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. Have a photo of a recent catch to share? Email it to email@example.com with “fish photo” in the subject line.
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Eastman and Millerton bass bites going, Merritt Gilbert said. Southern Aqueduct striper action good, Pete Cormier reported . Pine Flat bass continue hitting, Dave Hurley said. McClure bass on a “ wide open bite,” Ryan Cook reported. Shaver Lake Kokanee still producing limits, Dick Nichols said.
2-Have to work hard
4-Fish jumpin’ in boat
Delta Mendota Canal and Sloughs
Stripers – 3 Catfish -2
Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis reported good action for striped bass around Los Banos with Duo Realis jerkbaits, Lucky Craft Pointer 128’s in Ghost Minnow, or Magnum Flukes in Smoking Shad. In the southern portion of the aqueduct in Kern County, Pete Cormier of Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield said, “Striped bass action in the aqueduct has been a big item in our area, and minnows are working for the linesides, at least the larger ones. Jumbo minnows, blood worms, or sardines are also working along with Gitzit or jerkbaits.”
Bass 3 Trout 2 Bluegill 2 Catfish 2 Crappie 2
Kayak fishing interest has increased exponentially in the past few years, and the Central Valley is home to a large kayak following with tournaments hosted by Central Valley Kayak Fishing. Their next tournament is coming to Eastman Reservoir on Sunday, December 16 at the Cordiniz Recreation Area, and in addition to the kayak tournament, the organizers are hosting a canned food drive for the Fresno Rescue Mission. For every five unopened cans of food, a raffle ticket for one of four different prize packages will be distributed. The more canned food donated, the more tickets you will receive.
These tournaments are limited to 40 kayaks, and there were only a few spots left as of press time with a $25.00 entry fee with both a big fish option and a small limit option for $5.00.
Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “There have been a number of kayakers on the lake preparing for the tournament, and the word is that you have to know the lake as well as use your electronics. Her Xiong from our shop was out, and he found 9 to 10 bass to 2.5 pounds working the bottom with jigs or plastics on a Ned-rig.”
Mark Inman of Lefty’s Lures, home of the Puff Ball jig, was on the lake on Sunday, and he planned on working isolated structure at depths from 20 to 60 feet with his jigs in various color patterns.
Plastics on the drop-shot were also effective for those preparing for the upcoming tournament, and the water temperature is still in the 58 to 59-degree range, around 4 to 5 degrees warmer than normal at this time of year. The reaction bite remains slow overall, but swimbaits in rainbow trout or bluegill patterns will work by using a slow-roll on the bottom for the occasional larger grade of largemouth bass. Bouncing the rocks with Rat-L-Traps or crankbaits are another possibility. The lake held at 41 percent.
Bass 2 Trout 2 Catfish 2 Bluegill 2 Crappie 2
The lake continues to receive minimal pressure as most anglers continue to head to Eastman for the larger grade of fish. Plastics on the drop-shot or jigs on a slow presentation are picking up a small grade of largemouth bass to 2 pounds. The lake rose to 16 percent.
Lake Don Pedro
Bass 2 Trout 2 Kokanee 2 King salmon 1 Crappie 2
Sunday was a different day at Don Pedro as the solid trout bite slowed down considerably while the bass bite was also a grind in deeper water.
Monte Smith of Gold Country Sport Fishing said, “We hammered the rainbows earlier in the week with over 40 trout in two days, but the bite slowed down on Sunday with a fish here and a fish there. There were birds diving everywhere, but we didn’t find much bait in open water on the main lake. I have been trolling shad-patterned spoons on leadcore line, and the pressure change along with cold weather may have led to a slower bite. I wasn’t out on Friday, but I received reports of success from other trollers. We struggled to pick up our fish, and there were a number of short strikes where the trout would hit and let it go without sticking. We have also been catching up to three spotted bass on every trip, and we finally had a bass on the line at the end of the day on Sunday. The rainbows we are landing are in very good shape.”
For largemouth and spotted bass, Ryan Cook of Ryan Cook’s Guide Service was also on the lake on Sunday, and he said, “We started out in the shallows along main lake points and rockpiles in the early morning for a few hours before heading out to deep lake points from 60 to 85 feet. Dragging 4.5-inch Robo Worms or 3-inch Reapers on a dart head or drop-shot along with 1-ounce jigs are working best for us for numbers. I also didn’t see much bait on the meter on Sunday as I have been targeting bass around bait for the past several weeks. The lake is loaded with small 3.5- to 4-inch shad, and we have scored well over 100 bass on recent trips. We caught and released around 20 bass to 2.5 pounds on our half-day trip on Sunday. The reaction bite remains slow, and I normally don’t work reaction baits until March. The Mother Lode lakes seem to be three weeks behind where we should be as the water temperatures are in the 59/60-degree range at Pedro where they should be 56 degrees. The fact that it was the coldest day of the year may have been a factor in Sunday’s slower action.”
Don Pedro rose slightly to 70 percent.
Lake Isabella/<QL>Bakersfield area
Bass 2 Trout 2 Crappie 2 Catfish 2 Bluegill 2
Pete Cormier of Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield said, “There haven’t been many fishermen heading up to Lake Isabella so we haven’t received many reported. I imagine that the catfish are biting around areas with moving water with chicken livers, minnows, Triple S dip bait in Blood Formula, or nightcrawlers. The crappie seem to have moved out into deeper water.” The lake held at 12 percent. Lake Ming is the only local lake scheduled for trout plants, and the lake will receive a total of 1000 pounds of 2 fish per pound this winter. Hart Park, River Walk, Truxtun, and Woollomes lakes do not have annual allotments. Buena Vista has been the local location for planted rainbow trout, and the action is hit or miss, depending upon when the fish are released into the lake. The concessionaires at Buena Vista are planting every other week. In the upper Kern River, the sections of the Kern 4 through 6 continue to be planted regular basis, and Cormier reported improved fishing for trout in both the upper and lower river.
Bass 2 Crappie 2 Trout 2 Catfish 2
The lake has risen to 9 percent, and there are several tournaments scheduled for the lake early in 2019 starting with the Cen Cal Elite Bass Tournament on New Year’s Day. Bass fishing is improving as the baitfish are schooling up with the colder water temperatures, and they can be found in the deepest portions of the lake 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
Bass 2 Trout 2 Catfish 2 Crappie 2 Bluegill 2
Similar to nearby Kaweah, Success also rose to 11 percent with the recent storms, and the colder water temperatures have slowed down the bass bite. Plastics on the drop-shot, Senkos, or jigs continue to work best around the shad schools in deep water. Chuck Stokke of the Sequoia Fishing Company 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 2
Ryan Cook of Ryan Cook’s Fishing reported a wide-open bite for numbers from the shallows to 80 feet in depth with jigs. He said, “You can go up there and catch 40 bass without any problem, and we put in 50 fish during Saturday’s American Bass Association tournament while searching for a larger grade.” The spotted bass bite has been wide open with half-ounce jigs at depths from the shallows to 80 feet. The grade of bass does not seem to differ at the different depths, and even novice fishermen can score up to 40 fish with plastics or jigs. 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 dropped to 55 percent.
Call: Ryan Cook – Ryan Cook’s Guide Service- 691-7008
The last trout plant was on November 30, and trout plants will be occurring around two times per month. Steve Marquette of the Lake McClure/McSwain Recreation Company reported good action for those throwing Roostertails in green or brown from the peninsula near the Marina or with rainbow trout dough bait or nightcrawlers in the normal locations of the Brush Pile or Handicapped Docks.
Call: McSwain Marina 209 378-2534
Millerton Lake/San Joaquin River
Bass-3 Striped Bass-1 Shad-1 Bluegill-2 Crappie-2
Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “The spotted bass bite is holding up with limits in the 8- to 10-pound possible with the best action in the river arm. The majority of fish are in the river arm above Finegold, and 6-inch Zoom Trick Worms on a wacky rig at depths from 15 to 30 feet has been the best bet. The reaction bite remains slow as the water temperatures remains several degrees warmer than normal.” Pro Blue, Pro Gold, green pumpkin/purple, green pumpkin/green, or sculpin patterns are the top plastics as the bass are holding around deeper rockpiles or vertical ledges. Striped bass continue to be non-existent. The lake held at 57 percent.
Call: Valley Rod & Gun 292-3474
New Melones Reservoir/Tulloch
Bass 2 Crappie 2 Catfish 2 Trout 2 Kokanee 1
The bass bite is getting ready to take off of for the larger grade of spotted and largemouth bass that the lake is known for, and bigger baits are producing quality bass, although the numbers are limited.
John Liechty of Xperience Fishing Guide Service has been working the lake on a frequent basis, and he said, “There are some good days to be had right now, and I wish I was out during Sunday’s overcast conditions to throw big glidebaits or Huddleston swimbaits. I was out with my partner on Saturday during our Sonora Bass Anglers tournament, and we targeted big fish with jointed glide baits or rainbow trout patterned Huddlestons. The bright conditions on Saturday made for a much tougher bite for us with the big baits, but I did land a 4.5-pound spotted bass. Earlier in the week, I released largemouth bass at 7 and 9 pounds on the bigger baits. When you throw these baits, you will not get many bites, and the conditions are twice as good on overcast days for this type of fish. The majority of bass are found on the bottom with plastics on the drop-shot or shakey head, and the quality of fish improves with the shakey head. I like to throw the big baits all day long, but when I am with clients, I will switch over to smaller swimbaits or glide baits to entice more strikes. Where the fish are depends upon the day, and there are a lot of fish on the bottom from 30 to 40 feet as they are starting to move up. Using a long leader is essential is reaching the suspended fish. The best times of the year are coming up, and once we have some rain, wind, and inclement weather, the reaction bite should start to improve. Every year the months of January and February bring out the big spots and largemouth bass.” The lake held at 74 percent.
Pine Flat Reservoir/Kings River
Bass 3 Trout 2 Kokanee 0 King salmon 0 Catfish 2 Crappie 2
The best cut of spotted and largemouth bass remains up the river arm above Trimmer, and jigs are the top lure for quality bass. Limits in the 8- to 10-pound range are possible with jigs, plastics on a Texas-rig, or umbrella rigs in the river arm. In the main lake, vertical presentations with ice jigs or spoons are working for a smaller grade of spotted bass as the spots are targeting the abundant shad schools. The largemouth bass are holding from 20 feet to the surface with spots found deeper for the most part. The lake rose slightly to 29 percent. In the lower Kings, weekly trout plants have made for a consistent bite with nightcrawlers, salmon eggs, or trout dough bait near flowing water close to boulders or rocks for rainbows to 16 inches.
San Luis Reservoir and O’Neill Forebay
Striper 2 Catfish 2 Bass 2 Crappie 2
The shad boils have once again started to form, and plug casters are finding good action for school-sized stripers with topwater lures, Super Flukes, or jerkbaits. The trolling action has slowed a bit, but the schools are forming in deep water as the temperatures continues to drop. Drifting jumbo minnows along with live or dead shad is another option for success in the big lake.
Roger George of Roger’s Guide Service said that he scouted last Friday with Marco Vuicich of Fresno and they had to work hard to find active fish. “The early topwater bite is a day to day thing right now although we got 4 decent fish on topwater baits. We ended the day with 20 fish to 24 inches as we worked several techniques trying to find the key. On Monday I went back out scouting alone for an upcoming trip and I had to work like crazy again- but managed to release 19 fish to 23 inches on reaction baits. The fish were pretty lockjawed most of the day until I found some active biting pods of fish. Some groups are biting and others need dynamite to go. You have to be patient and keep looking right now. The overall bite isn’t that great or consistent-it’s a day to day thing right now. The boil bite is sporadic and not nearly wide open yet. ” George said.
George’s class on Downrigging 101 for San Luis striped bass scheduled for Thursday, December 13 at the Fresno Sportsmen’s Warehouse will be rescheduled for late January due to a scheduling conflict.
Coyote Bait and Tackle in Morgan Hill confirmed the topwater bite with Super Flukes, Poppers, or ripbaits for stripers to 35 inches for those working the shad boils while trollers are working Rapala jerkbaits or umbrella rigs at varying depths. Jumbo minnows or live or dead shad are also working for those drifting bait near the bottom.
Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “The O’Neill Forebay has been very good for numbers of stripers with ripbaits, and one of our customers reported catching and releasing 30 linesides.” Coyote Bait reported shad boils are also occurring in the forebay, and anglers are tossing walking baits or jerkbaits into the boils. Bait fishing with anchovies, blood worms, or pile worms are also working for primarily undersized stripers.
The lake rose to 63 percent due to increased pumping out of the south Delta.
Bass 2 Trout 2 Kokanee 0
The lake has dropped to 50 percent, and the public launch ramp is all but unusable for larger boats. Small aluminums or hand-carried boats are able to access the lake through the public launch, but the lake should be rising once the bulk of the winter storms arrive. The water is still 4- to 5-degrees warmer than normal, and the bass bite is slow for a few small spotted or largemouth bass on plastics or jigs on a slow presentation. Trout to 13 inches are possible for trollers flat lining on the surface in the early mornings.
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 http://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
Shaver Lake/Huntington Lake
Kokanee 3 Trout 2
Shaver Lake remains the only viable option over 5000 feet in elevation in the central Sierras, and the improved weather at the end of the past week brought out more boats. The recent storms have dumped snow in the high country, and the access to Wishon and Courtright is limited as the gate at Dinkey Creek is closed.
Dick Nichols of Dick’s Fishing Charters visits the lake on a regular basis to provide regular reports, and he said, “The weather was better at the week’s end, and more boats hit the lake. I contacted Dan Weaver of Clovis and Jeff Crask of Fresno at the Sierra launch ramp on Saturday, and they reported a 34-degree start in the early morning. Both are experienced trollers, and they worked at depths from 20 to 40 feet in front of the dam for 2 limits of kokanee using hoochies or Wedding Rings tipped with scented corn. They said the trout bite was totally off, but they were primarily targeting kokanee. Another experienced angler, Kurt Walton, took out his sons, Braydon and Brody, along with their friend, Shane Call of Clovis, for three limits of kokanee on Saturday morning at depths from 20 to 40 feet near the Sierra Marina and the dam with Sierra Gold lures in orange, blue, or chartreuse manufactured by Kurt’s father, Terry Walton. For those interested in the kokanee spawn, there are hundreds of spawning kokanee swimming on the Sierra Marina boat ramp. Both launch ramps are still in the water. One more thing, I noticed that the 3rd-year kokanee landed near the end of September were slightly off-color, and even the fish Craig Davidson, Edison Camp host landed in October were slightly off-color, but the kokanee that we landed in August of the previous year were a mixture of deep red and apricot. The 3rd-year kokanee now are very much alive in the gravel near the Sierra Marina, and this probably represents a spawning ground.”
With the recent snow storms, there has been minimal interest in higher elevation Huntington Lake, and the gate at Dinkey Creek is closed to Wishon and Courtright.
Boaters have to be aware of the launch conditions, and a webcam of the Sierra Marina launch ramp is available at http://www.sierramarina.com/camera.html. The lake receded to 63 percent.
Road conditions to both lakes should be affected by the recent winter storms, and the gate at Dinkey Creek may be closed, eliminating access to both Wishon and Courtright.
Call: Wishon RV Park 865-5361
Half Moon Bay
Rockfish 3 Striper 2 Crab 3
Consistent limits of Dungeness crab remain the rule out of Half Moon Bay, and it appears that the crab limits will continue throughout the remainder of the rockfishing season which ends on December 31st. Big ling cod continue to be found on the reefs south of the harbor when the swells are cooperative.
Captain Tom Mattusch of the Huli Cat said, “Second captain Michael Cabanas ran south to San Gregorio for limits of rockfish before heading out to the Separation Zone for limits of Dungeness crab on Thursday. Previously, we took a group to San Gregorio of 14 lings to 21 pounds for 9 anglers along with limits of rockfish and crab. Dave Belkin of Mountain View landed the big ling on a bar along with a 6-pound vermilion.” The Huli Cat is the only large party boat out of Half Moon Bay running the combination trips. The diminished pressure from the large commercial crabbing operations has led to solid crabbing since the November 3rd opener, and there is optimism that the crab counts will hold up until the end of the rockfish season on New Year’s Eve. The majority of Dungeness crab are sport-grade.
The six-pack Ankeny Street was back on the water on Saturday for 17 limits of rockfish including two cabezon and 16 ling cod to 15 pounds working south of the harbor off of the Ritz-Carleton Hotel.
Out of Half Moon Bay Sport Fishing, limits of rockfish remain the rule along with decent ling cod counts when the swells are down. They plan on running rockfish/ling cod trips until the final day of the season.
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 far less crowded during the week, and those with snags are finding some decent crab counts. The weekends are much more crowded as there are fishermen stretched along the entire length of the pier.
Rockfish 3 Striper 2 Crab 3
The rockfish beat goes on with the Check Mate out of Chris’s Fishing in Monterey put in 22 limits of rockfish and 88 crab on Sunday with the Caroline posting 18 limits of rockfish, 3 lings, and 60 crab for 18 anglers on Sunday’s trips. The combination trips are averaging anywhere from 3 to 4 crab per angler.
San Francisco Bay
Halibut 2 Striper 2 Rockfish 3 Leopard shark 3 Sturgeon 2 Crabs 3
Mike Aughney of USAfishing.com said, “The weather has been calm the past few days and party boats continue to report easy limits of crabs and great rockfishing at the Islands. On Sunday, the Emeryville Sport Center had the usual five suspects out today with a total of 149 customers. The five boats, the Huck Finn, Salty Lady, Pacific Pearl, Sea Wolf and Tigerfish reported 1490 rockfish, 54 lings to 14 pounds and full limits or 1490 Dungeness crabs. The weather was calm with a light east breeze along the beach over a 4 to 5-foot swell. Limits look to continue to be the rule so long as the weather permits. The Emeryville Sport Center has room all this week and will add trips as interest allows. We expect that we will see the same results in the next few weeks as the rockfish season winds down and closes on December 31st.”
The Happy Hooker and California Dawn out of Berkeley Marina went to the Farallon Islands on Sunday for a combined 39 limits of rockfish and crab along with 15 ling cod on the Happy Hooker.
Inside the bay, Captain Trent Slate of Bite Me Charters had an afternoon charter on Thursday for sturgeon and striped bass, and he went out by himself for a few hours before their 12:00 noon departure. Fishing solo, he released a shaker sturgeon, 3 keeper bass, and a few big leopard sharks before putting his clients onto two legal sturgeon near the Corregidor in San Pablo Bay. He said, “The last of the sturgeon came on the outgoing tide just before we had to get off of the bay at dusk. My action in the morning came on the incoming tide, and the water in the bay is muddy. Frozen mud shrimp, grass shrimp, and shad were our baits today.” On Sunday, Slate took out a group of three fathers with their six-year old sons, and they found solid action on the anchor for four legal striped bass along with a plethora of leopard sharks and bat rays.
Keith Fraser of Loch Lomond Bait and Tackle in San Rafael said, “The fresh water has not been sufficient as of yet to move out the sharks and rays, but they haven’t been too bad for those sitting on the anchor. At the McNear’s Pier, Anthony Hampton reported the small bait-stealing Dungeness crab are not present when the current is moving, but once the tide slows down, the crab come out. Next week’s tides are really good for sturgeon fishing in San Pablo Bay with the long outgoing tide on the way.”
San Luis Obispo
The ling cod were back on the chomp after the swell backed off, and the Fiesta out of Virg’s Landing put in 52 lings to 25 pounds on a full day trip on Sunday as part of combined limits of rockfish with the Rita G for 40 anglers. Together, the two boats returned with 173 vermilion, 152 assorted, and 75 coppers to go with a 6.3-pound jackpot ling on the Rita G by Dakotah Garrett of Visalia. Not to be outdone, the Endeavor and newcomer Starfire out of Morro Bay Landing posted 52 limits of rockfish on Sunday to go with 48 ling cod to 10 pounds. The boats came back with 370 vermilion, 110 assorted rockfish, 10 copper, and 20 Boccaccio. Further south out of Patriot Sport Fishing at Port San Luis, the Patriot, Flying Fish, and Phenix combined for 89 vermilion, 64 copper, 62 Bolina, 122 assorted, 3 cabezon, and a Boccaccio to go with 12 ling cod to 10 pounds. Cuauhtemoc Lupercio of Visalia took the jackpot on the Patriot with an 8-pound ling cod. 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.
Bass 3 Striper 2 Sturgeon 2 Catfish 2 Bluegill 2
The arrival of colder water from the upstream sources after the first significant rain of the season hit the Sacramento River watershed. The water temperature in Suisun Bay has dropped to 51 degrees, and the colder water has made both species more lethargic. It generally takes a period of adjustment for a few days before the sturgeon start to bite once again after the initial cold spell.
In the north Delta, Alan Fong, manager of the Fishermen’s Warehouse in Sacramento, said, “I targeted stripers with ripbaits and umbrella rigs and landed linesides to 8 pounds. The stripers aren’t in Liberty Island in numbers yet, but they should be coming. The striper bite in the main river near Sherman Island slowed down this week as the water has become off-color, and many of the stripers ran north to the clearer water in the Port of Sacramento. There are a ton of stripers in the port right now.”
The sturgeon bite has been good for some, and Captain Zach Medinas of Gatecrasher Fishing Adventures continues to put his clients onto multiple slot-limit sturgeon on his exclusive catch-and-release trips with cured salmon roe. He said, “We released 4 slot-limit sturgeon on Sunday and another five on Saturday as we averaged around 5 slot fish per trip. I have been working in deep water to 70 feet on the outgoing tide before coming in to 40 to 45 feet on the incoming tide. The weak outgoing tide over the weekend produced few sturgeon, and they started to bite when the tide turned around to the incoming. We did find a bunch of sturgeon stacked up in deep water at 68 feet.”
Steve Mitchell of Hook’d Up Sport Fishing out of Pittsburg wasn’t out over the weekend, but he said, “The bite really slowed down for sturgeon as the water turned colder with 51 degrees on the surface. One of my friends caught and released 6 slot size sturgeon on Friday in the ‘Creek’ above the Mothball Fleet, but when he went back there on Saturday, he only was able to catch striped bass. I told him that the sturgeon do not hold in the Creek as they use this area as a migrating route.” Mitchell will be back out this week, and he is curing salmon roe for this trips.
Dan Mathisen of Dan’s Delta Outdoors in Oakley reported a few good striped bass are coming off of Sherman Island and inside of Sherman Lake with Rat-L-Traps. He said, “The water clarity is not too bad, and the fishermen are keying on the water coming off of the island.”
Mike Pipkins of Gotcha Bait in Antioch reported that one of his employees landed three legal sturgeon and a limit of striped bass off of the bank at Sherman Island.
The Three-Mile Slough Bridge on Highway 160 is currently closed in the open position, making it impossible for a tall vessel to make it under the bridge.
Conditions on the San Joaquin-Delta are changing due to fresh water inflow from the recent storms. The series of storms have turned the water dinghy, and the striped bass are on the move in the eastern parts of the Delta.
Randy Pringle, the Fishing Instructor, was out on Thursday out of Ladd’s Marina in Stockton, and he said, “The largemouth bass were eating fine, but it was important to work the outside weed line with current. The weeds have to be folding over slightly from the current, but not too far over. We were scoring black bass with the ima saltwater ripbait – the SW Gyodo along with the ima Flit 120 in American Shad or Olive Herring. The striped bass bite on the San Joaquin River around Ladd’s wasn’t like it was before the storms as we marked fish, but they were in deep water and not on the flats. We ended up with around 10 stripers, jumping around between the flats, shelves, and breaks. One interesting observation was that there was little bait, and the birds were absent. The bait might have either moved south or into the interior. We picked up some swimbait fish on the Optimum Bad Bubba Shad, but the topwater bite was absent along with the spoon bite. The water was dinghy with some color, and chartreuse lures worked best in the off-color water. We went as far north as Prisoner’s Point, and the dredger is setting up to work the area. You have to stay on the east side of the channel since the escort boats and the floating dredge line takes up the west side.”
Dan Mathisen of Dan’s Delta Outdoors in Oakley said, “We have heard of a number of striped bass in the San Joaquin system, but they aren’t holding in Frank’s Tract as there isn’t enough bait around to keep them there for very long.”
Mike Pipkins of Gotcha Bait in Antioch said, “The panfish bite has really slowed down as the water has turned cold, but there are still plenty of stripers in Broad Slough, Big Break, and around West Island for those drifting live mudsuckers or sitting on the anchor with fresh shad. Sturgeon fishing has been good around Buoy 31 all the way east to Decker Island. There have been a number of fishermen drifting jumbo minnows for striped bass, and we went through 70 dozen minnows over the weekend.”
The colder water may bring an end to the fresh shad in area bait shops, and H and R Bait in Stockton said, “This week may be our last for fresh shad. Tracy Marina continues to be the best location in the south Delta for big stripers with a legitimate 48-inch striper landed on shad. After this week, the fresh shad supply will be spotty.”
Call: Randy Pringle 209 543-6260; Captain Steve Mitchell – Hook’d Up Sport Fishing – 707 655-6736; 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 2 Striper 2 Catfish 2 Crappie 2
At Nacimiento, there hasn’t been much change in the past few weeks with the spotted bass holding at various depths with the most willing biters from the shallows to 20 feet with small plastics on the drop-shot or split-shot. A few anglers are working light spoons to 5/8th ounces in deeper water. The white bass are hard to locate. The lake is now at 11 percent of capacity. The low water conditions have led to both marked and unmarked hazards just under the water levels. Boaters have to use extreme caution when running. The marina remains open for all services with the exception of gasoline. A webcam of the lake is available at http://www.lakenacimientolive.com/. At San Antonio, the lake rose slightly to 13 percent, and there is minimal interest in fishing with the low water and overall slow bass action. Catfishing remains the best bet with a variety of baits including cutbaits, Triple S Blood Formula dip bait, or chicken livers. Bass fishing remains extremely slow with the occasional fish taken on plastics on the Texas-rig or drop-shot. Launching at the Harris Ramp is still a possibility, but the Lynch Ramp remains closed. Lopez is the highlight for bass action on the coast despite colder water temperatures, and the best action is found at depths from the banks to 25 feet with worms on the drop-shot or working small ice jigs or spoons. The colder water temperatures have slowed down the panfish bite, but there are still red ear perch and bluegill taken on the regular offerings of mealworms, red worms, or small nightcrawlers. Crappie are taken intermittently on minijigs around structure. A webcam of the lake is available at http://805webcams.com/lopez-lake-webcam/. At Santa Margarita, the largemouth bass bite is consistent with the fish moving into deeper water with the temperature drop. A finesse presentation is necessary for success with plastics on the Texas-rig, drop-shot, or jigs, and the vertical jigging bite with spoons or ice jigs are also producing bass. Catfishing is best in the areas with inflow as the moving water is bringing in a food source. Cutbaits such as anchovies or mackerel are working best for the whiskerfish. A webcam of the lake is available at http://805webcams.com/santa-margarita-lake-webcam-california/.
Reminder: consuming white bass, black bass, crappie, catfish, or carp are subject to safe eating guidelines due to excessive mercury.
There is a calendar of coastal lake tournaments available at http://www.my.calendars.net/cctsched/d01/01/2012?display=M&style=B&positioning=Ahttp://www.my.calendars.net/cctsched/d01/01/2012?display=M&style=B&positioning=Ahttp://www.my.calendars.net/cctsched/d01/01/2012?display=M&style=B&positioning=Ahttp://www.my.calendars.net/cctsched/d01/01/2012?display=M&style=B&positioning=A. Quagga mussel inspections are now required before boat launching is allowed.
Call: Lake Nacimiento 805 238-1056, ext. 3; Lake San Antonio Marina 805 472-2818; Central Coast Bass Fishing.com 805 466-6557
Sacramento/Cal Expo – International Sportsmen’s Exposition – January 17-20, 2019 – information – https://www.sportsexpos.com/attend/sacramento/
McClure – Fresno Bass Club – December 9th: 1st: Roger Lockhart – 10.29 pounds Big Fish – 3.08; 2nd –Bill Kunz– 9.68; 3rd – Jesse Perez – 9.51.
McClure – American Bass Association – December 9th: 1st: Alex Niapas/Jason Remmers– 31.98 pounds Big Fish – 8.91; 2nd –Jeremy and Ron Pitts– 14.97; 3rd – Fred Lopez/Earl Malan – 14.76.
Nacimiento – California Bass Nation Boater Division Ten Fish Limits – December 8/9th: 1st – Ron Raymond – 18.34; 2nd – Nick Wood – 17.86; 3rd - Brian Kennemer – 16.69.
Nacimiento – California Bass Nation Non-Boater Division Ten Fish Limits– December 8/9th: 1st – Stanley Beebe – 12.17; 2nd – Luke John – 11.97; 3rd – Bryan Vogt – 11.34.
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
Dec 29 – Pine Flat – Basshido
Jan 1 – Eastman – RiverRat Bass Club; Pine Flat – Bass 101; Kaweah – Cen Cal Elite Bass Tournaments; Nacimiento – Bakersfield Bass Club
Jan. 5 & 6 – McClure – New Jen Bass Tournaments
Jan 5– Camanche – Manteca Bassin’ Buddies; Don Pedro – American Bass Association; McClure – Kerman Bass Club; Nacimiento – American Bass Association
Jan 12-New Melones – Sonora Bass Club; Tulloch – Gold Country Junior Bass Club; Don Pedro – Christian Bass League; McClure – Best Bass Tournaments/Tri Valley Bassmasters; Nacimiento – Kern County Bassmasters; Santa Margarita – Bakersfield Bass Club
Jan 13 – Delta/Russo’s Marina – Hook, Line, and Sinker; Millerton – California Bass Federation; Kaweah – New Jen Bass Tournaments; Nacimiento – San Luis Obispo County Bass Ambassadors
Jan 19 – Delta/Russo’s Marina – American Bass Association; Don Pedro – Best Bass Tournaments; McClure – Merced Bass Club; Pine Flat – Sierra Bass Club/American Bass Association; Nacimiento – Best Bass Tournaments
Jan 20 – Delta/Tracy Oasis – Tracy Oasis Marina; Pine Flat – Fresno Bass Club/Kings River Bass Club
Jan 26 – Delta/Russo’s Marina – Dan Mathisen Outdoors; Pine Flat – California Bass Nation; Nacimiento – Golden Empire Bass Club
Jan 27 – New Melones – Riverbank Bass Anglers
Feb 2& 3rd – Delta/McAvoy’s Boat Harbor in Bay Point – Foundation Sportsmen’s Club Original aka ‘Super Bowl’ Sturgeon Derby
Feb 2- Don Pedro – New Jen Bass Tournaments; McClure – Manteca Bassin’ Buddies/RiverRat Bass Club; Pine Flat – Cen Cal Elite Bass Tournaments/Kerman Bass Club; Santa Margarita – American Bass Association
Feb 3 – Pine Flat – Cen Cal Elite Bass Tournaments
q = quarter moon