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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Delta salmon bass and striper action drawing anglers, Alan Fong reported. Shaver still putting out mixed limits, Dick Nichols said. Wishon and Courtright trout hitting, Chuck Crane reported. Eastman bass on tap, and Pine Flat bass active, Dave Hurley said. Isabella crappie bite good, Pete Cormier said.
2-Have to work hard
4-Fish jumpin’ in boat
Delta Mendota Canal
Striper 2 Catfish 2
There hasn’t been much change on either end of the California Aqueduct as the northern section is starting to clear up while the southern section on Kern County is still cluttered with moss and debris. A few boils are starting to form in the northern section from Los Banos to Kettleman City 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 said, “There haven’t been many fishermen out within the past week as the moss is still hanging around. Bait fishing will be best for both catfish and stripers bass with sardines and blood worms are working for striped bass or chicken livers or Triple S dip bait in Blood Formula for the whiskerfish.
Bass 3 Trout 2 Bluegill 2 Catfish 2 Crappie 2
Eastman remains the best bet for big largemouth bass in the southern Central Valley with crankbaits and jigs being the best bets. Deep-diving cranks over the deeper island tops, rockpiles, or submerged islands in the main lake are picking up quality largemouths along with working the submerged brush piles with creature baits. The catfish action remains slow. The lake dropped slightly to 40 percent as water releases have slowed down.
Bass 2 Trout 2 Catfish 2 Bluegill 2 Crappie 2
Not much change at Hensley with small fish the rule off of finesse-style techniques of plastics on the drop-shot or jigs. Catfishing remains very slow. The lake held at 13 percent.
Lake Don Pedro
Bass 2 Trout 2 Kokanee 2 King salmon 1 Crappie 2
Mike Gomez of Berserk Baits said, “The cold fronts have also slowed down the bass bite at Don Pedro with plastics on the drop-shot working best along with Berserk’s brown/purple or Purple Hornet jigs at depths to 45 feet. Although the water temperature hasn’t changed much, the bass have dropped in the water column.” The cold fronts and wind will help out the trout bite as they 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 held at 74 percent.
Bass 3 Trout 2 Crappie 3 Catfish 3 Bluegill 2
Pete Cormier of Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield said, “Crappie fishing at Lake Isabella remains very good with minijigs, small Kastmasters, or live minnows in the shallows. Catfishing is the other good bet with chicken livers, minnows, Triple S dip bait in Blood Formula, or nightcrawlers. Bass fishing has also improved, and fishermen are scoring with deep-diving Norman’s DD 22 cranks in lavender blue.” The Lake Isabella Bass Club event scheduled for this past Sunday was cancelled due to high winds at the lake. The lake dropped to 12 percent. In the upper Kern River, trout fishing remains decent with the planters holding in the deeper pools, and anglers are scoring with salmon eggs, nightcrawlers, and Vibrax spinners. In the lower river, catfish, largemouth and smallmouth bass, carp, and the occasional rainbow trout despite lower flows. The local lakes are limited to bluegill and catfish.
Bass 2 Crappie 2 Trout 2 Catfish 2
The lake held at 6 percent of capacity, but Larry Kerns of the Cen Cal Elite Bass Club said, “It is as low as I have seen in a long, long time. The club tournament is Oct. 21, and there will be competition for the few remaining spots on the lake. I went out on Sunday afternoon, and I found a tough bite for larger fish as we went through a lot of small fish. There is plenty of shad in the lowered pool of water.” In addition to this weekend’s Cen Cal Elite Tournament, the lake will host the River Rat Open Tournament Oct. 20 with signups 5-6 a.m.
Call: Sierra Sporting Goods 592-5212
Bass 2 Trout 2 Catfish 2 Crappie 3 Bluegill 2
Pete Cormier of Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield reported continued good crappie fishing with minijigs or live minnows in the lowered lake. Bass fishing is decent as 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 a.m. The lessons are free and all equipment is provided.
Bass 3 Trout 2 King salmon 0 Kokanee 0 Crappie 2 Catfish 2
The topwater lures that were so effective last weekend on Lake McClure weren’t much use during this past weekend’s Anglers Press bass tournament as the conditions changed with consistent weather fronts moving through northern California combined with high winds over the weekend. 71 teams participated in the final event of the year leading up to next year’s tournament of champions to be held in March.
Mike Gomez of the Bait Barn and Berserk Baits had been on a hot topwater bite with the River2Sea Rover in the early mornings prior to tournament weekend, and he was very optimistic about the possibilities for the tournament, but the weather conditions dashed his optimism. He said, “The cold fronts and wind basically shut down the topwater bite, and although there were four or five teams that landed topwater fish, they ended up culling them as the larger bass were taken on the bottom at depths from 20 to 35 feet with jigs or plastics. Last week, the bass were in the top 10 feet of the surface, but they moved into deep water with the rainstorms and fronts. I was very surprised that they moved deeper since the water temperature only dropped one degree and there were still shad on the surface. However, the shad were out in the middle of the lake instead of along the banks like last week, and I saw large fish busting on the shad. I tried topwater lures on the busting bass, but I found no takers. We ended up in the top 30 with a 9.79-pound limit, and the winning limit was in the 17-pound range taken on a variety of lures. The deep-diving Norman DD-22 crankbait was a top producer with a 10 pounder landed last week while umbrella rigs and jigs were also some of the top baits. The Berserk brown/purple or Purple Hornet jig worked best for us.”
Steve Marquette of the Lake McClure/McSwain Recreation Company reported continued good action for bass with green pumpkin, watermelon, or similar dark colored plastic worms.
The lake dropped slightly to 59 percent.
Lake McSwain was the host of the first of two consecutive weekends featuring a Mother Lode trout derby with the Merced Irrigation District’s annual Fall Trout Derby followed by the Nor-Cal Trout Angler’s Challenge the weekend of Oct. 13 at Lake Pardee.
Steve Marquette of the Lake McClure/Lake McSwain Recreation Company said, “In my opinion, there were more fish caught this weekend than ever before, and there were many big rainbows including two over 8 pounds, a 7-pounder, two over 6 pounds and 20 over 3 pounds. Not all of the fish were this large, but the second grand prize rainbow at $1,000 and the third grand prize of $500 were landed along with six other fishermen splitting the remaining prize pool of $3,200. The shoreline was packed with anglers standing shoulder-to-shoulder with over 400 participants. The fish cleaning station was busy throughout the day, and trout dough bait along with nightcrawlers in the early mornings worked best. Spinners such as Roostertails, Panther Martins, and Mepp’s along with spoons such as silver/blue Kastmasters were working from the banks. One group of 8 fishermen near the marina landed 32 rainbows using Mice Tails while trollers were scoring with Needlefish behind flasher up the river arm.”
Call: McSwain Marina 209-378-2534
San Joaquin River
Bass 3 Striped bass 1 Shad 1 Bluegill 2 Crappie 2
The water level has remained stable, and the spotted bass bite is excellent for a small grade of fish with jigs with a crawdad trailer, green pumpkin Senkos fished on a Texas-rig or weightless or 4- to 5-inch Yamamoto twin-tailed grubs at depths to 20 feet. The shad are schooling up, and shad-patterned plastics such as Hologram Shad or Pro Gold are working on a drop-shot or Ned-rig. Large schools of small bass are still chasing bait on the surface. The main lake is holding more shad while the river arm is better with crawdad-patterned lures. The lake dropped slightly to 53 percent.
Call: Valley Rod & Gun 292-3474
Bass 3 Crappie 2 Catfish 3 Trout 2 Kokanee 2
The Glory Hole Sports Annual Catfish Contest has begun, and Gene Hildebrand of Glory Hole Sports said, “There were several anglers pre-fishing for the contest telling tales of breaking lines while trying to land the big whiskerfish on the lake. Debbie Shaw of Sonora found the bite to be best in the morning, landing a 7-pound 4-ounce catfish at 4:30 a.m. using anchovies scented with Pro Cure’s Bloody Tuna and garlic.
The Catfish Contest currently has 40 contestants with over $1,000 in raffle prizes available with the Big Cat pot currently at $300. The entry period closed Oct. 7 and the contest will continue throughout the month.
For largemouth bass, John Liechty of Xperience Fishing Guide Service said, “As the weather begins to cool, we anxiously await the fall bass fishing. The bite throughout the summer was strong, and we had many great days on the water. The fish will begin to transition into fall-like patterns and begin to feed heavily on shad. As the water temperatures cool, the bass should become very active all throughout the day. The next few months are some of my favorite months to target bass. The fish have been scattered from deep to shallow, and it is best to keep an open mind and cover all depths until you have located some feeding fish. We have been catching many fish on shad and crawdad patterns. Reaction baits are starting to produce many quality bites. Crankbaits, spinnerbaits and small swimbaits can be used to cover water. Slower moving finesse techniques are always a good choice, especially once a school of fish is found. Try using a dropshot to catch suspended bass and a shakeyhead to catch the fish scouring the bottom.”
Hildebrand added, “Shad-patterned swimbaits and fall weather go hand in hand so be prepared. Plastic flukes should also be rigged and ready. Bill Lewellen and I were on Melones this last weekend, hooking up on the bass using jigs and Zoom Ultravibe Speed Worm/Green Pumpkin fishing rocky structure.”
Rainbow trout are few and far between, but there still are quality rainbows taken by trollers with Scott McCarthy of Sonora landing one of these at 50 feet on an ExCel lure without a flasher or dodger.
The lake held at 74 percent.
Pine Flat Reservoir/
Bass 3 Trout 3 Kokanee 0 King salmon 0 Catfish 2 Crappie 2
Spotted bass fishing is best with jigs, deep-diving crankbaits, or flutter spoons in the main lake as the bass are focusing on the shad schools. Spoons in the white with reflective tape or silver are working on a vertical presentation over the shad schools while green pumpkin or watermelon have been the top colors for jigs. The bass have dropped in the water column from 25 to 35 feet, and the majority of shad are in the main lake with the best cut of fish coming deep. 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. Water released slowed this week, and the lake held at 22 percent.
San Luis Reservoir
and O’Neill Forebay
Striper 2 Catfish 2 Bass 2 Crappie 1
San Luis Reservoir was plagued by high winds over the weekend, and as a result, anglers had limited access to the lake via boat. The winds over the coastal mountains through Pacheco Pass are always a concern at this lake, but when boats are able to get on the lake, limits of schoolie stripers have been the rule for trollers.
Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis reports that fishing continues to improve for those throwing shad-patterned rip baits along with Magnum Flukes in the 5- to 7-inch range.
Coyote Bait and Tackle in Morgan Hill reported schoolies to 25 inches have been the rule but a 24-pound lineside was caught and kept at the O’Neill Forebay on a Magnum Fluke. Trollers in the main lake are running P-Line Predator Minnows, Lucky Craft Pointer 128’s, or umbrella rigs deep to 70 feet over Goosehead Point or the Trash Racks. There is a limited window for topwater lures, but there are more boils showing up as the shad are congregating with the cooler water temperatures. Bank fishermen are soaking jumbo minnows from the shorelines along with pile worms, blood worms, or anchovies.
Roger George of Roger’s Guide Service, said that he fished on Thursday, working hard for 12 fish to 24 inches in big waves till they closed the lake at noon. “I fished the next day in better conditions with Marvin and Josh Adams of Elk Grove and we hit a real good pattern early, catching/releasing over 50 quality fish in the 20- to 25-inch range. The fish were moving around to new areas after the storm and we found them in the 50- to 70-foot range on shad color baits . Things are definitely changing very quickly now,” George said. George, who has caught and released numerous striped bass to 32 pounds within the past two months, will be conducting seminars on downrigging, sonar, lures and tips Oct. 20 at the Striperfest at Sportsman’s Warehouse in Fresno.
Travis Porter of Hollister was on the main lake on Saturday, and he said, “I took out my friend Joey Carreiro to the main lake, and although it wasn’t a great day, it wasn’t a bad one as we landed several schoolie stripers.”
In the O’Neill Forebay, Octavio Gonzalez of Morgan Hill threw topwater lures from JKings Lures for a dozen schoolie stripers in the wind.
The main lake rose to 56 percent with increased pumping out of the south Delta.
Bass 2 Trout 2 Kokanee 0
There was optimism for future kokanee action after several years of minimal or null kokanee in the lake with a report by Todd Wittwer of Kokanee.net Guide Service of a pair of 12-inch kokanee landed recently by a troller. The water temperatures continue to cool, and the topwater bite will be coming on along with the swimbait bite. Working the docks with spinnerbaits or chatterbaits are producing bass, but the best action remains on the bottom with finesse-style techniques of plastics on the drop-shot or flipping Senkos or creature baits. 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 held at 79 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 percent, 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
Shaver Lake continues to be the hot location for trophy-sized rainbow trout in the Central Sierras, and the efforts of the Shaver Lake Trophy Trout Project are paying dividends as the kokanee season hangs on with the emergence of second-year salmon. The Trophy Trout Project has raised thousands of dollars from local sources over the past several years with the purpose of planting trophy trout into the lake as well as conducting several education and conservation projects in the region. As a result, Shaver Lake is the rare body of water where fishermen can land a trophy without the fees associated with most lakes planting trophy-sized rainbows.
Dick Nichols of Dick’s Fishing Charters and president of the SLTTP said, “The trout action in the Stevenson Bay and Tunnel Creek areas continues to be productive, and a couple of limits are the norm. However, many of the trout are smaller. It's that time of the year when the planters along with a few trophies gather near the inlets where insects and other aquatic life hang out. Trophy rainbows have been taken a couple times this week in front of Shaver Marina, and second-year kokanee in the 12- to 13-inch range can be found in the same area at 36 to 45 feet down with Mountain Hoochies tipped with corn behind a Mountain Dodger. Edison camp host Craig Davidson, a regular on the lake, picked up 15 kokanee between 13 to 14 inches on Saturday using Mountain Hoochies in pink or orange at 45 feet. Wally and Sharon McEhanny, also Edison Camp hosts, picked up three limits this week using an Apex tipped with corn behind a Mountain Flasher, also in front of the Shaver Marina. The trout in Stevenson Bay and Tunnel Creek are holding in the upper column at depths from the surface to 20 feet, and Trout Busters tipped with a nightcrawler behind a Mountain Flasher have been the top set ups. There are a few 3rd year kokanee left.”
Todd Wittwer of Kokanee.net Guide Service will be ending his season this coming week, but he said, “It has been very surprising that there are still some bright 14-inch female kokanee in the lake. On Monday, we landed four limits of kokanee including three females to 15 inches. These must be late-bloomers as they are full of eggs and still have scales on them. We are finding some pods of kokanee using the orange Rocky Mountain Tackle squid behind the orange Moonshine dodger along with the pink or orange Assassin or Hornet spinners behind Dick’s Ball Trolls. The water temperature has dropped to 64 degrees, and we are even using leadcore at 3 to 4 colors for a smaller grade of kokanee.”
The lake dropped slightly to 86 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
The trout bite remains outstanding for trollers at both high elevation reservoirs on the Kings River watershed with Wishon and Courtright still producing limits. Courtright is starting to fluctuate in elevation, but boats are able to be launched with ease at both lakes.
Chuck Crane of the Wishon Village RV Park and Store said, “It is still limits for trollers at Wishon with the majority of rainbows in the smaller range at 11 to 12 inches with the occasional rainbow up to 16 inches. Blade/’crawler combinations are the top producers at 3 to 4 colors of leadcore or 20 feet on the downrigger throughout the lake. The area around Wood Chuck Creek or in the Narrows to the power house have been the best locations for trollers. Shore fishing is fair with pink, orange, or red trout dough bait and using the variety with metallic sparkles has been best. You have to be patient with the best fishing around the mouth of Short Hair Creek or at the end of the dam.”
At Courtright, Crane said, “The lake is dropping down, but trollers are picking up limits with blade/’crawler combinations or Needlefish or Thomas Buoyants behind a dodger at 20 to 30 feet. Trollers are also picking up their limits, but it is taking a good portion of the day for the boats to limit out. The trout are also small in the 10- to 14-inch range. Shore fishing is slow with the best action on trout dough bait in yellow or red near the campground or on either side of the launch ramps.”
A huge plant of brown trout in the 4- to 5-inch range was released into both lakes, and the small trout are schooling heavily and showing up on electronics.
Call: Wishon RV Park 865-5361
Half Moon Bay
Rockfish 3 Striper 2 Surf perch 3
Captain Tom Mattusch of the Huli Cat out of Half Moon Bay went rockcod fishing off of Pillar Point for limits of rockfish including some bottom-dwellers. At the present time, it is all about rockfish until the Dungeness crab season arrives on November 3rd.
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
Chris Arcoleo of Chris’s Fishing Trips reported high winds made for difficult conditions over the weekend with particularly high gusts on Saturday afternoon. He said, “It was OK in the morning, but it blew hard in the afternoon to 35/40 mph. We were able to scratch out limits of rockfish on the local reefs, but Sunday was very difficult as the sea conditions were rough due to the wind. We had to stay in the bay for ½ limits of rockfish. Previously during the week, we made it down to Point Sur for lights out action for limits of big ling cod along with 6/7 quality vermilion, copper, or canary rockfish per rod. Anglers can’t even close their sacks. We haven’t been able to get any live bait so bars have been working for the big lings and rockfish.”
San Francisco Bay
Salmon 2 Halibut 2 Striper 2 Rockfish 3 Leopard shark 3 Sturgeon 2
The salmon scores have taken a dramatic drop over the past few days with scores around a ½ fish per rod, but with the salmon still coming down from Bodega Bay, it looks like we will get another shot of fish.” Ocean salmon season ends on October 31st.
The weather conditions outside of the Gate kept the boats in the bay over the weekend, and the California Dawn out of Berkeley topped off a spectacular weekend with 41 halibut to 25 pounds for 22 anglers on Sunday after scoring 15 halibut to 12 pounds for 21 anglers on Saturday. Apparently, Captain James Smith got dialed in within a day of drifting inside of the bay.
Keith Fraser of Loch Lomond Bait and Tackle in San Rafael reported high winds over the weekend caused havoc on San Pablo Bay, but his good buddy, Rico, went trolling on the lee side of the big Marin Island for 34 striped bass with none of keeper size. Rico was of course running Loch Lomond worm-tailed jigs. He said, “Halibut fishing is still pretty good, and there was a 24-pound salmon taken earlier this week off of California City after the majority of boats left after the tide was over.” Loch Lomond may have a supply of mud shrimp for freezing for later in the season as early as this Thursday, and they have live grass shrimp, ghost shrimp, pile worms, and bullheads at the present time.
San Luis Obispo
Rockfish 3 Surf perch 3
Limits to near-limits were the story out of the San Luis Obispo County ports on Monday, but the overall ling cod totals are down from previous years. For example, in 2017, Virg’s Landing posted a total of 3,394 ling cod for the season, but as of Monday, a total of 1728 lings have been taken with less than three months left in the season. The big lings should be moving into the shallows in the coming months, and it will be interesting to see if the counts improve. Out of Port San Luis, the Phenix, Flying Fish, and Patriot out of Patriot Sport Fishing scored limits for 36 anglers on Monday with 4 ling cod, 52 vermilion, 21 copper, 63 Bolina, and 221 assorted rockfish. Marc Buckley of Reedley won a jackpot with a 6-pound vermilion. Out of Morro Bay Landing, the Avenger and Endeavor took out 65 anglers for near-limits of rockfish on Monday with 11 lings to 13 pounds to go with 90 vermilion, 10 copper, and 530 assorted rockfish. Out of Virg’s Landing in Morro Bay, the Fiesta and Rita G went out with 46 anglers on Monday for 3 lings to 7.1 pounds along with near-limits of rockfish consisting of 25 vermilion, 281 assorted rockfish, and 12 copper rockfish. Steve Hill of Madera took a jackpot on the Fiesta with the 7.1-pound ling. All landings are running a variety of bottom fishing trips from ½ day to two-day ventures up the coast. Out of Virg’s, the Black Pearl has overnight trips this weekend, October 5/6, October 19/20, and November 16/17 with an open two-day trip on December 28 – 30th.
Bass 3 Striper 3 Sturgeon 2 Catfish 2 Bluegill 2 Salmon 3
High winds arrived with a vengeance on the Sacramento-Delta over the past weekend, and there is plenty of hope for the wind to die down prior to next weekend’s 71st Annual Rio Vista Bass Derby and Festival. Last year’s event was affected by high winds on one day of the event, and this weekend’s 20 to 30 miles per hour gusts are challenging for any event.
Morgan Swisher of the Fresno Bass Club said, “71 kayaks competed against each other on Sunday in the Yak-A-Bass Tournament out of Sugar Barge Marina on Bethel Island, and a strong wind and fast current under tough conditions to try for a 3 fish limit. Only 28 kayaks landed a three-fish limit, and nineteen participants did not bring a fish to the measuring scale.”
The Rio Vista Bass Derby will start with a carnival on Thursday before the fishing starts on Friday morning at 6:00 a.m., concluding Sunday, October 14 at 3:00 p.m. There are target-length categories for striped bass and sturgeon with a big salmon category, and the target lengths will be announced on Friday morning, just prior to 6:00 a.m. A Kid’s Derby for striped bass or catfish is also on tap with a $5.00 entry fee. There are also several family events over the weekend including a pancake breakfast on Saturday morning, fireworks, live music, and a carnival. Information on the West Coast’s oldest fishing derby is available at www:bassfestival.com.
Despite the wind, salmon fishing was solid in the north Delta and the Mokelumne River with two tournaments held out of Wimpy’s Marina on Saturday and Sunday.
The 6th Annual River Rotter Tournament was held out of Wimpy’s on Saturday, and tournament organizer Kevin Jaime of Sacramento reported Jordan Simunich took 1st place with a 23.2-lb. salmon, Mike Dunleavy in 2nd at 22.37 pounds, and Rodney Brown in 3rd at 20.43 pounds. Several sponsors made the event a success with a number of saltwater and Delta guides lending support along with Phenix Rods and Big Red Worm Bait Company.
Captain Joe Gamez of Golden State Sport Fishing took out Glenn Chadaris of Big Red Worm along with Kyle Wise during the tournament, and they landed five salmon to 18.20 pounds. The limit on the Mokelumne River is different than in the Sacramento, Feather, and American Rivers with a bag limit of two daily and four in possession.
The Central Valley Anglers out of Lodi held their annual Salmon Derby on Sunday out of Wimpy’s Marina with 48 entrants, and Fred Nakagawa of Lodi was the top finisher at 17 pounds, 12 ounces with Ted Handel in second at 17 pounds, 8 ounces, and Ed Alvarez in third at 16 pounds, 7 ounces. Handel said, “My second-place fish along with the fourth-place salmon were landed between KoKet’s Resort and Walnut Grove on the Old Sacramento River on Silvertrons with a 2-ounce weight while the majority of fish were landed on the Mokelumne River.”
Captain Stan Koenigsberger of Quetzal Adventures out of Bethel Harbor has been consistently placing his clients onto salmon to 24 pounds in the deep water above the Rio Vista Bridge into the Old Sacramento River with his custom double-bladed spinners in chartreuse.
Sylvia Vieira of Vieira’s Riverside Bait near Isleton said, “The wind gusts over the weekend made for very difficult conditions, but salmon fishing continues to improve from the mouth of the Old Sacramento to Walnut Grove.”
Robert Nash of Stockton landed his first salmon of the season at 15 pounds on a purple/chartreuse Silvertron near the locks at Walnut Grove.
The salmon bite slowed down off of Benicia shorelines over the weekend with only a few salmon taken off of 1st Street. Tony Lopez of Benicia Bait said, “There were days of 12 and 13 fish off of 1st Street earlier this week, but the bite slowed down to a single fish on Saturday with none reported on Sunday. When the school is moving through, the bite is hot. Striped bass fishing has been decent from the shorelines with blood worms, pile worms, or anchovies.”
In spite of the wind, sturgeon six-pack guides are returning to the Delta, and Captain Steve Mitchell of Hook’d Up Sport Fishing out of Pittsburg Marina started his sturgeon ventures on Saturday, October 6, with a bang. He said, “We had four bites and landed three fish at 47 and 55 inches along with a shaker using a combination of salmon roe and eel in Suisun Bay. The grass was a problem in the area around the Mothball Fleet, and we constantly had to clean our lines, but the fish were biting. Sunday’s trip was more difficult due to very high winds, and although we marked plenty of sturgeon at the upper end of the Mothball Fleet near the Horseshoe, the wind wouldn’t let us anchor. We went into the Big Cut to get out of the wind, and there were also sturgeon holding in the area. We ended up with two more slot limit sturgeon along with several missed opportunities for the brand new sturgeon anglers.”
Clyde Wands, shallow trolling expert, continues to find schoolie stripers working P-Line Predator Minnows or Angry Eyes in the Sacramento River near Decker Island when the wind cooperates. He said, “I also hooked and lost two salmon on the Angry Eye with one of the salmon hitting before my partner got his line in the water. This fish ran hard before coming unbuttoned so I went through the same area and hooked another salmon that came off quickly. We didn’t find any large striped bass with 25 inches being the largest fish, but they are coming.”
Alan Fong of the Fishermen’s Warehouse in Sacramento was in the north Delta for striped bass with 7-inch flukes, and he found good action for suspended linesides to 8 pounds in open water. He said, “The stripers are holding on the flats in 10 to 15 feet of water, and the bait fish are moving in. I saw some huge shad which only means that the big stripers will be moving in soon.”
In the San Joaquin, the striped bass bite continues to be solid with linesides found throughout the system, but this past week’s weather has created different conditions for anglers.
Randy Pringle, the Fishing Instructor, will be the tournament director for the 156 boat Best Bass Tournament’s Tournament of Champions this coming weekend on October 13/14, and he said, “The high winds arrived over the past weekend, and the winds do a couple of different things to the Delta. First, it muddies up the water along with cooling it down, and the eradication of weeds has led to the inability for the water to filter itself. The weeds are the filters of the Delta, and without the weed growth, the water takes much longer to clear after a big wind or tide. As a result, the bite is changing, and you have to use products with both scent and vibration. During the summer, the largemouth bass are willing to chase, but right now, you have to keep the bait in the strike zone for largemouth bass. We scored over 40 largemouth bass to 4 pounds using the ima Finesse Popper as the shad schools are forming. These are the smaller shad, and the popper matches the baitfish. It is a matter of casting out and pop, pop, and pause. The shad are running parallel to the shorelines, and the bass are ambushing the shad. The larger bass are holding in cover around solid objects due to the temperature change, and they get tight to trees, logs, or brush. With all of this wind over the weekend, the topwater bite is tough, and you have to go to the bottom with plastics on a Zappu or Texas rig. For stripers, the ima Little Stick in sardine pattern with the saltwater hooks is still very effective, and the larger stripers are found further west as the water isn’t cold enough further up the San Joaquin to draw up the larger stripers. The Optimum Bad Bubba Shad is also an effective swimbait as it also matches the shad schools.”
Dan Mathisen of Dan’s Delta Outdoors in Oakley is also getting ready for their Tournament of Champions out of Russo’s Marina on the weekend of October 20/21, and 25 boats will be vying for a prize total of $10,000. He said, “The wind created tough conditions over the weekend, but the stripers are here and the action is remarkably good. Rat-L-Traps or the Bad Bubba Shad are working for stripers and you can basically ‘pick your poison’ where you want to go. We even had stripers for trollers in Middle Slough before the winds. The water has been clear, but this wind will dirty things up for a while. Salmon continue to be taken from the shorelines at the Antioch Piers on heavy spinners.”
Mike Pipkins of Gotcha Bait in Antioch confirmed the solid striped bass bite with a number of linesides to 26 inches taken off of the Antioch Fishing Pier with fresh shad or live mudsuckers. He said, “Panfishing for red ear perch and bluegill is excellent as we sold a case of meal worms on Sunday, and I have finally got in quality 50 count red worms in the shop.”
The San Joaquin-Delta will be buzzing with bass anglers this coming weekend 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 2
At Nacimiento, the shad schools are starting to congregate due to the cooler water temperatures at all of the coastal lakes. Finesse techniques of plastics on the drop-shot, deep-diving crankbaits, or small spoons are working best as the topwater bite has slowed. The white bass have also dropped in the water column, and small white spoons or Roostertails are working best. Crappie fishing is picking up with some huge slabs to 3 pounds reportedly taken on minijigs or small spoons. 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, currently at 13 percent. 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, there is still a topwater bite with buzzbaits or Pencil Poppers, but there is also a subsurface reaction bite with jerkbaits, spinnerbaits, deep-diving crankbaits before dropping to the bottom with jigs or plastics on the drop-shot or Texas-rig. Bluegill and red ear perch are taken on meal worms. A webcam of the lake is available 805webcams.com/lopez-lake-webcam.
At Santa Margarita, a webcam of the lake is available at 805webcams.com/santa-margarita-lake-webcam-california.
At San Antonio, 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.
Tracy Bass: Sept. 30 at Delta/Tracy Oasis – 1, Larry and Nick Fraser, 15.86 pounds; 2, Phil Tilbury/Aaron Sapp, 14.88; 3, Steve Hunger/Cameron Cardoza, 14.47 (Big Fish 5.77).
Yak-A- Bass: Oct. 6 at Delta/Sugar Barge (3-fish limit) – 1, Robert Matsuura, 53 inches; 2, Dang Xiong, 52.25; 3, Gregg Blanchard, 51.75. Big Fish: Vinny Dau, 22.25.
Sixth annual River Rotter Salmon Tournament: Oct. 6 at Delta/Wimpy’s Marina – 1, Jordan Simunich, 23.2-pound salmon; 2, Mike Dunleavy, 22.37; 3, Rodney Brown, 20.43.
Central Valley Anglers Salmon Derby: Oct. 7 at Delta/Wimpy’s Marina – 1, Fred Nakagawa, 17-12; 2, Ted Handel, 17-8; 3, Ed Alvarez, 16-7.
Cen Cal Elite Bass Tournaments: Oct. 7 at Millerton – 1, Ralph Encizo/Denny Bowlin, 11.08; 2, Tim Wells/Jeff D’Allessandro, 10.01 (Big Fish 3.42); 3, Eddie Hinojosa/John Albidrez, 8.61.
Manteca Bassin’ Buddies: Oct. 6 at New Hogan – 1, Bill Vernon/Brian Muckey, 17.08 (Big Fish 11.29); 2, Bill Martin/Dan Byker, 9.05; 3, Robert and Chris Lee, 9.02.
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. 14 by California Department of Fish and Wildlife
Fresno County: Kings River below Pine Flat Dam
> = peak activity