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.
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Shaver kokanee bite as good as it gets, Dick Nichols said. Eastman and Pine Flat bass bites the best, Steve Newman reported. Wishon and Courtright trout hitting, Chuck Crane said. New Melones bass staying hungry, John Liechty reported. San Francisco salmon bite rebounds, Mike Aughney said. Don Pedro kokanee on a tear, Monte Smith reported.
2-Have to work hard
4-Fish jumpin’ in boat
Delta Mendota Canal
Striper 2 Catfish 2
The northern section of the California Aqueduct is starting to show some life as the water is starting to clear up. Steve Newman of Valley Rod and Gun said, “Damian Thao, one of our regular kayak fishermen, went from the banks at the aqueduct for a limit of quality striped bass.” In the southern portion of the aqueduct in Kern County, Pete Cormier of Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield reported good striped bass action with sardines or anchovies with the best action in the early mornings or late afternoons into the evening. There is still mossy debris in the aqueduct, making bait the best option. A 20-pounder is leading the Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield August Carp Derby. It’s 100 percent payback with a $1 entry fee.
Bass 3 Trout 2 Bluegill 2 Catfish 2 Crappie 2
Steve Newman of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “Largemouth bass in the 2- to 4-pound range continue to be available for anglers working Senkos on a Neko-rig, jigs, soft plastics, or 4- to 5-inch swimbaits around the rocks. An 11-pound largemouth was caught and released on a swimbait in 2 p.m. on a hot day so the fish are still feeding during the middle of the day. The best action is in the early mornings, late afternoons, or at night.” The River Rats will hold their final ‘Saturday Night Shootout’ night tournament on Aug. 25. The lake is releasing water, and it dropped from 44 to 41 percent. The algae bloom continues to dissipate with the water a brown stained color.
Bass 3 Trout 1 Catfish 3 Bluegill 2 Crappie 2
The bass bite has improved with plastics on the drop-shot or Senkos as the bass are wanting the bait to be placed right in front of them. Catfish are a good option from the shoreline at night with cutbaits, stinkbaits, or chicken livers. The lake dropped from 20 to 17 percent.
Lake Don Pedro
Bass 2 Trout 3 Kokanee 3 King salmon 2 Crappie 2
Don Pedro remains the top lake for kokanee in the Mother Lode, and this past week was not exception with experienced trollers finding outstanding action for their clients. The largemouth bass have gone deep with the warm water conditions, and the reaction and topwater bite has been very slow.
Monte Smith of Gold Country Sport Fishing has been taking clients out regularly due to the excellent action, and he said, “This week was very good with limits of kokanee and plenty of rainbow trout. I have been running larger baits such as Apex lures in orange, red, or UV behind a larger Sling Blade dodger. Some of the kokanee are aggressive, yanking the line out of the downrigger clip, but others require you to remove the rod out of the holder and pull it off of the release. Even the 15- to 16-inch kokanee are biting light at times. I want to land every fish so I stand by the back of the boat and watch the rods, and I am seeing the different ways in which the fish are striking the lures. Some of the kokanee are absorbing their scales, but the majority are still bright. The best action has been from 60 to 75 feet, but I have caught kokanee at 50 feet. It seems that when you need a kokanee, you catch a trout, and when you want a trout, you catch a kokanee. On one trip, we were looking for a 15th kokanee for three limits, but we only had seven trout so I changed baits and moved up to 50 feet. Our first fish at this depth was a kokanee, even in the middle of the day.”
Mike Gomez of the Bait Barn in Waterford reported slow topwater bass action with few anglers targeting the lake during the recent hot spell. The best fishing has been from 35 to 65 feet with plastic worms on the drop-shot or jigs. He said, “When you do find a fish, there will be several in the area.”
The Marine Reconnaissance Foundation is holding a tournament on Aug. 25 to raise fund for scholarships for the children and spouses of fallen warriors.
The lake dropped from 82 to 80 percent.
Bass 2 Trout 2 Crappie 3 Catfish 3 Bluegill 2
Pete Cormier of Bob’s Bait and Tackle in Bakersfield few anglers were at the lake over the weekend due to the Call Fire starting on Saturday in the canyon along Highway 178 on the way to the lake. There is still a decent crappie bite with minijigs in the shallows near structure along with catfish with chicken livers, nightcrawlers, or stinkbaits. Bass fishing continues to be slow with the warm water temperatures and dropping lake levels. The lake has dropped to 20 percent with water releases down the Kern River. The Kern River above the dam remains slow for holdover rainbows with fewer and fewer fishermen working this section with the lower flows. The remaining fish are in the deeper pools as the flows have dropped. Nightcrawlers, salmon eggs, live crickets, or Panther Martins are working for the occasional rainbow. The lower river remains fishable with higher than normal flows, and catfish and smallmouth bass remain the top species. The local lakes including Buena Vista are best for carp, catfish, bass, or bluegill. “Wussy” Bait is still the most popular carp bait at Bob’s Bait and Tackle.
Bass 2 Crappie 2 Trout 1 Catfish 2
The Golden Empire Bass Club canceled Saturday’s tournament at the lake, and the next tournament here will be the Cen Cal Elite Bass Club night tournament on Aug. 24-25 with registrations and signup starting at 5:30 p.m. at the 2nd boat ramp. Information: David Coy 559-280-8884 or John 909-263-7185. The next event will be the Central Valley Kayak Fishing event on Sept. 16. The water releases have slowed, but the lake still dropped slightly to 9 percent. 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.
Call: Sierra Sporting Goods 592-5212
Bass 3 Trout 2 Catfish 2 Crappie 2 Bluegill 2
The Central Valley Kayak Fishing event on Sunday produced some decent four-fish limits despite the hot weather and low lake levels. The best fishing is in the early mornings, late evenings and into the night with plastics on the drop-shot, Senkos, or noisy reaction baits. The lake continues to drop, and it is currently at 13 percent. Chuck Stokke of the Sequoia Fishing Company in Springville 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 2 Trout 2 King salmon 0 Kokanee 0 Crappie 2 Catfish 3
The bass bite is slow, and anglers have to take the time for find a pattern. Mike Gomez of the Bait Barn in Waterford worked hard with topwater lures and the River2Sea Swaver this past Saturday, and after finding no takers, he switched over to working the bottom with the Berserk Purple Hornet or Brown Craw jigs with a Yamamoto twin-tail trailer. The bass are schooled up in tight groupings, and they put together a 15-pound limit within a 20-yard stretch. The topwater bite that had been hot a few weeks back has died, perhaps due to the hot weather. Gomez also saw schools of trout breaking the surface, chasing the shad schools throughout the lake. Catfishing continues to be excellent with cut baits from the shorelines in the evenings. The lake dropped from 73 to 71 percent.
Trout plants are the key to success at this lake, and anglers are waiting for the next trout plant since the last plant was on Aug. 10. Nightcrawlers, trout dough bait, silver/blue Kastmasters, live minnows, or Roostertails are all working for the occasional rainbow as the shore fishermen lined up along the Brush Pile, Handicapped Docks, or the campgrounds. The annual Merced Irrigation District’s Fall Trout Derby is scheduled for Oct. 7.
Call: McSwain Marina 209-378-2534
San Joaquin River
Bass 3 Striped bass 1 Shad 1 Bluegill 2 Crappie 2
Steve Newman of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “The spotted bass bite improved this week with good numbers of spots taken on plastics on the drop-shot or dart head in the Casper color pattern with a gold or purple line. Jigs are also working as the bass are feeding on a mix of crawdads or shad. There are schools of ½-inch shad boiling in deeper water, but the small 6- to 8-inch bass are working these schools. The better grade of spot is holding along boulders, holding tight to the rocks, and feeding on crawdads or the larger shad. Once you find one bass, there will be more in the same area. There is also a decent catfish bite near Sky Harbor with cut baits or anchovies.” Striped bass fishing is null and void although there are American shad in the river arm. The lake dropped from 61 to 57 percent.
Call: Valley Rod & Gun 292-3474
Bass 3 Crappie 2 Catfish 3 Trout 2 Kokanee 2
Bass action at New Melones continues to be a big surprise with excellent action with a variety of techniques. Kokanee are making a showing for those willing to put in the time, and rainbow trout are still an option with much better times to come as the water cools.
John Liechty of Xperience Bass Fishing Guide Service said, “Melones has been awesome on our half-day trips in the mornings and evenings as there is a super good bite with topwater lures. It is really timing oriented as I have been running to a dozen or so good spots. One spot may produce one day, but on my next three or four trips, the spot will not produce. It is taking a lot of bouncing around, but there is a good topwater bite in the early morning for both largemouth and spotted bass. The bass aren’t chasing much, and after the early morning topwater bite, the reaction bite is slow once the sun comes up. The water temperature is in the 81- to 84- degree range, and the bass are still feeding, but they don’t want to move for the bait. I have been using big bulky plastics on the drop-shot, shakey-head, or Texas-rig along with jigs, and I leave the bait down once it hits something. If it gets stuck, I just leave it or shake it out. The bass are holding in 5 to 15 feet in the morning before dropping from 15 to 30 feet once the sun comes up. I have been fishing as deep as 40 feet recently with good success.”
Glory Hole Sports Annual Catfish Contest is on the horizon during the month of October which is the best catfish month on the lake. Signups will begin in September. The catfish are coming out at night near the Tuttletown Cove and also near the dam with cut baits. The crappie are holding near shaded coves, structure, and submerged trees, and fishing at night under a glow light is the top technique.
The lake held at 77 percent.
Pine Flat Reservoir/
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 continues to provide numbers with jigs, lipless crankbaits, lipped crankbaits, or plastics on the drop-shot as the fish are feeding on crawdads or shad. The best reaction bite is in the evenings with crankbaits at 15 to 20 feet, but the fish are moving around. The main lake is holding more shad schools with crawdads and shad up the river arm. The algae bloom continues to dissipate. Trout trolling is null and void with the hot weather, but there have been some rainbows taken from the shoreline above Trimmer with either trout dough bait or nightcrawlers.” The Bass 101 Night Open is this weekend. Information: Mark Corrente 284-2768. The lake dropped from 38 to 33 percent this week.
San Luis Reservoir
and O’Neill Forebay
Striper 2 Catfish 2 Bass 2 Crappie 1
The warning advisory remains for blue-green algae at San Luis Reservoir, but the striped bass action continues to improve for trollers and bank fishermen. The Department of Water Resources is urging people for avoid physical contact with the lake’s water until further notice and avoid eating fish from the lake due to the presence of blue-green algae. The majority of the algae is in southern portion of the lake.
Roger George of Roger’s Guide Service went solo after a guest canceled on Saturday night, and he caught and released a 42-inch striped bass estimated at 32-33 pounds on a silver lure near the dam area -as well as a 32-inch 12-pounder. He said, “It was windy and rough with the boat pitching, and I tried to weigh the fish on a tournament-grade scale, but the waves made it impossible to get an accurate weight. Its about the most beefed up striper I’ve ever caught-hard to even lift it. I used the Seaqualizer to let the big girl go. I’ve been doing a lot of scouting lately in the heat -which is finally paying off. The bite is changing by the day now – some days decent and others poor-as the fish are settling into new areas. I also fished all over the lake earlier and found some active schools and I ended up with over 35 fish from 21 to 27 inches trolling Lucky Crafts and other minnow lures at 50 to 75 feet. I was very lucky, hitting it right all day – that doesn’t happen very often . The overall bite is still just fair for most guys but the trolling bite is the best deal going. I hope that more anglers are willing to carefully and properly release deep caught stripers this season. I’m using the Bend Menders air bladder release hollow needle and the Seaqualizer tool to keep released bloated fish from floating and dying -why kill any more than you need to?”
George will be doing the StriperFest striper seminars on Oct. 20 at Sportsman’s Warehouse in Fresno along with sonar guru Edd Allen. Pre-registration for the limited seating event -info coming -visit Sportsman’s Warehouse website or store.
Travis Porter and K.C. Wilson of Hollister was out on Saturday until noon, catching and releasing eight striped bass, and he returned to the lake with his oldest son Andrew on Sunday for over a dozen stripers released. He said, “We were using JKing’s Lures at 40 to 60 feet, and the stripers were grouped up on the morning before spreading out by 10 a.m.”
Steve Newman of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “Trolling continues to be good with the stripers holding around 40 to 60 feet with big plugs or umbrella rigs.. Anchovies and sardines are working for bait anglers.”
Gavin Cohen of Coyote Bait and Tackle in Morgan Hill said, “Blood worms and pile worms have been popular for shore fishermen, and we are selling out of blood worms within a day of their arrival in the shop. The overall bite has slowed down for quality, but there are still plenty of stripers to be caught. Jumbo minnows are still scarce with extra-large having to do for the time being.”
The lake rose to 46 percent due to increased pumping out of the south Delta.
In the Forebay, Cohen said, “There is a window for topwater lures at the forebay, but these fish are under the 18-inch minimum size for striped bass. Small stripers are a possibility with anchovies, blood worms, or pile worms from the normal locations of the Highway 152 Bridge or Check 12. Fishermen are either out during the early morning hours or late afternoons to avoid the triple-digit heat.”
Bass 2 Trout 2 Kokanee 0
The recreational boat traffic will remain high for the next few weeks before the final blow out of the season over the Labor Day Weekend. Fishing interest has been minimal, but a few trout trollers are getting out in the early, early morning for the occasional rainbow trout to 17 inches in the 5mph zone near the dam. Few bass fishermen are out with the enforcement of the Sheriff’s Motor Fee and the heavy boat traffic. The best fishing has been 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
Still few reports from the high country as most dedicated trout fishermen are enjoying the excellent action at Shaver, Courtright, and Wishon Reservoirs. Deer hunters are starting to scout the mountains around the Kaiser Pass area, and normally the hunters will also bring their rods for some fishing at one of the lakes. There have been few reports from Edison, Florence, or Mammoth Pool. All the high country reservoirs are holding with Edison at 89, Mammoth Pool at 98 percent, and Florence at 40 percent. 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. 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
Kokanee 4 Trout 3
Kokanee action is as good as it has been in years at Shaver Lake, and the surge in fishing is good news with the last kokanee derby of the season from Kokanee Power arriving on Sept. 8.
Dick Nichols of Dick’s Fishing Charters said, “Kokanee fishing does not get any better than it is now as this may be the best kokanee week in years. In five trips this week, we have taken 3 to 4 limits each day. The Point to the dam has been our hot spot at 45 to 65 feet down with pink or orange Mountain Hoochies or orange Koke Busters tipped with scented corn behind Mountain Dodgers working best for us. The kokanee are in a pre-spawn mode and are really hunkering down in vast schools. For trout, we found good schools of rainbows in the Stevenson Bay area at 24 to 27 feet down with orange and green or orange and chartreuse Trout Busters tipped with crawler and corn behind weighted Mountain Flashers. Bob, Mike, and Rich Guibbani along with Kristen Guibbani-Elrod of Paso Robles all took limits of kokanee on a trip this week. There is heavy trolling action, but the recreational boating activity has decreased.”
Todd Wittwer of Kokanee.net Guide Service has also been limiting out on a daily basis including a female kokanee at 16 inches taken by Erik Kjar of Fresno. He said, “We have been picking up plenty of 16-inch males as well, and the orange Rocky Mountain Tackle spinner or the orange Double-Glow hoochie behind an orange Moonshine dodger have been producing along with the Tasmanian Devil spoon.”
The lake held at 94 percent.
At Huntington Reservoir, the shoreline bite has slowed off of Rancheria Creek, and Steve Newman of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “Floating nightcrawlers under a bobber or drifting salmon eggs along with trout dough bait are working in the deeper water off of the dam for rainbows in the 12- to 14-inch range.”
Call: Dick Nichols, Dick’s Fishing Charters 281-6948; Todd Wittwer, Kokanee.net Guide Service 288-8100; Dinkey Creek Inn 841-3435; Rancheria Marina 893-3234; Shaver Lake Sports Inc. 841-2740; Tom Oliveira Fishing 802-8072; Steve Santoro Fish Box Charters 871-3937
The docks sunk to the bottom of the launch ramp at Courtright Reservoir a few weeks ago, but an alternate set of docks were installed at the launch ramp this week, allowing easy boat access to the nearly-filled lake.
Chuck Crane of the Wishon Village RV Park and Store said, “Trolling at both lakes has been excellent, but the fish have gone deep with the warm surface temperatures, even at this high elevation. At Courtright, blade/’crawler combinations are working best at 4 to 5 colors of leadcore or at 30 to 40 feet on the downrigger. Shore fishing is fair with trout dough bait in red or orange from the normal locations near the campgrounds and along the boat dock.”
At Wishon, Crane said, “The lake is dropping slowly, and you will have to back down some distance to launch your boat. The fishing has been good, particularly for trollers pulling either Thomas Buoyants in gold/red or brass/red along with blade/’crawler combinations at 4 to 6 colors of leadcore or from 20 to 45 feet on the downrigger. Some boats are also drifting Power Eggs in red or orange with metal flake in front of the dam or Woodchuck Creek with some good success. Tom and George Sheets have been trolling at both lakes with great results, catching and releasing numerous rainbows at 4 to 5 colors of leadcore with blade/’crawler combinations. Also, fly fishermen have found some deep pools up the river arm, and they are catching and releasing quality rainbows with dry flies in the pools.”
Call: Wishon RV Park 865-5361
Half Moon Bay
Salmon 2 Rockfish 3 Striper 2 Surf perch 3
Private and party boats are limited to the occasional fish taken north of the harbor at Mussel Rock or Pedro Point. The Coastside Fishing Club salmon have yet to arrive in the harbor, but when they make a showing, shore anglers will be casting Pixie spoons or Mad River pink worms near the kayak rental shop.
Rockfish regulations will change on Aug. 25 through Dec. 31 with the take prohibited seaward of the 40-fathom depth contour (240 feet) due to the quota of incidental take of yelloweye rockfish being exceeded. Recreational Dungeness crab season opens on Nov. 3, and the Huli Cat is the only large party boat running the popular crab/rockfish combinations.
A wave of salmon did move through, and the party boats found limits off of Martin’s Beach, but the bite slowed down once again, leaving captains hoping for another wave of the Coastside fish.
Captain Tom Mattusch of the Huli Cat has been taking research rockfish trips this week to the closed zone off of Ano Nuevo this past week, and and they caught and released numerous rockfish and lings to a whopping 99 cm (39 inches).
The commercial salmon fleet has been working in deeper water for a “pick” level of action. The Coastside Fishing Club salmon plants haven’t shown up in the harbor as of yet, but they normally start arriving around September.
Captain Dennis Baxter of the New Captain Pete said, “We started out on a salmon trip on Aug. 19, but after finding no action, we switched over for 23 limits of rockfish at the Deep Reef. I was out on a bird watching trip to the Pioneer Canyon area on Saturday, and we observed Buller’s shearwaters which normally hang out around the albacore schools. We haven’t seen them for a few years in our waters, and we also saw Pacific sauries jumping. The black cod boats fishing past the Farallons have also seen bluefin tuna jumping so stayed tuned!”
Rockfish are the staple right now with Captain Tom Mattuch on the Huli Cat loading up with limits by 10:30 a.m. on Sunday before attempting to mooch for salmon. Out of Half Moon Bay Sport Fishing, the Queen of Hearts, Riptide, and Que Sera Sera are returning with limits of rockfish and the occasional ling cod on each trip within the past week. Captain Smitty on the Riptide was the highliner with five lings along with 19 limits of rockfish on Aug. 18.
Rockfish 4 Striper 2 Sand dabs 2 Surf perch 3
Chris Arcoleo of Chris’s Fishing in Monterey reported outstanding rockfish and ling cod action on the Check Mate as they took advantage of the good weather to make the run to Point Sur on Sunday. They returned with 25 limits of big rockfish with plenty of vermilions and coppers in the sacks along with 15 ling cod with a few in the 20-pound range. There have been some big lings lately. The Caroline stayed local for 21 limits of rockfish and a ling cod while the Star of Monterey enjoyed the amazing humpback whale show.
Chris’s is sold out every weekend through the end of rockfish season in December, but there will be room by the end of this week due to the big car show, the Concour’s de Elegance, at Pebble Beach this coming weekend.
San Francisco Bay
Salmon 3 Halibut 3 Striper 2 Rockfish 3 Leopard shark 3 Sturgeon 2
Mike Aughney of USA Fishing.com said, “The salmon bite slowed a tad on Friday and Saturday and picked back up on Sunday. On Friday, Captain Jared Davis on the Salty Lady had the 1st annual Golden Gate Salmon Association all girls charter. On Saturday, the salmon were just off the bite and most party boats saw scores of well under a fish per rod. The fleet has been fishing from the Middle Grounds up to Duxbury and down to Muir beach along the edge of the North Bar or the very usual late summer grounds. On Sunday, the salmon were hungry and we saw party boats report scores of just under a fish per rod to limits. The Salty Lady was on a whale watching trip today but Emeryville had several boats out. Captain RJ on the Sundance reported 6 limits to 20 pounds. The C Gull had 13 kings to 27 pounds for 14 anglers. The Pacific Pearl reported 8 for 12 anglers to 25 pounds. The Tigerfish went rockfishing for 20 limits of both lings and rockfish while the Huck Finn had 24 limits of rockfish and 21 lings to 17 pounds. The rockfish are biting good on the Marin coast, but the best quality is out at the Islands.”
Captain Steve Mitchell of Hook’d Up Sport Fishing confirmed the improved bite on Sunday, saying, “They bit today. It was slow on Saturday, but we had all the action you could want on Sunday. There were opportunities for limits, but these are big fish, and at least 8 or 9 were dropped, ending up with 5 salmon. All of the boats were having a hard time hanging onto fish today as the big fish are here. We ran north to Double Point, and this is where the big fish were.” Mitchell has opening on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday with some room on Thursday and Friday.
The salmon bite was outstanding last Friday with Captain Trent Slate of Bite Me Charters loading up with six limits of big hogs from 18 to 30 pounds with regular Shelter Cove angler, Dave Sharkey, picking up the big fish of the day. They were trolling off of the Marin coast.
The Golden Gate Salmon Association took the first “Fish Like a Girl’ charter Friday on the Salty Lady out of Sausalito, and 21 anglers returned with 16 salmon to a whopping 26 pounds. Cat Kaiser, event coordinator for the Golden Gate Salmon Association, put together the first of many such events, and a good time was reportedly had by all.
The Happy Hooker out of Berkeley had a great day for ling cod on Sunday up the Marin coastline with 28 limits of lings with plenty of fish over 15 pounds. The rockfish were more reluctant, but perhaps it was because everyone went ‘ling cod crazy,’ but they ended up with 100 quality rockfish.
Keith Fraser of Loch Lomond Bait and Tackle in San Rafael said, “It was breezy in the bay on Sunday, but it wasn’t too bad. We have plenty of halibut in the bay, but there are probably more shakers than there was earlier in the season if this is possible. There are bass around all of the normal locations, and Red Rock and the Brothers have been good locations. I would like to get out to the Brothers this week. California City is kicking out salmon at the top of the tide, but the largest fish has only been 15 pounds which is definitely not the normal size of a California City salmon.” Loch Lomond has grass shrimp, ghost shrimp, and pile worms in the shop with anchovies coming in later this week. They also have a supply of bullheads along with the hard-to-find midshipmen.
Bill Clapp of Bill’s Sport Fishing out of Berkeley took out Cody and Blake Crabb and father Keith from Texas for a bay trip, and they released 8 shaker halibut, keeping a 20-pound flatfish near Red Rock before going shark fishing for six leopards, keeping a pair of the flight back to Texas.
Captain Craig Hanson of Argo Sport Fishing out of San Francisco found the halibut on Sunday on a half-day trip as evidenced by this photograph. The majority of the party boats are targeting rockfish now, but there are still halibut to be had in the bay.
San Luis Obispo
Rockfish 3 Surf perch 3 White seabass 3
The white sea bass made a showing off of Purisima for the Phenix out of Patriot Sport Fishing on Sunday with 11 of the sea bass to 38 pounds being landed in addition to ling cod and rockfish. The Patriot out of the same landing put in limits of rockfish for 19 anglers on Monday with 149 coppers, 16 vermilions, 25 assorted rockfish, and 12 lings to 11 pounds. Out of Morro Bay Landing, the Endeavor and Avenger scored over a ling cod a rod on Sunday with 75 lings to 20 pounds for 63 anglers in addition to rockfish limits consisting of 320 vermilion, 190 assorted rockfish, 40 copper, and 80 Boccaccio. Out of Virg’s Landing in Morro Bay, the Fiesta went on a 3/4-day trip on Monday for 25 limits of rockfish consisting of 160 assorted, 50 vermilion, 30 copper, and 10 Boccaccio along with 6 lings to 9 pounds. Wayne Cherry of Bakersfield landed the jackpot ling. All landings are running a variety of bottom fishing trips from half-day to two-day ventures up the coast. 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.
Bass 3 Striper 3 Sturgeon 2 Catfish 2 Bluegill 2 Salmon 2
Salmon fishing is starting to pick up a bit in the north Delta near Freeport, but the action remains very slow in Suisun Bay with only a handful of salmon landed from the shoreline since the opener. The bulk of the run is yet to come, but once they come and the water temperatures cool, excellent action is anticipated.
The water temperatures remain high with the oppressive heat throughout the Central Valley, but there have been more salmon landed out of Freeport this week than in any week since the opener.
Johnny Tran of New Romeo’s Bait and Tackle in Freeport said, “Salmon fishing is picking up with fish taken every day by boaters trolling Slammer Spinners or jigging Slammer Minnow spoons. There are plenty of stripers around with sardines coated with garlic spray, pile worms, or blood worms in the main Sacramento River, and there are stripers showing up around Liberty Island and the Sacramento Deep Water Channel with live mudsuckers or extra-large minnows. Smallmouth bass are still holding near rocky structure in Steamboat Slough, Miner Slough, and the Old Sacramento River with deep-diving crankbaits or live minnows on a drop-shot rig.”
In the Old Sacramento River, Sylvia Vieira of Vieira’s Riverside Bait near Isleton said, “This was the first weekend that we had as many fishermen out as water skiers, and there were two salmon landed in the river on Saturday, one at the mouth and the other above the Isleton Bridge, both on red Silvertron spinners. These are the first two salmon outside of the main river since the opener so things are looking up.”
Alan Fong, manager of the Fishermen’s Warehouse in Sacramento, was in the north Delta for largemouth bass this week, and the said, “The spraying and pelleting of herbicide continues in the north Delta, and the bass have left with the lack of oxygen. The boats were throwing the pellets out both days that I was out, and you can tell that the water is now off-color. The bass action has slowed, and it has been a waste of time to fish this area since the bass have vacated. We have been experiencing an excellent bite in the north Delta for several weeks, but with the weeds being eradicated by the herbicides, the fishing is very slow.”
Tony Lopez of Benicia Bait said, “The salmon shoreline bite remains slow, but the run is yet to come. There are some big striped bass taken on live bait out of McAvoy’s Boat Harbor in Bay Point, but small stripers have been the rule off of the Benicia shoreline. The jumbo pile worms or grass shrimp have been the top baits. For sturgeon, a friend of mine went out on the anchor near the Yellow Can outside of McAvoy’s, but he didn’t stay long enough for the best part of the tide. If he had waited another hour, he may have had a chance at a diamondback.”
Few sturgeon fishermen are trying, but Captain Mike Funtinilla of Bend Ur Rod Guide Service switched gears from salmon fishing outside of the Golden Gate to take two clients out for a sturgeon trip in Suisun Bay. He said, “I ran a special requested sturgeon trip for four clients, and we ended up with three legal sturgeon, including a few good missed opportunities.”
Striped bass continue to move into the San Joaquin-Delta, and more and more anglers are starting to target the linesides.
For striped bass, Dave Houston of Livermore was out trolling on the San Joaquin River on Thursday, and he said, “Despite the good tides, great weather, and very little grass to foul our lures, we had a hard time finding large stripers. We trolled between the Antioch Bridge and Bethel Island for 12 keepers and 18 shakers to 5 pounds, all caught and released. The key is keeping the lure close to bottom and remembering that it will run almost a foot deeper going with the current.”
Clyde Wands, shallow trolling expert, was out in the wind on early in the week, and he said, “We quit early due to the wind, but we were able to hide inside of False River for around 11 keeper stripers to 7.5 pounds. We had to get out of the wind, and there were only a few boats out there and everyone seemed to have similar action.”
Randy Pringle, the Fishing Instructor, was also out in the wind on early in the week, launching out of B and W Resort on the Mokelumne to make the run towards Sherman Island for striped bass. He said, “We were going to make the run across the Sacramento River, but there were 4-foot rollers out there. We went the back way through the San Joaquin and found largemouth bass on the ima Pinjack crankbait in red/black or chartreuse/brown around the rocks or tules. We also graphed a number of striped bass, and I brought home a limit of perfect fish taco linesides in the 6-pound range. We had an outgoing tide throughout the day, and the stripers were stacked up off of the shelves in the deep cuts in 10 to 25 feet of water, waiting for the bait to come over the top of the shelf. We scored with the Optima Bubba Shad swimbait in white with a chartreuse tail on a ½-ounce jig head along with 2.5-ounce P-Line Laser Minnow spoons. There was a good topwater bite last week with the ima Big Stick, but this went away this week. There were birds flying overhead, and this told me that they were also looking for the bait – perhaps the bait was on the surface earlier in the morning or the previous day.”
Dan Mathisen of Dan’s Delta Outdoors in Oakley said, “With the number of tournaments coming in the fall including the FLW and BassFest in September, we are in for a fun fall for bass fishermen. Right now, with the warm water, the largemouth bass are holding near current and shade, and you have to be in the current to get bit with spinnerbaits or chatterbaits. There are a handful of frog fish, but the bass are focusing on shad. There are bluegill everywhere, and we are selling around 50 boxes of jumbo red worms this week which tells me that the bluegill are being used for striped bass. The striper fishing has been good when the wind is down, and there have been linesides in the 24- to 30-inch range near Brown’s Island on Zara Spooks or Optima’s Bad Bubba Shad swimbait. The bass are starting to focus on the shad, and although there are plenty of small fish, a few 30 inchers have been landed off of the Antioch Fishing Pier when the tides are right. Catfish in the 3- to 5-pound range are found in Holland Cut or the Old River with anchovies, sardines, or cut baits, and it is good to see the whiskerfish rebound.”
Bass 3 White bass 3 Striper 2 Catfish 2 Crappie 2
Lopez produced solid limits during Saturday’s 101 Bass Night Tournament with the winning weight over 20 pounds with the next two places within 3 pounds of the top weight. There is a good largemouth bite in the mornings with poppers, Spooks, or buzzbaits before working subsurface reaction baits by mid-morning followed by hitting the bottom with plastics on the drop-shot or Texas-rig. With the warm water temperatures, the bluegill and red ear perch have dropped in the water column, but they can be found as deep as 25 feet with red worms or meal worms. Crappie are found around structure in the early mornings or late afternoons. A webcam of the lake is available at 805webcams.com/lopez-lake-webcam.
At Nacimiento, bass fishing has been outstanding in the early mornings with topwater lures before dropping to subsurface lures such as underspins or crankbaits. For white bass, the normal lures of white Roostertails or Kastmasters are working when the schools are located. Vertically jigging small spoons are also effective when the white bass have dropped in the water column. The lake continues to release water, and it has dropped to 21 percent. A webcam of the lake is available at www.lakenacimientolive.com.
Santa Margarita is also experiencing a topwater bite for largemouth bass in the early mornings, but the fish drop to 20 feet by mid-morning, leading to plastics on the drop-shot or Texas-rig the best method. Catfishing remains solid with cut baits or stinkbaits in the evenings. There are a few crappie holding in deeper water near structure with minijigs or tube baits. A webcam of the lake is available at 805webcams.com/santa-margarita-lake-webcam-california.
At San Antonio, the lake has dropped to 17 percent, and the Lynch Ramp is getting towards the end of its effectiveness while the Harris Creek Ramp is still operational. Catfish remain the top species with cutbaits or stinkbaits with the best fishing in the evenings. Bass fishing has improved for both smallmouth and largemouth bass with plastics on the drop-shot or Texas-rig along with crankbaits or underspins.
Ocean, Delta and Central Coast lakes
Go to fresnobee.com/fishing for reports
Bass Lunkers Two-Day Tournament: Aug. 11-12 at Delta/Russo’s Marina – 1, Toua Yang/Jerry Yang, 34.82 pounds; 2, Barry Durham/Greg Carr, 30.67 (Big Fish 8.34); 3, Tao Her/Khu Yang/Kong Chang, 30.65.
101 Bass Night Tournament: Aug. 18 at Lopez – 1, Louis and Troy Fernandez, 20.45; 2, Joey Davis/Neal Franklin, 17.44 (Big Fish 6.28); 3, Byron Hallet/George Stamper, 16.43.
Central Valley Kayak Fishing: Aug. 19 at Success (4-fish limits) – 1, Damian Thao, 77.25 inches; 2, Kongo Thao, 75.25; 3, Lee Xiong, 73.50 (Big Fish 21.00)
Aug. 24: Lopez – 101 Bass Night
Aug. 24-25: Pine Flat – Bass 101
Aug. 25: Delta/Russo’s Marina – Best Bass Tournaments, Don Pedro – Marine Reconnaissance Foundation 50/50 tournament, 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
Sept. 8-9: Delta/Russo’s Marina – Bass Fest
Sept. 16: Kaweah – Central Valley Kayak Fishing
Week of Aug. 26 by California Department of Fish and WildlifeFresno County: xxx Kern County: xxx Madera County: xxx Mariposa County: xxx Tulare County: xxxx Tuolumne County: xxx
f = full moon> = peak activity