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.
Delta sturgeon bite good, Steve Mitchell said. South Delta Aqueduct pumping out schoolie stripers, Jacob Rutledge reported. Hensley Bass on the bite, Dave Hurley said. San Luis stripers hitting, Coyote Bait and Tackle reported. McClure bass continue feeding, Mike Gleaves said. Monterey rockfish rocking it, Chris Arcoleo reported. New Melones producing some big bass, Glory Hole Sports said. Pine Flat trout pleasing trollers, Merritt Gilbert reported.
Never miss a local story.
2-Have to work hard
4-Fish jumpin’ in boat
Delta Mendota Canal
Stripers 3; Catfish 2
The northern section of the California Aqueduct is running high and off-color, and anglers are traveling far and wide to find schools of striped bass with Duo Realis jerkbaits or Lucky Craft Pointers. The action is much better in the southern section of the aqueduct in Kern County, leading Jacob Rutledge to say, “The aqueduct down here is on fire with fishermen stating that they can’t throw out a piece of sardine without getting bit. The stripers are mostly undersized, but there is the occasional 21- to 22-inch striper landed. The Buena Vista golf course has been the most popular location, but Highway 166/Old River, and Tupman are also good areas.” 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, warrmer water have allowed largemouth bass to become active. Senkos, jigs, Alabama rigs, or crankbaits are all productive. 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 2; Bluegill 2; Crappie 2
The bass bite is also improving with dark-colored Senkos on a Texas or wacky rig from the banks to 20 feet in depth. The occasional largemouth bass to 5 pounds have been reported, and anglers are averaging from 8 to 10 bass per trip. Hensley will be hosting the MC Youth Football League Bass Tournament on April 15 at the Hidden View launch ramp starting at 5 a.m. Information 706-0609. Small catfish are taken from the shorelines with dip baits along with small crappie. The lake has risen to 506.38 feet in elevation and 50 percent.
Call: Valley Rod & Gun, Clovis 292-3474; Six Star Tackle Box 673-5688; U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Hensley Lake Hidden Dam 673-5151
Lake Don Pedro
Bass 3; Trout 3; Kokanee 0; King salmon 1; Crappie 2
The trout and salmon bite is just starting to take off with more reports of action within the past week than at any time this season. The bass bite continues to be solid with tournaments scheduled nearly every weekend. Monte Smith of Gold Country Sport Fishing was on the lake with clients on Sunday, and he said, “We ended up with a 2.75-pound king salmon and a few nice rainbows fast-trolling my custom spoons both on the downrigger and on leadcore. I had heard a report of good action on Saturday at depths from 25 to 30 feet, and we started off right away with a rainbow at 30 feet on the downrigger. The salmon came on a spoon at 30 feet in depth, and it was loaded with small ½-inch shad.” Smith is running a special trip on April 21 to promote his fast-trolling techniques for king salmon and rainbow trout. For bass, Morgan Swisher of the Fresno Bass Club said, “The water temperature started at 60 degrees in the morning before dropping to 57 degrees in the afternoon, and since the lake has been dropping, the areas where the fish were on beds the previous week were out of the water. The best action occurred at depths from 6 to 30 feet with a variety of techniques as we had 23 limits from 34 anglers out of 23 boats in our tournament.” At Don Pedro, water releases will continue to get the lake as low as possible, but the releases must be managed slowly in order to avoid flooding in the Modesto area. The Bonds Flat Road will remain closed indefinitely as the spillway may be opened once again. Updated information on the lake’s status is available at www:donpedrolake.com. All launch ramps are available at Don Pedro with the lake dropping to 806.43 feet in elevation and 86 percent.
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
The annual Kern County Chamber of Commerce Lake Isabella Fishing Derby is this weekend, and derby chairman Fred Roach stated, “The Derby Committee receives 2,000 pounds of trout each year to raise and feed from November until the Derby. These fish come to us at 5 to a pound and reach a weight of approximately 1 pound each when we plant. Second, the Derby purchases 5,000 pounds of Tail Walkers. These fish are from 1.5 pound to 12 pounds. Your Kern River Valley Chamber of Commerce spends $5,000 on fish food to raise the fish from November and $25,000 for the Tail Walkers for the approximately 7000 pounds of the trophy rainbows.” The derby takes place on April 8, 9, and 10th. No entries will be accepted after 7:00 a.m. on April 7th. Information and registration is available at http://www.kernrivervalley.com/online-registration. Campgrounds open during the derby are Boulder Gulch, Camp 9, French Gulch,Paradise Cove, Pioneer Point, and Tillie Creek Campground. To make Reservations please call the Sequoia Recreation Office at (760) 376-1815. The lake dropped to 43 percent this week. A few crappie are starting to show up at Isabella, but overall the action has been slow. In the small local lakes, bass fishing has been solid at Ming with crankbaits. The lower Kern River is still flowing fast, but the upper river above the dam has been planted with rainbows.
Call: Bob’s Bait (661) 833-8657; North Fork Marina (760) 376-1812
Bass 2; Crappie 2; Trout 2; Catfish 2
Bass 2 Crappie 2 Trout 2 Catfish 2
Kaweah is still dropping rapidly, and it came down another 11 feet this week to 632.43 feet in elevation and 26 percent. The bass are moving off of the banks with the dropping water before moving up in the warmer conditions in the afternoons. Catching and releasing the larger female bass is recommended in order to keep the trophy possibilities for this lake. Crappie fishing has been much better in Fresno-area lakes, and the migration from Fresno anglers south to Kaweah for crappie has yet to start.
Call: Sierra Sporting Goods 592-5212
Bass 2 Trout 2 Catfish 2 Crappie 3
The lake hosted both the New Jen Bass Tournament and the Success Bass Club over the weekend, and Dave Nishimoto and Pierre Matthews took first place in the Success Bass with a limit of 11.56 pounds. Gary Wasson, who caught and released a 17.2 pounder from Kaweah at the start of March came in second with his partner, Daniel Moreno, in the New Jen Tournament, saying, “It was a tough bite, but we were able to scratch out a limit.” 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 rose 2 feet to 632.90 feet in elevation and 55 percent. The Tule River is still at a high flow and it is difficult to fish.
Call: Sequoia Fishing Co. 539-5626, sequoiafishingcompany.com
Bass 3 Trout 2 King salmon 1 Kokanee 1 Crappie 2 Catfish 2
Mike Gleaves said, “We had a great day of spring fishing at Lake McClure with my son visiting from St. Louis and we caught bass up to 3.5 pounds on wacky rigged jackal worms at 20 feet deep. The bite was slow due to the receding lake levels, but we scratched out two limits. In the process we also caught two limits of crappie with the largest going at 2.5 pounds and 15.5 inches in length. We had a number of slabs at 2 pounds. My son was impressed as Missouri is a crappie capital as far as he was concerned, but he is now a believer in our Golden State crappie!” Reaction baits such as River2Sea Swavers in the shallows or jigs in deeper water are finding a larger grade of bass while Senkos or plastics on the drop-shot best for numbers. The larger females are holding off of secondary points, but the fish are in all stages of spawning. The lake is at 67 percent and 812.07 feet in elevation, and water releases will no longer be directed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as the lake is at 67 percent of capacity or below. The launch ramps at Barretts Cove South and McClure Point are open.
Large volumes of water are being bypassed through the spillway of McSwain Dam from upstream Lake McClure, and as a result, trout plants are on hold. The last plant was October 2016. The Merced Irrigation District is currently examining several other opportunities -- including a possible trout derby at Lake McClure -- and other tournaments and promotions possibly later this spring and during the summer. There are small park-model rental cabins overlooking the lake that are currently 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.
Call: McSwain Marina (209) 378-2534
San Joaquin River
Bass 3; Striped Bass 1; Shad 1; Bluegill 2; Crappie 2
At Millerton, Gilbert said, “Despite dropping water levels, the bass bite is good for numbers of spotted bass to 3 pounds with flukes, spinnerbaits, or ripbaits. There are a few crappie taken by bass fishermen as incidental catches on Senkos near Finegold. The water up the river arm has cooled with the start of snowmelt, and anglers are running up river to the temperature change and working back into the main lake. No striper reports. The lake has dropped from more than 70 percent a few weeks back to 40 percent at the present time, but the stable water levels this week may help the spotted bass spawn.” The lake is currently at 497.76 feet in elevation and 40 percent. In the San Joaquin River, the Sycamore Island Pond will be open every Friday, Saturday, Sunday and all state holidays. Day passes are $9 and a season pass is $85. Passes can be purchased online or at the bait shop on the property. There are new regulations on the lower San Joaquin, and from Friant Dam downstream to the Highway 140 Bridge only 2 hatchery trout or hatchery steelhead are allowed with a total of 4 hatchery trout or hatchery steelhead in possession. The hatchery fish have a healed adipose fin clip.
Call: Valley Rod & Gun 292-3474
Bass 3; Crappie 2; Catfish 2; Trout 2; Kokanee 0
New Melones is rounding into shape for a great springtime bass bite with some extremely impressive largemouth bass taken within the past week. Largemouth bass in excess of 10 pounds have been on the radar during the past week. Glory Hole Sports in Angels Camp reported the best bass action has been at depths from 10 to 25 feet with weightless or wacky-rigged Senkos in greenpumpkin, Zoom Trick Worms, or twin-tailed Hula Grubs. The lake has inundated several new locations for the first time in years, and a weightless presentation is essential to keep the lures above the grass on the bottom. The bass are holding on the bottom and striking the bait upon arrival. Texas-rigged Senkos have produced largemouth bass to 10 pounds, and there were two fish in the 14-pound range caught and released over the weekend with Josh Lerche of Mountain House landed a 13.44 pounder with Aaron Cole scoring a 14 pound largemouth. The bass are loading up on threadfin shad. With the cold water, rainbow trout have dropped in the water column to 40 feet, and moving water has been a key to finding rainbows in shallow water. One limit of 16-inch rainbows was landed up the river arm. The crappie bite has been fairly tough as the fish are scattered. There hasn’t been a consistent bite with either live minnows or crappie jigs, and the key is locating the scattered schools. Catfishing has improved with nightcrawlers, frozen shad or mackerel near the moving water close to the Highway 49 Bridge. New Melones continues to rise, and it has come up 4 feet this week to 1035.57 feet in elevation and 76 percent. The water is clearing up with good visibility. The Glory Hole, Angels Cove, and Tuttletown launch ramps are all in the water, but the Tuttletown ramp 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/
Bass 2; Trout 3; King salmon 1; Catfish 1; Crappie 2; Kokanee 0
The trout action at Pine Flat has been consistent with knowledgeable trollers scoring from 8 to 10 rainbows per boat with fish in the 15- to 18-inch range possible. The water continues to drop at the reservoir, and most of the action is occurring in the main part of the lake. Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “The fish are holding near the surface with leadcore at 3 to 4 colors working much better than those with downriggers fishing deeper. The main lake around Deer Creek and from Zebe Creek to the Power Lines have been the top locations with trollers working this pattern and turning around at the Power Lines and coming back towards Deer Creek. The trout bite above the debris barrier out of Trimmer Marina has been much slower. Needlefish, Apex lures, and Speedy Shiners in shad colors are the top lures, but there have also been rainbows taken on Wedding Rings tipped with a piece of nightcrawler.” Despite the dropping water, the rainbows have not accumulated near the dam as generally the current from water releases will draw the bait fish towards the dam area. Gilbert said, “Pine Flat is really our only trout option for trollers in the area at the present time with low water levels at Shaver Lake limiting boat launching for small aluminums and a 4WD tow vehicle. There is open water at Huntington, but the edges of the lake are still iced over. I haven’t seen any boat trailers heading up the hill recently. Crappie fishing has improved considerably with fishermen averaging around 8 or 9 crappie in the 1- to 1.25-pound range with crappie jigs. Bass fishing is best in the afternoons with ripbaits or topwater lures, although the fluke bite has slowed down. The bass are found at depths from the banks to 20 feet.” Pine Flat will be hosting the Kokanee Power Team Trout and Salmon Derby on Saturday, April 22. A three-fish weighin per team with placement based on the heaviest limit. The tournament will pay to 15th place with a $45.00 entry fee for members with $55.00 for nonmembers. Junior anglers under 16 years of age fish for free. Information: Jim Travis, Derby Chairmen at (559) 240-6659 or http://www.kokaneepower.org/derbies/20170422.pdf. The lake is currently at 57 percent of capacity and 867.12 feet in elevation, dropping 12 feet this past week as it is releasing water to prepare for the upcoming snowmelt. In the lower Kings, the water is moving fast, but there are planted rainbows to be taken primarily with spinners in the fast-running water.
Call: Valley Rod & Gun 292-3474; Sequoia Fishing Co. 539-5626
San Luis Reservoir
and O’Neill Forebay
Striper 3; Catfish 2; Bass 2; Crappie 2
Striper action remains best at the main San Luis Reservoir with the water level as high as it has been in many years. The inundated sections of the hillsides are bringing nutrients and new food sources into the lake, allowing for all fish species to proliferate. Roger George of Roger George Guide Service said that there has been a mixed bag of results for anglers trolling the lake. “I’ve had reports of some good numbers from anglers working umbrella rigs and Lucky Craft lures shallow in open water. The fish seem to be feeding on pods of shallow mature threadfin that are holding fairly shallow in the 40-50 foot range. I fished with Byron Stickler of Fresno on Sunday and we got some nice fish to 26 inches on various minnow type lures. Some guys seem to be doing very well while other good anglers are struggling. The upcoming wind and storm will change the bite for a few days once it starts “ George said. Coyote Bait and Tackle in Morgan Hill reported solid striped bass action by drifting jumbo minnows or trolling P-Line Predator Minnows, broken-back Rebels, or Lucky Craft Pointers. The Trash Racks and the islands in front of the Romero Visitor Center have been the top locations with the stripers holding higher in the water column than normal. The wind was a limiting factor for trollers over the past week as high winds kept boats off both the main lake and the O’Neill Forebay. Wind condition information is available at (800) 805-4805. In the forebay, shore fishermen are catching mostly undersized striped bass at Check 12 or under the Highway 152 Bridge with nightcrawlers, pile worms, blood worms, anchovies, or shad.
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
Trout action at Bass Lake is beginning to show signs of life in advance of next month’s big fishing derby. Todd Wittwer of Kokanee.net Guide Service has been taking trolling trips on the lake, and the rainbows are starting to climb on. He said, “It is a fair trout bite with all of the fish in the top 18 feet from the surface with most action from the Pines Resort to Miller’s Resort. My wife and I scored near limits with eight rainbows on Friday with a few hours trolling blade/’crawler combinations, spinners, or Gulp! Minnows near Indian Cove. However, they didn’t seem to want the artificial minnows on Sunday, and the spinners and blade/’crawler combinations worked best for seven rainbows. There is no confirmation on kokanee yet, and in most years when the lake is nearly filled, the kokanee don’t show up until mid-May. The water temperature has risen to the 54/55 degree level.” Bass fishing is starting to improve with the warmer water conditions, and the swimbait bite should be taking off for the occasional largemouth bass and numerous larger spots. The 37th Annual Bass Lake Fishing Derby is coming to the lake on May 6 and 7, and a total of $55,000 in prize money will be attached to 1,000 tagged rainbow trout. Two grand prize fish are worth $10,000, one at $5000, 150 rainbows at $100, and 847 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 under 16 years of age. Registration is available at http://www.basslakechamber.com/fishing-derby/. Participants must register by 9 a.m., Saturday, May 6, and pick up wristbands 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. The Pines and Forks Resorts opened last weekend, and all launch ramps are in the water with the lake at 77 percent.
Call: Mike Beighey 642-3748; Bass Lake Watersports 642-3200
The final section of Kaiser Pass Road at Eastwood closed on December 1st and access to Edison and Florence Lakes is limited to snowmobiles. Edison dropped slightly to 20 percent and Florence is at 14 percent. Mammoth Pool is nearly full at 98 percent. The snow pack 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 opener.
Call: Vermilion Valley Resort at Edison Lake 259-4000
Trout 2; Kokanee 0
Bank fishing has been decent with trout dough bait or nightcrawlers. There are holdovers from last year’s plants from the Shaver Lake Trophy Trout Program with two more trophy plants scheduled for this spring. Launching a small boat at Sierra Marina is possible, but someone will have to go into the water with the ramp barely on the concrete. The lake will bottom out by May 1 before rising slowly to full capacity by Labor Day. Jay VanderPol fished with his sons and grandsons, and they were able to launch and land five rainbows averaging 2 pounds on Power Bait in Stevenson Creek while picking up another rainbows on the troll with a green/orange Rapala on the surface. The marinas have been moved to deep water. Dick Nichols of the Shaver Lake Trophy Trout Program said, “The trout forecast for the season is encouraging with the Department of Fish and Wildlife scheduling between 8,000 to 10,000 pounds of catchable trout. The SLTTP plants will occur in two phases, and approximately 1,500 trophy sized trout will be planted by the project over the next few months. The program has also been assisting with Trout in the Classroom releases in the local schools. The webcam at the Sierra Marina has been out of service since March 4 as the marina was moved out into deep water. The lake came up slightly to 47 percent with Huntington at 36 percent. There are some areas of clear water at Huntington, but there is still ice on the majority 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, and there is no vehicle access to Wishon or Courtright until the gates reopen in the spring.
Call: Wishon RV Park 865-5361
Bass 2; Striper 2; Sturgeon 3; Catfish 2; Bluegill 2
Sturgeon fishermen are starting to migrate towards the bay for the emerging halibut bite or to the ocean for salmon and rockfish, but there are still diamondbacks to be found in the Delta. The Sacramento River continues to be high and muddy in the north Delta, and striped bass action is limited to soaking bait close to the banks. Once the river clears and drops, the troll bite should take off with the promise of an outstanding spring run. Captain Steve Mitchell of Hook’d Up Sport Fishing out of Pittsburg went out on Saturday and Sunday for good action for all grades of sturgeon. He said, “We found great fishing on Saturday with 2 oversized sturgeon at 68 and 63 inches along with a 42-inch slot fish and two shakers. The water temperature rose from 59.2 to 63.3 degrees from Saturday night to Sunday, and we only had two bites on Sunday. Two bites and two fish with one oversized and a 40-inch slot fish. The fish all want salmon roe right now as we threw out eel, but it wasn’t working . The fish were still here as we marked sturgeon throughout the day in a number of locations from the Big Cut, outside of the Cut in the main river, and near Buoy 9 in 5 feet of water. The wind kept us off of the water during the week, but we caught and released an oversized and two shaker sturgeon, losing a slot-limit fish on a break-off on Monday before the wind arrived.” In the north Delta, Johnny Tran of New Romeo’s Bait and Tackle in Freeport reported striped bass are showing up and down the Sacramento River, and bank fishermen soaking pile worms, blood worms, or sardines coated with garlic spray are finding decent action in the slower water near the shorelines. He said, “A few sturgeon are showing up, and a 55 incher was landed near our shop on Sunday on an eel/pile worm combination. Prospect Slough has also been producing sturgeon. The clearest water in our area has been in the Sacramento Deep Water Channel.” The NorCal Fish Whisperers held their Grand Striper Derby at Brannan Island on April 1st with 185 participants. Using a high tech laser measuring scale from Andy Doudna to record the stripers to 1/100th of an inch, Chey Bernal took first place at the target length of 25.5 inches and took home $1000.00. John Richter took second and $500.00 with a 24.78 incher while Alex Fulks came in third for $150.00 at 22.80. The Central Valley Anglers Spring Striper Derby will be held on April 29 with information at www:centralvalleyanglers.org. Dan’s Delta Outdoors in Oakley reported improved striped bass action on the San Joaquin for trollers working False River, Eddo’s Marina, and Seven Mile Slough with various plugs. He said, “Previously, the largemouth bass moved into the shallows with chatterbaits, Senkos, topwater lures with the top areas of Mildred Island and White Slough. However, the river got muddy from all of the wind this week, and the bass bite was off a bit. We are selling a ton of custom Senkos in various color patterns, and Peanut Butter and Jelly has been a hot color. The Fat Sack swim jig is also a popular choice.” Ador Lopez of the California Delta Team Trail (CDTT) is hosting a "big bass" tournament on the CA Delta April 8, 2017 out of Russo's Marina on Bethel Island. He said, “This is a new concept for a largemouth bass tournament purposely scheduled during the peak big bass season on the Delta. This is a tournament for fisherman of all skill levels with a low buy-in with the goal to have fun and spread the payback as far as possible.” Alan Fong, manager of the Fishermen’s Warehouse in Sacramento, said, “The bass bite tapered off a bit with the water in the Mokelumne River cooling off 5 degrees, but the action will start picking up again with this warm weather.” Rich Costa of H and R Bait in Stockton reported a few schoolie striped bass are coming for trollers working the Old River while Whiskey Slough is the area for bait fishermen for linesides to 3 pounds. The water has been clearer in the Old River up to Mildred Island. H and R hopes to have fresh shad in the shop by the end of the month of April. There is no change to the river closures last updated by the San Joaquin County Office of Emergency Services on March 21st. 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 at http://deltaboating.
Call: Randy Pringle (209) 543-6260; Intimidator Sport Fishing (916) 806-3030; Captain Steve Mitchell – Hook’d Up Sport Fishing (707) 655-6736
Half Moon Bay
Salmon 2 Striper 2 Crabs 2
A few salmon have been taken out of this port with Captain Dew on the six-pack Mooch Better finding four salmon in the 6 to 12 pound range near 24/38. He said, “We found a ton of birds in the Separation Zone, but trolling for hours yielded not a scratched bait.” They ended up with five salmon for three anglers with all action between 80 and 100 feet on downriggers with either a hoochie/flasher combination or on straight bait. On the opener, Capt. Tom Mattusch of the Huli Cat put Ken Woods from Pacifica onto a 7-pound salmon on a flasher and anchovy with McKenzie Brady from Oakland pulling in a 5-lb. salmon on an anchovy. He said, “Ocean conditions were a little choppy but not too windy. There were lots of bird life and plenty of bait in the water, but there only a few fish landed for the day.” Mattusch will be running either rockfish or salmon trips for the remainder of the seasons. Capt. Khanh Tran ended up with three keepers in similar depths in the same general area on Sunday with a Blue Dancer setup which is a clear/blue hoochie with a single hook. He said, “The water was bad in the morning but fishable, and there is bait, birds, and whales in the area around 24/35.” Rockfish season opened below Pigeon Point on April 1st and in local waters on April 15. Roger Thomas on the Salty Lady is whale watching 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.
Rockfish 3 Striper 2 Crab 2 Salmon 2
Chris Arcoleo of Chris’s Fishing Trips on Monterey said, “Our salmon boat, the Caroline, didn’t produce on Sunday but Capt. Tinker on the Check Mate was able to put in 17 limits of lings along with 3/4 limits of rockfish. The rockfish and lings didn’t bite as good as on the opening day, and the Star of Monterey ended up with 1/4 limits of rockfish and 20 lings for 11 anglers. The water below Carmel Bay is 49 degrees, which is very cold. The week of high winds contributed to the colder water temperatures. Chris’ has room on rockfish or salmon trips throughout the week, but the coming weekend is already filled. On the opener, Arcoleo said,” We limited out on ling cod in three different locations: Cypress Point, Carmel Bay, and south at Point Sur with all boats scoring up to 29 limits of lings along with ½ limits of rockfish. The fish bit bars and jigs as we didn’t fish live bait. Salmon fishing was best on the Monterey Bay side with a few large fish in a number of locations. Most of the salmon were taken out of Moss Landing near Mulligan’s and this side of the bay, but I expected a better bite on the other side of the bay, but it didn’t happen. One of my friends on a private boat put in three salmon at 15, 18, and 22 pounds, and there were a few in the 10-pound range. There is bait “en masse” from Carmel, Point Lobos and at Big Sur with anchovies everywhere. There are whales all over.” Private boaters are finding a few salmon along the Pajaro side of the canyon at depths from 80 to 120 feet on the downrigger with purple haze hoochies behind a flasher. The birds and whales are thick along the Pajaro side. Allen Bushnell of Santa Cruz Kayak Fishing and Surfcasting Guide Service said, “We have received only a few reports of incidental pre-season salmon catches in the bay, with most of the reports coming from the Monterey side. Anglers fishing the Point Pinos area might have the best chance at fresh salmon this weekend. Commercial fisherman and live bait maven Carl Azevedo is uncertain about salmon fishing near Santa Cruz this weekend. “Most guys I talked to haven’t really seen that much out there. But, you never know until you get out and get your lines in the water,” Azevedo said. Azevedo is surprised and pleased with the quality of bait he’s seeing recently. He sells live bait from the Santa Cruz harbor at the end of “S” Dock, and says the “Bocci Boy” receivers are up and running right now. A quick set of the net last week provided about 500 pounds of lively sardines in the five to six-inch range. He’s working all week to fill up his receivers for opening weekend. Ed Burrell from Capitola Boat and Bait reports sardines in that area as well. He has taken a few scouting forays recently, and notes he “is not seeing a whole lot of rockfish” on the local reefs. It may be the rockfish are still out in deeper water, if not hunkered down due to swell action we’ve been experiencing. Like Bocci says, you gotta go out and try for them. Near Santa Cruz, the deeper Capitola Reefs, Pleasure Point, the Mile Buoy area, and Lighthouse Point on up to Wilder’s Ranch all have wonderful structure to hold and hide the rockfish and lingcod. Remember we can fish as deep as 300 feet this year, opening a number of productive reefs and rock piles that have not been fished for many years.”
Call: Chris’ Landing (831) 375-5951; Bayside Marine (831) 475-2173.
San Francisco Bay
Halibut 2 Striper 2 Leopard shark 2 Sturgeon 3 Crab 2
The halibut are showing up in the south bay, and there are rumors of live bait being available by the coming weekend. Capt. James Smith of the California Dawn was back on the water on Saturday after major renovations and a repower of the mother ship, and they found six keeper halibut out of 27 landed in the south bay. He said, “When the water cleared up, we found lots of action on the halibut. The future of the halibut season definitely looks bright for the rest of the season and next year as well as there seem to be lots of small ones all over with a mixture of keepers.” Capt. Jim Smith on the Happy Hooker is hoping to get some live bait, and he can’t wait to go drifting for halibut and striped bass by next Saturday. Smith was back in San Pablo Bay on Saturday for sturgeon, and they ended up with one slot-limit fish at 45 inches along with a shaker that measured 39 7/8 inches at the fork along with another shaker. He said, “Dave Marquardt, aka Pale Ale, lost a legal sturgeon when it came wrapped around three other lines. My son, Chris, had a good day anchored right next to me with three legal sturgeon and five striped bass. Capt. Gordie Hough on the Morningstar had three legal sturgeon in San Pablo Bay on Wednesday to go with another one lost on an anchor line. We have a big group for sturgeon next Saturday, but I can’t wait to go halibut fishing with live bait.” Capt. Paul Velez on the Boss Hogg took out a bachelor party on Saturday, and they managed to land three legal halibut to 12 pounds along with a 24-inch striped bass near the Alameda Rockwall using Sling Blades, Wriggle Hoochies, and frozen herring. Capt. Trent Slate of Bite Me Sport Fishing out of Loch Lomond Marina has a new vessel – a 27 foot Boston Whaler – and he can’t wait to get it into the water since it can accommodate six anglers comfortably with its 10 foot beam. Keith Fraser of Loch Lomond Bait and Tackle said, “We have plenty of ghost shrimp with the possibility of live mud shrimp in the shop this week, and sturgeon fishing has been decent with some boats scoring up to 5 legal sturgeon and a few legal bass. Of course, there are those who are struggling, but it seems that each boat is coming back with at least one sturgeon. The tides this week are decent for a good sturgeon bite.”
San Luis Obispo
The bottom fish season opened on April 1, and the action was decent for the start of the season in challenging ocean conditions. Out of Morro Bay, the three boats out of Morro Bay Landing returned with 317 vermilion rockfish, 264 copper rockfish, 30 Boccaccio, 100 assorted rockfish, and 22 lings to 13 pounds for a combined 85 anglers for near limits. Out of Patriot Sport Fishing in Port San Luis, it was all about quality and not particularly quantity on Monday with two boats returning with 48 vermilion rockfish, 170 copper rockfish, six Boccaccio, 64 assorted rockfish, and 67 ling cod to 13.8 pounds. Brian Davidson of Bakersfield took the jackpot ling on one of Morro Bay Landing vessels.
Call: Virg’s Landing, (805) 772-1222; (800) 762-5263; Patriot Sport Fishing (805) 595-4100; Port Side Marine Sports Launch (805) 595-7214
- Fresno Bass Club on March 26 at Don Pedro: 1st Corey Squires 14.93; 2nd Mike Broussard 14.61; 3rd Robert Rodriquez 13.37 (big fish 5.66, Ken E.)
- California Team Tournament Trail on April 1 at Delta/Russo’s Marina: 1st Dan Fonte/Bobby Barrack 28.79 (big fish 8.49); 2nd Robby Chikasawa/Neil Lum 26.53; 3rd Dan Daniel/Dee Thomas 22.06.
- Nor Cal Fish Whisperers April 1 at Delta/Brannan Island State Park: 1st Chey Bernal 25.50 inches; 2nd John Richter 24.78 inches; 3rd Alex Fulks 22.80 inches.
- American Bass Association on April 1 at Lopez: 1st Joey Baldacchino/Daniel Figueroa 18.81; 2nd Dustin Selck/Fernando Salazar 18.65 (big fish 5.36); 3rd Bob Grayson/Jim Dobbs 17.66.
- Friday-Saturday: Kern County Bassmasters at Delta/Ladd’s Marina; Taft Bass Club at Don Pedro
- Saturday-Monday: Kern Valley Chamber of Commerce Trout Derby at Lake Isabella.
- Saturday: Christian Bass League at Delta/Ladd’s Marina; American Bass Association at Delta/B&W Resort; Tracy Bass Club at Delta/Tracy Oasis; California Delta Team Trail at Delta/Russo’s; 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.
- Sunday: River Bank Bass Anglers at Delta/Ladd’s Marina; Fresno Bass Club at Delta/B&W Resort; Kings River Bass Club at Don Pedro; Kings VIII Bass Club at Bass Lake; Porterville Bass Club at Success.
q = quarter moon f= full moon > = peak activity