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 crappie fishing good, John Liechty said. Shaver trout available for anglers able to launch, Dave Hurley said. Don Pedro and McClure bass hitting, Mike Gomez reported. Kaweah crappie and bass action cranking, Sierra Sporting Goods said. Delta bass and sturgeon producing bites, Alan Fong reported.
2-Have to work hard
4-Fish jumpin’ in boat
Delta Mendota Canal
Stripers 3; Catfish 2
The northern section of the California Aqueduct is starting to show some signs of life, but anglers have to search a number of areas before finding the schools of striped bass. Duo Realis jerkbaits and Lucky Craft Pointers are starting to sell more frequently in area tackle shops. The action remains far stronger in the southern section of the aqueduct in Kern County with Jacob Rutledge of Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield reporting great action with cut baits, blood worms, or Gitzits. The stripers are mostly undersized, but there is the occasional 21- to 22-inch striper landed. The Buena Vista golf course remains the most popular location, but Highway 166/Old River, and Tupman are also producing.
Bass 2; Trout 2; Bluegill 2; Catfish 2; Crappie 2
Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “The lake continues to wake up with the possibility of a 7- to 8- pound largemouth bass. The visibility is only a few inches, and the action is best on isolated rockpiles with jigs or crankbaits and chatterbaits in crawdad patterns. The bank bite has been slow. Small catfish to 3 pounds are taken on dip baits while palm-sized crappie are taken on crappie jigs.” The lake has risen to 86 percent and 574.61 feet in elevation.
Call: Six Star Tackle Box 673-5688; Eastman Lake 689-3255
Bass 3; Trout 1; Catfish 2; Bluegill 2; Crappie 2
Visibility is limited with highly stained water, but bass action has improved with anglers averaging 8 to 10 fish per rod with jigs, crankbaits, chatterbaits or small swimbaits above isolated rockpiles. The bank action remains slow, and if the fish are on beds, the visibility is limiting bed fishing. Small catfish can be taken from the shorelines with dip baits along with small crappie. The lake has risen to 55 percent and 511.34 feet 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 3; Trout 2; Kokanee 1; King salmon 2; Crappie 2
“Bass fishing is outstanding with River2Sea Swavers or River2 Sea umbrella rigs,” Mike Gomez of the Bait Barn in Waterford said. “The bass are feeding up right now and busting on shad schools. Quality fish have been the rule with a 28-plus pound limit taking Saturday’s Future Pro Tour event. My brother Victor and I took 3rd with a limit at 20-plus pounds including a kicker at 7.91 pounds on a SWaver in kokanee pattern. We located a school busting on shad on the surface, and I was throwing the SWaver with Victor on an umbrella rig. The lake is mostly crystal clear with some locations of dingy water. The winners were reportedly working the beds, and they landed one over 11 pounds with another at 8.5 pounds. The trout and salmon bite is on the rise with the fish holding in the 25 to 30 feet level with heavy shad-patterned spoons or rolled shad.” Monte Smith of Gold Country Sport Fishing is running a special trip for fast-trolling heavy spoons on April 21. The lake continues to release water in order to prepare for the upcoming snowmelt. percent. Bond Flat Road remains closed indefinitely. All launch ramps are available at Don Pedro with the lake dropping to 804.05 feet in elevation and 84 percent.
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 2
The 28th Annual Lake Isabella Fishing Derby kicked off Saturday morning and ended at 5 p.m. on Monday. On Saturday, 7-year old Andrew Miranda set the record for the Lake Isabella Fishing Derby with a rainbow trout measuring 30.375 inches using green garlic Power Bait. With relatively high water levels at the lake this year, there was much more participation this year, and thousands of dollars of prizes were distributed from several different competitions including the popular Bobber Bowl. It was all about trout this past weekend, and there will be trout remaining in the lake during the summer months. Bass fishing should improve once the temperatures allow the largemouth to move into the shallows. The lake rose slightly to 44 percent this week, and the snowmelt should continue to fill the lake. In the small local lakes, bass fishing has been solid at Ming with crankbaits with bluegill available at both Hart Part and Ming with red worms. The lower Kern River is still flowing fast, but the upper river above the dam has been planted with rainbows.
Call: Bob’s Bait (661) 833-8657; North Fork Marina (760) 376-1812
Bass 3; Crappie 3; Trout 2; Catfish 2
Sierra Sporting Goods in Exeter reported good action for crappie, bluegill and largemouth bass. The bass have moved into the shallows and they are ready to spawn. Catching and releasing the larger female bass is recommended in order to keep the trophy possibilities for this lake. Senkos, lizards, and plastics are working for the bass with crappie biting minijigs or small to medium minnows. Bluegill are found in the shallows around structure with red worms. Kaweah was relatively stable this week, rising only a foot to 633.51 feet in elevation and 27 percent.
Call: Sierra Sporting Goods 592-5212
Bass 2 Trout 2 Catfish 2 Crappie 3
Bass fishing remains fair with the largemouths moving into the shallows. Senkos, jigs and Brush Hogs remain the top lures. Crappie fishing has been good with minijigs once you are able to locate the schools of slabsides. The lake rose 4 feet to 636.71 feet in elevation and 61 percent. The Tule River is still at a high flow and it is difficult to fish.
Call: Sequoia Fishing Co. 539-5626, sequoiafishingcompany.com
Bass 3 Trout 2 King salmon 1 Kokanee 1 Crappie 2 Catfish 2
The lake has excellent visibility with more than 10 feet of clarity, and bass fishing remains outstanding with the females already on the beds. Mike Gomez of the Bait Barn in Waterford reported a good bite with Pro Worms in 124p or 300 along with Berserk jigs or plastics on a shaky head. Reaction Innovation’s underspins or Zoom lizards are also effective. The larger females are holding off of secondary points, but the fish are in all stages of spawning. The lake is at 66 percent and 810.56 feet in elevation, and water releases will no longer be directed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as the lake is at 67 percent of capacity or below. The launch ramps at Barretts Cove South and McClure Point are open. There will be several new opportunities at McClure this summer with the Barrett Cove Marina along with the café and store returning to its previous location on the northeast side of the lake. There is a new boat launch and parking area at McClure Point expected to open this spring.
There is minimal change at this impoundment with heavy flows running through the spillway of McSwain Dam from upstream Lake McClure. As a result, trout plants are currently on hold. The last plant was October 2016. There are small park-model rental cabins overlooking the lake that are currently under construction and slated to be open in the coming months. The Exchequer Bike Park will be opened with a constructed cross-country bike loop.
Call: McSwain Marina (209) 378-2534
San Joaquin River
Bass 3; Striped Bass 2; Shad 1; Bluegill 2; Crappie 2
At Millerton, Merritt Gilbert said, “Bass fishing dominates action with small spotted bass taking center stage. A few spots to 2.75 pounds along with quality crappie are taken on ripbaits, Senkos, or underspins. The fish are scattered, and you might have to move to five to six areas before finding 4 to 5 bass holding on a rockpile. Stripers to 12 pounds have been caught and released while targeting spotted bass with an underspin.” The lake has risen once again to 48 percent from inflow, rising 13 feet to 510.90 feet in elevation. In the San Joaquin River, the Sycamore Island Pond will be open Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and all state holidays. Day passes are $9 and a season pass is $85. Passes can be purchased online or at the bait shop on the property. There are new regulations on the lower San Joaquin, and from Friant Dam downstream to the Highway 140 Bridge only 2 hatchery trout or hatchery steelhead are allowed with a total of 4 hatchery trout or hatchery steelhead in possession. The hatchery fish have a healed adipose fin clip.
Call: Valley Rod & Gun 292-3474
Bass 3; Crappie 3; Catfish 2; Trout 2; Kokanee 1
Bass fishing was the highlight over the past weekend with the Best Bass Tournament’s Mother Lode Circuit attracting 64 boats despite another large tournament at Don Pedro on the same date. Trout fishing is starting to pick up for trollers while kokanee are just around the corner. Catfish and crappie are filling out the bill in this rapidly filling reservoir. Kevin Cheek, tournament director for the Mother Lode, said, “It did everything but snow on Saturday as the temperature dropped 16 degrees by noon with the rain and hailstorm that moved through. We weighed in over 800 pounds of bass with Aaron and Aiden Cole taking first place at 21.63 pounds and a big fish over 8.29 pounds. The overall weight of the limits went down from mid-week where anglers pre-fishing were experiencing limits in the 25- to 30- pound range, but the weather had something to do with the decrease. The fish were found in both the shallows and in deeper water, and a little bit of everything seemed to be working.” John Liechty of Glory Hole Sports in Angels Camp said, “It has been a good spring to bass fish with many giant largemouth and spotted bass, but the conditions are changing daily, leading to indecisiveness on the part of the fish. They will move into the shallows when the water warms and then pull back into staging areas when the weather is cloudy and cold or when the lake rises. Weightless Senkos are a good option right now as they can be easily fished near grass and vegetation.” For rainbow trout, the holdovers are averaging 3-plus pounds, and as the water starts to warm up, they will start to head toward deeper and colder water. Bright colored lures are working best in fire tiger, orange or chartreuse at depths from 10 to 15 feet. Bank anglers are struggling as the rainbows have moved away from the shorelines. Liechty said, “The kokanee season is right around the corner and the first fish usually start show up in April. The lake is very full in comparison to the past few years. The kokanee will still associate to deep water on the main lake, and they should congregate from the dam area toward the spillway and the mouth of Angels Cove.” Catfishing is improving as the whiskerfish are moving into the shallows with the warmer water temperatures. Fishing frozen bait or a ball of nightcrawlers near rocks in the shallow flats near moving water are the top locations. For crappie, Liechty said, “This has been an extremely exceptional year for the crappie as many anglers are catching a bunch of large crappie on a variety of baits. The crappie can be found in creek channels and coves, and they absolutely thrive when the lake is lined with flooded grass. Tim O'Donnell has been using a Daiwa TD Minnow and a River2Sea Bottom Walker Swimbait for some massive slabs. New Melones Marina employee Matt Greenlee found a 10-pound bass floating near the surface after it tried to inhale a large crappie and was unsuccessful. He removed the crappie and released both fish back into the water.” New Melones continues to rise, and it has come up 4 feet this week to 1040.38 feet in elevation and 78 percent. The water is clearing up with good visibility. The Glory Hole, Angels Cove and Tuttletown launch ramps are all in the water, but the Tuttletown ramp is still not on the main ramp. Courtesy docks are available at all ramps. At Lake Tulloch, the Kerman Bass Club posted 10 limits totaling 126.64 pounds out of 11 team participants on Saturday with an average fish weighing 2.4 pounds.
Call: Glory Hole Sports (209) 736-4333; Monte Smith (209) 581-4734; Danny Layne-Fish’n Dan (209) 586-2383
Pine Flat Reservoir/
Bass 2; Trout 3; King salmon 1; Catfish 2; Crappie 3; Kokanee 0
The trout bite remains decent at Pine Flat, just in time for the annual Kokanee Power Team Trout and Salmon Derby on Saturday, April 22. The water continues to drop at the reservoir, and the best action for rainbows is in the main body of the lake. The Kokanee Power Team Trout and Salmon Derby will consist of a three-fish weigh-in per team with placement based on the heaviest limit. The tournament will pay to 15th place with a $45 entry fee for members and $55 for nonmembers. Junior anglers under 16 years of age fish for fee. Information – Jim Travis, Derby Chairmen at (559) 240-6659 or http://www.kokaneepower.org/derbies/20170422.pdf. Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “My son Zach took his wife and his 6-year old son and 2-year old out of a few hours, and they caught and released six rainbows either flat-lining Rapalas or running Needlefish at two colors from Lombardo’s to the Power Lines and back again. The fish ranged from 16 to 18 inches.” Crappie fishing has also been a highlight with Gilbert saying, “We had sold out of crappie jigs over the weekend, and most of our anglers are walking the banks for 10 to 20 slabs with various types of jigs. Bass fishing has been fair with limits in the 10 to 11-pound range possible, but we haven’t heard about any big fish for the past two weeks. There is a drop-shot bite along with chatterbaits and flukes, and the fish are moving into the shallows in the afternoons after holding in 15 to 20 feet in the mornings.” The Best Bass Tournaments will be holding an event at the lake this coming Saturday. Pine Flat has dropped to 863.48 feet in elevation and 53 percent. Also in the area, Paul Kalpakoff of the Central Sierra Anglers said, “The first Fishing Bazaar will be held at The Boat Shoppe, 2125. E Ventura in Fresno on Saturday April 29, with booth space for people to sell their fishing and sporting items (no guns or ammunition please). The booths will be 10x10 feet and will cost $50 each. The $50 raised from the sale of each booth will go to the Roosevelt High Bass Fishing Club. The registration fee is tax deductible. The Fishing Bazaar will be held from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. with free parking, scheduled seminars, food trucks and drinks. Set up starts at 7 a.m. Only 30 booth spaces are available and will be on a first-come basis. To reserve your booth, call 559-960-6634 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org. The lake is currently at 55 percent of capacity and 863.12 feet in elevation, dropping 4 feet this past week as it is releasing water to prepare for the upcoming snowmelt. In the lower Kings, the water is moving fast, but there are planted rainbows to be taken primarily with spinners in the slower pockets. There are special regulations in both the Kings River above and below Pine Flat Dam. The season is open from the last Saturday in April to Nov. 15 from Pine Flat Dam downstream to U. S. Army Corps of Engineers Bridge on Pine Flat Road with a five-fish limit.” The Army Corps of Engineer’s Bridge is the first bridge to the west of the dam. The area from Cobbles (Alta) Weir downstream to the Highway 180 crossing is open all year with only artificial lures with barbless hooks with a zero limit. The Thorburn Spawning Channel, the 2,200-foot long channel located 5 miles downstream from Pine Flat Dam, and the reach of river within a 200-foot radius of the channel exit is closed to all fishing all year.
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
Striper action continues to go from solid to tough depending on the day for both Valley and San Jose area fishermen frequenting the main San Luis Reservoir. Mickey Clements of Coyote Bait and Tackle said, “Trollers are doing best at depths from 60 to 80 feet with P-Line Predator Minnows or Diawa SP Minnows in American Shad or something with a yellow from Dinosaur Point toward Portuguese Cove. The minnow bite has been fair with most boats mooching near the Trash Racks.” Roger George of Roger George Guide Service said that the bite has been variable, with some trollers doing well with up to 20 fish a few days ago – to a tough bite on Monday during the bright full moon. “ Some guys were reporting that they had some good numbers on Saturday and Sunday, but the bite turned off on Monday. We managed to get 12 fish up to 25 inches but we had to scratch hard to get those with several smaller grade fish in the mix. Between the wind, storms and full moon it’s been a day-to-day thing. One angler who did very well on Sunday came over to us – perplexed about the tough bite Monday.” George said. A few anglers were out on the lake during Saturday’s rainstorm, and they were working near Cottonwood Bay and near Fishermen’s Point with a larger grade of lineside found around the Bay of Pigs running umbrella rigs with small shad-patterned swimbaits at 15 to 50 feet.” The O’Neill Forebay has been producing stripers on jerkbaits, but the fish average from 16 to 21 inches while most of the fish on the Medieros side are undersized. Soaking live grass shrimp at Sunset produces a grade of stripers to 21 inches.” Clements of Coyote Bait confirmed the smaller grade of striper in the forebay, saying, “Pile worms or anchovies are best near Check 12, but most of the fish are undersized.” Wind condition information is available at (800) 805-4805, but there are reports that the wind conditions have been inaccurate recently.
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
Bass 2 Trout 2 Kokanee 1
Trout fishing is starting to gain more interest in advance of next month’s annual Bass Lake Chamber of Commerce Trout Derby as the lake is sporting high water conditions. Todd Wittwer of Kokanee.net Guide Service took a double trip on Sunday, and he said, “We knocked them pretty good earlier in the week, but it was a struggle on Sunday with several rainbows hooked and lost along with a number of short hits. A few days prior, trollers had been picking up limits with Fred McAlister scoring a quick limit including the possibility of a kokanee hooked and lost. We hooked a fish that could have been a kokanee on Sunday as it shot airborne right away 20 feet from the boat, but I couldn’t get an accurate read to say it was definitely a kokanee. We are marking fish at 30 feet, but we haven’t been able to get these fish to budge. We did hook one rainbow at 29 feet, and I thought it must have been a kokanee, but it was a rainbow to my surprise. The rainbows have been in the 14.5 to 17-inch range, and nightcrawlers behind a Captain Jack’s dodger, Rocky Mountain Tackle’s Assassin spinners in pink or watermelon, or the Tasmanian Devil spoon are all working at depths from the surface to 20 feet. Leadcore has been our best option with only the occasional fish hooked on our downriggers.” Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “The water temperature dropped 8 degrees within a few days, and anglers who were picking up limits to 15 pounds struggled during the recent Federation tournament with a top weight of 11 pounds. Most bass anglers are settling for one or two fish in the colder water.” The 37th Annual Bass Lake Fishing Derby is coming to the lake on May 6-7, and registration is available at http://www.basslakechamber.com/fishing-derby/. Participants must register by 9 a.m., Saturday, May 6, and pick up wristband at any of the three Fishing Derby Headquarters: Millers Landing Resort, The Forks Resort, or Bass Lake Boat Rentals. The Pines and Forks Resorts are open, and all launch ramps are in the water with the lake rising to 81 percent.
Call: Mike Beighey 642-3748; Bass Lake Watersports 642-3200
The final section of Kaiser Pass Road at Eastwood closed on Dec. 1 and access to Edison and Florence Lakes is limited to snowmobiles. Edison dropped slightly to 17 percent and Florence rose slightly to 17 percent. Mammoth Pool is full at 100 percent. The opening of Kaiser Pass Road may be delayed past the normal Memorial Day opener due to the heavy snowpack.
Call: Vermilion Valley Resort at Edison Lake 259-4000
Trout 3; Kokanee 2
The lake level has risen to 48 percent, and small aluminum boats with a 4XD tow vehicle have been launched from the auxiliary ramp. Once an angler is able to get his or her boat in the water, trolling has been good for rainbow trout and the occasional kokanee with Dick’s Trout Busters tipped with shoepeg corn or a piece of nightcralwer near the surface. Bank fishing is fair with anglers averaging a few fish per rod using trout dough bait or nightcrawlers. There are holdovers from last year’s plants from the Shaver Lake Trophy Trout Program with two more trophy plants scheduled for this spring. The lake will bottom out by May 1 before rising slowly to full capacity by Labor Day. The marinas have been moved to deep water. The trout forecast for the season is encouraging with the Department of Fish and Wildlife scheduled between 8000 to 10,000 pounds of catchable trout. The SLTTP plants will occur in two phases, and approximately 1,500 trophy sized trout will be planted by the project over the next few months. The webcam at the Sierra Marina has been out of service since March 4 as the marina was moved out into deep water. The lake came up slightly to 48 percent with Huntington at 38 percent. There are some areas of clear water at Huntington, but there is still ice on the majority of the lake.
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; Fish Box Charters 871-3937
The gates on McKinley Grove Road are closed, and there is no vehicle access to Wishon or Courtright until the gates reopen in the spring.
Call: Wishon RV Park 865-5361
Bass 3; Striper 2; Sturgeon 3; Catfish 2; Bluegill 2
Another series of thunderstorms combined with increased releases out of the Sacramento, Feather, and American Rivers have kept the water of the north Delta high and muddy at the present time, and although sturgeon fishing should be outstanding through the month of June, anglers are starting to seek other options with halibut beginning to show up in San Francisco Bay. Striped bass made a run through the river system into the high water of the Feather River, and they will be on their way back down within the coming weeks. As the water clears up, the troll bite should be outstanding from the Rio Vista Bridge west to Collinsville and into Montezuma Slough. Sturgeon fishing remains very good for those still interested in diamondbacks. Captain Steve Mitchell of Hook’d Up Sport Fishing said, “I haven’t been out since early in the week, but I can’t wait to get back out there since there has been some really good action in the sloughs right now. The big females go into the sloughs, and the males follow them in. The important thing is to locate feeding fish on the bottom and anchor above them with the tide. The fresh water is not milking out the salmon roe at the present time, but salmon roe remains the top bait. I also would use lamprey eel to make sure that I have a bait on at all times.” Captain Stan Koenigsberger of Quetzal Adventures out of Bethel Harbor was out during Saturday’s rainstorm, and his clients had to settle for a 36-inch sturgeon released in Montezuma Slough. Pam Hayes at Benicia Bait and Tackle reported good striped bass action off of the shorelines at 12th Street, 14th Street, and Bay Park with pile worms or blood worms. She said, “A 19 pounder was landed off of the State Park on pile worms. There haven’t been as many sturgeon fishermen out there with the salmon opener and interest in halibut, but there are still fish to be had. Perhaps within a month, we will once again be on the water for grass shrimp.” J. D. Richey of Richey’s Sport Fishing cancelled on Friday due to the weather, but he was out on Wednesday in the north Delta near Steamboat and Liberty Island. He said, “The water was nice and clear, but we didn’t mark many fish, along catching three on swimbaits. I think the stripers have run up the river since the action has been outstanding on the Feather River for the last few days. With the Feather running up to 50,000 cfs, both the Sac and the Feather will be blown out for at least a week.” The Central Valley Anglers Spring Striper Derby will be held on April 29 with information at www:centralvalleyanglers.org. –Largemouth bass action is ‘phenomenal’ in the San Joaquin-Delta at the present time, but the action will get better and better as the water stabilizes in both flow and temperatures. All the conditions are right for an incredible spring for striped and largemouth bass. The Purple Heart Veteran’s Event out of Brannan Island was held this past Saturday, and although a massive thunderstorm cut down on the fun, over 100 veterans and many volunteer boaters participated in the event. Clyde Wands, shallow trolling expert, was on the San Joaquin River earlier in the week, and he had a similar report with a number of small striped bass to 7 pounds on shallow-running lures. He said, “It was a tough day for big ones which I would have released anyway.” Steve Santucci of Steve Santucci’s Fly Fishing Guide Service reported, “The water conditions and weather continues to change from week to week. Each week brings new challenges and the adaptive angler will have a chance to score on some fun fish. The water temperatures are hovering around 60 degrees. The clarity that you experience can depend on tide and location. Most anglers are scoring and adapting to the conditions.” Alan Fong, manager of the Fishermen’s Warehouse in Sacramento, said, “Chatterbaits and Senkos are working for largemouth bass in the San Joaquin, and the river is in good shape. The bite will only get better and better in the coming weeks.” Vince Borges of Vince Borges Outdoors said, “The bass bite is phenomenal with an average of 20 to 25-pound bags the norm. The fish are holding along the spawning flats, and they are cruising in the flats. The weather put a bit of a damper on the action, but they are committed to holding on the flats. When I find these conditions, I will use a long cast with a Reaction Innovation’s Pocket Rocket into 3 or 4 feet near the vicinity of cruising fish, and I will dead-stick the bait for 20 seconds or so. Often, the lure will get hit on the fall, and the key is to cover water. Squarebill crankbaits such as the River2 Sea Biggie in crawdad patterns are another option along with chatterbaits. In dinghy water, I will use a white/chartreuse or white chatterbait, and in clear water, I use one in greenpumpkin. There are a number of areas with clear water, particularly the backs of sloughs or spawning flats with the main river dirtier. There is still submerged debris under the surface, and you have to be careful when operating your vessel. Once the water temperature stabilizes, the bass bite will be truly outstanding.” The river closures were updated by the San Joaquin County Office of Emergency Services on March 29. There are areas where a 5 MPH (No Wake) speed restriction is in effect two hours before high tide through 2 hours after high tide. Specific information regarding the updated closures with bridge and tide information at DeltaBoating.com at http://deltaboating.com/tides/orwood.php g and closures at https://www.sjgov.org/department/oes/pdf/Delta-Water-Closures-3.pdf.
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 Striper 0 Catfish 2 Crappie 2
Lopez Lake is kicking out largemouth bass as the spawn is in full swing. Plastics on the drop-shot, shaky head or Texas-rig are working for numbers while the larger grade is found on spinnerbaits or squarebilled crankbaits. Bluegill and red ear perch are found in the shallows with red worms. At Lake Nacimiento, small spotted bass are the rule with the fish in pre-spawn, on beds, and already in post-spawn mode. Plastics on the drop-shot, split-shot, or shaky head are working for numbers while jigs or small profile reaction baits are working for a slightly larger grade of spotted bass. Landing numbers is not a problem, but finding the larger fish to 3 pounds is the challenge. White bass are starting to show up in the Narrows with white spinners or spoons. The lake came up slightly to 88 percent this past week. San Antonio will reopen on the South Shore for recreation starting at 7 a.m. on April 14, and the South Shore will be open on a weekend only basis until May 14. After a brief five-day closure, it will remain open on May 19 on a full-time basis. The North Shore is expected to open on a full-time basis on June 9. Striped bass action should be good once anglers have access to the lake as the lake has been closed since Sept. 11, 2016. The lake rose slightly to 54 percent. Santa Margarita is at full pool. The bass are scattered out within the shoreline area, and the spawn is in full swing. Reaction baits are working for the larger bass while numbers are taken on plastics. Crappie fishing is heading up with crappie jigs tipped with bait around submerged structure near the campground areas. Mackerel or similar cut baits are the best options for catfish.
Call: Lake Nacimiento (805) 238-1056, ext. 3; Lake San Antonio Marina (805) 472-2818; Central Coast Bass Fishing.com (805) 466-6557
Half Moon Bay
Salmon 2 Striper 2 Crabs 2
Capt. Michael Cabanas of the Huli Cat went salmon fishing on Sunday, and he said, “Very few fish were landed for the charter boats with a couple of fish caught up high. Mainly, private boaters with downriggers were hooking up around 100 feet in depth. We had a few scratched baits throughout the day along with a couple of salmon that came unbuttoned after around 10 seconds, but no keepers landed. There were small pockets of bait marking at 40 to 60 feet and some around 120 feet. The ocean conditions consisted of some rolling swells and it was slightly breezy.” There was some action around the Deep Reef with Pink Haze hoochies behind a UV Sling Blade, and salmon to 19 pounds were reported by private boats, but most boats ended up releasing shakers under 24 inches or striking out without a bite. Rockfish season opened below Pigeon Point on April 1 and in local waters on April 15. Roger Thomas on the Salty Lady is whale watching weekends and running fishing trips on weekdays through May.
Call: Happy Hooker (510) 223-5388; Captain Roger Thomas, Salty Lady (415) 760-9362; Emeryville Sport Fishing (510) 654-6040.
Rockfish 3 Striper 2 Salmon 2
Big ling cod over 20 pounds were the story out of Monterey with Troy at Chris’s Fishing Trips in Monterey reporting 20 limits of lings on the Check Mate including six over 20 pounds using bars in blue or glow-in-the-dark or live squid, mackerel and sand dabs inside of Monterey Bay. He said, “All forty lings were over 26 inches, but the rockfish are not biting in the cold 49- to 51-degree water. We ended up with a total of 32 rockfish.” The Caroline put in near-limits with 36 lings for 31 fishermen along with 35 rockfish. On Saturday, the Caroline did find 17 limits of both rockfish and ling cod while the Check Mate put in 3/4 limits of rockfish and 20 lings. They will be taking a salmon mooching trip on Monday, and the salmon action has been picking up at the Soquel and Pajaro Holes. The fish at the Soquel Hole have been deep from 80 to 120 feet, and the action was slow over the weekend after several days of south wind. Allen Bushnell of Santa Cruz Kayak Fishing and Surfcasting Guide Service said, “General consensus is that opening day was rather slow for both salmon and cod at the usual springtime locations. Salmon anglers averaged zero to three fish per boat on Saturday. Sunday’s fishing was much the same. A few boats claimed limits as anglers zeroed in on the more productive areas. The salmon seem to be scattered across the bay, with catches reported near Marina, Moss, the Pajaro area and near the Soquel Hole. As the week progressed fishing got much better. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday reports indicated fairly good salmon fishing, especially for those who made it out to the grounds early for first light. While the Soquel Hole produced a few reported catches, and at least one boater caught fish of the cost north of Santa Cruz, the best action was centered on the Pajaro Hole area and the shallower flats between Pajaro and Soquel Holes.”
Call: Chris’ Landing (831) 375-5951; Bayside Marine (831) 475-2173.
San Francisco Bay
Halibut 2 Striper 2 Leopard shark 2 Sturgeon 3 Crab 2 Rockfish 3 Salmon 2
The salmon action was null and void with a few party boats down along the San Mateo coastline and returning with minimal action. Live bait is available in both the Berkeley and San Francisco Bait receivers, and the anchovies are big in the 3- to 5-inch range. This is the earliest that live bait has been available for some time. Captains Jim and Chris Smith of the Happy Hooker out of Berkeley went halibut fishing on both Saturday and Sunday, and they found plenty of undersized halibut to go with a few quality butts and 4 nice bass on Saturday. Sunday was a different story with only a single halibut, shaker bass and several shaker halibut on the live bait. Smith found halibut in front of the Emeryville Marina on Saturday, and he ventured far and wide from the Alameda Rockwall, Alcatraz, Raccoon Straits and California City in search of action on Sunday. The best location for his son, James, on the California Dawn was off San Bruno as they boated eight halibut. Papa Smith said, “The water in the South Bay was beautiful and the bait was great, and we only found off-color water south of the Alameda Rockwall.” Keith Fraser of Loch Lomond Bait and Tackle reported good sturgeon action in the north bay despite “anemic tides.” Well, he actually said, “The tides were mediocre at best.” A few boats went out to Fraser’s hot spot near the Pumphouse in 11 feet of water with Loch Lomond mud or ghost shrimp, and they landed sturgeon to 55 pounds. Ross Peterson, formerly of Stockton, was trying to make up for missing a pumper due to “fatigue” on Wednesday, and he also went out to the same area on Sunday afternoon. Fraser has a supply of live mud shrimp that should last through Monday along with the possibility of more mud shrimp arriving on Tuesday or Wednesday to accompany the live ghost shrimp and pile worms. Fraser’s parting words were, “Sturgeon season will be with us for quite a while.”
San Luis Obispo
The second weekend of the bottom fish season brought out some decent scores with two boats out of Morro Bay Landing returning on Monday with 330 vermilion rockfish, 20 copper rockfish, 30 Boccaccio, 20 assorted rockfish, and 24 lings for a combined 41 anglers. Out of Patriot Sport Fishing in Port San Luis, the Phenix and Patriot took out 58 anglers on Monday for 91 vermilion rockfish, 85 copper rockfish, 11 Boccaccio, 61 bolina, 14 canary rockfish, and 42 ling cod to 13.6 pounds.
Call: Virg’s Landing, (805) 772-1222; (800) 762-5263; Patriot Sport Fishing (805) 595-4100; Port Side Marine Sports Launch (805) 595-7214
- Christian Bass League Tournament April 8 at the Delta: 1st Paul Buccola/Steve O’Brien 19.56; 2nd Ariel Villasol/Layne Filburn 18.22; 3rd Jonathan Whitesett/Dale Lanza 16.14 (big fish: Nick McMillan/Simon Garcia 8.06)
- American Bass Association April 8 at Delta/B and W Resort:- 1st Charlie Almassey/Paul Fontaine 31.97 (big fish 8.09; 2nd Larry Vignolo/Ron Berg 23.66; 3rd Isaac and Tom Budeselich 23.44.
- California Team Tournament Trail Big Bass April 8 at Delta/Russo’s Marina: 1st Allen Barba 9.16; 2nd Bobby Barrack 8.93; 3rd Bobby Barrack 7.93.
- Kerman Bass Club April 8 at Tulloch:- 1st James Horton/Kym Gallegher 18.62 (big fish 6.78); 2nd Ryan Voorhees/Melissa Garone 14.76; 3rd John Albidrez/Tony Lopez 14.17.
- Best Bass Tournaments April 8 at New Melones: 1st Aaron and Aiden Cole 21.63 (big fish 8.29); 2nd Don Bays/Darren Urban 20.24; 3rd Jeffery Morgado/Jared Roscelli 20.04.
- California Tournament Trail April 8 at Kaweah: 1st Kyle Manes/Jess Coulter 17.97 (big fish 8.31); 2nd Ralph Encizo/Denny Bowlin 15.52; 3rd Rod and Scott Burns 12.06.
- Fresno Bass Club April 9 at Delta/B and W Resort: 1st Danny Marshall 21.59 (big fish 7.50); 2nd Mark Corrente 20.41; 3rd Nick Beck 15.05.
- Friday: E and J Gallo Winery, April 14 at Don Pedro
- Saturday: Dan’s Delta Outdoors at Delta/Big Break Marina
- San Luis Obispo County Bass Ambushers at Delta/B and W Resort
- Delta Bass Club at Delta/Russo’s Marina
- Manteca Bassin’ Buddies at Pardee
- MCYFC Youth Football at Hensley (information: 706-0609)
- Best Bass Tournaments at Pine Flat
q = quarter moon f= full moon > = peak activity