Scenes along local rivers
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 sturgeon, bass, shad and stripers all munching, Alan Fong reported. Northern aqueduct stripers active, Dave Hurley said. Don Pedro kokanee hitting, Jeff Boyle reported. Lake Success bass on solid bite, Chuck Stokke reported. New Melones kokanee and bass on good bites, John Liechty said. Millerton and Pine Flat pumping out bass, Steve Newman reported. McSwain trout plants spur on bite, Steve Marquette said. McClure bass continue tear, 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 attracting more interest from local striper fishermen, and the best action has been around the moving water in the areas south of Highway 152 where the water is a bit cleaner. Anglers are soaking bait more and more, but you have to be near moving water to get some action. Closer to the O’Neill Forebay, 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, striped bass fishing is decent with jumbo minnows, anchovies, sardines, blood worms, or jerkbaits such as Lucky Craft 128’s 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 Trout2 Bluegill 2 Catfish 2 Crappie 2
Steve Newman of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “The largemouth bass bite continues to be difficult for most anglers, and you have to slow way down to get the better grade of largemouth bass to strike. The weather conditions have turned off the bass, but a few solid fishermen are finding quality largemouth bass in the 4- to 5-pound range working 6- to 7-inch Senkos on a weightless presentation, 10-inch plastics, or Brush Hogs over island tops, rocky areas, or the saddles between the humps. The action had been so spectacular over the past year, the current slower fishing has puzzled anglers, but the high water has created a comfort zone for the bass along with the bait. Some anglers are willing to work big swimbaits on a slow grind along the bottom for quality as opposed to quantity.” The lake rose slightly to 89%.
Call: Eastman Lake 689-3255
Bass 3 Trout 2 Catfish 2 Bluegill 2 Crappie 2
Newman said, “Hensley is the second option to Eastman, and as the lowest elevation lake in the area, it is currently the warmest. A slow fall reaction bait, creature baits or jigs in the shallows are working for bass in the 1- to 3-pound range. Anglers are averaging around a dozen fish per trip, and there is a reaction bite in the shallows with squarebill or shallow-running crankbaits in bluegill or crawdad patterns. Green pumpkin, watermelon red, and natural colors such as browns, purples, or oranges are working in the stained water. Pausing a jerkbait on the retrieve is another option.” The lake rose slightly to 71%.
Lake Don Pedro
Bass 2 Trout 2 Kokanee 3 King salmon 1 Crappie 2
There are some quality kokanee to 17 inches with Jeff Boyle of Bass Pro Shops in Manteca out with his regular fishing partner, Tony Lopes of Turlock. Boyle said, “It was very interesting as we ended up with 9 quality kokanee to 16 and 5/8th inches with the big fish weighing close to 2 pounds. This was the largest kokanee I have landed in some time. Orange and pink hoochies behind a Sling Blade at 30 to 38 feet was the trick, and we found our action in Middle Bay.”
Andre Fontenot of San Bruno and 50 Fishing has found great action for limits on consecutive trips to Don Pedro with limits of kokanee to 17 inches running Uncle Larry’s spinners followed by a pink Brad’s Kokanee Cut Plug and a watermelon JPex near the Graveyard at depths from 38 to 45 feet.
The lake held at 90%.
Lake Isabella/Bakersfield area
Bass 2 Trout 2 Crappie 3 Catfish 2 Bluegill 2
Crappie are the most targeted species at Lake Isabella, and although the bite has slowed since the red hot explosion a few weeks ago, there are still crappie available in Brown’s Cove, Rocky Point, and Camp 9. The slabs have moved out of river arms into the main lake with the influx of cold water in the river arms. Bass fishing decent with deep-diving crankbaits, plastics, or jigs, but the swimbait bite has been quiet. The lake rose from 56% to 60%. 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.
Bass 2 Crappie 2 Trout 2 Catfish 2
The lake is starting to drop, and it went from 87 to 83% 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 scheduled for Sunday was cancelled due to a lack of a permit being issued on the holiday weekend. The recreational boating season has begun at the lake. With the water releases, the lake will need to stabilize, and the bass action 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 3 Bluegill 2
The lake held at 95% in capacity, and bass action remains solid with Senkos, crankbaits, and spinnerbaits with a trailer. With the high water in the lake, there is a high spot in the far left cove of the west ramp, and the depth goes from 50 feet to a foot quickly. Boaters have to be extremely careful of the depth levels as there are no warning buoys. 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 give fly casting lessons 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 said, “The bass bite remains good, but you have to locate the fish as there are some breaking the surface chasing shad while others are as deep as 40 feet in the main lake. Topwater lures such as the River2Sea Rover in Powder or Bone along with the Reaction Innovation’s Vixen are effective along with underspins such as Fatty Worms along with jigs are also working.”
The lake is releasing water, and it dropped from 88% to 84% this week.
Cook and Mother Lode Kayak Fishing have taken on the task of putting together a fundraiser June 15 for Mason Ferruli of Ripon called Fishing McClure for Mason. 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.” To donate an item or register for the event, call Cook at 691-7008.
Call: Ryan Cook – Ryan Cook’s Fishing 691-7008
Steve Marquette of the Lake McSwain/McClure Recreation Company said, “A trout plant of 1,500 pounds of Calaveras Trout Farm rainbows were released into the lake this past week, and silver/blue Kastmasters, trout dough bait, and nightcrawler/marshmallow combinations worked for limits immediately after the plant. A 9.2-pound rainbow was landed on a silver/blue Kastmaster. The lake is nearly at flood stage and only a few feet from the propane tanks at the café.”
Call: McSwain Marina 209-378-2534
Millerton Lake/San Joaquin River
Bass 3 Striped bass 1 Shad 1 Bluegill 2 Crappie 2
Pine Flat and Millerton remain the top options for numbers of both spotted and largemouth bass in the Fresno-area as Eastman and Hensley remain hit or miss.
At Millerton, Steve Newman of Valley Rod and Gun said, “I was out on Thursday, and we landed 35 bass with around a dozen of keeper size. There are a lot of small fish from the banks to 25 feet, and we started out with a wacky-rigged plastic in a shad pattern that had been very effective over the past few weeks. After not getting bit on this pattern, I switched over to a pastel blue plastic like a Blue Ghost on a Neko rig with either a 1/16 or 1/32-weight and let it fall slowly. This was the trick for getting the fish to bite. Green pumpkin, green pumpkin with a purple line, smoke/ purple, or smoke/blue are also effective, and these are more traditional Millerton patterns. Most of the bass ranged from a half-pound to 1.5 pounds, and our best cut of bass came on steep vertical walls in the river arm later in the day at depths from 20 to 40 feet. We also picked up a few on small topwater lures such as a Popper in shad pattern worked slowly. The bass are spitting up crawdads. The water temperature varies from 63 degrees by Temperance to 7072 degrees in the main lake. A few crappie fishermen are working submerged trees in the main lake as the water is far warmer in the coves.”
Millerton dropped slightly to 83%.
Call: Valley Rod & Gun 292-3474
New Melones Reservoir/Tulloch
Bass 3 Crappie 2 Catfish 2 Trout 2 Kokanee 3
New Melones is currently the go-to location for northern California kokanee anglers, and despite good action at Stampede, Pardee, and Don Pedro, a good number of kokanee fishermen are migrating to this lake to take advantage of the resurgent bite.
Gene Hildebrand of Glory Hole Sports in Angels Camp said, “Big Al Ezell of Big Al’s Guide Service reported a huge kokanee at 18.25 inches, and although no weight was recorded, a kokanee of this size would be close to the lake record of 2-lbs., 11-ounces. Most trollers have been getting off of the lake by noon with limits of kokanee.”
Monte Smith of Gold Country Sport Fishing made the trek to Melones to target kokanee, and he said, “The overall size at Don Pedro seems to be larger, but there is an excellent grade at both lakes. We found action around 30 feet in depth with pink or orange hoochies behind a pink/silver Sling Blade. We started off away from the crowd at the Spillway and had a double hook up off of Rose Island. We lost the kokanee and released a crappie, but then we trolled down the center of the river channel for our kokanee. The water at Melones is green, and it has to be loaded with plankton.”
Alan Fong of the Fishermen’s Warehouse in Sacramento was out earlier in the week during the wind and rain, and he said, “It was raining so hard that we couldn’t see the lake, and the kokanee were just not biting. I could see them on the graph, and they were following up the lures on the downriggers when I was moving them up and down to see if they would come up. We ended up with 6 hookups for 4 kokanee in the 15/16-inch range. However, Big Al went out the following day, and he loaded the boat to 17 inches running Paulina Peak’s tackle. This tackle seems to be highly effective for kokanee.”
Mark Watzke went back out again for another shot at kokanee with his wife, Michele, and they scored early boat limits of kokanee in the 15-inch range with Michele landing a 5-pound brown.”
As predicted by John Liechty of Xperience Fishing Guide Service, the reaction bite for the larger bass at New Melones was just a matter of time before it heated up, and the last week of inclement weather was just what was needed to kick start the action.
Liechty said, “We landed largemouth bass to 7 pounds this week, and there are a lot of 4- to 5-pound spots and largemouths in the lake. This has been a solid bite with topwater lures, swimbaits, glide baits, and umbrella rigs, and the fish are really snapping with the rain. The reaction bite has taken off, but we are also picking up bass on 5-inch Senkos in shad patterns or green pumpkin on a wacky-rig as the bass are coughing up crawdads off of the bottom. There are plenty of new areas that have been flooded as the lake has been rising steadily. The nutrients from these flooded areas are going to pay dividends. We have been located huge schools of bass that are here one day and gone the next as they are following the large schools of shad that seem to be affected by the changing weather conditions. The next couple months are going to be just as much fun, and there are bass to catch 365-days a year.”
Kenji Nakagawa of Lodi and Delta Wood Bombers was out on Friday, and he and his partner caught and released 30 bass to 7.2 pounds with the big fish taken on a River2Sea Whopper Plopper on his second cast. He said, “The water temperatures have cooled down since the last round of storms, and the fish are holding between 10 and 25 feet. After the early reaction bite, we dragged plastics on a shakey head, Ned rig, or drop-shot for the remainder of the day.”
The lake rose slightly to 84%.
Pine Flat Reservoir/Kings River
Bass 3 Trout 2 Kokanee 0 King salmon 0 Catfish 2 Crappie 2
Steve Newman of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “The bigger fish have gone deep at Pine Flat in post-spawn mode, but the banks are loaded with smaller bucks out to 30 feet. You can pick these up with any methods including topwater, jigs, Trick Worms on a wacky-rig either weighted or unweighted along with plastics on the drop-shot, dart head, or Texas rig. The more aggressive fish are hitting the 7-inch Trick Worms on the fall, and another solid option is a Ned rig. The larger bass have been more difficult to catch, but I would try a deep-diving crankbait, a big jig, or a swimbait in deeper water for the best cut. If you can get it in their face, they will bite it. The colder water in the river arm has slowed down the crappie bite as they are also suspending in the rising water levels. Due to the colder water temperatures, the main lake has been the best option for both bass and crappie. There are plenty of male bass in the 1- to 3-pound range cruising the shallows.” Trout trolling has been null and void. 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. A few areas of the river have been closed, and anglers will have to check for access.
Pine Flat dropped slightly to 76%.
San Luis Reservoir and O’Neill Forebay
Striper 2 Catfish 2 Bass 2 Crappie 2
San Luis Reservoir is still releasing water, and the wind has been a limiting factor for boaters on several days within the past week. Striped bass fishing remains decent for those soaking bait, casting swimbaits, or drifting live minnows while trolling has been hit or miss.
Roger George of Roger George Guide Service made the most of a small wind window this past Thursday by putting Marco Vuicich of Fresno onto a 20-pound-plus striped bass that was released quickly after a photograph. George said, “It was a mess out there, and we came in totally soaked, but we landed the big striper during a one-hour window when the winds dropped between 10 and 15 mph as they were as high as 25 mph earlier in the day.” George typically trolls on the downrigger with Lucky Craft Pointer 128s in shad patterns.
George also said that Valley bass and striper anglers need to know that “the California 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 with the first reading of the policy on June 12 at the Red Lion Hotel in Redding. The Northern California Guides and Sportsmen’s Association is organizing opposition to this measure with bus transportation from the Delta and Central Valley region cities to the hearing. The first time this policy could be acted upon is at the next scheduled commission meeting on either Aug. 7 or 8 in Sacramento.”
“The purpose of this hearing is to eventually eliminate black bass, stripers and any other listed non native fish in the Delta-and tributaries. I understand this current proposal could also possibly be extended to San Luis Reservoir as well – even though it’s not part of any salmon runs. It’s a draconian proposal with huge implications for all anglers,” George said.
Steve Newman at Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “Jerkbaits and flukes have been the best bet for both shore and boat fishermen, and there is some topwater action when the stripers are pushing shad to the surface. Most fishermen are running the edges of the shoreline with the reaction baits, and we are selling plenty of the Duo Realis 120 jerkbaits as well as the Lucky Craft Pointer 128s.”
Mickey Clements of Coyote Bait and Tackle in Morgan Hill said, “We have been selling a number of Magnum Flukes in albino or white ice along with jerkbaits as fishermen are concentrating along the shoreline near the Romero Visitor Center. The deep-water access in this area makes for a good shoreline location, and both shore anglers and boaters are working the leeward side of the humps. Trolling has been slower as most boats are either casting or drifting jumbo minnows. In the O’Neill Forebay, the weeds have yet to form due to the cold water, and most stripers are holding around the rocks on the opposite side of Check 12. Ripbaits or small white swimbaits are working best for mostly undersized stripers.”
There have been a number of vehicle break-ins when anglers are parking along Highway 152 as well as at the California Aqueduct.
San Luis dropped from 73% to 72% of capacity in spite of continuous pumping out of the south Delta.
Bass 3 Trout 2 Kokanee 2
Steve Newman said, “The largemouth and spotted bass action is heating up as the fish are holding near the docks. The water temperatures remain cold at 63 to 66 degrees, and some snow fell in the region. The bass are holding around the deeper docks, and plastics on the drop-shot or Ned rig are working, particularly in the afternoons when the water temperatures warm. Small finesse presentations along with jerkbaits on rocky points are effective as the bass are feeding on bluegill.” The Memorial Day weekend is normally the start of the summer recreational boat traffic season, but the weather conditions put a damper on the traditional opener with heavy rain in the region. Mike Beighey of Kokanee.net Guide Service found decent action for rainbow trout with MAG Tackle gear from the surface to 20 feet. The lake dropped to 88%.
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 is running quad trips for up to seven people through June 3. 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%, Florence is also rising at 17%, and Mammoth Pool is over capacity at 102%.
Call: Vermilion Valley Resort at Edison Lake 259-4000
Shaver Lake/Huntington Lake
Kokanee 3 Trout 2
The kokanee bite at Shaver Lake remains outstanding for the few brave trollers who have braved a series of storms moving through the Central Sierra Nevada mountains. Wind, rain, and even snow was present throughout the Memorial Day Weekend.
Dick Nichol’s of Dick’s Fishing Charters said, “Shaver Lake was hit hard at times this past week with thunderstorms, snow, and rain, but in between the storms, trollers from around the valley trekked up the hil and braved the elements for some great kokanee action. There has been a bit of a slowdown from the previous outstanding bite, but Jay Irvine of Visalia took out Jody and Payton Allen, also of Visalia, for a couple of limits of kokanee along with a brown trout using a pink Dick’s Koke Buster tipped with scented corn behind a purple/pink Mountain Dodger on a long line of 120 feet behind the boat at around 15 feet in depth. The water temperature has dropped 5 or 6 degrees from two weeks ago, and it is currently around 50 degrees. Irvine was also running the champagne pink Koke Buster on the same dodger on his downriggers. Jody Allen is the baseball coach at the College of Sequoias in Visalia. I think after the latest series of storms, the lake should return to normal with some continued great action.”
Todd Wittwer of Kokanee.net Guide Service was out one day this week, and he said, “We didn’t get a bite until we moved over between the Point and the Island, and then the action started for a fair number of kokanee with our best action on the pearl white or the double-glow orange Rocky Mountain Tackle’s Signature Squids behind an orange Tsunami dodger or the orange Sunburst Moonshine dodger.”
The 25th Annual Youth Fishing Derby will take place on Saturday, June 8th 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 from 3 to 7, 8 to 11, and 12 to 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 www: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 75%.
Kelly Brewer of the Wishon Village RV Store and Campground reported that 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. Trout trolling is very slow with only one or two rainbows or browns per boat, and the best action is in the evenings from the shorelines with trout dough bait or Roostertails in bright colors. Shore fishermen have a long walk to the banks.
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. Snowmobiles are the only way to access Courtright at the present time.
Call: Wishon RV Park 865-5361
Half Moon Bay
Salmon 3 Rockfish 3 Striper 2 Crab 3
The salmon season reopened on May 18th, but it was nearly a week before the party and private boaters got located due to the inclement ocean conditions, but when they did get located, the action was fast and furious.
Rockfish limits have been amended, and after June 1st, 2 ling cod over 22 inches will comprise a daily limit south of Cape Mendocino in Humboldt County along with the sub-limits of 2 to 3 canary rockfish and 3 to 4 black rockfish. The overall daily limit of rockfish will remain 10 fish.
Captain Dennis Baxter of the New Captain Pete said, “There were boats scattered from Double Point in Marin County to the Pigeon Point in San Mateo County on Friday when Brian Rooney on the Hog Heavon found the school of fish off of Mussel Rock. We made the circle and arrived on the scene by noon in order to put in 7 limits of salmon, with 2/3rds of the salmon being commercial size and loaded with anchovies in their bellies. He said, “The fish were all up in the water column, and all of the fleet had limits.
Captain Jerad Davis of the Salty Lady out of Sausalito was also off of Mussel Rock on Friday, and he said, “We finally got a break from the weather, made it out, and the bite was absolutely epic. We put in 19 limits to 24 pounds. We followed this up with early limits by 9:00 a.m. for a light load on Saturday morning in very challenging weather conditions.”
Baxter fought the weather uphill on Saturday morning to get to Mussel Rock, and he said, “We have a solid line of anchovies all the way up the coastline, and there are humpbacked whales feeding in 90 feet of water off of Mavericks. We bucked uphill in conditions that made me consider turning around, but we ended up with 23 salmon for 15 anglers with only one of the fish less than commercial-grade. We had plenty of opportunities for limits, but the weather conditions made it difficult to land the hook ups. The conditions look fantastic with one exception, and that is the water temperature is warm from 57 to 59 degree. Hopefully this northwest wind will cool down the water.”
There is more good news on the salmon front with the arrival of the second batch of 265,000 salmon from the Mokelumne River Fish Hatchery to the acclimation pens in the harbor on Saturday, May 25th. Captain Tom Mattusch of the Huli Cat said, “These fish are part of the 750,000 that will be released this year as part of the efforts of the Coastside Fishing Club and the hatchery. We have had our best return when the salmon been in the pens for a week to 10 days.”
Salmon returning to the harbor make Half Moon Bay one of the top locations for kayak salmon anglers along the coastline.
Mattusch has been running rockfish/crab combination trips, but with the arrival of the salmon, he will be targeting this desired species for the immediate future.
Salmon 2 Rockfish 3 Striper 2
Salmon action remains very slow out of Monterey Bay as the fish have gone deep in the warm water conditions. A northwest blow is necessary to cool off the water and bring the salmon closer to the surface. Chris Arcoleo of Chris’s Fishing in Monterey said, “There have been some great commercial scores along the San Luis Obispo coastline out of Morro Bay, and these fish have to come up the coast and pass us. I predict that the month of July will be fantastic for salmon fishing just like it was in the past.” On Sunday, the Star of Monterey out of Chris’s Fishing Trips was out on Saturday with 35 anglers for limits of rockfish and a handful of ling cod. No trip reported on Sunday.
San Francisco Bay
Halibut 3 Striper 2 Leopard shark 2 Sturgeon 2
The salmon are moving up the coastline, and they are currently off of the Pacifica coastline. Several boats normally targeting salmon stayed inside the bay over the weekend due to inclement weather, but the salmon are easily in reach of the Bay Area boats as they are currently off of Pacifica.
The halibut bite remains incredible, and Captain Steve Mitchell of Hook’d Up Sport Fishing out of Berkeley had a great start to the weekend with six limits of halibut to 16 pounds along with a few striped bass on both Saturday and Sunday. He said, “I moved away from the fleet in the south bay and found some bait and halibut. The bite is just incredible, and we were back at the dock by 12:45 with limits on Sunday.” Monday’s trip was just as good with 5 limits of halibut to 13 pounds, crew fish, and a striped bass. Mitchell said, “I have room all week long and during the coming weekend, and this has been the best halibut action experienced since the 90’s, and this weekend’s tides are some of the best all summer long.”
Captain Trent Slate of Bite Me Charters out of Loch Lomond is also on fire, and he put together a full box of halibut and bass including a huge 20-pound plus halibut landed by six-year old Elias Masri of San Rafael.
San Luis Obispo
Salmon 2 Rockfish 3
Rockfish are keeping the San Luis Obispo County party boats occupied, but the Phenix out of Patriot Sport Fishing took a salmon trip on Memorial Day with 4 salmon to 13 pounds for 8 anglers. On Sunday out of Patriot Sport Fishing, the Patriot, Flying Fish, and Phenix took out 60 passengers for 201 vermilion, 37 copper, 22 Boccaccio, 116 assorted rockfish, 110 Bolina, 15 tree fish, 5 canary rockfish, and 5 ling cod to 11 pounds. Out of Morro Bay Landing, the Endeavor, Avenger, and Starfire were out on Sunday with a combined 74 anglers for 470 vermilion, 20 Boccaccio, 20 Bolina, and 200 assorted rockfish to go with 25 lings to 18 pounds. Out of Virg’s Landing in Morro Bay, the Fiesta and Black Pearl were out on Monday with 36 fishermen for 180 vermilion, 92 assorted, 51 copper, 31 Boccaccio, and 3 lings to with a bonus 20-pound halibut.. 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
The Memorial Day Weekend is the normally the start of the summer boating season and the end of the end of the spring fishing season on the Sacramento-Delta, but the weather conditions were less than conducive for the traditional opening weekend of summer. The Delta was greeted with high winds and rain. Striped bass continue to move through the system in both directions while shad are starting to slow down a bit. Despite few sturgeon fishermen out there with the tremendous saltwater action for halibut in San Francisco Bay, the diamondbacks are biting as good as they have all year long for the few anglers on the anchor.
Johnny Tran of New Romeo’s Bait and Tackle in Freeport said, “Striped bass continue to move through the system in both directions, and there are still stripers loaded with eggs. The linesides range from 2 to 40 pounds. The water has come down over the past few weeks, and bait continues to be the best bet with sardines coated with garlic spray or pile worms. A few sturgeon continue to be picked up occasionally by striper bait fishermen, and there are still shad from Freeport to Miller Park with shad darts or grubs. Boat anglers are using torpedo sinkers from 4 to 6 ounces while bank fishermen are using egg sinkers from 1 to 2 ounces in weight. The water is still too cold for smallmouth to show up in the sloughs”
Alan Fong of the Fishermen’s Warehouse in Sacramento was targeting largemouth bass in the northern section of the Delta this week, and he said, “We found some quality largemouth bass to 5 pounds on spinnerbaits or chatterbaits despite the high winds north of Cache Slough. These bass have still yet to spawn. We also spooned up around 40 striped bass, but nearly every one was undersized.”
Tony Lopez of Benicia Bait said, “We have been getting great reports for sturgeon out of Montezuma Slough, and grass shrimp has been flying out of the shop. Curtis Hayes is back out shrimping, and his net is bringing in a good quality of shrimp. Despite the wind and the weather, we remain very busy on the weekends.”
Captain Joey Gamez of Golden State Sport Fishing took six anglers out on Thursday to the Big Cut, and they found epic action for sturgeon with 2 oversized, 6 slot-limit diamondbacks, and two shakers He said, “The fish are stacked in the Big Cut, and we also missed a number of bites. The outgoing tide lasted throughout the day, and we picked up the majority of the sturgeon on the outgoing with the last slot on the incoming in the afternoon at the mouth of Montezuma Slough. Everything came on salmon roe.” He followed this up with six more limits on Memorial Day. Gamez is open for sturgeon trips upon demand.
The California 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 with the first reading of the policy on June 12th at the Red Lion Hotel in Redding. The Northern California Guides and Sportsmen’s Association is organizing opposition to this measure with bus transportation from the Delta and Central Valley region cities to the hearing. The first time this policy could be acted upon is at the next scheduled commission meeting on either August 7 or 8 in Sacramento.
The striper run may be winding down as there are linesides scattered throughout the system on the San Joaquin side of the Delta, but there are some good scores found on a variety of techniques. Largemouth bass are poised to take off as the reaction bite is ramping up, but the weather conditions over the Memorial Day Weekend made for less than ideal action.
Jeff Soo Hoo of Soo Hoo’s Sport Fishing out of Lauritzen’s Yacht Harbor in Oakley said, “The story is the same with the stripers chewing. The spoon bite has been better this week, and there are still pre-spawn stripers in the system. We have seen few milking males recently, and the majority of our linesides have been schoolies. I have been staying on the San Joaquin as there is no reason to go anywhere else.”
Clyde Wands, shallow trolling expert, was out with Dave Houston and also Mark Wilson, another trolling expert on Thursday, and he said, “We had a good day as we picked up caught 9 keepers on the deep-troll, but there was only a fish here and there. We put 55 miles on the boat running from the Antioch Bridge to Prisoner’s Point. Some of the stripers had yet to spawn while others have spawned out. Mark also released a 4-pound largemouth bass that was fat and chunky. It seems like the run is starting to wind down, and although there are still stripers both coming in and migrating back to the bay, the numbers seem less.”
Randy Pringle, the Fishing Instructor, reported an improved reaction bite for largemouth bass with lures that sink while suspending upon the retrieve working best. He said, “The ima Rock N’Vibe Suspend in either crawdad or bluegill is a good option as it will drop in the water column when you pause the lure. The bass are guarding fry, and although we haven’t been able to hook any giants recently, we have picked up largemouth bass to 4 pounds. Ticking the tops of the weeds on the high tide has been the best option, and we are targeting gaps between tules or weeds with gaps. You will need polarized glasses to see the ‘mushrooms’ which are the umbrellas of weeds underneath the surface. You should cast into the back of the gaps and work the lure through the gap, but if you can’t see the mushrooms, you will end up in the weeds. Targeting the open holes has been the way to go. The bite is best on the high to the mid-, but it shuts down on the low tide.”
Dan Mathisen of Dan Mathisen Outdoors said, “I put in 17 pounds on Saturday on a custom Snag Proof frog, and all of the fish were in the 4.1 to 4.3-pound range, and they were pre-spawn males. The fish are far behind on their spawn with all of the cold water. I was working the slick water in the backs of the pockets, and the bass hit the frogs pretty good. The wakebait bite is also picking up. Our next Dan Mathisen Outdoors event is a Pro/Am on June 2nd out of Russo’s Marina.”
Kris Huff of Stockton took first in Saturday’s Valley Backlashers club event with a 17.85-pound limit, and he said, “We caught all of our fish on chatterbaits first thing in the morning before switching over to buzzbaits in the afternoons when the day warmed up.”
H and R Bait in Stockton reported interest in bank fishing is high with a good crappie and catfish bite off of Eight Mile Road with bluegill and striped bass off of Whiskey Slough. Fresh shad has been absent within the past week.
Lake Nacimiento/San Antonio/Santa Margarita/Lopez
Bass 2 White bass 3 Striper 1 Catfish 2 Crappie 2
At Nacimiento, the spotted bass bite has slowed down from the 100 fish days of over a few weeks ago to a struggle for a limit of legal fish currently. The water releases have moved the fish out into deeper water, and the crappie are also out off of structure into deeper water. White bass are boiling from the dam area into the main body of the reservoir, and the typical small white topwater lures or spoons such as Kastmasters are scoring for the whites. Bluegill have also moved into deeper water, but meal worms are the ticket for the panfish. The fuel dock is now selling fuel again from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The lake dropped slightly to 80% this week.
At San Antonio, the lake held at 42%, 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 remain the top option with cut baits such as anchovies loaded with scent. There has been concern that the striped bass had died off with the low water conditions during the drought, but a second striped bass was confirmed this week. Bass fishing remains slow.
At Lopez Lake, the small largemouth bass ranging from 1.5 to 3 pounds are possible with shad-patterned worms in pastel blue color patterns on the drop-shot with the larger fish holding around rock piles or vertical walls. Smallmouth bass are another possibility, but this species has been on the small side.
At Santa Margarita, a big limit over 20 pounds took a recent Bakersfield Bass Club event at the lake, and creature baits are working along the edges of the grass. Secondary points are a good area to target. The reaction bite has slowed. The lake is at 100%. Boaters are advised to contact the lake’s ranger station at 805-788-2397 for information on the availability of the single ramp.
American Bass Association: May 25 at Delta/B and W Resort – 1, Rob and Nick Cloutier, 19.24 pounds (Big Fish 6.83); 2, Tim Woltkamp/Paul Polhemus, 19.15; 3, Hung and Eva Ho, 14.16.
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
n = new moon> = peak activity