Compiled by Dave Hurley and edited by Roger George, a former Olympic-class decathlete at Fresno State and striper record-holder at Millerton Lake and who now guides in the greater Fresno area. Telephone numbers are in 559 calling area unless noted. Have a photo of a recent catch to share? Email it to email@example.com with “fish photo” in the subject line.
Delta sturgeon biting, Steve Talmadge said, Don Pedro bass active, Dave Hurley reported. Millerton spots hitting, Merritt Gilbert reported. Coastal crabbing kicks off with limits, Tom Mattusch said.
Never miss a local story.
2-Have to work hard
4-Fish jumpin’ in boat
Delta Mendota Canal and Sloughs
In the California Aqueduct, Meng Xyong, spokesman for the Fishaholics out of Fresno, reported, “The recent trend of warm winter weather has increased fish surface activity. Anglers in the south ’duct are having better luck catching stripers and catfish on cut baits. North ’duct anglers are having a harder time hooking into stripers. Those catching fish are using a variety of lures such as SpeedLures, Rat-L-Traps, and flukes to catch these winter fish. On a recent trip up north, I was only able to land four fish from early to late morning. The current was flowing fast and the water was murky. All the fish were caught using a SpeedLure in green ghost while trolling with a planar board. They were hitting very shallow along the duct wall from 5-10 feet out. Using a planar board will allow anglers to cover more water. For anglers who are casting lures, throw it sideways for these shallow feeding fish. A slow and steady retrieve with the occasional pause can entice them to bite.” Xyong recently had a major feature article on aqueduct fishing techniques published in Fishsniffer magazine. A three-quarter-mile section of the aqueduct under repair near Buena Vista Golf Course in Kern County will be reopened soon, but there is solid action for stripers near Highway 166 and Old River along with the Lerdo Highway. Fishermen are encouraged to remove all trash and debris from along the aqueduct; debris left behind has become an issue given the recent popularity of the waterway among anglers.
Bass 2; Trout 2; Bluegill 2; Catfish 2; Crappie 1
The lake is stained from the rise in lake level over the past weeks, but Patrick Movey of the Fisherman’s Wareshouse in Fresno reported a few bass taken on 4.8 Fat K-Tech swimbaits or jigs on a slow presentation. Catfish in the 5-pound range can be found near the dam with chicken livers. A few anglers are trying for crappie without success. The launch ramp is open with easy access. The northeastern portion of the lake behind the buoy line is closed to all water recreation to protect nesting bald eagles. The area will reopen Aug. 1. The lake rose a foot to 489.46 in elevation and 16 percent capacity.
Call: Six Star Tackle Box 673-5688; Eastman Lake 689-3255
Bass 2; Trout 1; Catfish 2; Bluegill 2; Crappie 2
The lake rose 1.5 feet to 22 percent capacity and 479.04 feet in elevation with the recent inflow, and the Buckeye and Hidden View launch ramps are open – with Buckeye on the top ramp and Hidden View on the middle. The water clarity is stained from the inflow, but has been clearing steadily. Bass fishing is slow in the off-color water, and crappie fishermen also are trying without success.
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 2; Crappie 2
Monte Smith of Gold Country Sport Fishing reported incredibly slow trout action during a recent trip, stating, “The fishing is really tough as we had a strike back in a shallow cove that didn’t stick, and we landed a smallmouth bass while trolling spoons at a fast pace. I then slowed things down and used blade/crawler combinations for around an hour of so without even a nibble. Some areas of the lake have lots of debris and murky water, and in other places, the water clarity is fairly clear with the water temperatures ranging from 53-55 degrees.” Bass fishing remains tops at the lake, and 19 limits out of 25 teams were weighed in during the Sonora Bass Anglers tournament. Most fish were taken on jigs at depths from 20-30 feet. The majority of fish were landed during the afternoon when the water warmed slightly. The lake is full of floating debris ranging from small vegetation to fence post-sized logs, despite the debris barrier in the upper portion. The lake is rising, though the Fleming Meadows launch is the only ramp in the water. Levels were up 4.5 feet to 711.25 in elevation and 43 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, catfish remain the top species with a variety of baits near Engineers Point. The water has warmed in response to the recent springlike weather, and bass are starting to move shallower in the afternoons. The Kern River Valley Chamber of Commerce has confirmation that during the annual Lake Isabella Trout Derby, the lake will be planted with 9,000 pounds of rainbows and another 5,000 pounds purchased from the Chaulk Mound Trout Ranch. The 27th annual derby is March 19-21, with early-bird regstration 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 a half-foot to 2,527.09 in elevation and 7 percent capacity. In the lower Kern River, bass are the top draw with live bait. Trout plants were released into the upper Kern River at Section 4 last week. The local lakes of Ming and RiverWalk are scheduled to be planted with catchable trout every two weeks. Rutledge added that small minnows are working for crappie at Lake Ming. The RiverWalk will host the 12th annual Kern County Sheriff’s Activity League Fishing Derby from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday, while the fifth annual Bakersfield Fire Fighters Trout Derby and Pancake Breakfast is March 5. The 39th Central Valley Sportsmen Boat and RV Show is Feb. 26-28 at the Kern County Fairgrounds, with information at calshows.com.
Call: Bob’s Bait (661) 833-8657; North Fork Marina (760) 376-1812
Bass 2; Crappie 1; Trout 2; Catfish 2
The lake levels continue to drop with a release of more than a foot per day within the past week. The bass are in flux, suspending off the bottom in various locations. Live bait is working best; working plastics or jigs for the suspended fish with a slow presentation has been effective. Trout action has dissipated since the plant a few weeks ago. The lake is dropping rapidly, with a vertical decline this past week of 9 feet to 602.94 in elevation and 12 percent capacity.
Call: Sierra Sporting Goods 592-5212
Bass 2; Trout 2; Catfish 2; Crappie 2
Chuck Stokke of Sequoia Fishing Co. in Springville said, “There are no trout plants scheduled at the lake this year, and this has severely affected the number of fishermen coming out to the lake.” In the past, the Rocky Hill side would be lined with trout fishermen, but they are staying away without any plants this year. There has been little or no interest in bass fishing. The lake is rising rapidly, while floating debris is accumulating along the dam. The lake rose 4.5 feet to 603.39 in elevation and 18 percent capacity. The Tule River remains high, and trout fishing is at a standstill as the snowpack starts to melt well ahead of schedule.
Call: Sequoia Fishing Co. 539-5626, sequoiafishingcompany.com
Bass 2; Trout 2; King salmon 1; Kokanee 1; Crappie 2; Catfish 2
The North Barrett Cove launch ramp is open, but the lake is still stained the color of red clay from the rapid runoff from previous storms. Maintenance work is being completed on one of the gates at the dam. The lake rose 5 feet to 653.00 in elevation and 17 percent capacity.
Call: A-1 Bait (209) 563-6505; Bub Tosh (209) 404-0053
Interest in trout fishing has been spurred by the recent plant of 1,500 pounds from Fish and Wildlife, and the banks were lined with anglers during the President’s Day Weekend. The lake remains heavily stained because of water releases from upstream Lake McClure; action has been fair with garlic or cheese trout dough bait or nightcrawlers. A 7-pound brown trout was landed on a blue/silver Kastmaster near the campgrounds. The lake is down a few feet as work on the Exchequer Dam at Lake McClure continues.
Call: McSwain Marina (209) 378-2219
Millerton Lake/San Joaquin River
Bass 3; Striper 1; Shad 1; Bluegill 2; Trout 2
Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun said, “Numbers remain solid for spotted bass to 2 pounds, and it is possible to pick up from 12-15 spots per trip with the best action on the bottom at depths from 30-40 feet with jigs or plastics on the drop-shot.” The lake continues to rise, and the launch is on ramp 4. There are few bass tournaments scheduled, so the number of anglers has been limited. There have been no striper reports. All boat motors need a low-emission sticker. The lake has come up to 44 percent capacity, rising 3.5 feet to 505.10 in elevation. Sycamore Island on the lower San Joaquin has reopened, and trout plants have brought out bank fishermen. Woodward Park is another location for trout fishing, and Gilbert added that local anglers are taking their children to the lake there to soak Power Bait for the planted rainbows. 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 2; Crappie 2; Catfish 2; Trout 2; Kokanee 1
At New Melones, for the first time this winter, trout limits were brought into Glory Hole Sporting Goods in Angels Camp by bank fishermen. John Liechty reported limits of catchables taken on Kastmasters arrived from the banks near the Visitor Center. The fish are starting to move shallower, and there are trout breaking the surface throughout the day. The best bank areas remain near the Highway 49 Bridge and off the end of Glory Hole Point with nightcrawlers or trout dough bait floated off the bottom with the assistance of a marshmallow or power egg. Trollers are working spoons or minnow-imitation plugs near the surface, and most limits by boat are coming out of the main river channel. The main channel is devoid of standing timber, and it is a safe area in which to troll on the downrigger. Gary Burns of Take It To the Limit Guide Service took out client Tyson Enzweiler for a limit of rainbows trolling Cop Car Needlefish at a depth of 10 feet and a speed from 2.8-3.2 mph above the Highway 49 Bridge over the main river channel. Liechty operates Xperience Bass Fishing, and he took out client Peter Haskins of Escalon on a search for a double-digit largemouth bass. Throwing swimbaits throughout the day, Haskins got his wish with one bite producing a personal-best 11.02-pound largemouth bass that was released quickly. Liechty and Glory Hole Sporting Goods recommend the release of all largemouth bass and of large spotted bass to keep the lake’s population stable. Liechty said, “The majority of fish are still at depths from 35-45 feet, but there are some in the 15- to 25-foot range. Plastic worms on the Texas-rig are working near wood with heavier weights in deeper water and weightless in the shallows. Senkos, Roboworms, or Zoom Trick Worms are all working, particularly in greens and browns. It feels like fishing season, and there is the opportunity for some bass in the shallows.” Catfishing remains slow, but a few quality crappie to 2.90 pounds have been landed at the lake near submerged trees or rock. Trollers have even located crappie while targeting rainbow trout near the dam. The launch ramp at Glory Hole Point is a two-lane dirt and gravel road with no courtesy dock, and it is best to launch with a four-wheel-drive vehicle. The lake continues to rise, up 45.5 feet to 841.04 in elevation and 18 percent capacity within the past week. Downstream Lake Tulloch is scheduled for trout plants this week.
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
The spotted bass bite remains the top draw at Pine Flat, and it is the top lake for Fresno-area bass fishermen. Kevin Cheek, tournament director of the Central Valley region of Best Bass Tournaments said, “The action is up and down with the fish found anywhere from the shoreline to 30 feet in depth with jigs or plastics on the drop-shot, and a limit at 12 pounds and change by Rod Burns and Denny Bowlin took Saturday’s tournament with a big fish at 4.13 pounds. Working vertical walls with jigs or plastics is the key for the suspended fish, but there is a spinnerbait bite once the wind is blowing.” The majority of bass weighed in during Saturday’s BBT tournament were spots, with only eight largemouth bass brought to the scales. Patrick Movey of the Fisherman’s Warehouse in Fresno confirmed the action, stating, “The fish haven’t figured out that it is spring as much as the fishermen, but there is a decent jig bite at depths from 20-35 feet with brown/orange or brown/green jigs. The reaction bite has yet to start in earnest.” Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “Most of the fish are deep, but we are just a few weeks away from the action breaking loose for bass at the lake. Seven- to 8-pound limits are the norm right now, and the best action is from 30-45 feet deep on the bottom.” All sources confirmed an extremely slow trout bite, but a few crappie are starting to show up on minnows near Windy Gap. Gilbert added, “the best number of crappie that I have heard about is 8 fish, and the fish are holding along submerged trees, but no every tree is holding the slabs.” The lake continues to rise, up about 6 inches per day with a total increase of 5 feet this week to 772.29 in elevation and 23 percent capacity. Trout fishermen have been heading to the lower Kings, but despite the recent trout plants, action has been slow. 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 to the west of the dam. The area from Cobbles (Alta) Weir downstream to the Highway 180 crossing is open all year with only artificial lures with barbless hooks with a zero limit. The Thorburn Spawning Channel, the 2,200-foot long channel 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 2; Crappie 2
The lake continues to rise with heavy pumping out of the south Delta. It is at 39 percent, with more than 10,000 feet of water pumped in Monday. In the big lake, the troll bite remains slow with the best striper fishing on the bottom near the trash racks and along the dam with jumbo minnows. Roger George of Roger’s Guide Service said, “It has been very slow, but I finally found a trolling pattern on Friday where I went from famine to feast with 17 striped bass caught/ released to 24 inches. When I went back Monday with Kevin Kizirian and son Chase 12, and Ryan Kizirian and son Jacob, 7, the fish had completely shut down in the badly stained rising water and we only managed 3 fish. The visibility is less than a foot in many areas and the fish were suspending. Another angler who’s pretty good told me they didn’t get a bite all day. One ranger said the stained water is now affecting the Forebay bite, too, after it had been good last week.” Patrick Movey of the Fisherman’s Warehouse in Fresno said, “The fish are concentrated into tight schools, and boaters need to locate the schools on their electronics in selected areas.” Bank fishermen have been picking up with blood worms, pile worms, anchovies, or jumbo minnows. In the Forebay, striped bass action is fair with most fishermen heading to the main lake from a boat or shoreline. Jumbo or extra-large minnows continue to be the top baits for fishermen at Check 12 when the water is moving or in the channel near the Highway 152 Bridge.
Call: Coyote Bait andTackle (408) 463-0711, Roger George of rogergeorgeguideservice.com (559) 905-2954
Bass 2; Trout 2; Kokanee 1
The lake continues to rise, currently at 62 percent capacity while making launching a large boat simple at the public ramp. Trout fishing is very slow with four boats on the lake over the weekend reporting not a single fish. Bass fishing is also slow with only the odd spotted or largemouth bass taken by shore fishermen.
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 5 percent and Florence at 9 percent. The lower elevation Mammoth Pool rose to 29 percent.
Call: Vermilion Valley Resort at Edison Lake 259-4000
Shaver Lake/Huntington Lake
Kokanee 1; Trout 2
“Shaver is our saving grace for trout fishing around here,” said Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis. With very slow action in the lower Kings River, Pine Flat Reservoir, and Bass Lake, most trout trollers continue to head up the hill to Shaver. The weather has been unseasonably warm with temperatures in the 70s and only a bit of a breeze on the water. Dick Nichols of Dick’s Fishing Charters has been checking the launch ramp for reports, and he said, “I found seven to eight boats on the water on Sunday, and the rising water seems to be having a negative effect on the troll bite with some regulars struggling for a few rainbows, but Rick and Kathy Baker of Kingsburg were trolling at depths from 10-12 feet with three colors of lead core in Stevenson Bay with green and orange Wedding Rings tipped with a nightcrawler behind a dodger, and they managed 15 hookups for rainbows to 17 inches. Another boater reported picking up 14 rainbows and one large German Brown on Friday on blade/crawler combination at a depths from 3-4 colors of lead core from the dam to the Island. I think the fish may be closer to shore feeding on insects that are in the lake from the rising water levels since Shaver has come up in the past week due to the rapid snow melt from the warm temperatures. I think there also are fish holding at 20 feet in depth, and it would be worth a try to check out this depth.” The ramp at the Sierra Marina should remain open during the spring months, and a webcam with updated conditions can be view at sierramarina.com. Bank fishing has been slower than trolling, but a few on shore are setting up from the dam to the Sierra Marina with night crawlers or trout dough bait. The Shaver Lake Trophy Trout Project will be discussing theories and topics and more during a fishing seminar at 6 p.m. Feb. 25 at Herb Bauer’s Sporting goods in Fresno. Techniques in smallmouth bass fishing, still fishing from a boat, night fishing and trolling for kokanee and trout will be presented by the project group, which is made up by skilled fishermen who fish Shaver on a regular basis. The 2016 trophy trout plants will be presented along with the 2016 fishing forecast. A free raffle will follow the presentations. Shaver dropped slightly to 61 percent capacity. At Huntington, few, if any, fishermen have braved the conditions after heavy snows fell on the region. Huntington is holding at 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
The recreational Dungeness crab season was opened by Fish and Wildlife during the past week for the waters south of Point Reyes, and Captain Tom Mattusch of the Huli Cat set his crab pots in a big swell on Saturday before returning with clients Sunday for 10-crab limits with an average of 22 legal Dungeness in the pots. He will be running crab-only and sand dab/crab trips until the rockfish opener in April. The Titans of Mavericks competition was a big success Friday, with a number of party boats making the circle as spectators stood glued to the rails to watch surfers attack the huge waves. The Pacifica Pier is back in play for crabbing from shore, and the pier will be lined on the weekends with those in search of the crustaceans with snares or crab rings. The Sand Crab Classic Surf Perch Contest is March 12; although the event is in Santa Cruz, fishermen are able to work the San Mateo coast before making it south to the weigh-in at the Portuguese Hall in Santa Cruz.
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
Crabs 3; Surf Perch 3
Chris’ Fishing Trips out of Monterey had a great weekend with plenty of sand dabs along with 13 limits of Dungeness crab on the Check Mate on Sunday while the Caroline put in seven crab per person along with bucketloads of sand dabs. On Saturday, it was limits of crab all around with the Check Mate and Caroline returning with a combined 23 limits of crab along with plenty of sand dabs. Allen Bushnell of Santa Cruz Kayak Fishing said, “And, it’s not bad news for us surfcasters either. When the waves get that big they are breaking pretty far off the beach. The heavy currents created by a large swell can enhance existing structure. Feeding perch can often be found on the very inside, in back of the shorebreak. Look for areas of green water just behind the waves breaking on the beach. Be prepared for heavy littoral (or sideways) currents. Using a bit more weight on your line helps, as does using bigger bait in these conditions. If you can find a well-defined rip current, work the edges or the mushrooming head of the rip if possible. Those areas are like the Perch Diner on a Saturday night. Heavier currents also favor catches of bigger fish. When the water is moving swiftly, sometimes the big fish are the only ones who can hang in those areas. We’ve had a fairly good season so far for perching. From the beaches in Monterey and circling the Bay to Santa Cruz, anglers have had a steady bite most days on barred surf perch. The beaches towards the middle of the bay contain the best-defined structure and seem to kick out the bigger fish. This week we received a number of reports from La Selva Beach down to Marina Beach, including one hefty limit taken near Pajaro. A number of BSP’s in the 15-inch range have been caught this week but no 16-inchers are reported yet.” No good news from Santa Cruz harbor yet. The successive swells have kept the Harbor entrance shoaled. A few boats have squeaked in and out on high tides, but the latest sounding map indicates a maximum depth of four feet in the entrance channel. Harbor officials are considering emergency deployment of an outside contractor for excavator/crane assisted dredging to supplement their own 16-inch Seabright and eight-inch Squirt dredges. The latest on conditions can be found at santacruzharbor.org. For the 12th annual Sand Crab Classic Perch Derby on March 12 out of Santa Cruz, all proceeds benefit the Monterey Bay Salmon and Trout Project.
Call: Chris’ Landing(831) 375-5951; Bayside Marine (831) 475-2173; usafishing.com
San Francisco Bay
Halibut 2; Striper 2; Leopard shark 2; Sturgeon 2; Crabs 3
Captain Jay Yokomizo of the New Huck Finn out of Emeryville Sport Fishing took out 12 fishermen on a crab-only trip Sunday for 10-crab limits after posting 17 limits of Dungeness crab Saturday. Captain Jim Smith of the Happy Hooker out of Berkeley will be one of the only boats running crab-only trips starting this Saturday for $100 per person. Captain Chris Smith of the Captain Hook went into San Pablo Bay on Saturday in search of sturgeon, but he said, “The action has really ground to a halt after last weekend.” Keith Fraser of Loch Lomond Bait said, “Small stripers are the rule in San Pablo Bay, and the water is clearing enough to troll for striped bass. There are halibut showing up around the Pumphouse.” Oversized sturgeon have been released, and with the lack of herring spawns in the central and south bay, the sturgeon appear to be moving back into San Pablo Bay. He likes the tides for sturgeon beginning in the middle of the week.
San Luis Obispo
Surf perch 2
Surf perch fishing continues to be very popular with Central Valley fishermen, and a number of anglers have been heading to Pismo Beach with blood worms. The surf has been high, and those driving on the sand are advised to use caution. Out of Patriot Sport Fishing in Port San Luis, they will be running some nature cruises on the weekend, with groups of 10 or more able to be scheduled during the week. Virg’s Landing in Morro Bay will be running whale watching and nature excursions through March. They have a two-for-one on rockfish trips during April. Bob’s Bait Bucket in Bakersfield has scheduled their first of a series of rockfishing charters on the Endeavor out of Morro Bay Landing on April 10.
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 2; Catfish 2; Bluegill 2
Sturgeon remain the top species in the Delta, with action ranging from spectacular to slow depending upon location and tides. Striped bass are starting to make their move into the Delta in order to spawn or are responding to the clearing of the river by showing up at both ends of the Sacramento River Delta. Captain Steve Talmadge of Flash Sport Fishing out of Martinez Marina went to the area below the Benicia Bridge on the Martinez side of the river, known locally as “The Watermelon Patch,” and found numbers of sturgeon moving through the area. In the north Delta, Uncle Larry Barnes of Sacramento Pro Tackle reported the best sturgeon fishing has been below the Freeport Bridge with the Hood area producing the most fish, most likely because of the good bank access. Clyde Wands and Mark Wilson, striper trolling experts, went to the Sacramento Deep Water Channel on reports of a good bite in the region for trollers, but they worked hard for a 6.5-pounder on the troll. He said, “The water is clear, and we found fish in one area, but the action wasn’t as good as the previous days.” Also in the north, Johnny Tran of New Romeo’s Bait and Tackle confirmed the solid sturgeon action from the banks with pile worm/eel or nightcrawler/eel combinations. Alan Fong of Fisherman’s Warehouse in Sacramento said the Liberty Island area has cleared up, and quality stripers are beginning to hit topwater lures for the first time in weeks. Tony Lopez at Benicia Bait reported stripers are emerging along shore with blood worms, pile worms, anchovies or sardines; everyu four fish is of legal size. Sturgeon fishing remains the rage with close to 60 boats enjoying springlike weather Saturday near the Mothball Fleet. Boaters need to take extra caution while motoring under the Three Mile Slough Bridge as the clearance is much because of construction crews running rigging across the entire bottom length, leaving rows of pipes hanging down. In the San Joaquin River, the water is clearing in certain locations, and the largemouth bass are responding in kind. Randy Pringle, the Fishing Instructor, reported, “There is a small window for topwater lures on specific tides and locations, but the window is very short. We have been scoring with the ima Little Stick in shad patterns such as bone, white, or chrome, and all of these fish have been close to the bank. The key is to pitch the worm along the bank and work it back with a slow presentation. The Berkley 10-inch Power Worm in blacks or blue on a Texas-rig is another good option, and we have landed largemouths in the 6 to 7-pound range pitching this up tight to the bank.” Dan Mathisen of Dan’s Delta Outdoors said, “Sturgeon fishing is still good, and the black bass bite is starting to erupt. The largemouth bass bite is improving and a 15-pounder was landed on a white spinnerbait on Wednesday afternoon. Reaction baits such as Alabama rigs or swimbaits are working for the big largemouth bass.” Doug Chapman of Gotcha Bait in Antioch said, “Striped bass are taking off, and there have been limits landed from the Antioch Fishing Pier with sardines as more and more keepers are showing up.” Jim Pickens of the Fishermen’s Friend in Lodi reported, “If you can get away from the dirty water you can get some good action for largemouth bass with plastics on the drop-shot, Senkos or jerkbaits working in clean water. In the stained water, spinnerbaits, chatterbaits and jigs do better, and King Island, Mildred Island, and Franks Tract are decent areas, specifically if you can get a ripple on the water.” Steve Santucci of Steve Santucci’s Fly Fishing Guide Service said, “Delta fishing is heating up. We are catching good numbers of fish with a few nice ones mixed with most of the fish taken on a sparse unweighted 3-inch fly. The fish seem to want a small offering. This could change tomorrow. The water is still in the 52-55 degree range and slightly off color.”
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. The Best Bass Tournaments held a tournament at Nacimiento on Saturday with 49 boats participating, and the top spotted bass came in at 2.77 pounds with a five-fish winning limit of 9.64 pounds. Several limits in the 8-pound range were weighed in. Plastics on the drop-shot or jigs on a dead-stick presentation remain the top techniques. Some large crappie to 2.60 pounds have been landed on live minnows, but there is a health warning for eating all species of fish out of Nacimiento. San Antonio remains closed as a result of extremely low water conditions at the lake, and it has been closed since July 1st of last year. The launch ramp at Lopez is anticipated to remain open for the remainder of the season, and there are several tournaments on the lake during February. Santa Margarita remains less than 15% of capacity. The marina store is open for supplies and rental vessels.
Call: Lake Nacimiento (805) 238-1056, ext. 3; Lake San Antonio Marina (805) 472-2818; Central Coast Bass Fishing.com (805) 466-6557
- Sonora Bass Anglers on Feb. 6 at Don Pedro: 1, Mike and Michael Taylor 14.14-lbs ; 2, Josh Parris/Jeremiah Payne 14.00; 3, Larry and Mike Freeman 11.30; big fish, Mike Cardoza 4.47
- Best Bass Tournaments on Feb. 13at Pine Flat: 1, Rod Burns/Denny Bowlin 12.71 pounds (big fish 4.13) ; 2, Gary Wasson/Daniel Moreno 8.87; 3, Jeff and Kristi Dalessandro 8.11
- Best Bass Tournaments on Feb. 13 at Nacimiento: 1, Scott and Tim Mullins 9.64 pounds; 2, Chase Austin/Jeramie Dyer 9.08 (big fish 2.77); 3, Steve Morris/Walter Kondracki 8.87
- Feb. 25: Shaver Lake Trophy Trout Seminar, with lake experts discussing techniques for catching smallmouth, kokanee and trout, 6 p.m. at Herb Bauers Sporting Goods in Fresno
- Feb. 26-28: 39th annual Central Valley Sportsmen Boat and RV Show, Kern County, calshows.com
- Saturday: Tracy Bass Club at Delta/Tracy Oasis; Best Bass Tournaments/Kerman Bass Club at Don Pedro; Sierra Bass Club at McClure; Kern County Bassmasters at Pine Flat; The 12th annual Kern County Sheriff Activity League Fishing Derby at The Park at the Riverwalk; Tri-Valley Bass Club at Nacimiento
- Sunday: Fresno Bass Club at McClure
- Feb. 27: Christian Bass League at Delta/Ladd’s Marina; Bass Anglers of Northern California at Delta/Russo’s Marina; Angler’s Press at New Melones; American Bass Association at Kaweah; San Luis Obispo Bass Ambushers at Lopez
- March 5: Fifth annual Bakersfield Fire Fighters Trout Derby and Pancake Breakfast at The Park at the Riverwalk
- March 19: Best Bass Tournament at New Melones; Addathon Iron Man Sturgeon Derby at Delta/Pittsburg Marina
- Fresno County: Avocado Lake; Woodward Park Lake; Kings River, below Pine Flat Dam
- Kern County: Cuddy Creek Pond; Ming Lake; River Walk Lake
- Madera County: Sycamore Island Pond
f = full moon > = peak activity