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.
Delta striper, salmon and bass action good, Alan Fong said. Eastman bass bite tops in Valley, Merritt Gilbert reported. Lake Success bass on fire, Larry Kerns said. San Luis stripers hitting, Mickey Clements reported. Courtright trout continue feasting ways, Chuck Crane said.
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2-Have to work hard
4-Fish jumpin’ in boat
Delta Mendota Canal and Sloughs
There hasn’t been much change on either end of the California Aqueduct, with most action still in the south. The solid striped bass in O’Neill Forebay and the main San Luis Reservoir is attracting Fresno-area striped bass fishermen headed north. There are more and more sales of Duo Realis 120 jerkbaits in local tackle shops, but the supply of Lucky Craft Pointer 128’s is limited. A few crappie are coming from the dirt canals around Firebaugh. In the southern aqueduct in Kern County, Pete Cormier of Bob’s Bait Bucket in Bakersfield said, “There hasn’t been much change in the south valley with fewer fishermen hitting the aqueduct, but we are still selling anchovies, sardines, and blood worms for the linesides.” The popularity of the aqueduct has led to increased numbers of anglers; in order to maintain access, fishermen are encouraged to take out all trash and other debris when departing.
Bass 3; Trout 1; Bluegill 2; Catfish 2; Crappie 2
Eastman has emerged as the top bass location in the Central Valley after months of slow action while Pine Flat and Millerton remain sporadic. Local fishermen look forward to the action picking up at Eastman, as it is California’s first trophy-designated bass lake with only one bass over 22 inches able to be kept. Most anglers release the large bass, and the action is just starting to heat up as the temperatures cool. Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “Eastman is holding up well, and it is the best bite around here right now. Fishermen are scoring largemouth bass to 3.5 pounds working island tops or humps with Carolina-rigged lizards at depths from 15-25 feet. There are bass holding along the shorelines, but the better cut is found in deeper water. Catfishing is also decent with anchovies from the shorelines, particularly in the evenings.” The river arm is now open. The lake dropped 4 feet to 551.73 in elevation and 63 percent capacity.
Bass 2; Trout 1; Catfish 2; Bluegill 2; Crappie 2
The bass bite is fair at best with few reports during the past week. Catfish to 7 pounds are the best thing going with anchovies or chicken livers with the best action in the evenings. The lake continues to release water, and it has dropped to 4 feet to 472.41 in elevation and 17 percent capacity.
Lake Don Pedro
Bass 2; Trout 2; Kokanee 1; King salmon 2; Crappie 2
The bass action is expected to bust out within the next few weeks as the water temperature stabilizes, but for now the bite is very slow with the bass holding in deeper water around the shad schools. Finesse techniques of drop-shotting shad patterned plastics are working best at depths to 60 feet. Trout fishermen also have been scarce, but this action should improve once the lake turns over within the next month. The lake dropped to 82 percent capacity.
Lake Isabella/Bakersfield area
Bass 2; Trout 2; Crappie 2; Catfish 2; Bluegill 2
In Kern County, the upper Kern River above Kernville continues to be the top fishing location with the planted rainbows holding in the deeper pools. Salmon eggs, Power Bait, live crickets and spinners continue to be the top baits for the holdover and recently planted trout. At Lake Isabella, the bass bite remains in the doldrums, and Pete Cormier of Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield said, “We haven’t been getting many bass reports as not many anglers are heading to Isabella, but there are a few bluegill, a few crappie and a few catfish taken.” For catfishing, frozen clams, mackerel, and sardines are working best while live minnows or minijigs are picking up the occasional crappie. The lake dropped 2 feet to 2,563.99 in elevation and 34 percent capacity. Cormier added that the lower Kern River is now kicking out a few rainbow trout on Power Bait or nightcrawlers while Buena Vista is best for catfish and the occasional crappie. The local lakes are limited to bluegill and carp. The Taft Chamber of Commerce Trout Derby at Lake Buena Vista is Nov. 18. Local fishermen are looking forward to trout plants in the small reservoirs in the coming month.
Bass 2; Crappie 2; Trout 2; Catfish 2
Larry Kerns of the Visalia Bass Club reported a very slow bass bite with the lake having risen again. He said, “There were a number of us on the lake over the weekend, and it was tough out there. The water will need to stabilize once again before the bite takes off once again.” The lake level rose to 595.16 feet in elevation and 9 percent capacity.
Call: Sierra Sporting Goods 592-5212
Bass 4; Trout 2; Catfish 2; Crappie 2
Larry Kerns of the Visalia Bass Club reported an excellent largemouth bite at Success, stating, “It is on fire with 3- and 4-pounders. There are only a few places to fish on the lowered lake, but if you are on one the spots, it is good fishing.” The best action is taking place over island tops or rock piles with jigs, Senkos or plastics on the drop-shot. The lake dropped 3 feet to 592.85 in elevation and 10 percent capacity. In the Tule River, nymphs are kicking out some quality trout with the best action during the warmer afternoon temperatures.
Bass 2; Trout 2; King salmon 1; Kokanee 1; Crappie 2; Catfish 2
The bass bite at McClure and Don Pedro remains a struggle, but there is much better action on the horizon as water temperatures stabilize. Lake McClure alone has dropped from 84 to 67 degrees within the past few weeks, leaving the bass to become less active and hunker down on the bottom. Mike Gomez of Berserk Baits said, “I give it two weeks, and both lakes should be busting out as the weather is expected to cool down. My brother Victor and I participated in Saturday’s Future Pro Tournament at McClure, and the bite was very tough. No one we talked to had caught many fish, and we worked hard to finish in the top 15 with over 9 pounds. My brothers Mark and Matt also came in the top 15 at 9.98 pounds. I found a few active fish, with my largest at 3.98 pounds on an Alabama rig in the top 10 feet, but the majority of fish came by drop-shotting at depths from 27-48 feet. I was using a Pro Worm 124p while Victor was using a Fatty Worm Copy Cat with my best action at 27-30 feet. There are a few active fish right now but finding them is a challenge. The winning limit came in at over 15 pounds out of 60 boats, and they were fishing uphill by putting their boat in shallow water and working at depths to 60 feet, giving the fish a different look. Don Pedro is pretty much the same situation, but I expect much better action in the coming weeks.” McClure has dropped to 70 percent capacity.
After a long spring/summer with only a few trout plants, Lake McSwain received a large plant of 2,000 pounds on Oct. 5 prior to the Merced Irrigation District’s annual fall trout derby Oct. 7-8. There were 300 fishermen crowded around the normal shoreline locations of the brush pile, handicapped docks and the peninsula by the marina; the largest fish, at 32.5 ounces, was landed by Tuake Casiano from Manteca. There were 50 tagged fish released into the lake with the plant, and the top prize tags were caught –82-year old Larry Reid of Ceres took home $2,000 in prize money for landing Tag 51 with Greg Viveiros of Merced and Joe Candelaria of Fresno also getting in on the act with tags 88 and 85 for $1,557 each as anyone catching a tagged fish between numbers 54 and 100 received equal shares of the prize pool of $3,114. Reid landed his money rainbow on a double-bladed spinner tipped with a nightcrawler on a l.5-foot leader. The trout action has slowed since the derby, but there are still plenty of rainbows remaining in the lake from the latest plant. With the reopening of the Calaveras Trout Farm in Snelling, trout plants are anticipated on a regular basis. The action should improve with the arrival of colder water throughout the fall and winter months.
Call: McSwain Marina 209-378-2534
Millerton Lake/San Joaquin River
Bass 2; Striper 1; Shad 1; Bluegill 2
The spoon bite for spotted bass up the river arm has emerged, and fishermen are purchasing small Hopkins or CC Spoons to fish at depths to 30 feet. The bass have moved into deeper water, and plastics on the drop-shot also are effective. The river arm is fishing better than the main lake. Caution is advised for boaters in the upper river as there are still submerged logs there. The lake held 71 percent capacity with increased inflow from the upper watershed.
Call: Valley Rod & Gun 292-3474
New Melones Reservoir/Tulloch
Bass 2; Crappie 2; Catfish 2; Trout 2; Kokanee 1
Big rainbow trout are still the story out of New Melones, and the community is still buzzing about the new lake record 8-pound, 4-ounce rainbow landed by Ken Hopper of Sonora on a Cripplure a few weeks back. Gary Burns of Take It To The Limit Guide Service said, “With the water cooling off, the rainbow bite has slowed down a bit as for the first time this summer, the surface temperature dropped into the high 60s, and the fish are moving up. Some anglers are finding the trout at 40 and 50 feet, and I have been catching rainbows at depths from 60-75 feet. Three weeks ago, we were hooking trout at 110 feet. The trout seem to be spreading out so you have to put more time in on the water to put the big boys in the boat. We are still fishing the Carson Cove area and working our way towards Coyote Creek Cove. There isn’t one single lure that is working for us, but we are scoring with different colors of spoons such as Needlefish, ExCel’s or Krocodiles at speeds from 1.8-2.5 mph.” For bass fishermen, John Liechty of Xperience Fishing Guide Service said, “We should get into the fall bite that I absolutely love, and I will be trying to find the big swimbait bite in the coming weeks in anticipation of the Oct. 28 BABC Swimbait tournament. This tournament is limited to swimbaits only, and they have to be over 6 inches in length so I expect some giants to come out of this event. Participation is limited to 50 fishermen. For now, the bass bite is slowly picking up for quality spotted bass and a few more largemouths. I have mostly been drop-shotting, but the jig bite is starting, and I did pick up a few fish on a rip bait as it is getting to this time of year. Small swimbaits such as Kei Techs are also working.” Gene Hildebrand of Glory Hole Sports in Angels Camp said, “Bass fishing has been mixed with some reporting 30-50 fish ranging from 12 inches to 3.5 pounds. The swimbait action could be ramping up soon as the water is beginning to cool, promoting a more responsive action from the bucketmouths.” Crappie have been landed with pearl or red minijigs at depths from 35-40 feet under lights near the marina, and catfish to 10.25 pounds have been landed on frozen shad. There are still a few more weeks remaining in the annual Glory Hole Catfish Derby, which ends Nov. 1. The lake held at 84 percent capacity.
Pine Flat Reservoir/Kings River
Bass 2; Trout 2; King salmon 1; Catfish 2; Crappie 2
Bass fishing is sporadic with the water cooling and the bass moving deeper. Plastics on the drop-shot or dart head along with jigs at depths from 15-35 feet are most effective, and there is a small window for topwater lures in the early mornings. The lake dropped to 53 percent capacity. Below the dam in the lower Kings River, the trout bite has been outstanding with trout dough bait, nightcrawlers or spinners as quality rainbows to 4 pounds have been planted.
San Luis Reservoir and O’Neill Forebay
Striper 3; Catfish 2; Bass 2; Crappie 2
Striped bass action continues at the main San Luis Reservoir with anglers using a variety of techniques to pick up the linesides. Anglers out of Fresno continue to run heavy umbrella rigs on the downrigger over humps, island tops and deep creek channels for striped bass to 6 pounds. Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “Most of our striper fishermen are heading to the main lake, and they are using hard baits such as Duo Realis jerkbaits or Lucky Craft Pointers instead of the softer flukes and swimbaits. The Lucky Crafts have been hard to get in the shop, and we are selling out as fast as the limited supply arrives. The best action is in the evenings, and most of the stripers are in the 14- to 19-inch range.” Roger George of Roger George Guide Service reported that he took out Fresno attorney Marty Oller and son Ben, 15, for a new boat record of 65 stripers released to 22 inches. “We didn’t get going till 10 a.m., but I found a trolling pattern that just got better and better all day. The fish were from 20-50 feet and the different lures we used were all in shad colors,” George said. “There are a lot of small but feisty fish in the mixture, I was wiped out after handling that many stripers. Wardens are also looking for anglers with undersized fish and overlimits right now.” George also noted that he is doing several striper seminars this Saturday at Sportsman’s Warehouse’s Striperfest in Fresno. Topics include downrigging, striper setups and trophy striper fishing. Local expert Don Kellogg is covering the aqueduct and Forebay fisheries. Preregistration is advised at available at sportsmanwarehouse.com or call the store at 261-2900. Mickey Clements of Coyote Bait and Tackle in Morgan Hill said, “It’s San Luis time right now, but most of the fish are small with more guys wanting to throw lures this year instead of soaking bait. We are selling lots of ripbaits and Rat-L-Traps along with some topwater lures. Most fishermen are throwing lures in the very early mornings until 8 a.m. before switching over to drifting jumbo minnows or bouncing Duh! Spoons in the main lake. The forebay is pretty much the same thing with the bass holding around South Beach and boiling in the early mornings before hiding in the rocks along the rockwall. Fishermen have to be parallel along the rockwall in order to get hooked up.” San Luis dropped to 80 percent capacity, and there are still patches of algae on the surface.
Bass 2; Trout 2; Kokanee 1
The lake is releasing water, dropping from 80 percent to 75 percent capacity this week, and will continue to drop toward 50 percent within the next month. Few bass fishermen are heading to the lake with the enforcement of the Sheriff’s Motor Fee, but small bass to 1.5 pounds have been landed along the outside weed lines with plastics on the drop-shot or dart head along with jigs. The topwater bite has yet to emerge, but it should improve with the cooling water temperatures. There were no trout reports. Webcams of the lake are available at http://basslakeca.com/.
Brown trout 2; Trout 2
Trout fishing has been fair at Edison, but there are quality rainbows to 19 inches reported on Power Bait, nightcrawlers or spinners. The lake is at 65 percent capacity, while Florence is still down at about 2 percent because of dam maintenance. Mammoth Pool has been lowered to 4 percent capacity, and launching a boat is nearly impossible.
Call: Vermilion Valley Resort at Edison Lake 259-4000
Shaver Lake/Huntington Lake
Kokanee 2; Trout 2
At Shaver Lake, Dick Nichols of Dick’s Fishing Charters, reported, “I received reports of two limits on one boat of second-year kokanee at 30 feet near the dam, and there are some kokanee holding in the same depth near Eagle Point. There are spawning kokanee at the Sierra Marina launch ramp and around the inlets by the hundreds. A few larger trout are still found near Stevenson Bay on trout dough bait.” Huntington Reservoir is still producing some small rainbows on trout dough bait in Rancheria Cove.
Courtright Reservoir remains the top lake in the central Sierra for trout anglers, while nearby Wishon and Shaver Lake have been slow for trout. Shaver is still kicking out some second-year kokanee, while Huntington is limited to shore fishing around Rancheria Creek. Chuck Crane of Wishon Village RV Park and Store said, “Courtright is pretty much the same story with shore fishermen finding limits with trout dough bait in pink or red or inflated nightcrawlers near the Trapper Springs Campground for quality fish. Trollers are using blade/’crawler combinations at depths from 20-40 feet on the downrigger or 5-8 colors of leadcore for rainbows and the occasional brown trout. Wishon has been very slow from the shoreline, but there are a few rainbows taken by trollers pulling blade/’crawler combinations at depths from 40-50 feet on the downrigger or 4-5 colors of lead core. There haven’t been many fish caught by trollers, but these are quality rainbows. The best action has been for fly fishermen in the upper river with one angler picking up a 27-inch brown on a fly. It is your best shot to go up the river right now upstream of Wishon.”
Call: Wishon RV Park 865-5361
Half Moon Bay
Salmon 2; Rockfish 3; Striper 2
Rockfishing is taking center stage again in the final days before the Dungeness crab opener Nov. 4. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife has returned depth restrictions for recreational fishing to the 2016 regulations of 30 fathoms beginning Oct. 17 until the end of the rockfish season Dec. 31 from Pigeon Point north to Point Arena due to the excessive number of restricted yelloweye rockfish taken by recreational boaters when allowed to fish to 40 fathoms in this region. Captains Tom Mattusch and Michael Cabanas of the Huli Cat were able to work the soon-to-be-restricted Deep Reef southwest of the harbor over the weekend of Oct. 13, and they found great action for quality rockfish with MarTwan Crawford of San Jose boating a 5-pound Boccaccio on a shrimp fly with DeVon Burns, also of San Jose, bringing up a 5-pound vermilion. Darren Seiji of Vallejo also picked up a quality rockfish with a 5-pound copper on a swim bait. Half Moon Bay Sport Fishing is also getting in on the action with the Queen of Hearts posting 33 limits of rockfish and nine lings Sunday with the Riptide coming back early on Saturday with limits prior to noon. The annual Half Moon Bay Pumpkin Festival over the weekend brought in numerous visitors up Highway 1 or over Highway 92 for the day, but there were fewer fishermen arriving with the festival crowding highways. Salmon are still trickling in for trollers between the buoys outside of the harbor, and several local boats continue to run out in the afternoons after work for the chance at a fish or two. Kayaks also are part of this regular afternoon fleet, but the results are mixed with some success one day with few fish coming on the following day. Inside the harbor, shore fishermen continue to throw Pixie spoons with barbless hooks or Corkies with yarn for salmon near the public pier or closed to the bathrooms. There have been several citations issued for illegal take of salmon by foul hooking the fish. The Huli Cat is gearing up for crab/rockfish combination or crab-only trips as it is the only large party boats running the combination trips. The Queen of Hearts and Riptide will continue to run rockfish trips until the Dec. 31 closure. Captain Dennis Baxter of the New Captain Pete has cease recreational fishing for the remainder of the season as he will be crabbing commercial starting in mid-November. The crab opener at Half Moon Bay is one of the signature events of the season with campgrounds and launch ramps filled for the weekend.
Rockfish 4; Striper 2; White sea bass 2
Chris Arcoleo of Chris’ Fishing Trips in Monterey said, “Rockfishing has been lights out with limits of quality rockfish south at Point Sur. On Sunday, the Caroline posted 24 limits of rockfish including 8 cabezon along with 24 limits of ling cod while the Star of Monterey returned with 28 limits of rockfish and 26 ling cod. There is still tons of anchovies in the bay, but the squid has been limited.” The white sea bass have vacated the area. They have been using sand dabs for the lings with some fresh squid on occasion. They are taking reservations for crab combination trips, and every weekend in November is already sold out with the exception of Nov. 22. The weekdays have plenty of room at present.
San Francisco Bay
Halibut 2; Striper 2; Rockfish 3; Leopard shark 3; Sturgeon 2; Salmon 2
Mike Aughney of USAfishing.com said, “The weather calmed and the rockfish and ling action was solid over the weekend. On Sunday, Emeryville had four boats out after rockfish. The Huck Finn reported 37 limits of both limits lings to 20 pounds and quality rockfish. The Sea Wolf had 25 limits of BOTH lings to 25 pounds and rockfish. The Tigerfish reported 23 limits of rockfish and 38 lings while the Sundance had six limits of rockfish and seven lings to 12 pounds. Crab combos are selling out fast for the early season so get on the books soon.” The California Dawn went to the Farallons on Sunday for 29 limits of rockfish and 29 limits of lings. Inside the bay, Keith Fraser of Loch Lomond Bait and Tackle in San Rafael said, “With the fires in Napa and Sonoma Counties, there have been few fishermen here over the weekend. Many people think that it is too smoky, but the smoke has cleared. Fishing in the bay is very good with a few salmon, a few halibut, and lots of striped bass. You have to remember that this is mid-October, and by this time, halibut should be long gone, but they are still being caught. Captain Trent Slate of Bite Me Charters took out five anglers on Friday, and they went through 120 striped bass with 80 being of legal size to 6 pounds at Kiel Cove, the Brothers, the Sisters, and Hamilton Flats with a variety of lures including spoons and Loch Lomond Worm tailed jigs. I won’t sell any of these lures with treble hooks since the trebles really damage the small fish. Most of the bass are on the small side, but there was a 10 pounder caught at Red Rock this week. We have live grass shrimp, ghost shrimp, bullheads, mudsuckers, anchovies, and pile worms in the shop.”
San Luis Obispo
Full-day and 12-hour trips are producing limits of quality rockfish out of Morro Bay with the Endeavor and Avenger out of Morro Bay Landing returning with 58 limits of rockfish consisting of 410 vermilion, 80 copper, 60 Boccaccio, and 30 assorted rockfish to go with 95 ling cod to 16 pounds on Sunday. Out of Virg’s Landing in Morro Bay, the Fiesta and Rita G put in 39 limits of rockfish and 40 lings Sunday, including 143 vermilion, 18 canary, one 16-pound sheephead, a cabezon, and 227 assorted rockfish. Out of Patriot Sport Fishing in Port San Luis, 77 fishermen went out on the Flying Fish, Phenix and Patriot on Sunday for near-limits of rockfish with 68 vermilion, 126 coppers, 21 Boccaccio, and 442 assorted rockfish to go with 54 lings to 16 pounds. Timio Farias of Fresno took the jackpot with a 10.6- pound ling on the Patriot with Franky Medrano scoring a 16-pound ling on the Patriot. All landings are taking a variety of trips ranging from half day to long range in the coming weeks.
Bass 3; Striper 3; Sturgeon 2; Catfish 3; Bluegill 3; Salmon 3
The winds blew hard from the north over the weekend, and the conditions were less than ideal for the 70th annual Rio Vista Bass Derby, which took center stage. For the second year in a row, Andy Doudna of Oakley placed first in the adult striped bass division, this time with a 31.46-inch striped bass, just under the 31.5-inch target length. In the long history of the event, there has never been a repeat winner even when the largest fish was necessary for the top prize but taking first and second place in consecutive years in a target-length derby is unheard of. Doudna started off the derby on Friday by releasing a 39-inch, 25-pound striped bass while trolling in Montezuma Slough by the Glass House, and he also released another 25-pounder in preparation for the target-length fish. Doudna landed the winning fish on Saturday afternoon, and as the fish was only four hundredths from the 31.5-inch length, it held up throughout the remainder of the derby. Douda became ill on the second day of the event, but he hung in there enough to finish the derby. Teresa Lewis came in second at 31.19 inches with Mike Parker third at 31.18 inches. The leading sturgeon with a 55-inch target length was brought in by Carlton King at 51.23 inches and 43.7 pounds while in second was Charles Leon Jr. at 50.91 inches and 41 pounds. The largest salmon was landed by Max Jeffries at 28 pounds with Curtis Jones in second at 22.2 pounds. The California Striped Bass Association – Isleton Chapter ran the weigh table and the logistics for the derby. Clyde Wands, shallow trolling expert and Isleton CSBA member, went into Montezuma Slough on Friday for a 35-pound striper, released, and seven fish to 33.25 inches, which were released as they were not close enough to the target length. Captain Mike Gravert of Intimidator Sport Fishing was also in the derby, and he said, “We picked up over a hundred stripers on both days, but we didn’t get anything close to the target-length striper. Golden State Bait’s jumbo minnows were the hot bait for drifting while bluegill and mudsuckers were less effective. The water temperatures are dropping, and the striped bass bite is picking up. The Blade Runner and P-Line Laser Minnow bite has been red hot, but the majority of these fish are ‘rats.’ We also went salmon fishing in the Mokelumne for half a day, and we had one on and off before the bite died due to heavy boat traffic. Next week’s forecast for rain will only push more keepers into the system.” Farther north in the Sacramento River, Alan Fong of the Fisherman’s Warehouse in Sacramento reported good action for salmon in the metropolitan area south to Clarksburg with most trollers running Brad’s Cut Plugs behind an 11-inch Pro-Troll E-chip dodger. Out of McAvoy’s Harbor in Bay Point, Steffen Masters of Lost Anchor Bait and Tackle has his shrimp boat up and running, and the shop now has a steady supply of grass shrimp and bullheads. Captain Steve Mitchell of Hook’d Up Sport Fishing out of Pittsburg was out Saturday and Sunday with mixed results for sturgeon. On Saturday, Mitchell was able to put his clients onto a slot-limit fish out of the four sturgeon landed with three large shakers released. He said, “We released some jumbo shakers, and the slot fish came from the Horseshoe above the Mothball Fleet. Sunday was a much different day with only four bites despite running from the Horseshoe in the morning to a number of other locations. We started at the Horseshoe at slack tide as there were fish there, but once the tide started moving, the fish disappeared. I looked for them at the Fleet, the Big Cut, in the Little Cut, and in front of McAvoy’s Boat Harbor without finding them. We looked in the deep water near the Pittsburg Pumphouse, but there was too much debris there before finally heading over to Chain Island where the sturgeon were holding. The sturgeon will be in deep water at this time of year as the water temperature is still very warm at 71 degrees. I expected more action at this time, but I know the action will improve in the coming weeks.” Out of Benicia, Tony Lopez of Benicia Bait reported salmon fishing was back Sunday with 15 salmon landed in the early morning off First Street. He said, “I was there when a 15-pounder was landed, and he just got it in before the sea lion emerged. He was yelling for a net, and just when it got into the net, the sea lion came out of the water. We are selling loads of Vee-Zee and Flying C’s and having a hard time keeping the Flying C’s in the shop. Sturgeon fishing has been best in the Big Cut, and Ron Reisinger of Chico was out with his son looking for a big striped bass to release on a splittail, but they hooked a massive sturgeon estimated at 200 pounds on a dead splittail. The sturgeon took them on a ride before breaking off the 20-pound test.” Bullheads have been in major demand, and Benicia is one of the only shops with a bullhead supply. Virginia Salvador of Accurate Reels has been striper fishing with live bullheads in the deep water near the Mothball Fleet, and she said, “The bite has been hot with three limits over the weekend.” 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. The San Joaquin-Delta lost part of its soul over the weekend with the sudden passing of Andy “Cooch” Cuccia, a noted south Delta bass fishing guide and fixture on the Delta. Largemouth bass fishing continues to take top draw, but striped bass are starting to move into the system. Dan Mathisen of Dan’s Delta Outdoors in Oakley reported reaction baits such as chatterbaits and crankbaits are working best in Discovery Bay for largemouths to 4 pounds while Prank Poppers and swimjigs are best for numbers. He said, “There are plenty of small stripers in the area. Frank’s Tract is your best bet for a larger grade of striped bass there is bait building in the area. Spooks and swimbaits are working for the linesides while spinnerbaits and swimjigs are top for largemouth bass.”
Lake Nacimiento/San Antonio/Santa Margarita/Lopez
Bass 3; White bass 2; Striper 2; Catfish 2; Crappie 2
Lopez Lake continues to be solid for bluegill and red ear perch with Valley anglers heading to this coastal lake with red worms, meal worms or wax worms. There is a small window for topwater lures for largemouth bass, but the best action remains on the bottom with plastics on the drop-shot or Texas-rig for numbers of smaller bass. A webcam of the lake is available at http://805webcams.com/lopez-lake-webcam/. At Nacimiento, small spotted bass continue to be the rule with a window for topwater or small swimbaits before working the bottom with plastics on drop-shot or dart head. White bass continue to be limited, but there have been some schools showing up on occasion. The lake continues to release water slowly. A webcam of the lake is available at http://www.lakenacimientolive.com/. Reminder that consuming white bass, black bass, crappie, catfish, or carp are subject to safe eating guidelines due to excessive mercury. Quagga mussel inspections are now required before boat launching is allowed.
- Christian Bass League on Oct. 14 at the Delta (38 anglers, 18 boats, 83 fish, 180.68 pounds): 1, Lance Lemings & Jim Hanley 16.38 pounds; 2, Chuck Fuller & Anthony Fuller 16.12 (big fish, 7.54; 3, Joe O’Brien & Steve O’Brien Sr. 16.02
- Rio Vista Bass Derby and Festival Oct. 13-15: Striper Division (31.5-inch target length) – 1, Andy Doudna 31.46 inches; 2, Teresa Lewis 31.19; 3, Mike Parker 31.18.Sturgeon Division (55-inch target length) – 1, Carleton King 51.23: 2, Charles Leon Jr. 50.91 inches. Salmon Division – 1, Max Jeffries 28 pounds; 2, Curtis Jones 22.2.
- California Bass Federation State Championships on Oct. 13-14 at New Melones: Boater Division – 1, Corey Kerber 29.77 pounds; 2, Eddie Hinojosa 24.51; 3, Ron Red Sr.– 23.97. Co-Angler Division – 1, Omar Ramirez-Nieves 21.74 pounds; 2, Jeff Green 21.66; 3, Kyle Porter 20.89.
- Angler’s Press on Oct. 14 at McClure: 1. Jeremy Choffel/Jay Fieler 15.71 pounds; 2, Rick Rusk/Brad Trimble 15.05
- Central Valley Kayak Fishing Bass Tournament on Oct. 15 at Pine Flat: 1, John Skaggs 52.25 inches; 2, Damian Thao 41.75 inches; 3, Morgan Swisher 14.5 inches and big fish
Upcoming seminars, tournaments
- 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; Delta, Washington Outboard Club Striped Bass Derby; McClure, Sierra Bass Club
- Oct. 21-22: Delta/B and W Resort, Fresno Bass Club; Lopez, California Bass
- Oct. 22: Delta/Ladd’s Marina, Bass N’ Tubes; Delta/Big Break Marina, Yak A Bass; Delta/Tracy Oasis, Tracy Bass
- Oct. 28: Delta/Big Break, Dan’s Delta Outdoors; Delta/Tracy Oasis, Tracy Bass Club; New Melones, BABC Swimbait Tournament; McClure, California Tournament Trail; San Luis/Dinosaur Point, How To Fish Striped Bass Derby; Santa Margarita, Taft Bass Club
- Nov. 19: Kaweah, Central Valley Kayak Fishing
- Fresno County: Kings River, below Pine Flat Dam
- Tuolumne County: Lyons Canal (Columbia Ditch); Moccasin Creek; Powerhouse Stream
n = new moon > = peak activity