Compiled by Dave Hurley and edited by Roger George, a former Olympic-class decathlete at Fresno State and striper record-holder at Millerton Lake and who now guides in the greater Fresno area. Telephone numbers are in 559 calling area unless noted.
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Delta stripers and bass good, Randy Pringle said. San Francisco stripers, halibut and sturgeon action heats up, Trent Slate reported. Bass Lake trout kick in, Todd Wittwer said. Shaver kokanee bite good, Dick Nichols reported. Monterey rockfish season off to great start, Chris Arcoleo said. Pine Flat crappie, bass and trout exciting anglers, Merritt Gilbert reported.
2-Have to work hard
4-Fish jumpin’ in boat
Delta Mendota Canal and Sloughs
Stripers 1 Catfish 1
The northern section of the California Aqueduct seems to be devoid of fishermen with high interest remaining in the main San Luis Reservoir, but in the southern section in Kern County, Pete Cormier of Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield said, “The bite is back on with good action for both stripers and catfish. Lug worms, blood worms, sardines, or mackerel are working for both species while striper fishermen are finding success with jerkbaits, flukes, or tubes.
Bass 2 Trout 2 Bluegill 2 Catfish 2 Crappie 2
Heavy fishing pressure and high inflow within the past few weeks have affected the bass action at the lake. A few small crappie are taken on minijigs near the trees, but most area crappie fishermen are heading to Pine Flat near Trimmer. Bass fishermen have had to work hard for largemouth bass from 1.5 to 3 pounds with the best action on the bottom with plastics on the drop-shot or jigs. The reaction bite producing the big fish has been absent after being solid a few weeks ago. The Mid-Valley Bass Club will host the 2018 Kid’s Fishing Day at Eastman Lake on April 7, and registration begins at 8:00 a.m. at the Chowchilla Recreation Area Pavilion. Fishing will run until 11:30 a.m. and the festivities will continue into the afternoon. Guests with their own fishing poles are encouraged to bring them; the park staff will hand out loaner fishing poles, but supplies are limited. Individuals 16 years old or older must have a valid fishing license. For questions relating to this event you may speak with an Eastman Lake park ranger at 559-689-3255 or via email email@example.com. Eastman is rising to nearly 100 percent.
Bass 2 Trout 2 Catfish 2 Bluegill 2 Crappie 2
Small crappie and carp have been the top speces at this lake as the water continues to rise from heavy inflow. A few small bass in the 11- to 13-inch range are taken on wacky-rigged Senkos or plastics on a Carolina-rig from the banks to 15 feet in depth. The water remains stained.
Lake Don Pedro
Bass 2 Trout 2 Kokanee 1 King salmon 2 Crappie 2
For most of the spring, Don Pedro has been asleep for rainbow trout, but the addition of 39,000 fish saved by the Department of Fish and Wildlife from the washout at the Moccasin Hatchery should spur on the bite. The largemouth and spotted bass continue to hold out in deeper water, but they are clearing wanting to move up.
Monte Smith of Gold Country Sport Fishing will be scouting the lake on Tuesday in preparation for a trip with clients this week, and he said, “I went up to the Moccasin launch ramp this week, and the water was not clear, but it wasn’t muddy either. There is a trash barrier set up south of the ramp, and this limited access up the river arm. There were two boats at the cleaning station, and they were both cleaning fish so I am optimistic about the possibilities this week.”
For bass, Mike Gomez of Berserk Baits said, “The Don Pedro bass bite is getting better, but there are no bed fish as of yet. The best fishing remains on the bottom at depths from 35 to 40 feet with underspins, jigs, or plastics on the drop-shot. The Berserk brown/purple along with the Purple Hornet are working along with the Pro Worm 300 which is a shad pattern with a gold blood line. This appears to be best in the dingy water. The good weather this week should pick up the action, but we have another round of weather starting next Thursday night.”
Don Pedro will be hosting a number of bass tournaments this month including NewJen Bass Tournaments on April 7, Kings River Bass Club on April 8, California Tournament Trails on April 14, Mother Lode Kayak on April 15, Sierra Bass Club on April 21/22, and Best Bass Tournaments on April 21.
Lake Isabella/Bakersfield area
Bass 1 Trout 1 Crappie 2 Catfish 3 Bluegill 1
The crappie bite has been going on for a few weeks, but anglers have been keeping it quiet. However, the action can’t be kept hidden for too long, and there is solid action for slabs in the South Fork with live minnows or minijigs under a bobber. The local lakes of Truxtun, Hart Park, and Ming are also kicking out slabsides. Pete Cormier of Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield said, “It is not wide open crazy right now, but it is pretty darn good.” He added that the bass bite is also showing signs of life at Isabella, and combined with catfish and trout, the lake is featuring some great action for all species. In the lower Kern River, Cormier touted action for rainbow trout, catfish, smallmouth bass, and largemouth bass with a variety of baits or lures including Power Bait, plastic worms, inline spinners, and live crickets. The upper river is running a bit high right now, and fishing has been slower. Power Bait in rainbow/garlic or Berkley Mice Tails were the two top baits.
Bass 2 Crappie 1 Trout 1 Catfish 2
The lake continues to rise, more slowly than last week, and the crappie and largemouth bass bite is poised to break out with this week’s hot weather. The water in the river arm is dirtier than in the main lake, but it should clear up quickly. The bass are ready to move up into the shallows with smaller male bass cruising the banks.
Call: Sierra Sporting Goods 592-5212
Bass 3 Trout 1 Catfish 2 Crappie 2 Bluegill 3
Pete Cormier of Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield reported excellent crappie, bluegill, and bass fishing at the lake. Slabsides are taken on minijigs or live minnows with bluegill biting wax worms, jumbo red worms, or meal worms. The bass are starting to pick up reaction baits such as crankbaits in addition to the finesse bite on the bottom with plastics or jigs.
Bass 2 Trout 2 King salmon 1 Kokanee 0 Crappie 3 Catfish 2
The bass remain deep at up to 40 feet with finesse techniques producing, but the crappie action is heating up with 25- fish limits the rule with live minnows in the coves along the North Shore Marina. Catfishing is decent with anchovies, sardines, or chicken livers. The lake rose to 81 percent this week. Highway closures by Caltrans are restricting access to Lake McClure facilities in the Bagby area and Horseshoe Bend area.
Following severe storm events in later March, Caltrans has closed Highway 49 between the Coulterville area and Bear Valley Road, north of Mariposa. As a result, there is no access to the Bagby Recreation Area at this time. Caltrans has indicated Highway 49 could be open in early May.
The Horseshoe Bend Recreation Area is open and accessible from Highway 132. However, delays can be expected for up to 15 minutes or more with detours and road work. For the latest information on road conditions around Lake McClure, please visit Caltrans District 10 at www.dot.ca.gov/d10.
Lake McSwain has gone from 0 to 60 mph in the past few months for trout fishermen, and the catalyst has been the regular plants of trophy fish by the Calaveras Trout Farm. Another 500 pounds of rainbow trout were released this past week including 100 pounds of trophy rainbows. The annual Merced Irrigation District’s Trout Derby will be held this coming weekend, April 7/8, and up to 500 fishermen will be participating in search of tagged rainbows worth $2000, $1000, and $500.
Steve Marquette of the Lake McClure-Lake McSwain Parks and Recreation said, “Anglers are real happy out here right now, and we were lined up from shoulder-to-shoulder from the marina to the dam with fishermen coming back with limits including some trophy fish. Trout dough bait in sherbet, lime, and garlic is working best along with live minnows and nightcrawlers. The lake was lowered this week for minor adjustments to the dam in anticipation of the coming snowmelt, but it will stay full for the remainder of the year. Trout plants from the Calaveras Trout Farm just down the road have made all of the difference.”
The registration for the derby will close April 4, and the event is limited to 500 anglers with an entry fee of $15 for individuals and $35 for a family composed of two adults and three children under 15. There will be 50 tagged fish released including three big money fish while the remainder of the tags will be split evenly between a pool based on the number of participants. $200 will be awarded to the largest trout, and in the event the $2000 trout is not landed during the derby, it is worth $500 for registered derby participants in the coming months.
Registration forms available for the derby are available here.
Call: McSwain Marina 209-378-2534
Millerton Lake/San Joaquin River
Bass 3 Striped bass 1 Shad 0 Bluegill 1 Crappie 3
Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun said, “Good numbers of spotted bass are taken on spinnerbaits up the river arm along with ripbaits and plastics on the drop-shot at depths from 15 to 25 feet. There are buck bass cruising the banks with spots in the 1.5 to 1.75-pounc range found in slightly deeper water.” No striped bass reports. A few quality crappie are taken in Squaw Cove on mini-jigs. The lake rose to 78 percent this week..
Call: Valley Rod & Gun 292-3474
Bass 3 Crappie 2 Catfish 2 Trout 2 Kokanee 1
Bass fishing remains best with finesse techniques at depths to 40 feet in the clearer waters of the main lake. The lake continues to rise with inflow from the upper Stanislaus River, and once the water temperatures warm and the bass move into the shallows, the reaction bite should turn on in force. Trout fishing is limited to a few quality rainbows, but the release of the net pens in April should improve conditions. The lake rose to 84 percent this week.
Pine Flat Reservoir/
Bass 3 Trout 3 Kokanee 0 King salmon 0 Catfish 2 Crappie 3
The bass bite at Pine Flat is on the rise along with the lake levels, and trout and crappie are also solid choices for area fishermen. The reaction bite is starting to improve, but most anglers continue to work the bottom. The 2nd Annual ‘King of the Clubs’ hosted by Sportsmen’s Warehouse in Fresno in this coming Saturday, April 7, and 10 local bass clubs are gearing up for this event. The Visalia club has joined with Success Bass Club for this year’s event and will be known at the Cen Cal Bass Club. Additional participants will be the Sierra Bass Club from Clovis, the Kerman Bass Club, Taft Bass Club, Fresno Bass Club, Mid-Valley Bass Club from Madera, Bass 101 from Fresno, the Roosevelt High Bass Fishers from Fresno, and Bakersfield Bass Club, Inland Empire, and Kern Valley Bass Masters from Bakersfield.
The event is run like a Bass Master’s Elite with 5 two-man teams launched within five different flights 10 minutes apart, and those who are not included in their club’s top ten anglers can compete in the ‘Lost Creek Challenge’ with entry fee is $25.00 with $250 for the big fish at three different times along with another $250 for overall big fish. The Lost Creek line is the signature brand at Sportsmen’s Warehouse, and all anglers in the challenge must use at least a trailer by Lost Creek. ” Sweeney will be bringing his expertise to other locations in the state to organize similar events.
Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “The buck bass are cruising the shorelines, and the overall bass bite has improved. Spotted bass in the 2.5- to 2.75-pound range are found at depths from 20 to 25 feet with ripbaits, jigs, plastics on the drop-shot, and some topwater lures. Everything but chatterbaits and spinnerbaits have been working. The crappie are holding in the trees near Trimmer and above Trimmer in the river arm, and we have been selling a lot of crappie lures for this lake. Most of our crappie fishermen are focusing here due to the larger grade of slabs. Crappie Stingers, Strike King Mr. Crappie, and Bobby Garland’s remain the top sellers.”
Chuck Crane of the Wishon Village RV Park and Store said, “Jack, Wayne, and Ben Davis were trolling # 2 Speedy Shiners in gold/red at 6 colors deep near Deer Creek for two limits of trout including a brown trout at 18 inches along with two rainbows from 16- to 18-inches with the remaining trout from 12- to 16-inches.”
Gilbert confirmed the decent trout action with the best action in the main lake from the dam to the Power Lines with Rainbow Runners, Needlefish, or Apex lures at depths from 20 to 25 feet for trout to 15 inches.
Kokanee Power will host its first derby of the year on April 21 at Pine Flat with information and registration available here.
San Luis Reservoir
and O’Neill Forebay
Striper 2 Catfish 2 Bass 2 Crappie 2
San Luis Reservoir continues to kick out striped bass from the shorelines in the mornings and evenings although the recent weather fronts and a full moon have caused the fish to suspend during the day-causing the trolling bite to subside.
Coyote Bait and Tackle in Morgan Hill reported decent action for trollers pulling umbrella rigs or broken-backed Rebels while live jumbo minnows continues to be effective. Bank anglers are using anchovies, pile worms, or frozen shad from the shorelines off of Dinosaur Point and the Basalt Recreation Area. In the Forebay, a smaller grade of striped bass have been abundant in the evenings with anchovies, pile worms, or shad.
Roger George of Roger George Guide Service said that he fished Saturday with local Lowrance expert Edd Allen for just awhile in the morning while they 3D mapped the lake with George’s new Lowrance HDS 12 Carbon unit. “ The new Carbon unit is amazing, and the 3D mapping down to a 1 foot discretion is incredible compared to the regular nav maps that show a 20 foot topographical line . The detail is spectacular ! I only fished for about an hour, focusing on the mapping but we still landed and released 6 nice fish to over 25 inches before we left early. The fish are scattered and the overall trolling bite has been tough to decent after the storm and full moon . Some of my buddies are getting a few fish throwing ripbaits near shore early- to 28 inches . The water clarity is getting murkier and is about 8-10 feet now and the water temps were up to 62.5 degrees-up from the 57 degrees a week ago. We are tentatively planning the next “Downrigging 101 for Stripers” on the water class for either April 7th or 8th depending on the forecast. Info (559) 905-2954.” George said.
Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “We have had a run on Magnum Flukes in the 5- to 7-inch size over the past week, and shore fishermen are either tossing the flukes or throwing ripbaits in the evenings for linesides to 4 pounds.”
The lake is rising once again, and it is at 87 percent.
Bass 2 Trout 3 Kokanee 1
Bass Lake makes the grade for rainbow trout for the second week in a row and local guides are hammering the rainbows. With the annual Bass Lake Chamber of Commerce Trout Derby coming on the weekend of weekend of May 5/6 with over $25,000 in tagged rainbow trout, this is welcome news.
Todd Wittwer of Kokanee.net Guide Service put his clients onto over 40 rainbows this past Friday, further verifying the solid action. Wittwer will remain at the lake until just before the trout derby at which point he will relocate to Shaver Lake for the remainder of the summer. He continues to score with Tasmanian Devil spoons, the Rocky Mountain Tackle Purple Squid behind the Purple Moonshine dodger, the RMT Plankton spinner, and blade/crawler combinations, but the combination of the squid behind the Purple Moonshine dodger was particularly effective on Friday. The rainbows are found in the clearer water from the Sheriffs Tower to the dam, and the water clarity continues to improve. Shore fishing remains good with trout dough bait or nightcrawlers near the Sheriffs Tower.
The public launch ramp is in good shape since the lake has risen to 73 percent, but the courtesy dock is non-functional. The launch fee has risen from $5 to $10.
Information and registration available at www.baslakechamber.com/fishing-derby.
Kaiser Pass Road close several months ago, and access to the area will be limited to snowmobile. Edison is at 26, Florence rose to 9, and Mammoth Pool rose significantly to 82 percent.
Call: Vermilion Valley Resort at Edison Lake 259-4000
Kokanee 3 Trout 2
Kokanee action is solid for the few boats working the lake and the kokanee to 16 inches have been found at depths to 25 feet with Apex lures or Dick’s Trout Busters tipped with shoepeg corn. Trophy trout to 4 pounds have been caught and released. Dick Nichols of Dick’s Fishing Charters will be starting his 12th season guiding on the lake starting April 26, and he will be working on a modified schedule on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays only. Both marinas will be open by mid-April. at sierramarina.com/camera.html updated every 20 minutes. Shaver is currently at 55 percent with Huntington at 57 percent. Huntington is expected to fill by May while Shaver will fill later in the summer.
Call: Dick Nichols, Dick’s Fishing Charters 281-6948; Todd Wittwer, Kokanee.net Guide Service 288-8100; Dinkey Creek Inn 841-3435; Rancheria Marina 893-3234; Shaver Lake Sports Inc. 841-2740; Steve Santoro Fish Box Charters 871-3937
The gates remain closed at Dinkey Creek, and they will most likely open to Wishon by May 1.
Call: Wishon RV Park 865-5361
Half Moon Bay
Rock cod 3 Striper 2 Crab 2 Surf perch 3
With the local rockfish season opening on April 15th, and the opener of ocean salmon season in local waters in limbo until the completion of the meeting of the Pacific Fisheries Management Council on April 11th, party and private boats will have to make the long 18-mile run south below Pigeon Point for both rockfish and salmon. The salmon season below Pigeon Point opens on Saturday, April 7th, and there has been some optimism out of Monterey Bay with the massive amounts of anchovies and krill in the bay. The Half Moon Bay Boats will not be making the run down the coast past Davenport in northern Santa Cruz County, but traditionally the best salmon action at the opening of the season occurs far south of Half Moon Bay.
Captain Tom Mattusch of the Huli Cat just returned from Washington D.C. from the National Saltwater Recreational Fisheries Summitt from around the continental United States, Puerto Rico, Alaska, and the South Pacific held by the NOAA. Mattusch will be running south of Pigeon Point for rockfish and also for salmon within the coming weeks, and he highly advises private fishermen to be conscious of rockfish regulations including the accurate reporting of any incidental catches of prohibited goldeneye rockfish.
Last year, there were a number of citations for both incidental catches of rockfish and coho salmon brought in by private boaters at Half Moon Bay, and violations such as these have a detrimental effect on recreational fishing regulations.
Mattusch is looking forward to making the run south of Pigeon Point as the depth restriction this year is the same at the beginning of last season at 40 fathoms or 240 feet in depth. Anglers can keep 10 rockfish including one canary, three black rockfish, and three cabezon in excess of 15 inches.
Out of Half Moon Bay Sport Fishing, the Queen of Hearts and Riptide will also make the run south of Pigeon Point for rockfish and/or salmon. Sherry Ingles of Half Moon Bay Sport Fishing reported a combined 50 limits and three ling cod on opening day, April 1st. She said, “We had a fantastic start to our rockfishing season with many quality rockfish. The ling count was low as the rockfish were biting before the baits could get to the bottom. Another good sign was the salmon-looking brown water south of Pigeon Point so there is optimism for the upcoming season.”
From the beaches, Ed Liu of Bay Tackle in El Cerrito continues to find great action for a wide variety of surf perch to 17 inches with Berkley Camo Worms, Gulp! Grubs, and also with live bait such as pile worms or sand crabs.
Rockfish 4 Striper 2 Crab 2 Sand dabs 3 Surf perch 3
Chris Arcoleo of Chris’s Fishing Trips in Monterey reported spectacular rockfish and ling cod action on Sunday’s opener from the local reefs with a number of big coppers and vermilions in the sacks to go with quality yellows and olives He said, “Despite not having any live squid, the ling cod were biting, and the Check Mate posted limits of lings along with ¾ limits of rockfish for 26 anglers, the Star of Monterey came back with 25 lings and limits of rockfish for 26 passengers, and the Caroline ended up with 18 lings and 20 limits of rockfish.”
There is also some good sign for salmon with mats of krill moving in to join the anchovies. There have been a few incidental catches of salmon this week, and there is some optimism for next Saturday’s opener. Their boats are sold out for the coming weekend, but there is room for rockfish/ling cod on Wednesday through Friday.
Allen Bushnell of Santa Cruz Kayak and Surf Casting Guide Service said, “With the opener of rockfish season, private boaters are reminded to take care of essential maintenance and safety checks before joining the line at the launch ramp on Sunday. Pre-checking boat trailer bearings, batteries, electronics and all Coast Guard mandated safety equipment should be on everyone’s ‘to-do’ list. Make sure you have fuel, oil and that your motor runs. Nothing is worse than holding up a line of anxious anglers on opening day because your engine won’t start. Well, one thing is worse; the guy who forgets to put his drain plug in the boat after winter storage and watches it sink while tied to the dock. Carrying extra drain plugs is not a bad idea. As the name implies, rockfish are usually found on the rocky and reefy areas of Monterey Bay. Sometimes they are caught over sandy areas, but almost always in close proximity to reefs or kelp beds that root on rocky bottoms. In Monterey, most of the coastline from the north side of Carmel Bay all the way to Point Pinos is reef area. Coming around that corner, Pacific Grove features broad stretches of rocky bottom out to 200 feet of water. Del Monte Beach up to Sand City is mostly sand bottom, but has numerous outcrops of shale that can hold rockfish and lingcod all year round. Between Monterey and Capitola there are a few scattered reefs here and there, mostly small well-guarded spots by secretive local anglers. Capitola begins to show very distinct reefs from 30 out to 120 feet of water. From Santa Cruz Harbor, many anglers fish the Mile Buoy area and out to South Rock which is south west of the Mile Buoy. Lighthouse Point and the entire West Cliff area is mostly rock bottom and typically is a very productive area to fish in the 30 to 120 feet depths. In early spring rockfish and lings are usually found at 60-foot and greater depths. Every year is different though, and with slightly warmer water temperatures this year we might find the fish on shallow reefs as well.”
San Francisco Bay
Halibut 3 Striper 3 Leopard shark 2 Sturgeon 3 Crab 2
The big news in the bay is the opening of the live bait receiver in San Francisco as a number of boats have been filling up the receivers within the past few days. Captain Trent Slate of Bite Me Charters was helping on the Hog Heaven, and they loaded up four full pens with big anchovies for this time of year at 3 to 5 inches. The bait dock will be open seven days per week from 6:00 to 9:00 a.m. A small scoop is $30.00 with a large scoop costing $50.00.
Captain James Smith of the Happy Hooker has been finding some decent scores including large halibut in excess of 20 pounds using live jack smelt and the few shiner minnows that can be obtained. Now that the bait docks are open, his tanks will be loaded with anchovies. His first trip with live bait produced over 20 halibut/striped bass.
Keith Fraser of Loch Lomond Bait and Tackle in San Rafael reported great action for both sturgeon and bass on Wednesday as they went out for 2 hours and 15 minutes to catch and release 4 legal sturgeon from 45 to 52 inches along with 4 legal stripers from 22-inches to 8 pounds. He said, “It was damn good out there, and Drs. Roy Slack and Rick Daly, who are just getting into sturgeon fishing, were out for another hour, and they boated 8 legal sturgeon, keeping one, along with a few striped bass. Ross Peterson, formerly of Stockton, released 5 legal sturgeon and a 70-inch oversized along with striped bass to 16 pounds. Everyone was on fire, and there were anglers off of the sandy shoreline at China Camp that landed two legal sturgeon and released a shaker. There are lots of sturgeon and lots of bass with few bay rays, sharks, skates, or crab to drive up the bait bill.” Speaking of a bait bill, Fraser will have live mud shrimp, ghost shrimp, pile worms, and the possibility of live anchovies for the weekend. A few halibut came off of Paradise, but the action has slowed down with the larger tides and muddy water coming out of the Delta.
Ed Liu of Bay Tackle in El Cerrito reported good halibut action from the shoreline from Emeryville north with swimbaits, bucktail jigs, Rapalas, and Diawa’s SP Minnows, and they have been out there targeting stripers and hooking undersized halibut. He said, “One of our employees went out behind Costco during his lunch hour, and he returned with a sore wrist from setting hooks today.” The Golden Gate Field Race track, Emeryville by the old Charlie Brown’s, the pier by the Berkeley Flats, and Point Pinole are other productive shoreline areas. Live jack smelt have been working for the larger versions of halibut. Surf perch fishing remains solid both inside the bay and outside on the beaches with the ocean producing the larger perch between 14 and 16 inches and 1- to 3- pounds with Berkley Camo Worms, grubs, and live bait such as sand crabs.
In the Napa River, Sweeney’s Sports in Napa reported ‘hit and miss’ conditions on the river for striped bass with the muddy waters. Live bait such as mudsuckers and splittail are working best for the occasional striper in the 10- to 30-pound range. Sturgeon fishing remains steady, ‘not red-hot,’ from the mouth of the river at the Highway 37 Bridge upriver to downtown with live ghost shrimp, eel, and salmon roe.
San Luis Obispo
Rockfish 3 Surf perch 3
The Endeavor and Avenger out of Morro Bay Landing found great rockfish action on the opening day on Sunday with 628 vermilion rockfish, 20 copper, 110 Boccaccio, 40 assorted, 2 cabezon, and 73 ling cod to a whopping 26 pounds for 81 fishermen. Trey Williams of Clovis landed the big ling on the Endeavor. Also out of Morro Bay, Virg’s Landing had three boats out with 71 anglers for 590 vermilion, 70 assorted, 20 coppers, 30 Boccaccio along with ling cod to 17 pounds. Out of Port San Luis, the Flying Fish, the Patriot, and the Phenix took out 78 passengers for 319 vermilion, 70 copper, 94 Boccaccio, 268 assorted, 2 chilipepper, 27 canary, and 14 ling cod to 12 pounds with William Ortiz of Fresno taking the jackboat on the Phenix with an 11-pound ling.
Bass 3 Striper 3 Sturgeon 2 Catfish 2 Bluegill 2
The high and muddy water that poured into the Sacramento-Delta was just what the striped bass have been looking for, and the bite has turned on throughout the system. Finding clear water is the key to running artificials, and at the present time, this is far more difficult on the Sacramento side of the Delta with bait fishermen holding the upper hand. Sturgeon has been up and down with some outstanding action followed by slower days, but the diamondbacks are fully entrenched in the river system.
In the north Delta, Johnny Tran of New Romeo’s Bait and Tackle in Freeport said, “It is wide open on the Sacramento River from the shorelines at Freeport, Clarksburg, and Garcia Ben with pile worms, blood worms, and sardines coated with garlic spray for stripers from 18 to 30 inches. The water is a bit muddy, but the bite is on. Catfishing is solid in the Sacramento Deep Water Channel, but the striped bass in the channel is slow due to muddy water. Sturgeon fishing remains decent with a few sturgeon taken on pile worms or pile worm/eel combinations. Live jumbo minnows are working in the Mokelumne River system up into the Consumnes River which is pouring mud into the North Fork.”
In Suisun Bay, the Battle of the Six-Packs Sturgeon Derby was held out of Martinez on Friday with primary sponsorship by Vince Borges of Phenix Rods, Big Red Worm Tackle, and Martinez Bait and Tackle. The sturgeon action was slow despite the solid group of captains headed by Chris Smith of the Defiant, Jonathan Smith of the Happy Hooker, John McGee of Legal Limit, Joey Gamez of Golden State, and Jay Lopes of Right Hook Sport Fishing. The target sturgeon length was 55 inches, and a customer on Lopes’s boat took home the Phenix Access Rod with a 49 incher while releasing an oversized and a customer on McGee’s boat took home the other Phenix Access Rod with the big fish of the tournament at 58.5 inches. Captain Jonathan Smith put in a small slot-limit fish on the Happy Hooker while Gamez had a 20-pound striped bass. Overall, the action was slow as only three of the boats landed sturgeon.
Lopes of Right Hook will switch over to trolling, casting, and drifting live bait for striped bass from April 3 through the 24th before moving to San Francisco Bay for the live bait season.
Captain Steve Mitchell of Hook’d Up Sport Fishing out of Pittsburg put in a keeper and an oversized sturgeon earlier this week, and they had one hanging on Thursday that broke off after a brief fight. He said, “The incoming tie was small, but I knew that we would nail them on the outgo, but my clients had a long drive home up the valley. My 12-year old son came into my spot with my nephew, and he caught and released his first two keepers on the outgo.”
Benicia Bait reported high interest in fishing over the Easter weekend, and they were sold out of live bait by Sunday morning
The San Joaquin River has some locations with clear water, and your success will depend upon finding the cleanest locations. The south Delta is the most stained location due to heavy inflow from the tributaries, but the river will only clear with warm weather expected this week.
In the San Joaquin River, striped bass action has been excellent with Clyde Wands, shallow trolling expert, out with Joe Aksamit, aka ‘Joe Fish’ of JoeFish Guide Service on Thursday for good numbers of linesides to 14 pounds trolling both shallow and deep in the San Andreas Shoals above the Peacock. He said, “The San Joaquin is still dirty, but the fish were biting.”
Captain J. D. Richey of Richey’s Sport Fishing was out on the San Joaquin River on Thursday, and he found a good jig bite for stripers to 13 pounds, and he was planning on switching over to topwater lures when the light conditions became low. He said, “I fished the north Delta a few days ago after going to the Feather River near Verona, only to find slow conditions in the muddy water.” Richey found more success on Saturday on the San Joaquin with quality stripers over 10 pounds caught and released on topwater lures.
Dan Mathisen of Dan’s Delta Outdoors in Oakley was out on the water on Friday, and he reported a solid largemouth bass bite with Senkos or spinnerbaits with stripers found in Sherman Lake with Optimum’s Bad Bubba Shad swimbait.
Randy Pringle, the Fishing Instructor, said, “A lot of guys are crying the blues for largemouth bass right now with the dirty water, but the key is to use scent and find moving water as we have been finding largemouth bass to 5 pounds. I am using everything that smells right now, and the General Max Scent on a Texas-rig is working right now. The General is a weightless worm, and I am Texas-rigging it in order to provide more vibration in the muddy water. There are areas of the San Joaquin that are ‘pure mud’ and you can ‘bring marshmallows to put in this chocolate milk.’ There are small areas of clear water, and you will have to look around for them. The new ima Glide Fluke continues to work, and in the dirty water, chartreuse patterns are working best.”
Bryce Tedford of Bryce Tedford’s Fly Fishing Guide Service said, “Delta Striper fishing has been more of a challenge this week with dirtier water from recent rains. That said, I was just out and managed 10+ fish to 5-pounds, and the trick was to find reasonable clean water that was holding fish that bite. There is a fair amount of fish in the system so as the water clears the catching will improve. The water temperatures are currently 55 to 57 degrees.”
Luther Thompson of H and R Bait in Stockton said, “The striped bass bite was getting really good around Windmill Cove before the water got muddy, but this week has been a washout in our area. We had been selling plenty of minnows for crappie, but this has come to a halt with the muddy water in the south Delta. Most of our fishermen are heading over to the Sacramento River side at either Rio Vista or Isleton.”
Johnny Tran of New Romeo’s Bait and Tackle in Freeport reported strong bluegill action off of Eight Mile Road or in the Mokelumne River at Wimpy’s Marina with jumbo red worms on a drop-shot rig.
Bass 3 White bass 3 Striper 2 Catfish 2 Crappie 2
At Nacimiento, the spotted and white bass became active with the arrival of good weather conditions, and the whites are hitting small spoons and spinners along with plastics in shad-patterned near the normal locations of Las Tablas and Dip Creek. Finding the schools in the early mornings or late afternoons is the key. Spotted bass are hitting plastics, spoons, and jigs as they are moving into the shallows. A few crappie are found by bass fishermen targeting the spots. The water level continues to rise, and the lake jumped up to 56 percent. A webcam of the lake is available at http://www.lakenacimientolive.com/. At San Antonio, the runoff from the recent storms has attracted the catfish to the creek inlets in search of an easy meal washing down into the lake. Cut baits and stinkbaits are working best for catfish while bass fishing remains slow for the most part with the only action on the bottom with finesse techniques. Striped bass remains slow, but the better weather conditions in the future should lead to the normal spring time boils. The lake rose to 34 percent. At Lopez, largemouth bass are on the chomp, hitting jigs and plastics along with reaction baits such as chatterbaits and spinnerbaits. A webcam of the lake is available at http://805webcams.com/lopez-lake-webcam/. At Santa Margarita, largemouth bass action remains ‘hit or miss’ with some excellent action one day followed by a slow bite the following day. The best fishing has been on the bottom with crawdad-patterned jigs or plastics on the Texas-rig. The occasional huge catfish has been taken on a variety of baits including nightcrawlers while panfishing has been slow overall.
Go to fresnobee.com/fishing for reports on Half Moon Bay, Monterey/Santa Cruz, San Francisco Bay and San Luis Obispo
RiverRat Bass Club Open Tournament: March 31-April 1 at Don Pedro – Matt Frazier/Anthony Sousa, 23.06 pounds (Big Fish 7.34); 2, Casey Case/Larry Llanes, 21.25; 3, Andy Stilley/Andrew Orr, 19.14.
April 7: Delta/B and W Resort – Sonora Bass Club; Delta/Russo’s Marina – American Bass Association; Delta/Ladd’s Marina – Delta Bass Busters; Delta/Tracy Oasis – Tracy Oasis Marina; Tulloch – Kings River Bass Club; Don Pedro – NewJen Bass Tournaments; Lake McSwain – Merced Irrigation District Trout Derby; Pine Flat – Sportsmen’s Warehouse ‘King of the Clubs’ and Lost Creek Challenge; Success – Golden Empire Bass Club; San Antonio – Best Bass Tournaments; Santa Margarita – Kern County Bassmasters
April 8: Delta/Big Break Marina – Dan’s Delta Outdoors; Don Pedro – Kings River Bass Club; Bass Lake – Kings VIII Bass Club; Kaweah – NewJen Bass Tournaments
April 12: Delta/B and W Resort – Police and Correctional Officer’s Tournament
April 14: Delta/B and W Resort – American Bass Association; Delta/Ladd’s Marina – Christian Bass League; Camanche – Riverbank Bass Anglers; Tulloch – Kerman Bass Club; Don Pedro – California Tournament Trail; McClure – Merced Bass Club; Eastman – RiverRat Bass Club; Pine Flat – Best Bass Tournaments; Kaweah – Cen Cal Elite Bass Tournaments; San Antonio – 101 Bass; Santa Margarita – Orange County Bass Club
April 15-16: Delta/Russo’s Marina – Angler’s Press
April 15: New Melones – Tri Valley Bassmasters; Tulloch – Fresno Bass Club; Don Pedro – Mother Lode Kayak Anglers; Bass Lake – Central Valley Kayak Fishing; Kaweah – Success Bass Youth; Santa Margarita – Orange County Bass Club
April 21-22: Delta/Russo’s Marina – Best Bass Tournaments Rat-L-Trap Open; Don Pedro – Sierra Bass Club
April 21: Delta/Russo’s Marina – Delta Bass Anglers; Delta/Ladd’s Marina – Elk Grove Bass Club; Delta/B and W Resort – Outlaw Bass Club; Don Pedro – Best Bass Tournaments/Southern California Bass Club; Millerton – California Bass Federation; Success – US Army Corps of Engineers; Isabella -Lake Isabella Bass Club; San Antonio – American Bass Association; Santa Margarita – San Luis Obispo County Bass Ambushers
April 22: New Melones – California Bass Federation; Millerton – American Bass Association; Bass Lake – Kings River Bass Club
April 27-29: Delta/Russo’s Marina – Wild West Bass Trails
April 28: Lake Camanche – Central Valley Anglers Trout Derby; Pine Flat – NewJen Bass Tournaments
April 28-29: New Melones – California Bass Federation; Don Pedro – Bakersfield Bass Club
Planned for week of April 8
by California Department of Fish and Wildlife
Fresno County: Kings River below Pine Flat Dam, Woodward Park Lake, Avocado Lake
Kern County: Lake Isabella
Madera County: Manzanita Lake
San Luis Obispo County: Barney Schwartz Park Lake
Tulare County: Murry Park Pond, Del Lago Park Lake
q = quarter moon