This 13-pound bass was caught and released on Eastman Lake
Compiled by Dave Hurley and edited by Roger George, a former Olympic-class decathlete at Fresno State and striper record-holder at Millerton Lake who now guides in the greater Fresno area. Telephone numbers are in 559 calling area unless noted.
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Delta striper, sturgeon and bass action going, Alan Fong said. Eastman Lake kicks out big bass, and Pine Flat bass, crappie and trout bites holding up, Merritt Gilbert reported. Lake Success bass fishing good, Chuck Stokke said. Don Pedro bass and trout bites kick in, Monte Smith reported. McClure pumping out bass and slabs, Mike Gomez said. McSwain trout fishing productive, Steve Marquette reported. New Melones on hot bass and crappie bite, Gene Hildebrand said. San Francisco white sea bass bite going off, James Smith reported. Bass Lake trout bite strong, Todd Wittwer said. Shaver trout and kokanee hitting, Dick Nichols reported.
2-Have to work hard
4-Fish jumpin’ in boat
Delta Mendota Canal and Sloughs
Striper 2 Catfish 2
The northern section of the California Aqueduct continues to be slower for striper fishermen, but there is some life in the southern section in Kern County with lug worms, blood worms, sardines, or mackerel along with Gitzits or ripbaits.
Bass 3 Trout 2 Bluegill 2 Catfish 2 Crappie 2
The fishing pressure remains high, and the numbers of largemouth bass are numerous with the clearest water near the dam. The inflow from the Chowchilla River has been muddy, but the lake should clear within 4 days without precipitation. Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “A 13.8-pound largemouth bass was landed on a wacky-rigged Senko in green pumpkin/purple flake.” Roger George of Roger George Guide Service confirmed that local angler Grant Thiessen was the angler who landed the huge 28-inch beauty at Eastman. “Grant was pretty stoked about the huge 13.8-pounder as you can imagine!” George said. The big females will be returning to the banks this week. A few catfish are showing up on cut baits. The fishing pressure has been heavy with up to 25 boats on the lake on a weekday. Eastman has risen to 79 percent. The River Rat Club Tournament is this coming Saturday, and a heavy limit is a distinct possibility.
Bass 2 Trout 2 Catfish 2 Bluegill 2 Crappie 2
Merritt Gilbert said, “There have been few reports from Hensley other than small, palm-sized crappie on crappie jigs or minnows, but most crappie fishermen are targeting the slabs at Pine Flat up the river arm.” The water remains stained as the lake has risen to 45 percent.
Lake Don Pedro
Bass 3 Trout 3 Kokanee 1 King salmon 1 Crappie 2
The trout bite has come to life at Don Pedro with the addition of 39,000 fish saved by the Department of Fish and Wildlife from the washout at the Moccasin Hatchery. Monte Smith of Gold Country Sport Fishing found tremendous action on two separate trips earlier in the week, but he cautions anglers to release the smaller rainbows and brooks that are mixed in with the larger trout.
Smith said, “We left the ramp at Moccasin, and within 100 yards, we hooked up with 7 trout running my custom spoons on leadcore line. In total, we caught 51 trout with an uncountable number of strikes using the spoons on leadcore and also on the downrigger at depths from 25 to 35 feet around the Moccasin ramp. There is a trash barrier to the southwest of the launch ramp, and this is collecting a lot of debris, and there is another trash barrier further up the river arm near Rough and Ready. Our largest trout weighed three pounds, and we hooked a number of brook trout in deeper water. The following day I took out15 and 11-year brothers, and we caught and released over 60 trout, keeping the largest 14 fish to 15 inches using the same techniques. Some of these rainbows are so small that I hope fishermen will release them to grow larger later in the season. There should be good fishing to come once the water temperatures stabilizes and warms up.”
For bass, the team of Jason Remmers and Alex Niapas took Saturday’s NewJen Bass Tournaments event on Saturday with a whopping 32.77-pound five-fish limit including an 8.24-pound kicker. Despite the heavy rains on Saturday morning, there were 17 limits over 10 pounds weighed in by the 20 teams participating in the event.
Mike Gomez of the Bait Barn in Waterford placed 6th in the event with his brother Victor, and he said, “We put in a 16.56-pound limit with a 6.53-pound big fish, and we dumped quite a few in the 3- to 4-pound class. The only lure that was working for us was the Fatty Worm’s Spin Daddy underspin at depths from 15 to 35 feet. We threw jigs, drop-shot, umbrella rigs, spinnerbaits, and Swavers, and we caught everything on the underspins. The fish must be deep because they were on beds and the lake has come up at least 10 feet in the past two weeks. We didn’t see any bed fish even though the surface temperature was 65 degrees which is perfect for the spawn.”
Don Pedro will be hosting a number of bass tournaments this month including the California Tournament Trails on April 14, Mother Lode Kayak on April 15, Sierra Bass Club on April 21/22, and Best Bass Tournaments on April 21. There should be some huge weights in these events with the big females returning to the beds.
The lake held at 88 percent.
Lake Isabella/Bakersfield area
Bass 2 Trout 2 Crappie 3 Catfish 2 Bluegill 2
The crappie bite continues to be solid, and fishermen are coming from as far away as Fresno to tie into the slabs. The South Fork is the top area with live minnows or minijigs under a bobber. With the lake rising slowly and warming up, the bass have moved into the shallows, and the action has improved for the bedding fish with finesse techniques. In the lower Kern River, rainbow trout, catfish, smallmouth bass, and largemouth bass are possibilities with a variety of baits or lures including Power Bait, plastic worms, inline spinners, and live crickets. The upper river is running high right now, and fishing has been slower. Isabella rose to 38 percent.
Bass 3 Crappie 2 Trout 2 Catfish 2
The NewJen Bass Tournaments arrived on Sunday with 16 boats participating, and a 14-pound limit took first place with a few big fish in the 6- to 8-pound range. The bass are bedding, and sight fishing for bedding females has been the technique for the larger fish. There have been quality fish found in deeper water with finesse techniques. The lake continues to rise, and with this week’s warm weather, the giants that Kaweah is known for should be coming out. Catch-and-release of the big females is advised. The lake rose to 58 percent.
Call: Sierra Sporting Goods 592-5212
Bass 3 Trout 2 Catfish 2 Crappie 3 Bluegill 2
Chuck Stokke of Sequoia Fishing Company in Springville said, “Bass fishing is very good, and it should only get better this week as the females are bedding up. Senkos, Brush Hogs, plastic worms, and crankbaits are all working. Hopefully, most fishermen will practice catch-and-release with the bass on the spawn. Crappie fishing is also excellent on crappie jigs, especially close to the marina.” The lake rose to 52 percent. In the Tule River, the water is stained, and it is flowing into the lake. Trout fishing is fair at best with nymphs or streamers.”
Bass 3 Trout 2 King salmon 1 Kokanee 1 Crappie 3 Catfish 2
Bass fishing is solid for spotted bass to 5 pounds with plastics or live minnows while crappie fishing has taken over the lake. Steve Marquette of the Lake McClure-Lake McSwain Parks and Recreation said, “Limits of slabs are common from the shorelines near the North Ramp at McClure with live minnows.” Mike Gomez of the Bait Barn in Waterford reported relatively clear water at the lake, and a 9-pound largemouth was landed this week on a Fatty Worm Spin Daddy underspin.”
The bass are moving into the shallows, but they moved back off over the weekend with the low pressure system. Catfishing is decent with anchovies, sardines, or chicken livers. The lake rose slightly to 84 percent this week.
Following severe storm events in later March, Caltrans has closed Highway 49 between the Coulterville area and Bear Valley Road, north of Mariposa. As a result, there is no access to the Bagby Recreation Area at this time. Caltrans has indicated Highway 49 could be open in early May.
The Horseshoe Bend Recreation Area is open and accessible from Highway 132. However, delays can be expected for up to 15 minutes or more with detours and road work. For the latest information on road conditions around Lake McClure, visit the Caltrans District 10 webpage.
400 contestants descended on Lake McSwain over the past weekend to participate in the annual spring trout derby, and the hot action that has been occurring over the past several weeks wasn’t deterred by the rains on Friday and Saturday.
Despite the heavy rain on Saturday morning, Steve Marquette of the Lake McClure-Lake McSwain Parks and Recreation said, “The campgrounds were filled, and the Day Use Parking lot was nearly filled, It was a wild day around here on Saturday with anglers having to wait in line to clean their fish at the cleaning station. There was a heavy plant of tagged fish prior on Friday along with a plant of 500 pounds earlier in the week. The water was stained from inflow from Lake McClure, and baits with smell such as dough bait with garlic, nightcrawlers, or live minnows were working best. A 4.5-pound rainbow trout was leading the derby at last call. Trout plants from the Calaveras Trout Farm will continue throughout the summer months.”
The water in the lake is very stained, and trollers struggled throughout the derby with by far the best action coming from bank anglers from the Brush Pile to the dam with Power Bait with scent.
If the $2,000 tagged trout was not landed during the derby, it is worth $500 for registered derby participants in the coming months.
Call: McSwain Marina 209-378-2534
Millerton Lake/San Joaquin River
Bass 3 Striped bass 1 Shad 1 Bluegill 2 Crappie 2
Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun said, “Numbers of spotted bass are the story with up to 50 spots within a few hours with the occasional large fish to 3.5 pounds. Crankbaits, ripbaits, and plastics are working well, but the spinnerbait and chatterbait bite hasn’t taken off. A few crappie to 11 inches have been taken from the banks in Squaw Cove, but the numbers are down.” No striped bass reports. The lake rose from 66 to 86 percent this week.
Call: Valley Rod & Gun 292-3474
New Melones Reservoir/Tulloch
Bass 3 Crappie 3 Catfish 2 Trout 2 Kokanee 1
The bass action has been tremendous at New Melones as the bass are in the midst of their spawn. The recent heavy rains over the weekend pushed the bass out into deeper water, but they will be back in force this week in the shallows with the arrival of warm weather.
Gene Hildebrand of Glory Hole Sports in Angels Camp said, “It’s been a bass attack with the bass on their beds spawning. Josh Parris of Angels Camp had an awesome day slamming the bass on Melones with a 12.98-pound female just off of her spawn with a Balam 300 swimbait. He watched her swim up to the bait a couple times but wasn’t able to get her to strike. He set up his Go Pro, and on the next cast, she slammed his bait, and he captured the scene on video. The Strike King XD crankbait with 12-pound flourcarbon has been effective as the light line allows the bait to dive, Strike King or Booyah spinner baits and buzzbaits are also getting the attention of the spawning bass protecting their beds.”
Hildebrand reported slower trout action over the past few weeks, but Matt Kain of Twain Harte landed a 7-pound, 7-ounce rainbow trolling a Kastmaster at 30 feet in the Angels Creek Arm. The trout are holding around the inflow coming off of the creeks, and Speedy Shiners, Apex lures, or Pro Troll E-Chip lures are working for the occasional large rainbow.
Crappie fishing has been outstanding with crappie jigs, flukes, live minnows, Gulp! Minnows, or small spinnerbaits, and Eric Ochoa blew way past the lake-record for crappie with a 3-pound, 4-ounce slab from the shoreline in a cove near the Tuttletown launch ramp with a live minnow at 20 feet in depth.
The lake rose to 85 percent.
Pine Flat Reservoir/Kings River
Bass 3 Trout 3 Kokanee 0 King salmon 0 Catfish 2 Crappie 3
The King of the Clubs Bass tournament was held at Pine Flat on Saturday with eight local clubs participating, and despite five hours of constant rain, the event came down to the final weigh in of the five two-man teams for each participating club.
Greg Sweeney of the Sportsmen’s Warehouse in Fresno was the organizer of the second annual event, and he said, “The last two-man team from the Fresno Bass Club needed 7.5 pounds to put their club team over the top, and they arrived with 8.5 pounds to edge out the Roosevelt High School Bass Fishers and their mentors. We have interest from two other high school teams for next year along with the Merced Bass Club so we plan on expanding the event. Pine Flat is primarily a spotted bass lake, and the weights will always be close, and the difference between the first place and fourth place teams was only 5 pounds. There were some reaction fish, but the rains pushed the bigger fish off of the beds into deeper water. Earlier in the week, the bass were moving up and on beds, but when the weather system arrived, the bass moved out to between 20 and 25 feet. One 3.5-pound female bass was caught at 20 feet, and she already had eggs sticking to her belly and coming out. With this week’s weather expected to be 80 degrees, I expect this will be the week for big fish in all of the foothill lakes.”
Daniel Moreno and Steven Cha of the Roosevelt High School Bass Fishers Club put in the largest bag in the tournament, helping their young team to second place.
Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “Earlier in the week there were some huge fish taken with Timmy Wells of Fresno catching and releasing an 11.2-pound largemouth and a 6.2-pound spotted bass, and he prefers to use jigs. The bass can be found from the banks to 20 feet, and they are in the 14- to 14.5-inch range. The crappie bite continues in the upper end of the lake above Trimmer, and although the numbers have slowed down, the quality remains good. We sold 70 packs of crappie jigs on Saturday, and there are also some crappie around the docks and brush near Deer Creek. The trout bite is holding up at depths to 6 colors of leadcore with shad-colored Needlefish, Apex lures, or Wedding Rings tipped with a nightcrawler behind a dodger. One boat landed an 18.5-inch brown trout along with a couple of rainbows to 21 inches. The key is finding bait in the main lake from the dam to the Power Lines.”
Kokanee Power will host its first derby of the year on April 21st at Pine Flat with information and registration available at http://www.kokaneepower.org/derbies/20180421.pdf.
Pine Flat has risen to 73 percent.
San Luis Reservoir and O’Neill Forebay
Striper 2 Catfish 2 Bass 2 Crappie 2
Striped bass anglers continue to walk the banks in the mornings and evenings for linesides to 5 pounds with Lucky Craft Pointer 128’s, Duo Realis jerkbaits, or Magnum Flukes to 7 inches. Roger George of Roger George Guide Service said that the trolling bite has been decent to tough depending on the day you fish during the storms and how experienced the angler is. “ I took out Marion Santos and Rick Gong , both of Los Banos, and once I found the right pattern using Lucky Craft 128’s we released over 35 plus fish in 4 hours-most in the 20 to 23 plus inch range. We had around 4 to 5 boats working the same area but they all left within an hour- the overall troll bite was slow. The water temps are up to around 60 degrees, and the recent storms have been the problem with low pressure fronts turning the fish off till things get stabilized again. Water clarity is also down now-and hitting the right weather windows is big! “ George said. George’s “Downrigging 101 for Stripers” on the water class is tentatively set for this weekend after last week’s class was canceled due to the storm.
Trollers are finding mixed action with P-Line Predator Minnows or similar plugs , while jumbo minnows are also effective near the Trash Racks. The lake rose to 90 percent with increased pumping out of the south Delta.
The O’Neill Forebay remains the same with small stripers on cut baits being the rule.
Bass 2 Trout 3 Kokanee 1
The trout bite remains very strong for experienced fishermen at Bass Lake with good numbers of planted rainbows available. This is a good portent for the upcoming Bass Lake Chamber of Commerce Derby May 5-6 with over $25,000 in tagged rainbow trout. Information and registration available at www.basslakechamber.com/fishing-derby.
Todd Wittwer of Kokanee.net Guide Service said, “I was out in the rain on Saturday morning, and we worked around the debris in the water as in addition to wood chips, there are pieces of dock, a few logs, 2x4’s, and 4 x 4’s floating on the surface. We found good action for rainbows from 16 to 22 inches working both the surface on a long line and also at down to 32 feet on the downrigger. There were a few rainbows in the 17- to 18-inch range in the 2.25- to 2.5-pound range, and these are chubby trout. Our best action has been on a Gulp! Minnow behind a Vance’s Dodger on a long line or with the Cotton Candy squid hoochie tipped with either a maggot, Mice Tail, or Gulp! Minnow behind a Rocky Mountain Tackle two-tone orange/pink dodger. The Plankton Squid is also working with its best action later in the day. The water up above the Sheriff’s Tower has been dirtier so we are trolling between the tower and the dam. We are still seeing groups of fish from 32 to 45 feet, but we haven’t been able to get them to bite despite dragging lures through the middle of the schools. There has been a report of two kokanee landed, and after last year didn’t produce a single kokanee at the lake, this is welcome news. The fish in the deeper water may be kokanee, and these would have to be second-year fish.”
Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis reported the bass bite is picking up with plastics on the drop-shot or ripbaits, and the best is yet to come.
The public launch ramp is in good shape since the lake has risen to 78 percent, but the courtesy dock is non-functional. The launch fee has risen from $5 to $10.
Kaiser Pass Road close several months ago, and access to the area will be limited to snowmobile. Edison is at 32, Florence rose to 30, and Mammoth Pool rose significantly to 103 percent.
Call: Vermilion Valley Resort at Edison Lake 259-4000
Kokanee 3 Trout 3
Heavy rain fell in the Central Sierra on Friday and Saturday at up to 8,500 feet, and Shaver Lake at 5,300 feet experienced heavy precipitation. The kokanee and rainbow trout bite has been excellent around the storms, and the action will only get better and better as the weather clear.
Dick Nichols of Dick’s Fishing Charters said, “Before Friday and Saturdays rain storms, both boat and shore fishermen were catching fish. Kevin Kato of Shaver Lake, a chef at Norm’s Cafe, picked up a couple trophy sized rainbows from two different shore locations. Another,shore fisherman near the dam picked up a nice 4-plus pounder using inflated crawlers and trout dough bait.
Chris Richardson of Clovis landed a 22.5-inch, 3.5-pound rainbow off of the island with a rainbow colored Rapala, and Tom Oliveira of Tulare continued his string of multiple limits by putting friends Kirk and Jerilyn Emge of Vacaville onto 23 kokanee in short order, keeping 13 along with releasing three brown trout. Oliveira was trolling at depths around 27 feet deep in the Sierra Marina and Black Rock area, and he reported an early bite before a lull with the bite rebounding around 10 a.m. Other kokanee fishermen reported good bites at about the same depth with one catching and releasing both second- and third-year fish. The ratio has been about 4 to 1 kokes over trout per limit this past few weeks, but the trophy sized trout are showing up almost daily.”
Nichols begins his 12th season at the lake on April 21, and he will be working a reduced schedule of Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays this year.
The Sierra ramps are good to go for launching and the water is at the end of the Shaver Marina /Edison camp ramp as the lake has risen to 56 percent.
The Shaver Lake Trophy Trout Project and its sponsored schools planted their fry last Friday, and the SLTTP provided a lunch for the students. Southern California Edison Forestry manager Steve Byrd made a presentation of the life cycle of trout to the students. Next year the SLTTP will be adding another school and the Auberry Public Library to its sponsored egg raisers.
Call: Dick Nichols, Dick’s Fishing Charters 281-6948; Todd Wittwer, Kokanee.net Guide Service 288-8100; Dinkey Creek Inn 841-3435; Rancheria Marina 893-3234; Shaver Lake Sports Inc. 841-2740; Steve Santoro Fish Box Charters 871-3937
The gates remain closed at Dinkey Creek, and they will most likely open to Wishon by May 1.
Call: Wishon RV Park 865-5361
Half Moon Bay
Striper 2 Crab 2 Surf perch 3 Salmon 2
Mike Aughney of USA Fishing.com said, “The salmon season opened south of Pigeon Point on Saturday, but due to the late and wet storm event on Friday there were just three party boats out of Half Moon Bay. Captain Dennis Baxter on the New Captain Pete reported overall slow action for the three boats. Baxter said they found great conditions 2 to 3 miles west of Ano Nuevo with blankets of krill and light winds over a 6- to 7-foot swell. Despite krill thick enough to gather on the lines, Baxter reported two fish to around 12 pounds. Both were caught by Dave Ferguson of Redwood City ". The other two party boats reported a goose egg. The weather was good on Saturday but few private boats even tried to make the 20-plus mile run south from Pillar Point.
The New Captain Pete and the Huli Cat have lots of room available for salmon and/or rockfish trips, and the local rockfish season opens on April 15.
Rockfish 3 Striper 2 Salmon 2 Sand dabs 3 Surf perch 3
Chris Arcoleo of Chris’s Fishing Trips in Monterey said, “There are a few fish around as Captain Nick Lemon on the Star of Monterey put in 10 salmon for 25 anglers during Saturday’s opener despite heading out in horrific conditions with a south wind and low pressure system moving through. The Check Mate scored 5 salmon for 22 fishermen on Sunday, and they could have landed five more hook ups while the Caroline also lost a few while landing 2 salmon for 12 anglers. The trollers working deep near the bottom are finding some salmon outside of Moss Landing so there are a few fish around. Our bottom fish trips on Saturday produced a combined 26 limits on the Check Mate and Caroline, and we added 8 ling cod although we didn’t focus on the lings. We have live squid now as there is squid in the bay, and we will be jigging up some squid tomorrow for rockfish. We will be running either salmon or rockfish trips this week, and there is some room during the week.”
San Francisco Bay
Stripers 2 White sea bass 3 Halibut 2 Leopard shark 2 Sturgeon 2
The big news was the wide open white sea bass bite on Saturday with the California Dawn releasing 40 undersized white sea bass, keeping 9 of the ghosts to 33 inches along with a massive number of halibut to 37 pounds and 45 stripers. Captain James Smith said, “The halibut bit in flurries on the flat tides, but the bass were a constant on every stop of the day.”
Well the news got out, and the Berkeley Flats were loaded with skiffs, party boats, and various floating vessels in search of the white sea bass on Sunday morning. The action was slower in the morning, but the California Dawn was able to pick up a fish per rod on the halibut with 30 flatties to 25 pounds along with a few stripers for 29 anglers.
Captain Chris Smith went out with a few anglers including his fiancée Sarah Robertson on Sunday, and they found some quality bass and halibut in spite of only fishing a few hours. On their first live bait trip of the season on Saturday with 27 anglers, they landed 10 keeper halibut to 14 pounds, 25 striped bass, and a white sea bass with plenty of shaker resulting in over 60 fish released.
Sarah has teamed up with the NorCal NorCal Female Fish Slayers to host a ladies only trip aboard the Happy Hooker on May 25th, and she said, “There will be giveaways and raffles with merchandise from our sponsors including Big Red Worm Company, The Fish Sniffer, Happy Hooker Sportfishing and a grand prize of a brand new Phenix rod courtesy of Vince Borges! The ladies-only trip is limited so don’t miss out on the chance to meet other amazing women and share our passion together! Call 510-223-5388 to book your spot!”
Keith Fraser of Loch Lomond Bait and Tackle in San Rafael touted the fishing ability of his 2017 ‘Angler of the Year’ Anthony Hopkins. He said, “Hopkins was on the McNear’s Pier on Saturday morning, and on his first cast, he hooked into an oversized sturgeon estimated at 7 feet long that came off after its third jump so he baited up again and hooked another oversized. After weaving through the rods while backing down the pier towards the shoreline, the second oversized sturgeon came unbuttoned. His next cast produced a 58-inch keeper that he was able to make it through the labyrinth of lines to land at the shoreline, and he subsequently released a 46-inch keeper as the same scenario unfolded. Hopkins added two striped bass at 26 and 32 inches to the two legal sturgeon, and he was using either mud or ghost shrimp. I think things will be terrific this week with the good weather as there is an incredible number of striped bass in the bay along with increasing numbers of sturgeon.”
San Luis Obispo
Rockfish 3 Surf perch 3
The Endeavor out of Morro Bay Landing put 19 anglers onto limits on a half-day trip on Monday with 130 vermilion rockfish, 40 copper, 10 Boccaccio, 10 assorted, and 10 ling cod to 14 pounds. Also out of Morro Bay, Virg’s Landing sent out the Fiesta on Monday with 14 fishermen for 110 vermilion, 26 coppers to 5.8 pounds, and 14 canary rockfish. Out of Port San Luis, the Flying Fish, the Patriot, and the Phenix took out 56 passengers on Saturday for 180 vermilion, 139 copper, 46 Boccaccio, 183 assorted, 17 ling cod to 11 pounds with Ray Garcia of Fresno taking the jackpot on the Patriot with an 5-pound ling and Kevin Lamley of Madera winning the jackpot on the Phenix with a 9.5-pound ling.
Bass 3 Striper 3 Sturgeon 3 Catfish 2 Bluegill 2
The migration of six-packs is in full swing with Captain Steve Mitchell of Hook’d Up Sport Fishing wrapping up his sturgeon operation out of Pittsburg with a final trip on Wednesday before starting out of Berkeley for live bait potluck trips on Friday. Mitchell said, “We had one break off earlier, and we just released a 62-inch oversized. We are out late past 8 p.m. as we are sitting on a bunch of fish and waiting for the start of the outgo when I know we will hook up.” Mitchell was right since once the tide turned, he put his clients onto an upper slot limit sturgeon on Big Red lamprey eel.
Alan Fong, manager of the Fishermen’s Warehouse in Sacramento, has been finding success in the north Delta for both striped and largemouth bass. He said, “My friend has been catching and releasing some huge stripers in Liberty Island with big glide baits, and he released a 45-inch lineside estimated at over 40 pounds and 2 more over 30 pounds within three days. The water is pretty clear there despite the rain. We went out earlier in the week, and we caught and released 12 stripers, and I hooked a monster on one of Jason Kincannon’s glide baits, and the fish ran hard for 30 to 40 yards before coming off. I was leaning hard into the fish, and I also fell off of the boat when it popped off. After this we targeted largemouth bass with Brush Hogs, Senkos, and spinnerbaits, and we put in a bag over 30 pounds with one over 10 and two fish over 8 pounds. The River2Sea Swaver is also working.”
Joey Gamez of Golden State Sport Fishing is one of the six-packs remaining in the Delta, and he has been enjoying great sturgeon action in the muddy water with Big Red eel or salmon roe.
Captain Zach Medinas of Gatecrasher Fishing Adventures is also enjoying excellent action for sturgeon on his catch-and-release ventures out of Martinez Marina with his custom-cured salmon roe. Medinas was recently featured in an Angler West TV show production.
From the Benicia shorelines, Tony Lopez of Benicia Bait reported small stripers and flounder are showing up with blood worms, pile worms, and anchovies. He said, “We have been hearing reports of sturgeon in the Big Cut and Montezuma Slough with eel or salmon roe.”
There is a significant amount of debris floating on and just under the surface on the main river, and it is important to be extremely cautious when running at high speed both during the day and especially in the dark.
The San Joaquin River has been relatively clear despite the muddy water pumping out of the Mokelumne River, and striped bass and largemouth bass action remains consistent. The big concern has been the boats tossing out bucketloads of pellets in order to eradicate weeds in the main San Joaquin and also in the back sloughs.
Randy Pringle, the Fishing Instructor, said, “It is down and dirty right now, and there are bass on beds. With the ripple on the dinghy water, we couldn’t see the fish on the beds, but we fished areas that they were bedding. There was a high tide in the morning, futher complicating the ability to see the beds, but we found an excellent bite for 3- to 5-pound largemouth bass with the Berkley Power Bait Max Scent D-Worm or Max Scent Hit Worm on the drop-shot or the Max Scent General on a Zappu Head. The key is keeping the bait in the strike zone as long as possible. The coming rain will help in a couple of ways as the spawning fish will be left alone by fishermen for a few days, but the overall effect is that the precipitation and inflow from the warm storm will activate the reaction bite with crankbaits and spinnerbaits. The past several days have been hot with no or little wind, and this rain could be a perfect storm as the dirty water helps anglers by proving camouflage for the presentation.
There are 8 boats operating out of Paradise Point in the east Delta, and they are dropping pellets in the backs of sloughs on the outgoing tide to kill the weeds, and without any weed growth, the water will stay dirtier longer since the weeds filter that sediment in the river.
Both Pringle and Vince Borges of Vince Borges Outdoors have witnessed the boats releasing the pellets killing the grass in sloughs. Borges said, “I’ve been on the water several times in the past weeks on guide trips and have fished north, south, east and west Delta. Every day on the water, I see the boats spraying and tossing pellets in the grass. I finally stopped one of them in the north Delta and asked him why they are killing all the grass in a slough that doesn’t have a marina or get a lot of boat traffic. I could understand if they were spraying the hyacinths and prim rose, but why hydrilla and other grasses. And especially why during the spawn? His response to me was they are eradicating all vegetation from the Delta. My response to him was that will never happen! The Delta is way too vast and with current and tidal flows impossible!! Which his reply to me was “we shall see, job security as this is a 20-year plan!”
Alan Fong of the Fishermen’s Warehouse has also witnessed the weed-eradication boats, and he said, “They are just winging the buckets of pellets out there instead of dropping them over the side as in the past, and the bass are spawning. There are dead tules loaded with slime along the berms.”
James Netzel of Tight Lines Guide Service, currently out of Korth’s Pirates Lair, has been finding limits of schoolie stripers on his trolling trips in the San Joaquin from the Antioch Bridge to the Santa Clara Shoals. He said, “The river doesn’t even look like it rained on Sunday as it had 2 feet of visibility. The bite was a bit slower, but we managed to put in 10 fish to 5 pounds running deep-diving Yozuri Crystal Minnows in red head, red/gold, silver/black and chartreuse. There is some debris on the water, and the Mokelumne is pumping out mud. I will be here until early May before moving over to Folsom and then to Stampede.”
Joe Aksamit of JoeFish Guide Service was on a scouting trip with Jen Laine Mat on the San Joaquin, and she possessed the hot stick with over a dozen stripers to 10 pounds landed.
Clyde Wands, shallow trolling expert, was out on the San Joaquin on Tuesday, but after only landing a single striper, he switched over to the Sacramento side near Decker Island for several linesides to 7 pounds trolling shallow-diving P-Line Angry Eye Predators. He said, “The water was actually clearer on the Sacramento than it was on the San Joaquin, and we ended up with a deep troll bite later in the day. We turned back a number of fish, keeping a limit to 7 pounds.”
Wands was back out on Thursday, and he said, “We started off at the Santa Clara Shoals on the San Joaquin, and the water was fishable but we couldn’t find any stripers with any size. We caught plenty of fish, but they were small keepers. We went over to the Sacramento River, and it was more of the same with small keepers, but Scott Feist put his clients onto some good fish on the Sacramento River. The water is fishable, but with the storm coming, the muddy water is coming so I will be focusing south next week.”
Dan Mathisen of Dan’s Delta Outdoors was in Frank’s Tract fishing on Wednesday afternoon, and he reported water temperature at 64.5 degrees which is unusually high for this time of year. He said, “Bass fishing has been good with chatterbaits and spinnerbaits, and there will be a few frog fish as the bass will start guarding. There is a small wave of spawning right now, and the beds are being formed. Striped bass are getting active as they are coming into Little Frank’s Tract and around Eddo’s, but you have to use white with chartreuse to get bit in the dirty water.” Mathisen has been selling plenty of lug worms which have now made their way into local bait shops from the Big Red Worm Company. He said, “The lug worms are hardier than pile worms, and they are lasting longer. They have become popular right away due to their hardiness.”
Kris Huff of Stockton continues on his roll for largemouth bass, and he landed this frog fish early in the week.
Bryce Tedford of Bryce Tedford’s Fly Fishing Guide Service said, “Delta Striper fishing has been more of a challenge within the last two weeks. Dirty water from recent rains has been moving around in various areas. We are averaging 10 to 15 fish to 5 pounds, and the trick has been to find reasonable clean water that is holding feeding fish. There is a fair amount of fish in the system so as the water continues to clear the catching should improve. April and May are shaping up to be prime striper months The water temperatures are currently 58 to 60 degrees, and warmer weather will continue to warm the Delta. In the dirty water, I have been using 3- to 5-inch Rattle Clousers in various colors such as Chartreuse over White or Black/Purple over Chartreuse has been good as well.”
Information on the Purple Heart Anglers is available at www.purpleheartanglers.org or through Houston at 415-370-9930.
Lake Nacimiento/San Antonio/Santa Margarita/Lopez
Bass 3 White bass 2 Striper 2 Catfish 2 Crappie 3
At Sant Antonio, the Best Bass Tournament arrived on Saturday, and the top limits and big fish were very impressive with the father/son team of Tim and TJ Sharpe with a 21.43 limit. The top teams were sight fishing off of beds as the bass are in the midst of their spawn. Catfish are hitting a variety of cutbaits, stinkbaits, or nightcrawlers. The lake held at 34 percent, and it is open throughout the weekend including the North Shore.
At Nacimiento, the warm water temperatures approaching 70 degrees, and the spotted bass has been on fire for numbers with plastics on the drop-shot, split-shot, or dart head along with underspins and small spinnerbaits. The spots are numerous, but a big fish is just pushing 3 pounds. White bass have been fair at best, and a few schools have been observed in the upper end of the lake. The water releases have started, and the lake dropped to 54 percent. A webcam of the lake is available at www.lakenacimientolive.com.
At Lopez, bass fishing is best with finesse techniques such as plastics on the drop-shot, shakey-head, or dart head along with Senkos. There are a few larger fish taken on reaction baits, but the numbers are down. A webcam of the lake is available at 805webcams.com/lopez-lake-webcam.
At Santa Margarita, bass fishing continues to improve, and the best action remains on the bottom with plastics on the drop-shot or Texas-rig along with jigs. There have been some quality largemouth taken on the surface with buzzbaits early in the mornings or late in the afternoons. Crappie fishing is also improving with minijigs tipped with some type of bait, and panfishing for bluegill and perch is picking up with worms near the docks. A webcam of the lake is available at 805webcams.com/santa-margarita-lake-webcam-california.
Go to fresnobee.com/fishing for reports on Half Moon Bay, Monterey/Santa Cruz, San Francisco Bay and San Luis Obispo
NewJen Bass Tournaments: April 7 at Don Pedro – 1, Jason Remmers/Alex Niapas, 32.77 pounds (Big Fish 8.24); 2, Randy and Glenn Pierson, 18.61; 3, Rod Cree/Matt Silviera, 17.62.
Best Bass Tournaments: April 7 at San Antonio – 1, Tim and TJ Sharpe, 21.43; 2, Jeremy Hightower/Joey Baldacchino, 18.92 (Big Fish 6.91); 3, Graham Grove/Brandon Colombo, 17.66.
Dan’s Delta Outdoors: April 8 at Big Break Marina – 1, Jeff and Garret Bradshaw, 19.95 (Big Fish 7.03); 2, Dan Fonte/Bobby Barrack, 19.35; 3, Chris Raza/Paul P, 18.96.
NewJen Bass Tournaments: April 8 at Kaweah – 1, Vince Bryan/Jeremy Jones, 14.00; 2, Darrel Masterson/Dean Miller, 13.25; 3, R.J. Brinkman, 12.41 (Big Fish 7.42).
April 14: Delta/B and W Resort – American Bass Association; Delta/Ladd’s Marina – Christian Bass League; Camanche – Riverbank Bass Anglers; Tulloch – Kerman Bass Club; Don Pedro – California Tournament Trail; McClure – Merced Bass Club; Eastman – RiverRat Bass Club; Pine Flat – Best Bass Tournaments; Kaweah – Cen Cal Elite Bass Tournaments; San Antonio – 101 Bass; Santa Margarita – Orange County Bass Club
April 15-16: Delta/Russo’s Marina – Angler’s Press
April 15: New Melones – Tri Valley Bassmasters; Tulloch – Fresno Bass Club; Don Pedro – Mother Lode Kayak Anglers; Bass Lake – Central Valley Kayak Fishing; Kaweah – Success Bass Youth; Santa Margarita – Orange County Bass Club
April 21-22: Delta/Russo’s Marina – Best Bass Tournaments Rat-L-Trap Open; Don Pedro – Sierra Bass Club
April 21: Delta/Russo’s Marina – Delta Bass Anglers; Delta/Ladd’s Marina – Elk Grove Bass Club; Delta/B and W Resort – Outlaw Bass Club; Don Pedro – Best Bass Tournaments/Southern California Bass Club; Millerton – California Bass Federation; Success – US Army Corps of Engineers; Isabella -Lake Isabella Bass Club; San Antonio – American Bass Association; Santa Margarita – San Luis Obispo County Bass Ambushers
April 22: New Melones – California Bass Federation; Millerton – American Bass Association; Bass Lake – Kings River Bass Club
April 27-29: Delta/Russo’s Marina – Wild West Bass Trails
April 28: Lake Camanche – Central Valley Anglers Trout Derby; Pine Flat – NewJen Bass Tournaments
April 28-29: New Melones – California Bass Federation; Don Pedro – Bakersfield Bass Club
Week of April 15 by California Department of Fish and Wildlife
Fresno County: Upper Tenmile Creek, Tamarack Creek, Shaver Lake, Kings River below Pine Flat Dam, Huntington Lake, Woodward Park Lake, Dinkey Creek, Avocado Lake
Madera County: Lower and west fork Chiquito Creek, north fork Willow Creek, Rock Creek, Nelder Creek, Manzanita Lake, Fish Creek
Tulare County: Stony Creek
n = new moon> = peak activity