Hunting Fishing

Fishing report for week of Feb. 20-26: Pine Flat and Eastman bass hitting

Hail and rain pour down on Bass Lake

Plenty of rain and hail came down on Bass Lake Thursday afternoon. The lake was only six inches from reaching its dam's spill level Thursday afternoon and the wet weather is expected to continue into the night.
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Plenty of rain and hail came down on Bass Lake Thursday afternoon. The lake was only six inches from reaching its dam's spill level Thursday afternoon and the wet weather is expected to continue into the night.

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

Pine Flat and Eastman bass hitting, Steve Newman said. McSwain plants spur on trout bite, Steve Marquette reported. Don Pedro kicking out big bass, Ryan Cook said. New Melones bass ramping up, Dave Hurley reported. San Luis stripers steady, Greg Padilla said.


1-Try dynamite

2-Have to work hard

3-Limits possible

4-Fish jumpin’ in boat


Delta Mendota Canal and Sloughs

Striper 2 Catfish 2

Cold weather has limited fishing from the California Aqueduct, but there is improving action near Kettleman City and Highway 152 for anglers tossing ripbaits, jerkbaits, or Rat-L-Traps in 3/4- or 1-ounce size near the check gates when the pumps are running. In the southern section of the aqueduct in Kern County, striped bass fishing is fair at best with the slower flows.

Safety precautions at this time of year must be taken at all times as the calm waters of the aqueduct are deceptive as still waters can start flowing rapidly without warning, creating strong currents and turbulence. The concrete sides can be slippery with sand, algae, or gravel, making it nearly impossible to climb out without assistance. Float lines and safety ladders are spaced periodically along the sides, and the safety ladders are located at the end of float lines and along the canal 500 feet apart on alternate sides of the Aqueduct and marked by a yellow background painted on the concrete above the ladder.

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

Eastman is picking up for largemouth bass while Millerton is producing numbers of small spotted bass. Both lakes are rising steadily with the heavy inflow from the watershed.

Eastman, fed by the smaller Chowchilla River, is primarily filled by rainfall, and the lake is stained from the recent water rise. Steve Newman of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “The key is to work big baits right now with the stained water, and 10-inch Power Worms, lizards, or Brush Hogs are the large profile baits that have been effective. The largemouth bass are primarily targeting crawdads after feeding on baby bluegill in previous months, and plastics in red/black, black/blue, or watermelon patterns are good options. There is a jig bite along with spinnerbaits and chatterbaits.” However, the lake was unrelenting on Saturday during the Sierra Bass Club tournament with cold conditions shutting down the bite with the winning limit weighing in at one fish of 5.77 pounds by April Mauk. The majority of teams didn’t weigh in with the brutal weather conditions.

Upcoming tournaments at Eastman include the Kerman Bass Club on March 2 and the Central Valley Kayak Fishing on March 3. Eastman rose from 66 percent to 74 percent.

Call: Eastman Lake 689-3255

Hensley Lake

Bass 2 Trout 2 Catfish 2 Bluegill 2 Crappie 3

Hensley remains slow overall with few anglers heading to this small impoundment on the rain-fed Fresno River. Newman added, “The lake is rising, and the bass should be moving towards the shorelines. Chatterbaits, spinnerbaits, or plastics should all work for these fish from the shorelines.” Hensley rose from 39 percent to 46 percent.

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

Lake Don Pedro

Bass 3 Trout 2 Kokanee 1 King salmon 1 Crappie 2

It’s definitely “go time” at Don Pedro for largemouth bass with two fish over 10 pounds caught and released within the past week, leading to tournament winning weights of in excess of 20 pounds. John Liechty of Xperience Bass Fishing Guide Service took client Jeb Bunker of Martinez out this week, and Bunker was rewarded with his first largemouth bass over 10 pounds at 10 pounds 7 ounces on a swimbait. Liechty said, “The bite is really good as we did well with plastics on a shakey head or drop-shot along with jigs at depths to 40 feet, but we mostly concentrated on throwing big baits. There are a number of portions of the lake that are stained, particularly creek channels and inflow areas. The main lake has a tinge of stain with the clearest water in Middle Bay. We found them in both clear and muddy water.”

Ryan Cook of Ryan Cook’s Guide Service said, “The big girls are showing up in a big way. We came in fourth place with a 6.75-pound kicker, and my cousin Tim Cook took first place with his young partner Levi Crane. Levi had never landed a bass over 2 pounds, and they had one nearly 9 pounds and another at 7. The bigger fish are coming shallow, but there are still good fish to be taken as deep as 40 feet. The jig bite has been consistent, but many of the better fish are coming on plastics on the drop-shot. You have to leave it still though. The next two months will bring out a number of big fish.”

The Wild West Bass Trail is coming to Don Pedro this coming weekend, and the lake will be loaded with boats during the weekend and particularly on Saturday.

The Merced Bass Club held a club tournament on Saturday with the team of Cook and Crane taking first place with a 22.54-pound limit followed by Brian Cox and Kevin Davidson at 18.38 and Scott and Dalton Taylor with 18.02. Twenty-four boats participated in the tournament with 19 weighing in limits. Nick Sanches of Fresno also landed a huge largemouth on Sunday at Don Pedro at 10.09 pounds.

Don Pedro rose from 77 percent to 82 percent.

Call: Monte Smith 209-581-4734; Ryan Cook – Ryan Cook’s Fishing 691-7008

Lake Isabella/Bakersfield area

Bass 2 Trout 2 Crappie 2 Catfish 2 Bluegill 2

The 72,000 acre-foot restriction on Lake Isabella has been lifted, and the construction work on the upstream side of the Borel Canal and the French Gulch interim boat ramp extension and lake levels will now be allowed to rise to 361,250 acre-feet or 2,589 feet in elevation, weather providing. There will be no further need to lower lake levels for the duration of the project, expected to be completed in 2022. As a result, Isabella has risen to 20 percent.

The rainbow trout for the annual derby have been getting fat in the net pens since November, and they will be released prior to the derby. The Kern Valley Chamber of Commerce Lake Isabella Trout Derby is scheduled for April 13-15, and registrations are being taken. There is a total prize pool of $26,544 and counting, and all top five positions will pay double with the purchase of a T-shirt or hoodie. Online registration is open, and registration is available at, then proceed to Calendar & Events, and click on Isabella Lake Fishing Derby Link.

Regular plants in the upper Kern River near Kernville provide opportunities for catching in the deeper holes with nightcrawlers, live crickets, or Power Bait. The local lakes remain quiet with the exception of catfish or the occasional bass. Another 500-pound plant is scheduled at Lake Ming sometime this spring, but it will be the only local lake planted by the Department of Fish and Wildlife. Buena Vista is planted by concessionaires on a bimonthly basis. In the Kern River, Chuck Stokke of the Sequoia Fishing Company in Springville is giving talks to fishing clubs on the Golden Trout Wilderness Pack Station and what it has to offer for the upcoming season. He will also be presenting seminars on the Kern River at the Pleasanton Fly Fishing Show from Feb. 22-24.

Call: Bob’s Bait Bucket 661-833-8657; North Fork Marina 760-376-1812; ; Golden Trout Pack Station 542-2816

Lake Kaweah

Bass 2 Crappie 2 Trout 2 Catfish 2

Cold and muddy water from the rapid inflow from the Kaweah River have contributed to very slow action at the lake for bass. The lake came up from 13 percent to 17 percent this week.

Call: Sierra Sporting Goods 592-5212

Lake Success

Bass 2 Trout 2 Catfish 2 Crappie 2 Bluegill 2

Similar to Kaweah, high flows from the Tule River have blown out both the river and Lake Success with muddy water. The lake rose from 24 percent to 28 percent this week. 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.

Call: Sequoia Fishing Co. 539-5626,

McClure Reservoir

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

Lake McClure continues to rise rapidly, and the spotted and largemouth bass bite remains consistent. The Best Bass Tournament was greeted with snow, hail, rain, and wind on Saturday, but 47 hardy teams all weighed in limits.

Kevin Cheek tournament director for Best Bass Tournaments, said, “The weather was really miserable all day as the outside temperature never rose above 43 degrees after starting off at 37 degrees with sleet in the morning. 47 teams braved the elements, and for the first time in my 12 years of running tournaments, every team weighed in a limit. The first place team was Chris and Darryl Peters with 16.85 pounds followed by Scott Parsons/Doug Naruo with Christian Ostrander and Ronnie Heil in third at 14.69. Joey Verna of Atwater picked up the big fish with a 6.09 spotted bass on a Fatty Worm on a Ned Rig in 40 feet of water over a main lake point.”

Ryan Cook of Ryan’s Cook’s Guide Service said, “There is a good spinnerbait bite along with a decent glidebait bite, but the most consistent action remains on the bottom with jigs or plastics from 20 to 60 feet over main lake points, bluff walls, and island tops. There is a shallow jig bite still, but it is best in low light conditions in the early mornings or on overcast days.”

The lake rose from 66 percent to 71 percent.

Call: Ryan Cook – Ryan Cook’s Fishing 691-7008

McSwain Reservoir

Trout 3

A trout plant of 1,500 pounds from the Calaveras Trout Farm was released into the lake this past week, leading Steve Marquette of the Lake McSwain/Lake McClure Recreation Company to say, “This was the largest trout plant that we have received in several years.” The lake has been at flood stage throughout the week with the water rising to 2 feet from the café. Despite the high water, bank anglers are scoring planted rainbows with trout dough bait in bright green or orange from the Brush Pile or the points near the café. Lures have been slow with the stained water. The annual Merced Irrigation District Trout Derby is scheduled for April 6-7, and over 450 anglers participated in the event last year.

Call: McSwain Marina 209-378-2534

Millerton Lake/San Joaquin River

Bass 3 Striped bass 1 Shad 1 Bluegill 2 Crappie 2

Steve Newman of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, ”There is an excellent bite for numbers of smaller spotted bass, but the lake is on one day and off the next. He said, “One of my friends was on the lake over the weekend, and he found his best action at depths from 30 feet up with slow-falling plastics that keep contact with the bottom such as Senkos on a Neko Rig, plastics on the drop-shot or Ned Rig, and jigs. Zoom Trick Worms or Creature Baits in a Texas-rig are also effective, but the bass aren’t chasing at all. An 8- or 9-pound limit is enough to win a tournament right now, and the largemouth bass are not nearly as abundant as the spotted bass right now.” The lake rose from 67 percent to 71 percent.

Call: Valley Rod & Gun 292-3474

New Melones Reservoir/Tulloch

Bass 3 Crappie 2 Catfish 2 Trout 2 Kokanee 1

Bass fishing is moving into prime time for trophy fish as the lake continues to rise, and more and more bass move into the shallows. The Angler’s Press event this week should bring out a number of boats, but it will have difficulty competing with the Wild West Bass Trails at nearby Don Pedro. Jigs or swimbaits on an underspin continue to find quality spotted and largemouth bass at depths to 40 feet. Fatty Worm’s Spin Daddy underspins with a Kei Tech or Super Fluke are producing the larger grade of bass, but the most consistent bite has been with jigs on a half- or 3/4-ounce head depending on the depth. The water temperature plummeted with the past week, but the visibility remains good throughout the lake with the exception of the creek channels. The California Bass Federation held a tournament on the lake on Sunday with 28 boats fighting the elements on a cold, snowy, and rainy day. The bite was good with Jason Remmers taking first place with a limit averaging nearly 6 pounds at 28.08 pounds. The lake rose to 82 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

Pine Flat is producing a solid grade of both largemouth and spotted bass as the schools are mixing in the rapidly rising waters. Bass in the 2- to 4-pound range are being landed on a more frequent basis, and bass in the 5-pound range are a possibility. This past weekend was the first weekend in over a month where only a smaller club tournament was held on the lake after several weeks of larger circuits bringing in numbers of boats.

Steve Newman of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “Pine Flat is still the best bass lake in the region, but the bass are scattered out with the rising water levels. There are wolfpacks of 2- to 4-pound bass, and the largemouth and spotted bass are mixed in. The better fish are suspended with the rising waters, and the bass are pushing the shad schools into main lake points or creek channels. Glidebaits, small swimbaits such as KeiTechs, or Alabama Rigs are working for the suspended fish, and the large swimbaits such as Huddlestons on the bottom are not as effective as the fish are up in the water column. It is difficult to pattern a bite right now with the rising water, but there have been some fish showing up on spinnerbaits amongst the submerged trees or brush. Crappie are also starting to show up over the submerged trees in the river arm around Trimmer and also along main lake points, and we have been selling more and more crappie gear within the past week.” The lake rose from 44 to 51 percent.

The majority of the inflow from the Kings River is being held behind the dam, but the lower Kings remains a good possibility for planted rainbow trout. A trout plant is expected this week, and anglers are soaking salmon eggs, nightcrawlers, or trout dough bait from the ripples into the slower water.

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

san luis
Steve Montalbo shows off his personal-best caught Monday, Feb. 18 at San Luis Reservoir: 38 inches and 24.5 pounds. Montalbo says, “We found a hot bite in the Lone Oak area, trolling Lucky Craft 128s in dark-colored pattens.” courtesy Eric Montalbo Special to The Bee

San Luis Reservoir and O’Neill Forebay

Striper 3 Catfish 2 Bass 2 Crappie 1

The striped bass bite at San Luis Reservoir remains solid despite the inclement weather conditions, and bank action has been strong from a various of locations with ripbaits, jerkbaits, or small River2Sea Swavers. The wind continues to be the limiting factor for launching a boat, and boaters should be cognizant of the wind conditions and the warning lights on the lake. The lake continues to rise, and it came up from 89 to 92 percent with increased pumping out of the south Delta along with inflow from the small creeks feeding into the lake.

Steve Newman of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “The majority of our striper fishermen are working the banks from Dinosaur Point, Romero Visitor Center, and along Portuguese Cove with ripbaits such as the Lucky Craft 128. We haven’t been able to receive a shipment of Duo Realis jerkbaits recently, but the white and White Halo colors have been in high demand due to the stained water. Boaters are drifting jumbo minnows in front of the dam near the Trash Racks along the humps or island tops.”

Roger George of Roger George Guide Service said that on Sunday he took out Max Gross, Austin Hays and Brady Burgess of Fresno, all who had never caught a striper before. “ I warned them we were probably going to be in rain and some wind, but they all said to go for it. We started off slow but the bite ramped up as the conditions changed and we ended up with 42 released stripers up to 26 inches trolling baits like Lucky Crafts in minnow colors in the coves. I just kept moving all over to find new schools of fish. There were at least 20 fish in the quality 24-inch range. The guys were stoked – what an epic first striper trip! Earlier, I was just hoping for some fish and not getting blown off the lake, but we hit it right today for a change. We used the Bends Mender needle on most of the fish – everyone needs one! The rangers said that one small aluminum boat capsized in the wind and the three anglers swam to shore. One reportedly took in some water but was OK. The boat was pulled in later by the rangers. It wasn’t safe for a small aluminum with three guys and a small motor to have been out there in those conditions!” George is setting up his next Downrigging 101 class for around late March.

Greg Padilla of Coyote Bait and Tackle in Morgan Hill said, “Shad have been boiling on occasion in open water, and there are schoolie stripers from 18 to 22 inches working the bait. White flukes or Zara Spooks are working along with drifting jumbo minnows at various depths. Trolling is the same as you have to find the shad schools as they are moving up and down. In the O’Neill Forebay, there are also intermittent shad boils and boaters are also tossing flukes or topwater lures into the boils. Shore anglers are soaking pile worms, frozen shad, or anchovies near the moving water around the Highway 152 Bridge or Check 12.”

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

High Sierra

Bass Lake

Bass 2 Trout 2 Kokanee 0

Snowfall at the lake limited any fishing action over the past week. The Sheriff’s Motor Fee is enforced on a year-round basis now, and this is another limiting factor during the winter. A webcam of the lake is available at The annual Bass Lake Chamber of Commerce Trout Derby is May 4-5.

Edison/Florence/Mammoth Pool

Snow in the high country slowed down any interest in fishing in the Kaiser Pass region or the difficult to access high country as the road is closed for the winter. 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

No boats have launched at the lake with the roads being loaded with snow. Boaters need to check the launch ramp conditions via the Sierra Marina launch ramp webcam at The lake rose slightly to 55 percent.

Heavy trout plants from the Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Shaver Lake Trophy Trout Project are on the horizon in the coming months with rainbows over 4 pounds being the rule.

Shaver guides Dick Nichols of Dick’s Fishing Charters, Todd Wittwer of Guide Service and Tom Oliviera of Tom Oliviera Fishing will present a seminar at the Turner’s Outdoorsman on North Blackstone Avenue in Fresno from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Feb. 28.

Call: Dick Nichols, Dick’s Fishing Charters 281-6948; Todd Wittwer, Guide Service 288-8100; Dinkey Creek Inn 841-3435


Road conditions to both lakes have been affected by the recent winter storms, and the gate at Dinkey Creek is closed, eliminating access to both Wishon and Courtright until early April.

Call: Wishon RV Park 865-5361


Half Moon Bay

Striper 2 Crab 3 Surf perch 3

The weather continues to have the upper hand along the San Mateo County coastline, but when the ocean conditions are right, 10-crab limits remain the rule on crab-only and also on crab/sand dab combination trips. Unfortunately, these days have been few and far between over the past month.

Second Captain Michael Cabanas of the Huli Cat out of Half Moon Bay was able to make it out two days over the previous weekend, and he said, “We went on a crab only trip off of Pillar Point for limits of Dungeness crab on Saturday in breezy ocean conditions with some choppy swell. We had some solid pots with 18 and 23 legal crab.”

The Coastside Fishing Club will be holding its annual Swap Meet on March 2 in the Pillar Point Harbor, Upper Parking lot, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. The legendary Grill Crew will be cooking up hamburgers and hotdogs on a donation basis. Space is free to members of Coastside Fishing Club, and non-members will pay a $25 fee to display that will also get them a one-year membership in Coastside Fishing Club with access to the bulletin boards and hot fishing information.

Out of Half Moon Bay Sport Fishing, the party boats will focus on nature trips along with whale watching in the interim months before the rockfish and salmon seasons are anticipated to open in April. Captain Jerad Davis of the Salty Lady will also be running whale watching trips on Saturdays and Sundays through April.

The ocean beaches are being reshaped by the heavy waves over the past months, creating new habitat for surf perch. Perch fishing has been very good when the wind is down, and Berkley Camo Worms or Lucky Craft Flash Minnow 110s in sardine, American Shad, or anchovy are all effective for various species of surf perch. The 15th annual Sand Crab Classic Surf Perch Derby will be held out of Santa Cruz on March 3, and the event sold out within two days. Some fishermen will venture up the San Mateo coastline for the event, but they have to be back in Santa Cruz for the weigh-in at the Portuguese Hall at 1 p.m.

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

Monterey/Santa Cruz

Striper 2 Crab 2 Sand dabs 3 Surf perch 3

The Caroline out of Chris’s Fishing Trips in Monterey was able to make it out on Monday for the first time in six days, and they took out a private charter of 7 anglers for 30 to 40 sand dab apiece along with 31 Dungeness crab. Chris’s will be heading out on the combination trips for crab/sand dabs until the rockfish opener on April 1st.

The Sand Crab Classic is only a couple of weekends away; it sold out in two days. The weigh-in will be at 1 p.m. March 9 at the Portuguese Hall in Santa Cruz, and you can still attend the lunch for $15. All proceeds go to the Monterey Salmon and Trout Project.

Surf perch fishing has been solid for those in the know, and although many of the beaches have been a mess, surf perch like these big barred perch by angler Craig Pappas were shared by Allen Bushnell of the Santa Cruz Kayak Fishing and Surfcasting Guide Service.

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

San Francisco Bay

Halibut 2 Striper 2 Leopard shark 2 Sturgeon 2

Striped bass are still a possibility as the Argo found some stripers on Sunday, but sturgeon fishing has been a challenge due to the weather. Captain Trent Slate of Bite Me Charters was out on Saturday in ‘miserable’ weather conditions, and he said, “It was blowing hard in the morning, but it was more bearable by the end of the day. We had one bite for the entire day, and this resulted in a 37-inch shaker sturgeon. We stayed all the way to the bottom of the outgoing tide and worked a few spots from Rat Rock to the Sisters to get out of the wind before ending up at China Camp at the end of the day. I was scheduled to head out on Sunday, but we cancelled after the winds were predicted to be blowing 20 knots.”

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

Surf perch 2

Nature and whale watching trips along with the occasional sand dab/crab trip will be on the schedule throughout February and March until the rockfish season opens once again in April. Virg’s Landing has posted their prices for the coming rockfish season, and the two-day trips with meals included cost $340. Two limits are a possibility on these trips to the lightly harvested grounds north of Morro Bay. A reverse overnight with meals included is $245, an overnight is $175, full-day $95, 3/4-day $75, and half-day $65.

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



Bass 3 Striper 2 Sturgeon 2 Catfish 2 Bluegill 2

The Sacramento-Delta continues to be inundated with cold and muddy water over the past week of wild weather, but Suisun Bay is already seeing a reduction in floating debris, but the grass remains thick. Striped bass fishing has slowed considerably with the cold and muddy water, but there are a few linesides taken in the upper river close to the banks where the current is slower. The launch ramps in the north Delta have been closed due to high water from Clarksburg to Discovery Park, and boaters will need to check launch conditions before hitching up. As the Sacramento River recedes, the ramps will be back open.

Johnny Tran of New Romeo’s Bait and Tackle in Freeport said, “The Sacramento River is high and muddy, and it is hard to keep bait in the water with the debris, but there are sturgeon being caught from the banks with ghost shrimp, pile worms, eel/pile worm, and eel/nightcrawler combinations. A few stripers are taken off of the banks with sardines in the slower water. Live bait has been spotty with the weather conditions in the Pacific Northwest and in the East Coast.”

Steve Mitchell of Hook’d Up Sport Fishing was out several days over the weekend, and he said, “We put in a slot fish on Saturday along with several other missed bites. It looks like the sturgeon are starting to get active once again as Captain Joey Gamez of Golden State Sport Fishing put in one slot fish in the morning in Montezuma Slough, and Captain Mike Funtanilla of Bend U Rod Sport Fishing put in two keepers. We were out on Sunday and also started out in Montezuma Slough before moving out into deeper water at the Horseshoe. There is not as much debris in the water as there was last week, but the grass is still thick out there.”

Mitchell will be featured with seminars at the upcoming Sacramento Boat Show on March 9-10 as well as at the Fishermen’s Warehouse in Sacramento on Feb. 28 at 6 p.m.

Captain Zach Medinas of Gatecrasher Fishing Adventures found great action on Saturday in 35 feet of water with 9 slot-limit or oversized sturgeon along with 3 to 4 undersized sturgeon. He said, “We hunted around and found a group of quality sturgeon, and we must have dropped right in on them as we almost had four hanging at one time. I couldn’t get all of my rods in the water. The wind was brutal with some scattered showers in the afternoon, but we were able to set up and get into a great bite. After catching and releasing a number of sturgeon, we went into shallow water in Grizzly Bay, but we didn’t find any action with all of the weeds plaguing the lines. In addition to the sea lion marks on the sturgeon over the past years, we released one sturgeon this week that had an irritant on its side, looking inflamed, perhaps from the fish being lifted out of the water and held close to the body of a fisherman. This sturgeon had been landed recently, and we left it in the water as it was just loaded with eggs. Right now, many of the larger fish are bloated with eggs and handling with care is essential. I have a feeling that the sturgeon bite is really going to break out now as it has been relatively slow for the past month.”

The slot limit for sturgeon is 40 to 60 inches with sturgeon from 60 to 68 inches not be lifted out of the water.

Clear water is next to impossible to find in the San Joaquin-Delta, but the largemouth bass are starting to get active. With more inflow coming down from the upstream reservoirs in advance of the snowmelt, finding clear water will be more of a challenge.

For largemouth bass, Randy Pringle, the Fishing Instructor, said, “The river is muddy out of B and W Resort with a surface temperature at 49 degrees with an outside temperature of 36 degrees. Having Max Scent on your plastics and making multiple casts to the same location is a must with the best action around isolated tule groupings. The bass will be holding tight to the weeds, and it is much easier to identify the isolated weeds as working elongated banks are harder to stay on a location. The reaction bite has been slow for us in the cold water.”

Dan Mathisen of Dan Mathisen Outdoors reported great results from their second tournament of the season on Saturday out of Russo’s Marina with the father-son team of Dan and 12-year old Vince Fonte taking first place with a limit at 28.59 pounds with a big fish at 10.09 pounds. The second-place limit came in at 25.65 pounds by the team of Mike Andrews and Phillip Dutra. White spinnerbaits was the ticket for the big fish in the stained water, and last month, the Golden Shiner pattern was best, but the water turned chocolate in the past week.”

Some clear water exists in the Port of Stockton, and Tom and Michelle Amberson of Elk Grove picked up some schoolie stripers in the port on Sunday with swimbaits.

H and R Bait in Stockton reported minimal interest in the area with the exception of bluegill and striped bass in Whiskey Slough. They are expecting fresh shad to return in the shop closer to April, but they have plenty of frozen shad in the freezer until then.

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 2 White bass 2 Striper 1 Catfish 2 Crappie 2

At Nacimiento, the lake has risen from 52 to 66 percent of capacity within the past week, and there is a possibility of the water level reaching 100 percent this year. The rapid rise has led to muddy water with debris on the surface, and boaters should be cautious for submerged debris. The fuel dock will be closed until spring. A webcam of the lake is available at

At Santa Margarita, the lake is over 100 percent of capacity, and access may be limited due to debris on the surface. A webcam of the lake is available at

At San Antonio, the lake rose from 24 to 30 percent, and the lake is also stained.

Lopez is in the same boat as the other coastal lakes with cold and muddy water slowing down fishing interest and action. The lake is at 48 percent and rising. A webcam of the lake is available at

Reminder: Consuming white bass, black bass, crappie, catfish, or carp are subject to safe eating guidelines due to excessive mercury. Also, Quagga mussel inspections are required before boat launching is allowed.

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



Best Bass Tournaments: Feb. 16 at McClure – 1, Chris and Darryl Peters, 16.85 pounds; 2, Scott Parsons/Doug Naruo, 15.23; 3, Christian Ostrander/Ronnie Heil, 14.69. Big Fish – Joey Verna, 6.09 spotted bass.

Christian Bass League: Feb. 16 at Delta/B and W Resort – 1, Angelo Quinolo/Jerry Walser, 23.20 (Big Fish 5.82); 2, Mitch and Mark Forrest, 5.94; 3, Tracy and Ray Patton, 5.62.

Dan Mathisen Outdoors: Feb. 16 at Delta/Russo’s Marina – 1, Dan and Vince Fonte, 28.59 (Big Fish 10.09); 2, Mike Andrews/Phillip Dutra, 25.65; 3, Marc Young/Dave Newton, 19.41.

Merced Bass Club: Feb. 16 at Don Pedro – 1, Tim Cook/Levi Crane, 22.54; 2, Brian Cox/Kevin Davidson, 18.38; 3, Scott and Dalton Taylor, 18.02.

Sierra Bass Club: Feb. 16 at Eastman – 1, April Mauk, 5.77 (Big Fish 5.77); 2, Jay Gillette, 5.04; 3, Chris Flamang, 4.96.

California Bass Federation: Feb. 17 at New Melones – 1, Jason Remmers, 28.02; 2, Bruce Harris, 19.42; 3, Junior Diaz, 17.98.

Kerman Bass Club 2018 Fish Off: Feb. 17 at Don Pedro – 1, Ryan Voorhees, 10.02; 2, Justin Eslick, 8.02; 3, James Horton, 7.88.


Feb. 23: Delta/B and W Resort – California Bass Federation, Delta/Tracy Oasis – Tracy Oasis Marina, New Hogan – Outlaw Bass Club, New Melones – Angler’s Press, Don Pedro – Wild West Bass Trails, Pine Flat – Golden Empire Bass Club, Lopez – San Luis Obispo County Bass Ambushers

Feb. 24: McClure – Fresno Bass Club/Kings River Bass Club

March 2: Delta/Russo’s Marina – New Jen Bass Tournaments, New Melones – American Bass Association/Manteca Bassin’ Buddies, McClure – Cen Cal Elite Bass Tournaments, Eastman – Kerman Bass Club, Lopez – American Bass Association

March 3: New Melones – New Jen Bass Tournaments, Don Pedro – California Bass Federation, Eastman – Central Valley Kayak Fishing, Success – Porterville Bass Club

Trout plants

Week of Feb. 24 by California Department of Fish and Wildlife:

Fresno County: Kings River below Pine Flat Dam, Woodward Park Lake

Solunar table









































f = full moonq = quarter moon> = peak activity