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.
New Melones bass and trout providing solid action, John Liechty said. Pine Flat bass hitting, Merritt Gilbert reported. McClure pumping out good bass, Mike Gomez said. San Francisco sturgeon take over top Bay billing, Mickey Clements reported.
2-Have to work hard
4-Fish jumpin’ in boat
Delta Mendota Canal and Sloughs
Stripers 2; Catfish 2
With the increased water diversions, the California Aqueduct continues to flow high and muddy throughout the entire stretch of the water-conveyance system. Few fishermen are heading to the concrete river, but this will change once the water starts to slow and warm up. Vegetation and debris continue to get pushed southward, but the flush of the aqueducts will pay dividends as the water clears within the next few months. Heavy exports should keep the section just south of O’Neill Forebay stained for the longest period with clearer water occurring the further south you travel from Highway 152. Jacob Rutledge of Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield reported the aqueduct is flowing high and muddy in Kern County, and fishing has slowed with the exception of a few striped bass and catfish. “With the stained water, scent is essential, and sardines, blood worms, or minnows are working best.” Anglers are encouraged to remove garbage and other debris before leaving aqueduct areas to avoid future closures.
Bass 2; Trout 1; Bluegill 1; Catfish 1; Crappie 1
The lake rose an additional 13 feet within the past week to 576.77 in elevation and 89 percent capacity Sunday before dropping 2 feet by Monday with water releases greater than inflow. There is basically nothing happening in the cold and muddy water, but with all of the flooded areas this year, bass fishing should be outstanding once the spring months arrive.
Call: Six Star Tackle Box 673-5688; Eastman Lake 689-3255
Bass 2; Trout 1; Catfish 1; Bluegill 1; Crappie 1
Despite water releases last week lowering the lake to 34 percent, the lake rose 16 vertical feet to 508.43 in elevation and 53 percent capacity this week. Water releases have started again. Few fishermen are heading to the lake, but the bass action should be outstanding once the lake clears.
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; King salmon 2; Crappie 2
Monte Smith of Gold Country Sport Fishing is taking a trolling trip this week and expected solid action with Vance’s Slim Willies tipped with a nightcrawler near the surface. Smith anticipates excellent rainbow and king salmon action throughout the year as the lake has flooded acres that had gone without water for years. The lake has risen to 99 percent and 827.84 feet in elevation, coming up 20 feet within the week. Bass fishing has slowed with the rising and muddy water, and the best action is with plastics or jigs on a slow presentation at depths from 25-50 feet. The Christian Bass League held its fifth tournament of the season at Don Pedro on Feb. 11. The field of 24 teams brought in a total of 100 fish weighing in excess of 235 pounds. Fish were caught from 10-40 feet in depth on swim baits, spinner baits, jigs and plastics.
Call: Monte Smith (209) 581-4734; Danny Layne-Fish’n Dan (209) 586-2383; Gary Vella (209) 652-7550
Lake Isabella/Bakersfield area
Bass 2; Trout 2; Crappie 2; Catfish 2; Bluegill 1
Jacob Rutledge of Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield reported Lake Isabella is showing signs of life with crappie found by boaters soaking live minnows or working mini jigs while bass fishermen are scoring with deep-diving crankbaits or jigs in 14-20 feet of water. The 28th annual Isabella Lake Fishing Derby is April 8-10, with early-bird registration closing at 4 p.m. March 4. No entries will be accepted after 7 a.m. April 7. Register and get more details at www.kernrivervalley.com. Campgrounds open during the derby are Boulder Gulch, Camp 9, French Gulch, Paradise Cove, Pioneer Point and Tillie Creek. For reservations, call the Sequoia Recreation Office at (760) 376-1815. The lake came up 10 feet within the week to 2,580.23 in elevation and 55 percent capacity. The local lakes of the River Walk and Ming were planted last week, and there are two upcoming tournaments at the River Walk – the Kern County Sheriff’s Trout Derby on Feb. 25 and the Bakersfield Firefighters Trout Derby on March 4. Rutledge reported an improved bass bite at Ming with Senkos. The small lake at Buena Vista was planted with trout last week, but the big lake has been limited to catfish and crappie. With the Kern River still running high and muddy, there have been few reports from either the upper or lower river.
Call: Bob’s Bait (661) 833-8657; North Fork Marina (760) 376-1812
Bass 2; Crappie 2; Trout 1; Catfish 1
The lake came up a whopping 36 feet this week to 660.57 feet in elevation and 46 percent. The rising water has put the bass off the bite, but there were some huge limits taken during the recent Success Bass Club tournament on Super Bowl Sunday, including a winning 26.90-pound limit. Crappie fishermen are using small to medium minnows for the slabs around structure.
Call: Sierra Sporting Goods 592-5212
Bass 2; Trout 1; Catfish 1; Crappie 1
The lake rose 15 feet within the past week to 643.74 in elevation and 76 percent capacity. The water is heavily stained, and debris has been dragged off the banks into the lake. The only possibility for success is with plastics on the drop-shot or jigs in deep water using a slow presentation. The Tule River continues to flow high, and it is unfishable at present.
Call: Sequoia Fishing Co. 539-5626, sequoiafishingcompany.com
Bass 3; Trout 2; King salmon 1; Kokanee 1; Crappie 2; Catfish 2
Lake McClure has risen to heights not seen for several years with the lake climbing from 73 percent capacity to 91 percent and to 852.80 feet in elevation within the past week. Despite the rapid rise, the bass bite remains solid given the warm water inflow into the lake. The lake rose 8 feet Tuesday alone, and high flows between 5,000 and 6,000 cfs are planned into the Merced River to allow for anticipated snow melt and storm runoff. The last time the releases into the Merced were this high was in 2011, which led to numerous water rescues on the river. Mike Gomez of the Bait Barn in Waterford said, “There is a decent bite at McClure at depths from 25-50 feet with jigs such as the Berserk brown/purple or Purple Hornet along with the 5- or 6-inch Pro Worm 266 on a three-sixteenths- to one-quarter-ounce drop-shot weight. The bite will only increase, and I am already seeing it take off as the fish are getting active in the warmer water from the recent storms. Last year on a good day, you would be happy with five or six bass while this year, you are picking up from six to 20 fish on your worst day. The key is to find the fish, and once you find them, you have to slow down and stay on the school until they stop biting. When you find them, they will be stacked up. The biggest problem is that anglers are going too fast down the banks.” Morgan Swisher of the Fresno Bass Club said, “During our club’s tournament on Sunday, the bass are moving shallow, and jigs and plastics accounted for 19 limits out of 25 participants. The water temperatures ranged from 52 to as high as 56 degrees in some places.” The Barrett Cove South and McClure Point launch ramps remain open.
Call: Bait Barn (209) 874-3011
Fishing is limited to a few planters with garlic trout dough bait, Power Eggs or nightcrawlers. Trout plants are still absent, but the Calaveras Trout Farm is back in operation, and there is hope for biweekly plants at the lake in the upcoming months. There are no Fish and Wildlife plants scheduled. The marina will not be installing bait tanks for live minnows, but live crawdads are still a possibility in the future.
Call: McSwain Marina (209) 378-2534
Millerton Lake/San Joaquin River
Bass 2; Striped bass 1; Shad 1; Bluegill 1; Trout 2
The lake rose again to 85 percent after a pair of warm storms the past week. All bass action is in the main lake, and everything is still on the bottom below 20 feet with plastics on the drop-shot, spoons or jigs. The river arm is muddy, and there is floating and submerged debris in the river arm and main lake. Few tournaments are scheduled given the high costs of holding an event and the price of launch fees. In the San Joaquin River, Sycamore Island Pond opened a week ago and the park will be open every Friday, Saturday, Sunday and all state holidays. The trout pond is stocked and all ponds are open. Day passes are $9 and a season pass is $85; all can be purchased online or at the bait shop on the property. 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. The hatchery fish have a healed adipose fin clip. All wild steelhead or trout with an adipose fin present must be released immediately.
Call: Valley Rod & Gun 292-3474
New Melones Reservoir/Tulloch
Bass 3; Crappie 2; Catfish 2; Trout 3; Kokanee 1
New Melones remains solid for a variety of species as it rises to levels unheard of for the last several years. The lake has risen to 55 percent capacity after languishing at less than 20 percent for the past year. The increased water levels allowed for all four lanes to be on the concrete at Glory Hole Point and the reopening of the Tuttletown launch ramp for the first time since 2014. The bass bite has been unpredictable with the rising water levels, but John Liechty of Glory Hole Sports in Angels Camp said, “The fish can be found at several different depths throughout the day with the best fishing in 15-50 feet of water. With the cold water temperatures, a slow presentation is best, and most fishermen are catching bass using baits that can be dragged slowly across the bottom. Arkie head jigs are a good choice, and they will pull through grass better than a football jigs, and either Texas- or Carolina-rigs are producing. Some fishermen are finding giant bass throwing swimbaits all day for the one big bite. I landed an 8.22-pound largemouth on a Baby Brush Hog first thing in the morning during our recent tournament.” Mike Gomez of the Bait Barn in Waterford fished the lake Saturday, and he said, “It took a while before I figured out the pattern, but once I did, I caught and released between 15 and 20 fish including a 5-pound spotted bass using a Berserk Purple Hornet jig on a slow presentation. The best action came at depths from 25-55 feet.” Trout fishing has improved in the cooler temperatures, with bank fishermen scoring off Glory Hole Point and near the Highway 49 Bridge with trout dough bait or nightcrawler/marshmallow combinations. Liechty said, “With the water stained, it is best to use a bait with a strong scent. Trollers are finding action in many different parts of the lake with the rainbows holding near the surface. A long setback of between 150 to 200 feet is necessary and running plugs of spoons in bright colors such as firetiger, orange, or chartreuse are working best.” The crappie bite is showing signs of life around the flooded brush and vegetation with small spinners or minijigs. Catfishing is slow in the cold water, but a few whiskerfish can be located near moving water at the inlets with a ball of nightcrawlers. New Melones came up 32 feet to 983.88 in elevation.
Call: Glory Hole Sports (209) 736-4333; Monte Smith (209) 581-4734; Danny Layne-Fish’n Dan (209) 586-2383
Pine Flat Reservoir/Kings River
Bass 2; Trout 3; King salmon 1; Catfish 1; Crappie 1
Pine Flat and Millerton remain the top lakes in the central San Joaquin Valley, and by far the majority of interest is focused on Pine Flat given the number of tournaments. Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “Everything has been on the bottom at both Pine Flat and Millerton as the reaction bite has been slow. Drop-shotting plastics, jigs, or spoons are the top baits, and the main lake has been the place to be as the water is muddy in both reservoirs in the river arms. At Pine Flat, the Trimmer Ramp is currently closed due to the debris collected in the river arm above the trash barrier.” The Best Bass Tournaments held their first Central Valley tournament Feb. 11 and the winning weight was 15.60 pounds taken by Ralph and Denise Encizo of Fresno, with the big fish at 4.55 pounds landed by the team of Louis Lops and Dan Cranston. Forty-two boats participated , followed by 32 high school teams taking part in the Roosevelt High Bass Fishers tournament on Sunday. The Sierra and Bakersfield bass clubs will hold an event at the lake this Saturday. For trout at Pine Flat, Gilbert said, “There have been some quality rainbows to 21 inches taken on Apex lures, Needlefish, or blade/crawler combinations on a long setback near the surface in the main lake. Limits have been common, and the rainbows are between 15 and 21 inches.” Pine Flat has jumped up to 73 percent capacity and 902.34 in elevation despite water releases; Millerton, in a similar situation, has risen to 85 percent. In the lower Kings below Pine Flat Dam, water releases are increasing flows, but planted rainbows are possible in the river or in Avocado Lake with Power Bait, nightcrawlers or spinners such as Roostertails or Panther Martins. 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 1; Crappie 1
San Luis Reservoir has risen to 90 percent, and it is nearly filled for the first time in several years. The lake has come up from a low of less than 10 percent as recently as August, and the lake is inundating areas in which vegetation has grown high over the past several years of the drought. The lake is expected to be filled by late March and perhaps earlier because of heavy exports through the aqueduct system. The new food sources and nutrients from the flooded sections will account for excellent striped and largemouth bass fishing in the spring months once the winter rains cease. Roger George of Roger George Guide Service said that the trolling bite has been on and off with the passing storms. “There was a decent bite during the storm and right after it in the heavy cloudy conditions. But then we had a complete change with the bright moon and clear conditions right after the storm and the bite slowed down. One boat reported that they had gotten almost 20 fish on Saturday, then went back the next day and only got one fish trolling all day,” George said. “Minnow fishing has been slow for most guys I talked to. There have been a couple fish in the teens taken. Most of the good striper anglers are telling me they are putting the bigger fish back. It seems like selective harvesting of the smaller fish is the best balance between consumption and conserving the future fishery. The bigger ones are too valuable to eat, if they can be released, and that’s why we use the Seaqualizer release tool – it’s the best way to put a big fish back. We’ve successfully released over 25 fish, from 15-30 pounds, on it in the last two seasons. Serious striper guys need to have one in their boat.” Jesus Reyes Silva of Hollister found a couple schoolie stripers Sunday in Portuguese Cove with his JKingsLures jerkbaits in ghost blue/purple. Mickey Clements at Coyote Bait and Tackle in Morgan Hill reported San Luis Reservoir and the forebay are the only locations for reservoir fishing for area anglers with the San Jose lakes loaded with muddy water. He said, “It has been a scratch bite at both locations, and our sales of jumbo minnows have been down with the inclement weather.” Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “Few anglers have been heading north to the O’Neill Forebay or the big lake this past week, but I expect action to improve once the weather calms down.”
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 lake has risen close to full capacity at 79 percent, but the water temperature is cold at 41 degrees. Few bass or trout fishermen are heading to the lake, and the bass bite doesn’t kick into gear until the water heats up to 45 degrees. Webcams of the lake are available at www.basslakeca.com/.
Call: Mike Beighey 642-3748; Bass Lake Watersports 642-3200
Access to Edison and Florence lakes remains limited to those on snowmobiles. Edison dropped slightly to 33 percent capacity and Florence is at 15 percent. Mammoth Pool is at 100 percent.
Call: Vermilion Valley Resort at Edison Lake 259-4000
Shaver Lake/Huntington Lake
Kokanee 1; Trout 2
The trout and kokanee action at Shaver Lake took a dive in 2016 for some unknown reason, and no one knows what this year’s action will bring to this high elevation jewel in the central Sierra. Dick Nichols of Dick’s Fishing Charters said, “I know it is February when we normally do seminars, but Captain Jack and I have decided to take the year off from seminars. My season begins in April, and the consensus from the biologists that I have spoken with is that the drought had a tremendously adverse effect on the kokanee. They feel that this year should be good for kokanee, and I agree. As for trout, I believe the Shaver Lake Trophy Trout Program’s 2016 plant was very successful. I believe of the 1,500 we planted, over half of these fish remain in the lake as there just weren’t that many caught last summer. We only hooked 16 trophies although I was out nearly every day, and we released a number of the large rainbows. The 2017 plant of about the same count and size should provide a better chance for a successful trip. The Department of Fish and Wildlife has already planted 400 brooders along with a plant of smaller trout. Shaver Lake has an allotment this year of about 8,000-10,000 pounds, and I was told the fish are larger than the normal half pound, therefore I would estimate about 13,000-15,000 catchable size trout being planted. This estimate is up from last year when the drought and adverse water conditions lowered the available trout count. The DFW has really put the effort forth to see that anglers get to take home some fish. We are not seeing any 2017 kokanee. But let’s face it, with all the adverse weather not too many are willing to launch their boats at the present time. I predict that the kokanee will be hot by midsummer with of the fish hunkered down near the bottom from the Point to the dam. For those without down riggers, try jigging, it is neat and can be very productive.” Despite the recent trout plant, Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun said, “The weather is limiting the number of bank fishermen, and the bite continues to be tough.” Lake conditions can be seen at www.sierramarina.com/. Shaver has risen to 64 percent capacity, with upstream Huntington dipping slightly to 51 percent.
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
Gates on McKinley Grove Road are closed, leaving no vehicle access to Wishon or Courtright until the spring.
Call: Wishon RV Park 865-5361
Half Moon Bay
Striper 2; Crabs 2
Party boats are limited to sand dab/crab or whale- and bird-watching trips for the next few months. The Huli Cat will continue to run sand dab/crab, crab-only, or whale watching trips until the anticipated salmon opener in April. The Huli Cat, Captain Roger Thomas of the Salty Lady, Captain Dennis Baxter of the New Captain Pete, and the Queen of Hearts will run the sightseeing voyages.
Call: Happy Hooker (510) 223-5388; Captain Roger Thomas, Salty Lady (415) 760-9362; Emeryville Sport Fishing (510) 654-6040
Striper 2; Crab 3
Chris Arcoleo of Chris’s Fishing Trips said, “We were able to make it out on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday for sand dab/Dungeness crab combination trips, and we had a great score on Sunday with 660 sand dabs and 77 crab for 11 anglers. Friday’s and Saturday’s trips were even better with a combined 16 limits of Dungeness crab along with 760 sand dabs.” The crab counts are far higher than during rockfish season, and Chris’s will be taking the trips depending upon interest and weather conditions. The 13th annual Sand Crab Classic is coming to Santa Cruz and the adjacent coastline March 11. Allen Bushnell of Santa Cruz Kayak Fishing and Surfcasting Guide Service reported, “The weather we are experiencing might keep you indoors, but it is doing good things for our mountain watersheds and the near shore submarine topography. Once this series of storms die down, I predict productive fishing in our immediate future. After years of low water flows, local creeks and streams are being scoured of sand and silt, exposing the cobble and gravel spawning grounds for our anadromous steelhead and those very few salmon in our system. A few adult steelhead have been caught from our local streams so far this season. This week of course, the streams and rivers are blown out and flooding. Ocean fishing is slow also due to weather and sea conditions brought on by storms. Big swells have plugged the Santa Cruz Harbor entrance with sand. The dredge is working at full capacity but barely keeping up with the repeated big swell events. And don’t forget fishing from the Santa Cruz or Capitola Wharf. Ed Burrell at Capitola boat and Bait reported some nice perch, mostly barred surf perch, caught this week, and a starry flounder came over the rail two weeks ago.”
Call: Chris’ Landing (831) 375-5951; Bayside Marine (831) 475-2173; usafishing.com
San Francisco Bay
Striper 2; Leopard shark 2; Sturgeon 3; Crab 2
Sturgeon fishing has taken center stage in San Pablo and San Francisco Bays, and muddy water is the rule throughout the bay system. In the south bay, Mickey Clements of Coyote Bait and Tackle reported good action out of Alviso for sturgeon with ghost shrimp or lamprey eel. He said, “There have been several boats anchored near the railroad bridge, and a number of sturgeon have been landed.” Captain Trent Slate of Shelter Cove Sport Fishing out of Loch Lomond Marina went out a few times this week on his Osprey, and he landed keeper sturgeon on both trips. Ghost shrimp was in short supply over the weekend, and Slate was lamenting the inability to procure the bait on Sunday morning. Better times for ghost shrimp are ahead, at least for the next few days, as an air shipment arrived Sunday destined for Loch Lomond Bait and Tackle. Keith Fraser of Loch Lomond said, “We received a million calls for ghost shrimp and mud shrimp over the weekend, but like all other shops, we ran out of the live ghost on Saturday. There are buckets on their way in for at least Monday and Tuesday, and our source is digging for mud shrimp on Monday. Fishing has been pretty good, not great, but Don Franklin on the Soleman had four sturgeon on Sunday near Sonoma Creek. There is no saltwater in the bay right now, and our saltwater register is at 0, and anything less than 10 is deadly for our saltwater live bait species.” Captain Steve Mitchell of Hook’d Up Sport Fishing out of Pittsburg made the long run down to San Pablo Bay to anchor in the flats Saturday. They ended up with a 50-inch slot-limit sturgeon, a 67-inch oversized released, a large undersized sturgeon, and several legal striped bass. He said, “The sturgeon are moving with the minus tides, and they get sucked out of the sloughs on the minus tides before ending up in the deep water near the Ozol Pier before heading through the Carquinez Straits into the flats of San Pablo Bay in order to get relief from the strong current from the tides and inflow.” The water temperature in San Pablo Bay is warmer than farther upstream at 54 degrees. Chris Smith on the six-pack Defiant was also in San Pablo Bay, and he put his clients onto two slot-limit sturgeon at 43 and 56 inches along with releasing a 63 incher and five shakers to go with several missed opportunities and a pair of striped bass. Captain Jay Lopes of Right Hook Sport Fishing started off in San Pablo Bay on Sunday for a keeper before moving to the east of the Benicia/Martinez Bridge near buoys 2 and 3 for little action. He said, “The bite was really good on Saturday with three keepers and an oversized, but the incoming tide basically died on Sunday and the fish left the area. The inflow down the river stopped the incoming tide as it made it down here today. With all of this water, I will be fishing sturgeon through April.” Eel was the successful bait over the weekend. Reminder that sturgeon may not be taken in the following described area from Jan. 1-March 15: That portion of San Francisco Bay included within the following boundaries – A direct line between Point Chauncy (National Marine Fisheries Laboratory) and Point Richmond, the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge and a direct line between Point Lobos and Point Bonita.
San Luis Obispo
Jacob Rutledge of Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield reported that the best surf perch action on the coast has been at San Simeon with blood worms or lug worms. He said, “There have been a few fish taken on artificials, but the best action is coming on bait.” Rockfish season reopens April 1, and the party boats out of Port San Luis and Morro Bay will focus on nature and whale watching trips until then.
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 2; Catfish 2; Bluegill 2
High and muddy water is the story in the north Delta. The only safe location within the Delta is within its lower stretches in Suisun Bay. The majority of launch ramps in the north were closed Sunday, including the Rio Vista Municipal Ramp where the entire parking lot is flooded. Heavy flows out of the Sacramento and Feather Rivers are responsible for the mud, debris and high water, and the opening of the auxiliary spillway at Lake Oroville will only bring down more debris into the system. In the north Delta, Johnny Tran of New Romeo’s Bait and Tackle reported only a few diehard fishermen are out along the banks since boating is too dangerous at present. He said, “Bait has been very spotty right now, and it takes from 12-16 ounces to stay down in the high water.” J.D. Richey of Richey’s Sport Fishing took a visual tour of the Delta on a small plane Sunday, and his photographs displayed a flooded Liberty Island and massive debris lines running down the Sacramento River. Richey said, “It is not safe to be out on the upper Delta right now, and there are few launch ramps open at the present time. Before the opening of the emergency spillway at Oroville, I was very optimistic about the coming months on the Delta since we had needed a good flushing out of the tules and weeds, but all of the sediment coming out from the Feather River will be a concern for the fish.” The top area for sturgeon has been around the Benicia/Martinez Bridge, and Steve Talmadge of Flash Fishing out of Martinez said, “We have been finding good action in the deep water near the bridge on straight eel. We had a keeper on both Saturday and Sunday. The incoming tide has been the best time, but with the heavy inflow over the weekend, the incoming tide basically stopped on Sunday. The debris isn’t too bad, and you can avoid it by getting out of the rip since the debris follows a distinct line similar to sturgeon.” Ghost shrimp was in short supply over the weekend because of storms in the Pacific Northwest, and anglers had to settle for lamprey eel, salmon roe, or pile worms. Ghost shrimp should be available in larger quantities this coming weekend. The Addathon Iron Man Sturgeon Derby is scheduled for March 11-12 out of Pittsburgh Harbor. The San Joaquin-Delta is the lesser of two evils as far as dangerous conditions on the water are concerned, but there are still valid concerns about boating in the east and south. The Cosumnes River breeched its banks in the Mokelumne River watershed, and houseboats at New Hope Marina crashed into the Walnut Grove Road Bridge, requiring destruction of the houseboats into the river by the local reclamation district. In Stockton, the water is at the bottom of the Ladd’s Marina launch ramp, even at low tide. Alan Fong of the Fisherman’s Warehouse in Sacramento said, “I was in Whites Slough this week at high tide, and the water was only two feet from the top of the levee. I said to my partner, if this levee breaks, your outboard will not be enough to keep us from getting sucked in past the levee. I was able to land largemouth bass to 6 pounds using chartreuse spinnerbaits with a willow blade, and the visibility in the slough was a foot and a half. If we get a week of clear water, watch out because the bass bite will be off the hook.” Randy Pringle, the Fishing Instructor, gave this following advice regarding the Delta: “Right now, I am not fishing in the Delta, and the No. 1 reason is the safety of my clients due to the elevation of the water with the inflow and the high tides along with the debris. There is plenty of water in the lakes right now, but I have great expectations for this year on the Delta as the inflow has carved out new areas that haven’t been touched for some time. This will bring out new food sources for smaller species of fish, and the larger fish will have fewer hiding locations with the hyacinth washing down the river. The high flows have scoured out the dead hyacinth that froze over the winter, and the grass that has plagued many locations will be gone this spring. We will be able to fish many places that have been inaccessible for years. You will see more big fish landed this spring, and I can’t wait to get out there when the conditions allow.” Cameron King of the Tokay High Bass Fishing Club in Lodi is developing a reputation as an up-and-coming angler, and he recently caught and released an 11.4-pound largemouth in the east Delta. Steve Santucci of Steve Santucci’s Fly Fishing Guide Service works the south Delta near Discovery Bay, and he said, “Delta fishing is restarting itself. The water temps are in the mid to high 50s, and although the water is high, but clear water can be found. The stripers are hitting when you can find them. I fished on Thursday, and was able to catch five stripers in about three hours of fishing. I feel the stripers have acclimated to the high water, and the fishing can only improve.” Christian Lauritzen of Lauritzen’s Yacht Harbor in Oakley said, “It’s going to be an early striper season this year. I make that bold prediction due in part to current water temperatures. At the Antioch Boat Ramp the range is 51.82-53.37 degrees. On the Sacramento River at the Rio Vista Bridge, that range is 51.12-54.28. The temperature range at the Rio Vista Bridge tells me that all of the warm surface rain runoff is blending with the cold snowpack water being released from the dams and the warm water is warming up the very cold water hence the 54-degree water.” Dan Mathisen of Dan’s Delta Outdoors in Oakley said, “As water temps warm into the 50s the black bass bite is getting started in Discovery Bay with most anglers are sticking with jigs and slow rolling blades searching ledges near flats. The Tracy Oasis tournament this last weekend, and they actually produced multiple limits to nearly 20 pounds as anglers adjust to the high water. In Frank’s Tract, it’s no secret what a little warmer water can do, and spinnerbaits are the best option along with swimjigs and Wadda Jigs in the dirty water of the shallow flooded island.”
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 1; Catfish 2; Crappie 1
Water levels unheard of for the past several years are the story at the coastal lakes, and although fishing access is limited everywhere by floating debris, the action in the spring should be spectacular. At Nacimiento, the lake keeps rising, now at 970.70 feet in elevation and 86 percent capacity. The lake will be hosting a number of tournaments within the coming months, but recent tournaments have been postponed because of the surface debris and more just below the surface of the reservoir. At Lopez, the lake has risen to 45 percent capacity, and the launch ramp is open to all boats. All boats are inspected prior to launching and must be clean and dry upon arrival. Use caution while on the lake given the threat posed by debris and other underwater hazards near the shoreline. At Santa Margarita, the lake has risen from 9.6 percent in January to more than 100 percent capacity this week, running over the spillway. Floating debris has created hazardous conditions for boaters.. Vehicle entry at Santa Margarita and Lopez is reduced to $5 on Tuesdays. San Antonio Reservoir has risen from less than 5 percent to its current 34 percent capacity. The lake may be open for recreation within the coming months.
Call: Lake Nacimiento (805) 238-1056, ext. 3; Lake San Antonio Marina (805) 472-2818; CentralCoastBassFishing.com (805) 466-6557
- Success Bass Club on Feb. 5 at Kaweah: 1, Gary Wasson/Joe Baeza 26.90; 2, Nai Saeleaw/San Saechao 18.20 (big fish 8.10); 3, David Coy/Jerry Williams 10.49
- Best Bass Tournaments on Feb. 11 at Pine Flat: 1, Ralph and Denise Encizo 15.60: 2, Louis Lops/Dan Cranston 11.67 (big fish 4.55); 3, Marlan Huebert/Tim Penner 11.04
- Christian Bass League on Feb. 11 at Don Pedro: 1, Trevor Ham and Tyler Frey 20.94; 2, Deacon Fernandez and Debbie Horton 13.54 (big fish 5.44); 3, AJ Moitoso and Jacob Brannan 13.08
- Hook, Line, and Sinker on Feb. 12 at Delta/Russo’s Marina: 1, G.Bradshaw/J. Gonsalves 21.40: 2, M. and J. Howard 20.92; 3, J.Ball/T. Lopez– 12.04
- Fresno Bass Club on Feb. 12 at McClure: 1, Bryan Coy 18.49 (big fish 4.61): 2, Vincent Garcia 14.12; 3,Tracy Brossard 14.11
- Feb. 18: American Bass Association at Delta/Russo’s; Angler’s Press at New Melones; Best Bass Tournaments at Don Pedro; TriValley Bass Masters at McClure; Sierra Bass Club/Bakersfield Bass Club at Pine Flat; Taft Bass Club at Kaweah; New Jen at Success; SLO County Bass Ambushers at Nacimiento
- Feb. 19: Tracy Bass Club at Delta/Tracy Oasis; Kerman Bass Club/Valley Hawg Hunters at Don Pedro
- Feb. 25: California Delta Team Trail/Bass Anglers of Northern California at Delta/Russo’s Marina; Oro Madre Bass Club at Don Pedro; American Bass Association at Kaweah; Best Bass Tournaments/Golden Empire Bass Club at Nacimiento
- Feb. 26: California Bass Federation at Delta/B and W Resort; California Bass Federation at McClure; Kings River Bass Club at Kaweah
- March 4: California Delta Team Trail at Delta/Russo’s Marina; New Jen at Kaweah; American Bass Association at Nacimiento
- March 4-5: Valley Hawg Hunters at Delta/Russo’s Marina
- March 5: Success Bass Club at Success
- March 11: 13th annual Sand Crab Classic Perch Derby at Santa Cruz/Monterey County, sandcrabclassic.com. Final deadline is Feb. 12March 11/12th-
- March 11-12: Addathon Ironman Sturgeon Derby at Delta/Pittsburg Marina
- Fresno County: Fresno City Woodward Park Lake; Kings River, below Pine Flat Dam; Pine Flat Reservoir
- Tulare County: Del Lago Park Lake; Kaweah Reservoir
q = quarter moon > = peak activity