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.
* Try dynamite
** Have to work hard
*** Limits possible
**** Fish jumpin’ in boat
Delta Mendota Canal and Sloughs
Striper *** Catfish ** Bass ***
The northern section of the California Aqueduct in the San Joaquin Valley above Firebaugh remained slow for stripers with the best action below Kettleman City toward the Grapevine. Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun reported, “Most of our striper fishermen are heading to the aqueduct, but they are going south. Sales of Duo Realis ripbaits continue to be strong, providing evidence that there is still interest in striper fishing.” With the shortage of blood and pile worms, bait fishermen are using anchovies for stripers in the 18- to 23-inch range. In the south aqueduct in Kern County, Jacob Rutledge of Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield said, “The largemouth, bluegill, and crappie bite in the aqueduct remained solid, and the moss and debris in the system has created cover for species that generally would have been overwhelmed by the striped bass.” Drop-shotting plastics worms remained the top technique for largemouth, with bluegill on red or wax worms and crappie on small minnows. The striper bite in the south aqueduct has been fair, with the best action on Lucky Craft Sammies, Pointers, or Duo Realis ripbaits.
Bass ** Trout ** Bluegill ** Catfish ** Crappie **
Minimal change, with a few planted trout taken from the shore near the day-use area with trout dough bait or nightcrawlers. Few bass fishermen are heading to the lake, and those who are going are reporting very slow action. The area extending upstream from the buoy line near the Cordoniz Launch is closed to accommodate nesting bald eagles . There are unmarked hazards throughout the lake because of the low water. The lake is at 469.85 feet in elevation and 8% capacity.
Call: Six Star Tackle Box 673-5688; Eastman Lake 689-3255
Bass ** Trout ** Catfish ** Bluegill ** Crappie **
Bass fishing remained very slow, with anglers reporting one or two fish for seven hours of work in the cold and murky water. Most Fresno-area fishermen are heading to Millerton or Pine Flat for more consistent action. The annual Kids Fishing Derby is April 11, with fishing tutorials and water-safety instruction. The launch ramp is accessible for larger boats. Trout fishing from the shore remained slow. Contact the ranger station at Corps of Engineers office for current ramp conditions. The lake rose more than a foot to 452.48 in elevation and 7% of capacity.
Call: Fresno Fisherman’s Warehouse 225-1838; 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 *** Trout *** Kokanee * King salmon ** Crappie **
Trout action has rebounded, with Monte Smith of Gold County Sport Fishing putting three clients onto 11 rainbows, with six others lost in spectacular weather Monday. He said, “We started off by dropping a pair of fish within 100 yards of putting out gear, but that was it for that area, so we made a couple of moves to locate better action. The best setup was a nightcrawler 18 inches behind a Sep’s Strike Master tear-drop dodger on a side planer. I let out 40-50 feet before hooking on the side planer and then let out another 80-90 feet to let the bait sit far behind the boat.” In the morning hours, the water temperature was in the 54- to 55-degree range, and it later warmed to 60. They found their best action in the warmer water, and Smith slowed to 1.2-1.4 mph with his electric motor. He added, “If the weather keeps up like it is, the action is going to break out in a big way.” Gary Vella of Vella’s Sport Fishing has been rolling shad for king salmon to 3.5 pounds on recent trips. Bass fishing continued to improve for large fish with Huddleston swimbaits in light trout, 68 Specials, or Reaction Innovation’s Skinny Dippers on a quarter-ounce jig head rolled like a jig along the bottom. Numbers of bass are still taken by drop-shotting or dartheading plastic worms at depths from 25-65 feet. The bass are moving shallow with the warming water. The lake is stained in the inlets because of last week’s storms, and trout fishing is best with bright-colored lures. The Fleming Meadows Launch has one lane open, but Blue Oaks is closed. Another 3 feet is necessary to open multiple lanes at Flemings Meadows. There is a courtesy dock in the water. The lake rose 3 feet 708.70 in elevation and 42% 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 ** Trout ** Crappie ** Catfish *** Bluegill **
The lake is slowly rising, but ramp conditions continued to discourage bass fishermen from splashing their vessels. Catfish continue to be the top species with garlic shrimp, anchovies, sardines, or mackerel. The whiskerfish are averaging a few pounds, and the best action has been near Engineer’s Point in the deeper water. Larger catfish can be taken at night with jumbo minnows. Jacob Rutledge of Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield said, “There are some crappie being landed on small minnows or minijigs, but you have to have a boat to get into the deeper water.” Few bass fishermen are targeting the lake, with the launch ramp requiring a four-wheel-drive tow vehicle and given the overall difficulty in putting a boat in the water. Boats are still able to launch from the dirt near Red’s Marina, but a four-wheel -driveis required. There are no marinas or courtesy docks at present. No trout reports despite an earlier plant in the lake, but the 26th annual Lake Isabella Fishing Derby will be March 28-30, with a payout of $18,500 for the longest trout from 1st to 10th place guaranteed. Entry is $30 per individual or $65 per family. Call (760) 379-5236 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Online registration is available at http://www.kernrivervalley.com. Heavy trout plants will occur prior to the derby. The lake is at 2530.58 feet in elevation and 8% capacity. In the Kern River, the upper and lower portions were planted for last weekend’s Whiskey Flat Days in Kernville. The best fishing in the upper river for planters is with live crickets or salmon eggs in the deeper holes. The lower river is best near the dump sites at Hobo Gulch or Sandy Flats. Buena Vista is being planted every few weeks. The local lakes have received small plants in recent weeks. The River Walk is scheduled to be planted prior to this weekend’s Sheriff’s Activity League Trout Derby. The Bakersfield Firefighters Trout Derby is March 7 at the River Walk, limited to 800 anglers, offering tagged fish worth up to $1,500.
Call: Bob’s Bait (661) 833-8657; North Fork Marina (760) 376-1812
Bass ** Crappie ** Trout ** Catfish **
The lake continues to rise, climbing 7 feet this week to 621.17 in elevation and 20% capacity. Bass fishing is fair, as the fish are scattered out with the rapidly rising waters. Most fish are deep but starting to move into the shallows with the warming water. Rainbow trout-patterned swimbaits are producing the occasional larger bass, but the most consistent action is on drop-shot plastics or deep-diving cranks on a slow presentation. Live minnows, nightcrawlers or crawdads also are effective. Interest in crappie fishing is on the upswing, as the rising lake has submerged trees near Horse Creek. Small minnows or minijgs are working for the slabsides. The trout bite has been very slow, as the lake has only been planted a single time this season. The warm weather has kept the catfish bite going, and the best action has been with anchovies, sardines or chicken livers. The launch ramp is open.
Call: Sierra Sporting Goods 592-5212
Bass *** Trout ** Catfish ** Crappie **
Chuck Stokke of Sequoia Fishing Co. in Springville reported good to excellent fishing with Senkos, Brush Hogs or crankbaits, with a 12-pound largemouth landed within the past week on a Senko. The unseasonably warm weather and lack of trout plants has created far better conditions for bass fishermen, and interest is high. An early spawn is anticipated. The lake rose over 2 feet to 586.75 in elevation and 8% . On the Tule River, Stokke reported excellent trout fishing with dry flies or nymphs while Panther Martins are picking up larger browns in the deeper holes. There is a decent flow on the Tule. The local ponds have been solid for bass with Brush Hogs, crankbaits or swimbaits, and the occasional crappie or bluegill is coming out of the ponds.
Call: Sequoia Fishing Co. 539-5626, www.sequoiafishingcompany.com
Bass ** Trout ** King salmon * Kokanee * Crappie ** Catfish **
The lake continues to release water, and the only access for boats is from the shore for small portable vessels such as kayaks or canoes. Bass tournaments scheduled for McClure are being switched to neighboring reservoirs such as Don Pedro this spring. All ramps are closed, and few fishermen are heading to the lake. The lake rose over 2 feet to 600.91 in elevation and 8% capacity.
Call: A-1 Bait (209) 563-6505; Bub Tosh (209) 404-0053
A 500-pound plant from Calaveras Trout Farm plant spurred bank action during the week. Heavy releases from McClure have ceased at present. Bank fishermen are scoring with blue/chrome Kastmasters, bright Roostertails, garlic trout dough bait or nightcrawlers from the banks around the marina, the handicapped docks and the brush pile. Trolling continued to be slow in the stained water.
Call: McSwain Marina (209) 378-2534
Millerton Lake/San Joaquin River
Bass *** Striper ** Shad * Bluegill **
Small bass remain the rule at Millerton, but Patrick Movey of the Fisherman’s Warehouse in Fresno said, “The bite seems to change from day to day, with the most consistent action on drop-shot plastics at depths from 25-30 feet with a few fish on spinnerbaits or jerkbaits.” Merritt Gilbert added, “The reaction bite has been better at Millerton than Pine Flat with a few fish taken on ripbaits.” Limits in the 7.5- to 7.75-pound range are possible, and although the numbers are much better than nearby Pine Flat, the overall size of the bass is smaller. Striper reports were scarce. All boats must fill out a Quagga mussel self-inspection form before launching, and a low-emissions sticker is necessary on all motorized craft. Millerton is rising slowly, and is at 490.60 feet in elevation and 36% capacity. In the lower San Joaquin, an 11-pound striped bass was taken by a kayak angler on a plastic worm near Sycamore Island. There are new regulations on the lower San Joaquin, and from Friant Dam downstream to the Highway 140 Bridge, with only two hatchery trout or hatchery steelhead allowed and a total of four in possession. The hatchery fish have a healed adipose fin clip.
Call: Fresno Fisherman’s Warehouse 225-1838; Valley Rod & Gun 292-3474
New Melones Reservoir/Tulloch
Bass *** Crappie ** Catfish ** Trout *** Kokanee *
The massive largemouth bass continued to come out of New Melones, with three largemouths of more than 10 pounds tipping the scales during Saturday’s Best Bass Tournament’s Mother Lode Event. Tournament Director Kevin Cheek said, “The big fish came on Huddleston swimbaits, and all but one of the 69 teams weighed in fish, with father and son, Andrew and Don Stilley of Ceres, weighing two over 10 pounds as part of their 35.75-pound limit. Corey Lewis took big fish honors at 10.31 pounds, and while most fishermen were working the bottom with jigs or Senkos, all of the large bass came on Huddlesons for those willing to throw the big lures all day long.” John Lietchy of Glory Hole Sporting Goods in Angels Camp added, “There have been a number of big fish coming out of the lake, and we caught and released over 30 bass on my last two guide trips. We have been dragging soft plastics along ledges in deep water, and the fish are starting to concentrate on crawdads as opposed to the shad schools as the bass are transitioning into a pre-spawn mode.” Randy Pringle, the Fishing Instructor and owner of Best Bass Tournaments, added, “This lake could produce a world-record spotted bass or largemouth bass within the next month since February is the month when the truly big fish come out. Since we have a certified scale at our weigh-ins, we are looking forward to the opportunity to weigh in a potential world record.” Trout fishing remained best for trollers as Gary Burns of Take It To the Limit Guide Service reported good action with Uncle Larry’s Spinners or a plain hooked topped off with a nightcrawler at depths from 6-10 feet at a trolling speed of 1.8 mph near the Highway 49 Bridge. Lietchy added that jointed Rapalas in firetiger or orange Speedy Shiners have been producing in the stained waters of the lake. The recent inflow has parts of the lake off-color, so the brighter colors of lures are working best, particularly when scented with Pro-Cure’s Bloody Tuna. Since there hasn’t been an extended period of cold weather this winter, a few catfish are brought into Glory Hole Sporting Goods on a weekly basis with a scented ball of nightcrawlers working best. The concrete ramp at Glory Hole Point is open with two lanes and a dock, but the Tuttletown Launch Ramp remains closed. The lake rose nearly 8 feet to 878.04 in elevation and 25% of 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
Kokanee * Bass** Trout ** King salmon * Catfish ** Crappie **
Heavy tournament pressure continues to put a damper on the lake, and the best action has occurred at midweek for bass fishermen. Jigs or plastics on the drop-shot or darthead are working best before 9 a.m. The occasional large fish is taken in the shallows on a rainbow-trout patterned swimbait. Patrick Jensen landed a 6-pound bucket mouth to win big fish and propel his team to victory at the Roosevelt High School Bass Fishing Club Pine Flat February Winter Flurry on Saturday. Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “Experienced anglers are finding fish between 30 and 50 feet, and they are not any smaller than those found in shallower water of less than 25 feet.” Trout trolling is showing signs of life at depths from the surface to 15 feet with shad-patterned spoons from Windy Gap to Zebe Creek. Bass tournaments are scheduled nearly every weekend in the spring. The lake rose 3.5 feet to 737.59 in elevation and 15% capacity. In the lower Kings River, a correction for last week’s report is necessary. There will be no trophy trout plant this spring in the lower Kings River, but rainbows of catchable size will continue throughout the lower river. Various colors of Power Bait or nightcrawlers have been effective in the low flows. There are special regulations in 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 the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Bridge on Pine Flat Road with a five-fish limit.” The Corps of Engineers Bridge is the first one west of the dam.
Call: Fresno Fisherman’s Warehouse 225-1838; Valley Rod & Gun 292-3474; Sequoia Fishing Co. 539-5626; The I Forgot Store 787-3689
San Luis Reservoir and O’Neill Forebay
Striper ** Catfish ** Bass ** Crappie **
San Luis Reservoir remained on a rapid ascent, with more pumping from the Delta, and it is currently at 60% capacity and rising steadily. As a result, the stripers are concentrated into small groupings in specific areas. Mickey Clements of Coyote Bait and Tackle in Morgan Hill reported, “The bait bite has been much better than trolling lately, and the best action is found between 80 and 90 feet in depth near the dam. Most fishermen are using light tackle and 10- to 12-pound test and dropping to the bottom and reeling up a few cranks with jumbo of super jumbo minnows. The best fishing is later in the morning after 9 a.m., and this may correlate to the pumps starting at this time.” Roger George of Roger’s Guide Service said that most anglers are doing fair, but experienced fishermen are still the ones doing well on the bunched groups of fish hanging in small areas. “We fished from 9 to 3 p.m. and got over 25 fish to 24 inches trolling at 40-80 feet with blue lures — but a lot of guys around us were just getting a fish once in awhile. Targeting the fish is key right now,” he said. Patrick Movey of the Fisherman’s Warehouse in Fresno reported trollers are finding some action on downriggers with P-Line Predators, Smithwick’s, Yozuri Crystal Minnows or broken-backed Rebels in shad-patterns. Bank fishing has been best around Romero Visitor Center and Goosehead Point where shore fishermen are using remote control boats to run out their minnows into deeper water. The O’Neill Forebay is limited to smaller bass ranging from undersized to barely-legal stripers, and the best action has been with ripbaits or RatLTraps around Check 12 and the twin islands in the middle of the lake. The topwater bite has slowed considerably, and bait fishing is limited to anchovies or sardines with the lack of pile worms and blood worms due to the intense amount of snowfall on the East Coast.
Call: Coyote Bait and Tackle (408) 463-0711, Roger George of rogergeorgeguideservice.com (559) 905-2954
Bass ** Trout *** Kokanee *
At Bass Lake, trout fishing is improving with Merritt Gilbert reporting boats trolling blade/crawler combinations on lead core line picking up three limits to 14.5 inches in the top 20 feet from the surface. The water has warmed, but the reaction bass bite has yet to emerge. Richard Walter of Bass Lake Water Sports said, “They stocked at the ramp at Bass Lake Watersports on Thursday and quite a few trout have been landed, primarily on Power Bait.” He added, “Trolling continues to be productive with flashers on a mono line 18 inches in front of a plain hook tipped with a half-crawler with a half-ounce weight in front of the flasher to get the bait down between 15 and 20 feet on a long-line approach.” The best bass action occurred from 15-30 feet with jigs or plastics on the drop-shot for spotted bass in the 1.25- to 1.75-pound range. The bite is confined to early hours for bass and rainbow trout. The lake has risen to the point where a larger boat can be launched from the public dock. The lake has risen to 51% capacity.
Call: Todd Wittwer 288-8100; Mike Beighey 642-3748
Brown trout ** Trout **
The Kaiser Pass Lakes are done for the winter until the gate is reopened later in the spring. At Mammoth Pool, only a few fishermen are taking the long drive to the lake, but trout fishing continues to be decent from the shore with Power Bait or nightcrawlers. Mammoth Pool rose significantly to 26%, with Edison at 4% and Florence at 9%.
Call: Vermilion Valley Resort at Edison Lake 259-4000
Shaver Lake/Huntington Lake
Kokanee * Trout ***
Trollers returned in force at Shaver Lake over the past week in response to springlike weather in the high country. A limit to a pair of limits was the rule for boaters. Dick Nichols of Dick’s Fishing Charters in Shaver Lake said, “Guys like Rodney and Fred of Fresno fished around the island at 25 feet in depth and deeper for two limits of rainbows while other boats were in front of the Boy Scout Cove, Stevenson Creek, and off of the Point.” Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis added, “Most trollers are working from 15-20 feet in depth with downriggers, and Dick’s Trout Busters, Captain Jack’s Ring-A-Ding’s, and the PPK Tomahawk spinner have been the top sellers in the shop over the past week. Bank fishermen were out in numbers over the weekend, and most were concentrated around the dam or the Sierra Marina with the occasional fish hooked on trout dough bait or nightcrawlers. The bank action should heat up soon with the arrival of 1,700 hybrid rainbows from 3-8 pounds donated by the Shaver Lake Trophy Trout Project this spring. More on the upcoming trophy trout plant at Shaver Lake wiill be discussed by SLTTP planting chairman Bob Bernier at the Herb Bauer Shaver Lake seminar at 6 p.m. Feb. 26. The slide show seminar features kokanee expert Captain Jack Yandell and veteran Shaver Lake fishing guide Dick Nichols of Dick’s Fishing charter. The duo’s recommendations on how to fish Shaver, the 2015 water level report and what to expect, along with jigging for kokanee will be discussed. Custom pole builder Terry Walton will add some on his kokanee fishing last year. A free raffle will follow. Water and soft drinks will be furnished by Herb Bauer’s Sporting Goods staff. At Huntington Lake, the launch ramp is still out of the water, but that hasn’t stopped Jack Benigno of Visalia catching and releasing 20 quality rainbows from the bank near Deer Creek with trout dough bait. Huntington was not planted last year, so all of these fish are holdovers. Shaver is at 48% capacity with Huntington at 32%.
Call: Dick’s Fishing Charters 841-2740; Dinkey Creek Inn 841-3435; Rancheria Marina 893-3234; Shaver Lake Sports Inc. 841-2740
Access to both lakes is over for the winter with the closure of the gate at Dinkey Creek. The trout will now holdover until the road reopens in late spring.
Call: Wishon RV Park 865-5361
Half Moon Bay
Captain Tom Mattusch of the Huli Cat took a research trip Monday in search of late season gravid chilipepper rockfish at depths to 500 feet. They landed a few males, green spotted, green stripers, a short belly, and a single widow rockfish. The fish will be processed by the Santa Cruz NOAA. Mattusch of the Huli Cat is the only party boat running combination trips, crab-only trips, whale watching trips, and rockfish research trips for the next few months prior to the anticipated salmon opener in April. The 11th annual Sand Crab Surf Perch Derby will be held March 14 out of Santa Cruz, but anglers can venture far up the coast in search of surf perch during the event. The event is an annual fundraiser for the Monterey Bay Salmon and Steelhead Project. Information is available at theletsgofishingradioshow.com.
Call: Happy Hooker (510) 223-5388; Roger Thomas, Salty Lady (415) 760-9362; Bait and Switch Sport Fishing Center (650) 726-7133726-7133; Emeryville Sport Fishing (510) 654-6040; Don Franklin, Soleman (510) 703-4148
Chris Arcoleo of Chris’ Landing in Monterey said, “The weather was over 80 degrees in Monterey, and we took out 18 anglers on Sunday for loads of mackerel and sand dabs along with three crab apiece.” The crab counts have fallen off the past two days. They have combination trips scheduled for Wednesday and Friday. Out of Santa Cruz, surf perch action is heating up, just in time for the Sand Crab Perch Derby on March 14.
Call: Chris’ Landing(831) 375-5951; Bayside Marine (831) 475-2173; usafishing.com
San Francisco Bay
Striper *** Leopard shark *** Sturgeon ***
Keith Fraser of Loch Lomond Bait and Tackle in San Rafael reported spectacular weather has brought out crowds to the bay, and they went through bucketloads of ghost shrimp along with bags and bags of frozen mud shrimp. Gordie Hough on the Morningstar was out on Friday with 12 anglers, and they landed 16 striped bass while also releasing eight sturgeon consisting of six shakers and two oversized. The majority of sturgeon action in San Pablo Bay has been on the far eastern edge in the flats near the Mare Island Rockwall. Striped bass fishing remained very good. Captain Jim Smith of the Happy Hooker out of Berkeley confirmed the excellent sturgeon action in San Pablo Bay as a private boater landed two legal sturgeon in the flats adjacent to the Mare Island Rockwall. The herring spawns have been quiet, but the bigger tides over the weekend should start the herring up once again. In the south bay, Mickey Clements of Coyote Bait reported excellent sturgeon action in the sloughs near Alviso, stating, “It is the best it has been in the past several years.” The two heavy storms have something to do with the improved south bay action. The good fishing in the south bay is just in time for next Saturday’s Nor Cal Skipper’s Sturgeon Derby held out of the San Leandro Launch Ramp.
San Luis Obispo
The San Luis Obispo County ports are limited to sand dab/crab, whale watching, or nature cruises until the April 1 rockfish opener. The rockfish season is anticipated to open one month earlier this year than the traditional May 1 opener. Patriot Sport Fishing out of Port San Luis will be offering sand dab/crab combination trips Wednesdays and Saturdays for $60 for adults and $50 for those 12 and younger. They are selling season passes for the 2015 rockfish season for $1,000. Whale watching and nature cruises will be held out of Morro Bay Landing and Virg’s Landing in Morro Bay for the next several months. Virg’s Landing is running whale watching trips Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. for $39 for adults and $29 for children. Virg’s is offering a 10% discount for group charters booking an entire boat for a trip before the season opens.
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 *** Striper *** Sturgeon *** Catfish ** Bluegill ***
The sturgeon bite broke loose over the past weekend with the arrival of muddy water from the upper Sacramento River. Coupled with the springlike record-setting temperatures, the heavy sediment in the river contributed to the increase in surface temperature to 62 degrees in the shallows. Captain Chris Smith of the Captain Hook out of Martinez Marina found spectacular action Friday and Saturday, with a legal sturgeon and oversized Friday to go with two keeper at 43.5 and 45 inches Saturday working near the upper end of the Mothball Fleet with eel. John Badger of Barbarian Sport Fishing also has been around buoy 2, and he reported fair action, stating, “We are not sitting on a bunch of fish, but we released a 64-inch oversized along with a shaker.” Eel and salmon roe were the top baits. Jay Lopes of Right Hook Sport Fishing was close to Badger in the deeper water near Martinez, and he was able to put in three limits of sturgeon for his clients at 40.5, 44, and 56 inches at week’s end after locating two legal fish the previous day. He said, “The best time has been during the first push of the outgo, but we will be able to fish longer on the incoming tide on Friday morning so we will see what this brings.” Eel was the bait of choice, and he moved into deeper water after releasing 11 shakers on a mid-week trip. A number of big stripers have been taken out of the system over the past week as confirmed by Lopes and Do Doung of Dockside Bait in Pittsburg, and Doug Chapman of Gotcha Bait in Antioch reported viewing a photograph of a 65-pound striper landed near Rio Vista on Saturday. Doung said, “A number of big stripers from 20-40 pounds have been coming in, and a 40-pounder was brought to the shop on Saturday. Sturgeon fishing has been best near buoy 2 by Broad Slough on the Sacramento River side and in front of the Pittsburg PGE Plant with grass shrimp or ghost shrimp.” Splittail, mudsuckers, bullheads, and jack smelt have all been used for the huge fish. Unfortunately, most of these larger fish have been kept within the past few weeks despite a rapid decline in the number of striped bass within the decade. Mark Delnero of Fin Addict Sport Fishing also found good sturgeon action Saturday with Robert Biegler of Lodi landing a 40.5-inch sturgeon on lamprey eel in Honker Bay. “Biegler has landed 4 legal sturgeon to 59.5 inches on five trips with me, and he is one of the luckiest fishermen I have ever seen,” Delnero said. Earlier in the week, Sydney Schaumann of Wyoming landed a 7-pound bass with Delnero in Honker Bay on frozen shad. Rio Vista Bait reported a good striper bite prior to the storms, but the water of the Sacramento River has turned muddy. Sturgeon fishing has been best in Cache and Prospect Sloughs with ghost shrimp, eel, or salmon roe. A few sturgeon are coming out of Steamboat Slough and also near the Ryer Island Ferry. Sherman Island near the Power Lines is another productive area, and there were a pair of keepers taken near Sherman Lake on Thursday. On the San Joaquin River, finding clear water is the key to success, and anglers need to go west or south to locate the clearest parts of the river system. Captain Mike Gravert of Intimidator Sport Fishing out of Korth’s Pirate’s Lair at the confluence of the Mokelumne and San Joaquin River said, ”After last week’s storms, we could not find any fishable water anywhere out of Korth’s.” J.D.Richey of Richey’s Sport Fishing will be in search of clear water for stripers on swimbaits, spoons, or topwater this week, but he said, “The Mokelumne is pumping mud over the Highway 12 Bridge at B and W Resort, and there is no visibility there.” The water is warming up rapidly, and he thought an early season for striped bass is on the way. Alan Fong of the Fisherman’s Warehouse in Sacramento reported excellent largemouth bass action with chatterbaits, Senkos, or crankbaits on the west side of the Delta, stating, “You can find small areas of clear water, but you have to go west toward Mildred Island, and the water temperature is 60 degrees at the present time. This is unheard of at this time of year.” Large bass have been scarce, but Fong located a number of fish to 2.75 pounds. Also for largemouth bass, Randy Pringle, the Fishing Instructor, said, “If you stay in tune with the conditions, you will catch fish.” He took out Chris Ford form Pure Fishing this week, and they found great action with the Berkley Havoc Flat Dog fished weightless along the weedline. The ima Shaker crankbait also has been effective in the off-color water because of its ability to create a greater wobble and more vibration. The water temperature is 53-54 degrees, and it will warm up over the weekend, bringing out the big fish. He said, “February is the best month for landing a truly large bass, as the big ones come out at the first hint of springtime.” For sturgeon, Rio Vista Bait reported the diamondbacks are starting to show up near Spindrift Marina and Happy Harbor in the deep holes. Brandon Gallegos of H and R Bait in Stockton reported slow striper fishing in the south Delta with the river muddy and full of debris.
Call: Randy Pringle (209) 543-6260; Captain Stan Koenigsberger – Quetzal Adventures (925) 570-5303; Intimidator Sport Fishing (916) 806-3030
Lake Nacimiento/San Antonio/Santa Margarita/Lopez
Bass*** White bass ** Striper ** Catfish ** Crappie *
Upcoming tournaments at the coastal lakes will be confined to Lopez or Nacimiento because of low water conditions at San Antonio and Santa Margarita. Nacimiento remains solid for numbers, but larger fish are scarce. Senkos near the marina have produced spotted bass while shaky head plastics also are effective. The Heritage Launch Ramp is reopened as the lake rose enough to make this possible. Santa Margarita is open for rental boats or kayaks, canoes, or float tubes as the lake needs to come up to 30% in order for the launch ramp to be operable. The lake is at 19%. The marina store is open once again seven days per week from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. San Antonio remains very low with only kayaks, canoes or float tubes able to be released into the lake. A few striped bass, largemouth bass, and catfish are available.
Call: Lake Nacimiento (805) 238-1056, ext. 3; Lake San Antonio Marina (805) 472-2818; Central Coast Bass Fishing.com (805) 466-6557
Best Bass Tournament at New Melones on Feb. 15: 1, Andrew and Don Stilley 35.75 pounds (big fish 10.09); 2, David Homen/Scott Summers 23.91; 3, Collin and Jace Degough 23.77
California Bass Federation at Millerton on Feb. 7: 1, Tim Wells 12.10 pounds; 2, Mike Alvarez 11.42 (big fish 6.08); 3, Corey Squires 9.12
101 Bass at Nacimiento on Feb. 14: 1, Richard Neal/Jerry Waldrip 8.97 pounds (big fish 3.07); 2, Darrin and Del Bishop 8.45; 3, Randy McAbee Sr. and Jr. 8.09
Roosevelt High School Bass Fishing Club Tournament on Feb. 14 at Pine Flat: 1, Patrick Jensen (RHS) and Brandon Gonzalez (RHS), Moe Bagunu captain 11.38; 2, Brandon Lum (CWHS) and Jorge Ruelas (RHS), Jerry Jung captain 7.12; 3, Saul Cervantes (RHS) and Ethan Worthley (Bullard), Marvin Stewart captain: 6.26; big fish — Patrick Jensen (RHS), Moe Bagunu captain 6.0
Feb. 21: Delta Bass Club at Delta/Russo’s Marina; Angler’s Choice at Delta/B and W Resort; Delta Bass Busters at Delta/Ladd’s Marina; Glory Hole Sporting Goods at New Melones; Manteca Bassin’ Buddies at Tulloch; Kerman Bass Club at Don Pedro; Sierra Bass Club at Pine Flat; Visalia Bass Club at Kaweah; Kern County Bassmasters/Tri-Valley Bass Club at Nacimiento; Nor Cal Skippers Sturgeon Derby at San Francisco Bay/San Leandro Launch Ramp; Sheriff’s Activity League Trout Derby at RiverWalk in Bakersfield
Feb. 22: Tracy Bass Club at Delta /Tracy Oasis; California Bass Federation at New Melones; Fresno Bass Club at Don Pedro; Kings VIII Bass Club/101 Bass at Pine Flat; Success Bass Club at Kaweah; Bass 101 Team Open at Pine Flat, Mark Corrente 284-2768
Feb. 26: Captain Jack Yandell and Dick Nichol’s of Dick’s Fishing Charters on “Shaver Lake Techniques,” 6 p.m. at Herb Bauer’s Sporting Goods in Fresno
Feb. 28: Christian Bass League at Delta/Ladd’s Marina; Tracy Bass Club at Delta/Tracy Oasis; NorCal Trout Angler’s Challenge at New Melones, www.anglerspress.com; Angler’s Choice at Don Pedro; Bakersfield Bass Club at Pine Flat; American Bass Association at Kaweah; 101 Bass at Lopez
March 7: Bakersfield Fire Fighters Trout Tournament at RiverWalk in Bakersfield
March 1: California Bass Federation at Delta/Ladd’s Marina; California Bass Federation at Don Pedro
March 14: 11th annual Sand Crab Classic Surf Perch Derby, weigh-in at Portuguese Hall in Santa Cruz, www.theletsgofishingradioshow.com
Fresno County: Avocado Lake; Pine Flat Reservoir; Kings River, Below Pine Flat Dam
Kern County: River Walk Lake; Brite Valley Reservoir; Truxtun Lake; Hart Park Lake; Ming Lake