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 **
Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis reported only a few fishermen are heading to the aqueduct, and they are running up and down with their vehicles checking for boiling fish before getting out and putting in quick limits to 22 inches tossing Duo Realis jerkbaits. Overall the bite has slowed. In the south aqueduct in Kern County, Bob Rutledge of Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield reported the largemouth bass and bluegill are still biting, saying, “This is a new phenomenon for the aqueduct, but the accumulation of grass has allowed for the small fish to thrive in the structure.” Bluegill are biting live crickets or red worms while the bass are found on plastics on the split-shot or drop-shot. Large catfish continue to be taken on the Catnip Beef Bait, sardines, mackerel, or chicken livers. Striper fishing is fair with blood worms, pile worms or anchovies.
Bass *** Trout ** Bluegill ** Catfish ** Crappie **
Bass fishing remained excellent with a wide-open bite for 1.5- to 3-pound fish with crankbaits or ripbaits. The most consistent action is on the bottom with plastics on the drop-shot or Carolina rig over submerged islands or rockpiles. The topwater bite is slow. The occasional 8- to 10-pound fish continues to be taken, and live minnows or nightcrawlers also are working. Trout fishing has slowed considerably with only two plants in the lake this season. Catfish to 3 pounds are taken on sardines or anchovies near the launch ramps on sardines, anchovies or chicken livers. The area of the lake extending upstream from the buoy line near the Cordoniz ramp is closed to accommodate bald eagles nesting in the area. There are unmarked hazards throughout the lake because of the low water conditions. The lake held at 8% capacity and 469.91 feet in elevation.
Call: Six Star Tackle Box 673-5688; Eastman Lake 689-3255
Bass *** Trout ** Catfish ** Bluegill ** Crappie **
Small bass are omnipresent and fishermen can walk the banks tossing jigs, Carolina-rigged lizards or Brush Hogs, or drop-shotting plastics for all of the 11- to 12-inch bass they can handle. The cut of fish is much smaller than nearby Eastman. The annual Kid’s Fishing Derby is this Saturday and includes fishing tutorials and water-safety instruction. The launch is accessible for larger boats. Catfish action is heating up with anchovies or sardines. Boaters should contact the ranger station at the Corps of Engineers office for current ramp conditions. The lake is at 8% capacity and 453.96 feet in elevation.
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 **
Kokanee have made their annual appearance at Don Pedro and the lake has joined Pardee as one of two Mother Lode reservoirs where the landlocked salmon can be found at present. Monte Smith of Gold Country Sport Fishing went out twice over the past weekend and Friday’s trip was the first kokanee venture of the season. He said, “I set out rods for kokanee and trout, and instantly, the kokanee rods were hit. We landed kokanee and rainbow trout on this trip, and the kokanee came at depths from 35-53 feet in Fleming Bay on Uncle Larry’s spinners tipped with shoepeg corn scented with Pro-Cure’s herring behind either a Vance’s or Rocky Mountain Tackle dodger. Some of the rainbows came on frozen shad as deep as 50 feet on Friday. On Saturday’s trip, I had a hard time keeping all four rods in the water while kokanee fishing in the same location, depths and gear, and after taking a brief break in mid-morning, my clients wanted to try for rainbows. We put on heavy spoons for great action with the opportunity to land as many as 25 fish, ending the day at 12:30 p.m. with 10 kokanee, five rainbows, and a single fat king salmon.” Smith has planned on adding kokanee gear to his arsenal after marking small schools of the salmon the previous week. The bass are on the beds, and bank fishermen are tossing medium to large minnow or nightcrawlers for largemouth and spotted bass while tournament fishermen are finding their best action on ripbaits, crankbaits and small topwater lures such as K- 3.8 to 4.8 K-Techs in rainbow trout. The Fleming Meadows ramp has two lanes open now, but Blue Oaks remains closed. The lake is starting to release water, dropping 3 feet in the past week to 710.45 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 **
High winds have limited action at Lake Isabella, and the crappie bite has been dependent upon the wind. Bob Rutledge of Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield said, “When the wind is blowing, it has been difficult to fish, and it has been blowing throughout the week.” They are selling plenty of small minnows, and the best action has been taking place on calm days around submerged structure near Piney Point or French Gulch with Crappie Nibbles or small to medium minnows. Bass fishing remains minimal, but there are a few bass tournaments scheduled for the lake in April. Catfishing is fair at best 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 is at 8% capacity and 2,530.09 feet in elevation. In the Kern River, trout plants have helped spur decent fishing in the deep holes near McNally’s. There is still enough water in the upper river. Live crickets, salmon eggs or nightcrawlers are the top baits. Trout fishing at Buena Vista continue to be slow, and the lake is limited to a few catfish or crappie. On the local impoundment front, Lake Ming has been producing bass and bluegill, but the crappie bite has slowed.
Call: Bob’s Bait (661) 833-8657; North Fork Marina (760) 376-1812
Bass ** Crappie *** Trout ** Catfish **
Fresno-area fishermen continue to head south to the lake in search of crappie, and they are experiencing a decent bite. Best action is at night with minijigs or live minnows. The popular Crappie Stingers are no longer readily available, but Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis still has a few pegs with the lures in various color patterns. The bass are on beds and in the shallows, and dragging lizards or Senkos are working for the smaller males. Bed fish are available, but tournament fishermen are keeping very quiet with the upcoming events at the lake. Trout action remained slow, as the lake has only received a few plants. Catfishing is fair with sardines or chicken livers. The lake is at 638.26 feet in elevation and 30% capacity.
Call: Sierra Sporting Goods 592-5212
Bass ** Trout ** Catfish ** Crappie **
Chuck Stokke of Sequoia Fishing Co. in Springville said, “The bass bite has been fair to good, and the wacky weather has played a role in the slower action.” Fishermen are using a slow presentation with jigs, Senkos, Brush Hogs or crankbaits to outwit the bass. Trout fishing is also fair to good with spinners or Power Bait from the Rocky Hill side of the lake. The lake is at 591.64 feet in elevation and 9% capacity. In the Tule River, Stokke said, “The river fished slower this week due to colder temperatures in the high county. The afternoon bite was better, and the trout were rising on dry flies. The flows are still decent considering the overall water situation, and this week’s rain and snow should elevate the river flows.”
Call: Sequoia Fishing Co. 539-5626, www.sequoiafishingcompany.com
Bass *** Trout ** King salmon * Kokanee * Crappie ** Catfish **
After months of releasing water and the reservoir holding between 8% and 9% capacity, the North Barrett Cove Launch Ramp opened last week but only for a brief window from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., with all boats needing to be out of the water by 4. There is a long walk from the ramp to the parking area, but those willing to take the extra effort have been rewarded with huge numbers of fish, including some quality largemouth bass. Merritt Gilbert at Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “The ramp has been in the water for a few weeks, and Fresno-area anglers are heading north to experience wide-open action with basically anything they throw at the fish since they haven’t seen gear for months. Up to 60 fish per day have been reported by our local fishermen.” Mark Inman of the Six Star Tackle Shop in Madera confirmed the hot action for bass with a variety of techniques including dragging lizards, Brush Hogs or jigs in the shallows. Tess Cameron of the Lake McSwain Marina said, “Only a few boats are heading out into the lake, but there have been some large fish taken in the deepest part of the lake near the dam. The water level is very low, and the only deep water in the lake is by the dam.” She emphasized that the boat launch will only be operational for a limited period, and interested boats should call the marina at (855) 222-5253. The lake is at 9% and 610.64 feet in elevation.
Call: A-1 Bait (209) 563-6505; Bub Tosh (209) 404-0053
Lake McSwain will be hosting the annual Merced Irrigation Trout Derby this weekend, and the reservoir will receive heavy plants just prior to the event. Fishing will be off limits from Friday night until 7 a.m. Saturday. The event is limited to 500 anglers with a 200-boat limit. As of early Tuesday, there were 410 registered. Registration is available at www.lakemcclure.com.
Call: McSwain Marina (209) 378-2534
Millerton Lake/San Joaquin River
Bass *** Striper * Shad * Bluegill ** Catfish **
The bass bite continued to be excellent for numbers, and Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun said, “Fishermen can expect to land between 20 and 25 small bass per rod, and the crankbait bite has taken off for small spotted bass.” The fish are oriented toward rocky areas, Steve Newman of Valley Rod found good fishing bouncing shad-patterned cranks off the rocks. There has been less interest in the lake of late than in nearby Pine Flat or Eastman. Shad-patterned Senkos, jigs or plastics on the drop-shot, Texas-rig or darthead also are productive. There have been no striped bass reports . A few catfish are showing up on anchovies, but the crappie window has yet to emerge. All motors must conform to low-emission standards. Millerton is starting to release water, and it came down three-quarters of a foot to 495.57 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.
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 Sporting Goods in Angels Camp said, “Bass fishing remained solid with topwater lures in the morning before moving out to secondary points or the backs of creek channels with Carolina rigged Brush Hogs or lizards.” Chatterbaits in the main lake are also effective for spotted bass to 2.5 pounds. The lake is releasing water, but the rate of release has slowed, allowing for the bass to settle down. Trolling for trout is best at depths from 20-40 feet in the main lake channel near the dam and spillway with various colors of spoons depending upon the water conditions. Kokanee are starting to make their way into a five-fish limit, and Gary Burns of Take It to the Limit Guide Service put in the first limit of kokanee for the season with fish to 12 inches. He said, “These were nice fat fish and hard fighters. It is not a fast bite, and we fished near the dam to Rose Island and down to the spillway. The water is dropping fast, so watch out for those trees grabbing your gear.” He was using Glitter Bug mini-hootchies in orange or Uncle Larry’s spinners in the same color with different colors of dodgers at depths from 24-35 feet. Catfishing is fair with mackerel, frozen shad or nightcrawlers near submerged structure while the crappie are holding in the exposed structure present throughout the lake. There have been some large catfish over 10 pounds taken by bass fishermen with drop-shot plastics in the shallows. Brandon Yochan of Livermore landed a 12.83-pounder on a drop-shot, while Bill Coleman of Escalon put in a 11.43-pound whiskerfish on a green plastic worm. New Melones dropped 2.5 feet to 866.99 feet in elevation and 22% capacity. At Lake Tulloch, plans have been announced to drain the lake in September to meet agricultural and environmental obligations, but it appears it will be open through the summer months. The lake is at 501.94 feet in elevation and 84% 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 **
The trout bite has improved, and Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun reported, “Limits of planted rainbow trout are possible, but most fishermen are averaging three fish per rod pulling shad-patterned spoons or Dick’s Trout Busters tipped with a nightcrawler at depths to 20 feet in the main lake from the Power Lines to Zebe Creek to the dam.” Most trout fishermen continue to focus in the high country for trophy trout at Shaver Lake. The bass are on the beds, and tubes, Brush Hogs, or lizards in white, chartreuse, or fluorescent pink are plucking the fish out of the shallows. Ripbaits or spinnerbaits are working in the afternoons at depths from the bank to 15 feet. The crappie have yet to turn on, despite the abundance of submerged trees. A few catfish are taken on anchovies near the Pine Flat Lake Marina. One launch ramp is open, with the lake inching up at 755.27 feet in elevation and 19% capacity. Kokanee Power will be hosting its annual Team Trout Derby on April 18. Information is available at www.kokaneepower.org. The Central Sierra Anglers will be holding their annual campout and fishing trip at Island Park Campground this weekend from Saturday through Wednesday. They will resume their regular meeting schedule in May. In the lower Kings River, fishing interest has been minimal, but catchable rainbows can be taken on various colors of Power Bait or nightcrawlers in low flows. In the upper Kings, fly fishermen are catching and releasing native trout. 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 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.
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 *
Central Valley and south bay anglers continued to head to San Luis Reservoir and the O’Neill Forebay in search of striped bass; action has ranged from poor to decent with a variety of techniques. The main lake may have reached its zenith for the year at 70% capacity; it hasprogressively dropped to its current level of 66%. Roger George of Roger’s Guide Service, one of the only professional guides on the lake, said, “The full moon and prior heavy winds really shut off the overall bite on Good Friday, and we worked like crazy to get six fish, but the sizes were impressive. John Higginbotham Jr., 23, caught and released a 15-pound lineside on a Yozuri at 50 feet, following this up with another striper at 8 pounds. His father and Richard Ahronian of Fresno also were part of the group, and they landed/released stripers in the 21- to 24-inch range. The bite was in the middle of the day, and everyone we talked to was struggling. The fish are moving a lot.” Anthony Tran of Coyote Bait and Tackle confirmed the school-sized stripers in the main lake, and most fishermen are trolling or drifting jumbo minnows near Quiensabe Point, the trash racks or Portuguese Cove. Bank anglers are tossing live jumbo minnows, pile worms or blood worms from the shore areas around Highway 152, Dinosaur Point or Goosehead Point. The lake fell 3,751 acre-feet to 1.34 million acre-feet. In the forebay, schoolie stripers are biting pile worms, blood worms or frozen shad near Check 12 while ripbaits, lipless crankbaits, and swimbaits also are working. With the water releases, heavy pumping through the reservoir continues, creating ideal conditions for the stripers to feed.
Call: Coyote Bait andTackle (408) 463-0711, Roger George of rogergeorgeguideservice.com (559) 905-2954
Bass ** Trout ** Kokanee *
Bass interest is high, with several tournaments this month. A few large bass in excess of 7 pounds have been taken on swimbaits, but most are spots in the 1.5- to 2.5-pound range. Todd Wittwer of Kokanee.net Guide Service said, “We are marking a few groups of fish that may be kokanee, but we haven’t found any willing biters on the kokanee front. Trout fishing has been best with blade/crawler combinations at depths from 10-15 feet, but you have to work very hard for them. We landed eight fish on Monday with another 4-5 hookups, and this has been the norm.” A few holdover rainbows to 18 inches can be taken, but the majority are planters to 14 inches. A major trout plant will occur prior to the annual Bass Lake Chamber of Commerce Trout Derby on the weeknd of May 2-3. In addition to three grand prize fish worth a total of $25,000, two $10,000 trout, and a $5,000 rainbow, there are 150 tagged trout worth $100 and 847 rainbows valued at $20. Information and registration is available at www.basslakechamber.com. The cold front moved the bass off the beds, and they are still holding off the shore. With a few tournaments scheduled in April, most fishermen are targeting bass at the present. The lake’s level has held, and launching up to a 24-foot vessel is possible, but there is a large chunk of concrete missing from the south side of the public 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 until the gate reopens later in the spring. At Mammoth Pool, few fishermen are making the long drive, but trout fishing continues to be decent from the shore with Power Bait or nightcrawlers. Mammoth Pool has risen to 30% with Edison at 5% and Florence at 14%.
Call: Vermilion Valley Resort at Edison Lake 259-4000
Shaver Lake/Huntington Lake
Kokanee ** Trout **
The weather in the high country has finally become breezy and cold, with rain and up to 8 inches of snow predicted this week at Shaver Lake. As a result, fishing interest at Shaver slowed, with only a few boats launching after several weeks of dozens of boats on the water over the weekend. Dick Nichols of Dick’s Fishing Charters said, “There has been minimal fishing activity from Wednesday through Saturday, and I think the word has gotten out that the bite has slowed down quite a bit. I don’t know why this has happened, perhaps the increase in winds over the past week. A good example of this is David Dungy of Shaver Lake. He caught and released up to four limits of mixed rainbows and kokanee a month ago, and on his last trip, they landed only three small fish.” He thought there is a pattern of changing conditions that occur in the late winter and early spring before the bite rebounds. Trolling continued to be best in the area around Black Rock, Eagle Point, the mouth of Boy Scout Cove, and the island at depths from 20-27 feet with a combination of spinners tipped with either shoepeg corn or a nightcrawler behind a weighted flasher. Downriggers are the preferred method, but heavy flashers or an inline sinker can get to these depths. Bank fishing has been best around Road 3 or Black Rock with trout dough bait or nightcrawlers, and Gary Kochera of Clovis landed a 7.10-pound trophy rainbow from the shore at Black Rock. The Point, Road 1 and Road 2 are the other top bank locations for convenience, while fishermen have to walk a distance to Black Rock or Road 3. The Sierra Marina opens full time April 24, but both marinas are currently open on weekends. Nichols will start charters on April 17; he plans on trolling several days prior to his first one. The Shaver Lake Trophy Trout contest runs through Dec. 31, and the official weigh stations are Ken’s Market or Shaver Lake Sports in Shaver Lake. Anglers can help future plants by the trout project by donating to the 2016 plant. Send a tax-deductible check to SLTTP, PO Box 908, Shaver Lake 93664. The annual fundraising dinner is Aug. 8 at the Shaver Lake Community Center. At high-elevation Huntington, snow is expected this week, and that will shut down any thought of fishing for rainbow trout along the banks. The launch ramp is out of the water amid low-water conditions and most likely will remain out for the summer months. Shaver has dropped slightly to 48% capacity, and Huntington has risen to 39% capacity.
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
Striper ** Salmon **
The wind was a problem on Saturday’s salmon opener, and only the largest party boats made it out. Captain Bob Ingles of the Queen of Hearts out of Half Moon Bay Sport Fishing found a total of 10 salmon over the first two days for 44 anglers while Captain Jimmy Robertson of the Outer Limits out of Sausalito made the long run to the Deep Reef on Easter Sunday and put his 12 customers on to 10 salmon to 12 pounds trolling in the rough ocean. Three private boats made it to the Deep Reef on Easter Sunday, and there were up to three hookups with the occasional fish landed using various lures at depths to 60 feet on downriggers. Captain Roger Thomas of the Salty Lady is running whale-watching trips until mid-May, but he will operate salmon trolling trips throughout the week if there is enough interest. After his whale-watching season is over, Thomas will return to his normal berth in Sausalito.
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
Rockfish *** Salmon ** Striper *
Chris Arcoleo of Chris’ Landing in Monterey reported the Star of Monterey came through with five salmon on the opener along with two more on the Checkmate. He said, “Both captains reported marking lots of fish near the Soldier’s Club, but they were unwilling to bite, perhaps due to the low-pressure system that moved in. Trollers are picking up a few, and the fish are not in deep water and are found from the surface to 100 feet in depth. We ran over the fish on the opener, running to the Soquel Hole before returning to find some bait around the Soldier’s Club for up to seven salmon. With this recent northwest and more wind coming this week, we should be able to scrape up some salmon.” The bait is scattered, but there are anchovies at Soquel Hole and around the Soldier’s Club. The water temperature rose a few degrees back to 55, but overall Arcoleo rated the opening weekend as “encouraging.” They have openings for salmon beginning Wednesday with rockfish open loads Tuesday. Mike Aughney of USA Fishing.com said, “Tom on the Fish On out of Santa Cruz said they lost their only salmon but late in the day they did land a 70-plus pound/9-foot thresher shark. He was mainly working the Soquel Hole area and said the high boat on that side of the bay had six fish, but the majority of boats returned with what they left the harbor with. Through 2:30, when Tom came in, the F&G counter had only checked in 10 fish.” Most interest has been for salmon, but the rockfish opener April 1 was excellent with a solid ling cod count and limits to near-limits of rockfish. The boats had to remain close to the harbor because of high winds throughout the past week.
Call: Chris’ Landing(831) 375-5951; Bayside Marine (831) 475-2173; usafishing.com
San Francisco Bay
Striper *** Halibut ** Salmon ** Sturgeon **
High winds and difficult ocean conditions kept the party boats inside the bay chasing striped bass and halibut during the opening weekend of ocean-salmon season. Live anchovies are available at the San Francisco Bait Receiver for the first time this season. The anchovies are small, but they are working for striped bass in San Pablo and San Francisco Bay. Captain Jim Smith of the Happy Hooker found great action for striped bass and the occasional large halibut Friday and Saturday before taking Easter Sunday for friends and family. They found limits of striped bass to 15 pounds for 18 anglers Friday along with five halibut to 16 pounds. Saturday’s score was 27 stripers to 17 pounds along with three halibut to 22 pounds. Jeremiah Patterson from Placerville landed the 22-pounder. Smith said, “The anchovies are working for the bass, but the Loch Lomond shiners have been really effective for both bass and halibut.” James Smith on the California Dawn commissioned his brother Chris to run the boat on Easter Sunday during the rain, and Chris had a great day in the central bay with 17 striped bass and 4 halibut to 15 pounds for 15 anglers drifting live bait. James was at the helm on Saturday, and they put in nearly a fish per rod with 20 stripers and 3 halibut for 29 passengers. Keith Fraser of Loch Lomond Bait and Tackle reported windy conditions plagued boaters Sunday and Monday in advance of this week’s rainstorm, but shore fishing remained excellent from along the access areas in Marin County. He said, “The striped bass fishing has slowed a bit, but it is still outstanding.” They have plenty of Loch Lomond shiners for those wanting to drift the larger live baits, and they will bring in live mud shrimp for the next series of minus tides on the horizon starting April 16.
San Luis Obispo
Salmon ** Rock cod **
Party boats were able to make it out on the rockfish season opener last Wednesday despite the rough weather. Few private boaters struggled to fish in the rough ocean conditions. Out of Port San Luis, the Patriot took a salmon trolling trip Sunday with 11 anglers for a single 12-pound king salmon landed by Brian Anderson of Exeter. The Sea Angler went out with 31 anglers for 80 assorted rockfish, 62 vermilion, 78 bolina, 13 cabezon, and 19 ling cod to 8 pounds. Half to three-fourth limits of rockfish were the general rule from both ports with Jace Baker and Jacob Roberts, both of Clovis, tying for a jackpot on the Fiesta with 5-pound ling cod and vermilion, respectively. Patriot is selling passes for the 2015 rockfish season for $1.,000. 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 ***
The wind was the big story on the Delta during the past week, with heavy gusts nearly every day. A few sturgeon fishermen braved the winds, and those hardy anglers found great rewards in the Big Cut, the Little Cut and near the Mothball Fleet between buoys 2-4. Steve Talmadge of Flash Sport Fishing out of Martinez returned from a few days of vacation and said, “I have to say the sturgeon bite was better than when I left, and in fact, it has been the best so far this season. The water temperature is in the 63- to 65-degree range, and the fish are chomping. We landed a number of fish with several missed opportunities. Many of the fish jumped out of the water, even out of 55 feet in depth. We had one gentleman battle an 83-inch sturgeon for nearly 30 minutes before its release at the boat, and we hooked another, even larger fish, which rolled on the line during a jump, breaking off and winning this battle.” Lamprey eel and salmon roe continued to be the top baits, and Talmadge has found the best action in front of Ozol Pier east toward Buoy 2. Captain Steve Mitchell of Hook’d Up Sport Fishing out of Pittsburg continues to find solid sturgeon fishing in the Big and Little Cuts despite the high winds. He went out on his birthday Monday with a few friends, and he said, “I must say, the fish bit well.” They had a total of six sturgeon with two slot-limit diamondbacks along with 3 oversized and a shaker for the average of a fish per hour with one triple hook up over oversized fish. Mitchell added, “It was crazy when those three big fish hit at the same time. We followed this up with another stellar day aboard the Top Gun landing four sturgeon with a pair of slot limit fish and some just oversized diamondbacks. We tuned them up pretty good today considering the weather.” He went into the Big and Little Cuts, and they pulled up to the shoreline to avoid as much wind as possible. Salmon roe and eel remain the top baits. Mitchell will remain in Pittsburg Marina for sturgeon until May 1, along with Captain John “Bubba” McGhee of the Legal Limits. Tony Lopez at Benicia Bait reported the wind kept most boats off the water, but boaters were anchoring on the incoming tide near the fleet from buoys 2-4 for great sturgeon fishing on salmon roe, ghost shrimp, or lamprey eel. Grass shrimp remained very hard to obtain, and he said, “You have to be there when we open to get some of the 10-15 pounds that our owner, Curtis Hayes, is working hard to get on daily basis. If you aren’t there, it’s gone.” The winds have further muddied up the water, making for great difficulty in locating the elusive shrimp. Striper fishing from the shore has been fair with the best action at Dillon Point State Park with blood worms or pile worms. The big striped bass that have been landed out of McAvoy’s Boat Harbor have been absent over the past week. Fishermen continue to transport jack smelt from San Pablo Bay into the Delta, although this practice is illegal per Fish and Wildlife regulations. The jack smelt are thick in the area, and they are spawning in the shallows. James Nguyen of Dockside Bait in Pittsburg said, “Very few fishermen have been out this week in the wind, but the fishing has been very good when the wind isn’t blowing.” Striped bass trolling also was being affected by the wind, but the number of boats from the Rio Vista Bridge through the West Bank is heavy when conditions allow. The stripers are being pushed out of the shallows by the heavy traffic, and deep-diving lures have been more effective. Mark Wilson and Clyde Wands, striper trolling experts, put on a striped bass trolling seminar at the Fishermen’s Friend in Lodi recently and provided several tips. Wilson has been using RatLTraps in shallow water, and his top producing colors are silver, silver/black, or silver/blue. He uses a light tackle spinning rod, upgrading the size of the spinning reel to accommodate 20-pound test braided line. They let out 80-90 feet in order to reach a depth of 6.5-feet. He also said, “You should have a rod ready with a RatLTrap so someone can cast out to the side once a fish is hooked.” In the San Joaquin River, J.D. Richey of Richey’s Sport Fishing said, “The wind was insane on a few days this week, but striper fishing was pretty good, but you have to sift through a number of dinks for limits of quality fish. You have to wade through 8 to 10 shakers to find a decent one, and we have caught and released as many as 35 stripers.” He has been using topwater lures such as Aiden James’s Striper Squirrels or Pencil Poppers in the mornings before switching over to Robo Worm’s paddletail swimbaits on a half-ounce jig head or shad-patterned spoons in weights ranging from 1-2 ounces depending on the tide and the location. Kenji Nagakawa of Lodi, Delta Wood Bombers Pro Staffer also has been fighting the wind for solid action in the central Delta. He said, “We have been fishing low light conditions in the early mornings and late afternoons for quality striped bass from 8-17 pounds on the Delta Wood Bombers. Just when I thought our spots on the San Joaquin were drying up, a new wave of prespawn females loaded with eggs showed up.” They have been releasing all fish, exclusively using 5- or 6-inch Delta Wood Bombers. Jim Pickens of the Fishermen’s Friend in Lodi said, “Topwater striper fishing was the name of the game on the San Joaquin and Mokelumne, as well as Liberty Island on the Sacramento side. Local angler Travis Blighton was on the San Joaquin earlier this week trying out our new topwater plug, the JJ Bomber, and he scored a 16-pound striped bass. Trollers are having success all over the San Joaquin Side of the Delta. Most are doing best on shallow running Yo-Zuri’s, Angry Eye’s and Rebels, but don’t pass up the deep divers if you can’t find them in the shallows.” Captain Mike Gravert of Intimidator Sport Fishing out of Korth’s Pirates’ Lair has been finding some quality stripers in the San Joaquin and the Mokelumne River systems drifting live bait consisting of bluegill or jumbo shiners. Randy Pringle, the fishing instructor, has been on the Delta during the period of high wind, and he said, “The fishing has been extremely good with largemouth bass at 8.5, 7.5, and 6.5 pounds on Thursday as part of a 29-pound limit.” He has been using the Havoc Flat Dog weightless on the high tide before putting the Flat Dog on a Zappu head when the water drops out to fish the outside weed line. The Persuader Rattlin’ Blade spinnerbait in chartreuse/white or the ima Rockin Vibe or Shaker crankbaits are also working as they make more noise in the dinghy water. All lures are in bluegill or crawdad patterns as the fish are feeding heavily on these food sources. He added, “A number of fish have yet to spawn, but they will be spawning on the next full moon.” With the wind blowing throughout the day, Pringle advised starting later in the morning about 11 a.m. and fishing until 4:30 to 5 to take advantage of the afternoon high tide. Before the wind arrived, they were scoring bass to 8 pounds on the Power Bait Thief in black/red or black/blue. This is a crawdad imitation power bait, and they were flipping the bait near cover. In the Stockton area, Brandon Gallegos of H and R Bait said, “Keeper stripers in the 18- to 26-inch range are coming out of the San Joaquin system near Whiskey Slough and from Bacon Island Road on bluegill, sardines, or fresh shad. The shad are spawning late this year, and they haven’t made their way up in numbers to the Port of Stockton. We have received a total of 120 pounds in the past week, but it is going out of the shop so fast that we can’t even freeze 10 pounds.” Crappie are coming out of Tiki Lagun or Turner Cut on Inland Drive on small to medium minnows or wax worms. Bluegill are still found in deep water in Whiskey Slough or from the first or second bridge on Eight Mile Road east of Stockton. Largemouth bass are on the beds in downtown Stockton at the mouth of Mormon Slough, and fishermen are catching and releasing the females on crappie jigs or Senkos.
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 **
Lopez remains the location for big bass on the coast, and limits over 20 pounds were necessary to place in the top three during Saturday’s 101 Bass tournament. Drop-shotting for bed fish remained the top technique for coaxing the big females. At Nacimiento, the numbers of spotted and white bass have been spectacular; as many as 100 white bass were reported on small white Rapalas or similar lures in Snake Creek, Las Tablas and near the Heritage Launch Ramp. 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 seven days per week from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Panfish are showing up from the shore, while a few largemouth bass are taken on a variety of techniques from the beds. Catfishing is best 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 9. Information on the event is available at 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 now 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.com (805) 466-6557
Bass 101 Team on April 4 at Bass Lake: 1, Mark Corrente/John Albidrez 22.31 pounds; 2, Gary Wasson/James Beasley 22.15 (big fish 9.09 spotted bass); 3, Corey Squires/Ed Treadway 17.52
101 Bass on April 4 at Lopez : 1, Jay Short/Damon Meeks 25.71; 2, Todd Reccord/Mike Maddux 23.95; 3, Steven Berenda 21.10 (big fish 7.33)
San Luis Obispo Bass Ambushers on April 4 at Nacimiento: 1, Jesse Wilson 7.91; 2, Ron Christian 7.56; 3, Jerry May 7.42
Saturday: 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
Saturday-Sunday: Lopez, Bakersfield Bass Club
Sunday: 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: Fresno City Woodward Park Lake; Wishon Reservoir; Huntington Lake
Kern County: Kern River, sections 4-5; Lake Isabella; Cuddy Creek Pond
Madera County: Corrine Lake; Hensley Lake; Manzanita Lake
Merced County: Merced River, Section I
Tulare County: Kern River, sections 5-6
Tuolumne County: Tulloch Lake; Don Pedro Reservoir; New Melones Reservoir