Here are a few casting techniques taught by California Department of Fish and Wildlife
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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Coastal rockfishing off to good start, Chris Arcoleo said. Delta big bass action hot, Alan Fong reported. Eastman bass still active, Merritt Gilbert said. Don Pedro and McClure bass bites good, Mike Gomez said. Success bass on beds, Chuck Stokke reported. New Melones bass and crappie on the prowl, John Liechty said. Shaver kokanee still hitting, Dick Nichols reported.
2-Have to work hard
4-Fish jumpin’ in boat
Delta Mendota Canal and Sloughs
Striper 2 Catfish 2
A few anglers are starting to work the northern section of the California Aqueduct, but there have been few reports of success. Mendota Slough is starting to kick out some largemouth bass for those punching the weed mats. In the southern section of the California Aqueduct, Pete Cormier of Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield said, “The aqueduct has been ‘on and off,’ but there have been some good days for striped bass with lug worms, blood worms, sardines, or mackerel.”
Bass 3 Trout 2 Bluegill 2 Catfish 2 Crappie 2
Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “Big largemouth bass are a strong possibility with bass to 13.8 pounds landed during the past week. The RiverRats Bass Club Open produced a winning four-fish limit of 21.27 pounds with a big fish at 8.73 pounds. Wacky-rigged or nail rigged Senkos, plastics, or jigs are working best for the big fish as the females have moved onto the banks.” Eastman has risen to 80 percent.
Bass 2 Trout 2 Catfish 2 Bluegill 2 Crappie 3
Merritt Gilbert said, “Few reports from Hensley, but there are loads of 4- and 5-inch crappie.” The water remains stained as the lake has risen to 47 percent.
Lake Don Pedro
Bass 3 Trout 2 Kokanee 0 King salmon 1 Crappie 2
Mike Gomez of the Bait Barn in Waterford said, “The bass bite has been solid with 2- to 3-pound fish found all day long on most any offerings including jigs, River2Sea Swavers, swimbaits, and plastics on the drop-shot. The bass are still in the 15 to 35 feet level as they are holding on beds despite the lake rising.” The trout released as part of the salvage of the Moccasin Hatchery are moving out into the main lake. The lake has risen to 90 percent.
Lake Isabella/Bakersfield area
Bass 3 Trout 2 Crappie 3 Catfish 2 Bluegill 2
Crappie action has taken over, and Pete Cormier of Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield said, “Anglers are coming from all over to fish the cages for crappie in the South Fork in Joachim or Brown’s Cove. Minnows have been the top offering, and the cages are a man-made structure loaded with Christmas trees. There are also trout, bass, and catfish biting the minnows at the lake. The largemouth bass are either on their beds or getting ready to spawn, and releasing the bed fish is important to keep the fishery viable. The lake rose from 38 to 41 percent this week. In the local lakes, the trout action is all but over, but carp, bluegill, or crappie are filling the bill. The lower Kern River is still kicking out a few planted rainbows off of Hobo Gulch or Sandy Flats, and there are bass, catfish, or carp to be found as well. The upper river is not running too high, and there are still planted trout holding in the quieter water with Power Bait, plastic worms, inline spinners, and live crickets.
Bass 3 Crappie 2 Trout 2 Catfish 2
The bass are on the beds, but the lake continues to rise, coming up from 58 to 69 percent this week. Quality largemouth bass are found with finesse techniques and catch-and-release of the big females is advised. Crappie is showing signs of life around structure with live minnows or minijigs.
Call: Sierra Sporting Goods 592-5212
Bass 3 Trout 2 Catfish 2 Crappie 2 Bluegill 2
Chuck Stokke of Sequoia Fishing Company in Springville said, “The bass are on the beds, and anglers are using plastic worms, Senkos, or jigs. The lake is still rising, and the weather this week will be crazy due to temperatures changing from the 80s to the 60s. Rain will also be a factor. Anglers need to release females so we can keep the fishery stable and productive.” The lake rose from 52 to 57 percent this week. In the Tule River, Stokke said, “The river is running swift, and it is still stained. Fishermen are using nightcrawlers for the rainbows since the water is so high. Fly fishing remains slow with streamers the best bet.”
Bass 3 Trout 2 King salmon 1 Kokanee 0 Crappie 3 Catfish 2
Mike Gomez of the Bait Barn in Waterford said, “Bass fishing continues to be steady for spotted bass with River2Sea Swavers, jigs, or plastics on the drop-shot.” Steve Marquette of the Lake McClure-Lake McSwain Parks and Recreation said, “The bass are holding in shallow water, and live minnows are also effective. Crappie fishing has taken over as the top draw, and live minnows or white crappie jigs are working for 25-fish limits near submerged brush or rock. Catfishing is improving with anchovies, frozen shad, or sardines, while a few trout have been caught.” The lake is only 12 to 15 feet from spilling, and it has risen from 82 to 85 percent this week.
For the latest information on road conditions around Lake McClure, Caltrans District 10 at www.dot.ca.gov/d10.
Steve Marquette of the Lake McClure-Lake McSwain Parks and Recreation said, “The lake was on flood stage for the past week with inflow from upstream Lake McClure, but it is of flood stage now, and it will be stable for the remainder of the spring/summer. A trout plant is expected this week as no plants have occurred since before the Merced Irrigation Trout Derby. Trout dough bait in lime or rainbow with garlic along with silver/blue Kastmasters or live minnows are working best in the stained water.”
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 continue to be the story with wacky-rigged Senkos or Jackals are working best in the relatively clear water despite the inflow. The San Joaquin River is pouring 5000 cfs into the reservoir. No crappie reports out of Squaw Cove, and striped bass have yet to make a showing.” The lake rose from 81 to 92 percent this week.
Call: Valley Rod & Gun 292-3474
New Melones Reservoir/Tulloch
Bass 3 Crappie 3 Catfish 2 Trout 2 Kokanee 0
Bass fishing at New Melones has taken off with the lake rising and flooding new areas of vegetation. The best fishing remains on the bottom with plastics or Senkos, but the reaction bite is just around the corner once the lake temperature stabilizes.
John Liechty of Xperience Fishing Guide Service said, “The action has been great, and I took out one client for two consecutive days, and we caught and released 172 bass. Weedless wacky-rigged or nail-rigged Senkos are working best, but there has also been a topwater bite when the conditions are right. The early mornings or late afternoons have bene best for topwater, and also when it has been cloudy. Crankbaits and spinnerbaits are another option with the bass holding at depths from 5 to 15 feet while sometimes pulling off the banks when the fronts move through to the 25 to 35 feet range. I don’t like to fish deeper than 35 feet in the springtime. The water has been coming up, and there is 10 feet of flooded grass with a good break from the lake level during the winter. The bass really like the flooded vegetation since there is plenty of food in the weeds. We have also been catching some huge crappie every time we put on a ripbait or a 2.8-inch Kei Tech on a 3/16-ounce ball head. Despite the lake level rising, the main lake is gin clear.”
Crappie fishing remains solid with crappie jigs, flukes, live minnows, Gulp! Minnows, or small spinnerbaits, but trout action is limited to an occasional trophy-sized fish. The lake rose to 86 percent.
At Lake Tulloch, both the Kerman and Fresno Bass Clubs held events over the weekend, and there were some impressive limits taken, particularly the
Dan Marshall caught a 21.07-pound limit and 9.40-pound big fish on Sunday during the Fresno Bass event.
Pine Flat Reservoir/Kings River
Bass 2 Trout 2 Kokanee 0 King salmon 0 Catfish 2 Crappie 3
The water levels at Pine Flat have been coming up around a foot per day, and the lake has rose close to 20 feet in the past few weeks (from 73 to 82 percent this week). The trout, crappie, and bass bite has been up and down with the rising water conditions.
Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “The bite has slowed down from the past weekend as I was out this past week for the first time in a while, and we caught 15 bass overall. The reaction bite was very slow, but I did catch one on a Kei Tech swimbait before switching over to a 6-inch worm on either a Texas-rig or drop-shot. Most of our fish were found between 15 and 20 feet, and we went 30 to 40 minutes at a time without getting a bite. We went up the river arm where one of our good customers had put together a 14-pound limit earlier in the week, and we were greeted with a log jam above Rattlesnake around 800 yards in length. The water started getting muddy once we got to Rattlesnake, but the main lake remains clear with a water temperature in the 64-degree range. Trout fishing has also been slow, and the crappie bite slowed down as well with the off-color water above Trimmer. The river arm is just starting to clear up, and we are selling a tremendous amount of crappie gear for Pine Flat and also for Lake Isabella.”
Kevin Cheek was the tournament director for Saturday’s Best Bass Tournament with 23 boats won by Reece Wells and Bobby Herbold with a 13.59 limit including the big fish at 4.26 pounds. Cheek said, “Jigs, plastics, and glide baits were the top lures, and the beds have been buried by all of the water coming into the lake. There are plenty of cruisers along the shorelines, and the glide baits were effective for the cruising bass. A 10- to 12-pound winning limit is pretty much the rule for the lake.”
Kokanee Power will host its first derby of the year April 21 at Pine Flat with information and registration available at www.kokaneepower.org/derbies/20180421.pdf.
San Luis Reservoir and O’Neill Forebay
Striper 2 Catfish 2 Bass 2 Crappie 1
Central Valley striped bass fishermen continue to flock to San Luis Reservoir, and the bank bite with bait is the best bet.
Roger George of Roger George Guide Service said that the trolling bite pretty much went into a prefrontal shutdown bite just before the storm hit. “I scouted the lake right before the storm and the fish were scattered all over the place and not biting. I saw a lot of suspended fish at 30 to 40 feet in the water column – which is not typical – with the water temp starting at 59 degrees in the morning and as the sunny day continued it reached over 66 degrees. The algae bloom is really taking off and my boat was covered with the stuff . The fish were not on a reaction bite but seemed to be taking bait in 30 feet of water. I expect the troll bite to return with better weather. Every day is different with the passing fronts and wild temp changes.” George said. George is taking reservations for his next “Downrigging 101 for Stripers” on-the-water-class, usually held on Saturdays.
Mickey Clements of Coyote Bait and Tackle in Morgan Hill said, “The striped bass bite is still going, but the troll bite has slowed down. Bank fishermen are scoring with cut baits near Basalt Recreation Area and at Goosehead Point, and boaters are also mooching anchovies off of the shorelines. Jumbo minnows continue to work well.”
San Luis has risen to 90 percent.
The Forebay remains the same with small stripers on cut baits being the rule. Blood worms, pile worms, lug worms, and anchovies are all effective, particularly when the water is moving.
Bass 2 Trout 3 Kokanee 1
Trout fishing remains solid for trollers and bank fishermen within weeks of the annual Bass Lake Chamber of Commerce Trout Derby on May 5/6. Information and registration available at www.basslakechamber.com/fishing-derby.
Fresno County Sheriff’s patrols are issuing citations for boats not possessing the annual motor fee. Spotted bass to 3 pounds are found with finesse techniques on the bottom. The lake is at 85 percent and launching at the public ramp is accessible despite a non-functioning courtesy dock and a hole on one side of the concrete ramp.
Access to the area remains limited to snowmobile. Edison is at 36, Florence rose to 44, and Mammoth Pool is at 101 percent.
Call: Vermilion Valley Resort at Edison Lake 259-4000
Shaver Lake/Huntington Lake
Kokanee 3 Trout 2
Shaver Lake was hit with heavy snow on Monday, and interested anglers need to check road conditions before heading up the hill. The trout trolling bite remains slow, but the kokanee are still on the chomp. A plant of fingerling brown trout a few years back has led to a few browns landed by trollers, and these triploid fish are now in the 13- to 14-inch range.
Dick Nichols of Dick’s Fishing Charters said, “The kokanee bite continues to be solid, and the catch ratio remains 4 kokanee to 1 trout. Kokanee anglers can find their prey around both marinas, the island, and Black Rock at depths from 25 to 30 feet with a variety of lures tipped with shoepeg corn or a piece of nightcrawler. Trout fishing from both the shoreline and by boaters should get a boost this week with the first of the Department of Fish and Wildlife’s plant of catchable rainbows. The department had previously planted 2500 pounds of brooders in March, and the allotment for the lake for catchables around 15,000 pounds or between 27,000 to 30,000 rainbows in the ½-pound range. Shore anglers have found holdover trophy trout from 2017’s plants from the Shaver Lake Trophy Trout Project along with the recent DFW brooders, and most every day, a few of the large rainbows are landed. I know there are at least 1500 trophies still in the lake from earlier plants from the SLTTP. Another plant from our organization is in the near future, making that Shaver could be experiencing some very good fishing into the summer months. Both marinas will be opening soon, and the Sierra Ramp is in great shape. The Edison Camp ramp was at the end of the ramp, but with the water receding over the past week, it is no longer accessible.
Nichols begins his 12th season at the lake on April 21. He will be working a reduced schedule of Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays this year.
Upstream, Huntington will also receive a plant of catchables from the DFW this week, and shore fishing with trout dough bait or nightcrawlers has been producing rainbows to 16 inches. Shaver is at 54 percent with Huntington at 72 percent.
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 anglers need to check with the Sierra National Forest for the road opener and current road conditions as heavy snow fell in the area on Monday.
Call: Wishon RV Park 865-5361
Half Moon Bay
Rockfish 3 Striper 2 White sea bass 1 Surf perch 2 Salmon 2
The local rockfish season opened on Sunday, April 15th, and the party and private boats were finally able to enjoy working the reefs close to home instead of the 18-mile run below Pigeon Point.
Sherry Ingles of Half Moon Bay Sport Fishing said, “There was a big swell and a fast-moving current, but those who were able to keep contact with the bottom were rewarded with limits of quality bottom dwellers. The Riptide produced limits for 10 anglers with a number of vermilions and coppers and the Queen of Hearts was able to put together limits of what we call the ‘Half Moon Bay Smorgasbord’ for all passengers who were able to deal with the swell. The current made for difficult conditions for ling cod, but we have had as many as 44 lings below Pigeon Point after the April 1st opener. There were also a few salmon released while rockfishing at the Deep Reef, and the conditions look very good below Pigeon Point with lots of krill. One caution for private boaters is to understand the 40 Fathom Curve is deeper than 240 feet in several locations so if you are fishing the curve on your GPS on the west side, it is important to stay within the 240 limit. The number of yelloweye rockfish from deep water last year resulted in the change in regulations mid-season to 180 feet. Two canary rockfish have been included in this year’s limit, and this has come from the advocacy of representatives of our fishery.”
Captain Tom Mattusch of the Huli Cat said, “The weather improved for the local rockfish opener, and our anglers enjoyed a wide variety of rockfish including vermilions, coppers, blues, yellows, olives, widows, Chinas, starrys, and rosies to go with a few ling cod. It is important to stay on the east side of the ‘electronic fence’ regardless of the depth, and the information on the Code of Federal Regulations 50, Part 660, Subpart C.”
For salmon, Captain Dennis Baxter of the New Captain Pete reported, “We were able to put in the first salmon of the season on the April 7 opener with Bob Ferguson of Redwood City put in the only two fish out of the three party boats below Pigeon Point. We were bird watching on April 14, and we observed tons of krill on the 50 fathom line, but the water was green. Two charter boats were skunked for salmon on Saturday, and our clients on Sunday wanted to give it a try, but after no action by 10 a.m., we ran back north to the Deep Reef to salvage the day with limits of rockfish. I heard of two 15-pound salmon that were released by other party boats at the Deep Reef.”
From the beaches, school-sized striped bass are showing up from Ocean Beach south to Monterey with a variety of lures and bait working.
Rockfish 3 Striper 3 White sea bass 1 Crab 2 Sand dabs 3 Surf perch 2 Salmon 2
Chris Arcoleo of Chris’ Fishing Trips in Monterey said, “There are a zillion striped bass down here along the beaches from Marina to Seaside, and one angler reported catching and releasing 34 stripers within a few hours. The stripers are hitting most everything, but most of them are on the small side from undersized to 20 inches. The salmon bite slowed up on Sunday, but there is a low pressure system moving in. Rockfishing remains great at our local reefs and Captain Tinker Neece on the Check Mate put in 15 lings and 25 limits of rockfish on Sunday with the Caroline scoring 8 lings and limits of rockfish for 21 anglers. We haven’t been able to get far down the coast with the wind, and there was a big chop and swell on Sunday. We have room every day this week for rockfishing and/or salmon.”
San Francisco Bay
Halibut 3 Striper 3 Rockfish 3 Leopard shark 2 Sturgeon 2 Crab 2
Mike Aughney of USA Fishing. com said, “The rockfish season got off to a great start on Sunday, and the Emeryville Sport Center had three boats chasing bottom dwellers along the Marin coast and the Farallon Islands. The Sea Wolf reported 28 limits of rockfish and 9 lings to 12 pounds. The New Huck Finn checked in with 30 full limits of rockfish and two lings while the Tigerfish reported 35 limits of rockfish and 4 lings. The winds were light at 10 knots but the swell heights were a bit lumpy at 10 to 11 feet. The ESC has room daily this week for both offshore rockfish and bay live bait halibut and striper trips.
Inside the bay, Captain Steve Mitchell of Hook’d Up Sport Fishing had a great day on Sunday with limits of halibut and striped bass as well as halibut and stripers for the crew. He said, “We found some willing fish in a different area, and what a difference a day makes.”
Captain Trent Slate of Bite Me Charters out of Loch Lomond was back on the water on Sunday, and he said,”We went down to the Richmond Marina before the wind blew us back up to Paradise where we spend the remainder of the day. The action was good with 7 halibut to 14 pounds and 4 bass along with a bunch of shakers.”
Captain Chris Smith of the Happy Hooker took out 28 anglers on Sunday in windy conditions for 19 halibut and 5 striped bass.
San Luis Obispo
Rockfish 3 Surf perch 2
The Endeavor out of Morro Bay Landing was on a 12-hour trip on Sunday with 36 anglers for 290 vermilion rockfish, 10 copper, 20 Boccaccio, 40 assorted, and 38 ling cod to 18.5 pounds. Also out of Morro Bay, Virg’s Landing sent out the Rita G, Fiesta, and Black Pearl on Sunday with a combined 58 fishermen for 340 vermilion, 50 canary, 17 copper, 109 assorted, 1 Boccaccio, and 55 ling cod to 19.1 pounds. Javier Velasquez of Farmersville took the big jackpot ling on the Fiesta. Both ports are running a variety of bottom fishing trips.
Bass 3 Striper 2 Sturgeon 2 Catfish 2 Bluegill 2
A wall of muddy water and debris is on its way down from metropolitan Sacramento, and J.D. Richey of Richey’s Sport Fishing was out in the north Delta during the week. He said, “We had a choice of working for small fish on the Feather or looking for some larger stripers around Rio Vista with topwater lures. We needed overcast conditions, but it was bright sunshine throughout the day, and this limited our window. We did find some clearer water, but you really have to look around. On my way home, I witnessed a huge mass of floating trees and logs coming downstream around Clarksburg.”
Johnny Tran of New Romeo’s Bait and Tackle in Freeport reported the river has dropped within the past few days, but there is plenty of debris moving through the upper Delta. Water releases from upstream reservoirs have contributed to the debris, and striped bass action is best with cut baits with scent close to the shorelines. He said, “Stripers in the 18- to 20-inch range are the average size, but there have been linesides to 40 inches taken on sardines coated with garlic spray, pile worms, or blood worms. A few sturgeon are found above Freeport and also at Courtland with eel/pile worm combinations or pile worms.”
Captain Zach Medinas of Gatecrasher Fishing Adventures said, “I move around a lot looking for sturgeon, and finding fish has not been a problem, but the grass on the outgoing tide has been a challenge. There has been a lot of grass in the Delta this year, and it has made for difficult conditions on the outgoing tide. I may have to find fish in shallow water and will anchor in deep water on the change of the tides in slower moving water. My last trip was on Monday, and we released 9 slot-limit sturgeon and a shaker on salmon roe.” Medinas and Gatecrasher Fishing Adventures will be featured on Angler West TV on NBC Sports CA at 8:30 a.m. The episode can also been seen on YouTube at : .
Captain Shawn Taylor of the Barbarian II out of Martinez will be fishing sturgeon through the end of the month, and he had a spectacular day in Montezuma Slough on Saturday with 3 slot-limit sturgeon along with 8 oversized, and 2 shakers on salmon roe.
Tony Lopez of Benicia Bait reported an overall slow week with the changing weather conditions including a rainstorm on Sunday afternoon, but shore anglers are finding schoolie stripers off of 9th Street and under the Benicia/Martinez Bridge with anchovies, pile worms, or blood worms. Grass and ghost shrimp have been difficult to obtain. A 45-inch sturgeon was also landed from shore under the Benicia Bridge.
Boaters need to be very cautious of the logs and floating debris moving rapidly downstream, and boats on the anchor must take extra precautions with a quick release system or a knife to cut the anchor rope because a huge log can sink a boat within seconds.
The San Joaquin River is tops for largemouth bass with the possibility of a huge limit, but the striped bass bite shut down over the weekend, perhaps as a result of another incoming weather front.
Randy Pringle, the Fishing Instructor, has been on the San Joaquin River searching for largemouth bass, and he continues to observe the eradication boats tossing pellets in the back sloughs, He said, “Destroying the weed growth will impact the food source as all of our gamefish each snails and shrimp in the Delta. The lack of weeds will result in silt piling up, and animals like snails can’t travel in silt. The Delta has been pretty clear for some time due to the weed growth as the weeds filter the water. Without the weeds, the water will stay dinghy. In the dinghy water right now, it is difficult to get a reaction bite so my best technique has been using worms with heavy scent such as the General or D-Worm in Bold Bluegill which is a bright chartreuse pattern. I have been drop-shotting with the Rein Slim Tungsten weight in 1/8th ounce, and this particular weight is elongated with a circular head, keeping it from getting hung up in the rocks or tules. I haven’t lost one of these weights in the past two day as it’s shape keeps it from being hung up. Tungsten is a brittle metal, but it is also the densest metal available, and the density relays information to the angler faster. I have been using 15-pound Berkley fluorocarbon with a 12-inch leader and a Daiichi hook. Everything has been on a finesse presentation, and I even through a 10-inch Power Worm for a few fish. I stopped using the black/blue jig that had been so effective a few weeks ago when the water temperatures rose to the current 62/63 degrees. It is going to be at least a month before the action stabilizes and the water gets squared away.”
Pringle will be the director of the Snag Proof Open this coming weekend out of Russo’s Marina on Bethel Island.
Vince Borges of Vince Borges Outdoors and Phenix Rods went out early this week with his son, Josh, for a few hours before 7 p.m., and he said, “I thought the afternoon was setting up for some giants, but we found some good quality on River2 Sea’s Whopper Plopper and Reaction Innovation’s Pocket Rockets.”
Alan Fong of the Fishermen’s Warehouse in Sacramento said, “I had my best day ever in the Delta with a limit over 45 pounds with two 10’s, a 9, two 8’s, and a 7 with another at 6 pounds. I have been fishing the Delta for nearly 50 years, and this was my best solo limit. I have been been flipping the new Yamamoto Cowboy which is a big crawdad-patterned bait with two wide curly-tails. I also picked up the 6 and 7 pounders on a spinnerbait. The bass are right on the banks.”
Clyde Wands, shallow trolling expert, was on the San Joaquin River one early in the week, and he reported good action for striped bass to 8 pounds. He said, “We made three stops, and there were good fish at each stop. We released a number of stripers to 7 pounds, and the only fish kept were males. I always say, turn the big ones loose.”
After good action for stripers earlier in the week, the bite dried up over the weekend with slow action during the Purple Heart Anglers event. Tim Gower of Chrome Hunter Guide Service was out on Sunday morning after experiencing a tough bite during Saturday’s event, and he said, “We saw fish on the screen, but it was tough to get them to go. The wind was a limiting factor, and we couldn’t make it out to the Santa Clara Shoals with the big rollers.”
Captain James Netzel of Tight Lines Guide Service helped organize the volunteer boats for the Purple Heart Veterans event, but he wasn’t able to fish on Saturday due to a motor problem. He has routinely been putting clients onto schoolies, but Sunday produced only a single 9-pound striped bass caught and released by Bo Peterson of Rocklin.
Johnny Tran of New Romeo’s Bait and Tackle in Freeport reported continued excellent bluegill action off of Eight Mile Road west of Stockton with jumbo red worms.
The Purple Heart Anglers hosted their seventh annual Brannon Island Fishing Event this past Saturday, and despite a tough striped bass bite, the participants had a great time with the raffle returning $1,740 to the organization.
Tim Gower of Chrome Hunters Guide Service and the Nor-Cal Fish Whisperers was one of the many volunteers for the event, and he said, “This was the first time that I have volunteered for the event, and it was very emotional to witness the veterans from recent combat as well as from the Vietnam War and Korean Conflict. I took out Ken Collins, a Vietnam War veteran, and his wife, and it was a tough bite. Collins has Parkinson’s Disease, and the two fish that were hooked on his rod came unbuttoned before he was able to reel them in. His wife was able to land a limit of stripers, and these were the only two linesides that we were able to get to the boat. There were 144 veterans scheduled to participate, but for various reasons, just over 80 made the event. There were plenty of volunteer boats organized by Darren Butler and James Netzel of Tight Lines Guide Service, and most of us were able to take out a single angler. It was a very tough bite for some reason, and there were several boats that didn’t catch a fish. When we returned to Brannan Island at 12:30 p.m., we were greeted by a huge BBQ along with a raffle with two trips on the Lovely Martha out of San Francisco, 2 trips on the Happy Hooker out of Berkeley, and a Phenix Rod donated by Vince Borges of Phenix Rods.”
Nelson Vineyard of Vacaville, who just recently received his guide’s license, also volunteered his time and boat for the event, and he said, “We fished from 7 a.m. to noon, finding no action in the morning hours. We did some searching around and were able to find a small school of stripers that were looking to take our plugs. We had seven hookups in the last hour of fishing with two keepers over the rail with another one popping off. I felt confident that if we stayed out for the afternoon, we would have continued with the improving bite. The top lures were Yozuri Crystal Minnows in chartreuse, green, or blue.”
Information on the Purple Heart Anglers is available at www.purpleheartanglers.org or through Randy Houston at 415-370-9930. Their next event will be May 5 at Folsom Lake followed by a June event at Stampede Reservoir.
Lake Nacimiento/San Antonio/Santa Margarita/Lopez
Bass 3 White bass 3 Striper 2 Catfish 2 Crappie 2
At Sant Antonio, the lake is only open on the weekends, and there is a possibility that the lake will experience a significant drawdown in the coming months. At the present time, catfishing is best with cut baits, chicken livers, or nightcrawlers. Bass fishing remains slow overall with the best action with plastics on the drop-shot. Striped bass continue to be hard to locate. The lake held at 34 percent, and it is open throughout the weekend including the North Shore.
At Nacimiento, the spotted and white bass have become very active with the spots coming on underspins, or plastics on the drop-shot, split-shot, dart-head, or Texas-rig. Both whites and spotted bass are aggressively hitting small white Kastmasters, Roostertails, or underspins as the fish are feeding on the small shad. Cut baits are working best for catfish. The water releases have started, and the lake dropped to 52 percent. A webcam of the lake is available at www.lakenacimientolive.com.
At Lopez, largemouth bass are taken on finesse techniques such as plastics on the drop-shot, shakey-head, or dart head along with Creature Baits or jigs. Red ear perch and bluefill are found near structure with meal worms, wax worms, or jumbo red worms. A webcam of the lake is available at 805webcams.com/lopez-lake-webcam.
At Santa Margarita, the bass bite has improved with plastics on the drop-shot or Texas-rig along with creature baits such as Brush Hogs or Sweet Beavers and jigs. There is a topwater bite in the early morning with buzzbaits and a subsurface bite on chatterbaits for a better quality largemouth. Bluegill and red ear perch can be taken on waxworms, or meal worms. A webcam of the lake is available at 805webcams.com/santa-margarita-lake-webcam-california.
Christian Bass League: April 14 at Delta – 1, Christian Ostrander/Hunter Kidden, 18.18 pounds; 2, Chuck and Anthony Fuller, 16.52 (big fish 7.78); 3, Deacon Fernandez, 13.58.
American Bass Association: April 14 at Delta/B and W Resort – 1, Bill Brattain/Steve Meeks, 15.35; 2, Chris Ball/Nick Cloutier, 12.23; 3, Rich Reed/Rob Ridge, 3.28.
Kerman Bass Club: April 14 at Tulloch – 1, Dennis Graham/Jon Smith, 12.59 (big fish 3.24); 2, Ryan Voorhees/Justin Eslick, 12.06; 3, Cory Kerber, 11.93.
RiverRats Bass Club Open: April 14 at Eastman – 1, Mike and Bill Goodwin, 21.27; 2, Ron and Nick Sanches, 20.26; 3, Larry Llanes/Casey Case, 18.03; big fish Kyle Goodwin, 8.73.
Best Bass Tournaments: April 14 at Pine Flat – 1, Reece Wells/Bobby Herbold, 13.59 (big fish 4.26); 2, Brian Orange/Mike Martinez, 12.26; 3, Mike Newton/Steve Nincioni, 10.57.
Cen Cal Elite Bass Tournaments: April 14 at Kaweah – 1, Carl Nelson/Zac Tate, 16.41(big fish 11.68); 2, Steve Salcedo/Mark Navarette, 12.82; 3, Vince and Krandall Bryan, 11.97.
Fresno Bass Club: April 15 at Tulloch – 1, Dan Marshall, 21.07 (big fish 9.40); 2, Bill Leavitt, 16.09; 3, Bob Tratar, 15.51.
Mother Lode Kayak Anglers (Three Fish Limit): April 15 at Don Pedro – 1, Thao Kong, 56 inches (big fish 20.5 inches); 2, Moua Xiong, 52; 3, Carroll Mark, 50.5.
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 22 by California Department of Fish and Wildlife
Fresno County: Dinkey Creek
Tulare County: Del Lake Park Lake, Balch Park Lake (upper and lower)
q = full moon