Hunting Fishing

Fishing report for week of Nov. 28-Dec. 4 | Pine Flat kicking out some big limits

The next Roosevelt High School Bass Fishing Club tournament is Dec. 2 at New Melones.
The next Roosevelt High School Bass Fishing Club tournament is Dec. 2 at New Melones. FRESNO BEE FILE

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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Best bets

Delta stripers and sturgeon active, Mike Pipken said. McSwain trout biting, McClure bass hitting, Steve Marquette reported. Northern Aqueduct pumping out stripers, Pete Cormier said. Eastman bass action good, Pine Flat kicking out some big limits, Steve Newman reported. Don Pedro bass working deeper, John Liechty said.


1-Try dynamite

2-Have to work hard

3-Limits possible

4-Fish jumpin’ in boat


Delta Mendota Canal

and Sloughs

Striper 3 Catfish 2

The northern section of the California Aqueduct has perked up for shore anglers targeting striped bass with Duo Realis jerkbaits or Lucky Craft Pointer 100s or 128s. Shore fishermen are either heading to the O’Neill Forebay or the aqueduct as the stripers have moved out into deeper water in the main lake. In the southern portion of the aqueduct in Kern County, Pete Cormier of Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield said, “The aqueduct is hot with jumbo minnows, tube baits, Gitzits, or topwater lures, and we have been going through the jumbo minnows. Large minnows will also work, and we will be receiving another shipment of jumbos next week.”

Call: Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis 292-3474; Bob’s Bait Bucket 661-833-8657

Eastman Lake

Bass 3 Trout 2 Bluegill 2 Catfish 2 Crappie 2

Steve Newman of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “The bass bite is up and down with some fishermen reporting excellent action while others are struggling. A 7-pound plus limit took first place in a recent club tournament, and this is an indicator of the bite. There is a reaction bite with deep-diving crankbaits or Rat-L-Traps early in the morning but working finesse techniques of plastics on a Texas-rig or creature baits such as Sweet Beavers are best. Green pumpkin, black/blue, or brown are working on the high-profile baits, and the trailer is less important than the jig. The bass are primarily feeding on bluegill with crawdads the secondary bait. There is some balled up algae, causing the water to be stained, but the rains may break up the algae.” The lake continues to hold at 40 percent.

Call: Six Star Tackle Box 673-5688; Eastman Lake 689-3255

Hensley Lake

Bass 2 Trout 2 Catfish 2 Bluegill 2 Crappie 2

Steve Newman of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “Slow-fall Senkos, Neko-rigs, or jigs are all working as the reaction bite remains slow. The bass are holding around rocky structure and putting the bait in their face is key as they are reluctant to chase. There is also anticipation for the coming trout plants leading to a quality swimbait bite. The lake held at 14 percent.

Call: Valley Rod Gun, Clovis 292-3474; Six Star Tackle Box 673-5688; U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Hensley Lake Hidden Dam 673-5151

Lake Don Pedro

Bass 3 Trout 2 Kokanee 2 King salmon 2 Crappie 2

With the arrival of inclement weather, trout trollers are starting to return to Don Pedro. After tremendous springtime trolling action, few trout fishermen have targeted the lake until recently. With the lake poised to turn over with more cold weather, wind, and rain, the trout are moving up in the water column towards the surface.

Monte Smith of Gold Country Sport Fishing said, “I took out a father and son who were visiting from Switzerland, and we found decent action around Big Oak Island and Jenkins Hill at depths from 22 to 35 feet with shad-patterned spoons. Another fisherman reported good action from the dam to the Graveyard with ExCel’s and Humdingers at 50 feet, and this shows me that the trout are spread out. They are in open water right now, and we didn’t mark schools of shad although some of the rainbows were spitting up small shad. The shad schools have either gone deep or are moving into the backs of coves. The water temperature has dropped slightly to 62/63 degrees, and the trout are clearly in transition, but colder water temperatures will push them towards the shorelines. Bass are also in transition, and most of bass fishermen we are seeing on the lake are working deep underwater humps or islands. In addition to the rainbows, we also released a king salmon in the 9- to 10-inch range, and this must be one of the recent plants from the Department of Fish and Wildlife. Once these grow up, Don Pedro will be a viable option for kings again.”

For bass, John Liechty of Xperience Fishing Guide Service was on the lake this week, and he reported good action for both largemouth and spotted bass at 25 to 35 feet with finesse techniques of jigs or plastics in crawdad patterns such as green pumpkin. He said, “We were just concentrating on catching fish, but the bigger bites came in deeper water.” The lake dropped to 68 percent.

Call: Monte Smith 209-581-4734; Gary Vella 209-652-7550

Lake Isabella/

Bakersfield area

Bass 2 Trout 2 Crappie 2 Catfish 3 Bluegill 2

Pete Cormier of Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield said, “Catfishing is the best thing going at Isabella with chicken livers, minnows, Triple S dip bait in Blood Formula, or nightcrawlers, and the crappie seem to have moved out into deeper water.” Buena Vista has been planted with rainbow trout, and the report, but the action is hit or miss. The lake held at 12 percent. In the upper Kern River, the sections of the Kern 4 through 6 continue to be planted regular basis. The local lakes are limited to panfish, bass or catfish, and there is some concern that the trout plants will not occur this year at RiverWalk, Hart Park, Ming, Truxton, and Woollomes.

Call: Bob’s Bait Bucket 661-833-8657; North Fork Marina 760-376-1812

Lake Kaweah

Bass 2 Crappie 2 Trout 2 Catfish 2

The lake remains very low at only 6 percent, and there are only a few rockpiles holding fish as the bait is found around the structure in the lowered pool. Overall, a small grade of bass is available with plastics on the drop-shot, weightless Senkos, or jigs. Finding the shad school is a key in the small pool of water.

Call: Sierra Sporting Goods 592-5212

Lake Success

Bass 3 Trout 2 Catfish 2 Crappie 2 Bluegill 2

Chuck Stokke of The Sequoia Fishing Company in Springville said, “Bass action has been slower as the larger bass have been less active. The smaller grade of bass are still biting on plastics on the drop-shot, Senkos, or jigs.” The lake held at 8 percent. In the Tule River, Stokke said, “The trout bite has been fair with nymphs, but the trout are extremely spooky due to low water conditions, and the brown trout are spawning.” Stokke of the Sequoia Fishing Company 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.

Call: Sequoia Fishing Co. 539-5626,

McClure Reservoir

Bass 3 Trout 2 King salmon 0 Kokanee 0 Crappie 2 Catfish 2

Steve Marquette of the Lake McSwain/McClure Recreation Company reported the finesse bite remains the best for a small grade of spotted bass to 3 pounds at depths from 35 to 45 feet.” Jigs such as Berserk’s Purple Hornet or Sprayed Grass jigs along with Pro Worm’s 124p and 300 are effective as the bass are feeding on a combination of shad or crawdads. The lake held at 55 percent.

McSwain Reservoir

Trout 3

The lake is now stable as the maintenance has been completed, and the lake will remain above 80 percent for the wintertime. Steve Marquette of the Lake McClure/McSwain Recreation Company reported good trout action along the points near the café with salmon eggs, Roostertails in red, nightcrawler/marshmallow combinations, or rainbow trout dough bait. Trout plants are occurring around every other week, and the action is best within the first week of the plants.

Call: McSwain Marina 209-378-2534

Millerton Lake/

San Joaquin River

Bass 2 Striped bass 1 Shad 1 Bluegill 2 Crappie 2

Steve Newman said, “The colder water temperatures have temporarily shut down the spotted bass bite with the best action on the main lake at 20 to 30 feet with plastics on a Ned-rig, a 4-inch straight tail worm on a shakey head, or drop-shotting with a 3.5- to 4-inch leech. Pro Blue, Prism Shad, Green Pumpkin, or light Oxblood are the top color patterns, and the fish want the bait right in their face as they are not chasing. The bass are holding around deeper rockpiles or vertical ledges. A small grade of shad is omnipresent in the lake.” Striped bass continue to be non-existent. The lake rose slightly to 55 percent.

Call: Valley Rod & Gun 292-3474

New Melones


Bass 2 Crappie 2 Catfish 2 Trout 2 Kokanee 2

Bass fishing has been tough for most with the finesse bite taking center stage, but John Liechty of Xperience Fishing Guide Service has been picking up some quality spots and largemouth bass on umbrella rigs, glide baits, or rip baits. However, by far and away, the best fishing has been on the bottom from 35 to 45 feet with jigs or worms in crawdad or shad patterns. This week’s rain should start the gears on the turnover process, but more cold weather, rain, and wind is necessary for this to occur. When the lake turns over, the rainbows will start migrating toward the surface and the shorelines. The lake held at 73 percent.

Call: Glory Hole Sports 209-736-4333; Monte Smith 209-581-4734; John Liechty Xperience Fishing Guide Service 209-743-9932

Pine Flat Reservoir/

Kings River

Bass 3 Trout 2 Kokanee 0 King salmon 0 Catfish 2 Crappie 2

After the team of Gary Wasson and Joe Baeza posted a huge limit over 20 pounds during the recent Clovis Police Foundation tournament at Pine Flat, Wasson went back on the lake to erase any doubt of their accomplishment with a 16-pound limit the following day, only to top this with a 20.78-pound limit the next Saturday. The big limits are the exception as the larger grade of fish are holding in the upper river, but an 8- to 10-pound limit is the rule in the main lake.

Steve Newman of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “The better fish are coming up the river, but there is a ton of bait in the main lake, and the bass are clearly oriented to the bait. Working vertical presentations such as a shakey head, Ned, or Neko-rig in the main lake at 40 to 60 feet has been effective, and many of our anglers are switching over to half-moon weights and bouncing these off of the rockfish. The jig bite is best up the river arm, and the largemouth bass are holding in the warmer water at 30 feet and above primarily eating crawdads while the spots are down deeper chasing the deep shad schools. The better quality largemouths are found in small groups while the spots and largemouth bass from 3.5 pounds and under are found schooled in the same areas. The fish are chasing bait in the river arm as the water levels are low, but the reaction bite has been absent. The key is keeping contact with the bottom as the fish aren’t chasing, but they will eat if you put it in their face. The drop-shot bite has also been virtually non-existent as well.

Newman continues to advise boaters to be particularly careful while running at high speeds near the main lake points or edges as there are unmarked hazards just below the surface. Edison Point is especially potentially dangerous with 6 inches of water over the unmarked hazard.

The lake rose slightly to 26 percent.

Call: Valley Rod & Gun 292-3474; Sequoia Fishing Co. 539-5626

San Luis Reservoir

and O’Neill Forebay

Striper 2 Catfish 2 Bass 2 Crappie 2

Drifting jumbo minnows has been the trick for striped bass at San Luis Reservoir, a clear change after months of solid shore and trolling action. Shore fishing in the main lake has slowed, leading most shore anglers to work the O’Neill Forebay or the California Aqueduct. The forebay is producing mostly undersized striped bass, but there are some huge linesides available as evidenced by the 35-pound striper landed on anchovies by Blong Moua of Fresno on November 23.

Mickey Clements of Coyote Bait and Tackle said, “We have been selling tons of jumbo minnows as most fishermen are drifting minnows at 40 feet near the first cove inside of Portuguese Cove along with around Romero Visitor Center or the Basalt Recreation Area. There hasn’t been much going on around Dinosaur Point from the shorelines. Trollers are also running urigs or Lucky Craft Pointer 128’s at 40 to 60 feet. Our shore fishermen are going to Check 12 in the forebay with pile worms, anchovies, or jumbo minnows.”

Roger George of Roger George Guide Service said that the trolling bite has been tough. “The fish seem to be in small groups and either you’re on them or you’re not. I think that there is a transition going on with the big storms coming through and the full moon this week – which usually make for harder fishing. It should improve soon,” George said.

Steve Newman of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis confirmed the slower shore bite, saying, “Our shore fishermen are going to the aqueduct or the forebay now.”

The lake dropped to 58 percent with increased water releases into the California Aqueduct.

Call: Coyote Bait and Tackle 408-463-0711, Roger George of, 905-2954

High Sierra

Bass Lake

Bass 2 Trout 2 Kokanee 0

Few reports have been coming out of this lake although the water is starting to cool enough to entice bass fishermen to start targeting largemouth and spotted bass with rainbow-trout patterned swimbaits. Finesse techniques remain the best bet with plastics on the dart-head, weightless Senkos, or jigs around the areas holding rock and gravel. 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 lake continues to drop, and it is currently at 55 percent.

Call: Todd Wittwer 288-8100; Mike Beighey 642-3748


Mammoth Pool

Brown trout 2 Trout 2

Snow in the high country slowed down any interest in fishing in the Kaiser Pass region or the difficult to access high country. Check the Caltrans website at or call 800-427-7623 for road conditions.

Call: Vermilion Valley Resort at Edison Lake 259-4000

Shaver Lake/

Huntington Lake

Kokanee 2 Trout 2

The weather turned to winterlike conditions over the past week, and the cold rain and a dash of snow served to keep anglers off of the Central Sierra lakes, including Shaver Lake, over the past week. The combination of a full moon and Thanksgiving Week were also contributing factors to fewer fishermen in the high county.

At Shaver Lake, Dick Nichols of Dick’s Fishing Charters said, “There were only three boats on the lake on Saturday, and they were fishing in the far end of the lake. Prior to the arrival of the storms, the trout bite had slowed with one here or there with Black Rock, the Boy Scout Cove, and Stevenson Bay being the most productive areas from the surface to 20 feet. Trout Buster’s tipped with a nightcrawler behind a Mountain Flasher should be the most effective. Also before the storms, the kokanee bite continued in front of either the Shaver Lake or Sierra Marinas from 30 to 37 feet with pink Mountain Hoochie or Apex lures tipped with corn behind orange/silver Mountain Dodgers. The water temperatures have cooled substantially so the kokanee may have moved up in the water column in response.”

Steve Newman of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “We have had some inquiries about the accessibility of both Wishon and Courtright since the storms, and we have received no information. The ramp at Courtright is steep, and it could be icy so I recommend that fishemen stop at Shaver Lake for the latest information before heading further to these lakes as there has been snow in addition to the rain.”

Boaters check the accessibility of the Sierra Marina launch ramp at

Shaver Lake dropped to 65 percent with Huntington also dropping to 54 percent.

Call: Dick Nichols, Dick’s Fishing Charters 281-6948; Todd Wittwer, 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


Trout 2

The Wishon RV Park and Store closed on October 28, and the dock is currently out of the water. Road conditions may be affected by this week’s storm, and boaters are advised to check road conditions and accessibility before heading up the hill.

At Courtright, snow fell in the high Sierras, and boaters need to check current road conditions before heading to the lake. The launch ramp is steep, and icy conditions will prove to be problematic for launching.

Call: Wishon RV Park 865-5361


Half Moon Bay

Rockfish 3 Striper 2 Surf Perch 2

Limits of Dungeness crab continue to be the story for the few party boats running combinations, and the lack of commercial pressure may be a key to the continued success in the region. Limits of rockfish are also the rule, and there have been some quality ling cod coming over the rails within the past few weeks.

Captain Tom Mattusch of the Huli Cat said, “It was all limits of rockfish and crab on our charters and open load trips over the weekend, and the weather was much nice as the weekend progressed after having to cancel last Friday. We have been able to take 10-crab limits on every trip since the opener, and the commercial pressure has been much less than in past years. I have had to move around and pull a few more pots, but the limits of sport-grade crab continue. In addition to the crab, we are also finding a number of quality ling cod on the reefs south of the harbor although the lings didn’t bite as well over the weekend.” The Huli Cat is the only large party boat out of Half Moon Bay running the combination trips.

Sherry Ingles of Half Moon Bay Sport Fishing said, “Rockfishing on our boats continue to produce limits every day, and there have been some quality fish coming in including a 26-pound ling cod and a 27-pound halibut this week. The Queen of Hearts and Riptide will be working rockfish until December 23rd when we will pull out for maintenance. Crabbing for both recreational and commercial boats continues to be good, and there are commercial fishermen selling live crab off of the docks.”

Captain Dennis Baxter of the New Captain Pete is crabbing commercially during the current season, and he is selling live crab off of the boat on the weekends.

Further north in Pacifica, the pier is crowded over the weekends, and crab action has been fair at best for a few legal Dungeness. There is hope that the winter storms will push the crab into shallower water and closer to the pier.

Call: Captain Dennis Baxter, New Captain Pete 650-576-3844; Captain Tom Mattusch, Huli Cat 650-619-0459

Monterey/Santa Cruz

Rockfish 3 Striper 2 Crab 2

Chris Arcolleo of Chris’s Fishing Trips in Monterey reported continued good rockfishing with the boats limited to local reefs with the rough weather. He said, “The weather was better on Saturday than on Sunday, and we are getting limits of rockfish and up to 3 crab per angler. Sunday’s trips on the Caroline and Check Mate returned with a combined 37 limits of rockfish, 99 crab, and 30 mackerel.” They have room during the week starting on Tuesday.

Call: Chris’ Landing 831-375-5951; Allen Bushnell, Santa Cruz Kayak and Surf Casting 831-251-9732

San Francisco Bay

Halibut 2 Striper 2 Rockfish 3 Leopard shark 3 Sturgeon 2

Mike Aughney of said, “After the big holiday and a bit of rain and wind party boats were back out chasing rockfish and crabs on Saturday. Emeryville had the New Huck Finn and the Sea Wolf out, and they reported a combined 60 limits of both rockfish and lings. They were likely fishing the Marin coast for their rockfish today but when the weather is good captains always opt for the Islands. Captain Don Franklin on the Soleman out of Pier 45 in San Francisco said, “We have been taking limits of crab and some halibut, bass, or rockfish, depending upon the day.”

The improved weather on Sunday allowed the boats to make it to the Farallons with the Happy Hooker scoring 11 ling cod, 174 rockfish, and limits of crab for 29 anglers, and Captain Chris Smith said, “The rockfish bite was a bit slow today.” The California Dawn didn’t have as many concerns with the rockfish bite as they returned with 24 limits of rockfish and crab to go with 11 lings. Sometimes, everybody on the boat wants to target ling cod right from the start instead of putting in their rockfish limits, and this will depress the rockfish count. Seen it happen many times.

Inside the bay, Captain Trent Slate of Bite Me Charters out of Loch Lomond Marina found solid action for 5 striped bass to 10 pounds, a shaker sturgeon, and a huge 52-inch leopard shark. He said, “The bass were all quality, and we had some runs on live bullheads as well as on anchovy chunks. The big leopard shark also ate a bullhead.”

Call: Captain Trent Slate, Bite Me Charters 415-307-8582; Happy Hooker 510-223-5388; Captain Jerad Davis, Salty Lady 415-760-9362; Captain Steve Mitchell 707-655-6736

San Luis Obispo

Rockfish 3 Surf perch 2

Sunday brought out a great ling cod bite for the boats out of Morro Bay Landing with the Endeavor, Avenger, and new vessel Starfire scoring 75 ling cod to a whopping 28 pounds for 79 anglers along with 450 vermilion, 295 assorted rockfish, 5 copper, 40 Boccaccio, and an ocean whitefish. Dan Comer of Fresno won a jackpot on Saturday on the Endeavor with a 16-pound ling. On Monday, the Flying Fish out of Patriot Sport Fishing out of Port San Luis scored 12 limits of rockfish consisting of 10 vermilion, 4 copper, 1 Boccaccio, and 105 assorted rockfish, along with 21 ling cod to 17 pounds. Out of Virg’s Landing in Morro Bay, the Fiesta and Black Pearl took out 45 anglers on Monday for 43 vermilion, 401 assorted rockfish to 7 pounds, and 2 Boccaccio to 6 pounds. All landings are running a variety of bottom fishing trips from ½ day to two-day ventures up the coast. Rockfish season ends on December 31st until April 1, 2019.

Call: Virg’s Landing 800-762-5263; Patriot Sport Fishing 805-595-4100



Bass 2 Striper 3 Sturgeon 3 Catfish 2 Bluegill 3 Crappie 3 Salmon 2

Salmon fishermen have been absent at the season is rapidly winding down from a high point around six weeks ago to a trickle at the end of November. A clear sign is the lack of salmon fishermen along the banks at Benicia as well as few fishermen targeting salmon near Freeport. The water temperatures have dropped into the mid-50’s, ranging from 54 further west to 58 degrees near Rio Vista, and optimum striped bass time is now.

Alan Fong, manager of the Fishermen’s Warehouse in Sacramento, said, “Sherman Island has been the place to be as a friend of mine caught and released a number of big fish on topwater lures along with stripers in the teens with spoons. There are a lot of stripers moving in, and the water temperatures have dropped to around 58 degrees. A big group of stripers is on their way.”

Kris Huff of Stockton continues to throw Delta Wood Bombers around Sherman Island for great success, putting his father, Kevin, onto a 23 pounder that was released along with Kent Simpson on a 16-pound striper on the custom topwater baits. Huff released a 13-pound striper on Saturday has his big fish of the day.

For sturgeon, Captain Steve Mitchell of Hook’d Up Sport Fishing reported a slowdown on action over the weekend despite marking schools of big sturgeon on the bottom. He said, “Everyone pretty much struggled on Saturday as we were only able to release a shaker along with 4 missed bites on the morning tide, but once the tide petered out, it was slow for the remainder of the day throughout the next tide. Sunday was a bit better with a slot-limit sturgeon on the morning tide along with a few shakers, but there are plenty of big fish along the bottom. That’s the puzzling thing, we are all marking big fish on the bottom, but they didn’t want to bite over the weekend. The water temperature has dropped to 54 degrees in Suisun Bay, but this is still within the range when they should be biting.”

Captain Zach Medinas of Gatecrasher Fishing Adventures, also out of Pittsburg, found a bit of success on Saturday’s slow day with a slot-limit sturgeon released on his exclusively catch-and-release sturgeon trips.

Tony Lopez of Benicia Bait and Tackle said, “Not a single salmon fisherman was out at 1st Street on Sunday morning, and everyone has turned their attention to striped bass. We have been working hard to keep up with bullheads as it seems that everyone wants bullheads for stripers right now. There have been a number of bait-stealing Dungeness crab on the area along with some flounder from the shorelines. Hopefully, the fresh water flow will push some of the crab back into San Pablo Bay. Ron Retzlaff of Chico has been down and fishing for several days and catching quality stripers on bullheads.

The rains have been just what we have been waiting for, and the sturgeon and striped bass bite broke out in both river systems.

Randy Pringle, the Fishing Instructor, has been targeting striped bass in the San Joaquin River system, and he said, “Two days before Thanksgiving, we found some stripers on the ima Little Stick in sardine – the saltwater version, but the big fish of the day and the year so far was landed by my client, Scott Dreyer of San Ramon on an Optima Bad Bubba Shad. He cast adjacent to the tules with deep water access, and the line went ‘tick.’ When the fish started running, we thought it was a salmon, but when it surfaced, we knew it was a huge striper. I slid it over the rail, and we took a quick picture before reviving it after a few minutes. My scale goes to 35 pounds, but it kept reading E so I pulled down on the scale as hard as I could and it read 27 pounds so I knew it was working. The fish bottomed out the scale. We only landed 20 stripers this day, including some in the 25-inch to 8-pound range, and although 20 stripers sounds like a good day, we had caught and released from 40 to 60 on previous trips. One big fish makes for a tremendous day, however. This rain will cloud up the water and hopefully bring the temperature down a bit, and the stripers will move further into both river systems in the Delta. For largemouth bass, the cloudier water will also help the bite, and I expect some big fish to be caught over the next few weeks before the water becomes too cold. Right now, you have to work an area that you think is holding fish and cast several times to the same area – even changing the angle of your cast. The fish aren’t going to chase 4 or 5 feet right now, but they will eat if you put it in front of them. Keeping the bait in the strike zone is very important as well as using scent such as Max Scent products.”

Dan Mathisen of Dan’s Delta Outdoors in Oakley was on the river on Saturday, and he said, “I started out in the normal San Joaquin locations of Frank’s Tract and the Old River Flats, but the striped bass weren’t there. We moved over to near Sherman and Browns Island, and we picked up stripers to 12 pounds on the Bad Bubba Shad swimbaits. This is the pattern that I would expect in September when the fish would hold on the western edge as the water isn’t cold enough for the stripers to move further east in big numbers. We did target largemouth bass around Frank’s Tract for around 2 hours, and we put in a 12-pound limit on Rat-L-Traps or ripbaits. The interesting thing is that we didn’t see a pair of birds east of the Antioch Bridge with all the birds west of the bridge so the bait is clearing holding on the western edge.

Mike Pipkens of Gotcha Bait in Antioch said, “Striped bass, bluegill, crappie, and sturgeon are all active, and fishermen were lining the shop for bait over the weekend after the storms past through. We went through 100 pounds of grass shrimp since Friday along with dozen of live mudsuckers. Stripers have been caught around Sherman Island, Big Break, and Bethel Island with mudsuckers or fresh shad. Bluegill and red ear perch are still active, and we went through cases of waxworms over the weekend. Orwood, Discovery Bay, and Russo’s Marina on Bethel Island have been the top spots for panfish, and there have been some huge red ears to 1.5 pounds. Live minnows are picking up crappie in the south Delta, but fishermen are very reluctant to give out their locations for crappie. One thing I do know, we are selling a ton of small minnows so I know the bite is on.”

Call: Randy Pringle 209-543-6260; Captain Mike Gravert, Intimidator Sport Fishing 916-806-3030; Vince Borges, Vince Borges Outdoors 209-918-0828; J.D. Richey, Richey’s Sport Fishing 916-952-1554

Lake Nacimiento/

San Antonio/

Santa Margarita/Lopez

Bass 3 White bass 3 Striper 2 Catfish 2 Crappie 3

At Nacimiento, white and spotted bass are found on reaction baits along with spoons and plastics on various presentations. Crappie continue to be taken on minijigs, but there is a health warning for eating fish from Nacimiento due to excessive levels of mercury. Catfish are found on dip or stink baits. Launching a boat remains viable, but there are a number of hazards just under the surface, requiring boaters to use extreme caution after launching. The lake dropped to 11 percent. The marina remains open for all services with the exception of gasoline. A webcam of the lake is available at At San Antonio, catfish continue to be the top species with the other species remaining slow at best. The whiskerfish are taken on cut baits, Triple S Blood Formula dip bait, or chicken livers. Bass fishing remains slow with a few fish taken on jigs or plastics on the drop-shot. Launching at the Harris Ramp is still a possibility, but the Lynch Ramp remains closed. The lake is at 12 percent. At Lopez, bass fishing remains best with finesse techniques of plastics on the drop-shot or Texas-rig along with jigs at depths from 10 to 20 feet. Bluegill and red ear perch have dropped in the water column, and meal worms, waxworms, or red worms are working on a drop-shot rig to 25 feet, but crappie fishing remains slow. A webcam of the lake is available at At Santa Margarita, numbers of a small grade of bass are possible with plastics on the drop-shot or Texas-rig, weightless Senkos, or reaction baits. The occasional larger bass are found on swimbaits. Catfishing is best with mackerel, anchovies, or chicken livers, and there have been some big cats landed in the past week. Bluegill and red ear perch are found on jumbo red worms or meal worms in deep water. A webcam of the lake is available at

Call: Lake Nacimiento 805-238-1056, ext. 3; Lake San Antonio Marina 805-472-2818; Central Coast Bass 805-466-6557



Downrigging/Striper 101 class: Roger George hosts, 6-8 p.m. Dec. 13 at Sportsmans Warehouse on Friant Road in Fresno. Topics include basic downrigging setups, lure selections, sonar tips, question and answers as well as hands-on experience with the equipment . The class is designed to get you everything you need to get started including maps and handouts. Sportsmans Warehouse will give discounts to class members for downrigging items. Cost of the class is $50 and it’s limited to 25 preregistered students. Details and preregistration: 559-905-2954.

International Sportsmen’s Exposition: Jan. 17-20 at Cal Expo, Sacramento,


Dec. 1: Delta/Russo’s Marina – American Bass Association, Pine Flat – Kerman Bass Club, Nacimiento – American Bass Association

Dec. 2: New Melones – Roosevelt High School Bass Fishing Club, Millerton – American Bass Association

Dec. 8-9: Pine Flat – Sierra Bass Club

Dec. 8: New Melones – Sonora Bass Anglers, McClure – American Bass Association, Nacimiento – California Bass Nation

Dec. 9: Delta – Bass N’ Tubes, McClure – Fresno Bass Club/Modesto Ambassadors, Pine Flat – Kings VIII Bass Club

Dec. 15: McClure – Stanislaus County Employees/Merced Bass Club

Dec. 16: Delta/Russo’s Marina – Hook, Line, and Sinker, New Melones – Riverbank Bass Anglers, Eastman – Central Valley Kayak Fishing

Solunar table








































q = quarter moon