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 sturgeon, striper and bass action continues, Randy Pringle said. Millerton spotted bass hitting, Merritt Gilbert reported. New Melones bass on the prowl, John Liechty said.
2-Have to work hard
4-Fish jumpin’ in boat
Delta Mendota Canal and Sloughs
The California Aqueduct and Delta Mendota Canal have been facing more closures up and down the concrete rivers because of increased vandalism and illegal dumping and the costs associated with these activities. The San Luis Delta Water Authority has prohibited access along several areas of the canal. Any area gated off and posted “No Trespassing” is closed to public access beyond that point. In the aqueduct, vandalism and the theft of thousands of dollars of equipment have led to the temporary closure of the section from Tupman to Twissleman Roads in Kern County. Fishermen are bearing the brunt of the impact, but may not be responsible for anything other than excessive trash left in many areas. The recent popularity of the aqueduct has led to increased numbers of anglers, but in order to maintain the right to continue to fish these public areas they are encouraged to take out all trash and debris when departing. As far as fishing is concerned, Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “A few big fish are coming out of the aqueduct, but overall the action has slowed with the colder water.” Meng Xyong of the FishAholics out of Fresno reported, “While some anglers find easy limits fishing the California Aqueduct, others are grinding through the day for limits or no fish at all. The changing weather system has changed the bite. This time last year, we had stable warmer weather, which made for a predictable pattern. The changing cold weather and incoming storms have either slowed it down or shut it off completely. Anglers are still reporting success using Jerkbaits such as SpeedLures, Duo Realis or Lucky Craft Pointer 128’s. When water is flowing, the checkgates will concentrate stripers, but anglers will have to work for them. SpeedLure lipless lures or Rat-L-Traps yo-yoed on the bottom can entice fish from the lower water column to bite. The night bite is working as well for anglers willing to endure the cold temperatures. There are reports of stripers full of bait fish and eggs, which is a sign of the health of the water system. Our inland fishery is an outpost for many diehard fishermen; and of the 444-mile stretch of water, less than 1 percent is made accessible by vehicle, forcing anglers to travel through private lands or walk long distances to a fishing location. The California Aqueduct needs to be recognized as a serious recreational game fishing venue by the State of California.” In the south aqueduct in Kern County, Pete Cormier of Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield reported most area fishermen have been heading to the aqueduct with extra-large or jumbo minnows for striped and largemouth bass. The minnows have been the hot baits, but some are soaking blood worms. Catfish action remains slow.
Bass 2; Trout 1; Bluegill 2; Catfish 2; Crappie 2
The lake has remained stable with minimal inflow, and few fishermen are targeting the lake. The occasional largemouth bass to 3.25 pounds is possible, and fishermen are catching and releasing 7-8 bass per trip with drop-shot or Texas-rig plastics on a slow presentation. The colder water has made for a lethargic bite for the largemouths. The catfish action has slowed amid colder temperatures, with the occasional whiskerfish taken on anchovies, mackerel or stink baits. The lake is at 466.67 feet in elevation and 7 percent capacity.
Call: Six Star Tackle Box 673-5688; Eastman Lake 689-3255
Bass 2; Trout 2; Catfish 2; Bluegill 2; Crappie 2
Few fishermen have been heading to the lake, given low water conditions and lack of an accessible launch ramp. Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun said, “The colder water temperatures have limited the number of float tubers on the lake. They previously had been finding good action for bass using finesse techniques of drop-shotting or dart heading in the deeper portions of the lake.” The lake is at 5 percent capacity and 447.58 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 2; Trout 2; Kokanee 1; King salmon 2; Crappie 2
Bass fishing has been a grind, and the recent Fresno Bass Club Tournament of Champions produced the best action on plastics at depths from 20-50 feet with limited action on spinnerbaits or vertical jigs. Ron Red won the year-end tournament with a quality mixed limit of largemouth and spotted bass. The fish are into a wintertime mode, migrating into deep water. Finesse techniques and a slow presentation are necessary. No trout reports, but trollers should return to the lake with the turnover resulting from the recent cold spell. The lake rose over a foot to 675.99 in elevation and 32 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 2; Bluegill 2
At Lake Isabella, recent storms brought an inch of rain to the area and kept fishing to a minimum. Pete Cormier of Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield said, “It has been slow for both catfish and bass during the past week, with few fishermen heading to the lake.” The launch ramp is on the dirt, and a four-wheel-drive vehicle is necessary to put a boat into the lake. The lake rose slightly to 2,522.58 feet in elevation and 5 percent capacity. The lower river continues to be solid for largemouth bass and catfish along with the occasional holdover rainbow trout, but the rains may change the bite. Cut bait and minnows are the best offerings in the colder water as the artificial bite with plastics has slowed. There are still trout in the upper river despite the lack of plants, and fly fishermen are catching and releasing. Cormier said, “Everyone is waiting for the trout plants to begin in the local lake, but there are no plants scheduled with the exception of Bryte Lake in the Tehachapis in the coming weeks.” There has been some crappie taken on small minnows in Lake Ming, with the occasional slabside in Buena Vista. Fishermen are heading to Buena Vista in search of crappie with small to medium minnows. Trout action at Buena Vista is hit or miss.
Call: Bob’s Bait (661) 833-8657; North Fork Marina (760) 376-1812
Bass 2; Crappie 2; Trout 2; Catfish 2
Sierra Sporting Goods in Exeter reported small bass to 2 pounds are numerous, but a slow presentation with plastics on the drop-shot, jigs or spoons is necessary. Green pumpkin and watermelon red are the top colors for plastic worms, and the smaller fish are holding at depths from 10-15 feet with the larger bass at depths to 40 feet. Live minnows and crawdads are also working for bass. Small crappie and bluegill are taken on live crickets. Catfishing has slowed with the colder water, and most in search of the whiskerfish are heading to the California Aqueduct with anchovies or sardines. The lake rose 2 feet to 605.30 in elevation and 13 percent capacity.
Call: Sierra Sporting Goods 592-5212
Bass 2; Trout 2; Catfish 2; Crappie 2
Bass interest has waned amid colder water temperatures, but there are a few working hard for the occasional fish with deep-diving crankbaits, jigs or spinnerbaits on a slow presentation. Area fishermen are waiting for trout plants, but none are scheduled in the near future. The lake rose nearly a foot to 580.78 in elevation and 5 percent capacity.
Call: Sequoia Fishing Co. 539-5626, sequoiafishingcompany.com
Bass 2; Trout 2; King salmon 1; Kokanee 1; Crappie 2; Catfish 2
The launch ramp is closed with the lake at 6 percent capacity, dropping to 586.29 feet in elevation. Few fishermen are taking the long walk to the water’s edge. Bass fishing is fair at best, but the spotted bass remain active for those launching kayaks or float tubes sending down small plastics on the drop-shot. A few catfish have been landed on live crawdads. A-1 Bait in Snelling is open on the weekends with a full supply of live minnows and crawdads. The North Ramp at Barrett Cove may be used at boater’s risk by hand-launched craft, such as kayaks and canoes. The Barrett Cove South and Lake McClure ramps at Bagby, Horseshoe Bend and McClure Point remain closed.
Call: A-1 Bait (209) 563-6505; Bub Tosh (209) 404-0053
Action remains very slow, with fishermen awaiting trout plants. Catfish and spotted bass are as numerous as the holdover rainbows with the warm water conditions and heavy releases previously in the year from upstream Lake McClure. The Lake McSwain Marina and launch ramp remain open, but the store is closed Monday through Wednesday. Fires are allowed at McSwain’s campgrounds and the sites remain popular. 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 3; Striper 1; Shad 1; Bluegill 2; Trout 2
November and December have been long months for Fresno-area tournament bass anglers, but the tournament season is set to start after the New Year with more interest in Millerton and Pine Flat Reservoirs. Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun said, “Millerton has been sporting a decent bass bite with minimal fishing pressure within the past few months. An 8- to 9-pound limit is common, and the best action has been in the main lake from Finegold down with plastics on the drop-shot or vertically jigged spoons at depths from 10-30 feet. The lake is still warm in the 57- to 58-degree range.” A few crappie to three-quarters of a pound have been taken on 4-inch plastic worms by bass fishermen. The lake dropped nearly a foot to 479.57 in elevation and 31 percent capacity. Woodward Park Lake is scheduled to be planted with trout next week. In the San Joaquin River, Meng Xyong of the FishAholics said, “Great news regarding the salmon release from this year’s SalmonFest. A member, while fishing the San Joaquin River near Fresno, witnessed a trio of salmon swimming together in the shallows. They were scouring around, swimming like sharks, he said. This may be a sure sign they are looking for spawning grounds. I think salmon are the hardiest of fish. Their resilience and never-ending battle against overwhelming odds shadow the efforts from conservation groups that are battling for the San Joaquin River restoration. Knowing that the salmon are capable of thriving here is a small stepping stone to resurrecting California’s second longest river system.” There are only a few anglers working the lower San Joaquin, and Sycamore Island has closed for the winter before reopening Feb. 1. 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. The hatchery fish have a healed adipose fin clip.
Call: Fresno Fisherman’s Warehouse 225-1838; Valley Rod & Gun 292-3474
New Melones Reservoir/Tulloch
Bass 3; Crappie 2; Catfish 2; Trout 2; Kokanee 1
At New Melones, the lake is slowly rising, and the higher water levels have made for easier launching conditions on the packed gravel at Glory Hole Point. There is no courtesy dock. Trout fishing remains slow, but it should improve as the lake continues its turnover. John Liechty of Glory Hole Sporting Goods in Angels Camp said, “The recent weather patterns will continue to assist with the lake’s turnover, but there have been few fishermen targeting trout. The good news is that the Department of Fish and Wildlife has planted the lake for the first time this year. The planters should be moving close to the shoreline, particularly with the upcoming storms bringing food sources off of the banks. Boaters should try fishing around the mouths of major creek channels such as Mormon Creek, Carson Creek, and Angels Creek with bright colored spoons at 3 mph at depths from 20-30 feet. Bank fishing has been slow, but it should improve within the month as the fish move closer to the shoreline.” Bass fishing continues to be good, with fish in the 1- to 2-pound range taken on finesse presentations on light line. Liechty said, “Small 4- to 6-inch plastic worms on a light dart head or shaky head in shad or crawdad patterns are working in deeper water, but when fishing around wood, it is best to use a weedless presentation. With water cooling on a daily basis, the fish have slowed down and there is not much of a reaction bite. It is a good idea to keep a spoon tied on and have it ready to drop under the boat when you graph fish or bait.” Catfishing continues to be fair as the species is on the tail end of their feed before slowing in the traditional winter pattern. A few large whiskerfish are taken on anchovies, sardines, or frozen shad, but the numbers have been limited. Crappie action is picking up as the slabs are schooling in the colder water near the mouths of creek channels, feeding on shad schools. The lake rose 2 feet to 800.45 in elevation and 11 percent capacity. Tulloch rose a half-foot to 498.96 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
At Pine Flat, action has been slower than at Millerton, with fish moving deeper from the banks to 50 feet with Senkos or plastics on the Texas-rig or drop-shot. Most fishermen are targeting the submerged trees near Windy Gap. The swimbait bite has been nonexistent, particularly with the lack of trout plants. The Sierra Bass Club held a tournament at Pine Flat on Dec. 12, and fishermen are starting to prepare for the Bass 101 New Year’s Day tourney and upcoming events on the Best Bass tournament schedule. Trout fishing remains very slow, with few even attempting. The lake rose over a foot to 731.47 in elevation and 14 percent capacity. Below Pine Flat, Avocado Lake is scheduled to be planted with trout next week. Regulations in the Kings River above and below Pine Flat Dam set the season as running from the last Saturday in April to Nov. 15 from Pine Flat Dam downstream to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Bridge on Pine Flat Road with a five-fish limit. The bridge is the first one 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 2; Crappie 2
Coyote Bait and Tackle in Morgan Hill reported striper fishing remains solid for trollers pulling P-Line Predator Minnows, broken backed Rebels, or Duo Realis jerkbaits on downriggers at depths from 40-60 feet. Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis added, “A few fishermen are using Pink Ladies to reach the stripers higher in the water column.” Roger George of Roger George Guide Service said that the stripers have gone deeper and the bite has gotten tougher. “We are seeing more fish down deep, but finding the right location with active biting fish at the right time –using the right baits – is the problem few guys are solving. I am seeing periods of time when the fish are turning off, then a short window when they turn on. The lure patterns can also change very quickly. The minnow guys were struggling the other day, too. We’ve had to work hard for 10-18 fish days, but we should see the fish start to acclimatize with a steadier bite soon. It’ll help when the pumping starts.” One of the best areas is at Romero Visitor Center, and boaters are heading toward the rockwall in order to troll or drift jumbo minnows. The fish are shallow in the mornings before dropping down in the water column during the day. The lake’s level is low, with imports from the Delta balanced against heavy water exports. With the low water levels, a four-wheel-drive tow vehicle is advised at both launch ramps. Most striper fishermen are heading to the California Aqueduct, the Delta Mendota Canal or the main San Luis Reservoir rather than the O’Neill Forebay. A few bank fishermen are soaking anchovies, blood worms or pile worms near Check 12. Float tubers are drifting jumbo minnows close to shore. The main lake dropped to 18 percent capacity with another 2,501 acre-feet of water released Monday.
Call: Coyote Bait andTackle (408) 463-0711, Roger George of rogergeorgeguideservice.com (559) 905-2954
Bass 2; Trout 2; Kokanee 1
A few bass fishermen are tossing swimbaits or jigs for small spotted bass from the banks, and the lake has risen slightly to 48 percent capacity. As it continues to rise, launching a boat will become easier from the public ramp. The swimbait bite should continue to improve as the water cools. There were no trout reports.
Call: Todd Wittwer 288-8100; Mike Beighey 642-3748
Brown trout 2; Trout 2
The high country along Kaiser Pass continues to receive snow and access is limited. The lakes are still very low with Edison at 4 percent and Florence at 6 percent. The lower elevation Mammoth Pool dropped slightly to 16 percent. Merritt Gilbert reported that a couple worked the bank at Mammoth Pool all day for a few small rainbows per rod using Power Bait.
Call: Vermilion Valley Resort at Edison Lake 259-4000
Shaver Lake/Huntington Lake
Kokanee 1; Trout 2
Several inches of snow fell at lakeside during the past week. Few, if any, boats have been on the lake. Dick Nichols of Dick’s Fishing Charters has been checking the launch ramp on regular basis. “I checked the ramp today,” he said, “and it was covered with snow with no one on the lake. The report is if you want to brave the weather, you can catch fish. A limit or more is possible. I would use the same trolling pattern from the surface to 10 feet from the Sierra Marina to the point towards Stevenson Bay.” Steve Santoro of Fish Box Charters said, “I tried to get on the ramp on Monday, but it was too slippery, so I will try again by midweek.” Merritt Gilbert added, “Bank fishing has been slow with only a few planted rainbows per rod.” The launch ramp remains open at the Sierra Marina, and the current status can be checked via webcam at sierramarina.com. Anglers are advised to bring chains for their vehicles as the highway conditions can change rapidly. The ramp at Sierra Marina is expected to remain open throughout winter. The next meeting of the Shaver Lake Trophy Trout Project is at 9 a.m. Wednesday at the Edison’s Tiffany Pines Room. The public is invited. The 2015 Herb Bauer’s/Shaver Lake Visitor Bureau’s annual Shaver Lake Derby ends Dec. 31. The winner will be announced in the first Fishing Report in January. There is still time to beat the 10-pound, 13-ounce rainbow caught in the spring. Herb Bauer’s is donating a $200 gift certificate to the winner, among other prizes. At Huntington, heavy snow fell in the area within the past week, and there have been no reports from bank fishermen. Brown trout fishermen should be dragging their aluminum boats to the lake, but there have been no reports on that front either. Shaver has risen slightly to 56 percent capacity. Huntington is at 47 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
The road to both lakes has closed for the season at Dinkey Creek. The rainbows will be holding over until it reopens in spring.
Call: Wishon RV Park 865-5361
Half Moon Bay
Rockfish 3; Striper 2
A huge swell struck the California coast over the second week of December, and ports along the entire length of the coastline were pounded with huge waves, surf and groundswell brought on by a combination of an incoming storm and huge tides. Half Moon Bay and Pillar Point Harbor were not immune , and their relative exposure contributed to waves breaking over the reefs outside the harbor. As a result, no party or private boats were out fishing for several days through the week. Captain Tom Mattusch of the Huli Cat out of Pillar Point dressed up the boat for the annual Pillar Point Harbor Festival of Lights and was able to get out in very dicey conditions Friday to take a video crew out to the Maverick’s Reef for an informal surfing session. He hopes to make it out again for more video work within the week. Prior to the storms, rockfishing remained solid south of the harbor near Martin’s Beach for quality school fish along with a few ling cod. The Dungeness crab season is still on hold, and it looks like the closure will not be lifted until January or February. Out of Half Moon Bay Sport Fishing, the Queen of Hearts will be offering trips through mid-December while the Riptide will be working until the rockfish closure on Dec. 31. Surf perch fishing should benefit from the recent pounding along the coast as the upswelling and disruption will bring new food sources out of the deep water and from the beaches.
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
The huge swell kept the party boats tied up to the docks, but when the weather is right, ling cod and rockfish action should stay solid until the season closes on New Year’s Eve. Allen Bushnell of Santa Cruz Kayak Fishing reported, “This week’s gigantic northwest swell is going to create improving wintertime structure along our Monterey Bay beaches. This is just what we need to get surf-perch fishing going in a big way.” Perching has been quite productive over the past month, though the heavy wave activity this week made things difficult. Currents are very strong and there was lots of sea grass and kelp in the surf to snag lines. Once the wave action settles down next week, surfcasters will have new territory to explore.
Call: Chris’ Landing (831) 375-5951; Bayside Marine (831) 475-2173; usafishing.com
San Francisco Bay
Halibut 2; Striper 2; Rockfish 3; Leopard shark 3; Sturgeon 2
Party boats were stymied by the huge swell outside the Golden Gate, but the rockfish season still has a few more weeks before the closure Dec. 31. Inside the bay, Keith Fraser of Loch Lomond Bait and Tackle in San Rafael said, “We got a good shot of rain on Sunday morning, and striper and sturgeon fishing has been pretty good, not great, but pretty good.” Tickets are on sale for the “Sturgeon Fishing In Bay Area Waters” seminar at 7:15 p.m. Jan. 16 at San Rafael’s Marin Rod and Gun Club. Sturgeon guru Keith Fraser will give tips on how you can improve your angling success while fishing for the elusive diamondbacks. To order, send $7 per ticket, along with a self-addressed stamped envelope, to Loch Lomond Bait, 110 Loch Lomond Drive, San Rafael 94901. This 38th seminar will be the final, final seminar and will feature the largest discount prices ever. It is highly recommended tickets be bought in advance.
San Luis Obispo
The huge swell broke along the San Luis Obispo shore throughout the weekend, and party and private boats wisely stayed tied up to the docks. When boats are able to head out, rockfishing remains very good. The final two-day out of Virg’s Landing, on Dec. 18-20, is sold out, but there are several openings on single-day trips until the end of rockfish season on Dec. 31. At Patriot Sport Fishing in Port San Luis, the final ling cod contest of the season ends Dec. 31. There are also a variety of trips there within the next two weeks. Chuck Crane of Wishon Village worked the shore north of Morro Rock for surf perch prior to the storms, and he reported slow fishing with only a handful landed. The recent huge swells will bring new food sources to shore, increasing the perch bite in the coming months.
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 3; Striper 3; Sturgeon 2; Catfish 2; Bluegill 3; Salmon 2
Sturgeon action is starting to get interesting, some large striped bass have been harvested out of upper Suisun Bay, and the river salmon season ends Wednesday. The fog has been extremely thick in the early mornings on the main Sacramento River. Captain John Badger of Barbarian Sport Fishing out of Martinez said, “There are a few fish around, and most of the party boats have been working the Creek near the sand bar at the top of the Fleet. We went into the Big Cut last week for three slot limit fish and a shaker. Eel has been a solid bait.” James Nguyen of Dockside Bait in Pittsburg said, “There have been some large striped bass in the 18- to 25- pound range landed recently on live mudsuckers, but it has been slow toward the end of the week due to the weather.” Tony Lopez of Benicia Bait said, “Sturgeon fishing has been picking up in several different locations. There have been a number of oversized caught and hopefully released from the shoreline near Glen Cove as the sturgeon are holding in deep water. The Big Cut and Middle Grounds have also been producing, and eel has been the top bait. I like to run eel strips cut similar to ‘french fries’ as this gets the most scent out in the cold water.” Doug Chapman of Gotcha Bait in Antioch said, “Sturgeon fishermen are out in force over the weekend, and there were at least 30 boats congregated around the Sherman Island Power Lines. There have been sturgeon also landed from the shore at Sherman Island, but you have to use heavy weights with the big tide.” Out of McAvoy’s Boat Harbor, fishermen are working for live splittail inside the harbor before heading to Garnet Point or the Firing Line for stripers in the 15- to 20-pound range with the live bait. Fishermen have been keeping these large fish despite warnings from the California Department of Health that striped bass should not be consumed by females in the child bearing ages of 17-45 or by children younger than 17. Striped bass fishing has been very good for some, and a struggle for others. The action in the north Delta has been solid for J.D. Richey of Richey’s Sport Fishing as he said, “Striper fishing has been really good with swimbaits and glidebaits in the shallows at depths from the bank to 12 feet. The upcoming storm has provided a window for action as there is usually a calm before the storm where the fish are feeding.” For trolling, Clyde Wands, shallow trolling expert, was out in the early morning Monday in the Collinsville area, and he caught and released a 14-pound striper before the arrival of the winds that drove them off the water by mid-morning. Maintenance at the Three Mile Slough Bridge on Highway 160 has the bridge down to one-lane until July, triggering significant delays to the base of the Antioch Bridge. Water hyacinth continues to plague the south and east sections of the Delta, particularly along the shore just west of Stockton. The metropolitan Stockton area launch ramps are closed with the exception of Paradise Point off Eight Mile Road. Randy Pringle, the Fishing Instructor, found plenty of small stripers in the San Joaquin, but none of any size. The largemouth bass bite is good with a very slow presentation with either the ima Flit ripbait in shad patterns or the Berkley Bottom Hopper Flat Dog on a Zappu Head. He said, “The key is to dead-stick the lure as the water is cold and the fish are very lethargic.” Dan Mathisen of Dan’s Delta Outdoors in Oakley said, “The striper bite is still good on the San Joaquin River with the Optimum 5-inch Bubba Shad, and we have been averaging around 15 fish each tide.” The largemouth bass bite has been decent with Six Scent Provoke ripbaits in shad patterns. Mathisen advised, “Rip it, wait, rip it, and wait again as the fish are oriented to docks with current, particularly those on the Indian Creek side of Discovery Bay.” He added that the striper bite is taking off in Discovery with hair jigs or the Bubba Shad on a three-quarters-ounce. jig head with a slow rolling presentation. Steve Santucci of Steve Santucci’s Fly Fishing Guide Service reported, “Fishing is still good on the California Delta. We are catching a few less fish, but we are still getting decent numbers with an occasional double-digit fish.” The Delta Cross Channel Gates have been opening and closing on a regular basis. They may be closed on short notice for fishery protection. Current status 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
Nacimiento and Lopez remain the only coastal lakes where boats can be launched from a ramp. At Nacimiento, there has been little change, with fair action for spotted bass with plastics on the drop-shot or Texas-rig along with various reaction baits. White bass remains slow. The launch ramp at Lopez is anticipated to remain open for the remainder of the season as the lake is holding at 33 percent capacity. The bass bite is variable with no specific pattern. Most are using finesse techniques of plastics on the drop-shot or Texas-rig along with weightless Senkos. Panfish can be found in the shallows around structure with wax worms or red worms. Santa Margarita is at less than 15 percent capacity, but the marina store is open for supplies and rental vessels. Cold water temperatures have limited action. San Antonio remains closed because of extremely low water levels. A trout plant was released into Casitas Reservoir near Santa Barbara, and the swimbait bite for bass should improve in the coming weeks as the largemouths are loading up on the planters.
Call: Lake Nacimiento (805) 238-1056, ext. 3; Lake San Antonio Marina (805) 472-2818; Central Coast Bass Fishing.com (805) 466-6557
- American Bass Association on Dec. 5 at Delta/Russo’s Marina: 1, Clint Groenwald/Obedie Williams 23.14 pounds; 2, Jason Cordiale/Ken Phillips 21.51 (big fish 7.17); 3, Brent Potter/Michael Farmer 18.32
- Kerman Bass Club on Dec. 5 at Millerton: 1, Vince Garcia 9.10 (big fish 5.60); 2, John Albidrez 8.57; 3, Butch Farmer 8.55
- Fresno Bass Club Tournament of Champions on Dec. 6 at Don Pedro: 1, Ron Red 9.65; 2, Walt Austin 8:73 (big fish 2.50); 3, Joe Alanis 8.48
- Jan. 16: “Final, Final Sturgeon” seminar by Keith Fraser of Loch Lomond Bait and Tackle, Marin Rod and Gun Club, San Rafael, (415) 456-0321
Trout plants: Weeks of Dec. 13, 20
- Fresno County: Avocado Lake; Woodward Park Lake; Kings River, below Pine Flat Dam
- Kern County: Brite Valley Reservoir; Ming Lake; River Walk Lake
- Madera County: Sycamore Island Pond
- Merced County: Los Banos Reservoir
- Stanislaus County: Turlock Reservoir
- Tuolumne County: Don Pedro Reservoir; New Melones Reservoir
q = quarter moon