Reeling in a trophy trout at Lake McClure
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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New Melones kokanee bite continues, Monte Smith said. Hensley and Eastman bass hitting, Steve Newman reported. Shaver kicking out mixed limits, Dick Nichols said. Delta stripers and bass action good, Randy Pringle reported. San Francisco salmon, stripers and halibut hungry, Trent Slate said. Courtright trout providing good action, Kelly Brewer reported.
2-Have to work hard
4-Fish jumpin’ in boat
Delta Mendota Canal and Sloughs
Striper 2 Catfish 2
The California Aqueduct has been limited to the early morning or late evenings due to the heat, and this weekend is expected to be very hot once again. Bait fishermen are soaking blood worms, pile worms, sardines or anchovies during the early mornings or late afternoons into the evenings 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 said, “The moss is starting to accumulate in the aqueduct, and catfish have been the top species with blood worms, sardines and anchovies.”
Bass 3 Trout 2 Bluegill 2 Catfish 2 Crappie 2
Steve Newman of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “Bass fishing has been solid for quality largemouths, but it is a grind for most anglers. The best quality is found on reaction baits such as spinnerbaits or chatter baits along with topwater lures and wake baits 10-inch plastics worms in green pumpkin or watermelon with a red or black flake are working over humps and in the saddles. A good option is to toss deep-diving crankbaits or swimbaits against the rocks along the dam in the evenings as the bait holds in the rocks. The rocks hold heat, and with last week’s bright more, the white rocks are like a bright like in the evenings. Crappie are found in the back inlets in the submerged trees, and they are feeding heavily on insects. Running a small 3- to 3.5-inch Kei Tech swimbait on a 1/16- to 1/8-ounce jig head is working best, but you have to find the right depth and move slowly on an easy retrieve as the slabs are not reacting to a fast retrieve.”
Call: Eastman Lake 689-3255
Bass 3 Trout 2 Catfish 2 Bluegill 2 Crappie 2
Newman said, “The bass bite continues to be solid, but you have to find the fish in order to score. Jigs, 7-inch plastics on a shakey-head or wacky-rigged Senkos around the edges at 15 to 30 feet are working for quality largemouth bass in the 3- to 4-pound range. The water is starting to get dirty which is typical for this time of year with the heat. The key is to find the fish and stay on top of them until they go. The crappie bite is good with 3- to 3.5-inch Kei Tech swimbaits on a 1/16- to 1/8-ounce jig head for the larger grade of slabs. Strike King’s Mr. Crappie jigs in Joker or Curlytail Shadpole are also working around submerged trees. 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. A few catfish are taken on cut baits.
Lake Don Pedro
Bass 3 Trout 2 Kokanee 2 King salmon 1 Crappie 2
Ryan Cook of Ryan Cook’s Fishing said, “Don Pedro has been picking up for bass as there are schooling fish with the late shad spawn. You have to downsize your lures as there are a lot of fish suspended. Topwater baits are working, but they have to be very small or small swimbaits such as a 2.8-inch with a paddletail on a 1/8-ounce swimbait head, along with plastics on the drop-shot or dart head at depths from 20 to 40 feet. The key is to find shade lines from trees, big rocks, or main lake points as the fish are wanting cooler water.”
Bruce Gowans and Steve Zagar took Saturday’s Modesto Ambassadors night tournament with a winning double-limit of 30.03 pounds, taking first by over 10 pounds.
Lake Isabella/Bakersfield area
Bass 2 Trout 3 Crappie 2 Catfish 2 Bluegill 2
Pete Cormier of Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield reported the best action in the Bakersfield area has been the upper Kern River for planted rainbow trout with salmon eggs, nightcrawlers, live crickets, or lures in the deeper pools. At Lake Isabella, the crappie and largemouth bass bite has slowed down as the lake is dropping in elevation. The best fishing remains for catfish from the shorelines with sardines or mackerel along with Sonny’s Dip Bait. The lower Kern River near town is in good shape, and catfish or bass are possibilities.
In the high county, Chuck Stokke of the Sequoia Fishing Company in Springville said, “The Kern River is at 900 cubic feet per second, and the river in the high country is now fishable with dry flies, nymphs, and streamers. The Golden Trout Wilderness Pack Trains are now scheduling guided trips into the upper Kern.”
The local lakes such as Hart Park are kicking out carp on Power Bait or Wussy Bait along with bluegill.
Bass 2 Crappie 2 Trout 2 Catfish 2
The Cen Cal Elite Bass Tournaments held at night tournament over the weekend, and the action was slow for the 24 teams with a winning weight over 9 pounds with a big fish at 2.90 from the team of Josh Housey and Jr. Demacabalin. Local bass expert Gary Wasson of Visalia along with his partner, Joe Baeza, took Angler of the Year honors for the club. Recreational boating remains heavy.
Call: Sierra Sporting Goods 592-5212
Bass 2 Trout 3 Catfish 2 Crappie 2 Bluegill 2
Chuck Stokke of the Sequoia Fishing Company in Springville said, “The bass bite is still slow with the best action in the early mornings or late evenings with Brush Hogs, Senkos, or lizards. The lake still has a tremendous amount of recreational activity.” In the Tule River, Stokke said, “The Tule is fishing excellent for both fly fishermen and spin casters, and dry flies such as hoppers, caddis, ant, and stimulators are working best along with black woolley buggers. The river has been kicking out some nice rainbows and browns while Boulder Creek is fishing excellent for brook trout.”
Bass 2 Trout 2 King salmon 0 Kokanee 0 Crappie 2 Catfish 2
The rainbows have gone deep and moving up the river arm to find cooler water, and trollers are going as deep as 80 feet with silver/blue Kastmasters, ExCel spoons, Needlefish, or blade/’crawler combinations. Ryan Cook of Ryan Cook’s Fishing said, “The bass have been scattered due to the dropping water levels, and you have to downsize your topwater lures as well as swimbaits. Plastics on the drop-shot or dart head on the shaded side of big rock, trees, or main lake points are the best locations at depths from 20 to 40 feet.”
Call: Ryan Cook – Ryan Cook’s Fishing 691-7008
With the lack of trout plants, rainbow trout action has been slow with a few rainbows taken from the shorelines with salmon eggs, nightcrawler/marshmallow combinations, or rainbow trout dough bait from the Brush Pile, the shoreline near the new cabins, or the peninsula near the Marina in the early morning or late afternoon hours. Trout plants are indefinitely on hold due to warm water conditions.
Call: McSwain Marina 209-378-2534
Millerton Lake/San Joaquin River
Bass 3 Striped bass 1 Shad 1 Bluegill 2 Crappie 2
Steve Newman of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “Good numbers of small spotted bass remain the rule as there is a ripbait bite in the shadows along with some topwater action in the shadows early in the mornings. The bass are oriented to rocks and along main lake points, and there is a good subsurface bite with jerkbaits or underspins. Around the rocks, big Senkos or Trick Worms on the lightest weight possible will produce a slow fall, and a drop-shot or shakey head presentation is best with these baits. The bass are chasing shad as there is a lot of fry in the water. The best quality is found in deeper water, but you can catch and released 8- to 9-inch bass in the shallows all day. The key is to look for shadows with the ripbaits.”
Boaters have to be very cautious when running full out along the edges. There are also fallen trees and floating logs and debris in the river arm.
Call: Valley Rod & Gun 292-3474
New Melones Reservoir/Tulloch
Bass 2 Crappie 2 Catfish 2 Trout 2 Kokanee 3
New Melones remains one of the top two kokanee lakes in the state for size, and although the lake is still producing, fishing pressure was down over the weekend. As a result of Melones’ prominence, few anglers have been heading to either Don Pedro or Lake Pardee for their kokanee fix.
Monte Smith of Gold Country Sport Fishing said, “It took until 12:45 p.m. to get our 10 fish this week as the full moon clearly affected the bite. We ran over several big schools of fish, but they weren’t really willing to bite. The best depth has been from 70 to 80 feet, and I have been scoring with larger lures with wobble such as a big Apex lure. The fish seem to want the larger presentation with erratic action as they are quickly starting to turn towards the spawn. Out of our 10 fish, most were males, and few had scales. However, the meat is still bright orange. We are marking schools of fish deeper at 90 to 100 feet, but they aren’t willing to bite as our best action has been around 73 to 75 feet. The water temperature is 81 degrees on the surface.
“The kokanee fishermen seem to be winding down. I will be switching over to Sacramento River salmon within two weeks, but I will finish up my kokanee season with a few trips this week. We also landed a 3-pound rainbow trout on an Apex lure while kokanee fishing.”
Kyle Wise of Head Hunter Guide Service said, “I was back on Melones on Sunday morning, and we fished several areas that I haven’t been to for a while to stay away from the fleet, and when we finally found some good fish to go it was time to call it. We ended up a couple kokanee shy of limits using MAG Tackle and Paulina Peak dodgers with Apex lures and Paulina Peak Flutter Bugs.”
For bass, Randy Pringle, the Fishing Instructor, was on the lake this past week, and he said, “We found fish, but it was a grind. Our best action came on the bottom with plastics on the drop-shot such as the General, D-Worm, or Pit Bass at up to 40 feet. There is a small window for a reaction bite in the shallows, but there were some areas that weren’t holding fish.”
Pine Flat Reservoir/Kings River
Bass 3 Trout 2 Kokanee 0 King salmon 0 Catfish 2 Crappie 2
Newman said, “Bass fishing is best in the main lake at depths from 30 to 40 feet with plastics on the shakey head or Texas-rig along with jigs in crawdad patterned. A slow-fall bait is essential during the heat of the day at depths from 25 to 40 feet as the bass are holding in deep water in transition areas. There are loads of small bass running the banks from 8 to 10 feet, but quality is found below 20 feet. The shad schools have moved back into the main lake with the high water, and the higher water provides more security. Main lake points are good areas to try, and deep-diving cranks in the 15 to 20 foot depth are another good option. Trout trolling remains slow, but crappie are found around rockpiles, deep ledges, or submerged trees with 3- to 3.5-inch Kei Tech swimbaits on a 1/16- to 1/8-ounce jig head. “
The lower Kings River below the dam has been planted with catchables consistently, and the largest grade of planter is found in the deeper pools with Kastmasters, small Rapalas, salmon eggs, or trout dough bait drifted through the slack water.
San Luis Reservoir and O’Neill Forebay
Striper 2 Catfish 2 Bass 2 Crappie 2
The lake has been dropping as much as a foot per day, and the water is tinged green from a persistent algae bloom, but huge striped bass continue to be caught and released by experienced trollers. Despite the heat, bank anglers are gathering around Dinosaur Point in the evenings to soak bait and catch lures.
Roger George of Roger’s Guide Service, the only authorized fishing guide on the lake, said, “ Most trollers are really struggling, but I have been working some different locations at depths from 40 to 90 feet as the fish have been moving around a lot. I think they are feeding on shrimp as we aren’t seeing many bait balls. The visibility is only around a foot in the green water, and the lake was dropping around a foot per day. I took John Turner of Turner Security in Fresno back out on Wednesday, just prior to Thursday’s full moon, and we only caught four fish by noon in the nasty 103-degreee weather. It was a grind for everyone, but we decided to hang in there, and later in the day, we found the one bite we were looking for with Turner landing a fat 18-pound striper that was quickly released. We paid the price by putting 13 hours in on the water that day in the heat looking at spots all over the lake. The best action has been from 40 to 70 feet, but the moon really affected the fish, and the water is up to near 80 degrees in the thickening algae. The wind has been keeping anglers off the lake for the last few days, too. Trolling minnow lures seems the best bet, I’m using Lucky Crafts most of the time in regular minnow patterns. The fish you catch now need to be released quickly to get back down to deeper, cooler water, since the surface water is getting so hot. The Basalt ramp is in good shape as the state parks department is servicing it daily now. The algae is getting really bad, and you have to clear your rig off quickly. The heat is coming back this weekend.”
Over the last three weeks George has caught and released three fish at 30 pounds, the biggest over 43 inches .
Steve Newman of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “The bank bite is picking up, and we have a number of anglers coming in around 2:30 p.m. to make the run to the lake with large jerkbaits or flukes while also soaking anchovies or sardines. Dinosaur Point seems to be the top location, and there are some boils showing up as the stripers are chasing shad into the coves. You will have to work through a number of smaller fish to post limits.”
An algae bloom is also reported in the forebay of the main San Luis Reservoir, but there have been some boils at night. Anglers are either soaking frozen anchovies, blood worms or pile worms or throwing jerkbaits, Kei Tech swimbaits or topwater lures in the mornings and evenings. There is a small window for topwater in the early, early mornings, and most fishermen are only out in the early mornings or late evenings.
Bass 3 Trout 2 Kokanee 2
Bass Lake has a bright future for bass fishermen in the coming months with the combination of high water, late summer heat and the return to normalcy with recreational boating slowing way down after the Labor Day weekend.
Steve Newman of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “Bass Lake is fishing very good as anglers on the lake this week found similar action to what we experienced last week. Isolated weed patches are the place to work at depths from 20 to 30 feet with plastics on the drop-shot on a 2.5- to 3-foot leader in order to stay above the weeds. If you are out of the weeds, you are going to get a bite as the fish are loading up on bluegill fry or baby bass. The chatterbait, spinnerbait and underspin bite is good, as well, but you have to stay above the weeds. The ripbait and reaction bite has been slow despite as much fry as the fish are eating. An Alabama-rig is a good option as well but with smaller swimbaits in the colors of the fry. With the boat traffic still heavy up and until Labor Day, the key is to stay inside of the Buoy Line. You can also use a 5-inch Senkos on a very light 1/16-ounce nail weight or as light as you can use to keep the bait on a slow fall. A slow-fall wacky-rig or a NED Rig are also good techniques. The weeds are getting thicker, but the fish are holding in and around the weed pockets, and they are willing to eat. With the lake so full, I am expecting an excellent fall for both spotted and largemouth bass.”
Mike Beighey of Bass Lake Fishing continues to find decent action for both kokanee and rainbow trout with MAG Tackle set ups. He has been starting out near the Sheriff’s Tower in the early morning before heading down to Indian Cove.
The lake held at 95%.
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 85% to 81% and Florence from 83% to 67% while Mammoth Pool held at 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 are the rule for experienced trollers, but the kokanee are starting to prepare for their attempt to spawn.
Dick Nichols of Dick’s Fishing Charters, said, “We continue to find a couple of limits as needed each day as I am seeing multiple layers of fish on the finder, but we are concentrating on kokanee at 30 to 35 feet deep. The island has been the top locations, but there are also kokanee from Black Rock to Scout Cove. However, there is a cluster of deeper fish at the Point. We have been scoring with Dick’s Mountain Hoochies in orange behind a purple/silver Mountain Flasher on the downriggers while we have been running the Stevenson-pattern Trout Busters behind a weighted Mountain Flasher at a setback of 120 feet. The kokanee has not reached the pre-spawn phase, but they are aggressive and plentiful. On Saturday, my clients, Savanna Pezet and Matthew Gill of Visalia, took easy limits by 8 a.m. running Mountain Hoochies in orange, pink and pink/white behind the purple/silver Mountain dodgers The surface temperature has dropped from 73 to 71 degrees, and this might be why the kokanee are staying up in the water column. On Sunday, it was more of the same with Eric Frampton of Fresno along with his son, Dexter, daughter Bre, and friend Brady Frankfort for three limits of kokanee using the same techniques and depths.”
Todd Wittwer of Kokanee.net Guide Service said, “We did well until Saturday, but we still ended up with 16 kokanee on board including the second-largest fish of the season at 15.25 inches. I have been working at 26 to 45 feet with Radical Glow Tubes in pink, orange or white behind a Rocky Mountain Tackle pink Splatter or Tsunami dodger, and I changed out the double glow to orange glitter this week. There are no big schools, and we are marking fish from 80 to 100 feet.”
The annual Kokanee Power Shaver Lake Team Derby is scheduled for Sept. 7 with information at kokaneepower.org.
Shaver dropped around 4 feet in elevation from 93% to 88%.
At Huntington, this lake has seen less fishing action over the past week, but there are planted rainbows to be had from the banks close to the Auxiliary Dam near the spillway with Power Eggs, trout dough bait or nightcrawlers. 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 with small spinners, blade/’crawler combinations or spoons for small kokanee and the chance at a brown.
Sierra Marina launch ramp webcam: sierramarina.com/camera.html.
Kelly Brewer of the Wishon Village RV Park and Store said, “Despite a recent trout plant, most trout fishermen are heading higher up the hill to the good action at Courtright as Wishon remains relatively slow. Orange or pink larger vibrating lures such as Apex lures are working best at depths from the surface to 20 feet. Bank anglers are gathering around the launch ramp or up near the river mouth with inflated nightcrawlers or trout dough bait for the occasional rainbow from the shoreline.” The lake level remains high, but it is fluctuating on a daily basis due to power generation needs in the Central Valley. The launch ramp remains on the concrete at the second turnout.
At Courtright, Brewer reported an excellent trout bite for trollers pulling Wedding Rings tipped with a nightcrawler behind a dodger from the surface to 20 feet. The lake was planted this week, and it remains high despite the fluctuation for power generation. Bank fishermen are scoring with trout dough bait, nightcrawlers or salmon eggs along the dam.
Call: Wishon RV Park 865-5361
Half Moon Bay
Salmon 2 Rockfish 3 Striper 2 Surf perch 3
Salmon fishing out of Half Moon Bay has been limited to a few fish up north from Montera to Pedro Point as well as out in front of the harbor by the entrance buoys, but the bulk of the salmon school should be on their way with the improved action for big fish south in Monterey Bay. In order to reach the Golden Gate and eventually the Sacramento River, the schools will pass through Half Moon Bay waters.
Captain Dennis Baxter of the New Captain Pete out of Half Moon Bay Sport Fishing said, “There have been a few fish north of the harbor near Montera as one private boat hooked 10 salmon, losing 4 big ones while the others were all commercial grade. We went rockfishing earlier in the week and loaded up with schoolies for a group of mostly fathers with their sons. The blues, widows, and olives were biting in the mid-water column, and there were a lot of smiles on board. One squid boat pulled 30 tons of a small grade of market squid off of Martin’s Beach earlier in the week, and this may have been all she wrote despite several more squid boats showing up in the harbor. These were around 16 to a pound, and you can tell when the squid boats are doing well by the amount of foam on the surface of the water in the mornings after pumping the squid into the semis that arrive in the early mornings.”
The Riptide and the Queen of Hearts out of Half Moon Bay Sport Fishing have also been concentrating on rockfish until the salmon arrive.
Second captain Michael Cabanas of the Huli Cat took a group of 12 anglers south to Pescadero for rockfish, and Norman Chan of San Francisco ended up with a bonus 18-pound halibut on a swimbait. They put in limits including a 5-pound cabezon.
Further north in Pacific, surf casters and kayak anglers have been scoring striped bass from Linda Mar to Rockaway Beach with spoons, bucktail jigs, or topwater lures.
Salmon 2 Rockfish 3 Striper 2
Keith Semler of Chris’s Fishing Trips said the salmon bite has slowed down over the past few days with the southerly winds arriving, and the Check Mate only scored three salmon for 24 anglers on Sunday after posting 19 salmon for 16 anglers on Friday. Rockfishing remains tremendous with the Caroline heading south for 26 limits of rockfish and 38 ling cod. The pressure has been down over the past few days, but the conditions look much better starting Tuesday.
San Francisco Bay
Salmon 3 Halibut 3 Striper 3 Leopard shark 3 Sturgeon 2
The salmon are moving back down the coast along the Marin county shorelines, and after postponing trips on Saturday and Sunday due to weather, Captain Trent Slate of Bite Me Charters out of Loch Lomond Marina in San Rafael said to me on Sunday night, “It’s on, and they are biting.” He wasn’t wrong as they posted 5 limits near Duxbury drifting herring or anchovies on Monday, and he said, “We had to work for them as we were two fish shy of limits on our last drift, and when we started the drift, my rod doubled over with a Mega salmon, and after landing this fish, Jesse Hall also got in on the act for the final fish.” Slate has room all week long for salmon mooching trips.
The larger party boats continue to head up towards Point Reyes for limits of salmon, and the Salty Lady out of Sausalito made a splash on their return to the water after some maintenance, and they loaded up the second of the Golden Gate Salmon Association’s ‘Fish Like A Girl’ trip with limits. Captain Jerad Davis of the Salty Lady said, “It’s hard to find the words to describe that action on Monday with probably our best day so far out of a truly amazing season. It was an absolutely wide open bite with ZERO down time. It’s a bit of a boat ride but well worth it !!! 50 Salmon for 25 people. Limits !! Cat Kaiser walked away with the jackpot once again with a 20 pounder.” She’s on a roll. 24/7 online booking & schedule at saltylady.fishingreservations.net/sales.
Annie Nagel of Ocean Kayaks and Rohnert Park was on a motor-powered vessel for the second time in a week, and after loading up with albacore out of Fort Bragg last weekend, she put on a salmon clinic on the “Fish Like A Girl” trip.
The big party boats made the run, but they all returned with limits. These fish should be moving towards the Gate soon, and this bite should remain phenomenal.
Inside the bay, Keith Fraser of Loch Lomond Bait and Tackle reported tremendous halibut and striped bass action in the bay, and Patrick, aka ‘The Madison Bear,’ or simply ‘Bear’, landed a 5-pound striped bass from the bait shop dock. Fraser said, “Our harbor is just full of striped bass, and the whole bass is loaded with stripers. We have anchovies, grass shrimp, and pile worms in the shop so things are looking good.”
Captain Joey Gamez of Golden State Sport Fishing has been running a variety of halibut, salmon, or shark trips, and the shark trips have been the most popular. He said, “We have been fishing deep water in the bay for the sharks, and they even bit on the big tides this past week. I won’t let anyone keep a shark over 150 pounds, and we don’t keep any females as we are trying to protect this fishery.”
The California Dawn out of Berkeley took a charter from a local bar on Sunday, and they stayed inside the bay for 20 limits of striped bass, 30 halibut to 30 pounds, and three leopard sharks.
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 solid score on Saturday with the Avenger doubling up on ½-day trips while the other two boats took 3/4th day ventures. 134 fishermen returned with a combined count of 430 vermilion, 45 copper, 45 Boccaccio, 565 assorted rockfish, 56 Bolina, 25 ocean whitefish, and three ling cod. Out of Virg’s Landing in Morro Bay, the Fiesta was out on Monday on a 3/4th-day trip with 29 passengers for 3/4 limits of rockfish composed of 75 vermilion, 50 assorted rockfish, 25 copper, 25 canary, 25 Boccaccio, and a single ling cod. Neal Franklin of Taft took the jackpot with a 7.5-pound Boccaccio. Out of Port San Luis, the Patriot took double half-day trips while the Phenix and Flying Fish took half-day trips on Saturday, and they combined for 121 vermilion, 28 copper, 1 Boccaccio, 32 Bolina, 10 canary, 723 assorted, and 10 lings to 10 pounds. Sharon Molina of Madera took the jackpot with a 10-pound ling. 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 2
The first salmon of the year came off of the Benicia shoreline, but it was only 3 pounds. However, there is optimism for the coming river season as two fish were finally landed in the Old Sacramento River at Vieira’s Resort, and Freeport has also been producing several fish per day for those spooning. Striped bass are starting to make their move into the Delta, and the fall action is anticipated to be fantastic for both striped bass and salmon. Most river guides will start to get active in the area around mid-August through the month of November. Monte Smith of Gold Country will begin his river salmon season out of Garcia Bend by September 1st.
Alan Fong of the Fishermen’s Warehouse in Sacramento said, “There have been over 10 fish caught per evening by those spooning near Freeport, and there were 20 boats out one evening, and all of the boats picked up at least one fish. 2-ounce spoons in green have been the most effective.”
Striped bass are found in the main Sacramento River above Rio Vista with blood worms or sardines coated with garlic spray. Liberty Island has received more interest recently with live minnows in the shallows. Also in the north Delta, smallmouth bass are found along the rockpiles with plastics on the drop-shot, deep-diving crankbaits, or live minnows, but the heat has driven them deeper. Bluegill are omnipresent in all of the back sloughs with red worms or jumbo red worms.
Sylvia Vieira of Vieira’s Riverside Bait near Isleton said, “We have had quite a few more boats out this week, and two salmon at 8 and 17 pounds were landed with the big fish taken on a blue Silvertron spinner on the incoming tide. The hot weather has kept the water temperature very warm, but better times are coming. September and October will be our busiest time, and we still have a few spots available for camping.”
In Suisun Bay, Tony Lopez of Benicia Bait said, “The water has been very dirty as there are reports of dredging in the Mare Island Straits, and the silt has been coming up to us on the incoming tide. There was a 3-pound salmon landed for the first one of the year, and another was foul-hooked and released, but with the dirty water from the silt and the big tides, the salmon action remains slow. The wind has been blowing hard, and few fishermen were out over the weekend as we still have plenty of bullheads, grass shrimp, and pile worms in the shop.”
Randy Pringle, the Fishing Instructor, launched at Rio Vista on mid-week in search of striped bass, and they ran west to Honker Bay, only to find a mud hole with dirty water and tons of grass. He said, “It was a perfect tide, and I was planning on working the weed patches, sunken barges, and sand bars there, but the visibility was only 3 inches. We went back into Sherman Island and only found small stripers around 12 inches so we brought out the flipping sticks and worked our way back to Rio Vista tossing the ima Squarebill or Pit Boss or Power Hog plastics close to current along the tules. We ended up with around 30 largemouth bass to 5 pounds with a few 3’s and 4’s in the mix.”
On Aug. 7, the Fish and Game Commission deferred their vote to revise the regulations for striped bass until their next meeting in Northern California on Dec. 11. It is important for all fishermen interested in the preservation of the current regulations to attend this meeting in Sacramento.
It has been hot, hot, and hot in the east Delta with triple-digit temperatures making for uncomfortable conditions for anglers, but the largemouth bass bite has been outstanding for those using a variety of techniques.
Vince Borges of Vince Borges Outdoors and Phenix Rods took out Olympic gold medal freestyle skier, Jonny Moseley, and his two sons, Jack and Tommy, out for a birthday trip for Jack for the third year in a row. Borges said, “Jack has broken his personal best with us every year, and this year within the last 10 minutes of our trip, he landed a largemouth pushing 8 pounds on a Yozuri 3BD Squarebill crankbait in crawfish pattern on a Phenix X13 composite crankbait rod. I tossed out a crankbait and received a hard strike, and it wasn’t another 20 yards down the bank when Jack laid into his personal best. I was teasing him about getting the net because we didn’t know what he had on there, but once we saw the bass, it was time to get the net. There hasn’t been a pattern this summer as we are catching 100 largemouth bass with no perceivable size one day, and on the following day, the numbers are down, but the size is up. This is on the same tides.
You can catch them any way right now: chatterbaits, frogs, topwater lures, squarebills, Pocket Rockets, and plastics are all working. Younger Tommy also scored with a 5-pound largemouth on the same day after previously losing a similarly-sized fish.”
Dan Mathisen of Dan’s Delta Outdoors has been scoring by punching the weeds with Sweet Beavers, D-Bomb’s, or Strike King’s Space Monkeys under a 3/4th to 1-ounce punch weight. He said, “Anything with red or blue is working, and the baits with kick like the Space Monkey seem to be more effective.” Mathisen’s next team tournament is August 31st out of Russo’s Marina.
For striped bass, the majority of the linesides remain on the western edge of the San Joaquin system, and Dave Houston of Livermore said, “We fished the San Joaquin from the Antioch Bridge to the Sacramento River, and the water is very brown with a lot of grass, both suspended and floating on top. We scored with shallow running P-Line Angry Eye Minnows or Yozuri Crystal Minnows as long as they had chartreuse in them in the dinghy water. We landed seven keepers in the 3- to 6-pound range before getting off of the water by 9:00 a.m. to avoid the heat.”
Clyde Wands, shallow trolling expert, has been out in the early mornings to miss the hottest temperatures of the day, and he caught and released an 18-pound striped bass in Broad Slough on a shallow-running Rat-L-Trap in crawdad patterns. He said, “I kept a limit of smaller fish, and they are even biting on the large tides with the full moon as we landed 7 keepers to 18 pounds on the Rat-L-Traps or P-Line Angry Eyes with chartreuse in the off-color water.”
In the Stockton area, bluegill and catfish dominate action from the back
The algae blooms continue 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. Anglers are requested to report any sightings of algae blooms through the HAB hotline at 844-729-6466 or online at mywaterquality.ca.gov/habs/do/bloomreport.html.
Lake Nacimiento/San Antonio/Santa Margarita/Lopez
Bass 3 White bass 3 Striper 1 Catfish 2 Crappie 2
Lopez continues to improve for largemouth bass in the early mornings with crankbaits, frogs, or topwater Poppers. The fish are oriented towards grass, and spinnerbaits or underspins are also effective. Plastics on the Texas-rig, split-shot, or drop-shot are working in the same areas by mid-morning. The bluegill and red ear perch have gone deep, and they are taken near structure with meal worms, or wax worms to 30 feet. Cut baits are working for whiskerfish.
At Santa Margarita, similar to Lopez, crankbaits are working in the early morning for largemouth bass to 3 pounds before pounding the bottom with large plastic worms to 7 inches on the drop-shot or Texas-rig near grass. There is a topwater bite in the early mornings with frogs or walking baits. Catfish are taken on cutbaits while bluegill and perch are hitting red worms or jumbo red worms.
At Nacimiento, the shad schools remain thick, and the white and spotted bass are focusing around the shad. Shad patterned crankbaits or spinnerbaits are effective when the wind is blowing, but the best approach remains working the bottom with plastics on the drop-shot or Texas-rig along main or secondary lake points. White bass can be found in the coves in the early mornings, but the boat traffic remains very heavy. 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. The lake dropped from 59% to 57% this week.
At San Antonio, a small grade of smallmouth and largemouth bass can be found with small topwater lures working along the shorelines. The bass are keying on the shad schools, and there is a window reaction baits before working the bottom with plastics on the drop-shot or Texas-rig are best on a slow presentation. Catfish are found with cut baits near sloping, muddy banks, and small bluegill are taken on red worms near the shorelines. The lake dropped to 38%.
Cen Cal Elite Bass Tournaments Night event: Aug. 16-17 at Kaweah – 1, Josh Housey/Jr. Demacablin, 9.95 pounds (Big Fish 2.90); 2, Noe Sanchez/Jim Neely, 8.41; 3, Stephen Howard/Isaac Adams, 7.71.
Aug. 24: Delta/Russo’s Marina – Best Bass Tournaments, Eastman – River Rats Saturday Night Shootout, 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. 25 by California Department of Fish and Wildlife:
Fresno County: Kings River below Friant Dam, Mono Creek, Portal Forebay, San Joaquin River South Fork, Ward Lake
Kern County: Kern River section 4
Madera County: San Joaquin River Middle Fork, Starkweather Lake
Tulare County: Kern River section 6
Tuolumne County: Lyons Canal (Columbia Ditch), Lyons Reservoir, Stanislaus River Clarks-Middle-South forks, Tuolumne River Middle-South forks
q = quarter moon