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.
Eastman and Hensley lake bass bites go off, Merritt Gilbert said. San Francisco halibut and sturgeon action good, Keith Fraser said. Kaweah bass hitting, Sierra Sporting Goods reported. Bass lake bass on a tear, Walt Lee said. Delta bass, shad and sturgeon dominate, Alan Fong reported.
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2-Have to work hard
4-Fish jumpin’ in boat
Delta Mendota Canal and Sloughs
Stripers 3; Catfish 2
The southern section of the California aqueduct in Kern County remains solid for Valley striper fishermen, and there are still Fresno-area anglers heading to the southern aqueduct system around Taft for numbers of linesides. A few local fishermen are working Mendota Slough for one or two quality largemouth bass for a day’s fishing, but the numbers of bass are absent. In Kern County, Pete Cormier of Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield said, “Sardines, blood worms, and lug worms are working for numbers but finding quality stripers is a challenge. There are plenty of 17-inch fish out there.” 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 4; Trout 2; Bluegill 2; Catfish 2; Crappie 2
After months of slow action, the bass bite broke out during the past week at low-elevation Eastman and Hensley northeast of Fresno. Both are experiencing high-water conditions after being as low as 5 percent capacity during the past several years. Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “The bass bite went wide open with all techniques, and anglers are catching and releasing as many as 20 bass using ripbaits, jerkbaits, spinnerbaits, Senkos and plastics on the drop-shot. Everything is working except for topwater, as the topwater bite hasn’t taken off at any of our lakes as of yet. There also are a number of small palm-sized crappie showing up, and small minnows or crappie jigs are working around structure.” Bluegill are another possibility, with the panfish found on red worms in the coves next to deep water and rocky cover. Eastman is starting to release water, but it is at 92 percent and 579.55 feet in elevation.
Call: Eastman Lake 689-3255
Bass 3; Trout 2; Catfish 2; Bluegill 2; Crappie 2
Gilbert added, “The bass bite at Hensley is also very good, and more numbers are coming out of this lake than nearby Eastman. All techniques are working except topwater, and there is a good reaction bite in addition to plastics or jigs. There are small crappie taken on small minnows or minijigs near structure.” The lake has is as high as in recent memory, rising to 75 percent capacity and 525.90 feet in elevation after languishing at about 5 percent for most of 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 3; Trout 2; Kokanee 1; King salmon 1; Crappie 2
The trout remain scattered in the high water conditions, and trollers have to search around in order to find small schools of rainbows. Shad-imitation lures at depths to 45 feet are working best. The kokanee have yet to emerge. The bass remain in various stages of the spawn, but most largemouth bass are in post-spawn mode are feeding heavily. Mike Gomez of the Bait Barn in Waterford said, “There is a very good bass bite at the lake with topwater action in the early morning before 9 a.m., but with surface temperatures in the high 70s, the topwater bite dies by 9. Berserk’s Purple Hornet jigs or Pro Worm’s 124p or 300 are working at depths from 25-30 feet by midmorning.” 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 rose slightly to 82 percent capacity and 798.99 feet in elevation.
Call: Monte Smith (209) 581-4734; Danny Layne-Fish’n Dan (209) 586-2383; Gary Vella (209) 652-7550
Lake Isabella/Bakersfield area
Bass 2; Trout 2; Crappie 2; Catfish 2; Bluegill 2
At Lake Isabella, the past several weeks of cold weather and wind have kept most fishermen from heading up to the lake. Pete Cormier of Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield said, “The upper river is running at 6,000 cfs, and with the cold water, the snowmelt hasn’t really started as of yet. There have been a few catfish and bass along with crappie, and there are still planted trout in the lake from the derby. Shore anglers are using Power Bait or Berkley Mice Tails for the planters.” The lake rose to 56 percent this week. Both the upper and lower rivers are affected by the high flows, and the upper river may not be fishable for months. In the small local lakes, carp fishing is starting to pick up with the new Wussy’s Poor Man’s Bait, and Bob’s has sold about 50 tubs of the processed bait for carp and catfish. Buena Vista is producing the occasional striped bass in the larger lake along with catfish, but crappie action is slow. A number of Valley fishermen are heading over the hill to Lake Lopez for panfish instead of fishing the local lakes. Bob’s will be hosting their annual Striped Bass Derby in June.
Call: Bob’s Bait (661) 833-8657; North Fork Marina (760) 376-1812
Bass 4; Crappie 2; Trout 2; Catfish 2
Bass fishing has been excellent as the largemouths are in post-spawn mode and feeding heavily. Sierra Sporting Goods in Exeter said, “The bite is wide open, and live bait such as minnows or crawdads are working for trophy-sized bass. A 14-pound largemouth was caught and kept on a minnow this week, and they are taking out a lot of big ones. The fish are in the shallows to 10 feet, and crankbaits and plastics are also effective.” Crappie are taken around structure with small minnows or minijigs near Horse Creek. The removal of the female bass from the lake will contribute to the decline of large fish available. Catch and release of the larger female bass is recommended to maintain the trophy possibilities for this lake. Kaweah rose 4 feet to 673.24 in elevation and 57 percent capacity..
Call: Sierra Sporting Goods 592-5212
Bass 2; Trout 2; Catfish 2; Crappie 2
Chuck Stokke of the Sequoia Fishing Co. in Springville said, “The bass bite was slower this past week, and fishermen are still working plastics on the drop-shot for the best action. The increased lake levels have scattered the fish, and the best fishing has been in the shallows with Senkos, lizards and Brush Hogs. An occasional largemouth is taken on a crankbait.” The lake rose slightly to 647.81 feet in elevation and 87 percent capacity. The Tule River, still fast and high, remains closed. Given the high flows, caution must be taken around the water’s edge.
Call: Sequoia Fishing Co. 539-5626, sequoiafishingcompany.com
Bass 3; Trout 2; King salmon 1; Kokanee 1; Crappie 2; Catfish 2
The lake continues to rise and it came up to 817.54 feet in elevation and 70 percent capacity, rising 4 feet this past week. Mike Gomez of the Bait Barn in Waterford said, “The bass bite remains excellent for numbers of spotted and a few largemouth bass with topwater lures in the early morning before switching over to Pro Worms in 124p or 300 along with Berserk jigs or plastics on a shakey head at depths from 25-30 feet. The River2Sea SWaver has been working in the early morning with an occasional bass taken in the afternoons.” The launch ramps at Barretts Cove South and McClure Point are open.
Call: Bait Barn (209) 874-3011
Camping is the best thing happening at the cold-water afterbay for Lake McClure as the flows coming through Exchequer Dam have kept the lake too high for planting trout. The planted rainbows would be washed over the spillway into the Merced River. The last trout plant was October 2016 and with the high water levels will remain on hold. There are small park-model rental cabins overlooking the lake under construction and slated 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 2
The lake has risen 8 feet in the past week given snowmelt in the San Joaquin River watershed, but the bass bite remains wide open for numbers of small spotted bass in the 1.5-pound range. Merritt Gilbert said, “Ripbaits, jerkbaits, crankbaits, and plastics on the drop-shot are all working with the best action in the main lake. There have only been reports of small fish coming out of the river arm. The topwater bite is has yet to emerge.” The crappie bite around Winchell and Squaw Coves has slowed, perhaps given the rising water. Crappie anglers are working hard for a few slabs per rod using small to medium minnows or crappie jigs. The lake is at 65 percent capacity and 536.66 feet in elevation. There have been no striped bass reports this week. In the San Joaquin River, the Sycamore Island Pond is open Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and all state holidays. Day passes are $9 and a season pass $85 and can be purchased online or at the bait shop. Camp Pashayan, near Highway 99 and Herndon, is open Saturday and Sunday from 6 a.m. through 5 p.m. Entry is $6. Those purchasing a day pass at Camp Pashayan who decide they would rather go to Sycamore Island can get a same-day upgrade at the Bait Shop for $3. Those who start at Sycamore Island can enjoy free access to Camp Pashayan with a valid same-day pass. Two primitive boat launches at Camp Pashayan are not usable by trailers given the current river flows. Hand-launched boats can use the ramps and park hosts are happy to provide assistance. There have been a number of large spawning bass removed from the Sycamore Island Pond over the past few weeks, with anglers instead encouraged to practice catch and release. 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.
Call: Valley Rod & Gun 292-3474
New Melones Reservoir/Tulloch
Bass 3; Crappie 2; Catfish 2; Trout 2; Kokanee 2
The lake is rising 6 inches per day at New Melones; the kokanee bite has been tough despite a few landlocked salmon coming in over the past week. Bass fishing is excellent as the largemouths are in post-spawn mode with spotted bass remaining on the beds or close to them. Monte Smith of Gold Country Sport Fishing said, “I fished the lake on Friday in search of kokanee, and we fished for four hours without a single strike. The water temperature is still cold with the surface temperature at 63 degrees, and since there is so much water and new areas for the fish to spread out, it could make for a challenging season. After finding no kokanee willing to bite, we switched over to running custom spoons at 34 deep for a few quality rainbows. I do think once we locate the fish, it will be great. The water is clear with visibility around 8 feet.” Jeremy Clinksbeard of Glory Hole Sports in Angels Camp has been walking the banks for bass over the past week, and he reported great action for both largemouth and spotted bass with Rat-L-Traps, jerkbaits, or spinnerbaits. He said, “The largemouth bass are in post-spawn mode, and they are loading up on shad and bluegill while the spotted bass are still spawning as their tails are red and bellies dirty. Keeper or Wright’s worms in 4 to 6-inch size are working in a Texas-rig for the spots.” John Liechty of Xperience Fishing Guide Service said, “The lake is at a great level and the bass are responding well to it. On Friday I had the pleasure of guiding my good friend Nate Monroe. Nate and I have been in search of a giant for the past two years. We have had multiple chances but something would always go wrong, until today. At 11 a.m., we pulled up on a spot and the conditions were perfect. As I was explaining how perfect the wind, light, clarity, depth etc... was she hit! The massive fish weighed 9.3-pounds and is Nate's new personal best. We released her and went back to fishing, epic day!” Trout fishing is decent with most anglers finding rainbows using kokanee gear such as orange or pink hoochies tipped with garlic corn behind a dodger at depths to 25 feet in 100 feet of water. Crappie are spread out with the high water, and they are not in large schools. The slabs are still in spawn mode, and anglers are picking up a few crappie instead of large numbers. Quality catfish in the 10-pound range have been taken from the shorelines, and an 18 pounder was landed by a troller on a blade/’crawler combination. The lake continues to rise, and it rose 2 feet this week to 1,057.76 in elevation and 86 percent capacity, but water releases down the Stanislaus River have started.
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 2
The bass bite has also been solid for numbers with ripbaits, crankbaits, Senkos, or plastics on the drop-shot for spotted bass to 3 pounds. Trout fishing is fair for rainbows to 18 inches with Apex lures, Wedding Rings, or blade/’crawler combinations at depths from 3-5 colors of leadcore. The fish haven’t dropped in the water column below 25 feet as of yet. For bass and trout, the best action is in the main lake. Crappie have slowed within the past week with fishermen who were catching 15-20 slabs now scoring in the 6-7 fish range. Small to medium minnows or crappie jigs are working around structure above Trimmer. The lake rose 10 feet to 61 percent and 877.32 in elevation. 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.
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
The wind has been blowing at the main San Luis Reservoir, but there are windows in which boaters have been able to get out in between the gusts. Roger George of Roger’s Guide Service said, “There are nice stripers to be caught in the nearly-full-to-the-rim reservoir, and although many fishermen have already called it quits after fishing all winter, the real apex of the striper season usually comes with the spawn that’s been going on the last few weeks. Recent pumping into the big lake has kicked off a decent to good bite around the pumps and the Romero Visitor Center area for those trolling, casting plugs, spooning or drifting minnows. The downside of the minnow bite is that the supply of jumbo minnows appears to be over for the year. The water temperatures should be rising into the mid-60s with the warmer weather conditions, but the constant storm fronts coming through the area have made it tough to get stable conditions. Finding a good day when the wind doesn’t close the lake is the big key right now.” George added that the stripers are chunky and filled out with plenty of feed this season. “There is also a night time bite with plugs such as Lucky Craft 128’s or white flukes on a three-quarters-ounce jig head around the perimeter in the legal areas at night. There still are huge striped bass being caught and kept from both the bank off of Dinosaur Point and Basalt,” George said. “The dam face is off limits for any fishing, day or night and the Basalt side of the lake requires anglers to walk into the lake from the locked road gate just past the Basalt State Park Kiosk if you are night fishing past closing time. Night fishing is dangerous, due to the many snakes this season that have come out because of the high water levels forcing them out of their dens for the first time in five years. The wind number isn’t working so anglers need to either call ahead to see if the lake is closed due to wind, or check out wind sites like Pro Windfinder for lake wind speeds.” San Luis is at 99 percent capacity. In O’Neill Forebay, Check 12 remains the location for small striped bass with pile worms, blood worms, chicken livers or anchovies. Most of the striped bass are undersized, but anglers willing to release a number of linesides can end up with a limit of barely-legal fish
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
Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun said, “The bass bite broke out over the weekend a variety of techniques as the fish are in the shallows and on the beds.” Walt Lee of the Kerman Bass Club confirmed the hot bite. A 30.80-pound limit won Saturday’s club tournament, with the big fish taken by the team of Ed and Cory Kerber at 9.66. There were 13 limits weighed in from the 14 teams. The rainbow trout bite remains fair at best with Apex lures, blade/’crawler combinations or Tasmanian Devils working at depths to 22 feet. Kokanee remain a no-show. Webcams of the lake are available at basslakeca.com/. The lake is at 90 percent capacity.
Call: Mike Beighey 642-3748; Bass Lake Watersports 642-3200
Access to Edison (at 25 percent capacity) and Florence (30 percent) remains limited to those on snowmobiles. Mammoth Pool is at 101 percent.
Call: Vermilion Valley Resort at Edison Lake 259-4000
Shaver Lake/Huntington Lake
Kokanee 2; Trout 2
The lake is accessible through the auxiliary ramp at the Sierra Marina, but the weather has been the limiting factor. Dick Nichols of Dick’s Fishing Charters said, “The weather has been on and off as I wore shorts to a local high school baseball game one day, and the following day, it was cloudy, foggy, and wet. Although the water has come up a foot around the shoreline, it is still best to check with the marina before your departure. It is possible that the main ramp will be on the concrete within the week.” The Sierra and Shaver Lake marinas are in operation with rentals and supplies. A trout plant from Fish and Wildlife is scheduled for this week, and the Shaver Lake Trophy Trout Project released their first plant of trophy-sized rainbows to 7 pounds a few weeks back. Todd Wittwer of Kokanee.net Guide Service went out with fellow guide Mike Beighey this week, and he reported a tough bite at the end of the week for a total of two kokanee. Nichols said, “I think everything points to a good fishing year. But the bite may be slowed at the start due to the continued rise in the lakes elevation for a few months as the rainbows will be feeding on insects washed off of the banks. This will not affect the kokanee bite, and during this past week, kokanee limits to 18 inches have been possible with an average size of 14 inches. When I hit the water, I will have the side poles with Trout Busters tipped with corn on the inside hook and a piece of crawler on the back hook behind weighted Mountain Flashers at 15 and 20 feet deep. On the downriggers, a pink Koke Buster or pink Apex tipped with corn behind Captain Jack's C.J. Dodgers at depths from 18-22 feet will be my starting lineups for this year. Because of the recent trout, we will make a run in front of the dam to the Point and then to the island, Black Rock and in front of Boy Scout Cove.” Rick Roberts of Shaver and brother-in-law John Garcia of Madera picked up a couple of limits of trout this past week running pink Captain Jack’s Super Hoochies tipped with corn behind a dodger on the downrigger or side poles at depths to 15 feet. Huntington has risen to 78 percent capacity, with open water throughout. There have been no reports from the secretive brown trout anglers, but you can assume that they are dragging their aluminum boats to the water’s edge in search of a trophy brown.
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.
Trout 2; Brown trout 2
Chuck Crane of the Wishon Village RV Park and Store said, “Quality brown trout to 22 inches are coming from both the bank and from trollers pulling Rapalas. Limits are hard to come by, but rainbows in the 15-inch range or brown trout from 16-18 inches are possible. The dirt launch is rough with shallow water, but the concrete launch is accessible as the lake is coming up a few feet per day.” The Wishon Village RV Park and Store is open for business. 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
Salmon 2; Rockfish 2; Striper 2; Crabs 2
It will be anyone’s guess what lies ahead for the rest of the ocean salmon season as the season reopened May 15, this time with a 20-inch minimum size limit. Constant winds along the California coast have created upswelling and plankton-rich water, but few boats have been out during the past several days of constant northwest winds. Out of Half Moon Bay Sport Fishing, the Queen of Hearts was able to make a rockfish run during the past week on one occasion, but they returned early with three-quarters limits of rockfish as the winds became too much to take. Captain Michael Cabanas of the Huli Cat was also able to scrape up a trip for crab-only, and they pulled pots with up to 23 Dungeness crab. Captain Tom Mattusch on the Huli Cat and Captain Dennis Baxter of the New Captain Pete along with boats from Half Moon Bay Sport Fishing will be running rockfish/ling cod or ocean salmon trips in the coming weeks, and the Huli Cat will also have the ability to pull the crab pots. Farther north in Pacifica, Rob Chaney of the Rusty Hook reported excellent crabbing from the pier as a number of first-time crab fishermen are getting involved with the sport. Anchovies, squid, and sardines are used in the snares which have been more effective than crab pots from the pier and along the beaches. Striped bass fishing has been fair as the numbers of linesides haven’t made an appearance, but Chaney reported at least one quality striper to 31 pounds landed from the surf at night on the full moon with a Diawa SP Minnow.
Call: Happy Hooker (510) 223-5388; Captain Roger Thomas, Salty Lady (415) 760-9362; Emeryville Sport Fishing (510) 654-6040
Rockfish 3; Striper 2; Crab 2
Chris Arcoleo of Chris’ Fishing in Monterey said, “We canceled our trips on both Saturday and Sunday due to the weather, and we are also canceling on Monday. The water temperatures have dropped to 49 degrees south of the harbor on the outside, but the cold water hasn’t stopped the rockfish bite when we are able to get out.” When the boats are able to get out, they have been jigging up live squid for quick limits of ling cod by 9 a.m. before working for three-quarters to limits of rockfish. 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; Salmon 2
The wind kept the boats in the bay over the weekend, and it looked like the boats would have to wait one more day before taking advantage of the reopening of the salmon season. The Sausalito boats canceled for Monday, but left open the possibility of getting out Tuesday. Inside San Francisco Bay, halibut fishing has been solid with the Happy Hooker, now run by Chris and Jonathan Smith, posting a fish per rod Saturday with 21 halibut and three striped bass for 24 anglers. Sunday’s Mother’s Day score was a bit less with 12 halibut and a pair of stripers working the south bay. They have open loads this Thursday through Sunday. The New Huck Finn out of Emeryville found great action on Mother’s Day with 19 halibut to a whopping 36 pounds along with a 5-pound striped bass working in front of the harbor. Captain Trent Slate of Bite Me Charters out of Loch Lomond Marina was out on both Friday and Saturday, and he worked the Berkeley Flats on Saturday for seven legal halibut along with numerous shakers. Saturday was dedicated to sturgeon fishing on the anchor near the Pumphouse with Loch Lomond live ghost shrimp, and he said, “We had some incredible sturgeon bites with at least 10 big pumpers. My clients wanted to set the hook themselves so they were able to hook four sturgeon – one in the slot and three shakers. They released all of the fish. All of the fresh water is pushing the sturgeon into San Pablo Bay, and even with the smaller tide in the early morning, the fish bit very aggressively. I am going out with Alaska Kenny on Monday to check out the long outgoing tide in the morning.” These were the first two trips on his new boat, a 27-foot Boston Whaler with a 10-foot beam. Keith Fraser of Loch Lomond Bait and Tackle in San Rafael reported very good sturgeon fishing on the anchor with ghost shrimp or especially live or frozen mud shrimp. They are one of the only locations for mud shrimp in Northern California, and they have a supply coming in at the start of the week. Live shiners or anchovies are working for halibut. One boat was able to hide from the winds at Paradise Cove and landed two halibut at 10 and 15 pounds, losing another legal halibut near the net.
San Luis Obispo
Rockfishing remains the only show in town for the San Luis County ports with the Avenger out of Morro Bay Landing taking out 17 anglers Saturday for 110 vermilion rockfish, 20 coppers, 10 Boccaccio and nine ling cod to 8 pounds. The Fiesta out of Virg’s Landing in Morro Bay took their last trip Friday and Narsiso Holguin of Hanford took the jackpot ling at 7.5 pounds. The boat took out 18 anglers for seven ling cod, 40 vermilion and 64 copper rockfish so it was all about quality with close to limits. Patriot out of Patriot Sport Fishing in Port San Luis took a half-day trip Monday with 15 anglers for 88 vermilion, 30 copper, one Boccaccio and 15 assorted rockfish along with 25 ling cod to 10 pounds. Cheng Vu of Fresno took the jackpot ling at 7 pounds on a private charter earlier in the weekend. Both harbors have a variety of trips running from half-day through two-day trips in the coming weeks. The next two-day trip on the Princess is June 23-25 with spots available.
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 4; Catfish 2; Bluegill 3; Shad 3
The Sacramento-Delta remains high because of water releases from Oroville Dam on the Feather River as well as Lake Shasta on the Sacramento River, and there are only a few launch ramps available in the extreme north Delta. American shad remain the top species from Freeport north, but the only locations in which boats can launch are Clarksburg or Miller Park. Stripers continue to move rapidly through the system on their way both up and down to the Feather River or San Francisco Bay, but striper action has slowed with the high water. Sturgeon fishing has been spectacular in the Carquinez Straits in deep water between the Benicia/Martinez and Carquinez Bridges. Alan Fong of the Fisherman’s Warehouse in Sacramento said, “American shad have been the top species, but those drop-shotting for them off of boats have been using up to 4 ounces to keep their shad darts down. We have been selling a lot of shad darts so I know the bite has been good. The river remains high with the only local launch out of Miller Park. From the banks, 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.” Sturgeon fishing remains excellent in lower Suisun Bay with Tony Lopez of Benicia Bait saying, “They are tearing them up in the straits right now with some boats catching and releasing up to 12 sturgeon between the Benicia/Martinez and Benicia Bridges with lamprey eel. These fish are either oversized or slot-limit, and the bite is hot. The winds have been the limiting factor, but once the wind lies down, the action is outstanding. Shore fishermen are using blood worms, pile worms, or anchovies for small keeper striped bass.” The wind has been a constant in the Delta, and the winds and dropping water temperatures have led to a change in techniques for largemouth bass fishermen. Most striped bass fishermen have been focusing on the San Joaquin side during the period of high water on the Sacramento River, but the bite has slowed some within the past few weeks. Clyde Wands, shallow trolling expert, was on the San Joaquin River trolling for stripers on Monday and said, “The wind was really bad, but we were able to find a school of fish in a slough off of False River. It was overall a tough bite, but we kept a 6-pound spawned out female and a male around 4 pounds. We called it a day early in the afternoon due to the wind.” Slowing down has been the key for largemouth bass. Don Paganelli of Paganelli’s Bass Fishing Experience was out with clients during the week and since they wanted to learn to use plastics, they worked Senkos and plastics throughout the day. He said, “This time of year you have to work slow as the fish are either on the beds or guarding the fry, and they are not super-aggressive right now. Everyone else was working slow as well, and you have to do this at this time of year despite how much you might want to use reaction baits.” Dan Mathisen of Dan’s Delta Outdoors in Oakley said, “It was tough out there during the FLW Costa Series during the week, and fishermen averaging 13 pounds per day were able to cash a check. The top baits were Roboworms in Margarita Mutilator, and we also had a top finisher use one of our Dan’s Delta swimjigs and our red craw crankbaits. Most fishermen were working at depths to 8 feet, but there was minimal site fishing due to the winds murking up the water. I am out with the Deer Valley High team from Antioch in the FLW 2 High School State Championship Series with over 60 high school teams entered in the event.” Hunter Schandler of Modesto took the Costa FLW Series Western Division event with a three-day total of 57 pounds, 1 ounce. He worked the riprap along the banks inside of the weedlines with the Lucky Craft BDS4 crankbait on the incoming tide. On the flood tides, Schandler worked Senkos along the tules for a few quality largemouth bass. The FLW 2 High School State Championship was won by the Madera High team of Johnathon and Kyle Balbas with a total weight of 20.3 pounds for five fish in the one-day competition. They each won a $1,500 scholarship, as well as also qualifying for the FLW High School Nationals at Pickwick Lake in June in Alabama. They won the event using reaction baits and outdistanced their closest competitor by nearly 4.5 pounds. Restrictions in the San Joaquin River were modified April 19, with details at 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 3; Crappie 3
At Lopez Lake, Pete Cormier of Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield reported a number of Central Valley fishermen are heading over the hill to fish the lake for crappie, red-eared perch and crappie. Bass fishing is best with ripbaits, chatterbaits, or spinnerbaits with the occasional topwater fish. Jigs, plastics or Brush Hogs are working once the fish move off of the surface by midmorning. The lake has topped 60 percent capacity, and launching is not a problem. A webcam is available at 805webcams.com/lopez-lake-webcam/. At Lake Nacimiento, spotted bass are numerous, but the size remains small. Shad imitation baits are working for spots as the fish are in the shallows. Small swimbaits, jerkbaits, and chatterbaits are also effective. White bass action remains slow as the fish have yet to congregate. The lake is at 85 percent capacity, with a webcam available at www.lakenacimientolive.com. San Antonio will reopen May 19 on a full-time basis, and the North Shore is expected to open on a full-time basis 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. Saturday and 6:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday. Striped bass to the low-teens have been coming in with more regularity by trollers working plugs or swimbaits as deep as 60 feet. The largemouth and smallmouth bass are scattered, but they are holding in the shallows. Once the threadfin shad start spawning in the shallows, both the stripers and bass will be corralling the bait fish in the coves. At Santa Margarita, there have been some quality largemouth bass taken on plastics in the shallows along with ripbaits, spinnerbaits, and chatterbaits. Red ear perch are getting active in the shallows with red worms.
Call: Lake Nacimiento (805) 238-1056, ext. 3; Lake San Antonio Marina (805) 472-2818; CentralCoastBassFishing.com (805) 466-6557
- Kerman Bass Club on May 13 at Bass Lake: 1, Ed and Cory Kerber 30.80 (big fish 9.66); 2, Mitch Melikian/Matt Dolph 21.62; 3, John Albidrez/Topy Lopez 12.92
- 101 Bass on May 6-13 at Santa Margarita: 1, Gene Gray/Jeff Hodges 18.97 pounds (big fish 7.03); 2, Dustin Selck/Fernando Salazar16.77; 3, Nick Salvucci/Jared Litner 14.17
- FLW Costa Series on May 11-13 at Delta/Russo’s Marina: 1, Hunter Schandler 57 pounds, 1 ounce; 2, Robert Lee 50-2; 3, Beau Joudrey 49-3
- 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
- June 10: 23rd Youth Fishing Derby at Shaver, ages 3-15, with big fish and casting contests by age group,Greg Marks, derby coordinator, 855-8752
- Fresno County: Hume Lake; Huntington Lake; Kings River, below Pine Flat Dam; Shaver Lake
- Kern County: Kern River, sections 1-3
- Tulare County: Bone Creek; Dry Meadow Creek; Nobe Young Creek; Peppermint Creek, lower
- Tuolumne County: Lyons Canal (Columbia Ditch); Lyons Reservoir; Moccasin Creek; Powerhouse Stream; Stanislaus River, Clarks and Middle forks
q = quarter moon