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.
Lake Don Pedro bass bite “wide open,” Mike Gomez said, and bass fishing also “remains solid” at McClure. Huge striped bass coming near shore at night at San Luis, Merritt Gilbert said. Salmon bite “broke wide open” in San Francisco Bay, Mike Aughney said. Great action for rockfish in Monterey, Chris Arcoleo reported.
2-Have to work hard
4-Fish jumpin’ in boat
Delta Mendota Canal and Sloughs
Stripers 3; Catfish 2
Most Central Valley striped bass fishermen are heading north to San Luis Reservoir. Trips south to Kern County have slowed within the past week. The best location for striped bass remains in the southern section of the California Aqueduct in Kern County. Sardines, blood worms and lug worms are working for numbers but finding quality stripers remains a challenge. Sonny’s Stink Bait or Katnip Beef Bait have been best for catfish. The Buena Vista golf course, the Highway 166/Old River area and Tupman remain the top locations in Kern County.
Bass 2; Trout 1; Bluegill 2; Catfish 2; Crappie 2
The wind was the limiting factor, making for tough fishing conditions. The bass bite toughened with only a few largemouth taken on jigs or crankbaits. Bluegill remain in the coves with deep-water access; jumbo red worms are working best. Small crappie are found near structure with live minnows or minijigs. The lake held at 92 percent capacity.
Call: Six Star Tackle Box 673-5688; Eastman Lake 689-3255
Bass 2; Trout 1; Catfish 2; Bluegill 2; Crappie 2
The wind affected the ability to fish for bass at Hensley, with boaters putting their vessels back on the trailer after briefly launching only to find breezy conditions too intense. The hot weather spell should make for more conducive conditions. Ripbaits, spinnerbaits or Senkos should work for the largemouth bass in post-spawn mode. The lake is at 78 percent capacity.
Call: Valley Rod & Gun, Clovis 292-3474; Six Star Tackle Box 673-5688; U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Hensley Lake Hidden Dam 673-5151
Lake Don Pedro
Bass 3; Trout 3; Kokanee 2; King salmon 1; Crappie 1
Don Pedro has been a solid option for largemouth, spotted and smallmouth bass throughout the winter and the bite remains strong. The good news during the past week has been the emergence of quality kokanee, with the action expected to heat up in the coming weeks. Monte Smith of Gold Country Sport Fishing went looking for kokanee Friday and said, “It took a long time, and I really had to think back to remember where these fish should be located at this time of year. We landed two quality kokanee at 15.5 and 15.75 inches weighing in excess of 1 pound, 10 ounces. We also landed 10 rainbows to 4.5 pounds, releasing the big fish that came at 63 feet on one of my custom heavy spoons. The rainbows right now are deeper than the kokanee, and there is a band of water that is warmer below. The surface temperature was over 70 degrees, and this is very warm for this time of year. Sunday was a much different day than Friday with one rainbow landed within our first 10 minutes, but the bite was very slow, ending up with only three fish on the half-day trip. The only thing I can attribute the slower action to was the heavy recreational boat traffic on the lake on Saturday due to the hot weather.” The bass bite remains excellent, with Mike Gomez of the Bait Barn in Waterford saying, “It’s a wide open bite there as one angler reported putting in a limit within 2 hours. The Berserk Purple Hornet jig and the 5-inch Pro Worm 300 are working at depths from 25-45 feet. The majority of bass are in post-spawn, but there are still a few fish on beds in various locations in the lake.” The upper Tuolumne River arm is open to boats as 98 percent of the floating wood has been contained by the log booms. As the lake rises with coming snowmelt, the woody debris outside of the containment booms will continue to re-float off the shorelines. The lake is at 83 percent capacity and 800.69 feet in elevation, with all launch ramps open.
Call: Monte Smith (209) 581-4734; Danny Layne-Fish’n Dan (209) 586-2383; Gary Vella (209) 652-7550
Lake Isabella/Bakersfield area
Bass 1; Trout 1; Crappie 2; Catfish 2; Bluegill 1
At Lake Isabella, there hasn’t been much change over the past few weeks, but the stable weather and high water levels should bring out the bass bite. The cold water inflow from the upper river has kept the largemouth bass less active, but there is an emerging crappie bite with the normal catfish possibilities. The lake dropped slightly to 55 percent capacity. The upper and lower rivers are affected by the high flows; the upper portion 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. Bob’s has sold around 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. Bob’s will be hosting its annual Striped Bass Derby in June.
Call: Bob’s Bait (661) 833-8657; North Fork Marina (760) 376-1812
Bass 2; Crappie 2; Trout 1; Catfish 2
Bass fishing is best with live bait such as minnow or crawdads as the fish have moved off the beds into a post-spawn mode. The fish are moving out from the shallows, and deep-diving crankbaits, Senkos or plastics on the drop-shot are all working. 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 the number of large fish available. The shad population has soared with the high water conditions this year. Catch and release of the larger female bass is recommended to maintain the trophy possibilities for this lake. Kaweah dropped slightly to 672.12 feet in elevation and 52 percent capacity.
Call: Sierra Sporting Goods 592-5212
Bass 1; Trout 1; Catfish 2; Crappie 1
Larry Kerns of the Visalia Bass Club made his return to the tournament circuit in style with a winning 13-pound limit during Saturday’s club tournament. He said, “It was a tough bite, and you could get into the top 10 with a 6-pound limit. There are fry everywhere, and I have never seen so much shad in the water. Senkos were the key for us for the winning limit.” The lake rose another foot to 648.79 in elevation and 89 percent capacity. The Tule River, still fast and high, remains closed. Caution must be taken around the water’s edge.
Call: Sequoia Fishing Co. 539-5626, sequoiafishingcompany.com
Bass 3; Trout 1; King salmon 1; Kokanee 1; Crappie 2; Catfish 2
Mike Gomez of the Bait Barn in Waterford said, “Bass fishing remains solid with Pro Worm’s 266 or Berserk Baits Green Craw jigs at depths from 25-45 feet. The bass are in post-spawn mode and actively feeding.” Launch ramps at Barrett Cove and McClure Point are open with the lake at 71 percent capacity and rising because of snowmelt in the Merced River watershed.
Call: Bait Barn (209) 874-3011
Camping is the best thing happening at the coldwater afterbay for Lake McClure as the flows coming through the 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, trout plants have been 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. The Exchequer Bike Park will be opened with a constructed cross-country bike loop.
Call: McSwain Marina (209) 378-2534
Millerton Lake/San Joaquin River
Bass 3; Striped bass 1; Shad 1; Bluegill 2; Crappie 3
The lake continues to rise slowly despite water releases, and numbers of spotted bass to 3 pounds are available in the main lake with crankbaits, ripbaits, plastics on the drop-shot, or Senkos with anglers picking up from 10-15 spots per outing. The water is at Ramp 2 and will need to rise halfway up Ramp 1 before anglers can access the river arm for striped bass. The bass are much smaller above Finegold, with the best grade in the river arm. Crappie are found near the dam around the Sheriff’s Dock or in Squaw Cove with live minnows or minijigs. The bite at Winchell Cove has slowed. The lake is at 66 percent capacity. 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 for a season $85. Passes can be purchased online or at the bait shop on the property. Camp Pashayan, next to the intersection of Highway 99 and Herndon, is open Saturday and Sunday from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. Entry fee is $6. Day passes for Camp Pashayan can be upgraded to include Sycamore Island on the same day at the bait shop for $3. If you start at Sycamore Island and decide to visit Camp Pashayan, entrance is free with a valid day pass from the same day. Two primitive boat launches at Camp Pashayan are not usable by trailers with the current river flows. Hand-launched boats are still able to use the ramps, with park hosts standing by to help. There have been a number of large spawning bass removed from the Sycamore Island Pond over the past few weeks, 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. Hatchery fish have a healed adipose fin clip. All wild steelhead or trout with an adipose fin present must be released immediately. The San Joaquin River is closed to the take of salmon. They may not be targeted and must be released immediately if inadvertently caught.
Call: Valley Rod & Gun 292-3474
New Melones Reservoir/Tulloch
Bass 3; Crappie 2; Catfish 2; Trout 3; Kokanee 2
New Melones continues to rise slowly, with water releases under way in anticipation of more snowmelt on the way. The bass bite has been solid with the emergence of a topwater bite, and kokanee, trout and catfish are holding up. John Liechty of Xperience Fishing Guide Service said, “The lake is at a great level, and I recently had the pleasure of guiding my good friend Nate Monroe in search of trophy largemouth and spotted bass as we have been trying to put him onto a giant for the past two years. We starting the day throwing topwater lures knowing that it should be go time, and we found an area where the bass were pushing shad onto the surface. We had some explosive blow-ups and landed both spotted and largemouth bass. At 11 a.m., we pulled up on a spot, and the conditions were perfect. As I was explaining to Nate how perfect the wind, light, water, clarity and depth was, a big largemouth hit Nate’s topwater lure, and the fight was on. The fish flew out of the water and wallowed on the surface several times before coming to the net. We kept her in the live well so as not to stress her while we recovered. After the bass was ready to go, Nate released his personal best largemouth at 9.3 pounds.” Glory Hole Sports in Angels Camp reported 20-plus bass are the norm for those working the coves with blue pearl Senkos on a wacky-rig. The bass are boiling on the surface, chasing bait into the cove, and there is a reaction bite with a variety of shad-patterned lures.” Trolling for rainbow trout has been producing limits around Angels Creek at depths to 20 feet with Kastmasters in blue/chrome behind a watermelon dodger. The spillway has also been a good option. Kokanee are also found near the spillway at depths between 25 and 35 feet with Pro-Troll’s Kokanee Killer in red pearl or watermelon behind a dodger. Crappie condition to be taken on small to medium minnows, and the night bite under submersible lights is taking off with the hot temperatures. Catfish are getting active with frozen shad, mackerel, anchovies, or sardines near submerged structures in the lake inlets. The Angels Cove and the main ramp on Glory Hole Point are open with two ramps available; there is one ramp at Tuttletown. For campers, there is one campground open on the Glory Hole side and two at Tuttletown.
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 1; Crappie 2
Pine Flat remains a top Central Valley lake for spotted bass, but trout fishermen also are enjoying good action. The crappie bite has slowed in the past few weeks, but fishermen continue to pick up a few slabs in the river arm. Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “There is a good reaction bite with ripbaits and crankbaits, and there is a topwater bite early and late. Several spotted bass in the 5- to 6-pound range have been landed this week, and one of my friends lost a big one within 9 feet from the boat. He had caught a 6.1-pound spot a few weeks ago at the lake, and he said, ‘This one dwarfed that fish, and I had it close to the boat, but the ripbait popped out.’ The best fishermen are picking up limits in the 12-pound range.” Trout trolling for numbers is slow, but there are quality rainbows to 18 inches. Gilbert said, “Boats are averaging around 5-6 rainbows for two anglers, but the quality remains good. We are selling a number of shad-patterned Apex lures, Needlefish, and Thomas Buoyants along with Wedding Rings. The best action is at 4-5 colors of leadcore as they are doing much better than those fishing deeper at 40-50 feet on downriggers.” There are still a few crappie to be had around Trimmer and Sycamore Creeks, but overall the crappie bite has slowed since the zenith of a few weeks back. In the lower Kings, trout plants continue, but the river is running fast and it has been difficult to fish the swift water. Pine Flat has risen to 62 percent capacity in spite of water releases down the Kings River. In the lower Kings, the water is ripping amid the 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 Thorburn Spawning Channel – the 2,200-foot long channel located 5 miles downstream from Pine Flat Dam ––and the reach of the 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 1; Crappie 1
Huge striped bass have been coming from the shore at night, and dedicated anglers now have a short walk to the banks with the reservoir at 99 percent capacity. The wind during the beginning of the past week has kept many boats off the water, but the hot weather by the weekend will create more favorable conditions for boaters. Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “A number of our customers have been buying Magnum Flukes and jig heads and walking the banks at night, and one group landed stripers to 35 inches with others in the 7- to 8-pound range on the big flukes. Their cousin went back the next evening for two huge stripers at 42 and 46 inches tossing a Super Spook at night. The stripers are coming into the shorelines at night.” Choua Her of Merced caught an estimated 20-pound striped bass from the banks on a white fluke after fishing throughout the evening. Coyote Bait in Morgan Hill reported flukes, swimbaits, and ripbaits are working for a larger grade of striped bass in the main lake while the O’Neill Forebay is limited to a number of shakers. Some trollers are running P-Line’s Predator Minnows or umbrella rigs while others are drifting extra-large minnows. Roger George of Roger’s Guide Service said of a recent trip that “the trolling bite was tough with most fish suspending during the day. Some boats had from 2-4 fish for the morning trolling u-rigs and regular plugs by the racks. We found some active fish later and landed/released 15 fish from 23-31 inches. The fish are going at night and sleeping during the day for the most part. Guys need to be releasing these bigger spawning fish as much as possible, but most aren’t.” George added that “I truly believe that we will have a later than usual season due to the high water and many storms that have kept the water temps very moderate so far. There are a lot of fish, but finding them can be tough in the big water as they continue to spread out. I expect the pattern to solidify soon and the bite to get back to normal. The next month will see more big fish being caught by savvy anglers who know that this is not the time to back off, even if it is getting warmer and windier. The opportunity to fish San Luis while it’s full is a wonderful chance to take a shot at hooking a trophy-sized fish. You never know what you may hook on your next cast, run or hit. Now’s the time for a monster, if you’re looking for one!” The dam area 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. In O’Neill Forebay, pile worms, blood worms, chicken livers, or anchovies are all working for mostly shaker stripers with the best action near Check 12 or under the Highway 152 Bridge. There is an emerging ripbait and jerkbait bite with the warmer temperatures.
Call: Coyote Bait and Tackle (408) 463-0711, Roger George of rogergeorgeguideservice.com (559) 905-2954; San Luis Reservoir and O’Neill Forebay Wind Conditions (800) 805-4805.
Bass 2; Trout 1
Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun said, “The bass have mostly completed their spawn, and bass fishing has been limited to a few spots in the 2-pound range near the docks.” Todd Wittwer of Kokanee.net Guide Service said, “Trout fishing remains very slow, but there has been the occasional quality rainbow to nearly 5 pounds still in the lake.” Kokanee remain absent after the dam reconstruction, but a plant of 80,000 kokanee fingerlings is expected this year. Webcams are available at basslakeca.com/, and the lake is at 91 percent capacity.
Call: Mike Beighey 642-3748; Bass Lake Watersports 642-3200
Access to Edison and Florence Lakes remains limited to those on snowmobiles. Edison rose to 25 percent capacity and Florence to 30 percent. Mammoth Pool is at 101 percent.
Call: Vermilion Valley Resort at Edison Lake 259-4000
Shaver Lake/Huntington Lake
Kokanee 2; Trout 3
The lake continues to rise and remains one of California’s top kokanee lakes at the start of the 2017 kokanee season. The lake ramp at the Sierra Marina is in the water, and even the Edison Ramp is in the water as the lake rose more than anticipated with the snowmelt. Dick Nichols of Dick’s Fishing Charters went out on his first charter Friday, and he said, “We got into some good action this morning with over three limits of kokanee and rainbow trout, and all of the trout were holdovers with the kokanee at 15 and 16 inches. It was slow in the morning on Saturday, but we ended up with three limits including big kokanee to 16 inches at a depth of 20 feet near Road 2. I have been running Trout Buster’s or Koke Busters from the Road 2 Point to the Sierra Ramp.” A trout plant from the Department of Fish and Wildlife occurred last week; in addition, there are trophy-trout in the lake from the Shaver Lake Trophy Trout Project. Todd Wittwer of Kokanee.net Guide Service also will be guiding on the lake this summer, and he reported putting in two kokanee to 16.5 inches Sunday along with losing a couple of others in the same range. He said, “These fish are jumping strong out of the water, and they are difficult to hold onto. The kokanee came at 24 to 32 feet with the rainbows found higher at 10 to 14 feet.” Steve Santoro of Fish Box Charters said, “I took my grandson Zack out with me on Saturday, and he landed three quality kokanee and a rainbow trout with the kokanee all 3-year olds in the 15- to 17-inch range. We were working orange Apex lures tipped with scented corn at 30 feet along with Rocky Mountain Tackle’s Assassin spinners.” The lake is at 65 percent capacity, much higher than anticipated at the end of May with the expected water releases. Huntington has risen to 78 percent, with open water throughout the lake. 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
Chuck Crane of the Wishon Village RV Park and Store said, “Patience is necessary for trollers pulling Rapalas near the shorelines as catching rainbow and brown trout is limited to a few fish per rod. There are quality brown trout to 20 inches possible, but anglers will have to work hard for the opportunity. The fish are scattered at random depths from the surface to 40 feet. The lake is coming up slightly, and launching from the concrete ramp is possible.” 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, but it may be open soon. 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 3; Rockfish 3; Striper 1; Crabs 2
Second captain Michael Cabanas of the Huli Cat ran rockfish/Dungeness crab trips over the weekend, and quality lings to 10 pounds along with a number of vermilions came over the rail. Overall, the ocean conditions were good and with the arrival of the salmon north of the deep reef there will be more of an incentive to focus on salmon this week. Captain Dennis Baxter of the New Captain Pete out of Half Moon Bay reported the hot salmon bite below Sea Rocks with the New Rayann posting 19 limits to 21 pounds by 9:45 a.m. He will be running salmon trips this coming week with plenty of room.
Call: Happy Hooker (510) 223-5388; Captain Roger Thomas, Salty Lady (415) 760-9362; Emeryville Sport Fishing (510) 654-6040
Rockfish 4; Striper 1; Crab 2; Salmon 1
Chris Arcoleo of Chris’s Fishing in Monterey reported great action for rockfish and lings with the Check Mate posting 26 limits of ling cod on Sunday along with quarter limits of rockfish while the Caroline had a similar score with half limits of rockfish and 15 limits of lings. The fresh squid has been the trick for the high ling counts. They have room during the week with some room also on Monday’s upcoming Memorial Day holiday. The ocean salmon season from Pigeon Point south to Point Sur is open until July 15. Commercial salmon fishermen have been finding some good action with up to 30 fish days, but the private boater scores have been limited to working near the bottom at depths over 100 feet.
Call: Chris’ Landing (831) 375-5951; Bayside Marine (831) 475-2173; usafishing.com
San Francisco Bay
Halibut 4; Striper 2; Rockfish 4; Leopard shark 3; Sturgeon 2; Crab 3; Salmon 3
Mike Aughney of USA Fishing.com said, “The salmon bite broke wide open on Sunday as Captain Roger Thomas on the Salty Lady from Sausalito reported a handful of party boats ran south and found early limits to near limits of salmon.. They were trolling outside of S buoy just 15 miles southwest of Seal Rocks. Party and private boats from Half Moon Bay also got in on the action. There is a second group of scattered salmon being caught in the Middle Grounds but the hot bite is the one outside of S buoy. The weather was fine with 5-12 knots of wind over a 5- to 6-foot swell. Roger on the Salty Lady is running with light loads Tuesday through Friday of the coming week. Captain Dennis Baxter of the New Captain Pete out of Half Moon Bay reported the hot salmon bite below Sea Rocks with the New Rayann posting 19 limits to 21 pounds by 9:45 a.m. He will be running salmon trips this week with plenty of room. The salmon are all loading up on fresh krill, and they are hot, hot, hot. Captain Roger Thomas said, “We are seeing the benefit of the northwest winds as the water has browned up with krill on the surface. Today’s action was the first time we have had a wide open bite all year, and we are looking forward to getting out there this week.” The New Huck Finn out of Emeryville Sport Fishing went to the Farallon Islands with a charter from the Crockett Striped Bass Club, and they returned with 24 limits of rockfish and 24 ling cod to 9 pounds. The halibut bite has been spectacular inside the bay, and Captain Jonathon Smith of the Happy Hooker has been using all of the tricks of the trade learned from his grandfather as he put in two solid days over the weekend running the big boat. They ended up with over 25 halibut to 18 pounds on Saturday with more than 20 halibut on Sunday. Captain Chris Smith ran the six-pack Defiant on Sunday, and perhaps he could have taken a little advice from his son, as they ended up with five halibut for six anglers. He said, “I had to stare at a number of fish for minutes since there were several that were just on the borderline so we released them to catch another day. The halibut bite has been exceptional, and the Lovely Martha put in the largest halibut in the past several years.” Captain Trent Slate of Bite Me Charters out of Loch Lomond Marina ran down to Alameda on Friday only to find the bite had dried up so he went to a spot he hadn’t fished for 25 years near the Bay Bridge for 3 quality halibut. After the tide changed, he went to the Berkeley Flats, only to find the wind blowing 20 knots so it was time for the protected waters of Paradise where they finished off with seven halibut to 25 pounds for the day, releasing another 25-30 shakers using live anchovies. Keith Fraser of Loch Lomond Bait and Tackle said, “If you can believe it, the wind is not blowing today, but the fog is coming over the coastal mountains. Paradise has been a good spot for halibut, and Tommy Glaser landed a 33-pounder above the Sisters on Saturday along with another three limits of halibut on Sunday. Buoy 4, the Sisters, above the Sisters, and Point Pinole have been good locations, but the bite has been changing from day to day with good action in one spot one day, only to pop up somewhere else the following day. I am looking forward to this upcoming series of mammoth minus tides this weekend, and we are loading up with live ghost shrimp with live mud shrimp arriving on Wednesday. The halibut bite should be slower during this period of huge tides.” The wind kept the boats in the bay over the weekend, and it looks like the boats will have to wait until Tuesday before taking advantage of the reopening of the salmon season. The Sausalito boats have canceled for Monday, but there is a 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 on 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 coming 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. Fraser 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, and one boat was able to hide from the winds at Paradise Cove, and they landed two halibut at 10 and 15 pounds, losing another legal halibut near the net.
San Luis Obispo
Rockfishing continues to be outstanding out of both Luis County ports with the Avenger and Endeavor out of Morro Bay Landing taking out a combined 75 anglers Saturday for 660 vermilion rockfish, 40 coppers, 40 Boccaccio, 30 assorted rockfish and 77 ling cod to 20 pounds. The Fiesta out of Virg’s Landing in Morro Bay went out on a three-quarter-day trip Monday, and Bill Ramos of Bakersfield took the jackpot ling at 8 pounds. There score was 30 vermilion and 145 assorted rockfish for 31 anglers. Out of Patriot Sport Fishing in Port San Luis, they had two great days on Sunday and Monday with 89 anglers on four boats loading up with 303 vermilion, 168 copper, six Boccaccio and 200 assorted rockfish along with 36 ling cod to 11 pounds. 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 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 2; Striper 2; Sturgeon 2; Catfish 2; Bluegill 2
The Sacramento-Delta remains high due to 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 either 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 Fishermen’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 down some within the past few weeks. Captain Mike Gravert of Intimidator Sport Fishing said, “This season has been both challenging and rewarding, and it is definitely a different year with all of the water. The high water has led to a change in tactics with some new game plans for this spring, but we have seen solid limits day-in and day-out for our clients, and I don’t see any reason why this won’t continue until the end of our season on May 31st. The bass have not been in huge groups, and after this last full moon, I don’t expect to see them schooled up into the fall. We are drifting both live bluegill and golden shiners as the troll bite has just been fair. During period of slack tides or winds, we have been trolling P-Line Predators or drifting either Blade Runner or P-Line Laser Minnows spoons. The spoon bite has been limited since the big schools haven’t been present.” Clyde Wands, shallow trolling expert, was on the San Joaquin River trolling for stripers on Monday, and he 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, and Don Paganelli of Paganelli’s Bass Fishing Experience was out with clients during the week. Since his clients 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 School 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, and 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. Restrictions in the San Joaquin River were modified April 19 and remain unchanged. Detailed information is available 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 2; White bass 1; Striper 2; Catfish 2; Crappie 2
At Lopez Lake, there is a topwater bite early and late, but most are searching for largemouth bass with reaction baits. Chatterbaits, jerkbaits, and spinnerbaits are working on windy days, but the most consistent action has been with Senkos, jigs, tubes, or plastics. Panfish are found in the shallows around structure with red worms. The lake has topped 60 percent capacity, and launching is not a problem. A webcam of the lake is available at http://805webcams.com/lopez-lake-webcam/. At Lake Nacimiento, the Best Bass Tournaments held an event on Saturday and finding keeper spotted bass was a challenge. Numbers are not difficult, but the winning limit averaged less than 2 pounds despite a 3.22-pound big fish. Senkos, small swimbaits, jerkbaits, and chatterbaits are working for the spots. White bass action remains slow as the fish have yet to congregate. The lake is currently at 83 percent. A webcam of the lake is available at http://www.lakenacimientolive.com. San Antonio South Shore has opened on a full time basis with the store open along with the Lynch Ramp. The marina suffered storm damage during the winter, and it has not opened. Bass fishing for largemouth and smallmouth bass has been decent with spinnerbaits or shad imitation swimbaits. The North Shore is expected to open on a full-time basis on June 9th. The Harris Creek launch ramp will be open from 7:00 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 7:00 p.m. on Sunday. The troll bite for striped bass has slowed. At Santa Margarita, bass fishing has slowed down over the past week. Finesse techniques are working best, but there are some largemouth bass taken on reaction baits. Red ear perch are getting active in the shallows with red worms. Reminder: consuming white bass, black bass, crappie, catfish, or carp are subject to safe eating guidelines due to excessive mercury. There is a calendar of coastal lake tournaments available at http://www.my.calendars.net/cctsched/d01/01/2012?display=M&style=B&positioning=Ahttp://www.my.calendars.net/cctsched/d01/01/2012?display=M&style=B&positioning=A. Quagga mussel inspections are now required before boat launching is allowed.
Call: Lake Nacimiento (805) 238-1056, ext. 3; Lake San Antonio Marina (805) 472-2818; CentralCoastBassFishing.com (805) 466-6557
Go to fresnobee.com/fishing for reports on Half Moon Bay, Monterey/Santa Cruz, San Francisco Bay and San Luis Obispo
- Merced Irrigation District Spring Trout Derby on April 20 at Lake McClure: 1, Joe Trammell 52.2 ounces; 2, Mike Ly 36.1.; 3, Gary Hartley 33.3
- Fresno Bass Club on May 20-21 at Clear Lake: 1, Vincent Garcia 30.54 pounds; 2, Joe Alanis 25.89; 3, Bryan Coy24.89; Big fish, Ron Red Sr. 6.95
- Dan’s Delta Outdoors on May 20 at Delta/Big Break Marina: 1, Dave Newton/Marc Young 17.97 pounds; 2, Tim Venkus/John Martin 17.12; 3, Hunter Schandler/Vincent Bernal15.51 (big fish 5.51)
- California Delta Team Tournament Trail on May 20 at Delta/Russo’s Marina: 1, Juan Acosta/Vijay Maholtra 22.97 pounds (big fish 6.73); 2, Nick and Robert Cloutier 21.61; 3, Dan Fonte/Bobby Barrack 16.17
- Best Bass Tournaments on May 20 at Nacimiento: 1, American Bass Association 9.50 pounds (big fish 3.22); 2, Matt Clausen/Troy Tidwell 9.08; 3, John and Erik Zillig 8.96
- 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: Big Creek, Huntington; Dinkey Creek; Mono Creek; Portal Forebay; Rancheria Creek; San Joaquin River, South Fork; Tamarack Creek; Tenmile Creek, upper; Ward Creek; Wishon Reservoir
- Kern County: Kern River, sections 4-5; Mono Creek
- Madera County: Chiquito Creek West Fork and lower; Corinne Lake; Fish Creek; Lewis Creek; Manzanita Lake; Nelder Creek; Rock Creek; Willow Creek North Fork
- Mariposa County: Big Creek, Madera; Merced River, section II
- Tulare County: Balch Park Lake lower and upper; Hedrick Pond; Kern River, sections 5-6; Peppermint Creek, upper; Stony Creek; Tule River Middle Fork; Tule River North Fork, Middle Fork No. 1; Tule River South Fork, middle forks Nos. 2 and 3
- Tuolumne County: Beaver Creek; Lyons Canal (Columbia Ditch); Moccasin Creek; Pinecrest Lake; Powehouse Stream; Stanislaus River Clarks, North and Middle forks; Tuolumne River Middle, North and South forks
n= new moon > = peak activity