Hunting Fishing

Fishing report for week of May 9-15 | Wishon open and success chasing planted trout

This 13-pound bass was caught and released on Eastman Lake

This 13-pound bass put a big smile on Grant Thiessen's face. He caught and released the fish on Eastman Lake Friday, April 6.
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This 13-pound bass put a big smile on Grant Thiessen's face. He caught and released the fish on Eastman Lake Friday, April 6.

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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Wishon opening draws eager anglers, Chuck Crane said. Don Pedro trout action goes into high gear, Monte Smith reported. McSwain plants spur on bite, Steve Marquette said. Millerton steady for good numbers of spotted bass, Merritt Gilbert reported. Bass Lake bass and trout bites good, Todd Wittwer said. New Melones bass bite hot, John Liechty reported. Shaver trout and kokanee bites very good, Dick Nichols said. San Francisco halibut, shark and striper bites going, Mike Aughney reported. Delta bass, striper and sturgeon action hot, Randy Pringle said.


1-Try dynamite

2-Have to work hard

3-Limits possible

4-Fish jumpin’ in boat


Delta Mendota Canal and Sloughs

Striper 2 Catfish 2

There are still few reports coming out of the northern section of the California Aqueduct, and with the striper bite slowing in the main lake, the O’Neill Forebay is gaining more interest for both largemouth bass and striped bass. In the south aqueduct in Kern County Pete Cormier of Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield said, “Moss is starting to accumulate in the aqueduct, and this will change conditions. There are plenty of striped bass, but the majority are small, undersized fish. Sardines, lug worms, frozen shad, or blood worms are all working for both striped bass and catfish.”

Call: Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis 292-3474; Bob’s Bait Bucket 661-833-8657

eastman 2
Kurt Rathjens shows off a largemouth bass caught on a fishing trip with his wife, Amanda Rathjens, May 3, 2018, at Eastman Lake. Amanda Rathjens said their catches were in the 2- to 2.5-pound range. Courtesy Amanda Rathjens

Eastman Lake

Bass 3 Trout 2 Bluegill 2 Catfish 2 Crappie 2

Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “Heavy angling pressure over the past six weeks has contributed to a slowdown on the big fish. Largemouth bass in the 8- and 9-pound range, common a few weeks ago, have become scarce while a big fish is 5 pounds now. Dragging lizards on a Carolina-rig or throwing swimbaits such as Huddlestons or KeiTech are the top techniques.” A few crappie are landed near structure and catfish can be taken from the shorelines with cutbaits. Water releases have started with the lake dropping slightly from 81 to 80 percent.

Call: Six Star Tackle Box 673-5688; Eastman Lake 689-3255

Hensley Lake

Bass 2 Trout 2 Catfish 2 Bluegill 2 Crappie 3

Crappie are the story here, and a few larger slabs to 9 inches were taken this week, but the majority of slabs remain in the 5- to 6-inch range. The newTrigger X crappie jigs are working well near structure. Bass fishing remains slow, but whiskerfish in the 3.5- to 4-pound range are possible with cutbaits. The Kerman Bass Club is holding a tournament at the lake this coming Saturday with the River Rats holding an event on June 9th. The lake rose from 50 to 51 percent.

Call: 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 2 Trout 3 Kokanee 2 King salmon 2 Crappie 2

The trout action at Don Pedro has kicked into high gear with guide Monte Smith of Gold Country Sport Fishing finding solid action on three trips within the past week. The lake continues to rise, and the largemouth bass bite has slowed overall, but there have been bass to 10 pounds landed this week.

Smith said, “I was on the lake three times this week, and fishing has been good. We put in rainbows to 3.5 pounds earlier in the week, and also lost a big one on leadcore line. There have been solid numbers of rainbows, and we landed three brook trout that came out of the Moccasin Hatchery this week. We have been catching fish from the surface to 55 feet in depth so the trout are all over the place. There are a number of smaller trout, but it seems that the smaller fish are holding in deep water with the big fish on the surface. There is so much vegetation on the surface from the lake rising, and the trout are feeding on all of the mix of food coming off of the shorelines. The surface temperature has risen to 67 degrees. I only put out two rods on Sunday, and we ended up keeping 9 trout and a bass running custom shad-patterned spoons on leadcore and on the downriggers. A 13-inch kokanee was reported this week so they must be out there.”

For bass, Mike Gomez of Berserk Baits said, “The bass bite remains tough with the rising water.”

The lake rose from 92 to 93 percent.

Call: Monte Smith 209-581-4734; Gary Vella 209-652-7550

Lake Isabella/Bakersfield area

Bass 2 Trout 2 Crappie 3 Catfish 2 Bluegill 3

There have been some large rainbow trout landed within the past week as the big planters released prior to the end of March for the annual Kern Valley Chamber of Commerce Trout Derby may be showing up. Pete Cormier of Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield said, “I saw a picture of a huge rainbow that must have run 10 pounds out of Isabella, and it was a good-looking fish with a square tail. Minnows are working for everything right now with largemouth bass, crappie, and trout all hitting minnows from the shorelines. Crankbaits or the Sierra Slammer minijigs are also effective. There was a 10-pound bass taken from the shoreline this week, and the lake-record over 18 pounds was also landed from the bank several years ago.” Crappie fishermen continue to work in the South Fork near the Cages, Rocky Point, Camp 9, French Gulch, and the marina with minnows or minijigs. The lake rose slightly to 45 percent this week. In the upper Kern River, Cormier reported a stringer of rainbows in the 2- to 3-pound range were taken from the river at the park in Kernville. Buena Vista is producing crappie at night along with catfish and bass while the local lakes are still kicking out a few planted rainbow trout along with crappie, bass, bluegill, and carp. 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.”

Call: Bob’s Bait Bucket 661-833-8657; North Fork Marina 760-376-1812

Lake Kaweah

Bass 2 Crappie 2 Trout 2 Catfish 2

Kaweah continues to rise, and it came up from 85 to 90 percent this past week. There have been few reports with many of the local Visalia fishermen pre-fishing at Pine Flat for last Saturday’s Cen Cal Elite Bass tournaments. The bass have moved out into open water in post-spawn mode. Crappie action is decent with live minnows or minijigs around Horse Creek or the Houseboats.

Call: Sierra Sporting Goods 592-5212

Lake Success

Bass 2 Trout 2 Catfish 2 Crappie 2 Bluegill 2

Similar to Kaweah, Success continues to rise, and it is currently at 64 percent. The bass have moved out into deeper water, and finesse techniques continue to work best. Plastics on the drop-shot, Senkos, or jigs are working best. The reaction bite should turn on with the 90-degree weather arriving this week. Crappie continue to be taken on live minnows or minijigs near submerged structure. In the Tule River, the dry fly bite should kick off this week with the warmer temperatures.

Call: Sequoia Fishing Co. 539-5626,

McClure Reservoir

Bass 3 Trout 2 King salmon 1 Kokanee 1 Crappie 3 Catfish 2

Mike Gomez of the Bait Barn in Waterford said,Numbers of spotted bass are possible with a variety of lures and bait. The topwater bite remains slow, but all of the conditions are there.” Steve Marquette of the Lake McClure/McSwain Parks and Recreation said, “Live minnows are working for both crappie near the marina or spotted bass while plastics, jigs, or swimbaits are producing up to 50 spotted bass per trip. Live crawdads are available at Lake McSwain Marina, and they are also producing spotted bass.” The lake rose from 89 to 90 percent.

McSwain Reservoir

Trout 3

Steve Marquette of the Lake McSwain-McClure Recreation Company said, “1,000 pounds of Calaveras Trout Farm rainbows to 7 pounds were released this week, and shore anglers are scoring with Roostertails, Panther Martins, trout dough bait, nightcrawlers, live minnows, or silver/blue Kastmasters. The lake is at normal levels, and trollers are pulling shad-patterned Speedy Shiners for the rainbows that have migrated up the river arm.”

Call: McSwain Marina 209-378-2534

Millerton Lake/San Joaquin River

Bass 3 Striped bass 1 Shad 1 Bluegill 2 Crappie 2

Millerton Lake continues to be the go-to location for numbers for Central Valley bass fishermen as 30-fish days are possible. The bass are still in all stages of spawning, and the water temperature continues to rise.

Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “The lake is solid for numbers with fishermen reporting up to 30 fish and beyond days. The majority are all small spotted bass, but there was a 6.2-pound spot taken on a drop-shot during the week. The majority of bass are taken on the bottom with plastics on the drop-shot, dart head, ned-rig, or Texas rig within the top 25 feet, but the reaction bite is coming on with ripbaits and topwater lures. It has been very windy this past week, and the spinnerbait bite is picking up in the windy afternoons. The water rose quickly, and many of the bass have delayed their spawning attempts since they were rapidly covered with 20 feet of water. The water temperature is rising, and a limit in the 10.5- to 11-pound range is possible.”

Crappie continue to come from Squaw Cove, Little Squaw Cove, and Winchell’s with crappie jigs or live minnows. Gilbert said, “Since the crappie bite has slowed at Pine Flat, there are more fishermen targeting the slabs at Millerton.”

Millerton dropped from 87 to 83 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 is hot at New Melones as the last wave of spawning fish came through on past Sunday’s full moon. The reaction bite continues to improve as the water warms up, but there are still fish to be found on the bottom.

John Liechty of Xperience Fishing Guide Service said, “The bass bite is phenomenal, and we are running topwater lures such as Spooks, Poppers, or the River2Sea Whopper Plopper in low-light conditions before moving deeper with subsurface lures such as crankbaits, lipless crankbaits, or flukes in shad-patterns. Once in a while you are able to stumble onto the bass busting on shad to experience a small window of great opportunity. We were working one cove this week, and I noticed the shad jumping out of the water on the surface to the side. We hit the trolling motor and moved over there for 15 to 20 bass within 20 minutes on shad-patterned lures. After the subsurface bite slows, you switch to the bottom with Senkos on a wacky-rig or plastic on the drop shot at depths to 35 feet. We actually hit a bass on a topwater lure in 107 feet of water this week as the bass are chasing shad all over the lake. My clients were tossing topwater lures on Saturday night, and I sent out a shakey head and caught and released a 9.7-pound largemouth. Once I hooked the fish, I said, ‘We have a big one on, get the net.’”

Trout fishing remains slow at best, but there are quality rainbows to 5 pounds possible with kokanee gear tipped with corn near the mouth of the river.

Crappie fishing is best with minnows or minijigs near structure, and catfishing has yet to take off for more than an occasional whiskerfish.

The lake held at 86 percent.

Call: Glory Hole Sports 209-736-4333; Monte Smith 209-581-4734; John Liechty Xperience Fishing Guide Service 209-743-9932

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife offers Fishing in the City clinics in the Sacramento, San Francisco and Los Angeles metropolitan areas. This short video shows a few basic casting techniques when fishing from the shore. For more info

Pine Flat Reservoir/Kings River

Bass 3 Trout 2 Kokanee 1 King salmon 1 Catfish 2 Crappie 2

Pine Flat was the location for Saturday’s 52-boat Cen Cal Elite Bass Tournaments event, and Larry Kerns of the club ended up in the money in 6th place with his partner David Coy with a 10.49-pound limit including the 3rd Big Fish at 3.99. Kerns said, “The bite was hot for us as we must have released 5 or 6 limits, and most of the fish were legal in the 13/14-inch range. The action was all in the shallows from the bank to 15 feet, but you had to be in the right place. While pre-fishing last week, we had a number of 3 and 4 pounders, but they were hard to find on Saturday.”

Merritt Gilbert said, “The bass bite has been good for some and a struggle for others, and this scenario played out during Saturday’s Cen Cal Elite Bass Tournaments event with a winning limit over 13 pounds. There is a reaction bite with Alabama rigs, ripbaits, and chatterbaits, but the most consistent bite remains on the bottom with plastics on the drop-shot or dart head. Trout fishing is best in the main lake from Lombardo’s to Windy Gap with shad-patterned Needlefish, Speedy Shiners, Apex lures, or blade/’crawler combinations between 20 and 25 feet. The crappie bite has slowed, but the best fishing remains in the Trimmer area.” The lake held at 87 percent this week.

Call: Valley Rod & Gun 292-3474; Sequoia Fishing Co. 539-5626

San Luis Reservoir and O’Neill Forebay

Striper 2 Catfish 2 Bass 3 Crappie 2

Anthony Lopez of Coyote Bait and Tackle in Morgan Hill said, ”The striped bass bite has slowed from the heyday of several months back, and the best action is for those drifting jumbo minnows at the Trash Racks or the mouth of Portuguese Cove.Trolling continues to be slow. Shore anglers are casting big topwater lures, Magnum Flukes, or ripbaits in the early mornings for limited success.”

Roger George of Roger George Guide Service said that the troll bite has been tough for most anglers with the average being 1 to 2 fish-but he has been doing fairly well keying on finding active fish.” I took out Shawn Rodrigues and his son Mark ,12, on Sunday and we landed/released 9 stripers from 21 to 26 inches, because I found one group of biting fish. The next day I took out Bill Braun of Reedley for his 80th birthday and friend Robert Lewis and we caught over 20 from 21 to 27 inches-for a special birthday bite I didn’t expect . No one else was catching much-we got lucky. I’ve been doing a lot of scouting all over the lake and it’s paid off during the tough finesse bites – especially the way it is now. I’m using regular minnow lures in shad patterns-its finding the right fish that’s the deal with many suspended now . The algae is taking off and the 64-65 degree water is getting soupy green depending on where you’re fishing.. Experience is critical right now. “ George said. George will be doing his next “Downrigging 101 for Stripers” on the water ,hands-on class in 2 weeks at San Luis.

In the forebay, Lopez said, “Largemouth bass are showing up with chatterbaits, swimbaits, or spinnerbaits. Striped bass are plentiful around Check 12 or the Highway 152 Bridge when the water is pumping with blood worms, pile worms, or anchovies. The ratio of undersized to keeper stripers is 10 to 1, but it is a good location to take a child for constant action.”

The main lake dropped to 84 percent with increased water releases.

Call: Coyote Bait and Tackle 408-463-0711, Roger George of, 905-2954

Bass-Lake-Fishing Derby-2018-Steve-Montalto-LR-8
Anglers on the lake during the Bass Lake Fishing Derby. Yosemite Sierra Visitors Bureau

High Sierra

Bass Lake

Bass 3 Trout 3 Kokanee 1

Trout trolling has been outstanding prior to the annual Bass Lake Chamber of Commerce Trout Derby Trout this past weekend. Michelle Miller of Miller’s Landing said, “The Bass Lake Fishing Derby was a big success with over 1,500 participants bringing in 217 tagged fish including 30 $100 fish and 187 $20 fish for a total payout of $6,740.”

A variety of different kokanee setups continue to score rainbows at depths to 26 feet from the Sheriff’s Tower to the dam. Todd Wittwer of Guide Service said, “One of my clients landed a $100 tagged rainbow on a chartreuse/blue RMT Assassin spinner on Saturday. Wittwer averaged a rainbow every 10 minutes for 5 hours, catching and releasing 30 rainbows along with losing 10 and keeping a single limit on a recent trip. He said, “Rocky Mountain Tackle’s Assassin spinners in pink/blue, the purple Cotton Candy hoochie behind an RMT Moonshine dodger, and the pink Hornet spinner are all producing.”

Bass fishing is solid for spots to 2.75 pounds with plastics on the drop-shot or small swimbaits.

The lake has risen to 94 percent.

Call: Todd Wittwer 288-8100; Mike Beighey 642-3748

Edison/Florence/Mammoth Pool

Brown trout xx Trout xx

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

Shaver Lake remains the only lake below Sacramento that is producing kokanee, and the bite remains solid for Central Valley anglers. The trophy trout that were planted last week are also showing up for trollers and bank anglers.

Dick Nichols of Dick’s Fishing Charters said, “The Department of Fish and Wildlife made another unexpected trout plant this week, and limits of kokanee and rainbows have been the norm. If you want trout, work the upper 20 feet from the Sierra Marina to the island and dam. If you are looking for kokanee and possibly some trophy-sized rainbows, troll from the Point to the island and to Black Rock. We have limits for all passengers on our boat for the past three weeks with kokanee to 16 inches. Dan Chengrian of Clovis and Ryan Regier of Fresno were celebrating Regier’s graduation from Fresno State, and they left with two limits of kokanee, releasing 6 rainbows. Our most successful tackle has been orange and clear Apex lures; pink, purple, or green Rocky Mountain Tackle hoochies, Koke Busters, and Trout Busters with corn tipped with crayfish oil. Shore anglers are picking up the 3/4th-pound catchables released this past week near the Sierra Marina with trout dough bait in rainbow or green.”

Todd Wittwer of Guide Service started running trips at Shaver on Sunday after relocating from Bass Lake, and he put his four clients onto 13 kokanee and 6 rainbows to 3.2 pounds with a variety of lures. They landed three trophy trout near Eagle Point, all on Rocky Mountain Tackle’s Signature Squid in Tiger Prawn tipped with an orange Mice Tail behind a blue/green C.J. Dodger.

Shaver dropped to 50 percent. The new launch ramp at the Sierra Marina is finished with construction, and it will be accessible when water levels rise. The auxiliary launch ramp is functional.

From the shorelines at Huntington Reservoir, Dick Nichols said, “”The shore guys are having a field day, picking up planters with Power Bait or nightcrawlers while trollers are connecting with small spoons or spinners due to the recent trout plants.”

Call: Dick Nichols, Dick’s Fishing Charters 281-6948; Todd Wittwer, 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


Trout 3

The long-awaited opening of the gate at Dinkey Creek occurred 10 days ago, and the parade of anglers has made their way to Wishon Reservoir. The road to the higher elevation Courtright Reservoir remains closed, but it may open within a week to 10 days.

Chuck Crane of the Wishon Village RV Park and Store said, “The store is open, and it is stocked with nightcrawlers and other supplies. The lake is 27 feet from full, and launching is easy at the ramp. There have been a few trollers on the lake running Speedy Shiners or Needlefish on 3 to 4 colors of leadcore line, and bank fishermen are soaking trout dough bait from the shoreline. The Department of Fish and Wildlife has not planted the lake as of yet, but plants should be arriving soon. Courtright will possibly be open in the next two weeks, and we will monitor this closely.

Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “There has been a number of trollers making the trek to Wishon, and there have been trout to 20 inches taken with the majority of the holdover rainbows in the 13- to 14-inch range. Blade/’crawler combinations, Speedy Shiners, Apex lures, or Flat Fish are all producing.”

Anglers need to check with the Sierra National Forest for road conditions at

Call: Wishon RV Park 865-5361


Half Moon Bay

Rockfish 3 Striper 2 Surf perch 3 Salmon 2

Mike Aughney of said, “The salmon action was good over the weekend with several private boats seeing limits and party boats posting fish per rod to limit scores. Captain Dennis Baxter of the New Captain Pete reported 14 fish landed, many lost for his group of 16 anglers trolling off Pigeon Point. Baxter was trolling 2 to 3 miles west of Pigeon Point in 50 fathoms. Most of their fish were big (for this time of year) 10- to 12- pound cookie cutters. Baxter said that private boaters have been doing very well the past two days with several taking 2 to 5 fish limits and that the party boat Ankeny Street had five limits early on Saturday. The weather conditions were good and there is lots of feed, whales and bird life in the neighborhood. Dennis has room daily but for now his next trip in next Saturday.”

Captain Michael Cabanas of the Huli Cat was part of the Monterey Bay Disabled Veterans rockfish charter on Saturday, and the found solid action for school fish along with some quality bottom dwellers and a few lings. On Friday, Don Yee of San Francisco picked up a 12-pound ling on a live bait rig with a whole squid.

Call: Captain Dennis Baxter, New Captain Pete 650-576-3844; Captain Tom Mattusch, Huli Cat 650-619-0459

Monterey/Santa Cruz

Rockfish 3 Striper 2 Salmon 2 Sand dabs 3 Surf perch 2

Chris Arcoleo of Chris’s Fishing Trips in Monterey said, “We are getting limits of lings on most every trip as the live squid is thick in the bay. There are commercial squid boats from Alaska, Canada, and Oregon in the bay with 25 big commercials working the massive amount of market-grade squid. Rockfishing has been great with ½ limits to limits on every trip with good quality. Limits of lings have been the rule with the live squid with some big lings in the 15- to 20-pound range from the local reefs of Carmel, Cypress Point, and Point Joe. The commercial salmon fleet did well on the first two days of the short season with between 50 and 60 salmon in the 10- to 15-pound range with most action on the bottom around the Soquel Hole, but it slowed down the final days of the first part of the open season.” Chris’s has plenty of room during the week with limited room on the weekends.

Call: Chris’ Landing 831-375-5951; Allen Bushnell, Santa Cruz Kayak and Surf Casting 831-251-9732

San Francisco Bay

Halibut 3 Striper 3 Rockfish 3 Leopard shark 3 Sturgeon 2

Captain Jerad Davis on the Salty Lady out of Sausalito went to the Farallons with a light load on Friday for 15 limits of big rockfish along with 14 ling cod to 18 pounds. Upon his return to the bay, they made a few drifts for halibut for two flatties to 8 pounds.

The Sea Wolf and Tiger Fish out of Emeryville also went to the Farallons on Saturday with a combined 46 anglers for limits fo rockfish along with 70 lings to 25 pounds.

Mike Aughney of said, “The action on the bays has been fantastic and we expect more big counts in the weeks ahead. Party boats are seeing counts of a half halibut to three per stick while others are finding up to limits of stripers. The biomass of halibut currently in the bay is unprecedented compared to the past ten or so years. For every legal fish landed 5 or more "ping pong paddles" are being released. These smaller fish will be legal size in a year or so and we should see more good action come 2019. The halibut are biting best on the smaller tides but there have been only a few slower days.

The striper action has also been solid considering that most fish have been up in the Sac Valley rivers spawning the past few weeks. With the spawn now past it's peak those bass will be headed to the bays where the abundant bait should hold them through June.

On top of all the halibut and stripers we are seeing some exotics like white sea bass and even some resident leopard sharks to add to this crazy season. Captain Don Franklin on the Soleman says that the shark action was epic on a recent trip with fish to nearly 40 pounds. Don says that on his trips this past week they are averaging about two fish per stick a mix of halibut and stripers mostly in the 5 to 10-pound class with a few halibut to nearly 30 pounds. Don added that a client on the Argo also out of the wharf caught a white sea bass that pegged their 60-pound scale.

Out of Emeryville on Saturday 5-5 the Huck Finn reported 26 halibut and 3 stripers for their 29 anglers. The Sea Gull posted up 15 stripers and 14 halibut for 24 anglers. The Sea Wolf had 11 halibut and 9 stripers for their 19 anglers. They have room all this week.”

Captain Steve Mitchell of Hook’d Up Sport Fishing out of Berkeley went shark fishing on Saturday with a crew that kept three leopard sharks out of the many that were caught and released. Mitchell followed this up with a solid day of action drifting live bait for halibut and striped bass in the south bay. He said, “We had a huge halibut come off a the boat first thing in the morning when the first-time fisherman got pretty excited and lifted the head out of the water. We ended up with over a fish per rod, and the action was non-stop for all but a couple of hours as we hooked at least 40 undersized halibut.

Captain Bill Clapp of Bill’s Sport Fishing put father Kelly and son Dan Gretsinger of Lodi onto a 32-pound/42-inch halibut on Sunday.

The potluck challenge known as ‘The Battle of the Brothers’ is the latest specialty trip in the bay, and the brothers are Chris Smith and his younger brother, James. The older brother was the winner of this first annual event on Sunday by a single fish, and the Chris Smith’s Happy Hooker had the following internet anglers on board with Mulisha Style Fishing. Diamond Getters, Addathon, and NorCal Female Fish Slayers while the James’s California Dawn had the Nor Cal Fish Whisperers, No Skunk Fishing, and Hammerdown internet groups. These internet groups are getting more and more of a following, and a little friendly competition is good for the industry. Phenix Rods, Elite Stixs, Fishermen’s Friend in Lodi, and Big Red Worm were major sponsors, and there were a number of guides participating on the boats.

Call: Captain Trent Slate, Bite Me Charters 415-307-8582; Happy Hooker 510-223-5388; Captain Jerad Davis, Salty Lady 415-760-9362; Captain Steve Mitchell 707-655-6736

San Luis Obispo

Rockfish 3 Surf perch 2

Rockfishing remains solid out of both San Luis Obispo County ports on their variety of trips. Out of Patriot Sport Fishing in Port San Luis, the Phenix went out with 14 anglers on Monday for limits of rockfish and 17 ling cod to 8 pounds consisting of 30 vermilion, 30 copper, 5 Boccaccio, and 75 assorted rockfish. The jackpot ling was landed by Daniel Martin of Clovis. Out of Morro Bay, the Endeavor and Avenger from Morro Bay Landing posted limits of rockfish consisting of 480 vermilion, 20 assorted, 20 copper, 20 Boccaccio, and 41 lings to 15 pounds for a combined 54 fishermen on Sunday. Also out of Morro Bay, Virg’s Landing sent out the Fiesta on Monday with 28 fishermen for limits of rockfish composed of 230 vermilion and 50 assorted rockfish. All landings are running a variety of bottom fishing trips from ½ day to two-day ventures up the coast.

Call: Virg’s Landing 800-762-5263; Patriot Sport Fishing 805-595-4100



Bass 3 Striper 3 Sturgeon 3 Catfish 2 Bluegill 2 Shad 2

Shad have moved into the Sacramento-Delta, and the Freeport area is the first location where local shad fishermen are picking up the migrating herring. Sturgeon fishing remains phenomenal in Suisun Bay despite the high winds, but the wind has been the limiting factor for striped bass trollers and boats on the anchor.

Alan Fong, manager of the Sacramento Fishermen’s Warehouse, said, “Shad fishing is picking up from Freeport to the mouth of the Feather, and we are selling a number of shad grubs in pink champagne or chartreuse along with shad darts.

The wind has limited striped bass fishing, and Clyde Wands, shallow trolling expert, went to Brannan Island on Thursday morning only to find 25 knot winds. Rather than call it a day, he went back north to launch at Hogback in Steamboat Slough to troll shallow-diving Rat-L-Traps. He said, “Things looked awfully good during the first 30 minutes when we released a 12-pound striper, but we went another hour without a bite. We had been doing really well on the San Joaquin, but I couldn’t fish there today.”

Sturgeon fishing remains on fire in Suisun Bay with Captain Zach Medinas of Gatecrasher Fishing Adventures finding tremendous action. He said, “We are currently experiencing the best sturgeon fishing of the season averaging 10 or more slot and oversized sturgeon per trip. On a trip early this week, two anglers released 21 sturgeon for the day with 19 being slot-limit or oversized. The wind was tough over the weekend, but we have been averaging around 9 sturgeon per trip even though I have had to stay in certain locations to eliminate as much wind as possible. I fished the shallows at 12 feet on Sunday near Buoy 9, and we ended up with 7 sturgeon including a pair of oversized on a double. When the winds slow down, I think we will really put up some big scores.”

Medinas is extending his season out of Martinez for the remainder of the month before heading for the bay.

In the San Joaquin River, the wind has been the limiting factor, but the striped bass action on the San Andreas Shoals and the mouth of the Old River has been excellent.

Jeff Boyle of Bass Pro Shops in Manteca took out Steve Wirse of Modesto early in the week, and they put in limits of striped bass to 11 pounds by 8:30 a.m. Boyle said, “We found a school on the Old River Flats, and we limited out within a few passes using P-Line Predator Minnows and custom-painted Rebels.”

Captain James Netzel of Tight Lines Guide Service will only be on the Delta out of Korth’s Pirates Lair for a few more days before heading to Folsom and Stampede for summer months, but he put a client onto a 26-pound striped bass on Saturday morning trolling Yozuri Crystal Minnows on the San Joaquin River.

For largemouth bass, Randy Pringle, the Fishing Instructor, said, “The wind has been a major factor in the Delta, and the areas that were clear are now dinghy due to the winds tearing up the Delta. We found bass on the high tide with the ima Rock N’Vibe Suspend and caught both small stripers and bass this week. We switched over to flipping 10-inch Power Worms along with the D-Worm on a Zappu Head once the tide backed off, and we picked up three fish on the new ima Glide Fluke. The cold weather in the morning has moved the large fish out, and it seems like it is April weather in May. However, if the wind dies down and we get the hot weather that is anticipated, it will be a perfect storm on the Delta for largemouth bass.”

Dan Mathisen of Dan’s Delta Outdoors in Oakley said, “Casting 5-inch Optima’s Bad Bubba Shad are working for stripers from 8 to 12 pounds, and the largemouth bass bite that is supposedly so tough has been good for us punching the weeds with Missile’s D-Bombs on a 3/4th to 1-ounce punch weight. I went through 20 bass on a half-day trip on Wednesday, and Mike Birch released 27 using similar techniques. You have to find areas with weeds and heavy current, but there are still locations like this around despite the weed eradication program. The bass were all pre-spawn as well.” Mathisen hosted a Pro-Am event on Sunday out of Big Break Marina, and pro angler Micheal Birch paired with Joe Wyman for the wind at 22.81 pounds anchored by a kicker at 7.68 pounds. Second went to Oakely’s Beau Jodrey paired with first-time angler Brian Westerman with 20.55 pounds while Jodrey landed the pro Big Fish of 8.1 pounds.

Steve Santucci of Steve Santucci’s Fly Fishing Guide Service said, “The weather is warm, the water has cleared and we are catching some fish. In spite of the wind, we are working hard to get between 10 and 15 stripers to 5 pounds with an occasional larger fish in the mix. I have been using a mix of both rattle Clouser Minnows and traditional Clouser Minnows in 4- to 6-inches. Various colors have been effective, but a variation in Chartreuse/white is tough to beat!”

Luther Thompson of H and R Bait in Stockton reported good striped bass fishing in the main San Joaquin River near Windmill Cove with fresh shad. They are receiving 35 pounds of fresh shad every other day.

Call: Randy Pringle 209-543-6260; Captain Mike Gravert, Intimidator Sport Fishing 916-806-3030; Vince Borges, Vince Borges Outdoors 209-918-0828; J.D. Richey, Richey’s Sport Fishing 916-952-1554

Lake Nacimiento/San Antonio/Santa Margarita/Lopez

Bass 3 White bass 3 Striper 2 Catfish 2 Crappie 3

The white bass at Nacimiento are on the move, and Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun said, “Anglers from our area have been traveling over to the lake for both white bass and crappie.” Pete Cormier of Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield confirmed the solid white bass bite in the Narrows with small white Kastmasters, crankbaits, or Roostertails. Finding the shad schools is the key, and the white bass are boiling on the schools. Spotted bass to 3 pounds are taken on reaction baits including underspins, small swimbaits, crankbaits, or spinnerbaits. The water releases have started, and the lake dropped to 46 percent. A webcam of the lake is available at

At San Antonio, bass fishing is slowly on the upswing with finesse techniques of plastics on the Texas-rig or drop shot along with jigs working best. Catfishing is a good option with cut baits or stinkbaits, but striped bass remain scarce. The lake held at 34 percent, and it is open throughout the weekend including the North Shore.

At Lopez, bass action is decent with plastics on the drop-shot, shakey head, or Texas-rig working best, but the largest grade of largemouth are taken on chatterbaits, jigs, or spinnerbaits. Panfish are taken on red worms, waxworms, or meal worms near structure. A webcam of the lake is available at

At Santa Margarita, big largemouth bass can be had with reaction baits along with working the bottom with plastics on the drop-shot or Senkos. Bluegill and red ear perch are available with the usual offerings of red worms, waxworms, or meal worms, but the crappie bite has slowed. Catfishing is another good option with cut baits or stinkbaits. A webcam of the lake is available at

Call: Lake Nacimiento 805-238-1056, ext. 3; Lake San Antonio Marina 805-472-2818; Central Coast Bass 805-466-6557



Fresno Bass Club: May 5-6 at Clear Lake – 1, Joe Alanis, 29.56 pounds; 2, Nick Beck, 27.67; 3, Ron Red, 26.80. Big Fish: Frank Beck, 5.73.

Best Bass Tournaments Calsteam/Ferguson Big Bass Showdown: May 5 at Delta/Ladd’s Marina – 1, Jason Hopper/Tony Clement, 18.67 (Big Fish 7.35); 2, Brian Ladd/Bruce Peters, 14.96; 3, Robert Terry/Russ and Connor Sterritt, 12.90.

NewJen Bass Tournaments: May 5 at Delta/Russo’s Marina – 1, Armando and Edgar Luzuriaga, 26.57; 2, Garrett Bradshaw/Jose Gonzales, 21.99 (Big Fish 6.82); 3, Bobby Barrack/Dan Fonte, 17.91.

American Bass Association: May 5 at Delta/B and W Resort – 1, Bryan Grier/Tom Nieto, 17.18; 2, Bill Brittain/Steve Meeks, 16.67; 3, Ron Smith/Lonnie Woodlief, 12.96.

River Rat Bass Club Open: May 5 at Tulloch – 1, Casey Case/Larry Llanes, 19.36 (Big Fish 7.77); 2, Chris Gosselar/Steve Newman, 18.38; 3, Ivan Velasquez/William Reeder, 16.84.

Cen Cal Elite Bass Tournaments Open: May 5 at Pine Flat – 1, Ralph Encizo/Denny Bowlin, 13.08; 2, Ray Huff/Josh Mouton, 12.10; 3, John Barron/Glen Lubin, 11.69 (Big Fish 3.69).

Dan’s Delta Outdoors Pro/Am: May 6 at Delta/Big Break Marina – 1, Michael Birch/Joe Wyman, 22.81; 2, Beau Jourdrey/Brian Westerman, 20.55 (Big Fish 8.10); 3, Alex Tran/Scott Johnson, 18.67.


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

Trout plants

Week of May 13 by California Department of Fish and Wildlife

Fresno County: Dinkey Creek, Kings River below Pine Flat Dam

Tulare County: Stony Creek

Week of May 20 by California Department of Fish and Wildlife

Fresno County: Courtright Reservoir, Dinkey Creek, Kings River below Pine Flat Dam

Tulare County: Balch Park Lake upper and lower, Hedrick Pond (Redwood Lake), Kern River sections 5 and 6, Stony Creek

Solunar table










































n = new moon > = peak activity