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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Roger George’s column will return.
Delta stripers, bass and sturgeon bites rocking, Alan Fong said. Hensley and Millerton bass taking lures, Jake Figgs reported. New Melones is best bet for multispecies action, Gary Hildebrand said. McClure and Pine Flat bass hitting, Ryan Cook reported. Shaver kokanee bite solid, Dick Nichols reported. San Luis stripers hitting, Dave Hurley said. Monterey salmon action good, Chris Arcolleo reported. Isabella producing good bass and crappie bites, Pete Cormier said.
2-Have to work hard
4-Fish jumpin’ in boat
Delta Mendota Canal and Sloughs
Striper 3 Catfish 3
Most striper fishermen in the Fresno-area continue to make the trek to the main San Luis Reservoir, but the water movement is ramping up with releases out of San Luis. Soaking anchovies or sardines along with casting ripbaits near the headgates are picking up a few striped bass. The action should improve in the coming months. In the southern section of the aqueduct in Kern County, Pete Cormier of Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield reported good action for both catfish and striped bass. The whiskerfish are taken on mackerel, sardines, or live crickets while stripers are biting blood worms, sardines, jumbo minnows, jerkbaits, and 5-inch white flukes.
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
Jake Figgs of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “The bass bite has been tough in the main lake with the best action in the river arm where the water is clearer. In the main lake, the visibility is only around 1.5 to 2 feet. Red ripbaits in a Delta Craw pattern are working best in the river arm. There is still a variance in water temperature from the river to the main lake. Small bucks are taken in the shallows with spinnerbaits. The lake rose from 85 to 86 percent.
Call: Eastman Lake 689-3255
Bass 3 Trout 2 Catfish 2 Bluegill 2 Crappie 2
Figgs said, “The bass bite has been good for quality largemouth bass to 6 pounds working the island tops with Rat-L-Traps or deep-diving crankbaits. More anglers are starting to target Hensley as the bite remains consistent for numbers of a smaller grade of largemouth bass. Kei Tech swimbaits along with spinnerbaits are effective around boulders and rocky structure along with jigs and Senkos. The crappie action should break out within the next few weeks as the weather continues to warm up. The lake rose slightly from 64 to 65 percent.
Lake Don Pedro
Bass 3 Trout 2 Kokanee 2 King salmon 1 Crappie 2
The bass bite remains inconsistent with a 14-pound limit taking the 75-boat Gallo tournament on Friday with only 11 pounds qualifying for a payment. Catching numbers is not a problem, but the quality bass have been hard to locate. This is compared to the 23-pound winning limit during last week’s Best Bass Tournament event. Ryan Cook of Ryan Cook’s Fishing was on the lake this week, and he resorted to plastics on the drop-shot or split-shot in order to get bites. Trout and kokanee trolling continue to be fair as the fish from the surface to 30 feet with a variety of gear including hoochies behind a dodger or Needlefish. The lake dropped slightly to 80 percent.
Lake Isabella/Bakersfield area
Bass 3 Trout 2 Crappie 3 Catfish 2 Bluegill 2
Pete Cormier of Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield reported an excellent crappie bite in the South Fork as the slabs are moving from open water into structure. He said, “We have been selling dozens and dozens of minnows, and large family gatherings have been coming in to buy minnows. The bass bite is also happening with deep-diving crankbaits like Norman’s DD 22’s at depths around 15 feet.” There are still rainbow trout in the lake from the recent plants, but they are moving into colder water closer to the river arm. The lake rose slightly to 41percent. The upper river is flowing high at 3,800 cfs, and water releases from the dam have also ramped up flows in the lower river. Buena Vista is limited to the occasional trout, crappie, bluegill, or catfish as most anglers are heading up the hill to Isabella.
Bass 3 Crappie 2 Trout 2 Catfish 2
The bass bite continues to improve as the fish are in all stages of spawning, and there should be some heavy weights brought into the scales in the upcoming tournaments including the Cen Cal Elite Bass Tournaments on May 4 once the lake levels stabilize. The rapid inflow into the lake has pushed the bass off of the banks into open water. Swimbaits such as Huddlestons are taking the larger bass while numbers are taken on plastics on the drop-shot or jigs. The lake rose from 32 to 45 percent.
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 fishing should be good this week with the temperatures rising, and the bass should be in pre-spawn mode. Soft plastics, jigs, and crankbaits are working best.” The lake is filling up despite water releases, and it has risen from 58 to 64 percent. In the Tule River, Stokke said, “The Tule is running high, and I landed three nice browns on caddis patterns last Saturday, but I had to work for them.”
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 Mother Lode anglers with the best action in the upper end of the lake. The topwater bite is coming on, and the majority of bass are in post-spawn mode.
Ryan Cook of Ryan Cook’s Guide Service was on the lake several times this week on guide trips, and he said, “The upper end of the lake has been best, but the lower end has been much tougher. We probably caught and released 35 to 40 bass to 5 pounds on a Super Spook this past week, but the majority of fish have spawned, and they are moving into open water and suspending.”
Jesus Reyes Silva of Hollister and ‘How to Fish’ was on the lake on Saturday, and he said, “The bite was on fire as both spotted and largemouth bass are guarding fry on the beds. We had excellent action on plastics on the shakey head or drop shot as well as swimbaits. We found the bass inside of coves or flat sanding areas. We also ran into a couple of boils as the spotted bass were pushing the shad into the coves. When we found the boils, underspins or spinnerbaits were the ticket.” Reyes came in 6th during the Merced Bass Club event with 11.46 pounds with the winning weight at 14.34 with a big fish at 5.20 pounds by James Vella and Maric Knapp.
McClure rose from 66 to 69 percent.
The trend of charity fishing events continues with a tournament dedicated to 12-year-old Mason Ferrulli of Ripon to occur on June 15 at Lake McClure. Mason has been diagnosed with a brain tumor, and he has maintained a positive attitude throughout many medical appointments and treatments. Captain Zach Medinas of Gatecrasher Fishing Adventures became aware of Mason’s diagnosis last year, and he took Mason and his father out for a day of sturgeon action, catching and releasing a number of diamondbacks in Suisun Bay.
Ryan Cook of Ryan Cook’s Fishing was recently contacted by a Ferrulli family friend about putting on a fundraising tournament for Mason, and Cook took on the task himself by developing Fishing McClure for Mason. Cook recently put together the first annual Reel In for Kids event this past weekend at Don Pedro in conjunction with the Cen Cal Elite Bass Club, and they are back on board for this event along with Mother Lode Kayak Fishing. Cook said, “We will be launching out of Barrett’s Cove South with an all-inclusive entry fee of $200 including Big Fish, and the tournament will be limited to 80 boats. In addition to the event, we are lining up a huge raffle, and there have been some big-ticket items donated already including an AKC Labrador retriever from Black Cloud Kennels, a rigged fishing kayak donated by Douglas Goodman through Headwaters Kayaks in Lodi, and a gun from Stage Stop in Atwater. We are looking for additional donations for the event.” Information regarding registration or donations can be obtained through Cook.
Call: Ryan Cook – Ryan Cook’s Fishing 691-7008
Trout fishing remains fair off of the banks from the shore areas of the Brush Pile, Handicapped Docks, and near the café. The best fishing occurs immediately after the trout plants which occur around every other week or so. Silver/blue Kastmasters, Roostertails, white Power Eggs, white trout dough bait are picking up the occasional rainbow to 5 pounds.
Call: McSwain Marina 209-378-2534
Millerton Lake/San Joaquin River
Bass 3 Striped bass 1 Shad 1 Bluegill 2 Crappie 3
Jake Figgs of Valley Rod and Gun said, “Numbers of small spotted bass in the 1- to 1.5-pound range are the norm with plastics on the drop-shot like the Zoom Finesse Worm in Green Weenie around Finegold. There is a topwater bite for a larger grade of largemouth and spotted bass with Zara Spooks or similar walking baits. The bass are in all stages of the spawn, and many fish are holding in the transition areas. Jigs or plastics on the shakey-head or NED rig are working at depths from 15 to 20 feet in the transition areas. The river arm along with the main lake are both producing. Crappie action remains good in the submerged trees along the shorelines with minijigs. Jerry Xiong reported that he caught a rare 37.5 inch striper last week-one of the few stripers caught this year at the lake. . The lake dropped from 55 to 53 percent.
Call: Valley Rod & Gun 292-3474
New Melones Reservoir/Tulloch
Bass 3 Crappie 3 Catfish 3 Trout 3 Kokanee 2
Bass action is starting to come to life, and trout and crappie are also viable options at New Melones as the lake remains very full.
Gene Hildebrand of Glory Hole Sports in Angels Camp said, “Anglers on New Melones trolling for rainbows are finding their best action in Angels Cove with a variety of lures including Speedy Shiners, Rapalas, and rolled shad.” Hugh Marchand of Lodi took first place in a Teichert Company event with a 6.5-pound brown trout that was released, and he said, “We landed six quality rainbows from 4 to 6 pounds, and everything was deep.” Shari Siewert of Dorrington brought in a 4.12-pound rainbow in Angels Cove on a nightcrawler behind a dodger close to the surface so the trout are at various levels in the water column.
Hildebrand added that kokanee have been slow to appear so far this year, but with the warm weather arriving, the plankton bloom should start up and kick off the kokanee action. Catfish in excess of 11 pounds have been brought in from the banks around the Highway 49 Bridge, and the crappie bite has been off of the hook with many fishermen coming in for live minnows.
John Liechty of Xperience Fishing Guide Service said, “New Melones bass fishing has been great, but the bite has been changing daily, and we have been adapting to high winds, rain and blue skies. Under certain conditions, the fish can be found plastered to the shoreline, and our bites are coming quick. On other days, a deeper retrieve is necessary to trigger strikes. Day in and day out, the finesse tactics are reliable, and working a variety of soft plastics on an assortment of rigging methods will put fish in the boat. Plastics on a shakey head, NED rig, and nail rig are among the top producers. With the water clarity being clear, some translucent greens and natural colors are the ticket. For those in search of big bites on big baits, the swimbaits are still effective. It may take many casts, but we have seen and hooked some impressive big bait fish lately. The topwater bite is coming on, but is yet to break wide-open.”
Josh Parris of Josh Parris Guide Service said, “Spring is here, and New Melones is fishing great. The bass have started spawning, and there are fish now in all three phases of the spawn. For targeting the pre spawn fish, I've been focusing on main points adjacent to spawning pockets and throwing larger finesse presentations, big swimbaits and shad imitations. The spawning fish have been harder to target this year with the water dropping significantly weekly. Most beds are not even getting the chance for the eggs to hatch. With the water levels dropping, most beds are high and dry before the eggs can mature. If conditions allow, they can be sight fished, but will also fall for most finesse presentations blind casted to the bank. Typically post spawn fish are more susceptible to top water and reaction style baits, but with the recent temperatures on the cold side, the top water has slowed but it should pick up as the water warms.”
The lake is releasing water, and it dropped to 81 percent.
Pine Flat Reservoir/Kings River
Bass 3 Trout 2 Kokanee 0 King salmon 0 Catfish 2 Crappie 2
The Cen Cal Elite Bass Club held a memorial event for Bobby Blaswich at Pine Flat on Saturday, April 20, and the club along with its participants were able to donate $13,000 to the family with all 8 of the top teams donating their winning back to the cause. The Cen Cal Elite Club is composed of the former Visalia and Success Bass Clubs, and they have been more and more involved in events supporting fellow anglers as well as youth. They were one of the co-sponsors of the ‘Reel In for Kid’s’ Event at Don Pedro last weekend.
Ryan Cook of Ryan Cook’s Guide Service took third place at the memorial tournament with his partner, Ed Souza, and he said, “We found a great topwater bite around main lake points near the mid-lake level and the Super Spook in Okie Shad accounted for many fish along with a 1/2 -ounce blue/black G-Money jig. We covered a lot of water in the middle of the lake, basically working around six main lake points. We caught plenty of bass, somewhere around 30 bass, and our best action was for spotted bass. The largest bass weighed in was an 8.6-pound largemouth, but we couldn’t find many quality largemouth bass so we focused on the spots. The water is very clear with around 15 feet of visibility.”
Jake Figgs of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “It was tough for us on Sunday with only 7.30 pounds for five bass with most fish taken on plastics on the drop-shot or jigs up the river arm past Rattlesnake. We marked bass at 15 to 25 feet in Windy Gap, but they were reluctant to bite. It looks like there is a topwater bite in the evenings with topwater Poppers.
The lake continues to rise, and it came up from 54 to 56 percent.
Trout trolling continues to be slow with a few boats working from Rattlesnake to Big Creek, but the clarity in the lower Kings is improving with planters taken on nightcrawlers, salmon eggs, Power Bait or Panther Martins in red spots/yellow blade or gold blade/black/yellow body. The lake rose to 56 percent despite water releases.
San Luis Reservoir and O’Neill Forebay
Striper 3 Catfish 2 Bass 2 Crappie 2
San Luis Reservoir continues to release water through the O’Neill Forebay and into the California Aqueduct, but it remains high at 92 percent. The troll bite is starting to improve, but the wind has been a limiting factor for boaters.
Shore anglers continue to work around the mouth of Portuguese Cove and the coves along Dinosaur Point with 7-inch Magnum Flukes, Duo Realis jerkbaits, or Lucky Craft Pointers. There was some excellent topwater action in the early morning around Romero Visitor Center with shad-patterned Super Spooks. Jake Figgs of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis reported good action in the coves in the early mornings with Spooks or River2Sea Rovers, but as the day goes on, the fish drop in the water column and are being landed with ripbaits.
Roger George of Roger George Guide Service said that the overall troll bite has been slower in the falling water , but that last Tuesday he guided Chuck and Patty Crumbly of Fresno on an epic day of fishing. “We started off trolling and immediately picked up several fish, and the bite just kept getting better with almost all fish in the upper 21-to 25-inch range. Later, the bigger fish suddenly turned on for some reason with fish going 27.5 inches, 29.5 and 30 inches. That’s when Chuck began fighting an even bigger one that went 14 pounds and a personal-best for him. Incredibly, an hour later, Patty also hooked up with a heavy fish that turned out to be almost identical to Chuck’s big fish, 14 pounds and a PB by 10 pounds for her, too. We also lost two more bigger fish after good fights. Patty told me she had blisters on her hands from fighting so many fish! We ended the day by clicking the fish counter and releasing our 50th fish. The combination of quality numbers and two new PB both at 14 pounds is very rare. I think we hit the jackpot – right day , using the right lures in the right areas. Special conditions I’ve rarely seen. I covered a lot of ground working from 40 to 75 feet in the 61-degree water using Lucky Crafts in minnow patterns in Portuguese and the main lake. We could do no wrong!”
George is doing his Downrigging 101 class on Thursday, April 25 at Sportsman’s Warehouse in Fresno at 6 p.m. Preregistration is required for the limited-seating class and the cost is $50. Call George at 905-2954 for preregistration.
The winds were heavy over the past weekend, and both the main lake and the forebay are susceptible to sudden changes in wind and weather conditions. Wind warming and lake closure lights are used on both lakes to alert boaters of the current wind conditions. On San Luis Reservoir, watch for the one of three wind warning and lake closure lights near the Basalt entrance station, Quien Sabe Point, and the Romero Visitor Center. At the O’Neill Forebay, wind warning lights are located near the old Medieros boat ramp and above the South Beach area.
Amber lights signify caution for winds or other concerns while red lights indicate the lake is closed to boating and all vessels are required to immediately vacate the lake when the red closure lights are on.
In the O’Neill Forebay, undersized striped bass remain the rule, but patient fishermen can come through with a legal limit after culling through many shakers. Blood worms, pile worms, anchovies, and jumbo minnows are all effective from the shoreline around Check 12 or the Highway 152 Bridge.
San Luis dropped to 92 percent.
Bass 2 Trout2 Kokanee 2
Todd Wittwer of Kokanee.net Guide Service reported that his partner, Mike Beighey, did well for rainbow trout during the early portion of the week with the new MAG Tackle’s Stealth Splatter in pink behind a pink Radical Glow Tube. By Thursday, the bite slowed down for both trout and kokanee, and Saturday’s score produced overall slow action for kokanee to 15 inches and rainbows to 17 inches with the Rocky Mountain Tackle’s pink Moonshine dodger with a pink splatter hoochie from the surface to 18 feet. The lake rose to 78 percent.
The Bass Lake Chamber of Commerce Trout Derby is May 4-5 and there are three grand-prize rainbows with two at $10,000 and one at $5,000 along with 150 trout worth $100 each and 847 trout worth $20 each. Registration is $25, $15 for children under 15 and $10 for each additional child. Information: Michelle Miller, 642-3633 or basslakechamber.com/fishing-derby.
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.
Brown trout 2 Trout 2
Byron Stickler of Fresno reported that he and his wife Kim did well at Mammoth Pool catching 13 browns with most in the 17- to 18-inch range with one at 20. He said that the bite is about over for toplining with temperatures near 60 degrees.
Edison is at 12 percent, Florence at 3 percent, and Mammoth Pool is over capacity at 102 percent.
The Kaiser Pass road opening to vehicles is anticipated around June 7. Vermillion Valley Resort announced that quad trips for up to seven people will take place May 13-June 3. The cost of $125 per night per person includes lodging, use of mess hall, complete with TV, restrooms and one boat for one day. Additional boats are available for rent. Information: Jim at VVR.
Call: Vermilion Valley Resort at Edison Lake 259-4000
Shaver Lake/Huntington Lake
Kokanee 3 Trout 2
Shaver Lake is rising, but the kokanee bite remains solid for trollers working the pattern from the Sierra Marina to the point. The rising water has created a few problems with debris forming on the surface.
Dick Nichols of Dick’s Fishing Charters said, “The rising water is good news, but also not so good news as the quick rise has collected debris and tainted the water clarity. One regular, Jay Irvine of Visalia, reported 8 kokanee to the boat, keeping 3, but he said that it was much slower than it has been. He was running pink Mountain hoochies scented with corn behind a pink dodger; Another regular from Shaver collected two limits, but it took them four hours. He also picked up a brown trout at 28 inches. He had previously reported thick schools of kokanee last week, but the fish were scattered with few schools to be located. The good news about the water rise is that the Shaver Lake Marina in Edison Cove is now open along with the Sierra Marina, and both marinas are full service with gas docks operational. The ramps are accessible now with the higher water levels. The trout bite generally slows down when the water levels rise since insects and terrestrials are washed into the lake. The Shaver Lake Trophy Trout Project will be planting around 1,000 trophies soon with another plant scheduled for June.”
Tom Oliviera of Tom Olviera’s Guide Service was out with Bruce Potter on Friday, and he said, “We put in two quick limits of kokanee using MAG Tackle’s pink Mini-Mag hoochies in painted or brass glitter blades behind a pink Stealth dodger from the Sierra Marina to the point. Greens in the same patterns were also successful. The water temperature was 47 degrees and the kokanee were in the 11.5- to 12-inch range.”
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
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 sometime in May or early June.
Call: Wishon RV Park 865-5361
Half Moon Bay
Salmon 2 Rockfish 3 Striper 2 Crab 3 Surf perch 3
Salmon action was halted by the winds over the weekend, but the bite broke out again on Monday in better weather conditions south of the harbor at the Deep Reef. Captain Jerad Davis of the Salty Lady posted limits to 13 pounds for his group, stating, “The weather conditions backed off a bit, but it was still a little sloppy out there. We had to work a bit harder, but these fish were all a nice grade with the 24-inch size limit guaranteeing a quality fish.”
Half Moon Bay remains the top bet for salmon along the coast along with Monterey Bay. The Deep Reef has been the top area, and boats out of San Francisco Bay have been making the long run when the weather is decent. The Huli Cat was at Martin’s Beach on Monday for 6 limits of rockfish and Dungeness crab along with three ling cod in breezy ocean conditions.
The Ankeney Street was able to fish inshore on Sunday for 180 rockfish and 20 ling cod for 20 anglers, but the wind came up after 11:30 a.m.
Salmon 3 Rockfish 3 Striper 2 Surf perch 3
Chris Arcolleo of Chris’s Fishing Trips reported great salmon action on Monday with both the Check Mate and Caroline returning with a combined 32 limits to 18 pounds with many of the salmon in the cookie cutter 7- to 8-pound range. He said, “We have an hour boat ride to the fish, limit out within an hour, and an hour back to the docks.” The bulk of the salmon are 6 miles straight out of Moss Landing in the canyon. Earlier in the week after three days of salmon limits, the weather was the victor on Saturday with the Check Mate returning with 15 salmon for 23 anglers as several salmon were lost after being hooked in the gusts. Sunday was much better with 28 salmon for 23 anglers. The fish are there, but it is a matter of being able to fish for them. The Caroline was able to rockfish on Sunday for 22 limits and 4 lings in the local waters. It is time to get on the books for salmon since this week is already booked to the max.
San Francisco Bay
Halibut 3 Striper 3 Leopard shark 2 Sturgeon 2
The wind was brutal on Saturday, and the party boats weren’t able to get down to the striped bass in the south bay so most focus on halibut. Captain Jonathon Smith of the Pacific Dream out of Berkeley put his 14 passengers onto nearly a fish per rod on Sunday with 12 halibut and a striped bass, releasing a number of undersized halibut.
Out of Emeryville, the C Gull II and New Huck Finn came in with less than a fish per rod on Sunday with a combined 10 halibut and 8 striped bass for 24 anglers. The Sea Wolf was able to make it to the bass, and they posted 24 limits to 10 pounds along with 13 halibut.
Monday arrived with better weather, and the halibut scores were the best all season long with the California Dawn returning with their best halibut score of the year along with a bass per rod. The Pacific Dream, also out of Berkeley, posted 11 keeper halibut to 10 pounds along with 3 striped bass while trolling, and they released a number of short halibut.
Live bait is still not present in the receivers in San Francisco or Berkeley, but Loch Lomond Marina has a supply of live shiners and live smelt.
San Luis Obispo
Rockfish 3 Salmon 2
Rockfish season continues, and limits are the rule on full-day trips with the possibility of limits on the ½ day trips. Ling cod remain elusive with a handful taken on each trip. Out of Patriot Sport Fishing at Port San Luis, the Phenix went salmon trolling on Sunday with three anglers for three salmon while the Flying Fish and the Patriot went rockfishing with 34 anglers for 42 vermilion, 86 assorted rockfish, 10 copper, a Boccaccio, and 5 ling cod to 7 pounds. Out of Morro Bay, the Endeavor and Avenger out of Morro Bay Landing were out on Sunday with 101 anglers for 580 vermilion, 70 copper, 60 Boccaccio, 170 assorted rockfish, and 15 ling cod to 19 pounds. The Fiesta out of Virg’s Landing took out 28 fishermen on Monday for limits of rockfish and 4 lings with 180 vermilion, 20 assorted, 20 copper, 40 canary, and 20 Boccaccio to go with 4 ling cod. 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 wind continues to be the story in the Sacramento-Delta as gusts in the 30 mph-range blew through on Saturday; however, the wind didn’t stop the sturgeon from biting in lower Suisun Bay.
Steve Talmadge of Flash Sport Fishing out of Martinez said, “ I have to say we are enjoying some of the best sturgeon fishing I have experienced in a long time. Even the oversized sturgeon are chomping, as we have brought sturgeon up to 8 feet long to the boat. We are also seeing a few nice bass, and we will continue to target the sturgeon until we have live anchovies available in San Francisco Bay.”
Captain Steve Mitchell of Hook’d Up Sport Fishing fought the wind on Saturday, and his efforts paid off for his three clients from Sweden. He said, “These anglers were amazed at the size and fight of the white sturgeon as they had never landed a diamondback before. It was a truly action-packed day full of adrenaline with two oversized at 63 -inches and a huge oversized that was released alongside the boat along with two slot-limit sturgeon at 47 and 53 inches. We started off in the Big Cut since Captain Joey Gamez of Golden State Sport Fishing found great action for his clients the previous day with three legal sturgeon. We found some sturgeon in the Big Cut, but the majority of fish had moved out. The ones that were there did not want to bite so we made a move to the Little Cut after 1.5 hours of slow action. After scouting around, we found sturgeon on the bottom in the Little Cut, and it wasn’t five minutes after we set the pick and the rods were all out when we had two hanging. Before these fish came in, the third sturgeon was on the hook, and we landed all three with the two legal sturgeon along with the smaller of the oversized diamondbacks. The bite is on and popping as even in the wind we were able to detect these bites. We landed all of our sturgeon on salmon roe on the outgoing tide, but they also bit for others on the incoming tide as I called several others into the Little Cut. The anglers from Sweden were amazed as they related that no large fish species are available in their home country, and they took multiple pictures to show a disbelieving populace back home.” Mitchell will be targeting sturgeon out of Pittsburg until April 30 before moving to Berkeley for the live bait and salmon seasons.
Captain Joey Gamez of Golden State Sport Fishing has been focusing on the sloughs, and he had consecutive days with 4 and 3 limits of sturgeon in the sloughs earlier this week.
A huge 58-pound striped bass was brought in by an angler fishing with Jeff Collins of Manteca out of Bay Point, and Collins is a self-employed fisherman who has landed many, many large striped bass on splittail with in the past few years.
The northwest winds continue to roll through the San Joaquin-Delta, but those willing to fight the winds are finding quality action for both largemouth and striped bass.
Captain James Netzel of Tight Lines Guide Service out of Korth’s Pirates Lair was out in the winds on Saturday, and he said, “It was a struggle in the morning with only 4 stripers by noon, but the bite turned on in the afternoon with 7 more keepers to 15 pounds. The wind, big minus tide, and dirty water in locations didn’t make a difference, and we found our best action from Eddo’s to Three Mile Slough with deep-diving Yozuri Crystal Minnows. There was too much debris on the surface to work shallow lures as the big tides brought flotsam off of the banks. The river below the mouth of the Mokelumne is dirty on the outgoing tide and this occurs also below Three Mile Slough. Right now, there is a lot of hydrilla and weeds in the water, but the stripers are there.”
Jeff Soo Hoo of Soo Hoo’s Sport Fishing took his family out for striped bass on the San Joaquin on Easter Sunday, and he said, “We got a late start at 8:30 a.m., but we had limits by 9:00 a.m. Our children had a blast catching and releasing the stripers on live bait.” Soo Hoo was out again on Monday in the San Joaquin River, and he said, “The spoon bite is on, and we found a excellent grade of striper on P-Line Laser Minnows or LB Spoons in the stained water. Now is the time to go, and it is only going to get better.”
For largemouth bass, Randy Pringle, the Fishing Instructor, continues to score solid bags with the Berkley 10-inch Power Worm or the 5-inch Boom Boom swimbait tossed against the tules. He said, “The key is to keep the bait in the strike zone. The water clarity in the mid-Delta is great, and the bite will really take off when the water temperature hits 65 degrees as both males and females will be guarding fry. When this happens, there will be bait balls of baby fish, and the topwater and frog bite will take off. It’s like a light switching going off when the bass are guarding fry. We haven’t landed any giants, but there are solid bass from 3 to 7 pounds out there.”
The Wild West Bass Trails Pro/Am will be held from Friday, April 26 to Sunday, April 28 out of Big Break Marina with pre-fishing on April 24/25. Up to 150 boats will be running around the Delta over the three days of competition as pro participants are matched with a different amateur for the first two days.
Fresh shad is available in limited supplies in Delta-area bait shops.
Lake Nacimiento/San Antonio/Santa Margarita/Lopez
Bass 3 White bass 2 Striper 2 Catfish 2 Crappie 2
At Nacimiento, fishing couldn’t be much better with 100-fish days possible as the spotted bass have moved into the shallows and feeding on shad. Shad-imitation reaction baits are working best. The spotted bass are congregated in the shallows in the river arm with a variety of small white lures working best. Panfish are found around structure with mealworms, red worms, or wax worms while catfish are biting on cut baits. The lake held at 86 percent this week.
At San Antonio, the lake came up slightly to 41 percent, and the lake is only open on weekends until at least May 1. It is however expected to open for daily operations after May 1. An undersized grade of largemouth bass is starting to show up in the shallows with soft plastics, but catfish remain the best option with scented cut baits or nightcrawlers on a fly-line or a minimal weight.
At Lopez Lake, the bass bite is fair at best, and the largest grade of bass is found in the shallows with a variety of reaction baits including spinnerbaits, crankbaits, jerkbaits, and spinnerbaits. The fish move out into deeper water later in the day, and plastics on a Texas-rig or drop-shot along with Senkos or jigs are working in deeper water. Both crappie and bluegill are found around submerged brush with the gills taking meal worms, wax worms, or red worms and minjigs for the slabs.
At Santa Margarita, bass are on the beds, but the cloudy water is making for difficult conditions for site fishing. Panfish are found in certain areas with bluegill and red ear on meal worms, wax worms, or red worms while crappie are found on minjigs. Boaters are advised to contact the lake’s ranger station at 805-788-2397 for information on the availability of the single ramp.
Best Bass Tournaments: April 20 at Delta/Russo’s Marina – 1, Nick Dulleck/Adrian Murar, 27.65 pounds; 2, Troy Fleming/Kasey Rhyme, 26.07 (Big Fish 9.49); 3, Ryan Hall/Christopher Perez, 24.22.
Nor Cal Fish Whisperers Striper Derby: April 20 at Delta/Wimpy’s Resort – 1, Fernando Vasquez, 11.96; 2, Tristen Midgley; 3, Pius Kuhn.
Kerman Bass Club: April 20 at Tulloch – 1, John Albidrez, 24.33; 2, Dennis Graham/Jon Smith, 21.32 (Big Fish 8.91); 3, Ron Orbaker/Bryden Hunt, 20.53.
American Bass Association: April 20 at Don Pedro – 1, Noe and Joshua Sanchez, 17.66 (Big Fish 6.40); 2, Alex Niapas/Jason Remmers, 15.80; 3, Ed Hawkins/Joshua Weinberger, 13.57.
Merced Bass Club: April 20 at McClure – 1, James Vella/Maric Knapp, 14.34 (Big Fish 5.20); 2, Carey and Jeremy Edwards, 13.18; 3, Doug and Mike Goodman, 12.36.
April 27-28: Don Pedro – Bakersfield Bass Club, Millerton – American Bass Association
April 27: Delta/B and W Resort – Bass Anglers of Northern California, Don Pedro – Christian Bass League, McClure – Stanislaus Consolidated Fire Departments, Isabella – American Bass Association, Santa Margarita – 805 Kayak Fishing Club
April 28: Delta/B and W Resort – California Bass Federation, Pine Flat – Kings River Bass Club, Bass Lake – Bass 101
May 4: Kaweah – Cen Cal Elite Bass Tournaments
Week of April 28 by California Department of Fish and Wildlife:
Fresno County: Kings River below Pine Flat Dam
q = quarter moon