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.
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••• Limits possible
•••• Fish jumpin’ in boat
Delta Mendota Canal and Sloughs
Striper •• Catfish ••
The northern section of the California Aqueduct continued to be slow for striped bass with a few fishermen tossing Storm’s 4-inch swimbait in bluegill pattern or Duo Realis jerkbaits once the schools of fish are located. Patrick Movey of the Fisherman’s Warehouse in Fresno touted catfishing in Mendota Slough. There is boat access to this slough, but there are many submerged hazards in the canal. In the south aqueduct in Kern County, Pete Cormier of Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield reported one angler picked up a limit of striped bass consisting of 20 and 10 pounds while Chris Maxon of Bakersfield scored an 11.7-pound catfish using anchovies. Cormier said catfishing has been excellent on cut baits, Catnip Beef Bait or chicken livers, and there are still bluegill, largemouth bass and crappie in the aqueduct. Blood worms have also been a popular bait for striped bass and catfish.
Bass ••• Trout •• Bluegill •• Catfish •• Crappie ••
Eastman Lake has awoken after a long slumber, and bass action has been solid for bank fishermen and boaters alike. With the extremely low water levels, boaters must use great caution to keep from striking the unmarked hazards throughout the lake. Mark Inman of the Tackle Box in Madera said the bass are in the shallows, and Senkos, Baby Brush Hogs and eighth-ounce jigs in greenpumpkin, black/green or crystal pattern with a 4-inch watermelon 208 twin-tail Yamamoto trailer are working. The Senkos can be thrown either on a Texas or wacky rig with no weight in the shallows. The Baby Brush Hogs can also be on a weightless Texas-rig, and drop-shotting in the shallows is also effective. A half-day trip can produce up to 25 bass per boat between anglers with a number in the 1.5-pound range, and the next full moon will start another round of the spawn as these bass are still in pre-spawn mode. Dennis Hamman of Madera landed a 7.5-pound largemouth bass with Inman on Sunday on a drop-shot plastic. Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod & Gun in Clovis said 2- to 3-pound bass are commonplace, but the fish have moved off the beds with the recent cold snap. Senkos, ripbaits and crankbaits are all working for bass, but the large females that were landed a few weeks back have been absent. Patrick Movey of the Fisherman’s Warehouse in Fresno touted Senkos or jigs in shallow water from 10 to 15 feet for largemouths to 4 pounds, as the fish have moved off the banks.
Eastman is a trophy-designated bass lake, and only one fish 22 inches and over may be kept. The area of the lake extending upstream from the Buoy Line near the Cordoniz Launch Ramp is closed because of bald eagles nesting in the area. The lake held at 8% capacity and 469.88 feet in elevation.
Call: Six Star Tackle Box 673-5688; Eastman Lake 689-3255
Bass ••• Trout •• Catfish •• Bluegill •• Crappie ••
Hensley is also extremely low, and the rockpiles under the surface are a hazard to props and lower units. Mark Inman of the Tackle Box in Madera said the bass are also shallow with fish in the 12- to 15-inch range possible on eighth- to quarter-ounce jigs in green pumpkin with a Yamamoto 208 twin-tail trailer in color 208. Senkos and Baby Brush Hogs in watermelon patterns are also working in the shallows. Trout fishing is slowing, but catfishing is solid with anchovies or chicken livers from the banks. Crappie have yet to show up, and the slabsides are generally much smaller than those at Kaweah and Isabella to the south.
The lake is at 8% capacity and 454.07 feet. Both Eastman and Hensley are primarily fed by rainfall alone, and water temperatures are expected to rise precipitously in the coming months, leading to algae blooms at both reservoirs.
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 (call here for current launch ramp conditions)
Lake Don Pedro
Bass •• Trout ••• Kokanee ••• King salmon •• Crappie ••
The kokanee action has heated up with limits of landlocked salmon the rule for trollers pulling a variety of gear while rainbow trout are also holding in the mix. Monte Smith of Gold County Sport Fishing said Saturday’s trip produced 10 kokanee from 11 to 13 inches, eight rainbow trout and two king salmon, with two limits of kokanee by 9 a.m. The kokanee are found at depths from 30 to 50 feet with Uncle Larry’s spinners in too hot or Sonora Sunrise behind Rocky Mountain Tackle or Vance’s dodgers in gold. RMT’s micro-hootchies are also working in the clear water with visibility to 13 feet. Trout are found at similar depths, Smith said, with rainbows on rolled shad as deep as 50 feet, but the best action has been on heavy shad-patterned spoons.
For bass, Manny Basi of the Bait Barn in Waterford touted medium to large minnows in the shallows while tournament fishermen are finding success on 4.5-inch Robo Worm’s in Hologram Shad or similarly patterned plastics on the drop-shot. Carolina-rigged Brush Hogs in watermelon/red or green pumpkin have also been effective.
The only place to launch is one lane at Fleming Meadows. There is a courtesy dock and a long dock in the water, and patience is a necessity to launch on the weekends. The lake is starting to release water, dropping 2.5 feet in the past week, to 708.42 feet 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 ••
Crappie remain the top species at Isabella, and Pete Cormier of Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield reported solid action for the slabsides near exposed rock and rock piles with small minnows, Crappie Nibbles or minijigs. The submerged structure near Piney Point or French Gulch have been the top locations. Heavy trout plants prior to the annual Isabella Derby have resulted in improved trout fishing with Power Bait, Power Eggs or nightcrawlers from the banks. Trollers are also picking up trout and a few quality crappie are hitting lures or nightcrawlers intended for the planted rainbows. Bass fishing has slowed as cold evening temperatures have moved the fish off the banks. The slow action is evidenced by a 10-pound winning weight at a recent tournament. Launches are with four-wheel-drive vehicles from the dirt ramp near Red’s Marina only. Isabella is at 8% capacity and 2,529.93 feet. In the Kern River, fishing has been best in the lower river for catfish or bass while trout fishing has slowed in both the upper and lower river. Trout fishing at Buena Vista continues to be slow, but a few anglers are targeting crappie or largemouth bass. The local lakes are confined to bass, bluegill, catfish and great interest in carp with Power Bait and the specialty carp rigs.
Call: Bob’s Bait (661) 833-8657; North Fork Marina (760) 376-1812
Bass ••• Crappie ••• Trout •• Catfish •••
Sierra Sport Fishing reported heavy interest in crappie fishing with the slabsides found both during the day and at night with small to medium minnows or minijigs. The water is rising, and the area around Horse Creek is the top location for crappie. Bass fishing is solid with live minnows or crawdads, and there have been a few largemouths over 10 pounds landed on lizards, Brush Hogs or Senkos. The bass have moved off the banks to depths from 10 to 15 feet, and Senkos are working for the largemouth in all stages of spawning. The fish are moving up into very shallow water in the mornings. Trout action remained slow, as the lake has only received a single plant this year, but some fishermen continue to troll in the deepest portions of the lake. Catfishing is good in the evenings with sardines or chicken livers. The launch ramp is open. The lake rose over a foot to 639.52 and 31% capacity.
Call: Sierra Sporting Goods 592-5212
Bass •• Trout •• Catfish •• Crappie •
Chuck Stokke of Sequoia Fishing Company in Springville reported a slower bass bite in the past week. There is topwater action in the mornings and evenings, and during the day, Senkos, Brush Hogs, lizards and crankbaits are working. Trout fishing is also fair to good with spinners or Power Bait from the Rocky Hill side of the lake. Bluegill, carp and crappie also provide action from the banks. The lake came up three-quarters of a foot to 592.44 feet and 11% capacity. In the Tule River, the trout action is fair with dry flies and nymphs. Stokke went into the high country to fish for golden and brook trout on mayfly patterns, and noted that the Western Divide Highway is open with minimal snow at 7,000 feet.
Call: Sequoia Fishing Co. 539-5626, www.sequoiafishingcompany.com
Bass ••• Trout •• King salmon • Kokanee • Crappie •• Catfish ••
The bass bite continued to be wide open with a variety of techniques from the shoreline. The North Barrett Cove Launch Ramp will only be open for a limited period of time, it is only accessible from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and boats must be off the water by 4 p.m. It is a very long walk to the parking lot and to the shoreline. Senkos, Brush Hogs, lizards or plastic worms are all working. The store and marinas will remain closed for the coming season. The lake rose a foot to 611.46 and 9% capacity.
Call: A-1 Bait (209) 563-6505; Bub Tosh (209) 404-0053; (855) 222-5253 for information on the launch ramp
Heavy trout plants occurred prior to last weekend’s annual Merced Irrigation Trout Derby. The lake was inundated with fishermen over the weekend, and bank fishing has been best from the A-Loop or the Brush Pile with garlic trout dough bait scented with Rip Lipperz Trout Dust. This series of plants may complete the trout fishing season due to the unseasonably high water temperatures.
Call: McSwain Marina (209) 378-2534
Millerton Lake/San Joaquin River
Bass ••• Striper • Shad • Bluegill ••
Small bass are the rule with numbers of spots possible with ripbaits, crankbaits, Senkos or drop-shot plastics. The fish are oriented toward rocky areas and bouncing the crankbaits off the rocks has been very productive. Striped bass are found incidentally by bass fishermen tossing ripbaits or hitchhiking on hooked spots above Finegold. All motors must conform to low-emission standards. Millerton is starting to release water, and it came down three-quarters of a foot to 494.94 and 39% capacity. In the lower San Joaquin, minimal fishing action is taking place with the exception of a few bass taken around Sycamore Island Park.
There are new regulations on the lower San Joaquin, and from Friant Dam downstream to the Highway 140 Bridge only two hatchery trout or hatchery steelhead are allowed with a total of four hatchery trout or hatchery steelhead in possession.
Call: Fresno Fisherman’s Warehouse 225-1838; Valley Rod & Gun 292-3474
New Melones Reservoir/Lake Tulloch
Bass ••• Crappie •• Catfish •• Trout •• Kokanee •••
Kokanee fishing has taken off, and Doug McArthur of Team McFishing Guide Service reported solid kokanee fishing with good numbers and an improved grade of fish. He said, “Our preferred setup this past week was with more greens than the previous week, and we have been using Shasta Tackle’s Sling Blades in watermelon or firetiger in front of green gator or UV green Wiggle Hootchies or the regular Pee Wee Hootchies on a leader twice the length of the dodger. The other lure providing solid action was the Cripplure in nickel/pink. We found more hookups using corn scented with garlic, and we even added Pro-Cure’s garlic plus to the inside of the Cripplure.” Gary Burns of Take It To The Limit Guide Service added, “We have put a few kokanee to 13 inches in the boat, and Dave Roberts of Murphys landed a 14.75-incher that ripped out line several times and fought as hard as I have seen. The kokanee are spread throughout the lake, and we have been focusing on the northern end of the lake near Glory Hole Point, the spillway and the dam area both on the inside and out at depths from 24 to 65 feet. The best action has been on Uncle Larry’s spinners in any pink or orange pattern along with Glitter Bug’s tubes or micro hootchies.”
Trout fishing has been fair at best with trollers working the main lake over the river channel, the Highway 49 Bridge and near the dam and spillway with Uncle Larry’s spinners or Wedding Rings tipped with a piece of nightcrawler. Bank fishing continued to be slow with the fish moving out into deeper water.
Bass fishing remained good with the larger fish in deeper water either preparing for or recovering from the spawn. John Lietchy of Glory Hole Sports in Angels Camp said, “To catch some nice fish, try dragging a Brush Hog or a lizard on a Carolina-rig in areas protected from wind and boat traffic. The topwater bite should be picking up with Spooks, Rovers or Lucky Craft Sammies in the morning hours.”
The warm weather has brought out the catfish and crappie bite with both species found in the shallows.
The Tuttletown Boat Launch remains closed with the Glory Hole Cove ramp the only available launch. The Glory Hole Marina has taken the courtesy docks out of the water as they remove the houseboats. They anticipate putting them back in until the lake drops past where the concrete ramp can serve. New Melones dropped 2.5 feet to 866.99 in elevation and 22% capacity.
At Tulloch, Danny Layne of Fishn’ Dan’s Guide Service reported an outstanding trout bite for rainbows with a few brown trout mixed in. He said, “Rainbows are found throughout the lake at or near the surface on blade/crawler combinations, small shad-imitation lures or scented grubs in the top 20 feet while the browns are holding near the mouth of Black Creek due to the heavy concentration of threadfin shad in the area.” He has been locating the brown trout with shad-patterned spoons such as black/silver ExCels. There are kokanee off structure jutting out from the old river channel, the south bank across from Black Creek and both corners of the mouth of Green Springs with Uncle Larry’s spinners tipped with scented shoepeg corn behind a 4/0 Vance’s dodger at 40 feet in depth. Plans have been announced to drain the lake in September to meet agricultural and environmental obligations, but it appears that the lake will be open for the summer months. Tulloch dropped 1 foot to 500.98 and 82% capacity.
Call: Glory Hole Sports (209) 736-4333; Monte Smith (209) 581-4734; Danny Layne-Fish’n Dan (209) 586-2383; Sierra Sport Fishing (209) 599-2023
Pine Flat Reservoir/Kings River
Bass •• Trout •• King salmon • Catfish •• Crappie ••
The bass have moved off the beds into the shallows, and they are holding at depths from 10 to 15 feet with shad-patterned plastics on the drop-shot or darthead. The bite slowed down after the cold front moved through. Walt Lee of the Kerman Bass Club reported eight limits out of 20 participants in Saturday’s club derby, confirming the tougher action for keeper-sized fish. Trout trollers are picking up around three fish per rod running Needlefish in Cop Car or threadfin shad at depths from 4 to 5 colors in the main lake from the Power Lines to Zebe Creek to the dam. The crappie have yet to turn on, despite the abundance of submerged trees. A few catfish to 3 pounds are taken on anchovies near the Pine Flat Lake Marina. One launch ramp is open. The lake came up 2 feet to 757.25 and 19% capacity.
In the lower Kings River, fishing interest has been minimal, but catchable rainbows can be taken on various colors of Power Bait or nightcrawlers in low flows. In the upper Kings, fly fishermen are catching and releasing native trout. 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.
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 •
The lake is releasing water rapidly, dropping to 65%. Roger George said that the overall striper bite had fallen way off after the last cold spell. “ I fished two days last week and the fish were suspending and acting inactive. I ran into striper experts John Poindexter and Eric Wuhl of Fresno and they told me they had only gotten 10 small fish after a full day fishing with minnows and that the fish were not reacting. The trolling/ minnow bite was very tough with most guys getting only one or two fish , on early or late bites. Fishing hard, we finally managed to get six fish with one 8- and a 12-pounder we released. Trolling large plugs on downriggers at the mouth of Portuguese Cove, in front of the Trash Racks and above submerged islands are producing an occasional striper to 18 pounds. If the boaters aren’t trolling, they are drifting jumbo minnows in the same areas just above the bottom. Bank fishermen are tossing pile worms, blood worms or jumbo minnows from access areas at Goosehead or Dinosaur Points. In the Forebay, numbers of striped bass are possible in the 18- to 24-inch range with blood worms, pile worms, ripbaits or white flukes on a Scrounger head. Check 12 and twin islands are the top locations. Heavy pumping through the main lake is attracting the stripers, and the action is best when the water is moving.
Call: Coyote Bait and Tackle (408) 463-0711, Roger George Guide Service (559) 905-2954
Bass •• Trout •• Kokanee •
The trout bite has dropped off precipitously with anglers working hard to pick up a few holdover rainbows. Todd Wittwer of Kokanee.net Guide Service said, “The action has been very slow, but we ended up with nine rainbows on Monday morning before the bite died once the sun hit the water. Shore fishing is also fair for one or two trout per rod around the Sheriff’s Tower. A major trout plant will occur prior to the annual Bass Lake Chamber of Commerce Trout Derby on May 2-3. There will be three Grand Prize fish worth a total of $25,000, two $10,000 trout and a $5,000 rainbow, plus 150 tagged trout worth $100 and 847 rainbows valued at $20. Information and registration is available at www.basslakechamber.com. Bass fishing has slowed as well with the fish moving off the banks with the water temperature dropping 7 degrees after Tuesday’s storm. The lake held at 52% capacity, but the large chunk of missing concrete is now exposed on the launch ramp.
Call: Todd Wittwer 288-8100; Mike Beighey 642-3748; Bass Lake Water Sports 642-3200
Brown trout •• Trout ••
The Kaiser Pass Lakes will be accessible earlier than normal due to the minimal snowpack. A few fishermen are already taking the long drive to Mammoth Pool and finding decent trout action from the shoreline with Power Bait or nightcrawlers. Mammoth Pool has risen to 37% with Edison at 5% and Florence at 18%.
Call: Vermilion Valley Resort at Edison Lake 259-4000
Shaver Lake/Huntington Lake
Kokanee •• Trout ••
The trophy trout bite at Shaver Lake has experienced a major slowdown, and the kokanee have yet to emerge in numbers. Dick Nichols of Dick’s Fishing Charters said a recent trip with Lee Gates netted only nine strikes for three catchable rainbows. They found their best action at depths from 20 to 69 feet in front of the island and Black Rock with Trout Busters in the Stevenson model of green/orange tipped with corn and a piece of nightcrawler behind a weighted Mountain Flasher. Gates added that the fish were hugging the uneven bottom structure. The kokanee bite has not started yet with any continuity. The trophy trout were absent this week despite 1,700 Nebraska-raised trophies released into the lake a few months back. No big fish were reported this week at the official weigh stations, Shaver Lake Sports and Ken’s Market. Bank fishermen have not had too much success, but an upcoming trout plant from the Department of Fish and Wildlife will improve conditions. Roads 1, 2 and 3 are the best locations for bank fishing with trout dough bait or crawlers.
The Sierra Marina opens full time April 24. Nichols will start charters April 17, and he plans on trolling several days prior to his first charter.
Shaver has risen slightly to 49% capacity. Huntington is up to 40% but the launch ramp is out of the water.
Call: Dick’s Fishing Charters 841-2740; Dinkey Creek Inn 841-3435; Rancheria Marina 893-3234; Shaver Lake Sports Inc. 841-2740
Chuck Crane of Wishon Village RV Park and Store reported that the road will be open to Wishon and Courtright late on Thursday evening, but interested fishermen should contact the Forest Service at 855-5355 to verify road conditions. Wishon is extremely low, but small boats can be launched off a few spots in the dirt. Courtright is also low, but the concrete launch ramp is accessible since the lake is up to the level of the ramp. There are no services.
Call: Wishon RV Park 865-5361
Half Moon Bay
Salmon •• Striper ••
After the spurt of salmon for near-limits early last week, the bite has become soft with private boats struggling for one or two fish and party boats working hard for less than a half-fish per rod. Two Sausalito boats ran down the San Mateo coastline at the northern edge of the Deep Reef for 15 salmon to 19 pounds for 36 anglers while Emeryville Sport Fishing didn’t send out a salmon boat on Sunday after only picking up nine salmon to 17 pounds for 26 anglers on Sunday.
Private boats are finding salmon relatively high in the water column at 40 feet, and they are loaded with pompano. It appears that the fish are moving quickly in search of food.
Second captain Jerad Davis of the Salty Lady took a short two-hour trip after whale watching on Sunday, and they came up with a quality salmon for their effort – the first salmon on the Salty Lady decks this season since they are whale watching out of Half Moon Bay until mid-May. They are scheduling open-load salmon trips out of Half Moon Bay during the week with their first open load this Friday.
Call: Happy Hooker (510) 223-5388; Roger Thomas, Salty Lady (415) 760-9362; Bait and Switch Sport Fishing Center (650) 726-7133; Emeryville Sport Fishing (510) 654-6040; Don Franklin, Soleman (510) 703-4148
Rockfish •••• Salmon •• Striper ••
Chris Arcoleo of Chris’s Fishing Trips in Monterey reported lights-out rockcod action with 37 limits of rockfish and 37 ling cod on the Star of Monterey fishing the local reefs. The Caroline also put in 16 limits of rockfish and a ling cod per rod while the 21 anglers on the Check Mate came home empty-handed for salmon after landing two the previous day for 31 anglers.
Call: Chris’s Landing (831) 375-5951; Bayside Marine (831) 475-2173; usafishing.com
San Francisco Bay
Halibut ••• Striper ••• Leopard shark ••• Salmon •• Sturgeon ••
Salmon fishing outside the Golden Gate remained very slow, but the striper action inside the bay was incredible on Sunday with Captain Jim Smith of the Happy Hooker out of Berkeley Marina finding great action at the Brothers in the morning for a handful of bass before working his central bay honey holes for halibut, landing five huge fish going 15, 18, 22, 25 and 25 pounds. When the afternoon flood tide was “just right,” Smith worked over a favorite reef in Raccoon Strait where they found steady action on big bass. They broke many fish off with the boats drifting north and the fish running south. They finished off at a little after 4 p.m. with 22 limits of bass to 15 pounds with lots in the 10- to 12-pound class. Smith also reported good action in the south bay off of Candlestick and Coyote Points. He added that the tides get halibut-friendly every day this week.
Bill Clapp of Bill’s Sport Fishing and a deckhand hooked six halibut including a 31-pounder that inhaled two Blue Label herring and was wrapped into three rods before coming to the boat. The majority of halibut were in the 6- to 9-pound range, all taken by trolling herring, but the bite slowed down on the incoming tide. The previous day, Clapp released a number of striped bass in the 10- to 15-pound range with one bass at 18 pounds while picking up a 12-pound halibut.
Bass limits were the order of the day with the C Gull II and Sea Wolf out of Emeryville Sport Fishing put in 30 limits of striped bass to 12 pounds on Sunday along with four halibut to 12 pounds a day after the Sea Wolf returned with 14 limits of bass to 12 pounds.
Keith Fraser of Loch Lomond Bait and Tackle, purveyor of the famous shiners, confirmed the excellent bass action, stating, “Shore fishing has been excellent from the marina to China Camp from the access areas, and there have been legal bass taken inside of the marina and also in Corte Madera Creek.” Most bass are schoolies to 8 pounds, but he added, “It is incredible how many bass are in the bay right now.” Boaters are anchoring for bass and also drifting shiners on the outgoing tide. For sturgeon, Fraser likes the series of minus tides beginning Wednesday, and he is planning to bring in live mud shrimp for its final appearance of the year in honor of the tides. One boat was anchored at the Pumphouse this weekend with frozen mud shrimp for a total of seven sturgeon – one shaker, four oversized and two slot-limit fish that were farmed. There are plenty of shiners in the tanks.
Jay Lopes of Right Hook Sport Fishing is back in Berkeley, and he switched between drifting live bait and trolling over the weekend for six limits of striped bass and some bonus big halibut. Bottomfishing opens this Wednesday for the section of the coast from Pigeon Point north to Point Arena.
San Luis Obispo
Salmon • Rock cod •••
The ling cod have been on a tear with the Patriot out of Patriot Sport Fishing in Port San Luis boating 49 to 13 pounds on Sunday for 38 fishermen while only picking up 39 assorted rockfish and 25 vermilion rockfish. Monday’s half-day trip with 30 anglers produced 13 ling cod to 10 pounds along with 60 assorted rockfish, 22 vermilion and a single cabezon. They have scored 436 ling cod since the April 1 opener.
Out of Virg’s Landing in Morro Bay, the Black Pearl returned from a two-day trip up the Big Sur coastline with 15 anglers with 30 cabezon, 90 vermilion rockfish, 90 ling cod to 23.8 pounds, 70 copper rockfish, and 60 olives. The coppers and olives were in the 4-pound range. Their next two-day trip is May 22-23.
Surf perch fishing remained excellent at Oceano or Pismo Beaches with Berkley Sand Worms, motor oil grubs, or blood worms.
Call: Virg’s Landing (805) 772-1222, (800) 762-5263; Patriot Sport Fishing (805) 595-4100; Port Side Marine Sports Launch (805) 595-7214
Bass ••• Striper ••• Sturgeon ••• Catfish •• Bluegill •••
Sturgeon are still holding in lower Suisun Bay, but most interest in the past week has been for striped bass both above and below the Rio Vista Bridge. A larger grade of stripers has been moving upriver, and trollers are scoring quality and quantity with both shallow and deep-diving plugs.
In Suisun Bay, Captain Steve Mitchell of Hook’d Up Sport Fishing out of Pittsburg continues to load up on sturgeon with a legal diamondback at 58 inches to the fork along with oversized fish at 63 and 69 inches released at the boat on Saturday’s trip in the Big Cut and Montezuma Slough. He said, “Overall, we had a fantastic action-packed day with many opportunities, and we will continue to hammer these big fish until the end of the month. The lure of halibut and striped bass in the bay with live bait has drawn most of the six-packs out of the Delta, but the months of April and May are really prime time for sturgeon fishing.” He will stay at Pittsburg Marina until May 1 then switch to Berkeley.
Tony Lopez of Benicia Bait confirmed the excellent sturgeon action in Montezuma Slough with one boat reporting 11 sturgeon using salmon roe, and diamondbacks to 67 inches released. Grass shrimp continues to be in high demand, and Curtis Hayes is working hard to scrape up 15 to 20 pounds of shrimp per day, but the bait doesn’t last more than an hour in the shop upon arrival. There are loads of boats anchoring at the Mothball Fleet, but few reports are coming from the area. Schoolie stripers are coming from the shoreline from Glen Cove to the Benicia/Martinez Bridge on blood worms, pile worms, and anchovies and the larger fish are found at night at Glen Cove.
Large stripers continue to be taken in deep water around the Pittsburg PGE Plant on live jack smelt transported from San Pablo Bay. It is a violation of Fish and Wildlife regulations to transport fin fish for the purpose of using the fish as bait.
James Nguyen of Dockside Bait in Pittsburg reported smaller stripers in the 5- to 8-pound range on ghost shrimp and pile worms.
Captain Scott Feist of Feisty Fishing has been based out of Viera’s Resort near Isleton, and he has been scoring early limits of striped bass on a daily basis both above and below the Rio Vista Bridge. He said, “A larger grade of fish has moved in, and we have been catching and releasing at least one in the 18-pound range every day for the past week. There have also been a lot of fish in the 14- to 16-pound range along with 10 to 12s. We have been finding fish in a variety of locations, and I prefer to run shallow-diving lures such as P-Line’s Angry Eye Minnows or Yozuri Crystal Minnows.” Feist will also been running late-afternoon trips for trolling from 3 p.m. to sundown in the coming weeks.
Jay Lopes of Right Hook Sport Fishing has been trolling in the upper Delta, and he said, “We found bigger fish on Monday with stripers to 18 pounds along with a nice average grade.”
The Central Valley Anglers out of Lodi are holding their Spring Striper Derby out of Brannan Island State Park on Saturday, April 25 with a target-length to be announced at 6 a.m. on the day of the derby. Information is available at the Fishermen’s Friend in Lodi at (209) 369-0204.
Striped and largemouth bass have been on a tear during the past week as the water continues to warm up and clear. J.D. Richey of Richey’s Sport Fishing has been targeting stripers on the San Joaquin, and he said, “The fishing is generally good with nearly 100% of our fish being males ranging from 4 to 10 pounds. The fish are ready to pop, and we hooked a large female in the mid-20-pound range on Saturday, but it came unbuttoned. There are some good fish out there, and we are finding them in different spots on a daily basis, but the action has been inconsistent with some days producing 30 stripers while others are scratching for a dozen or so linesides. Swimbaits, spoons, and topwater lures such as Aiden James’s Striper Squirrels or Pencil Poppers are all working, and we have been averaging around three to eight blowups in the mornings on the topwater lures.”
Randy Pringle, the Fishing Instructor, has been targeting striped bass to 11 pounds on shoals and weedy flats near the mouths of the Mokelumne or Potato Slough with the Ima Big Stick or Little Stick in shad-patterns. He said, “The water warms up 2 degrees in the afternoons, and the topwater bite is happening along the weedy flats.”
Captain Stan Koenigsberger of Quetzal Adventures out of Bethel Harbor took out Curtis and Jack Hegfeldt from Kentfield for limits of stripers to 29 inches trolling the shallow shoals near Three Mile Slough and the San Joaquin River along the Eddo’s shoreline to the Antioch Bridge.
For largemouth bass, Pringle touted the Ima Little Stick in the afternoons as the action is just starting to take off for quality bass in the 6- to 8-pound range. In the morning, they have been tossing the Flat Dog or Chigger Craw on a Zappu head along with the ima Squarebill crankbait in bluegill or crawdad patterns. He said, “We have been bouncing the crankbait off weeds and rocks for better than average fish, and on windy days, we are tossing the Persuader spinnerbait in three-eighths- to half-ounce size. The fish are in all phases of spawning, and this is when the best action takes place. This should continue until the spawn is complete within the next four to six weeks.”
Alan Fong of the Fisherman’s Warehouse in Sacramento also touted solid bass action with Senkos, chatterbaits or three-eighths-ounce spinnerbaits. The bass were on beds, but they moved off when the water temperature dropped from 67 to 63 degrees.
In the Stockton area, Brandon Gallegos of H and R Bait said, “Empire Cut is kicking out striped bass on live bluegill, but keeping fresh shad in the shop has been difficult. We got in 20 pounds this weekend, and it was gone in a heartbeat.” Crappie are coming out of Tiki Lagun or Turner Cut on Inland Drive on small to medium minnows or wax worms. Bluegill are still found in deep water in Whiskey Slough or from the first or second bridge on Eight Mile Road east of Stockton.
Call: Randy Pringle (209) 543-6260; Captain Stan Koenigsberger – Quetzal Adventures (925) 570-5303; Intimidator Sport Fishing (916) 806-3030
Central Coast lakes
Bass ••• White bass ••• Striper •• Catfish •• Crappie ••
At Lake Nacimiento, numbers of spotted bass are available, but size is an overall concern. Chris Gilkison, tournament director of Saturday’s Best Bass Tournament on the lake, said, “When it came time to weigh in, many of the teams had caught their fair share of fish, and the word on the lake was there were tons of fish to be caught, but size was going to be the deciding vote at the end of the day.” Topwater lures or swimbaits in the backs of the coves, crankbaits, plastics, stickbaits, and spinnerbaits were the top offerings for the 44 participants. White bass are found in Snake Creek, Las Tablas and near the Heritage Launch Ramp with white Roostertails or similar lures. 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 marina store is open once again seven days per week from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Panfish are showing up from the shoreline while a few largemouth bass are taken on a variety of techniques from the beds. Catfishing is best with chicken livers or sardines.
Lake 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.
There are several tournaments scheduled for Lake Lopez in the coming weeks, and the lake will host the Outdoor Discovery Festival on May 9.
Reminders: Consuming white bass, black bass, crappie, catfish or carp are subject to safe-eating guidelines due to excessive mercury; quagga mussel inspections are now required before boat launching is allowed.
Call: Lake Nacimiento (805) 238-1056, ext. 3; Lake San Antonio Marina (805) 472-2818; Central Coast Bass Fishing (805) 466-6557
Best Bass Tournaments on April 11 at Don Pedro: 1, Ge Yang/Tony Vang, 14.46 pounds (Big Fish – 6.10); 2, Lee and James Miller, 12.60; 3, Rob Kocher/Michael Beevers, 12.42.
Kerman Bass Club on April 11 at Pine Flat: 1, Jeff Farmer, 7.62; 2, Mike Pickering, 7.46; 3, Larry Marshall, 7.04 (Big Fish – 3.44).
Best Bass Tournaments on April 11 at Nacimiento: 1, John and Erik Zillig, 9.95 (Big Fish – 3.41); 2, Chase Austin/Damon Meeks, 8.68; 3, Graham Grove/Tanner Kuhnle, 1.97.
California Bass Federation on April 12 at Bass Lake: 1, Ralph Encizo, 19.11 (Big Fish – 5.44) ; 2, Mike Alvarez, 12.55; 3, Corey Squires, 15.48.
Fresno Fly Fishers for Conservation: free fly casting instruction in Dry Creek Park, Clovis and Alluvial avenues in Clovis, every Tuesday evening in April.
April 16: Don Pedro, Southern California Bass Club.
Saturday-Sunday: Lopez, Bakersfield Bass Club
Sunday: Don Pedro, Kings River Bass Club; Bass Lake, California Bass Federation, Mark Corrente 284-2768; Success, Success Bass Club; Santa Margarita, San Luis Obispo Bass Ambushers
April 16: Don Pedro, Southern California Bass Club
April 18: Delta/Russo’s Marina, Best Bass Tournaments; Delta/Ladd’s Marina,, Angler’s Choice; Pardee, Manteca Bassin’ Buddies; New Melones, Angler’s Choice; Don Pedro, Best Bass Tournaments/Taft Bass Club; Millerton, Roosevelt High School Bass Fishers; Pine Flat, Kokanee Power Trout Derby, kokanee power.org; Kaweah, Visalia Bass Club; Nacimiento, Kern County Bassmasters
April 19: Delta/Tracy Oasis, Tracy Bass; Delta/Russo’s Marina, Best Bass Tournaments; Don Pedro, Badge Packers; Bass Lake, 101 Bass Team Open, Mark Corrente 284-2768
April 25: Delta/Russo’s Marina, American Bass Association; Delta/Tracy Oasis, Tracy Bass Club; Don Pedro, Sacramento Bass Wranglers; McClure, Future Pro Tour; Millerton, Mid Valley Bass Club; Pine Flat, American Bass Association; Hume Lake, Hume Lake Christian Camps; Nacimiento, Tri Valley Bass Club; Lopez, Best Bass Tournaments
April 26: Delta/Ladd’s Marina, Stockton Bass Club; Bass Lake, Kings River Bass Club
Week of April 19
Fresno County: Tenmile Creek, Upper; Rancheria Creek; Kings River, below Pine Flat Dam; Tamarack Creek; Hume Lake; Big Creek, Huntington; Dinkey Creek;
Madera County: Manzanita Lake; Willow Creek North Fork; Lewis Creek; Corrine Lake; Nelder Creek.
Kern County: Kern River, Sections 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5; Cedar Creek; Alder Creek; Cuddy Creek Pond.
Mariposa County: Merced River, Section ll; Big Creek, Madera.
Tulare County: Tule River Middle Fork; Kern River, Sections 5 and 6; Deer Creek; Stony Creek; Peppermint Creek, Lower and Upper; Dry Meadow Creek; Bone Creek; Freeman Creek; Balch Park Lake Upper and Lower; Tule River North Fork, Middle Fork #1; Tule River South Fork, Middle Fork #3; Tule River South Fork, Middle Fork #2; Nobe Young Creek; Hedrick Pond (Redwood Lake); White River.