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.
Delta sturgeon, salmon, stripers and bass bites going, Alan Fong said. San Luis stripers beginning run, Steve Newman reported. Courtright rainbows steady, Chuck Crane said. Eastman and Hensley bass hitting, Dave Hurley reported. Lake Success bass on good feed, Chuck Stokke said. San Francisco salmon rebound, Mike Aughney reported.
2-Have to work hard
4-Fish jumpin’ in boat
Delta Mendota Canal and Sloughs
Little change in the northern section of the California Aqueduct, with Fresno-area striped bass fishermen heading farther north to San Luis Reservoir for the improved action. Sales of Duo Realis 120 jerkbaits and Lucky Craft Pointer 128’s are increasing, and this is normally a sign of the aqueduct turning on. But these fishermen may be heading to the main lake. Mendota Slough and adjacent canals are holding striped bass that moved in with the high water. In the southern aqueduct in Kern County, Pete Cormier of Bob’s Bait Bucket in Bakersfield said, “We are selling lots of jumbo minnows for stripers, and a 30-inch striper was brought into the shop on Saturday on a jumbo minnow.” Catfish are taken on Sonny’s Stink Baits, frozen shad, or chicken livers. In order to maintain access to areas along the aqueduct, fishermen are encouraged to take out all trash and other debris when departing.
Bass 3; Trout 1; Bluegill 2; Catfish 3; Crappie 2
The lake is fishing well with Senkos or jigs around rockpiles at depths from 2-20 feet. Eco rigs are working along with reaction baits such as spinnerbaits, chatterbaits and swimbaits tight to the shorelines; the key is to throw to the shore and bounce the lures off structure into 3-5 feet of water. There is a topwater bite with Whopper Ploppers or Horny Toads with kicking feet into cover of weeds and brush. The Horny Toads will work when there is too much debris for topwater lures. There is a catfish bite from dusk to dark and also from midnight to 4 a.m. with chicken livers or anchovies. The river arm is now open. The lake dropped to 67 percent capacity and 555.17 feet in elevation.
Bass 3; Trout 1; Catfish 3; Bluegill 2; Crappie 2
Hensley is also improving with Eco-rigs, Senkos, and plastics on the drop-shot along with an early morning topwater bite with River2Sea Whopper Ploppers or Zara Spooks. The key is to fish with the topwater lures adjacent to cover. Catfishing is productive with chicken livers or anchovies in the evening hours through early morning. The lake continues to release water, and it has dropped to 20 percent capacity and 476.34 feet in elevation.
Lake Don Pedro
Bass 2; Trout 2; Kokanee 1; King salmon 2; Crappie 2
Bass fishing remains slow with all species of fish getting their fill of the abundant shad schools in the lake. Bass can be found as deep as 65 feet, and finesse techniques of drop-shotting or jigs are working best around the shad schools. There only have been a few trollers targeting this lake, but the action should improve as the water cools and the rainbows move toward the surface. The lake held at 84 percent capacity.
Lake Isabella/Bakersfield area
Bass 2; Trout 3; Crappie 2; Catfish 3; Bluegill 2
In Kern County, the upper Kern River above Kernville remains the best option for local fishermen as the planted rainbows are plentiful in the deeper pools of the river. Salmon eggs or Power Bait continue to be the top baits for the holdover and recently planted trout. At Lake Isabella, the crappie bite is starting to formulate with live minnows or minijjigs near structure, and catfishing remains solid with frozen clams, mackerel and even live crickets, with the best action in the South Fork. Bass fishing is fair at best with the best action on plastics on the drop-shot or dart head. The larger bass are moving off shore in response to following the bigger baitfish. The lake dropped to 2,565.77 feet in elevation and 36 percent capacity. Buena Vista is best for catfish and the occasional crappie, and the lower Kern is putting out a few smallmouth bass and planted rainbows. The local lakes are limited to bluegill and carp. The Taft Chamber of Commerce Trout Derby is Nov. 18 at Lake Buena Vista.
Bass 3; Crappie 2; Trout 2; Catfish 2
Pete Cormier of Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield reported this is a great time of year for Kaweah as the bass are loading up on the huge schools of threadfin shad in response to the high water earlier this spring and summer. The lake has stabilized, and anglers are scoring with a variety of methods including a brief window for topwater along with a reaction bite with spinnerbaits, crankbaits or chatterbaits. Crappie fishing is fair, with the best action at night while catfish are taken on chicken livers or cut baits. The lake level held at 594.67 feet in elevation and 9 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 cooler temperatures have made for good to excellent bass action with a number of fishermen arriving at the lake over the past two weeks. Most are targeting structure with jigs, Senkos, or plastics on the drop-shot, but there is a window for topwater lures when the bass are boiling on the surface.” The lake dropped to 595.95 feet in elevation and 12 percent capacity. In the Tule River, Stokke reported nymphs are kicking out some quality trout, but the bite has been slow on dry flies with the exception of during the middle of the day when the temperatures warm.
Bass 2; Trout 2; King salmon 1; Kokanee 1; Crappie 2; Catfish 2
Despite improving bass action at the Mother Lode lakes of New Melones and Camanche, Don Pedro and McClure remain slow. The Future Pro Tour returned to McClure on Oct. 6 after being off of their radar since 2013 because of low water conditions. With water levels returning to normal, the quality spotted bass action is anticipated to improve at McClure while Don Pedro features smallmouth, largemouth, and spotted bass. The bite remains slow out of both, but as the waters cool the action should improve as the bait begins to ball up into tighter schools. Said Mike Gomez of Berserk Baits: “Not much has changed at McClure, and everyone has been very tight-lipped with the tournament on the horizon. The action has been basically the same with a few bass landed on finesse techniques such as drop-shotting on a deadstick presentation along with the occasional jig fish. I have using Pro Worm’s 124p or Pro Gold 300 from 40-65 feet in 80-90 feet of water as these plastics mirror the shad. The bass are holding around the shad schools, and they are spitting up shad all over the place. The reaction bite remains slow, but once the temperature cools down a few more degrees, the bass will get far more aggressive before their metabolism really slows down for the winter.” McClure dropped to 73 percent capacity and 823 feet in elevation.
The 22nd annual Merced Irrigation District’s Trout Derby brought crowds of fishermen to the lake this past weekend, and the planted rainbows were taken from the normal locations of the brush pile, handicapped docks or the peninsula with a variety of colors of trout dough bait or Power Eggs, nightcrawlers or Kastmasters. There were a number of trollers working the event, and they focused up the river am with Wedding Rings tipped with a nightcrawler behind a dodger, blade/’crawler combinations, or Kastmasters. There is $500 available for tag #51 – if landed by a derby participant after the derby closes.
Call: McSwain Marina 209-378-2534
Millerton Lake/San Joaquin River
Bass 2; Striper 1; Shad 1; Bluegill 2; Trout 2
Steve Newman of Valley Rod and Gun said, “You have to run and gun to find the fish, but there is a better grade with more numbers possible. The keys are to hit main lake points or transition areas with moving water as well as rocky outcrops as the bass are chasing shad or bluegill. They are loaded up with bluegill in their stomachs, and they have been feeding throughout the evenings with the full moon. Crawdad-patterned crankbaits are working for bass in the 1- to 3-pound range, and spy baits are also effective at 20-25 feet along contours of a main lake point. The bass will be found anywhere there is bait, and the spy bait doesn’t draw in the fish, but it is effective when used over a bait school. A few fishermen are starting to spoon them up with ice jigs at depths to 30 feet, and I expect this bite to take off within the next few weeks. Stripers have been scarce, and they may be focused on bait up the river arm or working the deeper schools of shad around or above Finegold.” Millerton rose slightly to 71 percent capacity and 544.52 feet in elevation.
Call: Valley Rod & Gun 292-3474
New Melones Reservoir/Tulloch
Bass 2; Crappie 2; Catfish 2; Trout 2; Kokanee 1
The spotted bass bite at New Melones continues to improve as the water cools, but the big news of the week is the lake record rainbow trout landed by Ken Hopper of Sonora at 8 pounds, 4 ounces. Melones kicked out quality rainbows throughout the summer months, and the new lake record is susceptible to be broken before the end of the year given the abundant feed in the lake. Hopper was trolling outside of Carson Cove on Oct. 4 when he hooked the record rainbow using a Shasta Tackle Cripplure in silver scales at a depth of 55 feet. The trout bite has been solid for rainbows in the 4- to 6-pound range for quite a while, with guides such as Gary Burns taking the rainbows on kokanee gear and Monte Smith of Gold Country Sport Fishing with his custom shad-patterned heavy spoons. The rainbows are coming closer to the surface amid the cooling water, but for now, the action remains from 40-60 feet with shad-patterned heavy spoons working best as the rainbows are loading up on shad. Trout fishing remains solid for rainbows to 6 pounds for trollers working from 50-60 feet with shad-patterned spoons. The spotted and largemouth bass are holding in deeper water around the larger grade of baitfish, and this pattern seems to be found on all lakes with the shorelines loaded with 6- to 10-inch bass working over smaller bait while the larger bait is out beyond 20 feet. Shad-patterned plastics on the drop-shot are working for numbers of primarily spots, but the swimbait bite for the larger spotted and largemouth bass should be picking up soon. Glory Hole’s annual Catfish Derby is Nov. 1-30 and limited to 50 entrants, with sign-ups under way. The lake held at 84 percent capacity.
Pine Flat Reservoir/Kings River
Bass 2 Trout 2 King salmon 1 Catfish 2 Crappie 2
Steve Newman of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “It is still tough, but the bite is improving off of main lake points and creek channels at depths from 15-30 feet with spy baits, plastics on the drop-shot or medium diving crankbaits. You have to be willing to move around to locate the fish, and the majority of bass range from three-quarters of a pound to 1.5 pounds, but there are plenty of dinks taken on plastics on the drop-shot or dart head. Near the dam, slow-rolling a jig has been effective, but you have to move around. The bigger fish are pushing out into deeper water as the larger grade of baitfish is also moving out. There is a brief window for topwater lures in the early morning. The lake is dropping, but the bite is starting to get into a pattern.” Pine Flat dropped 5 feet to 57 percent capacity and 866.63 feet in elevation.
San Luis Reservoir and O’Neill Forebay
Striper 3; Catfish 2; Bass 2; Crappie 2
Striped bass action at San Luis Reservoir is heating up. In addition to the abundant schoolies, a larger grade of striped bass is making an appearance. A local fisherman landed a 38-inch striped bass on a weighted umbrella rig Saturday in Portuguese Cove along with another 20 stripers to 22 inches. He tried to release the big fish, but it succumbed from the fight out of deep water. Roger George of Roger George Guide Service said, “I fished with Dr John McCreary and his son, Robert, 21, of Fresno on Monday and we were able to finally find a working trolling pattern releasing over 30 fish, with a bunch in the 5- to over 6-pound class. It’s not an easy bite at all, and some days have been tough for the experienced anglers I talk to-and many guys are struggling.” Steve Newman of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis confirmed the solid striped bass bite with early morning boils in the back bays with trollers working older creek channels, which are now submerged along with island tops at depths from 30-50 feet with plugs on the downrigger or weighted umbrella rigs with swimbaits in white, white ice or smoky shad patterns. Coyote Bait and Tackle in Morgan Hill reported bank fishermen are pulling out quality stripers to 20 pounds from the Dinosaur and Basalt areas with jumbo minnows and anchovies along with topwater lures such as Pencil Poppers. Trollers have been using P-Line Predator Minnows as well as umbrella rigs in the main lake. In the Forebay, there are loads of shakers, but small legal stripers can be taken on anchovies, minnows, pile worms or blood worms Check 12 and the Highway 152 Bridge. There also is a topwater bite with Pencil Poppers. San Luis dropped to 84 percent capacity.
Bass 2; Trout 2; Kokanee 1
Not much is happening here, with the continued enforcement of the Sheriff’s Motor Fee, which has the effect of keeping bass fishermen from bringing their boats up to the lake. From the shore, there is an early window for topwater lures with Zara Spooks or River2Sea Whopper Ploppers. Ripbaits are picking up a few spotted and the occasional largemouth bass, with the best action along the weed lines. The swimbait bite should start up with the cooling water temperatures, and the lake is expected to drop to 50 percent capacity by Nov. 15. Webcams are available at http://basslakeca.com/. The lake is releasing water, dropping from 88 to 80 percent this week.
Brown trout 2; Trout 2
Few reports are coming out of the Kaiser Pass lakes. Edison is the best bet, given the high water. Florence is still down at about 2 percent capacity because of dam maintenance.
Call: Vermilion Valley Resort at Edison Lake 259-4000
Shaver Lake/Huntington Lake
Kokanee 2; Trout 2
At Shaver Lake, Dick Nichols, formerly of Dick’s Fishing Charters, came out of retirement to guide one last time Saturday, and he said, “It is slow, but it is not terrible since we managed to get a combined seven kokanee and rainbows to the boat with another few fish lost. We were trolling Dick’s Trout Busters tipped with a nightcrawler behind a CJ Dodger at 20-30 feet around Eagle Point and next to Stevenson Bay.” Todd Wittwer of Kokanee.net Guide Service has basically packed it up until next season, but he said, “If you anchor in the upper end of the lake near the waterfall, you can pick up a few trophy holdover rainbows on trout dough bait, and there have been a few trophies landed by trollers near Black Rock.” Wittwer will be back on the lake in force in spring 2018.
Courtright is the top lake for trout trollers and bank fishermen with limits the rule as the lake remains relatively high. After a few weeks of slower action, Shaver can be productive for up to two limits of planted rainbows with the possibility of a trophy or two mixed in. Wishon is dropping from 8 inches to a foot per day, and action remains slow for most. Chuck Crane of Wishon Village RV Park and Store said, “Courtright continues to produce early limits for those soaking trout dough bait in pink or red or inflated nightcrawlers near the Trapper Springs Campground in the cove while trollers are also working the shoreline near Trapper Springs or over the edges outside of the launch ramp at 3-6 colors of leadcore with blade/’crawler combinations. Limits have been the rule with some quality rainbows and browns mixed in. The lake remains high as it is only dropping a few inches per week.” At Wishon, Crane said, “The lake is dropping quickly, but the launch ramp remains on the concrete. Bank fishing is almost nil, but there is at least one troller finding success running along the edge of the dam at 3-6 colors of leadcore with blade/’crawler combinations. While everyone else seems to be struggling, he continues to produce limits. Interest in Wishon has really slowed down as most trout fishermen are heading up the hill to Courtright.”
Call: Wishon RV Park 865-5361
Half Moon Bay
Rockfish 4; Striper 2
The big news was the announcement from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, starting Oct. 16, that rockfishing in the San Francisco Bay region will be limited to 30 fathoms, with the Central Region scaled back to 40 fathoms after an excessive number of prohibited yelloweye rockfish were landed by recreational fishermen. Apparently, private boaters were unable to properly identify the easily-recognized groundfish species or had no respect for the regulations, but the bottom line is the restriction to 10 fathoms shallower in all areas until the season closes Dec. 31. Captain Tom Mattusch on the Huli Cat will be working the Deep Reef for as long as possible until the Oct. 16 closure to 30 fathoms. He said,” We were out there on Wednesday, and the action is great for big coppers, yellowtails, vermilions and ling cod. We have a bird watching trip on Saturday, but we will be going on Sunday if the weather cooperates, and Monday’s weather looks great. Everyone is happy with the quality of the rockfish.” Captain Dennis Baxter of the New Captain Pete has shut it down for the remainder of the rockfish season as he is gearing up for commercial crabbing. The Dungeness crab season opens Nov. 4, and the Huli Cat is one of the only boats in the harbor running for crab/rockfish combination or crab-only trips.
Rockfish 3; Striper 2; White sea bass 2
Chris Arcoleo of Chris’ Fishing Trips in Monterey said, “The white seabass bite has slowed down since the heyday over the weekend with hundreds of boats out there with everyone landing a fish or two. There were 40 boats out this week, and the bite just died. On our trip, we hooked one, but it broke off. The weather has been rough at Point Sur, and we have been staying relatively local for three-fourths limits of rockfish and limits of lings this week. There are tons and tons of anchovies in the bay along with a good showing of commercial market-grade squid.” Allen Bushnell of Santa Cruz Kayak Fishing and Surfcasting Guide Service said, “Beyond the southern region of Monterey Bay, bottom fishing has been amazing.” Captain Brian Cutting, on the Kahuna out of Moss Landing, headed deep into Big Sur territory last week. Cutting said, “We fished Lopez Point today with 22 anglers. Yet another stellar day with full limits of lingcod and rockfish. Again mostly vermillion up to a whopping 10 pounds!“ Moving up into the bay, a long-awaited squid spawn is fostering a fairly decent white seabass bite in Monterey. Most boats are fishing 70-150 feet of water from the Monterey Tides Hotel on Del Monte Beach up to the Sand City Beach. Minimum size is 28 inches for white seabass, and live squid are the best bait. Fresh dead squid (never frozen) is next best bet. Halibut up to 16 pounds were reported caught while trolling in 665 feet of water, and local angler Bob Dice fished the East reef area for two nice lingcod and a passel of bolina rockfish. The lings bit on live kingfish. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife posted an in-season regulation change regarding rockfish on Thursday. The DFW announced that as of Oct.16, “Take is prohibited seaward of the 40 fathom depth contour (240 feet).”
San Francisco Bay
Halibut 2; Striper 3; Rockfish 3; Leopard shark 3; Sturgeon 2; Salmon 3
Mike Aughney of USA Fishing.com said, “The salmon bite turned back on this week along the Marin coastline with Captain Jerad Davis on the Salty Lady reporting great action trolling off Duxbury. His nine clients landed 10 salmon to 25 pounds with a solid 15- to 18-pound average fish. They had at least 20 fish on the hook with eight lost and several missed and drive-bys.” Aughney was on the Salty Lady this week on their Golden Gate Salmon Association Charter, and he landed a 26-pound salmon that will be donated to the GGSA’s Nov. 9 Sonoma fundraising dinner with four top Napa/Sonoma Valley chefs preparing salmon. On this trip, they ended up with anglers picking up 11 salmon to 26 pounds, one halibut at 14 pounds, three ling cod to 12 pounds, and several rockfish on this charter on the Salty Lady. The previous day, the Salty Lady brought in 10 salmon for nine anglers so there is a resurgence of salmon as predicted by Davis last week. Rockfishing remains solid with the Sea Wolf out of Fish Emeryville checking in with 20 limits of both rockfish and ling cod to 17 pounds Thursday with the New Captain Pete loading up with 17 limits. Inside the bay, Captain Trent Slate of Bite Me Charters will launch his website next week while his Facebook page is online. He has been fishing San Pablo Bay for striped bass, and he said, “There are plenty of bass near the Hamilton Flats, but for every legal bass, you are releasing 10 shakers.” Slate will be out on a half-day trip Saturday in the bay, and he is gearing up for the crab opener. Captain Michael Rescino of the Lovely Martha ran a half-day in the bay Thursday and put in 16 limits of striped bass, three halibut, and a pair of white seabass to 26 pounds. Captains Jonathan and Chris Smith of the Happy Hooker stayed in the bay Thursday for 12 limits of striped bass and eight halibut to 17 pounds fishing in the south bay. The Happy Hooker is running crab combo trips starting Nov. 4 at the set price of $140/angler. Keith Fraser of Loch Lomond Bait and Tackle in San Rafael said, “On Wednesday, the striped bass and the halibut were jumping in the boat, and it is pretty much the same story with plenty of small bass either drifting or trolling. You drift on the moving tides and troll at the top of the tide, and the better cut of fish is found by drifting, but these are no giants by any means. Red Rock and Paradise are good bets, but there are bass everywhere, even in the Loch Lomond Marina as I saw them jumping on the surface today.” Bill Clapp of Bill’s Sport Fishing took out 12 year-old Daniel Beadles for a quality leopard shark along with his father Kevin of Berkeley, Monty Story of Albany, and Blaine Robinette of Rio Linda. Clapp said, “It was a pretty strange day with leopard sharks, a legal ling cod, a few rockfish, and two smaller halibut.”
Call: Captain Trent Slate, Bite Me Charters 415-307-8582; Happy Hooker 510-223-5388; Captain Jerad Davis, Salty Lady (415) 760-9362; Captain Steve Mitchell (707) 655-6736.
San Luis Obispo
Limits were the rule over the weekend out of Morro Bay, and the Endeavor out of Morro Bay Landing returned with 35 limits of assorted rockfish and 8 lings including a jackpot Boccaccio taken by Pete Metchikoff of Fresno. Earlier in the week, a 17-pound sheephead was caught, and Warren Turl of Visalia picked up a 28-pound ling. Out of Virg’s Landing in Morro Bay, the Fiesta went out on a half-day trip on Saturday for 31 limits of rockfish including 70 vermilions to go with 16 ling cod to 12.4 pounds with the big fish landed by Joe Jovoante of Fresno. Out of Patriot Sport Fishing in Port San Luis, three boats took out a combined 79 anglers on Saturday for near limits of rockfish on half and three-quarter-day trips to go with eight ling cod to 17.4 pounds with the big ling landed by Rob Boulton of Porterville. All landings are taking a variety of trips ranging from half day to long range in the coming weeks.
Bass 3; Striper 3; Sturgeon 3; Catfish 3; Bluegill 3; Salmon 3
The 70th annual Rio Vista Bass Derby is this weekend and it features a striped bass target-length derby, a sturgeon target-length derby, and heaviest weight salmon category and runs until noon Sunday. In the north Delta, salmon fishing has been very good for some with field reporter Henry Geizler of Lodi reporting good action on the Mokelumne River out of New Hope Marina. Sylvia Viera of Viera’s Riverside Bait reported salmon action has been picking up steadily with chartreuse spinners from the mouth of the Old Sacramento toward Walnut Grove. Johnny Tran of New Romeo’s Bait and Tackle in Freeport reported improved salmon fishing for trollers pulling spinners, Brad’s Cut Plugs behind a Pro-Troll dodger, or K14 Brad’s Killer Fish on a 3-ounce weight. Shore anglers continue to toss Flying C’s. Striped bass fishing is picking up in the Liberty Island, Deep Water Channel and Rio Vista areas with live mudsuckers. Tran said, “There are some big fish in there as there is a lot of bait around.” New Romeo’s is fully stocked with bait including live mudsuckers and golden shiners. Alan Fong, manager of the Fisherman’s Warehouse in Sacramento, said, “This week should be really good with the high tide, and there have been stripers to 12 pounds caught and released, but the big fish are scarce.” Captain Mike Gravert of Intimidator Sport Fishing did his first striper/salmon combination trip this week, and he said, “I would have to say that it went pretty well. With where we fish out of Korth’s Pirates Lair, it makes it possible to run these types of trips, but we haven’t been running any salmon trips the past three years due to poos returns. However, our clients ask every year so we thought we would offer some combination trips this year. We put in limits of striped bass around Big Break and Eddo’s Marina with swimbaits and Blade Runner spoons along with Rat-L-Traps and drifted bluegill before moving up above the Highway 12 Bridge on the Mokelumne River for a quality buck salmon on a P-Line Laser Minnow spooning. We are still waiting on the fall/winter conditions to arrive in the Delta, and once this happens, we will be ramping up our ‘ultra live bait drifting’ trips for striped bass and spooning/trolling for salmon in the northeast Delta.” Out of McAvoy’s Harbor in Bay Point, Steffen Masters of Lost Anchor Bait and Tackle reported good sturgeon action with Ray Arnold hooking eight sturgeon on a recent trip, keeping his limit of one, out in front of the harbor. They have a supply of large mudsuckers, grass shrimp, pile worms, ghost shrimp and bullheads on occasion. Out of Benicia, Pam Hayes of Benicia Bait reported a major slowdown on shoreline salmon fishing since Sunday’s 40-fish day. The color of the water and the presence of the sea lions are clearly limiting factors. Vee-Zee spinners in greens or yellows continue to be the best lures. Sturgeon fishing is starting to pick up at the Mothball Fleet and at the mouth of Montezuma Slough, and striper fishing from the shoreline remains good. She advised fishermen to call the shop ahead of time to check on the availability of live bullheads and also to make bait reservations for next weekend’s Rio Vista Bass Festival and Derby. There has been a huge demand for bullheads. They also have grass shrimp and pile worms. The launch ramps at Brannan Island State Park remain open, but the restroom and parking lot area is under construction which may continue through November. The temporary fence around the parking lots is making for difficult conditions for transporting a large boat around the fence, but it is possible. Despite slower action on the other side of the Sacramento River off the Benicia shorelines, the salmon bite from the public piers in Antioch appears to be outstanding. Dan Mathisen of Dan’s Delta Outdoors in Oakley reported an outstanding salmon bite from Humphrey’s Pier in Antioch on Flying C spinners. Bass fishing has been best with reaction baits such as spinnerbaits and chatterbaits, and there are plenty of small stripers hitting hair jigs and Optima’s Bad Bubba Shad swimbait. Randy Pringle, the Fishing Instructor, reported the largemouth bass bite has “absolutely” picked up as the weather has settled down and the shad have infiltrated the Delta. He said, “We are seeing salmon jumping out of the water, and the largemouth bass bite has been outstanding with reaction baits in shad-patterns. We continue to score with the ima Rock N’ Vibe Suspend in shad colors, and the key is to keep it above the weed lines along the rocks and weeds. With the water on the San Joaquin River being 4-5 inches higher than normal due to the heavy run off all spring, the banks aren’t holding as many weeds as usual, and you can flip right up high on the rocks on the high tide. The fish are feeding heavily on shad and crawdads and less on bluegill, and we are sticking with these patterns on the Chigger Craw Crazy Legs as well as with worms on the high tide. The fish are oriented to current, and you have to stay in the strike zone as long as possible. There are loads of small stripers out there with some better fish in Frank’s Tract as the water movement is greater in the area. We are still waiting for an accumulation of larger stripers in the San Joaquin.” Vince Borges of Vince Borges Outdoors and Phenix Rods reported good action for largemouth bass with the fish chasing the abundant shad. He said, “Any reaction bait in shad patterns are working such as chatterbaits, spinnerbaits, or flukes, and there is some action on topwater lures with the white River2 Sea Whopper Plopper. I have been targeting flats as the bass are feeding on both tides, and you need current in order to get hit, but we are going through 30-50 bass on each trip.” Christian Lauritzen of Lauritizen’s Yacht Harbor in Oakley said, “We are in a typical fall fishing pattern one week fishing is on fire like the Fourth of July, the next week not so much. Perhaps the most exciting news is there was a pretty hot bite for salmon out in front of the Antioch Marina this past weekend. One boat that launched from here headed down to the Antioch Marina and was back by 11 a.m. in the morning with four stripers and four salmon. As the story goes there were about four boats fishing along the rock wall at the Antioch Marina between the harbor opening and the dock. The salmon bite heated up and then there ended up being about 50 boats fishing that same area for salmon. This past week I observed shad boiling in the harbor up in the corner of the harbor just past the gas dock. That is always a good sign of life.”
Lake Nacimiento/San Antonio/Santa Margarita/Lopez
Bass 2; White bass 1; Striper 1; Catfish 3; Crappie 3
Lopez Lake features a small window for topwater lures with walk-the-dog style baits, smaller topwater plugs or buzzbaits, but the best action remains on reaction baits such as cranks or chatterbaits, spinnerbaits or small swimbaits. Working the bottom with plastics on the drop-shot or Texas-rig is producing more numbers, but a smaller grade of largemouth bass. Bluegill are biting red worms or meal worms while catfish are chewing nightcrawlers or cut baits. A webcam of the lake is available at 805webcams.com/lopez-lake-webcam/. At Nacimiento, the reaction bite has improved with cooling water temperatures, and the best action for small spotted bass remains in the mornings or evenings with small topwater lures or reaction baits. Numbers are found on plastics on the drop-shot or dart head. White bass continue to be limited, but there have been some schools showing up on occasion. As always, small spoons or spinners in white are the top lures for the whites. The lake continues to release water slowly. A webcam of the lake is available at www.lakenacimientolive.com/. San Antonio continues to be slow for largemouth and striped bass, but the water temperatures are dropping, perhaps leading to improved action. The small stripers are chasing shad in the coves, and a few quality linesides are taken by trolling shad-patterned swimbaits near the dam. Catfishing is good with Sonny’s Stink Bait, Katnip Beef Bait, or similar prepared catfish baits. The lake is also releasing water. Santa Margarita is showing improvement for largemouth bass with plastics on the drop-shot or dart head after a brief window for topwater lures in the early mornings with small plugs. Crappie are biting minijigs tipped with a piece of nightcrawler or prepared bait while bluegill are found with meal worms or jumbo red worms. Catfishing is good with mackerel, sardines, or chicken livers. Reminder that consuming white bass, black bass, crappie, catfish, or carp are subject to safe eating guidelines due to excessive mercury.
- Sierra Bass Club on Sept. 23-24 at Delta/B and W Resort: 1, Gary Johnson/Jamal Lane 24.01; 2, Ryan Reynolds/Ronnie Rustigian 23.66; 3, Michael Murphy/Don Hodges 20.41; big fish Ronnie Rustigian 7.78; Craig Gong 7.48
- Oct. 11: Delta/Ladd’s Marina, Bass Pro Shops
- Oct. 13-14: New Melones, California Bass Federation
- Oct. 13-15: Rio Vista Bass Festival and Derby at Delta/Rio Vista, www.bassfestival.com
- Oct. 14: Delta/Russo’s Marina, Bass Anglers of Northern California; Camanche, Riverbank Bass Anglers; New Hogan Manteca Bassin’ Buddies; McClure, Angler’s Press; Nacimiento, San Luis Obispo County Bass Ambushers; Santa Margarita, Bakersfield Bass Club
- Oct. 15: Delta/Russo’s Marina, Hook, Line, and Sinker; McClure, Valley Hawg Hunters; Pine Flat, Central Valley Kayak Fishermen
- Oct 21: “Striperfest” at Sportsman’s Warehouse Fresno, Friant Road (Roger George, Don Kellogg, Edd Allen), with striper seminars, giveaways and vendors; register at the store
- Fresno County: Kings River, below Pine Flat Dam
f = full moon > = peak activity