Bass Lake is a center for outdoor recreation in the Sierra
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.
Show off your success! Share your fish photos and videos with Bee readers. Please share only jpeg images and Mp4 video files. Include “Fishing Report” in the subject line and email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Shaver kicking out mixed limits, Dick Nichols reported. Hensley and Eastman bass bites good, Steve Newman said. Bass Lake bass, kokanee and trout bites strong, Mike Beighey reported. Courtright and Wishon trout hitting, Kelly Brewer reported. New Melones kokanee still active, Monte Smith said. Delta bass bite improved, Randy Pringle reported.
2-Have to work hard
4-Fish jumpin’ in boat
Delta Mendota Canal and Sloughs
Striper 2 Catfish 2
The California Aqueduct continues to be limited to the early morning or late evenings due to the heat, and this weekend is expected to be very hot once again. The action in the northern section of the aqueduct is starting to heat up as the water is clearing and moving with heavy water releases. 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. Duo Realis jerkbaits, flukes or Lucky Craft Pointers are scoring near the moving water around the headgates as the bait is starting to pile up.
In the southern section of the aqueduct in Kern County, Pete Cormier of Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield said, “Catfish continue to be the top species with blood worms, sardines or anchovies, and a few stripers are taken on similar baits. The moss is starting to accumulate.”
Bass 3 Trout 2 Bluegill 2 Catfish 2 Crappie 2
Steve Newman of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “Bass fishing continues to be strong for quality largemouth bass. A four-fish, 15-pound limit by Will Sanchez of Fresno including a big fish at over 6 pounds took the final River Rat night event of the year on Saturday night. Working the humps and saddles at depths from 15 to 20 feet with big plastics in the 9- to 10-inch range along with jigs in natural colors with a big trailer or Rat-L-Traps are the best techniques. Displacing water is a key to getting bit. A few anglers have been scoring with swimbaits on a slow roll over the humps. 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. Counting down to 4 or 5 before retrieve is important to find the right depth.”
The lake is at 59%.
Call: Eastman Lake 689-3255
Bass 3 Trout 2 Catfish 2 Bluegill 2 Crappie 3
Newman said, “The bass bite is very good for the few anglers working the lake as most are heading to Eastman in the immediate area, and there is a jig bite along with plastics on the Texas-rig or 6-inch Senkos during the day before the reaction bites starts in the late afternoons into the evenings. There is a wakebait and glide bait bite along with spinnerbaits and larger swimbaits in the evenings, and the bass will eat when you find them as they are holding on the humps and saddles similar to Eastman. 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.” 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. The lake is at 49%.
Lake Don Pedro
Bass 3 Trout 2 Kokanee 2 King salmon 1 Crappie 2
John Liechty of Xperience Fishing Guide Service normally focuses on New Melones, but he has been taking more trips to Don Pedro to experience better action for his clients. He said, “Pedro is definitely fishing better with plastics on a Ned-rig, drop-shot or shaky head along with jigs. There is a window in the early mornings or late evenings for topwater lures, but the swimbait bite has been slow. Most of the bass have been holding around rock or points in 10 to 30 feet of water, and I have been focusing on the creek channels.”
The bass bite is the best in the Mother Lode with jigs or plastics on a Ned rig, shaky head or drop-shot at depths from 10 to 30 feet near rock or main lake points. There is a small window for topwater in the early mornings. Ryan Cook of Ryan Cook’s Fishing said, “There is an excellent night bite with big jigs, 10-inch Berkley Power Worms, River2Sea Whopper Ploppers and buzz baits. Andre Fontenot of 50 Fishing had his limit streak stop at eight with only two quality kokanee at 16 and 17 inches on a recent trip. One of the kokanee had shad in its belly.” The lake remains high at 91%.
Lake Isabella/Bakersfield area
Bass 2 Trout 3 Crappie 2 Catfish 2 Bluegill 2
Pete Cormier of Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield reported continued good action in the upper Kern River for planted rainbow trout with salmon eggs, nightcrawlers, live crickets or lures in the deeper pools. At Lake Isabella, there are still crappie coming in with small to medium minnows or mini jigs around submerged trees or rockpiles. Catfish remain an option with sardines or mackerel along with Sonny’s Dip Bait. Bass fishing remains slow. 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 upper Kern River is fishing excellent with dry flies, and the Golden Trout Wilderness Pack Trains are still taking anglers to experience the mighty Kern with excellent trout fishing.” The local lakes such as Hart Park are kicking out carp on powder bait or Wussy Bait along with bluegill.
Bass 2 Crappie 2 Trout 2 Catfish 2
Local bass expert Gary Wasson of Visalia reported very slow action for bass with deep-diving crankbaits or plastics on the drop-shot being the best options. Catfish are taken from the banks at night with mackerel, dip bait or cut baits. 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 due to heat, but the good thing is that school is back in session and the recreational boating has slowed down considerably. Fishermen are picking up bass on plastics in deep water in the early mornings or evenings.”
Stokke said the Tule River “is fishing excellent on dry flies and Woolly Buggers, and ants, stimulators and mayflies patterns are working best. Bryan Swanson of Camp Nelson scored an 18-inch brown on a Panther Martin on the Middle Fork of the Tule last Sunday.”
Bass 2 Trout 3 King salmon 0 Kokanee 0 Crappie 2 Catfish 2
Big rainbow trout remain the story, and Steve Marquette of the Lake McClure/Lake McSwain Recreational Company was out this week, and he caught and released an 8-pound rainbow in the river channel towards Horseshoe Bend at 60 feet in depth with a Needlefish. He said, “There are still plenty of big rainbows in the lake from the massive plant, and Needlefish, Rainbow Runners, blue/silver Kastmasters, and Speedy Shiners are all working in the cooler water near the river arm.”
Mike Gomez of Berserk Baits and the Bait Barn confirmed the slower than normal action on the Mother Lode lakes, and he said, “The triple-digit temperatures have the bass moving up and down the water column. You have to take time to figure out the pattern, and there is a slight window for topwater in the early mornings before working the bottom with plastics on the drop-shot or jigs at depths to 45 feet. The bass are hanging in the coolest water around the bare banks.”
Ryan Cook of Ryan Cook’s Fishing reported main lake points and submerged islands are the top locations at depths from 60 to 65 feet for the largest concentration of bass with plastics on the drop-shot, dart-head, underspins, or jigs. He said, “The topwater bite is almost nonexistent.”
The lake has dropped to 88%.
Call: Ryan Cook’s Fishing 691-7008
With the lack of trout plants, rainbow trout action continues to be very slow with most trout fishermen opting for Lake McClure on the troll. The occasional rainbow is few 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 spotted bass are found in both the main lake and in the river arm with an early morning topwater bite with jerkbaits or topwater Poppers on a fast retrieve as the bass are aggressively eating shad. The Narrows and Finegold have been good locations. During the daytime, main lake points and boulders are holding fish, and plastics on a wacky-rig or dart head on a slow-fall presentation are picking up bass from 3/4 to 2 pounds. Deep-diving cranks in the 15- to 20-foot range are also effective.
“The bite is about the same in both the main lake and the river arm, but the key is working the transition locations from shallow to deep water around structure.”
Call: Valley Rod & Gun 292-3474
New Melones Reservoir/Tulloch
Bass 2 Crappie 2 Catfish 2 Trout 2 Kokanee 3
The kokanee action at New Melones continues for experienced trollers, and there are anglers starting to jig for the larger grade of landlocked salmon, but the overall action and interest has slowed in the past few weeks.
Monte Smith of Gold Country Sport Fishing will be wrapping up his kokanee season this week, and he said, “It’s getting tougher as we worked hard for eight kokanee in the triple-digit temperatures on Sunday. The surface temperature is 80.8 degrees, and the kokanee have dropped to between 70 and 95 feet. Apex lures and hoochies behind Sling Blade or similar dodgers remain the best bets, and only one of the kokanee had a hooked nose with his outer skin turning color. However, the meat was still bright orange. We saw big schools of shad on the surface, and the bass were chasing the bait. There are also big schools of kokanee down deep, but there were only six boats on the water on Sunday which is a sign that interest has really waned.”
Kyle Wise of Head Hunter Sport Fishing was out with two clients on Saturday, and they picked up limits of kokanee along with a 4.5-pound rainbow trout using Apex and F4 Rapalas behind Paulina Peak or Mag Tackle Stealth dodgers. Wise went out on Sunday in Justin Ross’ bass boat loaded with manual downriggers and they scored limits of big kokanee by 11 a.m.
With kokanee holding tight to structure, anglers are starting to jig for kokanee at depths from 80 to 100 feet with Buzz Bombs or similar lighter spoons.
Melones has dropped to 86%.
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 best bass fishing is in the main lake, and the best quality of fish is taken on the bottom at depths from 30 to 40 feet with deep-diving crankbaits, jigs or plastics on the Texas-rig. The banks are loaded with a small grade of aggressive bass in the 8- to 10-inch range chasing fry and shad, but the best cut is found in deeper water. Natural colors such as green pumpkin or watermelon seed are best, but if you are running a drop-shot, a shad-patterned plastic with a lavender or purple line will work off of the bottom. A slow-fall presentation on a Trick Worm is another good option. There is a bit of a reaction bite late in the afternoons into the evenings with topwater lures or underspins.”
San Luis Reservoir and O’Neill Forebay
Striper 2 Catfish 2 Bass 2 Crappie 2
San Luis Reservoir is seeing more play from the banks along the north side of the impoundment in the evening hours for anglers soaking bait and casting lures. The lake continues to release water, and it is still plagued by an algae bloom with the water tinted a bright shade of green. In spite of bad conditions there was a 45-inch, 37-pound striper taken by 15-year-old James Moltini of Fresno fishing with Roger George of Roger’s Guide Service, the only authorized fishing guide on the lake. George said, “The combination of wind, algae, slowly falling water and heat have kept boaters off of the water for the last week as well as the overall poor bite. Water temps are running around 73 to 74 degrees and the continual growth of the algae is limiting visibility to less than a foot in much of the lake. I took out guests Phil Moltini and his 15-year old son, James, on Saturday along with Matt Nutting and his 15-year-old son, Chase, of Fresno. The bite was difficult most of the day but moving around the lake to spots like Portuguese Cove, West Wall and the channel south of Quien Sabe kept us picking up a fish here and there during the day trolling minnow-patterned Lucky Crafts at 40 to 70 feet. Finding fish was not easy, and many were suspended most of the day, but we ended up with over 20 school fish to 25 inches. There were more small school fish in the mix than normal. However, later in the afternoon we were trolling the north dam area at 70 feet when we had a hit and James could tell immediately this was something big and heavy. It made five or six heavy runs and then stayed down under the boat for over 5 minutes. We all gasped as the 45-inch, 37- pound giant came up. It was a tossup for a minute when it got stuck partly in the net and wouldn’t go in because the lure hooks hung up in the netting as it slid in. I held it in the water as we frantically grabbed the Boga, and I finally got it over the huge lips. It was a very heavy fish. We released it as quickly as we could with the Seaqualizer tool and watched it swim down on sonar after the tool released the fish at 50 feet. You have to release these giants quickly now in the warm surface water – and possibly use a needle to release the air bladder, too, or they won’t make it. James had never caught a striper before. We put in the time looking for one bite and got more than we even imagined.”
It’s the fourth 30-pound-plus striper caught since July 28 on a George trip.
Steve Newman of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “We have a number of regulars coming in in the afternoons until 2:30 p.m. and making the run north to San Luis to work the north side of the lake from the banks near Dinosaur Point with pile worms or anchovies along with throwing flukes, Duo Realis jerkbaits, and Lucky Craft Pointers. Trollers have been working the Romero Visitor area along with the Trash Racks.”
The Basalt Ramp has been in good shape with regular cleaning despite the lake dropping to 61%.
In the O’Neill Forebay, Alex Tran of Coyote Bait and Tackle in Morgan Hill said, “The areas around Check 12 or Check 13 are producing with pile worms, anchovies or sardines along with jerkbaits or flukes in the early mornings or evenings. Most fishermen are only out in the early mornings or the late evenings with the heat.”
Bass 3 Trout 3 Kokanee 3
The bass fishing continues to be very good, and the key is to work the isolated weed patches with weedless rigs at depths to 20 feet. The water is clear, and low visibility line whether it is monofilament or fluorocarbon is necessary with as small a weight as possible. Jigs, Neko rigs or Ned rigs are productive, but you have to be around the weeds. Mike Beighey of Bass Lake Fishing is scoring limits of kokanee and rainbow trout running from the Sheriff’s Tower to the dam at depths from 30 to 45 feet with back and forth following the fish with orange Father Murphy’s Bugs and MAG Tackle orange spinner squids behind a MAG Tackle Stealth dodger. The lake held at 95%.
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.
Call: Vermilion Valley Resort at Edison Lake 259-4000
Shaver Lake/Huntington Lake
Kokanee 3 Trout 3
The final Kokanee Power Team Tournament of the year will come to Shaver Lake on Saturday, Sept. 7, and there is optimism for some solid limits during this year of excellent kokanee action. In the past, the bite has been tough during this late-season tournament as the kokanee have been hugging the bottom with only a few large fish found, but there is anticipation of many three-fish limits this year. The entry fee is $45 for Kokanee Power members and $55 for non-members, and youth anglers participate free. Information and registration is available through kokaneepower.org or 888-744-8150. The weigh-in will take place 1-2 p.m. at the Day Use Area near the launch ramp with the headquarters at the Edison Campground.
Dick Nichols of Dick’s Fishing Charters, said, “Fishing continues to be good for many, and we have been boating a couple of mixed limits of kokanee and rainbow trout on a daily basis, but there are others who are reporting less success. We continue to work the upper part of the lake, but the kokanee have dropped down from 35 to 45 feet. We are targeting the Black Rock, the Point and island locations with Mountain Hoochies in pink, orange, white or pink tiger stripes tipped with scented corn behind either purple/pink or orange/pink Mountain Dodgers. I am running Dick’s Trout Busters tipped with corn behind a weighted Mountain Flasher on our side poles, and we are picking up from one to five kokanee per trip on these poles on a setback of 120 feet. Orange is now the predominant color over other colors with the exception of my pink/white Tiger Hoochie. The water temperature has dropped from 73 to 70 degrees, and the rapid drop in temperature may be from cooler temperatures in the high country along with releases from upstream reservoirs. As a result, I am continuing to work the upper part of the water column while I am able. Only some of the male kokanee are in pre-spawn mode, quite a bit different than last year when more kokanee were hunkered down at 85 to 100 feet in pre-spawn mode.”
Todd Wittwer of Kokanee.net Guide Service is 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, and the rods with Dick’s Ball Trolls continue to outproduce those without in calm conditions.
Shaver dropped from 88 to 83%.
At Huntington, the lake continues to see less fishing action, but there are planted rainbows to be had from the banks at Rancheria Creek with Power Eggs, trout dough bait or nightcrawlers. Trollerss are scoring small kokanee and rainbow trout in the early mornings before the wind comes up in the afternoon with small spinners, blade/’crawler combinations, or spoons. The lake is at 98%.
Kelly Brewer of the Wishon Village RV Park and Store said, “Trollers are scoring limits of rainbows with the occasional brown trout with oange or pink larger vibrating lures such as Apex lures are working best at depths from the surface to 35 feet with limits reported by 10:30 a.m. 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.
At Courtright, Steve Newman of Valley Rod and Gun said, “The trout bite has been very good for trollers working at depths from 30 to 35 feet with Rapalas in orange or pink along with Wedding Rings tipped with a nightcrawler behind a dodger, or blade/’crawler combinations.” Jay and Delinda Irvine of Visalia trolled with Brian and Tyler Camarillo for four limits of trout with an orange bug behind a purple/silver Mountain Dodger along with the Paulina Peak orange/green spinner and a gold/orange dodger. The recent trout plants have helped spur on the bite. Bank fishing is fair 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
Captain Dennis Baxter of the New Captain Pete went north to Pedro Point at the start of the weekend before running bird trips to Pioneer Canyon over the weekend. He said, “We put in 15 salmon for 10 anglers with the best action on a green Rotary Salmon Killer. The water is bluing up nicely at Pioneer Canyon, and we are looking for sign of albacore.” The salmon will be coming up from Monterey Bay within the next few weeks on their way to the Golden Gate, and the action should be hot and heavy for a limited window.
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
Troy at Chris’s Fishing Trips reported great action for rockfish and ling cod on Sunday south at Point Sur with 33 ling cod to 25 pounds and 20 limits of rockfish. He said, “The salmon are still here, and we have salmon trips on Monday through Wednesday of this week. They are still holding deep.”
San Francisco Bay
Salmon 2 Halibut 3 Striper 3 Rockfish 3 Leopard shark 2 Sturgeon 2
The big fish are on their way, but it is a pick for around a fish per rod for both trollers and moochers along the Marin coastline.
Captain Trent Slate experienced similar action on both Saturday and Sunday with a fish per rod for 5 anglers to 18 pounds. He said, “It has been a scratch on our mooching trips. On Sunday, we put in three salmon on our first drift, and I thought to myself, ‘It is on!’ but it wasn’t to be as we lost one on our next drift before several empty drifts. We went back to where we started at Duxbury and picked a nice one on our first drift back, but it was a scratch as they aren’t really biting.” The bite improved on Monday, and he said, “As I predicted, the bite is on, and we landed some huge fish.”
Three of the top women anglers in Northern California were on one boat yesterday with the Captain Zach Medinas of Gatecrasher Fishing Adventures, and they ended up with a fish per rod with Annie Nagel of Ocean Kayaks landing an absolute hawg at 32 pounds trolling off of the Marin coastline.
Mike Funtanilla of Bend Ur Rod is learning the salmon game as he is an excellent sturgeon fisherman, and he was able to put together limits trolling up the Marin coastline on Sunday with several salmon over 20 pounds.
Mikey Verrone filled in for Captain James Smith on the California Dawn on Saturday, and he posted an impressive score with 27 limits of rockfish including 2 cabezon and 17 ling cod at the islands before returning to the coast and the bay for 33 halibut. Inside the bay, the halibut bite remains strong, but most boats are taking advantage of the great weather outside of the Gate to target either salmon or rockfish.
San Luis Obispo
Rockfish 3 Surf perch 2
Out of San Luis Obispo County, twenty anglers disembarked Patriot Sportfishing in Port San Luis on The Flying Fish, participating in Flying Fish Sportfishing’s “Biggest Five Tournament”. The destination for the contest would be the rich waters off Point Purisma, some twenty-five miles south of Port San Luis. The rules would be that all anglers would use fifteen-pound leader material (supplied by Izorline). All anglers would use a single lure as well. No natural baits were allowed. All fishing was to be done in waters no deeper than one hundred fifty feet. The goal was to catch and retain the five largest fish. Only rockfish, cabezon, and lingcod could qualify for bag weight. There would be a three-place jackpot, first place getting fifty%, second thirty, and third twenty. There was also an optional side pot for the single largest sport fish. A light swell and foggy skies greeted the Flying Fish as it left the harbor. Fishing started 7:45 am in about one hundred feet. The bite started off as a slow pick, with a few 2-4 pound vermillions . Anglers employed a variety of artificial jigs and swimbaits, along with many using the very popular HookUp Baits. A move down the coast to an area in one hundred twenty feet, provided a more consistent bite including many good sized brown and vermillion rockfish. Very few lingcod were being caught, prompting this captain to make a move to Point Sal, about eight miles to the northwest. At this location anglers were rewarded with a steady bite. Reds, browns, cabezon, and lingcod started hitting the deck. At 2 pm, anglers were told it was time to return to port. The weigh in revealed that Dave Patague from Arroyo Grande had won, with his five fish weighing almost thirty pounds, second and third place went to Dan Barrios and his son Charlie. Big fish went to Adam Wren from Bakersfield with a seven-pound lingcod. The next tournament is September 21.”
Out of Morro Bay Landing, Endeavor, Avenger, and Starfire returned with limits on Saturday with 95 fishermen returning with a combined count of 155 vermilion, 110 copper, 10 Boccaccio, 655 assorted rockfish, 25 ocean whitefish, and 13 ling cod to 11 pounds. Out of Virg’s Landing in Morro Bay, the Fiesta was out on Monday on a 3/4th-day trip with 22 passengers for limits of rockfish composed of 60 vermilion, 102 assorted rockfish, 40 copper, 8 Boccaccio, and 2 ling cod. Frank Earl of Bakersfield took the jackpot with a 8.5-pound ling. All ports are running a variety of trips in the coming weeks for rockfish/ling cod including overnight trips.
Bass 3 Striper 2 Sturgeon 2 Catfish 2 Bluegill 2 Salmon 2
The best salmon fishing in the Delta remains in the Freeport area where those jigging 2-ounce spoons are picking up a few fish per evening. After last week’s 3-pound salmon off of 1st Street in Benicia, the current week didn’t produce another salmon for the many anglers tossing Flying C’s and Vee-Zee Spinners from the banks at the State Park or 1st Street. Some large striped bass are moving into the system with the high and cooler than normal water, 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 was up near Liberty Island earlier in the week, and although he didn’t find any striped bass, he found good action for largemouth bass with Senkos or chatterbaits.
Johnny Tran of New Romeo’s Bait and Tackle in Freeport said, “Salmon remains spotty, but there are a few taken every day by spooning near the Freeport Bridge with 2-ounce Slammer Minnows or P-Line Laser Minnows. Brad’s Cut Plugs or Flat Fish are also producing on the anchor. There are a number of striped bass in the system with the high and cool water, and live bait is working on the incoming tide in Liberty Island. Jumbo and extra-large minnows have been effective. Smallmouth bass are taken in the main Sacramento River or Steamboat Slough near rocks 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 a few more salmon in this week, and Silvertrons have been the ticket. The area around Walnut Grove and Koket’s have produced a few more salon as well. There haven’t been many fishermen out with the heat and the overall slow action, and once we get some more anglers out here, there should be more action. 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 continues to be stained from the dredging operation in the Mare Island Straits, and the salmon that are coming must be in the main channel in a rapid run up the river. There wasn’t a single salmon taken from the banks this week. Small stripers have been the rule from the shorelines. We are selling plenty of bullheads along with grass shrimp, and there is optimism for an excellent striped bass and salmon season as fall arrives.”
Clyde Wands, shallow trolling expert, continues to work the West Bank and into Broad Slough with both shallow and deep diving lures, and he found overall slow action this week with stripers to 4 pounds. He said, “We didn’t find them, but there was a 23- and a 20-pound striped bass released while we were out so there are big fish moving into the system.”
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.
Triple-digit temperatures in the Central Valley continue to make for uncomfortable conditions for anglers, and the largemouth bass are holding under shade and near current.
Randy Pringle, the Fishing Instructor, reported excellent largemouth action with the ima Finesse Popper in the early mornings before switching over to the ima Squarebill in craw patterns along with the Pit Boss. He said, “You have to stay with the hatch right now, and the key is to stay in the strike zone as long as possible and always around current. You have to watch the weeds more right now as the weeds have to be bent over and moving right now for the correct amount of current. The bass are holding in the spaces between rocks and tules, and we are still picking up around 20 to 30 bass per outing to around 6 pounds.”
Pringle is hosting the annual Bass Fest at Russo’s Marina on Sept. 14-15, and this event is part-tournament, part-trade show with an emphasis on bringing in anglers who have never fished a tournament previously. The entry fee is only $60 with a mandatory $10 insurance fee until Sept. 9 with a $10 late fee after this date. The payout is 100%. The team of Christopher Perez and Ryan Hall took Saturday’s Best Bass Tournaments Delta/Wine event out of 90 anglers with a winning weight of 22.25 pounds including a big fish at 9.28 pounds.
Kris Huff of Stockton put together a solid limit including a huge largemouth bass at 10.36 pounds with four others over 5 pounds to go with the big bass working transition points with Strike King’s Punch Bug in Crawdaddy on a 65-pound test braid on a Phenix Titan rod with a Diawa Tatula.
Dan Mathisen of Dan Mathisen Outdoors said, “The largemouth bass bite is getting good, and the best bite has been by punching the weeds at depths from 8- to 12-feet near current. Low tide has been the best time, and anything with a kicktail is working best. The water is stained in the main river, and color patterns such as Red Craw are working best while bluegill or Sprayed Grass is best in the clear water. Stripers will be affected by this heat, but we have been seeing more stripers to 6 pounds with topwater Spooks or wake baits.” Mathisen’s next team tournament is Aug. 31 out of Russo’s Marina, and this is the last qualifying tournament for points. There is an open team tournament the following weekend on Sept. 8 out of Russo’s.
In the Stockton area, with the hot weather, few anglers are working the banks during the heat of the day. Catfish in the main San Joaquin River along with bluegill in the sloughs such as Whiskey Slough or Eight Mile Road with red worms or jumbo red worms.
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.
Lake Nacimiento/San Antonio/Santa Margarita/Lopez
Bass 3 White bass 3 Striper 1 Catfish 2 Crappie 2
The bass bite at Lopez is improving, especially in the first few hours of the morning with crankbaits. There is a topwater bite with Poppers and frogs around grass along with underspins and spinnerbaits. Plastics on the Texas-rig, split-shot, or drop-shot are working out by mid-morning. Panfish are found near structure with meal worms, or wax worms to 30 feet. Cut baits are working for whiskerfish.
At Santa Margarita, topwater lures are working for the best quality in the early mornings before working the bottom with big plastics to 10 inches along the grasslines. The fish are holding in the weeds to stay in cooler water. Catfish are taken on cutbaits while bluegill and perch are hitting red worms or jumbo red worms.
At Nacimiento, shad schools are still moving through the lake, and the spots and white bass are chasing the baitfish schools. There is some action on the surface with small plugs in the early mornings, but the best action remains on the bottom with plastics on the drop-shot or Texas-rig along main or secondary lake points. When the wind is blowing, shad-patterned spinnerbaits, underspins, or crankbaits are effective. The weekdays have been the best time since the weekends have been crowded with recreational boaters. White bass can be found in the coves in the early mornings. 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 continues to release water.
At San Antonio, there hasn’t been much change as it is still extremely hot. The coming fall with cooler temperatures should stir things up, but there are still thick shad schools throughout the lake. 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 is dropping steadily.
Best Bass Tournaments: Aug. 24 at Delta/Russo’s Marina – 1, Christopher Perez/Ryan Hall, 22.25 pounds (Big Fish 9.28); 2, Ryan German/Josh Reublin, 21.92; 3, Robby Chikasawa/Neil Lum, 20.45.
River Rat Saturday Night Shootout: Aug. 24 at Eastman, 4-fish limits – 1, Steve/Will Sanchez, 15.69; 2, Yohan/Xong, 12.18; 3, Alexis/Larry, 10.95 (Big Fish 9.42).
Sierra Bass Club: Aug. 24 at Hensley – 1, Ryan Reynolds/Chris Flammang, 8.64; 2, Ed Armbrister/Jerry Silgo, 5.14 (Big Fish 3.22); 3, Ben DeLaFuentes/Eric Brown, 5.02.
Aug. 31: Delta/Russo’s Marina – Dan Mathisen Outdoors, Santa Margarita – 805 Kayak Fishing
Sept. 7: Shaver Lake – Kokanee Power Team Tournament
Sept. 14-15: Delta/Russo’s Marina – Bass Fest
Week of Sept. 8 by California Department of Fish and Wildlife:
Madera County: San Joaquin River Middle Fork, Starkweather Lake
n = new moon> = peak activity