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.
• Try dynamite
• • Have to work hard
• • • Limits possible
• • • • Fish jumpin’ in boat
Delta Mendota Canal
Striper • • • Catfish • •
In the California Aqueduct, Steve Newman of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis reported much slower action and anglers are traveling long distances along the tops of the levees to find boiling fish. The best action in the aqueduct has been in the south valley in Kern County. Pete Cormier of Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield reported continued excellent action for striped bass with most fishermen tossing lures such as Lucky Craft Sammies or Lucky Craft Pointer 128’s in American shad, ghost chartreuse shad or Aurora black. Largemouth bass to 8 pounds have been taken by drop-shotting shad-patterned plastics or with jerkbaits. Anchovies, sardines or live minnows are working for striped bass or catfish. The occasional crappie and bluegill are landed. The aqueduct has been relatively free of debris.
Bass • • Trout • • Bluegill • • Catfish • • Crappie • •
Slow bass fishing continued and the lake remained very low, with the deepest portion reported to be 40 feet. Trout plants have begun, but there have been few reports of success. The area of the lake extending upstream from the Buoy Line near the Cordoniz Launch Ramp is closed for bald eagles nesting. There are unmarked hazards due to the low water. The lake is at 469.41 feet in elevation and 8% capacity.
Bass • • Trout• • Catfish • • Bluegill • • Crappie • •
The launch ramp is accessible for larger boats, but few fishermen are targeting the lake. A single trout plant occurred last month, but there have been few reports. The lake is at 450.47 feet in elevation and 6% capacity.
Lake Don Pedro
Bass • • Trout • • • Kokanee • King salmon • Crappie • •
At Don Pedro, bass fishing has started to perk up with weights in excess of 20 pounds winning two consecutive tournaments. Most are using large or medium minnows from the shoreline areas, said Manny Basi of the Bait Barn in Waterford, who advised slow-rolling the large bait on the bottom with a very slow presentation. Kevin Cheek, tournament director of Best Bass Tournaments, reported on Saturday tournaments, stating, “Many of the anglers said it was a grind, and the bite was reported to be found anywhere from 25 to 60 feet in depths in the main lake with drop-shot plastics such as on a shaky head or lead head. The anglers that ventured away from the worm bite landed larger fish, and the big fish at 6.32 pounds was landed on a jig.” The swimbait bite was reported to be slow during the tournament. Trout fishing has improved with Monte Smith of Gold Country Sport Fishing reporting boaters have scored up to two limits of quality rainbows. He advised using a blade/crawler combination or shad-patterned spoons such as an Excel in blue/gold or firetiger coated with Pro-Cure’s Carp Spit on a long setback behind the boat. The lake rose to 40% capacity and 701.55 feet in elevation.
Lake Isabella/Bakersfield area
Bass • • Trout • • Crappie • • Catfish • • • Bluegill • •
Lake Isabella fishing interest remains on the slow side, and Pete Cormier of Bob’s Bait in Bakerfield said, catfish is the best thing going with garlic shrimp, frozen shad, garlic chicken livers or sardines. There are still some crappie holding around the Marina, he added. The low water conditions continue to hamper bass anglers. Boats are still able to be launched from the dirt near Red’s Marina, but a four-wheel drive vehicle is advised. The 26th Annual Lake Isabella Fishing Derby is March 28-30, with payouts totalling $18,500 for the longest trout from first to 10th place. The entry fees are $30 per individual and $65 oer family. Details: (760) 379-5236 or email@example.com. The lake is at 2529.52 feet in elevation and 8% capacity. In the Kern River, Cormier said trout fishing on the upper river has been slow. The action is better in the lower river near Hobo Gulch or Sandy Flats for trout, smallmouth bass or catfish. Buena Vista is kicking out planted trout on Power Bait or night crawlers, and a few quality crappie are taken on small or medium minnows.
Bass • • Crappie • •
Trout • • Catfish •
Small bass are the rule with the fish holding in deep water. Drop-shotting shad-patterned plastics, jigs or vertically-jigged spoons are working at depths below 40 feet. Few fish over 3 pounds are showing up at the present time. The lake is rising steadily, keeping the fish suspended. Crappie have been the top species with small minnows or minijigs over submerged structure. Only one trout plant has occurred this season, and action will continue to be slow until the next plant. The launch ramp is open. The lake came up to 606.91 feet in elevation and 13% capacity.
Bass • • Trout • • Catfish • • Crappie • •
Chuck Stokke of Sequoia Fishing Company in Springville reported decent bass action on either Senkos or jigs in the deeper water. Trout fishing is only fair, and another plant is necessary to improve the action. The lake is at 582.42 feet in elevation and 6% capacity. In the Tule River, Stokke said dry flies are scoring well with wild trout due to warmer temperatures. The local lakes are kicking out big numbers of bluegill, crappie, and bass.
Bass • • Trout • • King salmon • Kokanee • Crappie • • Catfish • •
The lake remains extremely low, and the only access is from the shoreline for small portable vessels such as kayaks or canoes. All launch ramps are closed. Few anglers are targeting the lake, which dropped another 1.5 feet in elevation this week to 589.89 and 7% capacity.
Trout • •
The lake received 500 pounds from Calaveras Trout Farm this week. Bank fishing continued to be the best bet with orange power eggs near the Brush Pile or nightcrawlers at the Handicapped Docks. Trolling action continued to be minimal.
San Joaquin River
Bass • • • Striper • • Shad • Bluegill • •
At Millerton, the river arm above Finegold continues to produce a few striped bass on jumbo minnows or swimbaits. Bass anglers who are targeting spots and largemouth have had stripers pick up their hooked bass on the way to the boat. The best spotted bass action has been in deep water with drop-shot plastics such as Robo Worm’s Hologram Shad, Reaction Innovation’s Bad Shad Green or Pro Worms Pro Gold at 40-60 feet deep. Limits in the 7- to 9-pound range are the rule with the better fish taken on jigs. All boats must fill out a Quagga mussel self-inspection form before launching, and low-emissions sticker is essential on all motorized craft. Millerton is rising slowly and is at 488.20 feet in elevation and 35% capacity. In the lower San Joaquin, minimal action or interest remains the story. Trout plants on the river have not started as of yet, but Woodward Park Pond and Sycamore Island Pond have been planted recently. There are new regulations on the lower San Joaquin, and from Friant Dam downstream to the Highway 140 Bridge only two hatchery trout or hatchery steelhead are allowed with a total of four hatchery trout or hatchery steelhead in possession.
New Melones Reservoir/Tulloch
Bass • • • Crappie • • Catfish • • Trout • • Kokanee •
John Lietchy of Glory Hole Sporting Goods reported New Melones is loaded with spotted bass to 3 pounds that are feeding several times a day throughout the lake. The lake also has a very large population of shad, he added, and the bass are gorging themselves on the shad. Creek channels, bluffs and rocky points are the top locations for the bass, and the suspended fish can be taken on a drop-shot rig using a fluorocarbon leader and a light hook. He also advised practicing catch-and-release as the bass are approaching their annual spawn. Bank fishing for rainbow trout has been best near the Highway 49 Bridge and off of Glory Hole Point by fan-casting lures such as Rapalas, Kastmasters, Tasmanian Devils or Little Cleos along with floating an egg or ball of trout dough bait off of the bottom. Trolling has been best with small Rapalas, Needlefish or Speedy Shiners on a long setback using lead-core line or on a sideplaner. Loading up the lure with Pro-Cure of similar scents will increase strikes. Catfishing remained slow in the cold water with the fish moving into deeper water. The concrete ramp at Glory Hole Point is open with two lanes and a dock. The Tuttletown Launch Ramp remains closed. The lake is at 869.19 feet in elevation and 23% capacity.
Pine Flat Reservoir/Kings River
Kokanee • Bass • • Trout • • King salmon • Catfish • • Crappie •
Tournament season has arrived, and it is in full swing for Fresno-area bass anglers at Pine Flat and Millerton. The action at both lakes is primarily on the bottom with plastics on the drop-shot, shakey head or darthead, but the larger fish are coming from rainbow-trout patterned swimbaits worked along the bottom. “At Pine Flat, the overall bass action has slowed considerably, but there remained the possibility for an occasional large fish working all day for one or two bites with a swimbait. Numbers are found at depths from 50 to 60 feet,” said Merritt Gilbert at Valley Rod and Gun. Tournament pressure has been heavy, and the number of anglers working the lake has contributed to a slower bite with only 10 limits weighed out of 20 boats during a recent Kerman Bass Club tournament. Trout plants have started. The lake rose slightly to 729.15 feet in elevation and 13% capacity. In the lower Kings River, trout plants have occurred recently, and there has been more interest. Steve Newman of Valley Rod and Gun touted various colors of Power Bait or nightcrawlers as effective, but he preferred using wet flies such as a Pheasant Tail Flashback or Princeton in the deep pockets to mimic the stone flies in the river.
San Luis Reservoir
and O’Neill Forebay
Striper • • • Catfish • • Bass • • Crappie •
San Luis Reservoir continued to rise steadily with imported Delta water to nearly half-full. The striped bass bite has been solid for minnow drifters while trollers and bank fishermen have to work a bit harder. Paul Jolley of Coyote Bait and Tackle in Morgan Hill said most anglers are picking up limits by drifting jumbo or super jumbo minnows over the submerged islands in front of the Trash Racks or the Romero Visitor Center and also in the main channel outside of Portuguese Cove. Roger George of Roger George’s Guide Service said the rising water is causing a lot of fish to suspend over deep water. “The best bite seems to be in the middle of the day for trollers and we caught/released 16 nice fish to 25 inches one trip and 10 fishing a half day on the next in the heavy fog,” he said. “You have to target specific areas holding active fish or you could waste lots of time trying to catch suspended non-active fish. The bigger fish have been tough to come by lately, too.” Trolling with large minnow plugs such as P-Line Predator Minnows, Smithwicks, Yozuris or broken-backed Rebels is starting to tail off with most linesides being of a smaller grade. The larger stripers in the 10- to 20-pound range have been taken on live bait. Another productive area has been off of Goosehead Point near the buoys. Bank fishing off of Dinosaur Point has been slow. In the O’Neill Forebay, Jolley reported a 36-pounder was landed but most of the stripers are on the small size. He advised tossing white flukes on a scrounger head at depths to 15 feet as the topwater bite has been slow. Bank fishermen are using anchovies, blood worms, or pile worms from the shoreline around Check 33 or along the Highway 152 side. The main lake has risen to 49% capacity.
Bass • • Trout • • • Kokanee •
The recent trout plant has contributed to an improved bite for trollers working near the surface with Wedding Rings tipped with a nightcrawler behind a dodger, blade/crawler combinations or shad-imitation spoons. Bank fishing is fair at best around the Sheriff’s Tower of the public launch ramp with trout dough bait or nightcrawlers. The bass bite has been slow, but a few anglers are willing to toss rainbow-trout patterned swimbaits for an occasional quality spotted or largemouth bass. The lake held at 49% capacity.
Mike Beighey 642-3748
The Kaiser Pass Lakes are done untill snowmobile trips planned for the early spring months. Mammoth Pool has held at 17%, with Edison at 4% and Florence at 6%.
Shaver Lake/Huntington Lake
Kokanee • Trout • • •
Trolling continued to be the most productive technique for the few anglers willing to brave the cold weather. Dick’s Trout Busters tipped with a piece of crawler or corn, blade/crawler combinations or spinners are working near Black Rock or Eagle Point at 10-15 feet. Bank fishing continued to be slow. The Shaver Lake Trophy Trout Project is planning heavy plants of huge Nebraska-bred hybrid rainbows from 3 to 8 pounds in the springtime. Donations can be sent to SLTTP at P.O. Box 908, Shaver Lake, CA, 93664. All donations are tax deductable. Captain Jack Yandell and Nichols will present a Shaver Lake fishing seminar slide show with updates on the trophy plant at Herb Bauer’s Sporting Goods in Fresno at 6 p.m. Feb. 26. The best locations, techniques for catching trout and kokanee, along with a free raffle drawing will be featured. Nichols is a long time successful guide on Shaver Lake, having conducted 128 fishing trips last year with great success. Yandell is a long time kokanee expert and is a producer of kokanee tackle. Tackle maker and noted kokanee angler Terry Walton will also join in for his ideas on fishing Shaver with Nichols and Yandell. Shaver held at 47% capacity and Huntington also held at 30%.
Access to both lakes is over for the winter with the closure of the gate at Dinkey Creek.
Half Moon Bay
Striper • •
On Sunday, Captain Tom Mattusch of the Huli Cat took a group of volunteer anglers to target gravid rockfish at depths from 500 to 700 feet. They were targeting chilipepper rockfish, but greenspot, greenstripe, stripetail and widow rockfish were also retained. The trip was a part of the chilipepper stock assessment, Mattusch said. The Huli Cat ran a sand dab/crab combination trip for limits of Dungeness crab. Further north along the coast, Rob Chaney of the Rusty Hook in Pacifica said due to strange tides over the weekend, anglers were catching sand dabs “like crazy” off the pier. Crabbing continued to be good. A big striper just under 27 pounds was caught on a black/white 1.5-ounce jig between Sharp Park and Mori’s Point at night.
Striper • •
Chris Arcoleo of Chris’s Landing in Monterey said Sand dabs, mackerel, and Dungeness crab have been keeping anglers happy. The Check Mate out of Chris’s Landing scored 14 limits of Dungeness crab along with loads of sand dabs and mackerel on Sunday after putting in 80 Dungeness for 16 anglers on Saturday to go with bucketloads of sand dabs. Monday’s trip brought more of the same with 11 limits of Dungeness crab and plenty of sand dabs. Arcoleo added, “We didn’t target the mackerel on Monday, but they are plentiful in the bay.”
San Francisco Bay
Striper • • Leopard shark • • Sturgeon • • •
Sturgeon must be thick in San Pablo Bay as Joel Sinkay and his crew landed four shaker sturgeon, one 40-inch green sturgeon, and a 45-inch keeper. Sinkay was fishing with Pat Turner of Santa Rosa, who landed his second legal sturgeon on mud shrimp. They were anchored in the shallows near Hamilton Field. Keith Fraser of Loch Lomond Bait and Tackle in San Rafael reported good fishing in San Pablo Bay with skiffs averaging around a sturgeon apiece. The recent herring spawns are attracting sturgeon into the bay, leading Fraser to quip, “You can’t have herring spawns this close without bringing in some sturgeon.” Tony Lopez of Benicia Bait reported one boat put in a 56-inch legal along with oversized ones of 74 and 78 inches on salmon roe in San Pablo Bay. Herring spawns continue to occur in Richardson Bay, Sausalito and in Raccoon Straits, but there haven’t been any spawns in the Richmond area as of yet.
San Luis Obispo
The San Luis Obispo County ports are limited to sand dab/crab, whale watching or nature cruises until the April salmon opener. Patriot Sport Fishing out of Port San Luis will be offering sand dab/crab combination trips on Wednesdays and Saturdays for $60.00 adults and $50.00 children 12 and under. They are selling season passes for the 2015 rockfish season for $1,000. Whale watching and nature cruises will be held out of both Morro Bay Landing and Virg’s Landing in Morro Bay for the next several months.
Bass • • Striper • • • Sturgeon • • • Catfish • • Bluegill • • •
The large tides over the weekend improved the sturgeon bite considerably in the back sloughs and near the Benicia/Martinez Bridge. With the upcoming sturgeon derbies over the next two weekends, anglers are advised to reserve bait well in advance of the events with their favorite bait shop. Bill Clapp of Bill’s Sport Fishing out of Martinez went out with Russ Criner, Becca VonBarger, Richard Witham and Lauren Taylor all of Woodland, and Colin Crerar and Christina Sandoval of Esparto on the Delta on Saturday and they found shaker sturgeon on the incoming tide just above the bridge near Buoy 2 before searching for larger fish on the change of the tide. Sandoval was able to land her first legal sturgeon at 45 inches along with a few more jumbo shakers at 35 and 36 inches. Grass shrimp or grass shrimp/eel combinations were the top baits. Tony Lopez of Benicia Bait confirmed the hot sturgeon bite: “Everybody is catching fish.” Shore fishermen continue to land stripers and flounders from the Benicia shoreline from the bridge west to 12th Street. Steve Talmadge of Flash Fishing out of Martinez Marina reported good action the past few days with one keeper out of 18 shakers. The best bait was eel or eel/grass shrimp combination at depths from 35 to 45 feet in depth. According to Fish and Game regulations, sturgeon over 68 inches must remain in the water and be released immediately. The disturbing trend of fishermen lifting an obviously oversized sturgeon out of the water by its gills continues, despite this action being in violation of the law and proper angling ethics. The upper Delta in the Rio Vista area continued to be slow for striped bass with the stained water, particularly above Ryer Island. The Mokelumne River Bridge on Highway 12 is scheduled to be closed one weekend per month from through May for major repairs. The highway and bridge will be closed for 10 weekends during the first and second stages between 10 p.m. Fridays and 5 a.m. Mondays. The cold and muddy water continued to befuddle anglers in the San Joaquin River, but there are some pockets of clear water, providing an opportunity for striper success. Brandon Gallegos at H and R Bait in Stockton reported very slow action in the area with a preponderance of dying water hyacinth holding in the main channel and clogging up Whiskey Slough from the Marina upriver. The occasional bluegill continued to be found in deep water to 20 feet with jumbo red worms or mini nightcrawlers. Jim Pickens of the Fishermen’s Friend in Lodi confirmed the improved bite for striped bass on both the Mokelume and San Joaquin Rivers with drifting live minnows or mudsuckers in the clear water, but water hyacinth and debris are still causing issues.
Lake Nacimiento/San Antonio/
Bass • • White bass • • Striper • • Catfish • • Crappie • •
At Nacimiento, Best Bass Tournaments held their first event of the Coastal Tour on Saturday, and tournament director Chris Gilkison said the consensus from the anglers was that there were plenty of fish to be caught, “but the size of the fish just wasn’t there.” 51 boats participated and the largest fish was weighed in at 2.41 pounds. Drop-shot plastics on a darthead or jigs were the top techniques. At Santa Margarita, the marina store is open 7 a.m.-4 p.m. seven days per week. They have purchased two pontoon boats and six aluminum boats to their rental fleet. At the present time, only kayaks, canoes or float tubes are able to access the lake with the continued closure of the launch ramp. Reminder: consuming white bass, black bass, crappie, catfish or carp are subject to safe eating guidelines due to excessive mercury.