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 firstname.lastname@example.org with “fish photo” in the subject line.
Delta sturgeon fishing takes over, Andy Doudna said. Aqueduct stripers are small but aggressive, Dave Hurley reported. McClure producing good sized bass, Mike Gomez said. Pine Flat and Millerton are best bass bites, Merritt Gilbert reported.
2-Have to work hard
4-Fish jumpin’ in boat
Delta Mendota Canal and Sloughs
Stripers 3; Catfish 2
The California Aqueduct has become a popular destination for Central Valley striped bass fishermen. Amid the potential for good fishing, advocates continue to caution about problems of poaching, excessive litter and automobile break-ins along stretches of the waterway. The aqueduct is loaded with undersized striped bass; the majority of fish are landed by soaking bait or throwing flukes around the headgates. Fishermen need to be very cautious of increased flows, colder water and potentially icy conditions on the concrete. There are safety ladders every 1,000 feet along the walls of the aqueducts in the unfortunate event of a person falling into the water. In the south aqueduct near Bakersfield, Jacob Rutledge of Bob’s Bait Bucket said, “The striped bass bite is on and off, and those throwing Gitzits in rootbeer/green/black flake or bucktailed jigs are doing best as the fish are holding near the surface.” Catfishing continues to be good with Sonny’s Stink Bait, Katnip Beef Bait, anchovies, or frozen clams. Anglers are encouraged to keep their areas clean to avoid access being reduced.
Bass 2; Trout 1; Bluegill 2; Catfish 2; Crappie 2
The bass bite is very slow; a number of boats on the lake this past weekend struggled for the occasional fish. One angler tossed a swimbait throughout the day in search of a single big fish, but received not one bite. Eastman is a dedicated trophy bass lake, with a one-fish limit over 22 inches. The lake held at 8 percent and 469.20 feet in elevation.
Call: Six Star Tackle Box 673-5688; Eastman Lake 689-3255
Bass 2; Trout 1; Catfish 2; Bluegill 2; Crappie 1
There is basically nothing happening on the fishing front at this lake, with anglers clearly staying away in order to target other reservoirs for bass. The lake rose a half foot to 476.12 in elevation and 20 percent capacity.
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
Mike Gomez of the Bait Barn in Waterford said, “The bass bite is ‘on and off’ but there have been some quality largemouth bass in the 7- to 8-pound range taken on swimbaits for those willing to throw the heavy lures for a single bite or two throughout the day. The lake is getting ready to bust wide open for the big swimbait bite.” Monte Smith of Gold Country Sport Fishing had an encouraging report on the trout front with one boat landing a number of 14-inch rainbows and one big fish at 18 inches. He said, “ Leadcore seems to be the best at picking up the shallow fish although one rainbow was taken as deep as 80 feet.” Don Pedro rose 2 feet to 772.49 in elevation and 68 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
The bass bite at Lake Isabella has gone belly-up since a slight rebirth a few weeks ago. The colder water has slowed down the metabolism for the largemouth bass, and catfish continue to be the best bet with Sonny’s Stink Bait, Katnip Beef Bait, the new Terminator Catfish Bait, frozen shad, anchovies or nightcrawlers in the deepest water near the dam. Bass fishing has slowed, and the crappie bite is limited to those with access to the docks in the marinas. The lake held at 2,543.77 feet in elevation and 16 percent capacity. For planted trout, the River Walk is scheduled to receive one this week and Lake Ming the week of Dec. 18. Buena Vista is also receiving private trout plants on a regular basis, and there is a crappie bite with small to medium minnows at night. Kern River section 4 near Kernville is scheduled to be planted during the week of Dec. 18; there has been interest with salmon eggs, nightcrawlers or Roostertails. In the lower river, bass fishing remains best with small swimbaits or plastics on the drop-shot.
Call: Bob’s Bait (661) 833-8657; North Fork Marina (760) 376-1812
Bass 2; Crappie 2; Trout 2; Catfish 2
The lake is rising once again, and bass fishing is best in deep water to 40 feet with shad-patterned plastics on the drop-shot or spoons on a slow presentation. Live minnows or crawdads are producing quality largemouth bass. No trout plants are scheduled. Catfishing is best in deep water to 40 feet in the middle of the lake with chicken livers or anchovies. The lake is at 590.10 feet in elevation and 8 percent capacity.
Call: Sierra Sporting Goods 592-5212
Bass 2; Trout 1; Catfish 2; Crappie 2
The lake level is very low, but it held at 582.37 in elevation and 6 percent capacity. A few bass are taken on deep-diving crankbaits, jigs or plastics on the drop-shot, but there isn’t much interest because of the low water levels, cold weather and upcoming holiday season.
Call: Sequoia Fishing Co. 539-5626, sequoiafishingcompany.com
Bass 3; Trout 2; King salmon 1; Kokanee 1; Crappie 2; Catfish 2
Lake McClure continues to pump out spotted bass, and interest in this reservoir has grown now that the lake has risen and the launch ramps are open without complications. Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “A number of our Fresno-area bass fishermen have been heading up to McClure, particularly since there are upcoming tournaments at the lake. There have been limits of spotted bass in the 15- to 16-pound range, and the spots are averaging in the 2- to 3-pound range. One bass fisherman put in 15 pounds this week working the bottom with jigs or 6-inch plastics on a Texas-rig on the bottom. He went back the following day with the same conditions for a 9-pound limit, but there has been much more interest in the lake since there are a number of upcoming tournaments on the lake.” Mike Gomez of the Bait Barn in Waterford fished the Modesto Ambassadors tournament Sunday, and he claimed fourth place with a five-fish limit of 12.20 pounds. He said, “The fish went to the bottom with the recent cold spell, and I drop-shotted 4-inch Robo Worms in 124p or 300 at depths from 25-40 feet all day long. There was a single 4-pound spot taken on a spinnerbait, but this was the only reaction fish I heard about all day. The bite is not dynamite like it was a few weeks back as the cold weather has really slowed down the bite, but the bass are thick and stuffed with shad. We found schools and schools of shad throughout the day.” Launch ramps at McClure Point and Barrett Cove South are open while those at Horseshoe Bend and Barrett Cove North are closed. The lake rose 3 feet to 744.00 in elevation and 39 percent capacity.
Call: A-1 Bait (209) 563-6505
The last trout plant was Oct. 14, and although camping remains popular, fishing interest at the lake has dropped significantly.
Call: McSwain Marina (209) 378-2534
Millerton Lake/San Joaquin River
Bass 3; Striped bass 1; Shad 1; Bluegill 2; Trout 2
Millerton remains the top location for central California bass fishermen with good numbers of small spotted bass possible. Although many Fresno-area fishermen are heading north to Lake McClure for a larger grade of spotted bass, Millerton is the top producer in the Fresno region. Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “Millerton has been pretty good, and limits in the 12- to 13-pound range are possible with spoons or plastics on the drop-shot in deeper water. There is a small window for the occasional bass on ripbaits in the early morning for around 20 to 30 minutes, but the reaction bite dies quickly. It is our best bet in the area, and a slow presentation is necessary to entice bites.” The bass are oriented to the shad schools along steep walls with deep water access. There have been no striped bass reports out of Millerton this past week. Millerton has risen 3.5 feet this past week to 531.96 in elevation and 62 percent capacity with inflow from the high country. In the San Joaquin River, a few anglers are targeting striped bass in the lower river with small swimbaits at night. A trout plant is scheduled next week at Woodward Park. 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 2; Trout 3; Kokanee 1
The big news is the Glory Hole launch ramp is back on the concrete as lake water levels continue to rise. A courtesy dock is in the water, and launching should not be a concern throughout the winter until water releases begin again. This will allow easier access to the lake just as the trout bite is reaching its peak. John Liechty of Glory Hole Sports in Angels Camp said, “The trout are starting to bite as the water temperature continues to drop each week. The lake is showing signs of turning over, and the cool water will rise towards the surface, bringing the trout to within reach of toplining. The top line action has started, and Brian Goldsmith landed a 3.4-pound rainbow running a Krocodile on the surface in a major creek arm. Although there are still rainbows down as far as 100 feet, more and more rainbows have been found in the 20 to 40 foot range with ExCel or Hot Ticket spoons or Rapalas in F9 or F11. On clear days, a natural shad or trout pattern works best while on cloudy days, a gold or bright-color pattern is more effective.” Bank fishermen are starting to score, and the bite will continue to improve with nightcrawler/marshmallow combinations or trout dough bait on a standard bait rig. Light line and hooks along with a garlic scent will improve the strike ratio.The bass are transitioning into a winter mode with the cooling water temperatures, and their metabolism has slowed considerably, making them less apt to chase fast-moving baits. The best action is with spoons, jigs, or plastics on the drop-shot or shakey head in deep water. Catching fish with reaction baits is possible, but a slow presentation is necessary. Liechty has posted a video on New Melones swimbait techniques at youtube.com. Catfishing remains slow, and the majority of the few whiskerfish taken at present are with chicken livers, frozen shad or mackerel coated with plenty of scent. Few anglers are targeting crappie, but Liechty added that the winter months can be good for crappie as they move into creek arms and feed on shad. Recent rains have brought the lake up 3.5 feet to 868.37 in elevation and 23 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 1
Sierra Bass Club held at two-day tournament this past weekend, and the top limit for the first day was in excess of 12 pounds. Merritt Gilbert said, “The water is coming up, and the best action is in deep water to 60 feet with plastics on the drop-shot, jigs, or spoons on a slow presentation.” The trout bite has been slow, but a few planted rainbows along with crappie or bass are taken from the docks or houseboats off of Deer Creek. The lake rose 3.5 feet to 768.03 in elevation and 22 percent capacity. Power Bait, nightcrawlers, Roostertails or Panther Martins are working on the lower Kings River for planted rainbow trout. There is more interest in the river now that the plants have started in earnest. Plants on the lower Kings continue for the next two weeks, and trout plants also are scheduled at Avocado Lake the week of Dec. 18. 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 2; Catfish 2; Bass 2; Crappie 1
San Luis Reservoir continues to rise leaps and bounds over the past week as a result of increased pumping out of the Delta, and it came up 3 percent this week to 50 percent of capacity at over 1 million acre feet.. San Luis has been one target location of poachers within the past several months, as evidenced by the big bust of several Fresno anglers last week- evidently caught selling stripers. There have also been reports of individuals sneaking out to fish off of the restricted dam area at night in order to load up with striped bass. Legitimate fishermen are finding their best action with jumbo minnows in deep water in the main lake. Mickey Clements of Coyote Bait and Tackle in Morgan Hill said, “Interest in fishing the two reservoirs has slowed with the holiday season on the horizon, but jumbo minnows dropped into deep water on 12-lb. test are working best. The topwater bite is all but over, but the troll bite is going strong.” The stripers have been holding as deep as 100 feet in depth, and a variety of trolled minnow plugs such as P-Line’s Predator Minnows, Yozuri Crystal Minnows, or Lucky Craft Pointer 128’s are working. There is a small window in the morning when the stripers are active. Bank fishing has been relatively slow with very few anglers heading to the shorelines although a long walk is not necessary because of the increased water levels. Roger George of Roger’s Guide Service was on the lake during the middle of the week with Jeff Bortolussi and Kyle Reynolds from Kingsburg, and they found a 45-inch, 42-pound striped bass thrashing on the surface in the process of dying. George said, “I wished I could have said we caught it, but it is now my personal-best netting record. For some reason the huge fish was hemorrhaging blood everywhere but there were no lures or hooks in its stomach. The fish were not biting with the front going through that day and we just got a few deep.” In the O’Neill Forebay, jumbo blood worms are the ticket with Clements stating, “We are selling a lot of jumbo bloods. Pile worms are working OK, but most fishermen are opting for the jumbo blood worms. There are a few anglers still throwing the big Whopper Plopper or Rat-L-Traps, but the new Evolution Bait’s Grass Burner has become a popular bait for both the forebay and the Delta since it is a very durable lure.”
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: 1 (800) 805-4805.
Bass 2; Trout 2; Kokanee 1
Fishing interest remains low, but a few bass fishermen have been working the colder water with plastics on the drop-shot on a slow presentation. There are few reports of trout. The lake dropped to 58 percent capacity, with water releases expected to drop it to 50 percent in the coming months.
Call: Mike Beighey 642-3748; Bass Lake Watersports 642-3200
The final section of Kaiser Pass Road at Eastwood closed Dec. 1. Edison is at 42 percent capacity and Florence at 19 percent. Mammoth Pool rose slightly to 27 percent.
Call: Vermilion Valley Resort at Edison Lake 259-4000
Shaver Lake/Huntington Lake
Kokanee 1; Trout 2
A trout plant was released into the lake by Fish and Wildlife last week, but bank action remained very slow. One angler spent all day Saturday near the dam for not a single bite. The lake is releasing water, and it has dropped to 74 percent. Shaver is releasing water and was is at 74 percent capacity with Huntington rising slightly to 32 percent. The Shaver Lake Trophy Trout Program welcomes tax-deductible donations or unwanted water craft that can be sold to help fund its programs. Donations can be made to SLTTP, P.O. Box 908, Shaver Lake 9366; for more information visit www.shaverlaketrophytrout.com.
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
McKinley Grove Road closed on December 1st, and access to both Courtright and Wishon is over for the season.
Call: Wishon RV Park 865-5361
Half Moon Bay
Rockfish 3; Striper 2; Crabs 2
On the party boat front, the Huli Cat is the only large boat running crab/rockfish combinations, and he has found decent action for Dungeness off Montara at depths to 180 feet. Captain Tom Mattusch of the Huli Cat will continue to run the combination trips until the rockfish closure Dec. 31 when they will switch to sand dab/crab, crab-only, whale watching and bird-watching trips until the ocean salmon season opens in the spring.
Call: Happy Hooker (510) 223-5388; Captain Roger Thomas, Salty Lady (415) 760-9362; Emeryville Sport Fishing (510) 654-6040
Rockfish 3; Striper 2; Crab 3
Chris Arcoleo of Chris’ Fishing Trips in Santa Cruz reported the swell has backed off, and ling cod counts have climbed. The Caroline specifically targeted lings Sunday for 12 limits of lings along with half limits of rockfish. The group on board wanted ling cod, and they passed on pulling the crab pots. The Check Mate returned with nearly four crab per angler along with quarter limits of rockfish and 14 lings for 17 anglers. Saturday’s trips also featured improved ling counts with 31 lings to 25 pounds for 20 fishermen on the Check Mate to go with half limits of rockfish, while the Star of Monterey returned with 25 limits of rockfish and 20 lings while the Caroline put in 10 lings, quarter limits of rockfish, and six crab per angler for a light load of six passengers. They have plenty of room throughout the week on the combination trips, but this coming Thursday is iffy given weather predictions. Allen Bushnell of Santa Cruz Kayak Fishing and Surfcasting Guide Service reported, “Steelhead season is open in our area, but it is too early to expect any adult steelies in our local streams. Once the flows increase in Monterey Bay creeks and streams, adult steelhead will return for spawning. Anglers who hunt these beautiful ocean-going trout must remember to check the local regulations stringently. In our area, fishing is allowed only on Wednesdays, Saturdays, Sundays and Holidays. Barbless hooks only may be used. Low-flow restrictions might be implemented by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife later this year as well.” Rockfish and Dungeness crab continue as primary targets for local fishing on the salt. Chris’ fishing trips in Monterey have been doing fairly well, reporting half-limits of rockfish and around five Dungeness crab per angler aboard the Check Mate, Caroline and Star of Monterey. Crabbers in Santa Cruz are having best results finding the Dungies in deeper this week, in 200-250 feet of water, according to Todd Fraser at Bayside Marine.
Call: Chris’ Landing (831) 375-5951; Bayside Marine (831) 475-2173
San Francisco Bay
Striper 2; Rockfish 3; Leopard shark 3; Sturgeon 2; Crab 3
Captain Jim Smith of the Happy Hooker out of Berkeley was in the seven crab per angler range Sunday afternoon after scoring full 10-crab limits for a full boat Saturday. The weather was much better Sunday, and they found good rockfish action along the coast for school fish with no ling cod. Saturday’s trip produced limits of Dungeness as predicted by Smith because of the longer soak. Captain Craig Hanson of Argo Sport Fishing out of San Francisco will be concentrating on the shallows of San Pablo Bay for the remainder of the winter, stating, “There may be an exceptionally pleasant day that draws us under the Gate, but after finding slimming pickings on the crab and unpredictable bottom fish, it’s time to concentrate on San Pablo Bay. So far, the upper bay has been quite productive with good scores striped bass on every trip except the one we got hit with a sharknado. The shark bites have decreased in the past week, and the nuisance should just about disappear after the precipitation in the coming week. Similar to the past couple years, when conditions line up, San Pablo Bay has been like fishing in an aquarium. Most popular species in the tank are striped bass or sturgeon depending on the tide. Bat rays, kingfish, jack smelt, flounder and halibut have all found our baits in the past couple weeks. Fishing on the anchor, in water less than 10 feet, can bring almost non-stop action and a great opportunity to hone in your hook-setting skills. Limits or near-limits of bass have been common with a fish per rod possible even on days with smallest of tides. The predicted rain for the following week or so will likely entice more sturgeon to haunt the shallows. In past six trips to the upper bay, anglers have hooked three sturgeon with none making the 40- to 60-inch window needed to keep a fish.” Captain Trent Slate of Shelter Cove Sport Fishing out of Loch Lomond Marina is taking the rare sturgeon/crab combination trips, focusing on the best tides in San Pablo Bay before or after making the one-hour run to pull the crab pots. The big outgoing tide this week along with fresh water inflow should turn on the sturgeon bite in the north bay.
San Luis Obispo
Limits of rockfish were the order of the weekend out of the San Luis Obispo County ports, and the Fiesta, Princess, and Rita G out of Virg’s Landing in Morro Bay combined for 194 vermilion rockfish, 133 assorted rockfish, 32 coppers and a cabezon for limits for their 36 anglers along with 43 ling cod to 18.3 pounds. George Riviera of Sanger and Cliff Usery of Modesto took jackpots with lings at 16 and 13 pounds respectively. Out of Port San Luis, the Patriot also scored rockfish limits on Monday’s three-quarer day trip with 11 ling cod to 10 pounds along with 93 assorted rockfish, five vermilion rockfish and two coppers for 10 fishermen. Callen Lewis of Fresno took the jackpot with a 10-pound ling. Virg’s third annual Biggest, Baddest Ling Cod Contest is Dec. 10, but this trip has been sold out for months. Virg’s has a number of different types of trips during the final six weeks of the season including: Ladies Day, Senior Days First Responders Trips. Their two-day trip Dec. 30-31 still has openings. Rockfish season ends Dec. 31.
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 2; Striper 2; Sturgeon 3; Catfish 2; Bluegill 2
The surge of muddy water has arrived in the north Delta, leading to greatly improved sturgeon fishing but chasing the striped bass in search of clearer water. Sturgeon have clearly taken over the top species in the Delta, and the diamondbacks have been found from Suisun Bay upriver to Cache Slough. “ Johnny Tran of New Romeo’s Bait and Tackle in Freeport said, “The Sacramento River is muddy, but the sturgeon bite is going off in the normal locations of Cache Slough, Prospect Slough, the Sacramento Deep Water Channel, and the main Sacramento River near Merritt’s Landing, Hood, and Courtland. Eel/nightcrawler or eel/pile worm combinations are effective as well as ghost shrimp. The striped bass bite has slowed down, but they are still in the system. The Deep Water Channel is the best location for stripers with live mudsuckers or with sardines or frozen shad coated with scent.” Steve Mitchell of Hook’d Up Sport Fishing out of Pittsburg is back on the water, and he was off to a good start on Sunday morning with keeper sturgeon at 42.5 and 45 inches on the incoming tide using salmon roe. They were both on salmon roe, but the sturgeon are biting both roe and lamprey eel. The outgoing tide should be even better this afternoon.” With the muddy water, Alan Fong, manager of the Fisherman’s Warehouse in Sacramento said, “The stripers will either head north to clearer water near the Port of Sacramento or back down into the San Joaquin River from Mildred Island to Discovery Bay. It was muddy in Liberty Island last week, and it should remain muddy with this new inflow coming down the Sacramento River.” Tony Lopez of Benicia Bait confirmed the continued slow action over the weekend with only a few sturgeon fishermen out in the cold and wet weather. Pile worms or eel have been the top bait since ghost shrimp has been in short supply and only Lost Anchor Bait has grass shrimp. The cold and wet weather over the weekend has brought muddier conditions to the San Joaquin-Delta, and the striped bass and largemouth bass action has slowed considerably. The water temperatures on the east Delta have plummeted rapidly within the past few weeks, and the cold water in the 50-degree range has slowed up the reaction bite for both largemouth and striped bass. Randy Pringle, the Fishing Instructor, said, “The striper schools have dissipated in the San Joaquin system, and with the cold water, the bite is just a little tick. The key is to slow down your presentation since the fish do not want to chase in the cold water. We picked up a few keepers working the shoals on the San Joaquin west of the mouth of the Mokelumne, but the fish were just ticking the Optima AA swimbaits. Our best action during this trip was with the ima Sasuke ripbait in chartreuse/white or sardine. The big ripbait holds in the strike zone longer. With the bait fish moving so slow, it is very important to pause your retrieve. Largemouth bass can be taken on ripbaits, and I have been using the ima Flit 120 on a very slow retrieve. The key once again is to match the lethargic movement of the bait fish. If the retrieve is too fast, the fish will know there is something wrong with it.” Dan Mathisen of Dan’s Delta Outdoors in Oakley confirmed the slower action for striped bass as they have scattered as the water temperature has cooled to the 50-degree range, even falling into the high 40s in the south Delta. There are some swimbait fish to be had, but a slow retrieve is necessary. He also reported a glidebait bite in Sherman Lake for experienced fishermen. The black bass bite has slowed with the colder water, and a dead-stick presentation is necessary. Sturgeon fishing has been good in the normal locations on the Sacramento River with Bloody Eel combined with night crawlers. Steve Santucci of Steve Santucci’s Fly Fishing Guide Service reported on Lost Coast Outfitters, stating, “Fishing is still good in the Delta. The bite is transcending into the winter bite. Good numbers are still possible. Vary your retrieve and down size your flies as the water temps are still in the low 50s.”
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 2; White bass 2; Catfish 2; Crappie 2
At Nacimiento, working the bottom with Brush Hogs or jigs is the most productive techniques followed by plastic worms on the drop-shop, Texas-rig, split-shot, or shakey head on a slow presentation. The reaction bite has slowed since the water has cooled, and the cold water also is affecting the white bass. The lake has dropped to 23 percent capacity and 728.20 feet in elevation, receding over a foot within the past week. Nacimiento will be hosting a number of tournaments within the coming months. At Lopez, the lake remains very low at 20 percent capacity, and the launch ramp is out of the water. There is a reaction bite when the wind is blowing with crankbaits or spinnerbaits in a bluegill pattern. Working the bottom with plastic worms on the drop-shot or jigs produces the greatest numbers, but the fish are a smaller cut. Catfishing is fair with cut baits. With the inability to launch private boats, bass fishing is limited to rental boats or working the shoreline. At Santa Margarita, the lake is at slightly more than 9 percent capacity, and the launch ramp remains out of the water, leaving rental boats at the marina the only power option. The bass bite remains slow with some fish taken on reaction baits such as small profile spinnerbaits, jerkbaits, or chatterbaits while finesse presentations on the bottom produce the greatest numbers. The best reaction bite occurs when the water warms up slightly in the afternoons. Catfishing is fair with nightcrawlers or cut baits. San Antonio Reservoir is closed indefinitely with the lake at 6 percent.
Call: Lake Nacimiento (805) 238-1056, ext. 3; Lake San Antonio Marina (805) 472-2818; CentralCoastBassFishing.com (805) 466-6557
- Sierra Bass Club Draw Tournament on Dec. 10 at Pine Flat: 1, Ryan Reynolds 12.32 pounds (big fish 2.93); 2, Michael Murphy 9.38; 3, Craig Gong 7.41
- Sonora Bass Club on Dec. 10 at New Melones: B.Harskamp/C. Harskamp 15.88 (big fish 6.84); 2, John Liechty/D. Perkins 14.11; 3, J.Ernster/J. Hebel 13.40
- Sierra Bass Club Tournament of Champions on Dec. 11 at Pine Flat: 1, Ryan Reynolds 6.37; 2, Gary Johnson 5.95; 3, Cory Condry 5.73 (big fish 2.71)
- Jan. 1: RiverRat Bass Club at Eastman; Bakersfield Bass Club at Nacimiento
- Fresno County: Fresno City Woodward Park Lake; Kings River, below Pine Flat Dam
- Kern County: Brite Valley Reservoir: River Park Lake
f = full moon > = peak activity