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, stripers and bass hitting, Andy Doudna said. Millerton spots hungry, Merritt Gilbert reported, Kaweah bass on the beds, Dave Hurley said. McClure bass bite solid, Mike Gomez reported, New Melones bass, trout and catfish bites good, John Liechty said.
2-Have to work hard
4-Fish jumpin’ in boat
Delta Mendota Canal and Sloughs
Stripers 3; Catfish 3
In the California Aqueduct, Meng Xyong, of the Fishaholics out of Fresno, reported, “The warmer weather has increased fish activity. Cut baits remain the top technique for stripers ranging from undersized to barely legal. Those throwing SpeedLures jerkbaits and flukes are also having luck at the canal. The catfish bite is taking off with several anglers catching fish all over the aqueduct. The Delta Mendota Canal continues to entertain anglers, with many landing several shakers using the same techniques from the California Aqueduct.” In the south aqueduct, Jacob Rutledge of Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield reported an excellent bite for small stripers with Gitzits in pumpkin along with sardines, blood worms and lug worms. There has been a surge of poaching activity recently at the Aqueduct and Delta Mendota Canal. If you witness or have information about a poaching or polluting incident or any fish and wildlife violation, call the 24-hour toll-free CalTIP number 888-334-CALTIP (334-2258). Anonymous tips may be sent to Fish and Wildlife using tip411, an internet-based tool from CitizenObserver.com that enables the public to text information to wildlife officers, who can respond as part of an anonymous two-way conversation. Anyone with a cell phone may send an anonymous tip to Fishing and Wildlife by texting “CALTIP,” followed by a space and the message to 847411 (tip411). There also is a free CALTIP smartphone app, available via the Google Play and iTunes stores. Be prepared to give the fullest possible account of the incident, including name, address, age and other description of the suspect and vehicle, direction of travel, license number, type of violation and when and where it occurred. Trash and debris left along the aqueduct’s levees remain a major problem, and fishermen are advised to pack out anything they bring in to maintain the ability to fish these valuable locations.
Bass 3; Trout 2; Bluegill 2; Catfish 2; Crappie 2
The lake continues to rise, coming up to 35 percent capacity and 518.62 feet in elevation. Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun said, “There are numbers of 14-inch bass roaming the banks. There always remains the opportunity to pick up a trophy bass, but most bass are cookie-cutters at depths from the banks to 8 feet.” Patrick Movey of the Fisherman’s Warehouse added, “Senkos in green pumpkin, watermelon red, or Baby Bass along with plastics on the drop-shot or Texas rig are the top producing lures.” The occasional catfish is landed on anchovies. There are reports of fishermen removing largemouth bass from the lake smaller than the 22-inch limit as Eastman is a designated trophy lake. The northeastern portion of the lake behind the buoy line is closed to all water recreation until Aug. 1 to protect bald eagles nesting there for the winter.
Call: Six Star Tackle Box 673-5688; Eastman Lake 689-3255
Bass 2; Trout 2; Catfish 2; Bluegill 2; Crappie 2
The water is clearer than at nearby Eastman, but most bass are in the 11- to 12-inch range with limits in the 5- to 6.5-pound range culled from 15-18 fish landed on plastics. Few fishermen are targeting the lake. An occasional catfish is taken on cut baits or chicken livers. The lake has risen to 55 percent capacity, rising 2 feet in the past week to 510.10 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 2; Trout 2; Kokanee 2; King salmon 2; Crappie 2
After finding excellent trout action the previous week, Monte Smith of Gold Country Sport Fishing reported slower action during the past week as the water temperature has dropped from the 67- to 68-degree range to 64 degrees. The spotted and largemouth bass are finding the cooler, rising water a challenge to spawn, and the bass bite remains relatively slow. Smith said, “I went out on the lake twice this past week, and we started in the same area where we limited out on rainbows last week. Within the first pass with my heavy spoons at 15 feet in depth, my client land a quality 22-inch king salmon that weighed 3 pounds, 4 ounces, but we struggled the remainder of the day for a pair of rainbows, a pair of kokanee, and the king salmon. Knowing that the water had cooled, I brought out my lead core on the next trip in order to work blade/crawler combinations for the rainbows, but after finding a spot with warmer water, we ended up catching and released numerous spotted bass with the troll gear. The water clarity has changed from 7-8 feet to less than 2 feet, and there are areas where there is a separation zone between green and very dirty water. Our best action on Saturday for rainbows was on the edge of this zone, and we ended up with five rainbows, four bass, and a 14-inch kokanee.” Danny Layne of Fish’n Dan’s Guide Service said, “The best locations for rainbows is in Fleming Bay and into Middle Bay from the surface to 20 feet with blade/crawler combinations, Uncle Larry’s spinners, or Excels with king salmon found in the cut between Jenkins Hill and Big Oak Island along with Hatch Creek at depths from 60-80 feet with Speedy Shiners, pink/purple Marni Bugs, or rolled shad behind a Vance’s copper dodger. There are a few scattered pods of kokanee at 40 feet in depth in Fleming Bay. It is time to break out the scented shoepeg corn for the kokanee.” For bass, Mike Gomez of the Bait Barn in Waterford said, “The bass bite has been about the same, but it is picking up a bit with plastics on the drop-shot or jigs such as the Berserk Baits Sprayed Grass or Purple Hornet on a three-eighths or one-half jig head. The fish are moving up with small males roaming the banks, and it is apparent that some of the bass have spawned in deeper water since we have been catching spawned out fish.” All three launch ramps are open. A barrier boom is located 4 miles upstream from Moccasin Point. The lake has risen to 64 percent capacity and 764.40 feet in elevation.
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 Isabella, the lake has been rising rapidly over the past two weeks, and the bass bite remains slow as the fish have yet to lock onto beds. Crappie and catfish provide the best options, but neither species is red hot at present. Limits of crappie are possible, but anglers will have to work hard and locate the right bush with small to medium minnows. The South Fork and Kissack Cove remain the best locations. The lake has risen 2 feet to 2,539.82 in elevation and 13 percent of capacity. In the rivers, the lower river has been kicking out a few planted trout on salmon eggs, nightcrawlers or Power Bait. Buena Vista is kicking out bass, crappie, and catfish, but the bite is sporadic. The local lakes of Ming and Hart Park remain the top impoundments for largemouth bass with plastics, Brush Hogs or Senkos.
Call: Bob’s Bait (661) 833-8657; North Fork Marina (760) 376-1812
Bass 2; Crappie 2; Trout 2; Catfish 2
The warm weather has brought out an excellent bass bite with plastics on the drop-shot, Brush Hogs, lizards or Senkos in water as shallow as 4 feet. The majority of bass are small, but a few large females to 10 pounds have been plucked off the beds. Medium to large minnows also are effective for bass with crappie biting small minnows near structure. Catfishing is picking up as the whiskerfish are moving into the shore. The planted trout have headed upriver in search of cooler water. The lake level is rising again, coming up 4 feet to 658.59 in elevation and 44 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, “The bass bite slowed up within the past week as the fish are in post-spawn mode. The best bets remain Brush Hogs on a Carolina-rig, lizards, jigs with a matching trailer, or crankbaits. The crappie bite has died off, but there are still a few to be taken near structure.” The lake rose to 2 feet to 631.71 in elevation and 52 percent capacity. In the Tule River, Stokke said, “The river is kicking out browns from 12-16 inches with Panther Martins. I caught and released a 16-inch brown on a black Woolley Bugger on Sunday. The river is flowing high.”
Call: Sequoia Fishing Co. 539-5626, sequoiafishingcompany.com
Bass 3; Trout 2; King salmon 1; Kokanee 1; Crappie 2; Catfish 2
The lake continues to rise rapidly, but Mike Gomez of the Bait Barn in Waterford said, “The bass bite is solid with River2Sea SWavers in yellow trout or Berserk jigs in Purple Hornet or Sprayed Grass from the banks to 15 feet in depth. There are still fish in the process of the spawn.” A few large fish to 8 pounds have been reported. The McClure Point and Barrett Cove South launch ramps are open with the Barrett Cove North ramp under construction. The lake has risen 11 feet in the past week to 751.93 in elevation and 41 percent of capacity, still below the 50 percent average for this time of year.
Call: A-1 Bait (209) 563-6505; Bub Tosh (209) 404-0053
The lake is full and clear, and the banks have been filled with fishermen along the brush pile, the marina and the handicapped docks with chartreuse trout dough bait or orange power eggs. There are still several tagged fish in the lake from the MID Derby, and registered participants can still pick up the No. 1 fish worth $500.
Call: McSwain Marina (209) 378-2534
Millerton Lake/San Joaquin River
Bass 3; Striper 1; Shad 1; Bluegill 2; Trout 2
The bass action at Millerton is attracting most central California bass anglers despite the lack of tournaments this spring and summer. Numbers and quality are featured with 30- to 40-fish days the rule. Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “It is our best bite by far for numbers, and there are plenty of quality Millerton-size spotted bass in the 2- to 3.5-pound range being caught with plastics on the drop-shot or dart head. There is a ton of fish holding from the banks to 15 feet in depth and catching and releasing 30-40 fish per day is common. The river is as good as the main lake right now.” Patrick Movey of the Fisherman’s Warehouse in Fresno added, “There is a spinnerbait bite when the wind is blowing, and when it is calm, Senkos are effective from the banks to 10 feet in depth for both numbers and size of spots from 2-3.5 pounds.” There have been no striped bass reports. Crappie are scarce, but a few slabsides are taken on bass gear in the Finegold area. Millerton is currently at 57 percent capacity because of water releases, but the amount running down the San Joaquin River and Friant/Kern Canal decreased this week. All boats require a low-emission motor. In the San Joaquin River, Sycamore Island Pond is still holding a few trout from the recent plants for the derby at the start of the month. There are no trout plants into the river. Regulations on the lower San Joaquin, and from Friant Dam downstream to the Highway 140 Bridge, allow only two hatchery trout or hatchery steelhead with a total of four in possession.
Call: Fresno Fisherman’s Warehouse 225-1838; Valley Rod & Gun 292-3474
New Melones Reservoir/Tulloch
Bass 3; Crappie 3; Catfish 3; Trout 3; Kokanee 2
The trout bite has picked up considerably at Melones after a long winter of discontent with the rainbows. John Liechty of Glory Hole Sporting Goods in Angels Camp said, “This past week was the best trout bite we have seen all year, and most fishermen are coming back with limits running spoons from the surface to 30 feet or running blade/crawler combinations at similar depths. The bank bite remains very slow as the fish continue to hold in deeper water.” Gary Burns of Take It To the Limit Guide Service said, “The trout bite has arrived, and during three trips this past week, we released or kept around 30 rainbows, also landing our first kokanee at just under 13 inches. We have been working in the front of the dam, and we also put several bass and a pair of crappie in the boat. Everything has come on kokanee gear consisting of Uncle Larry’s spinners in copper/orange or blue/pink along with Glitter Bug hoochies in pink or orange behind a Shasta Tackle Sling Blade. I am really excited about our first kokanee, and we should start seeing limits within the next few weeks.” Burns also has been fishing upriver past the Highway 49 Bridge, but he advised staying in the river channel as there are submerged trees that will hang up your gear. Bass fishing remains good as the fish are in transition during all phases of spawning. Creek channels, coves, and pockets are holding bass, and the fish will continue to become more active as the water warms. Spinnerbaits, crankbaits, and small swimbaits are all working along with weightless Senkos on a slow presentation. Glory Hole Sports advises catch and release for all bass during the spawning period. Catfishing remains good with the whiskerfish becoming more active in the warming water. They can be found in the shallows with frozen shad, mackerel, nightcrawlers, sardines or anchovies coated with scent. Crappie have responded to the raising water levels and slabsides to 2 pounds have been landed near standing timber with small Beetle Spins, minijigs, or live minnows under a slip-float. The lake rose 4 feet within the past week to 886.47 in elevation and 27 percent capacity with downstream Tulloch at 503.72 and 89 percent. Glory Hole remains the only launch available on the lake with another 20 feet of vertical rise necessary to open up the Tuttletown ramp. Glory Hole Sports is holding a grand reopening under their new management Saturday, with a large sale, raffle prizes and a barbecue. Fishing experts Joe Bruce, Vance Staplin of Vance’s Tackle, Gary Coe of Kokanee Power, Gary Burns, John Liechty and Joe Askamit of JoefishGuide Service will be on hand to answer questions along with tackle representatives John Darroch of Glitter Bugs, John Yurkovich of Uncle Larry’s and Cory Keller of Rocky Mountain Tackle. At Lake Tulloch, Danny Layne of Fish’n Dan’s Guide Service said, “Rainbow trout fishing is best from the mouth of Black Creek at depths to 25 feet with small shad-imitation lures tipped with a piece of nightcrawler. A few 15- to 16-inch kokanee are taken in the Green Springs area at depths to 40 feet with Uncle Larry’s Copper Pop spinners tipped with scented shoepeg corn behind a copper dodger. The lake is at its wintertime level at 8 feet from full with the South Shore ramp open with two courtesy docks.”
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 bass bite continues to be inconsistent with the best action about Trimmer for spotted bass along with largemouth bass to 2.5 pounds with most fish holding on the bottom with jigs or plastics on the Texas-rig or drop-shot. Patrick Movey of the Fisherman’s Warehouse said, “Robo Worm’s Green Weenie has been a good color.” Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun added, “The action is good one day and slow the following day. The trout bite has improved for a few fish per rod near Trimmer with ExCels or Speedy Shiners at depths to 30 feet. The occasional crappie is taken in Sycamore Creek with minijigs or minnows.” The lake has risen to 46 percent capacity, rising 8 feet in the past week to 840.50 in elevation. In the lower Kings River, trout anglers continue to find tough fishing despite the solid flows. 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.
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
Mickey Clements of Coyote Bait in Morgan Hill said, “The striper bite has been inconsistent for both minnow drifters and trollers as the fish are moving out from the traditional areas near the trash racks towards the mouth of Portuguese Cove. Drifting jumbo minnows is the best bet, but the occasional lineside to 12 pounds have been taken on minnow plugs on the troll. Pointer 128’s or P-Line Angry Eye Predators are the top lures at depths from 50-60 feet.” Roger George of Roger’s Guide Service was able to bring in a 12-pounder as one of five fish landed on a recent scouting half day trip, but the action was tough. The fish are moving a lot and are pretty spooky, so you have to find the schools and hit them on the head to get a bite. The stripers should spawn on the next full moon. The lake is starting to release water after reaching the high water mark of 51 percent capacity; it is currently at 50 percent. In the O’Neill Forebay, Clements said, “There is a good bite in the mornings near both Check 12 and at the access at Highway 33 for schoolie stripers in the 18- to 27-inch range with Zoom swimming flukes in white or white ice with an under spin head. The bait bite is best near Highway 33 with blood worms or pile worms. The area around the Highway 152 Bridge remains slow. Largemouth bass are found on jigs as they are stacking up along the shorelines.”
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 said, “The trout bite continues to be extremely slow with no consistent pattern or depth located by experienced fishermen.” Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun reported, “The bass are holding on beds, and both spotted and largemouth bass to 2.5 pounds are taken on plastics on the drop-shot or spinnerbaits. I think it will take at least 15 pounds to win Sunday’s Bass Federation Tournament.” The annual Bass Lake Trout Derby is April 30-May 1, and a plant will occur prior to the event. The lake level has risen to 79 percent; the boards were installed April 1, allowing the lake to rise once again. The bark beetle invasion during the drought has been particularly destructive to the forest at the 3,000- to 5000-feet level, and several campgrounds will remain closed until July 4 due to removal of more than 5,000 hazard trees. Campground status updates are available at 642-3212.
Call: Todd Wittwer 288-8100; Mike Beighey 642-3748
Brown trout 2; Trout 2
Access to the Kaiser Pass lakes is limited to those on snowmobiles. The lakes are starting to rise, but remain very low with Edison at 12 percent and Florence at 36 percent. The lower elevation Mammoth Pool rose again to 48 percent. A few experienced trout trollers went searching for brown trout at Mammoth Pool, but they found very slow action. Kaiser Pass Road is scheduled to open May 20.
Call: Vermilion Valley Resort at Edison Lake 259-4000
Shaver Lake/Huntington Lake
Kokanee 2; Trout 3
The trout bite has been trudging along with limits possible for those willing to work hard. Dick Nichols of Dick’s Fishing Charters was out with Dave Dungy and Lee Gates on Monday for a pair of limits composed of rainbows to 16 inches along with a pair of kokanee. They were working the Point, the Island, Black Rock and the mouth of the Boy Scout Cove with almost all of the action on side poles dragging Dick’s Trout Busters tipped with a piece of nightcrawler and corn behind a Mountain Flasher. Nichols did not head to Stevenson Cove, but he thought this area would be productive. Steve Santoro of Fish Box Charters out of Madera said, “We had to work a bit harder to catch limits of rainbows earlier in the week as the fish are moving all over the lake. You have to find them, and we targeted a small area around Black Rock that seemed to be holding fish for three limits in the 13- to 15-inch range with blade/crawler combinations on lead core line or Captain Jack’s Super Hoochies in orange or pink behind a dodger at depths from 20-25 feet on the downrigger. We released the trophy trout that were landed as they didn’t have too much fight to them. We also landed a 13-inch kokanee on Sunday morning. Things are looking good at Shaver Lake.” Fishing boat traffic has been heavy on the weekends. Bank fishermen are scoring with inflated nightcrawlers or Rooster Tail spinners near the dam and also near Road 1. Tickets for the Shaver Lake Trophy Trout Project’s sixth annual Fishermen’s Dinner go on sale May 1 at shaverlaketrophytrout.com or from Bob Bernier at 360-7185. The dinner is Aug. 13, with proceeds serving as the major source of funding for the trophy trout plants. A webcam of the launch ramp at the Sierra Marina is available at sierramarina.com. The lake has risen to 58 percent capacity. At Huntington, Merritt Gilbert added, “There are more and more areas of open water, but there is snow on the ground between the road and the snowmobile path. Vehicles are restricted from driving over the snowmobile trail to the edge of the lake to launch a small boat. Tickets for driving over the trail have been issued.”
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
Dinkey Creek Road is scheduled open May 1, and there have been rainbow trout holding over since the fall. Road updates are available at 297-0706. There is great interest in Wishon opening because of the heavy plants of rainbows in 2015.
Call: Wishon RV Park 865-5361
Half Moon Bay
Salmon 2; Rockfish 3; Striper 2; Crabs 3
All of the local fishing options are open amid rockfish season kickoff above Pigeon Point on April 15. Private boats are starting to get dialed in on ocean salmon after a few weeks of slow action, but the party boats are sticking to a sure thing, targeting rockfish. Sherri Ingles of Half Moon Bay Sport Fishing said, “The Rip Tide went out for limits of rockfish and five ling cod to 12 pounds on Sunday, and the majority of fish were of the bottom variety with few school fish. Private boaters are picking up salmon six miles outside of the harbor where there is a line of krill and humpback whales, but we are sticking to rockfish trips until the salmon bite improves. The Queen of Hearts will hopefully be back on the water this coming weekend as it has been repowered. There are sardines, mackerel, and jack smelt inside the harbor, and crabbers are still working the rockwall with snares or crab pots.” A private boat, the Fishing Luhrs, was out on Sunday for three limits of salmon working from 37/24 – 122/34 to 37/22 – 122/33 with the majority of fish coming on hoochies at depths from 70-120 feet on the wire. The Huli Cat out of Pillar Point has been conducting a combination of crab-only and crab/rockfish combinations, and the crab is holding up with pots filled with up to 36 pounds and up to 27 limits of Dungeness crab brought in from only nine pots. Rockfishing has been best with shrimp fly/squid combinations. Farther up the coast, Rob Chaney at the Rusty Hook in Pacifica reported good action for surf perch over 2 pounds with blood worms, pile worms, sand crabs or Berkley Camo Worms along both the beaches or the pier. Crabbing is holding up, and they have sold more than 700 snares since the reopener in March. Striper fishing is best at night with either lures or bait. Rockfish season opens in local waters Friday, and this will allow the Huli Cat to offer rockfish/crab combination trips. Captain Roger Thomas reported that Smitty on the Riptide out of Half Moon Bay Sport Fishing went for salmon Sunday, and out of their eight hookups, they landed 3 salmon, all loaded with krill. Second captain Jerad Davis took the boat out on a whale watching trip on Sunday, and he reported humpbacked whales and hard bait seven miles west of the Ritz Carleton. Thomas will have an open load for salmon this Friday to intercept the line of fish south of the Farallon Islands. The California Kayak and Canoe Company 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
Rockfish 4; Striper 2; Salmon 2
Keith Semler at Chris’s Fishing Trips in Monterey reported continued excellent rockfishing in the local reefs with the Check Mate coming in with three-quarter limits of rockfish along with 30 ling cod for 25 anglers Sunday along with the Star of Monterey posting 10 lings in addition to 32 limits. On Saturday, the Caroline returned with 22 limits of rockfish and 15 lings with the Star scoring a whopping 56 ling cod and 30 limits of rockfish. They are running rockfish trips throughout the week. Allen Bushnell of Santa Cruz Kayak Fishing reported, “Ocean fishing conditions in the past week have ranged from pure flat glass to grumbling chop with heavy winds.” Despite the uncertain conditions, fishing has been consistent across a variety of local species. Most boats are averaging 0-4 salmon with the occasional report of up to six fish. The Pajaro and Moss Landing canyon anglers are also hooking up in about the same ratio. Mulligan’s Hill and Soldier’s Club on the Monterey side of Moss Landing provided reports of salmon success a couple days last week. Todd Fraser at Bayside Marine advises, “The fish are being caught shallow in the morning and around 150-220 feet down in the mid-morning. The bite has been the best early in the morning and slowing down in the afternoon.” Straight bait, hoochies behind a flasher or salmon spoons all have been successful this week in fooling the big kings.
Call: Chris’ Landing(831) 375-5951; Bayside Marine (831) 475-2173; usafishing.com
San Francisco Bay
Halibut 2; Striper 2; Rockfish 3; Leopard shark 3; Sturgeon 2; Crabs 2; Salmon 2
Salmon fishing is definitely showing signs of life with Captain Johnny Fresh on the New Rayann out of Sausalito putting in 11 limits to 17 pounds Monday trolling 17 miles south/southwest of Seal Rocks. Jacky Douglas of the Wacky Jacky out of San Francisco found the fish on Sunday, bringing in Captain Jimmy Robertson of the Outer Limits for eight salmon to 17 pounds for 14 anglers. Crabbing is coming to a rapid close as Captain Jim Smith was able to pull 25 limits of crab Saturday with ease, but Sunday was a different story with 6.5 crab per angler with the pots less stuffed. Three boats out of Emeryville Sport Fishing were able to put in limits of rockfish for 62 anglers Sunday along with 86 ling cod. Captain Jim Smith of the Happy Hooker said, “There is so much bait in the bay right now, and the best halibut action is in the south bay with Tom Zizzo of the Wild Wave out of San Francisco putting together a total of nine halibut near the Oakland Airport.” Smith drifting live shiners for a bass and a halibut on Saturday for significantly slower action in the central bay. The hot halibut bite during the week slowed to a crawl in San Pablo Bay over the weekend with both captains Jim Smith and Trent Slate struggling for the flat fish. Earlier in the week, Mike Verrone, deckhand of the Happy Hooker, went trolling in shallow water along the Emeryville shoreline for halibut up to 32 pounds. Keith Fraser of Loch Lomond Bait and Tackle in San Rafael said, “During the week, the weather was rough, but the halibut bite was excellent for shore fishermen working off of the McNear’s or Paradise Point piers with as many as limits on live shiners. There were a number of boats out during the weekend’s great weather conditions, but the halibut bite slowed down considerably.” The coming weekends minus tides should bring out the sturgeon bite in San Pablo, but it will affect the halibut bite. Loch Lomond has plenty of live shiners along with grass shrimp. Captain Steve Talmadge of Flash Sport Fishing said, “The sharks are also starting to bite. Captain Jonathon Smith – third generation captain – is running the new Flash II. He did back-to-back half-day shark trips today. It looks like we might have live bait next weekend. The bay is in great condition for a good shark, bass and halibut season.” Roger Thomas of the Salty Lady out of Sausalito/Half Moon Bay said, “One of our deck partners, Captain Jimmy Robertson on the Outer Limits, found seven limits of salmon to 19 pounds on Sunday at W Buoy after scoring 13 salmon to 15 pounds on Saturday for 10 anglers. The fish are here.” The California Dawn out of Berkeley continues to provide quality trips on their halibut/crab combination trips with a total of 48 limits of crab and 7 halibut to 17 pounds during Saturday’s and Sunday’s trips after the high of 14 halibut last Thursday.
San Luis Obispo
Rockfishing was solid out of both San Luis Obispo County ports during the past weekend. Out of Virg’s Landing in Morro Bay, the Fiesta returned Sunday with limits of rockfish and ling cod for 25 anglers composed of 75 lings to 20.1 pounds, 95 vermilion rockfish, 67 assorted rockfish, 12 cabezon, and 76 copper rockfish with Tray Williams of Madera scoring the jackpot ling cod. The Princess went out on a half-day trip with 45 anglers for 12 lings to 8 pounds, 35 vermilion rockfish, 239 assorted rockfish, 20 coppers, and a pair of cabezon. Virg’s is taking reservations for this year’s two-day trips aboard the Princess along the Big Sur coastline. The trips leave 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. Also out of Morro Bay, the San Pedro Special is offering two for one rockfish trips every Tuesday in April. Out of Patriot Sport Fishing in Port San Luis, the Avenger put in 17 vermilion rockfish, 34 bolina, 83 assorted rockfish, a pair of cabezon, and 13 ling cod to 14 pounds for 17 anglers. Their boats have already posted 431 lings since the April 1 opener.
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
Sturgeon remain the top story in the Sacramento-Delta with hot action in lower Suisun Bay, and more striped bass trollers are starting to transition from the San Joaquin River back into the Sacramento below the Rio Vista Bridge. Captain Steve Talmadge of Flash Sport Fishing said, “Last week the sturgeon fishing was very tough with little results most likely due to the weather, but the good news is the sturgeon are back on red hot bite with the 64 degree water temperature.” Captain Steve Mitchell of Hook’d Up Sport Fishing has been conducting a clinic in Suisun Bay, putting a group of retired law enforcement officers onto epic action during the week with a total of nine sturgeon including two keepers at 60 and 42 inches along with three oversized to 200-plus pounds and four shakers from 35-39.5 inches. On Sunday, Mitchell found similar action with a 64-inch oversized released along with a 43.75-inch keeper. Andy Doudna, sturgeon and striper expert, added, “Sturgeon fishing throughout the Delta is still rocking and rolling, and I have been concentrating on Big Cut with up to 13 fish per trip. The grass is showing up again in the cuts, and once it shows up, the bite stops. We have been watching our sonar to avoid dropping anchor in grassy bottom areas. If you see a little grass here and there on your gear, it’s OK, but when you see your gear load up heavy, it’s time to move. The go-to baits are still roe and eel, and we are fishing the inside ledges as sturgeon cruise back and forth. It is important to remember that sturgeon swim with the tide, so it is important to take your time finding a good line of marks with no grass. I marked a lot of quality sturgeon on the bottom that moved into Roe and Ryer Island in 35 feet of water, but these fish were not interested in anything we had to offer. We had issues with sturgeon shaking the hook this weekend along with one oversize that broke a 7/0 hook. I think maybe giving them a little time to inhale it would have resulted in more fish boated on Sunday, although we caught and release six sturgeon.” Striper trollers are starting to move over from the San Joaquin side to the Sacramento River below the Rio Vista Bridge. Dan Mathisen of Dan’s Delta Outdoors in Oakley said, “In the Old Sacramento River near Isleton, striper trolling and plug casting has improved as the water temperatures have risen. P-Line Angry Eye Predators or Savage Prey lures are working for trollers below the Rio Vista Bridge from Collinsville to the Red Barn along the West Bank. Sturgeon fishing is best in Cache Slough, Liberty Slough, and near Light 41 with salmon roe or eel. The best area for stripers near Walnut Grove has been in the Mokelumne River near Wimpy’s where the water is clearest.” The San Joaquin River- Delta has been the go-to spot for striper trollers and plug casters within the past week, but there are signs that the bite is starting to wane with the majority of fish moving out after spawning. Captain Mike Gravert of Intimidator Sport Fishing out of Korth’s Pirates Lair added, “The fishing continues to be solid, but the winds came up this week, so we switched up from live bait to trolling Blade Runner 5-wire Alabama rigs in front of P-Line Predator Minnows, and it was a killer combination for stripers in the 6 to 8-pound range. These lures also seemed to discourage the number of ‘rats’ we had been getting into.” Earlier in the week, the San Joaquin River-Delta was the place to be, and Kenji Nakagawa of Lodi put on a casting clinic with his pals from Delta Wood Bombers, stating, “We covered a ton of water this weekend and found a handful of quality fish. All fish released of course. They definitely aren't schooled up, and most spots are producing single fish or pairs at most. But, the quality is very good with double-digit linesides from 10-29 pounds. We have found fish from Sherman all the way up to the Mokelumne. The run is in full swing and now it the time to get out and target that Trophy fish!” For largemouth bass, the Best Bass Tournaments hosted their first Delta tournament out of Russo’s Marina on Bethel Island on Saturday with 123 anglers. Tournament director Randy Pringle said, “With the weather we had towards the end of the week, it really made the bite pretty tough. The team of Jim La Rosa and Ed Ortman won the tournament with the winning weight of 23.18 pounds with a 7.62-pound bass to anchor their weight but that wasn't the ‘Big Ol Pig’ of the tournament. That honor went to the team of Kevin Ryan and Peter Kaprielian with their 9.32-pound beast was caught on a drop-shot.”Alan Fong of the Fisherman’s Warehouse in Sacramento confirmed the outstanding largemouth bite, and he continues to find quality bass in the shallows on Senkos or topwater frogs. He said, “The water is already getting too warm too fast, and the fish are all shallow. There are no fry yet in the water, and most of the females still have full tails.”
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 3; White bass 2; Catfish 2; Crappie 2
At Nacimiento, the spotted bass action is picking up with an improved reaction bite with chatterbaits, Umbrella rigs, jerkbaits and spinnerbaits for the larger grade of fish while Brush Hogs or jigs are producing the greatest numbers. The fish are in all phases of the spawn in shallow water. At Lopez, numbers are best with plastics on the drop-shot or Texas-rig while small Brush Hogs, jigs or lizards also areeffective. At Santa Margarita, the lake remains low at 13%, and launching a boat is not an option. Panfish are the top option with wax worms, jumbo red worms, or tube jigs tipped with a prepared crappie bait. Bass fishing has been fair at best with plastics on a variety of presentations. The marina store is open for supplies and rental vessels. San Antonio remains closed indefinitely as a result of extremely low water conditions at 4% of capacity and high operating expenses
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 April 16 at Delta/Russo’s Marina: 1, Jim La Rosa/Ed Ortman 23.18 pounds (big fish 7.62); 2, Sean and Denis O’Riordan 22.61; 3, Troy Fleming/Kasey Rhyme 21.67
- Rat-L-Trap Open on April 17 at Delta/Russo’s Marina: 1, Juan Acosta/Mark Gomez 24.01 (big fish 8.46); , Phillip Dutra/Mike Andrews 18.17; 3, Cory Bangs/Jarrett Omand 17.61
- Visalia Bass Club on April 16 at Kaweah: 1, Terry Hamlin/Bryan Shishido 12.48.; 2, Vince and Krandall Bryan 12.08 (big fish 4.18); 3, Bobby Blaswich/Kyle Manes 11.01
- Saturday: Best Bass Tournaments Delta/Russo’s Marina; Stanislaus County Employees at Delta/Ladd’s Marina; Manteca Bassin’ Buddies at Pardee; Stanislaus County Employees/Kerman Bass Club at Tulloch; Stanislaus County Employees at Don Pedro; American Bass Association at Pine Flat; Sierra Bass Club at Bass Lake; Success Bass Club at Success; American Bass Association at Isabella
- Saturday-Sunday: Escalon Sportsmen’s Club Striped Bass tournament at Delta/Sacramento County; Kern County Bassmasters at Santa Margarita
- Sunday: Riverbank Bass Anglers at Delta/Ladd’s Marina; California Bass Federation at New Melones; Fresno Bass Club at Tulloch; Kings River Bass Club at Bass Lake
- April 30: Best Bass Tournaments at Delta/Russo’s Marina; Mid Valley Bass Club at Delta/Ladd’s Marina; Badge Packers at Don Pedro; American Bass Association at Nacimiento; Tri Valley Bass Club at Lopez
- May 1: California Delta Team Trail at Delta/Russo’s Marina
- Fresno County: Huntington Lake; Kings River, Below Pine Flat Dam; Shaver Lake; Tenmile Creek, Upper
- Kern County: Kern River, sections 1-5
- Madera County: Chiquito Creek West Fork; Chiquito Creek Lower; Corrine Lake; Eastman Lake; Fish Creek; Manzanita Lake; Rock Creek
- Mariposa County: Eastman Lake
- Merced County: Yosemite Lake
- Tulare County: Balch Park Lake Lower and Upper; Hedrick Pond (Redwood Lake); Kern River, sections 5-6; Peppermint Creek, Upper; Stony Creek; Tule River Middle Fork; Tule River North Fork, Middle Fork 1; Tule River South Fork, Middle Fork 2; Tule River South Fork, Middle Fork 3
- Tuolumne County: Pinecrest Lake
f = full moon > = peak activity