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 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
The California Aqueduct continues to draw anglers and the spring-like weather improved the action with the best activity south of Huron. “There have been more boils resulting in top-water action,” Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said. “Mendota Slough is cold and muddy, but largemouth bass in the 1.5- to 2-pound range have been caught along with schoolie striped bass.” Meng Xyong, of the Fishaholics out of Fresno, reported, “Fishing continues to be slow up north with anglers grinding through the day for a few fish. Catfish is popular with the slow striper bite. Many are catching them using cut bait. The south ’ducts seem to be the best bet with anglers catching fish on a variety of lures and techniques. A fisherman fishing the central ’ducts landed a monster striper using minnows. It was weighed on location with two separate scales at 40 pounds. The night bite is producing with SpeedLure lipless lures. Many are also catching fish using Rat-L-Traps or flukes. A slower presentation on the bottom or bouncing back the lure can entice stripers to bite. Water continues to be murky in the north ’ducts and downstream of O’Neill Forebay.” In Kern County, Jacob Rutledge of Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield said, “Highway 166 and Old River is the top area for largemouth bass while the aqueduct along the Lerdo Highway is best for striped bass and catfish.” The water is once again flowing in the area near the Buena Vista Golf Course. The recent popularity of the California 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.
Bass 2; Trout 2; Bluegill 2; Catfish 2; Crappie 2
Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis and Patrick Movey of the Fishermen’s Warehouse in Fresno reported an improved bass bite. “Bank fishermen are walking the banks with Senko or plastic worms for a few quality fish in the 2- to 4-pound range,” Gilbert said. Movey confirmed the improvement with the occasional quality fish taken on Senkos or jigs. Richard Mesa and Ruben Rivera of Madera landed largemouth bass to 7.10 pounds Sunday, so there is the opportunity for trophy fish. 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 bald eagles nesting there. The area will reopen Aug. 1. The lake rose nearly one foot to 490.36 feet in elevation and 17% capacity.
Call: Six Star Tackle Box 673-5688; Eastman Lake 689-3255
Bass 2; Trout 2; Catfish 2; Bluegill 2; Crappie 2
Patrick Movey of the Fishermen’s Warehouse in Fresno reported planted trout are starting to show up with bass fishermen hooking the planters on drop-shot plastics. A few quality bass have been caught on Senkos or plastic worms. Both the Buckeye and Hidden View launch ramps are open, with Buckeye on the top ramp and Hidden View on the middle one. The water clarity is stained from the inflow, but it has been clearing up steadily. The lake rose nearly 2 feet to 23% capacity and 480.36 feet in elevation.
Call: Fresno Fisherman’s Warehouse 225-1838; Valley Rod Gun, Clovis 292-3474; Six Star Tackle Box 673-5688; U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Hensley Lake Hidden Dam 673-5151
Lake Don Pedro
Bass 3; Trout 2; Kokanee 1; King salmon 2; Crappie 2
Bass fishing is the best show in town with 76 teams of anglers descending on the lake during Saturday’s Best Bass Tournament with 19 limits in excess of 10 pounds and the top limit at 15.47 pounds. “There were a number of smallmouth bass weighed in during the tournament, which is unusual for this time of year, so all indicators are for an early spawn,” said tournament director Kevin Cheek. “A variety of techniques were reported including drop-shot plastics, swimbaits, glide baits, and jigs.” Some fish are moving into the shallows, but the majority of the action remains at 10-30 feet deep. Monte Smith of Gold Country Sport Fishing scouted the back portion of the lake near Moccasin, and there is a launch ramp operation for shallow drafting boats there. This is an option in addition to the Flemings Meadow ramp. The lake rose over 4 feet to 715.55 feet in elevation and 45% 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 3; Trout 2; Crappie 2; Catfish 3; Bluegill 2
The big news in the Bakersfield area is the The 39th Annual Central Valley Sportsmen Boat and RV Show on Friday-Sunday at the Kern County Fairgrounds. Information is available at www.calshows.com. Jacob Rutledge at Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield reported a hot largemouth bass and rainbow trout bite at Lake Ming, with a 7-pound bass taken on a 10-inch Deadly Duo plastic worm in green weenie. Power Bait, nightcrawlers or salmon eggs are all working for planted trout. With last weekend’s trout derby along with another March 5, the Park at the Riverwalk is also a top option for planted trout with anglers scoring limits. At Lake Isabella, few bass fishermen are willing to launch their boats in the low water conditions, so catfish remain the top species with a variety of baits near Engineer’s Point. The 27th Annual Lake Isabella Trout Derby is March 19-21, with early registration closing at 4 p.m. Feb. 29. Sign up at www.kernrivervalley.com. The week prior to the derby, the lake will be planted with 9,000 pounds of rainbows along with another 5,000 pounds purchased from the Chaulk Mound Trout Ranch. The launch ramp is on the dirt and a four-wheel drive vehicle is needed. The lake rose one foot to 2528.07 feet in elevation and 7% capacity. In the lower Kern River, fishing remains relatively slow with the exception of bass on live baits. The local lakes of Ming and RiverWalk are to be planted with catchable trout every two weeks. The RiverWalk is hosting the 5th Annual Bakersfield Fire Fighters Trout Derby and Pancake Breakfast on March 5. Buena Vista is still planted with rainbow trout, and fishermen are also heading to the lake with small to medium minnows for crappie.
Call: Bob’s Bait (661) 833-8657; North Fork Marina (760) 376-1812
Bass 2; Crappie 3; Trout 2; Catfish 2
The lake level is back on the rise, coming up 10 feet to 612.50 feetin elevation and 16% capacity after two weeks of dropping precipitously. Sierra Sporting Goods in Exeter reported the bass bite is improving, and the fish are moving into the shallows in the afternoon. Reaction baits are working for the larger grade of fish, but numbers can be found at 20-30 feet deep with plastics on the drop-shot. Crappie fishing is good with small to medium minnows around submerged structure. The water level has reached the trees near Horse Creek, and many crappie fishermen are concentrating in this area. Trout action has slowed to a crawl.
Call: Sierra Sporting Goods 592-5212
Bass 2; Trout 1; Catfish 2; Crappie 2
Chuck Stokke of Sequoia Fishing Company in Springville reported a few bass fishermen are coming to the lake, and the action is fair at best. “There are carp slurping all over the surface, and this species is a blast to hook and release on a fly rod as they put up a great fight,” Stokke said. No plants are scheduled for the lake this year. The lake rose 4.5 feet to 607.73 feet in elevation and 22% capacity. The Tule River has an excellent flow, and Stokke advised fly-fishing with nymphs such as Pheasant Tail Flashbacks or Hare’s Ear on a slow and patient presentation. The river will be planted at all of the campgrounds later this spring, and there should be plenty of planted trout in the river in addition to the native browns and rainbows. Stokke is featured in the March/April issue of Southwest Fly Fishing magazine with an article on the Big Kern River, and he touts fly fishing on the Big Kern via horseback as an excellent adventure.
Call: Sequoia Fishing Co. 539-5626, sequoiafishingcompany.com
Bass 3; Trout 2; King salmon 1; Kokanee 1; Crappie 2; Catfish 2
Harold Hass of the Fresno Bass Club reported great bass action Saturday. “We were finally able to launch ... and it was worth the wait,” he said. Thirty-three out of 35 anglers got limits, with Joe Alanis having a 23.68-pound limit topped with an 8.38 largemouth. Most anglers using spinnerbaits, crank baits and jigs. The water is stained and about 51 degrees. The Barrett Cove South Ramp is open. There are houseboats in several locations on the lake with the marinas moving the boats into deeper water, and there are no-wake zones throughout the lake. Maintenance work is being completed on one of the gates at the dam. The lake has risen to 17% capacity and 659.14 feet in elevation.
Call: A-1 Bait (209) 563-6505; Bub Tosh (209) 404-0053
Trout fishing has been best from the banks near the campgrounds with blue/chrome Kastmasters or garlic rainbow trout dough bait. Bass are also showing up for trout fishermen as a number of fish have come over the spillway from Lake McClure with the water releases over the past several months. The lake is down a few feet as work on the dam at McClure continues.
Call: McSwain Marina (209) 378-2219
Millerton Lake/San Joaquin River
Bass 3; Striper 1; Shad 1; Bluegill 1; Trout 2
Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun said few bass fishermen are targeting the lake and the water temperature has risen to 52-54 degrees. Gilbert went out Wednesday for four keepers out of seven fish in big wind. He went into the river arm to get out of the wind, adding, “Some fish have moved up in the afternoons from 8 to 10 feet, and spinnerbaits are working in the shallows on warm afternoons. The best action remains on the bottom with jigs or shad-patterned plastic worms on the drop-shot.” Patrick Movey of the Fishermen’s Warehouse said, “There have been a few spinnerbait fish in the warm afternoons as the fish are moving up on occasion, but the best fishing is on the bottom with jigs or drop-shot plastics.” Striper fishing remained slow. All boats need to possess a low-emission sticker on their motors. The lake has come up to 47% capacity, rising over 4 feet to 509.86 feet in elevation. In the San Joaquin River, boaters with jet engines are able to work the river for bass, and a few trout are taken at Sycamore Island. A regular group of fishermen are heading to Woodward Park for planted rainbows with Power Bait. From Friant Dam downstream on the San Joaquin River to the Highway 140 Bridge, only two hatchery trout or hatchery steelhead are allowed with a total of four hatchery trout or hatchery steelhead in possession. The hatchery fish have a healed adipose fin clip.
Call: Fresno Fisherman’s Warehouse 225-1838; Valley Rod & Gun 292-3474
New Melones Reservoir/Tulloch
Bass 3; Crappie 2; Catfish 2; Trout 2; Kokanee 1
At New Melones, trout fishing remains fair, but there has been more successful outings within the past few weeks. John Liechty of Glory Hole Sporting Goods said, “Anglers have reported catching planted fish as well as an occasional holdover, but it remains an extremely slow trout season in comparison to past years.” Bank fishing has been best with a standard bait rig with trout dough bait, nightcrawlers or marshmallows off of the bottom near the Highway 49 Bridge and off of Glory Hole Point. Heavy spoons such as Kastmasters or Krocodiles are also working on a long cast from the shoreline into deeper water. John Wilson and Harold Odahlen caught two limits of trout while fishing with Kastmasters from the shore. Trollers should try working over the existing river channel upriver at 10-40 feet deep in order to keep clear of any submerged timber with light trolling spoons near the surface as well as larger minnow-plugs deeper. Kokanee have yet to show, and it will be until April before the landlocked salmon start showing up before peak season between May and September. Bass fishing remains good with the spring-like weather. “Everyone seems to be catching some fish,” Liechty said. “It may feel like spring, but many fish are still holding in deeper water and on a winter pattern. The key to getting a bite is to fish patiently with a slow retrieve with jigs in brown, purple or green pumpkin on a football head. Some days, the fish are biting jigs, and they will favor a soft plastic presentation such as shad or crawdad-patterned worms or creature baits on a drop-shot, shakey head, or Texas rig.” Glory Hole Sporting Goods advised carefully releasing all largemouth bass and the bigger spotted bass into the lake as the spawn is near and many fish will be holding eggs. Catfishing is improving and there are some large whiskerfish moving into the shallows. Large chunks of frozen shad, mackerel, anchovies or sardines are the top baits. Crappie fishing is also picking up with the best action with live minnows on light tackle in the brush along coves and pockets off of the main lake. The launch ramp at Glory Hole Point is a two-lane dirt and gravel road with no courtesy dock. The lake continues to rise, coming up over 3 feet to 844.84 feet in elevation and 18% capacity.
Call: Glory Hole Sports (209) 736-4333; Monte Smith (209) 581-4734; Danny Layne – Fish’n Dan (209) 586-2383; Sierra Sport Fishing (209) 599-2023
Pine Flat Reservoir/Kings River
Bass 2; Trout 2; King salmon 1; Catfish 2; Crappie 2; Kokanee 0
The bass bite remains inconsistent with the majority of bass holding at 30-35 feet deep and hitting plastics on the drop-shot, split shot, dart head or on jigs. Merritt Gilbert said, “The reaction bite is slow, but there is the occasional fish taken on spinnerbaits, ripbaits, or chatterbaits when the fish are coming up in the afternoons. The swimbait bite is either slow – or it is taking place and fishermen are keeping it quiet.” Patrick Movey confirmed the overall tough bass bite, but he said, “The fish are coming up into the shallows on warm afternoons, but the reaction bite is slow. The best fishing is on the bottom with jigs or drop-shot plastics.” Trout fishing is attracting more trollers, but the bite has been slow. A debris barricade has been placed across the lake below Trimmer.The lake continues to rise with an increase of 6 vertical feet to 778.48 feet in elevation and 25% capacity. Trout fishermen have been heading to the lower Kings, but despite the recent trout plants, action has been slow. There are special regulations in both the Kings River above and below Pine Flat Dam. The season is open from the last Saturday in April to Nov. 15 from Pine Flat Dam downstream to U. S. Army Corps of Engineers Bridge on Pine Flat Road with a five-fish limit. The Army Corps of Engineer’s Bridge is the first bridge to the west of the dam.
Call: Fresno Fisherman’s Warehouse 225-1838; Valley Rod & Gun 292-3474; Sequoia Fishing Co. 539-5626; The I Forgot Store 787-3689
San Luis Reservoir and O’Neill Forebay
Striper 2; Catfish 2; Bass 2; Crappie 2
The lake continues to rise with heavy pumping out of the south Delta and is up to 41%capacity with an increase of 12,714 acre feet Monday. Coyote Bait in Morgan Hill reported the top action at the main lake has been with jumbo minnows near the bottom, and one angler picked up a limit at 18 and 28 pounds on minnows. The wind has limited the number of trollers working the main lake. Roger George of Roger George Guide Service said that trolling bite has been pretty tough with the heavily stained and rising water scattering the suspending fish. “It’s been hard to find the daily moving schools, especially on the heavy pumping days,” he said. “The water clarity has improved from under a foot to almost 3 feet in some areas of the lake, and I’ve found water temps to over 59 degrees in the afternoon. I’m only picking up a few fish now. I’ve had several good anglers calling me to confirm the tough bite.” Interest in bank fishing has increased with most fishermen using blood worms, pile worms, anchovies or jumbo minnows. In the forebay, jumbo minnows are producing schoolie stripers for kayak fishermen, power boaters and bank fishermen. Anchovies, blood worms, or pile worms have also been effective for small stripers with the best action 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 and is at 65% capacity. Launching a boat at the public ramp is easy, but there are only a few boats on the lake on most days. Trout fishing remains slow, and few anglers are heading to the lake in search of largemouth or spotted bass.
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 to the area is limited to snowmobile. The lakes are still very low with Edison at 5% capacity and Florence at 12%. The lower elevation Mammoth Pool rose to 35%.
Call: Vermilion Valley Resort at Edison Lake 259-4000
Shaver Lake/Huntington Lake
Kokanee 1; Trout 3
With the continued lack of trout trolling action at Pine Flat, Shaver Lake remains the top central valley location for trollers, especially during the past two weeks of clear and cool weather in the 50s and 60s during the daytime. Regular Shaver fishermen Earl Taniguchi, Carl House and Terry Walton tried for kokanee, but they caught and released over three limits of rainbow trout ranging between 14 and 17 inches using the Walton’s Sierra Gold spinners in pink, gold or orange in the triangle between the island, Black Rock and the entrance to the Boy Scout Cove. Dick Nichols of Dick’s Fishing Charters said, “The trio are avid kokanee fishermen, and when they do not find any kokanee, it is a clear sign that they haven’t biting. It may be a bit too early for the kokanee, but their success at catching trout is a promising sign for the coming season.” Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “There have been a number of boats heading up the hill, and Shaver is the only place they can be going to since Huntington is still snowed in. Trollers are finding good action at times running bright or fluorescent colored spinners in red or pink at three colors of lead core. One angler struggled one day with only a single fish, but he had limits by 10 a.m. the following day.” The Shaver Lake Trophy Trout Project will be featured Thursday night at Herb Bauer’s Sporting Goods for the Shaver Lake fishing seminar. Topics include kokanee fishing, Captain Jack Yandell, trolling and forecast for the 2016 season, fishing guide Dick Nichols, small mouth bass fishing, Bob Bernier, jigging and still fishing from a boat, Mike O’Connell and night fishing, Lee Gates. Also, Sheldon Sandstrom, owner of Sierra Marina, will give an update on the new ramp and other lake facilities. A big free raffle will follow. The event starts at 6 p.m. Contact Bob Sharton at Herb Bauer’s Sporting Goods for more details. Shaver dropped slightly to 57% capacity. Huntington rose slightly to 42%, but few, if any, fishermen are braving the snowy conditions.
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 opens once again during the springtime.
Call: Wishon RV Park 865-5361
Half Moon Bay
Crabs 3; Stripers 2
With the Dungeness crab season opening Feb. 13, there is finally a reason to start up a boat out of Pillar Point Harbor. Captain Tom Mattusch of the Huli Cat set his crab pots on the first day of the open season and said, “Limits have been the rule with as many as 43 legal crab in the pots. We haven’t had to measure the crab, and our limits this week were no problem at all.” Second captain Michael Cabanas ran the boat over the weekend, and easy limits were once again obtained. The limit is 10-crab per fishermen for the first time on a party boat. The Queen of Hearts out of Half Moon Bay Sport Fishing and the Salty Lady captained by Roger Thomas and Jerad Davis are still whale watching until the anticipated openings of ocean salmon and rockfish seasons in April.Further north at Pacifica, Rob Chaney of the Rusty Hook said, “The officials are keeping the pier open as much as possible, but it will shut down when the waves are breaking along the bottom of the pier. Crabbing has been very good from the pier with one of my friends putting in seven big crab from 7 to 7.5 inches within an hour using a snare. Perch fishing has also been good from the pier with blood or pile worms, and schoolie striped bass are even taken from the beaches with sand crabs.” 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 coastline 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
Stripers 2; Crabs 3
Chris Arcoleo of Chris’ Fishing Trips in Monterey reported continued outstanding Dungeness crab action with 20 limits of crab along with plenty of sand dabs on the Check Mate and 9 crab apiece to go with bucketloads of sand dabs on the Caroline on Sunday. Saturday was much of the same with a combined 40 limits of Dungeness crab on the Caroline and Check Mate.Allen Bushnell of Santa Cruz Kayak Fishing said, because there has been no sport or commercial crabbing this year, “the catch rate this week was fairly phenomenal.” The Santa Cruz Harbor entrance is still shoaled, though a skinny channel is developing along the east jetty. The channel is navigable for small craft at high tide, but Harbor officials do not recommend transiting the harbor mouth until the central channel is fully opened. The 12th Annual Sand Crab Classic Perch Derby is March 12 out of Santa Cruz, and all proceeds go to 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 3; Leopard shark 2; Sturgeon 2; Crabs 3
Outside the Golden Gate, Captain Jim Smith went out for Dungeness crab on Saturday and returned with 10 crab limits for all on board with jumbo crab the rule. Smith will be running the crab-only trips outside of the Golden Gate along with sturgeon/striped bass trips in the bay. The New Huck Finn out of Emeryville put in a combined 36 ten-crab limits on Friday and Saturday, and they are running the trips for $110/angler. Inside the bay, Keith Fraser of Loch Lomond Bait and Tackle in San Rafael said, “Striped bass are very abundant, and the little bass are furious out here. There have been a number of oversized sturgeon in the bay, and I suspect that many of the diamondbacks are still dining on herring down bay although there haven’t been any reports of herring spawns in the past week.” Chris Smith of Captain Hook Sport Fishing, currently out of Martinez Marina, traveled west into San Pablo Bay over the weekend, and he put Brad Martin of Vacaville and Parris Paida of Sacramento onto legal sturgeon at 42 and 57 inches respectively on Sunday on Big Red Worm lamprey eel along with five shakers released. A legal halibut was reported off of the Paradise Pier in Marin County, and sturgeon fishing remains good near the Pumphouse when the weather is right. In the Napa River, Sweeney’s Sports in Napa reported similar action in the lower end of the river for sturgeon while the striped bass are spread out throughout the length of the river.
San Luis Obispo
Surf perch 3
Surf perch fishing continues to be very popular with fishermen, and a number of anglers have been heading to Pismo Beach with blood worms for big barred perch. 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 from January through March. They have a two-for-one on rockfish trips in April. Bob’s Bait Bucket in Bakersfield has scheduled the 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 3; Sturgeon 2; Catfish 2; Bluegill 2
Striped bass are showing up in the Sacramento River, and trollers, bait fishermen and plug casters are finding their best action in the north Delta above the Rio Vista Bridge. Johnny Tran of New Romeo’s Bait and Tackle in Freeport said, “The striped bass are here, and they are ranging from shakers to 10 to 15 pounds on sardines loaded with garlic spray along with pile worms or blood worms. Largemouth bass are also in Steamboat Slough with spinnerbaits as the water is clearing up.” Clyde Wands, striper trolling expert, confirmed the striped bass action: “The stripers have arrived, and I had a great day on a solo trip this week with 11 keepers to 14 pounds with fish at 14, 12, and 11 released.” Tom Amberson, pro-staffer for Delta Wood Bombers, has been finding great action for stripers in the north Delta, and Kenji Nakagawa of Lodi, also a DWB pro-staffer, caught and released a quality striped bass on a glide bait Saturday. Alan Fong of the Fishermen’s Warehouse in Sacramento also weighed in on the striped bass bite in the north Delta, saying, “The water around Liberty Island is 61 degrees already inside of the island, and it is clearing up. Stripers to 8 pounds are possible, and one angler caught and released over 50 stripers on a recent trip on Fish Traps. Fong confirmed the sturgeon bite in the Sacramento River from Clarksburg to Merritt’s Landing, but there have been a number of oversized sturgeon released. Uncle Larry Barnes of Sacramento Pro Tackle said, “Sturgeon fishing has been best in the Hood/Clarksburg area, but the bite has been good one day, followed by very slow action.” Dan Mathisen of Dan’s Delta Outdoors said, “The sturgeon bite is still going on, but it is down a little bit. Guys are still catching them, but it has slowed somewhat. The best area has been Montezuma Slough, and everything has been on eel/nightcrawler or roe/nightcrawler combinations as the runoff from the ditches from the recent rains have brought the worms in the river. Jim Pickens of the Fishermen’s Friend in Lodi added, “Sturgeon fishing slowed some this week with the higher than normal temps and lack of rain, but with rain and cooler weather this week the bite should pick up. The waters of the San Joaquin River continue to clear, and largemouth bass are moving into the shallows as the water clears and warms up. “ Randy Pringle, the Fishing Instructor, reported, “There is a small window for top-water 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 10-inch Power Worm in black 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 in Oakley added, “Largemouth bass are on the verge of going bonkers, and spinnerbaits in orange or with bright blades are working along with Senkos as we have sold 50 bags on a single day this week. Fong added: “The bass are coming up, and they are right on the banks in one foot of water. I was hoping it wouldn’t warm up so quickly as they were holding off of the banks, and I picked up a 38-pound limit including largemouth bass at 12.5 and 10 pounds on a recent trip prior to the warmer weather. Chatterbaits and Senkos are working best.” Steve Santucci of Steve Santucci’s Fly Fishing Guide Service reported, “The Delta is starting to clear in most areas. We will be able to fish the west and north Delta which will increase our chances of catching a quality fish.” Jim Pickens of the Fishermen’s Friend in Lodi reported, “The change from high pressure to a low pressure front turned the largemouth bite off this week, but the cooler weather and rain should help flush the San Joaquin side of all the weeds and debris that’s been hanging around. ”
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; Striper 0; Catfish 2; Crappie 2
Nacimiento and Lopez remain the only coastal lakes where boats can be launched from a ramp with Lopez at 29% and Nacimiento at 23% capacity. Landing a 2-pound plus bass is a challenge at Naci, and the best action is taking place with plastics on the drop-shot or jigs along vertical walls. San Antonio remains closed as a result of extremely low water conditions. The launch ramp at Lopez is anticipated to remain open for the remainder of the season. Santa Margarita remains less than 15% 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 Feb. 20 at Don Pedro: 1, Butch Bray/Jeff Whited, 15.47 pounds (Big Fish, 5.64); 2, Sean Dryden/Dane Christensen, 15.41; 3, Johnny and Curtis Grissom, 13.85.
- Sierra Bass Club on Feb. 20 at Lake McClure: 1, Derek Smith, 12.09 pounds (Big Fish, 5.44); 2, Ryan Reynolds, 10.02; 3, Ray Armbrister, 9.97.
- Fresno Bass Club on Feb. 21 at Lake McClure: 1, Joe Alanis, 23.68 pounds (Big Fish, 8.38); 2, Byron Taylor, 14.47; 3, Ron Barksdale, 10.73.
- Thursday: 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
- Friday-Sunday: 39th annual Central Valley Sportsmen Boat and RV Show, Kern County, calshows.com
- 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
- Tulare County: Del Lago Park Lake
q = quarter moon > = peak activity