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 on the upswing, Anthony Lee said. Eastman bass action vastly improved, Patrick Movey reported. Pine Flat kicks out monster bass and good trout action, Merritt Gilbert said. Kaweah and Success bass kickin', Larry Kerns said. Don Pedro bass tournament hits fish, Jay Graham reported. Coastal bass action in high gear, Will Hesch reported.
Jimi Morales reported warmer water has kicked in some early-season hatches on the Merced and Kings rivers. Good blue-winged olive (Nos. 20-22) mayflies along with some golden stoneflies (Nos. 10-12) have the fish looking to the surface. The first March browns (Nos. 10-12) should start showing this week on the upper Kings. Lower Kings river flows are on the way down. Lower Merced and Toulumne flows continue to stay around the 3,000-plus cubic-feet-per-second level.
Call: Sierra Flyfisher Guide Service (559) 683-7664; Yosemite Rivers Fly Shop (559)641-7788.
Anglers are always asking me where in the world I get the reports each week, and what criteria I use to rate the waters with a one- to four-star rating. So I thought I might review a few of the main issues I deal with in the report so you might understand how it's put together.
I believe the No. 1 issue in a good report is credibility. Developing a strong, reliable, truthful network of angling sources is critical, and not nearly as easy to set up as one might think. As they say, trust is earned, not given, and in this game it takes time to get a feel for the accuracy of a given source's information, as well as the depth and completeness of their reports. It only takes one messup to seriously impact the confidence anglers will have in what you say, and two times is fatal -- at least it is to me.
From my perspective, I love to have several good sources reporting on a body of water. This is key to cross checking the accuracy of each report, while giving a deeper look into what different anglers are doing to catch fish. It's hard to argue about the veracity of a fishing report you disagree with when several sources concur on the fishing and what's working. The best situation is to have a mixture of guides, regular anglers and fishing shops with their varied information, allowing us to present the most effective techniques, lures and areas to fish on a regular basis.
In some lake reports, we have had just one or two sources for a long time, and we are asked why we don't add more sources? We are always open to new angling sources, but the reality is that we need new sources to be consistent, reliable and accurate -- and many just don't want to have to stay on top of it the way it needs to be done. We are always open to people contacting us to become contributors. The main consideration anglers have is the concern that we might expect them to give away some "secret information" they don't want to divulge. If I see something like this, I will verify it to make sure it's OK for print.
The report is set up to help the regular everyday angler improve his fishing with trends, tactics, areas and lures to fish. Giving away special information, like an exact rockpile or tree to fish, is something that doesn't serve the general angling public very well. It tends to discourage other reports and once the "hole" is fished out for good, the report is blamed for the slaughter. This can cause bad feelings and a lack of trust in protecting specific information. Our policy is that any information you have developed, and that others are not aware of already, belongs to you! We respect whether you would want to share it at all, or not. I feel the same way about my own fishing information and what I would want to share.
Lastly, the ratings of the lakes are done on a conservative basis so we can prevent folks from getting excited, running out and having a poor fishing trip based on an inflated rating. My tendency is to shave everything down a rating if there is any question that it might be a little "iffy" -- or the angler who is reporting is especially good, leaving others to lesser results.
Finally, please don't ask me, "How's it possible for you to fish every lake in the Valley, every week to get the report?" Although on second thought, it would be fun to try it out for a while.
Roger George can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Take your digital camera with you so you can send us your pictures for our galleries. Please send your photos to email@example.com. Please include the following information: Your name, city, type of fish, length and weight of fish, when and where caught, and what type of bait used. Large photos work best – we can crop and reduce a picture, but we can't expand a small picture and make it look decent. You can also send photos to firstname.lastname@example.org.
* Try dynamite
** Have to work hard
*** Limits possible
**** Fish jumpin' in boat
New Melones Reservoir
Bass*** Crappie** Catfish** Trout*** Kokanee*
Melanie Lewis of Glory Hole Sporting Goods in Angels Camp reported good trout fishing for trollers targeting creek arms such as Coyote, Carson, or Mormon. Jim Justice of Murphys and Darwin Parrish of Arnold have been locating limits trolling night crawlers behind big cowbell flashers at depths to 25 feet in Coyote Creek. Lewis added that the spotted bass are moving up and getting ready to spawn, as they spawn much earlier than the largemouths. Lewis reminded kokanee anglers to mark their calendars for their Kokanee Seminar Weekend on April 16 and 17. Catfishing remains slow with the best action in the creek arms. With the rising water, boaters are advised to watch for floating debris and unmarked island tops. The lake rose 4 feet to 73% of capacity.
Call: (209) 736-4333; Monte Smith (209) 581-4734; Danny Layne-Fishn' Dan (209) 586-2383; Sierra Sport Fishing (209) 599-2023
Lake Isabella/Bakersfield area
Bass** Trout*** Crappie*** Catfish*** Bluegill***
The catfish and crappie bite is starting to take off with Matt Barton of Sierra Gateway Sporting Goods in Lake Isabella reporting excellent catfishing with mackerel or frozen shad in Brown's Cove with a few fish in Kissack Cove. It is still a bit early for crappie, but the fish are holding deep in 30 to 50 feet of water near Rocky Point. Trout fishing is still very good near the Wilford Heights Cemetery as the fish are moving up toward the river arms. The recent trout plants have spurred the bite in the upper river.
Call: Bob's Bait (661) 833-8657; North Fork Marina (760) 376-1812
San Luis Reservoir and O'Neill Forebay
Stripers*** Catfish** Bass** Crappie**
The lake is 100% full at the present time, but anglers are purchasing bags and bags of white flukes to toss from Dinosaur Point and near the Dam for schoolie stripers. Ly Tu of Ly's Fishing Goods said most area anglers are heading to Los Vaqueros for their striper fix instead of the big lake or the Forebay.
Call: Ly's Fishing Goods (408) 629-9644; Coyote Bait and Tackle (408) 463-0711
Bass*** Trout*** Bluegill** Catfish** Crappie**
Both Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis and Patrick Movey of the Fisherman's Warehouse reported a vastly improved bass bite, as the fish are moving into the shallows. Senkos, Brush Hogs, dragging lizards or jerk baits are working for numbers of fish in the 1.5- to 2.5-pound range, and there have been a few fish over 3 pounds. The smaller male bass are actively cruising the shorelines. Trout trollers are starting to score limits with combinations of blade/crawlers or Wedding Rings tipped with a night crawler within the top 15 feet. Lead core at three to four colors has been effective. Bank fishermen are reporting decent action with salmon peach Power Bait. The rockslide along Road 29 is keeping access to this area of the lake off-limits until mid-June. The Lakeview Trail at Eastman Lake has been closed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Sacramento District and will remain closed until Aug. 14 to protect a pair of nesting bald eagles. Park rangers have posted closure signs on the trail at the Raymond Bridge and Codorniz Recreation Area trailheads. The lake rose 2 feet to 84% of capacity.
Bass*** Trout*** Catfish** Bluegill*
The bass bite broke out over the weekend with a very respectable limit over 19 pounds landed during the New J-Bass Club tournament. Jigs, Senkos, dragging Brush Hogs or jerk baits are working at depths in the 15-foot range, with the fish starting to move up toward the banks. Trout trollers are pulling blade/crawler combinations or Wedding Rings tipped with a night crawler for limits of planted trout. Bank fishing remains very good with salmon peach Power Bait from the Swim Beach area. The lake held steady at 60% of capacity.
Call: 225-1838, 292-3474, 673-5151
Diana Mello of A-1 Bait in Snelling said trout fishing is best from the banks near the Brush Pile with several limits of planters reported on lemon-lime or white Power Eggs. Trolling continues to be slow in the stained waters. A DFG trout plant is scheduled for this week.
Call: (209) 378-2534
Delta Mendota Canal and Sloughs
Local fishermen continue to purchase Lucky Craft 128s in American Shad or Ghost Minnow for throwing into the moving water of the aqueducts and canals. In the south aqueduct, Pete Cormier of Bob's Bait in Bakersfield said the best fishing remains around the Buena Vista Golf Course or Tupman with sand or blood worms for a consistent striper bite.
Millerton Lake/San Joaquin River
Bass*** Stripers* Shad*
Merritt Gilbert at Valley Rod and Gun said there hasn't been much pressure on the lake, with most anglers targeting other lakes with upcoming tournaments and avoiding the high cost of launching. Small bass are still the rule, but there are some larger fish in the 3-pound range taken on swimbaits. Gilbert said anglers can scratch out an 8.5- to 9-pound limit using smaller baits on the dart head or drop shot. One report of the bite breaking out for fish biting shallow plastics. No striper reports with few anglers targeting the elusive linesides. The lake is releasing water, but it rose a foot overall to 78% of capacity. In the San Joaquin River, salmon peach Power Bait is still the top seller for the Lost Lake area. Trout plants are scheduled on the river, Woodward Park and the Fresno Regional Sports Complex this week.
Call: 225-1838, 292-3474
Pine Flat Reservoir/Kings River
Bass*** Trout*** King salmon** Catfish**
The big news of the week was the 13.3-pound largemouth landed by Kevin Vue of Fresno on a white tube bait, and this fish alone would have been nearly large enough to place first in Saturday's Angler's Choice tournament. There are numerous bass in the 1.25- to 1.75-pound range to be found on brown, brown/purple or greenpumpkin jigs or drop-shotting at depths from 20 to 30 feet. The fish are starting to move up, and it won't be long before they are sitting on beds as the water continues to warm up. Patrick Movey of the Fisherman's Warehouse in Fresno added Green Weenie/purple flake or Pro Worm Pro Gold as good options. Gilbert said there is a rip bait bite in the afternoons in the warmer water in the cuts. The trout are still scattered at a variety of depths from 15 to 50 with the largest cut of fish to 19 inches found near Lefevre Creek or the Power Lines on downriggers. The fish are higher in the water column in the Sycamore and Big Creek sections of the lake. Apex lures, Cripplures, Needlefish, Dick Nichol's Trout Busters or Wedding Rings tipped with a night crawler are all working. Anglers continue to release the small king salmon in the 13-inch range in order to allow them to grow to a decent size. Kokanee Power will be holding its annual Pine Flat Team Trout Derby on Saturday, April 9. The lake rose 3 feet to 70% of capacity. In the lower river, Doyal's Store reported good bank action with limits of planters taken on Power Bait with the occasional lunker to 4 pounds. Merritt Gilbert said Joe's Flies and white or black Kastmasters have been the top sellers with Patrick Movey touting half- or three-quarter- ounce Kastmasters or Crocodiles. Trout plants are scheduled on the river and at Avocado Lake for the next two weeks.
Call: 787-2387, 225-1838, 292-3474
Bass*** Crappie** Trout*** Catfish**
Sierra Sporting Goods in Exeter reported bass fishing is picking up with drop-shotting or jigs as the fish are moving up in the water column. Crappie and catfish action also have improved with the slabsides taken near Slick Rock with minijigs or live crickets, and the whiskerfish hitting night crawlers or Berkley CBL Catfish Power Bait. The water has risen to the top of the first Launch Ramp, and trout fishing continues to be strong from the banks with spring green, corn yellow or rainbow Power Bait. The lake rose another 17 feet to 24% of capacity.
Bass*** Trout*** Catfish*** Crappie***
The bass bite broke out this week, and Larry Kerns of the Visalia Bass Club reported excellent results on a weekend trip with spinner baits, jerk baits or dragging lizards. The fish have been moving up, and they are in the 10- to 15-foot range. The Army Corps of Engineers Ranger Station reported good crappie and catfish action on the Rocky Hill side in the rockpiles with live minnows. Planted trout are biting night crawlers or various colors of Power Bait near the launch ramps. A trout plant is scheduled for this week. The lake rose 7 feet to 32% of capacity.
Bass*** Trout** King salmon* Kokanee* Crappie** Catfish**
Diana Mello of A-1 Bait in Snelling said limits of bass have been taken on purple plastics near the Horsehouse; and live crawdads continue to be hot, but they are very hard to obtain at the present time. Crappie fishing is picking up, with one angler pulling in a near limit of 24 slabsides with medium minnows in Cottonwood Creek.
Call: A-1 Bait (209) 563-6505; Bub Tosh (209) 404-0053
Lake Don Pedro
Bass*** Trout*** Kokanee** King salmon***
Monte Smith of Gold Country Sport Fishing said bass fishing continues its upward swing, with Jay Graham of the Fresno Bass Club reporting 30 limits were landed out of 47 anglers fishing their tournament Saturday. Monte Smith of Gold Country Sport Fishing targeted king salmon last week, and they boated numerous salmon in the 13- to 16-inch range by rolling shad at depths from 40 to 80 feet. He said the fish are scattered throughout the lake, and they haven't schooled up as of yet. Smith anticipates they should be schooling by mid April into May, and he anticipates a great season for king salmon with the fish fat and healthy.
Call: Monte Smith (209) 581-4734; Danny Layne-Fishn' Dan (209) 586-2383; Gary Vella (209) 521-0164; Bait Barn (209) 874-3011
Bass** Trout*** Kokanee*
The trout plant last week apparently helped since Patrick Movey at the Fishermen's Warehouse in Fresno reported a Zodiac was launched in the low water conditions at the ramp, and they landed numerous planted rainbows trolling ExCel spoons close to the surface. Bank fishing should be good, with a combination of chrome Kastmasters, night crawlers or various colors of Power Bait. Access to the launch ramp is limited to kayaks, canoes or small aluminum boats. Current weather conditions are available at basslake.com.
Call: Todd Wittwer 288-8100; Mike Beighey 642-3748
Shaver Lake/Huntington Lake
Kokanee* Trout*** Smallmouth bass*
Dick Nichol's of Dick's Fishing Charters said the ice at Shaver Lake is breaking up since the air temperature has been in the mid 50s during the day before dropping into the 20s at night. The shore areas near Dorabella Cove and much of Sierra Marina are open to bank anglers with shore fishermen reporting three to five rainbows to 15 inches on Power Bait, Pautske's red salmon eggs or night crawlers. Local angler Jeff Young continues to score with Kastmasters or various spinners. Sheldon Sandstrom and his staff at Sierra Marina have been using their pontoon boats to break the ice in front of the marina, and they are scheduled to open April 1 with the Shaver Lake Marina scheduled for an April 15 opening. The Shaver Lake Trophy Trout project meets at 9 a.m. today at Tiffany Pines conference room, with all interested individuals welcome. Fish pens, the SLTTP inaugural sportsman's dinner and the fall fishing derby will highlight the agenda. The project is hosting a fundraising dinner Aug. 13 at the Shaver Lake Community Center, and tickets are $20 for a big barbecued tri-tip and chicken dinner with raffles and a featured guest speaker on the trophy trout project on the agenda. Tickets can be obtained at Shaver Lake Sports at 841-2740. Donations can be made out to and sent to the Shaver Lake Trophy Trout Project, P.O. Box 908, Shaver Lake, CA 93664. For more information, contact Yandell at email@example.com or Nichols at firstname.lastname@example.org/. Shaver has risen to 73% of capacity. Huntington is still unaccessible, and it dropped to 62%.
Call: Dick's Fishing Charters 841-2740; Dinkey Creek Inn 841-3435; Rancheria Marina 893-3234; Young's Sporting Goods 841-8271, 841-2522, 841-2740
The road is closed, ending access to the lakes until spring.
Call: Wishon RV Park 865-5361
Jim Clements of Vermilion Valley Resort at Lake Edison is starting Quad Trips later due to the belief the Kaiser Pass Road will not open until after Memorial Day. The first trip is scheduled for May 5. The costs are the same as last year: $379 for two-night trips, $489 for three-night trips. Pictures of both trips are available on the Vermilion Valley Resort Facebook page. Lakes are dropping with Edison at 38%, Florence at 31% and Mammoth Pool at 62%.
San Francisco Bay
Halibut** Stripers*** Leopard shark** Sturgeon*** Crabs**
Although the decision regarding the ocean salmon season will be made at the end of this month, the alternatives considered by the Pacific Marine Fisheries Association are projecting the opening of the season April 2. The link to view the alternatives is www.pcouncil.org/wp-content/uploads/Table_2_Salmon_Rec_2011.pdf/.
Half Moon Bay
Peggy Beckett at Huck Finn Sport Fishing said the water is dirty along the coast from Friday's wave action; but there was minimal damage from the tsunami with the exception of the abalone aquaculture operation.
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
Despite the tsunami damage, the seventh annual Sand Crab Surf Perch Classic was held out of the harbor Saturday with moret than 250 entrants. Ken Barker landed the largest perch with a calico at 2.9 pounds along the north coast on a Berkley Sand Worm.
Call: Chris' Landing (831) 375-5951; Bayside Marine (831) 475-2173; usafishing.com
San Luis Obispo
Local rockfishing season is over until May 1 and both harbors are featuring whale watching or nature cruises.
Call: Virg's Landing (805) 772-1222, (800) 762-5263; Patriot Sports Fishing (805) 595-4100; Port Side Marine Sports Launch (805) 595-7214
Lake Nacimiento/San Antonio/Santa Margarita/Lopez
Bass*** White bass*** Stripers** Catfish** Crappie**
The coastal lakes are on a good bass bite with the larger fish taken at either Lopez or Margarita. Jim Slusher of Jim's Pro Bass Tackle said San Antonio is experiencing a good bite in the backs of coves since there are both largemouth and smallmouth bass on the beds. Nacimiento is still great for numbers of spotted bass, and there is a good crappie bite with medium minnows.
Call: (805) 238-1056 ext. 3, (805) 472-2818; Central Coast Bass Fishing.com (805) 466-6557
Bass** Stripers*** Sturgeon***
Merritt Gilbert at Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said several South Valley anglers are making the long drive north to the delta to throw Lucky Craft 128s in American Shad or Ghost Minnow. Gilbert wasn't able to discern a location, but in order for fishermen to drive that far with $18 lures, the striper bite must be starting to happen.
Call: Randy Pringle (209) 543-6260; Stan Koenigsberger/Quetzal Adventures (925) 570-5303; Mark Wilson Sport Fishing (916) 682-1630; Intimidator Sport Fishing (916) 806-3030; Jolly Jay's Guide Service (209) 478-6645
New J-Bass Club at Hensley Lake on March 12: 1, Yeng and Ling Her, 19.14 pounds (big fish 5.31); 2, Q. Her/Laj Vue, 18.09; 3, Nick Thao/George Ly 17.87
Angler's Choice at Tulloch on March 12: 1, Brian and Jeremiah Payne, 14.77; 2, Matt Lindsey/Mike Sanders, 11.59 (big fish 4.33); 3, Steve and Mike Hoover, 7.80
Angler's Choice at Pine Flat on March 12: 1, Krandall and Vince Bryan, 13.91; 2, Darrel Masterson/Dean Miller, 11.36; 3, Mike and Joe Meier, 11.15 (big fish 5.66)
Hook, Line and Sinker Tournament of Champions at Delta/Russo's Marina on March 12-13: 1, Kevin Conrad/Shawn Baker, 58.49 (big fish 9.14); 2, John Martin/Bob Squaglia, 57.10; 3, John Garrett/Tony Vaughn, 45.63
Western Outdoor News at Lopez on March 12: 1, Casey Langley/Aaron Quarles, 22.70; 2, Steve Bereda, 21.65; 3, Jerry Williams/Willy Tompkins, 21.05
Fresno Bass Club at Don Pedro on March 13: 1, Tom Loya, 13.73; 2, Scott Smith 13.69 (big fish 5.40); 3, Scott Douglas, 12.30
TMBC Boat Show 2011 at Bass Pro Shops in Manteca
Friday: show opens; VIP night
Saturday: noon-3 p.m., Casting Bucket Practice for Kids in the Tracker Department; 1 p.m., Jason Oliver will be speaking on "Do-It-Yourself Service"; 1-3 p.m., Craft for Kids (wiggle fish) in the Tracker Showroom; 2 p.m. Kevin Brock will be speaking on "Local Fishing Tips"; 3 p.m., Prostaffer Bob Delameter from Navio will do the seminar on "Using the Latest (Lowrance) Electronics"; 6 p.m., Randy Pringle's Boat Show Seminar on "Bass Fishing Made Easy"
Sunday: noon-3 p.m., Casting Bucket Practice for Kids in the Tracker Department; 1 p.m., Kevin Brock will be speaking on "Towing Your Boat"; 1-3 p.m., Craft for Kids (wiggle fish) in the Tracker Showroom; 2 p.m., Kevin Brock will be speaking on "Organizing Your Boat for Fish"; 3 p.m., Kevin Brock will be speaking on "Local Fishing Tips"
March 26-27: These boat show events will be in next week's report.
Thursday: Mark Wilson of Mark Wilson's Sport Fishing, Striped Bass Trolling Techniques, 6 p.m. at Manteca Fisherman's Warehouse; Jake Flohr of Kokanee Power, 6:15 p.m. at Fresno Fisherman's Warehouse
Saturday: Angler's Choice at Pine Flat; Kern County Bassmasters/Wasco Bass Club at San Antonio; Kerman Bass Club at Don Pedro; Tracy Bass at Delta/Tracy Oasis; Sonora Bass Anglers at New Melones; New J-Bass Club at Bass Lake; Visalia Bass Club at Kaweah
Sunday: California Bass Federation at Don Pedro; Western Outdoor News at Delta/Russo's Marina
Fresno County: Avocado Lake; Fresno Regional Sports Complex pond; Kings River below the Pine Flat Reservoir; San Joaquin River below the Friant Dam
Kern County: Kern River from Democrat Beach to Lower Richbar; Kern River from Powerhouse No. 3 to Riverside Park, Kernville; Kern River from Sandy Flat to Democrat Beach
Mariposa County: McSwain Reservoir
Merced County: Yosemite Lake
Tulare County: Kern River from Brush Creek to Fairview Dam; Kern River from Fairview Dam to Falling Waters Lodge; Lake Kaweah; Lake Success