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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Coastal rockfish opener good, Dave Hurley reported. Delta sturgeon, bass and striper bites take off, Alan Fong said. California Aqueduct stripers hitting, and Lake Isabella crappie feasting, Pete Cormier reported. McClure bass bite on fire, Ryan Cook said. San Luis stripers continue feeding spree, Mickey Clements reported. Pine Flat and Millerton bass bites going, Steve Newman said. Shaver trophy trout bite good, Dick Nichols reported.
2-Have to work hard
4-Fish jumpin’ in boat
Delta Mendota Canal and Sloughs
Striper 3 Catfish 2
Steve Newman of Valley Rod and Gun said, “The California Aqueduct is picking up with jerkbaits, but most fishermen are soaking baits. There is a good bite in the evenings when the pumps are going with big 1-ounce Rat-L-Traps in the moving water.”
In the southern section of the aqueduct in Kern County, Pete Cormier of Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield reported a solid striped bass bite with tube baits, Gitzits, jumbo minnows, blood worms, sardines, and anchovies. He said, “People are still catching fish.”
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.
Bass 2 Trout 2 Bluegill 2 Catfish 2 Crappie 2
Steve Newman of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “The largemouth bass bite is ‘so-so’ with one angler reporting good action while others are struggling. Small buck bass are holding along the shallows, and there are multiple bass holding in pre-spawn mode at depths from 20 to 30 feet. Big jigs with a trailer or larger creature baits are working for the deep fish. The deep-diving crankbait or Rat-L-Trap bite has yet to emerge, but the action is ready to explode. The small bucks are taken in the shallows with spinnerbaits. The larger bass are foraging on crawdads in the rocks and feeding in anticipation of the spawn. Slow-rolled swimbaits deeper than 20 feet is the effective technique for those able to work these lures at this depth. The water remains slightly stained.” The lake rose from 79 to 82 percent.
Call: Eastman Lake 689-3255
Bass 3 Trout 2 Catfish 2 Bluegill 2 Crappie 2
Newman said, “The bass bite is ‘sneaky good’ with limits in the 15/16-pound range possible by flipping Senkos, spinnerbaits, or chatterbaits from the banks to 15 feet, particularly over brush piles. Darker colors are working such as green pumpkin/black, blue/black, or natural colors with a chartreuse tip.” No crappie reports from either Eastman or Hensley. The lake is back on the rise, coming up from 47 to 52 percent.
Lake Don Pedro
Bass 3 Trout 2 Kokanee 2 King salmon 1 Crappie 2
Ryan Cook of Ryan Cook’s Guide Service said, “The bass bite is a bit tougher, but it is still good with similar techniques to McClure. Levi Crain of Atwater caught and released a 9.06-pound largemouth on a Fatty Worm’s underspin this week.”
John Liechty of Xperience Bass Fishing Guide Service went to Don Pedro on Friday in order to stay off of Melones for the Wild West Bass Trails event. He said, “The bite was good, but not great. The bass were found from 5 to 35 feet with the better bites deeper with plastics on the drop-shot or shakey head. There is a reaction bite with Alabama rigs, chatterbaits, or spinnerbaits when the wind is blowing.”
For trout, Monte Smith of Gold Country Sport Fishing was targeting rainbow trout with Needlefish behind a dodger at 20 feet after starting with leadcore around 10 feet, and he said, “It was a struggle out there, but we ended up with three fat kokanee although I wasn’t targeting them along with spotted bass on the troll and a handful of rainbow trout. We had a double on kokanee at the end of the day, and these were taken on the Needlefish with no corn. This is a good sign for the upcoming kokanee season as we weren’t even targeting
Don Pedro dropped to 81 percent.
Lake Isabella/Bakersfield area
Bass 2 Trout 2 Crappie 3 Catfish 3 Bluegill 2
The crappie bite at Lake Isabella has busted out, and Pete Cormier of Bob’s Bait Bucket in Bakersfield said, “We have sold out of minnows, Crappie Nibbles, and other varieties of crappie jigs as there has been a rush over the past week with 50 to 60 anglers on the shoreline in the South Fork targeting the slabs. Kayakers and boaters are also getting in on the action. The Department of Fish and Wildlife planted the lake with trout, and there are additional plants prior to the Kern Valley Chamber of Commerce Lake Isabella Trout Derby scheduled for April 13-15. 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. Isabella rose from 35 to 38 percent this week, and it is still rising.
The lower Kern River is fishable with lower flows, and a trout plant is anticipated this week. The upper river is flowing around 1,700 cfs, and it is expected to pick up with snowmelt within the coming weeks. Trout are still taken in the deeper pools and the slower moving water. A few crappie are taken out of Buena Vista, and the final trout plant occurred recently.
Bass 2 Crappie 2 Trout 2 Catfish 2
Kaweah hosted the new Lahu Bass Club tournament on Saturday, and regular tournament leader Gary Wasson took first with a winning limit of 14.14 pounds with the top three all above 10 pounds. The lake remains in flux at 23 percent, and snowmelt is expected to push the lake levels up in a rapid manner.
Call: Sierra Sporting Goods 592-5212
Bass 2 Trout 2 Catfish 2 Crappie 2 Bluegill 2
Chuck Stokke of the Sequoia Fishing Company in Springville said, “Bass anglers are having luck dragging plastic worms at a slow retrieve, but you need to find them as the bite is finicky. Some fishermen are fly fishing for carp as they are plentiful and sipping on the surface. Others are also bait fishing for them with dough bait. The lake is at 48 percent. In the Tule River, Stokke said, “The river remains slow for trout.”
Stokke gives fly casting lessons at the Pierpoint Café the second Sunday of each month at 10 a.m. The lessons are free and all equipment is provided.
Bass 3 Trout 2 King salmon 0 Kokanee 0 Crappie 2 Catfish 2
Lake McClure remains hot for spotted and largemouth bass with a number of bass tournaments on the horizon. Ryan Cook of Ryan Cook’s Guide Service said, “McClure remains on fire with the bass found from the banks to 35 feet with underspins for the bigger bites along with larger Senkos and Brush Hogs. We put in three limits over 25 pounds this week, and these are all solid fish with no large kickers. However, I did catch and release a double-digit largemouth bass at 10.28 pounds on Monday on a Fatty Worm underspin. There are also big crappie being caught, but the lake is dropping around a foot per day, and this is affecting the spawn.”
The marina at Barrett Cove will open for the season on April 7. The lake dropped to 66 percent.
Call: Ryan Cook – Ryan Cook’s Fishing 691-7008
The annual Merced Irrigation District Trout Derby is scheduled for April 6-7, and over 450 anglers are expected to arrive at the full lake. Steve Marquette of the Lake McClure/McSwain Recreation Company reported a plant of 1,000 pounds occurred last week, and the shoreline in front of the cabins has been solid for planted rainbows to 2 pounds with Mice Tails in bright orange, yellow, or white along with salmon egg/marshmallow combinations. Trout dough bait in bright green with garlic is also effective along with silver or silver/blue Kastmasters. The lake remains at flood stage, and another plant is anticipated prior to Saturday’s derby.
Call: McSwain Marina 209-378-2534
Millerton Lake/San Joaquin River
Bass 3 Striped bass 1 Shad 1 Bluegill 2 Crappie 2
Millerton is a solid option for spotted and largemouth bass, and Steve Newman of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “I was supposed to go out this week, but I couldn’t, but my partner put in a quality limit in the 12- to 13-pound range in the main lake near Winchell’s Cove and along the coves near the dam on the Madera side of the lake. Plastics on the drop-shot, shakey head, or jigs are working along with a reaction bite with crankbaits or Rat-L-Traps around 15 feet. There is a spinnerbait and topwater bite in the early morning, and the lake is kicking out a nice mix of largemouth bass to 2.5 pounds along with spots. Over the past few years, the largemouth bass have been small and skinny at 10- to 12-inches, but these fish are found all over the lake, and they are fattening up. There haven’t been any striped bass reports. There are bass in the river, but the log jam is forming around Temperance Campground and many of the floating logs are mostly submerged so boaters have to remain cautious.”
Call: Valley Rod & Gun 292-3474
New Melones Reservoir/Tulloch
Bass 3 Crappie 2 Catfish 2 Trout 2 Kokanee 1
The Wild West Bass Trail Pro Am arrived at New Melones with two days of qualifying March 29-30 before the top 10 pros and amateurs competed for the top prize money on Sunday. Glory Hole Point was the location for the launch and weigh in, and although the weighs were less than anticipated for this lake at this time of year, the competition brought bass anglers from throughout the West.
Jason Remmers of Valley Springs, who has won several tournaments in Northern California, took first place in the three-day event with a limit at 55.93 pounds, closely followed by Greg Gutierrez at 55.82 and Gary Souza at 52.28 pounds. On the amateur side, Chad LeBlanc nearly matched the pro side with a winning limit at 46.19 pounds, and this is an impressive weight as the pro has the upper hand on locations and casting. Remmers targeted big fish in the shallows with swimbaits and glidebaits before moving out into deeper water in the channels before finally targeting bed fish towards the end of the time period.
John Liechty of Xperience Bass Fishing Guide Service who specializes in New Melones stayed off of the lake during the tournament days, but he said, “The heavy boat pressure along with unstable weather has most likely taken a toll on the weights, and the lake is also dropping in elevation. These factors are clearly affecting the bass, and they won’t move up unless they are comfortable. It is the right time of the year, but nothing has lined up as bass are found from 5 to 55 feet. There are bed fish to be caught, but its not how it should be right now.”
Staying in contact with the bottom with plastics on a Neko rig or nail weight was a top technique for numbers during the tournament with the larger fish taken on reaction baits early in the day along with the occasional bed fish.
The River Rats Bass circuit is holding a tournament on the lake this coming Saturday, April 6.
New Melones dropped slightly to 83 percent.
Pine Flat Reservoir/Kings River
Bass 3 Trout 3 Kokanee 0 King salmon 0 Catfish 2 Crappie 2
Pine Flat and Millerton remain bright locations for bass fishermen in the Central Valley as the bass are ready to eat. A growing population of largemouth bass at both lakes has added to the existing population of spotted bass. These are primarily spotted bass lakes, but more and more fat largemouths to 2.5-pounds are showing up.
Steve Newman of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “Pine Flat continues to fish good, and it is a solid bite in the main lake near main lake points and transition areas as the fish are in pre-spawn mode. Crawdad or shad-imitation crankbaits running from 10- to 15- feet are working along with jigs and jerkbaits. The bass are eager to eat, and a 12.5-largemouth bass was reported on a Rat-L-Trap suspended at 15 feet. The reaction bite has been best for the larger fish, and there is a topwater bite in the backs of coves in the shallows, but these are small, buck bass. There are a lot of small bass in the shallows. The river arm is ‘hit or miss,’ but the bass are grouped up once you find them. The crappie bite is really picking up with white or salt/pepper Crappie Nibbles in open water as the slabs are suspending with the lake dropping. Once the water level stabilizes, the crappie will go to the trees. The slabs are hitting on the drop, and most anglers are using the heavier 1/16th ounce jig heads.” Trout fishing in the lake is slow, but the lower Kings remains very good for planters with nightcrawlers or salmon eggs in the slower water transitioning after fast water. Kastmasters in gold, silver or white are working in the deeper pools. Water releases have increased flows in the lower Kings River below the dam, and the river is slightly stained. The lake dropped from 60 to 56 percent.
San Luis Reservoir and O’Neill Forebay
Striper 3 Catfish 2 Bass 2 Crappie 2
San Luis Reservoir remains the top location for Central Valley and San Jose-area striper fishermen, and all methods of hooking the linesides are working. The main lake has easy access due to high water levels, and anglers are able to get close to the shoreline after a very short walk.
Steve Newman of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “We have a lot of fishermen going to the big lake, and it has been basically the same report from the shoreline with Magnum Flukes or hard jerkbaits working best. The Duo Realis in white halo or white has been a popular lure for shore casters. The topwater action hasn’t started yet as there have been few boils. Trollers are using P-Line Predator Minnows or similar plugs from 40 to 60 feet, and the umbrella rig is also popular.”
Roger George of Roger George Guide Service said that he took out Roy Hart of Chowchilla last Friday for 10 stripers to 27 inches. “The bite has been really up and down depending on the day. The quality of the fish was good but there were a lot of suspended fish. Lots of guys are searching for the fish in the big water and you may find schools but getting them to bite is another matter. I went again Monday on a scouting trip alone and the bite completely changed as some rain came in. I ended up with over 20 nice fish, with one 8-pound fish and another fat one over 30 inches in the 10-plus-pound class – all released. The fish are from the surface all the way down to 70 feet. I got my fish trolling regular minnow lures like Lucky Crafts.”
Mickey Clements of Coyote Bait and Tackle in Morgan Hill said, “There has been more action for shore fishermen using bait recently, and anchovies, chicken livers, and jumbo minnows are the top baits. There are a number of stripers in the 14- to 21-inch range landed, and anglers are culling the undersized fish for legal limits.”
In the O’Neill Forebay, Clements reported the best action taking place around Check 12 and the twin islands with bait for a smaller grade of striped bass with the vast majority of linesides being less than legal.
San Luis remained at 99 percent.
George said that his Downrigging 101 class date has been changed to Thursday, April 25 at Sportsman’s Warehouse in Fresno from 6-8 p.m. Preregistration is required for the limited-seating class and the cost is $50. Call George at 905-2954 for preregistration.
Bass 2 Trout 2 Kokanee 0
There are still few reports from the lake, but bass fishermen are looking forward to the bite starting up when the water warms up a few more degrees. The annual Bass Lake Chamber of Commerce Trout Derby is May 4-5, and the Sheriff’s Motor Fee is enforced on a year-round basis now. A webcam of the lake is available at basslakeca.com/index.php.
Snow in the high country slowed down any interest in fishing in the Kaiser Pass region or the difficult-to-reach high country as the road is closed for the winter. Check the Caltrans website at dot.ca.gov/cgi-bin/roads.cgi or call 800-427-7623 for road conditions. Edison is at 12 percent, Florence at 2 percent, and Mammoth Pool is nearly filled at 99 percent.
Call: Vermilion Valley Resort at Edison Lake 259-4000
Shaver Lake/Huntington Lake
Kokanee 2 Trout 3
Shaver Lake has been quiet for the past few months, but things are heating up with more and more boaters targeting kokanee and rainbow trout within the past week of beautiful weather.
Dick Nichols of Dick’s Fishing Charters said, “The Department of Fish and Wildlife must have planted their trophy-sized rainbows as regular shore angler, Kevin Kato, reported trophies have been coming from the banks near the Sierra Marina. The DFW was to released 2000 pounds of rainbows in the 4- to 7-pound range. Jerad Romero of Clovis, a Shaver regular, contacted me this week for suggestions on where to fish, depth, and tackle, and I told him that I had a hunch that the DFW was going to release their trophies this week. After our conversation, Romero and his father, Manuel, trolled the Sierra Marina area, and Jared landed a 4.12-pound rainbow using an orange Dick’s Trout Buster behind an orange Mountain Dodger at 10 feet, losing a similarly-sized rainbow at the boat. They also landed 7 kokanee from the Point to the Island using a champagne pink Mountain Hoochie behind a Rocky Mountain dodger in pink/orange. The Romero’s also reported several shore anglers near the marina were landing large rainbows from the banks near the Sierra Marina.”
In addition to the trophy trout plant, additional plants of large rainbows will occur from April to June funded by the Shaver Lake Trophy Trout Project along with the Department of Wildlife plants of small golden and brown trout into the lake.
Shaver is currently at 41 percent, and Southern California Edison has announced that the lake will be at 51 percent on May 1 as they are keeping a close eye on the heavy snowpack in the watershed approaching nearly 200 percent of normal. It is uncertain when the Shaver Marina will be moved to its normal location, and due to the water conditions, Nichols will start his first charter operation on May 1.
Boaters should check the launch ramp conditions via the webcam of the Sierra Marina launch ramp at sierramarina.com/camera.html.
Call: Dick Nichols, Dick’s Fishing Charters 281-6948; Todd Wittwer, Kokanee.net Guide Service 288-8100; Dinkey Creek Inn 841-3435; Rancheria Marina 893-3234; Shaver Lake Sports Inc. 841-2740; Tom Oliveira Fishing 802-8072; Steve Santoro Fish Box Charters 871-3937
Boaters need to check the launch ramp conditions via the webcam of the Sierra Marina launch ramp is available at sierramarina.com/camera.html. The lake is at 41 percent.
Call: Wishon RV Park 865-5361
Half Moon Bay
Rockfish 3 Striper 2 Crab 3 Surf Perch 3
The central California coastline geared up for the rockfish opener on Monday, and the Huli Cat out of Pillar Point put in 19 limits of Dungeness crab along with quality rockfish for their customers. Second Captain Michael Cabanas of the Huli Cat said, “we still have the option for crab combos until the plug get fully pulled which may be April 15.”
The ocean salmon season below opens below Pigeon Point on April 6th before the local Half Moon Bay waters open on April 13th.
Captain Dennis Baxter of the New Captain Pete is booking out of Half Moon Bay Sport Fishing on their on-line service, and he said, “I picked up my trolling bait this week and I have switched over from commercial crab boat to party boat mode, and we will be running for salmon 7 days per week starting on April 13th as we are going to wait for our local opener instead of running down past Pigeon Point for the first week.”
Captain Jerad Davis of the Salty Lady will also be running out of Half Moon Bay at the start of the season before moving north to Sausalito, and he said, “There were salmon hooked on rockfish gear at the Deep Reef on Monday’s opener. Things are looking good.”
Out of Half Moon Bay Sport Fishing, in addition to the New Captain Pete, the Riptide, six-pack Que Sera Sera, and the signature boat, the Queen of Hearts, will be starting the ocean salmon season south of Pigeon Point on April 6th before working local waters starting seven days later. During the period from April 1st on, these boats will also be targeting rockfish/ling cod in local waters. In the San Francisco Rockfish Management Area from Point Arena to Pigeon Point including the Half Moon Bay area, rockfish season starts on April 1st with a 10-fish rockfish limit including a total of 3 black rockfish, 2 canary rockfish, and 3 cabezon with a minimum of 15 inches. One ling cod with a 22-inch minimum length is allowed, and the depth restriction is 40 fathoms (240 feet).
Perch fishing remains solid along the beaches south of Half Moon Bay along with some schoolie striped bass with Lucky Craft Flash Minnows or Berkley Camo Worms.
In the San Francisco Rockfish Management Area from Point Arena to Pigeon Point including the Half Moon Bay area, rockfish season starts on April 1st with a 10-fish rockfish limit including a total of 3 black rockfish, 2 canary rockfish, and 3 cabezon with a minimum of 15 inches. One ling cod with a 22-inch minimum length is allowed, and the depth restriction is 40 fathoms (240 feet).
Rockfish 3 Striper 2 Sand Dabs 2 Surf Perch 3
Chris Arcolleo of Chris’s Fishing Trips reported outstanding rockfish action on the opener with the Check Mate running south to Point Sur for 23 limits of quality rockfish including copper, yellows, and vermilions along with 23 limits of ling cod. The Caroline stayed local, and they put in 17 limits of rockfish along with 5 ling cod. He said, “They also released 3 salmon. We have room on Thursday and Friday of this week, but the weekend is filled with the salmon opener. If the salmon are as good as we think they might be, we will focus primarily on salmon at the start of the season.”
San Francisco Bay
Halibut 2 Striper 2 Rockfish 3 Leopard shark 2 Sturgeon 2
The opening day of rockfish proved productive for the Sea Wolf and Tiger Fish out of Emeryville as they returned with 50 limits of rockfish and 28 lings to 16 pounds. These two boats, along with the New Huck Finn, will be focusing upon rockfish when conditions allow.
Halibut fishing continues to build, and the south bay is the top location as the water is clearest around the Alameda Rockwall and Oyster Point. Captain Bill Clapp of Bill’s Sport Fishing had a great day on Saturday near the rockwall with a total of seven legal halibut for his clients. He said, “Dawn Johnson, her husband Jeff, and friend Ken from Los Altos went out on our first halibut trip of the season, Dawn and Jeff just moved out to San Jose from Michigan, and was Jeff’s Birthday present, we had 7 nice keepers and kept busy with17 shakers on a sunny calm South Bay off Alameda and the San Bruno Shoals.”
The California Dawn out of Berkeley has a limited supply of live shiners, and they put in over a legal fish per rod on Monday working the south bay with 9 halibut and 8 striped bass for 9 anglers with another 38 short halibut released.
The south bay is not the only location for halibut as Dan Hager and Kathleen Andresen Hager went kayaking off of China Camp on both Saturday and Sunday. Hager landed a 45-inch/30-pound sturgeon on Saturday and his wife landed striped bass to 6.5 pounds, and she followed this up with a limit of halibut on Sunday.
Also in the San Pablo Bay, Hunt Conrad of the Golden Gate Salmon Association put in a limit of striped bass near the Pumphouse while targeting sturgeon on Sunday.
San Luis Obispo
Rockfish 3 Surf Perch 2
Rockfish season began on Monday, and all of the boats out of the San Luis Obispo County ports had banner trips on the opener. Out of Patriot Sport Fishing at Port San Luis, the Patriot, Flying Fish, and Phenix combined for 276 vermilion, 265 assorted rockfish, 116 coppers, 20 Boccaccio, 20 canary rockfish, and three lings to 10 pounds for a combined 71 anglers. Out of Morro Bay, the Avenger, Endeavor, and Starfire out of Morro Bay Landing posted a score of 770 vermilion, 100 copper, 85 assorted, 65 Boccaccio, and 21 ling cod to 10 pounds for a combined 105 anglers. Also out of Morro Bay, the Rita G and Black Pearl took out 43 fishermen for limits of rockfish including 199 vermilion, 230 assorted, and a cabezon to go with 23 ling cod to a whopping 23.5 pounds. All ports are running a variety of trips in the coming weeks for rockfish/ling cod including overnight trips.
Bass 3 Striper 3 Sturgeon 3 Catfish 2 Bluegill 2
The Sacramento River is running high from increased flows out of the upper tributaries in anticipation of heavy snowmelt in the coming weeks, but the water is clearing with less floating debris. Sturgeon are on the move up and down the system while the striped bass are coming through the Delta to spawn in the upper stretches of the Sacramento and Feather Rivers.
Captain Steve Talmadge of Flash Sport Fishing out of Martinez has been focusing on sturgeon near the Benicia/Martinez Bridge, and he said, “We were out on Saturday near the bridge, and we had a 75-inch oversized that took 30 minutes to get to the side of the boat to release along with 2 others that were broken off. Friday was more of the same with a fat 49-inch keeper sturgeon that weighed over 50 pounds along with two more sturgeon that broke off. The diamondbacks are biting like stripers right now, and they are going off on a suicide run as they hit the bait and just go. The legal sturgeon on Friday came all of the way out of the water, and their metabolism is so high right now that they are fighting really hard. I will stay in the Delta for a few more weeks depending upon the availability of live bait in San Francisco, and after the bait is available, we will run both boats out of Pier 45.”
Captain Joey Gamez of Golden State Sport Fishing has been on a roll in the sloughs, putting the trio of Daniella Adames, Kim Hope, and Nikki Stanford onto 7 total sturgeon, keeping two legal sturgeon out of the four slot fish landed. Gamez was back in Suisun Slough on Sunday, dodging boat traffic to put his clients onto two legal sturgeon. He said, “These fish are chomping on my roe, and they are fat. We had opportunities to land 8 sturgeon today.”
Captain Steve Mitchell of Hook’d Up Sport Fishing out of Pittsburg Marina was anchored between the Mothball Fleet and the Benicia/Martinez Bridge on Sunday, and he said, “The sturgeon are on the bite, and right now is the time to get out here as the diamondbacks are really chomping. We landed four fish, but they were either over or under with an estimated 8-foot oversized along with three short fish plus a few legal bass.” Mitchell will stay on the sturgeon until May 1st at which time he will move to Berkeley for the live bait season.
Johnny Tran of New Romeo’s Bait and Tackle in Freeport said, “The striped bass bite in the Sacramento River remains ‘wide open’ for linesides from 5 to 15 pounds with pile worms, blood worms, and sardines coated with garlic spray close to the tree line using 2- to 4-ounce sinkers. He said, “The stripers are coming up the river and the sturgeon are moving both up and down after spawning. Eel/nightcrawler combinations or pile worms are working for the diamondbacks.”
J.D. Richey of Richey’s Sport Fishing said, “Striped bass action is good throwing swimbaits along with spooning, and we have been picking them up on topwater as well.” Richey will continue to work the Delta with his plugging and spooning techniques for the spring striped bass run.
Alan Fong of the Fishermen’s Warehouse in Sacramento said, “The Sacramento River is clearing up, and it is only a matter of time before the bite for striped bass picks up in the north Delta.”
The 8th Annual Purple Heart Anglers Disabled Veterans Fishing Event will take place on Saturday, April 13 at Brannan Island State Recreation Area. This is the largest event each year attracting Disabled Veterans and volunteers from around northern and central California. The organization is always seeking volunteer boat captains, deckhands, setup and clean-up crew, as well as food prep help. To volunteer for this invaluable event, contact Darren Butler at firstname.lastname@example.org.
It’s all about striped and largemouth bass in the San Joaquin system right now with plenty of male linesides in the system along with some quality largemouths willing to bite. Bluegill and crappie are also heating up with the good weather in the southwest sections of the San Joaquin System.
Jeff Soo Hoo of Jeff Soo Hoo’s Guide Service out of Laurtizen’s Yacht Harbor in Oakley has been putting his clients onto limits of striped bass drifting live bait in the San Joaquin River. He said, “The bite was slower today, but still plenty of action and limits of bass for the guys from DEK commercial door frames in Rancho Cordova! The bite slowed down on Saturday, and we are waiting for another school to make it’s way through the Delta along with the stripers coming down from the upper rivers after spawning.”
Captain Joey Gamez of Golden State Sport Fishing was out in the San Joaquin on Thursday, and he said, “The striped bass bite was wide open, and you could call it when you saw the fish on the meter and could tell when you were going to get hit. Yozuri Crystal Minnows in sardine were working as the stripers were piled up at 20 feet around the tule side of berms near Frank’s Tract.”
Captain Mike Gravert of Intimidator Sport Fishing has also been getting in on the live bait action with some quality striped bass out of Korth’s Pirates Lair. A number of guides have come down from the northern part of the state to take advantage of the Delta spring striper run before moving back up to the Feather and Sacramento Rivers.
Dave Houston of Livermore was out trolling on Thursday, and he said, “It was a relatively slow day out there, and we caught all of our keepers on the incoming tide which is very unusual for us. We fished within a few miles above and below the Antioch bridge for eight keepers and about 15 shakers. All colors of lures were working about the same and I heard the Sacramento River is about 3 degrees cooler and starting to hold fish”
Clyde Wands, shallow trolling expert, found slower action on Thursday in the San Joaquin River with a few stripers to 24 inches released. He said, “There haven’t been many big fish caught so far, but one of our friends released a 16 pounder on Friday. Deep-diving lures have been working best.”
Alan Fong of the Fishermen’s Warehouse in Sacramento reported great action near Spindrift Marina on the main San Joaquin River for striped bass on Fish Traps as a customer released 50 school-sized stripers on Saturday. He said, “Bass fishing has slowed down for me, but the river is clearing up with a temperature around 54 degrees in the central Delta.”
Kris Huff of Stockton found good action with Brush Hogs for quality Delta largemouth bass on a recent trip, and the bass action in the Delta will continue to improve on the San Joaquin side as the water is clearing and warming.
Also for largemouth bass, Randy Pringle, the ‘Fishing Instructor’, found great action for personal bests for a father-son duo from Pennsylvania. He said, “Our best five went 34 pounds with young Kolby Palmer catching and releasing a 10-pound largemouth along with bass at 7, 6.3, 5, and 5 pounds. The worm bite was excellent, but you had to work it very slow as they didn’t want it hopping. We switched over to vibrating jigs with a double-diamond tail for the best grade of largemouth bass. There are fish on beds, but we didn’t target them. The water is getting warmer, but it is still a bit cold.”
Dan Mathisen of Dan Mathisen Outdoors said, “The largemouth bass bite was tougher on Sundya, but there are a lot of small legal stripers in the 20- to 22-inch range, and we picked up a few of these plug casting. We are holding a Pro-Am event out of Russo’s this coming Sunday with our draw on April 6th.”
Mike Pipkins of Gotcha Bait in Antioch reported a continued good sturgeon bite with ghost shrimp or pile worms as they went through 10 boxes of pile worms and 150 dozen ghost shrimp by Saturday. He said, “Male stripers from 4 to 7 pounds are thick in the system, and bluegill and crappie are found in the southwest Delta from Holland Tract south along with Orwood Marina and Bethel Island. The crappie bite has just started, and we are going through 200 dozen minnows per week.”
H and R Bait Stockton had a similar report with sales of all live bait in the shop by Saturday afternoon. Whiskey Slough has been the top location for striped bass and bluegill, and crappie are taken near Herman and Helen’s Marina off of Eight Mile Road with live minnows or minijigs.”
Lake Nacimiento/San Antonio/Santa Margarita/Lopez
Bass 3 White bass 3 Striper 2 Catfish 2 Crappie 3
Lopez Lake and Santa Margarita Reservoirs are the top coastal location for quality largemouth bass with fish to 6 pounds possible on reaction baits of jerkbaits, spinnerbaits, jigs, and crankbaits. The bass are starting to move up in the water column towards the beds, but the majority of fish are still holding at depths to 15 feet.
At Nacimiento, white bass continue to be the story as the whites are stacked up in the river arms and susceptible to small shad-patterned lures such as crankbaits, Kastmasters or Roostertails. Spotted bass to 3 pounds are possible in the shallows with small shad-patterned reaction baits such as spoons, spinners, and crankbaits. Crappie are found around structure with minijigs, but the schools are oriented to certain areas. The water clarity continues to improve, but there is a wide variance in water temperature from the river inlets to the main lake. The lake continues to rise, and it at 86 percent this week.
At Santa Margarita, the lake is still in excess of 100 percent of capacity, and boaters are advised to contact the lake’s ranger station at 805-788-2397 for information on the availability of the single ramp. Bass fishing continues to improve for quality as the largemouths are moving into the shallows. Jigs, creature baits, large plastic worms on the drop-shot or Texas rig, and Senkos are all working. Large crappie are taken on minijigs in the shallows around structure, but you have to find the schools.
At San Antonio, the lake rose to 40 percent, and the lake is only open on weekends until at least May 1st. Boat traffic on the weekends is starting to More fishermen are showing up on the weekends, and quality whiskerfish have been landed on stink baits or cut baits using a weightless set up. Bass fishing is starting to improve with jigs, or plastic worms on the drop-shot.
Wild West Bass Trails Pro/Am: March 29-31 at New Melones (three-day limits), Pro Division – 1, Jason Remmers, 55.93 pounds; 2, Greg Gutierrez, 55.82; 3, Gary Souza, 52.28. Amateur Division – 1, Chad LeBlanc, 46.19; 2, Chris Rains, 45.60; 3, Richard Leal, 42.80.
Kerman Bass Club: at Don Pedro, March 30 – 1, Darren Graef, 14.89 (Big Fish 5.95); 2, John Albidrez, 13.25; 3, Justin Eslich, 11.19. March 31 – 1, John Albidrez/Tony Lopez, 13.51; 2, Justin Eslich/Chris Griffin, 11.69 (Big Fish 3.41); 3, James Horton/Kym Gullegher, 11.37.
Lahu Bass Club: March 30 at Kaweah – 1, Gary Wasson, 14.14.
April 3: “Inland Trout Angling Regulation Simplification” meeting, 6-8 p.m. at Betty Rodriguez Regional Library, 3040 N. Cedar Ave., Fresno. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife is proposing a number of changes to trout fishing regulations, saying it’s to make them easier to understand and to better align regulations with management objectives on each body of water in the state. There are pro and con groups.
April 4: Delta/B and W Resort – Police and Corrections Bass Tournament
April 5: Delta/Russo’s Marina – New Jen Bass Tournaments
April 6-7: Delta/Tracy Oasis – Tracy Oasis Marina, New Melones – Bass Anglers of Northern California, McClure – New Jen Bass Tournaments, Lake McSwain – Merced Irrigation District Trout Derby
April 6: Delta/B and W Resort – California Bass Federation, Delta/Russo’s Marina – The Fishing Instructor, Delta/Ladd’s Marina – Sonora Bass Anglers, New Melones – River Rat Bass Tournaments, Tulloch – Kings River Bass Club, Don Pedro – Angler’s Press, Pine Flat – Cen Cal Elite Bass Tournaments, Success – Golden Empire Bass Club, Nacimiento – Best Bass Tournament, Lopez – Kern County Bassmasters
April 7: Delta/Russo’s Marina – Dan Mathisen Outdoors Pro/Am, Delta/Brannan Island – Central Valley Anglers Spring Striper Shootout, Tulloch – Nor Cal High School Bass, Don Pedro – Kings River Bass Club, Pine Flat – Cen Cal Elite Bass Tournaments, Lopez – 101 Bass
April 13-14: Don Pedro – Sierra Bass Club
April 13-15: Lake Isabella – Kern County Chamber of Commerce Trout Derby
April 13: Delta/Russo’s Marina – Wild West Bass Trails, Lake Pardee – Kokanee Power, Don Pedro – Best Bass Tournaments, Eastman – Sheet Metal Workers, Hensley – Army Corps of Engineers Trout Derby, Pine Flat – Sportsmen’s Warehouse King of the Clubs, Nacimiento – American Bass Association, Santa Margarita – Orange County Bass Club
April 14: Delta/Ladd’s Marina – Wild West Bass Trails, New Melones – California Bass Federation, Tulloch – Fresno Bass Club, Don Pedro – Cen Cal Elite Bass Tournaments, Kaweah – New Jen Bass Tournaments, Success – Porterville Bass Club
n = new moon > = peak activity