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.
Marin Coast Salmon hot, Roger Thomas said, American shad in Sacramento River, Alan Fong exclaimed. Rockfish in Port San Luis happening, Patriot Sport Fishing reported. Catfish biting in south aqueduct, Jacob Rutledge confirmed. New Melones kokanee on the rise, John Liechty added. Delta bass fishing hot, Randy Pringle said. Wishon trout hitting, Chuck Crane reported.
Never miss a local story.
2-Have to work hard
4-Fish jumpin’ in boat
Delta Mendota Canal and Sloughs
Stripers 2; Catfish 3; Bass 3; Carp 3
Bass action in the Fresno-area has been confined to generally small fish, but the Delta-Mendota Canal has been the hotbed for larger bass over the past few weeks. Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “We have been selling punch weights, punch hooks and creature baits as fast as we can get them in as largemouth bass in the 4- to 7-pound range have been commonplace for those punching the mats. There is also a frog bite when the conditions are right. One fisherman broke a $300 Dobyns Magnum heavy extra-fast 735c rod in three places when he set the hook with 50-pound test braid, and he thinks he hooked into a huge catfish.” In the California Aqueduct, Meng Xyong of the Fishaholics based in Fresno said, “It seems most of the stripers are being caught near the bottom. Anglers continue to catch stripers and catfish using cutbaits. In the early-morning hours, anglers are catching fish using jerkbaits such as SpeedLures, Duo Realis and LuckyCraft Pointers. They’re switching to SpeedLures Lipless Rattlers or Rat-L-Traps in the afternoon for limits of stripers targeting the lower water column. A fish that many anglers overlook are carp. The aqueduct is loaded with them. These fish can easily grow to well over 30 pounds and are relentless fighters. Most carp fishermen like using wheat mixed with a sugary substance such as honey or fruit punch. They are also good eating when prepared properly. Water continues to flow through the California Aqueduct. Water clarity continues to be murky in most sections of the system.” In the south aqueduct in Kern County, Jacob Rutledge of Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield reported continued good action for catfish with Sonny’s Dip Bait, Katnip Beef Bait, anchovies, chicken livers, or sardines. Striper action is best with blood worms, sardines, or large minnows with a few fish taken on the topwater River2Sea Whopper Plopper. Trash and other debris left along the aqueduct’s levees remains a major problem, and fishermen are advised to pack out what they bring in to maintain the ability to fish these valuable locations.
Bass 2; Trout 2; Bluegill 2; Catfish 2; Crappie 2
Patrick Movey of the Fisherman’s Warehouse said, “The best quality of bass are found in deeper water from 20-25 feet away from the weed growth. You can throw spinnerbaits over the grass, but any lure that dives too deep will get hung up.” Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis added, “Small bass can still be found by walking the banks with Senkos. Three very good bass fishermen went night fishing to throw swimbaits from dark to 1:30 a.m., but they only landed a total of three bass to 2 pounds, and these were landed on a jig. There are still the occasional bass to 5 pounds landed at depths from 20-25 feet. The visibility is only 1.5 feet, and there may still be bass on the beds. Catfishing is fair at best with anchovies, chicken livers, or sardines.” The lake continues to rise slowly, coming up to 37 percent capacity and 521.07 feet in elevation. The northeastern portion of the lake behind the buoy line is closed to all water recreation until Aug. 1 to protect nesting bald eagles.
Call: Six Star Tackle Box 673-5688; Eastman Lake 689-3255
Bass 2; Trout 2; Catfish 2; Bluegill 2; Crappie 2
Same situation this week with only a few fishermen targeting bass. Small fish remain the rule, and Senkos are the top technique for the 11- to 12-inch fish. A few bluegill and catfish are possible, but interest is minimal. The lake is starting to release water, dropping nearly a foot to 509.44 in elevation and 54 percent capacity.
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
King salmon and kokanee are scarce, but stable and warming weather should concentrate schools within the coming weeks. Bass fishing is a grind, but quality limits in excess of 29 pounds were taken on reaction baits during Saturday’s Best Bass Tournaments Mother Lode event. Monte Smith of Gold Country Sport Fishing said, “There have been a few quality kings in the 5- to 6-pound range taken recently, and we spent a good part of the morning in search of kings and kokanee without success before putting on heavy spoons on the downrigger at depths below 25 feet in Hatch Creek for six rainbows and a kokanee. The kokanee was 14 inches and 1 pound, 2 ounces, and it really wanted the lure bad since the treble hook was wrapped though its upper and lower lip. The kings are there, but you have to run your lures right past them right now. The kokanee are scattered, but once the weather stabilizes, the bite should turn on. The water temperature is 68 degrees, and with the small storms passing through, the bite has been good one day and slow the following day.” Bass fishing has been tough overall, but Michael and Shane Soriano put together a 28.36-pound limit including a 9.54-pound kicker to take first in Saturday’s BBT tournament. Director Kevin Cheek of Best Bass Tournaments said, “The larger fish came on reaction baits from crankbaits to ripbaits, and all of the big fish had to be fizzed in order to release as they are coming up from the deep water in the 28-foot range. There were two fish weighed in over 9 pounds.” Releases from upstream Hetch Hetchy Reservoir have brought the lake up to 73 percent capacity and 781.50 feet in elevation, and the marina at Moccasin will be bringing the house boats back from the area outside of the Blue Oaks launch ramp. This area has had a 5-mph limit for several months because of the presence of the moored houseboats, and it takes 25 minutes to travel from Blue Oaks to Fleming Meadows by boat. The upper reach of the reservoir is a quarter-mile upstream from the Wards Ferry Bridge, and much of the floating debris in the upper Tuolumne River arm is contained, allowing vessel access to the upper reservoir. All three launch ramps are open.
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 3; Crappie 2; Catfish 2; Bluegill 2
At Isabella, Jacob Rutledge of Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield confirmed good trout fishing from the shore with Power Bait, live crickets, nightcrawlers and spinners. A few trollers are working the lake with shad-patterned spoons. Bass fishing is fair at best, and the crappie are holding in deep water. A boat is necessary to locate the crappie in submerged structure as the lake continues to rise. Catfish are still a good possibility with clams, chicken livers or nightcrawlers. The lake has risen 3 feet to 2,548.33 in elevation and 19 percent capacity. Trout fishing is best in the upper river for planted trout in the deeper pools with live crickets, salmon eggs, or nightcrawlers. At Buena Vista, largemouth bass are getting active as well as catfish while Hart Park and Ming are the top local impoundments for bass. Truxton is kicking out a few bluegill. In the Big Kern River, Steve Day, owner of Golden Trout Pack Trains, said, “The river is raging, and it looks to be an awesome year for trout in the high county wilderness.”
Call: Bob’s Bait (661) 833-8657; North Fork Marina (760) 376-1812
Bass 2; Crappie 2; Trout 2; Catfish 2
Bass fishing is hit or miss with the best action with Brush Hogs, lizards or plastics on the drop-shot. Live minnows or crawdads are also working. The fish have moved out into deeper water with the unsettled weather conditions. The lake levels continue to rise. Trout action is slow with the fish migrating up into the river arm. There are some Fresno-area fishermen heading to the lake for crappie. The lake rose 7 feet to 687.26 in elevation and 70 percent capacity.
Call: Sierra Sporting Goods 592-5212
Bass 2; Trout 3; Catfish 2; Crappie 2
Chuck Stokke of Sequoia Fishing Co. said, “The bass bite is good to fair due to unsettled weather with Zoom plastics, Brush Hogs, lizards and flukes. The lake is full and the marina is now open. More stable weather this week should improve the crappie and bass action.” The lake rose more than a foot to 636.53 in elevation and 61 percent capacity; the lake is held at this level because of restrictions on the dam. In the Tule River, Stokke said, “The river is running at a very swift pace due to runoff from snowmelt, but I saw the biggest caddis hatch last week in the past ten years. Fly fishing during this hatch produced over 50 rainbow and brown trout on dry flies on stimulators or caddis patterns. I caught and released two brown over 16 inches, but on Sunday, I had to throw Woolley Buggers due to the higher weather flow. I caught less rainbows, but the quality was good.” Balch Park officially opens to the public this weekend.
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 to 53 percent capacity and 782.48 feet in elevation, but the changing water level has created variable conditions. Terry Mello at A-1 Bait in Snelling said, “There is a solid bass bite with live crawdads and minnows. Mike Gomez of the Bait Barn in Waterford touted topwater lures such as the River2Sea Rover or subsurface SWaver along with the Berserk Purple Hornet or Sprayed Grass jigs. Robo Worms 119 pattern, clear plastics with a purple blood line, also is effective on the drop-shot or dart head. The McClure Point and Barrett Cove South launch ramps are open; the Barrett Cove North ramp remains under construction.
Call: A-1 Bait (209) 563-6505; Bub Tosh (209) 404-0053
The lack of trout plants has resulted in very slow trout action. Most area fishermen are finding other places to target rainbows from the banks. The last trout plant was April 8, but there are still several tagged fish in the lake from the MID Derby. 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 2; Striper 2; Shad 1; Bluegill 2
Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis reported, “The lake level has stabilized, and small bass remain numerous with ripbaits, flukes, plastics on the drop-shot or dart-head, jigs or Senkos. The quality is better than at nearby Pine Flat. Striped bass to 22 pounds have been landed near Finegold on topwater lures with a few more stripers reported this week.” Patrick Movey of the Fisherman’s Warehouse confirmed some stripers were landed this week, and he said, “The spotted bass are small, but they are numerous.” Few fishermen target the lake, particularly during the week. The warmer weather is bringing out more and more recreational boats on the weekends. All boats need to possess a low-emission sticker on their motors. Recreational boat pressure should continue to ramp up ahead of Memorial Day. Millerton came back up again this week to 59 percent capacity and 528.49 feet in elevation. Regulations on the lower San Joaquin, and from Friant Dam downstream to the Highway 140 Bridge, allow only two hatchery trout or hatchery steelhead with a total of four in possession.
Call: Fresno Fisherman’s Warehouse 225-1838; Valley Rod & Gun 292-3474
New Melones Reservoir/Tulloch
Bass 2; Crappie 2; Catfish 2; Trout 2; Kokanee 3
Kokanee are drawing anglers to New Melones despite the dropping water levels. Although the action isn’t fast and furious, the largest kokanee in the state are making their presence known. Bass fishing remains decent while catfish and crappie action remains very good. Gary Burns of Take It To The Limit Guide Service said, “The kokanee bite is good, but you have to put your time in to get your limit as it is not a fast bite for small kokes, but a slow bite for big kokanee with most of the fish ranging from 14-15 inches. Boy, are they fat and healthy, and you have to hold onto your rod as they are putting up quite a fight. We are still trolling in the main lake around the spillway and the dam over to Rose Island at depths from 32-40 feet with gold spinners, Uncle Larry’s spinners in blue/pink, or Glitterbug’s tube hooches in pink tipped with garlic-scented corn behind blue dodgers.” Trout action remains fair as the surface temperatures rise, and the fish move into deeper water. The rainbows are holding near the schools of shad, and they will feed on the bait fish throughout the summer months. Trollers are finding some success with shad-patterned spoons such as ExCels, Speedy Shiners, or Needlefish at depths from 40-60 feet in the main river channel in the main lake. The bass bite has slowed within the past week, but Mike Gomez of the Bait Barn in Waterford reported an 11-pound limit was taken on topwater River2Sea Rovers or the SWaver with the fish found at various depths in the water column. John Liechty of Glory Hole Sports in Angels Camp said, “The fish are pulling off of the shoreline and starting to feed and recuperate from the spawn. Bluegill, shad, and baby bass are the top food at this time of year.” The Future Pro Tour tournament this weekend will bring a number of participants to the lake. Catfishing continues to improve as the water warms and the whiskerfish are moving toward shore. Frozen shad, mackerel, nightcrawlers or chicken livers are all working along sloping banks with deep-water access. Crappie are biting, and slabs over 2 pounds have been taken from areas with standing timber adjacent to shallow water. Liechty said, “The main way to locate crappie is to fish with a small Beetle Spin or Road Runner, and once you find an area that is holding the slabs, use a live minnow under a slip-float.” The lake rose slightly to 879.91 in elevation and 25 percent capacity. Glory Hole remains the only launch available, with two lanes and a courtesy dock.
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
Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “Trout fishing remains fair at best with all of the action in the main lake. There is a possibility of the trash barrier being removed by June 1, allowing access to the Trimmer area from the main lake. Bass fishermen are struggling for limits in the 7.5- to 8-pound range, and there are a few crappie in the river arm at Sycamore and Big Creeks.” Patrick Movey of the Fisherman’s Warehouse added, “The bass are in post-spawn mode, and the action is fair at best. There is small window for topwater action before working the creek channels at depths to 30 feet with plastics on the drop-shot or dart head. Trout trollers are working at depths from 25-30 feet with shad-patterned spoons or blade/’crawler combinations near Windy Gap with only a few boats trolling above the trash barrier.” The lake has risen 11 feet in the past week to 871.27 in elevation and 59 percent capacity. 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 continue to limit boating on the lake, but there is solid action for fly fishermen casting Clouser Minnows, with a few stripers in excess of 20 pounds caught and released. Jumbo minnows remain the most consistent technique near the trash racks and at the mouth of Portuguese Cove as the lake has dropped once again this week to 42 percent capacity. Roger George of Roger George Guide Service said that the bite has been sporadic with the changing weather. “I fished with John and Dale Rhine last Tuesday and we hit a fairly good trolling bite with 17 released fish to 24 inches on a calm day. Later in the week I fished with John Turner of Fresno and we released eight fish on a windier day with one beautiful 12-pounder. You have to be very careful about the wind now – it’s treacherous at times and comes up quickly!” George said. In the Forebay, Checks 11 or 12 are the best locations for schoolie stripers at more than 20 inches with blood worms or reaction baits. With the wind in the main lake, the Forebay has been a popular striper site. The pumps are running on a regular basis, and the best action occurs when the water is moving.
Call: Coyote Bait andTackle (408) 463-0711, Roger George of rogergeorgeguideservice.com (559) 905-2954
Bass 2; Trout 2; Kokanee 1
Bass Lake has really become a bass lake with continued slow trout fishing and non-existent kokanee action. The reservoir was recently one of the best kokanee lakes in the state, routinely producing landlocked salmon in excess of 18 inches, but the species has not recovered from the dam reconstruction a few years ago. There are few, if any, adult kokanee remaining. Trout action remains very slow, with experienced trollers only picking up the occasional rainbows with blade/’crawler combinations, Tasmanian Devils or Rocky Mountain Tackle Assassin spinners at depths to 20 feet. A large plant of 3-inch rainbow trout was released into the lake in addition to 50,000 kokanee smolts on May 2. Bass fishing is best with drop-shot plastics for numbers with the larger fish taken on reaction baits or swimbaits. A 14-pound limit was the winning weight in Saturday’s Kerman Bass Club tournament. The lake is close to spilling. Several campgrounds will remain closed until July 4 because of the removal of more than 5,000 hazard trees resulting from a beetle infestation. Campgrounds updates are available at 642-3212.
Call: Todd Wittwer 288-8100; Mike Beighey 642-3748
Brown trout 2; Trout 2
Kaiser Pass Road may be open to Edison and Florence Lakes as early as this weekend. Warmer temperatures have accelerated the snowpack’s melting. The lakes continue to rise steadily.
Call: Vermilion Valley Resort at Edison Lake 259-4000
Shaver Lake/Huntington Lake
Kokanee 2; Trout 3
After a week of excellent action for rainbow trout with some solid kokanees scores in the limits, the bite slowed over the weekend and into Monday as the lake has risen to over 67 percent capacity. Dick Nichols of Dick’s Fishing Charters said, “This happens almost every year when the water rises quickly, trapping insects into the water. The fish are gorging themselves with insects as the water level came up 4 feet within 48 hours. Before the water rose, 2-4 limits of mixed quality limits were possible, but the fish have moved to the shoreline in search of the abundant insects.” Richard Randall, 70, of Clovis, confined to a wheelchair for many years, went out with his brothers Ernie of Clovis and son Jerry of Chicago for Richard’s birthday, and they put in close to three limits with Nichols, including a 4.5-pound rainbow landed by Richard. There was thick fog throughout the day. Kokanee action has been fair with an average of 3-5 small kokanee per day with Captain Jack’s Super Hoochies, Fat Bugs or orange Apex lures behind a C.J. Dodger at depths from 35-45 feet. Nichols is also scoring at 15-20 feet with Trout Busters tipped with a nightcrawler behind a Mountain Flasher on his side poles. Steve Santoro of Fish Box Charters added, “The weather changed to a cooler and windy Saturday, but the kokanee bite was still on, but keeping them hooked was another matter with several lost at the boat. Our best location has been from the point to the island at 25 feet in depth with orange Apex lures or Captain Jack’s Super Hoochies tipped with corn. John and Teresa Myers of Hanford caught and released limits of kokanee from 12-14 inches with me from Black Rock to the point.” With the rainbows oriented toward the shore, bank fishing has improved in the Edison Camp area near Dorabella Cove with trout dough bait or nightcrawlers. A video of the Shaver Lake Trophy Trout Project plant is available on YouTube and another plant is scheduled for June. Farther east at Huntington Reservoir, the reservoir is nearly full, and the launch ramp is now accessible. An occasional quality rainbow or brown to 19 inches have been taken from the shoreline on trout dough bait.
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 lake is fluctuating in level, but it has risen to the point where boats can be launched on the concrete ramp. Trollers are finding great action for browns to 18 inches running 3-inch Rapalas in firetiger near the surface on a long set back or blade/’crawler combinations with an 18-inch leader at 3-4 colors of leadcore. Shore fishing is fair at best with the varying water levels, and trout dough bait in orange or pink along with nightcrawlers under a bubble on a 3 to 4-foot leader are working.” The upper end of the lake in the creek arm is loaded with debris. The Wishon Store/RV Park and campground are open. The road to Courtright may open by the weekend, with updates available at 297-0706.
Call: Wishon RV Park 865-5361
Half Moon Bay
Salmon 2; Rockfish 3; Striper 3
There have been some encouraging signs on the local salmon front with one private boater bringing in a limit of big fish at 17 and 25 pounds on Sunday from the Martin’s Beach area. Sherri Ingles at Half Moon Bay Sport Fishing said, “We are looking forward to more fish moving into the area with the northwest winds expected to blow for the next few days.” Party boats have been running north to Duxbury in order to troll with the Bay Area fleet for the large grade of salmon. Ingles added, “The fish are big, and the ratio of fish landed to fish lost has been ranging from 1:1 or 1:2 on recent trips. The Riptide returned with six limits and a crew fish during the week, and the Queen of Hearts brought home nine salmon to 21 pounds out of 18 solid hook-ups.” Ingles confirmed the best action is for bottom dwellers with the school fish basically absent. She said, “If you work at it all day, you are rewarded with a quality sack of bottom fish. Ling cod fishing has been best for experienced fishermen or for those listening to the captain as swimbaits, whole squid, and small rockfish for hitchhikers are all working for the lings. We have had anywhere from limits of lings to a half-dozen lings on our trips.” The big tides in early May pushed a number of striped bass out of San Francisco Bay onto the beaches, and shore fishermen are picking up stripers from Ocean Beach south past Half Moon Bay with spoons, topwater lures, blood worms or sand crabs. Sardines and mackerel are inside of the Pillar Point harbor while anchovies are starting to mass along the outside.
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 3; Halibut 2; Salmon 2
Chris Arcoleo of Chris’ Landing in Monterey said, “The weather was really rough on Sunday, and we had to stay very local due to the winds, but the ling cod action remains tremendous with the Check Mate coming back with 26 limits of ling cod along with half limits of rockfish. We are jigging up live mackerel and sardines on our way out, and the lings are climbing on. The commercial salmon fishing has been excellent with boats coming back with between 50 and 80 fish, but they are down in the canyon at tremendous depths, and the boats are running between 400 and 500 feet of wire in order to reach them. Striped bass are all over the beaches, and one of our deckhands caught 19 stripers on swimbaits on a recent trip, but only one was over 18 inches.” They have room all week long including Sunday, but Friday and Saturday are already sold out. Allen Bushnell of Santa Cruz Kayak Fishing said, ”Fishing is getting more consistent on Monterey Bay for most of our varied species. With luck, the uptick this week will continue. Inshore water temps are still unusually cool, remaining in the mid-50s. That is very low for this time of year. Typically, the water warms in spring to the high 50s and even low 60s, which encourages rockfish to feed and also brings halibut closer to the beach. Despite the cold water we are seeing better fishing for both these species. Anglers trolling hoochies or squid in 60-80 feet of water are starting to hook up halibut. We received reports of big flatties caught from Capitola, in front of the Santa Cruz Harbor and even off the pocket beaches along the north coast this week. Drifting live or dead bait for halibut in those 60-70 foot depths over a sandy bottom would also be a recipe for success in the coming weeks. We would also expect to see the flatties moving into to increasingly shallow water as the next few week’s progress. There is plenty of bait available all around the bay, mostly Spanish mackerel and sardines. Both work very well for catching halibut, rockfish or lingcod.”
Call: Chris’ Landing (831) 375-5951; Bayside Marine (831) 475-2173; usafishing.com
San Francisco Bay
Halibut 2; Striper 3; Rockfish 3; Leopard shark 2; Sturgeon 2; Crab 3; Salmon 3
The salmon bite was outstanding during the middle of the past week before the wind machine slowed the counts over the weekend. Captain Roger Thomas of the Salty Lady out of Sausalito said, “The weather is going to put us out of business for the next few days, possibly as far out as Thursday, but the fish are still there. The action was absolutely fabulous this week before slowing down progressively since Friday, but this is weather related. The grade of fish is outstanding, and we had limits of a solid 15- to 18-pound range this week.” Captain Trent Slate of Shelter Cove Sport Fishing put in three limits within an hour of making it to the grounds on Wednesday along with crab limits. The bite was that good. Sunday’s weather kept all boats from finding success. Captain Jim Smith of the Happy Hooker was inside the bay Sunday because of the weather after putting together solid ling cod and rockfish scores the previous two days. They went up to the Brothers in search of striped bass, but there were few on the rocks. After heading up into San Pablo Bay near Point Pinole, they ended up with seven halibut to 16 pounds, 10 striped bass, a pair of ling cod and around a dozen rockfish. He is taking an open load Wednesday and also through the weekend. Bill Clapp of Bill’s Sport Fishing was commercial halibut fishing in the Berkeley Flats on Sunday, and he had three legal halibut to 17 pounds along with releasing three shakers. The California Dawn out of Berkeley Marina found tremendous action on Saturday for 25 halibut and five stripers bass for 20 anglers, releasing another 30 short fish. Captain James Smith said, “The tides remain excellent for halibut into the coming weekend.” Monday was a different story with the halibut bite returning on the California Dawn with 15 halibut and seven striped bass on a Penn University/Pure Fishing charter.
San Luis Obispo
It’s all about rockfish from the San Luis Obispo County ports, and the Patriot out of Port San Luis at Avila Beach returned with 146 assorted rockfish, three cabezon, and a vermilion for 15 limits of rockfish along with 17 ling cod to 12 pounds. Their ling cod count since April 1 is 1,080. Out of Virg’s Landing in Morro Bay, the Princess returned from a two-day trip up the coast with 25 anglers and five crew for 171 ling cod, 324 vermilion rockfish, 133 assorted rockfish, seven cabezon and 74 copper rockfish while the Fiesta posted 56 lings, 13 coppers, 25 vermilion, two cabezon, and 184 assorted rockfish on a full-day trip with 28 passengers. Both trips returned Sunday. They continue to take 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. Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield is taking a charter on the Endeavor out of Morro Bay on June 12 and there are still a few spots available.
Call: Virg’s Landing, (805) 772-1222; (800) 762-5263; Patriot Sports Fishing (805) 595-4100; Port Side Marine Sports Launch (805) 595-7214
Bass 3; Striper 2; Sturgeon 2; Catfish 3; Bluegill 3
American shad remain the best bet on the Sacramento River with the striper bite slowing to a crawl along with the relative disappearance of sturgeon fishermen. Alan Fong of the Fisherman’s Warehouse in Sacramento reported excellent shad fishing in the Sacramento River and upstream with shad darts or grubs in champagne or pink. For the second week in a row, wind has been the limiting factor on the Sacramento River for striper trollers, but the transition from the hot bite in April to the slowdown in May has been dramatic. Mark Wilson, striper trolling expert, said, “We have been averaging from 2-3 shakers along with 2-4 keepers to 6 pounds with 90 percent of the fish coming on deep-diving lures. The big tides and winds have turned the water off color, and the bite has slowed considerably.” Farther downriver, Steve Mitchell of Hook’d Up Sport Fishing reported a few large stripers have been landed on fresh shad in the deeper water near the Pittsburg PGE plant, but overall the action has slowed. Sturgeon are still holding in lower Suisun Bay, but interest has been minimal with halibut fever gripping anglers. The wind has been blowing consistently in the San Joaquin Delta, but the largemouth bass action hasn’t dropped a beat. Anglers are already pre-fishing for the big FLW-Delta event out of Russo’s starting Thursday, and there will be loads of boats on the Delta at the start of the weekend. Dan Mathisen of Dan’s Delta Outdoors in Oakley said, “The wind is blowing, and the spinnerbait bite is going on with the Fat Sack or Bobby D’s spinnerbaits in chartreuse/white or chartreuse/blue as the fish are keying on crawdads or bluegill. Chatterbaits in green pumpkin or variations of this color are also working, and with the wind, the lure weights are from one-half to three-quarters of an ounce.” Randy Pringle, the Fishing Instructor, said, “The largemouth bass bite is really, really good right now, particularly in the warmer afternoons. The mornings are a bit sluggish, but when the sun comes out, the half-ounce Persuader Rattlin’ Blade spinnerbait in chartreuse/white in clearer water or the blue/orange in stained water are working with the wind blowing. There is a good crankbait bite with the ima Squarebill in chartreuse/white or black/red is also good as we are targeting areas where the fish have spawned with current. The bass are either guarding fry or sitting off of the beds in the current. There is an excellent topwater bite with the ima Little Stick in American shad or bone, and the key is to keep in the strike zone. Numbers are taken on the Havoc Flat Dog, and it is possible to land from 30-60 bass using this technique. If you go to my Youtube channel, you can learn how to rig this bait.” Alan Fong of the Fisherman’s Warehouse in Sacramento also confirmed the excellent largemouth bass bite, stating, “The fish are holding out into deeper water, and the best grade of bass is coming on big glide baits while chatterbaits and Senkos are also working. Once the temperatures stabilize at 80 degrees, the bass will be all over the banks.” For striped bass, most fishermen are heading north to the Sacramento or Mokelumne rivers. Doug Chapman of Gotcha Bait in Antioch confirmed the slowdown in the striper activity, but numbers of linesides from shakers to the occasional keeper can be taken on anchovies or sardines from the Antioch Fishing Pier.
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 3
At Nacimiento, the spotted bass are oriented toward the shallows at depths from 5-15 feet with plastics on the drop-shot or shakey head along with chatterbaits, jerkbaits, and crankbaits holding up the reaction end of the bite. White bass can be found near Las Tablas and the Narrows with small lures such as Kastmasters, or Roostertails. Crappie fishing is good with small minnows or minijigs around submerged brush. Fresno-area anglers continue to take limits of crappie and bluegill out of the lake for consumption despite health warnings for excessive mercury. Lake Lopez is the other option for launching a boat at the coastal lakes, and bass fishing is fair with plastics on the drop-shot, Texas-rig or shakey head working best while there is some action on jigs or Brush Hogs.. At Santa Margarita, the lake remains low at just over 13 percent, but the water has cleared up within the past week. The bass bite is fair with the best action by sight fishing with creature baits or swimbaits along with chatterbaits, jigs or plastics on the drop-shot.. Launching a boat is not an option, but the marina has rentals available. 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; Central Coast Bass Fishing.com (805) 466-6557
- Bass 101 on May 7 at Bass Lake: 1, Brett Kemmer/Scott Burns 15.33 pounds (big fish 3.89); 2, Tony/Magnus 12.41; 3, Bishop/Bee 12.33
- Best Bass Tournaments on May 14 at Don Pedro: 1, Michael and Shane Soriano 28.36 pounds (big fish 9.54); 2, Mike Martinez/Brian Orange 15.71; 3, Rich Ingram/Robie Gather 15.35
- Kerman Bass Club on May 14 at Bass Lake: 1, Raul and Phillip Guillan 14 pounds; 2, Dennis Graham/Jon Smith 12.78 (big fish 4.68); 3, Dale Ashcraft/Kong Vang 11.45
- Thursday-Saturday: Forrest L. Wood Cup at Delta/Russo’s Marina
- Saturday: 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
- Saturday-Sunday: Sierra Bass Club at Delta/Russo’s Marina; Fresno Bass Club at Clear Lake
- Sunday: 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
- June 3-4: Bass N’Fly at Delta/Ladd’s Marina
- Fresno County: Courtright Reservoir; San Joaquin River, South Fork; Ward Lake; Wishon Reservoir
- Kern County: Kern River, sections 4-5
- Madera County: Chiquito Creek West Fork; Chiquito Creek, Lower; Fish Creek; Rock Creek
- Tulare County: Balch Park Lake Lower and Upper; Deer Creek; Hedrick Pond (Redwood Lake); Kern River, sections 5-6; White River
- Tuolumne County: Beardsley Reservoir; Cherry Valley Reservoir; Lyons Canal (Columbia Ditch); Moccasin Creek; Powerhouse Stream; Stanislaus River Clarks Fork; Stanislaus River Middle Fork; Stanislaus River South Fork; Tuolumne River North Fork
f = full moon > = peak activity