Millerton Lake catch
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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Delta anglers on great multi-species bite, Alan Fong said. Pine Flat and Millerton have steady bass bites, Steve Newman reported. McClure and Don Pedro bass hitting, Ryan Cook said. McSwain trout plants spur on action, Steve Marquette reported. Epic Isabella crappie bite continues, Pete Cormier said. Shaver kokanee and trout action good, Dick Nichols reported.
2-Have to work hard
4-Fish jumpin’ in boat
Delta Mendota Canal and Sloughs
Striper 3 Catfish 2
The northern section of the California Aqueduct is starting to get more play, and Steve Newman of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “Most anglers are working around the moving water in the headgates near Highway 152 close to Los Banos with large white ripbaits or hair raisers.”
In the southern section of the aqueduct in Kern County, Pete Cormier of Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield reported striped bass fishing remains solid with 7-inch Magnum flukes in white or white ice along with blood worms, sardines, jumbo minnows, and jerkbaits. Catfishing is also decent with mackerel, sardines, or live crickets.
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 3 Trout 2 Bluegill 2 Catfish 2 Crappie 2
Steve Newman of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “The largemouth bass bite remains good for some while a struggle for others. The bite has been so good over the past year that the recent slower action has proved frustrating for some. Many anglers are taking a quiet approach due to the upcoming River Rat tournament, but 10-inch plastic worms, Brush Hogs, larger 6- to 7-inch Senkos or big jigs are effective over island tops and saddles. There is some action early or late with wakebaits, and the spinnerbait bite is starting to come on. The largemouth bass adjusting to the high water levels may be one reason for the challenging action. The crappie bite has yet to emerge. The lake held at 87 percent.
Call: Eastman Lake 689-3255
Bass 3 Trout 2 Catfish 2 Bluegill 2 Crappie 2
Newman said, “Most anglers are heading to nearby Eastman, but there has been a solid bite for largemouth bass with jigs or Senkos around the edges along with crankbaits over the deeper rockpiles. The bass are feeding heavily in post-spawn mode. A small grade of crappie are showing up around the submerged buck brush. Small bass are running the banks.” The lake held at 66 percent.
Lake Don Pedro
Bass 3 Trout 2 Kokanee 2 King salmon 1 Crappie 2
Fat, healthy kokanee are an option, and Monte Smith of Gold County Sport Fishing was on the lake on Sunday, and he said, “We had 11 kokanee by midday, and we had a triple hook up which was pretty exciting. The kokanee are fat and a few of them are just ounce shy of 2 pounds at 15 inches. They are just beautiful fish, but they are scattered at depths from 26 to 57 feet. I have been running small hoochies or Uncle Larry’s spinners behind Sling Blade, and with the kokanee scattered out, you have to stay with it. We weren’t targeting rainbows, but our first fish of the day was a trout.”
For bass, Ryan Cook of Ryan Cook’s Fishing said, “The topwater bite is just now kicking off as a new wave of bass have come to the banks. The lake is ready to go off this week, and Zach Schmidt of Atwater caught and released over 100 bass to 4 pounds on ripbaits and flukes this week.”
The lake has risen from 82 to 86 percent.
Lake Isabella/Bakersfield area
Bass 3 Trout 2 Crappie 3 Catfish 2 Bluegill 2
Pete Cormier of Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield reported a continued solid crappie bite although the action has slowed a bit since the absolute ‘red hot’ action of the past three weeks Cormier said, “The slabs are showing up in other places than the South Fork, and Rocky Point and Camp 9 are producing with minjigs or live minnows. We continue to sell dozens and dozens of minnows on a daily basis as the banks have been lined with 50 to 100 people targeting the slabs. the crappie bite continues to draw fishermen from all over the state with a number of Fresno-area anglers heading down for limits to near-limits of slabs. People are coming from as far away as Sacramento or Los Angeles, and the bank action is just as good as from a boat with minijigs or small to medium minnows. The bass have moved into shallow water, and deep-diving crankbaits like Norman’s DD 22’s at depths are working around 15 feet. The lake rose from 41 to 47 percent. The upper river is blown out with the snowmelt, but the lower river flows have slowed as most water is being held behind the dam. Buena Vista is starting to kick out bluegill, crappie, and bass along with a few holdover rainbow trout.
Bass 3 Crappie 2 Trout 2 Catfish 2
The Cen Cal Elite Bass Tournaments held a tournament on Saturday with 32 teams, and it was either feast or famine with some big limits followed by a progressive drop-off to one or two fish at the weigh in. The lake is rising dramatically, coming up from 68 to 75 percent this week, and the bass are moving off of the banks in response. Once the lake stabilizes, the bass bite should take off in a big way.
Call: Sierra Sporting Goods 592-5212
Bass 3 Trout 2 Catfish 2 Crappie 2 Bluegill 2
Chuck Stokke of the Sequoia Fishing Company in Springville said, “The bass are in pre-spawn mode, and wacky-rigged Senkos are working best along with plastics for the bed fish. The weather and water temperature are ideal for spawning. Polarized glasses are a must right now to see the fish on the beds, and bass action is good to excellent.” The lake rose from 76 to 82 percent.
The seventh annual Warriors Day at the Lake is May 18 at the South Tule ramp with veterans bass fishing on volunteer boats. For information and registration or to volunteer, contact Park Ranger Nicole Arbelo by May 16 at 559-784-0215.
In the Tule River, Stokke said, “The river was planted at Belknap, Coy Flat, and Ferguson, and the river is now fishable as it is dropping and clearing. Anglers are using Power Bait, spinners, or nightcrawlers while fly fishermen are using dry flies on a dropper pattern along with Woolley Buggers. With the high water, it is going to be a phenomenal season.”
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 continues to be the bright spot for Mother Lode bass anglers as numbers of spotted bass are jumping in the boat.
Ryan Cook of Ryan Cook’s Guide Service took out Mason Ferrulli of Ripon along with his father, Kyle, and another youth angler on Saturday to participate in the Gold Country Junior Bass Tournament, and the boys each weighed in a limit, culling another dozen or so fish each in the process. Cook said, “We got off to a less than ideal start as we launched without putting the plug in the boat, and after this fiasco was alleviated, I hit a log, shearing off one of the blades on the prop so we had to idle around the lake at 5 mph. The boys still caught fish, and we ended up on 2nd place which made up for the earlier challenges. There is an excellent topwater bite within the first hour in the morning before moving to subsurface reaction baits. Flukes, ripbaits, and jerkbaits are all working, and you don’t have to fish deeper than 15 feet.”
Cook is organizing the upcoming ‘Fishing McClure for Mason’ at McClure on June 15th along with the Cen Cal Elite Bass Club and Mother Lode Kayak Fishing. The event will take place out of Barrett’s Cove South with an all-inclusive entry fee of $200.00 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 a 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, and information regarding registration or donations can be obtained through Cook at (559) 691-7008. Mason has had several surgeries and treatment for a brain tumor, but the fishing community has rallied for his support.
Mike Gomez of Berserk Baits said, “You can catch between 50 and 100 bass right now with plastics on the drop-shot, jigs, or 5-inch Senkos, and there is a good topwater bite in the mornings with the River2Sea Rover in either Powder or Bone. The bass can be found from the banks to 25 feet.”
Steve Marquette of the Lake McClure/McSwain Recreation Company reported shad boils near McClure Point in the mornings and evenings with the bass just gorging on the shad in 10 to 15 feet of water.
McClure has risen to 80 percent.
Call: Ryan Cook – Ryan Cook’s Fishing 691-7008
Steve Marquette of the Lake McSwain/McClure Recreation Company reported a plant from the Calaveras Trout Farm occurred this week, and Roostertails or corn Power Bait are working from the shorelines while trollers are scoring with Needlefish up the river arm past the Second Fence Line. The campgrounds have been full over the weekends.
Call: McSwain Marina 209-378-2534
Millerton Lake/San Joaquin River
Bass 3 Striped bass 1 Shad 1 Bluegill 2 Crappie 3
Steve Newman of Valley Rod and Gun said, “The spotted bass bite is very consistent with anglers reporting up to 35 fish on ripbaits with most of the spots in the 1- to 1.5-pound range. The bass are holding only points in the main lake at depths from 5 to 15 feet. The numbers are less in the river, but there are some good bass to be had with underspins, Hula Grubs, jigs, ripbaits, jerkbaits, or plastics on a Neko Rig. The bass are aggressively striking reaction baits, and there is a good topwater bite in the mornings with 4-inch walking baits such as Poppers or the River2Sea 95 Rover. Prop baits have been less effective.” The lake jumped up from 57 to 64 percent.
Call: Valley Rod & Gun 292-3474
New Melones Reservoir/Tulloch
Bass 3 Crappie 2 Catfish 2 Trout 2 Kokanee 1
Bass action continues to come to life at New Melones, and the topwater bite has started to pick up speed.
Bass fishing continues to be good, and largemouth bass to 10.42 pounds have been reported this week. Super Spooks or the ima Little Stick are effective topwater lures in the early mornings before pulling off to depths to 30 feet with Senkos on a wacky-rig or plastics on the drop-shot. The majority of bass are in post-spawn mode. The occasional large rainbow trout is taken by trollers, and kokanee are still a future endeavor with few reports of the landlocked salmon as of yet. Catfish are biting cut baits while crappie are moving into structure as the lake is balancing water releases with inflow, and it held at 80 percent.
Pine Flat Reservoir/Kings River
Bass 3 Trout 2 Kokanee 0 King salmon 0 Catfish 2 Crappie 3
Pine Flat remains one of the top lakes for spotted bass in the Central Valley, and the action has been stellar over the past few weeks.
Steve Newman of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “Pine Flat is our most productive lake in the area along with Millerton, and there are still some quality bass on the beds at Pine Flat, but most are in post-spawn mode. These fish are hanging out near drop offs, rock piles, and in open water near flats at depths from 15 to 25 feet, and they are eating and recovering from the spawn. Big plastics such as Trick Worms on Neko rig, larger Senkos, or shakey heads are working best in these transition areas. There are some reaction fish coming on underspins. The bass in the river arm are more post-spawn and transient, and jerkbaits, ripbaits, and squarebill crankbaits are working for the river bass. The crappie are becoming active around Trimmer, and they are holding under the trees or suspended. Anglers are using 2- to 3-inch swimbaits with a paddletail along ledges or over trees, and they are counting down around 5 to 7 counts before starting their retrieve. We haven’t been selling as many bobber stops in the past few weeks. Many of our crappie fishermen are heading south to Lake Isabella for numbers, and although the numbers are as impressive at Pine Flat, there have been some quality slabs. Carp are holding in the shallow, grassy areas in the rive arm, and this is a good time for bow hunters to target these huge carp which are as large as 25 to 30 pounds.”
Trout fishing has been slow for trollers with most area fishermen heading up the hill to Shaver Lake for rainbows. In the lower Kings River, the trout plants continue, and Power Bait or salmon eggs are working in the pocket water while a larger grade of planter is found in the moving water with heavy spoons such as Kastmasters or Roostertail spinners. Some anglers are reporting very slow action around Winton Park.
Pine Flat climbed from 63 to 69 percent.
San Luis Reservoir and O’Neill Forebay
Striper 2 Catfish 2 Bass 2 Crappie 2
San Luis Reservoir continues to release water, and the striped bass have scattered out in response. There is a shore bite in the early mornings or evenings with jerkbaits or topwater lures, but most anglers are starting to troll once again while targeting the linesides.
Steve Newman of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “We have been selling plenty of Duo Realis 120 jerkbaits in Ghost Minnow patterns along with bright chartreuse with pink for early morning jerkbait bite, and topwater lures are also working. We haven’t been selling much bait.”
Roger George of Roger George Guide Service said that he fished last Wednesday with guests Case Vyfhuizen and Mike and Rocky DeJager, all from the Chowchilla/Merced area. George said, “The trolling bite has definitely gotten tougher in the falling water but I was able to find some active schools that were holding in more open water than before at depths from 60 to 80 feet and hitting Lucky Crafts in silver minnow colors. We ended up with 20 fish, many in the 21- to 24-inch class with the biggest going 25 inches. I had to almost hit the fish in the head to get them to bite. The fish are definitely moving to new areas. After my guests left due to some prior commitments, I went back out scouting for a couple hours and ended up with seven more nice fish with one going around 10 pounds. I’ve had to work for every fish lately. Several other anglers told me they were getting 1-4 fish trolling, while the minnow guys were not happy with the slow, tough bite. The fish are milting now, too.”
Mickey Clements of Coyote Bait and Tackle in Morgan Hill said, “It hasn’t been too hot and heavy at San Luis, but a number of anglers are trolling again. We are selling a lot of jumbo minnows and pile worms for shore fishermen.”
In the O’Neill Forebay, the striped bass action is limited to small, undersized linesides ranging from 8 inches to barely-legal, and the algae is starting to show up along the edges. The best bet has been to soak bait around the rockwalls. Cut baits such as anchovies are working along with jumbo minnows in the moving water near Check 12 or around the Highway 152 Bridge. There is water pumping in and out of the small reservoir both into the main lake and out into the California Aqueduct as the main lake has been dropping in elevation over the past three weeks.
San Luis dropped to 83 percent of capacity.
Bass 3 Trout 3 Kokanee 3
The annual Bass Lake Chamber of Commerce Trout Derby was this past weekend, and a total of 73 tagged fish were reportedly turned in on Saturday. Bass fishermen are starting to get active, and Kei Tech swimbaits in bluegill or trout patterns are working when the water warms up after 10 a.m. Spinnerbaits are effective around the docks, and the bass are in the process of starting their spawn due to the colder water temperatures at the lake. Jigs and Senkos are also productive. Todd Wittwer of Kokanee.net Guide Service reported Dean Uhrig landed a 6.5-pound rainbow on a Affordable Tackle’s 4.4-inch orange Starburst Flasher in front of a UV Triple P pink mini hoochie.
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.
Vermillion Valley Resort announced it will run quad trips for up to seven people per party May 13-June 3. Cost is $125 per night per person.
Edison rose to 22 percent, Florence is also rising at 17 percent, and Mammoth Pool is over capacity at 102 percent.
Call: Vermilion Valley Resort at Edison Lake 259-4000
Shaver Lake/Huntington Lake
Kokanee 3 Trout 3
Shaver Lake has received two plants of trophy rainbows within the past week, and bank fishing has been outstanding for those working the shoreline near the Sierra Marina with trout dough bait, Kastmasters, or nightcrawlers. The Shaver Lake Trophy Trout Project released the first of two trophy plants this past week, and a second plant will be coming within the next few months. Major funding for the plants comes from their annual Sportsmen’s Dinner in August. Trolling for kokanee has also been very good for both rainbow trout, kokanee, and the occasional trophy brown trout.
Dick Nichols of Dick’s Fishing Charters and president of the Shaver Lake Trophy Trout Project said, “We released the first of our two plants this past week, and there will be another plant later in the season.
The funds for the plants are raised during our annual Sportsmen’s Dinner in August I opened my guide season on May 1, and what a way to begin my 14th season as Frank Hoffman and his brother, Don from Ohio, connected with 17 kokanee, two browns, and a trophy rainbow, keeping two limits of kokanee. The following day, Tom Frudden of Madera, caught and released two brown trout at 3 and 5 pounds along with releasing 20 kokanee to 16 inches. In the first five days of the season, we have caught or caught and released 112 kokanee and trout with the majority of fish landed between the Shaver Lake Marina, the island, and the Point at depths from the surface to 15 feet with the occasional fish landed as deep as 31 feet. My Mountain Hoochies in champagne pink, pink, or orange tipped with shoepeg corn scented with crayfish behind a purple/silver Mountain dodger have been working best along with a pink Koke Buster behind a pink Mountain dodger. The majority of kokanee are in the 11- to 13-inch range. Both trout and kokanee are relatively high in the water column right now, and the action should continue here before they start to drop. It is currently a great time for boats to get out if they don’t have downriggers with the fish so high in the water column. The kokanee scattered on Sunday, and we worked from the Point to the island to Eagle Point as deep as 21 feet with the same gear for 4 limits of kokanee, releasing close to another 3 limits. The catchable trout are nowhere to be found, but we have been focusing upon kokanee.”
Todd Wittwer of Kokanee.net Guide Service is back at Shaver on a full-time basis for the summer months, and he said, “It has been easy picking with 16 kokanee in the boat before 9:00 a.m., and we have been scoring with the RMT Double Glow Hoochie in orange behind a 5.5-inch Sunburst Moonshine dodger, the pink Plankton Super Squid behind a Moonshine dodger, or the pearl white squid behind a white Tsunami dodger around 15 feet. We found a nice school near the Sierra Marina, and the kokanee bite is shaping up very nicely. The majority of kokanee are around 13 inches, and they may get up to 16 inches by the end of the season. Bruce Marion of the Boat Shoppe in Fresno landed a 6-pound trophy rainbow with me this week.”
Tom Oliveira of Tom Oliveira Fishing said, “I took out the four Simonson brothers, and John, David, Rob and Joe battled on both Saturday and Sunday and enjoyed some hot kokanee action. They limited both days on kokanee top 13 inches and also landed three trophy rainbows out of five hookups using MAG Tackle mini mag hoochie in orange with a 4.25- inch dodger in orange. The fish are still in top 15’ and best spots were the Shaver Marina to the Point and across to the island.
Shaver has climbed up to 64 percent.
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 by early June.
Call: Wishon RV Park 865-5361
Half Moon Bay
Rockfish 3 Striper 2 Crab 3
With the local salmon season closed, the Huli Cat went rockfishing with the Disabled Veterans from Menlo Park on a trip sponsored by the Coastside Fishing Club. They ended up with 19 limits of rockfish and Dungeness crab. The Huli Cat is running rockfish/crab combination trips throughout the salmon closure.
The Ankeney Street took out 25 anglers on Sunday for limits of lign cod and 240 rockfish along with 3 cabezon. It was a steady pick of bottom dwellers along the coastal reefs.
The boats will continue to work the local reefs until the salmon season reopens on May 18.
Salmon 2 Rockfish 3 Striper 2 Surf perch 3
The big news was the presence of bluefin tuna along the western edge of the Monterey Canyon, and there have been a few landed on cedar plugs or poppers. The water temperature is in the 56.5 to 57 degree range. Troy out of Chris’s Landing in Monterey took out his 17-foot Boston Whaler on Sunday to burn 60 gallons of fuel in search of a bluefin. He said, “I went all over,, but we didn’t find anything. There have been bonita and yellowtail landed by commercial salmon trollers. One commercial boat picked up 31 yellowtail from 6 to 8 pounds. The salmon have gone deep with the low pressure, and we are hoping that they will come back up when the pressure rises once again on Tuesday.”
On Monday, Bayside Marine and Go Fish Santa Cruz Charters teamed up for a bluefin trip tow the Big Canyon, and they saw jumpers all of the way, ending up hooking three, landing one bluefin tuna.
Out of Chris’s Fishing Trips in Monterey, two boats went rockfishing on Sunday with the Check Mate heading south to Point Sur for 20 limits of ling cod and rockfish while the Caroline stayed local for 23 limits of rockfisih and 6 lings. Their next salmon trip is Tuesday.
On the beaches, Mickey Clements of Coyote Bait and Tackle in Morgan Hill said, “The beaches are still producing surf perch and the occasional striped bass, but the holes have changed after the big swells this winter. Rio Del Mar, Sunset, and Manressa have been the top beaches.”
San Francisco Bay
White seabass 2 Halibut 3 Striper 2 Rockfish 3 Leopard shark 2 Sturgeon 2
Live bait is available in the San Francisco bait receiver, and the halibut action on the first weekend of live bait was stellar. Captain Joel Sinkay was out on Sunday with his son, Danny, and Stephanie Scott, and they tried for white sea bass around Treasure Island after four sea bass were brought into Loch Lomond Marina on Saturday. The wind was blowing hard so they hid over by Paradise for a pair of legal halibut to 24 inches using Loch Lomond shiners.
Captain Trent Slate of Bite Me Charters out of Loch Lomond was on the water on Saturday for six halibut and a striped bass with several opportunities missed drifting live bait near Paradise in San Pablo Bay.
The ‘Battle of the Brothers’ was on Saturday, and the Smith Brothers plus one son/nephew were involved in a halibut shootout with live bait. The action was stellar, and the Pacific Dream, California Dawn, and Happy Hooker all came back with big scores. Older brother, Chris Smith, took the trophy with 60 halibut on the Pacific Dream, topping younger brother James by 4 halibut who ended up with 56 flatfish. Jonathan also had a great day for their passengers as well.
The action was a bit slower on Sunday, but Chris Smith put their clients on the Pacific Dream with 44 halbit and 11 striped bass. He said, “This new boat drifts really well, and we were pleasantly surprised at the quality of live bait.”
Smith took his first rockfishing trip to the Farallons on Friday, and although the current was ripping, the rockfish bit once the current backed off. Dan Wulff of Manteca returned with his limit of quality rockfish and a single ling.
Captain Joey Gamez of Golden State Sport Fishing and Mike Funtanilla of Bend Ur Rod Sport Fishing took out their first halibut trip of the season on Sunday with good results for a few flatfish shy of limits to 19 pounds along with releasing 30 undersize halibut.
San Luis Obispo
Rockfish 3 Surf perch 2
Rockfish season is in full swing, and limits to near-limits are the rule on the full day trips. Out of Patriot Sport Fishing at Port San Luis, the Phenix, Patriot, and Flying Fish were out on Sunday with a combined 61 passengers for 147 vermilion, 76 copper, 18 Boccaccio, 183 assorted rockfish, 40 Bolina, 3 cabezon, 8 canary, and 5 tree fish to go with 5 ling cod to 12 pounds. Kevin Rhea of Visalia took the jackpot 12-pound ling. Out of Morro Bay Landing, the Endeavor and Avenger were out with 33 anglers on Sunday for 330 vermilion rockfish along with 18 lings to 14 pounds with Dave Johnson of Bakersfield taking the jackpot ling. Out of Virg’s Landing in Morro Bay, the Fiesta was out on Monday with 19 fishermen for limits of rockfish composed of 180 vermilion and 10 Boccaccio to 7 pounds. Nick Bishop of Springville took the jackpot with the big Boccaccio. All ports are running a variety of trips in the coming weeks for rockfish/ling cod including overnight trips.
Bass 3 American shad 3 Striper 3 Sturgeon 3 Catfish 2 Bluegill 2
The high water in the Sacramento-Delta is clearing, and the American shad run is in full swing in the north Delta. Striped bass action is only a matter of time before it breaks out in a big way on this side of the Delta, and despite fewer anglers targeting the ancient species, sturgeon are still thick in Suisun Bay.
Johnny Tran of New Romeo’s Bait and Tackle in Freeport said, “The shad are here, and boats are lined up near the Freeport Bridge to drop-shot for shad with weights from one to two ounces, and bank fishermen are tossing shad darts or grubs. Stripers are in the river as well, and pile worms, blood worms, or sardines coated with garlic spray are all working for the linesides while trollers are pulling deep diving lures. A few sturgeon are also being caught incidentally by striper fishermen.”
Alan Fong of the Fishermen’s Warehouse in Sacramento had a similar report, saying, “Shad fishing is off of the hook right now in the entire Sacramento/Feather River system, and we are selling plenty of pink or champagne shad darts or grubs. The river is dropping, and weights from ½- to 3-ounces are working depending upon your location in the river. I normally like to use a two-hook drop-shot rig with a 10-foot leader to find at what depth the shad are holding at. Once you find the correct depth with the right weight, you will get a hook up every cast. The American River is slow for shad as this river is traditionally the last to greet the shad.”
Jeff Boyle of Bass Pro Shops in Manteca was out with Steve Wirfs of Modesto on Friday, and they started out trolling in the Sacramento River out of Brannan Island, and they found slow action with the water stained prior to moving over to the San Joaquin for excellent striper trolling.
For sturgeon, Captain Steve Mitchell of Hook’d Up Sport Fishing is preparing to take his boat, the Top Gun, to the Berkeley Marina, but since he is waiting for his seats to be completed, he took out a previously booked halibut trip to the sturgeon ground in the Big Cut on Sunday. Mitchell said, “It was straight up an epic trip with everyone on the boat landing a slot-limit sturgeon for 4 legal sturgeon along with an oversized released. The wind was blowing hard, but we were able to set up on anchor in the Big Cut. There are only a few six-packs left in the Delta as most everyone is in the bay, but the sturgeon bite is really, really good right now. We started off in the Little Cut, but I didn’t like the looks of the numbers of fish so we motored into the Big Cut and found them there on salmon roe.”
Tony Lopez of Benicia Bait reported grass shrimp has been popular along with pile worms, and sturgeon fishing has been good from the banks under the Benicia/Martinez Bridge.
The dropping and clearing water levels in the Sacramento River should only bode well for the coming weeks for striped bass as they are moving both up and down the system.
The wind blew again on Sunday, making for difficult conditions on the Delta, but striped bass and largemouth bass fishing remains solid.
For striped bass, Clyde Wands, shallow trolling expert was out earlier in the week in the wind, and they stayed in the San Joaquin due to the breeze. He said, “A few guys tried trolling on the Sacramento River side, but the wind was too bad. I know of one striper taken behind Decker Island, but we were in the San Joaquin for a few quality fish including a 12-pound lineside released in addition to an 8-pound lineside that swallowed the lure so deep that it’s gills were bleeding. We were unable to release this fish. Every other day has been a good day.”
Jeff Boyle of Bass Pro Shops in Manteca was out with Steve Wirfs of Modesto on Friday, and after finding slow action on the Sacramento side, they motored over to the San Joaquin. Wirfs said, “The bite was slow in the morning, but we grinded it out and were rewarded with two limits to 12 pounds. Boyle took us to a number of locations and we went deep and shallow before finding actively biting fish.”
Jeff Soo Hoo of Jeff Soo Hoo’s Sport Fishing out of Laurtizen’s Yacht Harbor in Oakley cancelled on Sunday due to the high winds, and he said, “We have been finding great action on every trip until Saturday where we couldn’t mark stripers where they have been consistently for the past weeks. This was the first time that we haven’t marked a significant number of stripers, and they moved overnight. I had one client, and we had three keepers right off of the bat, releasing two small keepers in anticipation of a larger fish, and it took until 1:00 p.m. to pick up the second keeper. We ran all over and tried slow-trolling minnows and drifting minnows as the concentration of fish was not enough to spoon. Previously, we found good action at the end of the week with 4- or 5-inch Bad Bubba Shad swimbaits in pearl. They bite when they want to bite, and we found a bit of a topwater bite in the morning along with the swimbaits.”
For largemouth bass, Randy Pringle, the Fishing Instructor, was out earlier this week when it was the coldest day of the week in the 50’s. He said, “The bass are in all three stages, but you have to slow down and let the bait sit there. If you rush it, you may land the occasional big one, but your numbers will be limited. This time of year, the reaction bite should be on, but the bass are only chasing bluegill or shad fry out of their territory and not fully committing to biting. We did find some topwater Little Stick fish in the early morning, but it is best to use the General, Chigger Craw, or Power Worm with Max Scent at just make multiple casts to an area where you believe there are bass. You have to let the bait just sit there. Once the temperatures become stable, the bite will be on!”
Dan Mathisen of Dan Mathisen Outdoors was out this week, and he said, “It was windy today, but the bass bite has been good with Dee Thomas landing a 12-pound largemouth while out with his son-in-law. He is recovering from heart surgery at 81 years old, and he has oxygen ports and handrails all over his boat, but he is still out there doing it. Striped bass in the 10- to 12-pound range are being taken by trollers near Rio Vista and also from the railroad bridge on the San Joaquin in the main channel towards Discovery Bay. This means there must be some stripers in the Grantline Canal as well. P-Line Predator Minnows or Yozuri Crystal Minnows in chartreuse are working best. My former shop, Dan’s Delta Outdoors is now Dave’s Outdoors, and it opened on Wednesday with a soft opening, but there will be a grand opening in June when we have our Pro/Am on the 2nd. Our next team tournament out of Russo’s is May 11th.”
Mike Gomez of Berserk Baits participated in the Yamamoto Big Bass Challenge at Russo’s Marina over the weekend, and he said, “The wind on Sunday made for very difficult conditions. I came in a few ounces of sitting in the chair on Saturday, and I threw a Flappin’Hog all day. My brother Mark of Turlock came in second during one weigh in on Saturday with a 6.22-pound largemouth on a chatterbait.”
Jeff Huth was the emcee for the Yamamoto Big Bass Challenge, and he reported close to 200 participants along with 10 juniors. He said, “The weights reflected the typical Delta conditions with wind. We had six separate weigh ins every day with cash prizes between $150 to $50 with the winners of each of the weigh ins qualifying for the Super 12. Each of the 12 anglers in the Super 12 received an envelope, and they opened them at the same time. Sal Flores of Oakley was the winner of the grand prize of $5000.”
Vince Borges of Vince Borges Outdoors was out fly fishing on Sunday in preparation for the Costa Bass N’ Fly tournament, and he said, “Bass fishing was tough on the fly, but we got into some huge bluegill and red ear perch up to 11 inches. He said, “It has been typical spring in the Delta with some days with limits over 30 pounds and a tougher bite the following day. If you want to sight fish, this is a good time to go, and we have been scoring with the Reaction Innovation’s Skinny Dippers, Mega Bass’s Magdraft, and the Yozuri Ninja Glide. The bass are in all stages of the spawn.”
H and R Bait in Stockton reported Whiskey Slough has been the top location for bluegill and striped bass in the area along with Eight Mile Road for bluegill. They are receiving up to 70 pounds of fresh shad on the weekends with deliveries during the week as well. The size of the shad range from trout-sized baits up to mega shad.
Lake Nacimiento/San Antonio/Santa Margarita/Lopez
Bass 3 White bass 3 Striper 1 Catfish 2 Crappie 3
At Nacimiento, the Best Bass Tournaments held a tournament at the lake on Saturday, and a solid limit with over a 2.5-pound average was the winning bag. The surface temperature of the lake has risen, and the best action is in the mornings and evenings as there is a topwater bite with small Poppers. After the morning bite is over, dropping to the bottom with plastics on the drop-shot, Neko rig, or shakey head is most effective. Catfish are hitting cut baits coated with scent while bluegill and red ear perch are found around structure with red worms or meal worms. White bass are still in the river arm and coves, and small white Roostertails or Kastmasters are still the best bet. The fuel dock is now selling fuel again from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The lake dropped slightly to 84 percent this week.
At San Antonio, the lake held at 41 percent, and the lake is open from Thursday to Sunday with plans to open seven days per week by the end of the month. Catfishing remains the best option with scented cut baits or nightcrawlers using no or minimal weight. Bass fishing remains slow while carp have moved into the shallows.
At Lopez Lake, the reaction bite has slowed considerably, and the best action is found by working jigs or plastics in crawdad patterns. A breeze is necessary for the reaction bite to occur, and spinnerbaits or chatterbaits are effective when the wind is blowing. Crappie jigs are working for slabs around submerged brush while bluegill are taken on red worms or meal worms.
At Santa Margarita, there is a reaction bite for the best quality of largemouth bass with crankbaits, spinnerbaits, or ripbaits before going to the bottom with plastics on the drop-shot. A decent grade of crappie are found around structure with minijigs. Boaters are advised to contact the lake’s ranger station at 805-788-2397 for information on the availability of the single ramp.
Ocean, Delta, Kern and Central Coast
Go to fresnobee.com/fishing for reports
American Bass Association: April 27 at Isabella – 1, Randy McAbee Jr./Mason McAbee, 31.92 pounds (Big Fish 8.28); 2, Randy McAbee Sr./Clark Small, 20.01; 3, John Van Rensselaer/Brett Ege, 18.47.
Best Bass Tournaments: May 4 at Nacimiento – 1, John Jr. and Erik Zillig, 12.31 (Big Fish 4.59); 2, Robert Gardner/Sheldon Waters, 10.56; 3, Wyatt Debusk/Brandon Medieros, 10.02.
Cen Cal Elite Bass Tournaments: May 4 at Kaweah – 1, Jaydon and Lucien Durdanad, 13.14; 2, George Rosales/Ray Grammer, 12.28 (Big Fish 9.39); 3, Kyle Manes/Terry Hamlin, 11.24.
Kerman Bass Club: May 4 at Hensley – 1, Luigi Bianchi, 13.15 (Big Fish 3.98); 2, Ron Orbaker, 12.19; 3, Darren Graef, 11.98.
Yak-A-Bass Northern California: May 4 at Lake Berryessa (Five Fish Limits) – 1, Brandon Miller, 96 inches; 2, Rindy Her, 92.25; 3, Greg Blanchard, 92.25.
May 11: Delta/Russo’s Marina – Dan Mathisen Outdoors, Delta/Ladd’s Marina – California Hmong Bass Trails, Lake Tulloch – Mother Lode Kayak Fishing, McClure – Best Bass Tournaments, Nacimiento – 101 Bass
May 17: Nacimiento – 101 Bass
May 17-18: Clear Lake – Fresno Bass Club, Delta/Russo’s Marina – Sierra Bass Club
May 18: Delta/Ladd’s Marina – Yak-A-Bass, Don Pedro – Best Bass Tournaments, Eastman – River Rats Bass Club, Success – Central Valley Veterans, Isabella – American Bass Association, Nacimiento – San Luis Obispo Bass Ambushers, Santa Margarita – Bakersfield Bass Club
June 15: McClure – Fishing McClure for Mason, information Ryan Cook at 559-691-7008
Week of May 12 by California Department of Fish and Wildlife:
Kern County: Kern River sections 4-5
Tulare County: Kern River sections 5-6
q = quarter moon