Compiled by Dave Hurley and edited by Roger George, a former Olympic-class decathlete at Fresno State and striper record-holder at Millerton Lake and who now guides in the greater Fresno area. Telephone numbers are in 559 calling area unless noted. Have a photo of a recent catch to share? Email it to email@example.com with “fish photo” in the subject line.
Best bets Delta bass, stripers and sturgeon bites turn on, Randy Pringle said. New Melones bass, crappie and trout hitting, John Liechty reported. McClure bass still feeding, Mike Gomez said. Don Pedro bass fishing good, Dave Hurley reported. Eastman and Millerton producing good bass bites, Merritt Gilbert said. Shaver kokanee explode for anglers able to launch, Dick Nichols reported.
2-Have to work hard
4-Fish jumpin’ in boat
Delta Mendota Canal and Sloughs
Stripers 3; Catfish 2
The northern section of the California Aqueduct remains relatively slow with most striper fishermen heading to the main lake. The southern section of the aqueduct remains red hot, according Jacob Rutledge of Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield with loads of striped bass taken on sardines, blood worms, pile worms or jumbo minnows while a few fishermen are throwing Gitzits or swimbaits. The bait bite is much better than the artificial action, but this will change as the water warms a few more degrees. Sonny’s Stink Bait or Katnip Beef Bait are working for whiskerfish.. The Buena Vista golf course Highway 166/Old River and Tupman are the top locations in Kern County.
Bass 3; Trout 2; Bluegill 2; Catfish 2; Crappie 2
Eastman is the location for big bass in the region with largemouths ranging from 8 to 12.5 pounds reported during the past week. Jigs at depths off of the shorelines have been the ticket for the larger fish as anglers pounding the banks are finding a smaller grade. Many anglers are preparing for the upcoming River Rat Open tournament this Saturday, and 50 boats are expected to compete for the approximately $3,000 first-place prize. Small catfish to 3 pounds are taken on dip baits while palm-sized crappie are taken on crappie jigs. The lake has risen to 88 percent and 576.18 feet in elevation. There have been reports of floating hazards like trees and debris in the water so caution is needed for boaters.
Call: Six Star Tackle Box 673-5688; Eastman Lake 689-3255
Bass 2; Trout 2; Catfish 2; Bluegill 2; Crappie 2
After a few weeks of improving bass fishing, the bite fell off of the table with anglers working hard for five hours for a single bite. All species have slowed down with both catfish and crappie on the pokey side. The lake has risen 4 feet this week to 62 percent and 515.62 feet in elevation.
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; Kokanee 1; King salmon 2; Crappie 2
Bass fishing continues to be solid with plastic worms such as Pro Worms in 124p, 266 or 300 along with Berkserk Baits Purple Hornet or brown/purple jigs. The fish are feeding on the abundant shad in preparation for the spawn, and there is a reaction bite with River2Sea Swavers or River2 Sea umbrella rigs. For rainbow trout and king salmon, Monte Smith of Gold Country Sport Fishing is running a special trip for fast-trolling heavy spoons on April 21. The lake continues to release water in order to prepare for the upcoming snowmelt, and it is currently at 82 percent and 800.36 feet in elevation. Bond Flat Road remains closed indefinitely, but repairs to the road have begun. There has been more than 40 acres of debris coming out of the Tuolumne River arm, and Don Pedro Recreation Area staff are corralling and hauling the debris into a floating debris containment area. This area will remain closed through mid-May when the lake will rise once again through the month of June. The debris will then be relocated onto the banks. Caution while boating is necessary.
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
At Lake Isabella, the catfish bite is showing signs of life with Sonny’s Stink Bait or Katnip Beef Bait while there are a few crappie starting to get active. Bass fishing remains slow, and Jacob Rutledge of Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield said, “The lake has been so low for so long that it is possible that the bass aren’t moving out from their familiar locations to all of the new water and shoreline areas available. This will change as the lake warms.” The lake held at 44 percent this week. In the small local lakes, bluegill and bass dominate action. Buena Vista is heating up for striped bass and catfish. The lower Kern River remains high and muddy, but trout plants are helping out the action in the upper river above Lake Isabella.
Call: Bob’s Bait (661) 833-8657; North Fork Marina (760) 376-1812
Bass 3; Crappie 2; Trout 2; Catfish 2
The lake remained relatively stable this week, only rising ½ foot, and the bass are in all stages of spawning. Catching and releasing the larger female bass is recommended in order to keep the trophy possibilities for this lake. Senkos, lizards and plastics are working for the bass. Crappie anglers are soaking small to medium minnows or minijigs. Bluegill are found in the shallows around structure with red worms. Kaweah rose slightly to 634.04 feet in elevation and 27 percent.
Call: Sierra Sporting Goods 592-5212
Bass 2; Trout 2; Catfish 2; Crappie 2
Chuck Stokke of Sequoia Fishing Co. in Springville said, “The lake is full, and the release of water has been stopped for the past few weeks. Bass fishing remains slow to fair due to the cooler temperatures this week, but with the coming temperatures reaching the 80s, the bite should improve. Crankbaits, plastics, or jigs are effective.” The lake rose 3 feet to 639.72 feet in elevation and 68 percent. The Tule River, Stokke added, “The river is high, but some locals are scoring some nice browns on spinnerbaits. The flows should increase this coming week with the snowpack melting with the warmer weather.”
Call: Sequoia Fishing Co. 539-5626, sequoiafishingcompany.com
Bass 3; Trout 2; King salmon 1; Kokanee 1; Crappie 2; Catfish 2
After being so low in 2016 that launching a boat was a major challenge, Lake McClure has rebounded for Mother Lode bass fishermen. Rainbow trout and king salmon used to be a major draw for this lake, but neither species has recovered so trollers are avoiding the lake. In the meantime, bass fishermen are enjoying the action for both numbers and size. Mike Gomez of the Bait Barn in Waterford was on the lake with his older brother Henry on Saturday, and they caught and released quality largemouth and spotted bass to 5 pounds, weighing in a five-fish limit over 18 pounds. Gomez said, “My older brother was camping at Lake McSwain for the weekend, and since the trout bite has been very slow at this lake, he asked me to take him bass fishing at nearby McClure. We found fish in both the shallows and in deeper water. Henry was working a Pro Worm 124p in 30 to 35 feet of water, and he landed a 3.5-pound spot on a Berserk jig. The water temperature started off at 58 degrees, and once it rose one degree to 59 degrees, the reaction bite exploded. We found bait fish busting on the surface, and the River2Sea SWaver in a kokanee pattern worked for a 5.5-pound largemouth and a 4.5-pound spotted bass. The remainder of our 18-pound limit was in the 3- to 3.5-pound range, and the SWaver produced the larger fish. I was working the bait along flats with deep water access, and the bass were coming out of 15 to 20 feet in order to eat the bait. We were searching for fish on beds, but we didn’t see any beds although the water clarity was excellent, averaging from 10 to 15 feet.” McClure will be hosting three club bass tournaments over the next six weeks. The lake is at 65 percent and 807.07 feet in elevation, and water releases will no longer be directed by the US Army Corps of Engineers as the lake is at 67 percent of capacity or below. The launch ramps at Barrett’s Cove South and McClure Point are open.
There is minimal change at this impoundment with heavy flows running through the spillway of McSwain Dam from upstream Lake McClure. As a result, trout plants are currently on hold. The last plant was October 2016. 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
Millerton Lake/San Joaquin River
Bass 3; Striped Bass 1; Shad 1; Bluegill 2
Millerton Reservoir has the well-deserved reputation for numbers of spotted bass, and the recent action has not been a disappointment for area fishermen. The lake will be heavily occupied by recreational boaters within the next few months, but for the time being, bass fishermen have relatively unfettered access. Few tournaments are scheduled at the lake despite the consistent action for small spotted bass due to the cost of holding an event at the lake. Only a single event, the Bass 101 Open on June 18, will be held at the lake over the next few months. Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “The late afternoon has been the best time for fishing as one angler using white Speed Traps in the main lake put together quite a day with a 30-pound striped bass, a 7-pound spotted bass along with more spots in the 2- to 3-pound range. The bass are right on the banks in the late afternoon with the water temperatures warming up. Bass fishermen are working the banks with a variety of lures, and one boat caught and released 51 fish to 2.5 pounds traveling on the banks with plastic worms.” Millerton has dropped to 45 percent, and 505.82 feet in elevation, and it will continue to drop in the coming weeks in anticipation of a massive amount of snowmelt arriving from the San Joaquin River watershed. 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 two 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. All wild steelhead or trout with an adipose fin present must be released immediately. The San Joaquin River is closed to the take of salmon, and they may not be targeted by fishermen and must be released immediately if inadvertently caught.
Call: Valley Rod & Gun 292-3474
New Melones Reservoir/Tulloch
Bass 3; Crappie 3; Catfish 2; Trout 3; Kokanee 1
New Melones is as full as it has been in several years, and a wide variety of species are available at California’s third largest reservoir. After a few weeks of slower trout fishing, experienced trollers are starting to get in on the action while bass fishing remains solid for both numbers and the occasional big largemouth or spotted bass. Gary Burns of Take It To the Limit Guide Service said, “What can I say, if the fishing this year is as nice as the lake looks, we will have it made. We put in limits this week above the Parrott’s Ferry running either pink Wiggle Hoochies tipped with garlic corn behind a purple/pink Sling Blade, a cowbell/nightcrawler combination or orange Gulp! Balls with yellow grubs at depths from 5 to 10 feet. We kept the speed around 1.6 mph in order to keep an eye out for all of the floating debris on the surface and just below the surface. I plan are being on the lake quite a bit now in search of kokanee, and I hope they are as large as they were last year.” John Liechty of Glory Hole Sports in Angels Camp said, “As the lake warms, the trout will move into deeper water on the main lake and over the river channel. When the lake is this full, the rainbows will often bite throughout the summer months. The water does have some stain in certain areas. The river and stream trout season begins on April 29, and bank anglers will have much better luck heading to the streams since Melones rainbows have moved into deeper water.” The kokanee action is right around the corner, and the first kokes should be coming out within the next few weeks. The top areas at the start of the season are in the deep water in the main lake from the dam to the spillway and to the mouth of Angels Cove. The ability to be flexible and adapt to the changing weather conditions is the key to bass fishing as the fish are pulling off into deeper water during period of unstable weather. Liechty said, “It is best to fish a presentation that will work both in deep or shallow water, and a Texas-rigged worm is a good option. I suggest enhancing the worm with a bead to make a ticking sound, dying the tail or adding scent. The heavy grass along the shoreline is a hindrance, and fishing the worm weedless is important.” Crappie fishing remains outstanding with crappie jigs, small artificial minnows or live minnows under a slip-float rig. “This has been an extremely exceptional year for crappie, and they absolutely thrive when the lake is lined with flooded grass,” Liechty said. “I would use artificials to find the schools before working live minnows under a slip-float rig.” Catfish are moving into the shallows and the pockets, searching for meals washing off of the shorelines. The catfish are holding near rock in the flats and finding running water is another key. Frozen shad, anchovies, sardines or a ball of nightcrawlers are the top baits. New Melones continues to rise, and it has come up 4 feet this week to 1,043.98 feet in elevation and 80 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/Kings River
Bass 2; Trout 3; King salmon 1; Catfish 2; Crappie 3; Kokanee 0
Pine Flat remains the top location for both rainbow trout and crappie in the Fresno area while bass fishing remains decent. The lake is adjusting by lowering its level in order to prepare for a big influx of snowmelt in the coming weeks. The annual Kokanee Power Team Trout and Salmon Derby will take place Saturday, April 22, and the main body has been the top location for rainbow trout. Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “The trout bite remains good with Apex lures, Needlefish, and Rapalas in shad patterns in the main lake, and the fish are shallow at two to three colors of leadcore. Zebe Creek or Deer Creek along with the Power Lines are the top locations in the main lake, but I haven’t heard anything from the river arm except that the trash barrier has been removed.” Crappie fishing is the best in the area with crappie jigs, leading Gilbert to say, “Most of our crappie fishermen are heading to Pine Flat in our area or going north to Don Pedro or McClure. We have been selling packs and packs of crappie jigs, and the top areas in the lake have been around structure near Trimmer or Sycamore Creeks.” Best Bass Tournaments held a Central Valley event at the lake on Saturday, and tournament director Kevin Cheek said, “We had 36 boats participating, and Rich Hale and Shane Soriano took first place with a 16.02-pound limit including a big spotted bass at 4.35 pounds.” Soriano said, “We found a spot where shad were busting on the surface in the morning, and we started throwing reaction baits for spots to 3.5 pounds. Rich picked up our biggest spot on a 6-inch Senko while I also caught one over 4 pounds on a jig. We ran up the river arm to work a point with Keitech swimbaits, and we kept catching fish, but they were all small. We ended up culling fish at the original point later in the day, and these final fish pushed us over the top. I was pretty happy since we didn’t pre-fish for the event.” The big fish of the event was a 5-pound largemouth taken by Justin Eslick on a ripbait. Largemouth bass are increasingly scarce at this lake due to difficulty in spawning with the fluctuating water levels. A few spotted bass were taken off the beds during the event. The Kokanee Power Team Trout and Salmon Derby will consist of a three-fish weigh-in per team with placement based on the heaviest limit. The tournament will pay to 15th place with a $45 entry fee for members and $55 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. Pine Flat dropped 11 feet during the week to 852.48 feet in elevation and 51 percent. In the lower Kings, the water is moving fast, but there are planted rainbows to be taken primarily with spinners in the slower pockets. There are special regulations in both the Kings River above and below Pine Flat Dam. The season is open from the last Saturday in April to Nov. 15 from Pine Flat Dam downstream to U. S. Army Corps of Engineers Bridge on Pine Flat Road with a five-fish limit. The Army Corps of Engineer’s Bridge is the first bridge to the west of the dam. The area from Cobbles (Alta) Weir downstream to the Highway 180 crossing is open all year with only artificial lures with barbless hooks with a zero limit. The Thorburn Spawning Channel, the 2,200-foot long channel located five miles downstream from Pine Flat Dam, and the reach of river within a 200-foot radius of the channel exit is closed to all fishing all year.
Call: Valley Rod & Gun 292-3474; Sequoia Fishing Co. 539-5626
San Luis Reservoir and O’Neill Forebay
Striper 2; Catfish 2; Bass 2; Crappie 2
Striper action continues to be up and down with the passing fronts for fishermen frequenting the main San Luis Reservoir. Roger George of Roger George Guide Service said that the bite for experienced anglers has been day-to-day. “I have been keeping up with over seven other regular anglers who are using a multitude of techniques from flat trolling, downrigging and casting – and the bite is going from decent at times to tough – between windstorms. There have been a few big fish and one regular angler caught and released a 29 pounder last Friday, then went back Saturday and got a 32-pounder trolling minnow-colored lures. Even though he got those two big fish he only got five fish total on Friday and four that Saturday, showing how tough it can be. The water temps fell to 58 degrees and the water clarity is good right now but the fish are spooky. I guided Flint Epps of Fresno and his brother Mike on Saturday and it was not easy but we ended up with 18 fish, with two at 25 inches, all released, after fishing hard all day from sunrise to closing. Most anglers told me they were getting about three to six fish for the day. The Lucky Craft 128s in Ghost and Chartreuse shad have been consistent producers trolled at the 40- to 60-foot range. The fish seem to be settling down into more normal lake patterns and I expect the bite to improve to solid soon,” George said. The winds have been a limiting factor for trollers in the main lake and the level has been dropping slowly to 96 percent. Mooching anchovies is working as well as drifting jumbo minnows, and the stripers are actively chasing shad schools throughout the lake, even in open water in the middle of the lake when it’s calm. Trollers are scoring at depths to 80 feet with P-Line Predator Minnows or Lucky Craft Pointers. Wind condition information is available at (800) 805-4805, but there are reports that the information has been inaccurate. In the forebay, Small striped bass are available with the occasional larger lineside taken on jerkbaits or ripbaits. Check 12 remains the top area for numbers, and pile worms, blood worms and anchovies are the top baits. Most anglers are heading for the main lake for a larger grade of striped bass.
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 on May 6-7, and 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 Pines and Forks Resorts are open, and all launch ramps are in the water with the lake rising to 83 percent. Bass fishing remains slow with limits in the 11-pound range taking first in the two tournaments so far. Trout trolling is holding up at depths to 15 feet while a few rainbows are taken from the banks. Webcams of the lake are available at http://basslakeca.com/, and the lake has risen to 86 percent.
Call: Mike Beighey 642-3748; Bass Lake Watersports 642-3200
The final section of Kaiser Pass Road at Eastwood closed on Dec. 1 and access to Edison and Florence Lakes is limited to snowmobiles. Edison dropped slightly to 16 percent and Florence rose slightly to 16 percent. Mammoth Pool is nearly full at 99 percent. The opening of Kaiser Pass Road may be delayed past the normal Memorial Day opener due to the heavy snowpack.
Call: Vermilion Valley Resort at Edison Lake 259-4000
Shaver Lake/Huntington Lake
Trout 2; Kokanee 3
Access to the lake is currently limited to small aluminum boats launching off of the auxiliary ramp at the Sierra Marina, but the kokanee have arrived in force at Shaver Lake. Dick Nichols of Dick’s Fishing Charters has postponed the start of his season with the low water conditions at the lake requiring the movement of both marinas into deep water, but he has been checking with local anglers on a regular basis. Nichols said, “The kokanee action is red hot with Jim Watson and his son Jeff of Clovis scoring kokanee to 18 inches after launching their 16-foot aluminum from the auxiliary ramp. I met the Watsons in Shaver Lake, and they showed me their two limits of kokanee between 14 and 18 inches, and with the heads off, I initially thought these were some of our small trophy-sized rainbows. The Watsons were fishing around Black Rock with red Wedding Rings tipped with corn behind a dodger at 8 feet in depth. They were out of the water by 10 a.m. with limits and on their way home when I saw them. Previously, Jeff and his girlfriend caught and released 27 kokanee and a 4.5-pound rainbow trout a few weeks earlier while fishing over the three-day period. I am very pleased with the early season kokanee action after such as slow season in 2016. The surprise to me is that they are so shallow at 6 to 8 feet after being at their normal 20 to 30-foot range at this time of year. The Watsons have helped me regain my confidence in the kokanee fishery at Shaver Lake that I had started to lose last year. This is some of the finest kokanee action I have seen in some time.” The lake is at the bottom of the main Sierra Marina ramp and dropping, but the marina will be open for business on May 1. Nichols plans to start his service shortly after May 1. However, currently, the launch ramp may be out of service within a few days. Lake levels for the coming months are anticipated May – 25 percent, June – 67 percent, July - 83 percent, August – 99 percent, and September – 100 percent. Shaver is currently at 45 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 3; Striper 3; Sturgeon 3; Catfish 2; Bluegill 3
High water releases out of the major rivers feeding the Sacramento-Delta have raised the water level once again, and the cold and muddy water has kept the best striped bass action in the clearer San Joaquin-River section of the Delta. Sturgeon fishing, although the number of anglers targeting the species has diminished, has been nothing short of spectacular in Suisun Bay. The Sacramento, Feather and American Rivers all flowing high with the continuation of yet another series of storms and increased releases from upstream reservoirs has kept the striped bass to a minimum. A huge rush of striped bass ran up into the upper Feather and Sacramento Rivers within the past two weeks, but the water in these rivers is still too cold for a spawn. Another push of stripers from San Francisco Bay and the ocean is expected in the coming weeks, and if the water clears by the time the linesides make their trek back into the bay, trolling in the normal locations from Collinsville to above the Rio Vista Bridge should be outstanding through June. Sturgeon fishing is outstanding for those who haven’t gone onto to new fishing horizons, and Capt. John Badger of Barbarian Sport Fishing has been putting on a clinic in Suisun Bay out of his port of Martinez. Despite high winds plaguing the entire Delta area on Thursday, he put his six clients onto limits of slot fish with six sturgeon using salmon roe or eel. Pam Hayes at Benicia Bait reported good sturgeon action in Montezuma Slough with one private boat hooked seven sturgeon on a recent trip. Small striped bass are coming off of the shoreline with blood worms, pile worms or anchovies. The Central Valley Anglers Spring Striper Derby will be held on April 29 with information at www.centralvalleyanglers.org. A larger grade of striped bass moved into the San Joaquin-Delta with most striper fishermen working the shoals between the mouth of the Mokelumne River and Three Mile Slough. The vastly improved bite for the chance at a quality striper has brought out a fleet of guides and private boats to the San Andreas and Santa Clara Shoals. Largemouth bass fishing continues to be excellent with nearly 32 pounds necessary to take first place in Saturday’s Dan’s Delta Outdoors event at Big Break Marina. James Netzel of Tight Lines Guide Service went out with Clyde Wands, shallow trolling expert, during the week, and they found more quality than quantity with a large grade of striped bass to 15 pounds caught and released. Wands said, “We had a good day with a number of big fish on the San Joaquin near Prisoner’s Point. There have been more large fish coming in lately with a 42 pounder landed at the Santa Clara Shoals, and Capt. Jay Lopes putting his clients onto fish in excess of 23 pounds on consecutive days. Both of the big fish were released. For us, deep-diving Yozuri Crystal Minnows with a yellow line were the ticket today as I switched over to a Yozuri as it was the best thing going. Earlier on the week, shallow lures were working, but we couldn’t get anything to go in the shallows.” Randy Pringle, the Fishing Instructor, said, “We have been scoring with either the Flat Dog or Havoc Bottom Hopper in earth tones on a weightless presentation or on the drop-shot or Zappu head. The lighter weight of these lures allows them to stay in the strike zone longer, and it is very important to keep the bait in the strike zone right now. The fish are holding in specific location and working the west-facing banks is a key as the water is warmer. You can pre-fish your trip on either the map or on your chart to locate the west-facing banks, and if the wind comes up, I would hide from the wind along the north-west banks. The new Ima ISB70 – a rattling Rock N’Vibe – produced a 7.5-pound largemouth as the lure suspends in the strike zone. I cranked and cranked it throughout the day, and I was rewarded with the one big bite.” Dan Mathisen of Dan’s Delta Outdoors in Oakley said, “Thirty boats participated in Saturday tournament, and Tim Venkus and John Martin took first place with a 31.77-pound limit including a 9.13-pound kicker while the second and third place teams were within 5 hundredths of an ounce from each other at 27.65 and 27.60 pounds. Neil Simpson of Lodi was out on the San Joaquin on Saturday, and he said, “We caught 20-plus fish, and they were mostly stripers in the 16- to 26-inch range with the largest at 7 pounds on a Shadow Rap jerkbait. I lost one over 10 pounds in the morning on a River2Sea Swaver as it did the death roll and wrapped up in my line with its head down and tail sticking out of the water. The water temperature ranged from 57 to 60 degrees, and the clarity was good with the exception of the muddy water coming out of Georgiana Slough. The 2017 Rat-L-Trap Open is coming to Russo’s Marina on April 23 with an entry fee of $115 and 100 percent payback. Information and registration is available at www.bestbasstournaments.com. The river closures were updated by the San Joaquin County Office of Emergency Services on March 29. There are areas where a 5 mph (No Wake) speed restriction is in effect two hours before high tide through two hours after high tide. Specific information regarding the updated closures with bridge and tide information at DeltaBoating.com at http://deltaboating.com/tides/orwood.php and closures at https://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; Striper 3; Catfish 2; Crappie 2
At Lopez Lake, bass fishing is solid with a variety of techniques including plastic worms, crankbaits, jigs or spinnerbaits with the larger grade of largemouth taken on either swimjigs or chatterbaits. The bluegill and red ear perch are in the shallows and biting jumbo red worms. The lake continues to rise slowly, and it is over 60 percent. At Lake Nacimiento, the Best Bass Tournaments is holding a tournament this coming Saturday, and the spotted bass action remains outstanding for a small grade of fish. Plastic worms in the 4 to 6-inch range along with small reaction baits are working the shallows for the numerous bass with the slightly-larger grade found staging just off of the banks. White bass are starting to school up, the bite hasn’t busted loose as of yet. The water clarity has improved as the debris is settling down. The lake came up slightly to 90 percent this past week. San Antonio opened up last week for the first time and striper anglers did well on fish from 7 to 12 pounds on trolled minnow lures – confirming what many anglers had thought would happen. The lake will reopen on the South Shore for recreation starting at 7 a.m. Friday, and the South Shore will be open on a weekend only basis until May 14. After a brief five-day closure, it will remain open on May 19 on a full-time basis. The North Shore is expected to open on a full-time basis on June 9. The Harris Creek launch ramp will be open from 7 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Fridays, 6:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. on Saturday, and from 6:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Sunday. The lake has been closed since Sept. 11, 2016. The lake rose slightly to 54 percent. Santa Margarita is kicking out largemouth bass to 5 pounds on a variety of techniques with jerkbaits, crankbaits, swimjigs, and chatterbaits all working for the quality fish while numbers are taken on plastics on the drop-shot, dart head or shaky head. The largemouths are oriented towards the shallows. Bluegill and crappie are getting active. Reminder: consuming white bass, black bass, crappie, catfish or carp are subject to safe eating guidelines due to excessive mercury. There is a calendar of coastal lake tournaments available at http://www.my.calendars.net/cctsched/d01/01/2012?display=M&style=B&positioning=Ahttp://www.my.calendars.net/cctsched/d01/01/2012?display=M&style=B&positioning=A. Quagga mussel inspections are now required before boat launching is allowed.
Call: Lake Nacimiento (805) 238-1056, ext. 3; Lake San Antonio Marina (805) 472-2818; Central Coast Bass Fishing.com (805) 466-6557
Half Moon Bay
Salmon 3; Rockfish 3; Striper 2; Crabs 2
There was an excellent salmon bite on Monday afternoon south of the Farallon Islands with the New Ray Ann out of Sausalito finding a willing school and putting his passengers onto 10 limits to 15 pounds trolling 10 miles southeast of the Islands in 50 fathoms of water. Roger Thomas on the Salty Lady is whale watching weekends and running fishing trips on weekdays through May. He currently has very light loads on the books at this time. The Huli Cat went rockfishing on Saturday for vermilion and ling cod to 4 pounds on shrimp flies tipped with squid. They also pulled the crab pots for a few Dungeness per angler.
Call: Happy Hooker (510) 223-5388; Captain Roger Thomas, Salty Lady (415) 760-9362; Emeryville Sport Fishing (510) 654-6040.
Rockfish 3; Striper 2; Salmon 2; Crab 2
Chris Arcoleo of Chris’ Fishing Trips in Monterey said, “The salmon action was slow for us, and we didn’t get a fish. They are still there, but there were nearly 100 boats out on Monday after the weekend that had up to 300 or more boats working the Soquel or Pajaro Holes. A few skiffs were able to scrape up a few salmon in the morning running downriggers with flashers near the bottom in deep water, but overall the fish were off the bite after a few days of good action. Rockfishing remains outstanding with quality vermilion, copper and canary rockfish to go with nine limits of ling cod on Monday. The school fish aren’t biting well, but the bottom grabbers are chomping. We will continue to run salmon trips this week on Thursday and Friday.” Previously, the Soldier’s Club had been the hot spot for private boaters with early limits of a mixed grade of fish on Saturday. Arcoleo said, “There were several skiffs returning with early limits on Saturday morning, and the fish were right on top. I think these were the fish that were off of the San Mateo coastline earlier in the week. On the rockfish front, we smashed them over the weekend with the Check Mate posting 12 limits of ling cod and 48 rockfish while the Caroline also put in ling cod limits and 3/4 limits of rockfish.”
Call: Chris’ Landing (831) 375-5951; Bayside Marine (831) 475-2173.
San Francisco Bay
Halibut 3; Striper 2; Leopard shark 2; Sturgeon 2; Crab 2; Rockfish 3; Salmon 2
Salmon action broke out on Monday afternoon southeast of the Farallon Islands, but only one party boat from the Bay Area fleet was out for the action. Capt. Jim Smith of the Happy Hooker out of Berkeley Marina found good fishing on Saturday for seven halibut and three striped bass in the 7 to 8-pound range. He said, “We released a number of shakers, and most of our halibut were of a solid grade. The water is clear in the south bay with 7 feet of visibility, and the live bait has been very good for this early in the season.” The New Huck Finn out of Emeryville also posted a good score for halibut on Easter Sunday with 15 halibut to 17 pounds for 14 anglers. Keith Fraser of Loch Lomond Bait and Tackle said, “ There have been few boaters out on Easter Sunday and on Monday, but Captain Gordie Hough of the Morningstar put in three slot-limit sturgeon along with eight undersized and an oversized for 15 anglers on Saturday. We have shiners in the shop along with some live mud shrimp remaining. We even have two bullheads, and these have been a very rare site for the past two or three years. These are the first we have seen in at least six months.”
San Luis Obispo
Good scores with a solid grade of ling cod continue to be the rule out of both San Luis Obispo County ports with the Phenix out of Patriot Sport Fishing at Port San Luis returning with 19 limits of rockfish and 20 ling cod to 13 pounds on Monday’s trip. Out of Morro Bay, the San Pedro Special and the Avenger loaded up with 366 vermilion rockfish, 11 copper rockfish, 154 assorted rockfish, and 37 lings to 9 pounds for 56 anglers. The Fiesta out of Virg’s Landing in Morro Bay put in limits of ling cod to 17.3 pounds for 15 anglers along with limits of rockfish composed of 100 vermilion, 40 coppers, and 10 canaries on Monday. Virg’s is taking an overnight trip on the Princess on April 20-21 with their first two-day trip on April 28-30 with two limits possible. There are only a few spots available for the two-day trip.
Call: Virg’s Landing, (805) 772-1222; (800) 762-5263; Patriot Sport Fishing (805) 595-4100; Port Side Marine Sports Launch (805) 595-7214
- Dan’s Delta Outdoors April 15 at Delta/Big Break Marina: 1st Tim Venkus/John Martin 31.77 (big fish 9.13); 2nd Harvey Pulliam/Jamond Andrews 27.65; 3rd Hunter Schlander/Vincent Bernal 27.60.
- Best Bass Tournaments April 15 at Pine Flat: 1st Rich Hale/Shane Soriano 16.02; 2nd Ralph and Denise Encizo 14.85; 3rd Vang Vue/Bee Yang 14.51. Big fish (5 pounds), Justin Eslick.
- 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
- Best Bass Tournaments Rat-L Trap Open at Delta/Russo’s Marina
- California Bass Federation at Delta/B and W Resort
- Kings River Bass Club at Bass Lake
- Bass 101 Open at Bass Lake, 284-2768
- 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
- Best Bass Tournaments at Delta/Russo’s Marina
- Tracy Bass Club at Delta/Tracy Oasis
- California Bass Federation at New Melones
> = peak activity