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, striper and bass bites exploding, Randy Pringle said. New Melones bass active, John Liechty reported. Kaweah crappie and bass hitting, Sierra Sporting Goods said. Success crappie on the prowl, Chuck Stokke reported. Half Moon Bays crabbing excellent, Tom Mattusch said.
Never miss a local story.
2-Have to work hard
4-Fish jumpin’ in boat
Delta Mendota Canal and Sloughs
Water releases remain steady. Meng Xyong, of the Fishaholics out of Fresno, reported, “It seems the unstable weather pattern is having an effect on the bite as well. Some anglers are having great success with easy limits one day while others are having a hard time catching the following day. The best action has been up north where anglers are catching stripers on SpeedLures and flukes. The quality of the fish isn’t there but your odds of catching something is more likely. Down south, catfish seem to be the top species to target. Jake Rath of Bakersfield landed several catfish in the 10-pound range using cut baits. The California Aqueduct is still producing big stripers. Isaias Lopez of Coalinga landed a striper in the 20-pound range over the weekend. With the recent rain and increased water flow, water clarity has decreased.” SpeedLures have been extremely popular, leading Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis to state, “We are selling all 40 that we receive every week due to high demand. There were only 3 left in the shop on Sunday afternoon.” In Kern County, water is flowing through the previously closed section near the Buena Vista Golf Course, but the access is limited. Striped bass and some huge catfish are being taken in the moving water on cut baits. 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 1; Bluegill 2; Catfish 2; Crappie 2
Heavy inflow and muddy water were the story over the past week as the lake was stained with the inflow. A few quality crappie to 1.5 pounds are taken on minnow or minijigs. Bass fishing is slow with the best action for fish to 1.75 pounds on jigs or plastics on the drop-shot. The northeastern portion of the lake behind the buoy line remains closed to all water recreation to protect the bald eagles nesting there for the winter. The area will reopen Aug. 1. The lake rose 10 feet to 506.72 in elevation and 27 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 has jumped up to 40 percent capacity from last week’s 25 percent, rising a foot per day in the past week to 497.51 in elevation. The bass and crappie bites remain slow in the highly stained water. Overall, the higher water will improve action as spring approaches. The Buckeye and Hidden View launch ramps are open. Bass fishing remains fair with most anglers heading to nearby Eastman.
Call: Fresno Fisherman’s Warehouse 225-1838; Valley Rod Gun, Clovis 292-3474; Six Star Tackle Box 673-5688; U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Hensley Lake Hidden Dam 673-5151
Lake Don Pedro
Bass 2; Trout 2; Kokanee 1; King salmon 2; Crappie 2
The lake continues to rise rapidly, more than a foot of inflow per day, as the lake came up 12 feet to 739.70 in elevation and 54 percent capacity. Bass fishing is limited to shad-patterned plastics on the drop-shot or shakey head with a dead-stick presentation. The fish are scattered with the rising lake levels. The trout action has yet to emerge, similar to New Melones, but a few planted trout are taken by trollers. Monte Smith of Gold Country Sport Fishing took a ride to check out the launch ramp conditions. “There were several boat trailers at every launch,” he said, “with the Fleming Meadows ramp capable of six lanes.” The Blue Oaks, Fleming Meadows, and Moccasin launch ramps are now on the concrete for the first time in more than a year. Fleming Meadows and Moccasin both have two floating docks. Jeff Boyle and Tony Lopes were up in the Moccasin area in search of king salmon, but found only a few small rainbow trout.
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, the 27th annual Kern River Valley Chamber of Commerce Lake Isabella Trout Derby will take place this weekend. Online registration is available at kernrivervalley.com. There is less interest than in past years, perhaps because of low lake levels. The lake will be planted with 5,000 pounds of Nebraska Tailwalkers and 4,000 pounds from the Department of Fish and Wildlife for the event. The best action in the lake continues to be for catfish around Engineers Point on live minnows or store-bought Atlantic salmon. A few crappie are showing up around submerged structure. The launch ramp is on the dirt, and a four-wheel-drive vehicle is necessary to put a boat into the lake. The lake rose 2 feet to 2,532.12 in elevation and 9 percent capacity. Trout action in the upper river remained slow despite recent trout plants. In the lower Kern River, the level is rising, but there have been few reports of largemouth or smallmouth during the past week. The muddy conditions at the local lakes have backed the bass away from the shorelines for the time being. Jacob Rutledge of Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield said, “Buena Vista planted trout on Friday, and the bass were starting before the rains. Catfish remain the top species.”
Call: Bob’s Bait (661) 833-8657; North Fork Marina (760) 376-1812
Bass 3; Crappie 3; Trout 1; Catfish 2
The crappie bite continues to be good with a number of Fresno-area fishermen heading south to Kaweah to work the submerged trees. Sierra Sporting Goods in Exeter reported solid bass fishing with live crawdads or minnows as the fish are moving into the shallows in less than 10 feet of water. Swimbaits were the ticket for largemouth bass over 9 pounds during Saturday’s Visalia Bass Club tournament, but jigs, lizards, Senkos, plastics on the drop-shot, and Brush Hogs are all working. They continue to sell loads of live minnows for crappie, and the rising water has covered up a number of trees in the Horse Creek area. With the warm surface temperature, the bass should be moving in for the spawn within the next full moon. The lake level is back on the rise, coming up 12 feet this week to 639.53 in elevation and 31 percent capacity.
Call: Sierra Sporting Goods 592-5212
Bass 2; Trout 1; Catfish 2; Crappie 3
Chuck Stokke of Sequoia Fishing Co. in Springville said, “Crappie are the hot thing around here with the slabsides in the marina and around the trees with live minnows and crappie jigs. Fly fishermen are also scoring with Woolley Buggers. Bass fishing is decent with Senkos, jigs, and crankbaits.” Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun confirmed the hot crappie bite, with Fresno-area fishermen heading south to find a few quality fish to 1.5 pounds. The lake rose 6 feet to 619.45 in elevation and 35 perent capacity. In the Tule River, Stokke said, “The river is kicking out some nice brown trout in the 10- to 16-inch range using spinners. The good weather this week should improve fishing for the weeks to come.”
Call: Sequoia Fishing Co. 539-5626, sequoiafishingcompany.com
Bass 3 Trout 2 King salmon 1 Kokanee 1 Crappie 2 Catfish 2
The lake has risen 31 feet within the past week to 703.77 and 27 percent capacity. The Barrett Cove North Ramp is open, and the South Cove may be up and operational soon. Walt Lee of the Kerman Bass Club reported 22 limits were weighed in out of 24 participants in Saturday’s club derby with the bass averaging in the 1- to 2-pound range with plastics on the drop-shot or jigs. The water is heavily stained from the rapid inflow.
Call: A-1 Bait (209) 563-6505; Bub Tosh (209) 404-0053
The water is stained from the inflow coming over Exchequer Dam at Lake McClure, and bank fishing has been limited in the off-color water. The lake has risen to the normal water level, but maintenance work continues on the Exchequer Dam at Lake McClure.
Call: McSwain Marina (209) 378-2534
Millerton Lake/San Joaquin River
Bass 3; Striper 2; Shad 1; Bluegill 1; Trout 2
Millerton Reservoir is rising leaps and bounds, moving up 15 vertical feet in the past week to 535.46 and 64 percent capacity with the launch on the next to highest ramp. A huge striped bass at 58 pounds was reported this week by Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun, but he is waiting for additional details on the massive fish. Gilbert said, “A local angler named Gary came into the shop to report that he caught and released a striped bass weighing 58 pounds while drifting a 6-inch minnow near the dam. According to him, the fish took 45 minutes to get to the boat, and they took a quick weight on a quality scale before releasing the fish back into the lake. He is supposed to bring in a photo of the fish this week.” For spotted bass, Gilbert reported a reaction bite on ripbaits, spinnerbaits or flukes along with a solid bite on the bottom with plastics on the drop-shot or Texas-rig. Gilbert added, “Anglers can expect to pick up between 15 to 20 fish with the better fish going to 3 pounds.” Patrick Movey of the Fisherman’s Warehouse in Fresno confirmed the solid action, and he added shad-patterned spinnerbaits or reaction baits working in the lake. There is an abundance of 1- to 1.5-inch shad in the reservoir, and the bass are loaded with the small shad, gorging themselves before the spawn. Working the bottom with Pro Worm’s Pro Gold or Robo Worm’s Hologram Shad on a shakey head, drop-shot or dart head are effective techniques for numbers. In the San Joaquin River, crappie and bass are being caught and released in the Sycamore Island Trout Pond, and the fourth annual Trout Derby will be held in the pond Saturday, with information at 248-8480. Regulations on the lower San Joaquin, and from Friant Dam downstream to the Highway 140 Bridge, allow only two hatchery trout or hatchery steelhead with a total of four in possession. The hatchery fish have a healed adipose fin clip. All wild steelhead or trout with an adipose fin must be released immediately.
Call: Fresno Fisherman’s Warehouse 225-1838; Valley Rod & Gun 292-3474
New Melones Reservoir/Tulloch
Bass 3; Crappie 2; Catfish 3; Trout 2; Kokanee 1
At New Melones, the launch ramp is anticipated to be back on the concrete by midweek after several months of a two-lane launch on gravel because of extremely low water conditions at the reservoir. The lake rose more than a foot per day, rising 14 feet during the past week to 866.20 in elevation and 23 percent capacity within the past week. Bass fishing remains strong with John Liechty of Glory Hole Sporting Goods in Angels Camp stating, “Wyatt Taylor and Peter Haskin had an awesome day at Melones, they reported the action being good all day using drop-shot and Texas rigs for smaller fish and later in the day they switched to S-wavers and caught some quality fish. The water was really warm 59-60 degrees and the fish were fairly shallow, at depths from 5-15 feet. They released all their fish and biggest of the day was 5 pounds, 1 ounce. The water is stained from the inflow, and it is best to use baits that disperse water and create vibration, and I recommend using a little chartreuse on the lures with darker colors working best in the off-color water. Blacks, blues, and purple are effective colors in these conditions, and working rubbers-skirted jigs off of structures is a good way for getting bit.” Liechty added that catfishing has improved with the warm rain filling all of the inlets along the shorelines. The whiskerfish are holding near the inlets, loading up on the various natural baits coming off the shore. Frozen shad, mackerel, anchovies, and nightcrawlers are all effective baits for catfish, especially when loaded up with scent. Trout action remains slow, and it has been a very tough winter for trout fishing as the rainbows never oriented themselves to the banks as in normal years. A few planters continue to be taken from the banks near the Highway 49 Bridge with trout dough baits, nightcrawlers or combinations of the two. Kokanee have yet to appear, but they should start showing up in April.
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
Patrick Movey and Merritt Gilbert confirmed the slow trout bite along with a tough bass bite because of heavy pressure on the lake from ongoing bass tournaments. The fish have moved shallower at depths from 15-20 feet, up from 40 feet, but the best action remains on the bottom with jigs or plastics on the drop-shot. The action has yet to break loose. The lake continues to rise, coming up over a foot per day with an increase of 11 vertical feet this week to 804.63 in elevation and 33 percent capacity. In the lower Kings River, trout anglers are finally reportedly picking up a few planters on spinners. Regulations in the Kings River above and below Pine Flat Dam set the season as running from the last Saturday in April to November 15 from Pine Flat Dam downstream to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Bridge on Pine Flat Road with a five-fish limit. The bridge is the first one west of the dam. The area from Cobbles (Alta) Weir downstream to the Highway 180 crossing is open all year with only artificial lures with barbless hooks with a zero limit. The Thorburn Spawning Channel, the 2,200-foot long channel located 5 miles downstream from Pine Flat Dam, and the reach of river within a 200-foot radius of the channel exit, are 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
San Luis Reservoir continues to jump up rapidly with heavy imports out of the south Delta, bringing the man-made lake to 48 percent capacity by week’s end. The striped bass have scattered into various parts of the lake with the heavy inflow, and there have been stripers to 28 pounds landed within the past weeks. Mickey Clements of Coyote Bait and Tackle in Morgan Hill said, “Trollers are doing well with 7-inch Smithwick lures, broken backed Rapalas, Lucky Craft Pointer 128’s, or P-Line Predator Minnows as the fish have moved deep. The moving water has scattered the schools from in front of the trash racks into Portuguese Cove. Al Martins, 93, of Hollister landed his personal best stripers at 28 and 18 pounds drifting jumbo minnows within the past two weeks, and we have been selling lots of jumbo and super-jumbo minnows.” Roger George of Roger’s Guide Service out of Fresno said, “We are quickly moving into the full blown spring striper season with more rain, rising water levels and warm temps fueling the action. Conditions are changing, so picking the right windows to fish can have big payoffs. It’s possible we may see San Luis get near the top, but the pace of pumping will have to increase considerably to do so by May. It’s been a transitional period with varying bites, just like it is almost every spring. I expect things to break out this week with a good forecast of nice warm weather!. Several of us are also helping put on the third annual Roosevelt Bass Fishing Clubs striper tourney in the big lake Sunday – it’s always fun.” George said. In the O’Neill Forebay, Clements said, “Largemouth and small striped bass are available for plug casters using Speed Lures or Duo Realis jerkbaits with the best action from the outlet to the Highway 33 Bridge. Jumbo blood worms or jumbo minnows are also effective in the stained water.”
Call: Coyote Bait and Tackle (408) 463-0711, Roger George of rogergeorgeguideservice.com (559) 905-2954
Bass 2; Trout 2; Kokanee 1
Todd Wittwer of Kokanee.net Guide Service will be launching his boat next weekend, and he said, “A few trout to 16 inches are starting to show up near the surface with Wedding Rings or spinners. There have been some very good bass reports from the few anglers working the lake.” Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun said, “Bass fishing is fair at best in the 50-degree water. There may be a solid swimbait bite as there should be at this time of year, but fishermen are keeping quiet if this is the case.” The lake has risen to the point where launching a boat is easy, and the courtesy dock is back in the water. The lake level should be held down by power generation and or spilling over the boards for the remainder of March. The boards will be installed April 1, and the lake will continue to rise once again. Power generation will be on hold after this date until the last week in August, losing about 2 feet of water during the summer. The lake is currently at 75 percent capacity.
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 7 percent and Florence at 21 percent. The lower elevation Mammoth Pool rose to 38 percent. Merritt Gilbert said, “Before the storm, a few anglers made it over the pass and found decent action for rainbow trout.”
Call: Vermilion Valley Resort at Edison Lake 259-4000
Shaver Lake/Huntington Lake
Kokanee 2; Trout 2
Heavy snow fell over the past weekend, limiting the number of boats on the lake. When the lake is accessible, kokanee can be taken from the triangle in front of Shaver Marina from Edison Cove to the east side of the point to the island and Black Rock. Dick Nichols of Dick’s Fishing Charters will start his trips in April, and he said, “The kokanee trio of Earl Tanaguchi, Carl House and Terry Walton will be out this week using Sierra Gold spinners tipped with corn in search of the landlocked salmon.” Shaver and Lake Pardee are the first reservoirs in the state to provide kokanee for trollers. Orange Apex lures with glitter and corn behind a dodger on one of the downriggers and a Captain Jack’s orange Super Hoochie with corn behind a dodger on the second downrigger at depths of 20 feet are also effective. Fish and Wildlife planted about 150,00 rainbows last year in response to low water conditions at the San Joaquin Hatchery, and there are plenty of holdover rainbows in the lake. The 2016 Fish and Wildlife allotment will be less than normal, but the Shaver Lake Trophy Trout Project will be making two plants of trophy-sized fish within the next few months. The project’s dinner, the major fundraiser for the group, is Aug. 13 at Shaver Lake Community Hall. Shaver held at 58 percent capacity. At Huntington, the lake dropped to 43 percent, but several feet of snow blanketed the region over the weekend.
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. Chuck Crane of the Wishon Village RV Park and Store called to report that boat lakes are filling up nicely. The rainbows will be holding over until the road reopens in spring.
Call: Wishon RV Park 865-5361
Half Moon Bay
Weather remains the only factor limiting crab action for party boats, but this week will feature much improved conditions. Captain Tom Mattusch of the Huli Cat out of Pillar Point Harbor said, “Crabbing remains spectacular, but we were unable to get out over the weekend, but I anticipate the ability to crab this week.”Mattusch will continue to run crab-only, sand dab/crab and whale watching until the rockfish opener. Rockfish season opens below Pigeon Point on April 1 and above Pigeon Point to Point Arena on April 15. The California Kayak and Canoe Co. will be offering their kayak fishing safety and rescue class on April 23 at Pillar Point Harbor, and these are essential skills for anyone fishing in the ocean. Registration is available at fareharbor.com/calkayak/items/14239/.
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
Keith Stemler of Chris’ Fishing Trips in Monterey said, “We didn’t go out on Sunday, but the Check Mate loaded up with 26 limits of Dungeness crab along with bucketloads of sand dabs on Saturday. We will be running every day this week as the weather is anticipated to be excellent.” The Sand Crab Classic Perch Derby took place Saturday in rainy conditions, but this didn’t damper the enthusiasm of the 300 participants vying for trophies in a number of categories. The derby is a fundraiser for the Monterey Bay Salmon and Trout Project, and it is organized by Captain Mike Baxter and Allen Bushnell. The Grandmaster Award was taken by Chris Tran – a 2-pound, 6-ounce barred perch on clams at Aptos.
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 Jim Smith said, “The Lovely Martha was also trolling on Sunday during the rain, and they did pick up a 15-pound halibut.” He thought the sturgeon bite in San Pablo Bay would take off within the next week with all of the fresh water inflow. Keith Fraser of Loch Lomond Bait and Tackle in San Rafael is looking forward to the coming weeks for sturgeon with the conditions in San Pablo Bay similar to the great conditions in other El Nino years. The inflow of fresh water and chocolate brown color make for great sturgeon action. He said, “Things are just perfect, and even I hope to get out this week.” There were four sturgeon hooked off McNear’s Pier over the weekend in horrible storm conditions, including two shakers and an oversized in addition to a legal diamondback. Striped bass are thick in the bay, but the muddy water will limit the action to bait fishing. Captain Mike Andrews of Predator Sport Fishing said, “Things are working up to an extremely interesting spring. The previous weekend we had a total of six slot-limit sturgeon, an oversized, and several shakers that were oh, so close. But it was the other fish, along with the sturgeon was a giant male leopard shark that tipped the scales at 28 pounds and a 31-inch halibut that took a ghost shrimp. The warm water sparked a really good artificial bite along the shores of San Pablo Bay and up in the Napa River. With the rains coming, there will be more good action for sturgeon. The big summer run we had a few years ago is still fresh in our minds since we had super good sturgeon fishing extending into July.”
San Luis Obispo
Surf Perch 3
Virg’s Landing in Morro Bay is now taking reservations for this year’s two-day trips aboard the Princess along the Big Sur coastline. The trips leave on Friday night and return Sunday evening at $295 per angler for the boat, bait, and bunk on limited loads of 24 fishermen. Two limits are possible and generally the rule on these trips. The trip dates are available at virgslanding.com. They also have a 2-for-1 special during April, with a voucher given for an additional trip with the purchase of two trips. Out of Patriot Sport Fishing in Port San Luis, nature cruises will be running on the weekends, 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 March. 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. Pismo Beach continues to be the top location for surf perch anglers, and the perch are biting Berkley Camo or Sand Worms along with sand crabs, pile worms or blood worms.
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 3; Catfish 3; Bluegill 3
The stripers are coming, but they will be hard to find in the wall of mud and debris that has rushed down from the upper Sacramento River due to heavy water releases out of Folsom Reservoir and the swollen state of the Feather and Sacramento Rivers. Johnny Tran of New Romeo’s Bait and Tackle in Freeport said, “The Sacramento River is high and muddy, and there are sturgeon out there for the taking.” With the muddy water, sturgeon are the top species in the Sacramento side of the Delta, and Captain Steve Talmadge of Flash Sport Fishing said, “I took a young couple from South Carolina sturgeon fishing. We had some great action during the flood tide just left outside of the harbor.” Andy Doudna, organizer of this coming weekend’s Addathon Iron Man Sturgeon Derby out of Pittsburg, reported the following, “Sturgeon fishing the last two weeks has created a challenge for all of us with the weather conditions. We saw very high winds the majority of the week, but there were breaks here and there, allowing anglers to fish most anywhere. We are seeing a second flush in the Delta system from the current rains and water release from overflows, and this in my opinion will create better fishing then we've seen in the past years. I would expect to see fisherman catching more sturgeon from Prospect and Liberty all the way down the Sacramento River to Suisun Bay and Montezuma Slough.” The Addathon Derby starts at 6 a.m. Saturday and runs until 1 p.m. Sunday. Information is available at email@example.com. Doudna was the top finisher in the past weekend’s California Striped Bass Association’s Isleton Chapter’s sturgeon derby with a 54-inch sturgeon landed on eel off Roe and Ryer Islands in 39 feet of water despite the 25 mph winds. Curtis Hayes of Benicia Bait said, “There are few reports from the past weekend with the 20 mph winds plaguing the main river and bay, but I expect good fishing in lower Suisun Bay this coming week.” Another tournament in the Delta this week is the New Romeo’s Sturgeon Derby out of Freeport. The Central Valley Anglers Spring Striper Derby is March 27 out of Sandy Beach, with information at centralvalleyanglers.org. The San Joaquin River is kicking out big sacks of largemouth bass despite the heavy storms, and the action is bound to get better in the coming weeks. Randy Pringle, the Fishing Instructor, found great action for largemouth bass early last week with client Richard Dill of Elk Grove. Dill landed a personal best 10-pound largemouth on a Berkeley Flat. Pringle said, “We put in a five-fish limit in the 28- to 31-pound range with a pair in the 6.5- to 7-pound range along with bass at 3 and 4 pounds. I was trying with the Persuader spinnerbait in the morning, but I couldn’t get bit on either the spinnerbait or the crankbait. The conditions looked perfect with the overcast skies and stained water, but the fish wanted a slow presentation in moving water with enough current to move the weeds. This is a feeding zone for the bass and working these areas was a key to getting bit. We scored with the slow presentation both flipping and pitching the Flat Dog greenpumpkin/blue gold flake on a Zappu Head. When the water is really dark, I will switch to a black/blue gold flake plastic. You have to fish slower to get the fish to bite.” Dan Mathisen of Delta Dan’s Outdoors in Oakley confirmed the hot bite, stating, “Limits in the 30-pound range were common this weekend despite the storms, but the area of opportunity is much smaller as there is only limited clear water in the central Delta. There is a reaction bite with spinnerbaits or chatterbaits and anglers are using spinnerbaits in chartreuse/white, white/white, chartreuse/blue, or orange with chatterbaits in black/blue, black/red, or chartreuse/blue. The Strike King Red Eye Shad in Chili Craw is also a hot bait.”
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. Best Bass Tournaments held an event at Nacimiento over the weekend, and there were spotted bass to 4.37 pounds landed, but the majority of legal fish were in the 1- to 2-pound range. Reaction baits brought in the larger fish, but drop-shot plastics or jigs on a slow presentation are working best for numbers along areas with deep water access such as ledge or drop-offs. Small fish are the rule. Crappie are showing up around structure with live bait. San Antonio remains closed indefinitely as a result of extremely low water conditions at 4 percent capacity and high operating expenses. The launch ramp at Lopez is anticipated to remain open for the remainder of the season, but there is no report for the lake. Santa Margarita remained at less than 15 percent capacity, but the crappie bite is picking up with live minnows or minijigs. 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
- Hook Line and Sinker on March 12-13 on Delta/Russo’s Marina: 1, Patrick Zappoin/Waynen Antoine 53.09; 2, John Garrett/Tony Vaughn 51.06; 3, Donniell Butler/Hulen Johnson 50.67 (big fish 8.64)
- Best Bass Tournaments on March 12 at Don Pedro: 1, La Xiong/Shadowns Vangyi 16.81 pounds; 2, Ralph and Ashley Encizo 16.16 (big fish 8.60 pounds; 3, Rich and Ron Ingram 16.09
- Kerman Bass Club on March 12 at McClure: 1, Ryan Vorhees 10.89 pounds.; 2, Mitch Melikian 10.70 (big fish 4.72 pounds); 3, Jeff Farmer 10.48
- Visalia Bass Club on March 12 at Kaweah: 1, Krandell and Vince Bryan 18.42 pounds (big fish 9.01); 2, Terry Hamlin/Bryan Shishido 11.86; 3, Kyle Manes/Bobby Blaswich 11.45
- Best Bass Tournaments on March 12 at Nacimiento: 1, Danny Conatser/Dan Dostal 12.03 pounds (big fish 4.73); 2, Jason and Geno Lazzerini 10.45; 3, Chase Austin/Jeramie Dyer 10.39
- Friday-Sunday: New Romeo’s Bait and Tackle Sturgeon Derby at Delta/Freeport
- Saturday: Best Bass Tournaments at New Melones; Kern County Bassmasters at Kaweah
- Saturday-Sunday: Addathon Iron Man Sturgeon Derby at Delta/Pittsburg Marina
- Sunday: Tracy Bass Club at Delta/Tracy Oasis;California Delta Team Trail at Delta/Russo’s Marina; Riverbank Bass Anglers at Don Pedro; Roosevelt High Bass Fisher’s Striped Bass Derby at San Luis; Kings River Bass Club at Eastman
- March 23: Riverbank Bass Anglers at Don Pedro
- March 25: E and J Gallo at Don Pedro
- March 26: Dan’s Delta Outdoors at Delta/Big Break Marina; American Bass Association at Don Pedro; Success Bass Club at Success; Lake Isabella Bass Club at Isabella; San Luis Obispo Bass Anglers at Nacimiento
- March 27: Central Valley Anglers Striped Bass Derby at Delta/Sandy Beach
- Fresno County: Avocado Lake; Woodward Park Lake; Kings River, below Pine Flat Dam
- Kern County: Brite Valley Reservoir; Lake Isabella
- Madera County: Sycamore Island Pond
q = quarter moon > = peak activity