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 fish photo you’d like to share online? Email it to email@example.com with “Fish photo” in the subject line.
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Delta Mendota Canal and Sloughs
Striper *** Catfish **
Sales of white flukes for striped bass in the California Aqueduct are starting to heat up as the occasional larger fish has been taken around Coalinga. Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis reported, “One angler picked up a limit of striped bass at 11 and 15 pounds with the flukes, but we keep selling the Duo Realis jerkbaits along with Lucky Craft Pointer 128’s in shad patterns.” In the south aqueduct in Kern County, Jacob Rutledge of Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield said, “The largemouth bite is still solid, but the stripers are on the slow side.” Large to jumbo minnows, crickets, crankbaits, jerkbaits, Senkos or drop-shot plastics are working for the largemouth bass along with intermittent findings of striped bass. The weed cover in the aqueduct has allowed for the resurgence of panfish and largemouth bass, and bluegill and crappie also are showing up with jumbo red worms or small minnows. Minnows, nightcrawlers, chicken livers or mackerel are also working for catfish.
Bass ** Trout ** Bluegill ** Catfish ** Crappie **
Bass fishing continued to improve. Large bass were reported on swimbaits or jigs at depths from the banks to 20 feet. Experienced fishermen are working hard for the occasional quality fish, but most bass are small to 1.75 pounds. There have been reports of quality largemouth bass taken on rainbow-trout patterned swimbaits. Gilbert added, “If they dump another load of trout in the lake, the swimbait bite will probably break loose.” Trout fishing remained slow with the occasional planter taken from the shore near the day-use area with trout dough bait or nightcrawlers. The area of the lake extending upstream from the buoy line near the Cordoniz Launch Ramp remains closed to accommodate nesting bald eagles. There are unmarked hazards throughout the lake because of low water conditions. The lake is at 469.99 feet in elevation and 8% capacity.
Call: Six Star Tackle Box 673-5688; Eastman Lake 689-3255
Bass ** Trout ** Catfish ** Bluegill ** Crappie **
More fishermen are heading to Eastman and Hensley, and Hensley is producing numbers of small fish in the 11- to 12-inch range on the bottom with plastics on the drop-shot or Texas-rig at depths from the banks to 25 feet. The fish are all thin, and although they are long enough to weigh 2 pounds, they weigh in the 1-pound range with big heads and skinny bodies. The annual Kids Fishing Derby is April 11, with fishing tutorials and water-safety instruction. The launch ramp is accessible for larger boats. Trout fishing from the shore remained slow. Boaters should contact the Ranger Station at the Corps of Engineers office for current ramp conditions. The lake is at 453.15 feet in elevation and 7% capacity.
Call: Fresno Fisherman’s Warehouse 225-1838; Valley Rod Gun, Clovis 292-3474; Six Star Tackle Box 673-5688; U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Hensley Lake Hidden Dam 673-5151
Lake Don Pedro
Bass *** Trout *** Kokanee * King salmon * Crappie **
Trout trolling has been solid, with Monte Smith of Gold Country Sport Fishing producing three limits for his clients using blade/crawler combinations or frozen shad at depths from the surface to 25 feet near the flume. A slow presentation is necessary as the fish are scattered and reluctant to strike rapidly moving bait. Sideplaners are producing the most fish. Danny Layne of Fish’n Dan’s Guide Service made his first trip to the lake in the past several months, and he said, “We had an interesting bite, and our first fish was a nice king salmon in Waterford Bay at 12 feet in depth on a micro green squid behind a copper 4/0 dodger. Vance’s Cop Car spoon produced a few fish as well as a Sockeye Slammer behind a Sling Blade at 30 feet of depth on the back side of Big Oak Island. The low pressure should move out, and the action should improve in the clear, 57-degree water.” Bass fishing continued to improve for large fish with Huddleston swimbaits in light trout or Huddleston 68 Specials. The ROF 12 is best in deep water with the ROF 5 effective in the shallows. Numbers of bass are still taken by drop-shotting or dartheading plastic worms, jigs or Senkos at depths from the bank to 30 feet. The launch at Fleming Meadows is still one lane with two courtesy docks; a few more inches of inflow are necessary to open the other lanes. The Blue Oaks ramp remained closed. The lake held at 710.40 feet in elevation and 43% capacity.
Call: Monte Smith (209) 581-4734; Danny Layne-Fish’n Dan (209) 586-2383; Gary Vella (209) 652-7550; Bait Barn (209) 874-3011
Lake Isabella/Bakersfield area
Bass ** Trout ** Crappie ** Catfish ** Bluegill **
The lake remains extremely low, and few bass fishermen are launching boats given the conditions. Bass tournaments are scheduled this month, and more definitive reports should be available after the events. Jacob Rutledge of Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield reported crappie in the 1.5- to 2-pound range along with big bluegill weighing at least a pound were taken from the shore by the marina with minijigs tipped with a crappie niblet. A kayaker found a larger grade of panfish in 20 feet of water out from the shore. Catfishing remained fair for garlic shrimp, anchovies, sardines or mackerel from the banks. Rutledge said, “The new bait called Catnip is made from beef parts, and it stays on the hook for a long time with one angler landing three catfish on a single bait.” Boats are still able to launch from the dirt near Red’s Marina, but a four-wheel-drive vehicle is required. There are no marinas or courtesy docks in the lake. No trout reports, but a DFW plant is scheduled for next week ahead of a huge plant for the 26th annual Lake Isabella Fishing Derby on March 28-30. A payout of $18,500 for the longest trout from first to 10th is guaranteed. Entry fees are $30 per individual and $65 per family. Call (760) 379-5236 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Online registration is available at www.kernrivervalley.com. The lake is at 2,530.68 feet in elevation and 8% capacity. In the Kern River, plants are scheduled for sections above and below the lake over the next three weeks. Catfishing in the river along the bluffs near Hart Park has been solid with chicken livers or frozen shad. The next big local derby at the lake is the Bakersfield Firefighters Trout Derby on Saturday. It is limited to 800 anglers, and there will be tagged fish worth up to $1,500. Rutledge said, “We still have plenty of tickets for the derby in the shop.” The entry fee is $20, but all fishermen will have a chance to win a boat, and there is a pancake breakfast.” Trout plants at the River Walk, Hart Park, Ming and Truxtun are scheduled this week with intermittent plants in the coming weeks. Buena Vista is limited to a few trout per rod with Power Bait or nightcrawlers from shore.
Call: Bob’s Bait (661) 833-8657; North Fork Marina (760) 376-1812
Bass ** Crappie ** Trout ** Catfish **
The lake continues to rise, and it came up 3 feet this week to 627.41 in elevation and 23% capacity. Because of a trout plant a few weeks ago, the bigger bass are taken on rainbow-trout patterned swimbaits on a slow roll along the bottom. But fishermen have to be willing to work the heavy baits throughout the day for one or two bites. Numbers are best on drop-shot plastics or deep-diving cranks on a slow presentation. Live minnows, nightcrawlers, or crawdads also are effective. The male bass have moved into the shallows. As the water has risen, crappie fishing has picked up with small minnows or minijigs in the submerged trees near Horse Creek. The trout bite has been very slow, as the lake has only been planted a single time this season. The warm weather has kept the catfish bite going, and the best action has been with anchovies, sardines or chicken livers. The launch ramp is open.
Call: Sierra Sporting Goods 592-5212
Bass *** Trout ** Catfish ** Crappie **
Chuck Stokke of Sequoia Fishing Co. in Springville reported the bass are moving into the shallows with some in a pre-spawn mode while others are already on beds. Senkos, jigs, crankbaits, and plastic worms are all doing well. There was a recent trout plant, and bank anglers are using Power Bait, nightcrawlers, or spinners from the banks. The lake rose over 2 feet to 588.99 feet in elevation and 9% capacity. In the Tule River, recent rain and snow has temporarily blown out the river for fishing.
Call: Sequoia Fishing Co. 539-5626, www.sequoiafishingcompany.com
Bass ** Trout ** King salmon * Kokanee * Crappie ** Catfish **
The lake has risen steadily within the past three weeks, but the launch ramps remained closed. The only access for boats is from the shore for small, portable vessels such as kayaks or canoes. Bass tournaments scheduled for McClure are moving to neighboring reservoirs such as Don Pedro.The lake rose 1.5 feet to 606.08 feet in elevation and 8% capacity.
Call: A-1 Bait (209) 563-6505; Bub Tosh (209) 404-0053
Shore fishing remained solid from the brush pile and along the marina with garlic trout dough bait, nightcrawlers or garlic power worms. Few boats are trolling. The last plant was the previous week with 500 pounds from the Calaveras Trout Farm. The annual Spring Trout Derby is April 11-12, with registration available at www.lakemcclure.com.
Call: McSwain Marina (209) 378-2534
Millerton Lake/San Joaquin River
Bass *** Striper ** Shad * Bluegill ** Trout **
At Millerton, limits to 10.5 pounds are possible, and most anglers are still working the bottom with drop-shot plastics or jigs. Best action is from the banks to 25 feet in depth. Gilbert added, “The majority of bass are found in the 20- to 25-foot range, and the larger fish holding deep have vanished, leaving a grade of 11- to 12-inch fish in the deep water.” The occasional striped bass is reported charging a hooked spotted bass. Millerton is rising slowly and is at 493.27 feet in elevation and 38% capacity with a rise of 1.5 feet this week. In the lower San Joaquin, minimal fishing action is taking place because of the lack of trout plants. A trout plant is scheduled for Sycamore Island Pond on the San Joaquin River this week and Woodward Park Lake in Fresno next week. 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 in possession.
Call: Fresno Fisherman’s Warehouse 225-1838; Valley Rod & Gun 292-3474
New Melones Reservoir/Tulloch
Bass *** Crappie ** Catfish *** Trout *** Kokanee *
“It’s go time at New Melones for largemouth and spotted bass,” said John Lietchy of Xperience Fishing Guide Service and Glory Hole Sporting Goods in Angels Camp. Numbers of big spotted and largemouth bass continued to be the rule on rainbow-trout patterned swimbaits or jigs, and there are two large tournaments within the first two weekends in March with an American Bass Association event on March 7, followed by Best Bass Tournaments on March 14. Lietchy added, “It looks like the spotted bass record was broken this past week at Bullard’s Bar, but I fully expect the record to be broken once again by a New Melones spot.” Numbers of bass are holding along deep structure as they haven’t come up into the shallows as of yet, and drop-shot plastics, Carolina-rigged plastics, Senkos, or shad-patterned plastics on the shakey-head or darthead are all effective while the larger fish are taken on swimbaits by those anglers willing to toss the large baits all day for one or two big bites. Trout fishing remained solid from the shore with garlic-scented trout dough bait, inflated nightcrawlers or a marshmallow/crawler combination on a sliding sinker with a light wire hook since floating the bait off of the bottom is very crucial. Glory Hole Point, Glory Hole Cove and the Highway 49 bridge are the top areas from the shore. The NorCal Trout Anglers Challenge brought out hordes of shore fishermen to the lake Saturday, and Jay Winchester took top honors in this version of a series of events in Northern California lakes with a 2.54-pound rainbow. Trollers are scoring with a faster presentation, leading Lietchy to state, “A combination of an ExCel spoon with the smaller Sockeye Slammer on a 1.5-foot leader has been working with some fishermen landing as many as 30 rainbows working from the surface to 25 feet, and faster trolling speeds to 3 mph are producing more strikes.” Catfish continued to be landed on a regular basis in response to the unseasonably warm weather. Nightcrawlers, frozen shad or mackerel loaded with scent are all working near large rocks or boulders. The crappie bite should take off in the coming weeks with the low lake levels exposing trees. The concrete ramp at Glory Hole Point is open with two lanes and a dock, but the Tuttletown ramp remains closed. At downstream Lake Tulloch, the first announcement of plans to drain the lake by July to meet agricultural and environmental obligations surfaced this past week. New Melones rose less than a quarter-foot to 879.01 in elevation and 25% capacity.
Call: Glory Hole Sports (209) 736-4333; Monte Smith (209) 581-4734; Danny Layne-Fish’n Dan (209) 586-2383; Sierra Sport Fishing (209) 599-2023
Pine Flat Reservoir/Kings River
Kokanee * Bass** Trout ** King salmon * Catfish ** Crappie **
At Pine Flat, the bass bite is “on and off,” according to Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis. He said, “Some fishermen are scoring limits in the 10- to 11-pound range while others are struggling for smaller limits. The bass are moving up from the bank to 20 feet in depth, and jigs, small swimbaits such as 6-inch K-Techs or plastics on the drop-shot or darthead are all working for spotted bass in the 1.75- to 2-pound range. The occasional larger fish is taken on a ripbait, but the action is sporadic.” The spotted bass that were holding in the depths from 40-60 feet have vacated the area, leaving a smaller grade of bass in deep water. Trout trolling has improved with a few planted rainbows to 15 inches taken from Zebe Creek to the Power Lines with Needlefish at 30 feet in depth, but most trout trollers continued to head up the hill to Shaver or Bass Lakes. In the coming weeks, Pine Flat will be hosting at least one bass tournament over the weekends. The lake rose to 743.27 feet in elevation and 16% of capacity. In the lower Kings River, rainbows of catchable size will be planted on a weekly basis for the next three weeks. The planters are biting various colors of Power Bait or nightcrawlers in low flows. Avocado Lake is also scheduled to be planted twice within the first three weeks of March. There are special regulations in the Kings River above and below Pine Flat Dam. The season is open from the last Saturday in April to Nov. 15 from Pine Flat Dam downstream to U. S. Army Corps of Engineers Bridge on Pine Flat Road with a five-fish limit.” The Army Corps of Engineers Bridge is the first bridge to the west of the dam. The area from Cobbles (Alta) Weir downstream to the Highway 180 crossing is open all year with only artificial lures with barbless hooks with a zero limit.
Call: Fresno Fisherman’s Warehouse 225-1838; Valley Rod & Gun 292-3474; Sequoia Fishing Co. 539-5626; The I Forgot Store 787-3689
San Luis Reservoir and O’Neill Forebay
Striper ** Catfish ** Bass ** Crappie*
The reservoir continued to rise with heavy pumping from the delta and has topped 64% capacity. As a result, the stripers are holding near the pumps and in small groupings above humps and points in specific areas of the expanding lake. Electronics are a necessity for locating and remaining on the schools. The best action has been with jumbo minnows at depths from 60-90 feet, but trolling large plugs on the downrigger are also producing the occasional legal striper. The mouth of Portuguese Cove and the trash racks remained the top areas. Roger George of Roger’s Guide Service said that he fun fished with Andy Bedell and Matt Enos of Merced on Sunday and that they had an epic day landing/releasing more than 40 fish in the 18-24 inch range on several different plugs in silver or blue tones at 50-80 feet. “Most guys were struggling to get a few fish after the storm passed, but we found schools of scattered fish that we targeted around the pumps and Romero — and we got on a jag. You have to use and know what your electronics are telling you right now — and find active fish! We luckily found a good pattern!” George said. Paul Jolley of Coyote Bait and Tackle in Morgan Hill said, “Largemouth bass continued to be the story in the Forebay with dark purple worms on a finesse presentation in the stained water from the recent winds and heavy pumping. Kayakers are drifting jumbo minnows near the Rockwall or around the Twin Islands. A few catfish have been showing up around Check 12 with frozen shad, mackerel, or sardines.”
Call: Coyote Bait and Tackle (408) 463-0711, Roger George of rogergeorgeguideservice.com 905-2954
Bass ** Trout *** Kokanee *
Trout trolling remained solid with anglers working above the Sheriff’s Tower to the dam for rainbows in the 13- to 15.5-inch range. Blade/crawler combinations at depths from 15-25 feet are working as well as Needlefish or Apex lures at similar depths. Bank fishermen are scoring with trout dough bait around the Sheriff’s Tower or the public launch ramp. The bass bite has been from the banks to 20 feet in depth inside the weed line with drop-shot plastics for largemouth bass to 3 pounds. The swimbait bite has yet to emerge. The lake has risen, at 52% capacity, to the point where a larger boat can be launched from the public dock.
Call: Todd Wittwer 288-8100; Mike Beighey 642-3748
Brown trout ** Trout **
The Kaiser Pass Lakes are done for the winter until the gate is reopened this spring. At Mammoth Pool, few fishermen are taking the long drive to the lake, but trout fishing continues to be decent from the shore with Power Bait or nightcrawlers. Mammoth Pool is at 27%, Edison 4% and Florence 10%.
Call: Vermilion Valley Resort at Edison Lake 259-4000
Shaver Lake/Huntington Lake
Kokanee * Trout ***
The Shaver Lake Trophy Trout Project released this year’s supply of rainbow trout ranging from 3-12 pounds during the week of Feb. 16. They are moving rapidly throughout the reservoir, showing up near the dam after being planted at the far end of the lake. Dick Nichols of Dick’s Fishing Charters, president of the project, said, “Our committee chairman, Bob Bernier of Fresno, searched a number of California suppliers for the trophy rainbows, but the effects of the drought has created havoc at many of the private hatcheries, so he reached out to Nebraska where the Southern California Edison Co. had located their fish to restock after the lake was drained a few years ago. The delivery consisted of approximately 1,700 rainbows with most being from 3-8 pounds, but there were a few in the 12-pound range tossed in. The fish were all in great shape with fully intact tails and perfect ‘like mountable’ bodies.” The cost to the organization was $35,000, in the neighborhood of $20 per fish. Nichols added, “An 8-pound fish costs at least $48 and a 12-pound fish is around $72.” For this reason, the organizers are requesting fishermen to release the majority of trophies, keeping only one or two as part of a limit. This strain of rainbow behaves differently from a normal planted fish, as they are actively seeking a food source throughout the lake as evidenced by their arrival at the dam, at least three miles from the plant site, within a few days. Bank fishermen have been getting in on the action with trout dough bait or night crawlers near the dam. The Department of Fish and Wildlife planting allocation for Shaver is approximately one-half of normal, with plants of 19,000 pounds of a smaller grade of rainbow ranging from one-fourth to one-half pound during the coming months. The intent is to allow the smaller rainbows to grow with the relatively high water levels at Shaver. Added Nichols: “Between snowstorms, Shaver Lake continued to kick out trophy sized trout along with nice trout in the 12- to 14-inch category with trollers averaging a few limits this week with the best action near the dam, the island, and Black Rock at depths from 20-35 feet on the downrigger with beaded spinners tipped with a piece of nightcrawler.” Lures of this type are Dick’s Trout Busters, Captain Jack’s Ring-a-Dings, or Wedding Rings with yellow and orange beads. The annual big fish contest, previously sponsored by the Shaver Lake Trophy Trout Project, will be sponsored by Herb Bauer’s Sporting Goods in Fresno, and the current leader is Hajimu Fujii of Clovis with a 4.6-pound rainbow landed near the Point. The contest runs through December 31, and the official weigh stations are Ken’s Market or Shaver Lake Sports in Shaver Lake. Bank fishermen are getting in on the action for the larger trout, and five trophies were weighed in during the week with another six released. Road 1, the Point, or the dam area are the top locations from the shoreline with trout dough bait in green or rainbow or with nightcrawlers. Shaver is at 48% of capacity with Huntington at 34%.
Call: Dick’s Fishing Charters 841-2740; Dinkey Creek Inn 841-3435; Rancheria Marina 893-3234; Shaver Lake Sports Inc. 841-2740
Access to both lakes is over for the winter with the closure of the gate at Dinkey Creek. The trout will now hold over until the road reopens in late spring.
Call: Wishon RV Park 865-5361
Half Moon Bay
Captain Tom Mattusch of the Huli Cat continued to be the only large party boat running crab/sand dab combinations, crab-only or research trips until the anticipated salmon opener. The initial Salmon Abundance Meeting was Thursday, and early returns are pointing to few restrictions for salmon during the 2015 recreational salmon season. The official decision on the season will be announced toward the middle of the month. It is possible that the rockfish season below Pigeon Point in the Central Management Area will open April 1 and above Pigeon Point in the San Francisco Management Area on April 15. An official announcement is pending a series of meetings of the Pacific Fisheries Management Council. Three ling cod in excess of 22 inches and 10 rockfish with a limit of five black rockfish will be in effect for the coming season. The gray whales are migrating much closer to the shore with Captain Roger Thomas of the Salty Lady stating, “They have been found from 4-6 miles out where that have been anywhere from 10-20 miles offshore in the past several years.”
Call: Happy Hooker (510) 223-5388; Roger Thomas, Salty Lady (415) 760-9362; Bait and Switch Sport Fishing Center (650) 726-7133726-7133; Emeryville Sport Fishing (510) 654-6040; Don Franklin, Soleman (510) 703-4148
Todd Arcoleo of Chris’ Landing in Monterey reported plenty of sand dabs and mackerel along with four Dungeness crab apiece for 14 anglers on the Check Mate on Sunday. The Caroline found the sand dabs and the mackerel, but the crab were lacking with only 10 Dungeness and 10 rock crab for 15 anglers. Chris’ will be running the combination trips throughout the week. With the strong possibility of rockfish season opening below Pigeon Point on April 1, Arcoleo is booking rockfish/ling cod trip for that month, contingent upon confirmation by the Pacific Fisheries Management Council. Out of Santa Cruz, the 11th annual Sand Crab Perch Derby, a fundraiser for the Monterey Bay Salmon and Steelhead Project, will take place March 14. Information is available at theletsgofishingradioshow.com.
Call: Chris’ Landing(831) 375-5951; Bayside Marine (831) 475-2173; usafishing.com
San Francisco Bay
Halibut *** Striper *** Leopard shark *** Sturgeon **
Halibut fever arrived at the start of March, with up to three limits landed in a variety of locations within San Francisco Bay. The Salty Lady out of Sausalito deckhand Deva Sherman said, “One boat reported seven halibut on Saturday.” Keith Fraser of Loch Lomond Bait and Tackle in San Rafael reported one returned Sunday afternoon with a 32-pound halibut landed by a 6-year-old on the skiff. Fraser said, “The bass bite is ‘off the charts,’ with Captain Gordie Hough returning with 18 striped bass along with a 54-inch sturgeon while releasing four shakers using shrimp baits in San Pablo Bay.” Captain Jim Smith of the Happy Hooker said the water near the Richmond shore muddied up a bit over the weekend because of the wind, limiting trolling for striped bass, but he was aware of one skiff with three limits of halibut taken by trolling near Oyster Point.
San Luis Obispo
The San Luis Obispo County ports are limited to sand dab and crab, whale watching or nature cruises until the anticipated April 1 rockfish opener. Patriot Sport Fishing out of Port San Luis will be offering sand dab/crab combo trips Wednesdays and Saturdays at $60 for adults and $50 for those 12 and younger. Patriot is selling season passes for the 2015 rockfish season for $1,000. Whale watching and nature cruises will be held out of Morro Bay Landing and Virg’s Landing in Morro Bay for the next several months. Virg’s Landing is running whale watching trips Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. for $39 for adults and $29 for children. Virg’s offers a 10% discount for group charters booking an entire boat for a trip before the season opens. Surf perch fishing remained excellent from the beaches north of Morro Rock with Berkley Sand Worms in Camo or pumpkin seed or with motor oil grubs.
Call: Virg’s Landing, (805) 772-1222; (800) 762-5263; Patriot Sports Fishing (805) 595-4100; Port Side Marine Sports Launch (805) 595-7214
Bass *** Striper *** Sturgeon *** Catfish ** Bluegill ***
Sturgeon fishing had been tremendous in lower Suisun Bay throughout the week, but the action came to a sudden stop Sunday with six-pack boats that were scoring up to four limits of sturgeon reporting only one or two bites for a long day. The water temperature has dropped from 60 to 55 degrees within the week in response to cooler evening temperatures and high winds, and the sturgeon have spread out throughout the system. The bite rebounded on Monday with Captain Jay Lopes and Captain Bill Clapp both returning with two upper-slot sized sturgeon for their clients. Jay Lopes of Right Hook Sport Fishing defied the odds on Sunday with three legal fish and an oversized released on lamprey eel. He said, “It was a tough bite which was much different than we have been experiencing, but we were able to find fish in three different spots as we moved around in order to drop in on the small groupings of sturgeon.” Lamprey eel was the bait of choice for Lopes, and he said, “I haven’t landed a fish on salmon roe in the past several trips.” Steve Mitchell of Hook’D Up Sport Fishing was left scratching his head Sunday with only a single bite after landing four legal sturgeon Thursday, culminating two great days on the water earlier in the week. Saturday’s venture for Mitchell was full of oversized sturgeon with diamondbacks at more than 84, 65.5, and 65 inches released along with a couple of shakers. Mitchell said, “The boat traffic was high on both Saturday and Sunday, and the fish have scattered out with no concentration. The bite will be back on to the previous hot level as the water temperature stabilizes.” The striper bite above Rio Vista had been terrific earlier in the week, but slowed considerably Sunday. Jay Lopes of Right Hook Sport Fishing was striper trolling Thursday in the upper Delta above Rio Vista, and they landed a total of 14 keeper stripers to 8 pounds. He said, “When we saw fish on the meter, we landed them on deep-diving lures from 12-18 feet, but a bit of boat pressure scattered the small schools of fish. This usually doesn’t happen in deep water, but there isn’t a lot of volume in the river.” Prior to Sunday’s slowdown, Bill Crooks of Sacramento went out on a trolling adventure with Ron Retzlaff and Mike Steerman, and he said, “It was an epic bite with limits by 8:30 a.m. We caught fish in all areas with clear water, and we released a 10, 11, and 14 since we release all fish over 10 pounds.” They ended up with 18 legal stripers and 3 shakers trolling in the upper sloughs and the Sacramento Deep Water Channel with both shallow and deep-diving lures. Pam Hayes of Benicia Bait and Tackle reported sturgeon action has been solid from the mouth of Montezuma Slough into San Pablo Bay and into the Napa River. Stripers are starting to show up along the shore, and a 24-incher was landed on 12th Street on a pile worm.” Grass shrimp is holding up with Curtis Hayes running around the clock to provide the bait. They have a consistent supply of ghost shrimp, and they were able to get some pile worms in the shop. The Mokelumne River Bridge at Highway 12 in San Joaquin County will close at 10 p.m. Friday and reopen at 5:00 a.m. Monday. On the San Joaquin River, as throughout the Delta system, the water temperature dropped drastically within the past week due to the cold evening temperatures in the low 30’s and the constant winds. For largemouth bass, Randy Pringle, the fishing instructor, said, “The water temperature in the San Joaquin River dropped 4 degrees from 60 to 56 degrees this week in response to the cooler evenings and high winds over the weekend. As a result, the spinnerbait and crankbait bite died, but we found solid action on rip baits in the mornings adjacent to rocky structure on the incoming tide. We fished sunny banks with rock since the bass wanted warmth, and the fish were holding from the banks to 6 feet in depth in weedy locations. The grade of bass were in the 3-pound range, and they tried the reaction baits to no avail before switching over to the Flat Dawg in greenpumpkin gold blue on 10-pound test with fluorocarbon in 4 feet of water of deeper on the outgoing tide. We were able to find some larger fish in the 4- to 5-pound range, and soon we put together an 18- to 20-pound limit on the afternoon outgoing tide with the Flat Dawg.” The fish were mostly males with no giant bass, but he did hook an estimated 7-pound plus fish that ripped off line before coming unbuttoned in the heavy weed growth. Pringle added, “It was a heavy fish, and I couldn’t budge him on the 8-pound test.” Alan Fong of the Fisherman’s Warehouse in Sacramento confirmed the solid bite for bass with Ken Mah winning Saturday’s Angler’s Choice tournament out of Russo’s Marina with a 32 plus-pound limit. Fong was punching the floating hyacinth mats with Sweet Beavers or D-Bombs under a 1.5-ounce weight earlier in the week along with tossing Senkos or chatterbaits. The hyacinth is green and growing in this unseasonably warm winter, but spraying the aquatic vegetation is expected to start this week. J.D. Richey of Richey’s Sport Fishing has been working the clear pockets of water on the San Joaquin River, and he said, “The periods of heavy wind have turned the water off-color, but the San Joaquin is looking better. The action for stripers was decent this week, but it wasn’t red hot as the bouncing barometer and cooling water temperatures have affected the action. We haven’t been keeping fish, but the two I cleaned this week were already spawned out despite being February.” Steve Santucci of Steve Santucci’s Guide Service said, “The Delta has been fishing well and clearing once again after recent storms, and the action should peak in March as the stripers are becoming more aggressive. Clousers Minnows between 4 and 5 inches are doing best in chartreuse over white, and I like to add a sprinking of black to give it a more pronounced profile.”
Call: Randy Pringle (209) 543-6260; Captain Stan Koenigsberger – Quetzal Adventures (925) 570-5303; Intimidator Sport Fishing (916) 806-3030
Lake Nacimiento/San Antonio/Santa Margarita/Lopez
Bass*** White bass *** Striper** Catfish**
Lake Nacimiento is heating up for all species as white bass are showing up in Snake Creek, Las Tablas, and near the Heritage Launch Ramp with Shap Raps or similar small white lures. Jacob Rutledge of Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield reported big numbers of small spotted bass on drop-shot plastics with crappie willingly biting minijigs around submerged structure. Santa Margarita is open for rental boats or kayaks, canoes, or float tubes as the lake needs to come up to 30% in order for the launch ramp to be operable. The marina store is open once again seven days per week from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. San Antonio remains very low with only kayaks, canoes, or float tubes able to be released into the lake. A few striped bass, largemouth bass, and catfish are available. There are several tournaments scheduled for Lopez in the coming weeks, and the lake will host the Outdoor Discovery Festival on May 9. Information on the event is available at www.slocountyparks.org. Reminder: consuming white bass, black bass, crappie, catfish, or carp are subject to safe eating guidelines due to excessive mercury. Quagga mussel inspections are required before launching a boat.
Call: Lake Nacimiento (805) 238-1056, ext. 3; Lake San Antonio Marina (805) 472-2818; Central Coast Bass Fishing.com (805) 466-6557
NorCal Trout Anglers Challenge, Adult Division, Feb. 28 at New Melones: 1, Jay Winchester 2.54 pounds; 2, Bob James 1.8; 3, Jason Elliott 1.55
NorCal Trout Anglers Challenge, Kids Division, Feb. 28 at New Melones: 1, Chance Weaver 1.46 pounds; 2, Kody Moore 1.4; 3, Jacob Trejo 1.26
Angler’s Choice, Feb. 28, at Don Pedro: 1, Bryan Grier/Don Nieto 11.49 pounds (big fish 3.12); 2, Brian and Jeremiah Payne 10.43; 3, Jeff and Tyler Frey 2.92
California Bass Federation, March 1, at Don Pedro: 1, Ralph Encizo 31.12; 2, Timmy Wells 11.90; 3, Tim Wells 11.35; big fish, Ralph Encizo 9.86
Bass 101, March 1, at Pine Flat: 1, Bowlin/ Bowlin 13.89; 2, Hinojosa/ Slavic 11.91; 3, Turner/ Galardo 11.26; big fish Galardo 4.87
Saturday: Angler’s Choice at Delta/Russo’s Marina; American Bass Association/Sonora Bass Anglers at New Melones; Oro Madre Bass Anglers at Tulloch; Poe Mans at Don Pedro; Bakersfield Fire Fighter’s Trout Tournament at RiverWalk in Bakersfield;American Bass Association at Isabella; Tri Valley Bass Club at Lopez
Sunday: 101 Bass Club at Don Pedro, $100, Mark Corrente 284-2768
March 14: 11th Annual Sand Crab Classic Surf Perch Derby at Santa Cruz Portuguese Hall, theletsgofishingradioshow.com; Angler’s Choice at Delta/B and W; Hook, Line, and Sinker at Delta/Russo’s Marina; Tracy Bass Club at Delta/Tracy Oasis; Best Bass Tournaments at New Melones; Kerman Bass Club at Don Pedro; LeHigh Cement at Pine Flat; Visalia Bass Club at Kaweah; Golden Empire Bass Club at Success; San Luis Obispo Bass Ambushers at Lopez
March 15: Angler’s Choice at Delta/Ladd’s Marina; Kings River Bass Club at Don Pedro; Success Bass Club at Success; Best Bass Tournaments at Lopez
March 21: American Bass Association at Delta/Russo’s; Manteca Bassin’ Buddies at Delta/Ladd’s Marina; Future Pro Tour at New Melones; Angler’s Choice at Don Pedro; Bakersfield Bass Club at Pine Flat; Kern County Bass Masters at Kaweah; American Bass Association at Lopez
March 21-22: Sierra Bass Two-Day Tournament at Don Pedro
March 22: Tracy Bass Club at Delta/Tracy Oasis; Modesto Ambassadors at New Melones; Fresno Bass Club/Mid Valley Bass Club at Don Pedro; American Bass Association at Success
March 28: Christian Bass League at Delta/Ladd’s Marina; Angler’s Choice at Delta/Russo’s Marina; Taft Bass Club at Nacimiento; 101 Bass at Lopez
March 29: California Bass Federation at Delta/B and W Resort; Stockton Bass at Delta/Ladd’s Marina
Fresno County: Kings River, Below Pine Flat Dam; Avocado Lake
Kern County: River Walk Lake; Cat Fish Lake; Ming Lake; Hart Park Lake; Truxtun Lake; Brite Valley Reservoir
Madera County: Sycamore Island Pond
Tulare County: Murry Park Pond