Compiled by Dave Hurley and edited by Roger George, a former Olympic-class decathlete at Fresno State and striper record-holder at Millerton Lake and who now guides in the greater Fresno area. Telephone numbers are in 559 calling area unless noted.
* Try dynamite
** Have to work hard
*** Limits possible
**** Fish jumpin’ in boat
Delta Mendota Canal and Sloughs
Striper ** Catfish **
There is more life in the northern section of the California Aqueduct, with Fresno-area fishermen heading out at night to the section around Firebaugh for a limit of stripers on Duo Realis jerkbaits or Lucky Craft Pointer 128’s. The action isn’t nearly as hot as it was several months ago, but still good enough to post a limit. The 4-inch Storm swimbaits in bluegill have been difficult to keep in local shops because of demand. In the south aqueduct in Kern County, Jacob Rutledge of Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield reported catfish continued to bite Catnip Beef Bait, and he added, “It has been a larger seller than chicken livers in the past few weeks.” Striper fishing is fair with topwater lures, Gitzits or live jumbo minnows, but largemouth bass fishing remained solid with drop-shot plastics or Senkos. The increased amount of debris has provided structure for largemouth bass, crappie and bluegill migrating out of the Delta. Bluegill are biting live crickets, jumbo red worms or wax worms.
Bass *** Trout ** Bluegill *** Catfish *** Crappie **
Eastman continued to be the top lake for bass in the Fresno area, despite low water levels, and larger bass have come out to play within the past few weeks. Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “It is the best local lake for quality bass, and anglers are consistently finding fish in the 2- to 3.25-pound range with jigs.” Mark Inman of the Six Star Tackle Box in Madera said, “The bass are holding at depths from 3-25 feet with topwater lures, jigs, Senkos, Baby Brush Hogs, or drop-shotting 4-inch Pro Worms or Keeper Worms, for fish in the 1.5- to 3-pound range with the occasional huge largemouth bass.” Inman reported a solid catfish bite with anchovies, frozen chicken livers or nightcrawlers with the best action at night. Crappie are starting to show up around submerged structure with red/white crappie jigs or small minnows. The Six Star Tackle Box keeps a supply of various grades of minnows in the tanks. Perch fishing has improved with red worms under a cork bobber. Trout action has slowed considerably, but trollers report hooking up to three planted rainbows near the dam in the deepest portion of the lake. Eastman is a trophy-designated bass lake, and only one fish 22 inches or more may be kept. The area of the lake extending upstream from the buoy line near the Cordoniz Launch remains closed to accommodate nesting bald eagles. The lake held at 8% capacity and 469.55 feet in elevation.
Call: Six Star Tackle Box 673-5688; Eastman Lake 689-3255
Bass ** Trout ** Catfish *** Bluegill ** Crappie **
The bass bite has been slow, with catfish providing the best action, at night, on anchovies, frozen chicken livers or nightcrawlers around the launch ramp. Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “Thursday’s storm really slowed down the bass bite, but there is a reaction bite with crankbaits or ripbaits with plastics on the drop-shot, Texas rig, or split shot all working for 11- to 13-inch fish.” Senkos have been a solid option. A few crappie are starting to show up around submerged structure with red/white crappie jigs or small minnows. Perch are biting red worms under a cork bobber, but trout fishing remained very slow. Boaters should contact the Ranger Station at the Corps of Engineers office for launch conditions. The lake is at 8% capacity and 454.66 feet in elevation.
Call: Fresno Fisherman’s Warehouse 225-1838; Valley Rod Gun, Clovis 292-3474; Six Star Tackle Box 673-5688; U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Hensley Lake Hidden Dam 673-5151
Lake Don Pedro
Bass ** Trout *** Kokanee *** King salmon *** Crappie **
Kokanee and king salmon action slowed after Thursday’s hail and thunderstorm, but the bite was back on Monday with Danny Layne of Fish’n Dan’s Guide Service taking out Ken Linquist of Sonora and Kent McVey of Merced for mixed limits of kokanee, king salmon, and rainbow trout in Fleming Bay. Layne said, “We found all three species at depths from 45-85 feet with the kokanee in the 12- to 13-inch range and rainbows from 14-16 inches hitting Uncle Larry’s spinners, Glitter Bug’s hootchies, or plastic scented grubs in green or brown. All of our lures were tipped with shoepeg corn scented with vanilla. The king salmon averaging 2.5 pounds were falling for shad brined in Pautke’s Fire Dye at 85 feet in depth.” Kokanee schools were scattered into small groupings after the storm, but have reassembled. Kokanee Power will be hosting its annual team tournament at the lake May 30. For largemouth and spotted bass, large minnows are still the top technique from the banks. The launch is limited to one lane at Fleming Meadows. There is a courtesy dock and a long dock in the water, and patience is a necessity on the weekends because of high interest. Best Bass Tournaments is holding a Mother Lode Circuit event Saturday. The lake dropped slightly to 705.00 feet in elevation and 41% 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 **
Lake Isabella was heating up, but consistent winds along with the end-of-week storm cooled the surface temperature several degrees. As a result, the bass and crappie bite has slowed. The best crappie action had been in the South Fork; with a few days of warmer temperatures, the action should resume around structure in the deeper portions. Catfishing has slowed, but most likely is the best bet right now with clams, garlic shrimp, anchovies or Catnip Beef Bait. With the low lake levels, it is necessary to use a four-wheel-drive vehicle to launch from the dirt ramp near Red’s Marina. There are no marinas or courtesy docks in the lake, which is at 8% of capacity and 2529.45 feet in elevation. The upper Kern River is kicking out hatchery rainbows in response to recent plants and with more coming on sections 4-6. Salmon eggs or nightcrawlers have been the top baits, with the best fishing in the deeper pools. Chuck Stokke of Sequoia Fishing Co. in Springville touted the Little Kern and Kern River for fly fishermen, and he recommends Golden Trout Wilderness Pack Train at 542-2816 as the best operation for high-country access. In the lower river, smallmouth action is fair with small spinners or crickets. The local lakes are limited to bluegill, bass, or carp.
Call: Bob’s Bait (661) 833-8657; North Fork Marina (760) 376-1812
Bass *** Crappie ** Trout ** Catfish **
The bass bite has been solid with Senkos, Brush Hogs or lizards, with the fish moving from close to shore into deeper water. Crappie fishing has been fair at best with fewer Fresno-area anglers heading to Kaweah or Isabella. The action was hot and heavy last year, but this year’s bite has yet to approach those levels. The Horse Creek area is still the best location with small minnows or minijgs near submerged structure. Trout action remained slow, as the lake has received just one plant this year. The Vox Pops Influential Magazine is holding its annual trout derby out of the Lemon Cove Marina this weekend. The registration deadline is noon Wednesday via lakekaweahtroutderby.com. Catfishing is best in the evenings with sardines, or chicken livers. The lake rose 1.5 feet to 645.39 in elevation and 35% capacity.
Call: Sierra Sporting Goods 592-5212
Bass *** Trout ** Catfish ** Crappie **
Bass fishing remained solid with crankbaits, topwater lures or Senkos. There is a small window for topwater lures in the mornings and evenings in low light conditions. A smaller grade can be taken from the shore with a variety of lures. Trout fishing remained extremely slow, with few anglers trying at the present time. The lake held at 592.69 feet in elevation and 11% capacity. In the Tule River, all campgrounds have been stocked; Balch Park is open.
Call: Sequoia Fishing Co. 539-5626, www.sequoiafishingcompany.com
Bass *** Trout ** King salmon * Kokanee * Crappie ** Catfish **
The North Barrett Cove Launch Ramp is still operational with the lake at 11% capacity. The lake rose 4 feet for the second straight week to 623.61 in elevation. A variety of lures are working for spotted bass, but jigs or plastics on the drop-shot or dart head are the most consistent artificials. Live medium to large minnows or crawdads also are good options. A-1 Bait in Snelling is open under new ownership and running at various hours. Customers are advised to call ahead. The launch ramp is open for a limited period, beginning at 8 a.m., with boats having to be off the water by 4 p.m. There is a long walk to the parking lot unless you arrive early, early in the morning to find one of the few spots near the bottom of the ramp. Launch information is available at (855) 222-5253.
Call: A-1 Bait (209) 563-6505; Bub Tosh (209) 404-0053
Trout plants are limited to catchables from the Department of Fish and Wildlife because of the recent closure of Calaveras Trout Farm in Snelling. Bank fishing has been best from the brush pile, handicapped docks or campground with bright colors of trout dough bait.
Call: McSwain Marina (209) 378-2534
Millerton Lake/San Joaquin River
Bass *** Striper ** Shad * Bluegill ** Crappie **
Numbers of spotted bass with limited quality are still the rule, with the spots holding at depths from 15-18 feet off shore. Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “A 7-pound limit is a solid weight at the present time, and plastics on the drop-shot or dart head remain the top lures.” Fishermen have been catching and releasing a few stripers to 16 pounds, and there are still reports of striped bass tugging on a hooked spotted bass. Crappie fishermen continue to try with live minnows around Finegold, East Bay and Winchell Cove, but there have been few reports. Early May is normally when a two-week window opens up for crappie, but they have been absent. The submerged bull pines that provide structure for the slabides are several feet out of the water. Catfishing has been slow. All motors must conform to low-emission standards. Millerton is starting to release water, and it dropped 1.5 feet to 489.91 in elevation and 36% capacity. In the lower San Joaquin, there is minimal action with the lack of trout plants, but a huge bluegill estimated at 3-plus pounds was landed on a Senko at Sycamore Island. Regulations on the lower San Joaquin, and from Friant Dam to the Highway 140 bridge, allow two hatchery trout or hatchery steelhead with a total of four in possession.
Call: Fresno Fisherman’s Warehouse 225-1838; Valley Rod & Gun 292-3474
New Melones Reservoir/Tulloch
Bass *** Crappie ** Catfish *** Trout *** Kokanee ***
The bass bite remained solid at New Melones, but the launch ramp situation has limited the number of anglers placing boats into the lake. John Leitchy of Glory Hole Sporting Goods in Angels Camp said, “The last couple of weeks the bass have been biting, but the springtime spawn is pretty much over and the fish are in a post-spawn stage. Many fish can be caught on chuck and wind type baits, spinnerbaits, chatterbaits, crankbaits and swimbaits are all good choices. Once you find a productive section of water you can slow down and pick it apart with slower moving, soft plastic baits. There is a short window of opportunity to get a few topwater bites too.” Lietchy took out Jin Hayashihara from Japan, who landed his personal best largemouth at 8.02 pounds on a green pumpkin Senko – as well as another 40-fish in the boat. The trout bite continued to be solid for trollers working the main portion of the lake at depths to 20 feet with shad-patterned spoons on a long-line from 150-200 feet behind the boat. Leitchy recommended adding Pro Cure’s Bloody Tuna or Threadfin Shad to the lures to increase the opportunities for strikes. Night fishing under submersible lights is improving with live minnows, and since the fish are near the surface, the light only needs to be lowered a few feet. Kokanee action has been solid at depths from 40-60 feet with hootchies, spinners or small spoons in pink or orange behind a watermelon dodger on a short leader. Catfishing has been very good, with some large fish of more than 20 pounds cruising the shore. Leitchy added, “Due to the low water levels, we expect to see a handful of 20-pounders this summer.” Frozen shad, mackerel, or sardines are the top baits for Melones catfish. The Glory Hole Point ramp is on the gravel, and a four-wheel-drive tow vehicle is necessary to put a boat into the lake. There are two lanes available, but no courtesy dock. New Melones dropped more than 2 feet to 852.72 in elevation and 20% capacity. Tulloch held at 504.73 feet and 89%.
Call: Glory Hole Sports (209) 736-4333; Monte Smith (209) 581-4734; Danny Layne-Fish’n Dan (209) 586-2383; Sierra Sport Fishing (209) 599-2023
Pine Flat Reservoir/Kings River
Kokanee * Bass ** Trout ** King salmon * Catfish ** Crappie **
Last week’s storm further slowed bass fishing at Pine Flat, leading Patrick Movey of the Fisherman’s Warehouse to state, “The bass bite has slowed down, and it has been tough for most fishermen.” Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “There is a decent jig bite with some reaction fish on crankbaits or ripbaits, but anglers have to work hard for a limit in the 8- to 8.5-pound range.” The trout have dropped in the water column, and seem to be keying on the shad schools at depths to 60 feet on the downrigger with shad-patterned lures such as Needlefish or Wedding Rings tipped with a piece of nightcrawler behind a silver or brass dodger or with silver reflecting tape. The trout are in the 14- to 15-inch range. Crappie fishing off the Deer Creek Houseboats at night remained very slow; a few catfish are taken at night with anchovies near BBQ Cove by the Cove Island Marina. The lake came up 4 feet to 770.13 in elevation and 23% capacity. In the lower Kings, catchable rainbows can be taken on various colors of Power Bait or nightcrawlers in low flows. Bait shops are reporting little interest in Power Bait. Regulations in the Kings River above and below Pine Flat Dam set the season as running from the last Saturday in April to Nov. 15 from the dam down to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Bridge on Pine Flat Road with a five-fish limit. The bridge is the first one west of the dam.
Call: Fresno Fisherman’s Warehouse 225-1838; Valley Rod & Gun 292-3474; Sequoia Fishing Co. 539-5626; The I Forgot Store 787-3689
San Luis Reservoir and O’Neill Forebay
Striper ** Catfish ** Bass ** Crappie **
In the main lake, wind was the story during the past week, limiting boat access. Shore fishermen are finding good action at night with swimbaits, Duo Realis jerkbaits or Lucky Craft Pointer 128’s near Goosehead Point, Romero Visitor Center and Dinosaur Point. For boaters, stripers remained deep, holding from 60-80 feet around submerged structure. The trash racks and mouth of Portuguese Cove remain the top locations for trollers or minnow drifters. In the Forebay, Check 12 remained the top location for small striped bass with pile worms or blood worms. Small swimbaits such as 5-inch K-Techs or 4-inch Storm swimbaits also have been effective. The main lake continues to steadily release water, with 4,159 acre-feet exiting Monday to drop it to 59% capacity.
Call: Coyote Bait andTackle (408) 463-0711, Roger George of rogergeorgeguideservice.com (559) 905-2954
Bass ** Trout ** Kokanee *
Trout fishing remained slow despite plants of small rainbows before last weekend’s Bass Lake Chamber of Commerce Trout Derby. Todd Wittwer of Kokanee.net Guide Service was on the lake Sunday morning and reported tough fishing, with a handful of rainbows landed. The recent plant included a number of 10-inch rainbows that are expected to grow throughout the summer, and these fish are showing up for trollers and bank fishermen. Trollers are scratching for a few fish while shore fishermen may or may not pick up one or two planted rainbows using trout dough bait or nightcrawlers. Bass fishing is best with Senkos at depths to 15 feet. Walt Lee of the Kerman Bass Club reported 11 limits were weighed in at Saturday’s club tournament, with 21 participants. The largest was a 5.54-pound spotted bass. The lake rose slightly to 53% capacity, but launching a large boat requires skill and experience.
Call: Todd Wittwer 288-8100; Mike Beighey 642-3748
Brown trout ** Trout **
Kaiser Pass Lakes will be accessible earlier than normal because of the minimal snowpack in the high Sierra. Mammoth Pool has closed until June 15 for the annual deer migration. Stream fishing opened two weeks ago, but the season in the southern Sierra will be extremely short-lived given the low water conditions. Mammoth Pool has risen to 60%, with Edison at 8% and Florence at 33%.
Call: Vermilion Valley Resort at Edison Lake 259-4000
Shaver Lake/Huntington Lake
Kokanee ** Trout **
Shaver Lake continued to be slow, leading Dick Nichols of Dick’s Fishing Charters to say, “The action is only marginally fair, and we have been fortunate to average a single limit per trip on my last four charters. Things should improve following the anticipated trout plant from the Department of Fish and Wildlife prior to the Memorial Day Weekend.” The kokanee action has been slow, and Nichols added, “Last year at this time we were limiting out on kokanee, but we are only picking up one or two now.” He has found some success in front of the island and also at the Point. The trout have risen in the water column, and the best action is from 10-20 feet, with the few kokanee found at 37 feet. Nichols said, “I have been fishing for kokanee at depths from 35-69 feet, but we just can’t seem to entice them to bite.” Bank fishermen have been scoring a few trophy trout near Tunnel Creek, Road 1 or Road 2. Gary Enix and Jerry Myers found good action from the shore at Tunnel Creek with Enix scoring a limit to 3 pounds and Myers picking up a trophy 8.8-pounder. The big fish was entered into the Shaver Lake Visitor’s Bureau/Herb Bauer’s Sporting Goods Trout Derby. The official weigh stations are Shaver Lake Sports or Ken’s Market. Both marinas are open. At Huntington, rainbow trout action continued to be excellent for the few shore fishermen with trout dough bait, nightcrawlers, spoons or spinners near Rancheria Creek or the Auxiliary Dam. Anglers are launching small aluminum boats in search of trophy brown trout. Shaver held at 49% capacity with Huntington rising slightly to 45%.
Call: Dick’s Fishing Charters 841-2740; Dinkey Creek Inn 841-3435; Rancheria Marina 893-3234; Shaver Lake Sports Inc. 841-2740
Most Fresno area trout fishermen continue to head up the hill toward Courtright and Wishon for solid action for small, planted trout with the occasional holdover rainbow. Chuck Crane of Wishon Village RV Park and Store said, “Wishon is down over 100 feet, and it looks like the lake will be off of the concrete ramp throughout the summer, but there are a few locations on the dirt road where launching a small boat is possible. The lake is loaded with small fish averaging 5 to a pound and another plant was put in the lake this week.” The smaller trout are placed in certain reservoirs with the anticipation of increasing in size throughout the coming months, and most of these lakes are similar to Wishon and Courtright with no bass population. Crane added, “Bank fishing has been solid for small fish with various colors of dough bait near the launch ramp, and Dan Joseph of Coarsegold put together a limit to 12 inches within 45 minutes.” Trollers are picking up larger fish from 16-20 inches pulling Thomas Buoyants or Needlefish behind a flasker on a 1-foot leader at depths from 2 to 4 colors near the dam, but the majority of rainbows are from 12-14 inches. Courtright is also 100 feet from spilling, but the launch ramp remains on the concrete. Trout dough bait in several color patterns are working as well as inflated nightcrawlers from the shore, while trollers are finding a larger grade of rainbow in the 16- to 20-inch range with Countdown Rapalas, Thomas Buoyants, Kastmasters, or blade/crawler combinations at depths from 2-5 colors of lead core. The Wishon Village RV Park and Store is open for the summer. Bank action at Huntington Lake remained outstanding, and a few boaters are dragging their small aluminum vessels to the edge in search of big brown trout. Dinkey Creek has adequate water to work the pools, but the flow is much lower than normal.
Call: Wishon RV Park 865-5361
Half Moon Bay
Rockfish *** Salmon ** Striper ***
Captain Dennis Baxter of the New Captain Pete went out with a light load of seven fishermen Sunday, since the closure of the San Mateo Bridge over the weekend made the drive to Half Moon Bay a challenge. They experienced fantastic coastal rockfishing with seven limits of rockfish and ling cod for a total of 70 rockfish and 21 lings. He has been working the reefs south of the harbor towards San Gregorio. Salmon fishing remained slow out of Half Moon Bay, with private boaters traveling far distances for one or two salmon. Striped bass action from the shore at the Cliff House south to Pacifica has been excellent for anglers casting heavy spoons, topwater lures or soaking sand crabs. The stripers are moving up and down the coastline, feeding on sand crabs.
Call: Happy Hooker (510) 223-5388; Roger Thomas, Salty Lady (415) 760-9362; Bait and Switch Sport Fishing Center (650) 726-7133726-7133; Emeryville Sport Fishing (510) 654-6040; Don Franklin, Soleman (510) 703-4148
Rockfish **** Salmon ** Striper *** White sea bass *
Chris Arcoleo of Chris’ Landing in Monterey reported phenomenal rockfishing south at Point Sur on Saturday and Sunday with the Star of Monterey loading up with 40 limits of quality rockfish and 25 ling cod on a single drift before having to return to Stillwater Cove for a passenger experiencing chest pains. Fortunately, it was only a bad case of seasickness. Arcoleo said, “The fish were biting like crazy with big yellows and vermilions along with the lings.” Sunday was much the same with the Check Mate finding great action at Sur in the morning before the wind started blowing 25 knots. They ended up with 25 limits of rockfish and 39 lings before the wind blew them off. The Caroline went salmon fishing on Sunday, and they found bait “en masse” near Moss Landing. The fishermen were hooking anchovies on their hooks while drifting through the bait, but the fish were reluctant to bite with only three salmon for their efforts. They have room throughout the week with the exception of this coming Saturday. Striped bass are thick along the beaches, and there were 15-18 bass taken off the wharf Saturday night. The stripers are coming in at night to feed on the bait fish attracted by the lights.
Call: Chris’ Landing(831) 375-5951; Bayside Marine (831) 475-2173; usafishing.com
San Francisco Bay
Halibut ** Striper *** Rockfish **** Leopard shark ** Salmon ** Sturgeon **
The wind kept the salmon boats in the bay Sunday, but one Sausalito boat went out Saturday to troll six miles southeast of Main Farallon Island for a total of six salmon to 12 pounds for 17 anglers. With all of the wind since the salmon opener, it has been difficult to develop a pattern; however, the wind will pay dividends as the season continues into the summer. The bay remains incredible for striped bass, with Captain Jim Smith of the Happy Hooker loading up with 15 limits and three halibut Saturday, with two of the flatfish in excess of 20 pounds. He said, “We have landed 38 halibut on our last five trips, and the notable fact is the big halibut still bit on the big tides. I expect the bite to take off early this week before the tides get big again. There are days when there will be tides for both bass and halibut.” The stripers have been holding in the central bay rock piles, and they are also outside of the Gate with shore fishermen finding great fishing off of the Cliff House. Son Chris Smith was running the California Dawn over the weekend, and they found great action Saturday with 22 limits of striped bass working the central bay rock piles. He said, “The good thing is the bass were only here for a few days last year, but we have had three good days in a row in the rocks; however, they aren’t biting as good on Sunday, but the tide hasn’t been ideal yet.” Captain Jay Yokomizo of the New Huck Finn out of Emeryville Sport Fishing went outside of the Gate on Sunday morning for 200 rockfish and 36 ling cod for 23 anglers before running back into the bay for 34 stripers to 11 pounds for a charter. Jay Lopes of Right Hook Sport Fishing put in eight stripers and three halibut for five fishermen on Sunday, and he said, “The action lasted throughout the day.” Captain Bill Clapp of Bill’s Sport Fishing put his clients onto limits of striped bass Saturday, but the halibut were absent. Keith Fraser of Loch Lomond Bait and Tackle in San Rafael reported “terrific” bass fishing in the central bay and in San Pablo Bay with good action at the Brothers most days. The big minus tides will create more difficult conditions at the Brothers, and the wind has been muddying up the water around the shore, making trolling for stripers out of the question at the present time. The big tides start midweek once again, and Fraser advised anchoring on the minus outgoing tide with Loch Lomond frozen mud shrimp or live ghost shrimp before drifting with Loch Lomond shiners on the smaller tides.
San Luis Obispo
Salmon ** Rock cod ***
Although a few salmon have been showing up along the San Luis Obispo coast, rockfish is the staple species. The Black Pearl out of Virg’s Landing in Morro Bay returned Sunday from its latest two-day trip up the coast to Cape San Martin with 132 ling cod to 15.5 pounds along with 154 vermilion, 43 cabezon, 156 copper rockfish, and 66 assorted rockfish for 22 anglers. Their next two-day trip leaves at 10 p.m. May 22nd. The Princess and Rita G out of Virg’s also went out Sunday for a combined 33 ling cod, 163 vermilion rockfish, 25 coppers, 10 boccaccio, 20 blues, 50 assorted rockfish and two Petrale sole for 42 fishermen. Out of Patriot Sport Fishing, the Patriot took out a light load of eight anglers Monday for 18 ling cod to 10 pounds along with early limits of rockfish. With the three ling cod limit this year, Patriot’s ling count has already swollen to 715 since the April 1 opener. Surf perch fishing remained outstanding along the coastal beaches with blood worms.
Call: Virg’s Landing, (805) 772-1222; (800) 762-5263; Patriot Sports Fishing (805) 595-4100; Port Side Marine Sports Launch (805) 595-7214
Bass *** Striper *** Sturgeon ** Catfish ** Bluegill ***
The Delta is rapidly transitioning to its role as a summertime location for lazy river cruises, houseboat ventures and water skiing, as the stripers are on their way out of the river system after doing their business up in the Sacramento River. There will always be a resident population of striped bass and sturgeon, but interest in fishing for both species has waned. However, J.R. Waldron of Northcoast Outfitters said, “Not so fast, don’t put on your water skis yet, as the striper action has not slowed down, and there are new fish still showing up on a daily basis.” Waldron went out Monday with Bob Wright of Wright’s Sport Fishing and they found stripers on spoons and swimbaits despite fighting the 25-mph winds. Shad action has heated up at Freeport and Clarksburg, and Alan Fong of the Fisherman’s Warehouse in Sacramento said, “The shad bite has been wide open, and there are 25 boats lined up at the pipe across the river in Freeport drop-shotting or tossing 1-inch champagne grubs on a one-thirty-second jig head or shad darts.” Bank fishermen also are lined up along shore access areas. Clarksburg is another good location for shad, and there is far less boat pressure. Striped bass are heading upriver to spawn or running back quickly into the warm waters of the bay after spawning. J.D. Richey of Richey’s Sport Fishing was on the Sacramento and San Joaquin sides of the Delta and reported massive amounts of meter marks in the river, but they are in the shape of Christmas trees, a sure sign of fish on their way to the spawn. He said, “You go through a huge group of fish and only hook one, but the good news is they should be hungry once again soon.” Clyde Wands, shallow trolling expert, found good striped bass action on the Sacramento River system early in the week, turning loose linesides at 13, 13 and 17 pounds on shallow-diving P-Line Angry Eye Predator Minnows, Yozuri Crystal Minnows, or RatLTraps. Unfortunately, a marauding sea lion snatched all of the released fish, making Wands and the rest of us sick. They landed a total of eight keeper stripers for two limits to 7 pounds. He said, “The fish bit pretty well despite the big tides, but the stripers have vacated the San Joaquin River after being there last week.” Ping Chanhnow of Delta Tackle and Bait in Stockton confirmed the big schools of striped bass in the Rio Vista area, stating, “Boaters are reporting that their electronics are lighting up with fish, but they have been reluctant to bite. Trollers are finding better action by coating their lures with shad gels and trolling faster at speeds to 6 mph.” Delta Tackle and Bait is a new shop off Hammer Lane west of Interstate 5. Sturgeon interest has been limited within the past several weeks. Do Doung of Dockside Bait in Pittsburg said, “Mother’s Day limited the number of fishermen out on Sunday, but there have been a few sturgeon landed at Collinsville, Broad Slough, or Chain Island, but most of these fish are undersized.” They once again have a supply of grass shrimp, which had been scarce for months. Construction began this past week on the temporary rock barrier on False River, and area boaters have to reroute through Fishermen’s Cut in order to reach the main San Joaquin River from Bethel Island. Captain Stan Koenigsberger of Quetzal Adventures out of Bethel Harbor made his last trip through False River on Thursday, and he put Bob Sawyer of Angels Camp onto nine stripers for a limit to 6 pounds. He said, “False River is now closed to through boat traffic from the mouth of the San Joaquin River to a few hundred yards east of the Stucco House. I tried fishing at the Stucco House, but we got chased out by workers. They had moved the “Do Not Enter” signs since my trip on Wednesday. There are three signs indicated no passage through False River. They are killing one of the best fishing spots in this part of the Delta.” Boaters have to be cautious for the barges moving rock through Fishermen’s Cut and in the San Joaquin River. Steve Santucci of Steve Santucci’s Guide Service reported on Lost Coast Outfitters, “Stripers are a little harder to locate but still some big fish in the system. Smallmouth fishing is very good and you can easily catch good numbers of fish. Largemouth bass are starting to hit topwater flies, and the Delta is continually clearing and returning to its normal color.” Randy Pringle, the Fishing Instructor, continues to find phenomenal largemouth bass action during the past weeks despite the high winds. He said, “The tide was great during the past week with a morning incoming to the high and the switch to the outgo later in the day, and we have been able to use the ima Squarebill crankbait in chartreuse/black in dinghy water conditions or red/black in clearer water and we have had no problem catching fish.” Their top day during the week was 75 bass with limits ranging from 22-29 pounds. The Persuader Rattlin’ Blade spinnerbait is another solid option in the off-color water with the rattle chamber creating noise to attract the bass. He has been ticking the tops of the weeds with the lure on the incoming tide against the banks. In the south Delta, bluegill and catfish action is best near Big Break, Orwood, Bethel Island, Brannon Island, and Holland Tract with clams, anchovies, frozen shad. Crappie can be found west of Stockton from the Eight Mile Road access areas with small minnows or crappie jigs.
Call: Randy Pringle (209) 543-6260; Captain Stan Koenigsberger – Quetzal Adventures (925) 570-5303; Intimidator Sport Fishing (916) 806-3030
Lake Nacimiento/San Antonio/Santa Margarita/Lopez
Bass *** White bass *** Striper ** Catfish ** Crappie **
Lopez continues to kick out big limits of largemouth bass, and the American Bass Tournament over the past weekend was no exception. A fish in excess of 8 pounds took big fish honors with several others topping 5 pounds. The Best Bass Tournaments will hold an event at the lake this Sunday. Swimbaits have been producing the largest fish. At Nacimiento, the white bass are in the area around Snake and Dip Creeks, and small white lures are picking them up. Spotted bass are numerous with a variety of techniques, but the grade remained small. Limits in the 8-pound range were tops during last weekend’s San Luis Obispo Bass Ambushers Top 10 tournament. At Santa Margarita, the marina is open for rental boats or kayaks, canoes and 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 daily from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Catfish to 19.5 pounds have been landed on nightcrawlers, and swimbaits are also working for quality largemouth bass. At San Antonio, the lake 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. Reminder: consuming white bass, black bass, crappie, catfish, or carp is subject to safe eating guidelines due to excessive mercury.
Call: Lake Nacimiento (805) 238-1056, ext. 3; Lake San Antonio Marina (805) 472-2818; Central Coast Bass Fishing.com (805) 466-6557
Forrest L. Wood on May 7-10 at Delta/Russo’s Marina: 1, Wade Curtiss 61.13; 2, Ken Mah– 59.9; 3, David Valdivia– 55.13
Kerman Bass Club on May 9 at Bass Lake: 1, Cory Kerber 15.05 (big fish 5.54); 2, Jeff Farmer 14.84; 3, George Espino 12.46
San Luis Obispo Bass Ambushers on May 9 at Nacimiento: 1, Jerry May 8.65; 2, Paul Bailey 8.47; 3, Erik Zillig 8.46
American Bass Association on May 9 at Lopez:1, Gene Gray/Jay Short 27.77; 2, Jim Slusher/Ken Sauret 21.76 (big fish 8.29); 3, Mike and Lee Maddux 18.45
Saturday: Christian Bass League at Delta/Ladd’s Marina; Best Bass Tournaments at Don Pedro; Visalia Bass Club at Success; Bakersfield Bass Club at Nacimiento; Kern County Bassmasters at Lopez
Saturday-Sunday: Sierra Bass Club at Delta/Russo’s Marina; California Tournament Trail at Delta/Russo’s Marina; Lake Isabella Bass Club at Isabella; Golden Empire Bass Club at Nacimiento; Vox Pops Influentials Magazine Trout Derby at Kaweah River
Sunday: Riverbank Bass Anglers/Bass N’ Tubes at Delta/Ladd’s Marina; Kings River Bass Club/Modesto Ambassadors at Delta/Ladd’s Marina; Tracy Bass Club at Delta/Tracy Oasis; Fresno Bass Club at New Melones; Kings VIII Bass Club at Don Pedro; Success Bass Club at Success; Best Bass Tournaments at Lopez
May 23: Angler’s Choice at Delta/Russo’s; American Bass Association at Kaweah
May 30: Kerman Bass Club at Don Pedro; Kokanee Power Team Tournament at Don Pedro, kokaneepower.com; Southern California Bass Club at Isabella; 101 Bass at Nacimiento
May 30-31: Stockton Bass Club at Delta/Ladd’s Marina; Tracy Bass Club at Delta/Tracy Oasis
Kern County: Kern River, sections 4-5
Madera County: Starkweather Lake; Stanislaus River Clarks Fork
Mariposa County: Merced River, Section II
Tulare County: Kern River, sections 5-6;
Tuolumne County: Powerhouse Stream; Stanislaus River North Fork; Stanislaus River Middle Fork; Tuolumne River North Fork; Lyons Canal (Columbia Ditch); Pinecrest Lake; Herring Creek; Stanislaus River South Fork; Lyons Reservoir; Moccasin Creek; Beaver Creek; Tuolumne River Middle Fork; Tuolumne River South Fork; Stanislaus River Clarks Fork