Scenes along local rivers
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.
Show off your success! Share your fish photos and videos with Bee readers. Please share only jpeg images and Mp4 video files. Include “Fishing Report” in the subject line and email to email@example.com
San Francisco salmon bite remains steady, Mike Aughney said. Shaver Lake trout, kokanee and smallmouth bite still good, Dick Nichols reported. Courtright trout biting, Chuck Crane said. Eastman and Pine Flat best bets for bass, Steve Newman reported. Don Pedro kicking out mixed limits of kokanee and trout, Monte Smith said. McClure bass bite solid, Steve Marquette said. New Melones bass fishing outstanding, Dave Hurley reported.
2-Have to work hard
4-Fish jumpin’ in boat
Delta Mendota Canal and Sloughs
Striper 2 Catfish 2
The northern section of the California Aqueduct remains dirty, and striped bass fishing has slowed as a result of the condition of the water along with the hot daytime temperatures. Most anglers are bypassing the aqueduct on their way to San Luis Reservoir or the O’Neill Forebay. In the southern portion of the aqueduct in Kern County, mossy conditions have made for difficult fishing, but those able to continually clean their lines while soaking anchovies, sardines, or jumbo minnows are finding a few striped bass along with catfish. The Delta-Mendota Canal is receiving some action for largemouth bass for those either throwing frogs over the mats or punching the weeds. Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield started their August Carp Derby last week with a 100 percent payback and a $1 entry fee.
Bass 3 Trout 2 Bluegill 2 Catfish 2 Crappie 2
Eastman has consistently produced the largest grade of largemouth bass from the Central Valley low elevation lakes. It continues to recover from recent algae blooms, and although there are remains of the bloom remaining in the lake, bass fishing remains solid.
Steve Newman of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “Eastman is most productive at night, and this is true for all of our lakes right now with the triple-digit heat. There is a solid night bite with wakebaits in bluegill patterns along with single- or double-bladed buzzbaits. The bass are liking the noise of the buzzbaits. There is a crankbait bite near the dam at night as well, and during the daytime, big 10-inch plastics or lizards on a Carolina- or Texas-rig are working best. The smoke engulfing the Central Valley has kept overcast and darker conditions during the daytime.”
The River Rats Bass Club held their third ‘Saturday Night Shootout’ on Saturday from 6 p.m. to midnight, and the winning weights were half of what they have been during the first two events. The first-place team came in with a four-fish limit of 9.78 pounds with a big fish at 3.55 pounds. The second-place team came in with 9.55 pounds with the largest fish out of the 24 boats at 4.77 pounds. A total of 13 four-fish limits were weighed in. The final ‘Saturday Night Shootout’ of the summer will be on August 25th.
Eastman dropped from 54 to 49 percent.
Bass 2 Trout 1 Catfish 2 Bluegill 2 Crappie 2
The bass bite is very slow with the best action on weightless Senkos or flukes from the bank to 15 feet in depth. Catfish and crappie are the top species here, and the small slabs are found near submerged brush with minijigs or live minnows. Catfish can be found in the evenings with stinkbaits, cut baits, or chicken livers. The lake dropped from 24 to 22 percent.
Lake Don Pedro
Bass 3 Trout 3 Kokanee 3 King salmon 1 Crappie 2
Kokanee action continues to improve on a weekly basis at Don Pedro, and experienced trollers are finding limits of both kokanee and rainbow trout.
Andre Fontenot of San Francisco, has been on the lake three times in the past week, and he said, “I’m starting to like this lake as this was my third time there this week. It is hard not to like when you come away with limits of kokanee and rainbow trout over the previous two trips. On my last trip, I kept a five-fish limit of kokanee from the 12 landed along with releasing 7 rainbow trout, keeping three rainbows. I fished the Graveyard and just north of there at depths from 40 to 60 feet with a variety of pink or purple hoochies or Shasta Tackle’s pink/purple Humdingers. The kokanee have averaged from 14 to 15 inches up to a high of 16 inches with the rainbows to 22 inches.
It’s nice to find a lake with decent-sized kokanee without having to travel up to Whiskeytown or Stampede. On my last trip, I moved out into the coves.”
Monte Smith of Gold Country Sport Fishing confirmed the solid bite, saying, “It has been pretty much the same deal with 15 kokanee and 10 rainbow trout on my last trip with clients. 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 at depths from 45- to 60-feet. I will be on the lake three times this week and will stay on Pedro until the Sacramento River salmon season heat up.”
Don Pedro dropped from 85 to 83 percent.
Lake Isabella/Bakersfield area
Bass 2 Trout 2 Crappie 3 Catfish 3 Bluegill 2
Lake Isabella is starting to heat up for crappie from the bank with minijigs or live minnows around the cages in the South Fork with the best action in the early mornings or late afternoons. Bass fishing is still decent with jigs with a larger trailer at depths to 20 feet. Catfishing is best with cut baits, stink baits, or live minnows from the shorelines. The lake has dropped to 25 percent with water releases down the Kern River. The Kern River above the dam is still fishing fair for holdover rainbow trout in the deeper pools with nightcrawlers, salmon eggs, live crickets, or Panther Martins while the flows in the lower river below the dam remain relatively high. The lower river is kicking out a few smallmouth bass, catfish, or carp in the slower stretches. The local lakes including Buena Vista are best for catfish, bass, or bluegill. In the high country of the upper Kern, Chuck Stokke of the Sequoia Fishing Company in Springville said, “The upper Kern River is still fishing excellent on dry fly patterns and also with nymphs as the river is lover. The Golden Trout Pack Station still has some slots available for pack trips in August. Information 559-542-2816.”
Bass 2 Crappie 2 Trout 1 Catfish 2
Kaweah continues to drop water on a weekly basis, and it has receded to 11 percent. The bass are suspending in deeper water with the releases, and along with the hot weather, the action is limited to the early mornings, late afternoons, or during the night with a variety of offerings including topwater, small swimbaits, or plastics on the Texas or Carolina-rig. 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 2
Chuck Stokke of the Sequoia Fishing Company in Springville said, “Bass fishing is fair with the best action in the early mornings and evenings. The heat makes for tough fishing. Plastics, Senkos, and topwater lures have been the best bet as the bass are moving due to the water releases. The lake continues to drop, and it is currently at 15 percent.”In the Tule River, Stokke said, “The Tule is still fishing good to excellent with flies such as caddis, ant, or hopper patterns. Spin casters are scoring with Panther Martins.” Stokke is giving fly casting lessons at the Pierpoint Café the second Sunday of the month at 10 a.m. The lessons are free and all equipment is provided.”
Bass 3 Trout 2 King salmon 0 Kokanee 0 Crappie 2 Catfish 3
Steve Marquette of the Lake McClure-Lake McSwain Parks and Recreation said, “Recreational boat traffic remains high, but bass fishing remains solid with plastics on the drop-shot with watermelon/red flake or similar crawdad colors working best. Catfishing is excellent with cut baits including hot dogs from the shorelines in the evenings.” There is a topwater bite in the early mornings or late evenings, but the daytime bite is slow. Crappie fishing has slowed. The lake dropped from 78 to 75 percent.
Not much change since the last trout plant took place on July 3, and trout fishing is slow as a result. A trout plant is anticipated within the coming week. A few rainbows are taken in the early mornings or late evenings from the normal locations of the Brush Pile, Handicapped Docks, or the campgrounds with Power Eggs, trout dough bait in garlic, or inflated nightcrawlers. 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 3 Striped bass 1 Shad 1 Bluegill 2 Crappie 2
Steve Newman of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “Numbers are the story here with plenty of small spotted bass taken in the upper river arm with weightless flukes off of the larger points with boulders. The fish are holding around the rock and filling up on crawdads. In the main lake on the Madera side, there is action in Winchell or Squaw Cove in the early mornings before the recreational boats hit the water. With the dropping water levels, the bass have moved out onto main lake points or submerged island tops. Striped bass fishing is null and void although there are American shad in the river arm.”
The lake dropped from 68 to 64 percent.
Call: Valley Rod & Gun 292-3474
New Melones Reservoir/Tulloch
Bass 3 Crappie 2 Catfish 3 Trout 2 Kokanee 2
Bass fishing has been outstanding at night with the full moon with topwater lures, Brush Hogs on brass n’ class, small swimbaits, or plastics on a Texas-rig or drop-shot. Catfishing is improving from the banks in the evenings with cut baits or stinkbaits, Crappie are found near structure or in the evenings under lights while trout fishermen are also soaking live bait under lights. Trout and kokanee are a possibility but catching is a challenge with the fish holding between the dam, spillway, and Rose Island at depths to 90 feet. The lake held at 78 percent.
Pine Flat Reservoir/Kings River
Bass 3 Trout 2 Kokanee 0 King salmon 0 Catfish 2 Crappie 2
Steve Newman of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “The spotted bass bite remains solid as the algae bloom continues to dissipate. The best action is from 9:30 p.m. to 2 a.m. with jigs or plastics on a Ned-rig or drop-shot. The bottom remains the top location at depths from 10 to 15 feet, but there is a crankbait bite with the Strike King XD5 or XD6 in crawdad or bluegill colors on a slow roll. The bass bite has been best in the cooler waters of the river arm above Trimmer. Few trout anglers are trolling, and the main lake bite has basically shut off. The occasional rainbow is found above Trimmer with the normal offerings of Needlefish, ExCel, or Apex lures.”
The lake dropped from 45 to 41 percent this week.
San Luis Reservoir and O’Neill Forebay
Striper 2 Catfish 2 Bass 2 Crappie 1
The weather has been merely hot at best in the desolate stretches of the Central Valley, and San Luis Reservoir has minimal protection from the sun or the winds. As a result, anglers are heading to the lake early in the mornings or late in the evenings for an slightly improved striped bass bite.
Steve Newman of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “Some of our customers are heading to the lake both mornings and evenings, and we have seen some quality stripers taken by bank anglers ripping white flukes on a ½-ounce jig head off of main lake points. The fact that they are using flukes or ripbaits show that the stripers are not chasing shad on the surface as few are using topwater lures. Others are soaking anchovies or cut baits from the shorelines, and the bite has improved during the past two to three weeks. The lake levels continue to drop, and when this happens, there is more access for shore fishing although they have to travel farther to the shoreline. With the heat, mornings and evenings remain the most popular times.”
Trolling is also improving, and Travis Porter and K.C. Wilson of Hollister found good action for stripers to 7 pounds trolling shad-patterned jerkbaits at depths from 45 to 60 feet in 120 feet of water. Porter said, “The lake has dropped, and the coves we normally work are now out of the water.”
Roger George of Roger George Guide Service said that he scouted the lake and the day he fished the stripers were suspending in water from 60 to 90 feet. “I managed to get 12 fish to over 6 pounds trolling minnow jerk bits in some new areas -but the bite was off that day. I heard that the next day it improved a lot. I also didn’t get on the water till almost 9 am due to the wind closure that day -that hurts-. “ George said. George will be doing several classes at the upcoming Striperfest at Sportsmans Warehouse in Fresno on Friant Road -Saturday Oct 20th. Renowned local sonar expert Edd Allen will also be on the program covering sonar questions and tips . There will be limited room and reservations . More info to come.
Coyote Bait and Tackle in Morgan Hill reported good action with white flukes in the O’Neill Forebay for small, legal striped bass along with a majority of undersized fish. The weed growth has enveloped many of the shoreline areas, and anglers will have to get out into deeper water. Jumbo minnows are still unavailable in area shops, but most shops have a grade of minnow from medium to extra-large.
The lake dropped slightly to 44 percent.
Bass 2 Trout 2 Kokanee 0
Not much change here as there are only an occasional bass fisherman targeting the lake with the heavy boat traffic on a daily basis. The heavy boat traffic will last for at least three more weeks until the Labor Day Holiday. Bass anglers working around the front end of far-reaching docks with plastics on the drop-shot or jerkbaits in less-impacted areas of the lake in the early mornings or late afternoons when the boat traffic has ceased. 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. The condition of Kaiser Pass Road has led to the garbage company charging a surcharge for removing garbage. 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 3 Smallmouth bass 3
Trollers continue to make the trek up the hill to 5,500 feet Shaver Lake to load up on kokanee and/or rainbow trout, and now you can add smallmouth bass into the mix as bank anglers are finding non-stop action on 3/4- to 1-pound smallies.
Dick Nichols of Dick’s Fishing Charters said, “It has definitely slowed for us this past week at Shaver. In two weeks, we have dropped from an average of three limits to 1.5 to 2.5 on this week’s trips. The lake is overwhelmed by smoke from the Ferguson fire which does not help our concentration. Nearly all our kokanee have come from 5:15 to 6:45 am., and this week, they dropped to 50 feet deep in the water column. We are marking plenty of fish from the the Point to the dam area, and my best kokanee lure this week has been an orange Koke Buster tipped with scented corn behind a Mountain Dodger ran close to a Dick’s Ball Troll. The next best bet has been a champagne pink with purple spinner Mountain Hoochie with the same scent and dodger. The trout bite is off, but what we have found are with Trout Busters tipped with crawler and corn behind a weighted Mountain Flasher around 20 feet in depth. I think you will find better trout fishing near Tunnel Creek, but we have been concentrating on kokanee at the Point and dam.”
Todd Wittwer of Kokanee.net Guide Service said, “There are good numbers of kokanee in the lake, and although it has slowed down a bit, we are averaging around 2 to 3 limits depending upon whether we can hang onto the fish. There have been a number of kokanee in the 15-inch range this week with even a 16 incher. I have been running the Rocky Mountain Tackle orange Hornet Spinner behind the orange Moonshine dodger behind a Dick’s Ball Troll at depths from 38 to 55 feet in the main channel from the Sierra Marina to the Point. The green Assassin spinner behind a watermelon Moonshine dodger is also working as well as the double-glow orange hoochie behind an orange Moonshine dodger. Regular clients Carson and Sunny Wong were out for 13 quality kokanee this week, and the key is to find active fish.”
Steve Santoro of Fish Box Charters took out Nate and Anne Lewis of El Nido along with their son, Cole, for limits of kokanee. He said, “Several smaller kokanee were released, but the aggressive 3-year old kokanee have been putting up a pretty good fight. The schools of fish have been moving around from the Sierra Marina to the point, and patience and persistence is the key. Once you hook up, you have to keep working the area at different angles and depths with varying speeds from 0.9 to 1.3 mph. Our best set up is still pink or white hoochies with scented shoepeg corn behind a dodger at 25 to 30 feet.”
Smallmouth bass action is on the upswing, leading Steve Newman of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis to say, “Shaver has been a really good location to take children fishing from the banks as you can catch and released unlimited numbers of smallies in the 3/4- to 1-pound range using Yamamoto twin tail grubs in green pumpkin or watermelon/black flake. There are some large smallmouth approaching 4 pounds that have the bass guys drooling right now.”
At Huntington, the bank bite for planted rainbow trout has slowed down around Rancheria Creek with the best action at both dams with trout dough bait or nightcrawlers. Trollers are picking up small kokanee or rainbow trout with blade/’crawler combinations or hoochies in orange or pink from the surface to 30 feet. Smoke from the Ferguson Fire remains heavy. 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 Wishon, Chuck Crane of the Wishon Village RV Park and Store said, “Trollers are finding limits of rainbow trout running blade/’crawler combinations at 20 feet or 3 to 4 colors of lead core. If boaters are not trolling, they are drifting trout dough bait in pink or orange around the mouth of Wood Chuck Creek. Shore fishing is slow overall with a fish ‘here or there’ with trout dough bait in red or orange around Short Hair Creek. The river inlet has been much slower for fly fishermen as the rainbows and browns are limited to a few deep holes. The lake remains relatively full and launching a boat is easy.”
At Courtright, Crane said, “The boat dock was damaged by the dropping and rising water levels, and it may not be available for some time as major repairs are necessary. Trolling is best with blade/’crawlers or Thomas Buoyants in brass/red at 3 to 4 colors of leadcore at the upper end of the lake or straight across from the launch ramp. Shore fishing is slow with an occasional rainbow trout taken on trout dough bait in yellow, red, or orange near the boat launch.” The lake is rising and dropping on a regular basis in response to higher electrical needs in the Central Valley.
Call: Wishon RV Park 865-5361
Half Moon Bay
Salmon 2 Rockfish 3 Striper 2 Surf perch 3
What a difference a few weeks can make as salmon limits were the rule two weeks ago only to slow to the occasional fish in local waters during the first week of August. With the arrival of big salmon showing up on rockfish trips in the Monterey area, there is optimism for the next wave of salmon moving through the San Mateo coast on their way to the Golden Gate.
Salmon boats are making the long run north to the Channel Buoys or around Point Bonita as the action at the Deep Reef, Pedro Point, and the buoys in front of the harbor has slowed to a crawl.
Captain Dennis Baxter of the New Captain Pete said, “The local waters out in front of the harbor have turned green, and there are only a few salmon coming from the area around the buoys. The Coastside Fishing Club salmon haven’t shown up as of yet, and they are not in the harbor. I have been running north to Point Bonita as the numbers of salmon are found here, and the commercial boats are all icing up for run north of Point Reyes towards Bodega Bay. The local waters are solid jellyfish offshore in the deeper water, and the squid boats are working in the clear water near the shoreline. You have to run north to find an accumulation of salmon right now.”
Captain Tom Mattusch of the Huli Cat had to cancel four rockfish trips to the Farallon Islands, but he was able to slog out in rough weather on Sunday to take supplies and personnel to the Main Farallon Island. He said, “We had a few hours to wait for the repairs to be completed as we took a plumber out there so we found great rockfish action for four limits along with some lings. I had half-limits within three drops, and Mike Dillon put in four lings in quick order. We also brought up a very unusual crab that appears to be a rare Puget Sound King Crab, and I have never seen one of these in 51 years of being on the ocean. I am not surprised about the salmon showing up in Monterey since we had been receiving reports of salmon caught and released on rockfish trips out of Morro Bay.”
Salmon has slowed considerably near Half Moon Bay and Pacifica despite a tremendous amount of birds and bait in the area. All of the conditions look great, but the winds have been terrible for the past few weeks.”
Rockfish 3 Striper 2 Sand dabs 2 Surf perch 3
Chris Arcoleo of Chris’s Fishing Trips in Monterey said, “The salmon are thick in Monterey Bay as they have shown up within the past week. The season is closed so we are releasing the big slugs that are hooked on rockfish gear. We released 3 fishing for rockfish, and one commercial halibut boat working against the beach has been hooking 4 or 5 per day. There are tons of anchovies in the bay, and these are big fish in the 15- to 20-pound range. The whales are lunge feeding on the anchovies, and the salmon are in the middle of the whales. The weather has been horrible, and we are confined to inside of the bay. We have two boats running rockfish trips with one on the whale watching, and we are filled on Monday and Friday along with the coming weekend. There is some limited room on the rockfish trips on the remaining days.”
San Francisco Bay
Salmon 3 Halibut 3 Striper 3 Rockfish 3 Leopard shark 3 Sturgeon 2
Mike Aughney of USA Fishing.com said, “The salmon bite remains solid for the Golden Gate fleet. While it’s not wide-open limits, home by lunch, in bed by 8:PM fishing, it’s still solid with scores of a fish and a half per rod to limits. On Sunday, the fleet was back out along the Marin coast after spending a few fruitful days inside Pt. Bonita. Out of Emeryville, the Sundance had 4 limits to 18 pounds. The C Gull was three fish sky of 13 limits to 22 pounds with many others lost for 13 anglers. The Pacific Pearl reported 19 kings to 25 pounds for their 15 anglers. The majority of the action was in the Middle Grounds and Marin Coast, but the San Mateo County coastline should break open again very soon. Emeryville also had boats out at the Islands with the Tigerfish reporting 36 limits of rockfish and 5 lings and the New Huck Finn had both limits of lings and rockfish for 22 anglers.”
Charles Busalacchi of Linden was able to round up his son, son-in-law, and grandsons for a rockfishing trip with Captain Jay Yokomizo of the New Huck Finn out of Emeryville Sport Fishing, and they were taken outside the Gate to work the Marin coastline for good rockfish and ling cod action,.
The California Dawn took out an all-woman trip for the distaff version of the Ling Cod Contest, and they managed to post 30 limits of lings along with 170 rockfish with the trip sponsored by Salt Girls Clothing and Ling Ling Jigs.
The salmon bite was much improved from the slower action at last week’s end, and the New Easy Rider returned with 36 salmon to 25 pounds along with 2 halibut for 22 anglers, the New El Dorado III had 30 salmon to 24 pounds for 26 anglers while the El Dorado had 35 salmon to 26 pounds for 21 anglers. It seems like the big fish are coming.
Inside the bay, Captain Trent Slate of Bite Me Charters out of Loch Lomond Marina has been working over the striped bass in the Central Bay, and he said, “We went out on a half-day trip on Sunday leaving at 9:15 a.m. and back within three hours, and we landed over 80 striped bass to 12 pounds. The bite was a bit slower today, but we got them going on live bait on a three-way swivel and a 1-ounce weight. Loch Lomond Worm-tailed jigs or 3-ounce P-Line Lazer Minnows have also been working. Saturday’s trip produced over 70 stripers, and the birds and bait are thick in the bay. You just have to find the birds, and you will find the striped bass.”
The Happy Hooker out of Berkeley stayed in the bay on Sunday for Captain Jonathan Smith’s birthday, and they loaded up with just over a fish per rod with 25 halibut to 23 pounds for 23 anglers.
This week’s minus tides should bring dirty up the water a bit and slow down the halibut bite.
San Luis Obispo
Rockfish 3 Surf perch 3
Pete Cormier of Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield reported continued excellent action from the shorelines for surf perch at San Simeon and Pismo Beach with blood worms or lug worms. Limits are possible on all rockfishing trips with the Endeavor and Avenger out of Morro Bay Landing were out Monday on half- and 3/4-day trips respectively for a combined 48 anglers taking 390 vermilion, 40 Boccaccio, 30 copper, and 10 assorted rockfish to go with 7 ling cod to 17 pounds for limits plus lings. Also out of Morro Bay, the Fiesta and Rita G went on 3/4-day trips on Monday for near-limits of rockfish for 51 passengers with 98 vermilion, 320 assorted, 21 copper, and 1 Boccaccio to go with a single ling cod at 10.2 pounds. Out of Patriot Sport Fishing in Port San Luis, the Flying Fish scored limits for 18 anglers on Monday with 15 vermilion, 157 assorted rockfish, 7 copper, 1 Boccaccio, and a solitary ling cod. All landings are running a variety of bottom fishing trips from ½ day to two-day ventures up the coast.
Bass 2 Striper 3 Sturgeon 2 Catfish 2 Bluegill 2 Salmon 2
Since the opener, the Sacramento-Delta has been slow overall for Chinook salmon with the fish blasting up the river to the cooler waters above Woodson Bridge. The water temperatures remain hot in the 73-degree range throughout the Delta, but the numbers of salmon moving through have increased, leading to a few more salmon being taken in both Delta locations.
Johnny Tran of New Romeo’s Bait and Tackle in Freeport said, “There have been a few salmon taken every day out of Freeport by those jigging with Slammer Minnows or trolling with Slammer Spinners. The Clarksburg Flats have been the top locations, and an 18 pounder was also landed on a Brad’s Cut Plug. Striped bass are also picking up with blood worms, pile worms, or sardines coated with garlic spray in the main river and also in Liberty Island with live mudsuckers or extra-large minnows. Swimbaits are also working for stripers on the high tide along the rockwall in Liberty Island. Smallmouth bass are found along the rockpiles in Walnut Grove and in Steamboat and Miner Slough with plastics on the drop-shot, minnows, or crawdad patterned crankbaits.”
In the Old Sacramento River, Sylvia Vieira of Vieira’s Riverside Bait near Isleton said, “There has been nothing in the way of fish out in front of our resort, but there were four salmon landed on one boat in front of Dutra’s dredges on spinners with 4 to 5 ounces of lead to keep the lure near the bottom. The water must be slightly cooler there, but it is 74 degrees in our area.”
Tony Lopez of Benicia Bait said, “Things are looking up with three salmon landed off of 1st Street on Saturday with another three on Sunday. A steelhead was also caught and released, and you must possess a Steelhead Report Card if you are to keep the species. The State Park has also been kicking out a few fish, and Vee-Zee spinners in green/green have been working best. Other than the few salmon showing up, striped bass from the shoreline is the other story around here with linesides to 24 inches taken on grass shrimp.”
Alan Fong, manager of the Fishermen’s Warehouse in Sacramento, was in Liberty Island this week, and he said, “The water is very clear, even too clear right now, and we caught and released largemouth bass on squarebill crankbaits including six striped bass.”
Beau Coutroul of the Lake Camanche Recreation Company went bait fishing with frozen shad off of Decker Island with two friends for limits of barely-legal striped bass to 19 inches. He said, “We also released a number of undersized fish, and the stripers were running with the bait in the warm water.”
Mike Pipkins of Gotcha Bait in Antioch reported striped bass continue to come into the system, and live mudsuckers or frozen shad are working in around Sherman Island and in Broad Slough. He said, “It will pick up quickly as the fish continue to move in. The sturgeon bite has slowed down although there have been more anglers trying for the diamondbacks this week.”
The second of the specialty frog tournaments was held out of Russo’s Marina this past weekend, and the combination of hot temperatures coupled with high winds on Sunday made for a tough frog bite. 206 boats participated in the original frog tournament, the Snag Proof Open with a payout of $24,200 with extra payouts at $8,800 for the 121 boats on the pro side along with a total of $8,500 with extra payouts at $5,520 for the 82 boats in the amateur division. The pro team of Matt Larson and Scot Holzchuh took first with a six-fish limit of 23.94 pounds while the amateur team of Bill and Clif Wentworth won with the exact same weight of 23.94 pounds.
Clyde Wands, shallow trolling expert, was out on Monday trolling on the San Joaquin River between Eddo’s Marina and the Antioch Bridge, and he said, “If you wanted action, today was the day since we released close to 20 keepers with the largest fish in the 5- to 6-pound range. We didn’t find any big fish, but I do know of two larger linesides at 15 and 17 pounds released on Monday.”
Captain Joey Gamez of Golden State Sport Fishing has been alternating between salmon fishing in the ocean and trolling for stripers on the San Joaquin. He took out a family of four children on Monday to troll Yozuri Crystal Minnows or P-Line Predators for stripers, and the children were treated to landed 41 keepers with the largest grade from 5 to 9 pounds. He said, “The biggest fish came on the shallow troll, but we found the best bite on the deep troll. Once the tide became too big, we even took the children bluegill fishing for an hour or so.”
Randy Pringle, the Fishing Instructor, is the tournament director for this weekend’s original frog tournament, the 17th annual Snag Proof Open. He said, “There weren’t as many big fish as there should have been for this time of year during last weekend’s frog tournament, but this is due to the weeds being eradicated in the back waters where the big fish hold in current, and the winds. The wind makes for a difficult frog bite as the bass don’t hide out under the mats, and hopefully, the wind will stay down this weekend. We should have good weather for the weekend as it won’t be 108 degrees before dropping in temperature. The fact that there was a frog tournament last weekend should help the fishermen participating in this weekend’s tournament as the anglers have an idea of where the bass are holding. Most of the bass are sitting in the eddy side of the current, and they aren’t chasing bait very far from the current so you have to keep your bait in the strike zone as long as possible. Frogs are a good option in open water since they are just topwater surface plugs, but most fishermen want to work them over the mats and around grass or tules. The Max Scent products on a Zappu head are working best on the drop-shot along with the ima Rock N’Vibe in crawdad patterns. The Rock N’Vibe is able to be paused in the strike zone, and this is a key to enticing strikes. You have to let the bait sit. Ripbaits are also working in these conditions. The ima Glide Fluke is a good option in low light conditions in the early mornings, but once the sun comes out, the bass will hold tight to structure as the water warms.”
Mike Pipkins of Gotcha Bait in Antioch said, “The sturgeon action from the Antioch Piers has slowed down, but the striped bass continue to move through the system. Mudsuckers or shad are working best for the stripers. Bluegill and red ear perch are thick in Holland Cut or the Clifton Court Forebay with wax worms. The weather has been far too hot for threadfin shad to be in the shop, but things will change around September 1st as fresh shad should be available.”
Luther Thompson of H and R Bait in Stockton said, “I went fishing this week and landed a 35-inch striped bass on a live bluegill from the shoreline off of Windmill Cove. We had to cast out into the middle of the channel, but it didn’t take more than a few seconds before the big striper swallowed the bluegill. Bass fishing is decent around the Tracy Oasis with crankbaits, and there are catfish in Bacon Island with sardines or filleted bluegill. Eight Mile Road and Bacon Island have been the best areas for bluegill. We still have no fresh shad in the shop as it has been very hot and muggy most days.”
Lake Nacimiento/San Antonio/Santa Margarita/Lopez
Bass 3 White bass 3 Striper 2 Catfish 2 Crappie 2
Lopez has been consistent for largemouth bass with topwater lures in the mornings including single- or double-bladed buzzbaits, Poppers, or stick baits. The wind has been arriving by early afternoon, and jigs or wacky-rigged Senkos are working. Crappie can be found around structure with minijigs while red worms are working for bluegill and red ear perch. A webcam of the lake is available at 805webcams.com/lopez-lake-webcam.
Nacimiento continues to be excellent for both spotted and white bass with the best action in the early mornings with crankbaits or small topwater lures. Spoons or small plastics are effective for the whites once the schools drop into deeper water, but fishermen are leaving the water by mid-morning due to the heavy recreational boat traffic. The lake continues to release water, and it has dropped to 25 percent. A webcam of the lake is available at www.lakenacimientolive.com.
Santa Margarita largemouth bass to 7 pounds have been the highlight here with an early topwater window before switching over to subsurface reaction baits. Swimbaits, spinnerbaits, and crankbaits are all working after the early window with buzzbaits, Pencil Poppers, or Zara Spooks. Catfishing is best with cut baits from the shorelines in the evenings. 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 San Antonio, the lake has dropped to 20 percent, and whiskerfish are still the best option with cut baits or stinkbaits. Bass action remains slow in the warm water.
17th annual Snag Proof Open: Aug. 4-5 at Delta/Russo’s Marina (6-fish limits) – Pro Division: 1, Matt Larson/Scot Holzchuh, 23.94 pounds; 2, Josh Parris/Rick Novotny, 23.62; 3, Larry Vignolo/Jerred Jennings, 22.58 (Big Fish 8.07). Amateur Division: 1, Bill and Clif Wentworth, 23.94; 2, Brittyn Wiggins/Clara Ricabal, 18.99; 3, Frankie Mendes/Jacob Swaim, 18.51.
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
Week of Aug. 19 by California Department of Fish and Wildlife
Fresno County: Huntington Lake, Kings River below Pine Flat Dam
n = new moon > = peak activity