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 bass, sturgeon and stripers hitting, Alan Fong said. Eastman bass bite takes off, Nick Sanches reported. Lake Success bass continue rampage, Chuck Stokke said. Shaver trout and Kokanee rebound, Dick Nichols reported. San Luis striper action going, Merritt Gilbert said. Courtright trout biting, Dave Hurley reported.
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2-Have to work hard
4-Fish jumpin’ in boat
Delta Mendota Canal and Sloughs
Striper 2; Catfish 2
There hasn’t been much change in the northern section of the California Aqueduct. Said Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis: “A few catfish to 8 pounds have been starting to show up in the aqueduct, but the majority of striper fishermen are heading to the big lake or the forebay.” In the southern aqueduct in Kern County, Pete Cormier of Bob’s Bait Bucket in Bakersfield said, “Bait fishing has by far been the best thing going since tube lures and hard baits aren’t working right now. Jumbo minnows, blood worms, and sardines are working for both striped bass and catfish, and I haven’t heard of any complaints of moss this week.” This season’s popularity of the aqueduct led to increased numbers of anglers and increased trash. To maintain access, fishermen are encouraged to take out all debris when departing. Some fishermen have been conducting their own cleanup efforts, removing bags and bags of trash left on the levees.
Bass 4; Trout 1; Bluegill 2; Catfish 2; Crappie 2
The report on the River Rats tournament on the lake last Saturday was that there was a hot bite on bass, with most anglers catching limits of nice sized fish. There also were reports of a 9-pounder taken the day after the tourney. The lake dropped 4.5 feet to 545.44 in elevation and 57 percent capacity.
Bass 2; Trout 1; Catfish 2; Bluegill 2; Crappie 1
Few reports beyond a small grade of bluegill and crappie found around structure. Red worms are working best for bluegill while palm-sized crappie are found on minijigs. Catfishing remains a decent option with anchovies, nightcrawlers or chicken livers in the evenings. The lake is at 17 percent capacity and 472.10 feet in elevation.
Lake Don Pedro
Bass 2; Trout 2; Kokanee 1; King salmon 2; Crappie 2
Bass fishing remains slow as the fish are still deep. The Kerman Bass Club brought out 20 boats Saturday, with only six limits weighed in with a winning total of 13.86 pounds and a big fish at 6.17 pounds by Darren Graef. Club spokesman Walt Lee said, “It was a tough bite for most fishermen.” As the water begins to cool and the shad continue to ball up, the spots, largemouths and smallmouth will congregate around the shad schools in deep water. The best action remains on plastics on the drop-shot at depths from 35-85 feet. Trout fishing should improve once the lake turns over, but for now there are few trout anglers. The lake held at 79 percent capacity.
Lake Isabella/Bakersfield area
Bass 2; Trout 2; Crappie 2; Catfish 3; Bluegill 2
Pete Cormier of Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield said, “The upper river seems to have slowed down with one fisherman only picking up a single trout after weeks of good action. In the lower river, planted trout, smallmouth bass, and catfish are possibilities with a variety of baits. There is still plenty of water moving in the lower river.” Lake Isabella continues to be slow with the exception of catfish with frozen shad, chicken livers, nightcrawlers and cut baits. An occasional crappie is landed on minijigs in the submerged trees, but there are few fishermen heading up the hill to the lake. The lake dropped a foot to 2,559.80 feet in elevation and 29 percent capacity. Cormier said, “We are getting lots of calls about when the trout plants would be starting up from the Department of Fish and Wildlife. We think it will be within the next few weeks.” The Taft Chamber of Commerce Trout Derby is Nov. 18 at Lake Buena Vista.
Bass 2; Crappie 2; Trout 1; Catfish 2
Larry Kerns of the Visalia Bass Club said, “It was a tough bite during Saturday’s tournament with only 9 pounds taking first place. It was windy and ugly out there, and the bite shut off. The fish were hitting the plastics, but they wouldn’t stay with it. Our Tournament of Champions is this weekend so I hope the bite starts up again.” Pete Cormier of Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield reported good action for bluegill with red worms, meal worms or wax worms. The lake rose slightly to 596.89 feet in elevation and 10 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 bass bite has been good for the past few weeks, and crankbaits, plastics, jigs, or topwater lures are working as the lake is stable. The best action has taken place around rocky structure and main lake points as the fish are loading up on the shad schools.” The lake came up slightly to 589.24 feet in elevation and 8 percent capacity. In the Tule River, Stokke said, “Nymphs are the best for fly fishing as the overall action is slow.” In the high sierra, the Golden Trout Wilderness Pack Station has closed for the season.
Bass 2; Trout 2; King salmon 1; Kokanee 1; Crappie 2; Catfish 2
Bass fishing continues to be very slow with dropping water levels and abundant shad contributing to the fish moving deeper. Drop-shotting at depths from 35 to more than 80 feet are the best technique for the wary bass, with few taken on reaction baits. Mike Gomez of Berserk Baits said, “I was prefishing for the upcoming New Jen tournament this weekend, and it was a struggle. Everything came on plastics with the majority of fish at 30-45 feet with the occasional aggressive fish higher in the water column at 10-15 feet. I think the cold front moving in pushed the fish back down as they were just starting to move up again. I thought the bite would be better as the water temperature was 65 degrees, and I tried a shakey head presentation, but everything came on the Pro Worm 124p or 300 on the drop-shot.” The lake held at 65 percent capacity.
Trout fishing remains fair, and future plants are anticipated from the Calaveras Trout Farm in Snelling. Power bait, Mice Tails, Power Eggs or Kastmasters are working from shore at the brush pile, handicapped docks and the peninsula near the marina. Trollers are working up the river arm with Wedding Rings tipped with a nightcrawler behind a dodger or blade/’crawler combinations at depths to 20 feet.
Call: McSwain Marina 209-378-2534
Millerton Lake/San Joaquin River
Bass 2; Striper 1; Shad 1; Bluegill 2; Trout 2
Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “Millerton is kicking out a lot of small fish with a number of techniques, and shad-patterned plastics on the drop-shot or dart head is the top option, but jigs or underspins are also working at depths to 50 feet. Most fishermen were working from 40-50 feet, but there is a good quality of bass that can be found at 15-20 feet. One of our customers had a 20-fish day with a big spot at 2.75 pounds while another was drop-shotting in the main lake to one-quarter mile past Finegold for a number of smaller fish, but he did land a few largemouth bass to 1.75 pounds. The lake is dropping, and the second ramp is around halfway exposed.” Millerton dropped to 60 percent capacity.
Call: Valley Rod & Gun 292-3474
New Melones Reservoir/Tulloch
Bass 2; Crappie 2; Catfish 2; Trout 2; Kokanee 1
Gene Hildebrand of Glory Hole Sports in Angels Camp said, The fishing on New Melones could be considered challenging this time of year during what we all know as the lake turning over. We’ve had a wide range of reports on trout fishing from guys fishing from the bank bringing in rainbows using Rapala’s, and trolling anglers hooking at depths from 20-60 feet. The number of limits of rainbows has dropped off, but when they do hook up, they are bringing in quality fish. Carson Cove has been as consistent in giving up rainbows as anywhere on the lake with rainbows in excess of 7 pounds taken on shad-patterned spoons. Glory Hole Sports has held sign-ups for two different bass events this month. I’d have to say the guys fishing these events are pretty much on their game when it comes to bass fishing. Both groups had reported struggling with the bite and landing fish for the weigh bag but indicated mild success with Johnny C. jigs in a Sculpin. Plastics on the drop-shot are also producing strikes. The Glory Hole Sports Catfish Tournament started Nov. 1, with 45 entered, and the first whiskerfish weighed was 9.85 pounds on large nightcrawlers. Crappie can be found in the marina area and Angels Cove at depths to 20 feet around structure with Pearl tube jigs or Mepp’s lures with a paddle tail minnow.” The lake held at 84 percent capacity.
Pine Flat Reservoir/Kings River
Bass 2; Trout 3; King salmon 1; Catfish 2; Crappie 3
The bass bite remains sporadic with no viable pattern, but a crappie bite has emerged around the Deer Creek Marina and up the river arm within the past week. Minijigs or minnows are producing from 15-20 small crappie per fishermen. Bass action is limited to a few fish with shad-patterned plastics on the drop-shot from 25-50 feet while small spoons over the bait schools are also working. There is a small window for topwater lures in the early mornings. In the lower Kings River below the dam, trout fishing remains solid with salmon egg, meal worms or grubs on a light split shot rig in the fast-moving water. The lake dropped to 46 percent capacity.
San Luis Reservoir and O’Neill Forebay
Striper 3; Catfish 2; Bass 2; Crappie 2
Striped bass action at San Luis Reservoir remains solid with a variety of techniques. However, some regular fishermen are expressing concerns about the impact on the fishery at the big lake given increased interest from fishermen from the central Valley and the Bay Area. Coyote Bait and Tackle in Morgan Hill said, “Many of the fishermen are chasing boils in the mornings with ripbaits or Zara Spooks, and the top two areas have been the back of Portuguese Cove and the islands by the trash racks. We are selling loads of jumbo minnows, and trollers are also running umbrella rigs or broken backed lures such as P-Line’s Predator Minnows. It does seem that most fishermen want to chase the boils right now.” Roger George of Roger George Guide Service said that the overall bite has been good. “The guys I’m talking to are getting a few better fish right now in the midst of the smaller fish. The water is falling and I’m hearing rumors that it may be going down until almost January.” Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis confirmed the numbers of small fish, and he said, “We have 35 pegs open for Lucky Craft 128’s in the store as we have not been able to get in the popular lures. Fishermen are purchasing Duo Realis 120 jerkbaits and Super Flukes in white like crazy. We could sell all of the Lucky Crafts we could get our hands on since anglers really want to throw lures now.” In the forebay, small striped bass are the rule, but this has been a popular location for fishermen throwing a variety of ripbaits, jerkbaits, topwater lures and lipless crankbaits. The best action with lures has been in the early mornings or late evenings. Pile worms, blood worms, or jumbo minnows also are effective for shore anglers. Anglers will be required to release a number of undersized fish prior to putting together a limit over 18 inches. San Luis dropped to 72 percent capacity.
Bass 2; Trout 2; Kokanee 1
The lake has dropped to 67 percent capacity, and the public launch has a few feet of concrete remaining. Bass fishing is fair for spots to 1.75 pounds with plastics on the drop-shout along the outside edge of the weeds. The overall bite is slow, and the swimbait bite has yet to emerge. The water is expected to drop below the ramp level by Nov. 15. There is heavy weed growth in the lake, and no trout reports. Webcams are available via basslakeca.com/.
Brown trout 2; Trout 3
A dusting of snow fell on Kaiser Pass during the last storm, but bank fishing at Lake Edison has been solid with Power Bait or inflated nightcrawlers. Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun said, “The reports indicate that trolling remains slow, but bank fishing is pretty good.” At this time, Kaiser Pass Road remains open, but a good storm will result in the gates closing. Florence is still down to about 2 percent capacity for dam maintenance. Mammoth Pool has been lowered to 7 percent, and launching a boat is nearly impossible. The rapid release of water at Mammoth Pool may lead to decreased oxygen levels, endangering the fish population.
Call: Vermilion Valley Resort at Edison Lake 259-4000
Shaver Lake/Huntington Lake
Kokanee 2; Trout 3
After a few weeks of slow action, Shaver has moved back into a solid option for central Sierra fishermen until the winter storms line the shore with snow and ice. Dick Nichols of Dick’s Fishing Charters said, “I expect that it will slow on the 3-year-old kokanee as they are crazy now and probably striking anything, but for the trout, normally they move towards Stevenson Cove at this time of year. Craig Davidson of Selma, Camp Host at Edison, has been picking up holdovers and an occasional trophy trout near Stevenson, but with the pumps shut down right now, the trout are starting to move out into the main lake. I am receiving mixed reports as boaters are scoring from 0-5 fish, but Davidson has been picking up multiple limits of rainbows along with second- and third-year kokanee fishing outside of the Shaver Marina Cove at Edison with Captain Jack’s orange Super Hoochie. He landed several third-year kokanee at depths from 25-30 feet, and several of the kokanee were still bright, and they were released. The third-year kokanee are in full spawn mode with red bodies and hooked jaws. After working over the kokanee, Davidson moved over to the island and Stevenson Bay for several rainbows with one at 16 inches and another at 23 inches. According to Davidson, fellow camp host, Wally McElhinny and his wife from Visalia picked up 10 spawning kokanee at two to three colors of leadcore near the Shaver Marina. However, on his next trip, Davidson came back to reality with only one second-year kokanee. At this time of year, fishing here is a roller-coaster ride with good days and bad days. I do think Stevenson Bay is your best bet since many of our Shaver Lake Trophy Trout Project rainbows were planted at the tunnel this spring.” Shaver Lake has dropped to 66 percent capacity.
Wishon Village RV Park and Store is closed for the season, and anglers will have to be prepared with their own supplies. Light snow fell over the weekend, but both lakes remain open. Courtright is the best option for shore fishermen and boaters, with trollers pulling Rapalas or blade/’crawler combinations at 3-5 colors. Those on the shore are working the cove to the left of Trapper Springs Campground with trout dough bait or inflated nightcrawlers. Wishon improved for trollers, with quality rainbows taken at depths from 30-40 feet with blade/’crawler combinations or Rapalas in front of the lake ramp or along the far side of the lake. Shore fishing is best at the mouth of the river with Power Worms or trout dough bait in pink or red. Courtright remains the top reservoir for rainbow and brown trout in the central Sierra. With the hot weather continuing into November, the lakes may stay open for the next month.
Call: Wishon RV Park 865-5361
Half Moon Bay
Rockfish 3; Striper 2; Crabs 3
Captain Tom Mattusch of the Huli Cat said, “It was a good Dungeness crab opener, The weather was good on Saturday for fishing, anglers got rockfish and 10 lingcod to 18 pounds. The wind picked up in the afternoon which made the weather a bit sporty while pulling pots. On Sunday, it was beautiful weather, calm water and a little to no wind all day. Anglers got rockfish, lingcod and this time limits for passengers and crew!" The Huli Cat will continue to run rockfish Dungeness crab combos through December. Dungeness crab-only trips also may be scheduled..
Rockfish 3; Striper 2; Crabs 3
Chris Arcoleo of Chris’ Landing in Monterey said, “The crab opener was better than I expected, but it doesn’t look like there is a tremendous amount of crab out there.” Captain Tinker on the Check Mate returned with 101 Dungeness crab for 19 anglers along with limits of rockfish and three lings while the Caroline had 43 crab for 10 anglers on a private charter along with rockfish limits and nine lings. They are filled up throughout the next week as there is great interest in the crab/rockfish combo trips.
San Francisco Bay
Halibut 2; Striper 2; Rockfish 3; Leopard shark 3; Sturgeon 2; Crabs 3
The Bay Area fleet got in on the hot crab action, with Captain Trent Slate of Bite Me Charters out of Loch Lomond taking a crab/striped bass combination for limits of quality Dungeness crab. He said, “We have most of our gear in shallow water, yet about three-quarters of our crab were jumbos. With the dicey weather offshore on Saturday, we came back inside the bay for over 50 striped bass caught and released.” Dan Wulff of Manteca went out on the crab opener with the California Dawn, and he returned with a limit of crab along with rockfish limits. The Happy Hooker out of Berkeley went out with Troop 139 from Davis for limits of jumbo crab along with rockfish and ling cod. The California Dawn put in limits of rockfish and up to 27 ling cod and 37 limits of crab for opening weekend. Inside the bay, Keith Fraser of Loch Lomond Bait and Tackle reported sturgeon action heating up, with a pair of keepers landed off McNear’s Pier along with a massive 92-inch oversized sturgeon released from the pier. He said, “I haven’t heard of a halibut in over a week so I think the flatfish are over until next spring, but there are plenty of striped bass in the bay.”
San Luis Obispo
Rock cod 3
Limits were the story on half-day trips out of Port San Luis and Morro Bay. The Rita G out of Virg’s Landing in Morro Bay returned with 21 limits of rockfish on Monday’s half-day, trip including 17 ling cod to 19.5 pounds. Roberto Garcia of Selma landed the big jackpot ling. The Endeavor and Avenger out of Morro Bay Landing were out Sunday with 44 fishermen for 300 vermilions, 10 coppers, 10 Boccaccio and 120 assorted to go with 47 ling cod to 10 pounds. The Phenix out of Patriot Sport Fishing at Port San Luis scored 14 limits of rockfish including 107 assorted rockfish, 18 coppers, and 12 vermilions to go with nine lings to 10 pounds. All landings are taking a variety of trips ranging from a half-day to longer range in the coming weeks with the season ending Dec. 31.
Bass 3; Striper 3; Sturgeon 3; Catfish 2; Bluegill 3; Salmon 2
Salmon are still showing up in the north Delta west of the Freeport Bridge, but the shoreline bite in Benicia died out over the weekend. There will be salmon trickling in to the river system throughout the next few months, but most fishermen are opting for striped bass or sturgeon at the present time. Alan Fong, manager of Fisherman’s Warehouse in Sacramento, said, “The salmon are still coming through, and anglers are still picking up fish at the Minnow Hole and the Brickyard for trollers pulling Brad’s Cut Plugs behind an 11-inch Pro-Troll E-chip dodger. Striped bass fishing has been slower for me in the northern Delta, but I am having a lot of fun with the largemouth bass with topwater lures and ripbaits. You can catch them on anything, and once you find them, you can pick up a limit quickly.” Johnny Tran at New Romeo’s Bait and Tackle in Freeport said, “Salmon are still coming through, and trolling is best with the cut plug/dodger combination. A few salmon are caught off of the banks with Flying C’s. There are a good number of striped bass that have moved into Liberty Slough, Steamboat Slough, and the Sacramento Deep Water Channel, and live mudsuckers along with frozen shad or sardines are working best. To optimize your chances, you should coat your cut baits with garlic spray. Sturgeon fishing has been on the upswing in Cache Slough and the Sacramento Deep Water Channel around Lights 46 and 48 with lamprey eel/nightcrawler combinations or grass shrimp.” Kenji Nakagawa and James Boore, both of Lodi, were in the west Delta earlier this week, and they found a wolf pack of giant stripers during the final hour of the outgoing tide in the shallows. They caught and released two giants, with Boore at 30 pounds and Nakagawa at 34 pounds, then had three more “blow-ups” on the lures with stripers in the 20- to 30-pound class. Nakagawa said, “For the most part fishing has been spotty at best. But we were very fortunate to run into these fish. Hopefully they stick around for a few days!” Clyde Wands, shallow trolling expert, was out on during the week in the west Delta, and he released an 18-pound striped bass right off the bat along with a few in the 6-pound range. He said, “We had a pretty good day, and after releasing the big fish, we ended up with eight keepers with a few in the 21- to 22-inch range. We have a full moon with big tides, and I think the bite will be good next week with the smaller tides.” Wands was sturgeon fishing on the anchor on earlier in deep water, and he said, “We marked a number of fish in the deep, but we couldn’t get them to go.” Jesus Reyes Silva of Hollister took the Virgil’s Bait and Tackle Suisun City Striper Derby with a 29.75-pound striped bass on live bait in Montezuma Slough. The Addathon Ironman Derby was held over the weekend out of Pittsburg Marina, and as this is a catch-and-release derby with points accumulated by video, one boat had released an incredible 50 sturgeon by Sunday morning. These fish were all on video, and the team was also the winner last year, topping the field by doubling their scores. The winning team was Greg McElroy and Dan Ditlevsen; second were Rickey Acosta and Caesar Trapasso; and third Manny Borges and his partner Mike. Out of Benicia, Tony Lopez at Benicia Bait and Tackle reported salmon fishing slowed considerably out of First Street after some great action earlier in the week with 14 salmon landed Monday and another 10 on Tuesday. Small striped bass are thick along the shorelines with a few larger fish in the mix. Sturgeon fishing is picking up at the Mothball Fleet, the Big Cut and the mouth of Montezuma Slough. He said, “Bullheads have been high demand, and we sold out of 15 dozen bullheads within a day as our owner, Curtis Hayes, is back out again shrimping on Sunday afternoon.” More and more small stripers are starting to show on the San Joaquin-Delta side, but largemouth bass remain the top targeted species. The number of bass tournaments will slow through the end of the year, but there are still healthy limits to be had. The San Joaquin River is off-limits for keeping salmon, but several have become lost in the sloughs of the San Joaquin system in their attempt to spawn. High water has created outstanding conditions for the fishery, and an endangered green sturgeon was even sighted in the Stanislaus River for the first time in recent memory. Dan Mathisen of Dan’s Delta Outdoors reported a 22-pound bag won the Tracy Oasis tournament out of Big Break on Sunday with several other limits ranging from 16 pounds and up. He said, “Punching in the grass has been the top technique, but swim jigs and chatterbaits are also working. Most fishermen are throwing bait fish patterns instead of crawdads as bluegill or shad have been the top baits. Striper fishing is best with frozen or fresh shad along with live bluegill, and this is a much better bite than with Bubba Shad swimbaits or topwater lures on the San Joaquin at this time.”
Lake Nacimiento/San Antonio/Santa Margarita/Lopez
Bass 3; White bass 2; Striper 2; Catfish 3; Crappie 3
Lake Nacimiento is heating up for spotted bass with a topwater bite in the early morning before switching to plastics on the drop-shot, spoons or spinnerbaits. The numbers of small bass are phenomenal, but the size is limited. White bass action is heating up with white Roostertails or Kastmasters. A webcam of the lake is available at lakenacimientolive.com/. Lopez Lake continues to kick out panfish with meal worms or red worms around structure, and there is a reaction bite for largemouth bass with topwater lures or buzzbaits in the early mornings before working the bottom with jigs or plastics on the drop-shot. A webcam of the lake is available at 805webcams.com/lopez-lake-webcam/. At San Antonio, the north shore marina and services are now closed, and the south shore may close in the coming weeks. Anglers who desire to keep the south shore open are requested to contact the Monterey County Board of Supervisors at co.monterey.ca.us/cob/supervisor.htm. Overall, the striped bass bite is starting to improve with umbrella rigs or shad-patterned swimbaits. Bass fishing remains on the slow side with catfish starting to get active. At Santa Margarita, crappie fishing is solid with minijigs or Crappie Nibbles with quality slabs for the taking around submerged structure. Bass fishing is improving with the reaction bite on the rise for a larger grade of largemouth. Reminder that consuming white bass, black bass, crappie, catfish or carp is subject to safe eating guidelines due to excessive mercury. Quagga mussel inspections are required before boat launching is allowed.
- Addathon IronMan Sturgeon Derby on Nov. 4-5 at Delta/Pittsburg Marina: 1, Greg McElroy/Dan Ditlevsen; 2, Rickey Acosta/Caesar Trapasso; 3, Manny Borges
- Kerman Bass Club on Nov. 4 at Don Pedro: 1, Darren Graef 13.86 pounds (big fish 6.17); 2, Justin Eslick 9.98; 3, Cory Kerber 9.59
- Nov. 11: Delta/Tracy Oasis, Tracy Bass Club; Delta/Big Break Marina, Tracy Oasis Marina; Don Pedro, Sonora Bass Anglers/Christian Bass League/Gold Country Junior Bass; McClure, New Jen Bass Club; Eastman, Sierra Bass Club; Millerton, California Tournament Trail; Kaweah, Visalia Bass Club
- Nov. 12: Delta/Russo’s Marina, Hook, Line, and Sinker; Kaweah,– Kings VIII Bass Club; Nacimiento, Good Old Boys
- Nov. 14: Kaweah, Visalia Bass Club
- Nov. 18: Delta/Russo’s Marina, Tri Valley Bassmasters; Pine Flat, New Jen Bass Club; Nacimiento, Taft Bass Club/Golden Empire Bass Club
- Nov. 18-19: Delta/Russo’s Marina, California Tournament Trail
- Nov. 19: Delta/Ladd’s Marina, TriValley Bass Masters; Delta/Tracy Oasis, Tracy Oasis Marina; McClure, Fresno Bass Club; Kaweah, Central Valley Kayak Fishing
f = full moon > = peak activity