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 Bay salmon bite “beyond epic!!!” Trent Slate said. San Francisco Bay halibut/striped bass “on fire,” Steve Mitchell reported. Eastman bass night action solid, Merritt Gilbert said. Shaver limits the rule, Todd Wittwer reported. Don Pedro trout and kokanee solid, Monte Smith said. Kokanee showing up at New Melones, Gary Burns reported.
2-Have to work hard
4-Fish jumpin’ in boat
Delta Mendota Canal and Sloughs
Striper 1 Catfish 2
Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun said, “The California Aqueduct is getting more and more play, especially around Manning Avenue and Kettleman City. The fishermen are going, but they aren’t providing reports, but our sales of ripbaits, flukes, and jerkbaits has increased which tells us that there is something going on there. The Delta Mendota Canal has also been kicking out largemouth bass with either frogs over the mats or punching the weeds with creature baits.” In the south aqueduct in Kern County, Pete Cormier of Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield said, “The flows have been up and down with high flows on some days while no flow on other days. Moss has been a problem when the water is not flowing. Catfish to 2 pounds have been taken on stinkbaits, sardines, or anchovies.” Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield started their July Catfish Derby with a 100 percent payback and a $1 entry fee.
Bass 3 Trout 1 Bluegill 2 Catfish 2 Crappie 2
The algae bloom at both Eastman and Hensley remains, but the bass fishing has been excellent at both locations. Due to the ongoing algae bloom, signage has been posted around both reservoirs to caution adults and especially children about avoiding areas with blue-green waters which may contain toxins.
Eastman is an excellent option for largemouth bass with a winning weight for four fish during a Saturday night Turkey Shoot at 23.24 pounds. Sharif Zagsaw of Fresno came in with big fish at 9.83 pounds as part of a second-place limit of 18.91 pounds.
Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “The evening bite is good to 1:00 a.m. with one angler picking up 30 from 2.75 pounds and better throwing crankbaits, ripbaits, and the River2Sea glide baits. After scoring a 28-pound limit for 5 fish, he anchored up and set up his catfish rods with hot dogs and tried to get some sleep, but the catfish wouldn’t let him doze off. He ended up with 8 catfish between 7 and 14 pounds which are the first big catfish I have heard of this year. The larger bass are holding in deeper water over rockpiles or island tops while there are numerous bass in the 11- to 12-inch range along the banks.”
The lake is releasing water, and it dropped to 61 percent.
Bass 2 Trout 0 Catfish 2 Bluegill 2 Crappie 3
Hensley is kicking out some larger fish including a legitimate 13-pound largemouth by Terry Lamming of Fresno on a custom-made plastic in 10 to 18 feet of water. Gilbert said, “Lamming also landed a number of bass in addition to the big largemouth.”
The crappie bite at Hensley has slowed, but anglers willing to work hard are able to find the small slabs near structure with minijigs or live minnows.
Hensley dropped from 35 to 32 percent.
Lake Don Pedro
Bass 3 Trout 3 Kokanee 2 King salmon 1 Crappie 2
While kokanee have been absent for the majority of the spring at all Mother Lode lakes, the trend of the landlocked silvers showing up at a much later-than-normal date continues at Don Pedro. In addition to the improving kokanee action, rainbow trout limits are a given for experienced trollers. Largemouth and spotted bass are also on a hot bite, but local anglers are keeping very quiet about their success at this lake.
Monte Smith of Gold Country Sport Fishing said, “The kokanee bite is improving, and there are three different grades of kokanee in the lake. We weren’t even targeting kokanee, and we had a double at 40 and 45 feet with Needlefish with one kokanee at 16 inches and the other at 13.5 inches. We landed another kokanee at 60 feet that was 12 inches. The bigger fish must have been a 3rd year kokanee. However, you need to make up your mind if you are going to keep the trout or kokanee on the way up since the surface temperature is approaching 80 degrees. It was 76 to 77 degrees in the mornings, and the warm water just kills the fish. There is a thermocline forming at 35 to 60 feet, but the larger rainbows remain higher in the water column. The recreational boating traffic during the week hasn’t been bad as we returned to the Blue Oaks launch ramp at 12:30 p.m., and there was no one else launching. Trout limits continue to be the rule, and there are various grades of trout in the lake.”
Mike Gomez of the Bait Barn in Waterford said, “There have been a number of bass fishermen heading up to Don Pedro, but they have been keeping very quiet so I know that the bite is good.” Kris Huff of Stockton came in second during a night tournament for a local club on Saturday night with a 21.84-pound limit. Huff said, “The lake is fishing very well as we had a blast boating around 80 bass with a number of quality largemouths and spots. Spinnerbaits, crankbaits, plastic worms, and topwater lures all worked from 1 to 10 feet in depth.”
Lake Isabella/Bakersfield area
Bass 2 Trout 2 Crappie 3 Catfish 3 Bluegill 2
Lake Isabella is releasing water, and it dropped from 37 to 34 percent this week. Pete Cormier of Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield reported an improving bass bite with Senkos in the shallows along with crankbaits, or topwater lures. Crappie fishing is fair at best as finding the crappie in submerged trees has been a challenge. If you find the slabs, action is good with live minnows or minijigs. Catfish are taken on stink baits, cut baits, or live minnows. 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. Bob’s Bait annual July Catfish Derby is still open for the remainder of the month, but a huge 41-pound catfish taken out of Buena Vista by Jeff Pritchett on frozen shad will be hard to top. Buena kicking out crappie and catfish at night on minnows, and the local lakes are producing primarily catfish, bluegill, or carp. Bob’s will hold their annual carp derby during the month of August. In the high Sierra watershed of the upper Kern, Chuck Stokke of the Sequoia Fishing Company in Springville said, “The upper Kern River is awesome with dry flies, and the Big Lake area is the best I have seen in years. Hopper patterns are irresistible to the Kern rainbows, and we have having 50 fish days. The Golden Trout Wilderness Pack Station is still booking trips into to upper Kern. Information – 559-542-2816.”
Bass 2 Crappie 2 Trout 0 Catfish 2
Kaweah is rapidly releasing water, and it dropped from 54 to 38 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 0 Catfish 2 Crappie 2 Bluegill 3
Chuck Stokke of the Sequoia Fishing Company in Springville said, “Bass fishing is good in the early mornings or late evenings with Senkos on a wacky-rig, topwater lures, ripbaits, or jigs. The lake is dropping rapidly, and it decreased to 48 percent this week. In the Tule River, Stokke said, The Tule is excellent right now with dry flies, especially stimulators and black caddis patterns for quality native rainbows and browns. 25 fish days are not uncommon. I will be giving fly casting lessons at the Pierpoint Café this Sunday at 10:00 a.m. The lessons are free and all equipment is provided.”
Bass 3 Trout 0 King salmon 0 Kokanee 0 Crappie 3 Catfish 3
Mike Gomez of the Bait Barn in Waterford fished a night tournament on Saturday, and he said, “Bass fishing is best at night with jigs in the early evenings before working topwater lures such as the River2 Sea Rover. We found a good bite for around an hour for another 15 bass which we culled for a 9.16-pound limit with a big fish at 4.02. All of our larger fish came on the Rover, but the topwater bite slowed down and I ran up the river arm in the extreme dark for slow action. The winners were reported to score with jigs and plastics for a limit at 11.5 pounds.” The daytime bass bite is limited to a few hours in the early, early morning. Catfishing is improving with the warmer water conditions while crappie action has slowed. The lake dropped slightly from 87 to 85 percent.
Trout plants are occurring a few times per week, and the action is much better within a few days of the plants. 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.
The new water feature has brought a different crowd to this lake traditionally focused on trout fishermen, but there still are planted rainbows in the lake.
Call: McSwain Marina 209-378-2534
Millerton Lake/San Joaquin River
Bass 3 Striped bass 1 Shad 1 Bluegill 2 Crappie 2
Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “The spotted bass bite remains strong with ripbaits or working the bottom with plastics on the drop-shot or jigs in the early mornings until noon. Steve Newman of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis found great action for numbers of spotted bass in the 1.5- to 1.75-pound range in the main lake on Sunday from 6 a.m. to noon. Catfishing is picking up for whiskerfish to 2.5 pounds near Finegold.” The American shad remain in the river arm, but they are reluctant to bite.The lake dropped from 87 to 81 percent.
Call: Valley Rod & Gun 292-3474
New Melones Reservoir/Tulloch
Bass 3 Crappie 3 Catfish 3 Trout 2 Kokanee 2
To the astonishment of many, kokanee are making a solid showing at New Melones after a very slow start to the traditional kokanee season. This phenomenon is also occurring at the other Mother Lode lakes of Pardee and Don Pedro with the very late arrival of kokanee.
The big news of the week occurred on Gary Burns of ‘Take It To the Limit’ Guide Service’s boat with a 2-lb., 1.5-oz./19-inch kokanee, just 0.5-oz. shy of the lake record. Burns said, “The kokanee bite has finally turned on, and we have put in over 50 kokanee within the last two weeks. Most of the kokanee are ranging from 11 to 14 inches, and they are fat and healthy. We have lost as many as we have put in the boat, and this is reflective of how hard they have been fighting. The fish will be going deeper as the water warms, but for now, we are finding the kokanee at depths from 37 to 50 feet from the main lake south of the dam to the spillway with pink Wedding Rings or JPex lures in chrome or gold.”
Gene Hildebrand of Glory Hole Sports in Angel Camp reported the rainbow trout have been dropping in the water column as the fish are seeking cooler waters. Trollers are doing best with Wedding Rings, Kastmasters, or Needlefish in the Angels Creek arm, main lake, and the spillway.
John Liechty of Xperience Fishing Guide Service said, “The bass bite continues to be productive as trip after trip we are landing plenty of healthy largemouth and spotted bass with a few large fish in the mix. The pattern seems to be changing from week to week, and many of the bass can be found roaming the open water in search of schools of bait fish. With the dropping water levels, the fish are starting to show up near deep water. For the next few months, the temperatures will be hot, and the bass will feed heavily in the mornings, evenings, and at night while hunkering down during the day to avoid the heat. Shad, bluegill, and baby bass patterns are the colors of choice, and a variety of reaction baits such as crankbaits, ripbaits, and spinnerbaits are used to trigger strikes when the bass are aggressive. Get on the water early or fish until dark to find some good summertime action.”
The catfish bite is best at night with cutbaits near the Tuttletown launch ramp or near the dam while crappie fishing is best near shaded coves with structure with crappie jigs in pearl or white.
New Melones has dropped to 79 percent.
Pine Flat Reservoir/Kings River
Bass 3 Trout 2 Kokanee 0 King salmon 0 Catfish 2 Crappie 2
Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun reported the algae bloom is beginning to dissipate, but it is still noticeable throughout the lake. Bass action during the day is tough, but there is a good night bite from 6:30 p.m. to dark, even with the lack of moon. The majority of bass in the main lake are spotted bass with more largemouth bass to 1.5 pounds in the river arm. Ripbaits, crankbaits, and jigs are the top lures at night. The boat traffic has diminished with the algae bloom, and there are few boats currently on the lake. Trout fishing is best at depths to 60 feet in the main lake with shad-patterned spoons. The crappie bite has slowed with the exception of a few slabs at night under lights off of houseboats in Deer Creek. The lake dropped from 70 to 63 percent this week.
San Luis Reservoir and O’Neill Forebay
Striper 2 Catfish 2 Bass 2 Crappie 1
The striped bass action has been slow for the majority of the summer months at both the O’Neill Forebay and the San Luis Reservoir, but there have been increasing signs of life over the past few weeks.
Jesus Reyes Silva of Hollister and the ‘How to Fish’ group said, “We got on a topwater bite with stripers boiling 10 feet in front of us near Dinosaur Point, and the boil lasted for nearly an hour and a half. The stripers are chasing silversides, and there are some larger fish in the 22- to 25-inch range in the boils. They are hitting topwater lures in perch very aggressively, and after the first boil stopped, we moved to a second location in the dark. We kept our limit and released the rest to catch another day.”
Travis Porter and KC Wilson of Hollister were tossing lures in the coves for keeper stripers to 25 inches on Saturday.
Roger George of Roger George Guide Service said, “The stripers in the big lake are moving into new areas as the water continues to fall over a foot a day. We fished last Thursday for over 15 fish from 22 to 27 inches on shad colored lures in the 50 to 75 zone, but the surprising thing is that I had stripers milting all over the boat. The only conclusion I can reach is that there are a lot of fish still spawning, even this late. With water temps going from just 65 in the morning up to only 70 during the day, the fish are not stressed. The bite is turning on and off in the heat. Guys are telling me the minnow bite has slowed too. Lone Oak is holding a few fish, but the fish seem to be looking for new structure so scouting out where the fish are is key. I would recommend using Dinosaur instead of the Basalt ramp due to mud and wind exposure right now”
Gavin Cohen of Coyote Bait and Tackle in Morgan Hill, said, “Big topwater baits still are best with the 7-inch Evergreen SB 150, Super Spooks in bone, or 7-inch Magnum flukes in white. A few anglers are downsizing to the smaller Evergreens in 125’s in bone or Half Mirror Wakasgi. The forebay is kicking out smaller fish than the main lake.” A huge 45-inch striped bass was caught by Li Tyson at the forebay on a topwater lure.
The lake dropped from 59 to 55 percent
Bass 2 Trout 2 Kokanee 0
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 remains as 100 percent.
Brown trout 2 Trout 2
The reservoirs held with Edison at 89, Mammoth Pool at 98 percent, and Florence at 40 percent. The bank bite is best at Edison with Kastmasters, Roostertails, Power Bait, or nightcrawlers. 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
The action slowed down a bit over the weekend. The fireworks display the previous weekend didn’t seem to bring the bite to a stop early in the week, but there is heavy boat pressure on the weekends and even during the week.
Dick Nichols of Dick’s Fishing Charters said, “The fishing at Shaver may be a little less productive, but it’s still very good. This week’s charters produced multiple limits on each trip of mixed fish. We are fishing the triangle of Shaver marina, the Point and the island mainly in the very early hours for kokanee, and after the sun hits the water, we move into trout country to complete limits. The kokanee seem to like 31 to 40 feet deep with the 72 degree surface water while the rainbows are found from 8 to 30 feet deep. We are using Mountain Hoochies in champagne pink, orange and white tipped with scented corn behind a Mountain Dodger while the trout are hitting green and orange Trout Busters or Mounatin Hochies in pink with tips of crawler and corn behind Mountain Flashers.
Todd Wittwer of Kokanee.net Guide Service said, “The surface temperature is 71-73 degrees with good clarity The Sierra Marina had solid fishing between 29 and 52 ft. early in the week, but an outflow of current caused the majority of the fish to move out of the area later in the week. The Point and deep channel area near the outflow seem to be the best bet with fish ranging from 13.5 to nearly 16 inches at depths from 28 to 40 ft. throughout most of the day. The Rocky Mountain Tackle double glow orange squid with a Moonshine Sunburst dodger continues to be the hot ticket. The purple Moonshine dodger with a purple cotton candy squid and Dick’s mountain balltroll flasher with an orange kokanee Buster or pink or orange RMT Viper spinner are also producing well. We have continued to score from 1 to 4 trophy trout most days with 2 to 3 limits of kokanee salmon all using Gulp maggots. We had a number of short bites in the morning, but Saturday brought aggressive biters all morning, even better than the rest of the week.”
Steve Santoro of Fish Box Charters also found limits of kokanee and rainbow trout for his clients on an early week trip.
Weekend guide, Tom Oliviera of Tulare, took out father Tom, sons Brian and Jamie, and grandson Brandon for 21 total fish with 18 kokanee and 3 rainbows running Paulina Peak’s flutter hoochies or pink spinner hoochies at depths to 40 feet. He said, “The surface rods aren’t as effective right now with the water temperatures over 70 degrees.” Shaver is at 94 percent.
At Huntington, bank fishing remains solid for planted rainbows near the mouth of Rancheria Cove or the Auxiliary Dam with trout dough bait in green or rainbow garlic. Jay Irvine of Visalia continues to find limits of small grade of kokanee to 10 inches along with rainbow trout running small spoons or spinners. The lake held at 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
At Courtright, Chuck Crane of the Wishon Village RV Park and Store said, “The lake has been crowded with fishermen attempting to escape the valley’s heat, and trollers are finding limits at depths from 40 to 50 feet with blade/’crawler combinations in the main lake. Shore fishing has been fair with trout dough bait in orange or pink along both sides of the dam or in front of the campgrounds. The lake is nearly filled and launching a boat is easy.”
At Wishon, Crane said, “The annual Kiwanis Club Division 5 Trout Derby is this coming Saturday, and trout fishing has improved. There have been at least three large brown trout over 25 inches landed during the week on either blade/’crawler combinations or Rapalas. I went up to the mouth of inlets in the river arm for a limit of rainbows with Thomas Buoyants in #2 in brass/red. Bank fishing is fair at best with trout dough bait in pink or orange near the launch ramp or along both sides of the dam.” The lake is close to full capacity.
Call: Wishon RV Park 865-5361
Half Moon Bay
Salmon 4 Rockfish 3 Striper 2 White sea bass 0 Crab 0 Surf Perch 3
Although the grade of salmon has shrunk within the past week, salmon fishing remains ‘epic’ off of the San Mateo coastline. Rockfish are still available, but with the incredible salmon action, few party or private boats are focusing on bottomfishing.
Captain Dennis Baxter of the New Captain Pete put his clients onto 23 limits of salmon north of the harbor from Devil’s Slide to Thornton Beach on Sunday, and he said, “There are a few larger fish which get people’s interest, but the majority of salmon are in the 20- to 22-inch range. There was a good bite south at Martin’s Beach at the end of last week, but the water cleared up. Captain Tom Mattusch of the Huli Cat put in 40 fish at Martin’s Beach on Thursday, and there has been a good bite inside the buoys out in front of the harbor, but the water has cleared up there as well. There are a lot of smaller fish and shakers mixed in with the larger fish, and it is really good to see the number of shakers. The southside is back to the ‘good old days.’ Baxter put in 22 more limits at Mussel Rock on Monday morning within a few hours.
Captain Tom Mattusch of the Huli Cat along posted limits of salmon on every trip with a mixed grade of fish with a few in the high teens. After finding good action at Martin’s Beach, he ran back up to Mussel Rock for 24 limits of salmon the following day as the conditions had changed. However, Mattusch said, “The salmon sign is back down there again, and Smitty on the Riptide caught and released 3 salmon while rockfishing so things are looking up closer to the harbor.”
James Houston of Patterson took his 19-foot Arima up to Mussel Rock for a limit of a small grade of legal salmon on his last trip, and he has also scored salmon at Buoy 1 South.
Half Moon Bay Sport Fishing confirmed the wide-open salmon bite with limits of rockfish also being the rule; however, you have to work for the rockfish with the best fishing south of the harbor at the Deep Reef.
Salmon 1 Rockfish 4 Striper 2 White sea bass 0 Crab 0 Sand dabs 2 Surf perch 3
Chris Arcoleo of Chris’s Landing in Monterey said, “We have had to stay in the bay the last three days as the weather has been very rough, but the Check Mate and Caroline posted a combined 40 limits of rockfish and 16 ling cod on Sunday. When the weather improves, we will be able to move further down the coast for a better grade of rockfish and improved ling counts.”
San Francisco Bay
Salmon 4 Albacore 0 Halibut 3 Striper 4 Rockfish 4 Leopard shark 3 Sturgeon 1 Crab 0
Mike Aughney of USA Fishing.com said, “The fantastic salmon bite continues outside of the Golden Gate. On Sunday, party boats mostly ran south to Mussel Rock with others opting for the Marin coast. No matter where they went the fish were jumping over the rail. The Emeryville Sport Center had seven boats out today and reported a collective 99 limits of salmon to 22 pounds. Many boats again reported early limits and most were tucked back into their berths by the early afternoon. The majority of boats are still trolling but it’s just a matter of time before boats switch over to mooching thus saving their client’s money in not dropping 3-lb. sinkers for nearly every fish hooked.”
Captain Trent Slate of Bite Me Charters out of Loch Lomond put in limits of salmon by 8:50 a.m. on Sunday morning, and he said, “I had a group of novice fishermen on board, and we had four on at one time and landed them all. I was a scooping fool with the net as it was chaos out there for a bit. The fish were a mixed grade, but there are some larger fish in the mix. I will start mooching this week with the great action and calmer weather on the horizon for the next few days.” Slate mooched up 7 limits of big salmon within an hour on Monday morning, and he was finished by 8:50 a.m.
Captain Zach Medinas of Gatecrasher Fishing Adventures has also been taking advantage of the hot salmon action, and he has been taking out a few celebrities lately including Justin Wolff of Angler West TV for an upcoming episode.
Even with the amazing salmon fishing outside the Gate, the action in the bays is nearly as hot with Captain Steve Mitchell of Hook’d Up Sport Fishing out of Berkeley putting his group onto 5 halibut and 7 quality bass on Sunday’s potluck trip. Mitchell has been either running bay potluck or salmon trips, and he has limited out on salmon every trip so far. He said, “The rockpiles were loaded with boats on Sunday, but we pulled seven big bass off of the rocks. There were a number of shaker halibut released as well. We have halibut trips on Monday and Tuesday before a salmon trip on Wednesday.”
Captains Jonathan and Chris Smith of the Happy Hooker brought out a group of 29 anglers on Sunday for limits of striped bass along with over a halibut per rod with 37 flatfish to a whopping 42 pounds. The striped bass came fast and furious, and they are running live bait trips throughout the week.
Not to be outdone, brother James Smith on the California Dawn loaded up with 40 halibut to 22 pounds and 31 limits of striped bass to 15 pounds on Sunday working the rockpiles in the central bay for the bass and the flats for halibut.
Nelson Vineyard, a new party boat captain, was also on the bay on Sunday, and they went to Paradise to stay out of the wind,. He said, “After losing a striper off of Alcatraz, we moved over to Paradise where we had never fished before, but we ended up with a pair of kpeer halibut and one keeper striped bass with numerous shakers and a few more halibut lost. Fishing was good in the Paradise area, and it is also protected from the wind.”
Captain Bill Clapp of Bill’s Sport Fishing took out the King family from Sacramento for a graduate party, and they ended up with limits of striped bass, five halibut and 4 leopard sharks on the live bait trip.
San Luis Obispo
Rockfish 4 Surf perch 3
Limits were once again the story out of both San Luis Obispo County ports, but the lings were absent with only a few ling cod on each trip over the weekend. Out of Morro Bay Landing, the Avenger posted 31 limits of rockfish composed of 280 vermilion, 10 coppers, and 20 Boccaccio to go with three lings to 12 pounds. Also out of Morro Bay, the Fiesta and Black Pearl took out 46 anglers for 147 vermilion and 313 assorted to go with three small, legal ling cod. Out of Port San Luis, the Patriot and Flying Fish put their combined 32 anglers for limits composed of 32 vermilion, 2 copper, and 286 assorted rockfish to go with a solitary ling. All landings are running a variety of bottom fishing trips from half-day to two-day ventures up the coast.
Bass 3 Striper 2 Sturgeon 2 Catfish 2 Bluegill 2 Salmon 0
The Sacramento-Delta has moved well into the summertime doldrums, but there are a few locations kicking out some large striped bass and legal sturgeon. The combination of wind or triple-digit temperatures continue to be a deterrent, but there is action in the evening hours in the sloughs. Smallmouth bass remain an option for those willing to work the northern sloughs with a variety of flies, plastics on the drop-shot, live crawdads, or deep-diving crankbaits.
Chris Vu of Sacramento has landed several large striped bass this season out of Montezuma Slough, and he caught and kept a limit at 37 and 39 inches on live splittail along with a 50-inch sturgeon kept and a 41-inch sturgeon released on grass shrimp. Few fishermen are targeting sturgeon, but they are still out there for the taking.
Tony Lopez of Benicia Bait said, “Everyone in our area is looking forward to the river salmon opener on July 16th, and we get calls every day from fishermen who are under the mistaken impression that the season is open as they are asking, ‘How’s the fishing at 1st Street?’ We anticipate a very good year for river salmon based on the tremendous action in the ocean since the opener. Most fishermen around here are soaking anchovies or grass shrimp from the shorelines for small stripers, and the winds have been constantly blowing from the northwest.”
New regulations for river salmon include a one-fish daily bag limit and a six-foot leader restriction.
Undersized stripers are also the story in the north Delta, and sardines coated with garlic spray or pile worms are the top baits along with drifting live jumbo minnows around Liberty Island. Catfishing is best in the main river or in Lisbon Slough with chicken livers or nightcrawlers. The Delta Loop is still kicking out bluegill and red ear perch on jumbo minnows.
The east Delta is still kicking out striped bass and even sturgeon despite the full arrival of summer. The largemouth bass bite is also strong with the frog action picking up just in time for the two big specialty frog tournaments coming up by the end of the month. The original frog tournament, the 17th Annual Snag Proof Open, will occur out of Russo’s on August 4/5th while the newcomer, Ultimate Frog Challenge, will also take place out of Russo’s the previous weekend.
Randy Pringle, the Fishing Instructor, is the tournament director for the Snag Proof Open, and he said, “The three-fish limit will open up the field as all of our anticipated 200 participants will have an equal chance with the smaller limit. You can catch fish on frogs right now, but I want more action for my clients so we are throwing ripbaits on the high tide and working the outside weed line with plastics with scent on the low tide. Normally, I don’t throw the ima Flit ripbait during this time of year, but my client wanted to throw it, and we found great action on the gold pattern as the bass must be loading up on shiner minnows. It is a rip, rip, pause technique with the Flit. During the low tide, we are finding great action with the Max Scent products including the General in Bold Bluegill with a chartreuse belly.
Dan Mathisen of Dan’s Delta Outdoors in Oakley held a tournament with 32 boats over the past weekend, and he reported a solid bite on offshore structure with chatterbaits, punching, or frogs in 8 to 10 feet of water along weed walls. His next event is out of Russo’s Marina with a Pro/Am on July 21st.
Clyde Wands, shallow trolling expert, found great action for stripers once again on the San Joaquin River near Eddo’s Marina running shallow-diving lures. He said, “There are still stripers in the system, and we released a 25 pounder along with stripers at 8.5 and 9 pounds as part of the numbers of fish landed on Thursday, July 5th. There are still stripers out there, but you have to look around and do some work to find them.”
Dave Houston of Livermore trolled between Three Mile Slough and the Antioch Bridge at week’s end in shallow water, and he said, “There were a few small schools of fish, and I landed almost 20 fish with 6 being keepers to 10 pounds.”
Steve Santucci of Steve Santucci’s Fly Fishing Guide Service has been targeting largemouth bass and smallmouth bass in the north Delta, and he said, “Striper fishing is pretty slow as the fish are scattered and not plentiful. I am targeting topwater bass during the months of July through September on ½ day trips.”
Heavy herbicide spraying continues to take place on a daily basis in the east Delta as the elimination of invasive weed growth authorized by the federal WIIN Act is having an effect on the ecosystem for all Delta warm-water species that require structure to thrive. There have been sightings of dead sturgeon and beavers in the San Joaquin-Delta within the past several weeks, leading to speculation from many anglers over the effects of increased herbicide spraying.
Lake Nacimiento/San Antonio/Santa Margarita/Lopez
Bass 3 White bass 2 Striper 1 Catfish 2 Crappie 3
At Nacimiento, the white bass are the story with trollers scoring with Roostertails, Kastmasters, or similar small shad-patterned lures at the mouths of coves. 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 to 30 percent.
At San Antonio, the lake dropped to 26 percent, but 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.
Not much change at Lopez with 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 being the best bet. 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.
Turkey Shoot (4-fish limits): July 7 at Eastman – Kevin and Bo, 23.24 pounds; 2, Sharif Zagsaw and Josh, 18.91 (Big Fish 9.83); 3, Kevin and Jackson, 17.81.
Yak-A Bass Kayak Tournament (3-fish limits): July 8 at Delta/Big Break Marina – 1, Abel Patino, 55.75 inches (Big Fish 21.75); 2, Jose Cervantes, 53.25; 3, Michael Lavoie, 52.75.
July 13: Don Pedro – Poe Man’s
July 14: Delta/Russo’s Marina – American Bass Association, Don Pedro – Riverbank Bass Anglers, Eastman – Kings River Bass Club, Pine Flat – Sierra Bass Club/Bakersfield Bass Club, Wishon – Kiwanis Club Division 5 Trout Derby, Success – Porterville Bass Club, Isabella – Lake Isabella Bass Club, Success – Porterville Bass Club TNT Extravaganza Shootout
July 14-15: McClure – Fresno Bass Club Night tournament
July 15: Eastman – Central Valley Kayak Fishing
July 20: Don Pedro – Poe Man’s
July 21: Delta/Russo’s Marina – Dan’s Delta Outdoors Pro/Am, Pine Flat – Kern County Bass Masters, Santa Margarita – 101 Bass
July 21-22: Success – Golden Empire Bass Club
July 27: Santa Margarita – 101 Bass Night
July 28: San Antonio – San Luis Obispo Bass Ambushers, Isabella – American Bass Association
July 28-29: Delta/Russo’s Marina – Ultimate Frog Challenge, Kaweah – Cen Cal Elite
Aug. 3: Don Pedro – Poe Man’s
Aug. 4-5: Delta/Russo’s Marina – Snag Proof Open
Scheduled for week of July 15 by California Department of Fish and Wildlife
Fresno County: Kings River below Pine Flat Dam
Tulare County: Kern River sections 5 and 6
n = new moon > = peak activity