Spring Trout Derby at Barrett Cove
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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Roger George’s column will return.
Delta bass and stripers active, Alan Fong said. Hensley and Eastman bass bites good, Steve Newman reported. Courtright trout limits common, Kelly Brewer said. Don Pedro kokanee and trout bites shine, Kyle Wise reported. Shaver kokanee still producing, Dick Nichols said. Lake Success bass on a tear, Ryan Cook reported.
2-Have to work hard
4-Fish jumpin’ in boat
Delta Mendota Canal and Sloughs
Striper 3 Catfish 2
The California Aqueduct is starting to show some life in the northern section about Kettleman City as more fishermen are heading to the aqueduct instead of the O’Neill Forebay; however, most Fresno-area striped bass anglers continue to prefer the main San Luis Reservoir from the banks. 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, “The striped bass action remains good with swimbaits or soaking mackerel. One fisherman was going back on Monday night after saying he caught one striper after another on swimbaits this weekend. We haven’t heard too many complaints about the moss and debris this year as we have had in the past.”
Bass 3 Trout 2 Bluegill 2 Catfish 2 Crappie 2
The light switch went on at Eastman Reservoir during the past few weeks, and the largemouth bass bite is now the best in the Fresno-area for both quality and quantity. Nearby Hensley had been the better bet up until this week, and largemouth bass in the 2- to 4-pound range have been consistently caught and released. Eastman is California’s first trophy bass fishery, and a single largemouth with a minimum length of 22 inches may be taken per day with all smaller bass to be released back into the lake.
Jake Figgs of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “It is the best bet for numbers and size in our area, and it is a matter of working the rockpiles at 30 to 35 feet with 10-inch Power Worms in green pumpkin or watermelon red along with brown jigs for numbers of 2- to 4-pound bass.”
Steve Newman of Valley Rod and Gun added, “The bass bite is really good right now, and you will find the fish in deeper water, and it is a matter of working them once you find them on your electronics. They will bite, and the best action has been with large plastics, jigs, or Senkos on a slow-fall. One of our local anglers, Mike Matthews, was out recently with his friends, and they found good action every time they graphed fish. The key has been to find the bass on the meter, and then work them on a slow fall. There is also a good bite against the rocks by the dam at night with swimbaits, wakebaits, or crankbaits, but the bite has been much later this week than in the past few weeks with the best action from 10 p.m. to midnight.
Eastman dropped from 59% to 57%.
Call: Eastman Lake 689-3255
Bass 3 Trout 2 Catfish 2 Bluegill 2 Crappie 3
Newman said, “With the improved action at Eastman, fewer anglers have been targeting Hensley, but it has been the more consistent of the two lakes this summer. Jigs and 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. Crappie fishing is very good with small swimbaits such as the 3- to 3.5-inch Kei Tech swimbaits or a curly-tailed Shadpole on a 1/8-ounce black jig head. The key is finding the right depth by counting down on the drop. Once you find the right depth, the bite is on.”
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 lake dropped from 49% to 46%.
Lake Don Pedro
Bass 2 Trout 3 Kokanee 3 King salmon 1 Crappie 2
Don Pedro has all but been ignored over the summer for kokanee and rainbow trout since the action at New Melones has been so outstanding, but now with Melones on the wane for kokanee, experienced trollers are migrating to Don Pedro for excellent action.
Kyle Wise of Head Hunter Fishing was out with Justin Ross on Sunday, and he said, “We put in easy limits of quality kokanee once we were able to get past the rainbow trout. Don Pedro is kicking out larger fish than Melones right now, and they are in great shape. Normally, the kokanee bite slows down at Pedro before Melones, but it is much different this year. We scored kokanee from 16 to 18 inches at depths from 95 to 127 feet with Paulina Peak’s Flutter Bugs or hoochies behind a Paulina Peak Dodger while hoochies behind a 6-inch Trinidad dodger in green was the top producer for the rainbows. We started off putting trout in the boat, one after another, but the kokanee were not to be found. The rainbows were large in the 3- to 5-pound range, and they were loaded with 2-inch shad as they are just gorging themselves. There is a tremendous amount of shad in the lake right now. After limiting on rainbows were searched high and low for kokanee before locating them, and the double hookup started. We ended up with 10-fish limits of both kokanee and rainbows, and we were the only boat out fishing with loads of recreational boaters taking over the lake. I would rather fish Don Pedro than Melones, and I will be concentrating here for the coming weeks.”
Ryan Cook of Ryan Cook’s Fishing said, “The bass bite is pretty much the same as last week as there are two groups of fish with one holding from the banks to 10 feet while the others and better grade is found along main lake points at the upper end of the lake from 20 to 40 feet. The bass bite is just getting ready to break loose.”
The lake dropped from 91% to 88%.
Lake Isabella/Bakersfield area
Bass 2 Trout 3 Crappie 3 Catfish 3 Bluegill 2
Pete Cormier of Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield reported continued crappie and catfish action with anglers still targeting the slabs from the banks with small to medium minnows and minijigs. Catfishing is best with Sonny’s Dip Bait, mackerel, sardines, or chicken livers from the banks at night. The upper Kern River is still kicking out planted rainbow trout with salmon eggs, nightcrawlers, live crickets, or lures in the deeper pools. Bass fishing remains slow although there is an American Bass Association tournament scheduled for September. The lower Kern River is kicking out catfish along with largemouth and smallmouth bass as the river is flowing nicely. 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 or streamers, and Golden Trout Wilderness Pack Trains is 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 continued slow bass fishing with most trips coming up empty. Nearby Success is a much better option with the slow bite at Kaweah. Recreational boating remains heavy.
Call: Sierra Sporting Goods 592-5212
Bass 3 Trout 3 Catfish 2 Crappie 2 Bluegill 2
Ryan Cook of Ryan Cook’s Fishing was out on Monday with Dave Coy of the Cen Cal Elite Bass Tournaments, and he reported a phenomenal bass bite with numbers of 2- to 3-pound fish. He said, “We were throwing the Dead Stick Bait Company’s Ring Body swimbait in green pumpkin or shad patterns on a slow roll on the bottom on a half-ounce jig head along with buzzbaits or Senkos. The bass are holding along the main lake points and also along the tree lines at 5 to 15 feet in depth.”
Chuck Stokke of the Sequoia Fishing Company in Springville said, “The bass bite has improved since last week, and jerkbaits and crankbaits are working in the early morning or late evenings.”
In the Tule River, Stokke said, “I caught and released some quality browns in the wild North Fork of the river this last week on a size 8 stimulator, and these native fish ranged from 14 to 16 inches.”
Bass 3 Trout 3 King salmon 0 Kokanee 0 Crappie 2 Catfish 2
Ryan Cook said, “The bass bite is picking up as we are once again starting to see 20 to 40 fish days, and the main group is deeper from 30 to 60 feet holding on off shore points with bigger rock. Jigs, small swimbaits, plastics on the drop-shot are all working on a finesse presentation, and crawdad or shad patterns are working best. The topwater bite is nonexistent. The huge plant of rainbow and brook trout several weeks past have moved into the coolest water in the river arm, and trollers are pulling silver/blue Kastmasters, Rainbow Runners, Speedy Shiners, or Needlefish at depths to 60 feet towards Horseshoe Bend.”
The lake dropped from 88% to 85%.
Call: Ryan Cook – Ryan Cook’s Fishing 691-7008
Little change here with trout plants on hold because of warm water. 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. The annual fall Merced Irrigation District Trout Derby is Oct. 5-6.
Call: McSwain Marina 209-378-2534
Millerton Lake/San Joaquin River
Bass 3 Striped bass 1 Shad 1 Bluegill 2 Crappie 2
Jake Figgs of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “The best bite for numbers of small spotted bass is up the river arm along the vertical rock walls or areas with shadows with an 8- to 10- pound limit possible. In the main lake, the better cut is found in deeper water from 25 to 30 feet with jigs or larger plastic worms. Small bass are working the shorelines from 10 to 15 feet, and they are eating bluegill and crappie fry. Ripbaits are effective for the small fish, and there is a possibility of picking up a striped bass chasing the spots near the shoreline. Swimbaits in the 4- to 6-inch range in bass patterns are the best bet for hooking the very occasional striped bass.”
The lake is releasing water, and it dropped from 82% to 79%.
Call: Valley Rod & Gun 292-3474
New Melones Reservoir/Tulloch
Bass 2 Crappie 2 Catfish 2 Trout 2 Kokanee 2
The kokanee action at New Melones is steadily dying off, and fewer trollers have been working the area over the past few weeks.
Kyle Wise of Head Hunter Fishing said, “It is dying off big time, and it is hard to get the big fish. I have switched over to big Apex lures as well as F4 and F5 Rapalas as slow as 0.8 mph, but the kokanee are unwilling to chase the trolled lures. However, as soon as you put on a jig, the kokanee are willing to bite, and I have been scoring with 1-ounce P-Line Laser Minnows or Buzz Bombs as deep as 100 feet. The kokanee are clearly hugging the bottom and turning into spawning pattern and colors so I have opted for better action and kokanee in better condition at Don Pedro.” Wise was out on Monday for kokanee, and he reported extremely slow action for only a few of the landlocked salmon.
Monte Smith of Gold Country Sport Fishing wrapped up his kokanee operation at New Melones last week, and he will focus on Sacramento River salmon in the coming months.
For bass, John Liechty of Xperience Fishing Guide Service said, “My last three trips have been far better as perhaps I am starting figure out and find the numbers of bass. This week had the first summer whitecaps from the early morning winds since June, and the wind pushed the shad into the windward side of the points in the main lake. The bass are suspending, and I am using a countdown technique on a drop-shot to find the bass. A long cast is necessary, and I count down to around 8 to 10 since I use a light drop-shot weight along with a small fluke, and once I reach this depth, I start shaking the worm and reeling in slowly. The fish are holding around 15 to 20 feet in depth in 60 feet of water and concentrating on the shad schools. Another technique is working up the river arm along 45-degreee bends in the creek channels, and these bass are eating crawdads. Jigs or plastics on a Ned-rig in crawdad patterns are working best for these bass. It is still a grind, but we have been picking up between 25 to 35 bass per trip in the past week.”
The annual Glory Hole Catfish Contest is Oct. 1-31. The entry and insurance fees total $15, and the contest has a limited entry. Three fish can be weighed in, and the first catfish over 12 pounds will take the Big Cat side pot.
Melones held at 86%.
Pine Flat Reservoir/Kings River
Bass 2 Trout 3 Kokanee 0 King salmon 0 Catfish 2 Crappie 2
Steve Newman of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “The lake is releasing water, and the bass bite is best in the deeper water with plastics on a Texas-rig or jigs out to 40 feet. The fish are adjusting to the dropping water levels, and you have to ‘run and gun’ to locate the bass at depths from 25 to 40 feet along deeper points or structure. Swimbaits or crankbaits are working in the early mornings out to 20 feet in depth, but the most consistent action remains on the bottom with jigs or plastics on a slow fall presentation. Crappie fishing has been best around structure in the river arm near Trimmer and Sycamore near submerged trees, small humps, or rockpiles are holding slabs, and the key has been finding the right depth with small 3-inch swimbaits on a 1/8-ounce jig head. Trout trolling remains slow.”
The lake dropped from 71% to 67%.
In the lower Kings River, trout plants continue, and although the water is high, trout fishing has been solid with salmon eggs, trout dough bait, Panther Martins or Mepp’s spinners in the transition areas from fast to slow water movement. Working with the drift is best, and it is important to find the correct depth by counting down with the split-shot.
San Luis Reservoir and O’Neill Forebay
Striper 2 Catfish 2 Bass 2 Crappie 2
San Luis Reservoir has been excellent for bank anglers soaking bait or tossing reaction lures in the early mornings or late evenings, and although the troll bite has been slow overall, a few huge trophy striped bass continue to be caught and released by experienced trollers.
Steve Newman of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis reported good action for those soaking bait while having a jerkbait or topwater lure tied on another rod in the event the stripers start to chase shad towards the banks and boil on the surface.
Alex Tran of Coyote Bait and Tackle in Morgan Hill confirmed the topwater action in the early mornings with Super Spooks, Pencil Poppers or similar walking-style baits.
Roger George of Roger’s Guide Service of Fresno said, “I scouted the lake on Friday with my fishing friend, Andy Bedell of Watsonville. The weather was very hot, and mats of thick blue-green algae have formed on the lake. The overall bite was very slow as the fish were suspended and inactive in deeper water. We picked up a few small stripers early, but we kept working the depths from 40 to 70 feet near the Quien Sabe area and Andy ended up with a personal-best 45-inch , 36-pound striper that was quickly released. We grinded it out for 12 hours in the heat for a few schoolie stripers, but the one shocking lucky bite made it all worthwhile. It’s been unreal, but the big fish run may be coming to a close.”
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, blood worms, anchovies or sardines and many are throwing small Kei Tech swimbaits on an underspin for stripers chasing bait. There have been stripers to 25 inches taken. fishermen are only out in the early mornings or the late evenings with the heat.”
After weeks of heavy water releases, the lake is relatively stable, only dropping from 61% to 60%.
Bass 3 Trout 2 Kokanee 3
Labor Day marked the end of the heavy recreational boating season, but with hot temperatures in the Valley, the weekends should remain busy for skiers and wakeboarders. Bass fishing remains good with the best action in the isolated weed patches with weedless rigs at depths to 20 feet. Plastics on a slow-fall along with spinnerbaits or chatterbaits are working as the bass are holding in the weeks. Mike Beighey of Bass Lake Fishing continues to find good action for kokanee to 17.75 inches with pin Radical Glow Tubes behind MAG Tackle’s Stealth dodger from Miller’s Landing to the Sheriff’s Tower.
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.
Still few reports from the high-elevation lakes, and the Kaiser Pass lakes are now dropping with Edison receding from 81% to 68%, Florence from 67% to 47% and Mammoth Pool from 95% to 85%. Mammoth Pool is a still an 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 2
A number of dedicated kokanee fishermen will be descending upon Shaver Lake this week to pre-fish for the final Kokanee Power Team Tournament on Saturday. Normally, this tournament has been a grind for the anglers with a few big fish taken off of structure, but a few years of high water and heavy plants from the Department of Fish and Wildlife have made for excellent pre-derby conditions. 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 kokaneepowr.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, “Fortunately, we have limited out on all but one trip in the past few weeks, and we were only two kokanee short of multiple limits on that trip. The kokanee are up and down in the water column from 24 to 97 feet, but we have been concentrating between 33 and 45 feet with good results. On Friday, most of our kokanee were in the pre-spawn mode with their scales absent and turning towards red, and they are rapidly changing. We have been running orange Mountain Hoochies or Apex lures behind a Mountain Dodger on the downriggers, and the surprise for us has been the orange Koke Busters behind Mountain Flashers at a setback of 125 feet have been producing as many fish as on the downriggers. I anticipate that derby participants will find the most action at depths from 75 to 97 feet. The rainbow trout have been scarce for some reason, but the Point has a ton of fish on it, and we have also found great action at the island and in front of Black Rock.”
Todd Wittwer of Kokanee.net Guide Service continues to score limits for his clients although the action is getting tougher. He said, “Our best fishing has been from 33 to 45 feet, but we have caught kokanee as deep as 95 feet with orange Radical Glow Tube or orange double-glow spinner behind a Rocky Mountain Tackle Moonshine or Tsunami dodger. The white Radical Glow Tube behind a Father Murphy’s dodger has been my best set up this week. Jerad Romero landed a 15.5-inch kokanee with me this week.”
Shaver dropped from 83% to 80%.
At Huntington, the Rancheria Creek area is kicking out rainbow trout in the 14- to 16-inch range with salmon eggs, live crickets or trout dough bait on the slow fall with split-shot rigs. The key is to work current and count the bait down to the right depth. Steve Newman of Valley Rod and Gun caught and released eight trout in an hour with half being small fish with the other half to 14 inches with two split-shot on his line. Trollers 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, “The trout bite is improving at Wishon, and we are seeing more browns being taken. The same techniques are working with trollers scoring with orange or pink larger vibrating lures such as Apex lures are working best at depths from the surface to 35 feet. Bank anglers are kegging up 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, limits of rainbows has been the rule for trollers with Jay and Delinda Irvine of Visalia out with two friends for four limits using Dick’s Trout Busters behind a Mountain Dodger, and they released another three limits. Bank fishing is fair with trout dough bait, night crawlers or salmon eggs along the dam.
Call: Wishon RV Park 865-5361
Half Moon Bay
Salmon 2 Rockfish 3 Striper 2
The ocean salmon season closed on August 28th below Pigeon Point, and with the final week of the season displaying great action for big fish, there is serious optimism for salmon along the San Mateo coast in the coming weeks. The salmon were deep in the Monterey Canyon, and they were big with several over 20 pounds, and these big spawners have only one route to the Golden Gate, and it is right past the Half Moon Bay harbor.
The salmon bite currently hasn’t generated enough interest to fill up a party boat, and the Queen of Hearts and Riptide out of Half Moon Bay Sport Fishing have been concentrating on rockfish.
Captain Dennis Baxter of the New Captain Pete, also out of Half Moon Bay Sport Fishing, was rockfishing on the local reefs this past Friday at the Deep Reef in 220 feet of water, and they put in quick limits of rockfish for 25 anglers. He is running bird trips over the next several weekends. He said, “It’s kayak season right now with the flat calm conditions. There is still trickle of salmon outside of the harbor, and there have been bonita taken on Rebels or similar plugs. Most salmon fishermen are starting between the buoys out front and they moving up to the Pedro Point/Montara area. On our bird trips to Pioneer Canyon, the water temperature has become colder at 58.5 after being 60 degrees closer to shore. The water looks blue when you put it in a bucket, but it still has a greenish tinge.” He couldn’t find any local salmon on Sunday so he ran up to Duxbury Reef for 9 salmon to 21 anglers, but Larry O’Shea had the hot rod with a limit out of the 9 fish.
Captain Tom Mattusch of the Huli Cat has finished up his sampling for the Bodega Marine Laboratory California Collaborative Fisheries Research Program, and they caught and tagged over 4000 fish. He said, “It was good to see such a healthy goldeneye population.” Mattusch has returned to Half Moon Bay, and he will be running rockfish or salmon trips in the coming weeks.
Second Captain Michael Cabanas of the Huli Cat went on a rockcod trip off of the Deep Reef in 230ft of water on Sunday with 13 limits of rockfish with an 8-pound vermilion being the big fish on a swimbait.
From the shorelines, striped bass have been taken from Ocean Beach south to Pescadero with Lucky Craft Flash Minnows, Diawa’s SP Minnows, or sand crabs.
Rockfish 3 Striper 2 Surf perch 2
Chris Arcoleo of Chris’s Fishing Trips said, “The end of the salmon season was phenomenal as we found them on the bottom in 250 feet of water, and there were several fish over 25 pounds. These were big spawners that are just getting ready to bust with eggs. I think these fish are going to push as fast as possible up the coast to get to the rivers since they are ready to pop. They may not stick around Half Moon Bay and the San Mateo coastline very long. The sea lions were having a way with us as well as you would hook five fish at the same time, and the sea lions would rip off one or two of these. It has been tough weather outside of the bay, but we posted limits of rockfish with some nice yellow in the mix along with a few lings. We have plenty of room throughout the week, but the weekends remain impacted.
San Francisco Bay
Salmon 3 Halibut 3 Striper 2 Rockfish 3 Leopard shark 3 Sturgeon 2
The big salmon are on their way from north of Point Reyes along the Sonoma coastline towards the Golden Gate, and Captain Trent Slate of Bite Me Charters out of Loch Lomond Marina in San Rafael found great action on Monday with limits of ‘Mega Hawgs’ up to 30 pounds drifting off of the Marin coastline. On Sunday, he found plenty of action, but they ended up a fish short of limits since there were more than a few missed opportunities. Slate has room this week on his patented mooching trips, and he has a special guest on board on Tuesday.
Captain Jerad Davis of the Salty Lady out of Sausalito said, “It was a pretty good bite for the entire fleet on Monday, and it looks like more fish are moving in with reports of limits for six-packs and scores around a fish per rod or just below on the larger party boats. We had 22 salmon up to 26 pounds for 24 anglers on Monday with plenty of action, and as these fish are big and mad, you can’t get every one of the big ones in. It’s as they are fighting for their lives. We had quite a few missed opportunities, but that’s part of what makes this so exciting.”
Captain Steve Mitchell of Hook’d Sport Fishing has been running joint adventure with Captain Joey Gamez of Golden State Sport Fishing, and he said, “The fishing has been pretty steady, and the big fish showed up big time on Monday with several boats finding easy limits of big toads.”
The Happy Hooker out of Berkeley Marina went up the Marin coast on Labor Day for 21 ling cod and 29 limits of rockfish for some decent action. They will be focusing upon rockfish/lingcod trips this week.
The California Dawn out of Berkeley Marina is also concentrating on rockfish/lings on their potluck trips, and they made some drifts in the bay for halibut on the way back to the harbor. They ended up with 24 limits of rockfish, 18 lings to 14 pounds, 31 halibut to 20 pounds, and 2 bonus thresher sharks.
Inside the bay, the halibut bite remains outstanding for the few boats staying inside the bay as the lure of calm weather outside of the Gate has been too much to avoid.
San Luis Obispo
Rockfish 3 Surf perch 2
Out of San Luis Obispo County, rockfishing remains the story, and out of Morro Bay Landing, Endeavor, Avenger, and Starfire took out a total of 151 anglers on Sunday with the Avenger running double ½-day trips. They returned with a combined count of 350 vermilion, 65 copper, 10 Boccaccio, 920 assorted rockfish, 4 white sea bass, and 18 ling cod to 19 pounds. Jorge Romero of Bakersfield took the jackpot with the big ling on the Endeavor. Out of Virg’s Landing in Morro Bay, the Fiesta and Black Pearl were out on Monday on 3/4th and ½-day trips with 75 passengers for 2/3 limits of rockfish composed of 330 vermilion, 207 assorted rockfish, 5 copper, and 3 Boccaccio along with a solitary ling cod to 7 pounds. Out of Port San Luis, the Patriot, Phenix, and Flying Fish were out with 75 anglers on Sunday for 63 vermilion, 23 copper, 8 Boccaccio, 10 Bolina, 485 assorted, 70 treefish, and a cabezon to go with a single ling cod. 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 best salmon fishing in the Delta remains in the Freeport area as the Benicia shorelines remain basically fishless since the season opener on July 16. The Freeport Bridge area has been best for those jigging spoons, particularly 2-pound P-Line Laser Minnows or Slammer Minnows in dark color patterns. Striped bass are moving into the river, and big schools of linesides to 9 pounds have been taken by trollers along the West Bank from Rio Vista to Collinsville with both shallow and deep diving plugs. Most river guides 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 reported good action for experienced anglers jigging near the Freeport Bridge with Mike Wong of Sacramento already up to 30 salmon working 2-ounce spoons. Fong went bass fishing in the north Delta for the northern largemouth strain from 3- to 4.5 pounds with punching the weeds with Sweet Beavers or Missile’s D-Bombs on a 3/4th to 1.5-ounce tungsten punch weight. He said, “There are stripers up there as well, and I released two one day and another one the following day while targeting bass. We ended up with limits at 18 and 20 pounds with between 30 and 40 bass caught. There is tons of grass in the river, and the floating grass makes it impossible to throw topwater lures right now.”
A few more salmon have been working their way into the Old Sacramento River near Vieira’s Resort near Isleton, but the action remains slow in the hot weather and hot water conditions. The salmon are moving quickly upriver to find cooler water, but this fall promises to be outstanding.
In Suisun Bay, Tony Lopez of Benicia Bait said, “There still hasn’t been any salmon taken from the shorelines except for the small one a few weeks ago. The combination of high tides and the dredging in the Mare Island Straits are keeping the water muddy along our shorelines. Anchovies have been the bait of choice for striper fishermen, but there have been only small fish taken recently. The striped bass and sturgeon season is just around the corner, and it looks like this will be a good year for bullheads as bait in the Delta as the supply has been coming in steadily from the shrimp boats.”
The striped bass schools are heading upriver, and the West Bank from Rio Vista to Collinsville has been the top area for the few trollers out there in the heat.
For striped bass, Clyde Wands, shallow trolling expert, was out with Dave Houston of Livermore on Friday, and he said, “We ran into a huge school of stripers near Collinsville, and we must have caught over 30 keepers with several linesides in the 8-pound range. We released all but one of the 8 pounders as it was hooked deep, and the first 8 pounder came on a shallow troll while everything else came deep. This was a big school that just moved in, and they were mostly over 6 pounds. Earlier in the week, we found 17 keepers to 5 pounds in the same area.”
Houston added, “The bite was incredible on Friday with over 30 keepers in a short amount of time, but the outgoing tide is almost impossible to troll because of the grass. I was also out on Saturday, and I started just before the incoming tide, and there was still plenty of grass. Once the incoming started however, the grass dissipated, and the bite was one for 10 keepers in the 4- to 9-pound range. The stripers are not scattered as they are in big schools but finding them hasn’t been easy. We have been concentrating from Decker Island west to Collinsville.”
Sturgeon fishermen are starting to emerge from the mothballs, and the diamondbacks have been taken in Suisun Bay as fishermen have had their fill of halibut and striped bass. Captain Steve Mitchell of Hook’d Up Fishing out of Pittsburg is taking reservations for sturgeon trips beginning in October as well as Captain Joey Gamez of Golden State Sport Fishing as the six-pack boats are starting to migrate back into the Delta from San Francisco Bay.
On August 7th, the Fish and Game Commission deferred their vote to revise the regulations for striped bass until their next meeting in northern California on December 11th. It is important for all fishermen interested in the preservation of the current regulations to attend this meeting in Sacramento.
In the San Joaquin system, hot daytime temperatures continue to contribute to good bass fishing in shaded areas with heavy current, and a variety of techniques are working for largemouths but punching remains the best option. Striped bass are starting to make their move, and the first wave of small linesides has arrived. Shad schools are showing up ‘en masse’, and both species of bass are adding threadfin shad to their dinner menu.
Randy Pringle, the Fishing Instructor, is hosting the annual Bass Fest at Russo’s Marina on September 14/15th, 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 $60.00 with a mandatory $10.00 insurance fee up until September 9th with a $10.00 late fee after this date. The payout is 100%.
Pringle said, “There is a good topwater bite, but you have to keep it in the strike zone as long as possible. The ima Finesse Popper or the Heli P propbait are working in shad patterns as there is a lot of shad appearing. This is the time of year when the bass are changing their philosophy on their food sources, adding shad to blue gill and crawdads, and you have to think shad patterns. I have been working the topwater baits on the high tide in the shallows, and the Finesse Popper will stay in the strike zone longer. After the tide drops out, the bass are holding along the outside weed lines, and plastics such as the Bottom Hopper with Max Scent on a Texas-rig is working best on the outside of the weeds. The bass are holding tight to the weeds and also near current. When there is a breeze, the ima Squarebill crankbait in shad or crawdad patterns are effective near tules and rock. Stripers have been blowing up on the outside edges, but these are small fish with the bigger ones yet to make their move.”
Vince Borges of Vince Borges Outdoors has been scoring best by punching the weeds with two different patterns – the Reaction Innovation’s Kinky Beaver in Bloody Mary without a skirt because of its thinner profile or the Sprayed Grass with a skirt in bluegill patterns as the skirt bulks out the lure. He said, “We are seeing small bluegill scattered in the hyacinth or primrose, and there are also crawdads under the mats. I use a 1.5-ounce tungsten punch weight, but if I can go lighter, I will. The better fish are around the points in open pockets in deeper water to 6 feet. There is also a good mid-day topwater bite with the Reaction Innovation’s Vixen in bluegill, the Yozuri Pencil in bone, or the Yozuri Noi-Z in golden shiner all working. These are walking-style baits.
Kris Huff of Phenix Rods put together a solid limit of 23.37 pounds during Wednesday’s open shootout out of Ladd’s Marina, and it was good enough for third. He has been punching the weeds with Strike King’s Punch Bug in Crawdaddy on a 65-pound test braid on a Phenix Titan rod with a Diawa Tatula reel.
Dan Mathisen of Dan Mathisen Outdoors was getting ready to head out for striped bass on Sunday evening, and he said, “I plan on tossing Spooks or Pencil Poppers in the False River area as the bait is starting to stack up. The bass bite has been pretty good as well, and the team of Jeff and Garrett Bradshaw won out event out of Russo’s Marina on Saturday with a 23.33-pound limit including a big fish at 8.09 pounds.” Mathisen’s Outdoors will be holding an open team tournament this coming Sunday, September 8 out of Russo’s.
In the Stockton and Martinez areas, fresh shad has made its way back into the bait shops, but few fishermen are out in the heat. Catfish in the main San Joaquin River or bluegill in the sloughs with red worms or jumbo red worms are the best bets.
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 1-844-729-6466.
Lake Nacimiento/San Antonio/Santa Margarita/Lopez
Bass 3 White bass 2 Striper 1 Catfish 2 Crappie 2
Lopez is kicking out from quality 3- to 5-pound largemouths with topwater frogs or small Poppers working in shaded areas or over weeds and mats. Once the topwater bite dies, working the bottom with jigs, Brush Hogs, or plastics to 6-inches on a Texas rig are the most effective techniques as the bass are holding around the outside weedlines in 10 to 20 feet of water. Panfish is best with red worms, jumbo red worms, or meal worms at depths from 10 to 30 feet, and there are crappie to be had with minijigs at depths to 25 feet over submerged structure.
At Santa Margarita, the option for quality largemouth bass exists with topwater action when the fish are boiling on the surface along with spoons. The most consistent action occurs with big plastics to 8 inches along with deep-diving crankbaits. Crappie are found once located in the right tree or rockpile near the dam with minijigs or small swimbaits while catfish are found on nightcrawlers.
At Nacimiento, the recreational boating remains strong, and the number of boats has made for tough conditions during the daytime hours. Anglers have to concentrate in the early morning or late afternoon hours into the evenings for spotted bass with spinnerbaits or crankbaits along with plastics on the drop-shot or jigs on main lake and secondary points. White bass have been scarce, but they are found on occasion. The lake dropped from 57% to 55% this week.
At San Antonio, the bass bite continues to improve, but it requires moving in order to find the fish. There are shad schools throughout the lake, and shad-patterned squarebill crankbaits to 15 feet are working along with smaller profile plastics with a purple line imitating the shad on the drop-shot. The water levels are dropping, and the fish are suspending in open water off of structure, feeding on shad. Catfish are taken on cut baits scented with various concoctions. The lake dropped to 36%.
Go to fresnobee.com/fishing for Ocean, Delta, Kern County and Central Coast lakes and for event results and the tournament schedule.
Dan Mathisen Outdoors: Aug. 31 at Delta/Russo’s Marina – 1, Jeff and Garrett Bradshaw, 24.33 pounds (Big Fish 8.09); 2, Rob Coultier/Sean Butler, 18.16; 3, Harvey Pulliam/Jamond Andrews, 17.56.
Sept. 7: Shaver Lake – Kokanee Power Team Tournament, Success – Kern County Bass Masters, Nacimiento – 101 Bass
Sept. 7-8: Millerton – Cen Cal Elite Bass Tournaments
Sept. 8: Delta/Russo’s Marina – Dan Mathisen Outdoors, New Melones – New Jen Bass Tournaments
Sept. 14: Isabella – American Bass Association, San Antonio – Gold Ole Boys
Sept. 14-15: Delta/Russo’s Marina – Bass Fest, Millerton – Bass 101
Sept. 15: Pine Flat – Kings River Bass Club
Sept. 21: Delta/Ladd’s Marina – Sonora Bass Club/Manteca Bassin’ Buddies/Merced Bass Club, Don Pedro – Bass N’ Tubes/Christian Bass Leagues, McClure – River Rats/17-90 Bass Club/Bakersfield Bass Club, Success – Golden Empire Bass Club, Nacimiento – 101 Bass, Lopez – 805 Kayak Fishing, Santa Margarita – San Luis Obispo Bass Ambassadors
Sept. 22: Delta/B and W Resort – Fresno Bass Club, Delta/Ladd’s Marina – Gold Country Jr. /Riverbank Bass Anglers, Delta/Tracy Oasis – Tracy Oasis Marina
Sept. 26-28: Delta/Russo’s Marina – Costa Forrest L. Wood Delta Series
Sept. 28: Delta/Russo’s Marina – Hook, Line, and Sinker, Delta/Pittsburg Marina – City of Pittsburg Fishing Festival, New Melones – Tri Valley Bass Masters, McClure – Sierra Bass Club
Sept. 29: Delta/Russo’s Marina – Costa Forrest L. Wood Delta Series Final, Success – Porterville Bass Club
Oct. 4-5: Don Pedro – California Bass Federation
Oct. 5: Camanche – Sonora Bass Club, New Melones – Kings River Bass Club, Hogan – Manteca Bassin’ Buddies, McClure – Angler’s Press/Merced Bass Club, Nacimiento – Kern County Bass Masters, Santa Margarita – Bakersfield Bass Club
Oct. 5-6: Delta/Russo’s Marina – New Jen Bass Tournaments, McSwain – Merced Irrigation District Trout Derby
Oct. 6: Delta/Wimpy’s Marina – Central Valley Anglers Salmon Derby, Salt Springs – Central Valley Kayak Fishing
Week of Sept. 8 by California Department of Fish and Wildlife:
Fresno County: Kings River below Pine Flat Dam
Madera County: San Joaquin River Middle Fork, Starkweather Lake
q = quarter moon