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.
Dungeness crab counts slipping, Mike Aughney said. San Pablo Bay striped bass remains hot, Keith Fraser reported. Suisun Bay sturgeon bite on fire, Captain John Badger exclaimed. Wishon/Courtright access closing, Chuck Crane said.
Never miss a local story.
2-Have to work hard
4-Fish jumpin’ in boat
Delta Mendota Canal and Sloughs
Stripers 2; Catfish 2
A few more fishermen are starting to work the northern section of the California Aqueduct, but with the hot bite at San Luis Reservoir most are bypassing the water conveyance systems. For those targeting the aqueduct, the key is to find moving water and run Duo Realis jerkbaits on a planer board in the current. In the southern aqueduct in Kern County, Pete Cormier of Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield said, “A few diehards are still out there with tube baits, sardines or blood worms, and the bait bite remains the best for striped bass and catfish. Frozen clams or live crickets are also working whiskerfish.” The popularity of the aqueduct has led to increased numbers of anglers, but in order to maintain access, fishermen are encouraged to take out all trash and other debris when departing.
Bass 2; Trout 2; Bluegill 2; Catfish 2; Crappie 1
The bass bite has slowed, but there is a deep crankbait bite at depths to 20 feet over rock piles. A trout plant has been released, and shore fishermen are picking up the planters with trout dough bait or nightcrawlers. The presence of planted trout should spur the swimbait bite with Huddlestons or similar lures. Catfishing is best at night with chicken livers or nightcrawlers. The lake held at 57 percent capacity.
Bass 2; Trout 2; Catfish 2; Bluegill 2; Crappie 1
Trout plants have brought out fishermen from the shore with nightcrawlers or trout dough bait. Bass fishing remains fair for small fish with Senkos, plastics on the drop-shot or jigs. Catfish are still the top species with anchovies, nightcrawlers or chicken livers in the evenings. The lake remained at 18 percent capacity.
Lake Don Pedro
Bass 2; Trout 2; King salmon 1; Crappie 2
A small turkey shoot was held over the Thanksgiving weekend with a 14.5-pound winning limit. Although rainbow trout are observed along the surface, the swimbait bite hasn’t taken off. The bass are holding deeper, and plastics on the drop-shot or jigs remain the top baits. Trout fishing will be back on once the lake turns over. With the warmer temperatures, this may not occur until sometime in December. The lake rose to 80 percent capacity.
Call: Monte Smith (209) 581-4734; Gary Vella (209) 652-7550;
Lake Isabella/Bakersfield area
Bass 1; Trout 1; Crappie 2; Catfish 3; Bluegill 1
Pete Cormier of Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield said, “Catfish remain the best bet at the lake, but there are fewer and fewer fishermen heading up to the reservoir. Frozen clams, sardines, or anchovies are all working for the whiskerfish, but the bass bite remains slow. The quality of bass is not what it used to be as we would have at least a few 10-pounders out of the lake every year in the past.” The lake held at 29 percent capacity. The upper and lower sections of the Kern River are kicking out a few planted rainbow trout. With a scheduled plant of rainbows, this will help the action with salmon eggs, Power Bait, Power Eggs or nightcrawlers. Cooler water has led to a much better trout bite for planters at the local reservoirs with Mice Tails or Power Bait. Buena Vista is improving as recently planted rainbows are starting to bite.
Bass 2; Crappie 1; Trout 1; Catfish 2
Larry Kerns of the Visalia Bass Club reported a tough bass bite during the club’s Tournament of Champions, where the winning limit was 11.40. He said, “We had big fish at 5.47 pounds, but ended up with just over 10 pounds as we couldn’t find another quality fish. The water is cooling down, and the fish are in deeper water at 35 feet and as deep as 70 feet as the shad schools are forming in deep water. The lake is much warmer than normal at this time of year, and every time we think the bite is getting ready to snap, it stays slow. It will break out at some point, though.” Bluegill can be found with red worms, meal worms or wax worms. The lake held at 11 percent capacity.
Call: Sierra Sporting Goods 592-5212
Bass 3; Trout 1; Catfish 2; Crappie 2; Bluegill 3
Chuck Stokke of Sequoia Fishing Co. in Springville said, “Bass fishing was awesome this week due to warmer temperatures. Plastics on the drop-shot, crankbaits and spinnerbaits are all working on the main lake points.” The lake came up slightly to 11 percent capacity. In the Tule River, Stokke said, “The river is fishing excellent on dry flies due to the warmer temperatures.”
Bass 2; Trout 1; King salmon 1; Crappie 1; Catfish 2
The Mother Lode lakes of Don Pedro and McClure have been unkind to bass fishermen for the past several weeks, but there seems to be some light at the end of the tunnel as the water temperatures are starting to drop. Mike Gomez of Berserk Baits said, “McClure is getting a little better, and there was a 14-pound limit during Wednesday’s Turkey Shoot from the Breadmen, and jigs did the trick at depths to 35 feet. The Berserk Purple Hornet or brown/purple were the hot colors. The bass have moved up a little bit higher in the water column, and I will be targeting the larger fish with Alabama rigs over the next few weeks. There are a few active fish around 10-15 feet, and this will only get better and better in the coming weeks.” The Fresno Bass Club held a tournament at the lake Sunday, and Morgan Swisher reported 16 limits were weighed in from 25 anglers. The lake rose slightly to 65 percent capacity.
The last trout plant was Nov. 9, and although trout plants are anticipated in the near future, the rainbows from the earlier plant have scattered into deeper water or have been landed. Overall, trout fishing is fair at best with trout dough bait or nightcrawlers from the normal locations of the handicapped docks, the brush pile and the peninsula near the marina.
Call: McSwain Marina 209-378-2534
Millerton Lake/San Joaquin River
Bass 3; Striped bass 1; Bluegill 1; Crappie 1
Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “Everything is on the bottom at both lakes, and the fish are scattered from 15-60 feet in depth. Jigs, plastics on the drop-shot or spoons are working at both lakes, and the water temperatures remain high with both lakes at a 63-degree surface temperature – far greater than normal at this time of year. Steve Newman of our shop was at Millerton this week, and he worked the bottom for spots to 2 pounds. He also found fish on his electronics and dragged a spy bait through the schools. Plastics on the drop-shot or dart head are working as well, and the story is the same in the river arm as in the main lake.” The lake rose slightly to 64 percent capacity.
Call: Valley Rod & Gun 292-3474
New Melones Reservoir/Tulloch
Bass 3; Crappie 2; Catfish 2; Trout 3
The recently established rainbow trout record at New Melones may not last for long after the 9-pound, 10-ounce ’bow landed by Joann Dunn of Linden eclipsed the 40-day-old mark of 8-8. The lake remains warm at 60 degrees, and once the lake turns over, big fish should be moving toward the surface. Monte Smith of Gold Country Sport Fishing was on the lake Sunday in search of a huge rainbow, and he said, “We should have gone out on Saturday since the front moved through on Sunday morning. We marked a ton of bait at depths from 25-65 feet near the Spillway, and the screen was just red from the thick schools. We marked trout in the shad schools, but we couldn’t get them to go despite switching lures several times. On my next trip, I plan on slowing things down and rolling some shad since the fish are feeding heavily on the shad. With the surface temperature at 60 degrees, I think the lake will turn over if it drops another 4 or 5 degrees, and the rainbows will move up in the water column as they are still deep right now.” Gene Hildebrand of Glory Hole Sports in Angels Camp said, “Despite the beautiful fish that have been brought in to Glory Hole Sports the last couple weeks, anglers are still waiting for the trout action to return in force. Anglers will occasionally bring in nice fish as Pauli Madsen showed us this week with this nice 5-pound,10-ounce rainbow off of the shoreline at 25 feet in depth with Power Eggs on a 4-foot leader. Another 8-pound, 8-ounce rainbow was brought into the shop by a troller at 90 feet in Carson Cove.” For spotted and largemouth bass, the reaction bite has slowed as the temperatures have dropped, and finesse presentations with jigs or plastic worms on the drop-shot in crawdad patterns are most effective. Once the water cools more, the swimbait bite will improve. Catfishing has been tough overall, and there has only been a total of 10 catfish weighed in during the monthlong Glory Hole Sports Catfish Derby. The leading weight is 21.56 pounds for two fish. The crappie bite has shut down. The lake rose slightly to 83 percent capacity.
Pine Flat Reservoir/Kings River
Bass 2; Trout 2; Catfish 2; Crappie 2
Pine Flat, like Millerton, is getting more play given upcoming tournaments. While catching spotted bass is not a problem, finding quality fish in excess of 2 pounds remains challenging. The 16th annual Clovis Police tournament Nov. 18 at Pine Flat was won by Dave Nishimoto and Pierre Matthews with a decent limit at 12.45 pounds. Xang Vang and Yeng Her picked up the big fish at 4.39. Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “Everything is on the bottom, and the fish are scattered from 15 -60 feet in depth.” The trout bite has improved, perhaps due to a recent plant, and trollers are scoring limits of rainbows to 16 inches in the main lake to the power lines running blade/’crawler combinations or Needlefish at 5-6 colors of leadcore. Trout to 15 inches have also been landed from the banks with blue/silver Kastmasters near Trimmer Marina. The crappie bite has slowed in the river arm after a decent bite a few weeks ago. The reservoir was at 47 percent capacity.
San Luis Reservoir and O’Neill Forebay
Striper 3; Catfish 2; Bass 2; Crappie 1
San Luis Reservoir remains wide open for striped bass, and the stripers continue to boil in the coves in the early mornings. Travis Porter of Hollister said, “It seems that the action has slowed down for shore fishermen, but it has picked back up for trollers. I talked to several boats on Friday, and most boats were catching numbers of linesides from 12-24 inches. I landed a 32-inch, 11.9-pound striped bass on Saturday, and my fiancé, K.C. Wilson, and I caught and released over 20 fish. Another good friend, Cory Finley of Gustines, caught a 26-pound, 43-inch striper right next to us, and I heard of three additional double-digit stripers being caught on Saturday. We have been trolling at depths from 10-40 feet with jerkbaits, swimbaits, and broken-back Rebels, but most boats are targeting the 60-foot range. It seems with the cooler weather, the bigger fish are starting to come out, and I think the fishing is going to get even better within the next month.” Roger George of Roger’s Guide Service said, “I took out Dr. Mark Chin and his 30-year old son, Steven, of Fresno along with brother-in-law Stan Wong of San Jose. We caught over 30 stripers to 23 inches on white or shad colored lures in the 40- to 65-foot range. Overall the bite was off that day for many anglers I talked to. After the storm, the fish were more finicky than usual it seemed. The water temperature is in the 65-degree range. I feel the patterns are becoming more like they were before the lake rose so much this year. The mild conditions are helping things stay fairly stable for now, too. We had fish coughing up small shrimp and gobies, too. There also are a lot of smaller fish in the system right now. There are a lot of reports touting the bite, but I see a lot of anglers who are struggling. It can be tough; the fish are moving.” Alex Tran of Coyote Bait and Tackle in Morgan Hill said, “There is an early-morning topwater bite, and swimbaits are working towards the afternoon. The interest in the lake slowed down during the holiday weekend, but with the lake dropping, the fish are concentrated. We have been selling fewer jumbo minnows as most anglers are either throwing lures or trolling with plugs.” Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “There have been tons of fish, and boaters are trolling in the coves with a variety of lures. When they are finding boils while trolling, fishermen are throwing Duo Realis jerkbaits or topwater lures for stripers to 14 pounds this week.” In the O’Neill Forebay, the number of striped bass is impressive, but anglers will have to work through quite a few shakers in order to put in limits. There is a lure bite with ripbaits, umbrella rigs and topwater lures with the smalls stripers boiling on the surface. Bank fishing remains best near moving water such as Check 12 or the 33 Bridge with pile worms, blood worms or chicken livers. San Luis actually rose to 73 percent capacity with increased pumping from the south Delta.
Bass 2; Trout 2
The bass bite remains slow with the water unseasonably warm at 62 degrees, and the swimbait bite has yet to take off. A recent trout plant has the rainbows breaking the surface throughout the lake. Weeds continue to be a concern. Crappie are found on a dead-stick presentation at 10-15 feet as the slabs are suspended offshore. The lake dropped to 56 percent and launching a boat at the public ramp is a chore. Webcams of the lake are available at basslakeca.com/.
Kaiser Pass Road was scheduled to close Dec. 1, and access to the area will be limited to those on snowmobiles. Edison is at 42 capacity, Florence at 2 percent and Mammoth Pool at 8 percent. Mammoth Pool has been lowered to near empty by Southern California Edison to install devices to measure water levels as required by the U.S. Geological Survey and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. The lowered lake level resulted in a fish kill at this low-elevation reservoir.
Call: Vermilion Valley Resort at Edison Lake 259-4000
Shaver Lake/Huntington Lake
Kokanee 2; Trout 2
Dick Nichols of Dick’s Fishing Charters at Shaver Lake said, “There weren’t many fishermen back on the lake over the Thanksgiving weekend, but Jay Irvine of Visalia landed three second-year kokanee on Ken’s Custom Tackle’s trout spinners behind a Mountain Flasher.” Shaver dropped to 59 percent capacity with Huntington rising to 73 percent. But there were no reports from Huntington, and Huntington Lake Road is scheduled to close to wheeled vehicles Dec. 1.
Call: Dick Nichols, Dick’s Fishing Charters 281-6948; Todd Wittwer Kokanee.net Guide Service 288-8100; Dinkey Creek Inn 841-3435; Rancheria Marina 893-3234; Shaver Lake Sports Inc. 841-2740; Steve Santoro Fish Box Charters 871-3937
The central Sierra trout season is limited to lower-elevation Bass and Shaver lakes as the road to Courtright and Wishon was to close Dec. 1 at Dinkey Creek.
Call: Wishon RV Park 865-5361
Half Moon Bay
Rockfish 4; Striper 1; Crab 2
Dungeness crab season was a big hit during the first few weeks after the opener Nov. 4, but the arrival of the commercial pots and their 24-hour pulls has put a damper on the success of recreational anglers. It was all about quality, with some of the best grade of Dungeness in years, but the overall biomass of crab has been found wanting. Captain Tom Mattusch of the Huli Cat is the only large boat taking crab/rockfish combinations, and he said, “It was good while it lasted, but we get excited right now when we pull a pot with four crab in it. The rockfishing for school fish in the shallows from 60-100 feet has been outstanding, and with the big lings moving to the near-shore, our clients have picked up some huge lings over 20 pounds on recent trips. However, the crab limits are a thing of the recent past with an average of four crab per angler over the past week. We will continue to run crab-only and crab/rockfish combinations until the rockfish closure on Dec. 31, and the crabbing might improve as several commercial boats have either headed north or are running to Southern California to target other species. There were several pots that we not even placed in the water this year. After January 1st, we will run sand dab/crab combinations.” Second Captain Michael Cabanas of the Huli Cat has been running the boat on occasion, and Jesse Santos of Union City landed an 11-pound ling on a hitchhiker with Conrad Warmbold of Atherton picking up a 20-pound ling on Farallon Feathers. Out of Half Moon Bay Sport Fishing, rockfish-only trips are producing limits of rockfish and a healthy ling cod count, and Sherry Ingles suggests that since they only run rockfish trips, anglers can purchase crab from the commercial fishermen on the docks. Farther north in Pacifica, Rob Chaney of the Rusty Hook in Pacifica reports continued good crabbing from the pier with snares loaded with anchovies or squid. He added, “Striped bass are still landed from the beaches and shore areas at Mussel Rock and Mori’s Point with big topwater lures such as Pencil Poppers or subsurface lures like Miki’s. Snares continue to be very popular for crabbers.”
Rockfish 4; Striper 1; Crab 2
Chris Arcoleo of Chris’ Fishing in Monterey reported the big lings are moving in, and Captain Tinker Neece ran south about halfway to Point Sur for 20 limits of lings to a whopping 35 pounds with several others in the 15- to 25-pound range. They weren’t using live bait, and the lings were taken on bars. In addition to limits of lings, they also had limits of big rockfish. Crabbing remains slow with an average of two crab per angler. Arcoleo added, “Another small boat went to Point Sur with four anglers for limits of lings and rockfish.” Chris’ only has the occasional room on weekdays for the coming month as the interest in the combination trips remains high.
San Francisco Bay
Halibut 1; Striper 4; Rockfish 4; Leopard shark 2; Sturgeon 2; Crab 2
Mike Aughney of USA Fishing said, “The rockfish action is excellent but we are seeing the crab counts trailing off due to all the commercial pressure offshore.” On Saturday, Fish Emeryville had three boats out on crab combos, and the Huck Finn was a highliner with 25 limits of crabs plus limits of rockfish and two lings. The New Salmon Queen reported 150 rockfish for 28 anglers and 30 crabs adding 10 lings with the Sea Wolf returning with 25 limits of rockfish plus 16 lings to 18 pounds and 150 Dungeness crab. The party boats are now struggling for crab limits as noted by Mike Aughney, and you can add the Happy Hooker and the California Dawn to boats returning to port with less than crab limits Saturday. Captain Chris Smith of the Happy Hooker said, “The crabbing has taken a back seat to the incredible ling cod action at the Farallons, and these are not the garden variety of lings. We have been spending a lot of time during the day pulling pots for anywhere from 3 to 8 crab per person, but if we had more time to fish, I believe that ling cod limits are possible as the larger hens have come off of the spawn and are starting to bite once again. If you ever wanted to land a ling over 20 pounds, now is the time to come out. The guys focusing on rockfish got their limits while the anglers who desired lings, got theirs.” Saturday’s final score on the Happy Hooker was 245 rockfish, 33 lings to 26 pounds and 101 Dungeness crab for 30 anglers. The California Dawn also fell shy of limits of crab, but they came back with near limits of rockfish and 42 lings for 33 anglers Saturday. Sunday’s fishing was put on hold given the weather. There is plenty of room during the week and even on the weekends leading into Christmas. Inside the bays, Keith Fraser of Loch Lomond Bait and Tackle in San Rafael reported solid striped bass action on the anchor with various baits, drifting live mudsuckers, trolling at the top of the tide, or casting hair raisers. He said, “The tides are outstanding this weekend, and I expect the sturgeon bite to take off since there were several sturgeon taken over the past weekend despite the smallest tides of the year.” Captain Trent Slate of Bite Me Charters out of Loch Lomond Marina continues his crab/striped bass combination trips by pulling pots in the ocean and heading back inside the bay for outstanding striped bass action.
San Luis Obispo
Limits to near-limits of rockfish are the rule out of Morro Bay, and the ling cod count is climbing as the big females are starting to eat after spawning in shallower water. Out of Morro Bay Landing, the Endeavor and Avenger put up tremendous ling cod numbers on Sunday with a combined 83 lings to 23 pounds to go with a total of 260 assorted rockfish and 240 of the bottom-dwelling rockfish. The Fiesta out of Virg’s Landing in Morro Bay was out Sunday with 25 anglers on a long-range trip for limits of rockfish composed of 150 vermilion, 25 Boccaccio and 75 assorted to go with 30 ling cod to 17 pounds. Out of Patriot Sport Fishing in Port San Luis, the Flying Fish and the Patriot went out Sunday with 44 anglers for near-limits composed of 13 vermilion, two cabezon, 333 assorted rockfish and 50 ling cod to 12.2 pounds. The Flying Fish put in limits including 48 of the 50 lings. All landings are taking a variety of trips ranging from a half day to long range in the coming weeks with the season ending Dec. 31.
Bass 3; Striper 3; Sturgeon 3; Catfish 2; Bluegill 3; Salmon 1
Prime time has arrived on the Sacramento-Delta for sturgeon and striped bass, and there has been some incredible action for both species over the past week. Captain John Badger, his second captain Shawn Taylor, and deckhand Josh Badger of Barbarian Sport Fishing out of Martinez have been conducting a clinic in Suisun Bay with 33 keeper sturgeon during the past week. Badger said, “Salmon roe has been the key, and we are fishing around Roe and Ryer Islands. We put in six limits of sturgeon on Wednesday while releasing another keeper, and we had four more keepers on Friday. This has been during the period of small tides, and I expect the action to continue, particularly with the larger tides this week. I had expected to head up to the deep water near Pittsburg with the smaller tides, but there are plenty of fish to keep us busy in Suisun Bay.” Captain Steve Mitchell of Hook’d Up Sport Fishing out of Pittsburg was also out at Roe and Ryer Island on Sunday, and he said, “We had some nice big fish coming through, and there were a number of bites missed from these big hogs. They bit on the outgoing tide, and they only wanted fresh skein roe today as we got nothing on eel. The barometric pressure dropped to 29.9 on Saturday, and usually when it hits 31, the bite tides so I was pleased that we had action ending up with a slot fish along with a number of shakers.” Captain Bill Clapp of Bill’s Sport Fishing out of Martinez said, “Second Captain Albert Lopez ran the Jilly Sea on Saturday with Sy Durney of San Francisco landing a 45-inch sturgeon and Tammy Kinman of Vallejo releasing a 39-inch shaker. The boat put in limits of striped bass.” Clyde Wands, shallow trolling expert, was out with Jeff Boyle of Bass Pro Shops in Manteca on Tuesday, and they found slow action in the early morning around Decker Island. Wands said, “We didn’t find the fish that have been there, but my friend did land a nice salmon. We ran west to Broad Slough and found good action with Jeff having the hot rod for around 15 keepers to just over 7 pounds.” Captain J.D. Richey of Richey’s Sport Fishing has transitioned to the Delta after finding decent salmon action in the metropolitan Sacramento area for an extended time period. He said, “We have been finding some great topwater action, and we have released fish over 20 pounds on our first two trips. On my third trip on Sunday, my 12-year old client hooked a huge fish that we lost in a snag. We got a look at this fish, and it was big. Just as I thought the sun was going to break out and keep the action, a fog bank moved in and socked us in big time. I was pretty excited since dark, cloudy skies are what we are looking for, but this time, it was ‘the fog of doom,’ since the big fish mysteriously disappeared, and it was a scratch bite on small fish the rest of the day. This was pretty much the opposite for what I would have expected, but as soon as you think you know a little something, the fish prove you wrong.” Tony Lopez of Benicia Bait and Tackle reported continued good action for shoreline striped bass along with sturgeon in the normal locations of Montezuma Slough and the Mothball Fleet. He said, “The demand for live bullheads is intense, and many fishermen come in wanting two dozen of the live bait. We have been able to keep up with supply, but we have to limit the excessive number of bullheads that anglers are wanting. People are coming from all over northern and central California for bullheads, and Curtis Hayes has to shrimp every day to keep up with demand.” The San Joaquin-Delta has been producing increased numbers of striped bass as guides are moving in to take advantage of the arrival of the linesides into the system. Captain James Netzel of Tight Lines Guide Service has transitioned from salmon fishing in the metropolitan Sacramento area to striper fishing on the San Joaquin, and he found good action along the flats off of Eddo’s Marina on Saturday, producing limits of schoolies for his clients by drifting live mudsuckers. Alan Fong of Fisherman’s Warehouse has been targeting striped bass at depths from 30-40 feet with spoons, and he said, “The fish are just stacked up, and although there are larger fish in the schools, the majority range from undersized to 22 inches. The tides were slow this week, and I concentrated my efforts at the top of the tide for a bunch of stripers released on spoons.” Captain Mike Gravert of Intimidator Sport Fishing out of Korth’s Pirates Lair said, “I took out Greg Hicks from a trip that he won at the 2016 California Inland Fisheries Foundation dinner, and we found a smaller grade of fish on the San Joaquin with plenty of shakers from 17-17.75 inches in deep water to 42 feet. We have been spooning straight down the center of the channel. Live mudsuckers are producing the larger fish, but there haven’t been any large concentrations of fish as of yet. With the water as warm as it has been, I plan on fishing all the way to the International Sportsmen’s Exposition in late January and most likely moving into the Mokelumne River in mid-December. We have had over 100 fish days along with a few double-digit keepers.” Mario Busalacchi Jr., the last living fishermen of the legendary Busalacchi fishing and duck hunting family of Stockton, reported landing striped bass to 7 pounds using sardine chunks near Mandeville Island. He said, “The bass aren’t around in the sizes that I was accustomed to in my earlier years and the days of my father, but I still use the family technique of chunked sardines.” Luther Thompson of H and R Bait in Stockton said, “We are getting around 35 pounds of fresh shad on a daily basis with the exception of Sundays, and most of our action has been in Whiskey Slough, along Inland Drive, or in Antioch with fresh shad. There have been some larger stripers reported in the Old and Middle Rivers with live bait, but the bluegill remain too large for drifting. Fishermen are reporting huge bluegill from 10 to 13 inches in Whiskey Slough with large red worms on a drop-shot rig.” Steve Santucci of Steve Santucci’s Fly Fishing Guide Service said, “Delta fishing is peaking now and within the next couple of weeks. I have been fishing the 8 weight Redington Crux and loving it. It is smooth and powerful and very responsive to all of your casting needs.
Lake Nacimiento/San Antonio/Santa Margarita/Lopez
Bass 2; White bass 1; Striper 1; Catfish 3; Crappie 3
Lake Nacimiento is kicking out good numbers of spotted bass on a variety of techniques including plastics on the drop-shot or shakey head, spoons or swimjigs as the fish are oriented to deeper water around the shad schools. The white bass remain elusive, but there have been some boils in the early mornings or evenings in the normal locations of Las Tablas and the Narrows. The lake held at 43 percent capacity, with a webcam available at lakenacimientolive.com/. At Lopez, the best bass action is with plastics or jigs on the bottom along with subsurface reaction baits such as jerkbaits or crankbaits. The topwater bite is limited to a small window in the early mornings. The bluegill and perch action is good with meal worms or red worms while crappie fishing is decent with minijigs around submerged structure. A webcam of the lake is available at 805webcams.com/lopez-lake-webcam/. At San Antonio, the lake is on its winter schedule, open only from Friday morning at 6 a.m. until Sunday at 6 p.m. while the North Shore is closed for the season. Striped bass action is picking up with trolled swimbaits at depths to 25 feet, but the largemouth bass bite remains slow. Catfishing also is on the slow side. At Santa Margarita, the crappie bite and bluegill bite is solid with the crappie taken on minijigs with bluegill found on meal worms, red worms or small nightcrawlers. Bass fishing is hit or miss with the best action on the bottom with plastics or jigs. Catfishing is showing signs of life with stink baits. 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.
- Dec. 2: Delta/Russo’s Marina, American Bass Association; Delta/Tracy Oasis, Tracy Bass Club; McClure, California Tournament Trail; Pine Flat, Kerman Bass Club; Nacimiento, American Bass Association
- Dec. 9: McClure, New Jen Bass Tournaments; Pine Flat, Sierra Bass Club
- Dec. 10: Don Pedro, Riverbank Bass Anglers/Modesto Ambassadors; McClure, Fresno Bass Club; Pine Flat – Kings VIII Bass Club
- Dec. 16: Millerton, New Jen Bass Tournaments
- Dec. 17: Delta/Russo’s Marina, Hook, Line, and Sinker; Eastman, Central Valley Kayak Fishing
- Dec. 19: New Melones, Sonora Bass Anglers
- Fresno County: Kings River, below Pine Flat Dam
f = full moon > = peak activity