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 action keeps on rolling, Mike Aughney said. Shaver top kokanee and trout locale, Dick Nichols reported. Wishon and Courtright trout bites keeping anglers cool, Chuck Crane said. Eastman and Pine Flat bass bites good, Steve Newman reported. Don Pedro kokanee, trout and bass all hitting. Monte Smith said. Delta stripers and bass bites improved, Randy Pringle reported.
2-Have to work hard
4-Fish jumpin’ in boat
Delta Mendota Canal and Sloughs
Striper 2 Catfish 2
Triple-digit temperatures have brought the California Aqueduct to a crawl, and despite the water releases, the accumulation of moss is a concern in both sections of the aqueduct. With the heat, only a few fishermen are soaking bait for striped bass or catfish in the early morning or evening hours. The Delta-Mendota Canal is receiving some action for largemouth bass for those either throwing frogs over the mats or punching the weeds.
The Bob’s Bait August Carp Derby has a 100 percent payback and a $1 entry fee.
Bass 3 Trout 1 Bluegill 2 Catfish 3 Crappie 2
Eastman remains hot for largemouth bass as the algae bloom continues to clear to some extent. The lake has been fishing well now for several months, and this past week was no exception. Nearby Hensley is another option for both largemouth bass and catfish as Eastman continues to be the more popular lake for area anglers. The River Rats Bass Club is holding their third ‘Saturday Night Shootout’ within the past month this coming Saturday evening from 6:00 p.m. to midnight with a four-fish limit.
Steve Newman of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “Downsizing to smaller baits has been the key at Eastman as there is a great Ned-rig bite with green pumpkin or crawdad patterns. The 4-inch Finesse TRD (The Real Deal) from Z-Man has been particularly effective. Similar patterns on a Texas or Carolina-rig are also working for largemouth bass to 4 pounds. Many fishermen have been working big baits such as 10-inch plastics, Senkos, or Creature Baits, but those downsizing to small plastics on the Ned-rig or drop-shot have found the best action. The reaction bite is slow during the daylight hours, but the fish are far more active at night after the full moon, and the time period from midnight to 3:00 a.m. has been the most productive.”
Eastman dropped from 56 to 54 percent.
Bass 3 Trout 1 Catfish 3 Bluegill 2 Crappie 2
Catfish are the top species as whiskerfish are loading up on cutbaits, stinkbaits, or chicken livers. Newman said, “The bass bite is good with weightless Senkos, creature baits, or plastics on a Texas-rig, but you have to put in their face. Similar to Eastman, the reaction bite is much improved at night.”
The lake dropped to 27 to 24 percent.
Lake Don Pedro
Bass 3 Trout 3 Kokanee 3 King salmon 1 Crappie 2
After a very slow start to the appearance of kokanee at Don Pedro, the action just keeps on getting better and better with the arrival of each week. In addition to kokanee, the rainbow trout are also on a tear with five-fish limits of both species a distinct possibility.
Monte Smith of Gold Country Sport Fishing said, “I took out noted outdoor chef, Hank Shaw, along with regular client Daniel Vasquez this week, and they limited out on both kokanee and rainbow trout. I even put in a kokanee limit which I am smoking today. Shaw has a number of cookbooks out featuring wild game, and he brought some smoked salmon on the boat that was to die for. I have been running solely kokanee gear of pink or orange micro-hoochies behind a Shasta Tackle Sling Blade along with a few Apex lures. The rainbows are also jumping on the kokanee gear, and we limited out first on kokanee, shaking a number of rainbows. Then, after limiting on kokanee and targeting rainbows, we shook a number of kokanee. It is very interesting right now since these fish should be at depths from 90 to 100 feet, but they are in the 45- to 60-foot range. The rainbows are also mixed in, and we are even finding rainbows deeper than 60 feet. There are three different grades of kokanee in the lake from small ones around 10 inches, mid-sized fish in the13-inch range, and the largest grade of kokanee to 16 inches. The males are all in good shape with their scales still intact, and the females have fairly well-developed eggs. The lake is in good shape, and we were off of the lake by noon both days with limits of kokanee by 10 a.m.”
Andre Fontenot of 5.0. Fishing also found limits of both kokanee and rainbow trout this week with kokanee to 15 inches and rainbows to 22 inches by 9:45 a.m. He said, “I have been working the middle of the lake and coves on the east side at depths from 50 to 65 feet with a speed between 1.0 and 1.4 mph. I landed and released close to 15 rainbows. It was hot weather, but it was a hot bite as well.”
Don Pedro dropped from 86 to 85 percent.
Lake Isabella/Bakersfield area
Bass 3 Trout 3 Crappie 3 Catfish 3 Bluegill 2
Hot weather continues to contribute to blue-green algae in certain locations on the lake, and public health officials have posted signs around the lake's popular access points and are handing out flyers warning of the safety risks. Despite the algae and the triple-digit heat, bass fishing is good with heavy 3/4-ounce jigs with a Yamamoto twin-tail trailer near the Flume in 10 to 15 feet of water. Catfish or crappie are the other options at the present time. The lake has dropped to 27 percent with water releases down the Kern River. In the high country of the upper Kern, Chuck Stokke of the Sequoia Fishing Company in Springville said, “The upper Kern River is fishing excellent on dry flies or streamers. It is an excellent year for trout fishing in the southern Sierra’s.” There isn’t much change at the local impoundments with carp, bluegill, and catfish being the top species.
Bass 2 Crappie 2 Trout 1 Catfish 2
Kaweah is rapidly releasing water, and it dropped from 21 to 14 percent this week, but the Cen Cal Elite Bass Tournaments held an event on the lake on Saturday night, and there were 10 limits over 10 pounds weighed in by the nearly 30 teams participating. With the lake level so low, there are only so many locations to target where the bass are holding. The best action is at night with a variety of offerings including topwater, small swimbaits, or plastics on the Texas or Carolina-rig. Some huge catfish have been taken at night on cut baits or prepared dip baits. Bluegill continue to be taken around structure with red worms, meal worms, or wax worms while a few crappie are showing up near submerged trees with minijigs or small minnows.
Call: Sierra Sporting Goods 592-5212
Bass 2 Trout 3 Catfish 2 Crappie 2 Bluegill 3
Chuck Stokke of the Sequoia Fishing Company in Springville said,
“Bass fishing has been slow mainly due to recreational boating and the jet ski reaices this past weekend.” The lake has dropped to 18 percent. In the Tule River, Stokke said, “The Tule is still fishing excellent for natives, and the dry fly action is fair as the trout are chasing streamers or Woolley Buggers. Spincasters are doing well with Panther Martins. The flow of water is still good.” Stokke is giving fly casting lessons at the Pierpoint Café the second Sunday of the month at 10:00 a.m. The lessons are free and all equipment is provided.”
Bass 3 Trout 2 King salmon 0 Kokanee 0 Crappie 2 Catfish 3
Steve Marquette of the Lake McClure-Lake McSwain Parks and Recreation said, “Hot temperatures are attracting heavy recreational boating traffic, but there is a solid bass bite in the early mornings and late afternoons into the evening with plastics on the drop-shot. Watermelon patterns are working well with the bass loading up on crawdads. Grubs are also effective in crawdad patterns.” Jigs such as the Berserk Purple Hornet or brown/purple with a cinnamon/purple trailer are working at depths from 30 to 50 feet. The catfish bite is heating up with anchovies, nightcrawlers, chicken livers, or dip baits in the evening hours. Crappie fishing has slowed. The lake dropped from 80 to 78 percent.
The last trout plant was July 3, but there is a plant scheduled for the start of August. Trout fishing remains best in the early mornings or late evenings with live minnows, trout dough bait, Kastmasters, or inflated nightcrawlers from the normal shoreline locations of the Brush Pile, Handicapped Docks, or the campgrounds. The new water feature has increased boat rentals and attendance since its opening in May.
Call: McSwain Marina 209-378-2534
Millerton Lake/San Joaquin River
Bass 2 Striped bass 1 Shad 1 Bluegill 2 Crappie 2
Steve Newman of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “The bass bite has been a bit tougher over the past week with the best action around boulders in the river arm with plastics on the drop-shot or dart head along with small reaction baits. You have to put the offering in their face as the fish are loading up on natural baits such as shad or crawdads. The main lake has been far too hot to fish during the day so most fishermen are running into the river arm to work the west side walls or coves with shad after 4 p.m.” The lake dropped from 71 to 68 percent.
Call: Valley Rod & Gun 292-3474
New Melones Reservoir/Tulloch
Bass 3 Crappie 3 Catfish 3 Trout 2 Kokanee 3
The best kokanee action in the Mother Lode is occurring at Don Pedro, but there is intermittent action at New Melones for the landlocked salmon. Fewer bass fishermen are targeting the lake, but there is a solid bite in the early mornings and late evenings while catfishing continues to improve with the warming water temperatures.
Gary Burns of ‘Take It To the Limit’ Guide Service said, “My dog Woody and I went out this week, and we took it to the limit with 5 fat kokanee, and I also took out two friends for two limits of kokanee to 2-pounds, 1-ounce along with a 2-pound rainbow. Most days out on the lake, we have been putting kokanee in the boat while it has been slow on other days. It seems like the kokanee can’t make up their minds how deep they want to stay at, but with all of the hot weather this week, we found them from 55 to 80 feet. That’s quite a spread for this time of the year. The majority of the kokanee are coming on hoochies or spinners in pinks or greens in the main lake from the spillway down to the dam and over to Rose Island, and the big fish came on a pink Wiggle hoochie behind a watermelon dodger. The kokanee are getting fatter and fatter, and they are fighting hard so you lost as many as you are able to put in the boat. We have also lost some big rainbows this week using a small chrome Needlefish at depths from 65 to 75 feet.”
Gene Hildebrand of Glory Hole Sports in Angels Camp said, “A few anglers are using live bait such as nightcrawlers under lights at night to take advantage of the cooler evening temperatures for rainbow trout. Catfish are coming out at night from the banks with cutbaits, and Tuttletown Cove and down by the dam have been good locations to find whiskerfish. Crappie are pretty much anywhere there is shelter, shaded coves, structure, or submerged trees. Using a glow light at night is a good way to beat the heat and catch some crappie at the same time.”
John Liechty of Xperience Bass Fishing Guide Service said, “The bass bite is not bad, but there are a number of smaller fish during the early mornings or evenings in the daylight. I took Daniel DiPerna of Redwood City out on a 7 p.m. to 6 a.m. night trip with the full moon, and we landed between 60 and 80 bass using Brush Hogs along with plastics on the drop-shot or shakey head. There were a number of 3’s and 4’s in the mix, and DiPerna landed the largest spotted bass for a client at 6.52 pounds. He caught his personal best fish at 4:30 a.m. on a Brush Hog on a brass n’glass. The bass are holding in 10 to 20 feet in the mornings and evenings before dropping to 20 to 40 when the sun hits the water.”
New Melones remains high at 78 percent.
Pine Flat Reservoir/Kings River
Bass 3 Trout 2 Kokanee 0 King salmon 0 Catfish 2 Crappie 2
The blue green algae bloom is breaking up as the water releases continue, and bass fishing remains very good. Steve Newman of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “There is an evening bite from 5:30 p.m. with limits in the 15-pound range possible in the river arm above Billy Creek. Double-bladed buzzbaits or medium-diving crankbaits running from 12 to 15 feet are finding the best cut of fish while a mixed bag of plastics on a Ned-rig, jigs, or topwater lures are also working for a smaller grade. The trout bite has slowed to a crawl with few trollers during this most recent heat wave.”
San Luis Reservoir and O’Neill Forebay
Striper 2 Catfish 2 Bass 2 Crappie 2
The blue green algae bloom continues to plague the lake, and there is an advisory for limiting water contact. In addition to the algae bloom, high winds have limited the ability to get on the water. Bank fishermen are looking for boils in the early mornings with topwater lures, and experienced fishermen have been able to locate the stripers in the coves in the early mornings or evenings. When boats can get on the lake, excessive heat has kept them from staying out very long. Bait shops now have a supply of extra-large minnows, but jumbo minnows are still a few weeks away. The Basalt Recreation Area launch ramp is closed on an intermittent basis due to muddy conditions, but the Dinosaur Point launch ramp is operational.
Roger George of Roger George Guide Service said that he took out several guests this week and that they picked up several fish from 20 to 24 inches trolling white lures in Lone Oak. The bite during the middle of the day was tough but we managed a few nice fish in the 76 degree water. You also need to be careful on the lake now-since there are islands and points coming up just underneath the water . A lot of fish seemed to be suspended and I think this may be due to the rapidly falling water.” George said.
The lake dropped from 48 to 45 percent. There is not much change at the forebay with small, undersized striped bass being the rule. Cutbaits such as anchovies, sardines, and frozen shad along with pile worms or blood worms are the top offerings for striped bass while catfish are biting chicken livers or cut baits. The hot daytime temperatures have limited anglers to the early mornings or evenings near the moving water at Check 12 or under the Highway 152 Bridge.
Bass 2 Trout 2 Kokanee 0
Few bass fishermen are targeting the lake with the heavy boat traffic on a daily basis, but there is good action around the front end of far-reaching docks with plastics on the drop-shot or jerkbaits in less-impacted areas of the lake. The mid-day temperatures are making for a tough bite, but there is a three-hour window before dark when the bass become more active. The lake held at 100 percent.
Brown trout 2 Trout 2
Not much change along Kaiser Pass with the reservoirs holding in elevation with Edison at 89, Mammoth Pool at 98 percent, and Florence at 40 percent. There have been few reports from Lake Edison, although bank fishermen have been heading into the extreme high country to avoid the heat in the valley. 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. Several large mudslides have closed Highway 168 approximately 17 miles west of Bishop near the town of Aspendell. Currently Lake Sabrina, Sabrina Campground, North Lake, and North Lake Campgrounds are inaccessible due to the slide. Due to the size of the slide, Highway 168 is closed indefinitely. The town of Aspendell is still accessible. Check the Caltrans website at www.dot.ca.gov/cgi-bin/roads.cgi or call 800-427-7623 for road conditions.
Call: Vermilion Valley Resort at Edison Lake 259-4000
Shaver Lake/Huntington Lake
Kokanee 3 Trout 2
Triple-digit temperatures in the Central Valley are driving fishermen higher into the Sierra’s, and Shaver and Huntington Lakes are primary destinations for trollers seeking kokanee along with rainbow trout. Shaver continues to be the top lake for size for both species while Huntington is kicking up a smaller grade of fish. Bank fishing is better at higher elevation Huntington.
Dick Nichols of Dick’s Fishing Charters said, “After a few slower days over the weekend, the kokanee decided to bite again on Monday. We had been averaging from 3 to 5 limits a trip, but the bite slowed down to around 2.5 limits a trip before picking up again on Monday. The very early kokanee bite has been good for us, and on one of the four days we started at 5:00 a.m. and landed 9 quality kokanee before the sun hit the water. After that it is off to try to finish limits with trout. We are still finding our best depths for kokanee 33 to 50 feet deep near the Point and island with a variety of lures including orange Apex lures, pink Koke Busters, or pink or orange Mountain Hoochies tipped with scented corn behind a Mountain Dodger. The trout bite is scattered but good, and Dick’s Trout Busters in either orange/green or orange/chartreuse tipped with crawler and corn behind Mountain Flashers have produced most of our trout. The trout bite has been best for us from the island to Stevenson Bay."
Todd Wittwer of Kokanee.net Guide Service confirmed the improvement on Monday with 9 kokanee in the box within the first hour after experiencing a slowdown on Saturday and Sunday. He said, “I had to change locations to put in 8 kokanee on Sunday, and we went for a period of time without any action. There are a lot of fish in the Sierra Marina area, and some of these fish are starting to turn into pre-spawn. However, some of the females have only small eggs. The last two days, it has been the Rocky Mountain Hornet spinner in orange or the Assassin spinner in green behind Dick’s Ball Trolls between 40 and 50 feet. It has been a scratch bite the past two days compared to what we experienced early in the week.”
Lee Gates of Shaver Lake found good action trolling near the point with white Mountain hoochies or green/orange Trout Busters behind Mountain dodgers at 23 feet.
Steve Santoro of Fish Box Charters took out Dr. Matthew Pia of Madera Ranchos along with his sons, Cameron and Noah, for a total of 12 kokanee/rainbow trout. He said, “The kokanee bite started early, but then it slowed before returning around 1.5 hours later. Our top set up was pink hoochies tipped with scented corn at 35 feet on the downrigger. The kokanee are still very aggressive, and they are showing signs of pre-spawn characteristics.”
At Huntington, small kokanee are readily available for trollers working from 20 to 30 feet or 5 to 6 colors of lead core with Apex lures in Orange Haze or orange Wedding Rings behind an orange Disco dodger. 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. Both Huntington and Shaver were stable at 99 and 94 percent respectively.
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
Intensely hot weather in the Central Valley is making the high Sierra’s the best option for rainbow trout, and the reservoirs of Courtright and Wishon continue to be solid option.
At Wishon, Chuck Crane of the Wishon RV Park and Store said, “There has been a lot of smoke on the lakes the past few days, but experienced trollers continue to find limits of trout while others are picking up 2 or 3. The best action has been at the upper end of the lake or around the mouth of Wood Chuck Creek with blade/’crawler combinations or Rapalas at 2 to 3 colors of leadcore. Boaters are also drifting pink or orange trout dough bait near the mouth of Wood Chuck along the bottom for success. Bank fishing has been fair with the best action at and around Short Hair Creek or at the upper end of the lake near the river inlet. Wishon is still close to capacity and launching a boat is no problem.”
Courtright is releasing water for the production of electricity to meet the demand in the valley due to the high temperatures running air conditioners, and the lake has been up and down over the past week. Crane said, “Trollers are pulling Thomas Buoyants in several colors, and the brass/red has been the top color. Blade/’crawler combinations are also producing at 3 to 4 colors, and this has been the best way to put in a limit. Trollers are routinely finding limits at the upper end of the lake. Shore fishing is just OK with the greatest success with trout dough bait in pink, yellow, or red along with inflated nightcrawlers near the boat docks.”
Call: Wishon RV Park 865-5361
Half Moon Bay
Salmon 3 Rockfish 3 Surf perch 3
Captain Tom Mattusch of the Huli Cat ran up to the Marin coast off of Muir Beach on Sunday, and his deckhand counted 105 boats in the immediate area. They went north along with the New Captain Pete in search of larger fish. On Saturday, Mattusch started at Pedro Point and found a 4 to 5 degree temperature break with a pronounced color change. They moved out into 60 to 80 feet off of the Pacifica Pier for a handful of salmon but not enough for 14 limits. After this, they ran up a couple of miles above Mussel Rock and finished up with limits after finding birds and bait. He said, “Straight bait, Apex lures, and Krocodiles also worked, but the weather was rough with a nasty, sharp close period swell.”
Rockfish 4 Striper 2 White sea bass 2 Sand dabs 2 Surf perch 3
Chris’s Fishing Trips in Monterey reported continued excellent rockfishing with the Check Mate returning with 22 limits of rockfish and 12 ling cod on Sunday while the Caroline also put in 19 limits of rockfish along with 5 lings. The Star of Monterey went whale watching, and the humpbacks put in a show with lunge feeding on the schools of anchovies in the bay.
Out of Santa Cruz, Allen Bushnell of Santa Cruz Kayak Fishing and Surfcasting Guide Service said, “The wild areas below Carmel and above Santa Cruz have ideal structure for a healthy fish population, and get very little pressure. So, the fish are bigger, more numerous and more easily fooled. Moss Landing’s Kahuna with Captain Brian Cutting at the helm makes frequent trips to the Big Sur area, fishing near Point Sur and Point Lopez. The long ride is worth it, as they routinely bring home limits of big rockfish with a high percentage of vermilion as well as plenty of lingcod. Stagnaro’s Sportfishing from Santa Cruz takes “full-day” trips to the Ano Nuevo/Franklin Point area for similar results.
This week, Stagnaro’s fished locally. Ken Stagnaro reported, “The last two days have produced limits of rock fish for our local reefs. Half-day fishing has been great with mixed bags of fish.
Capitola is a great spot to target this weekend. From Capitola up to the Mile Buoy is halibut country right now. In addition, an increasing number of white sea bass are being caught in that same area. This week, Local angler Cosgrove Mould brought in a small adult sea bass, measuring 30-inches. Seabass minimum legal length is 28 inches, and the fish likely weighed seven or eight pounds. Good eating! Remember, a Capitola angler brought in a tanker sea bass just last week, weighing 57 pounds. They are out there. Find the squid spawns and there are probably white sea bass nearby. The big seiners working that area the past few weeks aren’t helping much, netting as many squid as they can. Without that commercial presence, we’d likely see more action on these hard-fighting, most delicious fish.
Surfcasters remain happy, with most beaches producing small to medium sized barred surf perch, and the occasional striped bass. As it has been for the past few months, the striper bite gets better the further towards Monterey one fishes. A few striped bass were caught closer to Santa Cruz last week from Rio Del Mar and up to New Brighton Beach, but anglers using swim baits, poppers and live bait.”
San Francisco Bay
Salmon 4 Halibut 3 Striper 2 Leopard shark 3 Sturgeon 2
Mike Aughney of USA Fishing.com said, “The hot action continues for the party boat fleet out of the Golden Gate. Many six packs are fishing an hour or less while some party boats who are on the fish and able to hold onto them are reporting 25 limits in under two hours. Out of Emeryville Sport Fishing, their six boats targeting salmon all reported up to 25 limits to 22 pounds. The majority of the fleet has been working the North Side from Muir beach to Duxbury and out along the edge of the bar. The grade has been a bit smaller the past two days, but there are still lots of 12 to 20 plus pound fish in the mix. The weather has been calm and foggy along the Marin coast with breezier conditions offshore. Advance planning is a must with the high demand for salmon fishing.”
Captain Trent Slate of Bite Me Charters out of Loch Lomond Marina put in limits for an elderly crew from southern California that booked the both on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. He said, “It was an experience, but we limited out every day by 9:40 a.m. Saturday produced the largest fish, and although the grade was much smaller on Sunday, we still managed a few in the 10- to 15-pound range.” Slate is open this coming Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.
Captain Steve Mitchell of Hook’d Up Sport Fishing out of Berkeley Marina has also been limiting out early every morning, and he put Richard Cendejas onto a 40-pound salmon on Saturday. He said, “I had to break away from the fleet on Sunday as there was nothing but a bunch of ‘little rats,’ and we found fish in the 15- to 17-pound range. I think there was too much pressure on the fish with as many boats out there over the weekend.” Mitchell also has some room this week including the coming weekend.
Also out of Berkeley, the El Dorado, New El Dorado III, and New Easy Rider combined for near limits of salmon on Sunday with 131 salmon to 27 pounds for 69 fishermen.
Inside the bay, the halibut bite was the best of the year on Saturday with Captain James Smith of the California Dawn posting an incredible 69 halibut (limits) for 23 fishermen. They are going salmon fishing on Tuesday and Wednesday before returning to the bay on Thursday to take advantage of the excellent tides.
San Luis Obispo
Rockfish 4 Surf perch 3
Rockfishing remains outstanding with limits the rule out of both San Luis Obispo County ports. Out of Morro Bay Landing, the Avenger returned with 41 limits of rockfish on Sunday’s trips with 390 vermilion and 20 assorted rockfish to go with 45 lings to 12 pounds. Also out of Morro Bay, the Fiesta, Rita G, and Black Pearl took out 51 anglers on Monday for 186 vermilion, 42 copper, 10 canary, 7 Boccaccio, and 265 assorted rockfish to go with 4 ling cod to 16 pounds. All landings are running a variety of bottom fishing trips from half-day to two-day ventures up the coast.
Bass 3 Striper 3 Sturgeon 2 Catfish 2 Bluegill 2 Salmon 2
The river salmon season opened two weeks ago, and there are still only a handful of salmon landed in the Sacramento-Delta as the fish are blowing through the warm waters of the Delta on their way to cooler temperatures above Woodson Bridge and Los Molinos after stopping for a short respite at the mouth of the American River.
Out of Benicia, the action remains slow although at 25-pound salmon was landed off of the State Park on a green/green Vee Zee spinner.
Tony Lopez of Benicia Bait said, “It has been dead at both the State Park and off of 1st Street this week, and even the sea lion at 1st Street has moved out into the deeper channel. The warm water is most likely the reason for the slow action as we know the salmon are moving through.”
Further upriver at Freeport, Johnny Tran of New Romeo’s Bait and Tackle in Freeport said, “A few salmon have been caught either jigging or casting Flying C spinners from the banks, but there have been no salmon landed by trollers yet. There was a 15-pound salmon landed on Sunday on a Slammer Minnow, and the action is starting to show up despite the warm water. Smallmouth bass are holding along the rocky banks in Steamboat Slough, the Old Sacramento around Walnut Grove, or in the main Sacramento River with large minnows, plastics on the drop-shot, or crankbaits. A few striped bass are showing up in Liberty Island for those drifting minnows, and bait fishermen are picking up stripers with pile worms, blood worms, or sardines coated with garlic spray. Bluegill are thick all around the Delta Loop with jumbo red worms or meal worms.”
Mike Pipkins of Gotcha Bait in Antioch reported live mudsuckers continue to work for a larger grade of striped bass around Sherman Island, saying, “The stripers have already arrived for those who know what they are doing.” He predicts an early season for striped bass with the number of large females already moving into the Delta. Sturgeon continue to be taken near Collinsville, Broad Slough, or Decker Island with grass shrimp, ghost shrimp, or pile worms for the few anglers targeting the species.
The San Joaquin-Delta is on the upswing for both striped bass and largemouth bass, and the first of the two specialty frog tournaments held out of Russo’s Marina was a success with 140 adult fishermen along with 10 juniors participating in The Ultimate Frog Challenge 4. This coming weekend is the original frog tournament, the Snag Proof Open which limited to Snag Proof products.
Dan Mathisen of Dan’s Delta Outdoors in Oakley teamed with Mark Kirkpatrick to represent Pro-Z Tackle, and they won top frog honors for the first time, wresting the trophy from River2Sea for the first time. Mathisen said, “Every manufacturer has the opportunity to enter a team to represent their product, and we were fortunate to find action with the smaller Pro-Z Popping Frog. We had to make an adjustment to the smaller frog, and due to the size of the hooks on the smaller version, we must have dropped 18 to 19 pounds on Sunday as it is difficult for the fish to stay on the hook. If I was able to make adjustments on the frog, we would have stuck those fish. We figured out the pattern on day two as the bass are holding around open water with current as there are not enough weeds to hold them. There were some around sparse tules, and most of the participants ran into the south Delta. Our next tournament is on August 11th out of Russo’s – an open team tournament.”
Randy Pringle, the Fishing Instructor, was out early in the week, and he said, “It was hot, hot, hot, so we stayed out from 5:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. You can’t possibly fish all day long with the heat, and all of the metal on your boat gets too hot to touch by the afternoon. The water temperatures keep rising, and everything is happening around current. We have been catching everything around current with the Berkley General or Hit Worm on a Zappu head. This has been my staple for the past month. There is a reaction bite with the ima Flit ripbait, but you have to dead-stick the presentation and this is difficult for many anglers. The baitfish are holding tight to the banks. There is a frog bite in heavy cover as the fish are taking refuge under the weeds and dead tules. I have been scoring with Furbet the Frog’s Mr. Furbet in black/yellow or bluegill imitation. The upcoming Snag Proof tournament on August 4/5th out of Russo’s Marina already has more presigns than in the past, and we drew over 200 participants last year. There are certain areas that the weeds have been devastated, and I have observed sea lions feeding on largemouth bass as the fish have no cover in which to hide. The sea lions are moving into the back sloughs when the weeds have been decimated.”
Kenji Nakagawa of Lodi was out on Wednesday night, and he landed these bass on a Picasso chatterbait paired with a Phenix X-13 rod.
Clyde Wands, shallow trolling expert, was out on Thursday morning, quitting by 11:30 due to the heat. He said, “It was actually cold in the morning as the wind as been blowing in the Antioch area where I have been fishing. There were whitecaps on the main river as the wind was rough. I received a report that Dutch Slough was loaded with weeds so I avoided this area and found them in False River which I haven’t fished for a few weeks. After releasing 10 stripers to 12 pounds, I called it a day. Most of the regular trollers avoided fishing on Thursday due to the heat.”
Also for striped bass, Dan Mathisen reported six boats were in Holland Tract drifting live bluegill on Sunday, leading him to say, “There must be something going on for this many boats to be in there right now.”
Mike Pipkins of Gotcha Bait in Antioch reported sturgeon continue to be taken off of Compy’s Fishing Pier with grass or ghost shrimp, but no salmon have been landed from these piers as of yet. Largemouth bass are hitting spinnerbaits or chatterbaits, and they finally have extra-large minnows in the shop. He said, “The jumbos are still a few weeks off.”
Toxic blue-green algae has been found around Kellogg Creek in Discovery Bay, and anglers are avoiding the area.
Lake Nacimiento/San Antonio/Santa Margarita/Lopez
Bass 3 White bass 3 Striper 1 Catfish 2 Crappie 3
Nacimiento has been the hot location for the coastal lakes for overall action with the white bass and spotted bass striking reactions baits. 100 fish days are possible for those getting on the lake early, and there is a topwater bite along with crankbaits. The bass are feeding on the shad schools, and small shad-patterned spoons are working when the bait balls are found. Catfishing is improving with cut baits or stinkbaits. The lake continues to release water, and it has dropped to 26 percent. A webcam of the lake is available at www.lakenacimientolive.com.
Santa Margarita largemouth bass are also active with topwater action on buzzbaits, Pencil Poppers, or Zara Spooks in the early mornings or late afternoons while spinnerbaits or ripbaits start working around mid-morning. Crappie are found in the coves around structure with minijigs tipped with a Crappie Nibble. A webcam of the lake is available at 805webcams.com/santa-margarita-lake-webcam-california.
At Lopez, topwater lures are working in the mornings and evenings with Poppers, Spooks, or buzzbaits, and there are even frogs working around weeds or grass. Crankbaits or spinnerbaits are effective by mid-morning before dropping to the bottom with jigs or plastics on a Texas-rig. Crappie are found around structure with minijigs along with bluegill and redear perch with mini-crawlers or jumbo red worms. A webcam of the lake is available at 805webcams.com/lopez-lake-webcam.
At San Antonio, the lake has dropped to 21 percent, and catfish are still the best bet with quality whiskerfish taken on stinkbaits, dough baits, or cut baits. Bass action remains slow in the warm water.
Ultimate Frog Challenge: July 28-29 at Delta/Russo’s Marina (10-fish limits) – Pro Division: 1, Howe/Cornwell, 36.25 pounds (Big Fish 8.25); 2, Medina/Goehring, 25.08 (Big Fish 9.31); 3, Laguna/Porteras, 23.24. Amateur Division: 1, Ploharz/Ploharz, 25.74 (Big Fish 8.10); 2, Fraser/Fraser, 22.95; 3, Gitzatullin/Cardoza, 22.86.
Bass 101 Night Tournament: July 28-29 at Pine Flat (10-fish limits) – 1, Jason Horn/Chris Griffin, 29.90; 2, Martin/Jacob, 26.55; 3, John Albidrez/Raul Gullian, 20.06 (Big Fish 6.20).
Cen Cal Elite Night Tournament: July 28 at Kaweah – 1, Michael Sanchez/Jim Neeley, 15.75; 2, Craig Gong/Ryan Reynolds, 14.73; 3, Josh and April McCormick, 12.47.
Aug. 3: Don Pedro – Poe Man’s
Aug. 4-5: Delta/Russo’s Marina – Snag Proof Open
Aug. 11: Delta/ Russo’s Marina – Dan’s Delta Outdoors, Don Pedro- Manteca Bassin’ Buddies, Hensley – Sierra Bass Club, Isabella – American Bass Association
Aug. 12: New Hogan – Gold Country Junior Bass Club
Aug. 18: Lake Camanche – Outlaw Bass Club, Kaweah – Golden Empire Bass Club, Lopez – 101 Bass
Aug. 18-19: Delta/Russo’s Marina – Hook, Line, and Sinker, Amador – Riverbank Bass Anglers
Aug. 19: Success – Central Valley Kayak Fishing, Don Pedro – Modesto Ambassadors
Aug. 24: Lopez – 101 Bass Night
Aug. 24-25: Pine Flat – Bass 101
Aug. 25: Delta/Russo’s Marina – Best Bass Tournaments, Eastman – Gilroy Bass Anglers, Pine Flat – Fresno Bass Club, Success – Porterville Bass Club, Nacimiento – San Luis Obispo Bass Ambushers
Aug. 25-26: Kaweah – Cen Cal Elite Tournament of Champions
Sept. 1: Delta/Russo’s Marina – American Bass Association
q = full moon