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
Never miss a local story.
*** Limits possible
**** Fish jumpin’ in boat
Delta Mendota Canal and Sloughs
Striper ** Catfish **
Striper fishing has been fair at best in the northern section of the California Aqueduct, with the schools of linesides moving up and down the water-conveyance system. A few anglers continue to target stripers with Duo Realis jerkbaits, Lucky Craft Pointer 128’s or white flukes near moving water close to the headgates. Most striper fishermen are heading to O’Neill Forebay or the main body of water at San Luis Reservoir. In the south aqueduct in Kern County, Jacob Rutledge of Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield reported an 18-pound catfish was taken on chicken livers from the aqueduct and that the striper bite is transitioning to more of a bait than a lure bite. Sardines, frozen shad, jumbo minnows or anchovies are all working. Largemouth bass are still biting Senkos, plastics on the drop-shot or Brush Hogs near structure.
Bass *** Trout ** Bluegill ** Catfish ** Crappie **
Mark Inman of Lefty’s Lures said, “The lake is on fire for bass, along with nearby Hensley, as the bite has broken out with the fish moving into the shallows.” Inman has been finding great action with various jigs. Warmer weather has improved the bass bite, with reports of several bass caught in the 2- to 3-pound range per day becoming common. The fish are moving onto beds, and there have reports of 8- to 10-pound bass being caught, including one measuring 24 inches. Most biting fish are in about 20 feet of water with plastics on the drop-shot or Carolina rig. Artificial crawlers and minnows are proving productive. Trout have been reported caught near the fishing access lot, just south of the Codorniz and Chowchilla boat ramps, and near the dam with trout dough bait on a slip sinker rig. The area of the lake extending upstream from the buoy line near the Cordoniz ramp is closed because of nesting bald eagles in the area. There are unmarked hazards throughout the lake because of the low water conditions. The lake held at 470.04 feet in elevation and 8% capacity.
Call: Six Star Tackle Box 673-5688; Eastman Lake 689-3255
Bass *** Trout ** Catfish ** Bluegill ** Crappie **
Catching bass is not problem, as there is no end to the 11- to 12-inch fish, but finding a 3-pound spotted bass is a challenge. Jigs, Carolina-rigged lizards, drop-shot plastics or Brush Hogs are all working for the “dinks.” The annual Kids Fishing Derby is April 11 and includes 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 (559) 673-5151 for current ramp conditions. The lake is at 453.83 feet in elevation and 8% 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 **
Harold Hass of the Fresno Bass Club said, “The bass were generally shallow and eating plastics” as the club sponsored a Sunday tournament. Walt Austin got a 9.95-pounder on a senko and added enough others to win by more than 6 pounds over the runner-up. Walt said that his grandson, Nic Lashley, caught fish while taking part in his first tournament. “We need more young anglers in the sport,” he said. Bass fishing has been solid with topwater lures in the mornings and evenings, as the fish are moving into the shallows. Huddlestons in light trout on a Rate of Fall 5 also are productive for the larger fish while numbers can be taken on shad-patterned plastics such as Robo Worm’s Hologram Shad, Pro Worm’s Pro Gold or Reaction Innovation’s Bad Shad Green. Live minnows are working from the shore. The trout bite continues to improve with bright spoons fast-trolled on lead-core line early in the morning before slowing with nightcrawlers behind a small dodger by mid-morning. Kokanee should be arriving soon. The Fleming Meadows ramp is open with one lane, but Blue Oaks remains closed. The lake rose nearly 2 feet to 712.75 in elevation and 44% 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 26th annual Lake Isabella Fishing Derby is Saturday through Monday with the longest trout from 1st to 10th place sharing a total payout of $18,500. Entry is $30 per individual and $65 per family. Call (760) 379-5236 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Online registration is available at kernrivervalley.com. The lake remains extremely low, and high winds during the past week made for difficult conditions for crappie fishermen. Said Jacob Rutledge of Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield: “They were catching them left and right last week, but it slowed down a bit this week, but I expect the bite to reemerge this week.” Small minnows or minijgs are working best around submerged structure, especially near French Gulch. Bass fishing remains minimal, but there are a few bass tournaments scheduled for the lake in April. Catfishing remained fair with garlic shrimp, frozen shad, jumbo minnows, anchovies or sardines. With the low lake levels, it is necessary to use a four-wheel-drive vehicle to launch your vessel from the dirt ramp near Red’s Marina. There are no marinas or courtesy docks in the lake. The lake dropped slightly to 2.530.34 feet in elevation and 8% capacity. In the Kern River, plants are scheduled for the sections both above and below the lake during the current week. In the lower river, Rutledge touted bluegill and catfish near Hart Park. Another trout plant occurred at Buena Vista, and fishermen are picking up a few trout, including German browns. The local lakes are transitioning over to warm-water species such as bluegill and largemouth bass.
Call: Bob’s Bait (661) 833-8657; North Fork Marina (760) 376-1812
Bass *** Crappie *** Trout ** Catfish **
The lake continues to rise, up nearly 2 feet this week to 634.21 in elevation and 27% capacity. The crappie bite remained solid around submerged trees with small to medium minnows or minijigs. The popular Crappie Stingers are no longer readily available in tackle stores, so slabsiders have to settle for alternative styles of minijigs. The bass bite has broken out in the shallows with Senkos, Brush Hogs, plastic worms and crankbaits. The trout bite has been very slow, as the lake has only been planted twice this season. A 10.8-pound largemouth bass was caught and released in the shallows in the river arm. The warm weather has kept the catfish bite going, and the best action has been with anchovies, sardines or chicken livers.
Call: Sierra Sporting Goods 592-5212
Bass *** Trout ** Catfish ** Crappie **
Chuck Stokke of Sequoia Fishing Co. in Springville reported bass fishing is good to excellent with Senkos, Brush Hogs, G-Money jigs or crankbaits. The lake is off color, making it difficult to sight fish with the females on the beds. Most bass landed have been the smaller males. Trout fishing is fair to good with Panther Martins, Power Bait, or nightcrawlers while fly fishermen are tossing Woolley Buggers. The lake rose about a half foot to 590.43 in elevation and 9% capacity. In the Tule River, Stokke said, “The river is kicking out mostly brown on stimulators, caddis, hoppers, or Woolley Buggers, and two anglers scored German browns in the 13- to 14-inch range on Panther Martins in the Middle Fork.” The local ponds are excellent for bass, crappie, and bluegill.
Call: Sequoia Fishing Co. 539-5626, www.sequoiafishingcompany.com
Bass ** Trout ** King salmon * Kokanee * Crappie ** Catfish **
The lake has risen to 9% capacity and 608.41 feet in elevation, 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 being switched to neighboring reservoirs such as Don Pedro for the spring. The store and marinas will remain closed for the coming season.
Call: A-1 Bait (209) 563-6505; Bub Tosh (209) 404-0053
The lake is stained because of the inflow of warm and off-color water from Lake McClure. Trout plants from Calaveras Trout Farm are limited to one every six weeks, although a big plant will take place prior to the Merced Irrigation District’s Spring Trout Derby on April 11-12. Trout fishing has only been fair from the brush pile, the points near the marina or the handicapped docks with bright colors of trout dough bait or power eggs. Trolling has been slow. Registration for the Trout Derby is available at lakemcclure.com.
Call: McSwain Marina (209) 378-2534
Millerton Lake/San Joaquin River
Bass *** Striper ** Shad * Bluegill ** Trout **
At Millerton, Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “Several quality striped bass are appearing while anglers are reeling up spotted bass, and the big fish have been observed in various locations throughout the lake, not just above Finegold.” Gilbert touted Senkos, jigs, or plastics on the drop-shot, Texas-rig, or darthead for numbers in the shallows with a few bass to 2 pounds. However, most bass are in the 12- to 13-inch range. There are a few fish already on beds despite the water level inching upward. All motors must conform to low-emission standards. Millerton is rising slowly, and it came up about a half foot to 495.87 in elevation and 39% capacity. In the lower San Joaquin, minimal fishing action is taking place with the exception of a few bass taken around Sycamore Island Park. Regulations on the lower San Joaquin, and from Friant Dam downstream to the Highway 140 Bridge, allow only two hatchery trout or hatchery steelhead with a total of four in possession. The hatchery fish have a healed adipose fin clip. All wild steelhead or trout with an adipose fin must be released immediately. The San Joaquin River is closed to the take of salmon and they must be released immediately if inadvertently caught.
Call: Fresno Fisherman’s Warehouse 225-1838; Valley Rod & Gun 292-3474
New Melones Reservoir/Tulloch
Bass *** Crappie * Catfish *** Trout *** Kokanee **
Bass fishing at New Melones is great for numbers, but the large fish have gone on hiatus within the past two weeks as evidenced by the 15-pound plus limit taking first at the recent Future Pro Tournament. John Lietchy of Glory Hole Sports in Angels Camp said, ”The lake is starting to release water, and it is more stained than normal with the quality fish dropping off, but numbers are found in 30 to 40 feet of water with half to three-quarters-ounce football head jigs with California Reservoir Lure jigs or plastics on the drop-shot, shaky head, Texas rig, Carolina rig or darthead. When fishing in stained water, use a large profile bait such as a Brush Hog or creature bait.” Trout fishing remained productive for trollers pulling shad-patterned spoons at depths from 15-20 feet, and Lietchy advised switching to orange or firetiger lures when running through dingy sections of the lake. The majority of trout are less than 2 pounds, but the larger Kokanee Power net pen fish will be released in April, and these average in the 3- to 4-pound range. Kokanee fishing is “right around the corner,” while some fishermen are picking up from 1-3 kokanee. New Melones dropped 3 feet to 874.90 in elevation and 24% capacity. Lake Tulloch will be drained in September to meet agricultural and environmental obligations, but it appears it 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 **
The lake experienced a brief respite without a bass tournament during the past weekend. Fishermen are picking up about 15 bass per trip with the occasional spot or largemouth to 2.75-3 pounds. The bass are starting to move onto the beds, but most are still in the prespawn phase. Patrick Movey of the Fisherman’s Warehouse in Fresno said, “Senkos, jigs, and plastics such as Robo Worm’s Green Weenie on the drop shot are working at depths from 15-18 feet.” Few fish are taken on ripbaits, spinnerbaits or topwater lures. Trout trolling is good for a few planted rainbows with Cripplures or ExCels at depths to 20 feet on lead core or on the downrigger. Spotted bass continue to strike trolled lures intended for rainbows. A few catfish to 3 pounds are found near Pine Flat Lake Resort with anchovies. The crappie bite has yet to emerge, and Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “There usually is a small window for crappie for a few weeks at Pine Flat.” One launch ramp is open on the lake, but the lake is inching up slowly. Kokanee Power will be hosting its annual Team Trout Derby on April 18. Get details at kokaneepower.org. The lake rose 1.5 feet to 747.77 in elevation and 18% capacity. In the lower Kings River, catchable rainbows will be planted again this week. The planters are biting various colors of Power Bait or nightcrawlers in low flows. Regulations in the Kings River above and below Pine Flat Dam set the season from the last Saturday in April to Nov. 15 from Pine Flat Dam downstream to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Bridge on Pine Flat Road with a five-fish limit. The bridge is the first one to the west of the dam. The area from Cobbles (Alta) Weir downstream to the Highway 180 crossing is open all year but only with artificial lures with barbless hooks with a zero limit. The Thorburn Spawning Channel, the 2,200-foot long channel located 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 is starting to release water after several weeks of heavy pumping out of the Delta and is at 67% of capacity despite several thousand acre-feet of water rushing out of the lake. In the main lake, Patrick Movey said, “The striper action is ‘hit or miss’ with some fishermen finding decent success while others are struggling.” Trollers are running plugs at depths from 60-80 feet, and with the high lake level, the stripers are scattered into small groupings throughout the lake. Alex Tran of Coyote Bait and Tackle in Morgan Hill said, “Jumbo minnows or 1.75-ounce Duh! Spoons in shad-patterns are producing a few striped bass off of the bottom.” Roger George of Roger’s Guide Service said that the bite late last week was very tough. A front moved through Friday that I think caused the fish to suspend and shut off. Several solid striper guys told me they had from 1-5 fish for an all-day effort, trolling and using minnows. We only got three in five hours fishing, with one 8-pounder. It should rebound.” Bank fishermen are tossing Duo Realis jerkbaits, Lucky Craft 128’s or white flukes at night or in the early morning before the sun hits the water. In the Forebay, Tran said, “Check 12 and the aqueduct side of the lake are the top locations for school-sized stripers with ripbaits, RatLTraps, blood worms, and pile worms.” Largemouth bass fishing has improved in the impoundment, and they can be taken in the shallows with jigs, drop-shot plastics or Senkos. Heavy pumping through the reservoir continued throughout the week, and the stripers become active when the water is moving.
Call: Coyote Bait andTackle (408) 463-0711, Roger George of rogergeorgeguideservice.com (559) 905-2954
Bass ** Trout ** Kokanee *
Trout trolling has been best from the surface to 20 feet in depth with blade/crawler combinations, Wedding Rings tipped with a nightcrawler behind a dodger or spinners, but fishermen have to work hard and be patient in order to post limits. Bass fishing is tough, although plastics on the drop-shot or darthead are producing numbers at depths to 15 feet. An encouraging sign is the increase in the number of largemouth bass in the mix. The lake’s level has held, and launching a 19-foot boat is not a problem, but there is a large chunk of concrete missing from one side of the public launch ramp. The courtesy dock is only three-quarters in the water. The lake held at 52% capacity.
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 later in the 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 has risen to 28%, with Edison at 5% and Florence at 12%.
Call: Vermilion Valley Resort at Edison Lake 259-4000
Shaver Lake/Huntington Lake
Kokanee ** Trout ***
The unseasonably warm spring has brought fishermen out of the woodwork in the Central Valley, and nowhere has the impact of a trophy plant been so profound as the past few weeks at Shaver Lake since the release of 1,700 trophies from a Nebraska hatchery ranging from 3-14 pounds. Dick Nichols of Dick’s Fishing Charters said, “I just witnessed a picture on an angler’s cell phone of one of our Nebraska trophies estimated closer to 15 pounds. Robin Creamer of Fresno landed it off of the bank at Road 2 on a Roostertail spinner. We don’t have an exact weight since the fishermen released it without taking a measurement, but the picture at Fresno Ag Hardware tells the story.” Limits have been the norm under blue skies with trollers finding their best action from 20-25 feet in depth with blade/crawler combinations, Dick’s Trout Busters tipped with a piece of nightcrawler behind a weighted flasher, or Apex lures near the dam, Sierra Marina and Black Rock. Nichols added, “Bimini Bob” Logan and his fishing friend Craig Lung have hit the lake several times over the past three weeks with good success, and their latest trip over the weekend produced about 30 mixed kokanee and rainbow trout on a catch-and-release session. Longtime kokanee fisherman Art Richmond of Big Creek found a good mixture of trout and kokanee near the dam. Not everyone is connecting with limits, but the successful fishermen are experimenting with various color patterns and depths. Bank fishing is fair for numbers, but there have been several quality trophies taken from the shore including a 9.10-pound rainbow landed by Josh Segrue of Fresno at Road 3. The current leader in the Herb Bauer/Shaver Lake Visitor Bureau season derby is 10.13 pounds. Ken's Market and Shaver Lake Sports are the two official weigh stations. Regular bank angler Jack Benigno has been getting in on the action with two trophies at 7.25 and 3 pounds near the Shaver Lake Marina and he said, “The big fish gave me the most fight I have ever experienced from a rainbow trout, jumping five times and running the spool to the backing on two occasions.” The larger fish was released. Trout in the 10-pound range cost the Shaver Lake Trophy Trout Project more than $50, so the organizers are requesting that anglers consider releasing the larger fish or only keeping one of the trophies per trip. Anglers can help future plants by the project by donating to the 2016 effort. Send a tax-deductible check to the SLTTP, P.O. Box 908, Shaver Lake 93664. The annual fundraising dinner is Aug. 8 at the Shaver Lake Community Center. The lake held at 34% capacity, and the launch ramp is out of the water with the low water conditions.
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.
Call: Wishon RV Park 865-5361
Half Moon Bay
The earlier-than-normal rockfish opener along with the April 4 ocean salmon opener have the harbor buzzing with activity, as party boats and private skiffs are gearing up for the first action for species larger than sand dabs in the past several months. Captain Tom Mattusch of the Huli Cat is one of the boats getting ready for the April 1 rockfish opener below Pigeon Point and the salmon opener, but he has been taking out the occasional sand dab/crab combination trip. They went out on Saturday for limits of Dungeness crab. He said, “It’s slow this time of year, however, the gray whale migration is in full force, and we saw cow/calf pairs very close to the harbor.” Out of Half Moon Bay Sport Fishing, the Queen of Hearts will start rockfishing April 1 below Pigeon Point and salmon fishing on the opener. With the local rockfish season opening April 15, fishermen will have a number of options in which to return home with fillets. There is optimism for the salmon opener with birds crashing the surf near the harbor, and whales holding in the surf near Montara with acres of bait in the water. Mattusch also observed loads of bait in 100 fathoms off Pigeon Point. Captain Dennis Baxter of the New Captain Pete also will be starting recreational ocean salmon trips on April 4.
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
Chris Arcoleo of Chris’ Landing in Monterey said, “We are getting ready for rockfish season on April 1, and we haven’t been out for sand dabs and crab in the past few days. We have some room on the rockfish opener, and there is some room on April 6 for salmon, but the first two days of ocean salmon season are totally booked.” The northwest wind has been blowing every day, and the water has cooled to 55 degree with a nice green color. He said, “It isn’t the brown color that we like, but it has turned from blue to green. The bait has moved in with the wind to the area around Mulligan Hill, and the humpback whales are thick in the area, loading up on the small anchovies.”
Call: Chris’ Landing(831) 375-5951; Bayside Marine (831) 475-2173; usafishing.com
San Francisco Bay
Halibut *** Striper *** Leopard shark ** Salmon ** Sturgeon **
The real story of the weekend is the incredible bass and halibut action in San Pablo Bay and the central bay. Captain Jim Smith of the Happy Hooker out of Berkeley took out a charter on Sunday for 23 limits of striped bass to 15 pounds along with six halibut to 17 pounds. A number of the striped bass were in the 8- to 12-pound range. Captain Smith was gushing about the effectiveness of the Loch Lomond shiners, saying, “We had 5-6 bass on every time we saw the fish on the meter. We would have a lull and then hit another spot holding fish with several more hookups.” Larry Nelson of Oakland had a great day with three stripers to 15 pounds and the first halibut of the day. Saturday’s open load produced 27 bass to 13 pounds along with three halibut to 21 pounds for 20 anglers for 1.5 fish per rod. Smith will be back out on Friday through Sunday, and he is making plans to load back up on Loch Lomond shiners. Danny Sinkay of Sebastapol landed a 39-inch, 22-pound halibut on Loch Lomond shiners north of Red Rock in deep water at 40 feet on Sunday afternoon. Captain Mike Rescino on the Lovely Martha out of San Francisco had a great trolling trip Sunday with 19 striped bass to 13 pounds along with 17 halibut to 27 pounds, losing another dozen fish in the process. Captain Bill Clapp of Bill’s Sport Fishing went on an exploratory trolling trip in the middle of the week for three keeper halibut from 7-14 pounds, releasing a 25-inch striped bass. He will continue to fish sturgeon out of Martinez until mid-April before moving back to Berkeley Marina. Keith Fraser of Loch Lomond Bait is the star of the weekend for his live bait, and he weighed in Sinkay’s fish on Sunday afternoon, confirming its place in secknd behind a 32.7-pound halibut, knocking the 21.5-pounder into third place. He reported Bill McDonald of Novato fished McNear’s Pier during the week for an 18-pound halibut and an oversized sturgeon estimated by regular pier denizens to weigh 100-120 pounds. Fraser said, “That’s pretty good pier fishing, I might add.” Captain Mike Andrews on the Predator was also gushing about Loch Lomond bait, but it was the mud shrimp that kept him happy Sunday. They have a great supply of live shiners for the upcoming week. Surf perch fishing in the bay remains outstanding with pile worms or grass shrimp, but the season inside the bay ends April 1. Party boats out of Berkeley, Emeryville, and Sausalito are scheduling ocean salmon trips starting April 4 and rockfishing trips starting April 15.
San Luis Obispo
The Central Coast Management Rockfish region will open April 1, and boats from both San Luis Obispo County ports are scheduling open load rockfish trips. The following are regulation changes for the current season: You many only keep five black rockfish within the bag limit of 10 rockfish, California scorpion fish may only be kept from April 1-Aug. 31, and the ling cod limit has increased to three with a minimum size of 22 inches. Patriot is selling season passes for the 2015 rockfish season for $1,000. Virg’s is also offering a 10% discount for group charters booking an entire boat for a trip before season opens. Surf perch fishing remained excellent at Oceano or Pismo Beaches with Berkley Sand Worms or 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 in lower Suisun Bay continued to be outstanding with six-packs, private boaters and party boats returning with big slot-limit diamondbacks within the past week. Salmon roe and lamprey eel remain the top baits, but ghost shrimp and grass shrimp are also producing sturgeon. Grass shrimp continues to be in very limited quantities throughout the bay/Delta region. Striped bass in the 20- to 40-pound range are being removed by anglers using live jack smelt transported from various locations west of the Delta. The practice of transporting fin fish alive from the water where taken, including the Delta, is illegal, according to CCR Title 14, section 1.63. Schoolie stripers are moving quickly through the system on their way into the upper Sacramento River in order to spawn, and there have been several large female stripers caught and released by experienced fishermen tossing large topwater lures in the San Joaquin and Sacramento Rivers. With the number of stripers remaining in San Pablo and the central San Francisco Bay, there will be more on their way upriver in the coming weeks. For sturgeon, Captain Steve Talmadge of Flash Sport Fishing out of Martinez has been finding his best action in 33 feet of water near buoy 4 on the incoming tide with eel or grass shrimp. Duane Alspaw of Bakersfield was able to find a slot-limit sturgeon with Talmadge amidst several shakers released. Captain Chris Smith of the Captain Hook, also out of Martinez, was in lower Suisun Bay over the weekend and his group landed striped bass to 15 pounds using herring. There was a 50-inch sturgeon landed by 70-year-old Ron Watzke of Tracy. Smith said, “The bass have been aggressive, and we had at least four other runs that didn’t stick.” Benicia Bait is one of the only shops with grass shrimp. Sturgeon fishing has been best in the Big Cut and near the Mothball Fleet from buoys 2-4. Striper fishing is improving from the shore, and there are more legal fish arriving, although there are still a number of shakers to cull. James Nguyen at Dockside Bait reported big stripers continue to come into the shop, and one boat had limits at 33, 33, 28, and 18 pounds using live jack smelt. He said, “There have been between 40-50 big stripers over 30 pounds brought to the shop this year.” Sturgeon fishing has also been good with fish coming from the PGE Plant or Chain Island on ghost shrimp, pile worms, or eel. They have ghost and grass shrimp along with pile worms arriving Friday. Johnny Tran of New Romeo’s Bait in Freeport confirmed the solid troll bite in the shallows with P-Line or Yozuri shallow runners, and Steamboat and Miner Sloughs have been productive areas. In the San Joaquin River, J. D. Richey of Richey’s Sport Fishing said, “It was a big improvement for striper action over the past week with spoons, swimbaits, and topwater lures all working, but the window will be short-lived with the water temperatures already reaching 63 degrees.” Kenji Nakagawa, Delta Wood Bombers Pro Staffer, said, “The runs continue to heat up, and although we didn’t find great numbers this week, we have caught and released quality fish in the 5- to 20-pound range in the main San Joaquin River south to Frank’s Tract with various patterns of 6-inch Delta Wood Bombers. The water is still stained on the San Joaquin, and the big tides didn’t help. We had our shots at a few large fish over 20 pounds, but they were acting lethargic and non-committal. However, we were able to catch and release two stripers over 20 pounds.” Steve Santucci of Steve Santucci’s Fly Fishing Guide Service reported “Good fishing for stripers this week as we are getting really nice pre-spawn fish to 15 pounds with quality topwater fishing available in the early morning and late afternoon with Crease Flies, Pole Dancers, and chartreuse over white Clouser Minnows.” Jim Pickens of the Fishermen’s Friend in Lodi reported, “There is a good striper bite on the San Joaquin and Mokelumne when you can find clean water. Sturgeon fishing continues to improve on the San Joaquin River near Antioch, and Doug Chapman of Gotcha Bait said, “The area around the power plant and the mouth of Dutch Slough near the Antioch Bridge have been producing diamondbacks on eel, pile worms, or ghost shrimp.” More and more legal stripers are coming off the Antioch Fishing Pier. In the Stockton area, Brandon Gallegos of H and R Bait said, “Striper action has picked up on the San Joaquin River from the Highway 4 Bridge upriver to the Dos Reis Launch Ramp in Lathrop with linesides in the 5- to 12-pound range reported, and a 12 pounder was landed from the banks in Whiskey Slough.” Fresh shad is still absent, but they are selling plenty of small to medium minnows since the crappie have emerged at Bacon Island and Whiskey Slough.
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 remain the story at Lopez Lake, but limits have diminished since the 20-pound plus that was necessary to place in various tournaments over the past month. The San Luis Obispo Bass Ambushers tourney over the weekend produced top three limits ranging from 12-16 pounds. Drop-shotting plastics along rocky walls with deep-water access has been a top technique. Crappie are starting to show up at both lakes. At Nacimiento, small bass remain with various techniques as the bass have moved into the shallows. 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 again seven days per week from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. A few large bass are taken on Senkos or Brush Hogs, and the occasional huge catfish is landed with chicken livers or sardines. 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 9th. Information on the event is available at slocountyparks.org.
Call: Lake Nacimiento (805) 238-1056, ext. 3; Lake San Antonio Marina (805) 472-2818; Central Coast Bass Fishing.com (805) 466-6557
American Bass Association on March 21 at Delta/Russo’s Marina: 1, Josh Reiblin/Beau Jourdry 30.94 pounds; 2, Joe Wyman/Jeremy Zipton 27.74; 3, Brian Carpenter/Robert Jones 26.34 (big fish 10.50)
Future Pro Tour on March 21 at New Melones: 1, Dekelva/Azevedo 15.22 pounds; 2, Rock/Bagnu 14.71 (big fish 7.66); 3, Sanders/Lindsey 14.37
Sierra Bass Club on March 21-22 at Don Pedro: 1, Gary Johnson/Bruce Milam 25.47-pounds; 2, Ryan Reynolds/Chase Dixon 22.70; 3, Marty Hooten/David Bolton 21.85. Big fish — 4.67 pounds by Randy Rowe/Leroy Bibb
Fresno Bass Club on March 22 at Don Pedro: 1, Walt Austin 17.86 pounds (big fish 9.95); 2, Roger Lockhart 11.74; 3, Rick Uecker 11.26
Sierra Bass Club on March 21-22 at Don Pedro: 1, Gary Johnson and Bruce Milam 25.47 pounds; 2, Ryan Reynolds and Chase Dixon 22.7; 3, Marty Hooton and David Bolton 21.85. Big fish — Randy Rowe and Leroy Bibb 4.67.
Saturday: Delta/Ladd’s Marina, Christian Bass League; Delta/Russo’s Marina, Angler’s Choice; Nacimiento, Taft Bass Club; Lopez, 101 Bass
Sunday: Delta/B and W Resort, California Bass Federation; Delta/Ladd’s Marina, Stockton Bass
April 3: Don Pedro, E and J Gallo Winery
April 4: Don Pedro, Poe Man’s; Bass Lake, 101 Bass Team Open, Mark Corrente 284-2768; Isabella, Lake Isabella Bass Club; Lopez, 101 Bass
April 5: Bass Lake, Kings VIII Bass Club
April 11: Delta/Ladd’s Marina, Christian Bass League; Delta/Russo’s Marina, US Angler’s Choice; New Melones, American Bass Association; Tulloch, River Bass Club; Don Pedro, Best Bass Tournaments; McClure, Local 3399; Pine Flat, Kerman Bass Club; Isabella, American Bass Association; Nacimiento, Best Bass Tournaments/Golden Empire Bass Club
April 11-12: Lopez, Bakersfield Bass Club
April 12: Don Pedro, Kings River Bass Club; Bass Lake, California Bass Federation, Mark Corrente 284-2768; Success, Success Bass Club; Santa Margarita, San Luis Obispo Bass Ambushers
April 16: Don Pedro, Southern California Bass Club
April 18: Delta/Russo’s Marina, Best Bass Tournaments; Delta/Ladd’s Marina,, Angler’s Choice; Pardee, Manteca Bassin’ Buddies; New Melones, Angler’s Choice; Don Pedro, Best Bass Tournaments/Taft Bass Club; Millerton, Roosevelt High School Bass Fishers; Pine Flat, Kokanee Power Trout Derby, kokaneepower.org; Kaweah, Visalia Bass Club; Nacimiento, Kern County Bassmasters
April 19: Delta/Tracy Oasis, Tracy Bass; Delta/Russo’s Marina, Best Bass Tournaments; Don Pedro, Badge Packers; Bass Lake, 101 Bass Team Open, Mark Corrente 284-2768
April 25: Delta/Russo’s Marina, American Bass Association; Delta/Tracy Oasis, Tracy Bass Club; Don Pedro, Sacramento Bass Wranglers; McClure, Future Pro Tour; Millerton, Mid Valley Bass Club; Pine Flat, American Bass Association; Hume Lake, Hume Lake Christian Camps; Nacimiento, Tri Valley Bass Club; Lopez, Best Bass Tournaments
April 26: Delta/Ladd’s Marina, Stockton Bass Club; Bass Lake, Kings River Bass Club
Fresno County: Kings River, below Pine Flat Dam; Fresno City Woodward Park Lake
Kern County: Cuddy Creek Pond; Kern River, sections 4-5; Ming Lake; Cat Fish Lake; Brite Valley Reservoir
Madera County: Manzanita Lake; Corrine Lake
Merced County: Los Banos Reservoir
Tulare County: Kern River, sections 5-6
Tuolumne County: New Melones Reservoir; Don Pedro Reservoir