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 “epic!” Mike Aughney said. Eastman bass fishing holding up, Dave Hurley reported. New Melones bass still active, Glory Hole sports said. Pine Flat spotted bass bite still good, Merritt Gilbert reported. Shaver pumping out mixed limits, Dick Nichols said. Delta bass and sturgeon biting, Alan Fong reported. Don Pedro trout hitting, Monte Smith said.
2-Have to work hard
4-Fish jumpin’ in boat
Delta Mendota Canal and Sloughs
Striper 2 Catfish 2
Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun said, “The California Aqueduct is drawing more and more fishermen over the past few weeks, and sales of ripbaits and jerkbaits has increased. Lucky Craft and Duo Realis lures have been difficult to keep in the shop, but Rapalas have been a good alternative. In the south aqueduct in Kern County, some quality stripers to 20 inches have been taken on flukes, tube baits, sardines, or blood worms. Catfishing remains fair with stinkbaits, sardines, or anchovies. Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield started its July Catfish Derby with a 100 percent payback and a $1 entry fee on July 1.
Bass 3 Trout 2 Bluegill 2 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 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, and bass fishermen
The lake is releasing water, and it dropped to 67 percent.
Bass 2 Trout 2 Catfish 3 Bluegill 3 Crappie 2
An algae bloom is also affecting Hensley, and similar to Eastman and Pine Flat, visitors are warned to avoid contact with the blue-green water. The bass tournaments have been completed for the summer, and fewer bass fishermen are targeting the lake. The crappie bite is also slowing down, but the catfishing is picking up with stinkbaits, frozen shad, or anchovies. The lake dropped to 35 percent.
Lake Don Pedro
Bass 2 Trout 3 Kokanee 2 King salmon 2 Crappie 2
Trout trolling at Don Pedro has been outstanding since the washout of the Moccasin Hatchery, but this unfortunate event does not account for all of the rainbows showing up in the lake. Limits have been the rule, but trollers have to get on and off of the lake early due to the high volume of recreational boat traffic.
Monte Smith of Gold Country Sport Fishing said, “It is really good fishing here right now, and we continue to score with the smaller ExCel and Needlefish spoons in shad patterns, and the bigger grade of fish are still holding in shallower water. The recreational boating traffic is not bad during the week, but it is best to get on the water especially early and off before noon. There are three distinct grades of trout in the lake with smaller nursery-sized rainbows and brook trout below 10 inches, a solid grade at 14 to 15 inches, and the occasional larger rainbows from 18 to 22 inches. We didn’t hook any kokanee this week, but there was a 1.5-pound kokanee at the cleaning station that was landed on an Apex lure. The angler thought it was a king, but it was clearly a kokanee, and the fact is that they are getting larger.”
The Blue Oaks launch ramp is back in the water as the lake has dropped to 91 percent.
Lake Isabella/Bakersfield area
Bass 3 Trout 2 Crappie 3 Catfish 3 Bluegill 2
With the hot temperatures in the valley, Lake Isabella is seeing more play for largemouth bass with Senkos, crankbaits, or topwater lures. Live minnows are also working. Finding the crappie in submerged trees has been a challenge, but if you find the slabs, action is good 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 39 to 37 percent this week. The upper Kern River is fishable for holdover rainbows with salmon eggs, nightcrawlers, crickets, or Roostertails. The lower Kern River is flowing high, but it is fishable for smallmouth bass, catfish, or trout. Buena Vista is kicking out crappie and catfish at night on minnows, and the local lakes are producing primarily catfish, bluegill, or carp.
Bass 2 Crappie 2 Trout 2 Catfish 2
Kaweah is rapidly releasing water, and it dropped from 65 to 54 percent this week. With the dropping water, the bass are suspending in open water, but there is an early morning topwater bite in the shallows before dropping to the bottom once the sun comes over the horizon. Recreational boating is high on the weekends.
Call: Sierra Sporting Goods 592-5212
Bass 3 Trout 2 Catfish 2 Crappie 2 Bluegill 3
The Cen Cal Elite held a Fun Tournament with 27 teams on Sunday, and the winning weight for the 5.5-hour event was taken by the team of Gary Wasson and Joe Baeza with 20.61 pounds followed by the second and third place teams separated by only 0.01 of a pound. There were 10 limits weighed in over 10 pounds. The lake has been holding stable, but it dropped slightly from 67 to 64 percent this week. The best action for bass is in the early mornings or late afternoons into the evenings with topwater lures, Senkos on a wacky-rig, or crankbaits. 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 2 Catfish 2
Recreational boating is also dominant at this lake, but there is bass fishing taking place in the early mornings and late afternoons into evenings with Zoom Trick Worms in watermelon/red on the bottom. Berserk’s Purple Hornet jigs is another solid option. The catfish bite is fair along with a dip in crappie action. The lake dropped slightly from 89 to 87 percent.
The new water park feature has brought a different crowd to this lake traditionally focused on trout fishermen, but there still are planted rainbows in the lake. Bank fishermen are scoring in the early mornings with various colors of trout dough bait with garlic while trollers are pulling Roostertails in yellow/black or Speedy Shiners up the river arm above the Fence Line. The Brush Pile, the Handicapped Docks, or the peninsula near the marina remain the top shore locations.
Call: McSwain Marina 209-378-2534
Millerton Lake/San Joaquin River
Bass 3 Striped bass 1 Shad 2 Bluegill 2 Crappie 2
Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “The spotted bass bite is strong up the river arm with jigs for fish to 2.5 pounds and increasing numbers of smallmouth bass in the 11- to 12-inch range are found near Temperance. Local fishermen are reporting the best action within the past several months. The spotted bass are blowing out crawdads. The American shad are in the river arm, but they aren’t biting as of yet. No striper reports . Catfishing is picking up for whiskerfish to 2.5 pounds near Finegold.” The lake dropped from 90 to 87 percent.
Call: Valley Rod & Gun 292-3474
New Melones Reservoir/Tulloch
Bass 3 Crappie 2 Catfish 2 Trout 2 Kokanee 2
Bass fishing is solid with the best action in the mornings and evenings before the hordes of recreational boaters arrive ‘en masse.’ The water level has been relatively stable, and the bass are suspending at depths to 30 feet. Plastics on a drop-shot, small KeiTech swimbaits, or medium-diving crankbaits in shad patterns are working for the numerous spots, but the action slows to a crawl by mid-morning. Kokanee are starting to make a bit of a showing, but not nearly to the extent of the past glory days by any means. Trophy-sized rainbow trout are still a possibility, but fewer and fewer trollers are targeting the species with the hot weather. Crappie can be found near structure with minijigs or live minnows while catfishing is heating up with the hot weather, and the whiskerfish are gobbling nightcrawlers, cutbaits, chicken livers, and stinkbaits from the shorelines. The lake dropped slightly to 79 percent.
Pine Flat Reservoir/Kings River
Bass 3 Trout 2 Kokanee 0 King salmon 0 Catfish 2 Crappie 2
Pine Flat is still affected by the algae bloom, but the bass bite remains good with crankbaits in the evenings. Her Xiong of Fresno found some large spotted bass cranking after work in the evenings, and Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun reported that most fishermen are either cranking, ripping, or throwing topwater lures. The night bite is much better than during the day.
Trout fishing is best at depths from 50 to 80 feet in the main lake with various shad-patterned spoons, but many trout trollers are avoiding the lake with the algae bloom. Catfish to 2.5 pounds are taken on anchovies, but the crappie bite has slowed considerably.
Pine Flat dropped from 76 to 70 percent this week.
San Luis Reservoir and O’Neill Forebay
Striper 2 Catfish 2 Bass 2 Crappie 1
The lake continues to drop on a weekly basis, and the bank areas are muddy. Wind has been a constant issue with lake closures keeping boaters off the water-as well as closures at basalt some days due to mud at the ramp. However, the striped bass are chasing silversides and shad along the banks, and topwater lures and ripbaits are working for schoolies in the early mornings or late evenings. Most fishermen are having to walk the banks in order to find action, and Dinosaur Point is one of the top locations. Few fishermen are either trolling or drifting minnows now.
Roger George of Roger George Guide Service said that the troll bite has been tough overall -and it will take a lot of work. “I fished with Andy Bedell in the 100 degree heat and I found the bite was sporadic at best. We ended up with over 15 fish we released that went from 22 to a nice 27 plus inches trolling a variety of shad colored lures like Lucky Crafts and Duo’s. There was no one thing that was working and I found them hanging from 30 to 70 feet . Water temps are still at 70 degrees due to all the wind-and the algae is pretty good now. I’m launching at Dino for now to be sure I get on-and it also really helps if the north wind comes up for loading your boat . It went from flat calm to 20 plus mph in less than 5 minutes- last time. Anglers need to have a escape plan to get off the water when this happens and not get caught in huge waves.” George said.
The lake dropped from 63 to 59 percent. The forebay continues to be the primary location for bank fishermen as there is a topwater bite in the early mornings with the 7-inch Evergreen SB 150, Super Spooks in bone, or 7-inch Magnum flukes in white. Anchovies are the best bet during the daytime, but the majority of stripers are undersized. Check 12 and the Highway 152 Bridge remain the two top locations for bank fishermen.
Bass 2 Trout 2 Kokanee 1
Recreational boating is reaching its apex with the Independence Day Holiday arriving mid-week, and fishing has been limited to a few anglers drifting nightcrawlers near the marina at 10 to 20 feet in 50 feet of water. 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. The lake is at 100 percent.
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 a.m. and 4 p.m. Pickup 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 continues to be a bright spot in the Central Sierras for both kokanee and rainbow trout with the added bonus of the possibility of a trophy rainbow.
Dick Nichols of Dick’s Fishing Charters said, “It was another great week of fishing as we have fished 8 out of the past 9 days for mixed limits of trout and kokanee. For the most part, it is a 50/50 ratio on kokanee/trout, and the kokanee hit very early in the morning before the sun hits the water. Generally, 5 to 7 kokanee by 6:30 a.m. can be caught, then it slows, and we head for trout areas. While some are finding success near Sierra Marina and roads 1 and 2, we continue to focus the triangle between Shaver Marina, the Point and the island. We have found the kokanee to be scattered in column from 29 to 47 feet deep as the water temperatures have warmed up to 70 degrees. The Mountain hoochie in Champagne pink or white tipped with scented corn behind a Mountain Blade have been very successful for us on the downriggers, but the side poles are also producing a mixture of kokanee and trout at 4 to 15 feet deep. Orange and green Trout Busters tipped with crawlers and corn behind Mountain Flashers worked the best this past week. Following the koke bite, the trout bite picks up with consistent hook ups to noon. Friday, Mathew Tacherra and his sons Blake and Cade, picked up over 24 mixed fish keeping their 3 limits. Saturday, Jim Allen of Coalinga, caught over 3 limits of mixed fish keeping 5 large kokanee. The Shaver Lake Trophy Trout project has planted 2,000 over the past 3 months. Shore fishermen are also taking some trophies and DF&W plants in the roads 1 and 2 areas and Dorabella Cove.”
Todd Wittwer of Kokanee.net Guide Service said, “We had a good week overall with one to four trophy trout caught and released every trip. I took out two of my nephews on Saturday, and we released three trophies, losing another that cleared the water by 5 feet and broke the leader. We have been able to revive most of the trophies to fight for another day, and our best action has been on Rocky Mountain Tackle’s pink glitter, orange, or pink double glow hoochies behind a pink Moonshine or orange Sunburst dodger. We released around 30 rainbows on Saturday, and the majority of the rainbow action is taking place towards Stevenson Cove while the kokanee bite around the Sierra Marina has slowed a bit, but we were still able to pick up two limits there on Sunday morning. We did hook into a what appeared to be a huge brown trout this week that my client had on for 15 minutes before breaking off. I had to turn the boat and run toward the fish at 2.8 mph as it was ready to spool us. My client was a very experienced fishermen who had landed 30-pound stripers on fly rods, but ‘Walter’ broke us off and took the pink glitter hoochie and Moonshine dodger with him.”
Steve Santoro of Fish Box Charters took out Chris Crivelli, Vance Eggleston, and Ron Alberti from Dos Palos for limits of kokanee running pink hoochies or orange Apex lures tipped with corn along with orange Rocky Mountain Tackle Assassin spinners at depths from 4 to 5 colors or leadcore or 25 to 30 feet on the downrigger from the normal locations of the Sierra Marina, the Point, the island, and Black Rock.
Tom Oliveira of Tom Oliveira Fishing also reported a good bite on Sunday for mixed limits using Paulina Peak tackle pink or orange spinner hootchies -with 31 hookups , keeping 11 fish for Ben Erkenbrecker and Mason Zaremba while fishing with grandpa Andy.
Shaver has risen to 94 percent.
At Huntington, Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis reported limits in the 13- to 13.5-inch range have been taken off the bank with trout dough bait in green garlic or rainbow garlic in Rancheria Creek. Jay Irvine of Visalia has been trolling orange Apex lures at 2 to 25 feet for mixed limits of rainbows and a small grade of kokanee.
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
The water levels remain high at all three high elevation reservoirs in the Central Sierras, and the best action from the banks appears to be occurring at Huntington Reservoir on the San Joaquin River watershed while shore fishing both nearby Wishon and Courtright on the Kings River watershed is limited to a few fish per rod.
Chuck Crane of the Wishon Village RV Park and Store said, “Both Courtright and Wishon are nearly filled, and they have plenty of water, but fishing is a bit slow at both lakes. At Wishon, bank anglers are working hard for one to fish per rod using pink or orange trout dough bait near the launch ramps or the mouth of Short Hair Creek. Trolling has been best for experienced anglers, and Jim McCreery was able to pick up a limit running #2 Needlefish spoons in Bikini at 4 colors, and he also released a few more rainbows. There are some large fish out there as young Seth Pond of Coalinga caught and released a 23-inch brown trout on a Rapala on the surface early on Sunday morning. Fly fishing in the river arm remains solid with Royal Coachmen in size 14 or 16 along with mosquitoes being the top fly patterns.”
At Courtright, Crane said, “Trollers are picking up a few rainbows running Speedy Shiners in copper or brass/red at 3 to 4 colors of leadcore and a few more are taken on Rapalas. Shore fishing is a bit better than Wishon with an average of 2 to 3 fish per rod on orange, pink, or red trout dough bait.”
Dinkey Creek was planted week, and this is another option for bank fishermen to soak salmon eggs, crickets, or nightcrawlers.
Call: Wishon RV Park 865-5361
Half Moon Bay
Salmon 4 Rockfish 3 Striper 2 Surf perch 2
The salmon bite has been unbelievable, and Captain Dennis Baxter of the New Captain Pete was north of the harbor near Linda Mar for 22 limits of salmon, and he said, “We put in 23 limits by 10:30 a.m. with a good mix of fish, and there were two other party boats from Half Moon Bay that were finished before we were. The locals are still pulling limits out from the Half Moon Bay entrance buoys. There are fish along the whole southside, and the boats are spread out and getting them.”
Captain Tom Mattusch of the Huli Cat said, “The Huli Cat has been enjoying the red hot, off the hook, wild salmon bite that has thankfully been going on, much to many folks surprise. Lead manufacturers have been swamped, bait sellers are enjoying a spike in sales, tackle shops are busy. The best bite has been Egg Rock to a little above Mussel Rock. Bait and lures have all been working well.”
Rockfish 4 Striper 2 Surf perch 3 Salmon 2
Chris Arcoleo of Chris’s Fishing Trips in Monterey reported 26 ling cod along with limits of rockfish for 29 anglers on the Check Mate on Sunday south of the harbor toward Point Sur. He said, “The ocean was very windy on Saturday, but we put in limits of rockfish, and the rockfish were so aggressive that one angler hung his rod over the rail with the hooks sitting a few inches above the water. An olive rockfish actually jumped out of the water and hooked itself on his rod. The rockfish are loaded with anchovies. We have been able to get squid, and this builds up the ling cod counts.”
They have some room on Tuesday and Thursday along with room on Sunday of the coming week. Saturday’s Free Fishing Day is already sold out as is July 4.
San Francisco Bay
Salmon 4 Halibut 3 Striper 3 Rockfish 3 Leopard shark 3 Sturgeon 2
Mike Aughney of USA Fishing.com said, “Epic, unreal, stupid are what many party long time party boat skippers (many with over 30 years under their Xtra Toughs) are calling the current salmon bite. On Saturday, several boats fished for less than an hour for up to 30 limits with most boats done as in 40 to 60 fish running from 5 to 25 pounds in the box by 10:30 a.m. The epic part is how fast they are coming. The unreal part is that there is not one school of fish, but several. On Sunday, boats fished the Marin coast from Muir beach to Duxbury, out to the Middle Grounds with another good bite south from Pacifica to Pedro Point and other fish offshore where boats have no reason to go other than to burn fuel and time. The stupid part is that the fish are biting anything thrown at them and even an idiot could find a limit of salmon. The fish are a mix of 2-year-olds running from 20 to 24 percent and depending on the day 50 percent three-year-olds running from 10 to 20-plus pounds. The hard part is finding a spot on your favorite boat. Most have some room for next week but spots are limited. Captain Jared Davis on the Salty Lady (Sausalito) has room on just three days. While there is bound to be some slow days it looks like between now and late August that limits will be the rule on most days.”
Captain Chris Smith of the six-pack Defiant out of Berkeley put in one of the greatest combination trips on record out of the Bay Area in recent memory with six limits of salmon, six limits of striped bass, and six halibut. This type of trip is something expected out of a port such as Shelter Cove.
Salmon fishing remains unbelievable, and Captain Steve Mitchell of Hook’d Up Sport Fishing has put his clients onto limits of salmon near Mussel Rock on both Saturday and Sunday. Mitchell is ready to go salmon season, and he is one boat that has availability this week.
The following fish report from the Golden Gate Fishermen’s Association kind of says it all as to what we are experiencing right now.
Argo - (SF) - 4 limits salmon
Bass Tub - (SF) - 9 limits salmon, 9 halibut
Blue Runner - (Sausalito) - 22 limits salmon
C Gull II - (Emeryville) - 17 limits salmon
Caroline - (Monterey) - 20 people, 1/3 limits rockfish, 10 lingcod
Chasin Crustacaen - (Sausalito) - 8 limits salmon
El Dorado - (Berkeley) - 24 limits salmon to 14#
Hog Heaven - (Sausalito) - 20 limits salmon
Lovely Martha - (SF) - 30 limits salmon to 24#
New Easy Rider - (Berkeley) - 24 limits salmon to 18#
New Rayann - (Sausalito) - 22 limits salmon
Outer Limits - (Sausalito) - 28 limits salmon to 18#
Sundance - (Emeryville) - 6 limits salmon
Wacky Jacky - (SF) - 15 limits salmon
The Sea Wolf out of Emeryville put in 213 rockfish and 31 ling cod on Saturday, and the lack of limits may be related to too many anglers trying first to score lings.
Bay fishing has also been epic with the California Dawn out of Berkeley posting total scores of over 100 halibut/striped bass on both Saturday and Sunday. Sunday produced 64 striped bass to 12 pounds and 50 halibut to 23 pounds for 32 anglers while Saturday’s score was 48 halibut to 38 pounds and 27 limits of striped bass to 21 pounds.
Captain Jonathan Smith on the Happy Hooker took out a charter of 17 anglers on Sunday for limits of striped bass and 23 halibut after loading up with 42 halibut and 63 striped bass on Saturday for 30 anglers and crew.
San Luis Obispo
Rockfish 3 Surf perch 2
Limits were the story out of Port San Luis on Sunday with Patriot Sport Fishing sending out the Patriot, Flying Fish, and Phenix with 81 anglers for limits composed of 102 vermilion, 15 copper, 11 Boccaccio, 65 Bolina, 5 cabezon to 11 pounds, and 611 assorted rockfish to go with 13 lings. Miguel Oliverez of Bakersfield took the jackpot on the Phenix with the big cabezon. Out of Morro Bay, the Endeavor out of Morro Bay Landing put in 27 limits of rockfish on Saturday on a three-quarter-day trip while the Avenger took out two half-day trips for near limits with a total of 260 vermilion, 20 copper, 20 Boccaccio, and 450 assorted for a combined 99 fishermen on the three trips. Also in Morro Bay, the Rita G went on a full day trip while the Fiesta and Black Pearl took ½ day trips on Saturday for near limits of rockfish consisting of 234 vermilion, 324 assorted, and 20 copper rockfish along with 4 lings to 8 pounds for a combined 62 fishermen. Gabriel Giesick of Bakersfied took the jackpot on the Fiesta with the 8-pound ling. 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 3 Catfish 2 Bluegill 2
There is some bright and unexpected news coming out of the Sacramento-Delta with solid sturgeon action for the few fishermen soaking grass shrimp around the Little Cut. The wind or triple-digit temperatures continue to be limiting factors, but the Little Cut offers one location to hide from the wind. Smallmouth bass are showing up in the numbers in the north Delta sloughs along the rockpiles, and the occasional striped bass shows their presence on minnows or cut baits.
Mike Pipkins of Gotcha Bait in Antioch said, “One of our customers has been finding good sturgeon action from the shorelines off of the River View Pier, but he heard of a great bite in the Little Cut so he took his boat out there for a pound of grass shrimp and caught and released 13 sturgeon. He told me that you couldn’t take a picture at any time without seeing a sturgeon jumping out of the water. That’s how many there are there right now.”
Tony Lopez of Benicia Bait said, “I don’t doubt about the good bite in the Little Cut, and this is the best location to hide from the wind. It has been smoky here with particles of ash flying in from the fires in Lake County. We have been getting in some decent grass shrimp, and most fishermen are content to settle for small striped bass from the shorelines.”
Johnny Tran of New Romeo’s Bait in Freeport reported a few stripers are still moving through the north Delta. He said, “There are a lot of undersized stripers, but more than a few keepers are taken on sardines coated with garlic spray or pile worms. A few anglers are drifting minnows in Liberty Island near the break in the early mornings for the striped bass. Catfish are found in the main river along with the Port of Sacramento and in Lisbon Slough with chicken livers or nightcrawlers. Smallmouth bass are all along the rockpiles in Steamboat Slough with deep-diving crankbaits, nightcrawlers on a weightless rig, or plastics on the drop-shot. Red ear perch are thick along the Delta Loop with waxworms or jumbo red worms. Shad have basically vacated our area, but you can still get them on the American River above Sunrise Boulevard.”
With the arrival of the two specialty frog tournaments out of Russo’s at the end of the month of July and the beginning of August, the largemouth bass are cooperating by eating topwater frogs. The original frog tournament, the 17th Snag-Proof Open, will be held on August 4 and 5 at Russo’s, and information and registration is available for the 100% payback tournament at http://www.fishbbt.com. The more recently established Ultimate Frog Challenge will occur the preceding weekend.
Alan Fong, manager of the Fishermen’s Warehouse in Sacramento, found great action in the north Delta during the week throwing Booyah Frogs with the new kicker tail on the weeds for a 26-pound limit including two fish at 7 pounds. He said, “I must have caught and released 30 to 40 bass on the frogs, and the key is to set the hook hard and start reeling.”
The bass have been scattered out due to the weed eradication campaign taking place on the Delta, and although the herbicides do not immediately affect the fish, the bass will move once the weeds die as there is limited oxygen once the weeds are gone. The lack of habitat appears to be reflected in the smaller-than-anticipated winning weights in recent tournaments.
The team of Jason Kincannon and Mark Crutcher took first place during Saturday’s Dan’s Delta Outdoors event out of Russo’s Marina with a 23.52-pound limit including the big fish at 6.40 pounds, but the second- place weight dropped to just over 16 pounds.
Dan Mathisen of Dan’s Delta Outdoors in Oakley has been been targeting largemouth bass with plastics on the drop-shot in the main river current. He said, “I am not normally one to use plastics, but I put in a limit in 17 minutes using a crawdad or bluegill pattern worm with a chartreuse tail 5 inches above a ½ or 5/8th ounce drop-shot weight. It is very important to work the main river current off the weed beds. The buzzbait bite is ok, and you can use a buzzbait all day long. The frogs have been on and off right now as the weather is fluctuating from very hot to very windy. There are still stripers in the 22- to 25-inch range, and I came up with a dime-sized striper scale this week while drop-shotting for largemouth bass.”
Clyde Wands, shallow trolling expert, was trolling Rat-L-Traps on the San Joaquin River on Thursday, and he said, “We didn’t find the fish today like we did on Tuesday as the river was dirty on the outgoing tide. We went to Broad Slough and also found dirty water before moving into Dutch Slough to find some biting stripers to 6 pounds. We tried to run shallow-diving Rat-L-Traps, but we couldn’t get any action until we dropped deeper with Yozuri Crystal Minnows.” On Tuesday, Wands found fish on the lower San Andreas Shoals off of Bradford Island on deep-divers before heading west to the San Joaquin River near Antioch for stripers from 5 to 8 pounds on shallow-diving Rat-L-Traps in crawdad patterns. He said, “The stripers are loading up on crawdads, and the crawdad-pattern was working. There are still stripers in the river.”
Mike Pipkins of Gotcha Bait in Antioch said, “We have been selling dozens and dozens of minnows for largemouth bass in the south Delta, and there are a few striped bass still around. The surprising event that is taking place is the sturgeon bite off of the River View Pier in Antioch where there were at least 10 sturgeon with 5 being keepers landed on grass or ghost shrimp this past week. Bluegill and crappie are taken in the normal locations of Holland Tract, Orwood Marina, or the Clifton Court Forebay. We have been getting in quality grass shrimp, and it will be substantially better within the next six weeks.”
Lake Nacimiento/San Antonio/Santa Margarita/Lopez
Bass 3 White bass 3 Striper 2 Catfish 2 Crappie 3
At Nacimiento, the white bass bite is improving with trollers finding solid action with white Roostertails, Kastmasters, or similar small shad-patterned lures. The best fishing has been at the mouths of coves and along the river channel when the whites are schooling up. Recreational boat traffic is high on the weekdays and particularly high on the weekends. The water levels are dropping, and the fish are on the move as the lake has dropped from 34 to 34 percent.
At San Antonio, the lake dropped to 28 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 and bluegill with jumbo red worms, meal worms, or wax worms on a split-shot rig or under a bobber around structure. Bass fishing is best in the early mornings as well as the late afternoons with buzzbaits, small topwater lures, or spinnerbaits. During the daytime hours, plastics or jigs are the best bets. A webcam of the lake is available at 805webcams.com/lopez-lake-webcam.
At Santa Margarita, a webcam of the lake is available at 805webcams.com/santa-margarita-lake-webcam-california.
Dan’s Delta Outdoors: June 30 at Delta/Russo’s Marina – 1, Mark Crutcher/Jason Kincannon, 23.52 pounds (Big Fish 6.40); 2, Dave Tencati/Dale Shirley, 16.35; 3, Nick Cloutier/Sam Helberg, 15.36.
Cen Cal Elite Fun Tournament: July 1 at Success – 1, Gary Wasson/Joe Baeza, 20.61; 2, David Coy/Jerry Williams, 15.72; 3, Cody O’Connor/Chadd Ellison, 15.71.
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
Scheduled week of July 8 by California Department of Fish and Wildlife
Fresno County: Dinkey Creek, Wishon Reservoir
q = quarter moon