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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San Francisco salmon bite has been “epic,” Jerad Davis said. Shaver kicking out mixed limits, Dick Nichols reported. Don Pedro trout action good, Monte Smith said. Delta bass hitting, Alan Fong reported. Eastman still producing bass, Dave Hurley said. New Melones spotted bass active, John Liechty reported. Courtright and Wishon trout biting, Chuck Crane said.
2-Have to work hard
4-Fish jumpin’ in boat
Delta Mendota Canal and Sloughs
Striper 3 Catfish 2
Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun said, “The California Aqueduct is picking up with more anglers going to throw flukes, Lucky Craft jerkbaits, Kei Tech swimbaits, or Storm swimbaits. The weeds are building up in the Delta Mendota Canal, and bass fishermen are punching the weeds with creature baits or tossing frogs on top of the mats.” In the south aqueduct in Kern County, Pete Cormier of Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield said, “The aqueduct has been good, and there have been some quality stripers to 20 inches taken on flukes, tube baits, sardines, or blood worms. Catfishing remains fair with stinkbaits, sardines, or anchovies.”
Bass 3 Trout 2 Bluegill 3 Catfish 2 Crappie 2
The best largemouth action in the area with a good bite both day and night. Largemouth bass in the 3- to 5-pound range are landed on a regular basis from 6:00 p.m. to midnight with jigs, plastics on the drop-shot, jigs, Carolina-rig or Neko Rig. The fish move up on the banks around 10:30 p.m., and small Kei Tech swimbaits are effective. Boat pressure from recreational boaters and fishermen is high. The crappie bite overall has slowed down has slowed, but catfishing is improving with blood baits. There are still rainbows holding in the deep water at 60 feet near the outlet pipe close to the dam.
The lake is releasing water, and it dropped to 67 percent.
Bass 2 Trout 2 Catfish 2 Bluegill 3 Crappie 3
Small crappie still dominate action, but the slabs are palm-sized at best. Crappie Stingers, Finnish Fish, and Gulp! Alive Minnows are all working well for numbers, but more and more Fresno-area fishermen are heading south to Kaweah or Isabella. Bass fishing is fair at best, but it is not consistent with anglers reporting 8 to 10 fish one day followed by a handful the following day. Morgan Swisher took second place in Sunday’s Central Valley Kayak Fishing Event, and he said, “The lake dropping around a half-foot per day has put the fish into the funk. Most of our 32 participants struggled with only 10 bringing in 4 fish limits.” Catfishing is best in the evenings with cut baits or stinkbaits from the shoreline. The lake has dropped to 37 percent.
Lake Don Pedro
Bass 2 Trout 3 Kokanee 2 King salmon 1 Crappie 2
Trout action at Don Pedro remains excellent with limits the rule for trollers working at depths from 30 to 60 feet. Kokanee are also starting to show up, and although landing a kokanee is an exception, they are welcome addition after last year’s extremely slow kokanee action.
Monte Smith of Gold Country Sport Fishing said, “There is no problem getting fish right now, and I had six anglers on the boat early this week, and it was hard to keep all of the rods in the water. We are running ExCel spoons or Needlefish in shad-patterns, and we found easy limits of catchable rainbows including one large holdover and a kokanee. The larger fish remain up high, but I didn’t notice any grasshoppers in their bellies this week. Last week, all of the trout were loaded with small grasshoppers. We even landed a kokanee in an area that I haven’t seen them there in years. Several years ago, the kokanee were there in big numbers, but I was surprised when we landed this fish there. Our best action has been from 30 to 60 feet, and I have chosen to run the smaller profile spoons instead of my custom spoons as the fish seem to prefer the smaller offerings. I switched over to a smaller Needlefish this week after using a larger ExCel this week, and the action started up once again. There are fish scattered all over the lake, and one key is to find the shad schools as the fish are eating the smaller shad. Friday’s trip was a bit slower than earlier in the week, but we had no problems putting together limits.”
There are a number of small brook trout in the lake in the 10- to 12-inch range releasing the smaller fish is advised as catching a larger grade should not be a problem.
The Blue Oaks launch ramp is back in the water as the lake has dropped to 92 percent. The “Fireworks on the Water” show is Saturday, June 30 2018, at 9:30 p.m. The half-hour display may be viewed from the Blue Oaks Group Area, the Visitor Center/Helipad area, or from the water. Each vehicle will be charged $20 to utilize the Recreation Area, park and view the show. For information, contact the Don Pedro Recreation Agency at 209-852-2396.
Lake Isabella/Bakersfield area
Bass 3 Trout 2 Crappie 2 Catfish 3 Bluegill 2
Isabella has been a bright spot in Kern County with largemouth bass taken on Senkos, crankbaits, or topwater lures. Pete Cormier of Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield said, “I haven’t heard too much about plastics on the drop-shot, but the bass bite has been good with reaction baits as well as live minnows. Crappie fishing continues to be decent when you find the schools with live minnows or minijigs. Trout are also an option with the best action in the cold waters of the North Fork. Catfish are taken on stink baits, cut baits, or live minnows. The lake dropped from 42 to 39 percent this week. Buena Vista is kicking out crappie and catfish at night on minnows, and the local lakes are producing primarily catfish, bluegill, or carp. The upper Kern River is running around 500 cfs, and it is very fishable for holdover rainbows with salmon eggs, nightcrawlers, crickets, or Roostertails. The lower Kern River is flowing high at around 1,300 cfs, and it is also fishable for smallmouth bass, catfish, or trout.
Bass 2 Crappie 3 Trout 2 Catfish 2
Kaweah is rapidly releasing water, and it dropped from 77 to 65 percent this week. With the dropping water, the bass are suspending in open water. Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun said, “There is more interest in Fresno-area crappie fishermen heading south to either Kaweah or Isabella this week with a variety of minijigs.”. Bluegill are holding near structure in the shallows.
Call: Sierra Sporting Goods 592-5212
Bass 2 Trout 2 Catfish 2 Crappie 2 Bluegill 2
Success has been holding stable for the past three weeks at 67 percent, and the hot temperatures during the day are limiting action to the early mornings or late afternoons into the evenings with topwater lures, Senkos on a wacky-rig, or crankbaits. Pete Cormier said, “The water level is decent, and they are picking up bluegill, crappie, and catfish from the lake.” Trout plants are planned at Balch Park Lake Upper and Lower this week, and planters are taken on Power Bait, nightcrawlers, or Kastmasters. The Tule is very fishable now with the best action on dry flies. Chuck Stokke of the Sequoia Fishing Company in Springville is giving fly casting lessons at the Pierpoint Café on the second Sunday of every month at 10 a.m. The lessons are free and all equipment is provided.”
Bass 3 Trout 2 King salmon 0 Kokanee 0 Crappie 3 Catfish 2
Bass fishing remains solid in the early mornings and late afternoons with live minnows or plastics in watermelon patterns as the spotted bass are actively feeding on shad or crawdads. Working the bottom with Berserk’s Purple Hornet jigs is another solid option. The catfish bite has slowed a bit, but there are still crappie to be had on small to medium minnows along with minijigs near structure. The lake dropped slightly from 90 to 89 percent.
A trout plant arrived last week, and bank fishermen are soaking live minnows, nightcrawlers, trout dough bait, or Kastmasters in silver, gold, or chrome from the banks at the normal locations of the Brush Pile, the Handicapped Docks, or the peninsula near the marina. Trollers are pulling Wedding Rings tipped with a nightcrawler behind a dodger in the upper river. A major water theme park arrived this week, and this will be anchored in the lake with water slides and additional water attractions.
Call: McSwain Marina 209-378-2534
Millerton Lake/San Joaquin River
Bass 2 Striped bass 1 Shad 2 Bluegill 2 Crappie 2
Small fish remain the rule for bass fishermen with the best action on the bottom with plastics on the drop-shot, dart head, or split-shot. The reaction bite is up and down with some fish landed on rip baits, but the buzzbait bite is slow. American shad to 15 inches are up in the river arm, and they should start biting within the next few weeks as they are elusive at the start of their migration. Bluegill are thick in the willows, and red worms will bring in the panfish. The crappie bite has slowed to a crawl. The lake dropped from 92 to 90 percent.
Call: Valley Rod & Gun 292-3474
New Melones Reservoir/Tulloch
Bass 3 Crappie 2 Catfish 2 Trout 2 Kokanee 2
The spotted bass bite has been outstanding atNew Melones in the early mornings and just before dusk as the lake is loaded with ‘mega-schools’ of spots loading up on threadfin shad, baby bass, and small bluegill. Kokanee are starting to show up in greater numbers, and catfish are scouring the bottom for easy meals.
John Liechty of Xperience Fishing Guide Service said, “Bass fishing has been great as the lake is nearly filled and the lake level has been stable. I was on the lake four times on ½ day trips this week, and we are finding good action in the mornings before the bite dies around 10:00 to 11:00 a.m., and in the afternoons, the action is decent from 4-6 p.m., but it gets really good after this until dark. We are working suspended spotted bass in deeper water as the bass are loading up in huge schools over big balls of bait. The key is to run along the banks and pay attention to your electronics to find the bait, and you can use a plastic on a drop-shot at 20 to 30 feet, small KeiTech swimbaits, or medium-diving crankbaits in shad patterns as the fish are loading up on shad in the 1.5- to 2.5-inch range. Recreational boaters come out after 10 a.m., but the boaters actually create some shad with a mudline as well as moving the water on a calm day.”
Gene Hildebrand of Glory Hole Sports in Angels Camp reported rolling shad has been best for the holdover rainbow trout along with Needlefish or using a hoochie/dodger combination at depths to 50 feet. Marvin Wells of Sonora landed a 6-pound German brown on a pink Needlefish at 38 feet up the river arm. Kokanee are also showing up, and Jeff Jackson and Jimmie Dirkson of Angels Camp put together five kokanee running pink hoochies behind a Sling Blade. Patience and persistence are necessary qualities for both trout and kokanee. He said, “Catfish are working the bottom for easy meals, and chicken livers, anchovies, and mackerel are doing the trick. Crappie can be found with live minnows, wacky-rigged plastics, crankbaits, or minijigs around structure.” The lake held at 80 percent.
Pine Flat Reservoir/Kings River
Bass 2 Trout 2 Kokanee 0 King salmon 0 Catfish 2 Crappie 2
An algae bloom has clouded the water at Pine Flat Reservoir, turning the normal blue color to green throughout the entire stretch of the reservoir from the upper river towards the dam. The only location with clear water now is in the upper river above the log jam. The condition arrived around 10 days ago, but the bass fishing hasn’t been affected. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers advised visitors to avoid areas in the lake with green or blue, thicker consistency water, and these usually occur in the warmer, shallower portions of the lake, primarily along the northern shoreline of the lake from the inlet of the upper Kings River to the dam. Consumption of water affected by an algae bloom could be harmful, and signs have been posted around the lake notifying visitors. Algae blooms are caused by sunlight, slow-moving water, and excessive nitrogen and phosphorous from human activities.
Despite the algae bloom, bass fishing remains decent with Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun saying, “The night bite has been decent with a number of spotted bass in the 3- to 4-pound range on crankbaits. The bite lasts throughout the night until dawn arrives around 5:30 a.m., and there have also been a few spinnerbait fish once the moon shines on the water. Plastics on the drop-shot are also working at depths from 10 to 25 feet at night but deeper during the day from 20 to 30 feet.
Trout fishing has also been decent with trollers finding rainbows to 18 inches on Apex lures, Needlefish, or Wedding Rings tipped with a nightcrawler from 25 to 60 feet. Gilbert said, “You have to work hard for the rainbows, and the key is to find the bait balls with your electronics as the rainbows are holding around the bait. Catfishing has been slow, but there are still crappie being taken off of the houseboats or docks at night at Deer Creek Marina.”
Pine Flat dropped from 81 to 76 percent this week.
San Luis Reservoir and O’Neill Forebay
Striper 2 Catfish 2 Bass 2 Crappie 1
The lake is releasing water weekly, and it has dropped to 63 percent. The striped bass are spread throughout the water column with water temps at around 70 degrees. The early mornings or evenings have been the best times for shore action for linesides from 19 to 24 inches on ripbaits, Storm swimbaits, flukes, or Lucky Craft jerkbaits.
Roger George of Roger George Guide Service said that the overall bite has been tough but a few anglers are getting fish on ripbaits and a few trolling. “ I hadn’t fished the lake for 3 weeks since I was gone to Alaska -but I found that the bite was tougher than I expected. I had to work like crazy but I finally found some active fish in the afternoon that took shad colored lures like the Lucky Craft 128 . Marco Vuicich and I ended up releasing 10 fish from 23 to 26 inches . There was a very short bite window -then it was over. I’m using the Dinosaur ramp for now , until the water stops falling so fast.“ George said.
Drifting jumbo minnows is producing a few linsides, but the troll bite has slowed. The winds have been limiting boaters from launching. The forebay remains the top location for striped bass as wind has hampered action on the main lake. Flukes, jumbo minnows, anchovies, or chicken livers are producing striped bass at Check 12 or under the Highway 152 Bridge. Boaters have been working the Highway 33 side and around the Twin Islands with flukes or jumbo minnows. The majority of stripers are small, but patient anglers can cull through enough shakers to put together a limit.
Bass 2 Trout 2 Kokanee 0
Heavy recreational boating has limited fishing interest, and the full summer pattern of being on and off the water prior to 10 a.m. has arrive. Few bass fishermen are making the trek to the lake due to a combination of the enforcement of the Sheriff’s Motor Fee along with competition from jet skis, assorted watercraft, and speed boats. Trout trollers have to get on the lake very early, and they work above the speed-restricted area near the dam for a chance at a rainbow trout with blade/’crawler combinations, spinners, or spoons. The lake held at 100 percent this week.
Brown trout 2 Trout 3
The reservoirs are rising with Edison at 89, and Mammoth Pool at 98 percent, but Florence has dropped rapidly to 40 percent. Edison is sporting a solid trout bite from the banks with nightcrawlers or Power Bait. The Vermilion Valley Resort at Lake Edison is open and fully operational for hikers, and the ferry is operating across Edison Lake twice a day, leaving the VVR at 9 am every morning and 4 pm every afternoon. Pick up is on the Mono Pass side of the lake at 9:45 a.m. and 4:45 p.m.
Call: Vermilion Valley Resort at Edison Lake 259-4000
Shaver Lake/Huntington Lake
Kokanee 3 Trout 3
Shaver Lake has been a bright spot for kokanee in the Central Sierra with trout action generally fair to decent, but the tables were turned this week with a slower kokanee bite with the trout bite. However, every day is a new day as Dick Nichols of Dick’s Fishing Charters reported a scarcity of rainbows on Monday with easy limits for kokanee.
Nichols said, “The fishing made a little change this week as the kokanee bite slowed, but the trout bite turned on. We are experiencing a good early morning kokanee bite, but as soon as the sun hits the water, it slows down to a fish here and there. The trout bite has improved since the water crested last week, and there are no locations within the lake that are better than others. The rainbows can be found at the island, Black Rock, and the mouth of Boy Scout Cove at depths from the surface to 25 feet. The rainbows are a mix of recently planted rainbows and yearlings, and the recent plants are larger than the rainbows planted last year. We have also been picking up a few trophy trout each week. Our best action has been both on our side poles or downriggers with Mountain hoochies in champagne pink along with orange/clear or purple/clear Apex lures tipped with shoepeg corn. The kokanee are found deeper from 28 to 34 feet with our best action around the Shaver Marina. It has been 50/50 on the kokanee and trout for our boat this week, and Steve Stava of Clovis along with his friend from Austin, Texas kept their limit of kokanee and rainbows along with releasing a number of fish. I’m hearing of several other trollers finding similar success.”
Todd Wittwer of Kokanee.net Guide Service said, ”The surface temperature is in the 68 to 70 degree range with good clarity as the lake stabilizes and the debris gets blown to the edges. Bank fishing is a viable option with nightcrawler/marshmallow combinations or Berkley Select Glitter Power Bait in chartreuse or pink. Trolling has been the top technique for the trophy trout, and our best scores have been with the Rocky Mountain Tackle Double-Glow orange hoochies behind an RMT Sunburst Moonshine dodger or the pink RMT Glitter hoochie behind a pink Moonshine dodger at depths from 25 to 35 feet. The morning kokanee bite slowed this week due to the moon phase but picked up midday with the breeze and will improve by mid-week as the moonset gets closer to sunrise. We are still averaging two limits of kokanee in the 14” range at 25-40ft.using the orange RMT Moonshine dodger with orange Glitter hoochie and pink/purple tsunami with a pink Radical Glow Tube. The hot setup for this week was the purple Moonshine dodger with the purple Cotton Candy hoochie all tipped with Gulp Maggots or Pro-Cure Herring corn. It’s still very important to carefully release the smaller 6- to 9- inch Kokanee for next year since there weren’t any kokanee fry planted this year.”
Steve Santoro of Fish Box Charters took out Peter Lain from Clovis and Marty Clevenger from Fresno for two limits composed of 4 rainbows and 6 kokanee, releasing over 20 more fish. Santoro said, “Our best action took place around Black Rock and Dorabella Cove at 18 to 20 feet with Mack’s Cripplures behind a dodger or Sling Blade along with Apex lures in silver or pink behind a dodger. I am tipping my lures with scented corn.”
Shaver is currently at 94 percent.
At Huntington, Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis reported decent rainbow action from the shorelines at Rancheria Creek or Dam 2 with inflated nightcrawler/marshmallow combinations or trout dough bait. Lake Edison over Kaiser Pass is also producing rainbows and browns from the shorelines with trout dough bait, Kastmasters, or inflated nightcrawlers. Huntington rose to 99 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; Tom Oliveira Fishing 802-8072; Steve Santoro Fish Box Charters 871-3937
Despite high water levels at all three Central Sierra reservoirs, trolling for trout has taken a back seat to bank fishing at each lake.
Chuck Crane of the Wishon Village RV Park and Store said, “Courtright is fishing best from the shoreline with inflated nightcrawlers or trout dough bait, and the lake is a good bet right now. Trollers have to work hard for 3 to 4 fish per rod running blade/’crawler combinations or Rapalas in the middle of the lake at 20 feet. Most of the action has been on the dodger/crawler combinations.”
Wishon is kicking out limits for shore anglers working the Narrows, the mouth of Wood Chuck Creek, or the mouth of the river at the upper end of the lake with trout dough bait in pink or orange along with inflated nightcrawlers. Crane said, “The best fishing has been from the shorelines, and there have been limits taken for patient fishermen. Fly fishermen have been heading up the river arm with various flies, but ants, Woolley Buggers, and mosquito patterns are working best. Trollers are having to work hard for a fish or two per rod running Speedy Shiners at 15 to 20 feet near the mouth of Wood Chuck Creek. Another trout plant is needed to get things going up here.”
Dinkey Creek will be planted this week, and this is another option for bank fishermen.
Call: Wishon RV Park 865-5361
Half Moon Bay
Rockfish 3 Striper 2 Surf perch 2 Salmon 3
The optimism for the salmon action prior to Father’s Day proved to be on target as the action has been fast and furious most days. There is a line of salmon from W Buoy south to the Deep Reef, and the schools are both along the beaches and off shore. The action couldn’t be much better, and ‘epic’ is just a beginning of a description of the type of fishing experienced on most days.
Captain Dennis Baxter of the New Captain Pete out of Half Moon Bay Sport Fishing said, “We put in 19 limits of a mixed grade of salmon to 22 pounds on Saturday, June 23rd with Dave Maddox of Pleasanton taking the jackpot salmon, and followed this up with 19 more limits on Sunday fishing farther south as the commercial fishermen are loading up locally. We put in another 23 limits of salmon on Monday 14 miles west of the harbor, but there are still fish 8 miles from the harbor if you don’t need 20 limits. Earlier in the week, Bob Ingles of the Queen of Hearts found a school of salmon 5 miles south of the harbor where there have been whales and birds working for the past few days, and he put in 20-plus limits. There is a trickling of silver salmon starting to show up, and we released one on both Wednesday and Thursday. They are not a nuisance yet, but you have to know the difference between a king and a silver. There are salmon all over the place as there are still fish offshore, up near Thornton Beach in 60 feet of water, and also off of Mussel Rock.”
Captain Michael Cabanas of the Huli Cat was off of the Deep Reef on Wednesday for a slow pick of ones and two for salmon to 18 pounds.
Sherry Ingles of Half Moon Bay Sport Fishing said, “Captain Smitty on the Riptide posted 16 limits of salmon on Sunday with the Que Sera Sera coming in with 10 fish for 6 anglers, and the two that didn’t limit chose not to continue fishing. This has been the best salmon season in at least 6 years, and I bet that we have landed more salmon this week than we did on our boats all last year. The hot lures have been Apex or Pro-Troll E Lures in watermelon, flame orange/black dots, or pink haze. The weather has been rough, but the Queen of Hearts went rockfishing on Sunday, and even in tough conditions, they have been returning with around ½ limits of rockfish along with a decent number of ling cod. The salmon aren’t affected by the weather like rockfish are, and when the weather is cooperative, limits are the rule.”
Rockfish 3 Striper 2 Surf perch 2 Salmon 2
Keith Semler at Chris’s Fishing Trips in Monterey said, “Everyone wants ling cod right now as the fresh squid has returned to the bay. With all anglers working for lings, we came back with 57 lings and one-third limits of rockfish for 33 anglers on the Star of Monterey and three-quarter limits and 20 limits fo lings on the Check Mate on Sunday. The Caroline had 9 limits of both lings and rockfish on Saturday. There are tons of Risso’s dolphins feeding on squid off of Pinos Point, and there is a lot of krill on the ledge.”
San Francisco Bay
Halibut 3 Striper 3 Rockfish 3 Leopard shark 3 Sturgeon 2 Salmon 4
Captain Jerad Davis of the Salty Lady out of Sausalito said, “It is like Groundhog Day around here with more epic salmon action on Monday with 25 limits to 24 pounds. The action shows no signs of stopping!”
Captain Trent Slate of Bite Me Charters out of Loch Lomond was on the northside to Muir Beach on Sunday, and he said, “We came back with 5 limits of giant salmon to 18 pounds with a 15-pound average. We almost turned around outside the Gate, but Jay Lopes of Right Hook Sport Fishing went out wide and found it doable so we went out as well. The weather was rough in the morning, but it came down outside the gate later in the day. However, the winds were howling in the bay at 40 knots on our way back to the harbor. I had a trip in the bay on Saturday, and we put in limits of striped bass and 6 halibut off of Angel Island for 5 anglers.”
Captain Chris Smith took out his six-pack, the Defiant, on Sunday for limits of salmon outside of the Gate after staying in the bay on Saturday for good halibut and striped bass action.
Salmon fishing remains outstanding, and the only limiting factor has been the ocean conditions
The action in the bays was fantastic on Saturday before the wind came up on Sunday. The Happy Hooker out of Berkeley put in 47 striped bass to 16 pounds and 20 halibut to 18 pounds for 31 anglers on Saturday while the California Dawn posted 20 limits of striped bass and 8 halibut to 15 pounds.
It was a bit different on Sunday with the winds, but Captain Steve Mitchell of Hook’d Up Sport Fishing out of Berkeley posted a fish and a half per rod before the winds become too much.
San Luis Obispo
Rockfish 3 Surf perch 3
Rockfishing is the only game in town, and the Black Pearl out of Virg’s Landing returned from their two-day trip over the weekend with 52 ling cod to 25.2-pounds. That’s two limits each for the 13 anglers on board along with double limits of rockfish composed of 235 vermilions and 25 Boccaccio. These trips are a bargain at $170/angler. The Fiesta and Black Pearl went out on three-quarter and half-day trips respectively on Monday, returning with a combined 303 vermilion and 197 assorted for 3/4th limits for their combined 52 anglers. The majority of the vermilion were landed on the longer trip. Also out of Morro Bay, the Avenger out of Morro Bay Landing put their 37 passengers onto 150 vermilion and 180 assorted on Monday on a three-quarter day trip for near limits. Out of Port San Luis, Patriot Sport Fishing sent out the Patriot and Phenix with 29 anglers on Monday for limits composed of 76 vermilion, 20 copper, 4 Boccaccio, 66 Bolina, 2 cabezon, and 122 assorted rockfish to go with 11 lings to 8 pounds. All landings are running a variety of bottom fishing trips from ½ day to two-day ventures up the coast.
Bass 3 Striper 2 Sturgeon 2 Catfish 2 Bluegill 2 Shad 2
The Sacramento-Delta summertime doldrums are in full swing as largemouth bass on the San Joaquin have taken over as top draw in the Delta region. The American shad continue to trickle through, but the bite is slow in the north Delta out of Freeport. Few anglers are targeting sturgeon, but Chris Vue of Sacramento landed a 45-inch sturgeon in Montezuma Slough on grass shrimp. Grass shrimp is once again on big supply in the mid-Delta bait shops with access to a shrimp boat. The tremendous salmon fishing in the ocean has area fishermen looking to the date of July 16 – the river salmon opener. Compounding the traditional time of much slower fishing, the weather continues to alternate from triple-digits to high winds.
As normal during this time of year, smallmouth bass are the top species in the north Delta, and Steve Santucci of Steve Santucci’s Guide Service reported good smallmouth action with floating lines with small sinking flies from 2 to 3 feet for big numbers with a few fish approaching two pounds.
Clyde Wands, shallow trolling expert, went into the north Delta on Thursday on a combination trip for striped bass and smallmouth bass. The hot weather and good smallie bite kept them from finishing the second half of the combination trip, but they caught and released from 10 to 15 legal smallmouth to 15 inches working the rocks in the north Delta sloughs. He said,” It got too hot to continue fishing for stripers, but I know that there are still plenty of fish left in the system, and I will be back out next week to find them.”
George Wight of Antioch was drifting live bluegill outside of the harbor towards the Sacramento River, and he caught and released several striped bass to 10 pounds this week.
Sturgeon are still in the river system, but few anglers are targeting the diamondbacks.
Out of Benicia, the wind was the limiting factor on Sunday with high winds keeping anglers off of the water. Benicia Bait is one of the shops that has their own shrimp boat, and shrimping has been good with grass shrimp making an impressive comeback this year. They are looking forward to July 16 as Benicia and Freeport are the two top bank areas for river salmon access.
In the San Joaquin-Delta, the wind continues to make for tough fishing on occasion, and when the wind isn’t blowing, temperatures are exceeding triple-digits. Saturday and Sunday was just an example of the bipolar nature of the Delta with temperatures in the 107 degree range on Saturday followed by high winds on Sunday. The bass are seeking shad, and running squarebill crankbaits, frogs, or punching the weeds are all effective for the active largemouths.
Dan Mathisen of Dan’s Delta Outdoors in Oakley reported a good largemouth bass bite with buzzbaits in the evenings along with frogs, wakebaits, and punching the weeds with Creature Baits. He said, “It was blowing a bit on Thursday, but nothing like it has been over the past few weeks. I went fly fishing in the afternoon for 10 bass, and the frog bite is heating up with Pro Z frogs in Scoobee Doo or Smoke. The Scoobee Doo is like a sparrow while the Smoke is black. I haven’t been fishing for stripers, but we marked them in the Middle River.” His next team tournament is June 30 out of Russo’s Marina.
The frog bite is just getting started, and Alan Fong of the Fishermen’s Warehouse in Sacramento found great action in the San Joaquin system with frogs or squarebill crankbaits over the weeds. He said, “I know that punching would also have been productive as well, but we are getting excellent action on the crankbaits and frogs.”
The good frog bite is getting heated up at the right time with the two major frog tournaments arriving out of Russo’s Marina within the next five weeks with the Ultimate Frog Challenge on July 28/29 and the Snag Proof Open operated by Best Bass Tournaments on Aug. 4-5.
The Best Bass Tournaments held at two-day event out of Ladd’s Marina with the Mother Lode on Saturday and the Central Region on Sunday. Kris Huff of Stockton and his partner, Kent Simpson, came in second place with a two-day limit of 32.63 after sitting in 8th on day one with 16 pounds. There were several boats entered in both days of the season finale for the circuits.
Huff said, “We caught frog fish on day one of the tournament on the tule islands, and the pattern held for the entire day in the 107-degree temperatures. On day two, the temperature dropped to 80 degrees, and my partner, Kent Simpson, wanted to check his reaction bite waters along the rockwalls, and he landed an 8.5-pound largemouth. However, this was the only big fish that we could get to go. We worked the bottom for the remainder of the day and were able to grind out a 17.63-pound limit. The Delta is changing daily as it is hard to pattern water due to the spraying and pelleting of the weeds. Overall, Best Bass Tournaments put on a great event!”
Mike Percey of Oakland was back fly fishing with Clowser Minnows out of Big Break, and he caught and released a number of striped bass including a huge specimen at 42 inches. He and his partner also ended up foul-hooking a sturgeon that took an hour to bring in for a release on the 9-weight fly rods.
Whiskey Slough, Orwood Marina, and Holland Tract continue to kick out bluegill and red ear perch on wax worms or jumbo red worms along with catfish near Holland Tract and in the Old River.
Lake Nacimiento/San Antonio/Santa Margarita/Lopez
Bass 2 White bass 2 Striper 2 Catfish 3 Crappie 3
At Nacimiento, the recreational boat traffic and hot weather has limited fishing action to the early mornings or late afternoons, and there is a slight window for topwater lures in the mornings before the bite dies. White bass have been coming and going, and the top locations has been in the Narrows towards the river arm with white Kastmasters or Roostertails. Crappie are holding around structure with minijigs while bluegill are taken on jumbo red worms, waxworms or meal worms. The water levels are dropping, and the fish are on the move as the lake has dropped from 36 to 34 percent. Recreational boating is heavy after 10:00 a.m. A webcam of the lake is available at www.lakenacimientolive.com.
At San Antonio, the lake dropped to 29 percent, and it is now open 7 days per week. Catfishing is the top draw with stinkbaits, and bluegill are thick around structure with the normal worm baits. Striped bass are scarce, but a few largemouth or smallmouth bass are landed on plastics on the drop-shot or Texas-rig. Lopez is kicking out red ear perch, crappie, and bluegill with jumbo red worms, meal worms, or wax worms on a split-shot rig or under a bobber while bass fishing is best in the early mornings with topwater lures before dropping to the bottom with plastics or jigs. A webcam of the lake is available at 805webcams.com/lopez-lake-webcam.
At Santa Margarita, there is a topwater bite in the early mornings before working the bottom with plastics or jigs. Catfish are another option with cutbaits while panfishing is fair with jumbo red worms, meal worms, or wax worms. A webcam of the lake is available at 805webcams.com/santa-margarita-lake-webcam-california.
Ocean, Delta and Central Coast lakes
Go to fresnobee.com/fishing for reports
Bass 101 Father’s Day Open: June 17 at Millerton – 1, Douglas/Randell, 11.28 pounds; 2, Willenborn/Vick, 9.63; 3, Burns/Burns, 8.77 (Big Fish 2.68).
Sierra Bass Club: June 23 at Eastman – 1, Jamal Lane, 14.97 (Big Fish 5.58); 2, Jimmy Smith, 12.82; 3, Ed Armbrister, 11.36.
Best Bass Tournaments-Mother Lode Region: June 23 at Delta/Ladd’s Marina – 1, Frank Mendes/Nick Dulleck, 19.73; 2, Cesar Laguna/David Poteras, 19.46; 3, Brent Zieska/Jeff Eddings, 17.99.
Best Bass Tournaments-Central Region: June 24 at Delta/Ladd’s Marina – 1, Larry Hutton/Bob McNabb, 21.25; 2, Dave and Michael Romuar, 21.22; 3, Dylan Waldroop/Kevin Mead, 20.13. Big Fish: Kent Simpson, 8.17.
Central Valley Kayak Fishing (4-fish limit): June 24 at Hensley – 1, Damian Thao, 74.25 inches (Big Fish 19.75); 2, Morgan Swisher, 67.75; 3, Kongo Thao, 66.00.
June 26-27: Delta/Russo’s Marina – California Firefighter Olympics
June 29: Don Pedro – Poe Man’s, Nacimiento – 101 Bass Night
June 30: Delta/Big Break Marina – Dan’s Delta Outdoors, Delta/Ladd’s Marina – Stanislaus County Employees
July 8: Delta/Big Break Marina – Yak-A-Bass
July 14-15: McClure – Fresno Bass Club Night tournament
July 15: Eastman – Central Valley Kayak Fishing
July 28-29: Delta/Russo’s Marina – Ultimate Frog Challenge
Aug. 4-5: Delta/Russo’s Marina – Snag Proof Open
Week of July 1 by California Department of Fish and Wildlife
Tulare County: Balch Park Lake upper and lower
f = full moon> = peak activity