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. Have a photo of a recent catch to share? Email it to email@example.com with “fish photo” in the subject line.
Delta salmon bites explodes, Alan Fong said. San Luis Forebay boils still going, Meng Xyong reported. New Melones catfish bite improved, John Liechty said. Tule river trout taking flies, Chuck Stokke reported. Pismo surf perch bite continues, Dave Hurley said.
2-Have to work hard
4-Fish jumpin’ in boat
Delta Mendota Canal and Sloughs
Stripers 3; Catfish 3
In the California Aqueduct, moving water south of the O’Neill Forebay is turning off color with the heavy pumping out of the Delta and through the reservoirs. Meng Xyong of the Fishaholics out of Fresno reported, “Soaking bait has been the most popular method, with anglers catching catfish and stripers in the mix. The bigger cut of catfish can be caught using terminator dip baits fishing the south ’ducts. Anglers targeting checkgates are landing a few stripers when the water is flowing. The water clarity begins to stain south of O’Neill Forebay.” In the south aqueduct in Kern County, Jacob Rutledge of Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield reported good striper action at Buena Vista Golf Course as the linesides were boiling on the surface. Anglers were scoring with blood worms and sardines cast into the boils. Catfish are still a viable option with Katnip Beef Bait, Sonny’s Dip Bait or chicken livers.
Bass 2; Trout 1; Bluegill 2; Catfish 2; Crappie 2
Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “Eastman started to show signs of life last week with some quality largemouth bass taken, but the bite slowed down this week. There are still a few quality bass to be found, and topwater lures, crankbaits or ripbaits are working in the early mornings. After the sun comes up, fishermen are working over island tops or submerged structure with plastics on the drop-shot or jigs.” Eastman Lake has been designated as the state’s first Trophy Bass Fishery by the California Department of Fish and Game. Anglers may keep only one bass with a minimum length of 22 inches. The lake actually rose very slightly to 468.93 feet in elevation and 8 percent capacity.
Call: Six Star Tackle Box 673-5688; Eastman Lake 689-3255
Bass 2; Trout 1; Catfish 3; Bluegill 2; Crappie 2
Catfish remain the top species with chicken livers or prepared stink baits for a few whiskerfish to 4 pounds. Hensley remains extremely slow for bass fishermen, and most locals have been avoiding the lake for the past several months. The lake is expected to drop precipitously in the coming weeks to less than 10 percent capacity, and it is currently at 19 percent capacity, receding one foot to 475.34 in elevation.
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 2; Crappie 2
Few bass fishermen are heading to the lake, but there is a brief window for topwater in the early morning before working the bottom with plastics on the drop-shot or dart head. Trout and king salmon action should break out in the fall as the weather cools. There have been a number of thefts occurring within the houseboats and the campsites, and visitors are advised to secure vehicles and valuables and keep watch for suspicious activity. Reports can be made directly to the Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Deptartment at (209) 533-5815 and the Don Pedro Recreation Agency at (209) 852-2396. All three launch ramps are open with the lake dropping a foot to 766.69 in elevation and 65 percent capacity. .
Call: Monte Smith (209) 581-4734; Danny Layne-Fish’n Dan (209) 586-2383; Gary Vella (209) 652-7550; Bait Barn (209) 874-3011
Lake Isabella/Bakersfield area
Bass 2; Trout 2; Crappie 2; Catfish 3; Bluegill 2
Between the arrival of triple-digit temperatures and the Kern County Fair, interest in fishing has been down this past week. Jacob Rutledge of Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield said, “Catfish are the top species at the lake with Sonny’s Dip Bait or chicken livers near the dam. One group found a solid bite for whiskerfish to 4 pounds in the deeper water of the lake.” Crappie and bass fishing remain very slow. The lake dropped a half-foot to 2545.96 in elevation and 17 percent capacity. In the upper river, most trout fishermen are heading to the high Sierra section of the Kern River. There are planted rainbows in the section near Kernville, but most fishermen are heading farther east. In the lower Kern River below the dam, smallmouth or largemouth bass remain possibilities with live minnows, crankbaits or plastics. Lake Buena Vista is fishing best at night for crappie or catfish.
Call: Bob’s Bait (661) 833-8657; North Fork Marina (760) 376-1812
Bass 2; Crappie 2; Trout 1; Catfish 2
The lake only dropped a half-foot this past week, but it is very low at 5 percent capacity and 579.38 feet in elevation. With the low water levels, the fish are concentrated into a smaller pool and they are holding around the abundant shad schools. As a result, shad-patterned plastics on the drop-shot or small swimbaits are working best above the few rockpiles available. Catfish remain a good option in the early mornings, evenings or later at night with stinkbaits, sardines or live crawdads.
Call: Sierra Sporting Goods 592-5212
Bass 2; Trout 3; Catfish 2; Crappie 1
Chuck Stokke of the Sequoia Fishing Co. in Springville reported, “The bass are holding on the rocky point, and they are tough to catch with the warm temperatures. There has been minimal interest from fishermen, but the bite should improve with the arrival of cooler temperatures. Crankbaits, spinnerbaits and Senkos are working along with a brief window for topwater lures in the early mornings and late evenings.” The lake dropped a foot to 586.14 in elevation and 8 percent capacity. In the Tule River, Stokke said, “The river is fishing great with dry flies, especially hoppers and ant patterns. The river flow is low, and the trout are spooky. You need to be stealthy to hook the natives.”
Call: Sequoia Fishing Co. 539-5626, sequoiafishingcompany.com
Bass 2; Trout 2; King salmon 1 ;Kokanee 1; Crappie 2; Catfish 2
Bass fishermen have been holding off on the lake because of launch ramp conditions amid receding water levels. A long backup is necessary to launch at Barrett Cove South. The best news has been for anglers working for bass, catfish, crappie or trout under lights near the houseboats. Catfish are still an option with frozen shad, sardines or anchovies from shoreline with muddy, sloping banks. The lake has dropped to 39 percent capacity, with water releases lowering the lake 3 feet to 743.95 in elevation. The McClure Point launch ramp also remains open, with the one at Barrett Cove North still under construction and the Horseshoe Bend ramp closed.
Call: A-1 Bait (209) 563-6505
The Turlock Remote-Control Flying Club held their annual event at the lake this past weekend, and bank fishing areas were off-limits. A plant will be made Friday before the weekend’s annual Merced Irrigation District Trout Derby. Once the plant takes place, fishing will be on hold until the derby begins at 7 a.m. Saturday. The best action has been up the river arm for trollers working blade/’crawler combinations near Exchequer Dam.
Call: McSwain Marina (209) 378-2534
Millerton Lake/San Joaquin River
Bass 2; Striped bass 1; Shad 1; Bluegill 2
Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “Millerton is a good option for numbers of small spotted bass with crankbaits or ripbaits in the early mornings or late afternoons before heading to the bottom with finesse techniques. A 7.5- to 8-pound limit is possible with the occasional bass to 2 pounds. The best fishing continues to be from Finegold up into the river arm.” Millerton dropped 2 feet to 505.82 in elevation and 45 percent capacity. In the San Joaquin River, there is no change with minimal fishing interest throughout the lower river with the lack of trout plants . A few jet boats are launching and running up the lower river west of Highway 99 for largemouth bass. Regulations on the lower San Joaquin, and from Friant Dam downstream to the Highway 140 Bridge, allow only two hatchery trout or hatchery steelhead with a total of four in possession.
Call: Valley Rod & Gun 292-3474
New Melones Reservoir/Tulloch
Bass 2; Crappie 2; Catfish 3; Trout 2; Kokanee 2
The Glory Hole launch ramp is on the dirt, and it will remain so until the lake rises during winter. A courtesy dock is available for the duration of summer. The water temperature is still warm, ranging from 72-76 degrees, and clarity good in most of the lake. Catfish continue to be the top species at the lake. Glory Hole Sporting Goods in Angels Camp will be holding a Catfish Derby during November. John Liechty of Glory Hole Sporting Goods said, “We are very excited to be bringing back the Glory Hole Sports Fall Catfish Contest, which will be going for the entire month of November with sign-ups beginning on Oct. 1 at $10 per angler. A total of three fish may be weighed in per angler during business hours at Glory Hole Sporting Goods, and there is 100 percent payback for the top three places. The bite has been pretty good and many anglers are landing some nice 6- to 10-pound catfish while fishing from shore or off a boat. Catfish will feed at any hour but the bite is usually best at night and slow throughout the heat of the day. Throughout the cooler fall months, they will feed all day and night in order to bulk up for the cold winter months. Nightcrawlers and chicken livers will work for some hefty cats each year. Target depths from 5-25' and switch location and bait until you find what the fish want. Look for shallow water areas with deep water nearby.” The trout bite remains tough as the fish are holding in the deepest portions of the lake, but the bite should improve by the first few weeks of November as the water cools. The lake normally turns over around Thanksgiving, and the rainbows should be breaking the surface of the lake by this time. The kokanee season is all but over with the fish on the move up the river system. Bass fishing is good for numbers, but the big fish have been absent as the bass are schooling and chasing bait in the open water. The shad are holding in deeper and cooler water. There is a small window for topwater action in the early mornings or late afternoons, but during the day, the bass are suspended, requiring a finesse presentation with shad-patterned plastics on the drop-shot or small swimbaits. The crappie bite has slowed with few fishermen targeting the slabs. The drawdown of the lake has slowed, but it dropped a foot to 863.95 in elevation and 22 percent capacity.
Call: Glory Hole Sports (209) 736-4333; Monte Smith (209) 581-4734; Danny Layne-Fish’n Dan (209) 586-2383; Sierra Sport Fishing (209) 599-2023
Pine Flat Reservoir/Kings River
Bass 2; Trout 2; King salmon 1; Catfish 2; Crappie 2
Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “The water is dropping around 3 feet per week, but the bass bite has been OK with the best fishing in the early mornings and late afternoons for spots ranging from 1.75 to 2 pounds. Once the sun comes up, the ripbait and crankbait bite drops to zero, and fishermen have to work the bottom at depths to 30 feet with plastics or jigs. The action is slow until around 4:30-5 p.m. when the fish come up again.” Trout trollers are picking up a few spots in the 2.5- to 3-pound range pulling Needlefish or Wedding Rings tipped with a nightcrawler at depths to 30 feet out in open water near the dam. Gilbert added, “The bass are suspending, and trout fishermen are finding a surprise on their lines. A few quality rainbows in the 15- to 16-inch range can be taken, but they are few and far between.” Pine Flat has receded 4.5 feet to 749.44 in elevation and 17 percent capacity. The flows in the lower Kings are slowing down, and trout fishing should be easier with less water movement. However, with the lack of consistent planting, fewer fishermen have been heading to the Kings River below the dam. Regulations in the Kings River above and below Pine Flat Dam set the season as running from the last Saturday in April to Nov. 15 from Pine Flat Dam downstream to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Bridge on Pine Flat Road with a five-fish limit. The bridge is the first one west of the dam.
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
The winds were vicious in the Central Valley, and boaters had to stay away from the main San Luis Reservoir and O’Neill Forebay at midweek, but this past weekend brought hot and calm weather that drew back boaters. The main reservoir has climbed to 24 percent capacity after dropping to 10 percent in July, and the forebay is full of water. Paul Jolley of Coyote Bait and Tackle in Morgan Hill reported, “We have been very busy during the week with fishermen heading to both the forebay and the main lake. The winds during the week confined fishermen to the shorelines, and blood worms are catching fish. It is still a bit of a hike down to the edge of the lake, but the water has come up some in the past month. There are boils on the surface at times, and we have been selling a good number of Rebel’s Jumpin’ Minnows in the past week. Live grass shrimp is working for the largest grade of striped bass, and fishermen are coming in for the bait, which we don’t carry. Small swimbaits or ripbaits are best for stripers in the forebay with a good showing of largemouth bass on plastics such as Robo Worm’s Margarita Mutilator.” Roger George of Roger George Guide Service said that he took Daryl Rooney of Los Banos and his grandson Dylan, 22, of Santa Cruz, out on Sunday. “We just missed the morning boil bite, however I found a trolling pattern and we landed/released 21 fish from 20-26 inches, which set a new PB for them for numbers, and a new PB of 26 inches for Dylan,” George said. “The water levels are coming back up to normal, ones we’ve fished for the last few years, and the fish are moving back onto their regular structures and areas. The Basalt ramp is back on the main ramp and is in good shape.” In the O’Neill Forebay, Meng Xyong of the Fishaholics out of Fresno reported, “There's a small window in the morning for a topwater bite in the shallows. The bite usually turns off midmorning as boaters will have to troll the deep water flats for schoolie stripers. I volunteered as a captain at the C.A.S.T. event for children with disabilities with Sam Rubio as my co-captain. Our little guy’s reactions to the catches were priceless as we were able to put him on eight fish for our short morning on the water trolling umbrella rigs and SpeedLures. After the event, I took the Rubio family out for a few hours of fishing and they caught over 30-plus fish trolling the deep water flats.” Jumbo minnows are back in area bait shops, and when the main lake allows, boaters are back out drifting the live bait. Sportsman’s Warehouse in Fresno announced that George and Xyong will be doing a San Luis striper fishing seminar from 2-4 p.m. Oct. 15 at the Friant Road store. George will cover the big lake and the best lures, tactics and areas as well as how to use downriggers. Xyong will discusss fishing the aqueduct and Forebay. Preregistration is required, with seating limited. Information and registration is available at Sportsman’s Warehouse 261-2900 or via email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Call: Coyote Bait and Tackle (408) 463-0711; Roger George of rogergeorgeguideservice.com (559) 905-2954; San Luis Reservoir and O’Neill Forebay wind conditions (800) 805-4805
Bass 2; Trout 2; Kokanee 1
The best bass action of the season is coming as the waters continue to cool. The Kerman Bass Club will host a tournament Oct. 8, and more fishermen will be getting ready for this event. The Sheriff’s Motor Fee is on hold until Memorial Day 2018. Trout fishing remains exceedingly slow. The lake remains high at 91 percent capacity.
Call: Mike Beighey 642-3748; Bass Lake Watersports 642-3200
Brown trout 2; Trout 2
At Lake Edison, Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “There are few fishermen at the lake, but there is decent action for rainbows and browns.” Edison held at 54 percent capacity while Florence dropped to 7 percent and Mammoth Pool to 30 percent.
Call: Vermilion Valley Resort at Edison Lake 259-4000
Shaver Lake/Huntington Lake
Kokanee 2; Trout 2; Smallmouth 3
Shaver Lake continues to be a mystery for rainbow trout, and with the kokanee all but over for the season, smallmouth bass are the top species with crankbaits or live crickets. Steve Santoro of Fish Box Charters said, “Smallies are a dime a dozen, but you have to weed through the small ones to get a keeper.” Dick Nichols of Dick’s Fishing Charters added, “I will be looking for rainbows this week as I just can’t believe they are gone.” The lake actually rose with releases from Huntington this week to 83 percent capacity. At Huntington, small rainbow trout are the highlight, with fair numbers possible at the upper end with small spinners or spoons in a variety of color patterns along with blade/’crawler combinations. Shore fishing is fair at best with trout dough bait or inflated nightcrawlers at the Auxiliary Dam or the mouth of Rancheria Creek. Huntington fell to 72 percent capacity.
Call: Dick’s Fishing Charters 841-2740; Dinkey Creek Inn 841-3435; Rancheria Marina 893-3234; Shaver Lake Sports Inc. 841-2740; Todd Wittwer 288-8100
The continuing trend of slow trout fishing at the central Sierra reservoirs progresses, and the combined reservoirs of Courtright, Wishon and Shaver have seen tough going despite the numbers of trollers and shore anglers remaining high. At Wishon, Chuck Crane of the Wishon Village RV Park and Store said, “It is the same old story around here as it is a chore to catch fish, but there are a lot of people trying. Wishon remains slow for trollers with an average of 1-2 rainbows per boat with the best action on Speedy Shiners in silver/pink, pink/red, or silver/blue along with blade/’crawler combinations at depths from 30-50 feet. A few fishermen went up the river arm to work the deeper holes with small lures for rainbow and brown trout. Trout dough bait is working best in the upper end of the lake for shore fishermen, and pink and rainbow are the top color patterns, but most of the shoreline is very slow.” At Courtright, Crane reported an improved average of 3-4 rainbows per boat, but he stated, “You have to fish all day long and have to work hard for this many fish. Trollers are working around the rocky shorelines with black or green Woolly Buggers on a slow troll. The shore fishing remains slow with the best fishing in the upper end of the lake with trout dough bait in rainbow or orange.”
Call: Wishon RV Park 865-5361
Half Moon Bay
Salmon 2; Rockfish 3; Striper 2
Second captain Michael Cabanas of the Huli Cat took a charter of military veterans out for rockfishing, with John Peener of Yuba City picking up an 8-pound ling and Larry Farlin of Orangevale scoring a 3-pound copper rockfish. The action was similar the following day, with Norman Williams from Rowland Heights scoring a 10-pound ling. The Huli Cat is taking reservations for the opening of Dungeness crab season, which is five weeks away. There have been salmon in the Pillar Point Harbor, and sea lions are doing a number on the species in the protected shallow waters.
Call: Happy Hooker (510) 223-5388; Captain Roger Thomas, Salty Lady (415) 760-9362; Emeryville Sport Fishing (510) 654-6040
Rockfish 3; Striper 2; White sea bass 2; Halibut 2
It is more of the same for Chris’ Fishing Trips in Monterey, with Keith Semler reporting 36 limits of rockfish along with 10 lings Sunday on the Star of Monterey while the Caroline returned with half limits of rockfish and 28 lings for 28 anglers on Saturday. They have room throughout the week, but next weekend is already filled. In Santa Cruz, Allen Bushnell of the Santa Cruz Kayak Fishing reported, “Halibut are still in the mix from Capitola and on up the coast toward Davenport. Reports indicate the occasional flatty caught near the SC3 Buoy in Capitola, outside the Mile Buoy and near South Rock in Santa Cruz, as well as off the smaller pocket beaches near Wilder’s, Four-Mile Beach and Davenport Landing. As is typical for this time of year, the halibut are scattered and in deeper water, with 70-90 feet seeming to produce the best. Rockfish and lingcod remain very productive from all the deeper reefs from Capitola on up the coast. Of course, the farther north you go the better the fishing gets. This is when weather and wind becomes the key element in fishing strategy for the day. On calm days, heading up toward Ano Nuevo and Franklin Point will produce the best results. On a final note, we keep hearing unsubstantiated reports of bluefin tuna in the Monterey Bay. A few boats have searched, but to no avail. It is still a possibility however, so don’t put those 50-pound rigs away for the winter just yet.”
Call: Chris’ Landing (831) 375-5951; Bayside Marine (831) 475-2173; usafishing.com
San Francisco Bay
Halibut 2; Striper 2; Rockfish 3; Leopard shark 3; Sturgeon 1; Salmon 2
Captain Jim Smith of the Happy Hooker went south to Pedro Point on Saturday for rockfish, and his group was treated to a spectacular whale show in addition to limits for those still working the rails. Smith said, “I have been on the water for over 50 years, but I have never seen a show like this. The whales came within 30 feet of the boat, and they were working the squid schools, jumping completely out of the water and blowing out squid. There was live squid coming out of their mouths and falling on the surface as these whales were on a feeding frenzy. The entire coastline from the Pedro Point to Montara is loaded with squid in the shallows, and there was one squid boat working offshore during the daytime. We ended up with 17 lings and limits of rockfish for all who wanted to fish.” Smith has plenty of room for the upcoming crab opener as many of the Bay Area boats are already filled for the opening weekend. The best time to get the crab is the first two weeks before the commercial season opens, and although the going rate is $125-$130 per angler, a 10-crab limit is worth all of that, not to mention rockfish and possible ling limits. Captain James Smith on the California Dawn went to the Farallon Islands both days over the weekend, and they returned with heavy ling cod counts. Out of Emeryville Sport Fishing, the Sea Wolf, New Huck Finn, and New Salmon Queen combined for 610 rockfish and 101 ling cod to 16 pounds for 66 anglers on Sunday after the same boats posted 726 rockfish and 94 lings to 19 pounds for 74 fishermen on Saturday working the islands. Salmon action was decent on Friday for Captain Roger Thomas of the Salty Lady with a respectable score of 9 salmon to 18 pounds for 10 anglers trolling a mile above Duxbury Buoy in flat, calm conditions. He said, “The fish bit after the week of wind, and it should get better from here on out.” Two boats out of Emeryville went salmon trolling on Sunday with the Sundance coming in with over a fish per rod at seven salmon to 18 pounds for their six passengers while the C Gull II returned with 9 salmon to 15 pounds. The scores were similar for the C Gull II on Saturday with four salmon for 11 anglers. There are no complaints about the ocean weather Sunday, with three Sausalito boats putting in just over a half-fish per rod with 30 salmon to 22 pounds for 54 anglers trolling from Duxbury to Double Point. The scores were similar Saturday with two boats combining for 13 salmon to 23 pounds for 28 anglers in the same general area. Very few boats are fishing inside the bay for anything but leopard sharks, and Jim Smith of the Happy Hooker said, “Normally the months of September, October, and even into November are really good for bay bass, and these used to be some of the best months.” The bass are in San Pablo Bay in droves, but in the wise words of Keith Fraser …they are miniscule. Captain Gordie Hough of the Morningstar out of Loch Lomond is one of the only boats working the bay, and he picked up three halibut along with a striper and a few rockfish over the weekend.
San Luis Obispo
Rockfish 3; Surf Perch 3
Rockfishing remains the top draw to the San Luis Obispo coast, but the surf perch action remains solid for Central Valley fishermen tossing Lucky Craft Pointers, Berkley Camo or Sand Worms or blood worms from the beaches at Oceano, Pismo Beach, San Simeon and Goleta. Out of Port San Luis, the Patriot went on a half-day trip Monday with 20 anglers for near-limits of rockfish composed of 160 assorted rockfish, 20 copper rockfish and a Boccaccio to go with 28 ling cod to 15 pounds. Out of Virg’s Landing in Morro Bay, the Fiesta and Rita G took out charters on Monday with a combined 54 passengers for 14 ling cod to 12.4 pounds, 60 vermilion rockfish, 411 assorted rockfish, 68 copper rockfish, a cabezon, a sheephead and a rocksole. Ashley Camp of Bakersfield took the jackpot with the big ling.
Call: Virg’s Landing, (805) 772-1222; (800) 762-5263; Patriot Sports Fishing (805) 595-4100; Port Side Marine Sports Launch (805) 595-7214
Bass 3; Striper 2; Sturgeon 2; Catfish 3; Bluegill 3; Salmon 3
Salmon have finally arrived in droves, and shore areas around Benicia, Pittsburg, Antioch and Freeport along with the Old Sacramento River from Isleton to Walnut Grove have been the top locations as the fish return to the upper river spawning grounds through the Sacramento River-Delta. Above the Rio Vista Bridge, Sylvia Viera of Viera’s Riverside Bait in Isleton reported, “They are catching fish big time out here right now, and boats are returning with 2-4 salmon per trip during the weekdays. We have a number of campers that only fish on the weekdays, and they are doing well trolling Silvertron or SKS spinners. Everyone wants to use green spinners, but it really doesn’t matter as silver/red, silver/blue, or red/white are all working. The grass is thick from Light 36 on the main river to the mouth of the Old Sacramento, but the big fish are coming out of this area. If you don’t mind cleaning the lures every so often, this is the place to fish while the section from Isleton to Walnut Grove have been clear of grass.” Alan Fong, manager of the Fisherman’s Warehouse in Sacramento, confirmed the excellent salmon bite from Viera’s Resort to Freeport with double-bladed Silvertrons in green or silver/blue. He said, “There have been more fish caught in the last two days than all season long.” Johnny Tran of New Romeo’s Bait and Tackle in Freeport added, “The salmon bite in the Sacramento River near Freeport is wide open with sardine-wrapped Kwikfish on the anchor, Flying C spinners from the shoreline, Slammer Minnows in dark-colors for spooning, and Silvertrons for trollers. A big school came through this week, and the bite has been great.” Pam Hayes of Benicia Bait said, “The State Park is our top producer for salmon, but it has been a zoo out there. There has been no visible enforcement from the state park rangers or the Department of Fish and Game wardens. The parking lot is filled every day, and people are parking on top of each other.” Tony Lopez of Benicia Bait added, “There were more than 20 salmon landed at First Street on Saturday with another 15 plus on Sunday, and you can’t even get a parking space down there as you will have to park downtown and walk to the river. The state park is more of the same, and we are selling lots and lots of Vee-Zee spinners.” For striped bass, Mark Wilson, striper trolling expert, was out Sunday and said, “It’s the same thing, nothing new with small fish dominating action in the main Sacramento River-Delta.” Boaters need to be aware of dredging at the Antioch Bridge, at the lower end of Decker Island, and above Decker Island on the Sacramento River. The road to the Sherman Island launch ramp is pitted because of construction, making for a rough ride for boats on a trailer. For striped bass, Alan Fong went up to Liberty Island earlier in the week, and there were loads of small stripers in the 8- to 12-inch range, settling for a pair of keepers at 23 and 24 inches on swimbaits. He switched over to flipping Brush Hogs for largemouth bass, and he predicts the larger stripers will move in as soon as the water cools. He said, “The shad will start migrating up to the creeks and balling up at depths from 25-60 feet, and the big ones are coming.” Randy Pringle, the Fishing Instructor, fought the winds in his Legend bass boat to make the run up to Liberty Island on Wednesday, and they were greeted by 3- to 4-foot waves inside of the island. That was a no-go, so they worked Cache Slough and the surrounding sloughs for smallmouth and largemouth bass with the ima Pinjack crankbait in shad or crawdad patterns. The Rio Vista Striped Bass Derby and Festival is coming over the weekend of Oct. 7-9, and information and registration are available at www.bassfestival.com. Small stripers continue to dominate action in the San Joaquin River, but as the water finally starts to cool, larger fish should be on their way for the fall run. Largemouth bass are working through the big temperature swings ranging from the upper 50s at night to more than 90 during the day. For striped bass, Captain Mike Gravert of Intimidator Sportfishing reports great fishing over the weekend with business as usual on Saturday with “limit-style fishing for our clients and crew. We had four really good stops where we had wide open action on Blade Runner and P-Line Laser Minnows. The action is good and will only get great as fall/winter- like weather arrives.” Steffan Masters of Lost Anchor Baits in Antioch and McAvoy’s Boat Harbor said, “The salmon bite has really picked up over here with 8-10 fish per day to 28 pounds from the Antioch shoreline with Mike’s Custom spinners or Flying C’s. There is a solid striper bite with Eric Birkland of Brentwood catching and releasing several keeper stripers to 22 pounds along with a keeper sturgeon at 44 inches in Broad Slough with live grass shrimp. We are keeping our shrimp boat going and are finding a steady supply of live grass shrimp.” Brandon Gallegos of H and R Bait in Stockton reported bank fishermen are concentrating along the Highway 160 side below the Rio Vista Bridge with pile worms or blood worms for school-sized striped bass. Dan Mathisen of Dan’s Delta Outdoors in Oakley added, “Discovery Bay is heating up and changing with cooler temperatures. The River2 Sea Ruckus and Biggee Smalls are getting smacked. Stay in near main river near current with crankbaits such as Strike King’s XD 6 or 2.5 square bills, and Bobby D’s Swim Jigs and spinnerbaits are also getting mentioned. There is a topwater bite for striped bass on the deep water side, and the key is to look for diving birds.” The River 2 Sea Tournament is coming to Russo’s Marina this weekend, and Mathisen says “It promises to be an epic event.” The first major sturgeon derby of the year, the Addathon IronMan Derby, is coming Nov. 5-6 to Antioch.
Call: Randy Pringle (209) 543-6260; Intimidator Sport Fishing (916) 806-3030; Captain Steve Mitchell – Hook’d Up Sport Fishing (707) 655-6736
Lake Nacimiento/San Antonio/Santa Margarita/Lopez
Bass 3; White bass 2; Catfish 2; Crappie 2
With the launch ramp out of the water at Lopez, fishermen are limited to rental boats and kayaks, or walking the banks. There is a topwater bite in the early morning before switching to the bottom with plastics on the drop-shot. Spinnerbaits are effective when the wind is blowing. Bluegill and catfish remain active with the normal baits. At Nacimiento, fishermen are returning after containment of the Chimney Fire; spotted bass are getting active with jigs, plastics on the drop-shot or creature baits. Kastmasters and Roostertails in white are working for the white bass. Santa Margarita is fair at best for bass with Senkos, jigs or plastics on the bottom working best. The overall bite has been tough. Crappie or bluegill are the best bet with minijigs or red worms near structure. Catfish are found on cut baits, chicken livers or nightcrawlers. San Antonio Reservoir is closed again, but there were striped bass landed on swimbaits during the six-week access period, and the stripers have survived the exceedingly low water conditions over the past two years. They should still be around once the lake reopens to fishing at some point in the future.
Call: Lake Nacimiento (805) 238-1056, ext. 3; Lake San Antonio Marina (805) 472-2818; CentralCoastBassFishing.com (805) 466-6557
- California Delta Team Tournaments Tournament of Champions on Sept. 24-25 at Delta/B and W Resort: 1, Harvey Pulliam/Jamond Andrews 49.04; 2, Bobby Barrack/Charlie Dilliard 34.69; 3, Tim Woltkamp/Scott Adkins 32.90
- Sierra Bass Club Tournament of Champions on Sept. 24-25 at Delta: 1, Michael Murphy/Ron Rustigian 21.32; 2, Jimmy Smith/Damian Thao 20.03; 3, Gary Johnson/Dan Pitman– 19.32. Big fish, Rustigian 7.18.
- Oct. 1: Lake Isabella Bass Club at Isabella
- Oct. 1-2: River2Sea Open at Delta/Russo’s Marina; Merced Irrigation District Trout Derby at McSwain
- Oct. 7: California Bass Federation at New Melones
- Oct. 7-9: Rio Vista Bass Derby and Festival at Rio Vista www.bassfestival.com
- Oct. 8: Sonora Bass Anglers at Delta/Ladd’s Marina; California Delta Team Trail at Delta/B and W Resort; Kerman Bass Club at Bass Lake; Visalia Bass Club at Success; Bakersfield Bass Club at Isabella
- Oct. 8-9: Best Bass Tournaments Tournament of Champions at Delta; Riverbank Bass Anglers at Camanche; San Luis Obispo County Bass Ambushers at Nacimiento
- Oct. 9: Modesto Ambassadors at Delta/Ladd’s Marina; Kings VIII Bass Club at Eastman
- Oct. 15: Christian Bass League at Delta/Ladd’s Marina; Tracy Bass Club at Delta/Tracy Oasis; Manteca Bassin’ Buddies at New Hogan; Great Basin Bassers at New Melones; Angler’s Press at Don Pedro; Golden Empire Bass Club at Kaweah
- Oct. 15-16: California Tournament Trail at Delta/Russo’s Marina; West Valley Bassmasters at Lopez
- Oct. 22: Dan’s Delta Outdoors at Delta/Big Break Marina; Redwood Empire Bass Club at New Melones; Sierra Bass Club at Hensley
- Oct. 22-23: Fresno Bass Club at Delta/B and W Resort; Success Bass Club at Kaweah
- Oct. 23: Hook, Line, and Sinker atDelta/B and W Resort; Tracy Bass Club at Delta/Tracy Oasis
- Oct. 28-29: California Bass Federation at Delta/Ladd’s Marina
- Oct. 29: Delta Bass Club at Delta/Russo’s Marina; California Tournament Trail at Pine Flat
- Nov. 5-6: Addathon Iron Man Sturgeon Derby at Delta/Antioch
- Mariposa County: McSwain Reservoir
- Tuolumne County: Moccasin Creek
n = new moon > = peak activity