This 13-pound bass was caught and released on Eastman Lake
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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Wishon and Courtright trout bites producing limits, Chuck Crane said. Stripers flooding into the Delta, Alan Fong reported. Eastman and Pine Flat bass bites steady, Steve Newman said. Don Pedro kokanee bite going well, Monte Smith said. New Melones bass hitting, John Liechty reported. San Francisco salmon bite wavers, but captains optimistic, Trent Slate said.
2-Have to work hard
4-Fish jumpin’ in boat
Delta Mendota Canal
Striper 2 Catfish 2
The northern section of the California Aqueduct has been progressively clearing up, but the overall striped bass action has been slow. In the southern portion of the aqueduct in Kern County, Pete Cormier of Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield said, “One fisherman picked up a solid limit in the 25-inch range with small 3-inch grubs on a small jig head. Anchovies, sardines, blood worms, or lug worms are also working for striped bass or catfish.”
Bass 3 Trout 2 Bluegill 2 Catfish 2 Crappie 2
Steve Newman of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “There are double-digit fish landed each week along with a steady mix of 4- to 6-pound largemouth bass. The big fish are scattered, and despite the heat, there are big fish taken during the afternoon hours on buzzbaits, wakebaits, or big swimbaits. Fishermen going after these fish are more about quality than quantity as the numbers are limited. The larger bass are coming off of shallow flats to eat the big baits. The most consistent action has been on plastics on a Carolina rig or jigs.” There have been few catfish reports.
Eastman held at 41 percent.
Bass 2 Trout 1 Catfish 2 Bluegill 2 Crappie 2
Newman said, “The bass action is tough with only a few fish taken on weightless Senkos, jigs, or Rat-L-Traps. The reaction bite are few and far between as you have to put the bait right in the face of the fish in order to get bit.” Most local fishermen are heading further north to Eastman. The catfish bite has been slow, but there are whiskerfish to be taken off of the banks with cutbaits, stinkbaits, or chicken livers. The lake dropped from 17 to 15 percent.
Lake Don Pedro
Bass 3 Trout 2 Kokanee 3 King salmon 1 Crappie 2
Don Pedro has emerged as the top kokanee lake in the Mother Lode, and this week was no exception with limits being the story. This has been quite a rebound for the lake that only produced a single kokanee during the 2017 Kokanee Power tournament, resulting in a change of location for the tournament for this season. The Marine Reconnaissance Bass Tournament was held over the past weekend, and 29 boats participated in the 2nd annual tournament. The tournament was taken by the team of Phil Davis and Tom Shores with a winning limit at 17.79 pounds including the first big fish at 5.96.
Monte Smith of Gold Country Sport Fishing said, “I was on the lake twice this week, and we ended up with 15 kokanee both days although the quality improved on Tuesday. The fish continue to drop in the water column, and our best action has been between 65 and 75 feet although there are kokanee as deep as 100 feet. Purple was the color on one trip as the purple UV Apex lure kept getting hit while the other lures were slow. I made an adjustment and switched everything over to purple. The kokanee are starting to turn, but the meat is still good. They are absorbing their scales and definitely moving into the spawn mode. We are also picking up rainbow trout with the kokanee gear, and I hope to get a few more weeks out of the lake before switching over to salmon fishing in the Sacramento River around Garcia Bend.”
The Marine Reconnaissance Foundation tournament was operated by the New Jen Bass Tournaments, and the proceeds were split 50/50 for scholarships for the children and spouses of fallen warriors. The spokesman for New Jen said, “It is with great pride for our country and gratitude for those that serve/have served it, that we say, “thank you” for allowing NewJen Bass to be part of this very special day. Also, thank you to this amazing group of anglers for coming out to support the Marine Reconnaissance Foundation.”
The lake dropped from 80 to 79 percent, and the recreational boat traffic has diminished.
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 said, “There is still a decent crappie bite with minijigs or live minnows from the shorelines as the slabs are staging around structure. Catfish are the other possibility with anchovies, frozen shad, chicken livers, or live minnows. The water in the lake has dropped below the Flume, and there are threadfin shad trapped in the waters of the Flume.” Bass fishing continues to be slow with the warm water temperatures and dropping lake levels. The lake has dropped to 18 percent with water releases down the Kern River. The Kern River above the dam continues to be 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. 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, but the carp action has been less popular compared to recent years.
Bass 3 Crappie 2 Trout 1 Catfish 2
26 boats participated in the Cen Cal Elite Bass Club night tournament this past Saturday night, and Larry Kerns of the club said, “You can catch all the bass you want, and they were mostly legal fish in the 2- pound range. We dropped a 5-pound largemouth at the net and ended up in 6th place with over 10 pounds. The winning limit was 15.61 pounds with a 7.51-pound kicker. Plastics on the drop-shot, crankbaits, and spinnerbaits were all working, and the key was to be near one of the few remaining rockpiles on the lake.” The water releases have slowed, but the lake still dropped slightly to 8 percent. Catfish have been taken at night on cut baits or prepared dip baits.
Call: Sierra Sporting Goods 592-5212
Bass 2 Trout 2 Catfish 2 Crappie 2 Bluegill 2
The lake has dropped to 11 percent, and the best bass action is at night with the fish holding around the remaining rockpiles in the lake. 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. 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 10:00 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 water temperature is cooling down, and it is currently around 79 degrees. Mike Gomez of the Bait Barn in Waterford said “It has to get 5 to 10 degrees cooler to get the fish back up into the shallows as the bass are still deep. The top technique has been to work the bottom with the Berserk Purple Hornet or Brown Craw jigs with a Yamamoto twin-tail trailer. Steve Marquette of the Lake McClure – Lake McSwain Recreational Company reported catfishing is best from the shorelines to 20 feet with nightcrawler while bass fishing remains strong with plastics on watermelon patterns. The lake dropped from 71 to 69 percent.
Steve Marquette of the Lake McClure-McSwain Recreation Company said, “Trout trollers found the best action up the river arm as the shoreline bite has slowed with the lack of plants within the past few weeks. The quality of rainbow has been good for trollers pulling Roostertails, silver/blue Kastmasters, or Wedding Rings tipped with a nightcrawlers behind a dodger upriver above the 2nd Fence Line. The water theme park has brought crowds to the lake. The annual Merced Irrigation District’s Fall Trout Derby is scheduled for October 7th, and there will be trout plants prior to the derby.”
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, “Numbers of small spotted bass are the story here with the bass feeding on shad or crawdads. It is a finesse bite with 3- to 4-inch leeches or straight-tailed worms. Pro Gold red flake is a good color pattern along with green pumpkin and anything with a purple or gold flake line. Jigs on a Ned-rig are also a good option, and once you find one fish, there will be more in the area, but you have to hunt around to find them.” Striped bass fishing remains null and void. The lake dropped from 57 to 55 percent.
Call: Valley Rod & Gun 292-3474
Bass 3 Crappie 3 Catfish 2 Trout 2 Kokanee 2
Bass action at New Melones has slowed down a bit with the change in temperatures, but anglers will still find success by slowing down and changing techniques. Trout trolling remains slow, but with the water temperature starting to cool, the action should improve in the coming months. Kokanee are elusive, but they are holding in deep water from 80 to 100 feet along the bottom over submerged humps.
For bass, John Liechty of Xperience Bass Fishing Guide Service said, “The water temperature is 4 degrees cooler, and shad have moved into deeper water. It is still good fishing, but a lot has changed in a week. The bass have moved into deeper water, but the bait is what moves the bass, not necessarily the water temperature. They have repositioned, and finesse techniques are working best. Prior to the cooler weather, there was a topwater bite, but we only had two swirls in over six locations on Saturday morning that have been producing from one to five bass on each location. The fish are not coming to the surface anymore as there is little bait in the top 10 feet. You have to adjust right now, and the ability to adjust makes a good day a better day. We still ended up with 45 bass to 3.5 pounds on Saturday, and every other fish was in the 1- to 2-pound range and not any of the chunky spots or largemouths that we have been finding. I am really excited about the change in the weather and what is to come during the fall.”
Gene Hildebrand of Glory Hole Sports in Angels Camp reported the best trout fishing has been with blue/orange hoochies or rainbow Apex lures tipped with scented corn behind a rainbow dodger while kokanee are taken on orange or green frog hoochies behind an orange-scale dodger. He said, “The Glory Hole Sports Annual Catfish Contest is on the horizon. This year we are holding the contest in the month of October and holding sign-ups starting in September. Catfish are coming out at night, and anglers are soaking cutbaits and hanging a bell on the end of their rod with the coves around Tuttletown or by the dam the top locations. Crappie are on the bite feeding in and around coves, and live minnows, top water baits, and plastic crappie jigs are productive baits to use.”
The lake dropped slightly to 76 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, “Pine Flat came through with a 20-plus pound limit during Friday night’s Bass 101 Open tournament, and the bite has been ‘lights out’ with some good bags weighed in during Saturday’s tournament. There was an 8 pounder along with a high 6 in the winning limit over 20 pounds. These were the first decent fish that we have heard of in some time. Her Xiong from our shop caught and released a 6-pound spot on a jig, and the jigs bite is the best thing going as the bass continue to feed on crawdads. Patterns with brown or orange are working along with green pumpkin. The water in the main lake is clearer, and the shad patterns are working better. The water clarity is stained from Windy Gap up to Sycamore in the river arm, and there are some spots with evidence of the algae bloom. Crankbaits, jigs, and Senkos are working best, and the crankbaits are working best around rocks. The lake continues to drop, and there are rocks out of the water that haven’t been exposed for some time.”
Trout trolling is null and void with the hot weather, and the crappie are few and far between. The lake dropped from 33 to 30 percent this week.
San Luis Reservoir
and O’Neill Forebay
Striper 2 Catfish 2 Bass 2 Crappie 2
The toxic blue-green algae warning from the Department of Water Resources remains, and anglers are advised not to eat fish. The wind has been a limiting factor for striped bass trollers as Travis Porter and K.C. Wilson of Hollister worked hard for a dozen stripers to 22 inches using Lucky Craft or JKings lures around points and over submerged islands. Bank fishermen are heading out with anchovies, flukes, or ripbaits for fair action.
Roger George of Roger George Guide Service said that he fished with Louis Furtado and Gwen Robinson on Thursday and they got 21 fish to 24 inches in some terrible wind conditions.” We got out early as the wind slowed, but it came back up pretty strong and we had to stay in Portaguese Cove for the day. Luckily- after looking for a couple hours we found some active fish that saved the day – using Lucky Crafts at 50 feet About half of the fish were on the smaller side in the frontal weather. The next day I took out Robert Orr of Fresno and the fish were still turned off in the morning but the bite picked up as the day calmed and warmed . We ended up with over 30 fish to over 25 inches by 1 PM -with a much better grade overall . The bite changed by the hour. Lucky Crafts in Ghost minnow at 40 to 50 worked for us. I’ve had to work to find the right pattern and area each day -as it keeps changing. I would rate the bite decent for experienced anglers-with most guys getting a few fish trolling or on minnows . Be careful - the wind comes up fast in the afternoon. ” George said. George will be doing the Sportsmans Warehouse Striperfest on Oct 20th. Pre-registration at Sportsmans Warehouse for the limited seating.
The lake rose to 47 percent due to increased pumping out of the south Delta.
In the O’Neill Forebay, cut baits, blood worms, or pile worms are working best for small, legal striped bass from the normal locations of Check 12 or the Highway 152 Bridge. There is a window for topwater lures at the forebay, and the majority of stripers remain undersized. Most bank fishermen are opting for the main San Luis Reservoir.
Bass 2 Trout 2 Kokanee 0
The Labor Day weekend will be the last recreational boat blow out of the season, and there have been few bass fishermen working the lake during the summer months. The best action for bass is around the docks with deep water access as the bass are moving in and out of the docks. Plastics on the drop-shot or jerkbaits are working best in the early mornings or late afternoons when the boat traffic has ceased. There are few trout fishermen on the lake. 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, 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. 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 2 Trout 2
The kokanee bite which was ‘as good as it gets’ just a week ago, has experienced a slowdown as of this weekend. The final Kokanee Power Derby of the season has traditionally been at Shaver Lake in September, and there have been many years when the bite is challenging at best. This year seemed to be more optimistic than most, and the action may rebound a week after heavy boat traffic is expected over the upcoming Labor Day Holiday weekend.
Dick Nichols of Dick’s Fishing Charters said, “I just spoke with Todd Wittwer of Kokanee.net, and it was a big slowdown for both of us today with only 4 kokanee and no rainbow trout. I have been concerned about the possibility of a slowdown as there has been very heavy fishing pressure in the main river channel where the kokanee are staging. I plan on fishing through the end of September, but the real hot kokanee bite is diminishing. I am taking out a client this coming Tuesday, and he fished last week with me, and we landed 20 kokanee. It may be a very different bite this coming week.”
The kokanee are clearly transitioning to the attempt at spawning by getting a hooked jaw and absorbing their scales. Normally when this occurs, the fish are hugging structure in the deeper parts of the main river channel. The winning fishermen during the past year’s Kokanee Power Derby’s have been able to exploit this phenomenon by plucking the single big fish hugging the bottom.
Todd Wittwer of Kokanee.net Guide Service said, “The schools are moving around, and I was out for a few hours on Sunday, and we landed a few kokanee. The best set ups remain the orange Rocky Mountain Tackle’s Hornet spinner or the orange Double-Glow hoochie behind a 5.5-inch orange Moonshine dodger close to the ball trolls. There has been heavy boat traffic, particularly on Thursdays. I expect good action during the upcoming derby as there are a few good schools around, but you have to find them. We were able to pick up 10 on Saturday with another dozen or so lost. There are some larger fish at 15.25 inches.”
Steve Santoro of Fish Box Charters confirmed the tough bite, saying, “All the anglers I spoke with from Tuesday through Friday said the same thing. A tough bite and only a few fish. Some did better than other if you located a school and worked them. This was very difficult to do with all of the boats working the point and trolling in various directions.”
The lake held at 94 percent.
At Huntington Reservoir, Steve Newman of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “Most trout fishermen are either heading to Shaver, Courtright, or Wishon as the action has slowed down at Huntington. The kokanee should start moving up towards the river channel in their attempt to spawn.”
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
Warm temperatures have driven the rainbows into the deep at both Courtright and Wishon Reservoirs, but trollers working deep with blade/’crawler combinations are scoring limits. Wishon is dropping around a foot per day, but Courtright remains high. The boat launch is still available at Wishon, but with the lake dropping, boaters may wish to contact the Wishon RV Campground and Store for an update.
Chuck Crane of the Wishon Village RV Park and Store said, “Trollers at Wishon are scoring limits of some pretty nice rainbows running blade/’crawler combinations at 4 to 5 colors of leadcore or from 30 to 50 feet on the downrigger. The best areas for trollers have been the far side of the lake around Woodchuck Creek or in front of the headwaters. A few boaters are using trout dough bait in red or orange on a heavy weight and two-foot leader and drifting the bait on the bottom around the headwaters. The lake is dropping around a foot per day, but the trollers are still picking up limits. The shore fishing has been slow with the exception of those nosing into the banks around the headwaters with trout dough bait in red or orange.”
At Courtright, the trout have also gone deep, and Crane said, “We have had lots of limits of rainbows with the occasional brown coming out of the depths from 3 to 5 colors of lead core with blade/’crawler combinations. The best areas are on the far side of the lake across from the launch ramp and also the headwaters. Shore fishing is slow, but a few quality rainbows are also taken by boaters drifting trout dough bait in red or orange on a 2-foot leader. The courtesy dock is back at the launch ramp, and the lake is still nearly filled.”
Call: Wishon RV Park 865-5361
Half Moon Bay
Salmon 2 Rockfish 3 Striper 2
Rockfish regulations changed on August 25th through December 31st 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 November 3rd, and the Huli Cat is the only large party boat running the popular crab/rockfish combinations.
It is all about rockfishing at the present time with second captain Michael Cabanas of the Huli Cat taking a rockfish trip on Sunday. Salmon action remains slow as the Coastside Fishing Club plants have not yet returned to the harbor area. Captain Tom Mattusch will be running the boat up to Bodega Bay for several consecutive days of research trips in and out of the closed zones.
Rockfish 3 Striper 2 Sand dabs 2 Surf perch 3
Chris Arcoleo of Chris’s Fishing Trips reported excellent rockfishing although the new depth restrictions have limited the ling cod action. He said, “Rockfish limits have been a given, and we found quality rockfish at Sur with limits for 16 anglers on the Check Mate along with 12 lings. The Caroline went out with a 4-man charter for limits of both lings and rockfish. Prior to the depth restriction on Aug. 25, ling cod limits were taken the previous three days.” They have room during the current week as interest in rockfishing during the week is slowing down, but the weekends remain filled.
San Francisco Bay
Salmon 3 Halibut 3 Striper 3 Rockfish 3 Leopard shark 3
The salmon bite has ranged from spectacular to slow with Friday being an amazing day with all big fish to Sunday’s slowdown with only a handful of salmon. The big fish have arrived, and Captain Trent Slate of Bite Me Charters out of Loch Lomond put his three clients onto limits of huge salmon with two over 30 pounds.
Captain Zach Medinas of Gatecrasher Fishing Adventures has been working the shallower water closer to the shoreline to avoid the commercial and recreational fleet, and he has found scores ranging from limits of big fish to three fish on Sunday. 16-year old Timmy Phan of San Francisco had the time of his life with Medinas with an estimated 35-pound salmon off of Stinson Beach.
Captain Steve Mitchell of Hook’d Up Sport Fishing out of Berkeley was a highliner on Sunday with four salmon landed out of four bites. He said, “It was pretty slow with a southerly winds, but we intend to get back on them this week with a better bite and a new moon.”
Captain James Smith of the California Dawn went to the Farallons on Sunday for 25 limits of ling cod and rockfish by 11:00 a.m. He said, “It was a phenomenal day, and as fast as you dropped your line in the water, you hooked a fish.”
Saturday was more of the same with 30 limits of lings to 26 pounds and 2/3rd limits of rockfish with an overall grade of lings in the teens.
Inside the bay, there are still halibut to be had, and Captain Steve Mitchell worked the flats around Alcatraz on Saturday for a halibut and a half for five anglers.
Captain Joey Gamez of Golden State Sport Fishing worked the deep water off of Yellow Bluff and Raccoon Straits for some spectacular shark action. They found success with squid, salmon bellies, or shad at depths from 55 to 145 feet. Daniel Leue and Samantha Pruitt from Colusa kept huge shark at an estimated 250 pounds plus and between 150 and 175 pounds. Gamez will be back on the halibut and striped bass this week.
Keith Fraser of Loch Lomond Bait and Tackle in San Rafael said, “It was windy on Sunday with gusts in the 10 to 12 mph range throughout the day. There have been more and more anglers working the top of the tide at California City for salmon, but the largest fish that I know of was only 21 pounds. The California City salmon are normally much larger than this. One group was drifting live anchovies off of Paradise on Saturday for 4 legal halibut to 26 inches, and they released three shakers. There are still a number of shakers in the bay.” Loch Lomond has midshipmen, fresh (read not live) anchovies, live pile worms, grass shrimp, and mudsuckers with the possibility of some Loch Lomond shiners in the near future.
San Luis Obispo
Rockfish 3 Surf perch 3
It was limits all around on Monday for the party boat fleet out of the two San Luis Obispo County ports. Out of Port San Luis, the Phenix out of Patriot Sport Fishing took out 14 anglers for 10 lings to 9 pounds, 5 vermilion, 50 copper, 5 Boccaccio, 5 Bolina, and 65 assorted rockfish. Out of Morro Bay Landing, the Avenger put in 15 limits of rockfish composed of 20 vermilion, 55 assorted rockfish, 40 copper, 30 Bolina, and 5 Boccaccio to go with 2 lings to 8 pounds. Out of Virg’s Landing in Morro Bay, the Fiesta and Black Pearl took out a combined 53 fishermen for 3 ling cod, 43 vermilion, 412 assorted rockfish, 1 cabezon, 30 copper, 20 canary, and 25 Boccaccio. All landings are running a variety of bottom fishing trips from half-day to two-day ventures up the coast. Out of Virg’s, the Black Pearl has open overnight trips on Sept. 21-22, Oct. 5-6, Oct. 19-20 and Nov. 16-17 with an open two-day trip on Dec. 28-30.
Bass 2 Striper 3 Sturgeon 2 Catfish 2 Bluegill 2 Salmon 2
The water temperatures have cooled slightly, and the salmon action is starting to heat up in the northern portions of the Delta. The Benicia shorelines remain a desert, but the area of Suisun Bay will pick up in time. Striped bass are also on the move as the fall run is picking up momentum. Sturgeon are available in Suisun Bay, but the wind over the past few weeks has been a limiting factor.
“The fall run has begun,” said, Johnny Tran of New Romeo’s Bait and Tackle in Freeport. “There are more and more salmon taken every day out of Freeport including big fish at 32 and 26 pounds by those jigging with spoons. Slammer Minnows have been producing, and these fish are chrome as the first batch of salmon have moved through, and we are getting the next wave right out of the ocean. A few are taken on cut plugs or spinners, but the best fishing has been with spoons. There are also stripers in the system, and pile worms, blood worms, or sardines coated with garlic spray are the top baits in the main Sacramento River. In Liberty Island, live mudsuckers or extra-large minnows are effective when the wind is down. Smallmouth bass have slowed down with the cooler water temperatures, but they are still holding near rocky structure in Steamboat or Miner Slough with deep-diving crankbaits, minnows, or plastics on the drop-shot.”
Alan Fong, manager of the Fishermen’s Warehouse in Sacramento, confirmed the improving salmon fishing around Freeport, saying, “There were quite a few taken at Freeport this week as the water temperature has cooled off several degrees. In Liberty Island, the stripers are moving in, and my friend lost a giant on Saturday on a River2Sea Swaver. The fish was rolling, and you can’t allow the line to hit their gill plate as the plate is just like a razor. My technique when they are rolling is to put the reel in free spool.”
In the Old Sacramento River, Sylvia Vieira of Vieira’s Riverside Bait near Isleton said, “We were filled with fishermen over the weekend, and the parking lot was nearly-filled on Sunday with fishing boat trailers for the first time this season. There haven’t been many salmon showing up yet, but trollers are finding striped bass in the river around the Isleton Bridge. The action will improve considerably with the cooler weather.”
In the Benicia area, Tony Lopez of Benicia Bait reported very slow action with very few reports of success for salmon. He said, “The fish are just shooting by us right now and not stopping. There have been some striped bass to 24 inches from the shorelines with grass shrimp, pile worms, or blood worms. We have been getting in plenty of grass shrimp. Sturgeon fishing has been tough with the winds being a limiting factor, but it won’t be long before the regular sturgeon anglers start coming back to the area. Out of Pittsburg, striped bass fishing is good for larger fish with live bait.”
Largemouth bass fishing has been tough over the past few weeks as the water temperatures have cooled a few degrees, requiring a change in technique. The herbicide eradication program continues, and the habitat for largemouth bass is changing with the lack of weeds in normal locations. Striped bass continue to move into the San Joaquin River system, and both trollers and bait fishermen are finding success.
Randy Pringle, the Fishing Instructor, just finished up the Delta-Wine Division as tournament director of Best Bass Tournaments, and he said, “We had 106 boats experiencing a tough bite with the team of Dylan Waldroop and Kevin Mead taking first place at 18.65 pounds. The air temperature dropped 30 degrees, and there weren’t many big fish jumping in the boat. Tim Rodgers took the big fish of the tournament on a drop-shot in 15 feet of water fishing secondary points, and the winning team also scored with either topwater lures or plastics on the drop-shot off of flats with current. You really have to slow down right now, and the Max Scent products on the drop-shot, Texas-rig, or Zappu head are working best. A key is to stay in the strike zone as long as possible and make multiple casts to the same area. Fish the water you believe in, and don’t hesitate to keep casting to the same area. We found an excellent striped bass bite with 2.5-oz. P-Line Laser Minnows or the Optima Bubba Shad with a chartreuse tail on a ½-ounce jig head. The area on the San Joaquin from the mouth of the Mokelumne River west is holding the most stripers as the water is clear unless the wind is blowing.”
Dan Mathisen of Dan’s Delta Outdoors in Oakley said, “The striper bite is decent with plugs at Brown’s Island or with cut baits off of the Antioch Fishing Pier. There have even been a couple of salmon taken off of the Compy’s Pier this week. The stripers are also moving into the south Delta at Discover Bay as the bait is moving around. A 15- to 18-pound sack will win most tournaments right now as a 3-pound average is about as good as it gets. Many fishermen are not adjusting to the conditions as the bass are moving out into deeper water. They have been in the shallows so long that anglers think they are still there. We should have a really good fall season with several upcoming tournaments including the Bass Fest on September 7/8 out of Russo’s Marina along with the FLW.”
For striped bass, Clyde Wands, shallow trolling expert, was out with Dave Houston of Livermore, and they caught and released 20 stripers to 10 pounds with a few in the 7- and 8-pound range. Wands said, “The fish got bigger as the day went on, but we were very restricted as to where we could fish due to the wind. The majority of stripers came outside of Dutch Slough with the larger fish found inside Dutch Slough. The stripers are here, you just have to find them.”
Captain Stan Koenigsberger of Quetzal Adventures put grandfather Art Fichenberg and his grandson Leo onto limits of stripers to 31.5 inches soaking frozen shad in the San Joaquin River on Sunday.
Luther Thompson of H and R Bait in Stockton reported slow action in the Stockton area with the exception of catfish coming out of the Middle River off of Woodbro Road. Stripers to 29 inches have been landed from the shoreline off of Windmill Cove with either frozen shad or live bluegill. There is still no supply of fresh shad at the present time.
Regarding the herbicide spraying, the North Coast Guides Association and the Delta Anglers Coalition will be holding a conference call with individuals responsible for the Submersed Aquatic Vegetation (SAV) Treatments. Spray maps, spray patterns, public awareness, and the herbicide pellets are subjects of discussion.
Bass 3 White bass 2 Striper 2 Catfish 2 Crappie 2
Lopez continues to be the top coastal lake for size with largemouth bass hitting topwater lures such as buzzbaits, poppers, or Zara Spooks in the early mornings or late evenings. After the window for topwater ceases, bass fishermen are switching to subsurface reaction baits such as crankbaits or chatterbaits before finally moving to the bottom with plastics on the drop-shot or Texas-rig at depths from 10 to 20 feet. Crappie are hitting minijigs tipped with dough bait while red ear perch or bluegill are biting waxworms or jumbo red worms. A webcam of the lake is available at 805webcams.com/lopez-lake-webcam.
At Nacimiento, the lake continues to drop, and the ramps at the West Launch and the main marina are closed. Boaters can access the lake via the auxiliary launch ramp by means of a 4X4 vehicle. The mornings are the best time for both spotted and white bass with topwater lures before dropping to subsurface lures such as underspins or crankbaits for the spots. 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 19 percent. A webcam of the lake is available at www.lakenacimientolive.com.
A similar pattern occurs at Santa Margarita with a topwater bite in the early mornings followed by plastics on the drop-shot or Texas-rig by mid-morning. 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. Red ear perch are found near the marina with jumbo red worms or mealworms. A webcam of the lake is available at 805webcams.com/santa-margarita-lake-webcam-california.
At San Antonio, the lake has dropped to 15 percent, but the largemouth and smallmouth bass bite has been much better than at any time during the summer months. The shad are schooling up in the limited pool of water, and shad-patterns of crankbaits or spoons are working for both species. The Lynch Ramp is getting towards the end of its effectiveness while the Harris Creek Ramp is still operational. Catfish are a good option with cutbaits or stinkbaits with the best fishing in the evenings.
Delta/Russo’s Marina: Best Bass Tournaments Delta/Wine Circuit Aug. 24 – 1, Dylan Waldroop/Kevin Mead, 18.65 pounds; 2, Daniel and Matthew Abella, 16.74; 3, Kelly Oward/David Boettger – 15.91.
Kaweah: Cen Cal Elite Bass Tournaments Aug. 24 – 1, David Coy/Jerry Williams, 15.64 (Big Fish 7.51); 2, Ron and Jeremy Pitts, 12.80; 3, Josh Houses/Jr. Demacablin, 13.62.
Don Pedro: Marine Reconnaissance Foundation Aug. 24 – 1, Phil Davis/Tom Shores, 17.79 (Big Fish 5.96); 2, Chris Griffin/Ray Huff, 13.17; 3, David Hemm/Eddie Eagleton, 12.38.
Pine Flat: Bass 101 Open Night Tournament Aug. 24 – 1, Barton/Sexton, 21.89 (Big Fish 8.11); 2, Dusty/Jason, 16.60; 3, Mike/Ralph, 16.54.
Pine Flat: Fresno Bass Club 6-hour tournament Aug. 25 – 1, Bill Kunz, 15.88; 2, Dan Marshall, 10.16 (Big Fish 4.30); 3, Ron Red, 9.47.
Clear Lake: Kayak Bass Fishing Aug. 24-25 (10 fish limit) – 1, Jacob Traba, 181.75 inches; 2, Matthew Bray 172.75; 3, Mike Ensign, 171.25; Big Fish Jim Williams, 23.75.
Sept. 1: Delta/Russo’s Marina – American Bass Association
Sept. 8: Shaver Lake – Kokanee Power Team Tournament, Isabella – Lake Isabella Bass Club
Sept. 8-9: Delta/Russo’s Marina – Bass Fest
Sept. 9: New Hogan – Gold Country Junior Bass Club
Sept. 15: Delta/Tracy Oasis – Tracy Oasis Marina, Delta/Contra Costa County – Orange County Bass Club, Success – Kern County Bass Masters, Nacimiento – 101 Bass, Isabella – American Bass Association
Sept. 15-16: Pine Flat – Cen Cal Elite Bass Tournaments
Sept. 16: Delta/B and W Resort – Fresno Bass Club, Delta/Russo’s Marina – Hook, Line, and Sinker, Delta/Contra Costa County – Orange County Bass Club, Delta/Ladd’s Marina – Merced Bass Club, Pine Flat – Kings River Bass Club, Kaweah – Central Valley Kayak Fishing
Sept. 21: Nacimiento – 101 Bass Night Tournament
Sept. 21-22: Delta/Ladd’s Marina – Sierra Bass Club, New Melones – Sonora Bass Club, Camanche – Tri Valley Bassmasters, Millerton – Bass 101
Sept. 22: Delta/Ladd’s Marina – Kayak Bass Fishing, Delta/Ladd’s Marina – RiverRat Bass Club, Delta/Tracy Oasis – Tracy Oasis Bass Club, Don Pedro – Christian Bass League, McClure – 17/90 Bass Club, Nacimiento – San Luis Obispo Bass Ambushers, San Antonio – Bakersfield Bass Club
Sept. 23: Delta/Russo’s Marina – Don Lee Memorial Scholarship, New Hogan – Riverbank Bass Anglers, Success – Porterville Bass Club
Sept. 27-29: Delta/Russo’s Marina – Forrest L. Wood Cup
Sept. 29: Pine Flat – Golden Empire Bass Club, Nacimiento – 101 Bass
Week of Sept. 2 by California Department of Fish and Wildlife
Fresno County: Courtright Reservoir
q = quarter moon