Hunting Fishing

Fishing Report: Week of May 20

Alvin Vang shows off his 66.9-pound striped bass landed from from the Romero Visitor Center at San Luis Reservoir.
Alvin Vang shows off his 66.9-pound striped bass landed from from the Romero Visitor Center at San Luis Reservoir. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

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. Have a photo of a recent catch to share? Email to with “fish photo” in the subject line.


* Try dynamite

** Have to work hard

*** Limits possible

**** Fish jumpin’ in boat


Delta Mendota Canal and Sloughs

Striper *** Catfish **

The northern section of the California Aqueduct near Firebaugh is kicking out limits of small stripers. Patrick Movey of the Fisherman’s Warehouse in Fresno said, “Umbrella rigs and swimbaits are working around the headgates with moving water, but you will have to move around to find the boiling fish.” The 4-inch Storm swimbaits in bluegill have been difficult to keep in local shops because of high demand. In the south aqueduct in Kern County, Jacob Rutledge of Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield reported catfish and largemouth bass are the top species as the striped bass bite has slowed, perhaps because of heavy fishing pressure. Plastic worms on the drop-shot or Senkos are working for the bass while catfish are biting Catnip Beef Bait, anchovies, frozen shad or nightcrawlers. Bluegill are biting live crickets, jumbo red worms or wax worms.

Eastman Lake

Bass *** Trout ** Bluegill ** Catfish *** Crappie **

Bass fishing remained tops in the Fresno area for size, with 4- to 6-inch lizards on a Carolina-rig or split-shot for bass averaging 1.5-1.75 pounds. Ranger Bryan Stiles of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said, “We had several success stories this week including a 26-inch largemouth landed from the shore near Buchanan Dam. There also was an entry into Bassmasters Lunker Club for May. An 11-pound largemouth was taken on a watermelon/redflake Zoom Super Hog. Reports are suggesting that the bass are in about 15-18 feet of water.” Catfish in the 10- to 16-pound range have been landed near the dam on chicken livers or nightcrawlers. Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “We have been selling more chicken liver in the past three weeks than within the past year.” Eastman is a trophy-designated bass lake, and only one fish 22 inches or longer may be kept. The area of the lake extending upstream from the buoy line near the Cordoniz Launch Ramp remains closed to accommodate nesting bald eagles. The lake held at 8% capacity and 469.54 feet in elevation.

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

Hensley Lake

Bass ** Trout ** Catfish *** Bluegill ** Crappie **

Catfish to 4 pounds are the top species with clams, chicken liver, or anchovies from the shorelines. Small bass are taken on lizards, Senkos, Baby Brush Hogs, or drop-shot plastics. Anglers are advised to call the Ranger Station at the Corps of Engineers office for launch conditions. The lake is at 8% capacity and 454.67 feet in elevation.

Call: Fresno Fisherman’s Warehouse 225-1838; Valley Rod Gun, Clovis 292-3474; Six Star Tackle Box 673-5688; U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Hensley Lake Hidden Dam 673-5151

Lake Don Pedro

Bass *** Trout ** Kokanee *** King salmon *** Crappie **

At Don Pedro, the recent series of storms slowed the kokanee and king salmon action for a few days, but the bite rebounded with a vengeance at the start of last week. Monte Smith of Gold Country Sport Fishing was headed to the lake Tuesday and expected good action with kokanee gear near Jenkins Hill at depths from 45-70 feet. Kokanee Power will host its annual Phil Johnson Memorial team tournament at the lake May 30, with information at For largemouth and spotted bass, Kevin Cheek, tournament director of Saturday’s Best Bass Tournament event said, “There are still fish on the beds, and reaction baits including topwater were the top techniques for the larger fish to 7 pounds with the top limit over 16 pounds.” Manny Basi of the Bait Barn in Waterford touted live nightcrawlers for bass and trout, stating, “We have sold more nightcrawlers in the past two weeks than in the past several months.” Senkos in color pattern 208 – watermelon/red flake — or greenpumpkin/flake are effective with fish preferring dark colors, in addition to twin-tail Hula Grubs in watermelon/redlflake on a half-ounce jig head. Coating the artificial with garlic scent is a method to enhance the strike ratio. The launch ramp is limited to one lane at Fleming Meadows. There is a courtesy dock in the water, and patience is a necessity to launch on the weekends because of high interest in recreational boating and fishing at the lake. The lake dropped slightly to 704.60 feet in elevation and 41% capacity.

Call: Monte Smith (209) 581-4734; Danny Layne-Fish’n Dan (209) 586-2383; Gary Vella (209) 652-7550; Bait Barn (209) 874-3011

Lake Isabella/Bakersfield area

Bass ** Trout ** Crappie *** Catfish ** Bluegill **

The crappie bite at Isabella is taking off again as the fish are moving into the shallows in the South Fork. Jacob Rutledge of Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield said, “The crappie have been loaded with eggs, and we have been selling plenty of minnows for crappie fishermen.” Interest in bass fishing remained minimal with few boaters willing to drop their fiberglass vessels into the shallow waters. Catfishing is best with clams, garlic shrimp, anchovies or Catnip Beef Bait. With the low levels, it is necessary to use a four-wheel-drive vehicle to launch from the dirt ramp near Red’s Marina. There are no marinas or courtesy docks in the lake. The lake is at 8% capacity and 2529.20 feet in elevation. The upper Kern River is still the top location for hatchery rainbows in response to recent and upcoming plants on Sections 4-6. Salmon eggs or nightcrawlers have been the top baits, with the best fishing in the deeper pools. Chuck Stokke of Sequoia Fishing Co. in Springville touted the Little Kern and Kern River for fly fishermen, and he recommends Golden Trout Wilderness Pack Train at 542-2816 as the best operation for access to the high country. They have started packing in fly fishermen for the Little and Big Kern Rivers. In the lower river, smallmouth action is fair with small spinners or crickets; catfish are biting nightcrawlers or Catnip Beef Bait. Ming has been hosting the annual boat races, so there is less fishing interest at the lake. Buena Vista is kicking out crappie with small minnows or minijigs under lights at night while Bryte Lake in the Tehachpi Highway is the top spot for huge bluegill to 1 pound.

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

Lake Kaweah

Bass *** Crappie ** Trout ** Catfish **

Senkos, Brush Hogs or lizards are working for bass, as the fish have moved deeper. Crappie fishing remained fair, with the best action near the submerged structure in Horse Creek. Few Fresno-area fishermen are heading south for crappie. Catfishing is best at night with sardines or chicken livers. The lake rose 1 foot to 646.49 in elevation and 35% capacity.

Call: Sierra Sporting Goods 592-5212

Lake Success

Bass ** Trout ** Catfish ** Crappie **

Chuck Stokke of Sequoia Fishing Co. said, “Bass fishing has been fair to good this week with crankbaits, jigs and plastics on a slow presentation working best, but the fish are scattered throughout the lake.” The bass are holding in a variety of locations from the shallows, around structure and in the open lake. The lake held at 592.84 feet in elevation and 11% capacity. In the Tule River, trout action has slowed because of unsettled weather. Stokke said, “When the sun is out and there is no cloud cover, black Woolley Buggers in size 14 are the top offering.” All roads are open, and all campgrounds are stocked with rainbows including Balch Park.

Call: Sequoia Fishing Co. 539-5626,

McClure Reservoir

Bass *** Trout ** King salmon * Kokanee * Crappie ** Catfish **

The North Barrett Cove ramp remains operational with the lake at 11% capacity and 626.52 feet in elevation. Bass fishing has been excellent from the shore with live bait or soft plastics, but few fishermen are willing to make the long walk down to the lake’s edge. Information on the launch ramp is available at (855) 222-5253.

Call: A-1 Bait (209) 563-6505; Bub Tosh (209) 404-0053

McSwain Reservoir

Trout **

The Calaveras Trout Farm in Snelling is closed to water restrictions from the Merced Irrigation District. There are still rainbow trout in the lake from the plant ahead of the Merced Irrigation Trout Derby a few weeks ago. Few reports from the marina. The trout plants at McSwain, with the closure of the Calaveras Trout Farm in Snelling because of a lack of a cold water supply, are limited to catchables from the Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Call: McSwain Marina (209) 378-2534

Millerton Lake/San Joaquin River

Bass *** Striper * Shad * Bluegill **

Millerton remains the location for numerous small bass, but Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “You have to wade through the numerous 11- to 12-inch fish to put together a 7.5- to 8-pound limit.” The fish are found from the banks to 30 feet in depth with Senkos, drop-shot or Texas-rigged plastics working best. With the recent fronts moving through the area, reports of striped bass has slowed. Crappie fishermen continue to try with live minnows around Finegold, East Bay and Winchell Cove, but there have been few reports. Catfishing has been slow. All motors must conform to low-emission standards. Millerton is releasing water, and it dropped 1 foot to 488.91 in elevation and 35% capacity. In the lower San Joaquin, minimal fishing action is taking place with the lack of trout plants. Regulations on the lower San Joaquin, and from Friant Dam downstream to the Highway 140 Bridge, allow only two hatchery trout or hatchery steelhead with a total of four in possession.

Call: Fresno Fisherman’s Warehouse 225-1838; Valley Rod & Gun 292-3474

New Melones Reservoir/Tulloch

Bass *** Crappie ** Catfish *** Trout *** Kokanee ***

Trout, kokanee and bass fishing remained solid at New Melones, but the launch ramp situation has limited the number of boaters on the lake. John Leitchy of Xperience Bass Fishing Guide Service and Glory Hole Sporting Goods said, “I have been putting in my boat solo for the past two months, and it just takes a little practice. It is very easy with a partner, and we have launched fiberglass boats without touching the shoreline as it is steep enough to jump on the boat without beaching the boat.” Kokanee and trout action continued to be excellent with Gary Burns of Take It To The Limit Guide Service reporting mixed limits on every trip. He said, “The kokanee and rainbows are hanging around together, and the bows are hitting the kokanee gear at 1.7 mph. We have been scoring with Glitter Bug hootchies in pink or orange, Uncle Larry’s Spinners, or Wedding Rings in the same color tipped with garlic corn behind a Glitter Bug chrome teardrop dodger at depths from 42-52 feet in the main lake river channel from the dam to the spillway.” Leitchy said, “Bass fishing is great with my last guide trip with novice fishermen using spinning gear producing 27 spotted bass out of 50 hookups. We caught them a variety of methods including topwater, reaction baits when the wind was blowing, and dragging worms on the bottom.” Bank trout action is all but over, but trollers are scoring in the main portion of the lake at depths to 20 feet with shad-patterned spoons on a long-line from 150-200 feet behind the boat. Night fishing under submersible lights is improving with live minnows, and since the fish are near the surface, the light only needs to be lowered a few feet. Catfishing is a good option with frozen shad, mackerel, anchovies, or sardines in the main lake coves. The Glory Hole Point Launch Ramp is on the gravel, and a four-wheel-drive tow vehicle is necessary. There are two lanes available, but no courtesy dock. The new marina ownership will host a Grand Opening Celebration on Friday starting at 5 p.m. with lake tours on the patio boats and all marina services showcased. Refreshments will be served. New Melones dropped over 2 feet to 850.45 in elevation and 19% capacity. Tulloch rose to 506.81 feet in elevation and 92% capacity.

Call: Glory Hole Sports (209) 736-4333; Monte Smith (209) 581-4734; Danny Layne-Fish’n Dan (209) 586-2383; Sierra Sport Fishing (209) 599-2023

Pine Flat Reservoir/Kings River

Kokanee * Bass *** Trout ** King salmon * Catfish ** Crappie **

At Pine Flat, Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun said, “Anglers are catching 15 fish per trip to put together 6-7 keepers for an 8-pound limit, which is a good weight at this time.” Most bass action remained on the bottom with jigs, drop-shot plastics or Senkos in natural shad, watermelon/black flake, or Christmas Tree but there is a small window for topwater or ripbaits in the early mornings. Patrick Movey of the Fisherman’s Warehouse said, “The trout bite is fair with trollers doing best near the power lines around bait.” A few anglers are picking up one or two rainbows in the 14- to 16-inch range at depths to 60 feet on the downrigger in the main lake from Zebe Creek to the power lines; however, other trout fishermen are struggling. Catfish and crappie can be found under lights at night near Deer Creek docks. The lake came up 3 feet to 773.02 in elevation and 24% capacity. In the lower Kings River, interest in trout fishing has been limits, but catchable rainbows can be taken on various colors of Power Bait or nightcrawlers in low flows. Bait shops are reporting little interest in Power Bait. Special regulations in the Kings River above and below Pine Flat Dam set the season as running from the last Saturday in April to Nov. 15 from Pine Flat Dam downstream to U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Bridge on Pine Flat Road with a five-fish limit. The bridge is the first one to the west of the dam.

Call: Fresno Fisherman’s Warehouse 225-1838; Valley Rod & Gun 292-3474; Sequoia Fishing Co. 539-5626; The I Forgot Store 787-3689

San Luis Reservoir and O’Neill Forebay

Striper ** Catfish ** Bass ** Crappie**

Striped bass fishing has been fair at best in the main lake for the past few months with trollers or minnow drifters scoring limits of school-sized bass in the regular locations off the trash racks and the mouth of Portuguese Cove. The lake will rise up every once in awhile and show us that there are still some huge fish there, with Friday offering another example. Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “One of our regular striper fishermen, Alvin Vang of Clovis, came in last week and purchased a new rod and a couple of bags of white flukes, and he was back on Saturday looking for a certified scale in order to weigh a huge striped bass that he had landed from the Romero Visitor Center. Although we don’t possess a certified scale at the shop, we used an accurate scale that tops out at 60 pounds, and the huge fish bottomed this scale out immediately, so we directed him to a Fed Ex office or a market with a certified scale.” According to Gilbert, there was a flurry of hookups of massive stripers from the bank within 5 minutes of the rain beginning to pour in the area, and they hooked a big fish that they couldn’t turn on 12-pound test before breaking off. The next fish was the one they landed, and after bringing this one to the shore, another monstrous striper was hooked and lost, breaking off after a long run. He said, “Within an hour, they hooked three huge fish on the flukes once the rain started. They had been fishing for several hours for nothing, but once the water was roiled up, the bite was on.” The fish was weighed on a certified scale at 66.9 pounds, putting it within the top-5 inland striped bass in North America. Other than the huge fish, Andrew Yeh of Coyote Bait and Tackle in Morgan Hill said, “Jumbo minnows have been the best thing good for boaters in the main lake, and anglers are working at depths from 60-80 feet.” In the Forebay, Check 12 continued to be the top location with jumbo minnows on a bobber or a sliding sinker rig; ripbaits or bucktailed jigs are also effective for the smallish striped bass. The main lake continues to steadily release water, including 4849 acre-feet Monday to drop to 57% capacity.

Call: Coyote Bait andTackle (408) 463-0711, Roger George of (559) 905-2954

High Sierra

Bass Lake

Bass ** Trout ** Kokanee *

Todd Wittwer of Guide Service said, “Trout fishing is fair at best with blade/crawler combinations or spinner/blade combinations from the surface to 15 feet, but the action is a bit better than it was last week.” A few derby fishermen are using Power Bait or nightcrawlers near the Sheriff’s Tower, the access area across from the dam or in front of Millers. No confirmed kokanee as of yet. Bass fishing is best with Senkos at depths to 15 feet. The lake held at 53% capacity, but launching a large boat requires skill and experience.

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

Edison/Florence/Mammoth Pool

Brown trout ** Trout **

The Kaiser Pass Lakes will be accessible earlier than normal because of the minimal snowpack. Mammoth Pool has closed until June 15 for the annual deer migration. Stream fishing opened three weeks ago, but the season in the southern Sierra will be extremely short-lived because of low water conditions. Mammoth Pool has risen to 66%, with Edison at 8% and Florence at 38%.

Call: Vermilion Valley Resort at Edison Lake 259-4000

Shaver Lake/Huntington Lake

Kokanee ** Trout **

At Shaver, trout and kokanee action remained slow. The best action remained at Eagle Point, Black Rock and around the island at depths from 18-36 feet with Dick’s Trout Busters tipped with a piece of nightcrawler and corn behind a Mountain Flasher or an orange Apex behind a Captain Jack’s C.J. Dodger. Dick Nichols of Dick’s Fishing Charters said, “There are still some trophies around, and Scott Haberkorn of Venice Beach landed a 5.2-pounder on a Trout Buster at Eagle Point on one of my charters.” The Shaver Lake Trophy Trout Project has moved their meetings back to Edison Camp office at 9 a.m. on the third Wednesday of each month. At Huntington, the boat launch is out of the water, but small aluminums can be dragged to the shore and placed into the lake. Field scout Tim Young of Auberry scored a number of quality rainbows trolling custom plugs on a recent trip to Huntington. Bank fishing is good with trout dough bait or nightcrawlers from the normal locations along the Auxiliary Dam or in Rancheria Cove. Shaver rose to 50% capacity, with Huntington up slightly to 46%.

Call: Dick’s Fishing Charters 841-2740; Dinkey Creek Inn 841-3435; Rancheria Marina 893-3234; Shaver Lake Sports Inc. 841-2740


Trout ***

Despite cold temperatures, high-country Courtright and Wishon remain the top trout lakes in the southern Sierra Nevada. Chuck Crane of Wishon Village RV Park and Store said, “The Department of Fish and Wildlife continues to plant small rainbows in the quarter-pound range into both lakes, and 90% of our fish are in the 10- to 12-inch range.” Trollers are catching and releasing numerous smaller fish by pulling Needlefish or trolling flies from the surface to 20 feet at Wishon. Bob and Diane Pearcy of Visalia have been camping at Wishon Village for the past several weeks and consistently releasing limits upon limits of the small trout, keeping limits of the largest fish. Wishon has risen slightly with the water’s edge reaching the end of the launch ramp, but Crane continued to advise launching boats off the dirt road. A few rainbows in the 17- to 18-inch range have been taken from the shore near the boat docks with inflated nightcrawlers or trout dough bait. At Courtright, a few inches of snow fell within the past week. Cold temperatures limited the number of fishermen, but action remained solid with Rapalas or Speedy Shiners for rainbows in the 12- to 17-inch range as well as the occasional brown trout from 15-17 inches. The launch ramp remains on the concrete at Courtright. Dinkey Creek has an adequate amount of water in order to work the pools, but the flow is much lower than normal.

Call: Wishon RV Park 865-5361


Half Moon Bay

Rockfish *** Salmon ** Striper **

Despite a flurry of salmon action below the Farallons at the end of the past week, rockfishing remained the constant along the San Mateo coast. Second Captain Guy Anthony ran the New Captain Pete on Sunday for two salmon, leaving Captain Dennis Baxter to focus on coastal rockfishing until the salmon arrive in force. Second Captain Mike Cabanas of the Huli Cat out of Half Moon Bay took the hint Saturday and went rockfishing south of the harbor to the northern end of Martin’s Beach for 17 limits of rockfish and 18 ling cod to 8 pounds. He said, “The salmon bite slowed down on Friday, so our passengers wanted a sure thing, and the ling cod bite great, particularly on a trap rig loaded with a frozen herring.” The Ankeny Street found similar results with 140 rockfish, three cabezon and five ling cod to 10 pounds Saturday. The Queen of Hearts out of Half Moon Bay Sport Fishing put in half limits of rockfish Saturday along the coast while the Rip Tide was on a salmon trip.

Call: Happy Hooker (510) 223-5388; Roger Thomas, Salty Lady (415) 760-9362; Bait and Switch Sport Fishing Center (650) 726-7133726-7133; Emeryville Sport Fishing (510) 654-6040; Don Franklin, Soleman (510) 703-4148

Monterey/Santa Cruz

Rockfish **** Salmon ** Striper ***

Chris Arcoleo of Chris’ Landing in Monterey reported fantastic rockfishing south toward Point Sur with the Caroline loading up with 15 limits of rockfish and 45 ling cod for limits while the Star of Monterey posted 33 limits of rockfish and 36 lings. The boats have availability throughout the week. Striped bass are thick along the beaches, and there have been huge schools of striped bass corralled into the marina by harbor seals. Shore fishermen are scoring with topwater lures, sand crabs, or heavy spoons.

Call: Chris’ Landing(831) 375-5951; Bayside Marine (831) 475-2173;

San Francisco Bay

Halibut ** Striper *** Rockfish **** Leopard shark *** Salmon ** Sturgeon **

After a solid start Thursday with two boats out of Sausalito combined for 32 salmon for 19 anglers, subsequent days of salmon fishing slowed considerably, and the Sausalito boats went searching north of the Farallons near the Fanny Shoals Buoy. After a slow Saturday, one Sausalito boat was able to locate 12 salmon to 12 pound for 14 fishermen on Sunday at Fanny Shoals. Three boats out of Emeryville Sport Fishing ventured to the Islands on Saturday for 622 rockfish and 31 ling cod to 12 pounds for 65 anglers. Party boats are posting up impressive striper counts with a few big halibut in the mix. On Saturday, Jim Smith on the Happy Hooker reported 50 stripers to 11 pounds adding four all “toad” halibut to 23 pounds. Smith said they had one drift where they put in 20 fish in just ten minutes. He said, ‘With the big tides, being on the right spot at the right time is key to success.” He found quality scores on both Sunday and Monday topped off with 40 stripers to 14 pounds for 20 anglers working the central bay rocky spots from Angel Island to Alcatraz to Mel’s Reef before working the muddy flats off Berkeley Pier. Smith is looking forward to the smaller series of tides next week in order to target halibut, and his son, James, on the California Dawn is already concentrating on halibut with trips planned on the slower portion of the tides during the middle of the week.

San Luis Obispo

Salmon ** Rock cod ***

Rockfishing continued to be the staple along the San Luis Obispo coast for recreational fishermen, although there are reports of solid commercial salmon fishing. The Rita G and Princess out of Virg’s Landing in Morro Bay were out Sunday for a combined 305 assorted rockfish and 295 vermilion rockfish to go with 51 ling cod to 13.3 pounds for 59 fishermen. Jesse Cisneros of Reedley took the jackpot on the Rita G with a 12.5-pound ling. The next two-day trip on the Black Pearl to Cape San Martin leaves at 10 p.m. Friday. Virg’s boats have totaled 1,104 legal ling cod since the opener. On Monday, the Patriot out of Patriot Sport Fishing in Port San Luis put in 38 vermilion rockfish, 20 coppers, 62 assorted rockfish, and 16 ling cod to 10 pounds for 19 fishermen on a morning half-day trip. Patriot’s ling count already has swollen to 896 since the April 1 opener, with 181 ling cod this past week. Surf perch fishing remained outstanding along the coastal beaches with blood worms.

Call: Virg’s Landing, (805) 772-1222; (800) 762-5263; Patriot Sports Fishing (805) 595-4100; Port Side Marine Sports Launch (805) 595-7214



Bass *** Striper *** Sturgeon ** Catfish ** Bluegill ***

Big winds have been the primarily story over the past weeks, along with the appearance of American shad in the upper Delta. There are still striped bass moving through the river system, and some of the fish still have green eggs at this late date. The best striper fishing has been in the upper Delta near the mouths of Miner or Cache Sloughs along with the Sacramento Deep Water Channel. Bill Crooks and Guy Brown of Sacramento launched out of Hogback on Steamboat Slough earlier this week, and after a quick troll along Snug Harbor, they went to Light 41 on Cache Slough, spending the majority of their time between Lights 41 and 45. He said, “We landed five keepers to 7 pounds, releasing the larger fish, keeping two limits of four milking males from 3-6 pounds. All of the keepers were landed between Lights 41 and 43 on shallow-diving Yozuri Crystal Minnows or white Savage Lures.” Alan Fong of the Fisherman’s Warehouse in Sacramento said, “Shad fishing is off the hook between Freeport down to Clarksburg for mostly male shad with 1-inch grubs in red, pink, or chartreuse, or shad darts. There are some larger females in the mix.” In the main Sacramento River near Pittsburg, James Nguyen of Dockside Bait said, “Striper fishing is limited to small legal stripers with the best action drifting live minnows in Broad Slough. The wind has limited fishermen throughout the week, and high winds over the weekend have kept most boats out of the water.” Sturgeon interest remained limited as the heyday is over for the season, but Benicia Bait reported a few anglers are still trying at the top of the Mothball Fleet from Buoy 4 to the Horseshoe and also in the Big Cut for the occasional diamondback on ghost shrimp, grass shrimp, or lamprey eel. Fishermen along the Benicia shore are targeting striped bass with RatLTraps or similar lipless crankbaits from the State Park, as salmon smolt dues are expected to occur again within the week. Largemouth bass fishing has taken center stage in the San Joaquin River system with striped bass starting to dissipate. Randy Pringle, the Fishing Instructor, said, “Largemouth bass fishing is really good, and we have been scoring consistent numbers of bass with a variety of techniques including the topwater ima Little Stick in the morning’s and late afternoons on cloudy days, cranking with the ima Squarebill in crawdad imitation patterns, tossing the half-ounce Persuader Rattlin’ Blade spinnerbait in chartreuse/white on windy days, or using the ima Flit ripbait in American shad or Olive Herring when the wind is calm.” He said, “The larger bass are scarce, but the numbers are impressive.” Fong confirmed the outstanding largemouth bass bite, stating, “It’s wide open.” He found great fishing this week with Senkos or Jason Kincannon’s swimbaits on the incoming tide. He said, “I hooked into a huge bass well over 10 pounds on Jason’s swimbait, but it came unbuttoned, and then I landed an 8-pound striped bass on the next cast.” H and R Bait in Stockton reported a few striped bass are taken in Whiskey Slough and along Empire Tract with live bluegill, and the bluegill have come back out of the depths and are near the surface with wax worms or jumbo red worms. Out of Antioch, Doug Chapman of Gotcha Bait said, “The winds over the past week have dirtied up the water in our area, and striper fishing has slowed down. There are a few linesides taken off of the Antioch Fishing in the 18- to 19-inch range, but larger fish have been scarce. I expect the action to resume once the water clears up.” In the south Delta, catfishing is good with frozen clams in Big Break while crappie are found around Holland Tract with small to medium minnows..

Call: Randy Pringle (209) 543-6260; Captain Stan Koenigsberger – Quetzal Adventures (925) 570-5303; Intimidator Sport Fishing (916) 806-3030

Lake Nacimiento/San Antonio/Santa Margarita/Lopez

Bass *** White bass *** Striper ** Catfish ** Crappie **

Lopez continues to kick out big limits of largemouth bass, and the top three spots in the Best Bass Tournament over the weekend were in excess of 20 pounds. A Department of Fish and Wildlife trout plant with fish averaging a pound was released into the lake, and this should get the big bass oriented to rainbow trout pattern swimbaits. Trollers are picking up trout with various lures at depths to 20 feet. At Nacimiento, white bass are thick, and tournament anglers report landing 10 whites to one spot, but the recent 101 Bass Tournament was taken with an 8.62-pound limit with a top spot of 2.5 pounds on a Super Spook. At Santa Margarita, the marina is open for rental boats or kayaks, canoes or float tubes as the lake needs to come up to 30% in order for the launch ramp to be operable. The marina store is open once again seven days per week from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Catfish to 14.5 pounds have been landed on cut bait or prepared dough bait. At San Antonio, the lake remains very low with only kayaks, canoes, or float tubes able to be released into the lake. A few striped bass, largemouth bass, and catfish are available. Reminder that consuming white bass, black bass, crappie, catfish or carp is subject to safe eating guidelines because of the risk of excessive mercury.

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



Best Bass Tournaments on May 16 at Don Pedro: 1, Jared and Bob Perkins 16.63; 2, Frank Hartoe/Corey Lewis 15.47 (big fish 7.01); 3, Candi McGregor/Derek Allred 12.36

101 Bass on May 16 at Nacimiento: 1, Jim Slusher/Erik Zillig 8.62 pounds (big fish 2.5); 2, Chase Austin/Jared Mackey 8.28; 3, John White/Bobby Doss 7.99

Success Bass Club on May 17 at Lake Success: 1, Jerry Williams/Rodger Patterson 16.69 pounds; 2, Dean Miller/Darrel Masterson 16.22; 3, Gary Wasson/Daniel Moreno 12.64

Best Bass Tournaments on May 17 at Lopez Lake: 1, Scott and Tim Mullins 17.82 pounds; 2, Austin Bonjour/Kyle Greenlaw 16.73; 3, Glenn Wolfgang/Larry Zepeda– 16.61


Saturday: Angler’s Choice at Delta/Russo’s; American Bass Association at Kaweah

May 30: Kerman Bass Club at Don Pedro; Kokanee Power Team Tournament at Don Pedro,; Southern California Bass Club at Isabella; 101 Bass at Nacimiento

May 30-31: Stockton Bass Club at Delta/Ladd’s Marina; Tracy Bass Club at Delta/Tracy Oasis

Trout plants

Fresno County: Shaver Lake; Ward Lake; San Joaquin River, South Fork; Dinkey Creek; Tamarack Creek; Rancheria Creek; Portal Forebay; Big Creek, Huntington; Tenmile Creek, Upper; Mono Creek; Kings River, Below Pine Flat Dam

Kern County: Kern River, sections 4-5

Madera County: Lewis Creek; Chiquito Creek, Lower; Chiquito Creek West Fork; Rock Creek; Willow Creek North Fork; Fish Creek; Nelder Creek

Mariposa County: Big Creek, Madera; Merced River, Section ll

Tulare County: Balch Park Lake Upper and Lower; Bone Creek; Peppermint Creek, Upper and Lower; Stony Creek; Kern River, sections 5-6; Tule River South Fork, Middle Fork Nos. 2-3; Tule River North Fork, Middle Fork No. 1; Hedrick Pond (Redwood Lake); Dry Meadow Creek; Nobe Young Creek; Big Meadows Creek

Tuolumne County: Stanislaus River South Fork; Stanislaus River Middle Fork; Stanislaus River North Fork; Moccasin Creek; Tuolumne River North Fork; Tuolumne River South Fork; Tuolumne River Middle Fork; Lyons Canal (Columbia Ditch); Herring Creek; Stanislaus River Clarks Fork; Powerhouse Stream; Lyons Reservoir; Beaver Creek

Roger’s Remarks

Roger George’s fishing column will return next week.

Best Bets

Delta striper and bass bites good, Alan Fong said. Eastman producing best bass action while Pine Flat bass bite improves, Merritt Gilbert reported. Courtright and Wishon trout action hot, Chuck Crane said. New Melones trout, Kokanee and bass hitting, John Leitchey reported.

Solunar table










































q = quarter moon> = peak activity