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 hitting, Chuck Crane said. San Francisco salmon rebound, Dave Hurley confirmed. Delta salmon, bass and stripers in full beast mode, Randy Pringle said. Shaver Lake mixed limits still being taken, Dick Nichols reported. San Luis stripers on the uptake, Eastman bass steady, Steve Newman said.
2-Have to work hard
4-Fish jumpin’ in boat
Delta Mendota Canal
Striper 3 Catfish 3
Steve Newman of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “The section of the aqueduct from Los Banos to Kettleman City is clearing up, and there is a reaction bite for striped bass in the 2- to 5- pound range. A few boils are starting to form as the bait is congregating, and jerkbaits are working. Catfish are taken on anchovies or chicken livers.”
In the southern portion of the aqueduct in Kern County, Pete Cormier of Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield reported few anglers are heading out to the aqueduct, but sardines and blood worms are working for striped bass while catfishing remains good with chicken livers or Triple S dip bait in Blood Formula.
Bass 3 Trout 2 Bluegill 2 Catfish 2 Crappie 2
Steve Newman of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “Eastman continues to be solid for quality largemouth bass in the 3- to 5-pound range with jigs or Rat-L-Traps worked over the deeper island tops, rockpiles, or submerged islands in the main lake. The water level has remained stable for the past several weeks, and the bite is back on. Flipping creature baits into the buck brush is also producing quality bass, and the banks are loaded with small buck bass. A key is to use electronics to find the island tops and work with plastics or jigs over the structure. The catfish bite is null and void with few reports.” The lake held at 41 percent as water releases have slowed down.
Bass 2 Trout 2 Catfish 2 Bluegill 2 Crappie 2
Newman said, “Bass fishing hasn’t changed much for the past four months as small fish taken on finesse-style techniques remain the rule. There was a brief flurry of action a few weeks ago, but the flurry proved unsustainable as slow action returned within days. Catfishing remains very slow.” The lake held at 13 percent.
Lake Don Pedro
Bass 2 Trout 2 Kokanee 2 King salmon 1 Crappie 2
Bass fishing continues to be slow, but limits to 19 pounds have been taken on topwater lures such as the Whopper Ploppers or wakebaits. Finding the fish has been the key as after the window for topwater is over, the bass are dropping as deep as 25 to 45 feet with plastics on the drop-shot or shakey head. Rainbow trout fishing will improve as the trout move closer to the surface. Kastmasters, Needlefish, Apex lures, or Cripplures are the top lures as both the rainbows and bass will be located around the forming shad schools in the cooling water. The lake dropped to 74 percent.
Bass 3 Trout 2 Crappie 3 Catfish 3 Bluegill 2
Pete Cormier of Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield reported continued good action for crappie at Lake Isabella with minijigs, small Kastmasters, or live minnows in the shallows. Catfishing remains solid with chicken livers, minnows, Triple S dip bait in Blood Formula, or nightcrawlers. A 21-pound winning limit took the recent American Bass Association event as the bass bite has improved. The lake dropped to 13 percent. In the upper Kern River, a recent trout plant has led to limits of planters taken out of the deeper pools with salmon eggs, nightcrawlers, and Vibrax spinners. In the lower river, catfish along with largemouth and smallmouth bass and the occasional rainbow trout despite lower flows in the 500 cfs. range.
Bass 3 Crappie 2 Trout 2 Catfish 2
The lake held at 6 percent of capacity, and the bass are holding around the shad in the reduced pool of water. Rockpiles or submerged island tops are the best locations to find bass, and there are some fish moving into the shallower water around the rocks or submerged structure. Plastics on the drop-shot or jigs are the best option with the occasional larger fish taken on topwater lures in the shallows early or late. Catfish have been taken at night on cut baits or prepared dip baits. Crappie fishing continues to be slow.
Call: Sierra Sporting Goods 592-5212
Bass 3 Trout 2 Catfish 2 Crappie 3 Bluegill 3
Pete Cormier of Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield reported crappie fishing has been outstanding with over 100 anglers working the banks in the lowered pool of water with minijigs or live minnows. Bass fishing has improved with the fish congregated around the remaining rockpiles and submerged islands in the lowered pool of water at 8 percent. In the Tule River, 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 3 Trout 2 King salmon 0 Kokanee 0 Crappie 2 Catfish 3
Lake McClure will host an Angler’s Press tournament this coming weekend, and the weights will be competitive as the bass bite has been wide open. The lake is dropping around a foot per day, but the bass are holding in the same areas despite the falling water levels.
Mike Gomez of the Bait Barn and Berserk Baits has been pre-fishing the lake every other week for the past month, and he said, “A lot of people have been struggling, but we have found excellent action with a variety of techniques and fishing is ‘off the chain.’” It was windy on Sunday morning, but it got flat, flat calm by mid-morning. I would have liked it the other way around with calm conditions in the morning and a little breeze in the afternoon. We threw the River2Sea Rover in the morning for a number of spotted bass including one just under 5 pounds and several in the 3- to 3.5-pound range. After the topwater bite died for us, we switched over to Berserk’s brown/purple or the Purple Hornet jig for bass in the 1.75 to 3 pounds, and we didn’t go deeper than 40 feet. I tried Pro Worm’s 124p on the drop-shot, but we didn’t find anything over 13 inches. The better came on jigs. The good thing is that the fish are holding in the same areas despite the dropping water as we found them along the same shorelines as four weeks ago. I would have stayed out there until 8:00 p.m. as the bite was this good, but my brother said, ‘It’s time to go,’ by 1:30 p.m. I am looking forward to the tournament next weekend, but there will be a number of teams participating.”
Steve Marquette of the Lake McClure/McSwain Recreation Company said, “Catfishing remains excellent as they are biting all types of baits, and I haven’t seen catfishing this good in years.”
The lake dropped to 60 percent.
Lake McSwain will host the first of the fall’s trout derbies this coming weekend, followed by the Nor-Cal Trout Angler’s Challenge the weekend of October 13th at Lake Pardee.
The 23rd Merced Irrigation Trout Derby at Lake McSwain begins on Oct. 6 at 7 a.m. and runs through noon Oct. 7. Registration for the annual derby closed on Oct. 1, but there are 50 tagged fish to be planted along with the regular plant prior to the derby. Tag No. 51 is worth $2,000, tag No. 52 is worth $1,000, and tag No. 53 will pay $500. The remaining tags from 54 through 100 will share equally in the prize pool. There will also be a $200 prize for the largest trout landed in the derby, and the grand prize tag is worth $500 for those registered in the derby after Oct. 7.
Steve Marquette of the Lake McClure/McSwain Recreation Company said, “There were two large trout at 2 and 2.5 pounds taken from the shoreline near the café this week, one on a nightcrawler and the other on trout dough bait.”
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, “There is a nice, steady bite for spotted bass as the water levels have stabilized at the 4th ramp. There are large schools of shad in the main lake, and working shad-patterned plastics such as Hologram Shad or Pro Gold are working on a drop-shot or Ned-rig at depths from 20 to 25 feet. There is a reaction bite in the mornings and evenings, but the topwater action has been slow. There are schools of small bass chasing bait on the surface, but most fishermen aren’t working the boils due to the size of the bass. In the river arm, crawdad-patterned crankbaits or jigs are more effective with the crawdads moving in the rockpiles. The small sculpin in the 1- to 3- inch range are also starting to get active, and these are a favorite food source for largemouth, spotted, and striped bass.” The lake rose slightly to 54 percent.
Call: Valley Rod & Gun 292-3474
Bass 2 Crappie 2 Catfish 2 Trout 2 Kokanee 1
Better times are on the horizon at New Melones, but bass fishing has slowed down for numbers during the transition from hot days to cooler evening temperatures. Trout trollers welcome the change in temperature as the big rainbows will be coming closer to the surface as the water continues to cool. The smaller rainbows have been absent for the most part, but consistent catches of trophy-sized rainbows were the norm during the summer months.
John Liechty of Xperience Bass Fishing Guide Service said, “It has been a super transition period, and we have caught and released bass over 6 pounds three days in a row, but the numbers have been missing. We have even found my normal areas without fish, and this is not the norm for this lake. The transition period seems to be early this year as this generally occurs around mid-October. The big fish have come on topwater glide baits or jigs at depths from 20 to 35 feet, and the bite is much tougher than we are used to. We have been kind of spoiled throughout the summer, but once the lake stabilizes in temperature and water levels, the bite should become consistent. There are more and more bass moving into the creek channel in the early fall pattern as they are chasing bait into the shallows. The cold water has pushed the shad around, and they are schooling up offshore, bringing the bass with them. I expect the bite to improve in the coming weeks.”
Registration for the Glory Hole Sports Catfish Contest began this week on October 1st, and the contest will last throughout the month. Glory Hole has added a ‘Big Cat Pot,’ and the first 12-pound catfish to the shop wins the pot.
The lake dropped slightly to 74 percent.
Pine Flat Reservoir/
Bass 3 Trout 3 Kokanee 1 King salmon 1 Catfish 2 Crappie 2
Steve Newman of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “The bass bite has rebounded to some degree, but it isn’t as good as several weeks past. The best action has been in the main lake near the dam as the shad schools have accumulated in the main lake. Plastics on the drop-shot or jigs are working best at depths from 20 to 30 feet as the reaction bite continues to be slow. The better fish are found in deeper water, but there are numerous small bass in the 10- to 14-inch range cruising the banks. There are a number of small, aggressive bass, and the shad schools are accumulating around the isolated island tops and rockpiles as the water releases continue. The releases should slow down or stop within a week. In the lower Kings River, trout fishing remains strong with salmon eggs, trout dough bait, or Kastmasters in the transition from the faster water to the eddies.” The lake dropped slightly to 22 percent this week.
San Luis Reservoir
and O’Neill Forebay
Striper 3 Catfish 2 Bass 2 Crappie 2
San Luis Reservoir remains ‘really good’ for striped bass for a variety of fishermen including bank anglers soaking bait, bank anglers tossing Magnum flukes, boaters drifting jumbo minnows, or trollers with umbrella rigs or minnow plugs.
Steve Newman of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “Anglers are soaking baits from the shoreline, and trollers are pulling umbrella rigs or plugs at depths from 40 to 60 feet in the main lake. There have been some topwater boils, and boaters are looking around for the boils and tossing Magnum flukes or large topwater lures like Spooks.”
Mickey Clements at Coyote Bait and Tackle in Morgan Hill confirmed the solid bite, saying, “The schoolies are showing up, and the action is picking up as there are good schools for bank fishermen off of Dinosaur Point. Trollers are working off of the Basalt Recreation Area with Lucky Craft Pointer 128’s, and there are also some boils happening there. One regular customer caught and released an estimated 30-pound striper on a big Spook topwater lure. Drifting jumbo minnows is also working, and we have a supply of jumbo minnows in the shop.”
Roger George of Roger’s Guide Service caught and released his 11th lineside between 12 and 32 pounds since the middle of August, releasing a 36-inch, 16-pound striper. He said, “ Lately, it’s been raining big fish for us-if we can get out in the wind. The last trip was a disaster with heavy winds and rollers. ”
George will be conducting seminars on downrigging, sonar, lures and tips on Oct. 20 at the Striperfest at Sportsman’s Warehouse in Fresno. Signups at store for limited seating.
Travis Porter of Hollister was on the main lake on Saturday, and he said, “We pretty much had the entire lake to ourselves with only three other boats on the water as the wind much scared everyone else off, but it ended up being a good day as the wind wasn’t too bad.”
The main lake rose to 54 percent with increased pumping out of the south Delta.
O’Neill Forebay generally turns on for small striped bass upon the arrival of fall, and it appears that the fall pattern is starting with numerous undersized to barely-legal striped bass showing up with a variety of methods. Although the majority of stripers in the forebay on small, the lake holds the California state-record striped bass at 67 pounds, 8 ounces landed by Hank Ferguson of Soquel in May 1992. The forebay also was reported to be the location for the potential state-record over 70 pounds several years ago, but this fish was never weighed on a certified scale. Recently, Choua Her landed an estimated 35-pound striper off of Check 12, but fish of this magnitude are clearly the exception. The O’Neill Forebay is coming to life near the fall season, and the vegetation provides cover for bait fish which in turns concentrates the baitfish to the area and attracts stripers that migrate in and out of the California Aqueduct system. Trollers have been catching and releasing multiple striped bass to 21 inches using white swimbaits on umbrella rigs, but the majority of linesides are under 18 inches.
Bass 3 Trout 2 Kokanee 0
Bass fishing is solid as the bait is moving up with the cooler water temperatures. The topwater bite has yet to come on, but it will within the next few weeks if the weather continues to cool. There are more fish taken around the docks with spinnerbaits or chatterbaits, but the best bet remains with finesse-style techniques of plastics on the drop-shot or flipping Senkos or creature baits. The bass are starting to push the bait up into the shallows, but the heavy weed growth on the bottom requires a finesse technique in the main lake. The recreational boating has slowed way down after Labor Day. The Sheriff’s boat is still making regular patrols, and with the Sheriff’s Tower out of commission, boaters have to purchase their Motor Fee at Miller’s, Ducey’s, or the Forks. The trout bite will improve as the water cools. The lake continues to release water, and it dropped from 84 to 81 percent.
Brown trout 2 Trout 2
Few reports are coming out of the Kaiser Pass area despite the opening of the deer rifle season. The lakes are dropping with Edison at 50, Mammoth Pool at 25 percent, and Florence at 2 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 3 Trout 3
Rainbow trout are the latest story out of Shaver Lake as the kokanee have gone fully into the spawn mode, but they are still biting. The trout action should continue until the winter storms reach the Central Sierra’s, and trollers continue to flock to the lake.
Dick Nichols of Dick’s Fishing Charters said, “My boat is now out for the season, and although I made a futile attempt at retiring, my part-time work still ended up in 78 trips this season. The lake continues to kick out plenty of mixed limits, and before I took out my boat, I took my wife, Diane, over to the point and dropped down to 36 feet with Mountain Hoochies and Koke Busters tipped with scented corn behind a Mountain Dodger. Within 45 minutes, Diane had released 5 kokanee between 13 and 16 inches. The hosts at the Edison Camp, Wally and Sharon McElhinny of Tollhouse were in the same area, and they picked up two limits of kokanee with an Apex lure behind a Mountain Flasher. The next day, camp host Craig Davidson, trolled between the Shaver Marina and the point for a limit of kokanee and a trophy trout using a Trout Buster behind a Mountain Flasher at 25 feet in depth.”
The trout bite remains strong in the far reaches of the lake at Tunnel Creek, Stevenson Bay, and the Boy Scout Cove as the inlets are providing insects off of the shorelines. Shaver Lake resident Dave Coliver trolled in the Boy Scout Cove this week, catching and releasing two limits of rainbows using a Trout Buster tipped with a piece of nightcrawler behind a Mountain Flasher at 20 feet. The trout are holding in the coves, and the rainbows are feeding heavily on insects as the water levels remain high. The lake is at 87 percent.
At nearby higher elevation Huntington, Steve Newman of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis, fished from the banks off of Rancheria Creek and in the main lake for a number of small rainbows using trout dough bait. He said, “I observed a big brown estimated at 22 inches cruising the shoreline, and there are a number of small 6-inch rainbows in the lake, and the browns target the small rainbows in the shallows.” Huntington has dropped to 81 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
Chuck Crane at the Wishon RV Park and Store said, “Bank fishing has been very good with trout dough bait in yellow or red from the headwaters and also in Short Hair Creek. Mice Tails in the bubble gum pattern are also effective, but the best fishing is taking place by trollers pulling blade/’crawler combinations or Thomas Buoyants behind a dodger on 2- to 3- foot leader at 3 to 5 colors of leadcore. There are still trout in the deep holes in the river arm, and fly fishermen are catching and releasing with dry flies. The lake remains high and launching a boat is easy.” At Courtright, Crane said, “The trout are deep in the main lake, but trollers are scoring limits with blade/’crawler combinations from 4 to 6 colors of leadcore or 40 to 60 feet on the downrigger. Bank fishing is best at the headwater inlets, but there are a number of small rainbows in the 8- to 10-inch range taken on trout dough bait in red or orange.” Launching a boat is easy as the courtesy dock is back in the water, and the water level has been stable around mid-level.
Call: Wishon RV Park 865-5361
Half Moon Bay
Salmon 2 Rockfish 3 Striper 2 Surf perch 2
Rockfishing remains the story out of Half Moon Bay after a brief flurry of salmon occurring in front of the harbor a few weeks back. Since the six-pack Mooch Better returned with 6 limits of salmon with nine of the twelve fish tagged from the Coastside Fishing Club the salmon bite has trickled to a crawl. Rockfishing is excellent for limits of school and bottom-dweller along with the occasional ling cod from the reefs south of the harbor.
Captain Tom Mattusch of the Huli Cat said, “Salmon action has been very slow, but a few commercial boats continue to troll up an occasional salmon outside of the harbor. The area from Pedro Point to Mussel Rock north of the harbor is also yielding the odd fish, but these are clearly the exception. We took out Boy Scout Troop 57 from Palo Alto on on Saturday, and the wind was predicted to be from 10 to 15 knots, but it was relatively calm. Limits of rockfish have been the rule from the local reefs from Martin’s Beach down to San Gregorio. The Dungeness crab season starts on November 3rd, and we are filled out for the first three weekend on the rockfish/crab combination trips, but there is plenty of room during the week.” The Huli Cat is the only large party boat taking the popular crab combination trips.
Out of Half Moon Bay Sport Fishing, rockfish were also the story with the Riptide returning with 25 limits of rockfish by 10:00 a.m. A few boats are making the long run to the Marin coast for salmon as the local waters have not be productive enough for a Half Moon Bay party boat to make a viable effort for salmon.
The campgrounds will be filled on the opening weekend of the recreational Dungeness crab season, and this event has become one of the busiest weekends of the year along the San Mateo County coast, more than matching the salmon opener. Further north in Pacifica, the pier will be packed with crab fishermen on the opening day, and sales of crab snares will rise within the next three weeks.
Rockfish 3 Striper 2 Sand dabs 2 Surf perch 3
Keith Semler of Chris’s Fishing Trip reported 20 limits of rockfish and a ling on Sunday on a private charter on the Caroline with a late start time while the count for Saturday was 21 limits of local rockfish and 11 lings. They are planning to head south to Point Sur on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday with room as the weather is expected to be good. The last trip to Sur produced several large lings including a 40-pounder.
San Francisco Bay
Salmon 3 Halibut 2 Striper 2 Rockfish 3 Leopard shark 3 Sturgeon 2
Party boats continue to follow the pattern of heading outside of the Gate for rockfish or ling cod and eschewing the waters of San Francisco Bay. There are still halibut and leopard sharks in the bay, but ling cod, rockfish, and salmon are a bigger draw right now.
On the salmon front, the New Easy Rider out of Berkeley put in 9 limits of salmon to 22 pounds on Sunday after the boats averaged around a fish per rod the previous day. Limits were common on Sunday with Captain RJ Waldron on the Sundance returning with 6 limits to 16 pounds, former deckhand Captain Jim Holloway of the Pacific Pearl scoring 9 limits to 25 pounds, and the C Gull II coming close to limits with 23 salmon to 25 pounds for 13 anglers.
The California Dawn and the Happy Hooker out of Berkeley ran out to the Farallons on Sunday for a combined 46 limits of rockfish and limits of lings to 18 pounds. The New Huck Finn out of Fish Emeryville had similar action with 25 limits of lings to 25 pounds and limits of rockfish while the Sea Wolf scored 26 limits and 34 lings to 19 pounds.
The Lovely Martha out of San Francisco went up the coast for 30 limits of rockfish and 21 ling cod to 22 pounds on a half-day trip on Sunday.
San Luis Obispo
Rockfish 3 Surf perch 3
Limits of rockfish are the norm out of the San Luis Obispo County ports, but the number of ling cod remain limited. The big lings will be moving into the shallows in the coming months. Out of Port San Luis, the Phenix, Flying Fish, and Patriot out of Patriot Sport Fishing scored limits for 74 anglers on Sunday with 10 ling cod to 9 pounds, 74 vermilion, 5 copper, 7 Boccaccio, 7 canary, 118 Bolina, and 526 assorted rockfish. Mason Farris of Bakersfield won a jackpot with a 9-pound ling. Out of Morro Bay Landing, the Avenger and Endeavor took out 27 anglers for limits of rockfish on Monday with 15 lings to 16 pounds to go with 154 vermilion, 20 copper, 10 Boccaccio and 86 assorted rockfish. Out of Virg’s Landing in Morro Bay, the Fiesta went out with 32 anglers on Monday for 3 lings along with limits of rockfish consisting of 80 vermilion, 199 assorted rockfish, 20 canary, 20 copper, and a 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 overnight trips this weekend, Oct. 5-6, Oct. 19-20 and Nov. 16-17 with an open two-day trip Dec. 28-30.
Bass 3 Striper 3 Sturgeon 2 Catfish 2 Bluegill 2 Salmon 3
Salmon remain the big story in the Sacramento-Delta as the schools of fish are coming in waves. The Benicia shoreline and all points in between are producing bright salmon, and with party boats bringing in limits outside the Golden Gate and off of Bodega Bay, the action doesn’t seem like it will be slowing down anytime soon. Sturgeon guides are gearing up with boats returning to the Delta after spending the summer months in San Francisco Bay. The guides are slowly, but surely, making their way back into the Pittsburg and Martinez areas as sturgeon fever is beginning to spread. Captain Steve Mitchell of Hook’d Up Sport Fishing is returning to Pittsburg for his first sturgeon trip starting Oct. 6 and he is running sturgeon through March 31.
A press release came out this week from the Department of Fish and Wildlife clarifying that the salmon limit on the Sacramento, Feather, and American River is one fish per day with two in possession, but the limit on the Mokelumne River is 2 fish daily with 4 in possession.
The salmon keep coming off of the Benicia shoreline with Benicia Bait reporting an average of 10 to 12 salmon per day off of 1st Street with a few more coming at the State Park. He said, “Everyone is wondering why the State Park isn’t producing like at 1st Street. A 24-inch halibut was landed in the harbor on a Vee-Zee spinner, and striped bass continue to be holding up with blood worms, pile worms, or grass shrimp.”
Kenji Nakagawa of Lodi said, “We fished over the weekend from Rio Vista up to the north Delta, and we had success with fish up to 10-lbs on top water plugs. We saw signs of huge fish on the main river with multiple fish in the 20-to 30-lb. class swirling on our plugs and glide baits. We just couldn’t get any fish to commit. We burned a ton of gas and made hundreds of casts for a few minutes of action. I may focus my efforts out west this coming weekend in favor of some numbers over size.”
In the Rio Vista area, Captain Stan Koenigsberger of Quetzal Adventures out of Bethel Harbor continues to put his clients onto one-fish limits of Sacramento River salmon running his custom spinners in chartreuse from just north of the Rio Vista Bridge in deep water up into the Old Sacramento River past the Isleton Bridge.
In the Old Sacramento River, the numbers of salmon continue as the water is cooling down, and Silvertron spinners have been the top producers.
In the Freeport area, Johnny Tran of New Romeo’s Bait and Tackle said “Salmon fishing is wide open for fish from 5 to 30 pounds with Flying C or Slammer Spinners from the shorelines, jigging with Slammer Minnows, or trolling with Slammer Spinners or Brad’s Cut Plugs behind an 11-inch Pro-Troll dodger. The salmon are thick in the system right now. Striped bass are found around Liberty Island with live mudsuckers or jumbo minnow while sardines coated with garlic spray are also working from the Rio Vista Bridge north into the Sacramento Deep Water Channel and also on the Mokelumne near B and W Resort. Bluegill and red ear perch are coming off of the Delta Loop on jumbo red worms, but most sturgeon remain further west in Suisun Bay in Montezuma Slough or around Chain Island.”
Clyde Wands, shallow trolling expert, went out with three friends this week to find wind limiting them in their trolling location, but they found limits of striped bass to 5 pounds and 2 bonus salmon trolling shallow-running Yozuri Crystal Minnows behind Decker Island and along the West Bank. He said, “The wind and big tides brought out the grass, but once we get rid of the grass in the smaller tides, the action will be very good as the fish are around.”
The 71st Rio Vista Bass Derby and Festival is only a few weeks away on the weekend of Oct. 12-14, and there will be target-length competitions for striped bass and sturgeon with another category for the largest salmon weighed. A Kid’s Derby for striped bass or catfish is als on tap with a $5 entry fee. Information on the West Coast’s oldest fishing derby is available at www:bassfestival.com.
The San Joaquin-Delta has been loaded with striped bass, and the largemouth bass bite has also improved with more and more of the larger variety taken by experienced fishermen.
Randy Pringle, the Fishing Instructor, has been targeting striped bass with the ima Little Stick as well as the larger Big Stick, and he has found spectacular action. Pringle said, “The regular Little Stick hooks are designed for largemouth bass, but ima has come out with a saltwater version in sardine, and we just destroyed the stripers this week with over 50 linesides to 8 pounds. There were so many stripers on topwater that we didn’t even go to spooning as the fish were on the sand bars. I couldn’t find any birds so we pulled up to an area that I have fished before, and I saw a swirl on the surface. We started fan casting, and we didn’t put down our rods for some time. The Optimum Bad Bubba Shad swimbait with a chartreuse tail is working in dinghy water while the platinum is the best color pattern in clear water. The Delta is getting clear, but there are still some areas of dirty water. For largemouth bass, I switch over to the 1-ounce Roadrunner with a curly tail in dirty water and knock it around on structure. The Little Stick in Toucan or Sexy Minnow is also effective for largemouth bass.”
Clyde Wands, shallow trolling expert, found decent action in the wind this week from the mouth of the Old River to the Antioch Bridge with deep-diving P-Line Predators or Yozuri Crystal Minnows.
The FLW Costa Delta Series opened up on Thursday, September 27th, and the first day leader was Jerred Jennings of Stockton with 22.11-pounds including a big fish at 7-lbs., 9-ounces. Johnson used several techniques including topwater lures and buzzbaits along with punching the weeds with creature baits. Anglers have been searching for floating mats of hydrilla, but the mats are scarce with the heavy pesticide spraying over the past several months. The first day ended with Gregory Troughton of Discover Bay in second place at 22 pounds, 7 ounces, but he came through with a second day limit at 24 pounds, 14 ounces near Little Mandeville Island despite high winds in the 15 to 20 mile per hour range. Troughton scored with a Yamamoto Flappin Hog in green pumpkin on a 1.5-ounce River2Sea tungsten weight while punching the ‘cheese’ on the first two day of the event, but the wind created a challenge for day three, and he switched over to chatterbaits and poppers for final limit of 12-pounds, 13-ounces for a three-day total of 60 pounds, 2 ounces. Bobby Barrack, longtime Antioch-area angler who has recently moved to Maud, Texas, came in second at 53 pounds, 7 ounces while another local fisherman, Bass Master Elite angler Ish Monroe of Hughson was third with 52 pounds, 15 ounces.
The San Joaquin-Delta will be buzzing with bass anglers on the weekend of Oct. 13-14 with the Best Bass Tournament of Champions with over 150 teams launching out of Russo’s Marina on Bethel Island.
Bass 3 White bass 2 Striper 2 Catfish 2 Crappie 3
At Nacimiento, the water releases have slowed down, and the lake is holding at 14 percent. Boats can still launch at the auxiliary ramp. However, boaters have to take caution on the lake as there are both marked and unmarked hazards due to the lowered pool of water. Sotted bass are the top species, but the reaction bite has slowed down. Finesse techniques of plastics on the drop-shot or jigs are working best. White bass have scattered out and the action has been slow. Crappie are congregating around structure, and minijigs or fluttering spoons are working for the slabs. The marina remains open for all services with the exception of gasoline. A webcam of the lake is available at www.lakenacimientolive.com.
At Lopez, largemouth bass action remains consistent with subsurface reaction lures, but there is also a good bite with finesse techniques on the bottom. Bluegill and red ear perch are taken on meal worms. A webcam of the lake is available at 805webcams.com/lopez-lake-webcam.
At Santa Margarita, bass fishermen are working the bottom with plastics on the drop-shot or jigs for largemouth bass to 4 pounds. Catfish are taken on stinkbaits while red ear perch and bluegill are biting mealworms. A webcam of the lake is available at 805webcams.com/santa-margarita-lake-webcam-california.
At San Antonio, the water releases have slowed down, and the lake is holding at 13 percent. The launch ramp at Harris Creek is adequate in the low water conditions, but the Lynch Ramp remains closed. Boaters are advised to be cautious when launching with the hidden sand bar in front of the ramp. The water temperatures remain in the mid 70s, and catfishing is good with cutbaits or stinkbait while bass fishing is getting better as the shad schools are forming. No reports of striped bass, but with the lowered pool of water and the congregating shad schools, the stripers should be more accessible.
American Bass Association: Sept. 15 at Isabella – 1, Randy McAbee Jr./Mason McAbee, 21.38 pounds; 2, Brett and Brian Jordan, 18.78 (Big Fish 6.16); 3, Mark Abler/Ray Gauerke, 17.20.
Golden Empire Bass Club: Sept. 29 at Pine Flat – 1, Tom and Heath Johnson, 10.48; 2, Mike Merlo/Duane Dalke, 8.42 (Big Fish 2.39); 3, Rick and Mike Gohr, 8.02.
Forrest L. Wood Delta Costa Series: Sept. 27-29 at Delta/Russo’s Marina (15-fish limits) – 1, Gregory Troughton, 60 pounds 2 ounces; 2, Bobby Barrack 53-7; 3, Ishama Monroe, 52-15.
Oct. 6-7: Lake McSwain – Merced Irrigation Trout Derby
Oct. 6: Delta/B and W Resort – Sonora Bass Anglers, Delta/Russo’s Marina – Yak-A-Bass, New Hogan – Manteca Bassin’ Buddies, McClure – Angler’s Press, Isabella – Lake Isabella Bass Club, Santa Margarita – Kern County Bassmasters
Oct. 7: Delta/Ladd’s Marina – Modesto Ambassadors, Don Pedro – Poe Man’s, Millerton – Cen Cal Elite Bass Tournaments
Oct. 12-14: Delta/Rio Vista – 71st Annual Rio Vista Bass Tournament and Festival
Oct. 13-14: Delta/Russo’s Marina – Best Bass Tournaments- Tournament of Champions, Nacimiento – San Luis Obispo County Bass Ambushers TOC
Oct. 13: Camanche – Riverbank Bass Anglers, New Melones – Christian Bass League, McClure – Bakersfield Bass Club/Tri Valley Bass Masters, Pine Flat – Kerman Bass Club, Kaweah – Golden Empire Bass Club, Nacimiento – Cen Cal Elite Bass Tournaments
Oct. 14: Eastman – Kings VIII Bass Club, Hensley – Central Valley Kayak Fishing, Success – Porterville Bass Club
Oct. 20-21: Delta/B and W Resort – Fresno Bass Club TOC, Delta/Russo’s Marina – Dan’s Delta Outdoors TOC, Delta/Tracy Oasis- Tracy Oasis Marina
Oct. 20: New Melones – Stanislaus County Employees, McClure – Sierra Bass Club/Merced Bass Club, Kaweah – RiverRats Bass Club
Oct. 21: Lake Camanche – Lodi High Bass Team, Kaweah – Cen Cal Elite Bass Tournaments
Oct. 27: McClure – American Bass Association, Success – Porterville Bass Club
Oct. 28: Delta/Russo’s Marina – Hook, Line, and Sinker
Week of Oct. 7 by California Department of Fish and Wildlife
Kern County: Kern River sections 4 and 5
Tulare County: Kern River sections 5 and 6
n = new moon > = peak activity