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.
Southern aqueduct stripers on a rampage, Jacob Rutledge said. New Melones trout and bass bites good, John Liechty reported. Pine Flat and Millerton providing bass and crappie action, Merritt Gilbert said. Bass lake bass kicking out trout and some quality bass, Todd Wittwer reported. Shaver Lake kokanee hitting, Dave Hurley said. Delta sturgeon, shad and bass fishing good, Alan Fong 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 continues to be the top location for striped bass fishermen, and Jacob Rutledge of Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield said, “Juan Ruiz of Bakersfield landed a 35-pound striped bass on a swimbait this week at Old River and Highway 166, but most of the bass remain undersized. The bite is hot as group of anglers reported catching 15 stripers within 30 minutes at the Buena Vista Golf Course on sardines. We have sold over 3.500 pounds of sardines within the past two months.” Blood worms and lug worms also are working for striped bass, while Sonny’s Stink Bait or Katnip Beef Bait have been best for catfish. The Buena Vista course, Highway 166/Old River and Tupman remain the top locations in Kern County.
Bass 2; Trout 2; Bluegill 2; Catfish 2; Crappie 2
Eastman is producing 3-5 largemouth bass per rod, but most bass fishermen are heading to Bass or Millerton lakes. Lizards on a Carolina-rig or jigs are picking up the occasional largemouth. There are a few large bluegill taken on red worms in the shallows. The lake is California’s first trophy bass lake, and one fish in excess of 22 inches is allowed. The lake has risen to 92 percent capacity and 579.49 feet in elevation.
Call: Six Star Tackle Box 673-5688; Eastman Lake 689-3255
Bass 2; Trout 2; Catfish 2; Bluegill 2; Crappie 3
There is a good bite for small palm-sized crappie with crappie jigs or live minnows, but the bass bite remains very slow. The lake – at 75 percent capacity and 524.69 feet in elevation – is as high as any levels in recent memory after mostly languishing at about 5 percent for the past few years. Small catfish are taken at night with cut baits from the banks.
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 2; Trout 2; Kokanee 1; King salmon 1; Crappie 2
The trout are scattered, but if you are willing to look around, quality rainbows can be taken on spoons at depths from 25-45 feet. Monte Smith of Gold Country Sport Fishing was on the lake and looked at a number of locations before finding the fish. They started off picking up two rainbows within 10 minutes before the bite died. He rediscovered the rainbows and ended up with limits for his clients running his heavy spoons. Threadfin shad are the top food source for the rainbow trout and bass, and shad-imitation lures are working best. Bass are in various stages of spawning. Kokanee have yet to emerge, but the land-locked salmon should be showing up soon. The Blue Oaks and Fleming Meadows launch ramps are open and the main lake clear of debris. Crews are working to corral the 40-acre mess of floating and submerged logs up the river arm. The lake held at 798.15 feet in elevation and 81 percent capacity.
Call: Monte Smith (209) 581-4734; Danny Layne-Fish’n Dan (209) 586-2383; Gary Vella (209) 652-7550
Lake Isabella/Bakersfield area
Bass 2; Trout 2; Crappie 2; Catfish 2; Bluegill 2
At Lake Isabella, cold weather, wind, rain and even snow led to fewer anglers on the water this past week. The crappie bite was just getting started, but slowed with the colder temperatures. Structure around Paradise Cove or around the French Gulch Marina had been the best locations. Catfishing remains fair with Sonny’s Stink Bait, but bass fishing continues to be very slow in the colder water. There are at least two club bass tournaments at the lake this coming month, and a more accurate read on the bass bite should be available as anglers start to pre-fish for the events. . The lake rose to 54 percent capacity in response to the snow in the watershed that did melt. There was 7,000 cfs coming into the lake from the upper river, with releases at 4,000 cfs. Both the upper and lower rivers are affected by the high flows. In the small local lakes, bluegill and bass dominate action at Truxton and Hart Park. Cold water inflows into Lake Ming have slowed the bass bite, but there are still a few holdover rainbow trout taken on Power Bait. Buena Vista is producing the occasional striped bass in the larger lake along with catfish, but crappie action is slow.
Call: Bob’s Bait (661) 833-8657; North Fork Marina (760) 376-1812
Bass 3; Crappie 3; Trout 2; Catfish 2
The lake came up 11 feet this past week, and the bass are in the shallows in all stages of spawning. Live minnows are working for the large spawning females, but the removal of the female bass from the lake will contribute to a decline in the number of large fish. Catch and release of the larger female bass is recommended to keep the trophy possibilities for this lake. Plastics on the drop-shot are working as the water has cleared in 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 669.74 feet in elevation and 54 percent capacity.
Call: Sierra Sporting Goods 592-5212
Bass 3; Trout 2; Catfish 2; Crappie 2
Chuck Stokke of Sequoia Fishing Co. in Springville said, “The lake is nearly full, and the bass are in the shallows. Plastics on the drop-shot or Texas-rig are working as well as Senkos for largemouths. Some bass are chasing crankbaits.” The lake rose 2.5 feet to 647.28 in elevation and 85 percent capcity. The Tule River is closed because of three drownings this year. Water remains fast and high, so caution must be taken near the edge.
Call: Sequoia Fishing Co. 539-5626, sequoiafishingcompany.com
Bass 3; Trout 2; King salmon 1; Kokanee 1; Crappie 2; Catfish 2
There has been fewer reports from the lake during the past week, but bass fishing remains good with Pro Worms in 124p or 300 along with Berserk jigs or plastics on a shakey head. The lake rose 6 feet this week to 68 percent capacity and 813.25 feet in elevation. Water releases will no longer be directed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as the lake is at 67 percent capacity or below. Launch ramps at Barretts Cove South and McClure Point are open.
Call: Bait Barn (209) 874-3011
There is minimal change at this impoundment with heavy flows running through the spillway of McSwain Dam from upstream Lake McClure. The last trout plant was in October and with the high water levels will remain on hold. There are small park-model rental cabins overlooking the lake that are under construction and scheduled to be open in the coming months. Exchequer Bike Park will be opened with a constructed cross-country loop.
Call: McSwain Marina (209) 378-2534
Millerton Lake/San Joaquin River
Bass 3; Striped Bass 1; Shad 1; Bluegill 2; Crappie 3
Millerton Reservoir is the top local lake for central California bass fishermen, and the crappie bite is drawing a number of bank fishermen. Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “During a normal year, we have a small window for crappie in Finegold Cove, but the window has been extended this year with bank fishermen working Squaw and Winchell Coves for the slabs. There is no walking access to Finegold, and I imagine the crappie are there for boaters, but there is access at the other coves and most anglers are heading there. This is the best crappie bite I can remember at the lake is several years. We must have sold 200 packs of crappie jigs this week, with 30 packs on Sunday morning alone. The Strike King jigs, Southern Pro Plastics, or Fin’S Fish are the top sellers, and chartreuse or chartreuse/white are the best colors. Normally there is only a week to 10-day period for crappie out of Finegold, but this has gone on longer than that already with bank fishermen picking up between 5 and 10 slabs of a good quality.” Bass fishing is also good for spots in the 1.75- to 2-pound range, and there is the occasional fish in the 3.5- to 4-pound range. Gilbert said, “The river arm is muddied and getting colder from the snowmelt, and the best action is in the main lake with plastics on the drop-shot, shakey head, and jig fish. There is the opportunity for reaction fish with crankbaits, ripbaits, or jerkbaits.” There have been no striped bass reports. Millerton rose several feet to 59 percent capacity and 528.78 feet in elevation. There is concern that the rapid rise will affect the spotted bass spawn. In the San Joaquin River, the Sycamore Island Pond is open Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and all state holidays. Day passes at $9 and for the season at $85 are available online or at the bait shop. Last weekend was the opening of the sister park, Camp Pashayan, and the property is located next to Highway 99 and Herndon Avenue off North Weber Avenue and is one of the most beautiful settings on the San Joaquin River Parkway. The abundant native roses, blue elderberry shrubs, and California poppies are in bloom. Camp Pashayan offers two-thirds of a mile of river access, numerous winding foot paths for exploring, excellent bird watching and other wildlife viewing, and a large covered picnic shelter. Entry is $6 and the hours are 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. If you purchase a day pass at Camp Pashayan and decide you would rather go to Sycamore Island, you can get it upgraded that same day at the bait shop for only $3. If you start at Sycamore and decide to visit Pashayan, entrance is free with a valid pass from the same day.” Two primitive launches at Camp Pashayan are not usable by trailers given the current river flows. But they will be soon, once the flows change again. Hand-launched boats can use the ramps and park hosts can provide assistance. 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. Regulations on the lower San Joaquin, and from Friant Dam downstream to the Highway 140 Bridge, allow only two hatchery trout or hatchery steelhead with a total of four in possession. The hatchery fish have a healed adipose fin clip.
Call: Valley Rod & Gun 292-3474
New Melones Reservoir/Tulloch
Bass 3; Crappie 2; Catfish 2; Trout 3; Kokanee 2
Kokanee have arrived and although the numbers aren’t in full swing, trollers are picking up a few fish per rod. Monte Smith of Gold Country Sport Fishing said, “It’s past time for kokanee to appear, and fishermen are picking up 3 to 4 kokes per trip so I will start targeting the lake for kokanee.” Gary Burns of Take It To The Limit Guide Service said, “We finally put kokanee in the boat, and they were the largest first two kokanee ever at 15.25 and 16 inches and up to 2 pounds. The rainbow trout are also on the bite, but when we landed the two kokanee of the year of this size, we were pretty excited. Pink Wedding Rings or pink Wiggle Hoochies tipped with garlic corn soaked in beet juice behind pink or purple Rocky Mountain Tackle’s dodgers did the trick for the kokanee, and we also landed rainbows this week at the dam, spillway, Glory Hole Point, and Angels Cove on kokanee gear at depths from 8 to 27 feet.” Justin Wolff of Angler West TV filmed an episode on the lake this week, and he said, “When I first saw the weather change, I knew it would be a tough bite, but the Shasta Tackle Cripplure in Crushed Orange came through with a limit of trout including bonus bass and crappie.” John Liechty of Glory Hole Sports in Angels Camp said, “The trout bite has been quite good for the past few weeks as trollers are still catching fish near the surface. Angels Creek, the dam, the spillway, and Coyote Creek are some of the most productive locations for rainbows. The bank fishing continues to be slow, and we are advising bank anglers to head into the higher elevation lakes or streams.” For bass, Liechty also runs Xperience Fishing Guide Service, and he reported excellent bass fishing on three consecutive days with Bob Schaefer landing largemouth bass to 5 pounds plus throwing swimbaits, glide baits and topwater lures. Soft plastic swimbaits, Senkos or plastics on the drop-shot have also been effective, and as the water warms, the reaction bite should pick up. The flooded vegetation that covers the shoreline is great habitat for the bass and will provide shelter for their fry.” Catfishing is improving as the whiskerfish are moving into the shallows with frozen shad, mackerel, sardines or nightcrawlers coated with scent. Crappie have moved into the warm water pockets in the coves, and live minnows or mini jigs are working around submerged structure. There are some crappie out in open water, and trollers targeting rainbow trout or kokanee are occasionally picking up a bonus slab. The lake continues to rise, climbing 2 feet to 1,056.00 in elevation and 85 percent capacity.
Call: Glory Hole Sports (209) 736-4333; Monte Smith (209) 581-4734; Danny Layne-Fish’n Dan (209) 586-2383
Pine Flat Reservoir/Kings River
Bass 3; Trout 2; King salmon 1; Catfish 2; Crappie 3
The trout bite at Pine Flat is holding up while crappie are found up the river arm. Bass fishing remains decent, and there is a progressively improving reaction bite. Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “Trollers are picking up 2-3 rainbows per rod, and they are still not real deep. Although limits are hard to come by, the rainbows are quality fish in the 14- to 18-inch range with the occasional 19 incher. Leadcore fishermen are doing better than those with downriggers, and the rainbows seem to be holding from 3-5 colors of leadcore in the main lake. The only trout options in our area are either Pine Flat or Shaver Lake, and although Shaver has been decent for kokanee, the trout bite has been slow. Needlefish or Wedding Rings tipped with a piece of nightcrawler are working best from Zebe Creek, Lefevre Creek, and around the Power Lines.” Gilbert added, “There is a reaction bite for spotted bass, and although you can catch them on everything, finding the fish is the key. Once you find the fish, there is a reaction bite with ripbaits and crankbaits along with a topwater bite in the evenings. The topwater bite is slow in the mornings. Most of the bass are spots, but there are more and more largemouth bass to 2 pounds showing up in the main lake. The river arm has been slow for bass, but there is a good crappie bite around Trimmer, Sycamore, and Billy Creek. Normally, the crappie will disappear within a few days of the water rising, but the bite has been holding up and we have several fishermen heading up to the river arm with crappie jigs. The snowmelt in the Big Creek watershed has kept the water cold, and this area has been less productive for crappie.” Pine Flat came up 6 feet to 867.84 in elevation and 57 percent capacity despite heavy water releases down the Kings River. 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. Regulations in the Kings River above and below Pine Flat Dam set the season as running from the last Saturday in April to Nov. 15 from Pine Flat Dam downstream to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Bridge on Pine Flat Road with a five-fish limit. The bridge is the first one west of the dam. The area from Cobbles (Alta) Weir downstream to the Highway 180 crossing is open all year with only artificial lures with barbless hooks and a zero limit. The 2,200-foot long Thorburn Spawning Channel, located 5 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
Striped bass remain the top species when the wind cooperates, and shore fishermen are using Lucky Craft Pointers for huge striped bass over 40 inches. One angler landed two big stripers on consecutive days and release done lineside at 41 inches from the shoreline. Trollers are scoring with P-Line Angry Eye Predator Minnows or Lucky Craft Points at depths from 40 to 60 feet as the fish have moved down in the water column. Roger George of Roger George Guide Service reported that there has been a decent bite when the pumps are running, but that the overall day bite has been tough otherwise. “The shore anglers working the last storm during the night got some big stripers, as they usually do during the period up to the first full moon in May. That’s when the big spawning females are moving up and prowling around the shoreline in the dark,” George said. “Most of the males are milting heavily so the spawn is in full swing right now. There could be an epic spawn this year with all the water. Wind has been the biggest problem, and May is known for being one of the worst wind months-so planning a trip is difficult with the forecast changing daily. It’s been a weird year so far with the stripers not following normal patterns-and I think it may be a very late season this year.” The minnow bite remains good, but jumbos will be difficult to obtain in the coming weeks due to unavailability from the supplier. Extra-large minnows will have to suffice. The water level held at 98 percent. In the forebay, Mickey Clements of Coyote Bait and Tackle in Morgan Hill said, “Numbers of small striped bass are available for shore fishermen at Check 12 with chicken livers or anchovies. Fishermen are going through 15 to 20 stripers in order to find one or two keepers. The chicken livers have been the trick.” Catfish are starting to get active.
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
Bass fishing remains solid at Bass Lake, but this past weekend was all about the annual Bass Lake Chamber of Commerce Trout Derby and the lure of the $10,000 tagged rainbow. Todd Wittwer of Kokanee.net Guide Service said, “The action had been good until the weekend, but with the water rising to near capacity, the holdover rainbows are loading up with insects floating on the surface. The fog arrived in force over the weekend during the derby, and you couldn’t see the other side of the lake. I have been scoring with Apex lures, the Tasmanian Devil spoon, or with blade/’crawler combinations, but it was tough on Saturday. We did manage three tagged rainbows in the afternoon after finding minimal action in the morning. The derby was as well attended as I remember, and there were a number of boats on the lake in the near-freezing conditions on Saturday morning. Bank fishing was more productive for the tagged rainbows, and at least 50 tagged fish were on the board at Miller’s Resort on Saturday afternoon. There were a total of 233 tagged fish turned in with just under $7,000 paid out.” There have been no confirmed kokanee sightings. Wittwer offered a $100 reward for one during the derby, but found no takers. Very few of the landlocked salmon been caught in the lake since the dam reconstruction a few years back in spite of the planting of fingerlings. Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “The bass bite has been very good with anglers picking up from 8-10 fish working around the docks. The water is up, and there are fish on the beds. A 10.1-pounder was caught and released this week, but I don’t know if it was a bed fish or not. Anglers are heading to Bass Lake for a larger grade of bass and targeting Millerton for numbers.” Webcams of the lake are available at basslakeca.com/. Water levels held at 90 percent capacity.
Call: Mike Beighey 642-3748; Bass Lake Watersports 642-3200
Access to Edison and Florence Lakes remains limited to those on snowmobiles and it remains possible that the reopening of Kaiser Pass Road may be delayed past the usual Memorial Day target date. Edison rose to 25 percent capacity and Florence to 30 percent as snow continues to melt. Mammoth Pool is at 101 percent.
Call: Vermilion Valley Resort at Edison Lake 259-4000
Shaver Lake/Huntington Lake
Kokanee 3, Trout 2
Bank fishing remains slow despite the first of two plants from the privately funded Shaver Lake Trophy Trout Project, This is in contrast to early years of the trophy trout plants in which bank fishermen greeted the truck for limits of big rainbows. With the price of fish up to $70 per trophy, it is a good trend that the rainbows were able to spread out from the cove at the Edison Campground. Another plant will be arriving in summer. The lake was shrouded in fog over the weekend, and boaters had to anchor up to wait out the conditions. Kokanee fishing remains good for fish to 16 inches with pink hoochies near Black Rock, the Sierra Marina, Boy Scout Cove and the island at depths to 20 feet. Sheldon Sandstrom of the Sierra Marina reports that launching a large boat is possible at the auxiliary ramp at the marina. The lake is at 51 percent capacity but expected to drop. Lake levels for the coming months are anticipated to be: May, 25 percent; June, 67 percent; July, 83 percent; August, 99 percent; September, 100 percent. Huntington has risen to 67 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; Forest Service rangers will cite vehicles traveling over the 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
Chuck Crane of the Wishon Village RV Park and Store said, “Fishermen are able to make their way up to Wishon, and the boat launch is accessible as the lake has come up a few feet. The Wishon Village RV Park and Store is open for business. Boaters are picking up a few holdover rainbows with blade/’crawler combinations on leadcore line, but you have to work hard for a few fish. A trout plant has yet to occur this year.” 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
Half Moon Bay
Rockfish 3; Striper 2; Crabs 2
Rockfish, ling cod, and Dungeness crab remain the story out of Pillar Point Harbor for the next few weeks as the only closure of the ocean salmon season until Oct. 31st takes place through May 14. Once the season reopens, the size limit will be lowered to 20 inches. The wind is the constant over the past few weeks, and this was no exception over the past weekend with high winds keeping boats tied up to the docks. The combination of big wind and a huge swell made for dangerous ocean conditions. The boats will be out rockfishing when the conditions allow.
Call: Happy Hooker (510) 223-5388; Captain Roger Thomas, Salty Lady (415) 760-9362; Emeryville Sport Fishing (510) 654-6040
Rockfish 2; Striper 2; Crab 2; Salmon 2
Rough weather conditions in Monterey Bay contributed to less than stellar rockfishing on Sunday with the Caroline returning with three-quarter limits of rockfish and eight lings for 22 anglers. They didn’t go out Saturday because of the weather, but Friday featured a combined 23 limits of rockfish and ling cod on the Check Mate and Caroline. Troy at Chris’ Fishing said, “It was weather-related with the winds coming up to 25 knots in the afternoon with a swell in the 12- to 15-foot range. Salmon fishing wasn’t affected in the early morning as my uncle’s boat put in three salmon near the Soldier’s Club running hoochies or spoons close to the bottom.” 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; usafishing.com
San Francisco Bay
Halibut 3; Striper 2; Rockfish 3; Leopard shark 2; Sturgeon 3; Crab 2
The ocean salmon season is closed until May 15 from Pigeon Point north to Point Arena. Winds have been blowing hard the past four days, and most party boats canceled their salmon trips over the weekend due to the winds. Third-generation Captain Jonathan Smith of the Happy Hooker out of Berkeley Marina was in the south bay on Saturday, and he got 21 halibut to 30 pounds. Captain Jim Smith has retired and sold the Happy Hooker to son Chris and grandson Jonathan. Smith is the patriarch of three generations of bay fishermen, and he will be spending more and more time in Alaska fishing for salmon in the river, digging clams, fishing for halibut in Cook Inlet and relaxing. Jim Smith reported stained water in the north bay, but it is clearing up near the Berkeley Flats with the clearest water in the south bay. The Sea Wolf out of Emeryville had a great bay trip on Saturday with 26 halibut to 34 pounds and 3 striped bass to 6 pounds.John Badger of Barbarian Sport Fishing is back in the bay, and he had a great first halibut trip, drifting anchovies for seven halibut for six anglers. He trolled Thursday but switched over to drifting on Friday and will continue to drift live anchovies in order to work more water. Keith Fraser of Loch Lomond Bait and Tackle in San Rafael reported halibut fishing has been decent in the north bay with one boat releasing 14 shakers with one keeper at 15 pounds working around Red Rock and Paradise with live Loch Lomond shiners. He said, “The water around Red Rock was fairly clear despite the wind. The few boats on the anchor have had to deal with the wind, and there have been at least 10 to 15 oversized sturgeon reported since Wednesday even with the small tides. This is the time to be sturgeon fishing as a series of small minus tides begin on Wednesday, and the fish are hungry with all of the crabs flushed out of the bay. The fish are very aggressive, and you might even be able to hook a suicide sturgeon. The coming tides aren’t so big that they will affect drifting for halibut. Shore fishermen are finding numerous small stripers and around one out of 10 is legal. We have live mud shrimp coming in on Wednesday, and we should have live mud throughout the upcoming weekend of minus tides.”
San Luis Obispo
It was a day of limits out of Morro Bay on Monday after heavy wind and swell affected the ability to reach rockfish over the weekend. The Avenger out of Morro Bay Landing went out with 18 anglers on a three-quarter-day trip and returned with 180 vermilion rockfish and 30 ling cod to 11 pounds. The Fiesta out of Virg’s Landing in Morro Bay was out with 19 fishermen and returned with limits of rockfish consisting of 50 vermilion, 50 copper, 50 assorted, 20 canary and 20 Boccaccio rockfish along with 11 ling cod to 7.5 pounds. Jason Johnson of Kingsburg took the jackpot ling on the Fiesta. The Phenix and the Patriot out of Patriot Sport Fishing in Port San Luis were out Friday with a combined 32 fishermen for 110 vermilion, 90 coppers, 6 Boccaccio, 67 assorted and five canary rockfish along with 26 ling cod to 11.5 pounds. The big ling was landed by Ben Amey of Bakersfield. The Patriot was on a three-quarter-day crab/combo and scored 72 Dungeness and eight rock crab for their passengers. Both harbors have a variety of trips running from half-day through two-day trips in the upcoming weeks. The next two-day trip on the Princess is June 23-25 with 19 spots available as of press time.
Call: Virg’s Landing, (805) 772-1222; (800) 762-5263; Patriot Sports Fishing (805) 595-4100; Port Side Marine Sports Launch (805) 595-7214
Bass 3; Striper 2; Sturgeon 3; Catfish 2; Bluegill 2; Shad 3
American shad have flooded into the Sacramento-Delta in the Freeport area north to Knight’s Landing, and Delta fishermen are finding success with shad darts under a heavy sinkers. Striper fishing is beginning to show signs of life, although most striper fishermen continue to work the San Joaquin side. Johnny Tran of New Romeo’s Bait in Freeport said, “Most of the stripers are males, but there are females in the 18- to 40-inch range landed from the shorelines with pile worms or blood worms. The water is still high, and it is running hard. The big female shad are showing up already, and shore anglers are using 1- to 1.5-ounce egg sinkers on a 20-inch leader with a shad dart in order to stay on the bottom. The shad fishing has been good from Freeport up to Miller Park in Sacramento. An occasional sturgeon is landed by striper fisherman and these are downstream fish.” Alan Fong of Fisherman’s Warehouse in Sacramento confirmed the good shad bite, and he said, “Boaters are using up to 6 ounces of weight to stay down while drop-shotting with shad darts. One angler couldn’t stay down with 4 ounces so he came in and purchased 6 ounces of lead. It is just like fishing in the ocean right now. Most of the shad are males, but there are a few of the larger females showing up.” The Clarksburg and Miller Park launch ramps are the only ones open in the area. Davis Uslan of Clarksburg was able to launch his small aluminum out of Clarksburg, and he trolled up a quality lineside in the 10-pound range. The striper bite should be excellent once the water continues to clear. Sturgeon fishing has been outstanding in lower Suisun Bay in spite of few anglers trying. Andy Doudna, organizer of the Addathon Iron Man Sturgeon Derby, found great action over the weekend with several slot-limit and oversized sturgeon caught and released. He said, “One of our Addathon participants had a 30-fish day over the weekend. The sturgeon grounds are still paying off for fishermen willing to brave some wind. The Big Cut and the Little Cut are the main producers as the fish are moving through to feed on clam beds located in Honker and Grizzly Bays and the surrounding flats. The water temperatures are on the rise from 63 to 68 degrees with the water still stained. The trash on the top and bottom is gone for the most part. Salmon roe is still the top producer with some fish still interested in lamprey eel or pickled eel. The winds have been the biggest factor over the past two weeks, and we are seeing sturgeon one day on a wide-open bite before vanishing the next. The boat pressure seems to be the leading factor in this pattern as they retreat to the flats before returning from nowhere. We have some good tides coming up for a few weeks, and if you can grab some bait and schedule your fishing around the breaks in the wind, you can enjoy some good fishing.” Steve Mitchell of Hook’d Up Sport Fishing went scouting on a fun trip with some friends on a private boat Sunday and landed two legal sturgeon at 48 and 46 inches. He said, “There were a few fish coming through the Big and Little Cut, not a lot of fish, and there were more in the Little Cut. The fish were fat and beefy, and the larger keeper came on the outgoing tide in the Big Cut with the 46 incher on the incoming tide in the Little Cut in 27 feet of water. Salmon roe is the bait of choice, and it will probably be the best bait from now on. The wind was blowing hard, and that was on the only limiting factor.” Dan Mathisen of Dan’s Delta Outdoors in Oakley reported the best striper trolling and plugging is occurring around Isleton in the Old Sacramento River. P-Line Angry Eye Predator Minnow or Savage Gear shallow diving lures are working. In the Rio Vista area, Mathisen touted Sandy Beach or along Sherman Island Road for stripers and sturgeon with fresh shad or sardines. He said, “Trollers are starting to work along the West Bank, and the area from the Red Barn west to Collinsviille is starting up with chartreuse plugs.” James Netzel of Tight Lines Guide Service, currently out of Korth’s Pirate’s Lair, said “we landed 7 keepers to 8 pounds on Saturday in the wind along with a few shakers with the best action on the incoming tide.” Steve Santucci of Steve Santucci’s Fly Fishing Guide Service said, “Delta fishing has been fair to good for stripers this week, and despite wind and tough fishing conditions, we still managed to catch fish and also catch some bigger fish. Hopefully we have a better weather pattern upcoming and maybe it will translate into better fishing. This is the time of year that you might catch your personal best.” Steve Johnson at H and R Bait in Stockton has been drifting live bluegill off of Bacon Island near Mildred, and he put in two limits to 7.25 pounds by 11 a.m. on a recent trip. He said, “I also was drifting jumbo shiners from Windmill Cove to Lost Isle on the main river for stripers to 24 inches. The larger fish are coming on the bluegill. The stripers are all fresh fish with a deep purple line.” Robbie Nixon of Lodi has been trolling the San Joaquin out of Korth’s Pirate’s Lair, and he put in this limit of linesides to 12 pounds on a recent venture. Neil Simpson of Lodi was on the San Joaquin on Saturday and said, “The water temperatures were in the mid-60s, and in some locations, they reached over 70 degrees. We picked up a few stripers and largemouth bass on Rat-L-Traps, but nothing bite, and we had plenty of bites on frogs, but they were just sucking the legs or missing it. Most were jumping out of the water when they missed, and out of probably 15 blow ups, we only had one connection that went 5 pounds plus. Senkos, jigs, and jerkbaits also were working for the largemouths.” Fong reported good action for an 18-pound limit with Senkos in the shallows of 1 to 2 feet. He said, “We landed a lot of bass but finding truly big fish was a challenge.” The Wild West Bass Trails was out of Big Break Marina with 140 boats Saturday and Sunday, and the winning weight from the team of J. Zipton and C. Vanderwarf came in at 33.88 pounds with a big fish at 11.15 pounds. Restrictions in the San Joaquin River were modified April 19, wth details at 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 3
At Lopez Lake, the reaction bite has improved with spinnerbaits, small swimbaits on an underspin, chatterbaits or jerkbaits at depths to 15 feet. The panfish are starting to get active with red worms, wax worms, or meal worms around structure. The lake is over 60 percent, and launching is not a problem. A webcam of the lake is available at 805webcams.com/lopez-lake-webcam/. At Lake Nacimiento, the wind in the afternoons has played havoc for anglers, but small spotted bass are biting a variety of lures including spinnerbaits, chatterbaits, or small swimbaits on an underspin. Shad-patterned plastics are working for numbers of spots in the 1- to 1.5-pound range. The white bass remains slow. A webcam of the lake is available at www.lakenacimientolive.com. San Antonio is open at the South Shore for recreation on a weekend-only basis until May 14. It will reopen 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 7 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Fridays, 6:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Saturdays and 6:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sundays. Trollers are running swimbaits at depths to 60 feet below the shad schools for striped bass while the largemouth and smallmouth bass are holding in the shallows. At Santa Margarita, the crappie bite is improving with minijigs tipped with bait. Bluegill and red ear perch are getting active on jumbo red worms. Bass fishing is fair, but the fish are quality, averaging 2-3 pounds. Senkos, plastics on the drop-shot or split shot, chatterbaits and spinnerbaits are all working.
Call: Lake Nacimiento (805) 238-1056, ext. 3; Lake San Antonio Marina (805) 472-2818; CentralCoastBassFishing.com (805) 466-6557
- California Team Trail on April 30 at New Melones: 1, David McEwen 14.88 (big fish 9.37); 2, Kyle Porter 13.76; 3, Jason Remmers 13.58
- Best Bass Tournaments Mother Lode on May 6 at Delta/Ladd’s Marina: 1, Doug Arlin/Aaron Williams 17.65 (big fish 6.68); 2, Jack and James Chastain 17.31; 3, Scott Burke/Mark Weiglein 17.00
- Best Bass Tournaments Central Division on May 7 at Delta/Ladd’s Marina: 1, Kent Simpson/Andrew Clemons 25.58; 2, Cameron Cardoza/Robert Reihl 23.56; 3, Jack and James Chastain 19.27
- Wild West Bass Trails on May 6 at Delta/Big Break Marina: 1, J. Zipton/C.Vanderwarf 33.88 (big fish 11.15); 2, K.Dekleva/Z. Azevedo 32.44; 3, D.Jones/D.McKay– 31.60
- California Delta Tournament Trail on May 6 at Delta/Russo’s Marina: 1, Marc Young/Kelly Oward 23.10; 2, Dan Fonte/Bobby Barrack 20.69; 3, Timothy Venkus/John Martin 19.20
- Success Bass Club 40th Open Tournament on May 6 at Pine Flat: 1, Gary Wasson/Joe Baeza 15.62; 2, Art Nubaryan/Robert Crow 13.50; 3, Jeremy Jones/Stephan Basso 13.27 (big fish 6.06)
- May 11-13: FLW Outdoors at Delta/Russo’s Marina
- May 12: Bass 101 Nights at Nacimiento
- May 13: 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
- May 17: FLW Outdoors at Delta/Russo’s Marina; Bass Pro Shops at Delta/Ladd’s Marina
- May 18-19: Bass N’ Fly at Delta/Sugar Barge
- May 20: 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
- May 20-21: Sierra Bass Club at Delta/Ladd’s Marina
- May 21: Kings River Bass Club/Modesto Ambassadors atDelta/Ladd’s Marina; California Delta Team Trail at Delta/Russo’s Marina; Yak A Bass at Delta/Tracy Oasis
- May 27: American Bass Association at Delta/Russo’s Marina; Golden Empire Bass Club at Pine Flat
- May 28: Porterville Bass Club at Success
- Tuolumne County: Beaver Creek; Lyons Canal (Columbia Ditch); Moccasin Creek; Pinecrest Lake; Powerhouse Stream; Stanislaus River (Clarks Fork, Middle Fork, North Fork, South Fork); Tuolumne River (Mddile Fork, North Fork)
f = full moon > = peak activity