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 firstname.lastname@example.org with “fish photo” in the subject line.
Delta sturgeon respond to flows, Steve Talmadge said. New Melones bass chomping, John Liechty reported. San Luis stripers improving, Mickey Clements said. Pine Flat bass hitting, Merritt Gilbert reported.
Never miss a local story.
2-Have to work hard
4-Fish jumpin’ in boat
Delta Mendota Canal and Sloughs
The California Aqueduct has experienced heavy water releases and coupled with the freezing temperatures, fishing from the icy concrete banks can be a dangerous proposition. Fishermen are advised to take extra precautions, including bringing a life-saving rope and wearing a personal floatation device while fishing in winter. The overall striper bite has slowed with the colder water. Meng Xyong, spokesman for the Fishaholics, reported, “With the high winds and icy mornings, anglers should take care and not step on the steep canal slopes. If one should fall into the canal, swim with the current to the nearest downstream ladder. These ladders can be found every thousand feet on both sides of the aqueduct wall. Over the holiday weekend, north ’duct anglers are reporting high volumes of water flowing in the system. The increased water flow has had mixed results with some anglers catching easy limits while others are coming in empty-handed. The bite has slowed down but anglers are still able to catch these stubborn fish. Most anglers are finding these fish using deeper diving lures such as Lipless SpeedLures, rattle traps and swimbaits. Anglers are also catching them throwing Alabama rigs. The water clarity is improving along this concrete river with fishermen reporting clear to slightly stained waters. In the south ’duct, big catfish are being caught soaking cutbaits.” The recent popularity of the aqueduct has led to increased numbers of anglers, and in order to maintain the right to continue to fish along these public areas, fishermen are encouraged to take out all trash and debris when departing. Pete Cormier of Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield reported most of the fishing action in Kern County has been taking place at the aqueduct. The area around Lerdo Highway is kicking out largemouth bass, striped bass and catfish on lures, jumbo minnows or cut baits. The section from Tupman to Twisselman Road remains under the control of a private security company.
Bass 2; Trout 1; Bluegill 2; Catfish 2; Crappie 2
More reports from Eastman are sought, but bass fishing is best with a dead-stick presentation with jigs or plastics on the drop-shot in the deepest sections. Catfishing has slowed amid the colder water, but a few big whiskerfish are taken near the dam, the fishing access lot and the Codorniz boat ramp with chicken livers, sardines, anchovies and nightcrawlers. Largemouth bass are growing sparse, but patient anglers are managing to hook a few using jigs or Brush Hogs. The northwestern portion of the lake behind the buoy line is closed to all water recreation to protect nesting bald eagles. It will reopen Aug. 1. The lake rose 5 feet to 471.17 in elevation and 9 percent capacity.
Call: Six Star Tackle Box 673-5688; Eastman Lake 689-3255
Bass 2; Trout 2; Catfish 2; Bluegill 2; Crappie 2
The lake rose from 5 percent to 7 percent capacity and 5 feet in elevation to 453.11 feet with the recent inflow, but there is minimal change in the fishing. Few anglers are heading to the lake because of cold temperatures and low water levels. The ramp remains closed, but hand-carried vessels can be launched.
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
A few bass fishermen continue to head to the lake, but overall bass action is slow. The best bite is with plastics on the drop-shot or vertically jigged spoons in deep water to 50 feet. The trout are holding deep in the water column to 100 feet, and trolling remained very slow. Trout plants have started, but the fish are not clinging to shore. The rainbows and king salmon should be moving toward the surface and the shorelines in response to recent storms. The lake rose 8 feet to 684.10 in elevation and 35 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
At Lake Isabella, Pete Cormier of Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield reported a solid catfish bite with chicken livers or clams near Engineers Point. 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 1.5 feet to 2,524.06 in elevation and 6 percent capacity. Few fishermen are heading to the upper river, with some restrictions in road conditions. The lower river remains very low and cold, and there has been minimal success. The local lakes of Ming and River Walk received a small plant of rainbow trout this past week, but Cormier reported local fishermen are struggling for a few planters using Power Bait, Mice Tails or nightcrawlers. Buena Vista has been planted, but the action for rainbow trout has been slow.
Call: Bob’s Bait (661) 833-8657; North Fork Marina (760) 376-1812
Bass 2; Crappie 2; Trout 2; Catfish 2
The lake continues to rise steadily, and Larry Kerns of the Visalia Bass Club reported the best action is with ice jigs at depths to 40 feet for the suspended bass. He said, “The overall bite is tough, but if you find the fish, they are biting the jigs. Generally when the water is rising, the bite is tough as the fish like the lake to stabilize.” The club’s New Year’s Day Open tournament is Friday. Catfishing has slowed with the colder water. The lake rose 2 feet to 609.29 in elevation and 14 percent capacity.
Call: Sierra Sporting Goods 592-5212
Bass 2; Trout 1; Catfish 2; Crappie 2
Overall action has slowed with the colder water and rising lake levels. The bass are suspending, but a few can be taken with deep-diving crankbaits, jigs, or plastics on the drop-shot on a slow presentation. Area fishermen are waiting for trout plants, but none are scheduled in the near future. The lake rose 11 feet to 593.88 in elevation and 12 percent capacity.
Call: Sequoia Fishing Co. 539-5626, sequoiafishingcompany.com
Bass 2; Trout 2; King salmon 1; Kokanee 1; Crappie 2; Catfish 2
The lake came up 19 feet within the past week in response to pre-Christmas storms, rising to 8 percent capacity and 605.20 feet in elevation. Action is taking place near the Barrett Cove Launch Ramp, but few are willing to take the hike from the parking areas to the shore. The bass have moved deeper, limiting bank action. A few fishermen are working for the occasional spotted bass with drop-shot plastics or jigs on the bottom using a slow presentation. 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 south ramp, as well as Lake McClure ramps at Bagby, Horseshoe Bend and McClure Point remain closed.
Call: A-1 Bait (209) 563-6505; Bub Tosh (209) 404-0053
Trout plants have yet to arrive, but there is a population of spotted bass, largemouth bass and catfish from the releases from upstream Lake McClure. An 8-pound largemouth bass was landed from the banks using a lure this past weekend. The Lake McSwain Marina and launch ramp remain open, but the store is closed Monday through Wednesday. Fires are allowed at McSwain’s campgrounds, which remain popular. The stretch of the Merced River from Crocker-Huffman Bridge to G Street in Snelling reopens Friday.
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, “Few bass fishermen are heading to the lake, instead seeking success at Pine Flat due to upcoming tournaments. The bass action remains decent with an 8-pound limit possible using a dead-stick presentation with shad-patterned plastics on the drop-shot at depths to 50 feet. An occasional striped bass is landed on a incidental basis by bass fishermen, including a 15-pounder caught and released on a drop-shot this past week. The reaction bite has slowed with the colder water temperatures.” There are no bass tournaments scheduled during January at Millerton. The lake rose 3 feet to 484.98 in elevation and 33 percent capacity. Woodward Park Lake is scheduled to be planted with trout this week. 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.
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 steadily rising although still far below normal levels. The lake rose 8 feet to 809.75 in elevation and 13 percent capacity within the past week. The water temperature continues to cool with an average of 50-54 degrees. The Glory Hole launch ramp is a one-lane dirt and gravel base with no courtesy dock, and a four-wheel-drive vehicle is still advised in order to place a vessel into the lake. John Liechty of Glory Hole Sporting Goods in Angels Camp reported. “Bass action is still good as the water temperatures are dropping and the fish are responding accordingly. The bass have moved into deep water, and wintertime tactics are producing as the fish are spending most of the day on the bottom. But they will bite a slow crawling presentation. The fish will not move far or chase fast moving bait balls, and a patient presentation is necessary. Weedless rigging on a Texas-rigged plastic is best near wood and brush while plastics in shad or crawdad patterns on the darthead work best in areas devoid of wood at depths from 25-60 feet. Heavy spoons are effective in deep water while lighter spoons are best in shallower water when the bass are suspended.” Despite a recent plant from the Department of Fish and Wildlife, trout fishing remains slow. Liechty said, “A few planted trout have been caught, but we are waiting for a wave of holdover trout to move into shallow water and towards the surface.” Rain expected this week should get the creek channels and drainages flowing, and the rainbows will move toward the oxygenated flows. Catfishing has been slow in the cold water, but large catfish are landed every winter by trout fishermen from the banks soaking trout dough bait, nightcrawlers or marshmallows near deep water access. Crappie fishing is very slow with few anglers trying for the slabsides during the winter. Downstream Tulloch is a good option for trout fishermen with the lake at 85 percent capacity and 501.43 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 3; Trout 2; King salmon 1; Catfish 2; Crappie 2
Fresno-area bass fishermen have been heading to the lake in preparation for the upcoming New Year’s Day Bass 101 tournament, which kicks off at Deer Creek Marina at 5:30 a.m. Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun reported, “Some fishermen are finding good action with limits ranging from 8.5-11 pounds using plastics on the drop-shot or darthead at depths from 30-40 feet. The bass are holding in the submerged trees near Windy Gap, and a weedless presentation is advised. There is no reaction or swimbait bite with all action on the bottom with a slow presentation.” Trout fishing is null and void as well as crappie action. The launches at Pine Flat Lake Resort and Deer Creek are open. Patrick Movey of the Fishermen’s Warehouse in Fresno said, “The recent inflow has muddied up the upper end of the lake as debris from last summer’s Rough Fire is starting to wash down the river.” The lake rose 6 feet to 737.51 in elevation and 15 percent capacity. Downstream Avocado Lake was planted with rainbow trout last 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 3; Catfish 2; Bass 2; Crappie 2
Striped bass action remains hot at San Luis Reservoir for trollers and live bait drifters, with the fish dropping in the water column in response to colder temperatures. Mickey Clements of Coyote Bait and Tackle in Morgan Hill said, “The troll bite has improved at depths from 60-80 feet. The best areas have been near Dinosaur Point or the Trash Racks with Lucky Craft Pointer 128’s in ghost minnow or pearl ayu. Any minnow pattern is working, but these have been the top patterns. Jumbo or extra-large minnows have also been effective in the same areas from Basalt Launch Ramp to the Trash Racks at similar depths.” Catching limits of school-sized stripers using minnows is a regular occurrence. Roger George of Roger’s Guide Service said that the bite should improve this week. “I had a frustrating mishap Sunday that sent me and my clients home before we could fish, but I’m getting reports that there is a decent to good bite for experienced anglers.” George is a strong proponent of catch and release of large stripers out of the lake, and he uses a Seaqualizer to successfully return the fish into deep water. Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis confirmed the troll bite stating, “One of our customers caught and released a 43.5-inch striper that only weighed 24.5 pounds, and it was all head with a very thin body. He landed this trolling a Rapala at 60-80 feet in depth on a downrigger.” Coyote Bait is running a striper tournament through Feb. 1. Entry is free with any purchase totaling $20 in the shop. The current leader is 23 pounds. In O’Neill Forebay, action has slowed with most fishermen heading to the big lake after the recent reports of large stripers. A few fish are taken on flukes, small paddletail swimbaits or ripbaits along the rockwall. San Luis has risen to 19 percent capacity with more than 8,000 acre-feet of water from pumping from the Delta or inflow from the small feeder creeks. The launch ramp at Dinosaur Point is on the third level, and boaters are advised to stay to the right. A four-wheel-drive tow vehicle is advised at both Dinosaur and Basalt Recreation Area.
Call: Coyote Bait andTackle (408) 463-0711, Roger George of rogergeorgeguideservice.com (559) 905-2954
Bass 2; Trout 2; Kokanee 1; Crappie 2
Crappie in the half-pound range are showing up along the banks with Lunker City’s Fin-S-Fish or Mr. Crappie jigs under a bobber, but the slabsides require covering lots of ground to pick up a few fish. Bass fishermen also are walking the banks, but the bass have been less than cooperative in the cold water. Shad patterned plastics such as Hologram Shad on the drop-shot are picking up a few fish. The lake rose to 52 percent with heavy inflow, creating easier launching conditions at the public ramp. 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, with access only by snowmobile. The lakes remain low, with Edison at 4 percent and Florence at 6 percent. Lower-elevation Mammoth Pool rose slightly to 14 percent.
Call: Vermilion Valley Resort at Edison Lake 259-4000
Shaver Lake/Huntington Lake
Kokanee 1; Trout 3
Dick Nichols of Dick’s Fishing Charters has been checking on a regular basis and reported few boats have been on the lake during the past week of freezing temperatures. He said, “If you get out, the fishing is good from the surface to 10 feet in depth in Stevenson Bay, Eagle Point, the island and Black Rock with multiple limits possible.” Patrick Movey of the Fisherman’s Warehouse in Fresno said, “Our cashier went out this week near the dam, and she scored a limit of quality rainbows using salmon peach Power Bait.” The launch ramp remains open at the Sierra Marina, and the current status can be checked via the webcam at sierramarina.com. Anglers are advised to bring chains as highway conditions can change rapidly. The annual Herb Bauer/Shaver Lake Visitors Bureau Shaver Lake Derby ends Thursday. The winner will be announced in the first Fishing Report in January. In the Huntington Lake area, heavy snow fell 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 also have been no reports. Shaver rose slightly to 57 percent capacity with 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. The rainbows will be holding over until the road reopens in spring.
Call: Wishon RV Park 865-5361
Half Moon Bay
Rockfish 3; Striper 2
Bottom fishing will end Thursday and the long winter months will have to be filled by fishing for surf perch from the shore or sand dabs from party boats. After a few weeks of inclement weather keeping boats tied up to the docks, Second Captain Michael Cabanas of the Huli Cat was able to make it out in beautiful flat, calm weather conditions Sunday. Cabanas said, “We went rockfishing off of Martins Beach, and it was a really nice flat day on the water with limits of rockfish along with at least a ling cod per rod. Peter Gavallos of Burlingame picked up a 10-pound ling on a shrimp fly while George Gevallos landed an 8-pound hitchhiking ling.” The boat will be switching over to sand dabs and possibly crab after the New Year. Cabanas was back out Monday, and he went south to San Gregorio for ling cod to 10 pounds along with quality rockfish. The recent domoic acid testing in Dungeness crab out of Half Moon Bay has been less encouraging for recreational crabbers as 53 percent of the 17 samples exceeded allowable levels of domoic acid. It may be until late January or February before the restrictions are lifted, if at all this year. Out of Half Moon Bay Sport Fishing, the Queen of Hearts and the Riptide will focus on whale watching until the announcement of the Maverick’s Big Surf competition, anticipated to occur during the springtime. Surf perch fishing is moving into prime time with the formation of rip currents along area beaches. The recent upwelling from the series of winter storms will improve the food chain along the coastal beaches and reefs.
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 4; Striper 2
Chris Arcoleo of Chris’ Landing in Monterey reported fantastic ling cod and rockfish action over the weekend with all boats heading south Sunday after staying local Saturday. The Check Mate returned with 33 limits of rockfish and ling cod, the Caroline brought home 15 limits of ling cod to 26 pounds with several in the 18- to 20-pound range along with limits of rockfish, and the Star of Monterey scored quarter-limits of rockfish and 65 lings for 26 anglers. On the local reefs Saturday, the Check Mate posted 23 limits of lings and 46 rockfish while the Caroline returned with 40 ling cod and quarter limits of rockfish for 20 anglers. They are still jigging up live mackerel for bait before heading to the grounds. They have room on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday for the last three days of the rockfish season. After Jan. 1, sand dabs and mackerel will be the focus.
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
Rockfish season ends Thursday, and a few boats were able to make it out over the weekend out of the Bay Area. Captain Chris Smith of the California Dawn went to the Farallons on Saturday for limits of quality rockfish and 32 ling cod for 20 anglers. They will be heading out the remainder of the week with room on the decks until the rockfish closure. Three boats went out of Emeryville on Saturday for 59 limits of rockfish and 73 ling cod to 20 pounds, also at the Farallons. There were also three more boats out Sunday for 76 limits of rockfish and 99 ling cod. They are also running through the week until the closure. Inside the bay, Keith Fraser of Loch Lomond Bait and Tackle in San Rafael said, “The water is cold, but we had a banner day on Saturday as there was plenty of grass shrimp and ghost shrimp in the shop. Anglers were coming from far and wide to purchase the precious shrimp products.” Fraser went out for 1.5 hours Saturday afternoon, and they released striper after striper with half of the linesides of legal size to 5 pounds.. Several fishermen have landed sturgeon near the Pumphouse and China Camp on Thursday and Friday during the periods of bad weather with heavy winds. The freezing temperatures have made for treacherous conditions on the bait shop docks in the mornings. 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
Virg’s Landing out of Morro Bay reported, “The weather and sea conditions look good for trips going out this coming week. For Dec. 31, the last day of the (rockfish) season, we have a 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. trip scheduled for the Princess, a full day trip on the Fiesta, and a three-quarters-day trip on the Rita G. Come out and join us for the last week of the season, stock up your freezer and add to our lingcod count, which currently stands at 7,769.” At Patriot Sport Fishing in Port San Luis, the final ling cod contest of the season ends Dec. 31. The Patriot went out the day after Christmas with 22 anglers for nine vermilion rockfish, 75 assorted rockfish, five bolina, a cabezon and 13 ling cod to 11 pounds. After rockfish season, boats will be focusing upon whale watching and nature trips with the possibility of sand dab and crab combinations once crab restrictions on lifted. Recent huge swells will bring new food sources toward shore, increasing the perch bite.
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 2; Sturgeon 3; Catfish 3; Bluegill 3
Recent freezing temperatures have chilled the waters of the Sacramento River into the upper 40s, but the sturgeon are still biting. Bait shops are limited to salmon roe, pile worms and lamprey eel with the shortage of ghost and grass shrimp; eel and roe remain the top baits. Captain Steve Talmadge of Flash Sport Fishing out of Martinez continues to find solid sturgeon action in the deep water both above and below the Benicia/Martinez Bridge. He was out with clients Saturday and Sunday for a combined total of eight sturgeon with one small keeper over 40 inches and another at the borderline that was released. He said, “We have been experimenting with other baits, but the eel is by far the top producer.” Talmadge is the organizer for the 10th annual Diamond Classic Catch and Release Sturgeon Derby on Jan. 30out of the Martinez Marina with a pre-derby seminar at La Tapatia Restaurant on Main Street in Martinez from 6-9 p.m. Jan. 29. Talmadge is planning for 150 children participants in the derby, and he is working with sponsors to provide a prize for every youth who registers. Registration is free for children and $25 for adults. Information is available at www.diamondclassic.org. Chris Smith of Captain Hook Sport Fishing out of Martinez was out on Christmas Eve with four clients, and he said, “We have released three shakers and a 43-inch, 31-pound striped bass today before keeping a 42-inch slot limit sturgeon.” Captain Steve Mitchell of Hook’d Up Sport Fishing out of Pittsburg said, “The water temperature has dropped from 51 to 48 degrees within a few days, but we were able to put Sean Mendell of Concord onto a fat 59.5-inch sturgeon on straight roe on Sunday after putting in another big one at 56.5 inches on Saturday on cured roe. We have been getting a few bites on eel, but roe has been working better for us.” The waters in the main Sacramento have turned chocolate brown, and bait fishing for sturgeon or striper are proving the top techniques. J.D. Richey of Richey’s Sport Fishing went north near Liberty Island for striped bass, but he said, “It is a grind up there with the colder water temperatures.” Alan Fong of the Fisherman’s Warehouse in Sacramento confirmed the slower striped bass action in the north Delta given the muddy and cold water. He said, “The trees and floating debris have moved through, and there is some clear water in the Mokelumne and near Liberty Island.” He touted the sturgeon action in the upper Delta from Hood to Clarksburg, stating, “The fish came alive when the river rose with muddy water.” Johnny Tran of New Romeo’s Bait and Tackle in Freeport said, “It’s prime time for sturgeon in the Sacramento River with a 60-incher brought to the shop on Freeport lamprey eel and pile worm combination near Clarksburg. The diamondbacks are moving upstream, and the muddy water is here. Stripers have taken a backseat to sturgeon with the cold water, and the best fishing is with cut baits such as sardines or frozen shad loaded with scent.” Mark Wilson, striper trolling expert, has been bait fishing in response to the slow troll bite, and he found good action in Montezuma Slough on a recent trip with three fishermen picking up seven keepers at 11, 9, 9, 7 and 5 using frozen shad without any scent added. Dan Mathisen of Dan’s Delta Outdoors in Oakley said, “The river is chocolate milk, but bait fishermen are picking up a few sturgeon along with larger striped bass in the 15- to 18-pound range using lamprey eel. The larger stripers are holding in deep water. Sturgeon fishing has been best in the Big Cut, on either end of Montezuma Slough, and Winter Island, and the surprising part is the area around the Sherman Island Power Lines continues to be slow with most all of the sturgeon further downriver.” James Nguyen of Dockside Bait in Pittsburg said, “Bass fishing has slowed, but there have been slot-limit sturgeon at 55 and 58 inches brought into the shop.” Maintenance at the Three Mile Slough Bridge on Highway 160 has the bridge down to one lane until July, with significant delays to the base of the Antioch Bridge. The water hyacinth in the San Joaquin is starting to die off, and the Port of Stockton is relatively clear for the first time in months. Steve Santucci of Steve Santucci’s Fly Fishing Guide Service reported on Lost Coast Outfitters, “Fishing remains strong for striped and largemouth bass, and we are catching most fish on large Clouser Minnows in the 6-inch range. There have been some larger fish showing up.” 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 gates’ 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. There are a number of tournaments scheduled at Nacimiento over the next month, starting with Friday’s Bakersfield Bass Club New Year’s Day Tournament. Spotted bass are the top species at the lake with jigs or plastics on the Texas-rig or drop-shot on a slow presentation. Las Tablas has been a particularly productive area. The white bass remain inactive. The launch ramp at Lopez is anticipated to remain open for the remainder of the season, but there are no tournaments scheduled during January. The bass bite is tough with the best action on plastics or Senkos on a finesse presentation. Panfish action remains 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, but a few largemouth bass can be taken on ice jigs, ripbaits or vertically jigged spoons on a slow presentation. 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
- 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, www.sportsexpos.com
- Friday: Bass 101 New Year’s Day Open at Pine Flat, Deer Creek 5:30 a.m., Mark Corrente 284-2768; Visalia Bass Club at Kaweah; Bakersfield Bass Club at Nacimiento
- Saturday: Tracy Bass at Delta/Tracy Oasis; Western Outdoor News at Casitas
- Jan. 7: Modesto Ambassadors at Don Pedro
- Jan. 9: Best Bass Tournaments/Sonora Bass Club at Don Pedro; Kerman Bass Club at Pine Flat; American Bass Association/Taft Bass Club at Nacimiento
- Jan. 10: Tracy Bass Club at Delta/Tracy Oasis; California Bass Federation/Kings VIII Bass Club at Pine Flat
- Jan. 16: Christian Bass League/Manteca Bassin’ Buddies at Don Pedro; Best Bass Tournaments at Nacimiento
- Jan. 23: American Bass Association at Delta/Russo’s Marina; Best Bass Tournaments at Don Pedro; Sierra Bass Club at Pine Flat; Kern County Bassmasters at Nacimiento
- Jan. 24: Fresno Bass Club/Kings River Bass Club at Pine Flat; San Luis Obispo County Bass Ambushers at Nacimiento
- Jan. 30: 10th annual Diamond Classic Catch and Release Sturgeon Derby at Delta/Martinez Marina, diamondclassic.org; American Bass Association at Pine Flat; Bakersfield Bass Club/Golden Empire Bass Club Nacimiento
- Jan. 31: Success Bass Club at Pine Flat
q = quarter moon > = peak activity