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
*** Limits possible
**** Fish jumpin’ in boat
Delta Mendota Canal and Sloughs
Striper ** Catfish **
The northern section of the California Aqueduct has slowed significantly, with most striper fishermen heading to the main lake or the O’Neill Forebay. A few fishermen are targeting the Delta Mendota Canal for catfish or striped bass. The 4-inch Storm swimbaits in bluegill have been a hot seller. In the south aqueduct in Kern County, Pete Cormier of Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield said, “The ocean and the aqueduct have been the hot thing around here as most fishermen are finding good action for largemouth bass with drop-shot plastics or Senkos, bluegill with live crickets, jumbo red worms or wax worms, or catfish with chicken livers, sardines, anchovies, or blood worms.” Striped bass fishing has been decent with blood worms, sardines, or live minnows.
Bass *** Trout ** Bluegill ** Catfish *** Crappie **
Mark Inman of Six Star Tackle Box in Madera said, “Bass fishing remained solid with the fish located in either the shallows or deep water to 25 feet with jigs, Senkos, Baby Brush Hogs, or 4-inch plastic worms on the drop-shot.” Only a few largemouth bass in the 4- to 5-pound range have been landed in the past week. Crappie action is fair with small minnows or red/white crappie jigs around submerged structure. Catfishing is good at night with anchovies, frozen chicken livers or nightcrawlers near the launch ramps. Trout fishing is slow, with only a few rainbows taken from the banks with deep-water access on rainbow trout dough bait. The area of the lake extending upstream from the buoy line near the Cordoniz Launch Ramp remains closed with bald eagles nesting in the area. There are unmarked hazards throughout the lake because of the low water. Eastman is a trophy-designated bass lake, and only one fish 22 inches and over may be kept. The lake held at 8% capacity and 469.79 feet in elevation.
Bass *** Trout ** Catfish *** Bluegill ** Crappie **
“Small bass in the 1- to 1.5-pound range are holding at depths from 3-20 feet, and the top techniques are jigs, Senkos, Baby Brush Hogs, or drop-shot plastics,” Mark Inman of Six Star Tackle Box in Madera said. Trout fishing is slow, with the best action on rainbow dough bait. Catfishing is best from the banks at night with chicken livers, nightcrawlers, or anchovies. Crappie fishing is fair near submerged structure with small minnows. Boaters should contact the ranger station at the Corps of Engineers office for ramp conditions. The lake is at 8% capacity and 454.27 feet in elevation.
Lake Don Pedro
Bass *** Trout *** Kokanee *** King salmon *** Crappie **
“Fishing is very good at Don Pedro, but the key is to get on the lake early,” said Monte Smith of Gold Country Sport Fishing. In addition to kokanee and rainbow trout, some impressive king salmon are making it to the net. Smith was out with two clients Friday, and since the clients wanted a late-morning start they were not on the water until after 8:30 a.m. Trolling heavy spoons at depths from 40-60-plus feet on the downrigger, they landed three quality rainbows within a few minutes of dropping the lines. Since Smith had put his clients onto more than 30 fish two days prior, the clients opted to release two of the first three rainbows. Smith said, “We kept moving around since the bite died, and pretty soon the kings started to bite with salmon at 2 and 2.25 pounds on the spoons. Around noon, the rod at 47 feet came off of the release, and we got a 5-pound king salmon in the net.” This was a large fish, but Smith added that a gentleman trolling solo had caught a 9.7-pound king salmon Thursday at a depth of 102 feet in the same area. He surmised the salmon are holding below the kokanee schools and picking off the smaller kokanee. Rainbow trout action has been solid with the heavy shad-patterned spoons; the best action is early in the morning. Smith found success for three mixed limits of kokanee, rainbows and salmon on his earlier venture, and they landed four kokanee despite not targeting the sockeyes. Kokanee fishermen can find their best action with hootchies tipped with shoepeg corn scented with Pro Cure’s Herring or Carp Spit behind dodger depths from 45-65 feet. Kokanee Power will be hosting their annual team tournament at the lake on May 30. For largemouth and spotted bass, Manny Basi of the Bait Barn in Waterford touted large minnows from the banks. 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 heavy recreational boating and fishing at the lake. The lake dropped 2.5 feet to 705.85 in elevation and 41% capacity.
Lake Isabella/Bakersfield area
Bass ** Trout ** Crappie ** Catfish ** Bluegill **
High winds in addition to low water have kept most boats off the lake. Pete Cormier of Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield said, “The crappie have moved out into deep water, and the catfish bite is decent, but there are very few bass fishermen heading up to the lake. Most bass fishermen are targeting the coastal lakes.” There are still planted trout from the annual trout derby, but they have moved out into the deepest water or up the river arm. 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. Catfish is fair at night with anchovies, sardines, mackerel or frozen shad. 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. The lake is at 8% capacity and 2529.57 feet in elevation. The Kern River is very low, but there are still trout holding in the deep pools in the upper river. In the lower river, catfish or smallmouth bass are providing action. The small local lakes are limited to bass, bluegill, and there is increased interest in carp fishing.
Bass *** Crappie *** Trout ** Catfish ***
Pete Cormier of Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield reported good action for bass, crappie, bluegill and catfish. The bass have moved off the beds into slightly deeper water, and Senkos, Brush Hogs, and lizards are all effective. The area around Horse Creek is the top location for crappie, with small minnows or minijgs near submerged structure. Trout action remained slow, as the lake has received a single plant this year. The Vox Pops Influential Magazine is holding their annual trout derby on the Kaweah River on May 16-17. Catfishing is best at night with sardines or chicken livers. The lake rose over a foot to 641.87 in elevation and 32% capacity.
Bass ** Trout ** Catfish ** Crappie **
Chuck Stokke of Sequoia Fishing Co. in Springville reported a fair bass bite because of the weather. He said, “The colder weather required a slower presentation with Senkos or jigs, and this week’s action should improve with the warmer weather.” One fishermen targeting rainbow trout with Panther Martins released several small bass. The lake held at 592.65 feet in elevation and 11% capacity. In the Tule River, Stokee said, “The river fished a lot slower this week with the rain, but a few larger natives were caught and released with Woolley Buggers. The local campgrounds have been stocked with catchable rainbows, and anglers did well with Power Bait or salmon eggs.” Fly fishing is best with Woolley Buggers, salmon egg patterns, or caddis patterns. The gates to Balch Park are expected to open Friday.
Bass *** Trout ** King salmon * Kokanee * Crappie ** Catfish **
The North Barrett Cove Launch is still operational, with the lake at 10% capacity. There is a long walk to the parking lot unless you arrive early in the morning to find one of the few spots near the bottom of the ramp. Jigs or plastics on the darthead or drop-shot are working for numbers; bank fishermen are using live crawdads or minnows for the numerous spotted bass. The ramp is accessible from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., when boats have to be off the water. Information on the launch ramp is available at (855) 222-5253. The lake rose nearly 2 feet to 615.07 in elevation.
There are still rainbow trout in the lake from the plant before the Merced Irrigation Trout Derby a few weeks ago. Bank fishing has been best from the brush pile, handicapped docks or campground with bright colors of trout dough bait. Another trout plant should occur before the Mariposa County Fish and Game Trout Derby in late May. 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.
Millerton Lake/San Joaquin River
Bass *** Striper ** Shad * Bluegill **
Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “The bass have moved out from the banks into water from 10-15 feet, and plastics on the drop-shot, Texas-rig, or darthead are the top techniques for the small 11.5- to 13-inch spotted bass.” There is a small window for ripbaits. Striped bass continued to torment hooked spotted bass up the river arm, with several more reports of linesides taking a swipe at the spotted bass. All motors must conform to low-emission standards. Millerton is starting to release water, and it receded 1.5 feet to 492.18 in elevation and 37% 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.
New Melones Reservoir/Tulloch
Bass *** Crappie ** Catfish *** Trout ** Kokanee ***
Kokanee fishing continued to improve, and the salmon are found throughout the lake at depths to 70 feet with Uncle Larry’s spinners, GlitterBug’s micro hootchies or Shasta Tackle’s Wiggle Hootchies in greens behind similarly colored Sling Blades. Bank trout fishing has slowed, but trollers are finding some large rainbows in the deeper portions of the lake near the dam, the spillway and the main river channel. The California Tournament Trail Bass Tournament was a top draw over the weekend, and the bass are found from the Parrott’s Ferry Bridge to the south end of the lake with a variety of techniques. Catfishing is solid with mackerel, frozen shad nightcrawlers near submerged structure; the crappie are holding in the exposed structure present throughout the lake. Launching is limited to the dirt ramp at Glory Hole Point, and a four-wheel-drive tow vehicle is essential. New Melones dropped 3 feet to 856.76 in elevation and 21% capacity. Tulloch rose 2.5 feet to 504.34 in elevation and 88% capacity.
Pine Flat Reservoir/Kings River
Kokanee * Bass *** Trout ** King salmon * Catfish *** Crappie **
Bass fishing remained good for numbers, with the best action still on the bottom with plastics on the drop-shot or darthead. Senkos, ripbaits, or spinnerbaits are producing the occasional bass, and the recent weather fronts have moved the fish off the banks into depths from 15-20 feet. Trout fishing is improving with Dick’s Trout Busters tipped with a piece of nightcrawler or blade/crawler combinations at depths to 20 feet in the main lake around Zebe Creek and the Power Lines. Catfish to 4 pounds are taken on anchovies near the Pine Flat Lake Marina. The Deer Creek docks have been the top location for small crappie with minnows or minijigs. One launch ramp is open on the lake, but water levels are inching up slowly. The lake came up 2 feet to 761.49 in elevation and 21% capacity. In the lower Kings, the flow has been minimal, leading to less interest in this section of the river. Catchable rainbows can be taken on various colors of Power Bait or nightcrawlers. 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, with the season 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.
San Luis Reservoir and O’Neill Forebay
Striper ** Catfish ** Bass ** Crappie **
The main lake continues to steadily release water, and trolling is the top technique for striped bass with the best action near the trash racks or Dinosaur Point at depths from 60-100 feet with P-Line’s Predator Minnows, Diawa SP Minnows or broken backed Rebels. The receding water has put most stripers off the bite. Bank fishermen are tossing 4-inch Storm swimbaits in bluegill, Lucky Craft Pointer 128’s, or Duo Realis jerkbaits at night from bank access near Goosehead Point or Dinosaur Point. The main lake continued to release water, and it has dropped to 63% with a release of 7,508 acre-feet Monday. In the Forebay, Check 12 or the Highway 152 Bridge continued to be the top areas for bank fishermen tossing blood worms, pile worms or anchovies for small stripers. The majority of linesides are undersized, and it takes patience to put together a limit of legal fish. Jason Coslovich of Coyote Bait and Tackle said, “Lure casters are tossing paddletailed swimbaits, Lucky Craft Pointer 100’s, or super flukes in white.” Heavy pumping through the main lake is attracting the stripers, and the action is best when the water is moving.
Bass ** Trout ** Kokanee *
The Bass Lake Chamber of Commerce Trout Derby is this weekend, with a major trout plant scheduled. Up for grabs are a Grand Prize fish worth $25,000, two $10,000 trout, a $5,000 rainbow, 150 tagged trout worth $100 and 847 rainbows valued at $20. Information and registration is available at www.basslakechamber.com with a registration fee of $25 per individual or $60 for a family consisting of a husband and wife and a maximum of three children under the age of 16. Todd Wittwer of Kokanee.net Guide Service expected 900-1,000 entrants, with interest at an all-time high since there was a $10,000 winner last year. The rainbow trout action has been improving, with nightcrawlers behind a Vance’s dodger or Gulp! Minnow behind a C.J. dodger at depths from the surface to 20 feet. The bite has been sporadic, and patience is needed to put in a few fish per rod. There have been unconfirmed rumors of a few kokanee, but no pictures have surfaced. The number of kokanee in the lake has diminished significantly since the retrofit of the dam two years ago. The lake has received heavy pressure from bass fishermen in response to the various small club tournaments in the past month. Gilbert said, “It took over 12 pounds to take the top place in the Sierra Bass Club’s tournament on Saturday, and most of the fish were taken on drop-shot plastics or Senkos.” The lake continued to hold at 52% capacity, but launching a large boat requires skill and experience.
Brown trout ** Trout **
The Kaiser Pass Lakes will be accessible earlier than normal because of the minimal snowpack in the high Sierra, Mammoth Pool will close Friday until June 15 for the annual deer migration. Stream fishing opens Saturday, but the season in the southern Sierra will be extremely short-lived because of low water conditions. Mammoth Pool has risen to 45% with Edison at 6% and Florence at 21%.
Shaver Lake/Huntington Lake
Kokanee ** Trout **
Poor weather and slow fishing were the elements trollers had to encounter at Shaver Lake. Dick Nichols, of Dick’s Fishing Charters found slow fishing although those with him did catch some, stating “We have been picking up some fish but not anything like last year or recent months.” The fish ratio for his charters was 4:1 trout to kokanee. Nichols hopes that the storm will improve fishing along with the coming week of good weather. Nicholas Ferry. 6, of Southern California landed a 8.8-pound, 28-inch Nebraska-strain rainbow this week while floating a nightcrawler from a boat. Nichols said, “Each week at least one of these trophies shows up on somebody’s stringer.” The Department of Fish and Wildlife released 1,000 rainbows in the 2-pound range last week, and the school of fish is still holding near Sierra Marina. Bank fishermen have found success with trout dough bait or tossing spinners. Both marinas are open for business with limited hours during the week and regular hours on the weekend. Boat and pontoon rentals and supplies are available. Huntington Lake also received a dusting of snow, but the launch ramp remained out of the water. Small aluminum boats can be launched with the assistance of a four-wheel-drive tow vehicle, but there have been few fishermen targeting the large brown trout. Bank fishermen are locating rainbows to 16 inches with trout dough bait or nightcrawlers near Rancheria Creek or the Auxiliary Dam. The road to the back side of the lake has opened. The lake will rise a few more feet in elevation before releasing water in the coming months. Shaver held at 49% capacity; Huntington rose slightly to 42%.
Snow fell in the high country over the weekend, and Chuck Crane of Wishon Village RV Park and Store said, “There was a foot of snow at Courtright, but it will be melting quickly as the weather returns to the unseasonably warm temperatures.” The water level remains high at Courtright, and trollers are able to easily launch a boat from the concrete ramp. Large rainbows to 18 inches have been taken by both trollers and bank fishermen. Bank fishermen are finding rainbows with Mepp’s spinners or green trout dough bait near the launch ramp for holdovers in the 17- to 18-inch range along with 12- to 14-inch trout. A load of quarter-pound rainbow trout were released into Courtright last week by the Department of Fish and Wildlife. The Wishon Village RV Park and Store will be open this weekend, and they will be stocked with nightcrawlers and various colors of trout dough bait. At Wishon, the lake is very low, and the concrete launch ramp is out of the water. Small boats can be launched from a few locations along the dirt road, and trollers have found tremendous action for large rainbows to 20 inches. Crane reported the Department of Fish and Wildlife released 10,000 pounds of very small rainbow trout at 5 to a pound at Wishon on Monday, but there have been holdover rainbow trout to 3 pounds landed from the banks on rainbow Power Bait. The released fish are expected to grow during the summer months to catchable size.
Half Moon Bay
Rockfish *** Salmon ** Striper ***
Captain Tom Mattusch on the Huli Cat said, “The good thing is the water is 6 degrees cooler (at 53) than last year at this time. The Bay Area fleet is reporting some anchovies between the Golden Gate and the Deep Reef, but all of the salmon are filled with pompano, some mackerel, and some surf smelt. The smelt have been running along the beaches north of Santa Cruz, and striped bass fishing has been good.” Overall, the bait is lacking to keep the salmon in the area. A few salmon are landed every day boats have been able to get out, but the numbers aren’t great. Boats stayed tied up during the weekend. Mattusch added, “Rockfishing is also a challenge, and you have to work very hard to scratch together limits.” The Monterey Bay Veterans Salmon Derby event last week on the Huli Cat and the New Captain Pete resulted in two salmon for a combined 40 veterans. There were several hit and runs and scratched baits, but the fishing wasn’t stellar. Mattusch is available for rockfish, salmon, and crab trips.
Rockfish *** Striper ** Salmon **
Chris Arcoleo of Chris’ Landing in Monterey reported very challenging conditions, and they have been staying close to the harbor for limits of rockfish and a healthy ling cod count. The Check Mate returned with 29 limits of rockfish and 18 lings Sunday with the Caroline posting another 25 limits and 15 ling cod. The water temperature has dropped to the 49- to 51-degree range due to the high winds, and despite having good water color, plankton and some anchovies inside the bay, the salmon haven’t arrived in mass. A few salmon continue to be scratched out on a daily basis, but the weather limited the number of fishermen out over the weekend. They have plenty of room throughout the week.
San Francisco Bay
Halibut ** Striper *** Rockfish *** Leopard shark ** Sturgeon ** Salmon **
The salmon boats stayed tied up over the weekend amid the high winds and swell, but the Sea Wolf and Tiger Fish out of Emeryville Sport Fishing made it along the Marin coast Saturday for a combined 270 rockfish and seven ling cod to 15 pounds for 30 fishermen before returning to the bay for 14 stripers to 12 pounds. The action was better Sunday, with the two boats combining for 38 limits of rockfish and 17 lings to 22 pounds before making a few drifts in the bay for 11 stripers to 13 pounds. Striped bass action has been spectacular despite the off color water in the central bay, and Captain Jim Smith of the Happy Hooker returned with 35 striped bass to 11 pounds and six halibut to 14 pounds with the big fish taken by Amir Khan of Stockton. The majority of striped bass came in the central bay near the barges off Emeryville. Smith said, “There are a lot of new fish coming out of the river, and we found a larger grade of bass on Sunday. The bass still bit despite the stained water in the bay, and there were even three halibut landed near Point Pinole by a commercial fisherman, and the water is really stained up there.” He is running a combination of anchovies or Loch Lomond shiners with trips scheduled for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday of the current week. Captain James Smith on the California Dawn put in 34 striped bass to 20 pounds Monday along with five bonus halibut. The big female striped bass was released by the angler. Steve Talmadge of Flash Sport Fishing out of San Francisco went out on a half-day trip Saturday with six anglers for quick limits of striped bass, and he followed this up with three limits Sunday, releasing a number of smaller bass before calling it a day at 10 a.m. He is drifting live anchovies near the Southhampton Shoal. Keith Fraser of Loch Lomond Bait and Tackle in San Rafael said, “There has been six consecutive days of wind, and it was windy on Sunday until 2 p.m. As a result, fishing in San Pablo Bay has been slow, but the water should be clearing with the smaller tides.” They have plenty of Loch Lomond shiners in the shop along with frozen mud shrimp. There has been little demand for baits for fishing on the anchor as everyone wants halibut and bass.
San Luis Obispo
Salmon * Rock cod **
Ling cod were the focus of Sunday’s trips out of Patriot Sport Fishing and Virg’s Landing. The rockfish bite appeared to be slow with fewer number of the bottomfish, but both harbors posted impressive ling cod counts. Out of Patriot Sport Fishing, the Patriot took out 38 passengers for 22 ling cod to 12 pounds along with 15 vermilion, five coppers, five bolina, 35 assorted rockfish, and five cabezon. The score was similar for the Fiesta out of Virg’s Landing with 34 fishermen returning with 47 ling cod to 11 pounds, 99 vermilion rockfish, 80 assorted rockfish and two cabezon. 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. A full schedule is on www.virgs.com. Surf perch fishing remained excellent at Oceano or Pismo Beaches with Berkley Sand Worms, motor oil grubs or blood worms with several fishermen heading to the coast from the Valley.
Bass *** Striper *** Sturgeon ** Catfish ** Bluegill ***
Although the event is hosted in the city of Sacramento, north of the Delta region, the Bassmaster Elite Series anglers will be running south at high speeds to arrive into the fertile bass grounds in the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers. The world’s great bass fishermen will converge, and as of press time, a number of participants were holed up at B and W Resort on the Mokelumne River before moving to Sacramento for the start of the event. The Elite Series has not been in the Delta since the event was at Weber Point in Stockton in 2010, but the lure of the big bags at the 13th-ranked location on Bassmasters’ list of the 100 Best Bass Lakes has attracted the event west. Combined with the Anderson-Pacific Derby Striped Bass Tournament held out of Miller Park in Sacramento, there will be boats running into the Delta in numbers. Knowledge of the effect of the tides in the Delta will be a major factor in the angler’s success in the Bassmaster Elite event. Striped bass have been on the move, but Scott Fiest of Fiesty Sport Fishing out of Viera’s Resort has continued to find great success trolling P-Line Angry Eye Minnows in the Sacramento River. He said, “There are fish all over in both the San Joaquin and Sacramento River, and we put in four limits to 18 pounds. Fishing is good.” He is taking evening trips on Friday and Sunday of this coming weekend. Clyde Wands, shallow trolling expert, also found solid action at the end of the week for striped bass in the 5- to 10-pound range trolling both deep and shallow-running lures on the inside and outside of Decker Island, Clyde’s Shoals north of the Rio Vista Bridge, and into Steamboat Slough. He said, “We worked hard for a few quality striped bass.” The wind has been a factor throughout the week, and J.D. Richey of Richey’s Sport Fishing said, “There are more and more fresh fish in the system this week, and the full moon should turn another major round of spawning. The stripers may go off of the bite for a few days after the spawn, but they will be back and feeding heavily within a few days.” Richey has been finding success with topwater lures in low light conditions before switching to swimbaits or spoons for striped bass to 14 pounds, but most of the fish were small keepers or shakers. He added that there is an excellent smallmouth bass bite around the rocks in the upper Sacramento River with crawdad-imitation crankbaits or grubs. Fewer anglers are targeting sturgeon, but the diamondbacks are still around. Roy Kirkland of Lodi landed a just legal sturgeon at 40.25 inches using frozen shad with Captain Mark Delnero of Fin Addict Sport Fishing near the Pittsburg PGE Plant. Delnero said, “The fish was just legal at 40.25 inches, and the wind blew hard all day long, but we got lucky in the late afternoon.” The big tides and wind caused them to reset the anchor six times during the day. Captain Steve Talmadge of Flash Fishing out of Martinez Marina will also be wrapping up his sturgeon trips Monday, bringing both boats into Pier 46 in San Francisco for the live bait season. Captain Jonathan was running the Flash II out of Martinez on Sunday, and he put clients onto legal sturgeon at 59, 53, and 40 inches. Captain Steve Mitchell of Hook’d Up Sport Fishing out of Pittsburg Marina is one of the only six-pack boats remaining in the Delta still targeting sturgeon, and he put six clients onto five sturgeon Sunday soaking salmon roe or lamprey eel in the Big Cut. He said, “We landed three keepers at 40, 42, and 47 inches along with releasing two oversized at 65 and 65.25 inches with all of the action on the outgoing tide. The interest in sturgeon fishing is slowing down by the number of calls for Delta trips decreasing in the past few weeks, and we will be moving our operation to Berkeley on May 1 for live bait potluck fishing.” Grass shrimp remains in short supply, but Tony Lopez of Benicia Bait reported they are still receiving calls. Sturgeon fishing has been best in the Big Cut or during the evening at Buoy 2 when the wind is not a hindrance. A few striped bass continued to be landed from the shore from Glen Cove east to the Benicia/Martinez Bridge on blood worms, pile worms, or anchovies. The largemouth bass bite has been tremendous on the San Joaquin River as evidenced by the huge weights necessary to take the top prize in recent tournaments out of Russo’s Marina on Bethel Island and at Ladd’s Marina in Stockton. Alan Fong of the Fisherman’s Warehouse in Sacramento confirmed the outstanding largemouth action, stating, “The fish are in all phases of the spawn, and we are finding them in 1 to 2 feet of water with spinnerbaits, Senkos, punching the weeds, or flipping creature baits. It has taken some crazy weights to win these tournaments, and this coming weekend will be the biggest tournament yet on the Delta.” One of these large limits at 30.49 pounds was brought to the scale by Brandon DeVincenzi and Josh Shapland during the High School Teams Division out of Sugar Barge on Bethel Island. Most of the high school fishermen will be participants in the upcoming FLW High School State Championship on May 10 and the California Bass Federation Junior Angler State Championships on May 24, with both events at Russo’s Marina. For striped bass, Captain Stan Koenigsberger of Quetzal Adventures has been locating some impressive fish within the past week with his clients releasing three females over 27 inches and another over 30 inches. Julie O’Brien of Tracy released a big female while fishing on the anchor in False River on the outgoing tide. With the larger tides this past week, Koenigsberger has been finding consistent action near the mouth of Three Mile Slough on the outgoing tide. Jim Pickens of the Fishermen’ s Friend in Lodi said, “There has been lots of action for stripers on the San Joaquin, but wind and weeds has been the limiting factor with the best trolling action from Eddo’s to the Sounding Board with shallow-diving lures such as P-Line Angry Eyes or Yozuri Crystal Minnows.” The Mokelumne River, Georgiana Slough, and Potato Slough have also been producing, and a few fishermen are drifting live jumbo minnows in the south Delta around Discovery Bay. In the Antioch area, Doug Chapman of Gotcha Bait reported plenty of small striped bass in the 20-inch range on frozen shad in their stretch of the Delta while catfish are “going crazy” around Big Break on chicken livers, nightcrawlers, or anchovies. They are selling loads of small minnows for crappie, but there have been few reports back to the shop. Redeared perch are also showing up with the warmer weather with jumbo red worms or wax worms. Fresh shad is still a difficult commodity to obtain.
Lake Nacimiento/San Antonio/Santa Margarita/Lopez
Bass *** White bass *** Striper ** Catfish*** Crappie**
At Lopez Lake, the buzz is about this coming Saturday’s Best Bass Tournament event where at least 50 boats are expected due to the highest payout of any circuit. Lopez is one of the two coastal lakes where a boat can be launched, and it has by far the largest bass available in the region. There are several tournaments scheduled at Lopez in the coming weeks, and the lake will host the Outdoor Discovery Festival on May 9. Information is available at slocountyparks.org. At Nacimiento, small spotted bass can be taken on a variety of lures, and there is a topwater bite in low light conditions. White bass are becoming more active around Snake Creek, Las Tablas, and near the Heritage Launch Ramp. At Santa Margarita, big catfish were the rule with two at 13 and 20 pounds released after being caught with nightcrawlers. The marina has rental boats, 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. At San Antonio, the lake 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. 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.