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.
Shaver Lake trout hitting, Matt Berry said, New Melones Bass on the prowl, John Liechty reported. Delta stripers and bass biting Randy Pringle said.
2-Have to work hard
4-Fish jumpin’ in boat
Delta Mendota Canal and Sloughs
The California Aqueduct continues to be an option for central Valley fishermen, particularly with the lack of trout plants in local lakes and low-water conditions in most reservoirs. The recent rush of larger striped bass in San Luis Reservoir has been enticing fishermen to head north, but there are still a few diehards hanging out in the concrete rivers. Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “Most of our striper fishermen are heading to San Luis Reservoir or the O’Neill Forebay, but we are still selling some Duo Realis jerkbaits and white flukes for the aqueduct.” Meng Xyong of the FishAholics out of Fresno reported, “The bite at the California Aqueduct continues to be a grind. You have to work for your limits of fish. North ’duct anglers have the most success and quality of fish. A majority of these are full of baitfish. Anglers continue to catch them on jerkbaits such as SpeedLures, Duo Realis or Lucky Craft Pointer 128’s. Anglers are also using deep-diving lures such as a lipless SpeedLures, Rat-L-Traps or swimbaits for limits of stripers. Fly fishermen are having success targeting these hardy fish using sinking line and custom tied flies. The colder nights also can produce an occasional striper or two for anglers willing to bare the freezing temperatures. The south ’ducts seem to be improving, with anglers catching more keepers. Antelope Valley ’duct anglers have the toughest bite but when they hone in on the fish, most range in the double digits. The Delta-Mendota Canal continues to produce for anglers who bypass the California Aqueduct. Some anglers land several shakers before catching an occasional keeper or two.” The California Aqueduct and Delta Mendota Canal continue to face closures at various streteches because of increased vandalism, illegal dumping and costs associated with these activities. Along the aqueduct, vandalism and theft of thousands of dollars of equipment have led to the temporary closure of the canal from Tupman to Twissleman roads in Kern County. In order to maintain access to public areas, fishermen are encouraged to take out trash and debris when departing. In the south aqueduct in Kern County, Pete Cormier of Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield reported striped bass fishing has been best with cut baits or blood worms during the day. The best window for lures is 1-5 p.m. Extra-large and jumbo minnows also have been effective.
Bass 2; Trout 1; Bluegill 2; Catfish 3; Crappie 2
Captain Bryan Stiles of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Ranger Station said, “This week, there have been many reports of 10- to 15-pound catfish caught. While areas near the dam remain a favorite, successful catches of catfish also have been reported near the fishing access lot and near the Codorniz boat ramp. Anglers have hooked both channel catfish and bullhead catfish from these areas. Catfish are biting on chicken livers, sardines, anchovies, and nightcrawlers. The big bass are growing sparse, but patient anglers are still managing to hook a few. There have been some reports of 4- to 5-pound bass caught using jigs or Brush Hogs. There are quite a few submerged boulders and trees just below the surface that are proving productive. Bass weighing 1-3 pounds are common, with many reports of five or more caught per day. At this time, California Fish and Wildlife have not scheduled any trout plants for H.V. Eastman Lake. For more information, visit wildlife.ca.gov. Be advised that the northwestern portion of the lake behind the buoy line is closed to all water recreation to protect bald eagles nesting there for the winter. The area will reopen Aug. 1. The lake is at 466.68 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
Little change, with few fishermen heading to the low waters of Hensley, where the launch ramp remains closed with the lake at 6 percent capacity and 448.03 feet in elevation. The colder water temperatures have limited the number of float tubers on the lake.
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
With slow action at Eastman and Hensley in Madera County, south Valley bass fishermen have been migrating north to Don Pedro in anticipation of future tournaments. The bass action remained slow, with the best action on drop-shot plastics or Senkos in shad-patterned on a dead-stick presentation. The trout are holding deep in the water column to 100 feet, and trolling remained very slow. Trout plants have started,. The fish are holding deep despite the lake in the process of turnover. The lake rose a half foot to 676.68 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, there has been minimal fishing interest in response to the recent storms and cold water. Jacob Rutledge of Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield said, “Not much has been going on at the lake, with most local anglers heading either to the aqueduct or Buena Vista.” 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 2522.61 feet in elevation and 5 percent capacity. There have been few reports from the lower river since the water level is low, cold, and muddy with the recent inflow. There are still trout in the upper river despite the lack of plants; fly fishermen are catching and releasing. Trout plants are anticipated at the River Walk and Ming this week. However, the number and size of the plants will be small, leading Rutledge to tout Buena Vista as the top trout location in the region.
Call: Bob’s Bait (661) 833-8657; North Fork Marina (760) 376-1812
Bass 3; Crappie 2; Trout 1; Catfish 2
The lake continues to rise, and small bass to 2 pounds remain abundant. A slow presentation with plastics in green pumpkin or watermelon red on the drop-shot, jigs or spoons is necessary. 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. The lake rose 2 feet to 607.10 in elevation and 13 percent capacity.
Call: Sierra Sporting Goods 592-5212
Bass 2; Trout 1; Catfish 2; Crappie 2
Area fishermen are waiting for trout plants, but none are scheduled in the near future. Bass fishing has slowed considerably given the colder water. The occasional fish is taken with deep-diving crankbaits, jigs or spinnerbaits on a slow presentation. The lake rose 2 feet to 582.74 in elevation and 6 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 remains closed with the lake at 6 percent capacity and 586.08 feet in elevation, and there has been minimal change on the fishing front. Very few fishermen are taking the long walk to the water’s edge. Bank action has slowed with bass moving depeer. Kayakers and float tubers are drop-shotting small plastic worms in deep water. 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 Ramp 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
There is minimal change, with few fishermen trying given the lack of trout plants. Catfish and spotted bass are as numerous as the holdover rainbows with the warm water conditions and the heavy releases previously from upstream Lake McClure. The Lake McSwain Marina and launch ramp remain open, but the store is closed Monday through Wednesday. Campfires are allowed at McSwain’s campgrounds, and the site remain popular. The Merced River is closed to fishing until Jan. 1 from the Crocker-Huffman Bridge to G Street in Snelling because of the effect of the warm water.
Call: McSwain Marina (209) 378-2534
Millerton Lake/San Joaquin River
Bass 2; Striper 1; Shad 1; Bluegill 1; Trout 2
Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “Bass fishing has been tougher within the past week, and all of the action is on the bottom at depths to 50 feet with plastics on the drop-shot or vertically jigged spoons using a slow presentation. The reaction bite has slowed with the colder water temperatures.” There were no striped bass reports. The lake rose 2.5 feet to 481.95 in elevation and 32 percent capacity. Woodward Park Lake is scheduled to be planted with trout this week. In the San Joaquin River, Meng Xyong of the FishAholics said, “Kyle Moua of Fresno, while fishing a deep pocket in the San Joaquin River near Friant, landed his personal best striped bass weighing in at 20 pounds and 32 inches using a jerkbait.” 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. All wild steelhead or trout with an adipose fin must be released. The San Joaquin River is closed to the take of salmon; they may not be targeted and also must be released immediately if inadvertently caught.
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, a few rainbow trout are starting to show up for trollers, but John Liechty of Glory Hole Sporting Goods in Angels Camp said, “It’s not like it should be during the month of December.” A plant from the Department of Fish and Wildlife ocurred last week, but the fish haven’t made it toward the banks as of yet. Shore trout fishing remains slow with the occasional rainbow taken on trout dough bait or nightcrawlers. The water temperature continues to chill, and Liechty found temperatures from 50-53 degrees at the end of the week. The bass bite remains good with the fish in a full 100 percent wintertime mode. The lake is in the process of turning over, and the main lake is holding the warmest water, with colder temperatures in the creek arms. Spoons, jigs or plastics on the drop-shot are the top presentations for the suspended fish, but most anglers are working the bottom with similar techniques. Liechty added, “When I am targeting areas with wood, I like to use a weedless presentation on a shaky head or Texas-rig in order to keep from getting hung up. A slow presentation is necessary enticing strikes.” There is an abundance of shad, which makes a shad-patterned worm a good choice, and a small shad-shaped soft plastic fished on a drop-shot can be used for suspended fish and fish holding near the bottom. Few anglers are targeting catfish, but the whiskerfish are still available for patient fishermen soaking anchovies, sardines, frozen shad, or nightcrawlers from the banks at Glory Hole Point or other main lake points. Crappie action is fair with small to medium minnows or minijigs; they are schooling in the colder water near the mouths of creek channels, feeding on shad schools. The launch ramp at Glory Hole Point is on packed gravel with no courtesy dock. A four-wheel-drive tow vehicle is advised in order to launch. The lake rose 2 feet to 801.52 in elevation and 12 percent capacity. The dam area remains buoyed off to keep boats out given swift currents created when water releases are occurring. Downstream Tulloch is a good option for trout fishermen with the lake at 82 percent capacity and 499.76 feet in elevation.
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, Merritt Gilbert said, “The upcoming New Year’s Day Bass 101 tournament has a number of local fishermen pre-fishing for the event, but reports are mixed as there is no consistent pattern. The fish can be found at 40 feet one day before rising between 8 and 10 feet the following day. Everything is on the bottom with a slow presentation, and plastics on the drop-shot or Texas-rig are the top set ups. Trout fishing is null and void as well as crappie action. The launches at Pine Flat Lake Resort and Deer Creek are open. An apparatus will be stretched across the lake by Trimmer to capture the anticipated debris flowing down the Kings River from the Rough Fire.” 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 this 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. The area from Cobbles (Alta) Weir downstream to the Highway 180 crossing is open all year; only artificial lures with barbless hooks are allowed, with a zero limit. The Thorburn Spawning Channel, the 2,200-foot long channel located 5 miles downstream from Pine Flat Dam, and the reach of river within a 200-foot radius of the channel exit is closed to all fishing all year.
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
Large striped bass are becoming active at San Luis Reservoir, and knowledgeable fishermen are finding a few linesides in the 20-pound range. Initially Meng Xyong of the Fishaholics reported that FishAholics member Jesus Reyes Silva had gotten two fish over 30 pounds, but Coyote Bait and Tackle later confirmed they weighed both them at 23.8 and 22 pounds, 10 ounces. His brother landed another fish in the same class a few days later. A recent 43.5-inch striper weighing in at 31 pounds was brought in by another FishAholics member fishing from a kayak. There has been some recent backlash from concerned striper anglers because others are keeping all their big fish at the lake. Many are promoting a high catch-and-release rate for almost all of their big fish over 20 pounds to keep the fishery healthy. “There are a lot of anglers who are calling me, worried about protecting the fishery since they see some anglers promoting taking all their big fish while publicly sending others to do the same,” Roger George of Roger George Guide Service said. “They are free to do what they want, but this has led to meltdowns in the fishery in the past. For example, I’ve verified over 25 released catches of weighed and measured big stripers from 20-40 pounds by anglers in the last past four months, the best release numbers I’ve seen. I also just released a nice 14 Saturday as well as Garrett Phillips’ 28-pounder, and another 24 recently on the Seaqualizer, to name a few. The fishing is not easy now, but a few guys are getting some big ones. Yes, we gotta protect the gene pool as much as we can; it’s not infinite.” Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “Trollers are still working the big lake at depths to 80 feet with a variety of plugs including P-Line Predator Minnows, Yozuri Crystal Minnows, and broken backed Rebels.” Paul Jolley of Coyote Bait and Tackle in Morgan Hill said, “Jumbo minnows have been the top bait, and we have been selling plenty of the big minnows in the weekend mornings for fishermen heading to the big lake.” With the low water levels, a four-wheel drive tow vehicle is advised at both launch ramps. The main lake dropped to 17 percent capacity despite 2,398 acre-feet of water inflow Monday.
Call: Coyote Bait and Tackle (408) 463-0711, Roger George of rogergeorgeguideservice.com (559) 905-2954
Bass 2; Trout 2; Kokanee 1
A few bass fishermen are squeezing their boats into the lake on the public ramp, but it is a chore to launch a large boat. The bass action has not been spectacular by any means, but the best fishing is on the bottom with a slow presentation. A few fishermen are walking the banks for crappie, but they have to cover lots of ground before picking up a few slabsides on small minnows or minijigs. The lake held at 48 percent capacity. There were no trout reports.
Call: Todd Wittwer 288-8100; Mike Beighey 642-3748
Edison/Florence/ Mammoth Pool
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 to 12 percent.
Call: Vermilion Valley Resort at Edison Lake 259-4000
Shaver Lake/ Huntington Lake
Kokanee 1; Trout 3
In between storms, Shaver Lake had a window of four days with temperatures at 11, 14 and 16 degrees. The cold weather didn’t keep Rich Brazil, Bobby Mammen and Matt Berry from Clovis from heading out in freezing temperatures for great action, catching and releasing 26 rainbow trout to 16 inches using green and red spinners tipped with a nightcrawler in the back of the lake near Stevenson Bay. After their banner day, they went back out Sunday for another 25 rainbows with three in the 20- to 24-inch range. Berry said, “We had to work a little harder, and the Wedding Rings weren’t working today, so we switched to firetiger Needlefish or Rapalas. The weather was way better, but it was still cold.” 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 of the ramp can be checked via webcam at sierramarina.com. Anglers are advised to bring chains for their vehicles as highway conditions can change rapidly. The 2015 Herb Bauer’s/Shaver Lake Visitor Bureau Shaver Lake Derby ends Dec. 31. The winner will be announced in the first Fishing Report in January. There is still time to get out there and beat the 10-pound, 13-ounce rainbow caught in the spring. Herb Bauer is donating a $200 gift certificate to the winner, among other items. 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 also been no reports. Shaver held at 56 percent capacity and Huntington at 48 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, and the rainbows will be holding over until it reopens in spring.
Call: Wishon RV Park 865-5361
Half Moon Bay
Rockfish 3; Striper 2
Captain Michael Cabanas of the Huli Cat went rockfishing on Thursday off Martin’s Beach, and he said, “The conditions on the water today were beautiful, and the ocean was flat with a slight breeze. Ken Woods from Pacifica landed three lings to 6 pounds using a blue eel swim bait.” 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
When the boats are able to get out, rockfishing and ling cod action remains solid, and it appears that it will remain this way until the end of the current season on Dec 31. During the week, Keith Stemler of Chris’ Landing said, “We have been out the past two days on the Check Mate, and Captain Tinker put in 51 lings for 17 limits on Wednesday along with three-quarters limits of rockfish. Thursday’s score was slightly slower with three shy of 15 limits of rockfish at 42 along with half limits of rockfish. We are using a combination of both live sand dabs and mackerel for the high ling cod counts. We have plenty of room over the weekend, but the weather is at question.” Allen Bushnell of Santa Cruz Kayak Fishing said, “With the rainstorms of the past few weeks, most of our Monterey Bay creeks and rivers have breached their sandbars. This opens the freshwater stream to the ocean, and creates an opportunity for steelhead trout and salmon to head upriver for spawning.” There is a very small population of silver salmon in the local streams. Efforts by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife in cooperation with the Monterey Bay Salmon and Trout Project have worked to improve salmon numbers for years. In the meantime, silvers are forbidden to be targeted, caught or possessed from the freshwater streams of that area, or anywhere in California, excepting a small section of the Feather River/Lake Oroville watershed. Highly regulated, California steelhead are a prize catch. Often difficult to locate, steelhead require the experience and skill of years to catch on a regular basis. Local regulations for Monterey Bay Rivers and streams are nearly identical. Be sure to check Fish and Wildlife regulations for exact geographic regulations. Equipment and take regs are consistent for the streams stretching from San Mateo County (Pescadaro and San Gregorio Creeks) down to the Carmel River. DFW states, “(Steelhead season is open) Dec. 1 through March 7, but only on Saturday, Sunday, Wednesday, legal holidays and opening and closing days. Only barbless hooks may be used. Two hatchery trout or hatchery steelhead (per day) or four hatchery trout or hatchery steelhead in possession”are allowed.
Call: Chris’ Landing (831) 375-5951; Bayside Marine (831) 475-2173; usafishing.com
San Francisco Bay
Halibut 2; Striper 2; Rockfish 3; Leopard shark 2; Sturgeon 2
The New Huck Finn out of Emeryville Sport Fishing went up the Marin coast Thursday with 15 anglers for limits of rockfish along with a solitary ling cod. The results were similar Saturday with the Tigerfish, New Salmon Queen and New Huck Finn scoring 59 limits of rockfish, 17 ling cod to 6 pounds, and an 8-pound bonita. Captain Jim Smith of the Happy Hooker will be running open loads for rockfish over the weekend, weather and interest permitting, and he will be turning his focus to striped bass and sturgeon in the bay after the Dec. 31 rockfish closure. Captain Trent Slate of Shelter Cove Sport Fishing out of Loch Lomond Marina will be switching from striped bass to sturgeon fishing in San Pablo Bay.
San Luis Obispo
After nearly a week of huge swells, the San Luis Obispo County port party boats were able to make it out over the weekend. Out of Virg’s Landing in Morro Bay, the Princess took a two-day trip to Cape San Martin with 23 fishermen for 138 ling cod to 24 pounds, 322 vermilion rockfish, and 138 assorted rockfish. The jackpot winner Saturday was Quyen Qulch of Monterey with a 22-pound ling; Chris Rydgrin of Los Angeles took the jackpot Sunday with a 24-pounder. The Fiesta went out with 34 fishermen on a three-quarter-day trip for 19 lings to 12 pounds, 68 vermilion rockfish, 270 assorted rockfish, and a pair of cabezon. Jeannette Berrigan of Bakersfield took the jackpot on this trip. The bite was a bit slower out of Port San Luis on Monday with the Patriot out of Patriot Sport Fishing returning with 17 assorted rockfish, two cabezon, five coppers, three vermilion, a Boccaccio, and four ling cod to 10 pounds for 24 anglers. At Patriot Sport Fishing in Port San Luis, the final ling cod contest of the season ends Dec. 31, and there are also a variety of trips within the next two weeks. The recent huge swells will bring new food sources to the 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 2
The sturgeon bite took a bit of a backslide in the past week with the smaller tides, but this is the season for sturgeon to take center stage for Delta fishermen. The lack of shrimp baits in area bait shops has limited fishermen to lamprey eel, salmon roe, or pile worms. The river salmon season on the Sacramento ended Dec. 16, and many anglers are returning to chase stripers or sturgeon. In the north Delta, striped bass fishing has slowed to some extent with the water becoming muddy in Liberty Island. Alan Fong of the Fisherman’s Warehouse in Sacramento said, “Striper fishing has tapered off as it is muddy in Liberty, but we ducked into the clear water of Miner Slough in order to release stripers at 6, 8, 8, and 10 pounds on glide baits.” J.D. Richey of Richey’s Sport Fishing has been alternating between striper trips on the Delta and steelhead trips on the Sacramento and Feather Rivers, and he reported decent action for picking away at the linesides with topwater lures or swimbaits. The next two main events for sturgeon fishermen are the Diamond Classic Catch and Release Derby on Jan. 30 out of Martinez Marina and the Foundation Sportsmen’s Club Original Sturgeon Derby, aka “The Super Bowl Sturgeon Derby” during the first weekend in February. James Nguyen of Dockside Bait in Pittsburg said, “The rain and winds have been limiting the number of boats on the river, but striper fishing is good with live mudsuckers or frozen shad at depths from 10-15 feet for a number of lineside in the teens.” Maintenance at the Three Mile Slough Bridge on Highway 160 has the bridge down to one-lane until July, and significant delays from the bridge to the base of the Antioch Bridge. Water hyacinth is thick in some areas of the San Joaquin River, but it is starting to dissipate because of colder temperatures and more water movement. Randy Pringle, the Fishing Instructor, confirmed the heavy hyacinth in the San Joaquin with plenty of submerged hazards mixed in with the floating mats. He 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 the ima Flit ripbait in shad patterns or the 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.” Steve Santucci of Steve Santucci’s Fly Fishing Guide Service reported, “Fishing is good if you can pick a no wind day between storms.” Some good size stripers are mixed in with the schoolie stripers. The Delta Cross Channel Gates has been opening and closing on a regular basis. They may be closed on short notice for fishery protection. Information on the 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, spotted bass remain active despite cold water temperatures, and the key is to work plastics or jigs on a “dead-stick” presentation along rocky shores or cliffs. 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. Fishing interest has been minimal, but the occasional quality largemouth bass is taken on plastics in deep water on a slow presentation. Panfish and catfish action has been slow in the cold water. Santa Margarita is 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, centralcoastbassfishing.com (805) 466-6557
- Sierra Bass Club on Dec. 12 at Pine Flat: 1, Gary Johnson 6.73 pounds; 2, Randall Smith 6.62 (big fish 2.30); 3, Derek Smith 6.50
- Sierra Bass Club Tournament of Champions on Dec.13 at Pine Flat: 1, Jay Bradshaw 8.11 pounds (big fish 2.33); 2, Ryan Reynolds 7.97; 3, Craig Gong 7.40
- 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
- Jan. 21-24: International Sportsmen’s Exposition Cal Expo in Sacramento, sportsexpos.com
- Jan. 30: 10th annual Diamond Classic Catch and Release Sturgeon Derby, Martinez Marina, diamondclassic.org
- Fresno County: Avocado Lake; Fresno City Woodward Park Lake; Kings River, Below Pine Flat Dam
- Kern County: Brite Valley Reservoir; Ming Lake; River Walk Lake
- Madera County: Sycamore Island Pond
f = full moon > = peak activity