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.
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Shaver trout and kokanee bite rebounds, Dick Nichols said. Wishon and Courtright rainbows hitting, Chuck Crane reported. Eastman and Pine Flat bass continue eating, Steve Newman said. San Luis stripers waking up, Dave Hurley reported. Delta stripers flooding into the area, Clyde Wands said. San Francisco salmon bite varied, but optimistic, Steve Mitchell reported.
2-Have to work hard
4-Fish jumpin’ in boat
Delta Mendota Canal
Striper 3 Catfish 2
The northern section of the California Aqueduct continues to be slow with few anglers stopping on their way north to San Luis Reservoir, but the water is starting to clear. In the southern portion of the aqueduct in Kern County, Pete Cormier of Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield reported good striped bass action with blood worms or sardines despite the moss and debris. Bob’s August Carp Derby ended with a 20-pounder taking the top spot.
Bass 3 Trout 2 Bluegill 2 Catfish 2 Crappie 2
Steve Newman of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “Largemouth bass fishing remains good, and anglers have been spoiled over the past five months. The reaction bite is best for quality with the occasional trophy bass landed in the afternoon hours with topwater lures, wakebaits or buzzbaits. Numbers are taken on plastics on either a Texas-rig or a jig, and there is a crankbait bite in 12 to 15 feet around the rockfish. Rat-L-Traps bounced off of the rocks are starting to get some play, and there are fish ranging from 4 to double-digits taken on a weekly basis.” The big fish during the last RiverRat’s Saturday Night Shootout was 6.77 pounds with an 11-pound plus four-fish limit. Catfishing has slowed with the cooler nights, but chicken livers, nightcrawlers, or cut baits are still a possibility for whiskerfish. The lake dropped from 44 to 41 percent, and the algae bloom is nearly gone.
Bass 2 Trout 1 Catfish 2 Bluegill 2 Crappie 2
Newman said, “Bass fishing remains tough with only a few fish taken by either dragging jigs or weightless Senkos. There is a reaction bite with slow-rolled spinnerbaits. Most local fishermen are heading further north to Eastman.” The catfish bite is also slow with the cooler water, but there are whiskerfish to be taken off of the banks with cutbaits, stinkbaits, or chicken livers. The lake dropped from 15 to 14 percent.
Lake Don Pedro
Bass 2 Trout 3 Kokanee 2 King salmon 2 Crappie 2
Don Pedro came through late in the season as a solid option for kokanee fishermen, but it looks like the season is coming to a rapid close with slow action over the past week. The largemouth bass bite will continue to improve as the water cools and the fish come up closer to the banks. Rainbow trout are now the top species for trollers with the possibility of an occasional kokanee as well as king salmon.
Monte Smith of Gold Country Sport Fishing said, “It was a tough day for kokanee early this week, but the rainbow trout action was outstanding as the last fish of the day checked in at 3.5 pounds. We had so many kokanee come off around halfway to the boat as they just wouldn’t stay hooked up. With nearly all of the kokanee turning, I am finished with kokanee for the season, but I will still target rainbow trout if there is interest. My main focus will be king salmon in the Sacramento River near Garcia Bend as most interest is being generated in this area. We ended up with 5 kokanee and 9 rainbows on this trip, and the kokanee would knock the line off of the release and then come unbuttoned around halfway to the boat. I spoke with another fisherman at the cleaning station, and he had a similar story of the kokanee not staying on the hook, However, our final fish came on a purple Apex lure at 90 feet, and this big rainbow at 3.5 pounds was taking line before we got it to the net. The fish are all deep right now, but they will be coming up with the cooler weather.”
The lake dropped slightly to 78 percent.
Bass 3 Trout 2 Crappie 3 Catfish 3 Bluegill 2
Pete Cormier of Bob’s Bait and Tackle in Bakersfield said, “Catfish, crappie, and bass are all coming out of Lake Isabella, and shore fishermen are landing the bass while targeting crappie in the shallows with minijigs. The South Fork near Paradise Cove has been the top location despite low water in this area. The bass and crappie are both hitting the minijigs. The Lake Isabella Bass Club is holding a team crappie tournament on Saturday, Sept. 22 with an entry fee of $55 for a two-angler team. 10-fish limits will be weighed in with a 6-inch minimum, and artificial lures only are allowed during the 6-hour tournament. Information – www: lakeisabellabassclub.com or by contacting tournament director, Matt Smith, at 760-223-3898. Catfish are the other possibility with anchovies, frozen shad, chicken livers, or live minnows. The lake has dropped from 18 to 16 percent with water releases down the Kern River. The Kern River above the dam continues to be slow for holdover rainbows with fewer and fewer fishermen working this section with the lower flows. The river is only at 200 cfs, and the water is warm. The remaining fish are in the deeper pools as the flows have dropped. The lower river remains fishable with higher than normal flows, and catfish and smallmouth bass remain the top species. The local lakes including Buena Vista are best for carp, catfish, bass, or bluegill.
Bass 3 Crappie 2 Trout 1 Catfish 3
The lower water pool has concentrated the bass around the submerged islands or rockpiles, and legal bass over 13 inches are plentiful with plastics on the drop-shot, crankbaits, and spinnerbaits. The water releases have slowed, and the lake held at 8 percent. Catfish have been taken at night on cut baits or prepared dip baits.
Call: Sierra Sporting Goods 592-5212
Bass 3 Trout 2 Catfish 2 Crappie 2 Bluegill 2
The lake has dropped to 10 percent, but the night bite for bass is solid with Pete Cormier of Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield reporting a local fisherman caught and released over 50 bass on a recent night trip. The best action is around the remaining rockpiles in the lake with plastics on the drop-shot, Senkos, or noisy reaction baits. Chuck Stokke of the Sequoia Fishing Company in Springville is giving fly casting lessons at the Pierpoint Café the second Sunday of the month at 10 a.m. The lessons are free and all equipment is provided.
Bass 2 Trout 2 King salmon 0 Kokanee 0 Crappie 2 Catfish 2
The water temperature is cooling down, but it has to get at least 5 degrees cooler before the bass come back into the shallows. There are numerous small spotted bass to be taken on jigs or plastics on the drop-shot, and the Berserk Purple Hornet or Brown Craw jigs with a Yamamoto twin-tail trailer has been particularly effective. Catfishing has slowed with the cooler temperatures. The lake dropped from 69 to 68 percent.
A trout plant this week brought out the shore anglers to the normal locations at the Brush Pile, Marina, and Handicapped Docks to soak trout dough bait, Power Eggs, or nightcrawlers along with casting blue/silver Kastmaster or Panther Martins. The quality of rainbow has been good for trollers pulling Roostertails, silver/blue Kastmasters, or Wedding Rings tipped with a nightcrawlers behind a dodger upriver above the 2nd Fence Line. The annual Merced Irrigation District’s Fall Trout Derby is scheduled for Oct. 7, and there will be trout plants prior to the derby.
Call: McSwain Marina 209-378-2534
San Joaquin River
Bass 3 Striped bass 1 Shad 1 Bluegill 2 Crappie 2
Steve Newman of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “It’s all about numbers of small bass at Millerton with finesse techniques working best including jigs or plastics on the drop-shot or dart head. The bass are loading up on the small shad, and mostly 8-inch spotted bass are chasing the shad on the surface. There is some reaction action with topwater poppers in the backs of coves such as Winchell Cove on the Fresno side while the Madera County side near the dam is producing spotted bass near the rocks. Catfishing has slowed down with the cooler water, but there has been a decent catfish bite within the previous weeks.” Striped bass fishing remains null and void. The lake dropped from 55 to 53 percent.
Call: Valley Rod & Gun 292-3474
Bass 3 Crappie 3 Catfish 3 Trout 2 Kokanee 2
The water temperatures continue to cool, driving down the shad schools. The largemouth and spotted bass are found deeper with plastics or jigs, and the numbers of bass are impressive although the size has been limited. The reaction bite remains relatively slow with the exception of the warmer afternoons. Kokanee are on the slowdown while rainbow trout should be heating up as the water continues to cool. Glory Hole Sport’s Annual Catfish Tournament is arriving in October, and catfishing is improving from the banks in the evenings with cut baits or stinkbaits, Crappie are found near structure or in the evenings under lights while trout fishermen are also soaking live bait under lights. The lake held at 76 percent.
Pine Flat Reservoir/
Bass 3 Trout 3 Kokanee 0 King salmon 0 Catfish 2 Crappie 2
Steve Newman of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “Spotted bass fishing continues to be excellent with a 21-pound limit taking last weekend’s Bass 101 night tournament followed by a 15-pound limit during the 6-hour Fresno Bass Club tournament. There is a topwater as well as reaction bite at first light and also at dusk, while jigs and swimbaits are working by mid-morning. There have been bass in the 4- to 8-pound range landed along with several in the 2.5- to 3-pound range. There is a crankbait bite up the river arm when you find the schools, but finesse techniques are working best in the main lake. The bass are keying on both shad or crawdads, and the crawdads are being forced to move with the lake dropping around a foot per day.” Trout fishing remains very slow. The algae bloom has mostly cleared. The lake dropped from 30 to 27 percent this week.
In the lower Kings, Newman said, “The flows are fast, but fishing is good for planters from the 1st Bridge to Winton Park with heavier Kastmasters or Roostertails along with salmon eggs or Power Bait with a heavier weight. Sweeping across the stream from the fast water to the slow water is working, but a single salmon egg is not effective in the high water. The Catch and Release section is kicking out some larger natives.”
San Luis Reservoir
and O’Neill Forebay
Striper 3 Catfish 2 Bass 2 Crappie 2
There a few big striped bass showing up for experienced trollers at San Luis Reservoir as the water temperatures continue to cool with the fall season on the horizon.
Roger George of Roger’s Guide Service out of Fresno took out David and Thelma Drinnon on Friday, and he said, “It was an epic day! The wind has been the limiting factor at the lake, but when we arrived early, it was moderate for once. It was a slow morning bite, with a few school-sized stripers to 22 inches in the Portuguese Cove area at depths from 40 to 60 feet with Lucky Craft 128s in ghost. The water temperatures have dropped 2 degrees to 70 now, and the fish are grouping up and moving from area to area during the day. We moved over to the pumps for a few more fish, but the bite was slow there, too . After lunch it warmed up, and we got into a unusual reaction bite at 40 to 70 feet with some fish feeding in the middle of nowhere over 130 feet of water. I saw some larger fish on the meter when David’s rod bent over. His 33.5-inch/14-pound striper was a personal best. Thirty minutes later, I had a hard strike. The striper went crazy and made three big runs, one of the strongest fighting fish I’ve ever caught. It was 26.5 pounds and 41.5 inches. The lure fell out of its mouth when David netted it! We used silver-patterned lures at 50 to 60 feet mimicking the baitfish. We ended the day in strong winds with over 25 fish, many in the 22- to 25-inch range. I had fished the day before in windy conditions, and the action had been brutal in the rollers for only 15 fish to 24 inches. The key has been to find active fish when the bite starts – and hopefully the wind stays down.” George will be doing seminars on downrigging, sonar, lures and tips on Oct. 20 at the Striperfest at Sportsmans Warehouse in Fresno. Local guru Edd Allen will also be doing a seminar on using and setting up your sonar. Pre-registration at the store is encouraged for limited seating.
Steve Newman of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “The action has been pretty consistent for fishermen soaking bait from the shorelines as the fish are moving around. Some shore fishermen are finding boils for topwater lures or with large flukes, but the troll bite has been best.”
In the forebay, small striped bass remain the rule with the best action remaining on cut baits, blood worms, or pile worms from the normal locations of Check 12 or the Highway 152 Bridge. Most bank fishermen are heading to the main San Luis Reservoir.
San Luis rose from 46 to 48 percent.
Bass 3 Trout 2 Kokanee 0
Despite the heavy recreational boating traffic, there is a solid bass bite for spotted and largemouth bass to 16 inches at depths from 15 to 30 feet. The best class of fish is found near docks with deep water access, and the weeds along the bottom require anglers to use a drop-shot rig with a plastic in bluegill or shad patterns. The bass are loading up with small bluegill in the half- to 1.5-inch range. Once boat traffic starts, the best fishing is in the coves around the rockpiles. The reaction bite is slow as you have to put the bait right in their face. There are few trout fishermen on the lake, but rainbows to 18 inches have been landed by bass fishermen as incident catches while drop-shotting. The lake held at 100 percent.
Brown trout 2 Trout 2
Shaver, Courtright, and Wishon Reservoirs are attracting the majority of trout fishermen in the Central Sierra with few anglers heading to Edison. However, few anglers are reporting after making the drive over Kaiser Pass. The lakes have all held with Edison at 89, Mammoth Pool at 98 percent, and Florence at 40 percent
Call: Vermilion Valley Resort at Edison Lake 259-4000
Kokanee 3 Trout 3
The kokanee bite at Shaver Lake rebounded from a couple of slow days, and this is good news with the final Kokanee Power Derby of the season this coming Saturday, Sept. 8.
Dick Nichols of Dick’s Fishing Charters said, “The kokanee bite has improved during the week, and we have been picking up from 2 to 3 limits on each trip. One morning, our group landed 10 quality kokanee within an hour working around the point at 99 feet in depth. However, the bite dropped off a bit on Saturday where the recreational boating traffic was high with the Labor Day Holiday weekend. I was out on Saturday on a catch-and-release mission for an 11-year old girl, and we ended up catching and releasing 10 rainbows and two kokanee near Black Rock. I wish I had stayed over near Todd Wittwer of Kokanee.net Guide Service as he put in 25 kokanee for his clients.”
Wittwer said, “We took out Edd Allen from Marine Solutions and his group, and within 3.5 hours, we put in 25 kokanee running the orange Rocky Mountain Tackle’s Hornet spinner or the orange Double-Glow hoochie behind a 5.5-inch orange Moonshine dodger close to the ball trolls. The Radical Glow Tube has also been effective, and we continue to find larger kokanee in excess of 15 inches. I expect a good showing during Saturday’s tournament with the presence of some large schools forming as they are preparing for the spawn.”
The lake held at 94 percent.
At Huntington Reservoir, Steve Newman of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “The trout action is so-so with most trout fishermen are either heading to Shaver, Courtright, or Wishon as the action is only fair at 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; Tom Oliveira Fishing 802-8072; Steve Santoro Fish Box Charters 871-3937
Both Wishon and Courtright have turned on at the same time for rainbow trout, and the action has been excellent at both lakes for trollers with shore anglers at Wishon also leaving with limits. The lakes are both stable, and launching a boat is easy as the courtesy dock is back in the water at Courtright.
Chuck Crane of the Wishon Village RV Park and Store said, “Wishon is fishing fabulous right now with everyone loading up with stringers of planted rainbows along with the occasional holdover. Bank fishermen are finding them near Short Hair Creek or along the dam with trout dough bait in either orange or pink while boaters continue to drift the dough bait using a 2-foot leader near the mouth of Woodchuck Creek or the far side of the lake near the river inlet. Trollers are finding quick limits at 3 to 5 colors of leadcore with blade/’crawler combinations near Woodchuck Creek or along the upper end of the lake. The trout are deep, and the key is to get down to them with either leadcore or downriggers. The Department of Fish and Wildlife planted the lake this past week, and the increased action is a direct result of the heavy plant.”
At Courtright, Crane reported excellent fishing for trollers working deep at 40 to 50 feet with downriggers. Blade/’crawler combinations or PPK Tomahawk spinners tipped with a piece of nightcrawler are working with limits within an hour along the far side of the lake opposite from the launch ram. Shore fishing has been slow, but there are still rainbowss taken on trout dough bait across from the campgrounds or along both sides of the dam.
Call: Wishon RV Park 865-5361
Half Moon Bay
Salmon 2 Rockfish 3 Striper 2 Surf perch 3
It’s all about rockfishing right now out of Half Moon Bay, but at least one party boat remains on the search for salmon. Captain Dennis Baxter of the New Captain Pete continues to run salmon trips, and he has to travel north above the Golden Gate to locate salmon on the Marin coast. The local salmon from the Coastside Fishing Club smolt release remain absent, although there have been reports of a few salmon in the harbor. In any case, the local salmon scene inside the harbor is nothing like during previous years so far this season.
Sherry Ingles of Half Moon Bay Sport Fishing said, “Rockfish have been the object of our interest around here, and limits of rockfish and a decent amount of ling cod are the rule. The Queen of Hearts put in 35 limits of rockfish including 4 cabezon along with 12 lings while the Riptide had 20 limits and 6 lings. Our six-pack boat, the Que Sera Sera, put in 6 limits of rockfish along with at least one huge ling cod on Sunday. Salmon fishing has been on and off, but there was an 18 pounder landed outside of the Buoy with rumors of a few salmon in the harbor. There have been whales and anchovies near the breakwater by Mavericks, and hopefully, a few salmon will be attracted with the bait. Locally, rock crab are coming off of the breakwater, and geoduck clams are taken on low tides off of the beaches. The beaches look plowed after a low tide, and the geoducks are at least fist size.”
Captain Tom Mattusch of the Huli Cat has been taking research rockfish along the Sonoma coastline with spectacular results in the closed zones along the coast, but he is returning to Half Moon Bay with rockfishing in mind. The Huli Cat is the only large party boat running crab/rockfish combinations starting on the Dungeness crab opener on Nov. 3.
Rockfish 4 Striper 2 White sea bass 2 Sand dabs 2 Surf perch 3
Rockfishing remains outstanding with the Caroline out of Chris’s Landing in Monterey posting 22 limits of quality rockfish along with 10 lings on Sunday while the Check Mate returned with 9 lings and 195 rockfish for 26 anglers. The weather has been a bit rough so they stayed local on Sunday. Saturday’s trips produced a combined 12 ling cod and 41 limits of rockfish. They have room from Tuesday through Thursday while the coming weekend is sold out for fishing.
The Golden Gate Salmon Association is holding a fundraising dinner at the Santa Cruz Elks Lodge on Sept. 21 to help support the organization’s work to rebuild the salmon runs. GGSA is actively working on all fronts to protect, recover and rebuild the salmon populations of the Central Valley and the tens of thousands of jobs the industry supports and the $1.4 billion of economic benefits it produces for California. Tickets are all-inclusive and only $85 per person or $700 for a table of 8 with $120 in raffle tickets.
Information on the dinner is available at www.eventbrite.com/e/ggsa-santa-cruz-for-salmon-tickets-46955741888.
San Francisco Bay
Salmon 2 Halibut 3 Striper 2 Rockfish 3 Leopard shark 3 Sturgeon 2
The salmon bite along the Marin coastline has ranged from spectacular to frustrating, and no captain experienced more ‘hero to zero’ over the weekend than Steve Mitchell of Hook’d Up Sport Fishing. He said, “I had a hunch on Saturday that the fish were coming down around Point Reyes, and I made the long run to Drake’s Bay. There was all sorts of life out there with birds and whales, and as soon as we dropped in, ‘Oh, My God!’ it was on! We got out of the jelly fish, and we put in 6 limits to 27.5 pound with all chunky fish. My clients were a father, mother, three children, and their grandfather that had just moved to California from Florida. They went home with more red meat than they could have ever expected. Sunday was a much different day as we went back north to Drake’s Bay only to find all of the life gone from the area. By the time we came back down to the fleet at Duxbury, the bite was over, and we had to settle for a single 15-pound salmon and another fish lost at the net.”
Captain Trent Slate of Bite Me Charters has had three days of tremendous action mooching for salmon near Duxbury with one fish shy of 5 limits on Sunday. He said, “The weather was a bit choppy, but we bucked it up to Duxbury and Rocky Point for a smaller grade of salmon on Sunday with two at 15 pounds and the remainder chunky two-year olds. I had three big fish on while mooching a Gitzit, but they all came off, and the last one was at least 25 pounds.”
Captain Joey Gamez of Golden State Sport Fishing followed Mitchell up to Drake’s Bay on Saturday, and after putting in 4 salmon, his clients opted for rockfish for limits of rockies and half-limits of ling cod.
The Eldorado out of Berkeley put in less than a fish per rod on Sunday with 17 salmon to 23 pounds for 21 anglers while the New Easy Rider went on a rockfishing trip for a change of pace for half-limits of rockfish and 28 lings to 15 pounds for a 21-man charter.
The Farallons have been the place to be for rockfish, and the California Dawn put it on the lings and rockfish with 32 limits of both species on Sunday for a charter.
Inside the bay, the Happy Hooker out of Berkeley Marina stayed in the bay on Sunday and came through with more than a fish per rod with 27 halibut and a striped bass for 17 anglers. They are running bay trips every Tuesday while primarily targeting rockfish and lings during the coming months.
Captain Joey Gamez took a big shark trip on Sunday for two big cow sharks in the 150- to 175-pound range.
The south bay is kicking out quality grass shrimp, and this is a good sign of the health of the south bay for the first time in several years.
San Luis Obispo
Rockfish 4 Surf perch 3
Rockfishing remains outstanding out of the two San Luis Obispo County ports, and out of Port San Luis, the Phenix, Patriot, and Flying Fish out of Patriot Sport Fishing scored limits for 144 anglers on Sunday with 13 lings to 11 pounds, 128 vermilion, 30 copper, 8 Boccaccio, 142 Bolina, 2 cabezon, and 1119 assorted rockfish. Out of Morro Bay Landing, the Avenger put in 10 fish shy of 16 limits of rockfish composed of 100 vermilion, 40 assorted rockfish, and 10 copper to go with 4 lings to 9 pounds on Monday. Jose Burra of Fresno took a jackpot earlier in the week with a 17-pound ling. Out of Virg’s Landing in Morro Bay, the Fiesta and Black Pearl took out a combined 53 fishermen on Monday’s Labor Day holiday for 11 ling cod, 178 vermilion, 331 assorted rockfish, and 21 coppers for limits on their ½-day and ¾-day trips. Gary Selvey of Bakersfield took the jackpot on the Black Pearl with a whopping 23.2-pound ling cod. All landings are running a variety of bottom fishing trips from ½ day to two-day ventures up the coast. Out of Virg’s, the Black Pearl has open overnight trips on September 21/22, October 5/6, October 19/20, and November 16/17 with an open two-day trip on December 28 – 30th.
Bass 2 Striper 3 Sturgeon 2 Catfish 2 Bluegill 2 Salmon 2
The salmon are clearly starting to make their mark on the Sacramento-Delta as the cooler water temperatures have increased the number of fish landed from Suisun Bay along the Benicia shorelines to the northern edge of the Delta at Freeport. Striped bass are also making their way into the Sacramento River in increased numbers, and trollers are transitioning over from the San Joaquin to the Sacramento as a result. Sturgeon interest remains slow, but the diamondbacks are out there, just waiting for the arrival of the hordes of boaters. The 71st Annual Rio Vista Bass Derby is the weekend of October 12 – 14, and this is the first big target-length striper derby to arrive during the fall season.
Tony Lopez of Benicia Bait reported a vast improvement for salmon with 8 at the Dillon Point State Park on Saturday along with 5 or 6 at 1st Street in Benicia. He said, “I was down there on Sunday morning, and they already had 3 fish at 1st Street by 9:00 a.m. There were several other salmon lost in the rocks, not to the sea lion, but fishermen reported getting hit just before the shoreline, and they lost their fish in the rocks. One angler loosened his drag while the salmon was running, and predictably, the fish came unbuttoned.”
Gene Wall of their shop landed his fourth salmon of the year from the State Park on a green Vee-Zee spinner at 19 pounds. He has been quite steady in a bite that has been less than steady with fish at 26, 24, 21, and now, 19 pounds. Striped bass fishing has been decent from the Benicia shorelines, but the bait-stealing crab are starting to show up and rise up the bait bill. One fisherman who lives on the water is using 80-pound braided line to keep the striped bass out of the submerged pilings in front of his home, and he has been consistently picking up stripers on bullheads.
Out of Freeport, Johnny Tran of New Romeo’s Bait and Tackle said, “Salmon fishing has been good with 8 salmon landed by trollers pulling either Silverton or Slammer spinners, and jigging with Slammer Minnows or P-Line Predators is also good. Shore fishermen are throwing Mepp’s Flying C’s for the occasional fish. It is getting better every day with the water cooling down. Striped bass are also making their run, and the Sacramento Deep Water Channel or Liberty Island near the bridge have been the top locations for those drifting live mudsuckers. Smallmouth bass fishing has slowed, but there are still smallies found around the rocks in Steamboat or Miner Sloughs along with the Old Sacramento River near Walnut Grove with deep-diving crankbaits, minnows, or plastics on the drop-shot.”
In the Old Sacramento River, Sylvia Vieira of Vieira’s Riverside Bait near Isleton said, “We had a houseful over the weekend, and I have to start getting here at 5:00 a.m. since when I arrived on Sunday morning at 5:45 a.m., the lineup was already outside of the bait shop. There are more and more salmon being reported including two at 23 pounds with one in the deep water north of Rio Vista and the other near Ryde. Silverton spinners in green/silver have been the top lures.”
For striped bass, Clyde Wands, shallow trolling expert, is starting to transition to the Sacramento side of the Delta with several stripers to 5 pounds along the West Bank. He said, “The wind was down so we started inside Decker Island for linesides in the 20/21-inch range before moving over to outside Decker for one or two smaller fish. The West Bank produced a number of small fish to 5 pounds, and we are finally starting to see stripers on the Sacramento side. I will stay on the Sacramento side if the wind is down and allows us troll.”
Bryce Tedford of Bryce Tedford’s Fly Fishing Guide Service said, “It is still a mixed bag out there as we found some quality stripers, largemouth, and smallmouth this week. This time of year it can be a fun challenge to chase the “slam” of all 3 bass species the same day! Water temperatures have dropped below 70 degrees in much of the Delta with recent cooler weather. It is hard to beat large size 2 Topwater frogs for largemouth, small size 6-8 poppers for smallmouth, and size 1/0-2/0 Clouser style flies for stripers. For topwater stripers, I like to use 1/0-2/0 Crease flies with silver bellies when they are visually eating on top. Prime striper fishing is not far off, October and November are almost always 2 of the better months.”
Largemouth bass fishing continues to be tough with most regular fishermen reporting the overall weights of limits being down around 25 percent over past years. The recent weed eradication program conducted by the Department of Boating and Waterways has been the primary reason given for the decrease although it is unclear as to the exact cause. The size of the winning limits has clearly been down for the past few months, and there is no question that areas of weeds have been eradicated from the various sections of the Delta.
Most tournament fishermen are noting the decrease in the size of limits, but Vince Borges of Vince Borges Outdoors and Phenix Rods said, “Fishing is tougher, but the weights are still ok. In our last Wednesday Night Turkey Shoots, a limit between 20 and 28 pounds has been the norm for winners, and one my last three trips, I have all had 20 pounds and up, but the numbers are not the same. It is tough fishing for five baits rather than cull 15 fish.”
The big event of the coming weekend is the two-day Bass Fest at Russo’s Marina on Bethel Island on September 8/9. Saturday’s event will focus on both a Vendor Trade Show with top manufacturers showing off new products from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. while the tournament will occur on Sunday starting at 4:00 a.m. for registration with a three-fish limit. The Bass Fest is an event with a low entry fee to encourage bass fishermen of all sorts to participate. It is an excellent event for the team that has never entered a tournament. Saturday will also feature a tournament from the CAST for Kids Foundation, and volunteer boaters and shore volunteers are needed.
The American Bass Association finished their circuit on Saturday out of Big Break Marina, and there was a quality limit at 22.63 pounds including a big fish at 9.17 taken by Nick Cloutier.
Mike Pipkins of Gotcha Bait in Antioch reported sturgeon are showing up in Broad Slough with either grass shrimp or ghost shrimp, and one boat landed a limit of striped bass along with five keeper sturgeon there. He said, “The stripers are becoming more aggressive and running with the frozen shad. There have been as many as 11 salmon landed off of Compy’s Pier in Antioch with Perry Lures or Flying C’s, and panfish are thick as we have sold 1.5 cases of wax worms since Friday.”
Luther Thompson of H and R Bait in Stockton reported area fishermen are heading west towards Antioch as local fishing remains slow. Woodbro Road on the Middle River remains the top location for catfish with chicken livers or cut baits while bluegill and red ear perch are thick off of Inland Drive at Tiki Lagun, Bullfrog Landing, or off of Eight Mile Road with jumbo red worms. They have received fresh shad of a small- to medium-grade this week, and this is the first fresh shad for the past several weeks.
Bass 3 White bass 3 Striper 2 Catfish 2 Crappie 3
The topwater bite at Lopez remains solid in the early mornings or at dusk with Zara Spooks, buzzbaits, or small poppers as the fish are holding in the shallows close to the banks. After the topwater bite slows, anglers are switching over to subsurface reaction baits such as crankbaits, spinnerbaits, or chatterbaits as the bass move out towards structure. Numbers of small fish are found on finesse techniques such as jigs or plastics on the drop-shot or Texas-rig. Bluegill and red ear perch are found in deeper water with jumbo red worms. A webcam of the lake is available at http://805webcams.com/lopez-lake-webcam/. At Nacimiento, bass fishing is best in the morning hours with topwater lures while plastics on the drop-shot or shakey head are consistent for numbers. The white bass are schooling up and busting the shad schools, and once a school is located, the normal lures of white Roostertails or Kastmasters are effective. The lake continues to release water, and it has dropped to 19 percent, leaving the auxiliary ramp the only option for launching a vessel. A webcam of the lake is available at http://www.lakenacimientolive.com/.
Finesse techniques such as plastics on the drop-shot or Texas-rig are working best for both size and numbers at Santa Margarita. There is some play on reaction baits such as swimbaits or crankbaits for a better grade. Catfish are biting cut baits such as mackerel, sardines, or anchovies while red worms are effective for bluegill or red ear perch. A webcam of the lake is available at http://805webcams.com/santa-margarita-lake-webcam-california/. At San Antonio, largemouth and smallmouth bass fishing has improved for numbers, but the size is limited to bass in the 2-pound range. The bass are focusing on shad, and there is a topwater bite in the early morning with small shad-patterned lures before working the subsurface with reaction baits. Small crappie are found on minijigs near structure while catfish are inhaling prepared dough baits or cut baits. The lake has dropped to 15 percent. The Lynch Ramp is getting towards the end of its effectiveness while the Harris Creek Ramp is still operational. Catfish are a good option with cutbaits or stinkbaits with the best fishing in the evenings.
American Bass Association: Sept. 1 at Delta/Big Break Marina – 1, Chris Ball/Nick Cloutier, 22.63 pounds (Big Fish 9.17); 2, Wayne Breazeale/Gary Barnett, 17.32; 3, Hung and Eva Ho, 13.97.
RiverRats Saturday Night Shootout: Sept. 1 at Eastman – 1, Chase and Tyler, 11.45 (Big Fish 6.77); 2, Shawn and Michael, 11.39; 3, Wade and Damian, 10.99.
Sept. 8: Shaver Lake – Kokanee Power Team Tournament, Isabella – Lake Isabella Bass Club
Sept. 8-9: Delta/Russo’s Marina – Bass Fest
Sept. 9: New Hogan – Gold Country Junior Bass Club
Sept. 15: Delta/Tracy Oasis – Tracy Oasis Marina, Delta/Contra Costa County – Orange County Bass Club, Success – Kern County Bass Masters, Nacimiento – 101 Bass, Isabella – American Bass Association
Sept. 15-16: Pine Flat – Cen Cal Elite Bass Tournaments
Sept. 16: Delta/B and W Resort – Fresno Bass Club, Delta/Russo’s Marina – Hook, Line, and Sinker, Delta/Contra Costa County – Orange County Bass Club, Delta/Ladd’s Marina – Merced Bass Club, Pine Flat – Kings River Bass Club, Kaweah – Central Valley Kayak Fishing
Sept. 21: Nacimiento – 101 Bass Night Tournament
Sept. 21-22: Delta/Ladd’s Marina – Sierra Bass Club, New Melones – Sonora Bass Club, Camanche – Tri Valley Bassmasters, Millerton – Bass 101
Sept. 22: Delta/Ladd’s Marina – Kayak Bass Fishing, Delta/Ladd’s Marina – RiverRat Bass Club, Delta/Tracy Oasis – Tracy Oasis Bass Club, Don Pedro – Christian Bass League, McClure – 17/90 Bass Club, Nacimiento – San Luis Obispo Bass Ambushers, San Antonio – Bakersfield Bass Club
Sept. 23: Delta/Russo’s Marina – Don Lee Memorial Scholarship, New Hogan – Riverbank Bass Anglers, Success – Porterville Bass Club
Sept. 27-29: Delta/Russo’s Marina – Forrest L. Wood Cup
Sept. 29: Pine Flat – Golden Empire Bass Club, Nacimiento – 101 Bass
n = new moon > = peak activity