Fishing Report for week of Jan. 9: Eastman, Pine Flat and Monterey Bay among hot spots

Our most recently submitted fish photo: Corrie Schmidt landed the big fish of the day (a mackinaw) in September at Lake Tahoe. Submit your fish photo: Include “Fishing Report” in the subject line and email to sports@fresnobee.com
Our most recently submitted fish photo: Corrie Schmidt landed the big fish of the day (a mackinaw) in September at Lake Tahoe. Submit your fish photo: Include “Fishing Report” in the subject line and email to sports@fresnobee.com Special to The Bee

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.

Best bets

Monterey halibut picking up, Allen Bushnell said. Eastman kicking out bigger bass, and Pine Flat bass and trout biting, Steve Newman reported. McClure bass on a solid bite, Walt Lee said. San Luis stripers active, Madison Borgia said. New Melones spotted bass hitting, John Liechty reported.


1-Try dynamite

2-Have to work hard

3-Limits possible

4-Fish jumpin’ in boat


Delta Mendota Canal and Sloughs

Striper 2 Catfish 2

There is more water moving through the aqueduct system, but the number of anglers remains limited as the action is centered around the main San Luis Reservoir. The bait is starting to accumulate near the headgates. The situation is much the same in the southern aqueduct in Kern County with decent striped bass action with tube baits, jumbo minnows, blood worms or sardines. Catfish are taken on jumbo minnows, chicken livers or anchovies. The popularity of the California Aqueduct has led to increased numbers of anglers, and in order to maintain the right to continue to fish along these public areas, fishermen are encouraged to take out all trash and debris.

Call: Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis 292-3474; Bob’s Bait Bucket 661-833-8657

Eastman Lake

Bass 3 Trout 2 Bluegill 2 Catfish 2 Crappie 1

Bass anglers seeking a trophy fish in the Central Valley are heading to Eastman as the lake has woken up from an extended period of slumber. Anglers may keep only one bass with a minimum length of 22 inches as Eastman Lake has been designated as California’s first Trophy Bass Fishery by the California Department of Fish and Game.

Steve Newman of Valley Rod and Gun said there have been a number of 4- and 5-pound bass landed recently, and during the Jan. 1 River Rats Open, Sharif Zagsaw and Her Xiong took first with a four-fish limit of 18.95 pounds with a big fish of 5.37. The fish bit both in the morning and the afternoon hours, but the key was finding bass willing to bite. One team found fish holding in one area, and they wouldn’t bite in the morning. However, when they went back in the afternoon to the same spot, the fish were willing to bite. You have to present the bait in their face as they aren’t chasing very far, and the best quality of bass have been found from 30 to 50 feet with swimbaits or ned rigs on a slow presentation. There are fish from the surface to 30 feet, but the large bass are in deep water.

Call: Six Star Tackle Box 673-5688; Eastman Lake 689-3255

Hensley Lake

Bass 2 Trout 2 Catfish 2 Bluegill 2 Crappie 2

Most bass fishermen are avoiding Hensley and heading to nearby Eastman, but there is some catfish action along with planted rainbow trout with trout dough bait, Kastmasters or inflated nightcrawlers from the banks. The lake held at 20 percent.

Call: 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 1 King salmon 1 Crappie 2

Few boats have been targeting rainbow trout at the lake, but there are some quality fish to be had as evidenced by the 5-pound brown landed by Mike Brown of Oakdale in the top 10 feet. The majority of bait has dropped into deep water. Rain and weather are needed to put some color in the water. The bass are following the shad into deeper water, and jigs, plastics on the drop-shot and swimbaits on a slow roll are the top techniques. The lake held at 81 percent.

Call: Monte Smith 209-581-4734; Gary Vella 209-652-7550

Lake Isabella/

Bakersfield area

Bass 2 Trout 2 Crappie 2 Catfish 2 Bluegill 2

Brite Valley Lake and Lake Isabella are scheduled for trout plants this week, and most fishermen are focusing on the planted rainbows in the area’s lakes. Power Bait in Chunky Cheese, rainbow garlic or garlic/garlic continue to be the best baits. The action at Buena Vista has improved since the 4,000-pound plant prior to Christmas. The lower Kern River near Sandy Beach is scheduled to be planted this week, and the plant will help the action for a few days. The upper river has slowed with the lack of plants and lower flows; it’s closed above Johnsondale Bridge. Salmon eggs, nightcrawlers or live crickets are the best bets in the upper river. Few anglers continue to head up to Lake Isabella, but the best action is for catfish with frozen clams, sardines or anchovies. Isabella held at 29 percent.

Call: Bob’s Bait Bucket 661-833-8657; North Fork Marina 760-376-1812

Lake Kaweah

Bass 2 Crappie 2 Trout 2 Catfish 2

NewJen Bass Tournaments held a tournament Sunday with 19 boats with various levels of success including a big fish at 7.26 pounds by the winning team of Jeremy Jones and Vince Bryan as the base for their 13.33-pound limit. The lake remains low at 8 percent, limiting locations holding the best quality fish. Planted trout are generating interest with Power Bait, Mice Tails or Kastmasters from the 2nd Launch Ramp.

Call: Sierra Sporting Goods 592-5212

Lake Success

Bass 2 Trout 2 Catfish 2 Crappie 2 Bluegill 2

Chuck Stokke of Sequoia Fishing Company in Springville said the trout plants have brought in a number of shore anglers soaking Power Bait or nightcrawlers along with tossing Kastmasters for the planters. Bass fishing is very sporadic due to the bass being hard to locate. They seem to be in different locations on a daily basis. The lake rose slightly to 14 percent. In the Tule River, Stokke reported fair action with nymphs and Woolley Buggers, and the warmer temperatures have helped the bite. However, a cold front should slow the bite for both the bass in the lake and native trout on the Tule.

Call: Sequoia Fishing Co. 539-5626, sequoiafishingcompany.com

McClure Reservoir

Bass 3 Trout 2 King salmon 1 Kokanee 1 Crappie 2 Catfish 2

The opening weekend of 2018 brought two bass tournaments to McClure, and as predicted, the action was solid with more tournaments on the near horizon. The Best Bass Tournaments and Manteca Bassin’ Buddies will be on the lake Jan. 13 and the Best Bass Tournaments once again along with the Sierra Bass Club on Jan. 20.

Walt Lee of the Kerman Bass Club said it had 14 participants and seven limits with the big fish taken by Larry Marshall at 3.79 pounds. There were 52 fish weighed in for a total of 168 pounds – a 3.2-pound average. Cory Kerber took first place with 11.47 pounds.

The NewJen Bass Tournaments have expanded their base from Visalia to a number of new bodies of water including McClure, the Delta and Lake Berryessa, and they held their first tournament of 2018 on Saturday at McClure with 32 boats. The team of Jason Remmers and Alex Niapas took first place at 14.60 pounds, and the big fish of the tournament was weighed in at 5.52 pounds by the team of Rodney Regert and Cody Robinson.

The best action remains with plastics on the drop-shot, dart head or shakey head at depths from 35 to 50 feet up the river arm along with jigs such as Berserk’s Purple Hornet. Plastics are bringing in numbers while the opportunity for a large fish is best with reaction baits.

The lake is releasing water, but it remains at 65 percent balanced between inflow and outflow.

McSwain Reservoir

Trout 3

Half a ton of rainbow trout were released into the lake including 250 pounds of trophy-sized trout, and the bite from the shoreline from the normal locations of the Handicapped Docks, Brush Pile or peninsula around the marina has improved with trout dough bait in garlic or Power Eggs. Kastmasters are working on sunny days. The new Lake McSwain park-model cabins will be available for rent in the coming weeks. Each of the six lodgings has a lakefront view, is furnished, has a kitchen, full bathroom, heating and air conditioning and sleeps 6-8 people. Finishing touches on the cabins are being completed now. Additional information about reservations and pricing will be provided soon.

Call: McSwain Marina 209-378-2534

Millerton Lake/

San Joaquin River

Bass 2 Striped Bass 1 Shad 1 Bluegill 1 Crappie 1 Trout 2

Millerton had been a solid option, but the bite has been getting much tougher with anglers having difficulty finding spotted bass over 13 inches. Steve Newman of Valley Rod and Gun said there is no consistent pattern at Millerton with the bass found anywhere from 5-50 feet, and you basically have to put a worm on shakey head, drop-shot or dart head into their faces. The bass have been in a negative mood with the water fluctuating slightly. Millerton held at 68 percent, it has been releasing water down the San Joaquin River.

A trout plant is scheduled for Woodward Park in Fresno both this week and the week of Jan. 21.

Call: Valley Rod & Gun 292-3474

New Melones


Bass 3 Crappie 2 Catfish 2 Trout 2 Kokanee 1

New Melones has been a top location for spotted bass in the 2- to 2.5-pound range, and although trout trollers are finding only a few fish, the grade continues to make their efforts worth it.

John Liechty of Xperience Fishing Guide Service said the bass bite has been good – some days deep, other days in shallower water. The recent storms and overcast conditions made for a change. Liechty said he and his partner Don Perkins Jr. came in second during Saturday’s Sonora Bass Club tournament with 16.6 pounds. The fish are very healthy, and Liechty and Perkins released three to four more limits of 2- to 2.5- pound bass as part of their 40-plus fish day. The best action has been taking place from 15 to 40 feet with plastics on a shakey head, drop-shot or dart head along with jigs. Crawdad patterns have been working best, “and we are seeing bass with antennas and claws sticking out of their mouths. It is a standard Mother Lode lakes wintertime bite,” Liechty said. The swimbait bite should have been in full swing months ago, and the lack of trout plants at Melones may have changed the bass’ feeding patterns. The bass prefer the 8- to 9-inch planters. The water is clear throughout 90 percent of the lake, and the combination of warm weather with minimal rain has contributed to the clear conditions. The bass did come up in the water column with the overcast weather as they have been as deep as 70 feet in the past weeks.

Trout trollers are rolling shad for the big rainbows and browns, and although the opportunities are limited, the grade is outstanding. Jeff Boyle of Bass Pro Shops in Manteca said Tony Lopes of Turlock was rolling shad in the main lake for two quality rainbows and a brown, and all of the fish were over 4.5 pounds.

Catfish and crappie remain slow. The lake held at 83 percent.

Call: Glory Hole Sports 209-736-4333; Monte Smith 209-581-4734; John Liechty Xperience Fishing Guide Service 209-743-9932

Pine Flat Reservoir/

Kings River

Bass 3 Trout 3 Kokanee 0 King salmon 0 Catfish 2 Crappie 2

Pine Flat is producing numbers of spotted bass with the trout bite at Pine Flat continuing to keep trollers and bank fishermen pleased.

With the shutdown of the majority of reservoirs in the central Sierra, Pine Flat has become the top location for trout trolling in the Central Valley. The bass bite is becoming more consistent as the fish are holding around the shad schools in deep water.

Steve Newman of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said trout fishing has been solid in the main lake from the Power Lines to the Dam to Deer Creek, and the river arm above Trimmer in the shallows is also producing. The fish in the river arm are aggressive, but these fish are a bit more elusive as they have been holding over in the lake for some time. The rainbows in the main lake are mostly planters. Trollers are working shad-patterned lures at depths from 15 to 20 feet as there is a tremendous amount of shad in the lake.

The bass bite is getting better and better with Newman saying vertical spoons and ice jigs have been effective as the fish are moving deeper and deeper in the main lake from 30 to 50 feet. There are some holding in the coves and back channels, but most of the bass are found in open water around the shad schools. There is a deep crankbait bite from 15 to 20 feet, and also a decent swimbait and Alabama rig bite for a few quality fish. The action with these lures is much slower, but the quality of bass is best.

Morgan Swisher of the Fresno Bass Club said its tournament Sunday had 11 limits out of 17 individual anglers with the largest at 9.77 and the smallest at 6.45 pounds. One angler reported catching three limits, but the fish were all the same size, and he couldn’t cull up as the largest fish were landed in the morning. Some anglers reported they didn’t get their last fish until right before weigh-in. Hula Grubs, jigs or plastics were the top techniques.

Trout plants are scheduled on the lower Kings and also at Avocado Lake for the next two weeks.

Pine Flat held at 50 percent.

Call: Valley Rod & Gun 292-3474; Sequoia Fishing Co. 539-5626

San Luis Reservoir

and O’Neill Forebay

Striper 3 Catfish 2 Bass 2 Crappie 1

San Luis Reservoir has been the consistent spot for limits of school-sized striped bass, but huge linesides continue to be caught and released on a weekly basis. Jesus Reyes Silva of Hollister caught and released a big striper he estimated at around 40 pounds as well as another estimated 15-pounder on a topwater JKings lure last Wednesday while fishing with James Sanchez.

Steve Newman of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said larger jerkbaits, flukes, Alabama rigs and broken-backed Rebels are all working for trollers, and there have been schools of stripers as shallow as 10 feet. Regulars have been finding the shallow schools and stopping and throwing jerkbaits, topwater lures or shallow rip baits. Some of the stripers are much deeper, but a number of boaters are running the banks with 7-inch flukes or ripbaits.

Roger George of Roger George Guide Service said the bite earlier last week was good but later in the week after a storm the trolling bite slowed to mainly smaller fish overall. “The fishing is a day-to-day thing with the recent weather moving through,” George said. “You hit the right window and you look good,. The fog, rain and low-pressure front have affected the fish and where they are in the water column. We released 10 fish the other day in the 40- to 70-foot range trolling various lures. Some guys have done well working the banks in the morning. I expect things to pick back up. Regular anglers are encouraging more catch and release, and they’re also seeing more floaters from anglers who are discarding deep-caught fish and never using a “fizz” needle to release the pressure. I have some mad folks who have followed other trolling anglers and seen numerous floaters that are dying they threw back! If you fish deep, you absolutely need to have a hollow ‘fizz’ needle you know how to use or a release tool like the Seaqualizer.”

Madison Borgia of Coyote Bait and Tackle in Morgan Hill said jumbo minnows continue to be effective, and some fishermen are just free-swimming the minnows on a fly-line technique. Trollers are pulling white or bone swimbaits or Diawa’s SP Minnows with shore anglers soaking frozen shad. The O’Neill Forebay has been slower, but this is a smaller grade of striped bass found on jerkbaits, swimbaits or cut bait near the moving water around Check 12.

The lake has risen to 81 percent with increased pumping out of the south Delta.

Call: Coyote Bait and Tackle 408-463-0711, Roger George of rogergeorgeguideservice.com, 905-2954

High Sierra

Bass Lake

Bass 2 Trout 3 Kokanee 0

Trout fishing has been best for trollers working blade/nightcrawler combinations with a silver dodger or orange or chartreuse lures at 4 to 6 colors of leadcore on a slow troll. Shore anglers are finding a few trout near the Sheriff’s Tower with trout dough bait. Bass fishermen are avoiding the lake due to the launch ramp basically being out of the water for larger boats. The courtesy dock has been taken out of the water. The lake rose slightly to 49 percent. A trout plant is scheduled for the week of Jan. 21. See a webcam at basslakeca.com.

Call: Todd Wittwer 288-8100; Mike Beighey 642-3748


Mammoth Pool

Kaiser Pass Road closed Dec. 1 and access to the area will be limited to snowmobile. Edison is at 34 percent, Florence remains at 2 percent and Mammoth Pool is at 12 percent.

Call: Vermilion Valley Resort at Edison Lake 259-4000

Shaver Lake/

Huntington Lake

Kokanee 2 Trout 2

Cold weather has kept most boats from working the lake, and there was only a single boat on the lake on Sunday. A webcam of the lake is available at sierramarina.com/camera.html updated every 20 minutes. Dick Nichols and Todd Wittwer of Kokanee.net Guide Service are holding a free seminar at Herb Bauer’s Sporting Goods on Blackstone Avenue north of Bullard Avenue in Fresno at 6 p.m. Feb. 8, Nichols said. “A wide variety of information will be presented, including the expected water levels for Shaver from spring to fall and the trout plants forecast by both the Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Shaver Lake Trophy Trout Project. Successful techniques for both trout and kokanee will be covered in addition to forecasts for the 2018 season. There will be snacks and bottled water along with a free raffle at the event.” Both Shaver and Huntington dropped slightly to 41 percent and 60 percent, respectively. No reports from Huntington.

Call: Dick Nichols, Dick’s Fishing Charters 281-6948; Todd Wittwer, Kokanee.net Guide Service 288-8100; Dinkey Creek Inn 841-3435; Rancheria Marina 893-3234; Shaver Lake Sports Inc. 841-2740; Steve Santoro Fish Box Charters 871-3937


The central Sierra trout season is now limited to the lower-elevation lakes of Bass and Shaver as the road to Courtright and Wishon closed Dec. 1 at Dinkey Creek.

Call: Wishon RV Park 865-5361


Half Moon Bay

Striper 2 Crab 2

The bottomfish season ended Dec. 31 with the upcoming seasons for both rockfish and salmon anticipated to open in April. Within the following three months, shore fishing for surf perch and striped bass along with private and party boat action for sand dabs and crab will fill anglers’ time.

Captain Tom Mattusch of the Huli Cat is the only large party boat running the crab/sand dab combination trips, and he was out on Sunday for excellent sand dab action in 265 to 270 feet of water. He said, “We started off in one location, but once we made a move, we loaded up on sand dabs. We are getting ready to pull pots right now, and crabbing has been fair at best although we were able to put six crab a person for a light load on Saturday. I am waiting for a good weather day to try to focus on petrale sole, and we have received reports from draggers that the sole are holding as deep as 80 fathoms. We will be able to target any depth with no hook restrictions, and in the deep water, braided line will allow us to feel the bites.” Final count for Sunday was 302 sand dabs for six passengers and two crew along with limits of Dungeness crab for all.

All party boats in the area will be running whale watching and nature trips during the winter months, and the Salty Lady, captained by Jerad Davis, will make its annual pilgrimage to Pillar Point for the whale-watching season.

Further north at the Pacifica Pier, Rob Chaney of the Rusty Hook reported good surf perch action with prawns or grass shrimp as blood and pile worms have been difficult to obtain with the “bomb cyclone” storm in the East. Crabbing has been fair, but there are still Dungeness to be had off of the pier with snares. Striped bass action remains slow.

Call: Captain Dennis Baxter, New Captain Pete 650-576-3844; Captain Tom Mattusch, Huli Cat 650-619-0459

Monterey/Santa Cruz

Striper 2 Crab 2 Halibut 3

Rockfish season ended Dec. 31, and Chris Arcoleo of Chris’ Landing in Monterey will be running sand dab/crab combination trips along with whale watching for the next three months.

Out of Santa Cruz, Allen Bushnell of Santa Cruz Kayak Fishing and Surfcasting said, “ There is good news from Santa Cruz as Todd Fraser at Bayside Marine lets us know the recent uptick of halibut catches is no fluke.” Fraser reports, “The fishing continues to be good for halibut for the anglers who are still fishing. There have been consistent scores of one to four halibut caught daily for the last few weeks.” The big flatfish are biting on hoochies and bait. The best technique seems to be bounce-balling and the productive area stretches from the Santa Cruz Mile Buoy to the Pleasure Point area in 60-90 feet of water. “Crab fishing is doing better in 160 feet of water,” Fraser added. Surfcasting is heating up, especially from the beaches below Moss Landing. Definite winter-type structure on our long sandy beaches has not really developed as yet, but anglers are finding small holes and troughs to work. And, they are catching some big barred surfperch. Walleye and big pile perch also were reported caught last week by anglers closer to Santa Cruz. With a few more storms, beach structure will improve, and the rivers will open to the sea, allowing trapped striped bass to join the mix for anglers targeting the surf line.”

The annual Sand Crab Classic Surf Perch Contest on March 10 is limited to the first 300 entries with proceeds from the event going to the Monterey Bay Salmon and Trout Project. Information: theletsgofishingradioshow.com.

Call: Chris’ Landing 831-375-5951; Allen Bushnell, Santa Cruz Kayak and Surf Casting 831-251-9732

San Francisco Bay

Halibut 1 Striper 2 Leopard shark 2 Sturgeon 2 Crab 2

The bottom fish season is over, and the majority of party boats will be tied up for the next three months until the rockfish and salmon openers in April. Inside the bay, Keith Fraser of Loch Lomond Bait and Tackle in San Rafael continues to have live crab in the shop, and it is one of the only locations in the Bay Area with live crab. Bait has been difficult to obtain with the conditions back east and in the Pacific Northwest, but they did have ghost shrimp all weekend and grass shrimp until Sunday afternoon. Fraser said, “Fishing has been slow with the poor tides, but there are great tides this coming weekend. After the storm early in the week, the weather is expected to be great for the rest of the week. We really need this rain. Legendary San Pablo Bay angler Tommy Glaser was out on Saturday, and he reported bait-stealing crab in all locations. Glaser ended up with only one legal sturgeon released, but there was a boat between the Corregidor and the Pumphouse with six legal bass out of 10 landed along with four legal sturgeon out of five.”

Captain Chris Smith of the Happy Hooker out of Martinez was also in San Pablo Bay on Saturday, and they didn’t see a single sturgeon throughout the day. They ended up with seven striped bass and a leopard shark, and he picked up and moved to get away from the bass.

Call: Captain Trent Slate, Bite Me Charters 415-307-8582; Happy Hooker 510-223-5388; Captain Jerad Davis, Salty Lady 415-760-9362; Captain Steve Mitchell 707-655-6736

San Luis Obispo

Surf perch 2

With the rockfish season closed, the majority of fishing action is from the shoreline with Berkley Sand Worms or Camo Worms along with blood worms and lug worms when they are available. The San Luis Obispo harbors will be running whale-watching and nature trips until the rockfish opener in April. Patriot Sport Fishing out of Port San Luis is also running crab/sand dab trips from January to March.

Call: Virg’s Landing 800-762-5263; Patriot Sport Fishing 805-595-4100



Bass 2 Striper 2 Sturgeon 2 Catfish 2 Bluegill 2

The first measurable rain since November arrived during the first week of January, but more precipitation and warmer conditions are necessary for improved fishing in the Delta. Most striped bass fishermen are waiting for better times as the cold 48- to 50-degree water has limited the action, but after a few week hiatus on the sturgeon bite, there is improved action further west near the Mothball Fleet.

Captain Steve Talmadge of Flash Sport Fishing out of Martinez said, “We put our two-man charter onto limits of sturgeon using straight eel in deep water at 44 feet near the Benicia/Martinez Bridge during max current on the outgoing tide during the middle of the week. We started out up above, but slid down to the bridge in deep water due to the mediocre tides. The water temperature has risen slightly in the water near the bridge from the 49/50-degree range to 50/51 degrees after the weekend’s rain. However, on our next trip, we only ended up with a few striped bass in the box while missing a few opportunities on sturgeon bites. There are a good number of fish by the fleet and the bridge. I found sturgeon on the bottom in the deeper water. We also had some jumpers around us.”

Talmadge is the director of the 12th annual Diamond Classic Catch and Release Sturgeon Derby coming to the Martinez Marina on Jan. 27, and registration for children is free with a $25 adult entry. It has 100 percent payback in cash prizes from first through seventh place. Information is available at www.diamondclassic.org with the official registration location of Martinez Bait. As in the past, there will be a pre-derby seminar at La Tapatia Restaurant on Main Street in Martinez from 6 to 9 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 26. Talmadge is actively recruiting sponsors, and interested sponsors can contact him at 510-851-2500 or through his website at www.flashfishing.net/contact-us. Talmadge said, “It’s all about the kids right now, and we will have at least 35 rods on the Martinez Pier for children along with a special raffle for pier fishermen, and children will just have to show up and not bring anything but warm clothing.”

Tim Boggs of Elkhorn Outdoor Sports said, “I had four clients out Saturday and we fished the Mothball Fleet and hit four sturgeon and a striper. One of the sturgeon was 32 pounds and 44.5 inches. We had an incoming tide for most of the morning and a really light bite. When the tide changed to an outgoing in the afternoon, the bite started to pick up. We had combinations of ghost shrimp and pile worms and ghost shrimp and eel and they were hitting the combinations. Greg Clay of Roseville caught the 44.5-inch keeper, and one of our shakers was 39.5 inches. The key to catching sturgeon right now is being patient and waiting for the fish. I’ve noticed some people are moving a whole lot, like several hundred yards, when they don’t catch fish. These sturgeon from what I’ve noticed are in slots. We moved five times, but we covered less than 50 yards. These fish are laying in slots and they are close together.”

Captain Steve Mitchell of Hook’d Up Sport Fishing out of Pittsburg confirmed the difficult conditions for sturgeon fishing at the present time, but he predicts a major improvement in late January through March as the water starts to warm up with more rain on the way.

The Diamond Classic Catch and Release Derby will be followed by the Foundation Sportsmen’s Club (aka “Original Sturgeon”) Derby on Feb. 3-4. Information and registration at www.originalsturgeonderby.com.

Randy Pringle, the Fishing Instructor, said, “You have to think about wearing the same clothes in the summertime as in the winter. You don’t go wearing a coat in the summer, and bass are the same way. They are bundling up in the cold water. There is a good bite with the ima Rock ‘N Vibe Suspend and also with the ima Flit ripbait, but you have to work it very slow and keep the bait in the strike zone in the 48- to 52-degree water temperatures. The heavy weightless worm, the 5-inch General in greenpumpkin or watermelon, is also working as the bass are moving into shallow water, feeding on sculpin. I am looking for slightly moving water with the weeds wiggling, but the bass are not in the main flow like they would be in the summertime. I look for weeds with life since the bass want oxygen, but with the cold water, many of the weeds are dying. I am looking forward to the arrival of dingy water from more rain, and we will find larger fish over 3 pounds in the stained water. You have to be a really good angler to fool a larger fish in this clear water.”

Call: Randy Pringle 209-543-6260; Captain Mike Gravert, Intimidator Sport Fishing 916-806-3030; Vince Borges, Vince Borges Outdoors 209-918-0828; J.D. Richey, Richey’s Sport Fishing 916-952-1554

Lake Nacimiento/

San Antonio/

Santa Margarita/Lopez

Bass 2 White bass 2 Striper 2 Catfish 2 Crappie 2

At Nacimiento, spotted bass are found deep between 40 and 70 feet with plastics on the drop-shot or dart head along with small spoons, but there are still fish holding off of structure in shallower water. The majority of keepers are in the 1- to 1.5-pound range along with the occasional 2 pounder. White bass remain very slow and almost nonexistent in the cold water. The lake dropped slightly to 41 percent. A webcam of the lake is available at www.lakenacimientolive.com.

At Lopez, a slow presentation with a large worm is best along with jigs at depths to 40 feet. Crappie can be found with minijigs or tube baits near structure, and both perch and bluegill are taken on red worms on a drop-shot rig on the bottom. Planted trout are also a possibility from the shoreline with Power Bait. A webcam of the lake is available at 805webcams.com/lopez-lake-webcam.

At San Antonio, striped bass action continues to be very slow with a few linesides taken on shad-patterned swimbaits or similar swimbaits on an umbrella rig. With the colder water temperature, the smallmouth bass are becoming more active, but largemouth action remains slow. Jigs or plastics on the drop-shot are the top techniques.

At Santa Margarita, the largemouth bite is improving for numbers, but the fish are mostly on the small side. Jigs, swimbaits or large creature baits are producing the largest grade of largemouth bass. Some large crappie are possible on Crappie Nibbles or minijigs. Reminder: consuming white bass, black bass, crappie, catfish, or carp are subject to safe eating guidelines due to excessive mercury.

Quagga mussel inspections are required before boat launching is allowed.

Call: Lake Nacimiento 805-238-1056, ext. 3; Lake San Antonio Marina 805-472-2818; Central Coast Bass Fishing.com 805-466-6557



Eastman: River Rats Open (4-fish limit) Jan. 1 – 1, Sharif Zagsaw/Her Xiong, 18.95 pounds (big fish 5.37); 2, The Hulk/Dan V, 16.81; 3, Collin DeGough/Bryan Dickson, 15.83.

Delta/Russo’s Marina: American Bass Association Jan. 6 – 1, Jerred Jennings/Alan DaSilva, 18.49 pounds (big fish 4.61); 2, Robert and Nick Cloutier, 13.88; 3, Ken Phillips/Chris Delamain, 12.85.

McClure: Kerman Bass Club Jan. 6 – 1, Cory Kerber, 11.47 pounds; 2, Justin Eslick, 9.57; 3, Ryan Voorhees, 9.53; big fish 3.79 pounds, Larry Marshall.

McClure: NewJen Bass Tournaments, Jan. 6 – 1, Jason Remmers/Alex Niapas, 14.60 pounds; 2, John Myers/Don Longton, 14.58; 3, Kohlman and Carl Goff, 14.06.

Pine Flat: California Tournament Trails Jan. 6 – 1, Dennis Bingham/Glenn Lubin, 12.85 pounds; 2, Jeff D’Alessandro/Tim Wells, 10.84; 3, Reece Wells/Michael Moles, 10.47.

Pine Flat: Fresno Bass Club Jan. 7 – 1, Roger Lockhart, 9.77 pounds; 2, Rod Red, 9.61; 3, Jesse Perez, 9.33; big fish 2.43 pounds, Jose Guzman.

Kaweah: NewJen Bass Tournaments Jan. 7 – 1, Jeremy Jones/Vince Bryan, 13.33 pounds (big fish 7.26); 2, Daniel Moreno/Gary Wasson, 10.99; 3, Josh Housey/Jr. Demacabalin, 9.72.



Jan. 18-21: International Sportsmen’s Exposition at Cal Expo in Sacramento, www.sportsexpos.com/attend/sacramento

Feb. 8: Herb Bauer’s Sporting Goods, 6 p.m., Dick Nichols of Dick’s Fishing Charters and Todd Wittwer of Kokanee.net Guide Service – Shaver Lake trout and kokanee techniques

March 10: Sand Crab Classic Surf Perch Derby in Santa Cruz. Entries begin in January, event limited to first 300 entrants. theletsgofishingradioshow.com


Jan. 13: McClure – Best Bass Tournaments/Manteca Bassin’ Buddies; Don Pedro – Christian Bass League; Nacimiento – Kern County Bassmasters

Jan. 14: Millerton – California Bass Federation; Pine Flat – Kings VIII Bass Club; Nacimiento – San Luis Obispo County Bass Ambushers

Jan. 20: Delta/Russo’s Marina – Delta Bass Club; McClure – Best Bass Tournaments/Sierra Bass Club; Pine Flat – NewJen Bass Tournaments; Nacimiento – Best Bass Tournaments

Jan. 21: Delta/Russo’s Marina – Hook, Line, and Sinker; Pine Flat - Kings River Bass Club

Jan. 27: Martinez Marina –Diamond Classic “Catch and Release” Sturgeon Derby, www.diamondclassic.org; Pine Flat – Bass 101; Nacimiento – Bakersfield Bass Club

Feb. 3-4: McAvoy’s Boat Harbor, Foundation Sportsmen’s Club Original Sturgeon “Super Bowl” Derby, www.originalsturgeonderby.com

Trout plants

Week of Jan. 14

  • Fresno County: Pine Flat Reservoir, Kings River below Pine Flat Dam, Avocado Lake
  • Madera County: Manzanita Lake, Corrine Lake
  • Tulare County: Mooney Grove Park Pond, Del Lago Park Lake

Solunar table









































n = new moon > = peak activity