The late ‘Captain Jack’ of Shaver Lake
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 bass, stripers, shad and sturgeon all hitting, Alan Fong reported. McClure kicking out bass numbers, Ryan Cook said. Don Pedro kicking out kokanee and bass, Monte Smith reported. Millerton and Pine Flat bass action solid, Steve Newman said. New Melones bass and kokanee biting, John Liechty reported. Shaver kokanee active, 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 continues to heat up, and more and more anglers are starting to work the headgates with heavy hair jigs, big swimbaits in shad patterns, or soaking bait with 5 to 6 ounces of weight to stay down in the high flows.
In the southern section of the aqueduct in Kern County, Pete Cormier of Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield said, “Striped bass fishing is decent with jumbo minnows, anchovies, sardines, blood worms, or jerkbaits such as Lucky Craft 128s along with tube baits. Catfish are also getting involved with blood worms or chicken livers.”
Safety precautions at this time of year must be taken at all times as the calm waters of the aqueduct are deceptive as still waters can start flowing rapidly without warning, creating strong currents and turbulence. The concrete sides can be slippery with sand, algae, or gravel, making it nearly impossible to climb out without assistance. Float lines and safety ladders are spaced periodically along the sides, and the safety ladders are located at the end of float lines and along the canal 500 feet apart on alternate sides of the Aqueduct and marked by a yellow background painted on the concrete above the ladder.
Bass 2 Trout 2 Bluegill 2 Catfish 2 Crappie 2
Steve Newman of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “The largemouth bass bite has been ‘hit or miss’ with the best action over island tops at depths from 15 to 30 feet with slow-crawling swimbaits or jigs. There is a wakebait bite early in the mornings which means the largemouth bass are moving up early in the day. This is the time of year when working a lipless over main lake points and rockpiles and either grinding the bait to structure or yo-yoing is the key. The river arm is kicking out largemouth bass in the 2- to 4-pound range with squarebill crankbaits, jigs, or Senkos around grassy areas with rock. The river arm is clearer while the main lake is starting to show a bit of bloom. The crappie bite has yet to emerge.” The lake held at 87 percent.
Call: Eastman Lake 689-3255
Bass 2 Trout 2 Catfish 2 Bluegill 2 Crappie 2
Newman said, “Hensley remains quiet but consistent for largemouth bass in the 2- to 3-pound range at the upper end with plenty of smaller bass. There is a jig bite along with Senkos on the bottom in darker colors with a big trailer or tail, and the reaction bite should improve with spinnerbaits or underspins. Crappie remain scarce.” The lake rose slightly to 68 percent.
Lake Don Pedro
Bass 3 Trout 2 Kokanee 3 King salmon 1 Crappie 2
The topwater bass bite at Don Pedro has been perking up, and there was a single heavy limit taken during this past weekend’s Best Bass Tournaments event. Kokanee are another solid option, and the landlocked salmon are in as good of shape as in memory.
Monte Smith of Gold Country Sport Fishing was out in inclement weather this week, and they found good action for quality kokanee despite the impending storms and a full moon. He said, “We must have missed our first four pulldowns as once we got the rods out, two rods went off, but we found a good bite and ended up with 11 kokanee and 2 rainbow trout. The key was staying away from the other boats working the area and finding our own water as the bite shut off everytime another boat started to move in close. Micro-hoochies and Uncle Larry’s spinners behind either a Sling Blade or Vance’s Dodger at 33 to 55 feet have been working, but the deeper rods have not been as busy as those higher in the water column. One of the kokanee was a male at 16 inches and 1.15 pounds, and it already had teeth on its top and bottom jaw. These are the cleanest and brightest kokanee that I have ever seen at Don Pedro with no parasites and dime-bright, but I am scared that the action is going to turn off sooner than later with the kokanee already starting to show signs of turning. The water temperature dropped from 70 degrees earlier in the week to 66 degrees after the storms.”
The Best Bass Tournaments held an event at the lake on Saturday with 41 boats, and tournament director Kevin Cheek said, “We have had inclement weather at every tournament this spring, and we would have had over 60 anglers if the weather was clear. Christian Ostrander and Ronnie Heil took first place by over 11 pounds at 27.13 pounds with a big fish at 7.69, but they didn’t reveal their winning technique. We heard of good action on topwater Spooks along with jigs, and there are a number of suspended fish.”
Ryan Cook of Ryan Cook’s Fishing confirmed the topwater bite along with underspins and jigs. He said, “I mostly have been throwing the River2Sea Rover or Reaction Innovation’s Vixen, and I gear up with both every day since the bass prefer one over the other on differing days.”
The lake has risen to 90 percent.
Lake Isabella/Bakersfield area
Bass 2 Trout 2 Crappie 3 Catfish 2 Bluegill 2
Pete Cormier of Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield reported inclement weather hit the region over the weekend, but up to 15 crappie have been taken off of the banks at Brown’s Cove. He said, “The crappie are still around in the shallows near structure, and live minnows or minijigs are working. Bank fishermen still have a decent opportunity to load up on the slabs.” The South Fork, Rocky Point and Camp 9 remain three of the top locations. Bass fishing decent with deep-diving crankbaits, plastics, or jigs, but the swimbait bite has been quiet. The lake rose from 56 to 60 percent. The upper and lower rivers are still high with the snowmelt as water releases have been high. Catfish, bass, and trout have been taken in the river near town due to the high water levels. Buena Vista is still recovering from the “Burning Man”-type event held at the lake over the past week.
Bass 2 Crappie 2 Trout 2 Catfish 2
The lake is rising dramatically, coming up from 82 to 87 percent this week. There have been few reports as the high water has moved the bass off of the banks and out into deeper water. The New Jen Bass Tournaments is holding an event this coming Sunday, and there will be more information based upon the results of the tournaments. Water releases will begin soon, and once the lake stabilizes, the bass bite should improve. 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 2 Bluegill 2
The lake has swollen to 95 percent in capacity, and bass action remains solid with Senkos, crankbaits, and spinnerbaits with a trailer. Crappie fishing is also good near the marina with minijigs or small to medium minnows. In the Tule River, trout plants have taken place near Belknap and Coy Flat, but the water level remains high.
Chuck Stokke of the Sequoia Fishing Company in Springville will start fly casting lessons in June on the second Sunday of each 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
Lake McClure remains a tremendous option for Mother Lode bass fishermen with anglers catching and releasing up to 80 bass in a single day.
Ryan Cook of Ryan Cook’s Fishing continues to find great topwater action at the lake, and he took out young Anthony Vierra of Atwater along with his father Tony for the good bite. Cook said, “We found great action with the River2Sea Rover and the Reaction Innovation’s Vixen, and I keep both lures at the ready since the bass are switching up their preference every day. Anthony had a great day, and we caught and released over 80 bass on the lures. The Fatty Worm underspin is also working, and there are some good fish in the mix as I released a 6-pound spot this week. There is also a jig bite.”
Cook has taken on the task in putting together a special fundraiser for young Mason Ferruli of Ripon called “Fishing McClure for Mason” along with Mother Lode Kayak Fishing on June 15. 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.” For information regarding registration or donations, call Cook at 691-7008.
Mason has been diagnosed with a brain tumor, and he has maintained a positive attitude throughout many medical appointments and treatments. He recently spent a day on McClure with Cook and Anthony Vierra catching bass.
McClure has risen to 88 percent.
Call: Ryan Cook – Ryan Cook’s Fishing 691-7008
Steve Marquette of the Lake McSwain/McClure Recreation Company said, “A trout plant is anticipated to arrive within the week, and trout action from the shorelines has been fair from the Brush Pile, Handicapped Docks, and the marina with Kastmasters in blue/silver or gold along with trout dough bait. The lake is full and it is at flood stage.”
Call: McSwain Marina 209-378-2534
Millerton Lake/San Joaquin River
Bass 3 Striped bass 1 Shad 1 Bluegill 2 Crappie 2
At Millerton, Steve Newman of Valley Rod and Gun said, “The lake has been very, very consistent for numbers with a big fish running from 2.5 to 3 pounds. There are many buck bass still cruising the shorelines, and you can catch 50 fish with only 10 keepers. There is a good topwater bite, and Jake Figgs from our shop found good action throwing small Kei Tech on a quarter-ounce ball head and counting the lure down 5 or 6 counts. The bass are holding off of the points in the main lake, and they are eating it well. There is a subsurface bite with small spinnerbaits and a topwater bite with Poppers. The best grade of bass has been hard to locate, and the key is to find them and put the bait right in their face. The bass are scattered in the river arm, and the best action in the main lake from Winchell’s Cove along the Madera side to East Bay, and jigs, underspins, or wacky-rigged Senkos are working at depths from 15 to 20 feet.” There haven’t been any striped bass reports.
Millerton rose from 74 to 84 percent.
Call: Valley Rod & Gun 292-3474
New Melones Reservoir/Tulloch
Bass 3 Crappie 2 Catfish 2 Trout 2 Kokanee 3
It has been years since New Melones was a viable option for kokanee anglers as this was the signature Mother Lode kokanee lake for years, but the phenomenal start to this year continues with kokanee to 17 inches reported this week. The rising waters covering new areas will only enhance the already solid bass action.
Alan Fong of the Fishermen’s Warehouse in Sacramento said, “Big Al Ezell has been trolling the bent dodger from Paulina Peak Tackle in front of hoochies, and he has been picking up limits of kokanee to 17 inches with a number in the 15- to 16-inch range.”
Mark Watzke went back to the lake on Sunday, and the said, “We had a little bit of everything on the weather front as it went from sunny and calm to lightning and thunder in the distance to a huge wind storm that blew over the spillway in a matter of second and turned the lake into white caps. The wind didn’t last too long, and we were able to find some sheltered water to ride it out. We lost more fish than we landed, but we still managed to score limits of quality kokanee before noon.”
For largemouth and spotted bass, John Liechty of Xperience Fishing Guide Service said, “The lake level is up, and we will start seeing some great things as the water is flooding the green grass and new vegetation. When this happens, the lake fishes entirely differently as jigs and plastics don’t work as well while chatterbaits, spinnerbaits, and topwater lures take off of the shad and bluegill move into the shallow, newly-flooded waters. This normally happens earlier in the season, but this water will give a shot of life to the bass fishery.”
The lake is rising once again, and it came up to 83 percent.
Pine Flat Reservoir/Kings River
Bass 3 Trout 2 Kokanee 0 King salmon 0 Catfish 2 Crappie 2
Pine Flat and Millerton continue to be the top locations for Fresno-area bass anglers as the spotted and largemouth bass are both active and willing to eat a variety of baits. High water levels have contributed to an increased in the number of largemouth bass in both lakes which have been dominated by spotted bass over the past several years.
Steve Newman of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “The majority of bass at Pine Flat are in post-spawn mode, and the larger fish have retreated into deeper water. There are still plenty of 1- to 2-pound bass holding along the banks in the main lake, and these fish are eating anything from spinnerbaits to wacky-rigged Senkos to jigs. There have been some topwater fish with River2Sea Whopper Ploppers, Poppers, or walking baits, and the shad are moving into the river arm and schooling up. There has been a lot of shad activity on the lake. Crappie fishing has been decent in the backs of coves in the main lake around flooded trees, but the cooler water temperatures up in the river arm. Anglers are scoring at night at the houseboats at Deer Creek with small minnows or minijigs.” The lower Kings River has been affected by heavy water releases, and there was a safety warning for wading in the river due to the high water. Anglers will have to gear up in weight on their Kastmasters or spinners to stay down in the high water, and the best action has been in the slower and wider stretches of the river for the planted rainbows.
Pine Flat rose from 74 to 77 percent.
San Luis Reservoir and O’Neill Forebay
Striper 2 Catfish 2 Bass 2 Crappie 2
San Luis Reservoir continues to drop, but the topwater and subsurface bite is happening for those working the shorelines with Spooks, jerkbaits, and flukes. Inclement weather made for difficult conditions for boaters, and many boats stayed off of the lake due to the high winds necessitating the warning lights to be activated.
Steve Newman at Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “San Luis continues to fish well, and most of our shoreline anglers have been working around Dinosaur Point with Duo Realis jerkbaits or Lucky Craft Pointers in shad or white color patterns. Trollers are working deeper water as the fish are scattered and have gone deep. There haven’t been many surface boils, but the subsurface bite remains good. The majority of our Fresno anglers are heading to the big lake and avoiding the O’Neill Forebay which has been pushing water through from the big lake into the California Aqueduct. There have been more anglers targeting stripers in the aqueduct, and they are either soaking bait or tossing ripbaits. There is a good bite in the evenings with ½-ounce or larger Rat-L-Traps in chrome/blue or chrome/black, and the successful technique is to yo-yo these baits. The topwater bite has yet to emerge at the aqueduct.”
Roger George of Roger George Guide Service said that he scouted the lake alone on Friday till noon when the big storm hit. “I hadn’t been out for awhile, so I was doubly concerned that finding the fish might be tough during a full moon right before a big storm along with falling water. I took a chance and went to an area I seldom fish and when I began trolling I immediately hooked up. I ended up with 20 released fish in 4½ hours, several going 6-to-7-plus pounds and a fat 13-pounder, on shad-colored minnow baits at 50 to 75 feet depths. The real issue was just finding fish. I checked a bunch of other areas later and none of them had any fish. It was a weird day, but I got very lucky finding any fish. The overall bite was tough for many.”
Alex Tran of Coyote Bait and Tackle in Morgan Hill said, “We have been selling a ton of jumbo and extra-large minnows for those drifting the minnows in the main lake, and trollers are also working deep with P-Line Predator Minnows or umbrella rigs on the downrigger. There is a topwater bite early and late along with jerkbaits and flukes. The forebay has been limited to bait fishermen, and there have been a few catfish. Anchovies or frozen shad have also been working for striped bass in the California Aqueduct.”
San Luis dropped from 78 to 73 percent of capacity.
In the O’Neill Forebay, few anglers are targeting the forebay as the water releases have been heavy with pumping in and out of the small impoundment. Catfish are showing up with anchovies, sardines, blood worms, or frozen shad while bait is also the best choice for striped bass near the moving water around the Highway 33 Bridge or Check 12.
Bass 3 Trout 2 Kokanee 2
Both the largemouth and spotted bass are still in pre-spawn to spawn mode as the water temperature has finally moved into the mid to high 60s. Some quality spotted bass have been taken off of the docks after 10 a.m. as the fish will move out to the front edge of the docks when the water warms slightly by mid-morning. Weightless Senkos, jigs, Ned-rigs, or Senkos in green pumpkin are working near the docks or over longer sandy areas with deep water access. Trout have also been taken on a drop-shot rig by bass anglers. Trout trolling has been fair at best with around a fish per hour taken with blade/’crawler combinations or Wedding Rings tipped with a nightcrawler behind a dodger.
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. Vermillion Valley Resort is running quad trips for parties of up to seven through June 3. The cost is $125 per night per person and includes lodging, use of mess hall, complete with TV, restrooms and one boat for one day. Additional boats are available for rent. Call Jim at 259-4000 with questions or for more details. Check the Caltrans website at www.dot.ca.gov/cgi-bin/roads.cgi or call 800-427-7623 for road conditions. Edison rose to 22 percent, Florence rose to 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 2
A series of storms arrived in the Central Sierras this past week, bringing rain, snow, and wind throughout the week, but the kokanee bite remained strong for those willing to brave the conditions.
Dick Nichol’s of Dick’s Fishing Charters said, “I think the kokanee bite slowed a tad from the past few weeks, but even with the nasty weather, many fishermen hit the lake over the weekend. The kokanee, although scattered, could be found, and Heath Pardieu, his girlfriend Teresa, cousin Sunny, and his 10-year old daughter, all of Hanford picked up three limits of kokanee out of a total of 34 hookups. The majority of our action came on the side poles loaded with Dick’s Koke Busters tipped with scented corn behind a purple/silver Mountain Dodger. Our downriggers were loaded with Mountain Hoochies in pink white, and champagne pink behind the same purple/silver Mountain Dodgers. Jay Irvine of Visalia was also using the same set up as our side poles, and his party scored multiple limits of kokanee. The unsettled weather conditions will continue throughout the next week into the Memorial Day Weekend as rain and snow are forecasted throughout the week. The trophy trout bite has slowed to a crawl, and the catchables have also been scarce as I would rate the trout bite below average right now.”
Todd Wittwer of Kokanee.net Guide Service put his clients onto 21 kokanee, a rainbow, and a brown trout on Saturday pulling Rocky Mountain Tackle’s Signature Squids in pearl white behind a purple/pink Tsunami dodger. He said, “The white and orange Tsunami dodgers have also been good producers, and the rainbow was 17 inches with the brown at 15 inches.”
The 25th annual Youth Fishing Derby will take place on Saturday, June 8 with children ages 3 to 15 invited for the chance to win numerous prizes donated by local merchants including the first fish, the last fish, the smallest fish, the largest limit, the largest fish and the youngest angler. There is also a casting contest along with the category for big fish divided into three age groups: 3-7, 8-11 and 12-15. All children will be entered into a free derby raffle which includes a family fishing trip on the lake, a half-day pontoon rental, fishing tackle, sports equipment, clothing, gift certificates, and more. Registration is available at sierratrophytrout.org/derby or at the Southern California Edison Day Use area on Road #2 from 7:30 to 10 a.m. on derby day. For more information, contact Greg Marks at 855-8752.
Shaver has climbed up to 73 percent.
The road is open to Wishon, and the Wishon Village RV Store and Campgrounds are now open. The lake is very low, but boaters can launch on the dirt road as the concrete launch is very far down on the ramp. There are no rental boats available as of yet. Shore fishermen are picking up a few holdover rainbows on trout dough bait or nightcrawlers. The road is still closed to Courtright, and after this week’s series of storms, it may be a few more weeks before the road is cleared.
Call: Wishon RV Park 865-5361
Half Moon Bay
Salmon 2 Rockfish 3 Striper 2 Crab 3 Surf Perch 2
The ocean salmon season above Pigeon Point reopened on Saturday, but the weather conditions made for challenging conditions. Captain Dennis Baxter of the New Captain Pete said, “No salmon on Sunday as the fish have gone deep, and the commercial boats are pulling salmon off of the bottom in 50 to 60 fathoms of water past the Deep Reef. This is too deep for braided line and 4-pound weights. There are whales and anchovies from Martin’s Beach to the Lighthouse, but no salmon action.”
Captaim Tom Mattusch of the Huli Cat went on a rockcod and crab combo off of the Deep Reef. Stephanie Overbay from San Leandro with a brown and copper rockcod up to 2lbs caught on shrimp flies. Crab limits keep on coming.
Salmon 2 Rockfish 3 Striper 2 Surf Perch 2
Chris Arcoleo of Chris’s Landing in Monterey said, “Salmon continue to be very slow, and we haven’t even bothered to go out for them lately. The bluefin have reportedly moved north, and we haven’t seen them around here for a bit. We stayed local on the Check Mate on Sunday for 23 limits of rockfish and 6 lings. The weather has been the limiting factor. There is plenty of room throughout the week for rockfish trips, and we will get back on the salmon as soon as they are a viable option.”
San Francisco Bay
Salmon 2 Halibut 3 Striper 2 Rockfish 3 Leopard shark 2 Sturgeon 2
The salmon season opened once again on Sunday, and there have been great sign with whales, birds, and bait from Double Point to Point Reyes, but the weather conditions over the weekend kept the boats inside of the bay. Steve Mitchell of Hook’d Up Sport Fishing made a splash on Sunday during his first show for Angler West TV, and he said, “Everything we tried worked, and we trolled for a while with the Yakima Big Al’s Fish Flash and Green Label Herring, and this is what we caught our largest halibut on later in the day, and of course, Clara Ricabal landed the big fish of the day after watching everyone else limit out within a few hours. We had limits of striped bass and halibut on Saturday and followed this up with four more limits plus three crew fish and a striper that Clara landed. We also drifted live bait. The weather broke for us perfectly, and we couldn’t have had a better trip with great company and excellent action all day long. The tides were less than ideal, but the fish bit throughout the day, particularly at the end of the day when the tide slowed down. Alex Niapas of Altaville limited out within a few hours on his first halibut trip ever, and he showed the skill honed by his many tournament wins on the bass circuit with a deft touch at hooking and landing each opportunity. Stefan Grobecker also put on a clinic with an early limit, but Clara Ricabal who was responsible for organizing this trip and giving me the opportunity, came through at the end with a limit including the big fish of the day at 15 pounds. Steve Lynch of Pro Cure also got in on the act, and he said, ‘This trip salvaged our week since we got snowed on in Truckee and blown out for our scheduled Tuesday trip at Bodega Bay.”
Captain Trent Slate of Bite Me Charters out of Loch Lomond had a great day on Friday with four limits of halibut to 18 pounds, and he said, “We had a number of big ones drifting live bait near Angel Island, Alcatraz, and Southhampton Shoals.”
Despite the larger tides, the halibut bite continues, and the Pacific Dream out of Berkeley came through with a late afternoon rush during the smaller tides for two fish per rod with 41 halibut and 21 stripers for 30 anglers on Sunday.
San Luis Obispo
Rockfish 3 Surf perch 2
Rockfish are keeping the San Luis Obispo County party boats occupied, and out of Patriot Sport Fishing at Port San Luis, the Patriot was out on Sunday with 29 passengers for 39 vermilion, 25 copper, 15 Boccaccio, 164 assorted rockfish, 7 canary, and 2 ling cod to 10 pounds. Out of Morro Bay Landing, the Endeavor, Avenger, and Starfire were out on Sunday with a combined 71 anglers for 530 vermilion, 25 copper, 40 Boccaccio, and 145 assorted rockfish to go with 28 lings to 17 pounds. Out of Virg’s Landing in Morro Bay, the Fiesta, Rita G, and Black Pearl were out on Sunday with 57 fishermen for 463 vermilion, 195 assorted, 15 copper, 16 Boccaccio, and a sheephead to go with 5 lings to 14 pounds with the jackpot lings taken by John Campbell of Bakersfield at 14 pounds and Joaquin Murrietta of Fowler at 8.5 pounds. All ports are running a variety of trips in the coming weeks for rockfish/ling cod including overnight trips.
Bass 3 Striper 3 Sturgeon 3 Catfish 2 Bluegill 2 Shad 3
There is a new threat to the striped bass, black bass and all other non-native species in the Delta as the Department of Fish and Wildlife and Fish and Game Commission will be hearing an effort to repeal the striped bass policy from 1996 and to adopt a new Delta management policy which calls for strict protections for salmonoids and listed fish only. According to the Northern California Guides and Sportsmen’s Association, this is the first step for increased bag limits and reduced size restrictions. The Association will be organizing bus transportation from the Martinez, Rio Vista, Sacramento, and Yuba City/Colusa area for the meeting on June 12th from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the Red Lion Hotel in Redding on 1830 Hilltop Drive.
The Memorial Day Weekend is the traditional beginning of the end of the spring fishing season on the Sacramento-Delta as the recreational boaters will take over in force after this annual holiday weekend announcing the beginning of the summer months, but with the high water still coming down the Sacramento River and upper tributaries, the fishing action for sturgeon, striped bass, and shad should hold on through the foreseeable future.
Most striped bass anglers are staying on the San Joaquin River where fresh batches of linesides continue to move through, but there are stripers moving up and down the system as the spawn has been delayed in the upper tributaries due to cooler than normal water on the Feather River. This week’s series of storms has only served to cool the water further.
Alan Fong of the Fishermen’s Warehouse in Sacramento said, “Shad action remains solid from Freeport on up, and the American River has broken loose this past week, but the shad have to come through the north Delta. I went to Liberty Island this week to throw chatterbaits, and we found good action for largemouth bass to 4 pounds even though the conditions were less than ideal with rain throughout the day.”
The inclement weather has slowed down interest in fishing, and a series of thunderstorms over the weekend kept traffic in area bait shops on the light side.
Tony Lopez of Benicia Bait said, “For the first time in a long time, we have live bait of grass shrimp, pile worms, and blood worms at the end of the weekend, and there have been few anglers coming into the shop with the weather. The grass shrimp has been on the small side.”
Captain Joey Gamez of Golden State Sport Fishing continues to find tremendous sturgeon action in Suisun Bay, and his trip on Saturday with John Garner of Pinole, Aaron Austin of Modesto, and Richard and Chris Roundtree of Roseville onto limits of sturgeon on cured salmon roe. The action remains hot for the few anglers willing to stay on the anchor. The allure of the most incredible halibut bite in decades is drawing anglers to the bays, but the sturgeon remain a more than viable option for those wanting to pull on a big fish.
The wind and rain remained constant throughout the past week, but fresh striped bass continue to move into the San Joaquin River system in waves. Largemouth bass are in all stages of the spawn, and there are still a number of bass in pre-spawn mode.
Randy Pringle, the Fishing Instructor, was out this week in the rain, and he said, “We had a great day on the Delta as the reaction bite is improving with the ima Squarebill crankbait in crawdad or bluegill. The bass are feeding on the bluegill due to guarding the fry. There is a topwater bite with the ima Little Stick along with the new Choppo which is Berkley’s answer to a Whopper Plopper. This lure doesn’t roll to the side. The ima Flit in shad patterns is also effective, particularly on the high tides near sparse tules and along the outside edges of the weed bed. The Berkley Chigger Craw along with the Power Hog is also working as any type of creature bait has been effective.”
Dan Mathisen of Dan Mathisen Outdoors said, “Thursday and Friday were good for largemouth bass, and we were catching them before the wind and rain arrived once again over the weekend. We have been flipping big creature baits such as Sweet Beavers along the edge of the tules along with buzzbaits and spinnerbaits. The Bass Land Beaver has been particularly effective, and many of the largemouth bass are still in pre-spawn mode with no marks on their tails, clean, and chubby males hanging around. I think we are from 6 to 8 weeks behind right now. Stripers are still an option and we are finding them on the 4-inch Bad Bubba Shad swimbait in Jackson Trout or PB Special.”
Clyde Wands, shallow trolling expert, fished the Iselton Chapter of the Rio Vista Striped Bass Association target length derby this past week, and he said, “We went upriver to get out of the wind, and we had a very good day with 28 keepers to 18 pounds, and we released all of the big fish. We found a school of quality keepers. We kept three of the smaller keepers. Tuesday was a different story with high winds, and few keepers. The school that we were on had left, and we only marked a few stripers. The fish we caught on both days were new fish, and although I don’t know how long it is going to last, it seems like it will for a while.”
The big tides affected the troll bite on Monday, and Wands went into the Old Sacramento River for only 5 striped bass to 4 pounds. He said, “There was a 44-inch striper landed downstream in the main river so there are still big fish coming through.”
Jeff Soo Hoo of Soo Hoo’s Sport Fishing out of Laurtizen’s Yacht Harbor in Oakley said, “The stripers are chewing, and we limited out early this morning as I took my children and their friend out before the rain hit on Sunday. The birds were working, and we picked them up on both P-Line Laser Minnow spoons or swimbaits. I have been staying in the San Joaquin River as there is no reason to head over to the Sacramento side. The water did get dirty overnight as it was clear on Saturday. Many of my clients have their own boats, but they want to learn to land the numbers of stripers, and is is generally an unbelievable experience for them when they can’t get to the bottom before getting hit. The action has been steady throughout the day, and I will be on the stripers for a few more weeks before heading to San Francisco Bay to run a party boat for Fish Emeryville for the summer.”
H and R Bait in Stockton reported slow interest in fishing over the windy and wet weekend, but they are still receiving fresh shad on a regular basis.
Lake Nacimiento/San Antonio/Santa Margarita/Lopez
Bass 3 White bass 2 Striper 1 Catfish 2 Crappie 2
At Nacimiento, water releases are pushing the bass off of the shorelines, out into deeper water. Spotted bass have been more reluctant to bite, but they can be found at depths to 15 feet with plastics on a finesse technique or underspins. Crappie are holding in submerged brush, and minijigs or grups are picking up the slabs. Bluegill are cruising the shorelines with red worms or meal worms, and the white bass has also slowed with the occasional school located in the backs of coves in the river arm. Small white Roostertails or Kastmasters are still best for the whites. The fuel dock is now selling fuel again from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. The lake dropped slightly to 81 percent this week.
At San Antonio, the lake rose slightly to 42 percent, and the lake is open from Thursday to Sunday with plans to open seven days per week by the end of the month or in early June. Catfish are still the best option with cut baits loaded with scent. Bass action remains slow.
At Lopez Lake, the overall size of the bass has dropped, and shad-pattered plastics or small spinnerbaits are working best for bass to 2 pounds while crappie are found around structure with minijigs or grubs. Panfishing for bluegill or red ear perch are taken with nightcrawlers, mealworms, or reds worms.
At Santa Margarita, the largest grade of bass in the coastal lakes has been reported with largemouths to 8 pounds taken this week. Jigs, swimbaits, jerkbaits, or big plastic worms on a Texas-rig are most effective. Live nightcrawlers are also working from the shorelines for bass. Crappie are taken on minijigs or grubs while soaking mackerel has been the best option for catfish, particularly near the marina. Boaters are advised to contact the lake’s ranger station at 805-788-2397 for information on the availability of the single ramp.
Fresno Bass Club: May 18-19 at Clear Lake – 1, Bryon Taylor, 26.25 pounds (Big Fish 3.88); 2, Ron Red Sr., 23.94; 3, Jose Guzman, 23.09.
RiverRats Bass Club: May 18 at Eastman – 1, Ron Jr. and Nick Sanches, 14.46; 2, Wayne Arnold/Sergio Mendoza, 13.05 (Big Fish 5.06); 3, Kevin Lee/Shadowns Vang, 11.31.
Sierra Bass Club: May 18 at Delta/Russo’s Marina 1, Tony Hunt/Magnuss Johnson, 26.23 (Big Fish 3.88); 2, Mitch Mitcheltree/Chris Jones, 22.93; 3, Chris Flamming, 22.73 (Big Fish 6.21).
Best Bass Tournaments: May 18 at Don Pedro – 1, Christian Ostrander/Ronnie Heil, 27.13 (Big Fish 7.69); 2, Tyler and Jeff Frey, 16.37; 3, Rich and Ron Ingram, 14.15.
May 25: Delta/Russo’s Marina – American Bass Association, Don Pedro – Mid Valley Bass Club, Lopez – 805 Kayak Fishing Club
May 26: Delta/Russo’s Marina – California Bass Federation, Kaweah – New Jen Bass Tournaments
May 30-31: Delta/Russo’s Marina – Bass N’Fly
June 1-2: Delta/Ladd’s – Angler’s Press, Don Pedro – Modesto Ambassadors
June 1: Delta/Russo’s Marina – American Bass Association, Delta/Ladd’s Marina – Mid Valley Bass Club, McClure – Kerman Bass Club, Isabella – American Bass Association, Nacimiento – American Bass Association
June 2: Delta/Russo’s Marina – Dan Mathisen Outdoors, Delta/B and W Resort – California Bass Federation, New Melones – Sonora Bass Anglers/Contra Costa Bass Club, McClure – Mother Lode Kayak Anglers
June 8-9: Delta/B and W Resort – California Bass Nation
June 8: Delta/Ladd’s Marina – Gold Country Jr. Bass Club/Manteca Bassin’ Buddies, Tulloch – 17-90 Bass Club, Don Pedro – Merced Bass Club, Pine Flat – New Jen Bass Tournaments/Kings River Bass Club, Shaver Lake – Youth Trout Derby, Success – Cen Cal Elite Bass Tournaments, Isabella – Golden Empire Bass Club, Lopez – Bakersfield Bass Club, Santa Margarita- Kern County Bassmasters
June 9: Delta/B and W Resort – Fresno Bass Club, Don Pedro – New Jen Bass Tournaments, Eastman – Kings VIII Bass Club, Hensley - River Rats, Success – Porterville Bass Club
June 12-13: Delta/Russo’s Marina – California Firefighters
June 13-14: Delta/B and W Resort – B.A.S.S.
June 15-16: Delta/B and W Resort – B.A.S.S.
June 14: Nacimiento – 101 Bass
June 15: New Melones – Kayak Bass Fishing, McClure – Fishing McClure for Mason, Santa Margarita – San Luis Obispo Bass Ambushers
Week of May 26 by California Department of Fish and Wildlife:
Tulare County: Balch Park Lake upper and lower
q = quarter moon