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 stripers, bass and sturgeon bites good, Randy Pringle reported. New Melones good multispecies locale, John Liechty said. Millerton top bass destination, Merritt Gilbert reported. Shaver producing trout limits, Dick Nichols said. San Francisco kicking out all species, Steve Talmadge reported.
2-Have to work hard
4-Fish jumpin’ in boat
Delta Mendota Canal and Sloughs
Stripers 2; Catfish 3
In the California Aqueduct, Meng Xyong, of the Fishaholics out of Fresno, reported, “Fishermen are having mixed results fishing at the aqueduct. It seems anglers up north are having better luck throwing lures such as SpeedLures, Duo Realis or Luck Pointer jerkbaits. Most anglers fishing the central and south ’ducts are having better luck soaking baits. There's a period in the morning before the sun rises when fish activity increases before dying off after the sun rises. The catfish bite is still very good with anglers catching several on cut baits. The Delta-Mendota Canal still continues to attract interest with anglers catching plenty of small stripers and catfish. Many anglers are also targeting bass with punching gear or throwing frogs with some success.” In the Delta-Mendota Canal, Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun said, “There have been a number of fishermen tossing plastics into the holes in the weeds for largemouth bass.” In the south aqueduct in Kern County, Jacob Rutledge of Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield reported a “red-hot” bite for catfish with huge whiskerfish from 13-16 pounds brought into the shop on Sonny’s Dip Baits, Katnip Beef Bait and mackerel. Fishermen are catching and releasing 20-40 striped bass per day, but the majority are 15-17 inches – under the 18-inch minimum. Blood worms, sardines, and lug worms have been the best bait for the stripers. 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. Debris left along the aqueduct’s levees remains 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
Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “The best cut of largemouth bass is found in deeper water in the 20- to 25-foot range with Senkos. Bass to 6 pounds have been taken off the shore as the larger fish are in pre-spawn mode. Smaller bass are found on the shore with plastics on the drop-shot, jigs or Senkos. The occasional catfish is landed on anchovies.” The lake continues to rise, coming up to 36 percent capacity and 519.53 feet in elevation. 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 3; Trout 2; Catfish 2; Bluegill 2; Crappie 2
Small bass are the rule with the fish moving off the banks in all stages of spawning. Creature baits such as Brush Hogs or Sweet Beavers are producing limits in the 5- to 6-pound range. An occasional catfish is taken on cut baits or chicken livers. The lake has risen to 56 percent capacity, up 2 feet in the past week to 511.14 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 3; Kokanee 1; King salmon 2; Crappie 2
The water clarity has improved considerably, and guide Monte Smith of Gold Country Sport Fishing found great action for his clients Saturday running heavy spoons on lead core for multiple limits of rainbows. He said, “We released everything, and the fishing was good after the slowdown last week. The water has returned to the clarity of a few weeks ago, and I think it was the wind that caused the difference.” The lake is at 66 percent and 768.50 feet in elevation, with all three launch ramps open. Mike Gomez of the Bait Barn in Waterford said, “Bass fishing is showing signs of life 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 water level is starting to stabilize, and the fish are getting oriented to the banks.” A barrier boom is located 4 miles upstream from Moccasin Point.
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, catfish are the top species with whiskerfish taken on store-purchased salmon, Sonny’s Dip Bait and Katnip Beef Bait in shallow flats with deep water access. The crappie are still holding in deeper water in the 15-foot range, and a boat is necessary to locate the slabsides in submerged structure with live minnows or minijigs. Bass fishing is slow, but there are signs of life with Jacob Rutledge of Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield reporting an 8-pounder was brought in on a Deadly Duo plastic worm. The lake has risen 2.5 feet to 2,542.30 in elevation and 15 percent capacity. The upper and lower Kern River have been planted with rainbow trout; planters are landed with live crickets, salmon eggs or nightcrawlers. Buena Vista is kicking out bluegill, crappie and catfish, but the bite is sporadic. Ming and Hart Park lakes remain the top impoundments for largemouth bass with plastics, Brush Hogs or Senkos. The Riverwalk has been slow for all species.
Call: Bob’s Bait (661) 833-8657; North Fork Marina (760) 376-1812
Bass 2; Crappie 2; Trout 2; Catfish 2
The constantly fluctuating water levels have the bass on the defensive. The action is good one day, then slow the next. There is a topwater bite in the mornings before hitting the bottom with Senkos or plastics on the drop-shot. Crappie fishing is decent with medium to small minnows, but the action hasn’t started in earnest. Catfishing is improving as the water continues to warm. The planted trout have headed upriver in search of cooler water. The lake level is dropping again, receding 7 feet to 651.34 in elevation.
Call: Sierra Sporting Goods 592-5212
Bass 2; Trout 2; Catfish 2; Crappie 2
Larry Kerns of the Visalia Bass Club said, “Overall it is a tough bass bite with the fish biting one day, followed by slower action the following day. The water is stained in some locations in the lake, and there are still some fish on the beds. During our recent tournament, there were several teams that only weighed in three fish, and the winning weight was over 13 pounds, but the weights dropped off after the big limit.” Brush Hogs on a Carolina-rig, lizards, jigs with a matching trailer or crankbaits are the top lures. The lake rose to 2 feet to 633.19 in elevation and 55 percent capacity. In the Tule River, brown trout from 12-16 inches with Panther Martins or black Woolley Buggers can be taken in the high flows. .
Call: Sequoia Fishing Co. 539-5626, sequoiafishingcompany.com
Bass 3; Trout 2; King salmon 1; Kokanee 1; Crappie 2; Catfish 2
Mike Gomez of the Bait Barn in Waterford said, “The water has cleared up considerably, and there is a short window for topwater lures. Bass to 4 pounds are taken on a variety of techniques including jigs and plastics on the drop-shot along with the occasional ripbait fish. The bass are in all stages of spawning. 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 to 762.42 in elevation and 45 percent capacity, but still below the 50 percent average for this time of year.
Call: A-1 Bait (209) 563-6505; Bub Tosh (209) 404-0053
No much change from the past week with no plants occurring. The lake is full and clear, and various colors of trout dough bait are working for a few fish per rod at the normal locations of the brush pile, the marina and the handicapped docks. 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. The Marina Store is open Thursday through Sunday.
Call: McSwain Marina (209) 378-2534
Millerton Lake/San Joaquin River
Bass 3; Striper 2; Shad 1; Bluegill 2; Trout 2
Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “Millerton remains the top bass lake in the Central Valley and the bite remains good; however, small fish are still the rule with the occasional 4-pound spot and largemouth bass over 5 pounds taken. There are plenty of small buck bass on the banks, and you can catch as many fish are you want with Senkos or plastic s on the drop-shot along the banks.” Patrick Movey of the Fisherman’s Warehouse in Fresno said, “The bite is still good, but it has slowed up some from the 50-fish days. When the wind is blowing, there is a spinnerbait bite, and there is also a window for topwater lures in the morning. The fish are in all phases of spawning.” Striped bass are starting to get active, and Gilbert reported a few stripers to 15 pounds have been taken on Lucky Craft Pointer 100’s or Duo Realis jerkbaits. Roger George of Roger George Guide Service reported that more and more anglers are releasing and protecting the limited and nonspawning striper population at the lake. “Guys now realize that what we got is all we got and once the stripers are gone, it’s over!” George said. Gilbert said, “Catfish to 3 pounds have been showing up between Finegold and Temperance with chicken livers, and there is the occasional crappie landed on small to medium minnows.” Few bass tournaments are scheduled at Millerton in the coming months thanks to myriad factors so most fishermen are out for the experience instead of pre-fishing for an upcoming event. Recreational boat pressure should start to ramp up within the month leading up to Memorial Day. Millerton dropped to 55 percent capacity. All boats require a low-emission motor. 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 present must be released immediately.
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 kokanee bite has started at New Melones, and a handful of fishermen are hitting the water in search of the landlocked salmon. Bass fishing remains good with the fish in all phases of the spawn. Catfish, rainbow trout and crappie fill out the opportunities for fishermen. John Liechty of Glory Hole Sports in Angels Camp said, “The kokanee bite has begun, and we expect the best fishing since 2011 since there have been honest 14- to 15-inch kokanee within the past two weeks, bringing the promise of 16- to 17-inch kokanee by the end of the season.” The kokanee are chunky and larger than the rainbows right now. The standard kokanee gear of Uncle Larry’s spinners or Glitter Bug’s micro hoochies in pinks behind a gold Sling Blade or teardrop dodger are working at depths from 30-35 feet. Gary Burns of Take it to the Limit Guide Service put in kokanee over 14 inches using Uncle Larry’s spinners in pink/copper tipped with garlic-scented corn behind a Sling Blade in the main lake. For bass, Liechty added, “The bite has been excellent with the fish in all phases of spawning. You can really do anything right now with some fish still on beds, some in pre-spawn, and others in post-spawn mode holding in deeper water. I would start off with topwater lures in the morning before switching to Senkos by mid-morning. The rising lake waters have provided great habitat for the bass with the flooded vegetation bringing out new sources of nutrients.” Trout fishing has been good with limits for trollers working the main lake with spoons or blade/crawler combinations at depths from 15-30 feet above the kokanee schools. Bank fishing has slowed considerably as the rainbows are holding in open water. Catfishing is good as the water has warmed to the optimal temperature for the whiskerfish to become active. The cats are moving into shallow water and feeding throughout the day on shad or nightcrawlers coated with scent. Crappie are holding near submerged structure, bringing Liechty to state, “This has been one of the best crappie years in quite some time.” Beetle-Spins, small square-bill crankbaits, or Rapalas are working for the slabs as well as live minnows. The lake dropped 1.5 feet in the past week to 884.85 in elevation and 27 percent capacity. Glory Hole remains the only launch available on the lake with another 20 feet of vertical rise necessary to open up the Tuttletown ramp. At Lake Tulloch, two local clubs held bass tournaments over the weekend, and Harold Hass of the Fresno Bass Club said, “It was a tough bite with most fish finished with their spawn. Spinnerbaits and crankbaits were the most effective lures, and the water temperature dropped about 5 degrees on Saturday night before our tournament.”
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 3; King salmon 1; Catfish 2; Crappie 2
Trout action has picked up considerably, according to Paul Kalpakoff of the Central Sierra Anglers Fishing Club of Fresno. He said, “We made our annual four-day campout and fishing trip to the lake this week, and there were three boats fishing. The fishing was very different from last year, as last year a fish could not be found, and this year you could not keep them out of the boat. The three boats fished the area of the power lines to the mouth of Lefever Creek and from Lefever Creek upstream for about a quarter-mile against the south wall of Windy Gap. All boats caught and released limits of trout that were 12-14 inches in length weighing from 8-12 ounces in less than one hour every day each day they were out. The trout that were cleaned had red meat inside, which meant they were holdovers from last year. We ran Shasta Tackle Wiggle Hoochie in purple haze and the PPK's red Tomahawk tipped with a worm or Gulp Maggots white or pink behind Shasta Tackles UV Sling Blade at 25 feet on the downrigger or 2-3 colors of lead core. Pat Kalpakoff landed the largest trout, which weighed 1.6 pounds.” Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun added, “Bass fishing has been best out of Trimmer Marina above the trash barrier with flukes or Senkos on a weightless and slow presentation. The reaction bite remains slow with most fishermen working the bottom. A 9-pound limit was tops in a weekend tournament, but 12 pounds was caught and released above the barrier.” Patrick Movey of the Fisherman’s Warehouse added, “A few trout are taken on Apex lures or Needlefish at 4 to 5 colors of lead core line.” The occasional crappie is taken in Sycamore Creek with minijigs or minnows. The lake has risen to 50 percent capacity and 851.01 feet in elevation. In the lower Kings River, trout action is fair at best with Power Bait, nightcrawlers, or live crickets. Regulations in the Kings River above and below Pine Flat Dam set the season as running from the last Saturday in April to Nov. 15 from Pine Flat Dam downstream to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Bridge on Pine Flat Road with a five-fish limit. The bridge is the first one west of the dam.
Call: Fresno Fisherman’s Warehouse 225-1838; Valley Rod & Gun 292-3474; Sequoia Fishing Co. 539-5626; The I Forgot Store 787-3689
San Luis Reservoir and O’Neill Forebay
Striper 2; Catfish 2; Bass 2; Crappie 2
High winds were the story over the past weekend, and few boats were able to make it out into the main lake. Roger George of Roger’s Guide Service said, “The bite is very sporadic – turning on and off quickly, but I was able to land/release a beautiful fat, guppy-like 38-inch, 22-pound striped bass on Saturday along with three more heavy fish over 25 inches and some schoolies. The fish are all in excellent shape. Timing and exact locations are the keys to catching anything right now. The wind has been a problem and the rangers now also close the lake at times.” When the winds cooperate, drifting jumbo minnows remains the best technique at the traditional areas near the trash racks and also toward the mouth of Portuguese Cove. Bank fishermen are soaking pile worms or anchovies from various locations for the occasional keeper to 20 inches. The lake continues to release water, and it is currently at 48 percent capacity. In the O’Neill Forebay, Check 12 has been the top location for striped bass with blood worms, pile worms and anchovies. Flukes have been the top striper lure. The area has been crowded each weekend. Wind kept most boats off the lake over the weekend.
Call: Coyote Bait andTackle (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, “Trout fishing is very slow with one or two rainbows the rule. We hooked a couple of rainbows on a Tasmanian Devil with another on a blade/crawler combination, but the action is slow.” Patrick Movey of the Fisherman’s Warehous said, “Bass fishing has been decent with Senkos or plastics on the drop-shot as the fish are on beds.” The tagged fish will be planted prior to this weekend’s annual Bass Lake Chamber of Commerce Trout Derby on April 30-May 1. The lake level has risen to 83 percent, and the boards were installed April 1, allowing the lake to rise again. The bark beetle invasion during the drought has been particularly destructive to the forest at the 3,000- to 5000-foot level, and several campgrounds will remain closed until July 4 because of the removal of more than 5,000 hazard trees resulting from the beetles. Campground 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 still limited to those snowmobile, but the road is expected to open prior to Memorial Day. The lakes are starting to rise with Edison at 16 percent and Florence at 47 percent. Lower-elevation Mammoth Pool rose again to 73 percent.
Call: Vermilion Valley Resort at Edison Lake 259-4000
Shaver Lake/Huntington Lake
Kokanee 2; Trout 3
Fish and Wildlife released planter-sized rainbows last week, but the real trophies arrived this past week with the first load arriving from the Shaver Lake Trophy Project on April 20 along Road 1. The big fish have started to acclimate into the main lake from the plant site. Dick Nichol’s of Dick’s Fishing Charters took out two clients on Saturday and Sunday for limits of rainbow trout along with the occasional kokanee running Dick’s Trout Busters tipped with a piece of nightcrawler behind a weighted Mountain Flasher at depths from 15-29 feet near the island, point, and the Boy Scout Cove. He said, “We aren’t seeing many of the trophies, and the cold conditions have been keeping bank fishermen away since the plant. The trout are there, and we have been targeting the rainbows since they are in the 15- to 17-inch range holdovers from last year’s huge DFW plant. They are loaded with insects in the gut which is an obvious sign of the rising water bringing out the food source from the banks. We did land one trophy on Saturday.” The weather is expected to be variable over the next week, and the bimini top on Nichol’s boat has been frozen in the 27-degree evening temperatures. Another trophy plant from the SLTTP is expected in June, and the plants are the result of community outreach from Shaver Lake businesses along with support from many within the central Valley. The major fundraiser is the Annual Sportsman’s Dinner, and this year’s is Aug. 13. A 10-pound trout costs the project in the neighborhood of $75, and the price of planted trout continues to rise as costs associated with hatchery feed and power excalate. Tickets for the sixth annual dinner go on sale May 1 shaverlaketrophytrout.com or from Bob Bernier at 360-7185. A webcam of the launch ramp at Sierra Marina is available at sierramarina.com. At Huntington, the cold temperatures have limited bank fishermen, but a few hard-core fishermen are picking up a rainbow or two on nightcrawlers or trout dough bait in the open areas of water near Rancheria Cove. Vehicles are restricted from driving over the snowmobile trail to the edge of the lake to launch a small boat, and tickets for driving over the trail have been issued. Shaver is at 59 percent with Huntington rising to 73 percent.
Call: Dick’s Fishing Charters 841-2740; Dinkey Creek Inn 841-3435; Rancheria Marina 893-3234; Shaver Lake Sports Inc. 841-2740; Fish Box Charters 871-3937
Chuck Crane of Wishon Village RV Park said, “The road at Dinkey Creek is scheduled to open on April 28. The road to Courtright is still snowed in. A few boats have had access to Wishon, and the action is good for trollers running Speedy Shiners or blade/crawler combinations at 2-4 colors of leadcore. Wishon is fluctuating up and down and launching a boat off of the dirt road is necessary with the low level in the lake. The store at Wishon Village will open May 1, and they will have nightcrawlers available.”
Call: Wishon RV Park 865-5361
Half Moon Bay
Salmon 2; Rockfish 3; Striper 2; Crabs 3
Second Captain Michael Cabanas of the Huli Cat out of Pillar Point went on a rock cod crab combo trip Saturday for ling cod to 6 pounds and limits of Dungeness crab for 20 anglers out of the 11 pots pulled. The crab limits keep on coming. Salmon fishing was a weather-dependent situation over the weekend with the Salty Lady out of Half Moon Bay came home empty-handed Friday when the south wind reared its ugly head. South wind always seems to put the fish off the bite. The salmon are holding in deeper water, but weather is a major factor on putting together a solid score.
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 3; Striper 2; Salmon 2
Chris Arcoleo of Chris’ Fishing Trips in Monterey reported challenging weather conditions over the weekend with the winds making for tough fishing. The Check Mate had to fish in protected waters for three-quarters limits of small rockfish along with 10 lings for 20 anglers Sunday with the Star of Monterey also posting three-quarters limits and 10 lings for 31 fishermen. Saturday was the same story with all three boats out with the Check Mate putting in three-quarter limits of rockfish and seven lings for 20, the Star returning with three-quarter limits and 30 lings for 31 anglers with the Caroline putting nine lings and 70 rockfish for 20 anglers. They are wide open all week long. Arcoleo said, “There is a ton of krill out there on the north side, and a few salmon are taken by private boaters. There are small stripers massed along the beaches.” Allen Bushnell of Santa Cruz Kayak Fishing said, “The winds came down this week, which made for decent fishing conditions along the shores of the Monterey Bay. The ocean is still on the cool side, so we have yet to see halibut show up in any numbers. But fishing for rockcod and lings is good and getting better on local reefs and the more remote locations. After a very slow start, king salmon season is starting to pick up. Depending on the day, some anglers are catching their limits while others are still getting skunked. Veteran salmon anglers have been catching kings with some consistency. Leroy Cross, fishing from his boat the Triple Cross, reported 11 salmon caught for 12 hookups last week. Anglers on the Miss Beth from Go Fish Santa Cruz Charters enjoyed a fine day of king salmon fishing Sunday, bringing home seven beautiful salmon for four anglers aboard.”
Call: Chris’ Landing (831) 375-5951; Bayside Marine (831) 475-2173; usafishing.com
San Francisco Bay
Halibut 3; Striper 3; Rockfish 3; Leopard shark 3; Sturgeon 3; Crabs 3; Salmon 3
The Outer Limits and New Rayann out of Sausalito were able to make it out Saturday to fish along the Marin coastline south of Double Point, and despite 10- to 15-mph winds and a big swell, they were able to put in a combined 30 salmon to 18 pounds for 40 anglers. The fish seem to be there, but weather is the limiting factor. They had previously scored up to nine limits to 18 pounds last Thursday before the wind arrived in force. The Sea Wolf out of Emeryville Sport Fishing went out rockfishing Saturday for 27 limits of rockfish and eight ling cod to 13 pounds. Captain Trent Slate of Shelter Cove Sport Fishing relocated his crab pots last week, and the move paid off with seven limits Saturday. Inside the bay, Captain Jim Smith of the Happy Hooker out of Berkeley stayed in the bay Sunday for six halibut and a bass. The wind was also a limiting factor in the bay as well. Keith Fraser of Loch Lomond Bait and Tackle in San Rafael said, “It is hurricane weather out here, and the trees are bent over due to the 40-mph winds..” Halibut fishing remains good off Paradise Park Pier with anglers hooking 15-20 halibut, landing a total of four fish to 20 pounds. Fraser said, “You would have been blown off of the pier on Sunday.” He added that Jerry Goff, one of three former major leaguers coached at San Rafael High School by Fraser, took out his son, Jared Goff, most likely the No. 1 pick in the upcoming NFL draft, and they caught and released 15 legal bass. Steve Talmadge of Flash Fishing out of Pier 45 in San Francisco said in an April 23 post, “I have been working on Flash II all week. We were doing mostly cosmetic work. She is almost ready for her photo shoot. I took a break to do some shark fishing. Yesterday the weather was terrible, which made it tough fishing but we did bag fish. Today the weather was great and the fishing was good. We were fishing in the south bay in 42 feet of water. The fish took mostly salmon bellies from last year. I am doing my last sturgeon trip on Flash I tomorrow. I have reports that the sturgeon is going great like last year at this time. I hate to leave such good sturgeon fishing but the phone calls are all about sharks and live bait fishing.”
San Luis Obispo
Rock Cod 3
The winds kept the boats off the water over the weekend as the gusts came up to 30 knots through Monday. On the last trip, the Fiesta went out on a three-quarter-day shallow water trip with 24 fishermen for 52 ling cod, 96 vermilion rockfish, 36 cabezon, 107 assorted rockfish and a 19-pound sheephead. Donald Kellogg of Fresno, a member of the Fishaholics, landed the big sheephead. Tom Allred, also of Fresno, caught 14.6-pound ling cod. Virg’s is taking a special Mother’s Day 12-hour trip on the Fiesta on May 8 with a traditional Sunday brunch on board featuring Eggs Benedict from the new owners and executive chefs Lisa and Anthony of Roberts Restaurant and Wine Bar in Paso Robles along with a variety of smoked cheeses and sausages from Bens Custom Meats in Atascadero. The trip is limited to 25 passengers and it is expected to sell out quickly. 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. Out of Patriot Sport Fishing in Port San Luis, the Patriot and Avenger were out Saturday with a combined 79 anglers for a total of 28 vermilion rockfish, 409 assorted rockfish, two cabezon, and 16 ling cod to 10 pounds. Their boats already have posted 541 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 4; Striper 3; Sturgeon 3; Catfish 3; Bluegill 3; Shad 2
American shad made their inaugural annual appearance into the Sacramento River within the past week, and the action is decent for bank fishermen and boaters below the Freeport Bridge. The striped bass are moving on a daily basis, but the normal trolling locations from Collinsville to Clarksburg are producing. Johnny Tran of New Romeo’s Bait and Tackle in Freeport said, “Shad darts are working from the shorelines below the bridge, and boaters are anchoring and dropping down a drop-shot rig with a pair of hooks loaded with shad grubs.” Mark Wilson, striper trolling expert, spend two windblown days on the Delta on Friday and Sunday, and he said, “There are scattered pockets of striped bass throughout the system, and we are working around for an average of 20 fish per trip with half of these being over 18 inches.” For sturgeon, Captain Anthony Langes of Help U Fish out of Vallejo has been finding good action in lower Suisun Bay. He said, “We had six bites for 2 hookups, releasing a large undersized along with another possible legal fish lost.” Striped bass remains king on the San Joaquin side of the Delta, followed closely by largemouth bass, and the early returns of the slowdown on the San Joaquin for stripers appears to be premature. Captain Mike Gravert of Intimidator Sport Fishing said, “The rumors of the demise of the San Joaquin River striped bass bite are inaccurate, and the action continues to be solid on both morning and afternoon trips. The ticket this week continues to be a P-Line Predator Minnow in front of a Blade Runner A-Rig.” Clyde Wands, shallow trolling expert, was out on the San Joaquin and Sacramento Rivers, and he reported catching and releasing 25 stripers to 5.5 pounds. For largemouth bass, Randy Pringle, the Fishing Instructor, put together a 41-pound limit including largemouth bass at 11.2 and 8 pounds along with three other fish at more than seven pounds on Thursday. He said, “It is remarkable fishing out there right now, but you have to make accurate casts into the shallows as the fish are on beds in 3-4 feet of water. The key is tossing a Havoc Flat Dog in earth tones and slowly moving it back along the beds. The fish will pick it up if you run into a bed, and you will see it swim off. I have upgraded to 20-pound fluorocarbon as the big fish will break you off in the shallows as ‘all hell breaks loose’ when you get hooked up.” The ima Little Stick is working in the mornings on the overcast conditions, and the Heli P and Pit Boss are also effective. The frog bite should start once the sun comes out. There are fry in the water, and this is the reason why the Heli P and the Persuader spinnerbait are working. The Best Bass Mother Lode circuit will be on the Delta out of Russo’s this week after 123 anglers participated in Saturday’s Delta/Wine Region and there were 93 participants in the Rat-L-Trap Open on Sunday. Steve Santucci of Steve Santucci’s Fly Fishing Guide Service said, “Delta striper fishing is red hot with great numbers of good-sized stripers are possible. They are very aggressive and want a fly presented with a fast strip. Medium sized Clouser minnows in yellow or green over white are working best, and we are catching most of our fish on fast sinking T11 or T14 lines fishing in about 10 feet of water.” Dan Mathisen of Dan’s Delta Outdoors in Oakley reported the mouth of Three Mile Slough and along Eddo’s have been the top locations for striper trollers.
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 are found in the shallows with plastics on a dart head, shakey head or drop-shot along with some spinnerbait action. The larger grade of spots are found on reaction baits including chatterbaits and swimbaits. White bass are found in the main river channel with white Kastmasters or similar small spoons or spinners. At Lopez, plastics on the drop-shot or Texas-rig are working for numbers with the better grade of largemouth taken on jigs or spinnerbaits. A few crappie can be found near structure with minijigs. At Santa Margarita, the lake remains low launching a boat is not an option. The bass are on the beds, and the normal offerings of plastics on the drop-shot, Brush Hogs, or jigs are all working for the bedding fish. Crappie are taken with minijigs around structure, and a few catfish are taken on cut baits or nightcrawlers. 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 percent capacity and high operating expenses
Call: Lake Nacimiento (805) 238-1056, ext. 3; Lake San Antonio Marina (805) 472-2818; CentralCoastBassFishing.com (805) 466-6557
- Best Bass Tournaments/Mother Lode on April 23 at Delta/Russo’s Marina: 1, Khu and Lee Yang 25 pounds (big fish 10.15); 2, Sean and Denis O’Riordan 24.80; 3, Jim La Rosa/Brent Zieska 24.62
- California Bass Federation on April 23 at New Melones: 1, Tim Wells 19.83 (big fish 8.66); 2, Archie Steel 15.96; 3, Ed Pence 13.17
- Kerman Bass Club on April 23 at Lake Tulloch: 1, Ed and Cory Kerber 14.09 (big fish 5.38); 2, John Albidrez/Vince Garcia 12.85; 3, Dennis Graham/Jon Smith 11.89
- Sierra Bass Club on April 23 at Bass Lake: 1, Jimmy Smith/Cory Condry 14.49; 2, Ray and Barbara Woodward 13.52; 3, Magnus Johnson/Ron Moreno 12.28; big fish, Dan Ripportella 4.21
- Fresno Bass Club on April 24 at Lake Tulloch: 1, Ken Eddy 11.65 pounds (big fish 4.96); 2, Roger Lockhart 11.63; 3, Bob Tratar 9.88
- Saturday: 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
- Saturday-Sunday: Bass Lake Chamber of Commerce Trout Derby at Bass Lake
- Sunday: California Delta Team Trail at Delta/Russo’s Marina
- May 7: American Bass Association at Delta/B and W Resort; Best Bass Tournaments at Pine Flat; Central Valley Sportsmen’s Catfish Derby at Woodward Lake Park
- May 14: Best Bass Tournaments at Don Pedro; Mid Valley Bass Club at McClure; Kerman Bass Club at Bass Lake; U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at Pine Flat; Hume Lake Christian Camp Trout Derby at Hume Lake; Bakersfield Bass Club at Kaweah; Kern County Bassmasters at Success; Lake Isabella Bass Club at Isabella; Taft Bass Club at Lopez
- May 15: California Delta Team Trail at Delta/B and W Resort; Kings VIII Bass Club at McClure
- May 19-21: Forrest L. Wood Cup at Delta/Russo’s Marina
- May 21: California Bass Federation at Delta/Ladd’s Marina; Angler’s Press at New Melones; Christian Bass League at Don Pedro; American Bass Association at Kaweah; Visalia Bass Club at Success; Golden Empire Bass Club at Lopez; Tri Valley Bassmasters at Santa Margarita
- May 21-22: Sierra Bass Club at Delta/Russo’s Marina; Fresno Bass Club at Clear Lake
- May 22: Forrest L. Wood Cup at Delta/Russo’s Marina; Modesto Ambassadors at Delta/Ladd’s Marina; Bass N’Tubes at New Melones; Riverbank Bass Club at McClure; Success Bass Club at Success; San Luis Obispo County Bass Ambushers at Lopez
- May 28: American Bass Association at Delta/Russo’s Marina
- May 29: California Delta Team Trail at Delta/Russo’s Marina
- Fresno County: Big Creek, Huntington; Courtright Reservoir; Dinkey Creek; Hume Lake; Rancheria Creek; Tamarack Creek; Wishon Reservoir
- Kern County: Kern River, section 4-5; Lake Isabella
- Madera County: Lewis Creek; Nelder Creek; Willow Creek North Fork
- Mariposa County: Big Creek, Madera; Merced River, Section ll
- Tulare County: Bone Creek; Deer Creek; Dry Meadow Creek; Freeman Creek; Kern River, sections 5-6; Nobe Young Creek; Peppermint Creek, Lower; White River
- Tuolumne County: Beaver Creek; Lyons Canal (Columbia Ditch); Moccasin Creek; Powerhouse Stream; Stanislaus River Clarks Fork; Stanislaus River Middle Fork; Stanislaus River North Fork; Stanislaus River South Fork; Tuolumne River Middle Fork; Tuolumne River North Fork; Tuolumne River South Fork
q = quarter moon