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 striper and sturgeon bites good, Johnny Tran said. Southern Aqueduct stripers red hot, Jacob Rutledge reported. Pine Flat , and Bass Lake bass anglers ripping lips , Merritt Gilbert said. New Melones trout and bass hitting , Gary Burns reported. San Francisco sturgeon and striper bites good, Keith Fraser said. Shaver kokanee active, Paul Kalpakoff reported.
2-Have to work hard
4-Fish jumpin’ in boat
Delta Mendota Canal and Sloughs
Stripers 4; Catfish 2
The southern section of the aqueduct in Kern County remains “red hot” for striped bass, and Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “A number of our Fresno County striper fishermen are heading south to the area around Taft within the past few weeks.” Jacob Rutledge of Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield confirmed the hot action, and he said, “Sardines are the top baits, but pile worms and lug worms are also working well.” 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 2; Trout 1; Bluegill 2; Catfish 2; Crappie 2
Eastman has slowed down considerably over the past few weeks with bass anglers working long and hard for a few fish to 2 pounds. Lizards on a Carolina-rig or jigs are picking up the occasional largemouth. The lake is California’s first trophy bass lake, and one fish over 22 inches is allowed. The lake has risen to 91 percent and 579.09 feet in elevation.
Call: Six Star Tackle Box 673-5688; Eastman Lake 689-3255
Bass 2; Trout 1; Catfish 2; Bluegill 2; Crappie 2
Similar to Eastman, the lake has dropped off within the past week with bass fishermen avoiding the reservoir with the limited action. Small catfish are taken at night with cut baits from the banks. The lake rose 3 feet this week to 523.13 feet in elevation and 73 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 2; Kokanee 0; King salmon 1; Crappie 3
Crappie fishing has been excellent around structure with small to medium minnows along with minijigs. Trout fishing is starting to come to live with quality rainbows to 19 inches taken at depths to 43 feet along with west side. The trout are loading up on the ½-inch threadfin shad, and they are spitting up shad on the floor of the boat when caught. Bass action remains solid with River2Sea SWavers or Pro Worms in various colors in the shallows as the fish are in all stages of spawning. The Blue Oaks and Fleming Meadows launch ramps are open, and the main lake is clear of debris. Crews are working to corral the 40-acre mess of floating and submerged logs up the river arm. The lake dropped to 81 percent and 797.40 feet in elevation. 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 3; Catfish 2; Bluegill 2
At Lake Isabella, crappie are showing up when anglers are able to find a window without wind, and live minnows or minijigs are working near structure in Paradise Cove or around the French Gulch Marina. Catfishing is fair with Sonny’s Stink Bait, but bass fishing remains slow in the colder water. There are at least two club bass tournaments at the lake this coming month. The lake rose slightly to 48 percent this week. In the small local lakes, bluegill and bass dominate action, but the cold water flows into Lake Ming are allowing for holdover rainbow trout to stay active. The upper Kern River is running very high from the snowmelt, and fishing is limited while the lower Kern River is also high at 6000 cfs. Buena Vista is producing the occasional striped bass in the larger lake along with catfish.
Call: Bob’s Bait (661) 833-8657; North Fork Marina (760) 376-1812
Bass 3; Crappie 2; Trout 1; Catfish 2
The lake came up 8 feet this past week, but the bass are in the shallows in an attempt to spawn. There are big fish being removed from the lake by shore fishermen with live minnows, but catch and release of the larger female bass is recommended in order to keep the trophy possibilities for this lake. Plastics on the drop-shot are also working as the water has cleared up over the past week. Crappie anglers are soaking small to medium minnows or minijigs near Horse Creek and throughout the lake. Bluegill are found in the shallows around structure with red worms. Kaweah rose to 658.97 feet in elevation and 45 percent.
Call: Sierra Sporting Goods 592-5212
Bass 2; Trout 2; Catfish 2; Crappie 2
Chuck Stokke of the Sequoia Fishing Company in Springville said, “The lake is still filling up, and the bass are scattered due to the rising water levels. There is still a lot of debris and logs at the edges of the shoreline, and the bass have been finicky. The best techniques have been lizards, Senkos or Brush Hogs in the shallows. The lake rose 2.5 feet to 645.46 feet in elevation and 81 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 with the high flows.
Call: Sequoia Fishing Co. 539-5626, sequoiafishingcompany.com
Bass 3; Trout 2; King salmon 1; Kokanee 1; Crappie 2; Catfish 2
Barretts Cove hosted the annual Merced Irrigation District Trout Derby over the past weekend The derby is traditionally held at Lake McSwain, but it was changed to McClure due to high water releases into McSwain this year. Bass fishing remains good with Pro Worms in 124p or 300 along with Berserk jigs or plastics on a shakey head. The lake is at 65 percent and 807.48 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 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 1; Shad 1; Bluegill 2
At Millerton, Gilbert said, “There is a good ripbait bite along with topwater action for spots to 2 pounds. The fish are biting throughout the day with no particular time working better than others, and most fishermen are targeting the section of the lake from Finegold to the dam as the river arm continues to be slow. There are a few drop-shot, shaky head and jig fish as well, and limits in the 9.5- to 10-pound range are possible. There haven’t been any striped bass reports. There are a few bluegill showing up in Winchell Cove. The lake held at 50 percent balancing inflow with outflow. 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. 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 is 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 have been a number of large spawning bass removed from the pond over the past week, and anglers are encouraged to catch and release the spawning fish. 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 four 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 3; Kokanee 0
Trout trollers are finding much improved action at New Melones while bank fishing has slowed to a crawl with the fish moving out into deeper water. The lake has been rising for several weeks, but it is starting to release water, dropping a foot to 1,052.45 feet in elevation and 83 percent. John Liechty of Glory Hole Sports said, “The trout bite picked up quite a bit this past week for trollers as there have been substantial amounts of fresh, highly oxygenated water flowing into the lake for the past few months. This has kept the trout near the surface, and they should be actively feeding into the warmer summer months. Brightly-colored kokanee lures are working for the rainbows such as hoochies, wiggle hoochies or bladed hoochies at depths from 30 to 40 feet.” Gary Burns of Take It to the Limit Guide Service said, “We have had a great rainbow bite with fish to 5 pounds in the past week, but every day is different as the bite starts early sometimes while on other days, it starts up later in the morning. Our best action has been coming between the spillway and Glory Hole Point, up the river between the two bridges, and around Angels Cove with kokanee gear in pink, purple or blue tipped with garlic corn soaked in beet juice at depths from 8 to 14 feet. There have been no kokanee as of yet, but since the surface temperature has finally made it into the 60s, we should start pulling in kokes any time now.” Bass fishing has been good with weedless presentations along the shorelines with the freshly flooded vegetation. Liechty, who also runs Xperience Bass Fishing Guide Service, said, “The pattern is ever changing and keeping an open mind helped put a bunch of fish in the boat and some giants. The fish are affected by the unstable weather conditions and rapidly rising water. On days that the conditions are more stable and predictable the fish will start to move up. When the conditions change they tend to pull back. On Saturday, I took Nate and his 11-year old son Aidan out for a day of bass fishing. We had a great time and caught 30 fish by the day’s end. Many fish came on a variety of plastic worms and small swimbaits. We found fish on the main lake structure and tucked away in the grassy pockets.” He advised using lizards or Brush Hogs on a Texas rig or a straight tail worm on the drop-shot with a reaction bite coming in the warming water conditions. Catfish are moving into the shallows, and a ball of nightcrawlers or frozen shad, sardines or mackerel are working for the whiskerfish. Crappie continue to be found in the coves with crappie jigs or live minnows around structure. The crappie bite should last for a few more weeks before fishermen have to switch techniques to working under a submersible light. 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 3; Trout 2; King salmon 1; Catfish 2; Crappie 2; Kokanee 0
Pine Flat is producing numbers of small spotted bass, and the reaction bite is starting to improve. There are some quality spots to be had as evidenced by the nearly 4-pound fish average taken on Saturday by the team of Gary Wasson and Daniel Moreno during the New Jen Bass Team Tournament. Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “There is a good ripbait bite at Pine Flat along with a topwater bite later in the evenings. Good numbers are taken on the ripbaits as crankbaits and blades have been less productive. Numbers can also be taken on plastics on the drop-shot, but with frequent tournaments on the lake, most fishermen are seeking a larger grade of bass on reaction baits. The majority of fishermen are working the main lake below Trimmer, as the river arm has been slow for both bass and trout. The crappie bite has slowed some, but most of our crappie fishermen continue to head up to Pine Flat. Trout action is hit or miss with some trollers scoring limits at three to four colors of leadcore with Needlefish, Apex lures or blade/crawler combinations while others are struggling for a few rainbows per rod. The trout have been large at up to 15 inches.” Pine Flat rose a foot during the week to 851.80 feet in elevation and 51 percent. In the lower Kings, the water is still moving very 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 2; Catfish 2; Bass 2; Crappie 2
Striped bass are the main species from the shoreline at Dinosaur Point and the Basalt Recreation Area with pile worms, blood worms or anchovies. Trollers are working a variety of shad-patterned plugs near the Trash Racks or Romero Visitor Center at depths to 80 feet for a larger grade of linesides. Striped bass to 35 pounds have reportedly been caught and kept in the main lake with Diawa’s SP Minnows. Jumbo minnows are also effective. 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 overall bite has been slow to decent, but that the recent running of the pumps and the Romero area have been attracting bait and spawning stripers. “I fished with Ron Herleman and his son, Pat, of Hanford, on Sunday and we picked up/released 10 fish to 25 inches (Ron’s PB) by noon in the dam area on shiny shad colored Rebels and Lucky Craft 128’s. The bite was decent but it fell off as the sun came up and the fish went down. The trollers seemed to be doing the best now, but it was not an easy bite if you weren’t right on it. The water temp is running right at 60 degrees and the males are all milting, telling me that the spawn is in full swing. The next full moon on May 10 is usually the apex of the spawning period, but it could go on until the middle of June. Anglers need to be thinking about releasing the big spawners, as well as carrying a fizzing needle like the Bender Mender needle to decompress fish that can’t go back down. I saw a few floating fish anglers were not fizzing. In one case they threw the striper overboard, watched it float, ignored it and trolled away! The Seaqualizer is another option for big fish. The lake has a history of being badly overfished in the past, so practicing selective harvest of damaged or smaller fish is a great and balanced way to go if you want to take something.” George said. The water level rose slightly to 98 percent. In the forebay, Check 12 remains the top location for number of striped bass, but anglers have to go through a number of fish before a two-fish limit over 18 inches is taken. Catfish are starting to get active. Blood worms, pile worms, or anchovies are the top baits.
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 2; Kokanee 1
The bass bite broke out along the docks the week before the annual Bass Lake Chamber of Commerce Trout Derby, but the first weekend in May will be dominated by trout fishermen working the banks and from boats. Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “Bass fishermen have been picking up 30 or so fish working the docks with Senkos or plastics on the drop-shot. The bass have been small with nothing over a few pounds, but they are plentiful.” Todd Wittwer of Kokanee.net Guide Service continues to target rainbow trout, and he said, “The fish have dropped in the water column over the past week as the daytime temperatures have moved into the mid-60s, and you can work hard for two limits of rainbows. Our best action has been coming from 12 to 24 feet with blade/’crawler combinations, Rocky Mountain Tackle’s spinners, Wedding Rings tipped with a nightcrawler or Tasmanian Devils. I have also been running a ¼-oz. Tasmanian Devil in Bleeding Frog in front of an RMT dodger, and this is the only way I have been able to locate fish on the long line. When I am running the Tasmanian by itself on the downrigger, the fire tiger is the best option. The derby is coming up this weekend, and I will be fishing it both days. You never know what will happen as the $10,000 tagged fish has been landed two years in a row. The highlight of the week was a 4-pound German brown caught and released in front of Miller’s Bay.” Kokanee have yet to show, and less than a dozen kokanee have been caught in the lake since the dam reconstruction a few years back. The 37th Annual Bass Lake Fishing Derby is 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 rose slightly to 17 percent and Florence dropped slightly to 14 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 2; Kokanee 3
The first of two plants from the privately-funded Shaver Lake Trophy Trout Project were released into the lake this past week, and the large rainbows are moving out into open water. In addition for the opportunity at a trophy rainbow, kokanee fishing remains solid with the salmon seeming to grow rapidly. Launching a boat out of Sierra Marina is possible according to Sheldon Sandstrom, owner of the marina. He has been fielding a number of calls regarding the launch ramp, and he confirmed that large boats are able to be put in the water from the auxiliary ramp. Dick Nichols of Dick’s Fishing Charters and President of the Shaver Lake Trophy Trout Program said, “We had a great plant, only losing one to an osprey who dive-bombed the stunned fish on the surface. Most of the fish are in the 2- to 7-pound range, and there are some to 8 pounds. The fish are moving out into the open water, and they should be near the island and beyond by the weekend. Bob Bernier, our plant chairman, was also at lake to watch “Bobby’s Boys” to see if they congregated by the shoreline, and he came upon Ray Kisling of Auberry who happened to be fishing from the banks on the day of the plant. Kinsling was one happy man after he landed one of the 5-pound Oregon-bred trophies. Our next plant will be in June, and they will join a good holdover group of trophies from last season.” Rick Scheidt of Clovis was trolling with Apex lures and Dick’s Trout Busters at two to three colors of leadcore near the Sierra Marina for rainbows to 24 inches. He released all nine trout and the kokanee landed within two hours of trolling. Paul Kalpakoff of Central Sierra Outfitters was also on the lake this week, and said, “I had no problem launching as you can launch your boat and move it over to the Sierra Marina docks and get in and out with no problem. We started at 9 a.m. and ended at 1:30 p.m. with two nice limits of kokanee taken near Black Rock, the Boy Scout Cove and the island with orange spinners tipped with red or pink corn or with grubs. The kokanee ranged in length from 15 to 16.5 inches and weighed from 1 pound, 5 ounces to 1 pound, 7 ounces. The meat on these kokanee was blood red, and I have not seen this on any of the kokanee in the past.” The lake is currently at 45 percent. Steve Santoro of Fish Box Charters has put his boat in the water, and he took his first trout/kokanee trip on Sunday. Lake levels for the coming months are anticipated May: 25 percent, June: 67 percent, July: 83 percent, August: 99 percent and September: 100 percent. Huntington is at 51 percent, and brown trout fishermen are checking the water on a regular basis. One complication is the snowmobile trail that passes over the launch ramp road, and Forest Service rangers will cite vehicles traveling over the snowmobile path to launch a boat.
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 opened this past Saturday morning, and access to Wishon is available. The lake level is fine to launch a boat, and a few boats were on the lake over the weekend. Fishing has been slow with the lack of plants at the end of the season, and a plant has yet to be scheduled for this year. The Wishon Village RV Park and Store will be open on May 5, but visitors should call 559-865-5361 for information to find out what facilities are open. 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 2; Striper 3; Sturgeon 3; Catfish 2; Bluegill 3
The Sacramento-River Delta is still in a holding pattern for striper trollers, but with the arrival of fresh shad in local bait shops, bait fishermen should be getting in on the action in the main river until the water clears enough to troll above the Rio Vista Bridge. The American shad arrived this week near Freeport and further north, and this is the first of what should be a great run. Sturgeon are still around, but sturgeon fishermen are on the wane as most have either used up their three tags or are chasing other species. The hot striper bite at both San Francisco Bay and in the Feather River have drawn Sacramento-Delta striper anglers in various directions. Johnny Tran of New Romeo’s Bait in Freeport said, “There is a wide open striped bass bite from the banks on bait, and blood worms, pile worms or sardines coated with garlic spray are working. Shad have arrived, and it has been a pattern of one good day followed by a slower day. Fishermen are using shad darts with a 1- to 1.5-ounce egg sinker above the leader in order to stay on the bottom. The water is high, but it is clearing up. Every once in a while someone targeting stripers will hook a sturgeon on its way down from the upper river. The Clarksburg Boat Launch is the only launch below Freeport toward Rio Vista as both Miller Park and Garcia Bend above us are closed.” The Central Valley Anglers out of Lodi held their Spring Striper Shootout on Saturday out of Brannan Island with a 27.75-inch target length. Field scout Ted Handel of Lodi said, “We had 38 participants bringing in 44 stripers and a few participants reported catching and releasing stripers over the target length. Dave Huston was right on the mark for first place with Marty Morfey of Lodi taking second at 27 1/8 inches. Victor Knigge came in third at 26.5 inches. I was out with Delfino Palacios, and we landed four keepers between 20 and 24 inches trolling as most of the participants were trolling.” Mark Wilson, striper trolling expert, added, “I haven’t even tried trolling on the Sacramento over the past week during the period of high tides with all of the current in the main river.” Steffen Master of Lost Anchor Bait and Tackle said, “There have been some large striped bass to 45 pounds landed this week, and the sturgeon are still biting in Broad Slough. We are loaded with fresh shad, eel, pile worms and ghost shrimp for this coming period of great weather.” Bill Clapp of Bill’s Sport Fishing out of Martinez put the Grantham clan out of Logan, Utah onto an 18-pound striped bass and a 59.75-inch sturgeon in the Little Cut on salmon roe. He said, “The big sturgeon was estimated at 110 pounds, and I measured it at least six times to make sure it was legal since it was so big, but it short and stumpy.” For sturgeon, the party boats are pulling out for the tractor beam of San Francisco bay species, and the last of the six-packs should be gone from Pittsburg and Martinez within the week. This doesn’t mean that the sturgeon aren’t still around, and Capt. Steve Mitchell of Hook’d Up Sport Fishing said, “There are still private boaters out there loading up with good numbers in both the big water and the sloughs. The Big Cut, the Horseshoe, the Little Cut, Montezuma Slough and Suisun Slough are all producing, and salmon roe is the key. The wind has been on the only limiting factor to fishing where you want to fish.” Tony Lopez at Benicia Bait reported small stripers are dominating action in lower Suisun Bay with shore fishermen using anchovies, blood worms and pile worms for the linesides. He was aware of the big striper landed out of McAvoy’s Boat Harbor, and the fish was taken on a live splittail. Fresh shad is in at least two Delta bait shops with Hap’s Bait in Rio Vista and Thornton Road Bait in Stockton possessing an excellent grade of fresh shad. The action had been excellent for trollers until Sunday when the effect of the big tides finally took over. Bill Clapp of Bill’s Sport Fishing was fresh from a great sturgeon/striper trip in Suisun Bay when he went trolling for stripers on the San Joaquin on Sunday. He said, “It was brutally slow with only one shaker landed on the troll, and I even anchored for a few hours with fresh shad for nothing but a couple of small bumps.” Mark Wilson, striper trolling expert, was also on the river on Sunday, and he trolled deep-diving P-Line Predator Minnows or Yozuri Crystal Minnows for three keepers along with four shakers. He said, “We released a 13-pounder along with two at 6 pounds, but the big tides have shut down the bite. There is a lot of flotsam and debris on the river, and I am working from the Antioch Bridge upriver to Prisoner’s Point. I work the Predator at 10 to 12 feet with the Yozuris slightly deeper at 14 to 15 feet. I haven’t landed anything on shallow-running lures for the past two trips. The water gets clearer on the incoming tide, but once the outgoing starts, it is dirty. There is a lot of dirty water coming out of Georgiana Slough, the Mokelumne River and Three-Mile Slough so this section of the river has been muddy. I have been launching at Brannan Island, and the water is on the parking lot at high tide. You will get wet while launching at high tide in order to make it to the docks. Steve Santucci of Steve Santucci’s Fly Fishing Guide Service reported on Lost Coast Outfitters, “Fishing is good in the Delta as you can catch both good numbers and quality stripers in the clear water and temperatures ranging from 60 to 65 degrees. Four-inch Clouser Minnows in white/chartreuse at depths from 5 to 15 feet with Type 6 sinking line are working well for stripers, and you will also catch some largemouth bass mixed in with the stripers. When water clarity is an issue, Rattle Flies are working best.” Randy Pringle, the Fishing Instructor, was less optimistic about the conditions on the Delta on Thursday with the big wind, and he said, “Bright shine after a front is never good, and I will have to pull out some different techniques in the morning. The temperatures have been a roller-coaster, and the fish will be moving into either deep cover or deep water. The Berkley Bottom Hopper or Flat Dog are good options for these conditions as you have to slow down. Just wait until next week when the weather heats up as you will be able to throw anything. The bite is poised to break out, and Mr. and Mrs. Bass will be on the spawn. Topwater lures like the ima Little Stick, squarebill crankbaits, or the Rock N’ Vibe will all be hot, but for now, don’t force feed the fish. In other words, don’t throw what you want to throw, but throw what they want to eat. Slowing down with a plastic worms on a Zappu head or Texas-rig are good options.” Michael “Bubs” Fong of the Fishermen’s Warehouse in Sacramento reported spotty bass fishing, but the bite will get really good with the good weather. He has been scoring with Senkos, wake baits, chatterbaits and punching the scattered weeks. He said, “The bite is getting better every day, but it hasn’t been wide open yet.” 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 3; White bass 2; Striper 2; Catfish 2; Crappie 2
At Lopez Lake, both largemouth and smallmouth bass are landed on spinnerbaits or chatterbaits as the winds have been high most afternoons at the lake. Plastics on the drop-shot are also working as the fish are oriented to the shorelines. Crappie, bluegill and red ear perch are getting active along with catfish. The lake is over 60 percent, and launching is not a problem. At Lake Nacimiento, small spotted bass remain the rule with plastics on the drop-shot, shaky head or dart head with slightly larger fish taken on topwater lures early or late along with spinnerbaits. The white bass have yet to emerge, but a few whites are in the river arm with white Kastmasters or Roostertails. San Antonio is open at the South Shore for recreation on a weekend only basis until May 14. The striper bite continues to produce some fish from 7-11 pounds for anglers trolling lures. 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. Smallmouth bass are taken on swimbaits close to structure, and with the warming temperatures, all species of bass should be actively feeding on the threadfin shad and bluegill. At Santa Margarita, the opportunity for a quality largemouth is present with bass over 7 pounds caught and released this week. Creature baits on a Carolina or Texas-rig along with plastics on the drop-shot are working best as the reaction bite has yet to emerge. Crappie are starting to pick up with minijigs tipped with bait. Bluegill and red ear perch are getting active on jumbo red worms.
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
Rockfish 3; Striper 2; Crabs 2
Rockfish, ling cod and Dungeness crab will be the story out of Pillar Point Harbor for the next few weeks as the only closure of the ocean salmon season until Oct. 31 takes place from May 1 to 14. Once the season reopens on May 15, the size limit will be lowered to 20 inches. The wind has been a constant over the past few weeks, and the Capt. Tom Mattusch on the Huli Cat and Capt. Dennis Baxter of the New Captain Pete took out groups from the Monterey Bay Veteran’s Association on Saturday. Second captain Michael Cabanas of the Huli Cat said, “Veteran Jordan West from Menlo Park landed an 11-pound salmon on an anchovy, but there wasn’t much action on the water with only a few fish landed from the boats out of the harbor. In addition to our one fish, there were no other scratched baits or shakers on this day.” Baxter is back in the sport fishing business after a period of commercial crabbing, and he said, “The local skiffs have been working around Buoy 1 South, and although the bite isn’t red hot, skiffs have been picking up quality fish on a regular basis trolling deep on downriggers. The rockfish bite has been really good south near Pigeon Point, and we are seeing a quality of rockfish not present for years with the new depth restrictions.” Sherry Ingles of Half Moon Bay Sport Fishing said, “The winds have been the limiting factor, and when the conditions cooperate, rockfishing has been outstanding. When the conditions are less than ideal, anglers are averaging from limits to less than limits on our trips. Salmon fishing continued to be slow with the RipTide only having one scratched bait on Saturday.” Further north in Pacifica, Rob Chaney of the Rusty Hook has been able to fish himself for striped bass in the evenings, and he released a 29-pounder on a popper with a pearl white body with fluorescent metallic and a red head. He said, “I actually saw the fish come up and inhale the lure in the surface. I even went fishing on the pier this week, but it is very difficult to land a big striper off of the pier since the resident sea lion is waiting and watching to see if someone hooks up. You have to be fast to get the best of him.”
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’s Fishing Trips in Monterey reported continued excellent rockfishing with 19 limits of both ling cod and rockfish on the Check Mate and 3/4 limits of rockfish and 35 lings for 23 anglers on the Caroline on Sunday. They have been using live squid for the big rockfish and lings. The Check Mate did it again on Monday with 19 limits of both lings and rockfish. Private boats have been scoring big salmon along the beaches near the Soldiers Club as there are tons of anchovies and squid along the beach. Salmon to 35 pounds have been taken running hoochies or spoons on the bottom near the Soldier’s Club. The ocean salmon season from Pigeon Point south to Point Sur is open until July 15.
Call: Chris’ Landing (831) 375-5951; Bayside Marine (831) 475-2173.
San Francisco Bay
Halibut 2; Striper 3; Leopard shark 2; Sturgeon 3; Crab 2
The ocean salmon season is closed for two weeks from Pigeon Point north to Point Arena, but it will reopen on May 15. The winds have been blowing hard the past four days, and most party boats canceled their salmon trips over the weekend due to the winds. The salmon season is closed through May 14 and reopens on May 15 with a 20-inch minimum size limit. Mike Aughney of USA Fishing.com said, “In the time being when Ma Nature cooperates, the rockfish and lings are stacked on around the Farallon Islands and limits of rockfish have been the rule with many boats reporting limits and near limits of lings. When the winds howl along the coast an excellent plan B is south bay halibut and stripers where the action has been off the hook for the past couple of weeks.” The hot striped bass bite dried up with the big tides over the weekend, but the California Dawn out of Berkeley managed to pick up 12 keeper halibut and nine keeper bass on Sunday along with a leopard shark. In the process of catching these fish, they released in excess of 120 shaker halibut and 100 striped bass. The improving tides should bring back the bass and create some good windows for halibut fishing. In fact, the Dawn put in 32 limits of bass on Monday as the tides backed off a bit. In San Pablo Bay, Keith Fraser of Loch Lomond Bait in San Rafael had an “epic” sturgeon and bass report. He said, “I let Ross Peterson off of work on Sunday despite being very busy, and he took out a friend to the Pumphouse along with six dozen Loch Lomond live mud shrimp. Within six hours, they caught and released two slot-limit sturgeon, three oversized with two of the fish estimated at 7.5 feet, and five shaker sturgeon to go with 10 keeper bass to 7 pounds. They only made three moves, all in the Pumphouse area, and you can’t find sturgeon fishing any better than this. All fish were released to fight another day. The Shellbanks has also been a solid area for sturgeon. We have live mud shrimp in the shop with more coming in the middle of the week along with pile worms, ghost shrimp, Loch Lomond shiners and live anchovies.” 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. 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 midweek, 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. 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
It was limits all around on Monday with the Avenger out of Morro Bay Landing returning with 19 limits of vermilion rockfish along with 27 ling cod on a 3/4 -day trip. Also out of Morro Bay, the Fiesta out of Virg’s Landing was also on a 3/4 -day trip on Monday with 22 anglers for 22 canary rockfish, 100 vermilion rockfish, 50 copper rockfish, 48 assorted rockfish and 18 lings to 14.5 pounds with Tim Vital of Reedley landing the jackpot ling. The Patriot out of Patriot Sport Fishing in Port San Luis also scored 12 limits of rockfish consisting of 41 vermilion, 42 copper, five Boccaccio, 10 canary, and 22 assorted rockfish to go with 17 lings to 13 pounds, also on a 3/4 -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
- Central Valley Anglers Spring Striper Shootout April 29 at Delta/Brannan Island (27.75-inch target length): 1st Dave Huston 27.75 inches; 2nd Marty Morfey 27.125; 3rd Victor Knigge 26.5.
- American Bass Association April 29 at Delta/Russo’s Marina: 1st: Robert Cloutier/Gary Mullins 31.57 pounds (big fish 10.81); 2nd Beau Joudrey/Ted Perry 24.56; 3rd Harvey Pulliam/Jamond Andrews 24.35.
- New Jen Bass Bass Team Tournaments April 29 at Pine Flat: 1st Gary Wasson/Daniel Moreno 19.17 pounds; 2nd Junior Demac/Jesse Rodriguez 15.61; 3rd Matthew Carpenter/Dylan Deruiter 13.41.
- Best Bass Tournaments/Sonora Bass Anglers at Delta/Ladd’s Marina
- Wild West Bass Trail at Delta/Russo’s Marina
- 40th Annual Kid’s Fishing Derby 2017 at Woodward Park (information Bob Garcia at 291-7860 or Bob Hernandez at 375-4616.
- Hume Lake Christian Camp at Hume Lake
- Bakersfield Bass Club at Kaweah
- California Team Trail at Success
- 101 Bass at Santa Margarita
- Best Bass Tournaments at Delta/Ladd’s Marina
- California Delta Team Tournament Trail at Delta/Russo’s Marina
- Valley Hawg Hunters at Delta/B and W Resort
- Kings VIII Bass Club at McClure
- Success Bass Club Open Tournament at Pine Flat
- Bass 101 Open Tournament at Bass Lake
- Good Old Boys at Nacimiento
- FLW Outdoors at Delta/Russo’s Marina
- Bass 101 Nights at Nacimiento
- Delta Bass Busters at Delta/Ladd’s Marina
- Oro Madre Bass Club at New Melones
- Sportsman’s Warehouse (various species) at Pine Flat
- Kerman Bass Club at Bass Lake
- American Bass Association at Kaweah
- Success Bass Club at Success
- Lake Isabella Bass Club at Isabella
- San Luis Obispo Bass Ambushers at Nacimiento
- Taft Bass Club at Lopez
- FLW Outdoors at Delta/Russo’s Marina
- Bass Pro Shops at Delta/Ladd’s Marina
- Bass N’ Fly at Delta/Sugar Barge
- American Bass Association at Delta/B and W Resort
- Mid Valley Bass Club at McClure
- Visalia Bass Club at Kaweah
- American Bass Association at Isabella
- Best Bass Association at Nacimiento
- Kern County Bass Masters at Santa Margarita
- Sierra Bass Club at Delta/Ladd’s Marina
- Kings River Bass Club/Modesto Ambassadors at Delta/Ladd’s Marina –
- California Delta Team Trail at Delta/Russo’s Marina
- Yak A Bass at Delta/Tracy Oasis
- American Bass Association at Delta/Russo’s Marina
- Golden Empire Bass Club at Pine Flat
- Porterville Bass Club at Success
> = peak activity Q = Quarter Moon