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 bite improved, Dan Mathisen said. Kaweah swimbait bite kicking out big bass, Sierra Sporting Goods reported.
Never miss a local story.
2-Have to work hard
4-Fish jumpin’ in boat
Delta Mendota Canal and Sloughs
Rapid water is still the story for anglers targeting striped bass in the California Aqueduct, and the movement is creating the need to switch techniques. Anthony Lopez of Coyote Bait and Tackle report, “A few fishermen are scoring numbers of striped bass ranging from undersized to barely legals in the northern section of the California Aqueduct out of the O’Neill Forebay with flukes on a half- to 1-ounce jig head or bucktail jigs with a curly tail on a slow roll off of the bottom. The water is running fast with heavy pumping.” Meng Xyong, spokesman for the Fishaholics out of Fresno, reported, “Most anglers continue to grind fishing at the California Aqueduct. The striper bite has slowed down with more anglers coming home empty-handed. The bass bite is improving with some hooking into them while striper fishing. The evening bite can be productive for anglers willing to endure the winter cold.” In the south aqueduct in Kern County, Jacob Rutledge of Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield said there are still striped bass taken in the south aqueduct, but a number of fishermen think the aqueduct is closed. In reality, it is only a three-quarter-mile stretch near the Buena Vista Golf Course. Anglers have been heading to the area around Highway 166 and Old River Road for largemouth bass on jigs. Repairs are expected to be completed by Feb. 20. In order to maintain the right to continue to fish along the aqueduct’s public areas, fishermen are encouraged to take out all trash and debris when departing.
Bass 2; Trout 2; Bluegill 3; Catfish 2; Crappie 2
Ranger Bryan Stiles reported, “With water temperatures averaging 45 degrees, the bass are down deep and are very inactive. Artificial lures are only working if the angler has extraordinary patience. The recent rains have resulted in the lake waters becoming muddy, therefore fisherman may look to chartreuse colors for lures. The panfish bite at Eastman Lake is good. Small crappie jigs and night crawlers, fished on the bottom in 5-10 feet of water can catch bluegill. Some catfish have been caught lately. Best catfishing is after dark.” Fish and Wildlife did in fact plant trout in Eastman Lake this past week, so activity should increase in a couple of weeks. Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “Catfish in the 12- to 13-pound range are still biting chicken livers in the deeper water near the dam. Bass fishing remains very tough in the cold and muddy water.” The northeastern portion of the lake behind the buoy line is closed to all water recreation to protect nesting bald eagles. Please help the H.V. Eastman Lake staff to support this valuable natural resource. The area will reopen Aug. 1. The lake rose 5.5 feet to 483.14 in elevation and 14 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 7 feet to 469.24 in elevation and 15 percent capacity with the recent inflow. Launching a boat should be possible, but the water is now very murky. Anglers are advised to contact the Corps of Engineers Ranger Station. A trout plant occurred the first week of January, but there have been no reports of success or interest.
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 3; Trout 2; Kokanee 1; King salmon 1; Crappie 2
Bass fishing continues to be the top draw amid the paucity of trout fishermen, and the Best Bass Tournaments had a banner turnout with 73 boats participating in Saturday’s second tournament of the year on the lake. The limits have risen to more than 17 pounds with a 7.31 kicker bass. The action was all on the bottom with plastics on the drop-shot or jigs at depths to 25 feet with no reaction bite. The lake rose over 7 feet to 697.96 in elevation and 39 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
At Lake Isabella, Jacob Rutledge of Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield reported a few bass have been landed – the first report in quite a while. An angler walking the banks picked up four largemouth bass tossing a jig in the early morning. Beyond that, catfish are the top species, with the best action around Engineers Point with chicken livers, store-purchased salmon, nightcrawlers or large minnows. There are no trout reports, but the Kern River Valley Chamber of Commerce has confirmation that during the week of the annual Lake Isabella Trout Derby, there will be 9,000 pounds of rainbows planted along with 5,000 pounds purchased from the Chaulk Mound Trout Ranch. The 27th annual derby is March 19-21, with early-bird registration closing at 4 p.m. Feb. 29. Online registration is available at kernrivervalley.com. The launch ramp is on the dirt, and a four-wheel drive is necessary to put a boat into the lake. The lake rose 1.5 feet for the first time in months to 2,525.01 in elevation and 6 percent capacity. There are no reports from the upper or lower river, and the local lakes also have been slow after the final trout plant of the season last week. Buena Vista is still kicking out limits of rainbows for bank fishermen using Power Bait. A fluorocarbon leader on a light test of low visibility monofilament will help increase the number of bites.
Call: Bob’s Bait (661) 833-8657; North Fork Marina (760) 376-1812
Bass 3; Crappie 2; Trout 1; Catfish 2
Sierra Sporting Goods in Exeter reported a number of huge bass in the 12- to 13-pound range were caught and released on large rainbow trout-patterned swimbaits after the first trout plant a few weeks back. Several of the planted trout were of a large grade – up to 17 inches – and bass fishermen have hooked the occasional rainbow on a drop-shot plastic as deep as 40 feet. The most consistent technique for bass is on the bottom with plastics on the drop-shot or with jigs. Live minnows and crawdads are also working for bass. There is great interest in soaking small to medium minnows for crappie around submerged rocks or structure. Horse Creek is still out of the water, but the lake is rising rapidly, coming up 11 feet to 608.11 in elevation and 14 percent capacity.
Call: Sierra Sporting Goods 592-5212
Bass 2; Trout 2; Catfish 2; Crappie 2
A trout plant was released over the past week, and a few fishermen have been trying for the larger bass with rainbow-trout patterned swimbaits. The most consistent bass technique remains on the bottom with crankbaits, plastic worms or jigs on an extremely slow presentation. The lake rose 3 feet to 596.53 in elevation and 13 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 rose 14 feet to 630.33 in elevation and 12 percent capacity, and the launch ramp at Barrett Cove North is open. The rapid inflow has stained the lake the color of the red clay banks. As a result, bass fishing is slow. Maintenance work is being completed on one of the gates at the dam. Barrett Cove 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
The recent storms have limited the number of fishermen seeking the recently planted fish from Department of Fish and Wildlife. A few have been taken by trollers working the clearer open water with blade/crawler combinations. Bank fishermen are soaking nightcrawlers from the point by the marina. Work on the Exchequer Dam at Lake McClure has led to water releases, and the lake is at maximum capacity. The water is dirty from the recent inflow from McClure.
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, “The bass action has been good for some and tough for others with limits in the 7.5- to 9.5-pound range possible. The action up the river arm is good for numbers, but the grade of spotted bass is small. The bass holding in the 8- to 15-foot range over the past few weeks have been absent.” Patrick Movey of the Fisherman’s Warehouse said, “The fish are all on the bottom with shad-patterned leeches or Pro-Gold worms on the drop-shot or with jigs with the best action in the main lake at depths from the banks to 40 feet.” There were no striped bass reports. The lake has risen to 38 percent capacity, rising 3 feet to 494.47 in elevation. There are only a few anglers working the lower San Joaquin. Sycamore Island reopens 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 2; Crappie 2; Catfish 2; Trout 2; Kokanee 2
At New Melones, the lake continues to rise, coming up 7.5 feet to 827.11 in elevation and 15 percent capacity within the past week. The trout bite remains slow despite recent plants of rainbows at the lake, but some anglers are starting to pick up limits. After month of anticipation, a few of the rainbows have been moving into the shallows. John Liechty of Glory Hole Sporting Goods in Angels Camp said, “In January, we are starting to see some fish being caught, and the bite in February should continue to improve and hold through April.” The best action for trollers has been over the river channel from Carson Creek to Coyote Creek with bright color patterns of Speedy Shiners, Rapalas or Needlefish from the surface to 20 feet in depth. A few small kokanee and spotted bass also are being taken by trout trollers. Bank fishermen are scoring Glory Hole Point or the Highway 49 Bridge with trout dough bait on a light test of monofilament line with a long leader and a light wire hook. Bass action is fair, and Liechty advised using a 3/8th to 3/4th oz. football head jig with a brown or green pumpkin skirt at depths from 15-65 feet. He said, “Fish slow and patient, and it is not a bad idea to add scent to your jig and trailer. Plastics on the drop-shot are also effective, and it is important to use your electronics to locate the schools of fish as they are holding near the mouths of major creeks and also within the main lake. Once you find a large concentration of bait, jigging a shad-patterned spoon is a good idea.” Lietchy said, “During the winter months, be sure to bring a fizzing needle to deflate their bladder for a safe release.” Catfishing is still slow in the cold water, and there are few fishermen targeting crappie. The dam area is still buoyed off to keep out boats during periods of water releases. The only launch is at Glory Hole Point, which is a one-lane dirt and gravel road leading off the end of the point. There is no courtesy dock and a four-wheel-drive tow vehicle is advised. Downstream Tulloch is a good option for trout fishermen with the lake at 86 percent capacity and 501.95 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
Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “The bass are responding to a finesse bite on the bottom with plastics on the drop-shot or with jigs ,as the reaction bite is absent. The Sierra Bass Club out of Fresno held a tournament at the lake on Saturday with a winning weight over 9 pounds. There were no reports of any bass taken on blades or swimbaits, with everything on the bottom.” Mitch Mitchelltree reported 19 anglers weighed in 76 bass for a total of 110.86. At Sunday’s Fresno Bass Club tournament, Harold Hass said, “There were several small limits weighed in using plastics at depths from 20-65 feet, and most of the fish were taken off of well-defined lake points. There were no fish reported on reaction baits.” Patrick Movey of the Fisherman’s Warehouse said, “Trout plants started last week, and bank fishermen are finding some success off of Deer Creek with Power Bait.” A trash boom has been installed to keep out debris from this summer’s Rough Fire in the upper Kings River. The lake is rising up to one foot per day when it has been raining, and the Trimmer Ramp is around 18 feet from being opened. The lake rose 7 feet to 753.55 in elevation and 19 percent capacity. Despite the recent trout plants, there are no reports from the lower Kings River with the exception of a few fishermen purchasing Power Bait. 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 1
Despite restrictions on pumping from the Delta in order to protect the endangered Delta smelt, the main San Luis Reservoir continues to rise and is currently at 31 percent compared to 18 percent a few weeks ago. Roger George of Roger’s Guide Service said, “The water temperatures rose a little to about 50 degrees with the warmer storms and nights but the bite seems to go from decent one day to terrible the next, as the fish turn off with the changing conditions and fronts. I scouted the big lake alone Saturday from noon on, right after the storm passed, and only got three fish. The fish were completely suspended and turned off. The next day I took Russel Gunlund and Christopher Frith of Caruthers hoping the bright full moon wouldn’t kill it again. We worked hard and at the end of the day I was shocked after the prior days tough fishing when we ended up with 22 fish to 24 inches trolling lures. It is not easy fishing at all. The rising water and changing barometer are causing the fish to move around a lot, with some groups active and feeding while others won’t touch anything. Stability between storms is hard to predict!” George advised fishing before a storm front as opposed to going right after the storm passes through. Anthony Lopez of Coyote Bait and Tackle reported the best action in front of the trash racks with the pumping water, and fishermen are scoring with jumbo minnows after finding the fish on the meter or trolling with broken-backed Rapalas, P-Line’s Predator Minnows, small swimbaits, or smaller jerkbaits. The water is starting to fill up Portuguese Cove, and anglers are working minnows off of the points. Lopez said, “The numbers are down, but most of the fish landed are keepers.” Coyote Bait is holding a striper tournament until Feb. 1, with entry free when making a purchase of $20 in the shop. The current leader is Jesus Reyes Silva at 23 pounds. In the O’Neill Forebay, Meng Xyong of the Fishaholics went out with Nick Xyong last weekend and he said, “We were able to land some schoolie stripers from late morning to late afternoon, but the stripers were scattered into smaller schools with the fish holding from 15 feet in depth to the bottom. They were reluctant to bite most of the day, and we had a few hits but no hookups. After switching to smaller swimbaits, we were able to hook into more fish. There seemed to be a window later in the afternoon when the bite picked back up. We trolled through these schools with a pearl white SpeedLure attached to a Dipsy Diver for multiple hookups. The late afternoon bite produced bigger fish. The water is stained as water continues to flow into the lake from the California Aqueduct.” Most striper fishermen are heading to the aqueduct or to the main San Luis Reservoir. The heavy pumping over the past several weeks has left the Forebay high and muddy. Live bait such as jumbo minnows is the best option in the cold water. Cut baits are working for small stripers or catfish near Check 12.
Call: Coyote Bait andTackle (408) 463-0711, Roger George of rogergeorgeguideservice.com (559) 905-2954
Bass 2; Trout 2; Kokanee 1
The lake rose slightly to 56 percent capacity, and launching a boat at the ramp is much easier. There have been few reports from bass fishermen or those trolling for trout. Plants of rainbow trout have yet to start for the year.
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 to those on snowmobiles. The lakes are still very low, with Edison at 4 percent and Florence at 6 percent. The lower elevation Mammoth Pool rose to 20 percent.
Call: Vermilion Valley Resort at Edison Lake 259-4000
Shaver Lake/Huntington Lake
Kokanee 1; Trout 2
The weather kept most boat anglers at home this week with no one venturing out during the weekend snow and rain. A limit or two or rainbows is possible if a troller is willing to endure freezing temperatures. Trying different depths and alternating tackle is important as well as trolling around Stevenson Bay and Eagle Point. The dam may now be better as Fish and Wildlife planted about 15,000 trout in the 9- to 10-inch range this past week. This plant is normal for this time of the year, with the rainbows growing to catchable size by summer. The launch ramp remains open at 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. In addition to planting thousands of pounds of trophy trout this spring, the Shaver Lake Trophy Trout Project will be conducting a seminar at Herb Bauer Sporting Goods in Fresno at 6 p.m. Feb. 25. Speakers and topics will include Mike O’Connell on jigging and still boat fishing for rainbows; Lee Gates on night fishing; Bob Bernier on his secrets for smallmouth bass; Dick Nichols on his 2015 results from 128 guided trips on the lake during the past year; kokanee tackle innovator Captain Jack Yandell with his pointers on kokanee fishing and the third-year kokanee; and the status of the upcoming trophy plants. At Huntington, heavy snows have fallen and few, if any, fishermen are braving the conditions. Shaver rose slightly to 62 percent capacity with Huntington dropping to 41 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
With big waves dominating the San Mateo coast, party boats finally had an opportunity to venture out Sunday. While whale watching and waiting for the Titans of Mavericks Surf Competition are staples, second captain Michael Cabanas took the Huli Cat out for sand dabs and Kathyn Miller of Walnut Creek, Margo Miller of Danville, and Aaron Jenson scored with a Sabiki rig tipped with squid. Cabanas said, “The ocean conditions were a little breezy in the morning with 9-foot swells, but the weather laid down for us towards the afternoon making for some slower longer drifts. The customers had a great time on the water landing over 180 sand dabs for the day.” Captain Roger Thomas of the Salty Lady has started whale watching trips for the Oceanic Society, and second captain Jerad Davis took their first trip of the New Year on Sunday. The Queen of Hearts out of Half Moon Bay Sport Fishing was also out on whale watching, and all local boats will be out with passengers in the event the Mavericks competition is held. Those interested are advised to sign up for the email list at fishingboat.com/mavericks.html as notification will be sent when and if the event is scheduled. The competition can be triggered on a 48-hour notice, and passengers will be added to the boats on a first-come, first-served basis. The Dungeness crab testing on Jan. 20 was a bit more discouraging, with one of the seven crabs tested being over the 30 ppm acceptable level of domoic acid. The results will delay the season opener for recreational and commercial crabbing for a few more weeks at best. The season is open in Washington, Oregon, and along the California coastline south of Piedras Blancas Lighthouse. The Sand Crab Classic Surf Perch Contest is March 12, and although the event is held in Santa Cruz, fishermen are able to work the San Mateo coast. The big swell and surf of the past few weeks will only enhance opportunities for perch fishermen.
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
After loading up with sand dabs and mackerel on Wednesday and Thursday, Chris’ Landing in Monterey did not have any trips out over the weekend. They will be running the sand dab trips on an intermittent basis depending upon weather and interest. Allen Bushnell of Santa Cruz Kayak Fishing said, “Weather conditions are always a factor to consider when making plans for fishing. Anglers on the Monterey Bay continue to deal with conditions that make fishing almost impossible at this time. A series of large west swells continue to hit the coast in conjunction with El Niño spawned storm fronts. The situation remains consistent, with an additional storm heading in over the coming weekend, bringing rain and more big waves. The waves and treacherous currents filled in the Santa Cruz Harbor entrance a few weeks ago, and the channel is still shoaled up and impassable. Harbor crews continue to dredge the entrance channel area, as well as dredging the upper harbor area of Arana Creek silt brought downstream by recent rains.” The 12th annual Sand Crab Classic Perch Derby is accepting entries for its March 12 event. Entries are available at Bayside Marine in the Santa Cruz Harbor and sandcrabclassic.com. Deadline is Feb. 8. As usual, proceeds go to the Monterey Bay Salmon and Trout Project. Derby coordinator Mike Baxter expects another full roster of 300 anglers.
Call: Chris’ Landing(831) 375-5951; Bayside Marine (831) 475-2173; usafishing.com
San Francisco Bay
Striper 2; Leopard shark 2; Sturgeon 2
Keith Fraser of Loch Lomond Bait and Tackle is one of the only bait shops with a supply of live grass and live ghost shrimp, and although they sold out over the weekend, a resupply is coming Monday morning. Anglers in search of these highly desired baits have been coming from long distances, and the pressure will only intensify because of upcoming derbies. He said, “I really don’t have much of a report since the weather was crummy for most of the weekend, but there are bait-robbing stripers all over the Pumphouse area. The stripers seem to like our bay since they normally are not present at this time of year, but they are just all over the place.” Herring spawns are starting to happen in the south bay and also off Richmond. Bay Tackle in El Cerrito reported a herring spawn at Ferry Point in Richmond, and local anglers are using Sabiki rigs or cast nets to load up on the baitfish. Sturgeon fishing has been best in San Pablo Bay, and in their neck of the bay, surf perch are getting active around the rocks near Golden Gate Fields, the dog park, Costco and Point Molate. They have live pile worms in the shop along with cured ghost shrimp and all of the frozen baits. In the Napa River, Sweeney’s Sports in Napa reported striped bass action is on the decline, but sturgeon fishing is on the upswing with the diamondbacks found from the Highway 37 Bridge upriver to within the city limits.
San Luis Obispo
Fish and Wildlife has opened the recreational Dungeness crab and rock crab season on the mainland coast south of Piedras Blancas Light Station in San Luis Obispo County. Out of Patriot Sport Fishing in Port San Luis, they will be running some nature cruises on the weekend, but groups of 10 or more are able to be scheduled during the week. Virg’s Landing in Morro Bay will be running whale watching and nature excursions through April.
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 2; Striper 2; Sturgeon 3; Catfish 2
Water the color of chocolate milk is pouring down the Sacramento River, and the sturgeon bite has taken off in the upper Delta. The muddy water should make its way down into Suisun Bay by week’s end, and the first of four major sturgeon derbies is Saturday’s ninth annual Diamond Classic out of Martinez Marina. Live bait remains in short supply, and fishermen are advised to stock up with frozen lamprey eel and/or salmon roe in the event that live bait isn’t available for the upcoming derbies. Stafford Lehr, chief deputy director of the Inland and Anadromous Fisheries Branch of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, emphasized the importance of sturgeon fishermen returning their 2015 Sturgeon Report Card by the deadline of Jan. 31. During the department forum at the International Sportsmen’s Exposition, Lehr stated, “There have been plenty of rumors on the internet over an impending sturgeon closure, and these are only rumors, but I can’t emphasize enough the necessity of fishermen accurately returning their report cards as we depend upon this data for our analysis of the health of the fishery.” Online reporting can be accessed at wildlife.ca.gov/licensing/fishing#758846-harvest-reporting. Captain Steve Talmadge of Flash Sport Fishing out of Martinez said, “We have released a pair of shakers on eel, and I am aware of five legal fish that have been taken in the area today, and everything has been on eel with nothing on salmon roe.” Talmadge is the organizer for the Diamond Classic. There is a pre-derby seminar at La Tapatia Restaurant on Main Street in Martinez from 6-9 p.m. Friday. Talmadge said, “We have already well over 100 adult participants, and we are hoping for up 150 children participanting in the derby.” Registration is free for children and $25 for adults, with 100% payback in cash prizes from first through seventh place. Information is available at diamondclassic.org. Captain Stan Koenigsberger of Quetzal Adventures out of Bethel Island has been targeting sturgeon for a few weeks, and he put Bob Coston of San Francisco onto a 46-inch keeper diamondback in Montezuma Slough along with a limit of chunky striped bass. Dan Mathisen of Dan’s Delta Outdoors said, “Sturgeon have been dominating the action, but there are still the occasional striped bass taken on reaction baits. In our area, Broad Slough, Winter Slough, and Montezuma Slough have all be good locations as the wind has affected the ability to anchor in the main river. Fishermen are buying bloody and pickled eel like crazy.” Do Doung at Dockside Bait in Pittsburg said, “The striper bite is slowing down as I only got one bite which resulted in one 35-inch striped bass on live mudsuckers at a depth from 15-18 feet.” Rio Vista Bait reported the best action for sturgeon has been near the Sherman Island Power Lines or in Montezuma Slough while striped bass are found along the pipes with moving water in Grizzly Bay. In the upper Delta, Johnny Tran of New Romeo’s Bait said, “The upper Sac is running high and muddy, and the sturgeon bite is on. Bank fishermen are scoring with eel/nightcrawler or live ghost shrimp/pile worm combinations topped off with Sturgeon Cocktail held down by weights in the 12- to 14-ounce range. Stripers have vacated the Delta for the warmer and clearer waters of the Port of Sacramento, but there are still a few linesides in the Deep Water Channel with frozen shad or live mudsuckers.” Most Delta anglers are migrating to the Sacramento River with increased chances for sturgeon and striped bass success. For largemouth bass, Randy Pringle, the Fishing Instructor, said, “The water is very muddy in both the San Joaquin and the Sacramento Rivers, and an absolute dead-stick presentation is necessary in order to entice a strike. You have to fish so slow that the hooks rust, and when you can’t stand it any longer, only move the bait 3-4 inches at a time as the fish are very picky and aren’t willing to chase at this time of year. Now is the time to use as much scent as possible, so much that the scent permeates the water. Plastics on the drop-shot, weightless, or on a wacky rig work best, especially in earth tones such as green pumpkin or black/blue flake. I always keep the bait a few inches off of the bottom at this time of year since the vegetation is dying and is settling on the bottom. The Bottom Hopper is a good option since it is thinner and moves less than similar plastics. You want the bait to move very slowly.” Steve Santucci of Steve Santucci’s Fly Fishing Guide Service said, “Fishing was pretty nice when the weather cooperated this week. We found some nice chunky stripers today that were very aggressive as they were chasing the fly to the boat and hitting it on the drop. Fishing is going to be really good as the water temps were 52 in the early morning and hit 55 by the end of the day. Also the water clarity was good in most areas and just a little off color in other areas but still fishable. Water temps should hold in the mid to high 50s for the next couple of weeks.” Dan Mathisen of Dan’s Delta Outdoors in Oakley said, “In Discovery Bay, the bite is improving as water temperatures stabilize in the 50’s. Slow-rolling spinnerbaits or jigs along the ledges near flats or drop-shotting 6 or 7-inch worms in the clearer water are working for largemouth bass with a few stripers taken on Optima’s Bad Bubba Shad swimbait. In Frank’s Tract, Bobby D’s spinnerbaits, swim jigs, or Six Sense ripbaits are good options in the warming water.” Maintenance at the Three Mile Slough Bridge on Highway 160 has the bridge down to one lane until July, with backups of up to five miles to the base of the Antioch Bridge. The construction is going on 24 hours per day, so visitors to the Delta need to allow some extra time for their trips.
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. Legislation at the state level has been proposed to provide $25 million to partially fund the Interlake Tunnel Project connecting Nacimiento and San Antonio with a pipeline that would allow the slower filling San Antonio to have more storage. The project also includes dam spillway modifications at San Antonio designed to allow more control of releases into the Salinas River. The project, now estimated at a total cost of $68 million, includes a $5 million proposal to deal with ensuring Nacimiento’s white bass don’t use the pipeline to get into neighboring San Antonio. San Antonio, at 3 percent capacity, remains closed as a result of extremely low water conditions. Nacimiento has been rising steadily to 22 percent. At Naci, the best bass fishing remains on the bottom with Senkos or plastics on the Texas-rig or drop-shot on a slow presentation. The launch ramp at Lopez is anticipated to remain open for the remainder of the season. The bass bite is tough with the best action on plastics or Senkos on a finesse presentation. Santa Margarita is rising, but it is still less than 15 percent capacity. The marina store is open for supplies and rental vessels. Cold water temperatures have limited action.
Call: Lake Nacimiento (805) 238-1056, ext. 3; Lake San Antonio Marina (805) 472-2818; Central Coast Bass Fishing.com (805) 466-6557
- Best Bass Tournaments on Jan. 23 at Don Pedro: 1m Bill Vernon/Jason Hopper 17.10 (big fish 7.31); 2, Scott Parsons/Doug Naruo 16.33; 3, David Homen/Scott Summers 15.96
- Sierra Bass Club on Jan. 23 Pine Flat: 1, Bob Hamasaki 9.35 (big fish 2.84); 2, Mike Mathews 9.05; 3, Ed Armbrister 8.22
- Fresno Bass Club on Jan. 24 at Pine Flat: 1, Scott Smith 7.60; 2, Mike Brossard 6.93; 3, Nick Beck 6.86; big fish, Bryan Coy 2.45
- Saturday: 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 at Nacimiento
- Sunday: Success Bass Club at Pine Flat
- Feb. 5-7: Foundation Sportsmen’s Club Original Sturgeon Derby at Delta/McAvoy’s Boat Harbor in Bay Point, originalsturgeonderby.com
- Kern County: Cat Fish Lake
q = quarter moon