Compiled by Dave Hurley and edited by Roger George, a central San Joaquin Valley native and local fishing expert.
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San Luis stripers boiling, Ly Tu said. Pine Flat bass limits getting heavier, Merritt Gilbert said. Bass Lake spots active, Patrick Movey said. San Joaquin River stripers hitting, Randy Pringle said. Rio Vista sturgeon bite good, Haps Bait said. Kaweah crappie steady, Sierra Sport Fishing said.
It's almost universal that some of the most frustrating moments at the lake happen at the boat ramp. It gets even more interesting when water levels are down and ramps become narrow and long, putting even more pressure on drivers who are "trailer-backing-up" challenged.
I had one such experience watching a man driving a van try to back down a very long (at least 150 feet) and narrow low-water ramp with a jet ski trailer. Complicating matters was the line forming behind him.
Backing a short-tongued trailer is tough enough, but doing it when you can't see the trailer in your mirrors and getting verbal and hand signals simultaneously from three unqualified people makes for a disaster. He would back down about 15 feet before the trailer was almost sideways, then he would pull up 10 feet to straighten the trailer, then do it again - with a net gain down the ramp of about 5 feet per try. It was clear this guy had no business backing down a ramp, and as the pressure mounted, he got more nervous. It was starting to get ugly because rather than calling it quits, he would try that much harder, making it even worse, while at the same time further infuriating the now hostile and growing line of boaters.
After watching for at least 15 minutes, my fishing buddy said, "Why couldn't we unhook the trailer and back it down the ramp by hand?" Good idea! We recruited two other guys and guided the trailer the remaining 75 feet to the dock, getting cheers from the relieved crowd.
One angler who was thinking saved the day for everyone.
- Roger George
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* Try dynamite
** Have to work hard
*** Limits possible
**** Fish jumpin' in boat
New Melones Reservoir/Lake Tulloch
**Bass **Crappie **Kokanee ***Catfish ***Trout
Melanie Lewis of Glory Hole Sporting Goods in Angels Camp reported regular trout plants are starting, so bank anglers should start seeing some action, especially near the boat ramps. The larger trout are feeding heavily on the small threadfin shad that are very plentiful in the lake. Small minnows under a bobber near the mouth of any creek arm or throwing a small silver spoon is another good choice. The rainbows are starting to move up as the water cools. Lewis recommended throwing a swimbait once the wind picks up, particularly with the regular trout plants taking place. The larger bass tend to eat crawdads instead of shad, so creature baits and jigs seem to be catching the bigger ones. The catfish have moved into deeper water, and there was good action with anchovies, mackerel, sardines, chicken liver or a ball of night crawlers. Crappie and bluegill action continues to be slow with the best action at night under lights at 10-30 feet around submerged trees with live small or medium minnows, or crappie jigs with jigs in red/white, black/chartreuse or purple/white in Bear, Carson or Mormon creeks.
The lake dropped a foot to 956.48 in elevation and 46% of capacity.
Monte Smith of Gold Country Fishing recommended Lake Tulloch as the top Mother Lode lake for rainbows to 3 pounds. The water is still a bit warm for Tulloch at 63 degrees with the best action found in the mid- to high 50s.
Call: (209) 736-4333, Monte Smith (209) 581-4734, Danny Layne (209) 586-2383, Sierra Sport Fishing (209) 599-2023.
San Luis Reservoir and O'Neill Forebay
***Stripers **Catfish **Bass *Crappie
Ly Tu of Ly's Fishing Goods in San Jose reported a great striper bite (fish to 8 pounds) with extra-large minnows drifted near the Trash Racks and into Portuguese Cove. There is another good bite on Zara Spooks or surface Yozuris with the stripers chasing bait on the surface. The water is rising and cooling, and the linesides are pushing up the shad schools. One boat put in four limits to 7 pounds in a half-hour by following the birds and plugging into the boils. The Dinosaur Point launch ramp is accessible. There is heavy angling interest in the Forebay, and anglers are wading into the lake and tossing live mudsuckers for some larger fish to 7 pounds. The lake rose to 25% of capacity with 10,377 acre-feet of water pumped from the Delta.
Call: Ly's Fishing Goods (408) 629-9644, Coyote Bait and Tackle (408) 463-0711, wind conditions (800) 805-4805.
**Bass **Trout **Bluegill **Catfish **Crappie
Ranger Keith Willis reported a continued mediocre bite with rain and colder temperatures needed to pick things up. There was some action on live crawdads for bass to 5 pounds, and Willis said one of the anglers lost a big fish on 40-pound test. The best action has been in 5-10 feet in spots next to deep water access to 20 feet. Patrick Movey said a few fish have been following up swimbaits, and there was a reported 8-pounder landed on a swimbait. Catfishing is fair after dark with a few bluegill to be had once they are located. The lake dropped a vertical foot to 471.09 feet in elevation and 9% of capacity.
*Bass **Trout **Catfish **Bluegill
Merritt Gilbert said fishing has been "deader than a mackerel" with one experienced angler working all day for no fish in the past week. A trout plant is scheduled for this week, and the plant might start up a swimbait bite for the larger bass as well as trout fishing from the banks on Power Bait or night crawlers. The lake is holding at 477.01 feet in elevation and 21% of capacity.
Call: 225-1838, 292-3474, 673-5151.
Diana Mello of A-1 Bait in Snelling reported some limits of planted rainbows have been taken from the banks at the Brush Pile or Handicapped Docks with night crawlers or various colors of Power Bait. Trollers continue to pull blade/crawler combinations or chartreuse/ruby red Wedding Rings tipped with a crawler behind a dodger from the dam to the second fence line.
Call: (209) 378-2534.
**Bass **Trout ***Crappie ***Catfish **Bluegill
Pete Cormier of Bob's Bait reported a slow topwater bite at Lake Isabella with the best action on drop-shot plastics, jigs or crank baits for a few bass. Numbers of fish have been hard to come by. Crappie fishing continues to be strong with good action near Rocky Point in the submerged trees with small minnows or minijigs. Trout fishing is starting to pick up near the dam and also near the river inlets as the water has cooled to the low 60s. A trout plant is scheduled for this week. The lake is holding at 2,547.41 feet in elevation and 18% of capacity.
Closer to Bakersfield, trout plants are producing put-and-take waters with fishing slowing shortly after the plants. Power Bait or night crawlers are the top offerings. Trout plants are scheduled to start at Buena Vista mid-November prior to the derby there.
The lower Kerns River is running slow, and catfish and bass are the top species.
Call: Big Ed's Bait and Tackle (760) 379-4170, Bob's Bait (661) 833-8657, North Fork Marina (760) 376-1812.
Delta Mendota Canal and Sloughs
Merritt Gilbert reported selling a few Lucky Craft Pointer 128s in ghost minnow or American shad for local anglers working the Aqueduct. One angler reportedly lost a huge fish on anchovies. Both major tackle shops reported selling several bags of anchovies for the canals. In the south Aqueduct, Pete Cormier said the striper bite continues to improve with clearer water without moss and good flows. George Flud of Bakersfield landed a 23-pound catfish and a schoolie striper on anchovies in the Aqueduct near Twisselman. Blood worms are another effective natural bait with swim baits and the orange/green sculpin tube baits starting to pick up stripers.
Millerton Lake/San Joaquin River
**Bass **Trout *Stripers *Shad
Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun said numerous small fish are the rule with a 6.5-pound limit being a good tournament weight. Drop-shotting 3- to 4-inch plastics in shad patterns or jigs along steep walls with deep water access in the main lake have produced the most fish. Water temperature is about 64 degrees. No striper bite. The lake dropped 8 feet to 531.82 in elevation and 62% of capacity. Very little water flow coming in from Kerckhoff. Upper river above Temperance has rocks just underneath or just out of the water. A trout plant is scheduled on the lower San Joaquin River for the next three weeks, but there are only a few anglers at Lost Lake.
Call: 225-1838, 292-3474.
Pine Flat Reservoir/Kings River
***Bass **Trout *King salmon **Catfish
Merritt Gilbert said the bass bite is good with a 12-pound-plus limit taking the weekend tournament with several other limits over 10 pounds. Drop-shotting, jigs or Texas-rigged plastics are the top techniques in 30-40 feet along the steeper walls. The shallower water is holding loads of small fish. Gilbert added that "dead-sticking" for 30 seconds or more with a slight movement has been the best technique. Trout fishing is hit-and-miss with some anglers trolling 5-6 hours for limits to 14.5 inches. The majority of fish are holding near the power lines, Lefevre Creek and the Deer Creek Marina taking Needlefish, Cripplures, Humdingers, Thomas Buoyants or Ex-Cels in shad colors at 3-5 colors. The fish are scattered chasing shad. The key is finding large concentrations of bait, but then you've got to entice the fish to skip the natural bait. The lake rose 4 feet to 784.14 in elevation and 27% of capacity.
Call: 787-2387, 225-1838, 292-3474.
**Bass ***Crappie *Trout **Catfish
Sierra Sport Fishing reported a strong crappie bite around the houseboats or rockpiles at 10 feet with small minnows or minijigs. Bass are hitting jigs, drop-shotting shad-colored plastics or large minnows throughout the lake. There are large schools of shad throughout the lake, so locating the bass hasn't been easy. The lake has dropped 16 feet to 593.88 in elevation and 9% of capacity.
**Bass **Trout **Catfish
Crank baits or drop-shot plastics are the top techniques for the few anglers working the lake. The bite should continue to improve as the water cools. A trout plant is scheduled next week. The lake is holding at 586.76 feet in elevation and 8% of capacity.
***Bass **Trout **King salmon *Kokanee **Crappie **Catfish
Manny Basi of the Bait Barn reported things are pretty much the same with a decent topwater bite in low light conditions on PopR's or Zara Spooks in the mornings before switching to drop-shotting with the Reaction Innovation worm in Bad Shad Green or small-profile jig head with a Yamamoto Hula Grub in color 330. A-1 Bait in Snelling has been receiving reports of good bass action at 15-20 feet, but these anglers are keeping their techniques quiet due to upcoming tournaments. The lake is at 44% of capacity.
Call: A-1 Bait (209) 563-6505, Fishwrangler's Guide Service (209) 604-8222, Bub Tosh (209) 404-0053.
Lake Don Pedro
**Bass **Trout *Kokanee **King salmon
Monte Smith of Gold Country Sport Fishing reported a very slow trout and king salmon bite after a decent bite the previous month. He thought the lake needs to turn over and cool from its current 66 degrees. Manny Basi reported the largemouth bass has gotten tough with some action on half- to three-quarter-ounce jigs in browns, brown/purple or dark green pumpkin from the surface to 30 feet. Basi recommended bouncing the jigs for improved action. Reaction Innovation plastics in Bad Shad Green, Pro Worms in 300 small redflake, Hologram Shad and Senkos in 330 or green pumpkin are also working. Basi added that there is an early topwater bite with PopR's or Zara Spooks. The lake is at 775.66 feet in elevation and 70% of capacity.
Call: Monte Smith (209) 581-4734, Danny Layne (209) 586-2383, Bait Barn (209) 874-3011.
***Bass **Trout *Kokanee
Patrick Movey of the Fisherman's Warehouse in Fresno reported a good bass bite for spots and largemouths with jigs or deep-diving cranks around ledges with deep water access. There have been largemouths to 8 pounds reported. Merritt Gilbert said the ramp is getting very touchy to launch, but drop-shotting Robo Worms or grubs as well as jigs are producing spotted bass to 2 pounds at depths to 40 feet outside the weed line. There is a ripbait bite very early in the morning. Trout fishing continues to be slow with few boats trolling the lake. The lake dropped to 52% of capacity.
Call: 642-3141; Todd Wittwer 288-8100, 642-3633, 642-3737; Mike Bieghy 642-3748.
Shaver Lake/Huntington Lake
**Kokanee **Trout ***Smallmouth bass
Captain Jack Yandell put in three of next year's kokanee to 13 inches on Monday trolling the Fat Bug in perch or orange tipped with straight corn behind a Shaver Lake Dodger in silver or gold. He was fishing from 25-32 feet from Ski Island to the rear of the lake. He added that another boat found kokanee and rainbows on blade/crawler combinations. Dick Nichols of Dick's Fishing Charters reported overall slower fishing, but Madeline Kuber of Clovis boated a 4-pound rainbow on a chartreuse/orange Dick's Trout Buster at 17 feet near Road on Sunday. The Kuber family experienced eight hookups on their recent trip with Nichols. Smallmouth bass can still be found in the rocks with crickets or small spinners. Shaver has dropped slightly to 68% of capacity, with Huntington dropping to 56%. There are a few boats launching in the sand off the launch ramp, but a 4WD is necessary. The lake is very low with mud and submerged stumps exposed around the lake. There are some large kokanee in spawning colors running up Rancheria Creek.
Call: 841-2522, 841-2740, Dinkey Creek Inn 841-3435, Rancheria Marina 893-3234, Young's Sporting Goods 841-8271, Dick's Fishing Charters 841-5331.
Chuck Crane of Wishon Village RV Park said the RV park and store closed over the weekend for the season, but the lake is accessible with high water allowing for launching off the concrete ramp. There have been very few fishermen working the lake, but blade/crawlers combinations or lures at 2-5 colors should work for the remaining fish. The road to Courtright is still accessible, but there haven't been many fishermen at this elevation.
Call: Wishon RV Park 865-5361.
**Brown trout **Trout
Not much information on the Kaiser Pass lakes. Edison is holding at 53%, Florence has risen to 7% with Mammoth Pool rising to 28%.
San Francisco Bay
**Halibut ***Stripers **Leopard shark **Sturgeon
The rockfish season ended Saturday. James Smith on the California Dawn went to the Farallons on Friday (28 limits of rockfish, 18 lings) and Saturday (18 limits of rockfish and 21 lings to 17 pounds). Emeryville Sport Fishing had six boats at the islands on Saturday for 142 limits of rockfish, 66 ling cod to 16 pounds and 4 bonus halibut to 15 pounds on the return to the bay. Their boats put in 69 limits on Friday to go with 68 lings to 15 pounds for nearly a ling per rod. Inside the bay, Keith Fraser of Loch Lomond Bait in San Rafael said there were a few sturgeon, bass and halibut taken, but he thought the full moon may have slowed the bite. He expected things to pick up today and Thursday as the tides back off. Joel Sinkay at Leonard's Bait in Port Sonoma said shoreline anglers along the point at the marina have been picking up schoolie stripers 22-29 inches on live bullheads.
Half Moon Bay
Peggy Beckett at Huck Finn Sport Fishing said the Ankeny Street put in 85 rockfish and 16 ling cod on Friday for 10 anglers fishing Montara and Buoy One South. They went to Montara to fish the spot for the last time as this location is included in the MLPA restricted zone. The Gravy put their clients on to 8 limits of rockfish on Saturday composed of browns, coppers and vermilions in 100-120 feet at San Gregorio with the New Gravy coming to the docks with 8 fish short of 8 limits, 5 ling cod and a cabezon. The New Gravy will run the next two weekends south of Pigeon Point for rockfish, weather and interest permitting. The six-pack Que Sera Sera will take crab or crab/combo trips south of Pigeon. There have been a few small stripers landed from shore near Ocean Beach and the Cliff House. Ly Tu reported good barred perch action for fish to 11/2 pounds at San Gregorio with blood worms.
Call: Happy Hooker (510) 223-5388, Huck Finn Sport Fishing Center (650) 726-7133, Emeryville Sport Fishing (510) 654-6040, Don Franklin, Soleman (510) 703-4148.
Todd Arcaleo of Chris' Landing said they put in rockfish limits over the weekend, but they weren't able to make it south to Point Sur due to the weather. They ran as far south as Highlands. Bayside Marine in Santa Cruz reported good scores of rockfish have been taken from Davenport and Franklin's Point consisting of blues/blacks/vermilions. There were a few limits of lings taken by private boaters. Rockfishing south of Pigeon Point ends Nov. 15.
Call: Chris' Landing (831) 375-5951, Bayside Marine (831) 475-2173, usafishing.com.
San Luis Obispo
Virg's Landing in Morro Bay reported 131 passengers landed 8 ling cod to 10 pounds, 184 vermilion, 943 assorted rockfish, 89 coppers and 14 bocaccio. Patriot Sport Fishing in Avila Beach has been averaging three-quarter limits of rockfish/bolina with a few ling cod to 12.4 pounds and several cabezon.
Call: Virg's Landing (805) 772-1222, (800) 762-5263; Patriot Sports Fishing (805) 595-4100; Port Side Marine Sports Launch (805) 595-7214.
Central Coast lakes
**Bass **White bass *Stripers **Catfish *Crappie
Will Hesch of Central Coast Bass Fishing reported a sleeper spotted bass bite at Lake Nacimiento. He fished Santa Margarita Lake on Monday for a couple hours for a few small fish. Lopez Lake is limited to small fish on the drop-shot. Lake San Antonio is still limited to a few largemouths with the smallies and stripers not biting. San Antonio is holding at 722.85 feet in elevation and 33% of capacity with Nacimiento dropping to 718.45 feet and 17% of capacity.
Call: (805) 238-1056 ext. 3, (805) 472-2818, Central Coast Bass Fishing.com (805) 466-6557.
***Bass ***Stripers ***Sturgeon
Jim Smith of the Happy Hooker out of Martinez caught and released more than 20 fish Saturday, only keeping the bleeders. The majority of fish were small keepers with the largest 27 inches. Live bullheads or anchovies were the most productive baits. He found fish above and below the Benicia-Martinez Bridge. Benicia Bait reported a good striper bite in deep water near the channel at the Firing Line around Buoys 23 and 24 with cut bullheads. There have been some fish to 35 pounds caught and kept this week. Bank anglers have been picking up stripers 20-25 inches. They also confirmed the excellent sturgeon fishing in the Pittsburg area near Chain Island. Jay Lopes of Right Hook Sport Fishing out of Martinez motored down to Pittsburg on Thursday and Saturday for 9 shakers in the 40- to 45.5-inch range on Saturday to go with a 51-inch legal fish and another estimated keeper that came unbuttoned. The fish bit on everything, but an eel/grass shrimp combination or straight grass shrimp produced the larger fish with straight ghost shrimp attracting the majority of the shakers. Hap's Bait in Rio Vista reported 3 sturgeon on Saturday from Decker Island. Randy Pringle reported an excellent striper bite in the San Joaquin River for schoolies to 5 pounds on the Berkley Red-Eye Mullet or white Hollow Belly Swimbait just under the surface. The stripers are chasing the abundant shad from the Port of Stockton into the southern portion of the Delta. The calm water without wind this week has slowed the reaction bite with crankbaits or spinnerbaits, although the IMA Flit is starting to turn on. There have been reports of poaching of stripers by bank anglers along the San Joaquin River south of Stockton to the confluence of the Stanislaus and in the Grant Line Canal. Wardens have caught a few.
Call: Randy Pringle (209) 543-6260; Kevin Yost, Lucky Strike Fishing (707) 301-8050; Mark Wilson Sport Fishing (916) 682-1630; Fin Addict Sport Fishing (209) 367-4665; Jolly Jay's Guide Service (209) 478-6645.
Western Outdoor News Golden Valley Teams, Oct. 31 at Pine Flat: 1, Krandall and Vince Bryan, 12.82-pounds (Big Fish 5.72); 2, Larry Lee/Doug Watson, 11.66; 3, Keith Friesen/Kirk Sakamoto, 11.53.
Thursday: Eric Kaai on winter kayak fishing, 6:15 p.m., Fresno Fisherman's Warehouse.
Thursday: Ish Monroe on fishing with the Phat Frog, 6 p.m., Manteca Fisherman's Warehouse.
Friday: Guide Kevin Brock on striper fishing, 6 p.m., Bass Pro Shops in Manteca.
Saturday: Kerman Bass Club, Pine Flat; Visalia Bass, Kaweah; Future Pro Tour, New Melones; Angler's Choice, Millerton; Angler's Choice, McClure; Taft Bass Club, Nacimiento; San Luis Obispo Bass Ambushers, Lopez; Golden Empire, Isabella; Modesto CSBA, Delta/Eddo's Boat Harbor; Sonora Bass/Manteca Bassin' Buddies/Los Banos Bass Club, Tulloch.
Sunday: Kings VIII Bass Club, Kaweah.
Nov. 12: Rick Lyons on winter trout fishing, 6:15 p.m., Fresno Fisherman's Warehouse.
Nov. 12: Steve Carson on long-range saltwater fishing, 6 p.m., Manteca Fisherman's Warehouse.
Nov. 14: Western Outdoor News, Millerton; Bakersfield Bass, Don Pedro; Sierra Bass Club, Eastman; Angler's Choice, McClure; Visalia Bass Club, Kaweah.
Nov. 15: Kings River Bass Club, Bass Lake; Fresno Bass Club, Pine Flat.
Nov. 14-15: CSBA Fresno Chapter Ed Motsenbacher Memorial two-day striper derby, San Luis.
This week's schedule subject to change depending on road, water and weather conditions.
Fresno County: Kings River below Pine Flat Reservoir, Pine Flat Reservoir, San Joaquin River below Friant Dam.
Kern County: Brite Valley Reservoir, Hart Park Lake, Lake Truxton, Ming Lake, The Park at River Walk lake.
Madera County: Bass Lake, Eastman Lake, Hensley Lake.
Mariposa County: Lake McClure.
Merced County: Yosemite Lake.
Stanislaus County: Modesto Reservoir, Woodward Reservoir.
Tuolumne County: Cherry Lake, Don Pedro Reservoir, Lyons Canal, Moccasin Creek, New Melones Lake, Powerhouse Stream.