Compiled by Dave Hurley and edited by Roger George, a former Olympic-class decathlete at Fresno State and striper record-holder at Millerton Lake and who now guides in the greater Fresno area. Telephone numbers are in 559 calling area unless noted. Have a photo of a recent catch you want to share? Email it, with “fish photo” in the subject line, to firstname.lastname@example.org.
* Try dynamite
** Have to work hard
Never miss a local story.
*** Limits possible
**** Fish jumpin’ in boat
Delta Mendota Canal and Sloughs
Striper ** Catfish **
Fewer fishermen are targeting stripers in the northern Valley section of the California Aqueduct, instead driving farther north to the main San Luis Reservoir to toss 4-inch Storm swimbaits, Lucky Craft Pointer 128’s, or 4- to 5-inch K-Tech swimbaits in the evenings. In the south aqueduct in Kern County, Jacob Rutledge of Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield reported a 13.7-pound catfish was taken on a nightcrawler by Adam Cepeda of Bakersfield near the IKEA store near the Grapevine. Catfishing has been solid with cut baits, Catnip Beef Bait or chicken liver. Bluegill, largemouth bass and crappie are all holding in the moss and debris; a few small striped bass are taken on blood worms, sardines or live minnows.
Bass *** Trout ** Bluegill ** Catfish ** Crappie **
Bass have moved into the shallows, and Mark Inman of the Six Star Tackle Box in Madera said, “Jigs, Senkos, Baby Brush Hogs, drop-shot plastics and Baby Brush Hogs are all working for fish in the 1.5 to 2-pound range. The bass are holding on the flats, small isolated rockpiles and brush. Larger bass are showing up at depths from 18-25 feet with black/blue with smoke jigs with a Yamamoto twin-tail trailer black/blue flake or Junebug with a Junebug trailer for fish in the 3- to 5-pound range.” Patrick Movey of the Fisherman’s Warehouse in Fresno reported boaters are finding the best action on the submerged island tops since the shore has been loaded with anglers and the fish are getting pounded. Catfishing is best at night with anchovies, large nightcrawlers or chicken liver. Trout fishing is slow, with a few planters taken on Power Bait from the shore with deep-water access. Small crappie are found around structure with small minnows or red/white crappie jigs. Eastman is a trophy-designated bass lake, and only one fish 22 inches and over may be kept. The area extending upstream from the buoy line near the Cordoniz Launch Ramp remains closed to accommodate nesting bald eagles. The lake held at 8% capacity and 469.78 feet in elevation.
Call: Six Star Tackle Box 673-5688; Eastman Lake 689-3255
Bass *** Trout ** Catfish ** Bluegill ** Crappie **
Bass also are holding in the shallows here. Mark Inman of the Six Star Tackle Box in Madera said, “Bass from 12 to 15 inches are found with jigs, Senkos, drop-shot plastics, or Baby Brush Hogs at depths from 5-15 feet.” The crappie are starting to show, and small minnows or red/white crappie jigs are effective for the small slabsides. Catfish are focusing on anchovies, jumbo nightcrawlers or frozen chicken liver; best action is in the early evening. Trout fishing has slowed, with only a few planted rainbows hooked on Power Bait. Contact the ranger station at the Corps of Engineers office for current launch conditions. The lake is at 8% capacity and 454.10 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 fishing remained solid, with early limits the rule. Rainbow trout and king salmon are also on the bite. Monte Smith of Gold County Sport Fishing found outstanding action on recent trips with early limits of kokanee before targeting rainbows and king salmon by mid-morning. He said, “We have had lots of action, and this week’s winds moved the kokanee schools around a bit, but once you locate them, limiting out has been the rule.” He is running Rocky Mountain Tackle’s micro hootchies tipped with shoepeg corn scented with Pro Cure’s Herring or Carp Spit behind a RMT dodger or an Uncle Larry’s spinner behind a Vance’s dodger at depths from 45-65 feet. Smith said, “I just received a set of Phenix kokanee rods, and these are extremely light and make for a great fight on the quality rod.” Rainbows are found at depths from 35-55 feet, and after putting together a few limits of kokanee, Smith is rounding out limits for his clients by fast-trolling heavy spoons in shad-patterns for the trout and the occasional king salmon to 2.25 pounds. For largemouth and spotted bass, Manny Basi of the Bait Barn in Waterford said, “Medium to large minnows from the bank have been the top technique, and more fishermen are choosing to fish from the banks instead of putting in a boat.” Tournament anglers are finding bass in the shallows with Zoom lizards or Brush Hogs in watermelon/red, watermelon or greenpumpkin. The lake has been releasing water, and the launch ramp is limited to one lane at Fleming Meadows. There is a courtesy dock and a long dock in the water, and patience is a necessity to launch on the weekends because of high interest in recreational boating and fishing. The lake dropped slightly to 708.35 feet in elevation and 42% 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 **
Jacob Rutledge of Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield said, “There hasn’t been much taking place at Isabella, and with the incoming winds, rain and possible snow predicted this week, the bass will move further into deeper water. It always snows on the stream trout opener, and this year appears to be no exception.” There are still plenty of planted trout from the annual trout derby, but few fishermen are targeting the species. Crappie fishing is fair at best in the deeper water in French Gulch, Piney Point or the marina with small minnows, Crappie Nibbles, or minijigs. Catfishing is fair at night with anchovies, sardines, mackerel or frozen shad. Bass fishing remained slow as the recent cold fronts have moved the fish into deeper water. There are a few bass tournaments scheduled for the lake in April. With the low lake levels, it remains necessary to use a four-wheel-drive vehicle to launch vessels from the dirt ramp near Red’s Marina. There are no marinas or courtesy docks currently in the lake. The lake is at 8% capacity and 2,529.68 feet in elevation. The Kern River is very low, but there are trout holding in deep pools in the upper river. Bass fishing has been best near the city limits in the lower river. Catfish and bluegill are the top species at Buena Vista; trout and crappie are scarce. At the small local lakes, carp fishing has improved with Power Bait and the specialty carp rigs.
Call: Bob’s Bait (661) 833-8657; North Fork Marina (760) 376-1812
Bass *** Crappie ** Trout ** Catfish ***
Scott Thompson of the Visalia Bass Club reported solid bass action, with fish all over the lake during Saturday’s club tournament. Senkos, Brush Hogs and lizards were working, but the fish bit on most anything and everything. The water continues to rise, and the area around Horse Creek is the top location for crappie. Trout action remained slow, as the lake has only received a single plant this year, but some fishermen continue to troll in the deepest portions. Catfishing is good at night with sardines or chicken livers. The lake rose over a foot to 640.80 in elevation and 31% capacity.
Call: Sierra Sporting Goods 592-5212
Bass *** Trout ** Catfish ** Crappie **
Chuck Stokke of Sequoia Fishing Co. in Springville said, “Bass fishing is good to excellent with topwater lures in the mornings and late evenings while crankbaits, Senkos, Brush Hogs, lizards, or jigs are working best during the daytime.” Trout fishing is only fair from the banks, where bluegill, carp, or crappie also provide action. The lake came up slightly to 592.61feet in elevation and 11% capacity. In the Tule River, Stokee said, “The river is fishing excellent with dry flies, nymphs, or Woolley Buggers.” He fished the Camp Nelson Trail on Sunday with Gene Day, and they caught and released 30-40 brown trout. Day landed a 16-inch brown on a Woolley Bugger; and there were others in the 12- to 14-inch range. The Department of Fish and Wildlife is scheduled to plant the Camp Nelson and Wishon Campground area of the river this week. Gates to Balch Park are expected to have an early opening May 1.
Call: Sequoia Fishing Co. 539-5626, www.sequoiafishingcompany.com
Bass **** Trout ** King salmon * Kokanee * Crappie ** Catfish ***
The bass bite is wide open for those willing to walk the distance from the North Barrett Cove ramp to the parking lots. Early arrivals can avoid the walk as there is limited trailer parking near the ramp. Most boats are fishing, with only a few recreational users on the lake with the limited launch conditions. Anthony Oates of A-1 Bait in Snelling reported lights-out bass fishing, with jigs or plastics on the darthead or drop-shot all working for numbers; many of the bass have yet to spawn. A-1 Bait reported it is under new ownership, with live crawdads and live minnows available. Both minnows and crawdads are working for the numerous bank fishermen. The launch ramp is accessible beginning at 8 a.m., but boats have to be off the water by 4:00 p.m. Information on the launch ramp is available at (855) 222-5253. The lake rose 2 feet to 613.44 in elevation and 9% capacity.
Call: A-1 Bait (209) 563-6505; Bub Tosh (209) 404-0053
Bank fishing has been best from the A-Loop or the brush pile with garlic trout dough bait scented with Rip Lipperz Trout Dust. Trout plants may be over for the season because of unseasonably high water temperatures. There is one more big trout tournament on the horizon — the Mariposa Fish and Game Derby on May 9.
Call: McSwain Marina (209) 378-2534
Millerton Lake/San Joaquin River
Bass *** Striper ** Shad * Bluegill **
Small bass continued to be the story. Spotted bass were taken on ripbaits, crankbaits, Senkos or drop-shot plastics; striped bass are found incidentally by fishermen tossing ripbaits or hitchhiking on hooked spots above Finegold. A few catfish are showing up on anchovies near the Pine Flat Lake Resort, but the crappie window has yet to emerge. All motors must conform to low-emission standards. Millerton is releasing water, receding a foot to 493.71 in elevation and 38% capacity. In the lower San Joaquin, there was minimal action 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 **
At New Melones, the lake is still accessible and will be throughout the summer, but the two-lane concrete ramp at Glory Hole Point is no longer in operation. There is a two-lane dirt ramp at the end of Glory Hole Point that is without a courtesy dock at this point. John Lietchy of Glory Hole Sporting Goods in Angels Camp said, “A four-wheel-drive tow vehicle is highly recommended as there have been a few two-wheel drive vehicles stuck on the gravel launch ramp. The ramp has limited the number of recreational boats on the lake, and most boats on the lake are fishing.” Bass fishing remained solid for numbers and the occasional large fish. Lietchy and his partner took Saturday’s Angler’s Choice tournament with a 16-pound, 8-ounce limit, and he said, “It was junk fishing at its best as I had eight rods rigged up with different lures and caught fish on everything I tried. Our large fish at 6.8 pounds came on a swimbait, but we landed fish on topwater lures in the morning, ripbaits, crankbaits, and plastics on shaky heads or a drop-shot. The biggest key is to be willing to bounce around and to not get locked into any one pattern.” Weedless presentations are working best around wood; darthead plastics are best around the rocks. Trout fishing remains best for trollers working depths from 20-30 feet in the main lake near the river channel. A few rainbows over 2 pounds are starting to show, most likely because of the release of the Kokanee Power net pens in early April. Trout are on the surface in the early mornings chasing shad, and they are following up swimbaits or umbrella rigs tossed by bass fishermen. Bank fishing for rainbows has slowed, but Lietchy said, “A limit is possible tossing Kastmasters along the banks with deep-water access in the early mornings, but you have to move around since sitting and waiting for a school to come through will not be productive.” More kokanee are showing up on a daily basis, and the warming trend should help ensure that continues. Kokanee are found at depths from 40-60 feet with small spoons such as Sockeye Slammers or Simon Baby Wobblers tipped with scented corn behind a small dodger. Catfishing remained outstanding in the 64-degree waters of the lake, and frozen shad, nightcrawlers, anchovies, chicken livers, or sardines are all working in the shallows. New Melones dropped 7 feet to 859.64 in elevation and 21% capacity. Tulloch rose a foot to 501.92 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
Bass** Trout ** King salmon * Catfish ** Crappie **
Trout fishing is still limited to a few fish per rod with Needlefish or Dick’s Trout Busters tipped with a piece of nightcrawler at three colors of lead core line. Most trout fishermen are still targeting Shaver and Bass Lakes, and the opening of the high-country reservoirs also has contributed to fewer trout trollers. The bass have moved off the banks as a result of last week’s cold front. Senkos in a variety of colors, crankbaits and ripbaits are the top offerings, but the topwater bite is slow. Most fishermen are still working the bottom. The crappie have yet to turn on, despite the abundance of submerged trees. A few catfish to 3 pounds are taken on anchovies near Pine Flat Lake Marina. One launch ramp is open on the lake, but the lake is inching up slowly. It came up 2 feet to 759.28 in elevation and 20% capacity. 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. Regulations in the Kings River above and below Pine Flat Dam set the season as running 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 **
The main lake continued to release water, dropping to 64%. Fewer trollers were targeting it, with most boats drifting minnows at depths from 40-80 feet near the dam, the trash racks, and the mouth of Portuguese Cove. Falling water has put most stripers off the bite. Roger George of Roger’s Guide Sevice said that on Friday he prefished the evening bite and released 12 fish to 24 inches, but the bite Saturday completely turned off and he only got five — with most schools suspending in midlevel water. “Jim Kenyon of Fresno pulled up by us at the dock and showed us a huge 44-inch, 29.8-pound striper he caught/kept on a fluke fishing near the bank. Earlier we also found a floating dead striper — in the middle of the lake — around 25 pounds that had a 4- to 5-pound striper stuck in its mouth! Overall, it was very slow and tough going!” George said. Bank fishermen are finding good action at night with 4-inch Storm swimbaits in bluegill or rainbow trout. Small swimbaits such as K-Tech’s or Duo Realis jerkbaits are another option for shore fishermen. In the forebay, numbers of striped bass are showing up around Check 12 with blood worms or pile worms. The bass range from undersized to 24 inches. Tossing bucktail jigs with a black/white curly-tailed jig trailer is another option as the fish are in the shallows. Heavy pumping through the main lake is attracting the stripers, and the action is best when the water is moving.
Call: Coyote Bait andTackle (408) 463-0711, Roger George of rogergeorgeguideservice.com (559) 905-2954
Bass ** Trout ** Kokanee *
The bass bite has slowed with the fish moving off the banks in response to the recent cold front passing through the Sierra. The fish have moved off the beds, and plastics on the drop-shot with 6-inch worms or ripbaits are producing a few fish. Heavy tournament action has contributed to a slower bite, with limits dropping to the 9- to 11-pound range. The trout bite has been a struggle, although Todd Wittwer of Kokanee.net Guide Service found solid action to start the week. He has been trolling a nightcrawler behind a Vance’s dodger or Gulp! Minnow behind a C.J. dodger for a few rainbow trout per outing. A major trout plant will occur before the annual Bass Lake Chamber of Commerce Trout Derby on the weekend of May 2-3. There are three grand prize fish worth a total of $25,000, two $10,000 trout and a $5,000 rainbow, 150 tagged trout worth $100, and 847 rainbows valued at $20. Information and registration is available at basslakechamber.com. The lake held at 52% capacity, with a large chunk of missing concrete now exposed on the launch ramp.
Call: Todd Wittwer 288-8100; Mike Beighey 642-3748
Brown trout ** Trout ***
The Kaiser Pass Lakes will be accessible earlier than normal because of the minimal snowpack in the high Sierra. Mammoth Pool is solid option for high-country trout, but the lake will be closed May 1 through June 16 for the annual deer migration. Don Rood of Fresno boated quick limits of rainbows to 16 inches Saturday pulling a Gulp! Minnow behind a Captain Jack’s C.J. dodger; a nightcrawler behind a Vance’s dodger is also a productive setup. The trout are found from the surface to 20 feet. The lake is low, but small boats can be launched from the public ramp. Bank fishing has been solid with trout dough bait, nightcrawlers or Kastmasters. Stream fishing opens Saturday, but the season in the southern Sierra will be extremely short-lived because of the low water conditions. Mammoth Pool has risen to 41%, with Edison at 6% and Florence 19%.
Call: Vermilion Valley Resort at Edison Lake 259-4000
Shaver Lake/Huntington Lake
Kokanee ** Trout **
The past few weeks have been puzzling for trout trollers at Shaver, leading Dick Nichols of Dick’s Fishing Charters to state, “Catching fish at Shaver Lake has become much harder over the past few weeks, and I pre-fished with Lee Gates on Friday for only three yearling rainbows to the boat.” They found the best action in front of the island and Black Rock at depths from 20-69 feet. Gates said, “We marked fish in those areas, but they were hunkered close to the bottom and near uneven structures.” Nichols added, “This time of the year normally produces variable fishing days, with here today and gone tomorrow results. This was one of those days.” The three fish they managed to bring to the boat were all caught on the Stevenson model Trout Busters, green and orange in color tipped with corn and a piece of nightcrawler behind weighted Mountain Flashers. Nichols fished three more days after this initial trip, and the action remained slow as the kokanee bite has been inconsistent. “The hookups aren’t real bad,” Nichols said, “but getting them into the boat has been another thing.” However, on one of his trips, Nichols observed the trio of Earl Taniguchi, Terry Walton and Carl House bag three limits of kokanee. The next day was not so good for the three fishermen. “Right depth, Terry Walton spinners and a trio of what I think are the best kokanee fishermen on this lake did it for them on that one trip,” Nichols said. A heavy plant of 1,000 rainbows in the 2-pound range from Fish and Wildlife has created a bonanza for bank fishermen, and the bite was on with trout dough bait or nightcrawlers near the Sierra Marina, Roads 1, 2, or 3, or Black Point. Frank Sneabik of Auberry weighed in a limit to 2 pounds at Ken’s Market in Shaver, one of the Herb Bauer’s/Shaver Lake Visitor Bureau’s Trout Derby official weigh stations. The other is at Shaver Lake Sports. The Shaver Lake Trophy Trout Project is taking tax-deductible contributions for future plants at P.O. Box 908, Shaver Lake 93664. The SLTTP will host Dinuba High School Fishing Club on May 9. Other upcoming educational and fun trips will include children from various groups in Fresno County throughout the summer. The Sierra Marina opened full time April 24. At Huntington, the road to the back portion of the lake has been opened, and a few small aluminum boats have been dragged to the shore and launched by hand. No large brown trout have been reported, but bank anglers are picking up rainbows with trout dough bait or nightcrawlers near Rancheria Cove. Shaver held at 49% capacity, and Huntington rose slightly to 41%, but the launch ramp is out of the water.
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 opened late last week as did access to these high country lakes, and Valley anglers were eager to take advantage. Chuck Crane of Wishon Village RV Park and Store said, “Wishon is extremely low, but small boats can be launched off of a few spots in the dirt. Courtright is also low, but the concrete launch ramp is accessible since the lake is up to the level of the ramp. There are no services at Wishon Village RV Park and Store at the present time, so anglers have to be prepared with supplies for the time being. Trollers have found tremendous action for large rainbows to 20 inches at Wishon, with Crane reporting one boat catching and releasing 24 trout, keeping the largest five between 18 and 20 inches using Thomas Buoyants in brown trout or Countdown Rapalas in brown trout on a downrigger at 20 feet. They were also casting the Thomas Buoyants along the shoreline near the steep, rocky shelf near Woodchuck Creek.” Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “Courtright is around 70% full, and anglers picked up limits of small trout near the dam with the best quality in the back of the lake. Small orange Needlefish behind a flasher or blade/crawler combinations are producing limits from the surface to 10 feet in depth.” Patrick Movey of the Fisherman’s Warehouse in Fresno confirmed the solid action with bank anglers scoring quick limits of 10 to 12-inch rainbows with garlic trout dough bait from the dam access or around the boat launch.
Call: Wishon RV Park 865-5361
Half Moon Bay
Rockfish ** Striper ** Salmon **
The best score over the weekend was nine salmon to 18 pounds for 12 anglers on the Salty Lady on Friday, as it appeared that the salmon chose that day to bite. Captain Roger Thomas of the Salty Lady said, “We started out 8 miles southwest of Pillar Point and tacked our way downhill to 9 miles below the harbor. The action wasn’t wide open, but it was very satisfying to score nearly a fish per rod.” They lost a few, had a number of scratched baits, and shook four undersized fish. Captain Tom Mattusch of the Huli Cat tried several different areas around the Deep Reef, 10 miles below the harbor, and he said, “We went out to find good conditions, murre birds, a deep phytoplankton layer, and other signs in the 54-degree water, which was much improved from last year’s 60-degree ocean waters. We landed four salmon to 15 pounds, and the fish teased the anglers, hitting hard but not sticking on the hooks — also known as a ‘hit and run,’ or a ‘driveby.’ ” He added that rockfishing has been slow in the colder water, and even persistent anglers have to work hard. He will run the occasional Dungeness crab trip upon request.
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 *** Striper ** Salmon **
Chris Arcoleo of Chris’ Landing in Monterey reported continued slow salmon fishing over the weekend, with all of their boats targeting rockfish Sunday. There was a bite last Thursday, producing 12 salmon and a thresher shark for seven anglers on the Check Mate, but the action dried up with the Star of Monterey only returning with five salmon for 24 fishermen Saturday. The Star of Monterey found the rockfish bite much more to their liking Sunday, with 35 limits of rockfish and 41 ling cod, while the Check Mate and Caroline checked in with combined 41 limits and 20 lings. The Star of Monterey went to Point Sur on Friday for 95 ling cod for 35 fishermen along with half limits of rockfish. They have made two trips to Point Sur since the opener, and the results have been spectacular for lings with scores of 84 and 95. Arcoleo said, “The area around Point Sur is loaded with lings, and it is difficult to catch the rockfish. Anglers with bars are loading up as the lings are hitting nearly everything. There is a minimum of live bait in the bay with no squid or small mackerel around, and the only live bait is possibly small sand dabs.” They have plenty of room throughout the week for rockfish or salmon trips, but the weekends are very busy.
Call: Chris’ Landing(831) 375-5951; Bayside Marine (831) 475-2173; usafishing.com
San Francisco Bay
Halibut ** Striper *** Rockfish *** Leopard shark *** Sturgeon ** Salmon **
Salmon fishing is concentrated off the San Mateo coast, but action is less than stellar. On Saturday, the C Gull II out of Emeryville went south in more ways than one with a total of three salmon to 10 pounds for 11 anglers; out of Sausalito, the New Rayann and Outer Limits combined for 12 salmon to 12 pounds for 33 anglers. The C Gull II tried to switch things up Sunday, heading to the Marin coast, but the results were similar with three salmon to 8 pounds for 13 anglers. The three boats out of Sausalito also tried for a change of pace, trolling west of Point Reyes, but the change in location resulted in only 12 salmon to 18 pounds for 45 passengers. Rockfishing at the Farallon Islands has been tremendous with the New Huck Finn, New Seeker, New Salmon Queen, Sea Wolf and Tiger Fish out of Emeryville Sport Fishing returning with near limits of rockfish — 1,176 rockies and 38 ling cod to 14 pounds for a combined 122 fishermen. The Marin coast was good Sunday, with the New Huck Finn, Sea Wolf and Tiger Fish scoring 75 limits of rockfish and 75 ling cod to 18 pounds before heading into the bay for three striped bass to 12 pounds. Captain James Smith on the California Dawn did a potluck trip Sunday, returning with 145 rockfish, a ling cod, and a cabezon on the Marin coast before returning to the bay for 27 striped bass. Monday’s trip produced 12 limits of rockfish and 10 ling cod below working the central bay for seven striped bass. Inside San Francisco Bay, Captain Jim Smith of the Happy Hooker completed three days of spectacular striped bass fishing in the growing tides, scoring 51 stripers to 12 pounds Friday, 39 stripers to 14 pounds plus a leopard shark Saturday, and 19 stripers, a halibut, and a pair of ling cod inside of the bay. He predicts outstanding halibut action by next weekend with the smaller series of tides. Captain James Smith stayed in the bay Friday and Saturday for 15 limits of striped bass in the flats Friday before working over a few rocks for 55 rockfish to go with 31 stripers for 31 fishermen Saturday. Keith Fraser of Loch Lomond Bait and Tackle in San Rafael said, “The bay has turned muddy in response to all of the wind during the past week, and the minus tides haven’t helped with the mud either. Trolling is just impossible in these conditions, and striped bass action has slowed despite having some of the largest shiners we have ever had in the shop. I don’t know why the shiners are so large, but they are something else.”
San Luis Obispo
Salmon * Rock cod **
Rockfish scores along the Central Coast range from half-limits to limits depending up on the length of the trip. The Black Pearl out of Virg’s Landing in Morro Bay is taking overnight trips to the fertile rockfish grounds off Cape St. Martin, leaving at 10 p.m. and returning by 6 p.m. the following day for $165 per angler. There are overnight trips planned in the coming week on Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. A full schedule is available at www.virgs.com. The Princess and Rita G went out Sunday with a combined 64 anglers for 227 rockfish, 186 assorted rockfish, 26 ling cod to 12.2 pounds, and a rocksole for three-quarters limits of rockfish. Out of Patriot Sport Fishing in Port San Luis, The Patriot went on a three-quarters day trip Sunday with 39 fishermen for 20 vermilion rockfish, five coppers, 60 assorted rockfish and a pair of ling cod. Their boats have scored 450 ling cod since the April 1 opener. Surf perch fishing remained excellent at Oceano or Pismo Beaches with Berkley Sand Worms, motor oil grubs or blood worms.
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 interest has slowed considerably over the past few weeks, but the diamondbacks are still in the Delta. The limiting factor has been the availability of live bait and the constant winds. Most sturgeon fishermen are heading into the Big Cut or Montezuma Slough to keep out of the wind as much as possible. Bill Clapp of Bill’s Sport Fishing went out sturgeon fishing Saturday, and he said, “The wind was howling, it was cold, and I didn’t take off my coat until 2 p.m. We marked a ton of fish, but we didn’t find any takers although the action was good on Friday.” The best action has been for striped bass in the Rio Vista area, and salmon smolt plants near the Coast Guard Station have contributed to the armada of boats on the river in the area. The weekend boat traffic was even heavier than Thursday’s massive fleet, but Alan Fong of the Fisherman’s Warehouse in Sacramento said, “It didn’t matter since everyone was catching fish. The larger fish were coming on spoons under the schools of the smaller stripers. You will catch fewer fish if you can get to the bottom, but they will be a larger grade.” Captain Scott Feist of Feisty Fishing continued to find limits trolling for his clients. He is based out of Viera’s Resort near Isleton and has been finding his best action with P-Line Angry Eye Minnows in chartreuse. They have been working shallow water with the Angry Eyes, and he said, “There are fish everywhere, and you just have to use your electronics to find them.” Feist will also be running late afternoon trips for trolling from 3 p.m. to sundown in the coming weeks. The majority of stripers are already spawned out. There has been a solid bite along the West Bank from Sandy Beach to Collinsville, and shallow-diving RatLTraps are a solid bet in the shallower stretches of this section of the river. The Central Valley Anglers out of Lodi are holding their Spring Striper Derby out of Brannan Island State Park on Saturday, with a target length to be announced at 6 a.m. on the day of the derby. Information is available at the Fishermen’s Friend in Lodi at (209) 369-0204. The big news of the week affecting the San Joaquin River is the installation of a temporary rock barrier in False River off the main San Joaquin in order to keep salt water from further intruding into the central Delta. Construction will start within the next few weeks, and it is planned to be removed by November. Randy Pringle, the fishing instructor, was the tournament director for the Best Bass Tournament on Saturday at Russo’s Marina followed up by the Rat-L-Trap Open on Sunday, and he reported an excellent largemouth bass during the Rat-L-Trap only event with a 22-pound limit taking first place. He said, “They only make two lures, the Echo Squarebill crankbank and the lipless Rat-L-Trap crankbait, and that was a quality limit on reaction lures.” During Saturday’s all-tackle tournament, the top limit at 35 pounds was taken drop-shotting with three bass at 9, 9 and 7 pounds removed from one area within a half hour. Flipping the Berkley Thief creature bait, running the Berkley Havoc Flat Dog weightless, on a Zappu-head, or a drop-shot, or the ima Rock N’Vibe crankbait have been his top techniques, and there is also a solid bite in the wind with the Persuader spinnerbait in chartreuse. He said, “This is the best time to be out there since the bass are in all stages of spawning.” Alan Fong of the Fisherman’s Warehouse in Sacramento also touted solid bass action with Senkos or large Kincannon Glidebaits or swimbaits. He said, “The fish are still spawning, and the next round of spawn will occur this full moon.” The water temperature is holding around 64 degrees, and the bass have moved off the banks. They are loading up on crawdads and bluegill, and Fong said, “They are fat and in beautiful condition.” In the Stockton area, Brandon Gallegos of H and R Bait reported a much slower striped bass bite in the San Joaquin River along with bluegill taking a back seat. Fresh shad has been all but unavailable, with shadders working hard for only a few pounds.
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 **
At Nacimiento, small spotted bass are still the rule with a variety of lures including crankbaits, plastics, ripbaits, and spinnerbaits. There is a topwater bite in the early mornings in the calm water in the backs of coves. White Roostertails, Kastmasters, or similar white lures are working for the white bass in Snake Creek, Las Tablas and near the Heritage Launch Ramp. At Santa Margarita, the front moving through the coast pushed the largemouth bass deeper, but the recent warm days have brought the fish closer to shore and drop-shotting or shad-imitation swimbaits are working. There is a decent crappie bite around structure with wax worms or minijigs. The marina has rental boats, with access limited to 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 7 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. daily. At San Antonio, kayakers are picking up a few striped bass among scattered schools of bait with spoons. The lake remains very low with only kayaks, canoes or float tubes able to be released. Lopez Lake is still the top spot for larger bass with swimbaits, drop-shot plastics, or jigs. The panfish bite is picking up with jumbo red worms or wax worms. There are several tournaments scheduled for Lopez in the coming weeks, and the lake will host the Outdoor Discovery Festival on May 9. Information 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
Best Bass Tournaments on April 18 at Delta Russo’s Marina: 1, Troy Fleming/Kasey Rhyme 35.35 (big fish 9.51); 2, Bob Tyler/Austin Wilson 25.77; 3, Ryan Monaghan/Timothy Rhyme 25.28
Angler’s Choice on April 18 at New Melones: 1, Jeff and Tyler Frey 14.11(big fish 4.28); 2, Jason Remmers/Dave Grant 12.95; 3, Brian and Jeremiah Payne 9.12
Best Bass Tournaments on April 18 at Don Pedro: 1, Ralph and Jacob Encizo 27.27 (big fish 8.46); 2, Walt Austin/Ron Barksdale 14.03; 3, Garrett Maddex/Scott Burke 13.70
Kokanee Power Team Trout Derby on April 18 at Pine Flat: 1, Larry and Linda Abernathy 6.28 pounds; 2, Fred and Leslie McAlister 5.39; 3, Kenny McDonald/Rick Silva 4.24
Visalia Bass Club on April 18 at Kaweah: 1, Mike Maldonado/Tim McCombie 12.19 (big fish 5.82); 2, Terry Hamlin/Bryan Shishido 11.43; 3, Kyle Manes/Bobby Blaswich 11.40
RatLTrap Open on April 19 at Delta/Russo’s Marina: 1, Dustin Keen/Troy Dequchi 22.28; 2, Marc Youn/Roger Morris 19.87; 3, Tim Meeks/Adam White– 19.63
Angler’s Choice on April 19 at Delta–Ladd’s Marina: 1, Mark Mendez/Michael Klemm 24.61 (big fish 8.76); 2, Lorenzo and John Rossetti 21.59; 3, Lemaj Plaza/Ron Berg 20.98
Saturday: American Bass Association at Delta/Russo’s Marina; Tracy Bass Club at Delta/Tracy Oasis; Sacramento Bass Wranglers at Don Pedro; Mid Valley Bass Club at Millerton; American Bass Association at Pine Flat; Hume Lake Christian Camps Trout Derby at Hume Lake; Tri Valley Bass Club at Nacimiento; Best Bass Tournaments at Lopez
Sunday: Stockton Bass Club at Delta/Ladd’s Marina; Kings River Bass Club at Bass Lake
Tuesday: Free fly casting instruction in Dry Creek Park, Clovis and Alluvial in Clovis, sponsored by Fresno Fly Fishers for Conservation.
May 2: R.F. McDonal at Delta/Ladd’s Marina; American Bass Association at Don Pedro; Mid Valley Bass Club at Hensley; U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at Pine Flat; Hume Lake Christian Camps Trout Derby at Hume Lake; San Luis Obispo Bass Ambushers at Nacimiento; American Bass Association at Lopez
May 2-3: Future Pro Tour at Delta-Russo’s Marina; Bass Lake Chamber of Commerce Trout Derby at Bass Lake
May 3: California Bass Federation at Delta/Ladd’s Marina; Best Bass Tournaments at Pine Flat; 101 Bass Open at Bass Lake;
May 7-10: Forrest L. Wood at Delta/Russo’s Marina
May 9: Angler’s Choice at Delta/B and W Resort; Tracy Bass at Delta/Tracy Oasis; Future Pro Tour at Don Pedro; Gold Star Kids Trout Derby at Don Pedro; Mariposa County Fish and Game Trout Derby at McSwain; Kerman Bass Club at Bass Lake; American Bass Association at Isabella; 101 Bass/Tri Valley Bass Club at Nacimiento; Taft Bass Club at Lopez
May 10: Angler’s Choice at Delta/Ladd’s Marina –
May 16: Christian Bass League at Delta/Ladd’s Marina; Best Bass Tournaments at Don Pedro; Visalia Bass Club at Success; Bakersfield Bass Club at Nacimiento; Kern County Bassmasters at Lopez
May 16-17: Sierra Bass Club at Delta/Russo’s Marina; California Tournament Trail at Delta/Russo’s Marina; Lake Isabella Bass Club at Isabella; Golden Empire Bass Club at Nacimiento; Vox Pops Influentials Magazine Trout Derby at Kaweah River
May 17: Riverbank Bass Anglers/Bass N’ Tubes at Delta/Ladd’s Marina; Kings River Bass Club/Modesto Ambassadors at Delta/Ladd’s Marina; Tracy Bass Club at Delta/Tracy Oasis; Fresno Bass Club at New Melones; Kings VIII Bass Club at Don Pedro; Success Bass Club at Success; Best Bass Tournaments at Lopez
May 23: Angler’s Choice at Delta/Russo’s; American Bass Association at Kaweah
May 30: Kerman Bass Club at Don Pedro; Kokanee Power Team Tournament at Don Pedro, kokaneepower.com; Southern California Bass Club at Isabella; 101 Bass at Nacimiento
May 30-31: Stockton Bass Club at Delta/Ladd’s Marina; Tracy Bass Club at Delta/Tracy Oasis
Fresno County: Rancheria Creek; Kings River, Below Pine Flat Dam; Tamarack Creek; Hume Lake; Big Creek, Huntington; Dinkey Creek; Tenmile Creek, Upper
Kern County: Cedar Creek; Kern River, sections 1-5; Alder Creek; Cuddy Creek Pond
Madera County: Manzanita Lake; Willow Creek North Fork; Lewis Creek; Corrine Lake; Nelder Creek
Mariposa County: Merced River, Section ll; Big Creek, Madera
Tulare County: Deer Creek; Stony Creek; Peppermint Creek, Lower and Upper; Kern River, section 5-6; Dry Meadow Creek; Bone Creek; Freeman Creek; Balch Park Lake Upper; Tule River North Fork, Middle Fork No. 1; Balch Park Lake Lower; Tule River South Fork, Middle Fork No. 3; Nobe Young Creek; Hedrick Pond (Redwood Lake); White River; Tule River South Fork, Middle Fork No. 2; Tule River Middle Fork
Tuolumne County: Tuolumne River South Fork; Moccasin Creek; Stanislaus River North Fork; Pinecrest Lake; Stanislaus River Clarks Fork; Stanislaus River South Fork; Stanislaus River Middle Fork; Tuolumne River Middle Fork; Lyons Canal (Columbia Ditch); Powerhouse Stream; Tuolumne River North Fork; Beaver Creek