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.
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Fish jumpin’ in boat
Delta Mendota Canal and Sloughs
The consensus is the striper bite in the northern portion of the California Aqueduct has slowed in the past few weeks with a few small linesides taken on RatLTraps or white flukes. After the heyday of a few months back, striper fishermen are avoiding the aqueduct and heading to the O’Neill Forebay or the main San Luis Reservoir. In the south aqueduct in Kern County, Jacob Rutledge of Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield reported a continued solid largemouth bass bite with Senkos while the striper bite is picking back up with Lucky Craft Pointer 128s or Duo Realis jerkbaits. The weed cover in the aqueduct has allowed for the resurgence of panfish and largemouth bass, and bluegill and crappie are also showing up with jumbo red worms or small minnows. Catfishing is fair at best with chicken liver, nightcrawlers, or mackerel.
Bass Trout Bluegill Catfish Crappie
After a long period of dormancy, the lake is showing signs of waking up with the bass starting to show on plastics on the Carolina-rig or drop shot, spinnerbaits, jigs at depths to 20 feet. Only a few fishermen are heading to the lake, and they have been quiet regarding any action on large fish. The swimbait bite should take off in response to another trout plant. Trout fishing remained slow with the occasional planter taken from the shoreline 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 is closed with bald eagles nesting in the area. There are unmarked hazards throughout the lake. The lake held at 470.03 feet in elevation and 8% capacity.
Call: Six Star Tackle Box 673-5688; Eastman Lake 689-3255
Bass Trout Catfish Bluegill Crappie
Minimal fishing pressure this past week, but numbers of small bass in the 11- to 12-inch range are available with plastics on the drop-shot or Texas-rig at depths from the banks to 25 feet. Trout fishing from the shoreline remained slow. The annual Kid’s Fishing Derby is April 11 with fishing tutorials and water safety instruction. The launch ramp is accessible for larger boats; call the Ranger Station for current conditions. The lake is at 453.43 feet 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 Ranger Station 673-5151
Lake Don Pedro
Bass Trout Kokanee King salmon Crappie
Bass fishing remained solid with live minnows from the shorelines at depths from 5 to 20 feet while crankbaits or ripbaits are also starting to work. The bass are moving into the shallows, and the occasional larger fish is taken on a Huddleston ROF 5 in the shallows. Few trout fishermen have been working the lake, but Danny Layne of Fishn’ Dan’s Guide Service took out Jim Smith and his son-in-law, Greg Colvert, for steady action with two to three hookups per hour while working the waters of Middle Bay with Sep’s scented grubs, Phoebe gold spoons, Vance’s Sockeye Slammers and blade/crawler combinations at depths from the surface to 18 feet. The Fleming Meadows Launch Ramp has one lane open, but Blue Oaks is closed. The lake rose slightly to 710.77 feet 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, but the crappie bite is starting to emerge with Fresno-area anglers heading south to Isabella to purchase small minnows and fish for crappie near French Gulch. Catfishing remained fair with garlic shrimp, anchovies, sardines or mackerel from the banks. Bass fishing is very limited, and Jacob Rutledge of Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield said, “The big bass that were present last year haven’t been around so far this year.” Few bass fishermen are heading to the lake in the low water conditions and the necessity to use a 4-wheel-drive vehicle to launch from the dirt ramp near Red’s Marina. There are no marinas or courtesy docks in the lake. No trout reports, but a DFW plant is scheduled for next week prior to a huge plant for the 26th annual Lake Isabella Fishing Derby March 28-30. Guaranteed purse for longest trout is $18,500 for 10 places. The entry fee is $30, $65 for a family. Details: (760) 379-5236, email@example.com or online. The lake dropped slightly to 2,530.62 feet and 8% capacity.
In the Kern River, plants are scheduled for the sections both above and below the lake over the next two weeks. Catfish have been the top species in the lower river near Hart Park with nightcrawlers. The Bakersfield Firefighters Trout Derby was a big hit as the overall number of fishermen was limited to 800, and a number of children participated in the derby. One of the $1,000 tagged fish was reportedly landed as well as several other lesser-tagged fish. Trout plants at the River Walk, Hart Park, Ming and Truxtun are scheduled in the coming weeks. Buena Vista is limited to a few trout per rod with Power Bait or nightcrawlers from the shorelines.
Call: Bob’s Bait (661) 833-8657; North Fork Marina (760) 376-1812
Bass Crappie Trout Catfish
The lake continues to rise, up 2.5 feet to 629.79 and 24% capacity. Submerged trees and structure are contributing to an improved crappie bite, and Fresno-area fishermen are heading south to fish for the slabsides with small to medium minnows or mini-jigs. The bass are moving into the shallows in preparation for the spawn, and drop-shotting is the top technique around structure. Most of the fish are small males less than 3 pounds, but the occasional larger fish is taken on a rainbow-trout patterned swimbait on a slow roll along the bottom. The trout bite has been very slow, as the lake has only been planted twice this season. The warm weather has kept the catfish bite going, and the best action has been with anchovies, sardines or chicken livers. “No problems” launching from the ramp.
Call: Sierra Sporting Goods 592-5212
Bass Trout Catfish Crappie
Chuck Stokke of Sequoia Fishing Company in Springville reported an excellent bass bite with Senkos, Brush Hogs, jigs, plastic worms or “almost anything” as the fish are moving into the shallows. Some bass are already on beds. Trout fishing is hit or miss with Panther Martins, nightcrawlers and Power Bait. The lake rose about a half-foot to 589.68 and 9% capacity.
In the Tule River, Stokke said, “The flow is perfect, and caddis and stimulators in size 14 are working for trout while nymphs in Psycho Mercer or Pheasant Tail Flashback are also working. I caught 20-plus native trout on a crystal Woolley Bugger in size 10 on the North Fork last week.” Stokke and the Tule River were featured in the March/April issue of Southwest Fly Fishing Magazine.
The local ponds are loaded with bass, crappie, and bluegill willing to bite.
Call: Sequoia Fishing Co. 539-5626, www.sequoiafishingcompany.com
Bass Trout King salmon Kokanee Crappie Catfish
Not much change at McClure with the limited access to the lake and marinas out of the water. The only access for boats is from the shoreline for small portable vessels such as kayaks or canoes. Bass tournaments scheduled for McClure are being switched to neighboring reservoirs. The lake held at 606 feet and 8% capacity.
Call: A-1 Bait (209) 563-6505; Bub Tosh (209) 404-0053
The waters have muddied up and shore action has slowed down in the past week. Trout dough bait combined with Pro-Cure scents are working for a few rainbows at the Brush Pile, Marina points or Handicapped Docks. Trolling remained slow. Plants from Calaveras Trout Farm are limited to monthly. The annual Spring Trout Derby is April 11-12 with registration online.
Call: McSwain Marina (209) 378-2534
Millerton Lake/San Joaquin River
Bass Striper Shad Bluegill Trout
At Millerton, numbers of spotted bass are available with fishermen routinely landing between 20 and 30 spots to 1.75 pounds using Senkos, jigs, drop-shot plastics or Texas-rigged worms with the best action in 20 to 25 feet. The occasional ripbait fish is taken near the shoreline in the warmer conditions in the afternoons. Striped bass fishing has been slow, but a 30-pound lineside was taken from the shoreline near the dam on a live crawdad. All motors must conform to low-emission standards. Millerton is rising slowly, currently at 494.48 feet and 38% capacity.
In the lower San Joaquin, minimal fishing action is taking place due to the lack of trout plants. A trout plant is scheduled for Woodward Park Lake this week. 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.
Call: Fresno Fisherman’s Warehouse 225-1838; Valley Rod & Gun 292-3474
New Melones Reservoir/Tulloch
Bass Crappie Catfish Trout Kokanee
John Lietchy of Glory Hole Sports in Angels Camp said, “Anyone can go out and get some bass using jigs or plastics on the Texas or Carolina-rig. The spring bite is around the corner, and the majority of fish are in the 25- to 35-foot range, and they are filling their bellies in anticipation of the coming spawn. Rock ledges and bluffs are holding plenty of bass, and Hula Grubs on a football-head jig or plastics on a darthead using colors of natural crawdad colors or earth tones are effective in clear water while brighter or darker colors are working best in stained water.” The occasional larger fish are taken on swimbaits, but fishermen have to be willing to toss the heavy lures throughout the day for one or two chances at a true trophy fish. Nearly 100 boats are expected for Saturday’s Best Bass Tournaments Mother Lode Circuit.
Trout fishing remained solid with the fish in shallow water. Trollers are finding success using bright color patterned spoons such as Needlefish, ExCels or Speedy Shiners near the surface while running at faster speeds (2-3 mph). Gary Burns of “Take It To The Limit” Guide Service said, “We put in several rainbows up to 2 pounds this week in addition to three kokanee and releasing a quality brown trout.” He has been trolling at 3 mph around the Highway 49 Bridge and up the river arm at 5-18 feet with spoons in pink, blue or rainbow coated with Pro-Cure’s Bloody Tuna. The kokanee were taken on firetiger or gold Uncle Larry’s spinners tipped with a nightcrawler at a slower trolling speed. The kokanee bite should go into high gear shortly.
Bank fishing has been best with nightcrawlers scented with garlic or anise off the bottom while trout dough bait in rainbow, chartreuse, garlic or salmon egg have also been effective for limits of planters. Lietchy said, “We haven’t had many large rainbows this year with a 2-pound fish being on the upper end while last year it took a 3-pound rainbow to win our weekly Big Fish Contest nearly every week.” The net pens are holding rainbows in the 3-pound range, and they will be released during April.
Catfishing remained good with frozen shad, mackerel, or anchovies scented with Pro-Cure’s Bloody Tuna or garlic with the best action around exposed wood. The unseasonably warm weather should spur the crappie bite, and with the lake level much lower than normal, submerged structure is readily available. Small minnows under a slip-float, a minnow on a minijig or a Beetle Spin will are work for the slabsides.
The lake is rising steadily with the concrete ramp at Glory Hole Point open with two lanes and a dock, but the Tuttletown Launch Ramp remains closed. New Melones dropped a half-foot to 878.41 and 25% capacity.
At Lake Tulloch, plans have been announced to drain the lake in September to meet agricultural and environmental obligations, but it appears that the lake will be open for the summer months.
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 still haven’t moved up to the banks in numbers, and the best action is still in the 20-foot range. The lake is experiencing heavy boat pressure, particularly on the weekends, and the bass bite is limited to small fish on the bottom with drop-shot plastics, jigs or small swimbaits with the males becoming active and suspending on the edge of shallower water with the lake continuing to rise. Trout trolling is improving, but trollers are still picking up spotted bass while targeting rainbows with Needlefish, ExCels or Wedding Rings tipped with a nightcrawler from Zebe Creek to the Power Lines. The lure of trophy trout are drawing most trout trollers to Shaver Lake. Small crappie are showing up off the Deer Creek docks with minijigs. Pine Flat will host at least one bass tournament each of the next few weekends. The lake rose 1.5 feet to 745.41 and 17% capacity.
In the lower Kings River, rainbows of catchable size will be planted on a weekly basis for the next two 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 both 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 the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers Bridge (first bridge west of the dam) on Pine Flat Road with a five-fish limit. 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. The Thorburn Spawning Channel, the 2,200-foot-long channel 5 miles downstream from Pine Flat Dam, and the reach of river within a 200-foot radius of the channel exit is closed to all fishing all year.
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
San Luis Reservoir continued to rise (past 66% capacity) with heavy pumping from the Delta. With the higher water levels, a number of creeks and coves are covered with water again, creating new habitat for striped bass. The rising water has spread out the schools of stripers, and they are found in small groupings, holding along specific areas within the main lake. Patrick Movey of the Fresno Fishermen’s Warehouse advised, “Using your electronics is the key to locating the schools. Trollers are finding the best action at depths to 80 feet on the downrigger with Lucky Craft Pointers or Duo Realis jerkbaits.” Roger George had success on a trip last week with John Malos (see Roger’s remarks for more about that). George is trolling plugs at depths to 80 feet in various locations. Mick and Travis Cochran of Exeter released over 20 fish to 24 inches the next day with George. Gary Kuwamoto of Fresno caught and released a 16-pounder. Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod & Gun said, “Local anglers have been heading to the main lake with 4-inch Storm swimbaits, Duo Realis jerkbaits or Lucky Craft Pointer 128s for both trolling and casting.” Anthony Lopez of Coyote Bait in Morgan Hill also touted the 4-inch Storm swimbaits along with broken-backed Rebels or similar plugs for stripers in the 18- to 24-inch range near the Trash Racks or Portuguese Cove. Jumbo minnows drifted just off of the bottom are also working for striped bass of similar size in the same areas.
In the O’Neill Forebay, largemouth bass continued to show up in numbers in the shallows near the Rockwall with jigs while bank fishermen along Check 12 and Highway 152 are picking up a few schoolie stripers with blood worms, pile worms, anchovies or frozen shad. Lopez said, “It is easy to catch numbers, but you will have to go through several fish in order to put together a two-fish limit.”
Call: Coyote Bait and Tackle (408) 463-0711; Roger George (559) 905-2954
Bass Trout Kokanee
The lake is rising, and trout trolling remained very good for trollers working from the Sheriff’s Tower to the dam at depths just below the surface in the top 6 feet. Blade/crawler combinations, Wedding Rings tipped with a nightcrawler behind a dodger, Needlefish or Apex lures are all effective for rainbows to 18 inches. The bass bite is fair with the best action on Senkos or drop-shot plastics at depths to 20 feet for seven to eight fish per trip. The swimbait bite may have come and gone already as the lake temperature is warming, and local fishermen may have kept this bite close to the vest. An occasional larger bass is taken on ripbaits, swimbaits or spinnerbaits. The lake has risen to the point where a larger boat can be launched from the public dock, and it held at 52% capacity.
Call: Todd Wittwer 288-8100; Mike Beighey 642-3748; Bass Lake Water Sports 642-3200
Brown trout Trout
The Kaiser Pass Lakes are done until the gate is reopened. At Mammoth Pool, few fishermen are taking the long drive to the lake, but trout fishing continues to be decent from the shoreline with Power Bait or nightcrawlers. Mammoth Pool is holding at 26% with Edison at 4% and Florence at 11%.
Call: Vermilion Valley Resort at Edison Lake 259-4000
Shaver Lake/Huntington Lake
Anglers are already putting a significant dent on the 1,700 trophy trout (3 to 12 pounds) released by the Shaver Lake Trophy Trout Project. Dick Nichols of Dick’s Fishing Charters, president of the SLTTP, said, “The lake is kicking out trophies on a daily basis since the 2015 plant a few weeks back, and there have been several rainbows from 6 to over 10 pounds landed in the past week, primarily from the shorelines.” With the unseasonably warm weather, the lake has been filled with boaters on the weekends. The leader of the Herb Bauer’s Sporting Goods Shaver Lake Trophy Trout Contest is Gerard Reinhart of Fresno with his 10-pound, 13-ounce rainbow landed on trout dough bait near the back of the lake at Tunnel Creek from a boat. This fish eclipsed the 8.58-pounder taken earlier in the week from the shoreline by Kenneth Johnson of Fresno. The contest runs through Dec. 31 and the official weigh stations are Ken’s Market or Shaver Lake Sports in Shaver Lake. Boaters are anchoring up and soaking trout dough bait in green or rainbow along with nightcrawlers. Several trophies have also been landed from the shoreline.
Trout in the 10-pound range cost the SLTTP over $50, so organizers are requesting that anglers consider releasing the larger fish or only keeping one of the trophies per trip. Tax-deductible donations to the 2016 plant: send a check to the SLTTP at PO Box 908, Shaver Lake, 93664. A thank-you letter with your donation amount for tax purposes will be returned. The annual fundraising dinner is Aug. 8 at the Shaver Lake Community Center.
Nichols went on an exploratory trolling adventure with Dave Dungy of Shaver Lake on Monday, and they released four limits of mixed trout and kokanee with the big fish going 4 pounds landed by Dungy on a Trout Buster. He said, “The best trolling area was the Point, but we caught them all over the lake at depths from 20 to 27 feet with Trout Busters, Koke Busters and Apex lures behind Mountain Flashers on the side poles and Captain Jack’s Shaver Lake Dodgers on the downriggers. An 11-year-old girl landed an 8.5-pounder soaking Power Bait from a boat, and most of the trollers reported scoring limits.”
Shaver is at 48% capacity.
At Huntington, a few fishermen are walking down to the banks to soak Power Bait or inflated nightcrawlers near Rancheria Creek or the Auxiliary Dam for limited success. The lake held at 34% capacity, exposing the launch ramp.
Call: Dick’s Fishing Charters 841-2740; Dinkey Creek Inn 841-3435; Rancheria Marina 893-3234; Shaver Lake Sports Inc. 841-2740
The gate at Dinkey Creek will reopen in late spring.
Call: Wishon RV Park 865-5361
Half Moon Bay
The end of March will mark the conclusion of the slow season out of Pillar Point Harbor with the anticipation of the ocean salmon opener on the first Saturday in April along with the possibility of the rockfish season opening below Pigeon Point in the Central Management Area on April 1 and above Pigeon Point in the San Francisco Management Area on April 15. The official announcement will be confirmed after this week’s series of meetings of the Pacific Fisheries Marine Council.
Captain Tom Mattusch of the Huli Cat out of Half Moon Bay said, “In a normal year, the water temperatures are in the 49- to 51-degree range along the coast south of Pigeon Point, but we are experiencing August water temperatures in March at 57 degrees, so it is quite likely that the rockfish will be willing to bite.” 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. Mattusch came across acres and acres of birds working the surface near the Shipping Lanes on a recent excursion, although he wasn’t able to confirm the type of baitfish present.
An unmanned and untethered marine submarine has made its presence known at the Pillar Point Harbor, and the vessel will be used to map the ocean in 3D around an aircraft carrier that sunk off the coast in 1951. Mattusch is outfitting the Huli Cat with new electronics from Simrad including new transducers, side-scanning sonar, and chirping. He said, “The electronics have the capacity to see fish with clarity at 10,000 feet, and this will be very beneficial for both our deep-water research and future Humboldt squid trips.”
Up the coast in Pacifica, Rob Chaney of the Rusty Hook reported decent surf perch fishing with blood or pile worms as the baits are once again available after a hiatus due to inclement weather in Maine. An occasional large striper continued to appear for shoreline anglers with a limit at 26 and 24.5 pounds taken on hair raisers south of the Pacifica Pier. Crabbing is keeping anglers happy from the pier with snares working best while loaded with squid or sardines. Sales of crab snares remain high despite the season opening several months ago.
Call: Happy Hooker (510) 223-5388; Roger Thomas, Salty Lady (415) 760-9362; Bait and Switch Sport Fishing Center (650) 726-7133; Emeryville Sport Fishing (510) 654-6040; Don Franklin, Soleman (510) 703-4148
Chris Arcoleo of Chris’s Landing in Monterey reported the Dungeness crab action has slowed down in the past week, and the Check Mate returned with three crab apiece for 11 anglers on Sunday along with plenty of sand dabs and around 100 mackerel. The mackerel bite has slowed since the start of the week when anglers were lining the public wharf for bucketloads. With the strong possibility of rockfish season opening below Pigeon Point on April 1, Arcoleo is booking April rockfish/ling cod trips. Out of Santa Cruz, the 11th annual Sand Crab Perch Derby, a fundraiser for the Monterey Bay Salmon and Steelhead Project, is Saturday. Details: www.theletsgofishingradioshow.com.
Call: Chris’s Landing (831) 375-5951; Bayside Marine (831) 475-2173; usafishing.com
San Francisco Bay
Halibut Striper Rockfish Leopard shark Sturgeon
The halibut bite continued to be encouraging with Captain Jerad Davis on the Salty Lady posting seven to 10 pounds plus three stripers to 4 pounds for 10 fishermen on Friday using their supply of live anchovies after putting in eight halibut and a striped bass on Thursday’s trip.
Keith Fraser of Loch Lomond Bait and Tackle in San Rafael reported “incredible weather” in San Pablo Bay as the Bay Area continues to resemble San Diego, and local fishermen are responding to the weather with heavy traffic to the bait shop throughout the weekend. Fraser said, “Sturgeon fishing was only fair over the weekend as perhaps a half-dozen were landed in the mediocre tides.” Bass fishing remains fabulous with the Argo scoring four limits of stripers along with a shaker sturgeon using Loch Lomond ghost shrimp on the anchor. Fraser added, “Loads of mud shrimp went out this weekend, and more is on the way to the shop.” Halibut fishing was only fair with so many boats working Paradise and other locations in the bay. The full moon may have affected the bite. Loch Lomond has a few mudsuckers but plenty of shiners in the shop. Grass shrimp is very scarce.
Captain Jim Smith on the Happy Hooker out of Berkeley will be taking his first live bait halibut/striper trip of the season on Saturday. He has rounded up a supply of live anchovies and shiners for the trip.
San Luis Obispo
The San Luis Obispo County ports are limited to sand dab/crab, whale watching or nature cruises until the anticipated April 1 rockfish opener, which would be one month earlier than tradition. The last combination trip out of Patriot Sport Fishing returned with a limit of Dungeness crab for 10 anglers along with a handful of sand dabs and white croakers. Surf perch fishing remained excellent from the beaches north of Morro Rock and near Port San Luis 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
Oversized sturgeon were the story of the weekend in Suisun Bay with numerous big fish over the 60-inch slot limit caught and released. Keepers have been more elusive with oversized fish dominating action, but six-packs, party boats and skiffs are finding the occasional slot limit fish. Grass shrimp has been all but impossible to find in local bait shops, but fortunately salmon roe and lamprey eel continued to produce action.
Captain James Smith of the California Dawn out of Martinez said, “We had the oversized blues on Sunday with a 68-incher and another clearly over 7 feet released in the water on salmon roe as it has been tough getting keepers although we put in two keepers at 51 and 54 inches on Saturday along with a pair of oversized sturgeon released.”
Captain Steve Talmadge of Flash Sport Fishing has been working the deep water from the Benicia/Martinez Bridge to Buoy 4 with straight eel for legal sturgeon to 59 inches during the week. He said the best action has been during the last two hours of the incoming tide below 30 feet.
Earlier in the week, Captain Bill Clapp of Bill’s Sport Fishing out of Martinez put his two deckhands, Joe Connell of Benicia and Chuck Soden of Sacramento, onto slot-limit sturgeon at 59 and 52 inches on uncured salmon roe near Buoy 2 in 30-plus feet of water. Clapp said, “The fish bit on both tides, and we had two others come unbuttoned along with a few solid bites. The fish were running in stretches, and there was no reason to move because the sturgeon would come back through in groups.”
Tony Lopez of Benicia Bait reported solid sturgeon fishing with John “The Roofer” releasing an oversized sturgeon along with a 59.5-inch keeper on Sunday at the Fleet on grass shrimp. Live grass shrimp has been very difficult to obtain, and Benicia Bait has been one of the only shops with shrimp in the tanks. They went through 25 pounds in two hours Sunday morning. Shoreline striper fishing is improving from the Benicia Bridge to 12th Street on blood worms, pile worms, or anchovies.
Do Doung at Dockside Bait in Pittsburg reported a number of big female stripers ranging from 20 to 40 pounds have been landed in the past week. With the shortage of both bullheads and mudsuckers, fishermen are transporting live splittail or jack smelt into the Delta for the big fish. Many of the large fish have been kept instead of being released.
Seal Island around the Naval Weapons Station and in the shallows in Honker Bay have been possible locations for the big bass. Sturgeon fishing in the Pittsburg area has been best near the mouth of the Little Cut, the PGE Plant or near Collinsville with salmon roe or eel as ghost and grass shrimp have been scarce in area bait shops.
The striper bite that had been so hot up the river arm slowed down the past week, leading J.D. Richey of Richey’s Guide Service to state, “It has been very tough in the Rio Vista area as the boat traffic was heavy on Saturday with jet skiers and wake boarders showing up along with a large number of fishing boats. The action has been less than spectacular, although we have landed a few quality stripers to 10 pounds on topwater lures. We had a couple of good topwater sessions in low light, but the tide went slack on Saturday at sunset, so the bite was off.” The stripers have ranged from spawned out to “ready to go” with yellowish-red eggs.
Alan Fong of the Fishermen’s Warehouse in Sacramento confirmed the slowdown in striper fishing in the north Delta with trollers scoring only a few fish per rod after experiencing banner action within the past two week.
Largemouth bass action on the San Joaquin River remained outstanding, and the action will get better as the water continues to clear with the lack of wind. Striped bass are showing up as well on the main river channel, but marauding sea lions are thrashing both largemouth and striped bass throughout the river system.
Alan Fong of the Sacramento Fishermen’s Warehouse reported excellent largemouth fishing for bass to 4.5 pounds flipping Sweet Beavers or 7-inch Senkos as the larger females are moving into shallower water. He said, “The sea lions are tearing the bass up, and they are all over the place as the largemouths are very vulnerable while moving towards the beds.”
Ador Lopez of Angler’s Choice reported some huge limits in excess of 26 pounds were needed to place first and second in Saturday’s tournament out of Russo’s Marina. Flipping Senkos or drop-shotting Don Iovino’s 6-inch Spade Tail Worms in peanut butter and jelly were the top techniques.
Chris Lauritzen of Lauritzen’s Yacht Harbor in Oakley said, “There are a lot of fish in the prespawn mood, and some of the black bass being caught right now are just as long as they are wide with really big bellies looking like footballs. The back end of Big Break or in Dutch Slough have been top areas for largemouth bass with Senkos producing best. For striped bass, the north fork of the Mokelumne was producing last week until sea lions arrived while trollers have been scoring linesides to 10 pounds from Eddo’s Boat Harbor upriver to the Sounding Board.”
Jim Pickens of the Fishermen’s Friend in Lodi was able to get out of the shop earlier in the week, and they found some striped bass trolling in the San Joaquin River system.
Steve Santucci of Steve Santucci’s Guide Service said, “Striper fishing is great for numbers including some decent size. We caught many fish in the five to seven-pound range this week, and fishing should remain strong through April.”
The state Department of Boating and Waterways has begun spraying herbicide around the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, three weeks earlier than usual, including Burns Cutoff and Village West Marina in Stockton.
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 Crappie
Large bass were the story during the 101 Bass Tournament at Lopez Lake on Saturday with limits in excess of 25 pounds needed to take first and second place. Jigs or swimbaits were successful for the large fish over 8 pounds. Lopez isn’t the only lake kicking out big bass since a largemouth over 10 pounds was landed at Santa Margarita, but the numbers of the large fish are limited. Crappie are starting to show up at both lakes. At Nacimiento, small bass are the story, and the best action is in low light conditions with reaction baits in the shallows. Crankbaits and spinnerbaits are effective for the numerous small bass. White bass can be found in Snake Creek, Las Tablas and near the Heritage Launch Ramp with Shap Raps or similar small white lures. 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 daily 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. Reminders: consuming white bass, black bass, crappie, catfish or carp are subject to safe eating guidelines due to excessive mercury, and quagga mussel inspections are required before boat launching is allowed.
Call: Lake Nacimiento (805) 238-1056, ext. 3; Lake San Antonio Marina (805) 472-2818; Central Coast Bass Fishing (805) 466-6557
Delta/Russo’s Marina, March 7: 1, Danny Peluso/Mark Mendez, 26.67 pounds (big fish 11.43); 2, Mike Saso/Larry Vignollo, 26.20; 3, Bub Tosh/Russ Herring, 24.89.
Lopez-101 Bass, March 7: 1, Aaron Quarles/Charley Barros, 26.33 (big fish 8.21); 2, Darrin and Del Bishop, 24.35; 3, Nick Salvetti/Jared Litner, 20.50.
Don Pedro-Bass 101 Team Open, March 8: 1, Ralph and Denise Encizo, 27.00 (big fish 13.80); 2, Timmy Wells/Travis Mathews, 12.80; 3, Mark Corrente/John Albidrez, 10.28.
Fresno Fly Fishers for Conservation: Free fly casting instruction in Dry Creek Park, corner Clovis and Alluvial avenues in Clovis, every Tuesday evening in April.
Saturday: Santa Cruz Portuguese Hall, 11th annual Sand Crab Classic Surf Perch Derby, www.theletsgofishingradioshow.com; Delta/B and W Resort, Angler’s Choice; Delta/Russo’s Marina, Hook, Line and Sinker; Delta/Tracy Oasis, Tracy Bass Club; New Melones, Best Bass Tournaments; Don Pedro, Kerman Bass Club; Pine Flat, LeHigh Cement; Kaweah, Visalia Bass Club; Success, Golden Empire Bass Club; Lopez, San Luis Obispo Bass Ambushers.
Sunday: Delta/Ladd’s Marina, Angler’s Choice; Don Pedro, Kings River Bass Club; Success, Success Bass Club; Lopez, Best Bass Tournaments.
March 21-22: Don Pedro, Sierra Bass Two-Day.
March 21: Delta/Russo’s, American Bass Association; Delta/Ladd’s Marina, Manteca Bassin’Buddies; New Melones, Future Pro Tour; Don Pedro, Angler’s Choice; Pine Flat, Bakersfield Bass Club; Kaweah, Kern County Bass Masters; Lopez, American Bass Association.
March 22: Delta/Tracy Oasis, Tracy Bass Club; New Melones, Modesto Ambassadors; Don Pedro, Fresno Bass Club/Mid Valley Bass Club; Success, American Bass Association.
March 28: Delta/Ladd’s Marina, Christian Bass League; Delta/Russo’s Marina, Angler’s Choice; Nacimiento, Taft Bass Club; Lopez, 101 Bass.
March 29: Delta/B and W Resort, California Bass Federation; Delta/Ladd’s Marina, Stockton Bass.
Kern County: Kern River, Section 4-6
Fresno County: Kings River, Below Pine Flat Dam; Fresno City Woodward Park Lake
Madera: Corrine Lake; Eastman Lake; Manzanita Lake
Mariposa: Eastman Lake
Tulare: Kern River, Section 5; Del Lago Park Lake
Tuolumne: Tulloch Lake