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 picked up for striped bass. Patrick Movey of the Fishermen’s Warehouse in Fresno states: “Once you hit the right headgate with moving water, the fish are there for the taking with anchovies, white flukes, Duo Realis jerkbaits, or Lucky Craft Pointers.” The 4-inch Storm swimbaits in bluegill remain a hot seller. In the south aqueduct, Jacob Rutledge of Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield said, “This has been the year of the big catfish in the aqueduct as several whiskerfish in the 9- to 13-pound range have made it back to the shop for pictures. A 13-pounder was brought in this weekend, and Catnip Beef Bait has been responsible for a number of these larger fish.” Stripers have been few and far between, but the overall grade has been large. Blood worms, lug worms or anchovies are working for the occasional striper; the sardine bite has slowed considerably. Bluegill are biting live crickets, jumbo red worms or wax worms.
Bass *** Trout ** Bluegill ** Catfish *** Crappie **
Despite low water and warming surface temperatures, Eastman is producing the best grade of bass in the Fresno area. Mark Inman of the Six Star Tackle Box in Madera said, “The bass are holding at depths from 3-25 feet with topwater lures, jigs, Senkos, Baby Brush Hogs, or drop-shotting 4-inch Pro Worms or Keeper Worms for fish in the 1.5- to 3-pound range.” Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis added, “One boat went out and landed 31 bass ranging from 1.75 to just over 3 pounds in four hours while cranking and tossing spinnerbaits along with working the bottom with drop-shot or Carolina rigged plastics. There are some fish still on beds, and they said the action was non-stop.” Larry Kerns of the Visalia Bass Club reported Karen Stoll of Visalia caught and released an 11.5-pound largemouth bass on a jig Monday. Inman reported a solid catfish bite with anchovies, frozen chicken livers or nightcrawlers, with the best action at night. Crappie are starting to show up around submerged structure with red/white crappie jigs or small minnows. The Six Star Tackle Box keeps a supply of various grades of minnows in the tanks. Perch fishing has improved with red worms under a cork bobber. Trout action has slowed considerably. The area of the lake extending upstream from the buoy line near the Cordoniz Launch Ramp remains closed to accommodate nesting bald eagles. Eastman is a trophy-designated bass lake, and only one fish 22 inches and over may be kept. The lake held at 8% of capacity and 469.75 feet in elevation.
Call: Six Star Tackle Box 673-5688; Eastman Lake 689-3255
Bass *** Trout ** Catfish *** Bluegill *** Crappie ***
Mark Inman of the Six Star Tackle Box in Madera reported bass in the 1.5- to 3-pound range are holding in the shallows at depths from 3-15 feet, and Baby Brush Hogs on a quarter-ounce bullet head jig thrown into the shallows are working best. He added, “Watermelon red/black flake baits are also effective as well as quarter-ounce bullet head jigs in black/green crystal with a 4-inch 208 Yamamoto watermelon red/black flake twin-tail trailer.” Catfishing has been solid during the full moon with anchovies, large nightcrawlers or chicken livers. The crappie are shallow and holding to structure along small rockpiles or brush, and small minnows or crappie jigs are working. Perch are biting red worms under a cork bobber, but trout fishing remained very slow. Boaters should contact the Ranger Station at the Corps of Engineers office for current ramp conditions. The lake is at 8% capacity and 454.53 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 **
King salmon and kokanee remain the top species, with the larger kings holding under the kokanee schools. Trolling heavy spoons at depths from 40 to 60-plus feet on the downrigger have been the top technique for king salmon. Kokanee are willing biters with spinners, hootchies or small spoons. 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 its annual team tournament at the lake May 30. For largemouth and spotted bass, large minnows are still the top technique from the banks. The launch 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 during the busy weekend traffic. The lake dropped slightly to 705.59 feet in elevation and 41% 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 **
Lake Isabella is showing signs of waking up after a long slumber for largemouth bass, leading Jacob Rutledge of Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield to state, “The bass bite is starting up, and there is a decent crappie bite in the South Fork with two anglers reporting 15 and 16 slabsides apiece on a recent trip.” Catfishing is decent with clams, garlic shrimp, anchovies or Catnip Beef. With the low lake levels, it is necessary to use a four-wheel-drive vehicle to launch your vessel from the dirt ramp near Red’s Marina. There are no marinas or courtesy docks in the lake. The lake is at 8% capacity and 2,529.67 feet in elevation. The Kern River is very low, but there are still trout holding in the deep pools in the upper river. Chuck Stokke of Sequoia Fishing Co. in Springville touted the Little Kern and Kern River for fly fishermen, and he recommends Golden Trout Wilderness Pack Train at 542-2816 as the best operation for access to the high country. Smallmouth bass fishing is fair in the upper river with live crickets or small spinners. In the lower river, catfish or smallmouth bass are providing action. For the local lakes, Ming has been the top spot for largemouth bass, and there is increased interest in carp fishing.
Call: Bob’s Bait (661) 833-8657; North Fork Marina (760) 376-1812
Bass ** Crappie ** Trout ** Catfish **
Larry Kerns of the Visalia Bass Club reported a “hit or miss” bass bite, with the fish moving deeper. Senkos, Brush Hogs, and lizards have been the top lures for bass. Crappie fishing has slowed; the Horse Creek area is still the best location with small minnows or minijgs near submerged structure. Trout action remained slow, as the lake has only received a single plant this year. The Vox Pops Influential Magazine annual trout derby on the Kaweah River is May 16-17. Catfishing is best in the evenings with sardines, or chicken livers. The lake rose 2.5 feet to 644.06 feet in elevation and 34% of capacity.
Call: Sierra Sporting Goods 592-5212
Bass *** Trout ** Catfish ** Crappie **
Chuck Stokke of Sequoia Fishing Co. in Springville reported good to excellent bass action at the lake with a few largemouths in the 5- to 7-pound range landed during the past week on crankbaits. There is a solid topwater bite in the mornings and evenings, and Senkos are working during the daylight hours. Bank fishermen are finding a smaller grade of bass with Panther Martins. Larry Kerns of the Visalia Bass Club confirmed the good bite at Success, and he is looking forward to the upcoming Success Bass Club tournament. The lake held at 592.79 feet in elevation and 11% capacity. In the Tule River, Stokke completed a several-year odyssey with a 21-inch brown trout caught and released on a black size 14 Woolley Bugger. He said, “The brown trout are aggressive, most likely due to the low water conditions.” All campgrounds on the Tule River have been stocked, and Balch Park is open, and the ponds are also stocked with rainbows. The water level at the ponds is very low.
Call: Sequoia Fishing Co. 539-5626, www.sequoiafishingcompany.com
Bass *** Trout ** King salmon * Kokanee * Crappie ** Catfish **
The North Barrett Cove Launch Ramp is still operational with the lake at 10% capacity. The lake rose 4 feet within the past week to 619.45 in elevation. Jigs or plastics on the darthead or drop-shot are all working for numbers; bank fishermen are using live crawdads or minnows for the numerous spotted bass. The launch ramp, open for a limited time, is accessible from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Boats have to be off of the water by 4. There is a long walk to the parking lot unless you arrive early, early in the morning to find one of the few spots near the bottom of the ramp. Information on the launch ramp is available at (855) 222-5253.
Call: A-1 Bait (209) 563-6505; Bub Tosh (209) 404-0053
The Calaveras Trout Farm in Snelling closed in the past week, limiting plants at the lake to the Department of Fish and Wildlife. There are still rainbow trout in the lake from the plant prior to the Merced Irrigation Trout Derby a few weeks ago. Bank fishing has been best from brush pile, handicapped docks or campground with bright colors of trout dough bait. There is one more big trout tournament on the horizon with the Mariposa Fish and Game Derby on Saturday.
Call: McSwain Marina (209) 378-2534
Millerton Lake/San Joaquin River
Bass *** Striper ** Shad * Bluegill **
Millerton is the lake for numbers, with numerous small bass willing to bite shad-patterned plastics on the drop-shot, darthead and Texas rig; weightless Senkos also are effective. Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun said, “There is a small window in the early morning for ripbaits or topwater lures, but the overall grade of bass are in the 11- to 12-inch range.” Anglers can pick up a 7- to 8.5-pound limit, but you will have to cull 20 bass to put together a five-fish limit of keepers. One phenomenon that continues at Millerton is large striped bass rising to the surface and taking a swipe at a hooked spotted bass. Crappie fishermen have been trying with live minnows around Finegold, East Bay, and Winchell Cove, but there have been few reports. Gilbert said, “There normally is a small two-week window for a crappie bite at Millerton around the first of May, but it hasn’t happened yet.” Catfishing has been slow. All motors must conform to low-emission standards. Millerton dropped less than a foot to 491.46 in elevation and 37% capacity. In the lower San Joaquin, minimal fishing action is taking place with the lack of trout plants this season. 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 ***
The trout bite at New Melones opened up within the past week, with a number of trollers finding excellent action on the surface and near the shore. The release of the Kokanee Power net pens during April are most likely the reason for the improvement in action, and John Lietchy of Glory Hole Sporting Goods in Angels Camp said, “Trollers have been scoring with a long line on the surface between 150 and 200 feet behind the boat using small billed minnow plugs or trolling flies tipped with a nightcrawlers.” The trout are keying on the shad schools, which have moved into the trees near the shore in order to spawn. He added, “There are a lot of trees near the shorelines, and top-lining is the only way to go since using downriggers will result in lost gear.” Bank trout fishing is all but over, and shore fishermen are advised to head for the high country as the streams are now open. Gary Burns of Take It To the Limit Guide Service said, “The bite was fast and furious this week for both kokanee and rainbows, and the kokanee finally woke up and they are fat and healthy up to 13.5 inches.” The surface temperature has risen to 67 degrees, and the kokanee have dropped between 44-55 feet in depth around the dam, Rose Island, and the spillway with Uncle Larry’s spinners, Glitter Bug hootchies, or Wedding Rings in pink or orange behind various dodgers. The bass bite is tapering off, but there is a short window for topwater lures in the mornings such as Poppers before dropping to the bottom with Senkos. Leitchy said, “There are a ton of 1- to 2-pound bass, and we have been starting off with Poppers before working weightless Senkos for numbers.” The two-day California Tournament Trails event was last weekend, and Chad Martin took first with a two-day limit of 36.70 pounds. Catfishing remained very good with several large ones from 7-10 pounds landed in the past week; best action is on chicken livers, nightcrawlers, frozen shad or cut bait. Crappie fishing is starting to show signs of life with crappie jigs, Beetle Spins, or small minnows near the submerged trees. The Glory Hole Point Launch Ramp is on the gravel, and a four-wheel-drive tow vehicle is necessary to put a boat into the lake. There are two lanes available, and Leitchy said, “Launching is a piece of cake if you have a four-wheel drive.” There is no courtesy dock. New Melones dropped nearly 2 feet to 855 in elevation and 20% capacity. Tulloch held at 504.16 and 88%.
Call: Glory Hole Sports (209) 736-4333; Monte Smith (209) 581-4734; Danny Layne-Fish’n Dan (209) 586-2383; Sierra Sport Fishing (209) 599-2023
Pine Flat Reservoir/Kings River
Kokanee * Bass ** Trout ** King salmon * Catfish ** Crappie **
Pine Flat Reservoir had been the top bass lake in the area, but the recent fronts and full moon have had a detrimental effect. Kevin Cheek, tournament director of Sunday’s Best Bass Tournament, said, “It was a tough bite out there during the tournament with only five limits weighed in from the 32 boats; however, the top limit was over 11 pounds with a big fish of 6.10 pounds.” Spinnerbaits, topwater lures, jigs and drop-shot plastics were the top choices. Merritt Gilbert reported, “I thought that around 10.5-12 pounds would take the tournament since no one had them dialed in during the week. The best action has been during the night with the full moon.” The Roosevelt High School Bass Fishing Club was present to volunteer during Saturday’s Central Valley Veterans fourth annual Warrior’s Day on the lake while another group was at Woodward Park to help with Sequoia Middle School’s Outdoor Club at the Kid’s Day. Trout fishing has been good for some. Gilbert reported selected trollers are scoring near limits to limits while others are struggling for a few fish per rod. The best action has from the Power Lines to Zebe Creek at 3-5 colors of lead core, and a few fishermen are starting to anchor up and soak Power Bait. Crappie fishing off the Deer Creek Houseboats at night remained very slow, and there are a few catfish taken at night with anchovies near BBQ Cove by the Cove Island Marina. The lake came up five feet to 766.19 in elevation and 22% capacity. In the lower Kings River, the flow has been minimal, leading to less interest. 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 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.
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 continues to steadily release water, but pumping from the Delta is keeping the lake level at 62% capacity. Anthony Lopez of Coyote Bait and Tackle in Morgan Hill said, “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. While numbers are taken trolling, the larger fish are landed by drifting jumbo minnows.” Roger George of Roger’s Guide Service said that the bite has been hit or miss with the full moon. “I prefished last Thursday and in less than two hours had several limits, but on Friday the fish were turned off and we just got a few to 23 inches trolling. There have been night anglers picking up and keeping bigger stripers to 20 pounds throwing flukes off the shore under the full moon,” George said. Patrick Movey of the Fishermen’s Warehouse in Fresno said, “Bank fishermen are tossing 4-inch Storm swimbaits in bluegill, Lucky Craft Pointer 128’s, white flukes, or Duo Realis jerkbaits at night from bank access near Goosehead Point or Dinosaur Point.” In the O’Neill Forebay, Lopez touted Check 12 or the Highway 152 Bridge as the top areas for bank fishermen tossing blood worms, pile worms, or anchovies for small stripers. Coyote gets their shipment of blood and pile worms in on Thursday, and the blood worms are gone by Saturday morning with the pile worms disappearing by Sunday morning. Merritt Gilbert confirmed the best action at Check 12 with 4-inch Storm Swimbaits, Lucky Craft Pointer 100’s or super flukes in white are effective lures.
Call: Coyote Bait andTackle (408) 463-0711, Roger George of rogergeorgeguideservice.com (559) 905-2954
Bass ** Trout ** Kokanee *
The lake was inundated with fishermen during the annual Bass Lake Chamber of Commerce Trout Derby, but overall action was reported as slow. Chuck Crane reported his group of 10 fishermen only landed three tagged trout. The best action has been with Wedding Rings tipped with a night crawler behind a dodger, blade/crawler combinations or spoons at depths from the surface to 15 feet. The bank bite is fair at best with trout dough bait or nightcrawlers. The lake continued to hold at 52% of capacity, but launching a large boat requires skill and experience.
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 has closed until June 15 for the annual deer migration. Stream fishing opened Saturday, but the season in the southern Sierra will be extremely short-lived because of the low water conditions. Mammoth Pool has risen to 45%, with Edison at 7% and Florence at 28%.
Call: Vermilion Valley Resort at Edison Lake 259-4000
Shaver Lake/Huntington Lake
Kokanee ** Trout **
Shaver Lake remained in the doldrums, with Captain Jack Yandell of Captain Jack’s Tackle stating, “Two boats came in from trolling most of the day on Sunday, and they didn’t get a bite. However, those fishermen coming in from the high country say that ‘Courtright is killing them!’ ” The best action at Shaver has been from the banks with trout dough bait or nightcrawlers at Road 2 for rainbows to 4.3 pounds. The trout bite at Shaver should improve soon with all of the rainbows planted by the Shaver Lake Trophy Trout Project in addition to a plant from the Department of Fish and Wildlife. Kokanee are also expected to arrive in numbers within the next month. The bank action at Huntington Lake has been excellent with spinners, spoons, or trout dough bait near the Rancheria Creek or the Auxiliary Dam. There is access to the backside of the lake, and the lake is rising slightly. The ramp is out of the water, but small aluminum boats can be launched with the assistance of a four-wheel-drvie tow vehicle. Shaver held at 49% capacity with Huntington rising slightly to 44%.
Call: Dick’s Fishing Charters 841-2740; Dinkey Creek Inn 841-3435; Rancheria Marina 893-3234; Shaver Lake Sports Inc. 841-2740
The high country lakes of Courtright and Wishon continue to be the top bets for rainbow trout in the Fresno area along with the bank action from Huntington. Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “The better numbers have been coming out of Courtright, but a 20-inch brown was landed at Wishon this past week on a frog Flatfish near the dam.” Chuck Crane of Wishon Village RV Park and Store said, “There have been some larger fish taken on spoons, night crawlers, or Power Bait near the launch ramp at Wishon, but trollers are getting into the small rainbows that were planted into the lake last week by the Department of Fish and Wildlife. These fish weigh less than a quarter pound.” The lakes are more than 100 feet from spilling, and Wishon will most likely remain off the concrete launch ramp for the season. Small boats can be launched from a few locations on the dirt road. At Courtright, the lake is much lower than normal, but the concrete launch ramp is in the water. Patrick Movey of the Fisherman’s Warehouse in Fresno confirmed the solid bite at Courtright, with most anglers heading to the higher elevation lake. Shore anglers are scoring near the launch ramp with trout dough bait or spinners for holdovers. The Wishon Village RV Park and Store is open, and weekend sales of nightcrawlers were high. Dinkey Creek has an adequate amount of water in order to work the pools, but the flow is much lower than normal.
Call: Wishon RV Park 865-5361
Half Moon Bay
Rockfish *** Striper *** Salmon **
Salmon are starting to show some life out of Half Moon Bay, but the more solid bet is coastal rockfishing. Striped bass have invaded the San Mateo coast after rushing out of San Francisco Bay in search of feed. Captain Tom Mattusch on the Huli Cat said, “With both seasons open, it hasn’t been difficult to find things to do, and on Saturday, we found solid action for seven limits of rockfish and 14 lings working at depths from 95-105 feet near Three Rocks. Chris Chin of Fremont landed a bonus Giant Pacific Octopus while targeting rockfish. Sunday’s salmon trip resulted in three legal salmon and at least six more salmon experiencing a sore jaw.” Captain Dennis Baxter of the New Captain Pete said, “Most of the Bay Area party boats are no longer running south to the Deep Reef since there has been a school of salmon located off of Point Reyes, but the private boat, Fishing Luhrs, put in three salmon to 25 pounds on Sunday at the Deep Reef.” Baxter has been targeting rockfish and ling cod along the coast south of the harbor, and he said, “The bait is looking good and every rock we stopped on held both ling cod and hard heads such as coppers and gophers.” His son, Braden, broke his personal best for boat limits with eight ling cod landed on a 7-inch swimbait while most fishermen are targeting lings with whole squid on a trap rig. Baxter had a charter from West Valley Construction out on Sunday, and they were all vying for the big jackpot by working for lings instead of filling their sacks with rockfish. He added, “The school fish have been all over the meter, but they are less willing to bite than the hard heads.” The southerly wind Sunday made rockfishing like “pulling teeth,” but they were scratching out limits near San Gregorio. Out of Half Moon Bay Sport Fishing, rockfish have been by far the most consistent species with the Queen of Hearts posting 77 and a ling cod for 16 anglers on their last trip. Both the Riptide and Queen of Hearts will focus on bottomfishing until the salmon arrive in sufficient numbers.
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
Striper *** Salmon **
Chris Arcoleo of Chris’ Landing in Monterey reported excellent bottomfishing with the Check Mate heading south to Point Sur for 71 ling cod and an average of eight rockfish per sack for 28 anglers. The rockfish have been hard to catch at Point Sur, perhaps due to the overwhelming amounts of ling cod in the area. They are scoring with standard rockfish gear with a number of hitchhikers as they haven’t had to jig up live bait. Few anglers are working bars. The Caroline stayed local with a small charter for seven limits of rockfish and 20 ling cod. The striped bass bite along the beaches remains solid for plug casters in low light conditions. They have plenty of room throughout the week on the bottom fish trips. Salmon fishing continued to be very slow.
Call: Chris’ Landing(831) 375-5951; Bayside Marine (831) 475-2173; usafishing.com
San Francisco Bay
Halibut ** Striper *** Rockfish *** Leopard shark ** Salmon ** Sturgeon **
There was a salmon bite off Point Reyes on Saturday, with two of the Sausalito salmon boats combining for nearly a fish per rod at 25 salmon to 15 pounds for 30 anglers, but the bite slowed to 11 salmon to 12 pounds for 32 fishermen Sunday. The boats have canceled through today because of rough ocean conditions. The Sea Wolf from Emeryville Sport Fishing went to the Farallon Islands on Sunday for 23 limits of rockfish and 35 ling cod to 17 pounds. Inside the bay, striped bass fishing has been nothing short of phenomenal. Captain Jim Smith of the Happy Hooker out of Berkeley put his passengers onto 27 striped bass to 14 pounds along with six halibut to the 25 pounds on Sunday. Smith was hitting the central bay hot spots including Angel Island, and he said, “There is a lot of bait in the bay in certain places, but with the minus tides starting today, we stayed out late to take advantage of the smaller tides for the halibut.” On Saturday, Smith put in 35 striped bass to 15 pounds and 10 halibut to 22 pounds with Dr. Hoa of Fremont having a flashback to the ’70s with a limit of stripers and a limit of halibut. Friday’s score was similarly healthy with 35 stripers to 14 pounds along with nine halibut to 25 pounds. He has plenty of room on board for this coming weekend. Captain James Smith of the California Dawn was out with a 24-woman charter on Sunday, and they ended up with 30 striped bass and three halibut to 25 pounds. He said, “We picked up the bass in the flats, and there is no shortage of bass in the bay despite the heavy boat pressure on the weekend.” With the salmon making a decent showing off Point Reyes, there may be fewer boats in the bay chasing striped bass. However, the Sundance out of Emeryville, a six-pack that normally specializes on salmon, settled for limits of striped bass in the bay on Sunday. The C Gull II, also out of Emeryville, posted limits of striped bass as well Sunday. Bill Clapp of Bill’s Sport Fishing went out on a commercial halibut trip Thursday for five off Paradise, and he went back with customers Friday for early limits of striped bass off Treasure Island, culling 25 stripers to put together three limits. They then went over to Paradise to find howling winds and a pair of shaker halibut. He went back with five fishermen Saturday, and after releasing three small bass off of Treasure Island, they moved to Southhampton Shoals for limits from 5-12 pounds along with a pair of legal halibut. His son, Bill Clapp II, who recently received his captain’s license, put in four halibut to 10 pounds and four striped bass at Southhampton on Saturday. Keith Fraser of Loch Lomond Bait and Tackle, home of the famous Loch Lomond shiner, reported very difficult conditions in San Pablo Bay on Saturday and Sunday with howling winds. He said, “Saturday was extremely windy around here, and most fishermen who launched early in the morning came back in by 11 a.m.” Captain Gordie Hough on the Morningstar took out 18 fishermen in the wind Saturday for 14 striped bass and three halibut, releasing a number of undersized bass. They were fishing at Southhampton Shoal. San Pablo Bay is muddy from the wind, and the minus tides will only further muddy up the water. Trolling at the Marin Island is currently out of the question with the muddy water. They have an ample supply of shiners along with frozen mud shrimp and bragging quality live ghost shrimp.
San Luis Obispo
Rock cod *** Salmon **
Rockfishing remained the focus out of both San Luis Obispo county ports, but the Fiesta out of Virg’s Landing will be taking an exploratory trip for king salmon Friday, with a limited load. The Fiesta went out Sunday on a three-quarter-day trip with 30 anglers for 180 vermilion rockfish, 90 assorted, 19 ling cod to 6.1 pounds, and a cabezon while the Black Pearl was on a half-day trip with 28 fishermen for 34 vermilion, 151 assorted rockfish, and 12 ling cod to 7.4 pounds. Their ling count since the April 1 opener is 752 on all trips. The Black Pearl will start their popular Lady’s Day trips today. The Black Pearl is also 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. Out of Patriot Sport Fishing, the Patriot took out 39 passengers Monday for four ling cod to 8.5 pounds along with 100 vermilion, 20 coppers, one bolina, and 191 assorted rockfish, while the Sunday’s trip produced 12 copper rockfish, one boccaccio, 15 bolina, 243 assorted rockfish, five cabezon, and four lings to 10 pounds. The jackpot lings were taken by Danny Garcia of Mendota and Corey Costello of Bakersfield. Surf perch fishing remained outstanding along the coastal beaches, leading Jacob Rutledge to state, “This has been the best season for surf perch in many years, and we have been selling blood worms at a record pace.”
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 ***
Although the main venue and daily launch was held at Discovery Park in Sacramento, participants in the Bassmaster’s Elite Series on the first of their two Western U.S. tours rushed south to the Delta at speeds up to 75 mph. The wind made for challenging conditions throughout the week, and ultimately anglers with a California connection took three of the top four places by Sunday. Justin Lucas, a native of Folsom and an former employee of the Fisherman’s Warehouse in Sacramento, won his first Bassmaster’s Elite Event with a four-day limit of 82 pounds, 14 ounces. There were 112 of the top bass anglers in the world at the start of the tournament Thursday before being whittled down to 50 Saturday and the final 12 qualifying for Sunday. Alan Fong of the Fisherman’s Warehouse reported most pros were working the marinas or in Frank’s Tract while Lucas went east toward Paradise Point and Honker Cut Marina off Eight Mile Road in Stockton on Saturday before hitting a small slough adjacent to Sherman Island on Sunday. Lucas said, “This was my first Bassmaster’s win, and it was so special to win it in front of my grandfather and family. I made a decision to go east on Saturday after working the bed fish along with everyone else on the first two days, and I found six keepers for over 19 pounds. When I went down on Sunday, I found some of the roughest conditions I have ever seen on the Delta with 30-mph winds and waves stacking up in the main Sacramento River near Rio Vista, so I went 10 miles out of my way in calmer water to get to the spot. I knew that a 15-pound limit would go a long way towards a victory on the final day in the wind.” Placing second was California native Aaron Martens at 80 pounds, 7 ounces. Ish Monroe of Hughson was fourth at 72-9. The Department of Fish and Wildlife biologists put in extra time to ensure that all fish weighed in were handled properly, and they were taken back into the Delta for release in various locations. No fish were released in the Sacramento River in Sacramento because of distance from the Delta and for the protection of Chinook salmon smolts. The final swing of the Western Bassmaster’s Elite Event is at Lake Havasu in Arizona. Interest in sturgeon fishing has been on the downward slide for the past several weeks, but the diamondbacks are still in the lower Delta. Tony Lopez of Benicia Bait reported the best sturgeon fishing continued to be in Montezuma Slough as a result of the concentration of fish in the area and the wind running the boats off the main river. The transition from sturgeon fishing to halibut fishing is nearly complete with most area sturgeon fishermen heading to the bay. He said, “One angler hooked an estimated 60-inch sturgeon under the Benicia/Martinez Bridge on 15-pound test while targeting stripers, and he lost the big fish after its second jump.” Do Doung of Dockside Bait in Pittsburg said the wind limited fishermen over the weekend, but those willing to brave the breezes have been picking up stripers to 5 pounds in the area. For the first time in several weeks, there is grass shrimp in the local bait shops. Striped bass fishing in the San Joaquin and Sacramento River remained solid with Scott Feist of Feisty Fish Guide Service releasing two huge stripers at an estimated 40 and 26 pounds using live bait over the weekend. He said, “I have been switching over to live bait recently after several weeks of trolling. I don’t think the Delta is over, but I will be wrapping up my operation out of Viera’s Resort this coming weekend in order to chase shad in the Feather and Sacramento Rivers. It is very important to pay attention to your electronics at this time of year, and most importantly, don’t leave fish to find fish since it is a slow, steady pick out there.” New bass are still moving into the Delta, but the majority have spawned. J.D. Richey of Richey’s Sport Fishing continues to switch between shad fishing in the American and Feather Rivers and chasing stripers on the Delta. They have caught and released linesides to 16 pounds this week with the big fish on a swimbait cast toward the bank. Alan Fong of the Fisherman’s Warehouse in Sacramento reported a good bass bite in the north Delta with Senkos or punching D’Bombs through the weeds. Randy Pringle, the Fishing Instructor, has been battling the wind every day in the Delta, and he had found great action for numbers for his clients with the topwater ima Little Stick in American shad in the mornings before switching to the ima Squarebill crankbait in crawdad patterns by mid-morning. They also have found success with Berkley Hand-poured worms on a Zappu head. Pringle said, “The key has been to tick the top of the weeds, rip through the weeds, or bounce the rocks with the fish oriented tight to the shoreline. You have to be close to the bank in order to get bit, and the key with the Little Stick has been to twitch it left, right, left, right, and let it pause. The fish are only striking the bait on the pause.” They put in a five-fish limit between 17-20 pounds on Monday which Pringle said, “This is a solid bag for this time of year on the Delta as the big fish are getting more scarce after the last round of the spawn.” Construction on the rock barrier in False River will begin Thursday and will take an estimated $12 million and up to two months to complete. The construction will require driving sheet piling into the Jersey and Bradford Island levee systems, and there will be a sheet piling wall that will reach out 75 feet from the top of the grade of the levee to some 75 feet of water. In the Antioch area, Doug Chapman of Gotcha Bait reported the wind has been a major limiting factor, but a 34-inch striped bass was landed off of the Antioch Fishing Pier on Sunday morning on a sardine. Bluegill and catfish action continued to heat up near Big Break, Orwood, Bethel Island, Brannon Island, and Holland Tract. The best crappie fishing is east of Stockton along Eight Mile Road or in Whiskey Slough with small minnows or crappie jigs. Fresh shad is still a difficult commodity to obtain.
Call: Randy Pringle (209) 543-6260; Captain Stan Koenigsberger – Quetzal Adventures (925) 570-5303; Intimidator Sport Fishing (916) 806-3030
Lake Nacimiento/San Antonio/Santa Margarita/Lopez
Bass *** White bass ** Striper ** Catfish** Crappie*
Lopez remains the top coastal lake for large bass ahead of several upcoming tournaments. The Best Bass Tournament over the past weekend featured four fish over 5 pounds along with the top three places in the 17- to 19-pound range from the 18 anglers. The lake will host the Outdoor Discovery Festival on Saturday. Information is available at www.slocountyparks.org. At Nacimiento, small spotted bass are available with a variety of techniques, and white bass are showing up around Snake Creek, Las Tablas and near the Heritage Launch Ramp. At Santa Margarita, the marina is open for rental boats or kayaks, canoes or float tubes as the lake needs to come up to 30% in order for the launch ramp to be operable. The marina store is open once again 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.
Call: Lake Nacimiento (805) 238-1056, ext. 3; Lake San Antonio Marina (805) 472-2818; Central Coast Bass Fishing.com (805) 466-6557
BassMaster’s Elite on April 30-May 3 at Delta/Discovery Park in Sacramento: 1, Justin Lucas 82 pounds, 14 ounces; 2, Aaron Martens 80-7; 3, Dean Rojas 78-2; 4, Ish Monroe 72-9
Fresno Bass Club on April 25-26 at Clear Lake: 1, Roy Champ 30.93; 2, Walt Austin 30.66 (big fish 8.80); 3, Morgan Swisher 29.78
Best Bass Tournaments on May 3 at Pine Flat: 1, Ed Armbrister/Jimmy Smith 11.77 (big fish 6.09); 2, Ge and Tony Yang 10.90; 3, Tom Mize/Michael Beasley 8.83
Best Bass Tournaments on May 3 at Lopez: 1, Jim and Henry Dobbs 18.82 pounds; 2, Glen Wolfgang/Larry Zepeda 17.48 (big fish 5.86); 3, Andrew Levy/Bryan Vogt 16.74
Thursday-Sunday: Forrest L. Wood at Delta/Russo’s Marina
Saturday: 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
Sunday: 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
Kern County: Kern River, sections 4-5; Cuddy Creek Pond
Mariposa County: Merced River, Section ll
Tulare County: Dry Meadow Creek; Kern River, sections 5-6; Deer Creek; Nobe Young Creek; White River; Bone Creek; Peppermint Creek, Lower; Freeman Creek
Tuolumne County: Tuolumne River South Fork; Stanislaus River South Fork; Stanislaus River Clarks Fork; Beaver Creek; Stanislaus River North Fork; Tuolumne River Middle Fork; Lyons Reservoir; Tuolumne River North Fork; Pinecrest Lake; Powerhouse Stream; Moccasin Creek; Stanislaus River Middle Fork; Lyons Canal (Columbia Ditch)