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.
Best bets Southern Aqueduct stripers on fire, Jacob Rutledge said. Don Pedro kicking out multi-species bites, Monte Smith reported. New Melones bass, crappie and trout biting, Glory Hole Sports said. Millerton spotted bass hitting, Dave Hurley reported, Pine Flat trout fishing good, Merritt Gilbert reported. Delta striper, bass and sturgeon action good, Randy Pringle said. Shaver lake trout on the prowl, Dick Nichols reported. Bass Lake trout and bass bites kick in, Todd Wittwer said.
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 continues to be extremely slow with the high water releases, but the southern section of the aqueduct in Kern County has been “red hot,” according to Jacob Rutledge of Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield. He said, “Sardines have been the best bait by far, but blood worms are also in high demand. Most of our fishermen are heading to the aqueduct instead of Lake Isabella or other local lakes, and the majority of stripers are undersized. However, there was a 35-pounder landed on chicken liver this week. The artificial bite remains slow, but once warmer temperatures arrive on a consistent basis, the lures will start working. Sonny’s Stink Bait or Katnip Beef Bait have been best for catfish. The Buena Vista golf course Highway 166/Old River, and Tupman remain the top locations in Kern County.
Bass 3; Trout 2; Bluegill 2; Catfish 2; Crappie 2
Eastman continues to produce decent limits of largemouth bass with a 15.50-pound limit taking Saturday’s River Rat Open tournament with the big fish at 8.77. A few catfish are coming on cutbaits from the shoreline while small crappie are landing on crappie jigs. The lake rose two feet this week to 578.29 feet in elevation and 90 percent.
Call: Six Star Tackle Box 673-5688; Eastman Lake 689-3255
Bass 2; Trout 2; Catfish 2; Bluegill 2; Crappie 2
The bass bite continues to be slow with few reports during the past week. Most of the interest fell on nearby Eastman due to the recent tournament. All species are reported to have slowed to a crawl. The lake rose five feet this week to 520.29 feet in elevation and 69 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 2; Crappie 3
The trout action is clearly worth making the trip to Don Pedro, and the bass and crappie bite remains solid. Monte Smith of Gold Country Sport Fishing was out for three days during the past week including his special trip for fast-trolling heavy spoons on Saturday. Smith said, “It has been a pretty decent bite with rainbow trout to 19 inches taken during the week. We started out on Sunday trying for king salmon for a few hours, but after only receiving a single hit, my clients wanted to catch some of the rainbows that we found on Saturday. We ended up with five decent rainbows for a grandfather and his granddaughter as they only wanted to keep her limit. The water temperature was 62 degrees, and the rainbows have dropped to between 24 and 43 feet deep. I have been running my custom heavy spoons on downriggers in the main lake along the west side after launching out of Blue Oaks. The lake is dropping, but it is dropping slowly, and you do not even see a water line from the previous day. The water column is excellent as I could see my Shark weight on the downrigger 10 feet below the boat. There are king salmon on the meter at 100 feet or more but getting them to bite is another story. The best location for kings at this time of year is up the river arm out of Moccasin, but there is far too much debris up the river arm. The rainbows are so fat and chunky that you can’t even get your hands around a 15 to 16-inch fish. The trout are feeding heavily on shad, and they are spitting up whole or ground shad on the decks.” Bass fishing is good with Pro Worms in 124p or 300 along with Berserk jigs, plastics on a shaky head, or Reaction Innovation’s underspins. Crappie are taken on minijigs or small to medium minnows near structure. The main lake is clear, but 40 acres of wood has accumulated in the river arm just downstream from the Ward’s Ferry Bridge, and crews are working hard to corral the wood behind a boom. In a normal year, the floating wood will make up only 1/4 of this year’s total. The submerged logs present a hazard to boaters in the river arm in addition to rafters coming down from the Tuolumne River arm. The huge trees are also a danger to the dam, powerhouse and both spillways. The river arm will remain closed through mid-May when the lake will rise once again through the month of June. The lake is currently at 82 percent and 800.29 feet in elevation, dropping 30 feet since the spillway was placed into service several weeks ago. Bonds Flat Road remains closed indefinitely.
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, a few crappie are being taken from the banks with live minnows or minijigs, but few fishermen are heading to the lake with the hot bite at the California Aqueduct. Catfishing is fair with Sonny’s Stink Bait, but bass fishing remains slow. The lake rose slightly to 45 percent this week. In the small local lakes, bluegill and bass dominate action. The lower Kern River remains high and muddy, but trout plants are helping out the action in the upper river above Lake Isabella. Salmon eggs, nightcrawlers, Power Bait or live crickets are working for the planters. The upper river should start rising with the anticipated snowmelt.
Call: Bob’s Bait (661) 833-8657; North Fork Marina (760) 376-1812
Bass 2; Crappie 2; Trout 1; Catfish 2
The lake came up 16 feet this past week after rising only 1/2 foot the previous week, and the bass are spread out throughout the water column in various stages of spawning. Senkos, lizards and plastics are working for bass. Catching and releasing the larger female bass is recommended in order to keep the trophy possibilities for this lake. Crappie anglers are soaking small to medium minnows or minijigs. Bluegill are found in the shallows around structure with red worms. Kaweah rose to 650.14 feet in elevation and 38 percent.
Call: Sierra Sporting Goods 592-5212
Bass 3; Trout 2; Catfish 2; Crappie 2
Success is as full as it has been in recent memory, and recreational boaters are starting to show up over the weekends. Chuck Stokke of the Sequoia Fishing Company in Springville said, “The lake is filling up, and there are a lot of logs, trees and debris from the heavy flows from the Tule River into the lake. Bass fishing is fair to good with plastics and jigs.” Lake rose four feet to 643.04 feet in elevation and 75 percent. The Tule River is running high and the flows should continue to increase this week with the snowpack melting. Caution must be taken around the water’s edge as there were two drowning deaths in the river within the past week.
Call: Sequoia Fishing Co. 539-5626, sequoiafishingcompany.com
Bass 3; Trout 2; King salmon 1; Kokanee 1; Crappie 2; Catfish 2
Lake McClure is hosting the two-day Merced Irrigation Derby Spring Trout Derby this weekend on April 29 and 30 at Barretts Cove Marina, and registration for the event is free. The spring trout derby is normally held at Lake McSwain, but with high water releases out of McClure this spring, the derby has been relocated to McClure. Forms can be completed at any time during the weekend or printed off from www.lakemcclure.com. No registration is required in advance, nor will it be accepted prior to the weekend of the Derby. Prizes from $25 to $500 will be paid for the largest and also for tagged rainbow trout. Participants are advised to make camping reservations for the weekend by calling 1-855-800-2267 or online at the Lake McClure website. The Merced Irrigation District reported planted trout have been tagged with $25, $50 and $100 tags, and there are also cash prizes for the five largest trout ranging from $50 to $500. The Derby starts at 7 a.m. on Saturday and will conclude at noon on Sunday with all fish requiring weigh-in at the Barretts Cove Marina. There are still four gold-tagged rainbows remaining in the lake, and these fish are worth $500. There will also be a prize drawing with tickets selling for $1 or 25 for $20, and the drawing will be held on Sunday at the marina. The bass bite remains solid with Pro Worms in 124p, 266, or 300 at depths to 35 feet along with River2Sea SWavers in light trout. Finding slightly warmer water is a key as the bait is holding in the warmer pockets. McClure will be hosting two club bass tournaments over the next five weeks. The lake is at 66 percent and 809.61 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.
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, and the annual trout derby for this coming weekend was moved to Lake McClure. 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
San Joaquin River
Bass 3; Striped Bass 2; Shad 1; Bluegill 2; Crappie 2
Spots in the 1.75 to 2.75-pound range are active, and umbrella rigs, crankbaits or plastics are all working for fishermen reporting up to 20-fish days. Three striped bass over 20 pounds were caught during the week on various lures intended for largemouth or spotted bass. The crappie bite has backed off within the week. The lake is releasing water down the Kern-Friant Canal at a high rate, but the water level actually rose to 51 percent as the snowmelt is on its way. Only a single event, the Bass 101 Open on June 18, will be held at the lake over the next few months. The Central Valley Sportsman's Club will host its 40th Annual Kids Fishing Derby at Woodward Park in Fresno from 8 a.m. to noon on Saturday, May 6. Participation in the derby is limited to children 15 years of age and younger, and there will be trophies for first, second and third place in each of three age categories. They are: 5 years and under, 6 to 10, and 11 to 15. Channel catfish will be planted in two ponds next to the gazebo on the north side of the park. Bait will be provided but participants are welcome to bring their own special bait. No lures are allowed during the derby. Participation in the derby is free but the park charges an entrance free of approximately $5. Primary funding for the derby comes from the Central Valley Sportsman's Club and the Fresno County Recreation and Wildlife Commission. Prospective participants can call Bob Garcia at (559) 291-7860 or Bob Hernandez at (559) 375-4616 for further information. 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 3; Catfish 2; Trout 3; Kokanee 1
Kokanee have yet to appear, but it is just a matter of time as warm weather is needed to start up the plankton bloom. Trout fishing has been best for trollers working around the mouth of Angels Creek with blade/crawler combinations, kokanee gear or brightly-colored spoons, spinners or plugs. The bass bite remains good with soft plastics, spinnerbaits, chatterbaits or crankbaits in bluegill patterns as the bass have moved into the shorelines. Crappie fishing is good around flooded vegetation with minijigs or live minnows under a slip-float dodger. Catfishing continues to improve around submerged rocks with frozen shad, anchovies, sardines or a ball of nightcrawlers coated with scent. The lake has risen to 83 percent and 1,050.54 feet in elevation. 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 3; Kokanee 0
Pine Flat has been the top location for Fresno-area trout fishermen, and despite a few days of slower action at the start of the week, the rainbows cooperated during the annual Kokanee Power Team Trout and Salmon Derby on Saturday. Jim Travis of Fresno, the tournament’s director, said, “We had a good turnout with 63 adult fishermen along with eight junior anglers, and a total of 94 trout were brought in to the weigh-in station with Ken and Donna Smith scoring the largest rainbow at 33.5 ounces. The winning three-fish limit was weighed in by the team of Robbie Mannon and Mark Kosiek with 81.5 ounces, and the difference between first and 10th was 18 ounces.” Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “The trout bite slowed down at bit during the week, but it must have picked up since there are several rainbows landed during Saturday’s tournament. Trollers had been catching limits, but in the days prior to the tournament, the action slowed to one or two fish per rod. Apex lures, Needlefish and Rapalas in shad patterns are working best in the main lake around Zebe Creek, Deer Creek, and the Power Lines at depths to four colors of leadcore. Most crappie fishermen are still heading to his lake, but the action has also slowed down a bit. The bass bite remains decent with various techniques including Senkos, jigs or small swimbaits, and Saturday’s tournament was won with a 12-pound limit. There was a 7.4-pound spotted bass landed during the week while prefishing for the tournament with a ripbait, and this is a big spot for Pine Flat.” The Central Sierra Anglers are hosting the first Fishing Bazaar, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at The Boat Shoppe, 2125 E. Ventura Ave. in Fresno, with free parking, scheduled seminars, food trucks and drinks. Todd Wittwer of Kokanee.net Guide Service will be one of the featured speakers. Pine Flat dropped four feet during the week to 850.73 feet in elevation and 50 percent. In the lower Kings, the water is moving fast with the water releases, 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.
Call: Valley Rod & Gun 292-3474; Sequoia Fishing Co. 539-5626
San Luis Reservoir
and O’Neill Forebay
Striper 3; Catfish 2; Bass 1; Crappie 1
In the main lake, striped bass continue to provide sporadic decent action for fishermen fishing from the banks or by boat – when the lake is open between windstorms. The stripers are gearing up for a spawning attempt with a lot of males milting prior to release. The best action has been around the Trash Racks and Romero Visitor Center with P-Line Predator Minnows, Lucky Craft Pointers or small swimbaits on an umbrella rig. Mickey Clements of Coyote Bait and Tackle said, “The fish are high in the water column from 20 to 40 feet before dropping to 60 feet by mid-day.” Roger George of Roger George Guide Service said that the report he got from 10 different anglers was that the bite has been decent at times for trollers working the pumps while they were running, with Lucky Craft, Predators and YoZuris at 20 to 40 feet. “ The pumps attracted fish to the Romero area and some of the fly fishermen had great days in that vicinity, while trollers on Saturday were averaging a few fish per boat, but it wasn’t a steady bite for them. The water temps are running from 60 to 64 degrees and the milting of the males has started. We got five fish to 24 inches by 11 a.m. working the pump area but most of the other boats working the same area weren’t doing much. Since the pumps were shut off Sunday and Monday it may change things again. A few guys working the banks with lures are doing well at times on shallow fish. The wind is beginning to be a problem now that May is near, so checking on whether the lake is closed or not may save you a long trip,” George said. Bank fishermen are using cut bait, and a few select anglers are trapping the freshwater grass shrimp for the opportunity for a big striper. The water level has dropped slightly to 97 percent. In the forebay, Check 12 has been the top location for striped bass with pile worms or anchovies. Anglers will have to go through 20 or so small undersized striped bass before landing a legal 18 incher, but the action is fast. This would be a great option for bring a child fishing, but you have to get their early in the morning as all available elbow room is taken up quickly.
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 3; Trout 3; Kokanee 1
Trout fishing remains a worthwhile way to spend at day at Bass Lake, just a few weeks before the upcoming trout derby. Todd Wittwer of Kokanee.net Guide Service has been on the lake several days during the past week, and he reported pulling three limits out of the lake on a regular basis. Wittwer said, “We have been scoring from the surface to 22 feet on the downrigger, and through have been taken as deep at 32 feet. I am running various setups from the surface to leadcore to downriggers, and we focused from the Sheriff’s Bay to Miller’s Bay over the weekend after finding a good bite in the northern part of the lake near the Pines. I have been running a nightcrawler behind a Rocky Mountain Tackle pink Splatter dodger with a Tasmanian Devil spoon on a dropper in front of the dodger for a weight. The lure is keeping the line, and we have landed several rainbows on the Tasmanian Devil. On Saturday, we didn’t have a fish for the first hour and a half, but once I netted the first rainbow, there were three more on within seconds. I have been throwing corn on my lures to try for a kokanee, but there haven’t been any kokanee landed yet. It is still early so I hope they do emerge at some point.” For bass, there were two tournaments over the past weekend, and it took over 15 pounds to take first in Saturday’s Sierra Bass Club tournament with the winners bed-fishing. There are loads of bass holding off of the docks. The 37th Annual Bass Lake Fishing Derby is 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 wristband 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. Webcams of the lake are available at http://basslakeca.com/, and the lake has risen to 89 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 15 percent and Florence rose slightly to 17 percent. Mammoth Pool is full at 100 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
Trout 3; Kokanee 2
A surprisingly large grade of kokanee continue to be taken out of Shaver Lake despite low water conditions creating access challenges to the lake. Dick Nichols of Dick’s Fishing Charters in Shaver Lake said, “I have postponed the start of my season until the lake rises, but there were some excellent results on the lake over the weekend. I have visited the lake in the meantime and checking with fishermen, Craig Conte of Clovis and Terry Babb of San Miguel found good action for rainbows to 5 pounds as well as a small second year kokanee. Their big rainbow was from one of our plants in recent years from eastern Oregon, and they were trolling Needlefish tipped with either salmon eggs or a piece of nightcrawler behind a dodger at 6 feet. They were specifically targeting trophy-sized rainbows from the Point to Edison Cove. Serious kokanee fishermen are working at depths from 8 to 15 feet with kokanee gear from Black Rock and in front of the Boy Scout Cove in the main channel. Some fishermen are trying to long-line for kokanee on the surface, but this technique has produced far less of the land-locked salmon.” The main Sierra launch ramp is totally out of the water, but light aluminum boats can still be launched off of the auxiliary ramp. Water releases into Stevenson Creek from the dam have left the creek high and rolling as Southern California Edison is preparing for the coming snowmelt. The Sierra Marina has moved in rental boats into their docks, anticipating a May 1 opening. Lake levels for the coming months are anticipated: May, 25 percent; June, 67 percent; July, 83 percent; August, 99 percent; and September, 100 percent. The Shaver Lake Trophy Trout Program will be releasing the first of their trophy plants from Oregon within the coming weeks. Shaver is currently at 43 percent and dropping with Huntington at 40 percent. There are some areas of clear water at Huntington, and those seeking brown trout should be dragging their aluminum boats down to the shoreline through the snow.
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 will be open by Saturday morning, and access to Wishon will be available. Chuck Crane of Wishon Village RV Park and Store said, “The lake is fluctuating three to four feet per day, and it is low at the bottom of the ramp. Launching a boat is possible, but you will have to be prepared for changing ramp conditions. PGE put in the dock on Monday, and the courtesy dock will be in the water for the weekend. The trout bite was very slow last year at the lake’s opening since there haven’t been any plants for quite some time, and none have occurred this year. The store will not be open this weekend, but it should open within the next two weeks. The road to Courtright is closed as there is still too much snow in the higher elevations. All of the creeks are running very high, and they will be difficult to fish with the runoff.”
Call: Wishon RV Park 865-5361
Bass 3; Striper 3; Sturgeon 3; Catfish 2; Bluegill 3
The water remains high in the Sacramento Delta with the river holding at 24 feet at the I Street Bridge after dropping to nearly 17 feet a few weeks back. Releases out of the major tributaries in the Sacramento system, combined with a recent storm, contribute to the high water conditions. The striped bass are running through the high water on their way to the Sacramento River around Colusa and into the Feather River, and bait fishermen are finding the best action at the present time. Sturgeon fishing remains outstanding in Suisun Bay, but there have been few anglers willing to take advantage of this great bite. Mark Wilson, striper trolling expert, has been trying to locate stripers on the Sacramento River below Decker Island, but despite clear water conditions with a minimum of grass, the action has been limited. Bait fishing has been the top option, and Johnny Tran of New Romeo’s Bait in Freeport said, “There are a lot of stripers in the river, but with the high water, bank fishermen are soaking pile worms or sardines coated with garlic spray tight to the shorelines in the slower water with 2 to 4 ounces of weight. For sturgeon in Suisun Bay, Capt. John Badger of Barbarian Sport Fishing continues to put on a daily instructional sturgeon fishing clinic in the Big Cut and Little Cut, and this week was no exception with two slot fish at 52 and 57 inches on salmon roe. Badger said, “I will be moving to Richmond after this weekend for striped bass and halibut, but we ended our sturgeon season on a high note.” Tony Lopez at Benicia Bait reported good striper fishing at the Dillon Point State Park with pile worms or anchovies as blood worms have been difficult to obtain. Montezuma Slough remains the top area for local sturgeon fishermen with ghost shrimp, lamprey eel or salmon roe. Out of McAvoy’s Boat Harbor in Bay Point, Steffen Masters of Lost Anchor Bait and Tackle reported good sturgeon fishing for the few anglers still targeting the diamondbacks. The Central Valley Anglers Spring Striper Derby will be held on April 29 with information at www.centralvalleyanglers.org. Striped bass fishing has been best in the San Joaquin with clear water conditions, but the schools are scattered, and it takes some looking around for the isolated linesides. The stripers are in all stages of spawning, and many of the females are spawned out and on their way back to San Francisco Bay and the ocean. Wilson has been averaging five to eight stripers per trip to 6 pounds running from the Antioch Bridge to Prisoner’s Point, and the San Andreas Shoals, Three Mile Slough and the flats off of Eddo’s Boat Harbor east of the Antioch Bridge have been the best locations. He said, “The best bite takes place at the change of the tides as it slows down once the current starts moving. There are a lot of spawned out fish already with much smaller females than normal full of eggs. Usually female stripers have to be at least 21 inches before being ready to spawn, but there have been a number of 19 to 20-inch females with small yellow eggs this year. The spawn seems to be spread out as this has been a different year. The water temperature has been around 60 degrees, and I have found by best action with deep-diving P-Line Predator Minnows or Yozuri Crystal Minnows in red head/white at 14 feet. I found fish on the San Andreas Shoals on Friday, but they were gone by Saturday as they are moving around.” Dan Mathisen of Dan’s Delta Outdoors in Oakley confirmed the hot striped bass bite saying, “Stripers, stripers, and more stripers as a big push of fish to 20 pounds have come into the San Joaquin. The Bad Bubba Shad swimbait or hair raisers are working in front of Big Break, Sherman Lake and at the Runway – the channel between Sherman Island and Broad Slough. Bait fishermen are doing OK with sardines or frozen shad, but there is a high demand for blood worms.” Slowing down for largemouth bass is the key as described by both Randy Pringle, the Fishing Instructor, and Mathisen. Pringle said, “Stop forcing the bite is the advice of the time since many anglers are wanting the fish to eat motion baits, but with the water temperatures dropping several degrees, keeping the bait in the strike zone for a long time is most important. The roller-coaster weather has moved the females out into deeper water, and you have to go slow with plastics such as the Flat Dog or Bottom Hopper or by grinding small swimbaits on the bottom. If you go topwater, the Ima Little Stick is working, but you have to keep it in the strike zone and don’t move it very fast. The fish are feeding on crawdads and bluegill right now so earth tones in browns and greens along with chartreuse are visible for the bass. The Flat Dog is a slow bait, and it stays in the strike zone with its flat shape. Translucent colors are not working right now with the off-color water. Mathisen added, “Some guys are really doing well while others are struggling. The temperature dropped four degrees this week, and you have to fish super-slow with big plastics in the 6- to 10- inch range or with Senkos. The Zoom Trick Worm is also working solo. The bass are moving up, but with the cold water, the females moved back out. The water is clearing up in the San Joaquin.” Alan Fong of the Fishermen’s Warehouse in Sacramento said, “There are a ton of fish on the San Joaquin in the shallows, and I found largemouth bass to 3 pounds with Senkos in green pumpkin/ red flake in one foot of water. My nephew, Michael “Bubs” Fong punched or punching or threw wakebaits for a larger grade to 9 pounds. I was in colder water at 59 degrees while he found 62-degree water.” The restrictions in the San Joaquin River have been loosened, and information from the San Joaquin County Office of Emergency Services outlines the changes and current restrictions in the south Delta are available at https://www.sjgov.org/department/oes/current.
Call: Randy Pringle (209) 543-6260; Intimidator Sport Fishing (916) 806-3030; Captain Steve Mitchell – Hook’d Up Sport Fishing (707) 655-6736
Lake Nacimiento/San Antonio/Santa Margarita/Lopez
Bass 2; White bass 2; Striper 2; Catfish 2; Crappie 2
At Lopez Lake, plastics are working best as the reaction bite has slowed down. A few quality bass can be taken on crankbaits, jerkbaits, spinnerbaits or chatterbaits, but the bite has slowed after a few weeks of solid action. The crappie fishing is starting to heat up with minijigs. The lake continues to rise slowly and it is over 60 percent. At Lake Nacimiento, the Best Bass Tournament featured a tie for second place at 9.70 pounds as finding 2-pound spotted bass is the key to winning any event at this lake. The spots are numerous, but small fish are the rule with plastics on the drop-shot, split-shot, or dart head. The larger grade of spotted bass are located around structure with reaction baits. White bass are showing up intermittently with white spinners or spoons. The lake held at 90 percent this past week. San Antonio is open at the South Shore for recreation 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 Saturdays, and from 6:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Sundays. A few smallmouth bass were taken in the shallows with plastic worms while largemouth bass are also eating plastics. Striped bass fishing was slow over the weekend with trollers picking up the occasional lineside. The lake rose slightly to 56 percent. At Santa Margarita, the bass bite has slowed considerably during the past week, and plastics are still the best option for bass. A few quality largemouth are landed on reaction baits. Crappie are starting to pick up with minijigs tipped with bait. Bluegill and red ear perch are getting active on jumbo red worms. 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 2; Rockfish 3; Striper 2; Crabs 2
The Huli Cat went out on a rock cod/crab combination on Saturday with limits of Dungeness for 12 passengers along with ling cod to 12 pounds. Capt. Michael Cabanas said, “There were some nice bottom dwellers and ling cod landed throughout the day, and the ocean conditions consisted of a light breeze with some small swells.” Salmon fishing overall has been a challenge, but some skiffs with downriggers are finding the fish near the Deep Reef at depths to 100 feet with anchovies or herring on a harness.
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
Chris’ Fishing Trips in Monterey reported outstanding rockfish action near Point Pinos with the Check Mate returning with 21 limits of ling cod and limits of big rockfish consisting of vermilions, coppers, canaries and olives. The lings hit on live squid, and they put in limits by 10:30 a.m. The Caroline found similar action with 32 lings for 19 anglers along with 3/4 limits of rockfish. On Saturday, the Check mate had another stellar day with 18 limits of lings to 25 pounds along with 3/4 limits of big rockfish while the Star of Monterey put in 61 lings and 320 rockfish for 35 anglers. A few salmon are coming out of the shallows along Marina by the Soldier’s Club, and one skiff put in two limits within 45 minutes of trolling, and the salmon were all a healthy grade to 20 pounds. Spoons such as brass or Red Krocodiles are working for private boaters at depths from 80 to 100 feet in 150 feet of water near 52.475/57.822.
Call: Chris’ Landing (831) 375-5951; Bayside Marine (831) 475-2173.
San Francisco Bay
Halibut 2; Striper 3; Leopard shark 2; Sturgeon 3; Salmon 2
After the great salmon fishing on Saturday off of the Marin coastline with limits taken by more than one Bay Area party boat, the action slowed down on Sunday with two boats out of Sausalito bringing home 14 salmon to 21 pounds for 32 anglers trolling from Muir Beach to Duxbury. Monday’s action was similar with the Capt. Roger Thomas of the Salty Lady returning with two salmon to 14 pounds for 10 anglers while one other Sausalito boat put in three salmon to 17 pounds for 17 anglers in the same area along the Marin coastline. Ocean salmon season ends Sunday, and it will resume again on May 15 with a 20-inch minimum size limit. Inside the bay, the striped bass action is red hot with the Happy Hooker out of Berkeley posting 32 limits of stripers in the central bay early on Sunday morning. Capt. Chris Smith of the Happy Hooker said, “We even arrived late on the scene, but we still hammered them. They are all solid schoolies on live bait. After putting in nine halibut and limits of bass on Saturday, we ended up with one halibut on Sunday. The water is clear in the south bay, and our halibut action has been south from Oyster Point to nearly the Dunbarton Bridge.” Keith Fraser of Loch Lomond Bait and Tackle in San Rafael really is excited about the series of minus tides starting by mid-week, saying, “We have blockbuster tides for anchoring but drifting will not be so good during this time. We have shiners back in the shop. Fishing has been good for sturgeon for the few people who can find a calm day. It is blowing a gale right now on Sunday afternoon as my birdbath even has whitecaps. There are a lot of small legal bass in the bay in the 18 to 20-inch range, and they are already spawned out. Bank fishermen are catching sturgeon from China Camp to Sonoma Creek, and overall, things are good around here.”
San Luis Obispo
Bottom fishing dominates action out of the San Luis Obispo County ports with the Phenix, Endeavor and Avenger out of Morro Bay Landing heading out on full. 3/4 - and 1/2 day trips with a combined 114 anglers for 442 vermilion rockfish, 110 copper rockfish, 30 Boccaccio, 260 assorted rockfish and 72 ling cod to 17 pounds while the Fiesta and Rita G out of Virg’s Landing went out with 58 fishermen on Saturday for 290 vermilion rockfish, 35 canary rockfish, 116 assorted rockfish and 104 assorted rockfish along with 12 lings to 8 pounds. Victor Torres of Fresno landed the jackpot ling on the Fiesta. Virg’s is taking a two-day trip on April 28-30 with two limits possible. Out of Patriot Sport Fishing at Port San Luis, two boats went on a 1/2 -day trips on Sunday with 56 fishermen for six vermilion, five coppers, 11 Bolina, 263 assorted rockfish and three lings to 5 pounds.
Call: Virg’s Landing, (805) 772-1222; (800) 762-5263; Patriot Sport Fishing (805) 595-4100; Port Side Marine Sports Launch (805) 595-7214
- Best Bass Tournaments April 22 at Delta/Russo’s Marina: 1st Michael and Lori Birch 26.32; 2nd Brad Ford/Brad Saurage 26.28; 3rd John Garrett/Tony Vaughn 26.24 (big fish 9.49).
- California Delta Tournament Trail April 22 at Delta/B and W Resort: 1st T.J. Alves/Randy Lopez 21.75; 2nd Dan Fonte/Bobby Barrack 21.24; 3rd Brett Scarlett/Tim Reasons 19.85 (big fish 7.18).
- River Rats Open Tournament April 22 at Eastman:- 1st Barajas/Ricky Flores 15.77 (big fish 8.77); 2nd Mike and Anthony Her 15.06; 3rd Brian and Rachella Burton 12.72.
- Kokanee Power Team Trout and Salmon Derby (3 Fish ) April 22 at Pine Flat: Adult Division, 1st Robbie Mannon/Mark Kosiek 81.5 ounces; 2nd Rusty Garland/Kirk Marshall 75.3 ounces; 3rd Ken and Donna Smith 73.4 ounces (big fish 33.5 ounces).
- Kokanee Power Team Trout and Salmon Derby (1 Fish ) April 22 at Pine Flat: Junior Division, 1st Ty Collins 22.85 ounces; 2nd Konner Marshall 19.70 ounces; 3rd Dustin Tartaglia 18.95 ounces.
- Sierra Bass Club April 22 at Bass Lake: 1st Ryan Reynolds/Ronnie Rustigian 15.72 (big fish 4.36); 2nd Gary Johnson/Kou Lao 13.58; 3rd Craig Gong/Ron Moreno 12.78.
- Best Bass Tournaments April 22 at Lake Nacimiento:- 1st Casey Langley/Matt Quaresma 9.92 (big fish 3.44); 2nd tie Justin Goodman/Teddy Engdahl 9.70 and Eddie Davidson/Matt Messina 9.70.
- Best Bass Tournaments Rat-L-Trap Open April 23 at Delta/Russo’s Marina: 1st Josh and Mile Kaneko 22.88; 2nd Bruce Carpenter/Steve Redding 17.82; 3rd Brandon Burruss/Colby Auntze 15.31.
The Central Sierra Anglers are hosting the first Fishing Bazaar 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at The Boat Shoppe, 2125. E. Ventura Ave. in Fresno with free parking, scheduled seminars, food trucks and drinks. Todd Wittwer of Kokanee.net Guide Service will be one of the featured speakers.
SATURDAY AND SUNDAY
- Merced Irrigation Trout Derby at Lake McClure/Barretts Cove. Information www.lakemcclure.com.
- Central Valley Angler’s Spring Striper Derby at Delta/Brannan Island. Information 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
- 40th Annual Kid’s Fishing Derby 2017 at Woodward Park. Information Bob Garcia at 559-291-7860 or Bob Hernandez at 559-375-4616.
- Success Bass Club Open Tournament at Pine Flat
> = peak activity N = New Moon