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 and striper action good, Alan Fong reported. Hensley bass hitting, Steve Newman said. New Melones kokanee bite still good, Monte Smith reported. McClure trout going deeper, Steve Marquette said. Bass Lake kokanee and trout active, Mike Beighey reported. Shaver Lake kicking out mixed limits, Dick Nichols said. Don Pedro bass hitting, Ryan Cook reported.
2-Have to work hard
4-Fish jumpin’ in boat
Delta Mendota Canal and Sloughs
Striper 3 Catfish 2
The hot weather continues to make for challenging conditions to sit out in the heat along the canals without shade. A few hardy anglers are out in the early morning hours or late evenings soaking sardines, anchovies, or mackerel near Los Banos or in the canals near Mendota.
In the southern section of the aqueduct in Kern County, Pete Cormier of Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield reported little change with sand worms, sardines, or blood worms working for both striped bass and catfish. The August Carp Derby has begun with an entry fee of $1, and it will last throughout the month of August.
Bass 2 Trout 2 Bluegill 2 Catfish 2 Crappie 2
Steve Newman of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “Bass action has improved to some degree with largemouths in the 2- to 4-pound range taken on creature baits, larger 6- to 7-inch Senkos, or big 10-inch plastics on a Texas-rig or Toyko-rig over island tops or the saddles between the islands. Half- to three-quarter-ounce jigs in black/blue or black/red are working in the same areas. You have to be willing to grind it out for success. The bait moves into the rocks near the dam in the evenings, and deep-diving crankbaits such as Strike King XD6 or XD8 are a good option at 15 to 20 feet in depth. The crappie bite remains slow, and there have been few reports of catfish with most whiskerfish anglers heading to the sloughs. The lake is releasing water, and it dropped from 71% to 67%.
Call: Eastman Lake 689-3255
Bass 3 Trout 2 Catfish 2 Bluegill 2 Crappie 2
Newman said, “The bass bite remains good in both shallow and deep water with weightless Senkos or plastics in the 6- to 7-inch range on a slow fall over offshore rockpiles or large points with rock as the bass are holding on rock as their main forage is crawdads. Underspins or spinnerbaits are effective over brush piles.” An algae bloom has formed on the surface of the lake, particularly in the coves, and visitors are advised to avoid contact with the areas with algae. The crappie and catfish bite remains slow. The lake dropped from 61% to 58%.
Lake Don Pedro
Bass 3 Trout 2 Kokanee 2 King salmon 1 Crappie 2
Ryan Cook of Ryan Cook’s Fishing said, “A three-fish limit over 15 pounds took Saturday’s benefit tournament for Nolan Cox, and I only weighed in a single fish as I stayed with my preference, but the big fish in the tournament were taken in the shallows with topwater lures as the bass are moving into the newly flooded areas in the shallows to feed. Shallow cover in flooded areas are the place to go. The winning weight was a good summertime limit for this lake. Heavy recreational boat traffic is occurring after mid-morning.” Few trollers continue to target kokanee with the hot bite at New Melones, but kokanee and rainbow trout can found at depths from 50 to 70 feet with standard kokanee gear.
Don Pedro dropped slightly to 97%.
Lake Isabella/Bakersfield area
Bass 2 Trout 2 Crappie 2 Catfish 3 Bluegill 2
Catfish continue to be the top species at the lake with sardines or mackerel along with Sonny’s Dip Bait. The bass bite is fair with jigs or deep-diving crankbaits close to rock. A boat is necessary to find the crappie as they have moved out into deeper water near structure. Live minnows have been difficult to keep alive in the shops due to the heat. The lake dropped from 55% to 53%. The upper and lower rivers are now fishable, and catfish and smallmouth bass are found in the lower river with planted rainbows in the upper river. The local lakes are kicking out carp on powder bait or Wussy Bait along with bluegill. The annual Bob’s Bait and Tackle’s August Carp tournament has begun with a $1 entry fee.
Bass 2 Crappie 2 Trout 2 Catfish 2
Local expert bass angler Gary Wasson of Visalia said, “The bass bite is slow, but there is some action in the early mornings with plastics and reaction lures at depths to 20 feet.” The bass are suspending with the water releases bringing the reservoir down from 59% to 47%.
Call: Sierra Sporting Goods 592-5212
Bass 2 Trout 2 Catfish 2 Crappie 2 Bluegill 2
Wasson said, “The bass bite is picking up with crankbaits or Senkos working best in the early mornings and evenings.” The lake levels are dropping so the fish are suspended more from the banks out into open water as it receded from 85% to 74%.
Bass 2 Trout 3 King salmon 0 Kokanee 0 Crappie 2 Catfish 2
The massive trout plant at Lake McClure has brought fishermen from all over to take advantage of the bonanza of 150,000 pounds of rainbows dumped into the lake a few weeks ago. The trout have moved off of the shorelines, and they are holding in the deeper water to 80 feet in depth.
Steve Marquette of the Lake McClure/McSwain Recreation Company said, “People are catching fish here, and we are seeing a lot of grandfathers out with their grandchildren, and that is our big story as many of the youth that have been coming haven’t fished before. They are catching fish and leaving here with smiles. The rainbows have gone deep, and 80 feet seems to be the magic depth for trollers. Blade/’crawler combinations or Kastmasters in blue/silver are working best, and there have been some huge rainbows to 14 pounds brought into the café. ExCel spoons are also working, and some anglers are drifting nightcrawler/Power Egg combinations. The bank bite has slowed down, and you almost have to go in a boat right now. A few fishermen are drifting Power Eggs or nightcrawlers from the houseboats, and there are a few trout taken from the shoreline in the evenings.”
For bass, Ryan Cook of Ryan Cook’s Fishing said, “The bass bite is picking up to some degree, but we aren’t catching many large fish here. The best action has been in deeper water to 60 feet, but you can find fish from the surface to 60 feet. I have been picking up a few of the planted rainbows on accident and have even landed rainbows on topwater lures in the early mornings. Any soft plastic will produce, but my advice is to work a weightless Senkos along a steep vertical wall from the top down to 40 feet. A slow fall is important as the bass are suspending along the structure. Plastics on the drop-shot or underspins are also working.”
The lake dropped from 96% to 94%.
Call: Ryan Cook’s Fishing 691-7008
With the heavy plants at McClure, fewer anglers are targeting the cooler waters in the afterbay of Lake McSwain, and Marquette reported a few rainbows are taken from the Brush Pile, the new cabins, and the marina with trout dough bait, gold Kastmasters, or Roostertails. Trout plants are on hold until the Merced Irrigation Fall Trout Derby in October.
Call: McSwain Marina 209-378-2534
Millerton Lake/San Joaquin River
Bass 2 Striped bass 1 Shad 1 Bluegill 2 Crappie 2
Both Millerton and Pine Flat remain tough with small fish dominating action during the summer doldrums. Recreational boating has ramped up at these reservoirs due to their proximity to Fresno, triple-digit temperatures and high-water conditions. The reaction bite is limited to periods when there is shade on the water, but the most consistent bite is with a slow presentation on the bottom.
At Millerton, Steve Newman of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “You have to be patient as when you find fish sitting on the bottom, you have to work it very slow as they aren’t willing to chase. The better cut is coming at depths from 30 to 40 feet with 5-inch Senkos or 6-inch Zoomo Trick Worms wacky-style along with 4-to 5-inch plastics on the drop-shot, Ned-rig, or shakey head. Jigs are also effective. Running and gunning is important to locate biting fish. If you see fish on the meter at 12 to 15 feet and they are not biting, they are most likely carp. The bass have dropped down on the water column with the carp moving into the shallows. In the main lake, submerged humps or main lake points at 15 to 40 feet are good areas such as the back of Winchell’s Cove. Crawdad patterns such as green pumpkin/purple, watermelon red, or watermelon orange are all working. With the high water, the crawdads are very active and feeding in flooded areas. There is a topwater bite in the early mornings before the sun hits the water with small Poppers in black back/silver or Baby Bass.”
Millerton dropped from 96% to 93%.
Call: Valley Rod & Gun 292-3474
New Melones Reservoir/Tulloch
Bass 2 Crappie 3 Catfish 2 Trout 2 Kokanee 3
New Melones remains the prime location for big kokanee in northern California, and the size of the landlocked salmon are approaching those found from far off locations such as Priest Lake and Flaming Gorge.
Monte Smith of Gold Country Sport Fishing posted quick limits this week trolling JPex lures from the Fishermen’s Friend in Lodi behind a custom Fishermen’s Friend dodger or Sling Blade at depths from 60 to 73 feet. He said, “We picked up and moved after scoring a few fish as several boats came into the area in which we were trolling so we went around the corner and we found kokanee in this new area, but they were shallower at 50 to 65 feet. We never had to change gear.”
Jason Meeuwse of Sierra Sport Fishing confirmed the good action, saying, “The kokanee bite is still rolling along as we had 4 clients on Wednesday and had 13 fish in the box by 8:30 a.m. We were soon surrounded by 10 to 15 boats, and the bite shut down. After a location and lure change, the bite kicked back in and we landed the 20th fish just before noon. We scored with Apex lures, Uncle Larry’s spinners, and some of my custom-made J-Pexes behind Paulina Peak Tackle’s or Brad’s dodgers between 55 and 65 feet deep towards the south end of the lake.”
Gene Hildebrand of Glory Hole Sports in Angels Camp reported Kyle Wise of Head Hunter Sport Fishing continues to score limits of kokanee, and the 3.8-pound kokanee landed by Rick Hansen of Pioneer on this boat last week is the unofficial new lake record. He said, “The trout bite is tough with the best action in Angels Cove next to the stream inlet where the oxygen rich water flows into the lake with nightcrawlers.”
For bass, John Leichty of Xperience Fishing Guide Service said, “The action has been fairly tough lately. With dropping water levels, warming water temperatures, and the recent algae bloom, the fish are holding in fewer areas and feeding during short windows throughout the day. Regardless of the unfavorable conditions, we are locating portions of the lake that are holding quality fish and have been able to make each guided trip a success. The key to getting bites is to slow down and work each cast and retrieve thoroughly. The bass will become lethargic due to the heat which makes them hesitant to travel a great distance to capture a meal. If and when a good opportunity is presented to them properly, they will put forth the efforts to take. From north to the south and east to west ends of the lake, there are always fish to be caught. Moving from one side to another fishing every structure and cover type at various depths is the best way to find groups fish that are willing to bite. Although we have found bites on moving presentations such as A-rigs, underspins, crankbaits and spinnerbaits; the most consistent by far has been finesse rigging's and jigs. Dropshotting, NED rigs, or shakeyheads fished in a crawdad or shad pattern have been the main staple. Fishing football head jigs in dark and light shades partnered with a twin-tail grub is another fish catching technique that we have been implementing. When the bite is on fire or cold, I will continue to seek the giants that inhabit this gorgeous lake that I am fortunate to call my own.”
The lake has dropped to 89%.
Pine Flat Reservoir/Kings River
Bass 2 Trout 2 Kokanee 0 King salmon 0 Catfish 2 Crappie 2
Newman said, “The bass bite remains tough, but there have been some good signs. Slow contact baits on the bottom are the way to go with big 6- to 7-inch plastics on the shakey head or jigs working best. There is an early morning topwater or spinnerbait bite as the shad is piled up in the small cuts or creek channels, but the shad goes deep as soon as the sun hits the water. The big bait balls have been absent. Shad, bluegill, or crappie patterns are working best along with Ghost Minnow in the clearer water. Crawdad patterned jigs are also an option as the flooded areas are loaded with crawdads. Green pumpkin orange or green pumpkin brown are good options, and the best fish to 2.5 pounds are found deep at 30 to 40 feet. Crappie fishing remains so-so with some slabs found above Trimmer in open water suspended around rockpiles, deep ledges, and submerged trees. Gulp Minnows or minijigs in shad patterns are working best. Trout trolling remains very slow.” The restrictions have been lifted on the lower Kings, and trout plants have resumed. The best action has been for those drifting salmon eggs or orange trout dough bait with garlic through the slow slack water.
Pine Flat dropped from 90% to 86%.
San Luis Reservoir and O’Neill Forebay
Striper 2 Catfish 2 Bass 2 Crappie 2
The summer doldrums have struck San Luis Reservoir for the majority of anglers, but experienced trollers are finding tremendous success for huge striped bass. The excessive summertime heat in the valley is limiting most anglers to soaking bait in the early mornings or late evenings, but a few boats are willing to brave the temperatures and troll deep water for the change at a true trophy.
Roger George of Roger’s Guide Service in Fresno had a fantastic week of trolling started by putting John Turner of Turner Security Systems in Fresno on a 30-pound striper that was his personal best. They found this huge lineside at depths to 70 feet with a Lucky Craft Pointer. George said, “Turner was so excited about his personal-best striper that he brought his 19-year-old son, Hunter, out later in the week to see if he could replicate his feat. On that trip Hunter caught and released a 30-pound striped bass – almost like John’s fish three days earlier. It was incredible for Turner to go back with his son- hoping for a big one and be rewarded. The fishing was off all day long as the wind was strong, with a tough bite, and John asked if we wanted to call it a day. I told him to wait and go to one more spot, where Hunter hooked the big striper. It was a complete turnaround from zero to hero in a second! I was back out on Saturday guiding two guests who left early so I decided to go scout for awhile. Incredibly, I got two fish over a two-hour period that went 24 and 25 pounds. I couldn’t believe it was happening again, but I’ve been on a jag for some reason. Funny, the fishing has been fairly slow overall, but I’ve been scouting hard all year and it’s paying off. There was nothing to indicate that I would have a week like the last one! All fish were released with a Seaquilizer Release system. The algae is getting thicker and greener as the water warms. Basalt ramp needs four-wheel-drive until they clean it out.”
Steve Newman of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis reported overall slow action with a few bank anglers tossing ripbaits or topwater lures in the early, early morning, but most are sitting on the banks in the evening with cut baits.
Coyote Bait and Tackle in Morgan Hill had a similar report with bank anglers out in the evenings with blood worms, pile worms, or large minnows. They were able to get in a supply of large minnows this week, but extra-large and jumbo minnows are unavailable at this time of year. There is a brief window for topwater in the early morning. The forebay is similar to the big lake with most anglers out in the evening with also a small window for topwater in the early morning. There is floating scum on the surface in some areas of the forebay.
The big lake dropped to 69%.
Bass 2 Trout 3 Kokanee 3
Recreational boat traffic continues to dominate the lake, and few bass fishermen are trying to fight the boat traffic. For rainbow trout and kokanee, Mike Beighey of Bass Lake Fishing continues to score up to four mixed limits of kokanee and rainbow trout trolling Radical Glow tubes in light pink or a MAG Tackle orange mini hoochie behind a MAG Tackle Stealth dodger from the Sheriff’s Tower to the dam. He landed three rainbows at 19 inches this week. The lake held at 94%.
The Sheriff’s Motor Fee is enforced on a year-round basis now. Lake webcams and conditions: basslakeca.com/index.php.
The Kaiser Pass lakes are now dropping with Edison receding from 88% to 85%, Florence from 97% to 83% and Mammoth Pool from 101% to 95%. Mammoth Pool is a good option for both rainbow trout and crawdads.
For the latest Sierra National Forest road conditions: bit.ly/2rfH8BB
Call: Vermilion Valley Resort at Edison Lake 259-4000
Shaver Lake/Huntington Lake
Kokanee 3 Trout 3
Mixed limits of kokanee and rainbow trout continue to come out of Shaver Lake, but the big story is the annual sold-out Sportsmen’s Dinner by the Shaver Lake Trophy Trout Project this coming Saturday, Aug. 10 at the Shaver Lake Community Center.
The annual dinner is the major fundraiser for the unique organization, the only one of its type in California. Monies from the fundraiser through the dinner proceeds as well as major live and silent auction items are used to purchase trophy rainbow trout up to and in excess of 10 pounds for the coming spring. The trophy trout have been a boost to the local economy with anglers from throughout southern and central California flocking to the lake to fish off of the banks or troll, making Shaver Lake a popular fishing destination. Presenting the annual Captain Jack Yandell Award in memory of the late charter member of the association will be a highlight of the evening.
As far as fishing is concerned, Dick Nichols of Dick’s Fishing Charters said, “The fishing is a little different right now. Still great fishing, but for my boat its mixed multiple limits of kokanee and trout. After the plant, I tried to stay in known kokanee waters, but then decided the trout were there why not take advantage of the big plant from the Department of Fish and Wildlife. In the mix of the trout, I have found good kokanee action at about the same depths, tackle and bait. My clients have been scoring fairly early with about even on kokanee and trout. We have tossed several trout as in this new plant, the fish were small to medium. Overall, it has been a tremendous week for us. On one trip, Lindsay Penner from Fresno, a senior at UC San Diego, joined her mom, Diana, and brother, Travis, for a birthday fishing trip for her dad, James. It was Lindsay who celebrated most with a 5.2-pound trophy rainbow. The Penners all limited out on kokanee and trout. On another trip, 88-year-old Art Carlson of Fresno took his daughter Tanya, grandson Nick and granddaughter Kendra out for his second trip with us. The foursome limited with an even count of kokanee and trout. We have been working the Point to the dam and Bikini Cove for most of our action, and 28 feet has been the norm for us on the downriggers with pink, white or orange Dick’s Mountain Hoochies, pink or orange Apex, tipped with crayfish-scented corn behind Dick’s Mountain Dodgers in purple/silver or orange/silver. The side poles have Trout Busters or Koke Busters tipped with corn behind weighted Dick’s Mountain Flashers at 120 feet back or about 24 feet deep. Both the kokanee and trout hit both setups. In my opinion, the kokanee bite has slowed a tad, they have also spread out more. We have caught some kokanee in pre-spawn condition.”
Nichols took out Mason Park and his father, Ed, from Prather over the weekend for Mason’s 18th birthday, and they put in two limits of kokanee by 8:15 a.m., releasing several rainbow trout.
Todd Wittwer of Kokanee.net Guide Service continues to score limits of kokanee for his clients, primarily working the middle section of the lake with Radical Glow Tubes in pink, orange, or white behind a Rocky Mountain Tackle pink Splatter or Tsunami dodger at depths from 27 to 36 feet. He said, “We put in four limits on Sunday morning, and when the breeze dies down and the lake is glassy, I am either working towards the edges or over structure. The rods with Dick’s Ball Trolls are outproducing those without 3 to 1 when the lake goes glassy. All of the kokanee except one this week are chrome, and the one without scales was landed high in the water column.”
The annual Kokanee Power Shaver Lake Team Derby is scheduled for Sept. 7 with information at kokaneepower.org.
Shaver rose from 91% to 93%.
At Huntington, the option for small kokanee and the chance at a quality rainbow or brown trout remains with Rapalas without a dodger on leadcore at 3 to 5 colors. The high water is contributing to more area open for trolling, and the best action is in the early mornings before the wind comes up in the afternoon. Bank fishermen are working the Dam 3 area with various colors of trout dough bait along with Panther Martin spinners for rainbows along with an opportunity for a holdover brown trout. This past week’s trout plant should help. The lake rose slightly to 99%.
Sierra Marina launch ramp webcam: sierramarina.com/camera.html.
Kelly Brewer of the Wishon Village RV Park and Store reported that the trout bite remains fair at best as no recent plants have taken place. Higher elevation Courtright has been more productive for both bank fishermen and trollers. A few rainbows and browns are found on nightcrawlers or trout dough bait while trollers are finding their best action with blade/’crawler combinations near the mouth of Woodchuck Creek or the main inlet at the far end of the lake. Both lakes remain close to full, but the inflow has slowed. Power generation is causing the fluctuations of both lakes up and down slightly each day.
Call: Wishon RV Park 865-5361
Half Moon Bay
Salmon 3 Rockfish 3 Striper 2 Surf Perch 2
Captain Dennis Baxter of the New Captain Pete said, “We got a limit of Marbled Murrelettes on Satuday along with the highlight of the day with a Scripp’s Murrelette along with a blue whale out by Pioneer Canyon. These were a good three days to have bird trips out since the salmon bite really slowed down. We scored 9 salmon for 23 anglers on Friday with 8 of the fish found in tight to Egg Rock, and the New Rayann almost had a fish per rod with 16 on their kid’s trip. The scores went down from there. Captain Michael Cabanas on the Huli Cat had four salmon in the morning, and Smitty on the Riptide switched over to rockfishing on Saturday. He traveled south to Martin’s Beach looking for salmon sign, but it wasn’t there. We were out at Pioneer Canyon on the bird trip, and the water actually got colder from 58 to 56 degrees that far offshore. Other than the rare blue whale, the overall whale activity was down on Saturday. The bait did move north to off of Mussel Rock.”
Earlier in the week, Baxter of the New Captain Pete put in limits of salmon for his clients on Thursday, falling one fish short of crew limits north near Pedro Point. He said, “There was a spot with whales and bait near Pedro Point, and there was a good mix of salmon with some larger fish in the mix. There are brown jelly fish offshore, and we tacked too far off at one point. The salmon are thick in the jellies, but it is difficult to fish there, but they will be moving closer to the shorelines soon. The salmon are well within party boat reach at standard salmon depths from 25 to 45 feet. The Outer Limits out of Sausalito came down, and they stuck it out until 3:15 p.m. to put in 20 limits, and many of the salmon are just below commercial grade at 25/26 inches. There were also incidental catches of salmon that were released south at San Gregorio while rockfishing on the Queen of Hearts.”
The Huli Cat was rockfishing on Thursday south of the harbor at the Deep Reef in 230 feet of water, and the posted 10 limits of rockfish.
Salmon 2 Rockfish 3 Striper 2 Surf Perch 2
Chris Arcoleo of Chris’s Fishing Trips reported some decent salmon action with over a fish per rod on the Check Mate on Sunday with 24 salmon for 20 anglers with a few over 20 pounds and many in the 12- to 15-pound range. He said, “The fish are deep at 250 feet in the middle of the bay, and since the commercial season is closed, we are able to have access to the salmon. The season below Pigeon Point ends on August 28th. We also went rockfishing on the local reefs with our Sunday crowd of first-time anglers, and the Caroline posted 24 limits of rockfish. We are running salmon and rockfish trips every day this coming week.”
San Francisco Bay
Salmon 2 Halibut 2 Striper 2 Rockfish 3 Leopard shark 2 Sturgeon 2
Captain Trent Slate of Bite Me Charters out of Loch Lomond Marina has been killing it lately with big salmon drifting off of the Marin coast, but the weekend was slow with 4 salmon out of 7 hook ups and 3 more on Sunday out of 6 hook ups. Earlier in the week, he posted up to six limits of salmon up to 22 pounds within a few hours. He said, “There is so much bait out there that you would think that you would just kill it. It has been slow for past four or five days for trollers. It was flat calm all morning, but once the fog lifted, the wind came up to 25 miles per hours.”
Captain Steve Mitchell of Hook’d Up Sport Fishing out of Berkeley confirmed the scratch bite with two salmon to 14 pounds along the Marin coast.
Inside the bay, most party boats are heading outside of the Golden Gate, but the California Dawn was both inside and outside on Sunday for 26 halibut to 28 pounds, 47 rockfish, a 21-pound white sea bass and 47 rockfish.
Other than the rockfish, this was a pretty typical party boat score with the halibut averaging from 1.5 to 2 fish per rod. In any other year, we would be going wild over scores like this, but this year, we are saying, “No halibut limits – the bite is slow.”
San Luis Obispo
Rockfish 3 Surf perch 2
Out of San Luis Obispo County, the Endeavor, Avenger, and Starfire out of Morro Bay Landing posted a tremendous score on Sunday with near-limits of quality rockfish including 195 vermilion, 110 copper, 15 Boccaccio, 477 assorted rockfish, 5 Bolina, and a petrale sole to go with 7 ling cod to 12 pounds. Out of Virg’s Landing in Morro Bay, the Fiesta and Rita G were out on Monday on a 3/4th and ½-day trips with 51 passengers for 3/4th limits of rockfish composed of 205 vermilion, 205 assorted rockfish, 10 canary, and 10 Boccaccio rockfish to go with 3 small, legal ling cod. Out of Port San Luis, the Patriot took double ½-day trips on Sunday, and along with the Phenix on a full-day trip, they combined for 185 vermilion, 41 copper, 19 Boccaccio, and 635 assorted rockfish along with 7 lings to 10 pounds for 100 fishermen. All ports are running a variety of trips in the coming weeks for rockfish/ling cod including overnight trips.
Bass 3 Striper 3 Sturgeon 2 Catfish 2 Bluegill 2 Salmon 1
There hasn’t been much change on the salmon front in the Sacramento River-Delta as anglers are still waiting for their first river salmon from the Benicia shoreline and in the Old Sacramento River out of Vieira’s Resort near Isleton. The excessive summertime Central Valley heat has cooked the water temperatures, and whatever salmon that have come into the system are moving quickly up to the colder waters above Red Bluff on the Sacramento River or in the Feather River. Most river guides will start to get active in the area around mid-August through the month of November.
Sylvia Vieira of Vieira’s Riverside Bait near Isleton reported the first salmon has yet to hit the deck, and there have only been a few boats out trying. The months of September and October are expected to provide banner action, and they still have more room in the
Out of Benicia, Tony Lopez of Benicia Bait said, “We are still waiting for our first salmon from the shoreline too, but this week’s minus tides have really stirred up the water. There most likely won’t be any action until the tides are slower and the water cleaner. We are fielding a hundred calls a day asking, ‘Are they there yet? When are they going to get here.’ Striped bass fishing has been decent with grass shrimp or anchovies from the shorelines, and we sold out of 20 pounds of grass shrimp quickly over the weekend.
In the Freeport area, sardines coated with garlic spray or pile worms are working best for striped bass while smallmouth bass are taken along the rocky banks in Steamboat Slough with live minnows, deep-diving crankbaits, or plastics on the drop-shot. The bass have gone deep in response to the warming water temperatures. Catfish are found in the Sacramento Deep Water Channel or Lisbon Slough with cut baits or chicken livers. A few salmon are taken from the shorelines with Flying C’s or by boat on Brad’s Killer Fish with a sardine wrap, but the action is slow.
There are striped bass moving into the west Delta, and Clyde Wands was out with Dave Houston in Broad Slough on a shallow troll, and they scored 14 keepers to 8 pounds with several in the 7/8-pound range. He said, “We quit early due to the heat and wind, but we trolled Rat-L-Traps, Yozuri Crystal Minnows, and P-Line Angry Eyes. We also went over to the West Bank for a few more keepers that we released, but it was very windy. These were nice, quality fish.” The previous day, Wands was out in Broad Slough, and they found a Rat-L-Trap bite for five stripers to 6 pounds.
Alan Fong, manager of the Fishermen’s Warehouse in Sacramento, was in the northern portion of the Delta this week, and he posted a 20-pound bass limit on chatterbaits or 6-inch Senkos including a 7-pound largemouth on a Senko. Heavy herbicide spraying is occurring in the north and eastern portion of the Delta.
The Department of Fish and Wildlife advises sturgeon anglers to be on the look out for sturgeon with a disc tag as every year between August and October, CDFW fisheries biologists conduct a survey of White Sturgeon. Fish are captured by net, counted and measured. A small plastic disc tag is affixed to White Sturgeon that are between approximately 3- to 6-feet in length, and the tag is placed at the base of the dorsal fin before release. Information collected from returned disc tags allows CDFW fisheries staff to produce more accurate population metrics.
CDFW currently offers rewards of $50, $100 or $150 per disc tag, although older fish with a $20 tag are sometimes caught. Tags must be physically returned to CDFW to be counted and the reward claimed, and the tags will be returned to the angler upon request. Anglers will also receive a commendation card with information about the fish, along with the specified reward amount.
Anglers can submit reward disc tags by filling out CDFW’s fish tag recovery form and mailing it to:
California Department of Fish and Wildlife
Attn: Sportfish Unit
2109 Arch-Airport Road, Suite 100
Stockton, CA 95206
Delta anglers are gearing up to attend the California Fish and Game Commission meeting on August 7 at the Natural Resources Building in Sacramento regarding an agenda item on modifying regulations for non-native species such as striped and largemouth bass.
In the San Joaquin system, the temperatures ramped up during the weekend, creating perfect conditions for the original specialty frog tournament, the Snag Proof Open, held out of Russo’s Marina on Bethel Island on August 3/4th. 207 pros and 139 amateur teams hit the water in search of 3-fish limits both days exclusively using Snag Proof frogs.
Randy Pringle, the Fishing Instructor, is the tournament director of the event, and he was out on Monday in the northern part of the Delta with two clients for 104 bass released to 4 pounds. He said, “We found a good bite with the ima Squarebill in red/chartreuse or the Rock N’Vibe Suspend. The key is current, and you will find a spot that is loaded with multiple fish. The tide was going out on the minus tides this week with a 4-foot water movement. It should be in the high 90’s this weekend, and this will help the frog bite.”
The first day leader was the team of Juan Acosta and Mike Gutierrez with a three-fish weight of 15.96, and Acosta is showing his expertise at frog fishing as he was part of the winning team with Mark Gomez during last week’s Ultimate Frog Challenge. They were using Snag Proof frogs during last week’s event which was an advantage for this week’s tackle requirements. However, the team of Tim and Zach Meeks came out of fourth place to take the top award with a total of 30.79 pounds for their six fish with their large bass at 6.38 pounds. Acosta/Gutierrez ended up in third with a two-day total of 24.34 pounds with their big fish at 8.43 pounds. The team of Larry Vignolo and Mike Saso stayed in second place, buoyed by a 10.72-pound big fish. The amateur team of Ben Lorencz and Ryan Otway were the first day leaders at 13.48 pounds led by a big kicker fish at 9.35 pounds, but they fell to 9th during the second day as the team of Douglas and Brent O’Neill took first with a six-fish limit at 23.39 pounds.
Dan Mathisen of Dan Mathisen Outdoors participated in the event, and he said, “I had two big fish come unbuttoned on Sunday, and that is frog fishing as the most challenging part is setting the hook. You have no delay with a frog. I normally fish with Stanford’s Boom Boom frogs so it was a bit different with the Snag Proof’s. I caught and released a striped bass on a frog this week in the evening as I saw the school busting the surface behind me, and I tossed the frog into the mix. I have been finding stripers to 8 pounds on topwater Spooks as they are starting to come into the San Joaquin system. There is some bait starting to form. The best grass is in the central and northern portion of the Delta around Little Potato and Disappointment Sloughs while there is little grass south of the railroad bridge in the south Delta. Our last team event for Dan Mathisen Outdoors of the season is on August 31st at Russo’s Marina.”
Catfish on anchovies have been the best option along the Stockton area banks as the whiskerfish have been active. Blood worms have been selling out early in the weekend at H and R Bait in Stockton.
There are algae blooms breaking out in downtown Stockton, Discovery Bay, and the Big Break Area, and the Department of Boating and Waterways advised limiting contact with the water, especially for pets.
Lake Nacimiento/San Antonio/Santa Margarita/Lopez
Bass 3 White bass 2 Striper 1 Catfish 2 Crappie 2
At Santa Margarita, the bass bite got tougher this week, and it has been a challenge to find the larger fish in the 4- to 6-pound class. There is a topwater bite in the early mornings followed by working the bottom near grass with plastics on the drop-shot or Texas-rig along with jigs. Frogs have been a good option for topwater action. Catfish are taken on cutbaits while bluegill and perch are hitting red worms or jumbo red worms.
Similar to Santa Margarita, the big bass at Lopez have been more difficult to locate, but there are fish to 2 pounds readily available with creature baits or jigs near grass. Frogs are also effective close to grass mats in the early mornings or during the heat of the day with the bass holding under the shaded areas. Bluegill and red ear perch are found on red worms, meal worms, or wax worms to 30 feet while crappie are located near structure with minijigs.
At Nacimiento, there is some action in the early, early mornings with small topwater lures as the spotted bass are chasing shad. A slow-fall presentation with plastics on the shakey head, NED Rig, or drop-shot are working as deep as 25 feet. White bass are active at times in the coves and cuts, chasing shad, and small white spoons or spinners are picking them up. Catfish can be taken on cutbaits close to boulders adjacent to flats or grassy areas. Crappie are found near structure with minijigs or Gulp! Minnows. Recreational boating remains heavy, and it has affected fishing access to the lake. The lake dropped from 66% to 61% this week.
At San Antonio, the bass action has improved considerably with small largemouth and smallmouth bass to 15 inches taken on reaction baits such as crankbaits or spinnerbaits in the early morning hours. By mid-morning, plastics on the drop-shot or Texas-rig are working on a slow presentation. Catifsh to 5 pounds are found with cut baits near sloping, muddy banks, and small bluegill are taken on red worms near the shorelines. The lake held at 40%.
Snag Proof Open: Aug. 3-4 at Delta/Russo’s Marina (6-fish total limits) – Pro Division: 1, Tim and Zach Meeks, 30.79 pounds; 2, Larry Vignolo/Mike Saso, 26.18 (Big Fish 10.72); 3, Juan Acosta/Mike Gutierrez, 24.34. Amateur Division: 1, Douglas and Brent O’Neill, 23.79; 2, Chua and Zay Yang, 21.58; 3, Josh Hamper/Jim Friend, 21.24 (Big Fish 10.19).
Aug. 10: Delta/Ladd’s Marina – Bass N’ Tubes, Don Pedro – Manteca Bassin’ Buddies, Pine Flat – Bass 101, Nacimiento – Good Ole Boys, Lopez – 101 Bass
Aug. 11: New Hogan – Gold Country Jr. Bass Tournaments
Aug. 16-17: Kaweah – Cen Cal Elite Bass Tournaments
Aug. 16: Lopez – 101 Bass
Aug. 17-18: Delta/Russo’s Marina – Hook, Line, and Sinker, Don Pedro – Modesto Ambassadors
Aug. 17: Pine Flat – Fresno Bass Club, Success – Porterville Bass Club, Nacimiento – San Luis Obispo County Bass Ambushers
Aug. 24: Delta/Russo’s Marina – Best Bass Tournaments, Hensley -Sierra Bass Club
Aug. 25: Delta/Ladd’s Marina – Nor Cal High School Bass Tournaments
Aug. 31: Delta/Russo’s Marina – Dan Mathisen Outdoors, Santa Margarita – 805 Kayak Fishing
Week of Aug. 11 by California Department of Fish and Wildlife:
Fresno County: Courtright Reservoir, Dinkey Creek, Kings River below Pine Flat Dam (also Aug. 18), Mono Creek, Portal Forebay, San Joaquin River south fork, Ward Lake, Wishon Reservoir
Kern County: Kern River sections 2-3-4-5
Madera County: Chiquito Creek lower, Granite Creek west fork
Tulare County: Kern River sections 5-6
q = quarter moon