past few weeks. Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “I know of a couple of boats that have had limits pulling Wedding Rings tipped with nightcrawlers near the surface, and these were the first reports of trout action from the lake for some time. It is time for the bass bite to take off, and there are reports of fishermen working the dam with creature baits for the occasional spotted bass in the 3- to 3.5-pound range. The action isn’t fast and furious, but the bite is picking up.” Cheyenne Gunlund, 7, of Fresno posted her first bass – a nice 1½-pounder in the improved bite. Todd Wittwer of Kokanee.net Guide Service is taking an exploratory trip to the lake this week in search of rainbows and kokanee. He said, “I have heard reports of kokanee already this year, and I am very optimistic. I spent the end of the 2016 season at Shaver Lake,” adding, “there have already been a few 16-inch third-year kokanee landed so far this year in addition to the 14-inch second-year fish.” The ramps are all in the water and in good shape with the lake at 77 percent. Webcam views are available at www.basslakeca.com/. The first bass tournament at the lake will be April 2.
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 20 percent and Florence is at 14 percent. Mammoth Pool is at 98 percent. The snowpack on top of Kaiser Pass is reported to be at least 19-20 feet tall, and the opening of the road may be delayed past the normal Memorial Day target.
Call: Vermilion Valley Resort at Edison Lake 259-4000
Shaver Lake/Huntington Lake
Shaver Lake continues to recede as Southern California Edison is preparing for the anticipated snowmelt filling the lake by Labor Day. The lake will drop to 30 percent by May 1 before starting to rise steadily through August and reaching full capacity by early September. Dick Nichols of Dick’s Fishing Charters said, “Currently, the main Sierra ramp is out of water, but the auxiliary ramp is still in the water. It is unknown how long that will last as I have canceled all charter trips until mid-May when we will resume providing charter service at Dick’s Fishing Charters for our 11th season. At the present time, bank fishing report has been good with quality rainbows landed from the shoreline. Kevin Kato, head chef at Norm’s Cafe in Shaver Lake, picked up two trophy-sized trout fishing from the point with rainbow trout dough bait. One of the trophies was a 3-pound rainbow with the other a 19-inch brown. Kato photographed and released both fish. Drew Tallberg of Shaver Lake, fished the Point in the afternoon, and he hit the bonanza with three trout ranging from a 20-inch, 3-pound rainbow to a 23-inch, 6- pound brown to a 26-inch, 9-pound rainbow using trout dough bait. For trolling, very few boats have launched as there just isn’t much activity, but I did have reports of a limit of mixed kokanee to 14 inches. Most successful trollers are fishing at about 5 feet deep for best results. I would recommend Trout Busters tipped with corn on the inside hook and a piece of crawler on the back hook. This will give you a double possibility for either kokanee or trout.” Todd Wittwer of Kokanee.net Guide Service spent the end of the 2016 season at Shaver Lake, and he said, “There have already been a few 16-inch third-year kokanee landed so far this year in addition to the 14-inch second-year fish.” The trout forecast for the season is encouraging with the Department of Fish and Wildlife scheduled to drop 8,000-10,000 pounds of catchable trout. Another source of trout will be plants by the Shaver Lake Trophy Trout Project. Bob Bernier, the project’s chief, said, “This year’s crop will be divided into two plants. One will be when school is out in hope that youngsters will have a chance to experience a big fish, with the next plant to be determined and announced at a later date.” Approximately 1,500 trophy sized trout will be planted by the project over the next few months, and there are also many trophies from the 2016 plant remaining in the lake. In addition, the Department of Fish and Wildlife will plant another crop of brooder trout this year. The webcam at the Sierra Marina has been out of service since March 4 as the marina was moved out into deep water. Shaver is dropping steadily, down to 44 percent capacity with Huntington at 34 percent. There are some areas of clear water at Huntington, but there is still ice on much of the lake.
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; Fish Box Charters 871-3937
The 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
Dungeness crab and sand dab combination trips are still a possibility until the rockfish season opens below Pigeon Point on April 1 and in local waters April 15. Of the three options on the table, all give sport anglers the month of April to fish. The other two (option one) calls for a season of April 1-30 then reopening May 15 through Oct. 31. Option two calls for a season of April 1-30 and then June 15 to Oct. 31. The third option calls for a season of April 1-30. It seems that fishing regulators are pushing for option 3, or April only. It’s expected that most Bodega Bay-based party and six pack boats will head out and work the 50-fathom curve from the BB weather buoy to Ten Mile beach. This is the first year where anglers will see the full results of trucking hatchery fish to the Bay and Delta in 2014. If those fish survive it could be better action than anyone expects. Party boats have lots of room available. Mike Aughney at www.usafishing.com/ said, “The word from commercial crabbers and party boats on whale watching trips is that there is excellent sign of mostly anchovies with some scattered krill from north of the Deep Reef to below the Islands. One fellow member of the GGSA board who is a commercial crabber reported two weeks ago “tons of hard bait in 40-50 fathoms outside of S buoy and some salmon marking below the schools of feed on the meter.” Roger Thomas on the Salty Lady is whale-watching on weekends and running fishing trips on weekdays through May.
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 on Monterey reported good action with five limits of Dungeness crab along with 100 sand dabs for five anglers Sunday on the Check Mate after posting a combined 750 sand dabs along with 134 crab for 23 fishermen on the Check Mate and Caroline on Saturday. They have two sand dab combination trips Tuesday and Thursday this week before rockfish season starts Saturday. The first weekend is sold out, but there is plenty of room the following week. Allen Bushnell of Santa Cruz Kayak Fishing and Surfcasting Guide Service said, “The fishing community around Monterey Bay is abuzz with preparations for the upcoming dual season openers on April 1. This year both salmon season and the Rockfish, Cabezon, and Greenling seasons will open on the same day. Skippers are busy getting boats ready, making sure motors and electronics as well as all safety gear is operable and in place. It looks like things will get lively very soon. Ed Burrell at Capitola Boat and Bait is seeing an increase of baitfish in that area, mostly sardines. Last week the sardines were out near the Capitola Mile Reef. This week, they are moving inside, some even being caught from the Capitola Wharf. Wharf anglers continue to catch a variety of perch, juvenile leopard sharks, and one fellow brought in the season’s first halibut last week. The flatty was undersized and was released. Stagnaro’s Sportfishing sent the Legacy out on a half-day trip Saturday. Skipper Chris Victorino fished the flats on the east side of Soquel Hole. They returned to port with 300 sand dabs, and “could have caught more,” according to Victorino. Before the seasons open next week, it’s a good idea to review details in the Department of Fish and Wildlife regulations. As an overview, here is the most current information we have gathered. The RCG fishing depth limit has moved out to 300 feet this year. That opens a large area for fishing that has been closed for many years. Bag and possession limits are the similar to last year’s regs. Bag limit remains at 10 fish in combination within the rockfish, cabezon and greenling complex. Within that limit we are allowed to keep only three black rockfish per day, and can now keep one canary rockfish per day as part of the bag limit. We can retain three cabezon at least 15 inches long. There is no sub-limit for greenlings this year, and minimum size remains at 12 inches. Lingcod must measure 22 inches, and the limit is two per day. Salmon season is very limited this year. The Klamath area will remain closed for ocean salmon fishing in 2017 because of low return numbers. The Pacific Fisheries Management Council will meet in mid-April for final decisions on length and dates of salmon fishing along the entire west coast. For now, we know the season will open on April 1, and remain open through the end of the month. The PFMC might close the season after April 30, or could extend through June 30 or July 15 in the Pigeon Point- Point Sur area.”
Call: Chris’ Landing (831) 375-5951; Bayside Marine (831) 475-2173; usafishing.com
San Francisco Bay
Halibut 2; Striper 2; Leopard shark 3; Sturgeon 2; Crab 2
Captain Jim Smith of the Happy Hooker was out Saturday in San Pablo Bay near the Pumphouse, and they put in five keeper bass in the 5- to 8-pound range along with a 57-inch sturgeon. He said, “The bass were all quality schoolies, and we lost another sturgeon in midair along with a few sturgeon bites that went unanswered.” He will be back out again the following Saturday and Sunday, but they will run if there is enough interest during the week. Keith Fraser of Loch Lomond Bait and Tackle reported the largest striped bass in memory was landed off Loch Lomond levee this week on ghost shrimp at 21 pounds. The same angler went out two days later with both pile worms and ghost shrimp for seven stripers with only one being a keeper. A 73-inch sturgeon was brought into the shallows after being hooked off of McNear’s Pier. A few resident halibut continue to be taken on the south bay, and Captain Michael Rescino of the Lovely Martha out of San Francisco put his young son onto a 17-pounder Sunday trolling frozen anchovies or herring.
San Luis Obispo
Rockfish season reopens April 1, with party boats out of Port San Luis and Morro Bay having focused on nature and whale-watching trips. Virg’s is sold out for rockfishing April 1, butone boat has room April 2. Patriot’s boats are also full for the opener, but there is room on day 2.
Call: Virg’s Landing, (805) 772-1222; (800) 762-5263; Patriot Sports Fishing (805) 595-4100; Port Side Marine Sports Launch (805) 595-7214
Bass 3; Striper 3; Sturgeon 3; Catfish 2; Bluegill 2
Sturgeon fishing remains the top draw in the Delta, but the transition to stripers has begun. The Addathon Iron Man Sturgeon Derby out of Pittsburg will take place this weekend, and a number of teams are participating in this innovative derby. Andy Doudna, organizer of the Addathon Ironman Sturgeon Derby said, “The derby this weekend was one that created many new memories as 25 teams battled it out one sturgeon at a time for points. It is a catch-and-release derby held out of Pittsburg with boundaries from the Benicia/Martinez Bridge upriver to Liberty Cut. Each fish is given a point value with shakers at three points, slot-limit fish earning 9 points, and oversize sturgeon gaining five points, and each catch must be recorded on video with a tape measure and uploaded to the Addathon group page on Facebook. There were a total of 168 sturgeon caught in the derby spanning all size intervals comprised of 41 shakers, 72 slot fish, and 44 oversized. Greg McElroy and Dan Ditlevsen took first with 250, Kevin Cave and Anthony Defilippo Cave came in second with 137 and Mike Funtanilla and Anntonnel Reyes third with 131 points. The majority of fish were landed in the cuts, but another hot spot was between the Benicia/Martinez Bridge and Marker 9 while raw roe was the most successful bait with picked eel coming in the second-best option. The water temperatures were between 59 and 65 degrees, and the next Addathon will be held in November out of Pittsburg.” Captain Steve Mitchell of Hook’d Up Sport Fishing out of Pittsburg put his clients onto an epic bite on Sunday with a total of 6 sturgeon landed including 4 slot fish ranging from 54 to 40 inches. Mitchell said, “We were just outside of the Little Cut using salmon roe and eel combinations, and the fish bit on both tides. Kenneth Lee of Sacramento was able to land a massive sturgeon estimated at 8 feet in length, and its head was the size of a 5-gallon bucket. We picked up four of our fish at the top of the incoming tide with the other two at the beginning of the outgoing tide. The bite was on!” John Badger of Barbarian Sport Fishing was in the Little Cut this week, and they landed a 59-inch keeper in addition to an over sized along with three shaker sturgeon using both lamprey eel and salmon roe. He said, “The outgoing tide is really good this afternoon, but interest in sturgeon fishing is starting to slow down since anglers are starting to try and get an early jump on halibut. There just isn’t enough going to get me to move to the bay yet, and I plan on staying on sturgeon until late April.” In the north Delta, Johnny Tran of New Romeo’s Bait in Freeport said, “The Clarksburg launch ramp is open once again, and keeper stripers are showing up along the shorelines with pile worms or blood worms. With the heavy water flows, the best fishing is along the shoreline, and sardines coated with garlic spray are also working, Sturgeon fishing has pretty good up and down the Sacramento River with ghost shrimp, eel, and pile worms, but the river levels has risen once again.” The NorCal Fish Whisperers Striped Bass Derby out of Brannan Island on April 1 with the Central Valley Anglers Spring Striper Derby on April 29 with information at www.centralvalleyanglers.org. The anticipated break out for the largemouth and striped bass bite in the San Joaquin-Delta is happening, and quality limits of largemouth bass along with a terrific striped bass bite were the rule during the week. Striped bass are starting to attract more interest as schoolies have moved into the clearer waters of the San Joaquin River. James Netzel of Tight Lines Guide Service took out Clyde Wands, shallow trolling expert, for a Wands clinic this week, and they ended up catching over 35 stripers on the San Joaquin River with 15 of the linesides being keepers to 6.5 pounds. Wands said, “14 of the legal fish came on shallow-running lures which were a variety including P-Line Angry Eye Minnows, Savage Gear, and Yozuri Crystal Minnows, and chartreuse was the color. The fish were scattered, but we found a few schools here and there.” Monte Smith of Gold Country Sport Fishing went on a trolling venture with Jay Lopes of Right Hook Sport Fishing, and after launching out of Brannan Island and motoring to the San Joaquin side, they hit several spots for at least 20 keeper stripers to 6 pounds along with another dozen undersized fish. Smith said, “We were deep trolling, and everything we put in the water worked. Chartreuse plugs worked in the morning, but the Wonder Bread was our best pattern as it was unbelievable how much action this lure had. The minute that it was put in, the fish bit the heck out of it. I will start running trolling trips for striped bass in the Delta in addition to striper trips to New Hogan and trout/king salmon/kokanee ventures on the Mother Lode lakes.” Dan Mathisen of Dan’s Delta Outdoors in Oakley said, “The bite is on, and we are seeing stripers in the 8- to 10-pound class showing up. There are a lot of schoolies, and the school was in Donlan this week as well as in the back waters of Sherman Lake. Trollers are starting to score with bright colored plugs in the clearer water of the San Joaquin.” J.D. Richey of Richey’s Guide Service is throwing swimbaits in the Mokelumne and San Joaquin Rivers, and he said, “Fishing is starting to wake up, and stripers are showing in the Delta, and I think we are going to have a solid and lengthy season thanks to all of this water. The first really good striper fishing should take off with the steelhead releases, and the topwater bite should take off. From there, I think we’ll be off to the races with good striper action until probably early June at least.” Alan Fong, manager of the Fisherman’s Warehouse in Sacramento, said, “Stripers are available on the flats from Antioch to the mouth of the Mokelumne using any way that you want – trolling, ripbaits, swimbaits – they are there. The San Joaquin River is in good shape, and if we get a week of warm weather, stripers are likely to spawn in the San Joaquin for the first time in a long time. I went bass fishing again in the Mokelumne system with black chatterbaits, and the quality remains really good with largemouth bass at 8 and 9 pounds caught and released. The water is a bit stained, but the action is excellent.” Ador Lopez, director of the California Team Trail tournament out of B and W Resort, said, “Saturday’s tournament went to the team of Scott Adkins and Tim Woltkamp who threw spinnerbaits and crankbaits for a winning limit at 28.60 pounds including a 9.07-pound kicker. The big fish came on a pink Senko.” Steve Santucci of Steve Santucci’s Fly Fishing Guide Service said, “Delta fishing is heating up, as the fish are getting very aggressive and will eat just about anything that you throw at them. I am hoping this last storm will not muddy up the water. April should be very good for both quality and quantity.” For largemouth bass, Mathisen said, “Our Pro Staff member Mike Burch caught and released two fish over 12 pounds this week on a Whopper Plopper, and the reaction bite is taking off. He is throwing reaction lures when it is raining and flipping when it is calm. The water is clearing up fast although Frank’s Tract remains a bit dirty.” Don Paganelli of Paganelli’s Bass Fishing Experience was on the Delta this week, and he reported ‘”kind of hit/miss” action for the larger bass. They were targeting largemouth bass, and although hooking one about 7 pounds, the remainder of bass were in the 2-pound range. He said, “With more stable weather, I expect the giants will come back out once again. We were using spinnerbaits and flukes in a few different areas around Tower Park in Potato Slough and north. The water is much clearer than people think with the clearest water from Mildred Island south.” Chris Laurtizen of Lauritzen’s Yacht Harbor in Oakley, said, “If you are waiting for the water to clear up before you are ready to start spring striper fishing you might get surprised and miss out on some of the very best striper fishing there is in the west Delta.” Matt Landrum at Gotcha Bait in Antioch reported good action for shaker and keeper stripers off of the Antioch Fishing Pier with sardines, anchovies, or pile worms. Steve Johnson of H and R Bait in Stockton reported an improved striped bass bite for linesides to 8 pounds off of Bacon Island Road and Brookside Road with anchovies, live mudsuckers, or frozen shad. Crappie are starting to show up in the sloughs with small to medium minnows. He said, “As soon as the minnows come into the shop, they are selling out quickly.” The San Joaquin County Office of Emergency Services updated the south and central Delta river and slough closures March 21, and there are areas where a 5 mph (no wake) speed restriction is in effect two hours before high tide through 2 hours after high tide. Specific information regarding the updated closures with bridge and tide information at DeltaBoating.com (deltaboating.com/tides/orwood.php) and closures at www.sjgov.org/department/oes/pdf/Delta-Water-Closures-3.pdf.
Call: Randy Pringle (209) 543-6260; Intimidator Sport Fishing (916) 806-3030; Captain Steve Mitchell – Hook’d Up Sport Fishing (707) 655-6736
Lake Nacimiento/San Antonio/Santa Margarita/Lopez
Bass 3; White bass 2; Catfish 2; Crappie 2
Lake Nacimiento hosted the Best Bass Tournaments on Saturday, and the top three finishers went through numbers of smaller spotted bass in order to end up with limits in excess of a 10-pound average. Numbers of spots are plentiful with a variety of techniques including Senkos or plastics on the drop-shot or shakey head at depths from 8-10 feet, but the larger cut were located on squarebill crankbaits at depths to 14 feet. Most anglers worked along the shorelines in the coves. The lake dropped slightly to 87 percent capacity this past week. San Antonio continues to rise with most of its inflow remaining behind the dam and is at 53 percent. The lake may be opened on a part-time basis in late April or early May before opening full time around Memorial Day. At Lopez, the lake is over 60 percent, and the rising water has brought out debris throughout the lake particularly along shore. Bass fishing is fair with jigs, plastics or spoons in deep water. Panfish are starting to get active with red worms. At Santa Margarita, the lake is open to boaters with the high water levels. Bass fishing is fair with a reaction bite with chatterbaits or crankbaits in the early mornings before working the bottom with plastics or jigs. Mackerel or similar cut baits are the best options for catfish.
Call: Lake Nacimiento (805) 238-1056, ext. 3; Lake San Antonio Marina (805) 472-2818; CentralCoastBassFishing.com (805) 466-6557
- California Team Tournament Trail on March 25 at Delta/B and W Resort: 1, Tim Woltkamp/Scott Adkins 28.60 (Big Fish – 9.07); 2, Ken Schmitt/Don Whitney 21.58; 3, Andrew Lippert/Dustin Tacker 21.45
- American Bass Association on March 25 at Delta/Russo’s Marina: 1, Bill Spence Jr./Craig Carabello 32.29; 2, Harvey Pulliam/Jamond Andrews 25.82; 3, Dee Thomas/Bill Adkins 22.66; big fish, James Rios/Tony Peterson, 8.85 pounds
- Best Bass Tournaments on March 25 at Nacimiento: 1, Matt Clausen/Troy Tidwell 11.46 (big fish 3.69); 2, Nate Johnson/Michael Cardinalli 10.81; 3, Kenneth Cleveland/Clayton Rogerson 10.14
- Sierra Bass Club on March 25-26 at Don Pedro: 1, Gary Johnson/Bob Hamasaki 25.68 (big fish, Johnson 4.74); 2, Chris Framming/Jamal Lane 23.13; 3, Ryan Reynolds/Jeremy Nagy 22.21; big fish, Danny Lopez 3.77
- March 31-April 1: Southern California Bass Club at Don Pedro
- April 1: California Delta Team Trail at Delta/Russo’s Marina; Nor Cal Fish Whispers Striped Bass Tournament at Delta/Brannan Island; Stanislaus County Employees at Don Pedro; Mid Valley Bass Club at Eastman; New Jen at Success; American Bass Association at Lopez
- April 2: California Bass Federation at Bass Lake; Success Bass Club at Kaweah
- April 8: Christian Bass League at Delta/Ladd’s Marina; American Bass Association sy Delta/B and W Resort; Tracy Bass Club at Delta/Tracy Oasis; California Delta Team Trail at Delta/Russo’s Marina; Best Bass Tournaments at New Melones; Kings River Bass Club at Tulloch; Angler’s Press at Don Pedro; California Team Trail at Kaweah; 101 Bass at Lopez
- April 8-9: Kern County Bassmasters at Delta/Ladd’s Marina; Taft Bass Club at Don Pedro
- April 8-10: Kern Valley Chamber of Commerce Trout Derby at Lake Isabella
- April 9: River Bank Bass Anglers at Delta/Ladd’s Marina; Fresno Bass Club at Delta/B and W Resort; Kings River Bass Club at Don Pedro; Kings VIII Bass Club at Bass Lake; Porterville Bass Club at Success; Good Old Boys at Nacimiento
- April 14: E and J Gallo Winery at Don Pedro
- April 15: Dan’s Delta Outdoors at Delta/Big Break Marina; San Luis Obispo County Bass Ambushers at Delta/B and W Resort; Delta Bass Club at Delta/Russo’s Marina; Manteca Bassin’ Buddies at Pardee; MCYFC Youth Football at Hensley, 706-0609; Best Bass Tournaments at Pine Flat
- April 22: California Delta Team Trail at Delta/B and W Resort; Bakersfield Bass Club at Don Pedro; Stanislaus County Fire Department at McClure; Sierra Bass Club at Bass Lake; American Bass Association at Pine Flat; Kokanee Power Trout Derby at Pine Flat; Golden Empire Bass Club at Success; Lake Isabella Bass Club at Isabella; Best Bass Tournaments at Nacimiento
- April 22-23: Best Bass Tournaments Rat-L-Trap Open at Delta/Russo’s Marina
- April 23: California Bass Federation at Delta/B and W Resort; Kings River Bass Club at Bass Lake
- April 29: Central Valley Angler’s Spring Striper Derby at Delta/Brannan Island, www.centralvalleyanglers.org; American Bass Association at Delta/Russo’s Marina; Mid Valley Bass Club at Delta/Ladd’s Marina; Badge Packers at Don Pedro; Sheet Metal Workers Local 104 at Eastman; New Jen at Pine Flat; U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at Success; American Bass Association at Isabella; American Bass Association at Santa Margarita; Hume Lake Christian Camp at Hume Lake
- April 30: Best Bass Tournaments at Delta/Russo’s Marina; Tracy Bass Club at Delta/Tracy Oasis; California Bass Federation at New Melones
- April 29: Roosevelt High Bass Fishing Club Fishing Bazaar, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., The Boat Shoppe, 2125 Ventura Ave., free parking, vendors needed, contact Bruce Marion 443-1025
q = quarter moon > = peak activity