Bass Lake Fishing Derby welcomes over 1,000 fishermen
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 shad and bass fishing takes center stage, Alan Fong said. New Melones kokanee bite ignites, Gary Burns reported. Eastman bass hitting topwater and Millerton spots taking baits, Jake Figgs said. Don Pedro kokanee and bass action heating up and McClure bass eating, Ryan Cook reported. Shaver kokanee bite very good, Dick Nichols said.
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 heating up, and Mickey Clements of Coyote Bait and Tackle in Morgan Hill said, “Fishermen are starting to fish the aqueduct, and they are throwing heavy hair jigs or soaking bait with 5 to 6 ounces of weight.” Jake Figgs of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis added, “Zoom swimbaits in white or Crystal Shad have been popular for aqueduct anglers throwing them around the moving water in the headgates.”
In the southern section of the aqueduct in Kern County, Pete Cormier of Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield said, “The striped bass action remains good with jumbo minnows, anchovies, sardines, blood worms or jerkbaits such as Lucky Craft 128s along with tube baits.”
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
Jake Figgs of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “The largemouth bass bite is picking up with some topwater fish with walking baits in the early mornings or late afternoons. The best quality of bass is coming out of the clearer water in the river arm as the main lake is stained. Plastics on the drop-shot or jigs are also working over the rockpiles. The bass are gravitating to shaded areas during the daytime hours. 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
Figgs said, “This lake remains ‘sneaky good’ for the few fishermen targeting largemouth bass here. The water is stained from the mustard plants, but ripbaits, topwater lures, plastics, or jigs are all working with the finesse techniques best over the rockpiles. Crappie remains scarce.” The lake rose slightly to 67 percent.
Lake Don Pedro
Bass 3 Trout 2 Kokanee 3 King salmon 1 Crappie 2
The kokanee action is also heating up with fat, healthy kokanee taken on small hoochies or Uncle Larry’s spinners behind a Sling Blade at varying depths from 25 to 60 percent. Monte Smith of Gold Country Sport Fishing said, “The water level has risen, and the kokanee are scattered, and you have to find them. We have had as many as 4 on at a time, and we landed them all.” Bass fishing is improving with Ryan Cook of Ryan Cook Fishing reporting improvement for size with fish in all stages of spawning and as deep from 30 to 35 feet. The topwater bite is starting to take off, and the bass are beginning to school up. Six boats can launch at a time at Fleming Meadows right now, and it is a short walk to the ramp from the parking lot with the lake rising from 86 to 89 percent.
Lake Isabella/Bakersfield area
Bass 3 Trout 2 Crappie 3 Catfish 2 Bluegill 2
Pete Cormier of Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield reported crappie continue to take center stage at Lake Isabella with the banks lined with anglers in various locations, and they are scoring with minijigs or small to medium minnows. The bite has slowed down a bit since the hot and heavy action a few weeks ago, but it is still worth the while for families of fishermen to make the trek down from the Fresno-area. The South Fork, Rocky Point and Camp 9 are three of the top locations. Bass fishing has been solid with deep-diving crankbaits, plastics, or jigs, but the swimbait bite has been quiet. The lake rose from 47 to 56 percent. The upper and lower rivers are still blown out with the snowmelt as water releases have been high. Buena Vista is starting to kick out bluegill, crappie, and bass along with a few holdover rainbow trout.
Bass 2 Crappie 2 Trout 2 Catfish 2
The lake is rising dramatically, coming up from 75 to 82 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. Crappie have been taken around structure near Horse Creek with minijigs or small to medium minnows.
Call: Sierra Sporting Goods 592-5212
Bass 3 Trout 2 Catfish 2 Crappie 3 Bluegill 2
Chuck Stokke of the Sequoia Fishing Company in Springville said, “Bass fishing is excellent with Senkos, crankbaits, and spinnerbaits with a trailer, and the bass are up in the shallows. Crappie fishing is also good near the marina with minijigs or small to medium minnows.” The lake has risen to nearly full at 90 percent.
The seventh annual Warriors Day at the Lake is May 18 at the South Tule ramp with veterans bass fishing on volunteer boats. Information and registration along with volunteers are to contact Park Ranger Nicole Arbelo by May 16 at 784-0215.
Stokke said, “The Tule River is still at a high flow, but the Department of Fish and Wildlife has been stocking at Belknap and Coy Flat.” Stoke will start fly casting lessons in June on the second Sunday of the month at 10 a.m. at the Pierpoint Café. The lessons are free and all equipment is provided.
Bass 3 Trout 2 King salmon 0 Kokanee 0 Crappie 2 Catfish 2
The topwater bite has been off the charts with anglers catching and releasing from 30 to 80 bass on a regular basis. The River2Sea Rover in Powder or Bone along with Spooks in Okie Shad or the Reaction Innovations Vixens are effective with the shad spawning. Ryan Cook of Ryan Cook Fishing said, “It really doesn’t matter what you are throwing, but the window for topwater is shrinking. Everything is shallow right now, and there is no reason to work deeper water.” 38 boats participated in Saturday’s Best Bass Tournaments event, and the winning weight was 16.12 pounds by the team of Vince and James Vella. The Fishing McClure for Mason fundraising tournament for Mason Ferrulli is June 15 at Barrett Cove South. The lake is rising rapidly, and it climbed up from 80 to 85 percent.
Call: Ryan Cook – Ryan Cook’s Fishing 691-7008
Steve Marquette of the Lake McSwain/McClure Recreation Company reported the troll bite has improved near the Brush Pile and the cabins with blade/’crawler combinations with some limits taken. Shore fishing has been fair at best with rainbow Power Bait or nightcrawler/marshmallow combinations near the Handicapped Docks or the Brush Pile. A plant from the Calaveras Trout Farm is anticipated next week.
Call: McSwain Marina 209-378-2534
Millerton Lake/San Joaquin River
Bass 3 Striped bass 1 Shad 1 Bluegill 2 Crappie 2
At Millerton, Jake Figgs of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “The topwater bite is good for numbers, and there have been some larger fish taken on jigs to 20 feet in depth with a 5.3-pound spot on a greenpumpkin/chartreuse jig, and a 6.5-pound largemouth, and these are both big fish for this lake. The ripbait bite has been slow, but the bass are loading up on shad in the back of the coves, and they will fatten up soon. There have been quality largemouth bass in addition to the spots, and the largemouths have been particularly active on the topwater lures. A few boils have been taking place around East Bay, Soldier Cove, and Sky Harbor. There haven’t been any striped bass reports since the 37.5-pound lineside a few weeks ago.” Millerton rose from 64 to 75 percent.
Call: Valley Rod & Gun 292-3474
New Melones Reservoir/Tulloch
Bass 3 Crappie 2 Catfish 2 Trout 2 Kokanee 3
As if a light switch turned on, the kokanee action at New Melones took off with a bang within the past week, attracting some of the top kokanee fishermen in the state to reappear at this forgotten kokanee destination. Last year was limited to huge kokanee, but they were few in number, but from the early signs, Melones is getting back to its old ways, not seen for years.
Richie Hight of Paulina Peak Tackle was on the lake with Brian Azevedo this week, and he said, “We enjoyed a great day and found all of our fish in the Spillway area. The bite was pretty consistent when we started at 8:00 a.m. until we finished at 11:00 a.m., and the gear was fished at depths from 10 to 30 feet. We scored with the pink UV or Clown hoochies behind a Gold-plated Crushed Glow dodger in both the 4-inch teardrop or Peak Performer, and the other hot dodger was the Peak Performer Moon with pink/purple scale. Garlic corn dyed orange was another key to success.”
Gary Burns of ‘Take It To the Limit’ Guide Service is also out for hot kokanee action, and he said, “Take it to the Limit is back on the water this year with one of the finest starts of kokanee fishing I can remember. The kokanee are really fat and healthy, and we are putting kokanee in the boat up to 16”with most from 13 to 15 inches. This last week we put limits in the boat on five straight trips. The hardest part has been finding the right depth. When the water was flowing out of the dam, we were scoring at 52 feet, but now they have slowed down the flow and the lake is coming up again with the cold water from the snowmelt. In response, the bite has moved up to 30 to 46 feet with the surface temperature at 70 degrees. Hoochies, Rocky Mountain Tackle’s Assassin spinners in pink and green, or watermelon Apex lures have been working best.
The bite really gets hot for a while, then slows down to well it’s time to eat lunch and the put your sandwich down because there back. Put your time on the water to get you limits!”
The Spillway area has been crowded with kokanee trollers since the breakout of the kokanee bite within the past few weeks.
The lake is rising once again, and it came up to 82 percent.
Kayak fishing in general has been the rage over the past few years, and bass fishing out of a kayak has grown exponentially with circuits such as Central Valley Kayak Fishing in the southern Central Valley, Yak-A-Bass in the Delta and northern lake, and the Mother Lode Kayak Anglers working the Mother Lode lakes.
The final stop of the qualifier series took place this past weekend at Lake Tulloch, the after bay of New Melones Reservoir on the Stanislaus River, and this lake is known for its clear waters.
In kayak bass tournaments, an angler uses a camera instead of a livewell as the length of the bass is measured in inches on a measuring board. Once the fish is on the measuring board, a picture is taken and submitted either by an electronic app or SD card at the end of the event. A panel of judges review and score the length of each fish to the quarter inch, and the longest limit of fish by one angler is the winner.
Many additional rules may be in effect including the inability to use a stringer, secure a fish to the board, putting hands in the gill plate, or covering the eyes.
A total of 52 kayakers participated in the Tulloch event, and the top 15 fishermen from the three qualifying events will participate in the Mother Lode Kayak Angler’s Classic at Kelsey Bass Ranch in late June.
With the cold water from the bottom of New Melones, the bass were in all stages of the spawn, and finesse techniques worked best with either plastics on the drop-shot or Ned rigs, and the overall bite was tough with only 35 anglers bringing a three-fish limit to the table.
Kayak bass fishing is particularly popular in the southern Central Valley, and Tas Moua of Fresno took the top spot with a three-fish limit of 58.75 inches including a 23-inch big fish taken on a big swimbait in the early morning off of a bed.
The next general event for the Mother Lode Kayak Anglers will be on June 2 at Lake McClure.
Pine Flat Reservoir/Kings River
Bass 3 Trout 2 Kokanee 0 King salmon 0 Catfish 2 Crappie 2
High water levels at both Pine Flat and Millerton have turned up the volume for both spotted and largemouth bass at these low elevation reservoirs east of Fresno.
Jake Figgs of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “Pine Flat is sporting a good topwater bite with Poppers, Zara Spooks, Whopper Ploppers, and buzzbaits, and the surface action is holding throughout the day. The fish are backed up into the cuts and pockets with floating driftwood in the river arm. I have been scoring with the Zara Spook in Okie Shad or the Rapala Popper in light frog. Jigs up shallow are also effective, and there is a ripbait and spinnerbait bite when the wind is blowing. Most crappie fishermen are heading south to Kaweah, Success, or Isabella, but there are still crappie taken up the river arm as they are moving into structure.” Trout trolling is slow in the main lake, but the lower Kings is receiving consistent plants. However, the fast water from releases require a heavy spoon or spinner and a fast retrieve to keep from getting hung up.
Pine Flat climbed from 69 to 74 percent.
San Luis Reservoir and O’Neill Forebay
Striper 2 Catfish 2 Bass 2 Crappie 2
San Luis Reservoir is dropping steadily every week, and topwater action is best in the mornings and evenings in the coves while the troll bite is a challenge and the minnow bite continues to be tough.
Jake Figgs at Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “We have had a lot of anglers going to the main lake right now, and there have been some big striped bass to 40 inches taken from the shorelines near Dinosaur Point with River2Sea Swaver 200s. The stripers are pushing bait into the coves in the mornings, but they are moving out into the depths in open water later in the day.”
Mickey Clements of Coyote Bait and Tackle in Morgan Hill said, “The deep water around Romero Visitor Center has been the top location for those trolling Lucky Craft 128s or Atlas rigs along with dropping minnows on light 12-pound test monofilament. The stripers seem to be line-shy right now so the lighter test is more effective. Ripbaits and flukes in 5 to 7 inches in Green Albino are working since this lure looks like the pike minnow in the lake. In the forebay, striped bass fishing has been fair with anchovies, sardines, blood worms, or jumbo minnows near the Old Medeiros launch ramp or the Highway 33 Bridge.”
Roger George of Roger George Guide Service said that the troll bite has been slow for most anglers. “ I was on vacation, but I have been hearing that the fish are milting like crazy, so the spawn is going right now in the main lake. The falling water has caused the fish to move a lot and they seem to be going from shallow to fairly deep as the sun comes up. Wind is still the biggest factor anglers are having to cope with. The Basalt ramp has been almost out of the water and the silt on the ramp can be a problem, but hopefully the park will be able to reset the dock – or may already have done so.”
Travis Porter and K.C. Wilson of Hollister were out on Saturday for a few striped bass on the troll, but the wind came up and they ended up rescuing two rafts, a kayak and three swimmers after the wind picked up.
San Luis dropped from 83 to 78 percent of capacity.
In the O’Neill Forebay, small striped bass remain the rule, and most anglers are targeting a larger grade of lineside at the main lake or in the California Aqueduct. The Highway 33 Bridge side or the Old Medeiros launch ramp have been the top areas for bait soakers, and anchovies, sardines, blood worms, pile worms, or jumbo minnows are working best. 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.
Bass 3 Trout 2 Kokanee 2 Crappie 3
Crappie action is heating up with Lunker City’s Fin-S-Fish in Monkey Milk or standard shad patternes. Bass fishing is improving with mostly spotted bass with a few largemouths near the dam or over the rockpiles. The bass haven’t gravitated to the docks yet. Kei Tech swimbaits in bluegill or trout patterns are working when the water warms up after 10 a.m. with jigs or Senkos also productive. Trout trollers are working from the dam to the Sheriff’s Tower with blade/’crawler combinations. The lake rose from 91 to 92 percent.
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.
The road opening to vehicles is anticipated around June 7. Check the Caltrans website at dot.ca.gov/cgi-bin/roads.cgi or call 800-427-7623 for road conditions. Edison rose to 22 percent, Florence is also rising at 17 percent, and Mammoth Pool is over capacity at 102 percent.
Vermillion Valley Resort is running quad trips for parties up to seven through June 3. The cost s $125 per night per person and includes lodging, use of mess hall, a TV, restrooms and one boat for one day. Additional boats are available for rent. Call Jim 259-4000 with questions or for more details.
Call: Vermilion Valley Resort at Edison Lake 259-4000
Shaver Lake/Huntington Lake
Kokanee 3 Trout 2
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 hear 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 four limits of kokanee, releasing close to another three 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 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 feet and best spots were the Shaver Marina to the Point and across to the island.”
Shaver has climbed up to 64 percent.
Road conditions to both lakes have been affected by the recent winter storms, but the gate at Dinkey Creek is open.
Call: Wishon RV Park 865-5361
Half Moon Bay
Rockfish 3 Striper 2 Surf Perch 2
The central California coastline is once again gearing up for the reopening of the ocean salmon season on May 18 after a three-week hiatus, and the minimum length will drop from 24 to 20 inches for the remainder of the season which ends on Oct. 31. In the interim period of time, a few party boats have been running south below Pigeon Point where the season is currently open, but the minimum size remains at 24 inches below Pigeon Point.
Captain Dennis Baxter of the New Captain Pete went below Pigeon Point on Saturday, May 11, and he said, “Our try for salmon today was unsuccessful although the anchovies and whales were thick in the 56-degree water. We used 4-lb. weights on braided line to get down as deep as possible off of the stern, and we chose another rout after not getting bite by 10 a.m. People say you make lemons out of lemonade so we found an excellent rockfish bite, and the olive rockfish were climbing on.”
Second captain Michael Cabanas of the Huli Cat has been running rockfish/Dungeness crab combination trips during the salmon closure, and they are still picking up limits of Dungeness crab and rockfish with the occasional ling cod.
The Ankeney Street has also been fishing coastal rockfish, and on Saturday, May 10th, they returned with 17 limits of rockfish, 8 ling cod to 12 pounds and a bonus halibut in beautiful ocean conditions.
Out of Half Moon Bay Sport Fishing, in addition to booking the New Captain Pete, the Riptide, six-pack Que Sera Sera, and the signature boat, the Queen of Hearts, will focusing on salmon in local waters starting May 18th through the remainder of the season, but there will be one or two boats daily targeting rockfish.
Small legal stripers from 18- to 22-inches can be found by shore anglers working from Ocean Beach south to below Half Moon Bay. Perch fishing remains solid with Lucky Craft Flash Minnows or Berkley Sand Worms.
Salmon 2 Rockfish 3 Striper 2 Surf Perch 3
Chris Arcoleo of Chris’s Landing in Monterey said, “There hasn’t been much change for salmon, but we have some northwest wind coming this week, and this should bring them up from the depths. Mark my words, July is going to be lights out around here for salmon. There are commercial salmon boats coming in with 100 fish per day as far south as Morro Bay, and these fish will come up the coast at some point. Our local commercial fleet has been working south near Point Sur. We are concentrating on rockfish right now while the salmon are holding deep, and the Check Mate and Caroline returned with a combined 40 limits of rockfish and 10 ling cod. He said, “There are a number of boats working the beaches right now which tells me that there are halibut there, but since there is no squid, the white sea bass are not around. There is still plenty of interest in bluefin tuna, and private boats have been coming in from everywhere for the opportunity to catch one of these amazing species. There have been some boats with as many as two bluefins, but it isn’t easy to either hook or land the big fish.” Chris’s has plenty of room this week for rockfish trips.
On the beaches, Mickey Clements of Coyote Bait and Tackle in Morgan Hill said, “The beaches are still producing surf perch with Berkley Sand Worms and the Lucky Craft Flash Minnow 110, and the best action has been around Rio Del Mar, Sunset, and Manressa Beaches.”
San Francisco Bay
Halibut 3 Striper 2 Rockfish 3 Leopard shark 2 Sturgeon 2
Halibut fishing inside the bay remains incredible, and with the tides backing off this week, the scores should climb more than the amazing levels that they have reached even with minus tides.
Captain Chris Smith of the Pacific Dream was out on Mother’s Day, and they returned with 5 halibut shy of limits with 55 halibut and 11 stripers for 20 anglers.
Speaking of Loch Lomond Bait and Tackle, Keith Fraser called in to tout the amazing halibut bite in the bay, and he said, “We sold out of live anchovies, smelt, and shiners on Saturday due to demand. The bite was good on Saturday despite the minus tide, but it slowed down a bit on Sunday despite better tides and great weather. We will have live anchovies, smelt, and shiners back in the pens on Monday.”
Captain Bill Clapp of Bill’s Sport Fishing took out Dave Erlweins of San Leandro and Haines Ely of Fair Oaks along with his son, Simms of Nevada City, on Saturday for a live bait potluck trip. Clapp said, “We were raided by small stripers at Treasure Island, and then again by shaker halbit off of Alameda, but we scratched out some of both species drifting live bait.”
Out of Fish Emeryville, the New Huck Finn has counted up an amazing 385 halibut in seven trips within the past week. On Sunday, the New Huck Finn returned with 50 halibut and a striped bass for 26 anglers, the Tigerfish scored 20 striped bass and 7 halibut for 10 anglers on a ½ day trip, the Pacific Pearl came back with 7 halibut and 13 stripers to 10 pounds for 12 anglers on a ½-day trip, the C Gull II posted 22 striped bass and 7 halibut to 10 pounds for 19 anglers on a ½-day trip, and the Sea Wolf went rockfising for 30 ling cod to 22 pounds, 20 limits of rockfihs, and 2 Wolf eel for limits of everything for 30 anglers.
Captain Trent Slate of Bite Me Charters out of Loch Lomond was out on Saturday, and they made a few drifts for halibut outside of the harbor, releasing a number of shakers before settling down on the anchor for sturgeon. He said, “There were slot-limit sturgeon jumping all around us, but we couldn’t get them to bite other than shakers.”
San Luis Obispo
Rockfish 3 Surf perch 2
Rockfish season is the full story out of the San Luis Obispo County ports, but there are reports of heavy commercial salmon action out of Morro Bay and further up the coast at Point Lopez. Out of Patriot Sport Fishing at Port San Luis, the Phenix, Patriot, and Flying Fish were out on Sunday with a combined 53 passengers for 81 vermilion, 50 copper, 10 Boccaccio, 347 assorted rockfish, 38 Bolina, and 1 sheephead to go with 4 ling cod to 8 pounds. Kevin Rhea of Visalia took the jackpot 12-pound ling. Out of Morro Bay Landing, the Endeavor and Avenger were out with 55 anglers on Sunday for 430 vermilion, 40 copper, and 40 Bolina to go with 28 lings to 22 pounds Out of Virg’s Landing in Morro Bay, the Fiesta and Rita G were out on 1/2 and ¾th-day trips with 35 fishermen for 280 vermilion, 10 assorted, 30 copper, 15 canary, and 15 Boccaccio to go with 5 lings to 9.4 pounds with the jackpot ling taken by George Hernandez of Hanford. All ports are running a variety of trips in the coming weeks for rockfish/ling cod including overnight trips.
Bass 3 Striper 2 Sturgeon 3 Catfish 2 Bluegill 2 Shad 3
The shad run is in full swing in the Sacramento-Delta from Freeport upriver, and sturgeon action remains outstanding in Suisun Bay although few anglers are trying for the diamondbacks at this time of year. Largemouth bass are getting active in the north Delta, and the water is clearing in the Mokelumne River. Striped bass has been the only lacking species in the Sacramento-Delta region, but the linesides will be turning around for their journey back to the bay shortly, and the action should be hot along the West Bank towards Collinsville.
Alan Fong of the Fishermen’s Warehouse in Sacramento said, “Shad action is wide open from Freeport to the mouth of the Feather River, and we are selling lots of shad grubs. Anglers are using the grubs instead of the darts since they can set up with a sinker on the bottom like a surf rig with two grubs up the line. 4 or 5 ounces have been necessary to stay down right now, and the larger females have moved in along with the abundant early arrival of the smaller males. My nephew, Michael ‘Bub’ Fong, was in the north Delta this week throwing Jason Kincannon’s glidebaits, and he put together a 26-pound limit of largemouth bass including a big fish at 11.3 pounds. The bass are spawned out, and they are hungry.”
Few fishermen are targeting sturgeon right now as the halibut bite in San Francisco Bay has lured most anglers towards the bay, but the diamondbacks are still around and hungry. Sturgeon action should be good for the next few months for those willing to sit on the anchor.
Captain Joe Gamez of Golden State Sport Fishing was out on Captain Mike Funtanilla of Bend Ur Rod’s boat for 9 oversized and three slot limit sturgeon on Wednesday with plenty of other missed opportunities on salmon roe in Suisun Bay.
Tony Lopez of Benicia Bait reported shore anglers are still picking up legal sturgeon under the Benicia/Martinez Bridge with grass shrimp or pile worms.
When the wind is down, trollers will be able to work the West Bank from Rio Vista to Collinsville, and the downstream striped bass should be flooding through within the week.
Wind has been a constant factor on the San Joaquin-Delta, but largemouth bass is improving daily as the bass are moving into post-spawn, and striped bass are holding on with a variety of techniques. A salmon smolt release took place outside of Eddo’s Boat Harbor this week, but the big minus tide pushed many of the smolts downstream quickly.
Jeff Soo Hoo of Soo Hoo’s Sport Fishing was out on Mother’s Day with his children, and he said, “We put in over 30 stripers on the short trip either drifting minnows or spooning, and all of the linesides the past two days have been males. Some are spawned out while others are still milting. It is a different bite every day, but when you are on them, you are on them. We have either been drifting live bait or spooning when we see a concentration of stripers on the meter. We will stick around the Delta for stripers for a few more weeks before I head to the bay to run a party boat for Fish Emeryville for the summer.”
James Netzel of Tight Lines Guide Service will be wrapping up his operations out of Korth’s Pirate’s Lair this coming Thursday, and he said, “We were also out early on Mother’s Day, landing on a school of fish right off of the bat for 6 limits to 4 pounds within a short period of time drifting live minnows. We stuck around and caught and release for a few more hours before heading in at 11 a.m. The grade of fish was small, but we did pick up a striper at 9 pounds earlier in the week on a live bluegill.”
Clara Ricabal of Angler West TV was out with Rick Tietz, the manufacturer of Blade Runner spoons. They started off at Eddo’s for overall slow action for a few small stripers before heading up to the Mokelumne out of Wimpy’s Marina for some quality stripers on the Blade Runner spoons coated with Baitwaxx crayfish scent.
Also striped bass, Clyde Wands, shallow trolling expert, was also out on Tuesday, and he said, “It was a tough bite as we struggled for a few stripers to 23 inches. Dave Houston picked up an 8 pounder at the end of the day, but it was tough overall. The weeds around Eddo’s were heavy, and it made for difficult trolling so we tried a number of different areas, including False River.
For largemouth bass, Randy Pringle, the Fishing Instructor, said, “The bass are getting active as there are a lot of fry in the water. The bass are focusing upon the fry, and they are in all stages of spawning as they are on beds, in spawn, and also in post-spawn modes. You can catch crankbait fish throughout the day, and spinnerbaits are working on windy days. Flipping a black/red Chigger Craw will catch the most fish, and there is a topwater bite as the water temperature is coming up as it is in the 60’s right now. There is no problem catching fish, but the bigger giants have been hard to find. We had had a few swirls, but overall the larger fish have been lethargic.”
Kris Huff of Stockton took the second Wednesday Night Shootout of the year held out of Ladd’s Marina in Stockton by a number of elite Delta bass fishermen. He said, “I walked away with the WIN during the Wednesday nighter in the Delta with just shy of 20 pounds with a big fish at 8.62. I am stoked about this win..... especially with the crowd that shows up..!!!!! “
Dan Mathisen of Dan Mathisen Outdoors hosted Saturday’s team circuit tournament out of Russo’s Marina, and he said, “We had limits over twenty pounds with the team of Harvey Pulliam and Jamond Andrews taking first place at 26.77 with a solid bag of 6-pound bass. The next two place teams came in above 22.50 pounds. I guided three days this past week, and the bass are in pre-spawn mode around Frank’s Tract. A big wave of largemouth bass will be spawning soon. Spinnerbaits, buzzbaits, punching the weeds, and plastics are all working. We have also picked up stripers to 8 pounds on Optimum’s Bad Bubba Shad swimbait.”
H and R Bait in Stockton reported Whiskey Slough and Eight Mile Road are the two top locations for bank fishermen west of Stockton, and Eight Mile has been kicking out some crappie on small minnows or minijigs. They continue to have a supply of fresh shad in the shop most days, but there is always plenty of frozen shad.
Lake Nacimiento/San Antonio/Santa Margarita/Lopez
Bass 3 White bass 3 Striper 1 Catfish 2 Crappie 2
At Nacimiento, the 101 Bass out of Paso Robles held a tournament at the lake on Saturday, and a solid limit with over a 2-pound average was the winning bag. The spotted bass action has slowed a bit, but there is some topwater action with small poppers or similar baits in the mornings. The best bet is for white bass in the coves in the river arm with small white Roostertails or Kastmasters in the shallows in the mornings before dropping to 15 feet later in the day. There have been some large crappie to 2 pounds taken on minijigs near structure. The fuel dock is now selling fuel again from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The lake dropped slightly to 82 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 while the carp have invaded the shallows, making targeting the bass species difficult.
At Lopez Lake, the wind has been up over the past week, and anglers are scoring largemouth bass with smaller lures such as 4-inch plastics in shad-patterns or smaller spinnerbaits in the wind.
At Santa Margarita, the bass are primarily in post-spawn mode, and the best largemouth fishing has been happening with plastics on the drop-shot, jerkbaits, spinnerbaits, and spinnerbaits. 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.
Best Bass Tournaments: May 11 at McClure – 1, Vince and James Vella, 16.12 (Big Fish 6.84); 2, Bill and Mike Goodman, 15.07; 3, Michael and Matt Beevers, 13.72.
Dan Mathisen Outdoors: May 11 at Delta/Russo’s Marina – 1, Harvey Pulliam/Jamond Andrews, 26.77 pounds; 2, Andy Doudna/Andrew Kobayashi, 22.85; 3, Dave Tencati/Dale Shirley, 22.53.
101 Bass Tournaments: May 11 at Nacimiento – 1, Roger Haas/Randy Wilber, 11.58 (Big Fish 6.84); 2, Graham Grove/Brandon Colombo, 9.14; 3, Damon Meeks/Jay Short, 9.08.
Mother Lode Kayak Anglers: May 11 at Tulloch: 1, Tas Moua, 58.75 inches (Big Fish 23 inches); 2, Richard George, 55; 3, Kong Yang, 53.75.
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
f = full moon> = peak activity