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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Delta sturgeon, striper and bass bites going, Randy Pringle said. Eastman still the best bet for big bass, Merritt Gilbert reported. Bass Lake trout and bass action good, Todd Wittwer said. Shaver Lake trout and kokanee hitting, Dick Nichols reported. Don Pedro trout kick into high gear, Monte Smith said. Wishon opens to good early trout fishing reports, Dave Hurley said. McClure great destination for bass anglers, Mike Gomez reported. New Melones bass active, John Liechty said..
2-Have to work hard
4-Fish jumpin’ in boat
Delta Mendota Canal and Sloughs
Striper 2 Catfish 2
With the slower action at San Luis Reservoir, striper fishermen from the Fresno area are targeting other species such as bass or crappie. There have been few reports from the northern section of the California Aqueduct. Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “There is one gate in the Firebaugh area that is showing some life, but if locals are striper fishing, they are still going mostly to the big lake.”
In the south aqueduct in Kern County Pete Cormier of Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield said, “A 20-pound striper was caught and released on sardines this week, but most of the stripers are undersized. There are plenty of fish, but they are short. Catfish and largemouth bass fishing is decent in the aqueduct, and sardines, lug worms, or frozen shad are working best.”
The popularity of the California Aqueduct has led to increased numbers of anglers, and in order to maintain the right to continue to fish along these public areas, fishermen are encouraged to take out all trash and debris when departing.
Bass 3 Trout 2 Bluegill 2 Catfish 2 Crappie 2
Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “Big largemouth bass remain the story with a four-fish limit between 18 and 20 pounds anticipated to be necessary for winning a tournament. Angling pressure remains high, and largemouth to 11.5 pounds have been reported on plastics on the drop-shot. Wacky-rigged or nail rigged Senkos, plastics, or jigs are also working. Catfish to 4 pounds are taken on cutbaits from the shorelines.” Eastman held at 81 percent, but water releases have started.
Bass 2 Trout 2 Catfish 2 Bluegill 2 Crappie 2
Merritt Gilbert said, “Few bass are taken here, but a number of local fishermen are picking up small crappie to 6 inches with a variety of crappie jigs including the new Trigger X crappie jigs. Catfish in the 3.5- to 4-pound range are possible with cutbaits.” The lake rose to 50 percent.
Lake Don Pedro
Bass 2 Trout 3 Kokanee 2 King salmon 2 Crappie 2
The rainbow trout bite at Don Pedro has kicked into high gear, but the bass bite remains slow overall with the high-water conditions.
Monte Smith of Gold Country Sport Fishing was on the lake this week, and he dedicated four rods with kokanee gear in search of landlocked salmon. Instead of kokanee, they went through over 25 rainbow trout on a catch-and-release mission. Smith said, “I put out leadcore at 15 to 30 feet, and every rod got hit. We went down to 50 feet, and we still landed rainbows on kokanee gear tipped with corn. The majority of rainbow trout were small, and I hope that fishermen are releasing these fish to grow larger. Kokanee have been scarce, but the cold water hasn’t been the best conditions for plankton blooms. It will be interesting to see if the kokanee show up this year as plants of fry occurred in 2016 and 2017.”
Travis Porter of Hollister and ‘How To Fish,’ spend the weekend at the lake, and between K.C. Wilson and himself, they went through over 50 rainbows for the weekend and even landed a small kokanee.
For bass, Mike Gomez of Berserk Baits said, “Pedro is still kind of slow with the numbers of fish harder to locate in the high water. I have been directing anglers to Lake McClure for numbers at the present time.”
The lake rose from 91 to 92 percent.
Lake Isabella/Bakersfield area
Bass 2 Trout 2 Crappie 3 Catfish 2 Bluegill 2
Crappie fishing continues to be the top draw to Lake Isabella, and Pete Cormier of Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield said, “I just sold 15 dozen minnows to a group of 12 anglers from the Fresno-area, and they have made a few trips down here as they are reporting slower action at Pine Flat. The South Fork near the Cages, Rocky Point, Camp 9, French Gulch, and the marina are all producing. The crappie aren’t huge, but the action is decent. A few bass and some trout are also being taken from the banks, and the trout bite should hold up for a while since the temperatures have remained cool.” The lake rose slightly to 44 percent this week. In the local lakes, Truxtun is producing carp, crappie, bluegill, and largemouth bass. The upper Kern River has been very slow for trout fishermen, but the lower Kern is producing trout, bass, bluegill, or crappie. Buena Vista is kicking out an occasional crappie, bass, carp, or bluegill. In the high country of the Kern River, Chuck Stokke of the Sequoia Fishing Company in Springville said, “The Golden Trout Pack Station still has slots open for the Kern this summer, and the year is starting out very promising.”
Bass 2 Crappie 2 Trout 2 Catfish 2
The bass are moving off of the beds as the water levels continue to rise, and with most bass in post-spawn mode, there is a reaction bite with spinnerbaits, swimbaits, umbrella rigs, Senkos, or lizards. Bank fishermen continue to soak live minnows for crappie or bass. Catch-and-release of the big females is advised. The lake rose from 75 to 85 percent this week.
Call: Sierra Sporting Goods 592-5212
Bass 2 Trout 2 Catfish 2 Crappie 2 Bluegill 2
Chuck Stokke of the Sequoia Fishing Company in Springville said, “The bass have moved off of the beds and are being finicky. Finesse techniques with plastics on the drop-shot, Senkos, or jigs are working best. The weather has been unstable, and the fishing has been either outstanding or tough depending on the conditions. The action should really turn on with the 90-degree weather approaching this week. The crappie bite has slowed down as well.” The lake rose from 60 to 62 percent this week. In the Tule River, Stokke reported slower action in the Tule River as well due to the cooler temperatures, but the dry fly bite should kick off later in the week with the warmer temperatures.
Bass 3 Trout 2 King salmon 1 Kokanee 1 Crappie 2 Catfish 2
Mike Gomez of the Bait Barn in Waterford said, “Spotted bass fishing remains excellent with jigs, plastics on the drop-shot or Berserk’s Purple Hornet or brown/purple jigs with a Yamamoto 221 brown/purple flake trailer.” One customer from Visalia came by and wanted to fish Don Pedro, but I encouraged him to go to McClure, and he caught and released over 100 bass. Steve Marquette of the Lake McClure-Lake McSwain Recreation Company reported live crawdads are available at Lake McSwain Marina, and they are also producing spotted bass at McClure.” The lake rose slightly to 89 percent.
For the latest information on road conditions around Lake McClure, go to the Caltrans District 10 page at www.dot.ca.gov/d10.
Steve Marquette of the Lake McSwain-McClure Recreation Company said, “We are expecting a trout plant from the Calaveras Trout Farm this week, and trout action from the shorelines has been fair with Power Bait, nightcrawlers, or live minnows. The lake levels have returned to normal after a few weeks of being lowered. McSwain Marina is selling both live crawdads and live minnows.
Call: McSwain Marina 209-378-2534
Millerton Lake/San Joaquin River
Bass 3 Striped bass 1 Shad 1 Bluegill 2 Crappie 2
Millerton and Pine Flat are two locations for Central Valley bass fishermen to put in some big numbers of generally smaller spotted bass, and at the present time, Millerton is producing the most numbers while the possibility for a larger grade of bass exists at Pine Flat.
Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “Millerton is wide open for numbers right now as anglers are reporting from 30 to 50 bass per day. The majority of the fish are small spots in the 11- to 13-inch range, but there are a few in the 2- to 2.25-pound range. Several of our fishermen are taking their children or their grandchildren out to the lake for the consistent action, and the fish are still on the bottom with plastics on the drop-shot, dart head, or Texas rig. There isn’t much of a reaction bite, and the better cut of fish are coming from Temperance Flat into the main lake. Crappie fishing has slowed overall, but there are still a few slabs coming from the Squaw Cove region on minijigs.”
The lake dropped from 89 to 87 percent this week.
Call: Valley Rod & Gun 292-3474
New Melones Reservoir/Tulloch
Bass 3 Crappie 2 Catfish 2 Trout 2 Kokanee 1
Bass fishing remains solid at New Melones as the water temperature continues to warm up. Trout fishing remains slow, and there are anglers working hard in hopes of finding the elusive kokanee.
John Liechty of Xperience Fishing Guide Service said, “The lake level has been rising during the spring months, and with the newly-flooded vegetation along the shoreline along with gin clear water, the fish are holding shallow. Finesse techniques are working best, and a wacky-rig or drop-shot on light line will produce a number of bites. The reaction bite is starting to pick up as the fish are becoming more active, especially on cloudy days or under low-light conditions with crankbaits, ripbaits, or spinnerbaits. In the mornings and evenings, we have been coaxing fish to the surface with topwater presentations as baits that can be twitched on the surface are producing more bites than steady-moving ones.”
Monte Smith of Gold Country Sport Fishing was scouting for kokanee around the Highway 49 Bridge this week, and after marking a few tight groups of fish than might be kokanee without getting a hit, he switched over to ExCel spoons behind a Sling Blade and kept working a pattern near Coyote Creek for two rainbow trout at 25 feet. He said, “These were quality rainbows, but it is difficult to fish all day for just two rainbows after finding big numbers earlier in the week at Don Pedro.”
Gary Burns of “Take It To the Limit” Guide Service has been also focusing for kokanee with kokanee gear tipped with garlic corn, but he continues to land the occasional quality rainbow to 5 pounds at depths around 17 feet.”
The rainbows from the Kokanee Power net pens were released on April 22nd, and they are all in the 2.5- to 3-pound range. The lake held at 86 percent.
Pine Flat Reservoir/Kings River
Bass 2 Trout 2 Kokanee 1 King salmon 1 Catfish 2 Crappie 2
Pine Flat was the location for Saturday’s 26-boat NewJen Bass Tournaments event, and the winning weight was 13.21 pounds by the father/son team of Jeff Tuel Sr. and Jr with a big fish at 4.96.
Gilbert said, “The lake continues to rise, and the bass bite should get better as the lake stabilizes. The best action remains on the bottom at depths from 20 to 30 feet with plastics on the drop-shot or dart head along with jigs. There is a bit of a topwater bite in the early mornings and evenings, and when the wind is blowing, spinnerbaits are working for spots to 1.5 pounds. Overall, the bass bite is ‘off and on’ with some anglers doing well while others are struggling. The crappie have scattered with the high water, and the limits of a few weeks back has been reduced to 3 to 5 slabs per rod in the river arm.”
Pine Flat has risen from 85 to 87 percent this week.
San Luis Reservoir and O’Neill Forebay
Striper 2 Catfish 2 Bass 2 Crappie 1
Casting lures from the banks in the morning is the top option for striped bass in the main lake as the previously hot bite with heavy angling interest has cooled off within the past few weeks. Big topwater lures such as the Lunker Plunker or Evergreen SB 125 are working along with Zoom’s Magnum Flukes or Big Hammer swimbaits. Jumbo minnows will be available in shops this week, but extra-large minnows are picking up a few stripers.
Roger George of Roger George Guide Service said that the combination of falling water, a full moon and inconsistent weather patterns has made the overall bite tough on trollers and shore anglers. “Experienced anglers are getting a few fish working the shore and a few trolling but a lot of guys are striking out -with the fish moving quite a bit right now. I took out Jay and Karin Jacobson of Nevada last Friday ,and I was concerned about the bite , but I found a pattern at 50 to 70 feet in Portuguese – and we released 21 fish from 20 to 25 inches. Finding active fish seems to be key with the water temps in the upper 60’s and the algae bloom gaining speed. I took out another group on Saturday and I think the moon really slowed the bite as I had to work like crazy for 6 hours to get 7 fish from 20 to 25 inches. You better be ready to work for your fish-they seem to be very spreadout and picky. The number of milting males is still not very high for this time of year for some reason-so the main spawn may be late,” George said.
The troll bite continues to be slow as the stripers have scattered throughout the lake. The lake dropped to 87 percent with increased water releases.
In the O’Neill Forebay, there is a striped bite with small swimbaits as well as Zoom’s Magnum Flukes in the early mornings. Anchovies, pile worms, or lug worms have been effective for barely-legal striped bass.
Bass 3 Trout 3 Kokanee 1
The annual Bass Lake Chamber of Commerce Trout Derby will arrive this weekend, May 5-6, with over $25,000 in tagged rainbow trout. In addition to the two tagged fish worth $10,000 and one at $5,000, there are 100 trout with $100 tags and 847 rainbows with $20 tags. Registration is available at www.basslakechamber.com or 642-3676. Entry fees are $25/adult or child over 16 years of age, $15 for children under 16 years of age, and $10 per additional children.
Todd Wittwer of Kokanee.net Guide Service will be leaving for Shaver Lake after the derby, but he has been finding up to 40 trout hookups per day. He said, “It slowed down a little bit as we only had 31 hookups on Thursday and 21 more on Friday. We put in three limits to 17 inches on Saturday, and our best action has been on hoochies tipped with Gulp! Maggots such as the Rocky Mountain Tackle purple Cotton Candy behind a matching Moonshine dodger as well as the new green Radical Glow Tube behind a watermelon Moonshine dodger. Our best depth has been around 24 feet, but when the wind is blowing, you can come up as high as 16 inches. We are seeing a few marks down deep that may be kokanee, but it is difficult to get down there due to the submerged trees.” Wittwer and fellow guide, Mike Beighey, will be at Miller’s Landing from 6:30 to 8:30 a.m. on Saturday morning to provide assistance for anyone fishing the derby.
For bass, Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “Few bass fishermen are heading to the lake with the enforcement of the Sheriff’s Motor Fee, and after Memorial Day, there will basically be no bass boats on the lake. Anglers have been picking up between 10 to 13 bass to 5 pounds per rod with plastics on the drop-shot or small swimbaits, and the fish are already at the docks with the high-water levels.”
The lake has risen to 94 percent.
Kaiser Pass Road closed several months ago, but interested anglers should be checking road conditions as the traditional opening date is Memorial Day weekend. The reservoirs are rising with Edison at 44, Florence at 69, and Mammoth Pool at 101 percent.
Call: Vermilion Valley Resort at Edison Lake 259-4000
Shaver Lake/Huntington Lake
Kokanee 3 Trout 3
The Shaver Lake Trophy Trout Project unloaded the first of two plants this past week in an undisclosed location in the lake as Bob Bernier, planting chairman of the Shaver Lake Trophy Trout Project, announced that his group had planted about one thousand trophy sized trout. The trophies should spread about the lake this week and be found at various locations. This is the first of two plants with the next coming before the 4th of July. Anglers are requested to catch and release the majority of the trophy trout since a fish over 7 pounds costs nearly $100 to raise at the hatchery. All funds used for planting the trophies are raised from private donations by the SLTTP.
Dick Nichols of Dick’s Fishing Charters said, “Kokanee continue to be the hot item as multiple limits of 3rd-year fish are common. The trout bite had been slow, with the Department of Fish and Wildlife came through with a load of thousands of catchable rainbows on this past Thursday. I was out over the weekend on my three of chartering, and we picked up multiple limits all week. David Najera of Fresno and his brother in law Eric of Camarillo scored easy limits of kokanee on Thursday with Francisco Rivas, of Clovis and his friend Juan Pedraza, of Lubbock Texas putting in limits of kokanee within two hours on Friday. It was overcast and breezy on Saturday, and the bite was a bit slower, but Bob Mead of Fresno and his son in law, Keyshone Keene of Clovis, bagged their limits of kokes before 11:00 a.m. Most of the fish we are finding are at about 28 feet deep with Mountain Hoochies tipped with corn or orange and clear Apex lures tipped with corn behind Mountain Blades. Even though it is early in the season, the downriggers with Dick's Ball Flashers are picking up more kokanee compared to those without the flashers.
The lake has dropped a few feet this week, and the Shaver boat ramp at Edison Campground is about 20 feet out of the water. Launching is not possible at this ramp, but the Sierra Marina ramp is good and easy to launch. Both marinas are open and are renting water craft. The lowering of the lake will allow the concrete work to be completed at the Sierra Marina ramp this week, and the lake will rise after the work is done.
Upstream Huntington Lake also experienced a significant plant from the Department of Fish and Wildlife, and trollers were picking up planted trout along with a few kokanee by Saturday. Shore fishing near the launch ramp was good with trout dough bait in various colors.
Shaver dropped to 51 with Huntington rising to 76 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 to Wishon opened this past weekend, and Chuck Crane of the Wishon Village RV Park and Store said, “There were quite a few fishermen including boaters up here for the weekend. The lake is quite full, and the store should be open for business this coming weekend. The road to Courtright is still closed.” Early reports seem to indicate a decent shore and troll bite for the first anglers . Anglers need to check with the Sierra National Forest for the road opener and current road conditions at bit.ly/2rfH8BB.
Call: Wishon RV Park 865-5361
Half Moon Bay
Rockfish 3 Striper 3 Surf perch 3 Salmon 2
The first good news on the San Mateo County salmon front came April 28 with Captain Dennis Baxter of the New Captain Pete putting his 15 passengers onto 13 salmon south of Pigeon Point. Party and private boats will have to travel south of Pigeon Point for salmon until the season opens from Pigeon Point north to Point Area on June 17 with a 20-inch minimum size. After a very slow start to the season, there are finally signs of life, and Baxter’s persistence has been rewarded.
Baxter said, “We dropped more than a few fish as well in addition to putting in 13 in the box. We are back on the map out of Half Moon Bay. The Santa Cruz boats chased them up the coast and found them”
The action was much different on Sunday as the brown water along with whales moved north of Pigeon Point in the section of the coast closed for salmon fishing until June 17.
The Huli Cat was out April 28 with second captain Michael Cabanas at the Deep Reef and San Gregorio for ling cod to 10 pounds on whole squid along with limits of mostly bottom-dwelling rockfish.
Out of Half Moon Bay Sport Fishing, rockfishing on the Queen of Hearts and Riptide has been excellent with limits on most trips along with several ling cod.
From the beaches, small striped bass are taken on a variety of lures including Diawa SP Minnows, Lucky Craft Flash Minnows, Mickey’s spoons, or live sand crabs from Ocean Beach south.
Rockfish 3 Striper 3 Salmon 2 Sand dabs 3 Surf perch 3
Chris Arcoleo of Chris’s Fishing Trips in Monterey said, “We went salmon fishing on Sunday without success as we lost a few to the sea lions. The salmon seem to have moved on, but the commercial season starts tomorrow and they should find some. Rockfishing remains excellent as Captain Tinker Neece on the Check Mate posted three-quarter limits of rockfish and 25 lings for 23 anglers on the local reefs on Sunday. We also went whale watching with loads of whales in the bay. Small striped bass are all along the beaches, and they are even catching undersized stripers from the pier.” Chris’s has plenty of room for rockfish trips throughout the week.
San Francisco Bay
Halibut 3 Striper 3 Rockfish 3 Leopard shark 2 Sturgeon 2
The wind was a bit tough on Sunday, but the TigerFish out of Fish Emeryville Sport Fishing was out on Saturday with 33 fishermen for limits of rockfish along with 33 lings to 14 pounds.
Most party boats have been staying inside the bay, and Captain Trent Slate of Bite Me Charters out of Loch Lomond followed up to Thursday’s limits with another round of limits to 16 pounds with live anchovies in the north bay.
Keith Fraser of Loch Lomond Bait and Tackle in San Rafael said, “Fishing is off the charts for both halibut and striped bass. There were two groups of three fishermen off of the Paradise Pier this week that landed limits of halibut using live anchovies. Bass fishing has also been solid off of the pier.” Loch Lomond has live anchovies and a limited supply of Loch Lomond shiners.
Captain Jerad Davis of the Salty Lady out of Sausalito was whale watching over the weekend, but Friday’s bay potluck trip produced over a fish per rod with 10 halibut to 8 pounds and 7 stripers to 5 pounds for 15 anglers. He is planning on open load trips on Thursday and Friday, and he is thinking of running a rockfish/ling cod trip if the weather cooperates or staying in the bay for halibut/stripers is the weather is less cooperative.
Captain Steve Mitchell of Hook’d Up Sport Fishing out of Berkeley found great bay potluck action on Saturday with 7 halibut and a striped bass for four fishermen along with releasing at least 50 short halibut.
The Happy Hooker out of Berkeley fought the winds on Sunday, but they were able to bring in 13 halibut to 25 pounds along with 11 striped bass.
San Luis Obispo
Rockfish 3 Surf perch 3
Rockfishing is the only game in town with near-limits to limits the rule along with an occasional ling cod on the local reefs. The Flying Fish, and Patriot out of Patriot Sport Fishing in Port San Luis went out Sunday with a combined 62 anglers for 130 vermilion, 12 copper, 33 Boccaccio, 360 assorted, and 7 canary rockfish to go with 4 lings to 7 pounds with a jackpot taken by David Dawson of Bakersfield with a 7-pound ling. Out of Morro Bay, the Endeavor and Avenger from Morro Bay Landing posted 300 vermilion, 150 assorted, 50 copper, 29 Boccaccio, and 8 lings to 10 pounds for a combined 58 fishermen on Sunday. Also out of Morro Bay, Virg’s Landing sent out the Fiesta and Rita G out on Monday with 26 fishermen for 107 vermilion, 10 Boccaccio, 10 copper, and 41 assorted rockfish to go with 5 ling cod to 8.6 pounds. Both ports are running a variety of bottom fishing trips.
Bass 3 Striper 3 Sturgeon 3 Catfish 2 Bluegill 2 Shad 2
The Sacramento-Delta is clearing up, and the American shad are making their annual pass through the north Delta. Shad darts or pink/champagne curly tail grubs are working on the drop-shot out of Freeport, and the numbers of shad are improving as the run builds. Sturgeon are still biting in Suisun Bay, and some of the best action of the season has been occurring within the past few weeks. Striped bass are in transition from the upper tributaries and back to the bay, and the downstreamers are making their move. The wind has been a consistent factor over the past week with gusts to 30 mph on occasion.
For sturgeon, Captain Zach Medinas of Gatecrasher Fishing Adventures was out in the high winds with grandfather Gary, father Brandon, and 13-year old Savannah Hannaman on a sturgeon venture for Savannah’s birthday. She and her father fish all over the world, and her wish was to land a sturgeon on her birthday. Medinas said, “The wind was bad, and there was nothing going in the places that we were able to fish. We released a shaker in the morning, and we pulled a ‘rabbit out of a hat’ in the late afternoon with Savannah landing an upper-slot limit fish. If the wind wasn’t a factor, I would prefer working shallow water to 5 feet, and we have been averaging between 10 and 12 slot-limit along with oversized sturgeon per trip.”
The San Joaquin-Delta has been the better half of the Delta for striped bass as trolling action has picking up within the past week. The weed eradication program is taking its toll on habitat for largemouth bass by eliminating weeds in the sloughs, creating areas devoid of oxygen. The Wild West Bass Trails out of Russo’s Marina attracted 108 anglers for the three-day event won by Steve ‘Bub’ Tosh by over 8 pounds.
Striped bass fishing has really picked up in the San Joaquin River with Clyde Wands, shallow trolling expert, and Dave Houston of Livermore finding great action on Tuesday trolling both deep-diving and shallow-diving Yozuris from the Santa Clara Shoals upriver to the Old River at Frank’s Tract. Wands’ said, “I fished a derby on Saturday, and the bite was tough with only a few stripers to 22 inches, but it was an entirely different day early in the week with stripers to 10 pounds along with at least 8 more in the 7- to 8-pound range. The bite was slower once again on Saturday with small keepers to 22 inches, and everything has been coming deep on Yozuri Crystal Minnows in fire tiger.”
James Netzel of Tight Lines Guide Service said, “Fishing has been great all season and is only going to get better with the arrival of new fish and down streamers. The nice thing about the Delta is we can catch them going up and down. The wild weather threw us a curve ball earlier this season, but the waters have since cleared up and limit style fishing is the standard. Earlier we were catching only males with the occasional big female, but now we are catching a mix with quite a few opportunities of 10-plus-pounders daily. We currently are trolling both shallow and deep running plugs mainly in the San Joaquin side of the Delta but are getting ready to switch over to the Sac side and drift with live bait. With the continuing strong bite occurring up in the upper stretches of the Sac and Feather rivers, fishing pressure down here greatly decreases and makes for less crowded fishing opportunities.”
For largemouth bass, Randy Pringle, the Fishing Instructor, said, “We have been experiencing ‘mail man’ weather as it we have experienced hail, rain, fog, cold, and wind over the past few weeks, but get ready to have an excuse for your supervisor and hope he likes to fish since you will need to be calling in sick soon. Once we have consistent warm days with no cool-off during the evenings, get ready. The bite will take off like a light switch. It has been blowing hard as of Thursday, and the wind kicks up the water, cooling it down and making it murky. I was out on Wednesday with a client out of Ladd’s Marina, and we found our best action with the Berkeley D-Worm or General with Max Scent on a Zappu head. The bite has required a slow presentation for the most numbers, but we haven’t seen any 40 and 50 fish days yet. The winning weight in the Best Bass Tournament event on Saturday was over 25 pounds with most of the bass taken on finesse techniques, and the winning limit during Sunday’s Rat-L-Trap Open was in the 15-pound range. This means the reaction bite is slower right now that the finesse bite, but this will change real soon. We will also get a longer daytime window on the high tide next week. There are fish on beds, in pre-spawn, and also in post-spawn.”
Dan Mathisen of Dan’s Delta Outdoors said, “The wind was horrific mid- week with gusts to 30 mph, but I was able pick up a 22-pound limit on Wednesday night with black/blue chatterbaits after dark. Spinnerbaits and chatterbaits are working. The striped bass are here, but they are scattered out throughout the system. The smolt dumps started this afternoon on the outgoing tide out of Eddo’s, and another dump will occur on Friday afternoon. The wind has kept all the boats from arriving in the area, and if the smolts aren’t flushed down on the outgoing tide, the sea lions, birds, and bass should arrive in short order. The bass are in all stages of spawning, and the next batch should go on Sunday’s full moon.”
Lake Nacimiento/San Antonio/Santa Margarita/Lopez
Bass 3 White bass 2 Striper 2 Catfish 3 Crappie 3
At San Antonio, catfish to 8 pounds are showing up with a variety of cut baits from the banks, but the largemouth, smallmouth, and striped bass action remains very slow. 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. The lake held at 34 percent, and it is open throughout the weekend including the North Shore.
At Nacimiento, the reaction bite is picking up for spotted bass with a variety of small, shad-patterned lures including spinnerbaits, crankbaits, small swimbaits, or underspins at depths from the banks to 20 feet. The spots are keying on the shad. White bass are also working over the shad schools, and the Narrows has been the top location for whites with various small lures in white such as Kastmasters, Roostertails, or underspins. Crappie action has slowed, but bluegill can be taken on mealworms, red worms, or wax worms. The water releases have started, and the lake dropped to 48 percent. A webcam of the lake is available at www.lakenacimientolive.com.
At Lopez, medium-sized plastics worms to 6 inches are producing largemouth bass on the drop-shot, shakey head, or Carolina rigs, but there are more bass attacking reaction baits including spinnerbaits, Brush Hogs, or crankbaits. Bluegill and red ear perch are found in the shallows 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, catfishing is the top species with cut baits as the fish are moving into the shallows. Bass fishing is fair at best with the best techniques remaining on the bottom with plastics on the drop-shot or Texas-rig along with jigs. The reaction bite is limited, but the best quality are found on chatterbaits, spinnerbaits, or underspins. Bluegill and red ear perch are found with the normal baits of waxworms, or meal worms. A webcam of the lake is available at 805webcams.com/santa-margarita-lake-webcam-california.
NewJen Bass Tournaments: April 28 at Pine Flat – 1, Jeff Tuel Sr. and Jr., 13.21 pounds (Big Fish 4.96); 2, Darrel Masterson/Dean Miller, 12.43; 3, Sergio Mendoza/Miguel Rodriguez, 11.85.
Central Valley Anglers Trout Derby (3 Fish Limit): April 28 at Lake Camanche – 1, Dave Doyle, 7.18; 2, Rich Stidham, 6.60; 3, Robbie Dunham, 6.38.
Wild West Bass Trails: April 27-29 at Delta-Russo’s Marina – 1, Steve “Bub” Tosh, 65.07; 2, Nick Nourot, 57.70; 3, Bobby Barrack, 56.95.
California Bass Nation: April 28-29 at New Melones – 1, Taylor Parsons, 35.79; 2, Charles Cornelison, 29.93; 3, Kevin Melford, 27.59. College Division: 1, Chad Sweitzer/Matthew Featherston (Chico State), 32.32; 2, Travis Gonsalves/Thomas Avila (Chico State), 27.56; 3, Hugh Cosculluela/Sam Morita (Cal Poly), 25.23.
May 5-6: Clear Lake – Fresno Bass Club
May 5: Delta/B and W Resort – American Bass Association, Delta/Russo’s Marina – NewJen Bass Tournaments, Lake Camanche – Angler’s Press, Lake Pardee – Sonora Bass Club, New Melones – California Tournament Trail, Tulloch – RiverRat Bass Club, McClure – Mid Valley Bass Club, Pine Flat – Cen Cal Elite Bass Tournaments, Lopez – Golden Empire Bass Club, Santa Margarita – 101 Bass
May 6: Delta/Big Break Marina – Dan’s Delta Outdoors, Delta/Ladd’s Marina – Best Bass Tournaments, Success – Porterville Bass Club
May 12-13: Delta/Ladd’s Marina – Kern County Bass Masters
May 12: Delta/Big Break Marina – Dan’s Delta Outdoors, Tulloch – 17-90 Bass Club, McClure – Best Bass Tournaments, Hensley – Kerman Bass Club, Pine Flat – American Bass Association, Santa Margarita – Best Bass Tournaments
May 13: Kaweah – NewJen Bass Tournaments
May 18: Nacimiento – 101 Bass Night Tournament
May 19-20: Delta/Ladd’s Marina – Sierra Bass Club
May 19: Delta/Ladd’s Marina – Yak-A-Bass, Delta/B and W Resort – American Bass Association, Delta/Big Break Marina – Dan’s Delta Outdoors, Don Pedro – Best Bass Tournaments, McClure – Stanislaus County Employees, Eastman – Central Valley Kayak Fishing, Isabella – Lake Isabella Bass Club, San Antonio – San Luis Obispo County Bass Ambushers, Santa Margarita – Bakersfield Bass Club
May 20: Delta/B and W Resort – California Bass Federation/Kings River Bass Club, Delta/Ladd’s Marina – Riverbank Bass Anglers, McClure – Kings VIII Bass Club, Pine Flat – California Bass Federation, Success – Success Bass Youth
May 26: New Melones – Gold Country Junior Bass Club Open, Isabella- American Bass Association
Week of May 6 by California Department of Fish and Wildlife
None scheduled in region this week
q = full moon > = peak activity