Compiled by Dave Hurley and edited by Roger George, a former Olympic-class decathlete at Fresno State and striper record-holder at Millerton Lake and who now guides in the greater Fresno area. Telephone numbers are in 559 calling area unless noted. Have a photo of a recent catch to share? Email it to email@example.com with “fish photo” in the subject line.
Delta striper and bass fishing awesome, Randy Pringle said. Shaver trout bite keeps on ticking, Dick Nichols reported. Wishon and Courtright bites keeping anglers busy, Chuck Crane said. Kaweah bass on a tear, Sierra Sporting Goods reported. Success bass hitting, Chuck Stokke reported. Aqueduct stripers boiling, Steve Newman said. New Melones kicking out big bass numbers, John Lietchy reported.
Never miss a local story.
2-Have to work hard
4-Fish jumpin’ in boat
Delta Mendota Canal and Sloughs
The first California Aqueduct Striped Bass Derby was Saturday, hosted by the FishAholics with Kettleman City as derby headquarters. There were 34 participants vying for the 24-inch target length. Youa Yang, Jimmy Rentfrow and Scott Yelton took the top three placings, with the big fish landed by Kong Thao. Meng Xyong of Fresno, organizer of the inaugural event, said, “The tournament was a great success. I’m amazed at the amount of support we have from the Aqueduct community. We had fishermen who traveled from several counties – Sacramento, Stanislaus, Fresno and Kern County – to attend this event. Some did not even register and traveled over 2 1/2 hours to meet and support other ’duct anglers. That’s the beauty of this water system, it’s the only place that covers over 400 miles of California and attract such a geographic range of anglers.” Steve Newman of Valley Rod And Gun was there to support the event. He along with many contestants reported striper boils everywhere. The Northern, Central and Southern aqueduct system was lit up with striper activity in the early-morning hours with massive striper boils across entire stretches of water. Anglers were able to catch them using SpeedLures, Duo Realis 120 jerkbaits, Flukes and a variety of other lures. The group photo after the tournament was abruptly interrupted by the ringing of an angler’s bell followed by his rod shaking violently as his pole nearly flew into the water when he used sardines to land a striper just shy of 5 pounds. Water clarity continues to be murky after leaving O’Neill Forebay, but it doesn’t seem to stop the striper feeding frenzy downstream. In the south aqueduct in Kern County, Jacob Rutledge of Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield reported solid striper fishing with River2Sea Rovers, 5-inch Whopper Ploppers, blood worms and lug worms. Catfish to 15 pounds have been landed on anchovies. Yum tube baits have also produced quality stripers, with largemouth bass limits taken on white flukes.
Bass 2; Trout 1; Bluegill 2; Catfish 2; Crappie 2
The lake is very low at 7 percent capacity and 466.69 feet in elevation, and few fishermen are heading there. Caftfish are providing decent action from the banks with chicken livers, sardines or anchovies, with the best action at night. Bass fishing is best with jigs or Brush Hogs over submerged islands or rockpiles. With the low lake levels and unmarked hazards, most boaters are choosing to run a trolling motor. The area above the buoy line is open, but there is little water available to venture far. The area is a no-wake zone.
Call: Six Star Tackle Box 673-5688; Eastman Lake 689-3255
Bass 2; Trout 1; Catfish 2; Bluegill 2; Crappie 2
Trailered boats are unable to be launched given extremely low lake levels. Few fishermen are heading there, but a few kayaker are launching by hand to find fair action for bass with plastics on the drop-shot or Senkos. Catfishing is best at night with nightcrawlers, prepared dough baits or chicken livers. The lake dropped slightly to 446.97 feet in elevation and 5 percent capacity.
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 2; Trout 2; Kokanee 1; King salmon 2; Crappie 2
Bass fishing is starting to heat up with plastics on the drop-shot near Jacksonville Bridge. The shad are starting to school up, and the bass are suspending on the shad schools. Trout and king salmon action will not improve until the water cools. As a result, there are few trout fishermen heading to the lake. The boat launch has a slight curve, but once you get around it, launching two boats at the same time is possible. A grant for the improvement of the Fleming Meadows ramp has been approved, and construction to create a two-lane ramp should start shortly. The lake rose slightly to 672.85 feet in elevation and 31 percent 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 2; Trout 2; Crappie 2; Catfish 3; Bluegill 2
Jacob Rutledge of Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield reported minimal interest in Lake Isabella, given the low-water conditions. Catfish are still the best bet, and the long flats near Red’s Marina appear to be the best location with super meal worms, mackerel, Katnip Beef Bait, Secret 7 Catfish Bait or Sonny’s Dip Bait. Few bass fishermen are willing to launch in conditions that require four-wheel-drive tow vehicle. There is a bass bite with crankbaits in the early morning from the shore. There are no marinas or courtesy docks in the lake. The lake held at 2,522.64 feet in elevation and 5 percent capacity. The lower Kern River continues to be good for largemouth and smallmouth bass from the mouth of the canyon west into the city limits with Zoom Trick Worms or Deadly Duo custom-poured plastics in green pumpkin or watermelon colors on a Texas or Carolina-rig. There are still few reports from the upper river. Rutledge added that sales of small to medium minnows has picked up for Buena Vista, a clear sign that the crappie bite has started. The Taft Chamber of Commerce Trout Derby at Buena Vista is Nov. 21. The local lakes have been slow for bass or bluegill.
Call: Bob’s Bait (661) 833-8657; North Fork Marina (760) 376-1812
Bass 3; Crappie 2; Trout 1; Catfish 2
Sierra Sporting Goods in Exeter reported great action for numbers with plastics on the drop-shot or topwater lures. The fish are chasing shad in the early mornings and late evenings before following the shad balls into the depths from 10-30 feet with the larger fish holding in deeper water. A few large bass to 12 pounds have been reported from anglers on drop-shot plastics. Bluegill and crappie are coming off small to medium minnows or live crickets while catfish to 13 pounds have been landed at night on chicken livers or anchovies. The lake rose nearly a foot to 592.36 in elevation and 8 percent capacity.
Call: Sierra Sporting Goods 592-5212
Bass 3; Trout 3; Catfish 2; Crappie 2
At Success, Chuck Stokke of Sequoia Fishing Co. in Springville said, “The extreme low water conditions and recent overcast days have created excellent bass action with lipless crankbaits or deep-diving cranks at depths from 15-20 feet while slow-rolling spinnerbaits are also producing as the bass are chasing shad along the shorelines.” The lake is very low at 575.05 feet in elevation and 4 percent capacity. In the Tule River, Stokke reported, “The trout bite has been excellent with Panther Martins while fly fishing is strong with caddis or stimulator patterns and a pheasant-tail flashback dropper. The flow is good, and the number of fishermen on the river has been low.”
Call: Sequoia Fishing Co. 539-5626, sequoiafishingcompany.com
Bass 3; Trout 2; King salmon 1; Kokanee 1; Crappie 2; Catfish 2
Because of severe drought conditions, lake recreation is extremely limited at Lake McClure. The North Ramp at Barrett Cove may be used at the boater’s risk for hand-launched craft such as kayaks and canoes. The Barrett Cove South Ramp and Lake McClure ramps at Bagby, Horseshoe Bend and McClure Point remain closed. The Barrett Cove Camp Store, Barrett Cove and McClure Point marinas are closed until further notice. Watercraft not requiring a trailer – such as a canoe or kayak – may still be launched from dawn until dusk at the user’s risk. Bass fishing from the banks remains good, with shad-patterned plastics such as Robo Worm’s Hologram Shad. The lake continues to release water, and it has dropped 6 vertical feet in the past week to 595.01 and 7 percent capacity.
Call: A-1 Bait (209) 563-6505; Bub Tosh (209) 404-0053
Lake McSwain Marina and launch ramp remain open Thursday through Sunday. Campfires are again allowed at McSwain campgrounds. The annual Merced Irrigation Derby Fall Trout Derby has been postponed until April 9-10 given the warm water conditions amid the drought. Few fishermen have been heading to the lake with the lack of trout plants since April. The Merced River is closed to fishing until Jan. 1 from the Crocker-Huffman Bridge to G Street in Snelling because of warm water conditions.
Call: McSwain Marina (209) 378-2534
Millerton Lake/San Joaquin River
Bass 2; Striper 1; Shad 1; Bluegill 2; Trout 2
Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “Bass fishing is a story of numbers but not size with a 7.5-pound limit winning the weekend’s Sierra Bass Club tournament. Most action is on the bottom with plastics on the drop-shot or Senkos at depths from 5-30 feet.” There is a spinnerbait bite in the early mornings or when the wind is blowing. Catfishing has been best up the river are with chicken livers or sardines. All vessels must possess a low-emission motor. The lake is again releasing water and dropped nearly 1.5 feet to 486.74 in elevation and 34 percent capacity. There are only a few anglers working the lower San Joaquin, and most interest is in the slack water zone in the main river on the west side of Highway 99. 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 3; Crappie 2; Catfish 3; Trout 2; Kokanee 1
New Melones steadily gained in elevation during the past week, from 11 percent to 12 percent capacity and the first rise in months. The stable water is contributing to an excellent bass and rainbow trout bite. John Lietchy of Glory Hole Sporting Goods and Xperience Bass Guide Service went out on a half-day trip with Nate Monroe with the goal of catching and releasing suspended fish. Lietchy said, “With this goal in mind, we had multiple rods rigged with soft plastics and reactions, ideal for fishing in the middle water column. We fished in the main lake in the early morning before heading upriver, and we landed fish at every stop with a few locations loaded with both fish and bait. The bass were spitting small shad out along the surface as we fought them to the boat. We had a feeling we would catch a bunch of fish, so we kept track and ended up with over 100 fish with the largest bass close to 4 pounds on a small swimbait over deep water for one of my personal best days for numbers.” In addition to numbers, there has been huge largemouth bass at 11.5 and 9.5 pounds caught and released within the past week. Glory Hole Sporting Goods advises releasing of all largemouth bass in order to keep the population in the lake growing. Trout fishing has been slow, but the rainbows are starting to move up in the water column and holding at a more catchable depth. Spoons or plugs similar to small shad are working best with the thick schools of bait fish roaming the lake and starting to ball up. Catfishing remains good with banks anglers finding the best action off Glory Hole Point on down to the Highway 49 Bridge with frozen shad, sardines, anchovies, or mackerel. The whiskerfish are found in the flats with deep water access as they are keying on the shad left over from the bass and trout chasing them into the shore. Crappie fishing is fair, but a few fishermen are finding quality slabsides under lights at night with live minnows. The lake rose to 801.90 feet in elevation this week. Tulloch dropped a foot to 499.18 in elevation and 81 percent capacity.
Call: Glory Hole Sports (209) 736-4333; Monte Smith (209) 581-4734; Danny Layne-Fish’n Dan (209) 586-2383; Sierra Sport Fishing (209) 599-2023
Pine Flat Reservoir/Kings River
Bass 2; Trout 2; King salmon 1; Catfish 2; Crappie 2
Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “Bass action remained slow with small fish taken on plastics on the bottom at depths from 10-25 feet. There is a small window for topwater action in the mornings before heading to the bottom. Few bass fishermen are targeting the lake at this time due to low water conditions and overall slow action.” Catfishing is fair with anchovies or sardines near Deer Creek Marina. No trout reports with trollers heading into the high country. The lake rose three-quarters of a foot to 722.53 in elevation and 12 percent capacity. In the lower Kings River, interest for planted trout continues to be very slow with few fishermen out with the low flows on the lower river. Power Bait has been the top option. Regulations in the Kings River above and below Pine Flat Dam set the season as running from the last Saturday in April to Nov. 15 from the dam downstream to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Bridge on Pine Flat Road with a five-fish limit. The bridge is the first one to the west of the dam.
Call: Fresno Fisherman’s Warehouse 225-1838; Valley Rod & Gun 292-3474; Sequoia Fishing Co. 539-5626; The I Forgot Store 787-3689
San Luis Reservoir and O’Neill Forebay
Striper 2; Catfish 2; Bass 1; Crappie 1
The striped bass bite at San Luis Reservoir is starting to show signs of life with a number of large linesides landed within the past few weeks. The lake’s levels are low at 17 percent capacity, making for difficult launch conditions. Dinosaur Point is on the third ramp, way out on the point, but it is concrete and in good shape. The Basalt ramp is problematic since the rangers put a 6-foot long concrete block next to the south side of the dock. The soft dirt is torn up by so many vehicles spinning their wheels launching in that small area. The small paved ramp strip just south of the concrete block makes for tough launching, especially if you’re alone. This a very bad choice in north and westerly wind conditions. A four-wheel-drive tow vehicle is advised at both launch ramps. Roger George of Roger’s Guide Service said, “Falling water temperatures in the 66- to 67-degree range and some cloudy overcast days have improved the striper bite overall for trollers in the big lake for improved numbers -but the bite can still be very fickle.” George guided Gene, 81, and daughter Debbie Root of Coalinga on Friday in tough frontal conditions for eight fish to 24 inches; then on Saturday, Nikki Hamilton and her son Alex, 12, from Fresno landed and released 18 stripers to 23 inches. “The frontal system Friday made it hard, but Saturday the more stable conditions brought on a morning bite,” George added. “However they shut off hard after 4 p.m.” He trolls plugs in purple, green, chartreuse or shad patterns on a downrigger at depths from 50-80 feet. George uses a Seaqualizer release tool to release his big fish. For those who are going to keep some, George suggests practicing selective harvesting of smaller or injured stripers on a limited basis as a sustainable method to keep the fishery healthy. George added, “There have been a few big stripers taken again this week, but the fishermen are pretty experienced. The bite windows seem to be small for the big fish, too. The big lake seems to be fairly stable with them putting in some water-then releasing it.” In the O’Neill Forebay, Mickey Clements of Coyote Bait and Tackle in Morgan Hill reported numbers of striped bass to legal size are taken on shallow-running jerkbaits such as Lucky Craft Pointer 100’s near the rockwall or along the adjacent buoys. Kayakers are drifting minnows in the Forebay for solid action as there are fewer weeds in the lake after the spraying operations. Blood worms from the shore are another option. The lake dropped to 17 percent capacity, but 5,507 acre-feet was pumped in Monday.
Call: Coyote Bait andTackle (408) 463-0711, Roger George of rogergeorgeguideservice.com (559) 905-2954
Bass 2; Trout 2; Kokanee 1
The lake continues to be very slow for rainbow trout, leading local guides to refer potential clients to Shaver Lake. PG&E is removing 1,200 drought-stricken ones from the region given their potential to fall on power lines and homes. Putting a boat in the lake is a challenge with the lake at 47 percent capacity; because of that, many bass fishermen are avoiding the lake for this reason. The Sheriff’s Motor Fee is no longer in effect. There is a large hole in the launch on one side of the public ramp.
Call: Todd Wittwer 288-8100; Mike Beighey 642-3748
Brown trout 2; Trout 2
The high country along Kaiser Pass has been limited to only a few fishermen, with Edison dropping to 4 percent capacity and Florence at 23 percent. Mammoth Pool has fallen from more than 80 percent to the current 13 percent within two months, and boats are having a very difficult time launching and pulling out of the lake. Trout fishing is very slow with only a couple of fish reported from the banks; the few trollers are working throughout the day for a single trout.
Call: Vermilion Valley Resort at Edison Lake 259-4000
Shaver Lake/Huntington Lake
Kokanee 1; Trout 3; Smallmouth 3
Unseasonably warm temperatures at Shaver Lake have contributed to increased access to an abundant trout population. Dick Nichols of Dick’s Fishing Charters said, “In all my years as a fishing guide at Shaver Lake, I have never charter-fished into October, and I see us fishing into November with clear skies predicted with few exceptions through the first week of November.” Nichols put his clients onto three quick limits using Dick’s Trout Busters tipped with a piece of nightcrawler behind a weighted flasher on his side pools at depths from 20-31 feet from the west edge of the island to the Stevenson Creek Bay. Nichols added, “Trollers should start in the early morning along this troll, and you should receive some hits as you cross the island, Black Rock, and Eagle Point before heading into Stevenson Creek and circling from the south fork of the creek towards the tunnel and back. You should have scored limits by now, but it you haven’t, head back to Eagle Point by 10:30 a.m. to finish off your limits.” In addition to the side poles, Nichols is running his Koke Busters tipped with a nightcrawlers behind a C.J. Dodger on the downriggers. Reports of bank fishing are mixed with some anglers picking up the occasional trophy trout while others are finding minimal success. The key is to move if you don’t have any action for an hour. Nichols said, “The fish are prowling along the shoreline in search of insects flying off of the banks, and you have to be there when they are congregating.” Nightcrawlers or trout dough bait are tops for bank fishermen. Boaters are also jigging spoons in the 1- to 2-ounce weight above rocky structure. Smallmouth fishing remains good, and the action is best near rocky shore structure with live crickets or Panther Martin spinners. The marinas have closed for the season, but there are outlets for tackle and bait in Shaver Lake. Shaver is receiving the most interest in the region, but at Huntington, a few fishermen are soaking trout dough bait or nightcrawlers from the banks near the Auxiliary Dam or the mouth of Rancheria Creek. The launch ramp is inaccessible for trailered boats, and more inclement weather is necessary to attract brown trout anglers to drag down their aluminum boats. Shaver held at 56 percent capacity, with Huntington also holding steady at 30 percent.
Call: Dick’s Fishing Charters 841-2740; Dinkey Creek Inn 841-3435; Rancheria Marina 893-3234; Shaver Lake Sports Inc. 841-2740; Fish Box Charters 871-3937
At Wishon, the Wishon Store and RV Park will close Nov. 1, and it is out of nightcrawlers for the remainder of the week. Trolling continues to be outstanding along the far side of the lake with blade/crawler combinations or Needlefish and Speedy Shiners in brass at 2 to 4 colors of lead core. The launch ramp is in the water. Bank action is best at the mouth of Short Hair Creek or in the headwaters, but anglers are advised to beach their boat and walk up the creek as the water is very shallow. The launch ramp is still on the concrete. At Courtright, the ramp is out of the water, and the lake will remain at minimal pool throughout the winter to allow for dam repairs. Bank fishing remains good near the day-use area with trout dough bait, inflated nightcrawlers or casting lures such as Thomas Buoyants or Kastmasters in copper/brass.
Call: Wishon RV Park 865-5361
Half Moon Bay
Salmon 2; Rockfish 4; Striper 2; Bonito 2
Bonito are hanging around and Captain Tom Mattusch of the Huli Cat reported the Ankeny Street had landed three yo-yoing Fish Traps in front of the Ritz after putting in a 55-pound white sea bass earlier Sunday. They also put in 15 limits of rockfish including a 5-pound cabezon and 21 ling cod on this trip. Mattusch found good action for limits of rockfish on Saturday and Sunday at depths to 110 feet off Martin’s Beach and San Gregorio for a combined 20 limits including 21 ling cod to 20 pounds for eight anglers Saturday. He said, “There are tons of mackerel out here, and experienced anglers are loading up on the lings. The ling action was a bit slower on Sunday, but we loaded up on Saturday.” He added that private boats trolling down from San Francisco picked up at least 10 bonito on the way down dragging tuna feathers. The Huli Cat will be the only large party boat out of Half Moon Bay running crab combination trips starting Nov. 7. Farther north in Pacifica, the start of the Dungeness crab season will bring out droves of anglers from the pier in search of crab with snares or crab nets.
Call: Happy Hooker (510) 223-5388; Roger Thomas, Salty Lady (415) 760-9362; Bait and Switch Sport Fishing Center (650) 726-7133726-7133; Emeryville Sport Fishing (510) 654-6040; Don Franklin, Soleman (510) 703-4148
Rockfish 3; Striper 2; White sea bass 2; Bluefin tuna 2
Jason Russey of Longfin Sport Fishing landed his first bluefin on the edge of the canyon slow trolling live mackerel. He said, “This was our only bite of the day, and I didn’t hear of anyone else getting one. I think Bodega is going to be hot this weekend, and this weekend weather looks doable. Please remind boats to stay well away from other boats, at least a mile away, as you will have a better chance of hooking a fish as the bluefin are just too spooky for boat traffic.” Russey was providential on the prediction on Bodega Bay over the weekend for bluefin as there were several landed off of the Cordell Banks by private boaters. Keith Semler of Chris’s Landing in Monterey said, “Rockfishing remains outstanding with the Caroline putting in limits of ling cod and half limits of rockfish including a female sheephead on Saturday south at Twin Rocks while the Star of Monterey posted limits of rockfish and 19 lings for 34 anglers. Sunday’s trip all produced limits for a combined 76 fishermen, but the boats were loaded with first-time anglers resulting in only 19 total lings.” The crab combination trips are filling up, and their first weekday availability is Nov. 16 and the first available weekend date Nov. 29.
Call: Chris’ Landing (831) 375-5951; Bayside Marine (831) 475-2173; usafishing.com
San Francisco Bay
Halibut 2; Striper 3; Rockfish 3; Leopard shark 2; Sturgeon 2; Salmon 2
The salmon bite seems to be winding down, with most party boats targeting rockfish at the Farallon Islands or along the Marin coastline. The drift was slow on the coast over the weekend, with the best rockfish action enjoyed at the Farallons. However, Chris Semler of San Francisco reported landing two limits of salmon at 26, 19, 14 and 8 pounds south of Duxbury on straight bait at 70 pulls. He said, “All of the skiffs were fishing deep, and they were also doing well.” One salmon boat out of Sausalito put in five salmon to 30 pounds for 24 fishermen on Saturday trolling from Rocky Point to Duxbury, but the other Sausalito boat went to the Farallons on both Saturday and Sunday for a combined total of 40 limits of rockfish and 36 lings. When these boats start targeting rockfish, you can make a solid assumption that there is far less interest in salmon fishing. The Tigerfish, New Huck Finn and New Seeker out of Emeryville also went to the Farallons for a combined 75 limits of rockfish and 104 lings to 18 pounds. Dungeness crab recreational season starts Nov. 7, but the opening of the season may be delayed depending on whether the California Department of Public Health decides to place a health warning or advisory for certain waters where the crab will be harvested. The excessive warm water may result in a health risk to humans. A decision on this matter should be determined within the week. Inside San Francisco and San Pablo Bays, halibut are still around, and Captain Jim Smith of the Happy Hooker out of Berkeley has loaded up with live mackerel in anticipation of chasing halibut and striped bass in the bay within the next week. He said, “Commercial halibut fishermen are loading up using live mackerel.” Captain Chris Smith on the Captain Hook put the hurt on the leopard sharks for some meat hungry anglers Saturday, with 18 for six limits in the south bay.
San Luis Obispo
Rock cod 3
Rockfishing continues to be outstanding, with the Patriot out of Port San Luis putting in limits of rockfish for 19 anglers Monday with 25 vermilion, 15 copper, 120 assorted rockfish, 10 bonito and 20 ling cod to 13 pounds, with the big fish landed by Alex Adona of Bakersfield. Out of Morro Bay, the action is similar with the Princess and Fiesta returning Sunday with a combined 88 ling cod to 12 pounds, 150 vermilion rockfish, 260 assorted rockfish, 50 bolina and 10 bonito for near limits of rockfish for 52 anglers. Stephanie Carter of Bakerfield took the jackpot on the half-day trip on the Fiesta with a 10.2-pound ling. At Virg’s, given demand, there will be one or two additional two-day trips added during December. The John Rowley Ling Cod Tournament is Dec. 12, and the largest ling cod of the week qualifies for the tournament.
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 4; Striper 4; Sturgeon 2; Catfish 3; Bluegill 3; Salmon 2
Road closures are the big story in the Delta, with a weekend shutdown on Highway 12 from 10 p.m. Friday until 5 a.m. Monday morning because of work on the Mokelumne River Bridge. The highway will be closed during those hours to all but local traffic from Interstate 5 on the east and Highway 160 on the west – from Oct. 30 through Nov. 2, Nov. 6-9 and Nov. 13-16. Motorists are being advised to use I-5, I-80 and Highway 4. Traffic north on 160 from Highway 12 to Walnut Grove has been very high as vehicles are rerouted to this road during the weekends. To further complicate matters, maintenance at the Three Mile Slough Bridge on Highway 160 has the bridge down to one lane until July, and there are traffic backups of up to five miles to the base of the Antioch Bridge. The construction is going on 24 hours per day, so visitors to the Delta need to plan for extra time for the delay. Mark Wilson, striper trolling expert, said, “Traffic jams, road closures, water hyacinth, and low water flows are all contributing to making for difficult conditions on the Delta right now.” Wilson found difficult conditions for trolling in the central Delta during the week with heavy hyacinth presence near the Old Dairy and Decker Island. Clyde Wands, shallow trolling expert, found similar results earlier in the week. Don Paganelli of Paganelli’s Bass Fishing Experience did find good action at Liberty Island on Saturday with clients Bud and Cole Cook of Placerville catching and releasing 20 linesides to 10 pounds using River2Sea SWavers or Fish Traps in the shallows. Alan Fong of Fisherman’s Warehouse in Sacramento found difficult conditions on his last trip to Liberty, but his nephew, Michael “Bub” Fong released four stripers from 10-18 pounds with custom glide baits in the shallows. Salmon continue to be taken from the banks from Suisun Bay upriver to below the Freeport Bridge. The Dillon Point State Park is producing anywhere from 15-20 salmon per day, and the parking lot remains filled on the weekday mornings given the number of fishermen along the shore. The majority of salmon at the State Park have been less than 10 pounds. Rio Vista Bait and Tackle reported little change since last week with salmon still found upriver near Liberty and Hastings Island with Flying C’s or similar heavy spinners. Jim Pickens of the Fishermen’s Friend in Lodi said, “The salmon bite continues on the Sacramento from Vieira’s up the Old Sacramento towards Sacramento. Some of the more popular locations along the way are Vieira’s, Ko-Ket’s, Walnut Grove, Clarksburg, and Freeport. Most anglers are trolling Silvertrons, Kwikfish, or Blue Fox spinners. Jigging for salmon becomes more popular the farther up the river you fish. Shore anglers continue to have success with Flying C’s and Blue Foxes in the Walnut Grove area.” Sturgeon fishing is heating up in the Pittsburg area with Captain Steve Mitchell of Hook’d Up Sport Fishing finding two keepers Saturday at 58 and 52 inches along with two oversized to 64 inches and a 40-inch keeper Sunday. Mitchell said, “Everything came on the incoming tide, and the fish bit both salmon roe and eel with the highlight being the double hookup of the two oversized fish.” He has found them with salmon roe, eel, or ghost shrimp in an average depth of 30-plus feet of water in the Cuts, the Middle Grounds, or around the Pittsburg PGE Plant. With the lack of fresh water flow and heavy imports into the southland, sharks are showing up off of the Benicia shore. Despite the hyacinth, striped bass action remains excellent for numbers. Randy Pringle, the Fishing Instructor, said, “The largemouth and striped bass bite on the Delta is so good right now, it should be outlawed. There are lots of schools on the San Joaquin River, and although most of the fish are small, there are keepers in the 2- to 5-pound range in the mix. It is nothing to catch and release 30-45 stripers per day, and our best technique is slow rolling along the bottom with the Optima Double AA Bubba Shad as the water is still warm.” There is a topwater, spoon, and swimbait bite, and the morning bite for numbers is great on the San Joaquin, but it gets tough by mid-morning. The shad are pushing into the shallows, and Pringle also has been scoring largemouth bass with the half-ounce white or white/chartreuse Persuader spinnerbait with double Willow blades or the Imaged Blade shad as well as the Timber Tiger crankbait in shad patterns. The ima Flit ripbait is effective, but Pringle advised setting your drag correctly since there is an increased chance of getting hit by a 10- to 20-pound striped bass on this lure. Alan Fong confirmed the solid bass action, and he has been flipping Missle’s D Bombs or Brush Hogs in the clear sections of the sloughs. Said Pickens: “The largemouth bite continues to be solid on the San Joaquin side, as usually at this time of the year the bass would be in transition to deeper water, but with the warm water and air temps, they’re still hanging in the shallows from 4-6 feet in depth. Senkos and jerkbaits rule the day, but an occasional topwater Spook will get one to boil.” Pulse flows have begun in the Mokelumne River, and there are three additional flows to be released from Lake Camanche in the effort to draw salmon up towards the hatchery. The Delta Cross Channel Gates may be closed up to 45 days from Oct. 1 to Jan. 31, and the gates may be closed on short notice for fishery protection during this period of time. Information on the current status of the gates is available at the Army Corps of Engineers Central Valley Operations office at (916) 979-2194 or (916) 979-2683.
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 2; White bass 2; Catfish 2; Crappie 2
At Nacimiento, the spotted bass bite has been up and down as the lake has been receiving heavy fishing pressure with the lack of water in the coastal lakes. White bass are scarce. Nacimiento and Lopez remain the only coastal lakes where boats can be launched from a ramp. The launch ramp at Lopez is anticipated to remain open for the remainder of the season as the lake is holding at 34 percent capacity. Santa Margarita is less than 15 percent, but the marina store is open for supplies and rental vessels. The river arm has dropped to the point where the old road is now exposed for the first time in years. San Antonio remains closed.
Call: Lake Nacimiento (805) 238-1056, ext. 3; Lake San Antonio Marina (805) 472-2818; Central Coast Bass Fishing.com (805) 466-6557
- Fresno Bass Club on Oct. 17-18 R Delta/B and W Resort: 1, Scott Smith 25.47 pounds; 2, Morgan Swisher 20.81; 3, Roger Lockart 17.46; Big Fish, Victor Evans 7.40 pounds
- FishAholics Striped Bass Derby on Oct. 25 at California Aqueduct/Kettleman City: 1, Youa Yang $500; 2, Jimmy Rentfrow $255; 3, Scott Yelton $85; Big Fish, Kong Thao $150
- Oct. 30-31: California Bass Federation at New Melones
- Nov. 6-8: Virgil’s Striped Bass Derby at Delta/Suisun City; Addathon Iron Man Sturgeon Derby at Delta/Pittsburg
- Nov. 7: Tracy Bass Club at Delta/Tracy Oasis; Dan’s Delta Outdoors Catch, Photo, and Release Striper Derby at Delta/Big Break; Bass Anglers of Northern California at Delta/Russo’s; Sonora Bass Club at Don Pedro; Visalia Bass Club at Kaweah
- Nov. 7-8: Bakersfield Bass Club at Nacimiento
- Nov. 8: Manteca Bassin’ Buddies at Delta/Ladd’s Marina; Bass 101 Team Open at Pine Flat, Mark Corrente 284-2768; Kings VIII Bass Club at Kaweah
- Nov. 14: Kerman Bass Club at Delta/Ladd’s Marina; California Hmong Bass Tournament at Delta/Ladd’s Marina; Contra Costa Bass Club at New Melones; Visalia Bass Club at Kaweah; Taft Bass Club/Golden Empire Bass Club at Nacimiento
- Nov. 14-15: Tri-Valley Bassmasters at Delta/Russo’s Marina; California Bass Nation/Delta Bass Masters at Delta/Russo’s Marina; Delta Bass Busters at Delta/Ladd’s Marina; Bass N’ Tubes at New Melones; Bass 101 at Pine Flat/Millerton, two-day team open, $160, winner take all, Mark Corrente 284-2768; Taft Bass Club at Nacimiento
- Nov. 15: Tracy Bass Club at Delta/Tracy Oasis; Hook, Line, and Sinker at Delta/Russo’s; Modesto Ambassadors at Don Pedro; Kings River Bass Club at Pine Flat
- Nov. 21: Sierra Bass Club at Eastman
- Nov. 22: Stockton Bass at Delta/Ladd’s Marina
- Tuolumne County: Lyons Canal (Columbia Ditch); Moccasin Creek; Powerhouse Stream
f = full moon > = peak activity