Compiled by Dave Hurley and edited by Roger George, a central San Joaquin Valley native and local fishing expert.
San Luis striper bite continues, Ly Tu said. Eastman bass on the upswing, Adela Lint said. New Melones trout fishing excellent, Melanie Lewis said. Kaweah bass fishing good — topped by huge lunker, Sierra Sporting Goods reported. McClure rainbows hitting, Bill Holbrook said.
Roger George can be reached at email@example.com
Take your digital camera with you so you can send us your pictures for our galleries. Please send your photos to firstname.lastname@example.org. 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 email@example.com.
* Try dynamite
** Have to work hard
*** Limits possible
**** Fish jumpin' in boat
New Melones Reservoir/Tulloch
Bass *** Crappie ** Catfish *** Trout **** Kokanee ***
Melanie Lewis of Glory Hole Sporting Goods in Angels Camp said, “Not much has changed in the past week with the Department of Fish and Game continuing weekly plants,” adding, “Trout fishing continues to be excellent from the banks and for trollers.” The trout are feeding heavily on schools of small shad with the best bite in the morning. Bill Holbrook of Escalon Bait and Tackle advised working the coves for holdover trout with Kastmasters or similar heavy spoons since the baitfish are congregated in the warmer water. Where there is bait, there are trout and bass. The big trout of the week was landed by Dan Gomez with a 5-pound brown from shore with a marshmallow/crawler combo. Bank anglers have been bringing limits fishing in shallow water in the backs of Angels and Glory Hole coves. Kastmasters and Krocodiles in chrome/blue, firetiger or rainbow trout patterns, and Power Bait and Power Eggs fished on a sliding sinker rig and a 24-inch leader are the two best set-ups for anglers walking the bank. Lewis said, “Bass fishing is pretty good with reports of anglers catching a number of fish.” The spotted bass are very healthy and actively feeding on shad with many 2-pound fish being caught on soft plastics, especially a drop-shot rig fished from 25 to 50 feet with a 4-inch shad patterned worm. Four- to 5-inch Yamamoto Hula Grin in natural crawdad colors such as green pumpkin (297), cinnamon with black (176) and watermelon with black (194) are working on a half-ounce jig head, and larger fish have been taken on either jigs or swimbaits. Lewis said the majority of large cats come during the months of November, December and January. The catfish are in coves and in shallower water, and a sliding sinker rig with a ball of crawlers or a piece of anchovy or shad is your best bait. Billy Heinle picked up the largest catfish of the week at 7 pounds, 2 ounces on a chunk of liver soaked in garlic scent. Crappie and bluegill action still is slow to fair with the best action on small minnows, red worms or mealworms on a slip-float rig at depths from 15 to 25 feet with 4- to 6-pound test. The lake rose a half foot to 1,049.50 feet in elevation and 81% 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 **
Trout fishing continues to be the best thing going, but the crappie are starting to turn on. Pete Cormier of Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield said, “The trout bite is coming on near Paradise or the main dam with garlic Power Bait or night crawlers.” Crappie are located by boaters working deep water from 30 to 40 feet around the Marinas or near submerged structure with small minnows. The bass bite remains slow, but the occasional largemouth to 6 pounds has been taken on plastics or jigs. Local guide Rusty Brown was reported to land a 14-pound largemouth within the past week. Catfishing remains decent with frozen shad, sardines or mackerel around the French Gulch and Boulder Gulch areas. The lake remained stable at 2,560.05 feet in elevation and 30% capacity. Cormier touted the trout action in the lower Kern River with live crickets or night crawlers for fish to 3 pounds. He added a continued excellent crappie bite at Buena Vista with small minnows at night, and the slabsides have been large at 1.5 to 2 pounds. Trout fishing at Buena Vista has been hit or miss with the intermittent plants. The local impoundments of Truxton, Woollomes, Ming, Hart Park and the Park at River Walk are scheduled for trout plants within the next two weeks, and anglers are corralling the planters with Power Bait in a variety of colors.
Call: Bob’s Bait (661) 833-8657; North Fork Marina (760) 376-1812
San Luis Reservoir and O’Neill Forebay
Striper *** Catfish ** Bass ** Crappie **
The striper action in the main lake remains excellent with a variety of techniques. Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “Lucky Craft Pointer 128s in chartreuse shad or ghost minnow or flukes in white ice have been top sellers in the past week, and we had to place a double order of Lucky Crafts to meet demand.” He added that all fishermen are catching schoolie fish with boaters in Portuguese Cove ripping the baits and bank anglers throwing lures from the shoreline. Ly Tu of Ly’s Fishing Goods in San Jose confirmed the hot bite, adding live jumbo minnows or cut anchovies from the shoreline at Dinosaur Point or drifted over the sunken island near the Dinosaur Point launch ramp for linesides to 6 pounds. Mickey Clements of Coyote Bait in Morgan Hill added to the reports with top-water Zara Spooks working in Portuguese Cove in the early morning before dropping jumbo minnows on the submerged schools. In the Forebay, the best action remains around the twin islands with large plugs such as broken backed Rebels, P-Line Predators or Yozuris. The key has been to locate the bait balls and work the area. The main lake rose to 89% capacity with the increased storage of Delta water.Important note: EFFECTIVE OCT. 1, VESSEL INSPECTIONS FOR QUAGGA AND ZEBRA MUSSELS TO BEGIN AT SAN LUIS RESERVOIR SRA. All boats, personal watercraft, kayaks, canoes, sailboards, inflatables and float tubes must undergo a mandatory inspection. These invasive species threaten recreational opportunities, the water delivery infrastructure of California and the aquatic habitat of San Luis Reservoir SRA. Failure to allow inspection of any watercraft will result in the refusal to launch.
Call: Ly’s Fishing Goods (408) 629-9644; Coyote Bait and Tackle (408) 463-0711
Bass *** Trout ** Bluegill ** Catfish *** Crappie **
Adela Lint of the US Army Corps of Engineers Ranger Station reported the pre-dawn hours have been best for both trout and bass. The Small Change Bass Club held a tournament at Eastman Lake on Saturday, and Dennis Edwards of Madera emerged as the overall winner and landed the big fish with a 3.64-pound black largemouth on a drop-shot in 40 feet of water. His winning weight consisted of a four-fish limit of 10.38 pounds. The best action occurred between 30 and 50 feet deep at the dam end of the lake with drop-shotting, Brush Hogs or jigs with the occasional 1.5 to 2.5 fish to be had. For trout, Lint added that the lake will be planted once again next week, and Power Bait or Kastmasters are the top baits. Lint added, “The Eastman Lake ranger staff requests that our fishing community watch out for an unusual aquatic creature, since we have received unconfirmed reports of small organisms that look like jellyfish populating some of our coves. If anyone sees these while on the lake, please obtain a sample and bring it to the ranger station so that we can have it analyzed.” The area of the lake extending upstream along the Chowchilla River still is closed beyond the Buoy Line. The lake dropped 1.5 feet to 558.16 feet and 69%.
Bass ** Trout ** Catfish ** Crappie **
Merritt Gilbert said, “The numbers of bass are down, but the quality is better with all of the fish taken near the flooded timber with 6-inch worms or Brush Hogs on a Texas rig,” adding, “The key has been to dead-stick the bait and move on to the next tree if you don’t get bit.” The small fish have thinned out, and bass to 3.5 pounds have been landed in the past week. There are some catfish to be taken on sardines or mackerel from the banks. Trout fishing is best from the Swimming Area with Power Bait, night crawlers or Kastmasters. A trout plant is scheduled for next week. The lake rose slightly to 490.14 vertical feet and 32% capacity.
Call: 225-1838; 292-3474; 673-5151
Stephanie Powell at the McSwain Marina reported few anglers have been frequenting the lake in the past week, but fishing continues to be very good with the double plants from the Department of Fish and Game and Calaveras Trout Farm. Another double plant is scheduled this week. Bank anglers are scoring around the Handicapped Docks right after the plants. Power Egg Nuggets in rainbow or white working best with some action on night crawlers. Trollers are pulling blade/crawler combinations, Wedding Rings tipped with a piece of crawler behind a flasher, or Kastmasters from the Marina to the Dam. Once the plants settle in for a few days, the area from the campsites to the Brush Pile is best.
Call: (209) 378-2534
Delta Mendota Canal and Sloughs Striper *** Catfish **
With the hot striper bite at San Luis, local striper fishermen are driving right by the water conveyance systems to fish the main lake or the Forebay. The best action remains in the far south aqueduct near Taft where Pete Cormier of Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield reports continued good action for both stripers and catfish. The linesides have been hitting blood worms or jumbo minnows with the whiskerfish preferring live crickets or night crawlers.
Millerton Lake/San Joaquin River
Bass ** Striper ** Shad * Trout **
Merritt Gilbert reported a fair bass bite with the best cut of fish coming at depths from 35 to 50 feet with jigs or drop-shotting with an occasional spotted bass to 2 pounds. Smaller fish are taken higher in the water column. An intermittent striper or two continue to be hooked by bass fishermen, but few anglers are targeting striper with the excellent bite taking place at San Luis Reservoir. Finding keeper fish still is elusive. The lake rose 3 feet to 529.88 feet and 60% capacity, and the launch ramp is on the Second Ramp. The San Joaquin River continues to receive weekly trout plants, and bank fishermen are scoring a mixture of catchables and the occasional trophy at the Broken Bridge with a variety of baits or lures, including Power Bait, gold Kastmasters and Thomas Buoyants. The Lost Lake area reportedly was closed due to downed trees from a windstorm, so anglers should check before heading out. The Broken Bridge has been a good alternate location. Woodward Park in Fresno is scheduled for plants for the next two weeks with the Fresno Regional Sports Complex to be planted this week. Both locations are providing good action for children with Power Bait.
Call: 225-1838; 292-3474
Pine Flat Reservoir/Kings River
Bass ** Trout ** King salmon ** Catfish **
The Fresno Bass Club held a tournament on Sunday, and Jay Graham reported a few bass were taken on crankbaits early in the morning before plastics on the drop-shot, dart-head or split-shot took over at depths from 20 to 50 feet. Swimbait action was very slow with a solitary fish reported. Merritt Gilbert touted spoons as the top lure above Rattlesnake at depths from 30 to 40 feet, and he confirmed the drop-shot action in the main lake. Trout fishing is holding at three to four fish per rod from 13.5 inches to the occasional 15-inch rainbow, but a few trollers have been able to scratch out limits. The majority of fishermen are trolling from Windy Gap to the Power Lines at five to six colors of lead core with spoons such as Needlefish, Shasta Tackle’s Humdingers, Thomas Buoyants or ExCels. Patrick Movey added some trout action is taking place up the river arm above Trimmer with Wedding Rings tipped with a night crawler behind a dodger or dodger/spoon combination. The lake dropped a half foot to 862.83 feet and 55% capacity. Trout plants continue on the lower Kings, and Power Bait and spinners are working for the planted fish. Trout plants are scheduled for the next two weeks on the lower Kings and the next three weeks at Avocado Lake.
Call: 787-2387; 225-1838; 292-3474
Bass *** Crappie ** Trout ** Catfish **
A huge largemouth bass at 17.75 pounds was landed by Danny Perry of Visalia on live bait in 10 feet of water within the past week. Perry has been targeting big fish for some time, and he was rewarded with the fish of a lifetime. Sierra Sporting Goods in Exeter reported continued good bass fishing with jigs, drop-shotting or spoons at depths to 30 feet. Crappie fishing has picked up around submerged bushes, rocks and trees near Horse Creek and the Houseboats with small minnows. Trout fishing around the First and Second launch ramps has improved with Power Bait, night crawlers or Kastmasters on sunny days. A trout plant is scheduled for this week. Catfishing also is productive with jumbo minnows or cut anchovies. The lake dropped 1.5 feet to 598.10 feet in elevation and 10% capacity.
Bass ** Trout ** Catfish **
Ranger Sylvia Guerrero of the US Army Corps of Engineers reported trout fishermen are starting to line the shorelines on the Rocky Hill side of the lake to soak Power Bait or inflated night crawlers. Most bass fishermen are either drop-shotting plastic worms or dropping spoons or jigs at depths to 35 feet. Another trout plant is scheduled for this week. The Tule Point south and Rocky Hill launch ramps still are open, but the best access remains at Rocky Hill. The lake rose 1.5 feet to 598.19 feet in elevation and 14% capacity. Murry Park Pond in Porterville also is scheduled for a trout plant this week.
Bass ** Trout *** King salmon ** Kokanee * Crappie ** Catfish ***
Bill Holbrook of Escalon Bait and Tackle reported continued good trout fishing in the backs of coves with Kastmasters or similar heavy spoons as the fish are orienting toward the slightly warmer water and the abundance of baitfish. The fish are chasing the bait into the coves. Anglers can find fish by locating the bait with electronics or observing birds working the surface, Shore fishing is very good with the heavy weekly plants from the Department of Fish and Game. Power Bait or night crawlers are working off McClure Point and in Barretts Cove. Manny Basi of the Bait Barn thought the action has slowed with suddenly cold water temperatures, and small plastics such as the 3-inch Pro Worm Pro Gold are working best at depths to 40 feet on the drop-shot or split-shot. The swimbait action has diminished to the occasional large fish. Live crawdads or minnows continue to be the most effective technique. No crappie reports. The lake held at 808.30 feet and 65%.
Call: A-1 Bait (209) 563-6505; Bub Tosh (209) 404-0053
Lake Don Pedro
Bass ** Trout *** Kokanee * King salmon **
Overall the bass action has slowed with the cold water temperatures, but a 24-pound limit won Saturday’s American Bass tournament bolstered by one huge fish on a swimbait. After the large limit, the weights dropped to the 7-pound range. Manny Basi at the Bait Barn said the best action has been with 3-inch plastics in shad pattern such as the Pro Worm Pro Gold on the split-shot or the drop-shot at depths to 40 feet. Three- to 4.5-inch paddletails also are effective. With the cold water, a very slow presentation is necessary. A few large fish have been taken on Huddleston swimbaits in rainbow trout, also on a slow presentation on the bottom. Bill Holbrook at Escalon Bait said the occasional large fish has been taken on the Pro Guide Johnny C’s Toad Thrasher in rainbow trout on a dead stick technique. Monte Smith of Gold Country Sport Fishing advised trolling heavy spoons near the shorelines and the backs of dead end coves as the surface temperature is a bit warmer attracting the baitfish. He recommended using lead core line as opposed to downriggers to allow access to the shallower water in the coves without worrying about hanging up a downrigger weight. The areas near the Dam and into Middle Bay are likely spots for the fish to congregate. Bank fishing for trout continues to be good with Power Bait, night crawlers or Kastmasters around Fleming Meadows or Blue Oaks.
Call: Monte Smith (209) 581-4734; Danny Layne-Fishn’ Dan (209) 586-2383; Gary Vella (209) 652-7550; Bait Barn (209) 874-3011
Bass ** Trout ** Kokanee *
Bank fishing for trout continues to be slow in the cold, muddy, and murky water. Fishing should improve with the addition of more planters in the coming months. The lake is holding 38%. There are two scheduled quarry blasts this week: the first was at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, the second will be at 3:30 p.m. Thursday. A blasting schedule should be updated every Friday and is available at cranevalleydam.com/blasting-schedule.
Call: Todd Wittwer 288-8100
Shaver Lake/Huntington Lake Kokanee * Trout *** Smallmouth *
Bank fishing at Huntington Lake has been very good for planted trout with Jack Beningo of Visalia having great success near the mouth of Deer Creek with orange, green or yellow Power Bait Nuggets. Beningo has been catching and releasing up to 30 trout per trip. Merritt Gilbert reported only a few trollers are launching at Huntington, but the 13- to 14.5-inch trout are plentiful on blade/crawler combinations, Wedding Rings tipped with a night crawler, or Rapalas from the surface to three colors. Brown trout hunters continue to pull large plugs next to structure. Shaver Lake has been dropped to next to nothing, but the view of the landscape not seen for 90 years is spectacular. A once in a lifetime view of the old dam, partial saw mill, the old Shaver Pier and steamboat are visible from shore with binoculars. Dick Nichols of Dick’s Fishing Charters said, “$500 was collected this week for the Shaver Lake Trophy Trout Project fund and the money will join the donations of others to increase 2013’s trophy size trout plant to over 3,000 big guys. Anyone interested in this project can send a donation to the Shaver Lake Trophy Trout Project at PO Box 908, Shaver Lake, CA, 93664. A letter of appreciation with SLTTP’s nonprofit tax number will be returned to the donor. Huntington dropped slightly to 72% with Shaver Lake at 0%.
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 gate to Courtright has been closed, and access to Wishon on McKinley Grove Road should soon follow suit.
Call: Wishon RV Park 865-5361
Edison/Florence/Mammoth Pool The gate at Kaiser Pass is now closed until spring. All of the lakes remain high for this time of year with Edison at 80%, Florence at 60%, Mammoth Pool at 46% and Redinger holding at 89%.
San Francisco Bay
Halibut ** Striper ** Rockfish **** Leopard shark ** Crab *** Sturgeon **
Rockfish/crab combination trips remain outstanding despite the commercial crabbing pressure. Jim Smith of the Happy Hooker had a spectacular day Sunday with 30 limits of rockfish, 30 limits of crab and a lingcod at the Farallon Islands. Smith said, “We would have been done in a single drift if we didn’t have tangles on the first pass,” adding, “We got into some huge olive rockfish and a few very big bocaccios.” In fact, a bocaccio won the jackpot over the lone lingcod. The New Seeker and New Huck Finn out of Emeryville Sport Fishing also got in on the tremendous combination action at the Farallons over the weekend with 65 limits of both on Saturday to go with 12 lings to 8 pounds, to be followed up by 55 limits on Sunday with five lings to 8 pounds. Inside the bay, the sturgeon and striper action slowed the past few days with Keith Fraser of Loch Lomond Bait and Tackle in San Rafael stating, “Things slowed down the past couple of days since the outstanding action through Thursday evening of last week, especially with the best part of the tide arriving at dark.” Fraser added, “One boat with three anglers from Healdsburg came back on Thursday with three sturgeon at 51, 53 and 54 inches, and all of the fish were packed with mud shrimp, so there must be a location in the bay that the fish are sucking up the shrimp.” Loch Lomond is selling 10 dozen mud shrimp for every dozen of ghost shrimp, and Fraser expects more mud shrimp on Monday. Joel Sinkay of Leonard’s Bait at Port Sonoma said, “It’s still pretty good fishing around here, and I expect Sonoma Creek to heat up for sturgeon in the next week.” The majority of boat action is taking place 1 mile or so east of the Pumphouse at depths from 6 to 10 feet. A few sturgeon have been landed off McNear’s Pier, and Sinkay thought this is a good location for shore fishermen.
Half Moon Bay
Rockfish *** Crab ***
“Despite plenty of commercial gear in the water, the pots still are refilling with 12 to 20 crab,” reported Captain Dennis Baxter of the New Captain Pete out of Huck Finn Sport Fishing. He added, “I haven’t heard any sport guys complaining about not getting their crab.” Baxter has been working north of the harbor near Montara for limits of school fish with anglers hammering the bottom with iron or jigs finding the hard heads. Private boaters working up north need to mark the line for the closed zone at the Montara State Reserve as this area has been heavily monitored and enforced. Limits of rockfish and crab have been the rule in the flat, calm ocean conditions. Captain Guy Anthony of the New Gravy has put his limited load passengers onto full limits of rockfish with up to limits of lingcod in the past week drifting the reefs off San Gregorio. Tom Mattusch on the Huli Cat went south Saturday and, after pulling pots for 27 Dungeness limits, scored limits of rockfish including eight lings, four cabezons and plenty of bottom-dwellers. Mattusch on the Huli Cat took a Humboldt squid/crab combination trip on Sunday; and despite the great ocean conditions that allowed the anglers to drop as deep as 1,300 feet without scoping out, they weren’t able to hook a single squid. Mattusch said, “There was a tremendous amount of sea life on the outside with dolphins by the hundreds, pelicans by the hundreds diving, and humpback whales. There were birds working by the acre in many directions, and out 14 anglers hit all the known Huli Cat squid holes and then hit some of the crazy bird locations, hoping the squid were driving the bait fish to the surface.” Up the coast, Sheryl Jimno of the Rusty Hook in Pacifica said, “The surf has never really calmed down in the past couple of weeks, but the pier remains packed with crabbers.” Snatchers loaded with squid, mackerel or sardines are all working for Dungeness from the pier.
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
Rockfish **** Crab ***
Sonny Arcoleo of Chris’ Landing in Monterey reported easy crab and rockfish limits on their weekend trips, On Saturday, the Checkmate went out with a light load of 12 fishermen for rockfish and crab limits plus 19 lingcod for near limits. Sunday’s fishing was more of the same with 18 limits of both species with a few passengers also sacking limits of lingcod. Their next combination trip this week is on Wednesday, and they are running open load combo trips on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday with a Point Sur rockfish only trip on Saturday. Chris’ will be running Humboldt squid, crab, and sand dab trips after the first of the year. He added, “Our captains have been observing good conditions for the squid offshore, but we haven’t hooked a squid on our rockfish trips all season.” The market grade squid has been absent from the Monterey Bay waters.
Call: Chris’ Landing (831) 375-5951; Bayside Marine (831) 475-2173; usafishing.com
San Luis Obispo
Rock cod ****
Rockfishing has been phenomenal in this section of the coast with Patriot Sport Fishing at Port San Luis reporting full limits of rockfish including 38 cabezon and 93 legal ling cod on their three-quarters- and full-day trips in the past week. Their ling count for the season is 2,718 with the big ling of the week taken by Jim Rees of Coalinga at 14 pounds. Patriot has resumed its rockfish/crab combination trips, and set the pots Thursday on a small private charter for 31 Dungeness and five rock crab after a short soak. Patriot’s seventh-annual Ling Cod contest runs until Dec. 31, and current leaders are: 1, Guy Leo (26 pounds, 4 ounces); 2, William Chong (19-0); and 3, Brad Hudson (18-12). Virg’s Landing in Morro Bay reported 100 passengers landed 58 lingcod to 12 pounds, 401 red rockcod, 368 assorted rockcod, 195 copper rockfish, six cabezon, 30 bocaccio and one 18-pound halibut. The top local anglers were Russell Jones of Fresno with the big halibut, and Mason Burens and Robin Hawkworth of Bakersfield with ling cod at 12 and 10 pounds. Virg’s is running a shallow water jackpot open charter on Thursday for $100 per angler with $31 to be placed in the jackpot. Call Dave at Fisherman’s Warehouse (559) 225-1838 or Virg’s Landing for reservations. They are holding Ladies Day every Wednesday for the remainder of the season where ladies fish for only $25.
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 ** Striper ** Catfish ** Crappie **
Big bass was the theme of the weekend at Nacimiento and Lopez with huge winning weights on Saturday’s tournaments. A potential lake record spotted bass at 7.31 pounds was landed by Bryan and Steve Grier with an overall limit over 19 pounds. This is perhaps the largest limit taken from Nacimiento in a long time. Lopez also is getting in on the act with a winning limit over 23 pounds with the Alabama rig being the hot set-up. Local anglers were predicting over 18 pounds prior to the tournament, and the results exceeded expectations. At Nacimiento, drop-shotting shad-patterned plastics, brown/purple jigs, or spoons over island tops at depths from 20 to 35 feet are working best. Quagga Mussel inspections are required before boat launching is allowed. Nacimiento and San Antonio are holding at 67 and 72%.
Call: (805) 238-1056 ext. 3, (805) 472-2818; Central Coast Bass Fishing.com (805) 466-6557
Bass ** Striper ** Sturgeon ** Catfish ***
The sudden cold snap has taken a toll on the sturgeon and striper bite, but a few dedicated fishermen continue to score. Tony Lopez of Benicia Bait said there was a 26-pound, 41-inch striper taken on a live bullhead at the Fleet on Saturday. He added that bank anglers are having to fight the bait-stealing Dungeness crabs on the shorelines in order to pick up small, but legal, stripers. The crabs will remain until we get a significant flush of fresh water down the Sacramento River. John Badger of Barbarian Sport Fishing continues his assault on the diamondbacks of the Delta with legal fish at 61, 57 and 51 inches on Saturday in the area around Roe and Ryer islands. Salmon roe continues to be the top bait, and the good news is they released the largest fish. Dockside Bait in Pittsburg said there were few anglers on the water Sunday, and small striper in the 6- to 8-pound range are the rule on mudsuckers, bullheads or frozen grass shrimp. A 30-pounder was caught and kept on Sunday on a live mudsucker from a location that was not disclosed. They weighed in two sturgeon at 38 and 49 pounds on Saturday taken from the PG&E area. Mark Delnero of Fin Addict Sport Fishing put his clients on to three limits of striped bass to 6 pounds on Monday soaking shad near Buoy 3 on the Sacramento River. Delnero is offering discounted charters through the holidays. Alan Fong of the Fisherman’s Warehouse in Sacramento reported continual success with sardines for striper in the Collinsville area. His employees have been scoring limits on several trips with sardines in this area. Fong has been working further north around Liberty Island with white Fish Traps, and he also is using the Alabama rig for stripers by using three swimbaits with hooks and willow leaf blades on the other openings. The Alabama rig is legal if three hooks or less are used, and the lure has taken the northern California bass scene by storm. The difficulty has been obtaining the lure. The water temperature plummeted 6 degrees during the cold snap occurring in the second week of December, and largemouth bass fishing requires a much slower presentation. Randy Pringle, the Fishing Instructor, has switched over to half-ounce Persuader jigs in brown/orange, black/red and black/blue in the deeper water from 5 to 15 feet, as the fish are just beginning to adjust to the cold water. “Our numbers have been half of what we have been landing in the past week with 15 bass being a good day at the present time,” said Pringle, adding, “The bite should pick up soon once the fish acclimate.” On the striper front, the fish are scattered in various areas in the San Joaquin with very few shore birds working the surface of the river. “As the surrounding fields have been flooded, the birds have been leaving the water to pick up bits of food in the fields,” said Pringle, continuing with, “The normal technique of searching for diving birds for stripers is not taking place. Fresh shad is nearly impossible to obtain, as H and R Bait is struggling to procure the fresh stuff, but they have plenty of frozen. However, the size of the frozen shad is getting smaller and smaller. Live mudsuckers are working for striper in the Old River, and there have been a few linesides taken at the Stockton Turning Basin on live jumbo minnows.
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
Angler’s Choice at Delta/Russo’s Marina on Dec. 10: 1, Marc Young/Kenny Graham, 17.96 pounds; 2, Jason Cornell/Chris Ball, 16.14; 3, Brent Potter/Michael Farmer, 14.72
Angler’s Choice at Nacimiento on Dec. 10: 1, Bryan and Steve Grier, 19.30 pounds (big fish 7.31); 2, Dan Frazier/Ken Sauret, 11.13; 3, Tom Nieto/Mike Tuck, 11.51
101 Bass at Lopez on Dec. 10: 1, Jared Litner/Nick Salvucci, 23.04 pounds (big fish 5.23); 2, Gene Gray/Tony Pratt, 16.27; 3, Fred and Freddy Ledesma, 13.31
Fresno Bass Club at Pine Flat on Dec. 11: 1, Scott Smith, 8.77 pounds (big fish 2.80); 2, Ralph Encizo, 7.58; 3, Mark Corrente, 7.17
Angler’s Choice Western Rookie League at McClure on Dec. 11: 1, Albert Oliver/Russell Herring, 12.72 pounds(big fish 4.99); 2, Seth Rowe/Mike Alvarez, 11.72; 3, Ryan and Larry Accardo, 11.24
Friday: No Tax Sale at Fisherman’s Warehouse
Saturday: Western Outdoor News at New Melones; Angler’s Choice at McClure
Saturday-Sunday: Sierra Bass Club at Pine Flat
Sunday: Fresno Bass Club at McClure; Tracy Bass Club at Delta/Tracy Oasis
Fresno County: Avocado Lake; Kings River below the Pine Flat Reservoir; Pine Flat Lake; San Joaquin River below the Friant Dam; Woodward Park Lake
Tulare County: Lake Kaweah; Lake Success; Murry Park pond