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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Eastman bass bite good, Jake Figg said. Don Pedro trout hitting, Dave Hurley reported. Success bass on decent bite, Gary Wasson said. McClure bass and trout active, Steve Marquette reported. Bass Lake kokanee producing limits, Mike Beighey said. Wishon and Courtright trout active, Kelly Brewer reported. San Francisco halibut, striper and shark bites good, Trent Slate said. Delta striper and bass action heating up, Randy Pringle said.
2-Have to work hard
4-Fish jumpin’ in boat
Delta Mendota Canal and Sloughs
Striper 3 Catfish 2
The California Aqueduct is improving for striped bass, particularly in the northern section around Los Banos as the shad are balling up and holding in the moving water close to the headgates. Anchovies or ripbaits, Storm swimbaits or paddletail swimbaits in white close to the moving water are the best techniques.
In the southern section of the aqueduct in Kern County, Pete Cormier of Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield said, “There haven’t been many fishermen out this week, but those who know what they are doing are picking up both striped bass and catfish with the linesides taken on swimbaits, anchovies, sardines, or mackerel with catfish on cut baits along with chicken livers.”
Bass 3 Trout 2 Bluegill 2 Catfish 2 Crappie 2
Eastman continues to be the top largemouth bass lake in the Fresno area as the water releases have been far less than at Pine Flat or Millerton. The largemouth bass are eating when you get a lure in front of their face, and a variety of techniques have been effective. 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, “There is a good bite for largemouth bass in the 1.5- to 2-pound range, and you can find some larger fish to 3 pounds with jigs, deep-diving crankbaits or Trick Worms throughout the lake. The bass are holding on the rocks and near structure.”
Steve Newman of Valley Rod and Gun said, “Eastman remains very good as the largemouth will eat when you get the lure in front of their face. Karen Newman from our shop was out this past week, and she caught and released a 4.5-pound bass on a spinnerbait with the smaller fish holding from 20 feet to the bank in the morning before moving out into deeper water off of the shoreline. Swimbaits grinded along the bottom such as a 4.5-inch Kei Techs are working along with large Senkos over the rockpiles. There is a crankbait bite in the evenings along the dam as the rocks deflect the full moon and attract baitfish. The bass are moving in to swoop up on the bait, and deep-diving crankbaits such as Strike King’s XD 6s in Blue Backed Herring are working against the rip rap at depths to 20 feet. The key is to keep the lure close to the rocks.”
Eastman dropped from 53% to 52%.
Call: Eastman Lake 689-3255
Bass 2 Trout 2 Catfish 2 Bluegill 2 Crappie 2
Newman reported the pattern has remained the same with fewer fishermen heading to Hensley with the solid action at nearby Eastman. The water releases have been steady on a weekly basis, and the algae bloom is dissipating. Big Senkos, jigs, or plastics worms are working along with small swimbaits on a slow presentation on the bottom. Few crappie reports. Big Senkos, worms and jigs along with small swimbaits are working best when dragged slowly across the bottom.”
Hensley receded from 43% to 40%.
Lake Don Pedro
Bass 2 Trout 3 Kokanee 2 King salmon 1 Crappie 2
The trout bite remains good with Speedy Shiners at 3.5 mph in the main lake at depths from 55 to 80 feet. The bass bite continues to improve, but the fish remain scattered at depths to 50 feet with plastics on the shaky head or drop-shot along with jigs or small swimbaits on an underspin.
The lake dropped slightly to 85%.
A fundraiser tournament for Autism Speaks with 50% payback is Nov. 2, call Michaela Schimgdall at 209-603-5258 for information.
Lake Isabella/Bakersfield area
Bass 2 Trout 3 Crappie 3 Catfish 3 Bluegill 2
Pete Cormier of Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield reported catfish are the top species at Lake Isabella with the crappie and largemouth bass bite being slow. The whiskerfish are biting Sonny’s Dip Bait, mackerel, sardines, or chicken livers from the banks at night. Isabella has dropped to 39%. The upper Kern River is providing the best fishing in the area with limits of planted rainbow trout taken on salmon eggs, nightcrawlers, or Power Bait below the Kernville Bridge or at the access from the Kernville Park Recreation Area. The flows in the lower Kern River have slowed down, and the occasional bass or catfish is taken there. In the high country of the upper Kern River, the Golden Trout Wilderness Pack Trains will be taking pack trips through October.
Bass 3 Crappie 2 Trout 2 Catfish 2
Local bass expert Gary Wasson of Visalia reported an improved bass bite with jigs or plastic worms on the drop-shop at 15 to 25 feet in the increasing shallow lake as it has been emptied to 9%.
Call: Sierra Sporting Goods 592-5212
Bass 3 Trout 3 Catfish 2 Crappie 2 Bluegill 2
Gary Wasson of Visalia said, “The bass bite is good with jigs or reaction baits.” Success has gone from over 100% to 18% within the past two months. The Tule River remains good for brown trout with dry flies or spinners such as Panther Martins.
Bass 3 Trout 3 King salmon 0 Kokanee 0 Crappie 2 Catfish 2
The massive 150,000-pound trout plant of a few months back is still paying dividends at Lake McClure as trollers are finding great action both in the river arm and near the dam in the deepest waters in the lake. Bass fishing is best on the bottom with finesse techniques as the topwater and reaction bite has been slow.
Steve Marquette of the Lake McClure/Lake McSwain Recreation Company said, “I was on the lake three times this week trolling for rainbows, and we more than limited each trip as we are releasing everything at the side of the boat without using the net. Once you net a trout, they are all but dead. We are scoring at depths from 60 to 80 feet with Speedy Shiners, silver Needlefish, blade/’crawler combinations or Wedding Rings tipped with a nightcrawler behind a dodger. There are still large fish out here, and we are averaging rainbows in the 2- to 3-pound range. Bank fishing has slowed, but there is the occasional rainbow taken in the early mornings or late afternoons into the evenings with trout dough bait or nightcrawlers.”
For bass, Ryan Cook of Ryan Cook’s Fishing said, “The water is dropping fast, and the bass are suspending. We are finding our best action from 25 to 50 feet with jigs in brown/purple with a green pumpkin trailer or plastics in Margarita Mutilator or Morning Dawn on the drop-shot. The trout trollers are loading up near the dam in the deep water.”
McClure dropped from 82% to 79%.
Call: Ryan Cook’s Fishing 691-7008
Minimal change with no trout plants occurring recently or are on the horizon. A few rainbows are taken from the banks in the early mornings or late evenings with trout dough bait or nightcrawlers. The annual Merced Irrigation Fall Trout Derby that had been scheduled for Oct. 4-5 has been canceled for this year.
Call: McSwain Marina 209-378-2534
Millerton Lake/San Joaquin River
Bass 2 Striped bass 1 Shad 1 Bluegill 2 Crappie 2
The water releases have been steady, and the bass are suspending in open water. Jake Figgs of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis reported quality bass from 2.5 to 4 pounds have been landed this week as the lake moves into the fall transition. The best size has been coming off of the bottom with plastics on a shaky head or jigs, but there is a reaction bite for small spotted bass in the 11- to 12-inch range with shad-patterned rip baits. The bigger bass have moved down from 40 to 60 feet in depth, and it is difficult to keep contact with a shaky head or wacky-rig at this depth. The water releases have affected the action as evidenced by the two-day tournament limit over 12 pounds that took last weekend’s Cen Cal Elite Bass Tournaments Tournament of Champions. The lake dropped from 77% to 75%.
Call: Valley Rod & Gun 292-3474
New Melones Reservoir/Tulloch
Bass 2 Crappie 2 Catfish 3 Trout 2 Kokanee 2
The air is officially out of the balloon for the kokanee bite at New Melones as few anglers are heading to this lake after several weeks of spectacular kokanee action with some huge fish in the mix including the first Kokanee Power tournament in several years. Kyle Wise of Head Hunter Guide Service said, “Kokanee fishing is limited to a few big fish in the saddles in 80 to 90 feet of water with Apex lure or Paulina Peak’s Flutter Bugs with big dodgers. Patience is the key as they are in full spawn mode and are not in the mood to chase offerings, stay with it and eventually one will hit. “
Gene Hildebrand of Glory Hole Sports in Angels Camp said, “The cooler temps approaching we’re looking forward to chasing the big rainbows that New Melones has to offer.”
John Liechty of Xperience Fishing Guide Service said, “It was really tough for bass on Sunday as the topwater bite really slowed down. We have been picking up some larger fish on topwater lures, swimbaits, and glide baits, but the bite shut off on Sunday. In addition to the full moon, there were a number of recreational boats on the lake stirring up the shoreline, and normally during the week, the shad and baby bass stage on the points, but with the boat traffic, the points were churned up and not holding bait. We picked up our best action on jigs with a few on topwater lures, but the swimbait bite wasn’t happening. We did also score a few on underspins, but the patterns weren’t developing.”
Hildebrand said, “Anglers have been landing numerous large cats in the 8- to 10-pound range, and the cove on the south side of the dam and Tuttletown coves have been giving up cats using night crawlers, cut baits, and chicken livers. Jim Good of Dorrington brought in a 6-pound and a 7.5-pound catfish.”
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 85%.
Pine Flat Reservoir/Kings River
Bass 2 Trout 3 Kokanee 0 King salmon 0 Catfish 2 Crappie 2
The bass bite continues to be tough as the lake is releasing water at a solid clip. Jake Figgs of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “The finesse bite is best in the river arm toward Trimmer Marina at depths from 25 to 30 feet with 6-inch Zoom Trick Worms or similar straight tail worms as the jig bite has been slow. Plastics on a shaky head or drop-shot are working best, and green pumpkin, watermelon red or shad patterns are tops. The reaction bite is limited to small fish along the shorelines in shallow water. The largemouth are holding on the bottom with the dropping water, but the spotted bass are more nomadic, chasing bait. Contact baits are best for the largemouths while deep crankbaits or swimbaits are attracting spots amongst the shad schools. Trout trolling remains slow.”
Crappie action has also slowed with a few slabs found in the main lake in submerged trees or rocks. The lake dropped from 63% to 60%.
In the lower Kings River, trout plants continue, and trout fishing is good with salmon eggs, trout dough bait, Panther Martins or Mepp’s spinners in the transition areas from fast to slow water movement. It is important to find the correct depth by counting down with the split-shot while drifting the bait.
San Luis Reservoir and O’Neill Forebay
Striper 2 Catfish 2 Bass 2 Crappie 2
San Luis Reservoir continues to be a go-to location for Fresno- and San Jose-area striper fishermen, and the banks off of Dinosaur Point or Portuguese Cove have been busy with anglers either soaking bait or tossing ripbaits.
Jake Figgs of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “We have had a number of fishermen heading up to the main lake, and they have been picking up stripers in the 20- to 23-inch range on white Duo Realis 120 ripbaits as they are walking the banks and watching for the boils.”
Coyote Bait in Morgan Hill confirmed the reaction bite from the banks off of Dinosaur Point and Portuguese Cove with jerkbaits, topwater lures or Kei Tech swimbaits while bait soakers are using blood worms, pile worms, anchovies or shad.
Roger George of Roger’s Guide Service out of Fresno said, “The blue green algae bloom continues to grow on the surface but the striper topwater action is starting as the linesides corral shallow minnow schools. Water temps are around 72 degrees but the longer nights are beginning to change things to a fall pattern. Looks like the fish are quickly moving into the shoreline when I scouted the lake alone on Thursday. I saw fish on top in Portuguese Cove and several other coves early and late for the first time. The full moon really affected the troll bite with a lot of suspended fish refusing to cooperate with most everyone I talked to. I’ve found that full-moon periods are really tough – but that sometimes you can get one big bite if you keep on it. Around noon I got a big hit at 70 feet in Portuguese Cove on a silver lure and the fish took off on a big screaming run. The 43-inch, 30.02-pounder was a very thick, healthy, fat fish. I quickly released it using the Seaqualizer to get it back down below the hot surface water. You have to work fast on the big fish now in the 72-degree water. The overall bite was tough . Basalt ramp is in good shape. Water levels are pretty much staying around 1,230,000 acre feet but I expect them to start pumping soon.”
In the O’Neill Forebay, Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun said, “Many of our fishermen have been going to the forebay to throw flukes, Lucky Craft Pointers or Duo Realis jerkbaits for stripers to 22 inches.”
San Luis held at 60%.
Bass 2 Trout 2 Kokanee 3
This lake hasn’t been living up to its name for bass as there have been few reports, but there is decent kokanee action with limits for experienced trollers. Steve Peckham, owner of Affordable Tackle, was out with Rod and Terry Brown for limits of kokanee to 16.5 inches trolling the center of the lake from Miller’s Landing to the Sheriff’s Tower at 35 to 45 feet in depth with Affordable Tackle’s UV Pink Fade Mini Hoochie and Pink Spin-N-Glow Spinners behind a 4.4 -inch Sierra Holographic Flasher.
Todd Wittwer of Kokanee.net Guide Service was out with Mike Beighey of Bass Lake Fishing on Thursday, and they posted limits of kokanee to 17.5 inches working Father Murphy’s bugs solo along with Radical Glow Tubes at depths from 35 to 40 feet near the Sheriff’s Tower.
The Department of Fish and Wildlife planted 50,000 kokanee fingerlings this year for the future.
The lake dropped slightly to 93%.
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 68% to 65%, Florence at 50% and Mammoth Pool from 85% to 77%. 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 2 Trout 2
It was as if a light switch went off with a major slowdown in kokanee fishing at Shaver Lake, right after the annual Kokanee Power Team Derby. The Sept. 7 Derby was won by the husband/wife team of Kevin and Karla Smith of San Mateo with a three-fish limit of 57.60 ounces with a big fish at 20.40 ounces. Nathaniel Lenerd of Elk Grove took first place in the junior division with a one-fish limit at 17.35 ounces.
Dick Nichols of Dick’s Fishing Charters said, “After a fantastic kokanee season, fishing has turned into a disaster at Shaver Lake as we are experiencing a drastic slowdown with the kokanee in pre-spawn mode. Up until the past week, we have been collecting multiple limits of kokanee, but during the current week, you had to work very hard for three to five fish. Shaver regular and Edison campground host Craig Davidson didn’t get a single bite on Friday. At this time of year, I count on the rainbow trout action in Stevenson Bay, but we haven’t had anything going there for the past two weeks. The few kokanee we have landed have come on orange or pink/white Tiger Mountain Hoochies tipped with scented corn behind a purple/silver Mountain Dodger at 33 to 100 feet as there is no consistency in the location, depth or time of day. I have warned all of the clients on the books in the coming months, but it seems that they still want to fish. We landed five on our last trip, and Jared and Manny Romero of Madera, regulars on the lake, worked hard for five kokanee with two of them being next year’s fish.”
Todd Wittwer of Kokanee.net Guide Service said, “The kokanee have not been schooling up like they should, and you can pick up a couple in the early morning before the sun hits the water. We see them on the bottom, but they aren’t schooling up like they have in the past. You can pull everything through them and even jig for the fish on the bottom, but it doesn’t really matter since they aren’t biting. We couldn’t get anything to touch the lures. I will be back out again this week to see if we can get them to go because perhaps the full moon has been the deterrent.”
Shaver dropped from 83 to 81%.
Huntington dropped from 80% to 73% this week due to heavy releases into Shaver Lake and down the San Joaquin River system. Not much change with the best trout action occurring from the banks in Rancheria Creek with salmon eggs, live crickets, or trout dough bait on the slow fall with split shot rigs. The lake hasn’t received a trout plant since early August.
Sierra Marina launch ramp webcam: sierramarina.com/camera.html.
Kelly Brewer of the Wishon RV Park and Store said, “I haven’t seen it this good for a long time as easy limits have been the rule for both bank fishermen and trollers at Wishon.” Boaters are working Wedding Rings tipped with a nightcrawler behind a dodger, Needlefish, or similar spoons in front of the dam and along the rockwall at depths from 10 to 15 feet for quick limits. Shore fishermen are scoring at the mouth of Short Hair Creek, the dam, and the boat launch with inflated nightcrawlers or trout dough bait. The lake level is fluctuating for power generation. A trout plant is scheduled for this week. At Courtright, Brewer reported tremendous trout action for both trollers and bank fishermen as recent plants have helped spur on the bite. Trollers are scoring both rainbows and browns with Wedding Rings or Dick’s Trout Busters tipped with a nightcrawler at depths to 15 feet while shore fishermen are picking up limits along both sides of the dam or near the boat launch with trout dough bait, night crawlers or salmon eggs along the dam. The lake levels have been fluctuating with the need for power generation.
Call: Wishon RV Park 865-5361
Half Moon Bay
Salmon 2 Rockfish 3 Striper 2 Albacore 2
It’s been a waiting game for salmon out of Half Moon Bay as less than a trickle of fish have been found out in front of the harbor while party boats are either running far north to the Marin coastline or focusing on the solid rockfishing south of the harbor.
Captain Dennis Baxter of the New Captain Pete has been running bird trips towards Pioneer Canyon, and he said, “Smitty on the Riptide had three salmon hookups at our entrance buoys this week, but they didn’t land a fish. Three private boats were out on Thursday morning trying for salmon locally with no return. There are a few bonito moving through, and the commercial halibut fishermen are catching halibut in the bay, but you really have to have the local knowledge for the line up on this fishery. We saw 62-degree water 30 miles offshore, and there were the right birds for tuna, but there were no other indications of albacore in the area.”
Baxter added, “On our salmon trips, we have been running north to the Marin coast as it is much less than a trickle, more like a few drops, of salmon out in front of our harbor. We are waiting for these fish to come up from Monterey Bay.”
Captain Tom Mattusch of the Huli Cat said, “There were three albacore to 35 pounds landed off of the top of the Guide this past week, and we are anxiously waiting for the salmon to cross the 37/11 line as it still looks good below the 11 line where the salmon closure is in effect. There is so much bait and feed that the salmon have no reason to move north. Rockfishing continues to be very good with limits the rule and a number of ling cod to 16 pounds, but it’s that time of year to start getting ready for the upcoming Dungeness crab opener. We have two weekend days left for a full charter on November 24th and November 30th. There are still a number of weekdays for individuals or charter opportunities as the rockfish/Dungeness crab season starts on November 2nd. “
The opening of the Dungeness crab season is a huge celebration out of this harbor, and the campgrounds and parking lot will be full of RV’s, tents, and boat trailers.
Salmon 2 Rockfish 3 Striper 2 White sea bass 2
Chris’s Fishing Trips in Monterey reported outstanding rockfish action on the local reefs, and the weather is good enough to make it south to Point Sur on Monday. He said, “There is squid in the bay, and the private boats have been trying for white sea bass, and a few boats picked up as many as 5 on Saturday, but it was slower on Sunday. We have plenty of room for rockfish/ling cod trips on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.”
The weather was an issue over the weekend, and the Kahuna postponed their trip to Lopez Point for the Turner’s Outdoors charter out of Salinas on Sunday for the second time.
San Francisco Bay
Salmon 2 Halibut 3 Striper 3 Rockfish 3 Leopard shark 3 Sturgeon 2
The salmon action improved on Sunday along the Marin coastline, and Captain Shawn Taylor of the El Dorado III took out a light load of 5 fishermen for limits of salmon to 24 pounds while the New Easy Rider also had a light load of 12 anglers for 14 salmon to 23 pounds. The salmon are on the move, and it seems like the action is getting better. Captain Trent Slate of Bite Me Charters out of Loch Lomond Marina in San Rafael has been averaging a salmon per rod to 25 pounds mooching dead bait along the Marin coastline from Muir Beach to Duxbury Buoy.
Halibut fishing remains tremendous with the Pacific Dream out of Berkeley Marina scoring 47 halibut and 2 striped bass for 30 passengers on Sunday. They are taking rockfish trips along with live bait halibut/striped bass trips this week. The original family vessel, the Happy Hooker, focused on the excellent striped bass action in the bay for 13 limits of bass along with 21 halibut on Sunday.
The California Dawn out of Berkeley also focused on live bait potluck in the bay for 11 limits of striped bass along with 24 halibut.
The salmon scores have been dropping off to around a ½ fish to a fish per rod for the large party boats, but with the large size of the salmon hooked, there are plenty of missed opportunities. The New Easy Rider out of Berkeley came back with 12 salmon to 19 pounds for 24 anglers while the El Dorado posted 7 salmon to 13 pounds for 24 anglers on Sunday.
The Hog Heaven out of Sausalito posted a respectable score on Sunday with 12 salmon for 15 anglers. These seem to be typical scores on a larger party boat while the six-packs are finding more consistent action, most likely due to the less crowded conditions and more personal attention when a fish is hooked up.
Captain Zach Medinas of Gatecrasher Fishing Adventures was able to put young anglers Kyan Walker of Marin and Ethan Pham of San Francisco onto limits of kings.
The desire to target salmon remains from the six-pack captains as they know the fish will be making a push down the Marin coast, but interest from fishermen has been waning after the Labor Day Holiday weekend.
Captain Trent Slate of Bite Me Charters out of Loch Lomond Marina in San Rafael said, “The salmon bite should last all the way through October, but it has been challenging to attract enough fishermen right now. I know the fish are there and are coming.”
Inside the bay, limits of striped bass have been the rule, and the halibut bite remains outstanding despite the fact that it is already September. Captain James Smith of the California Dawn out of Berkeley Marina returned to the wheelhouse after a week of fishing at his brother’s lodge in Alaska, and he said, “Seems that little has changed since I last said “drop them in”. We had a wide open striped bass bite along with a healthy pick on the halibut with over a fish per rod again, not to mention releasing a green sturgeon. We didn’t hit the century mark but finished up with 91 keepers on the day.” They ended up with 60 striped bass, 30 halibut to 20 pounds, and a solitary ling cod. They have a Phenix Rods big shark trip on Monday, and these are limited load trips. This trip turned out to be amazing with 7 seven gill sharks with 3 kept and 4 huge shark released at 275, 300, and 350 pounds along with 15 limits of striped bass including crew fish, 17 halibut, and a 40-pound soupfin shark.
San Luis Obispo
Rockfish 3 Surf perch 3
Out of San Luis Obispo County, rockfishing remains solid with near-limits over the weekend for the large party boats on ½ to ¾-day trips. On Sunday, the Patriot and Flying Fish out of Patriot Sport Fishing in Port San Luis went out with 61 anglers for 87 vermilion, 10 copper, 3 Boccaccio, 394 assorted rockfish, and 2 ling cod with Kasie James of Bakersfield taking a jackpot with a 6-pound ling. Out Morro Bay Landing, the Endeavor, Starfire, and Avenger came up with near-limits for 79 fishermen with a combined count of 455 vermilion, 65 copper, 30 Boccaccio, 180 assorted rockfish, 2 cabezon, 2 ocean whitefish, and 19 ling cod to 11 pounds with Scott Parnell of Bakersfield landing the largest ling. Out of Virg’s Landing in Morro Bay, the Rita G was out on Monday for limits of rockfish for 15 anglers consisting of 135 vermilion, 10 copper, and 5 Boccaccio along with a 7.3-pound 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 Sacramento-River salmon bite continues to kick up a notch with a consistent bite near the Freeport Bridge along with more and more salmon taken off of the Benicia shorelines for the first time this year. Striped bass continue to bust into the Sacramento River from Collinsville to the Rio Vista Bridge, and trollers are finding excellent action with deep-diving plugs. Also for the first time since late spring, sturgeon fishermen are starting to man their sturgeon rods once again in lower Suisun Bay. The six-packs are returning to the Delta during the month of October.
Salmon fishing is really picking up, and Uncle Larry Barnes of Sacramento Pro Tackle said, “Kayakers are jigging below the Freeport Bridge every night, and they are landing fish consistently, and there are also salmon taken near Hood by trollers pulling Silvertron spinners. This is a normal pattern right now as the bite picks up during the 2nd and 3rd week of September, and I expect the action to heat up around the 21st. It all depends on the water releases, and if there are heavy water releases, I expect the window will be limited to a few weeks and people could miss out on the bite.”
Alan Fong of the Fishermen’s Warehouse in Sacramento went below the Freeport Bridge this week, and he found the action slow overall, but he was able to landed a 12.5-pound salmon on a Blade Runner spoons. He said, “I wanted to go in the evenings as there were at least 30 boats out there. It was good to get out there to learn where all of the new snags are located.” Mike Gravert of Intimidator Sport Fishing was also out in the region, and he was observed losing a couple of salmon while jigging until their finally brought in their third hook up. He is taking research trips for future guided trips.
Striped bass have moved into the river, and they are found near Liberty Island with live minnows or mudsuckers, and smallmouth bass are moving up in the water column as the water is cooling along the rocky banks in Steamboat and Miner Sloughs along with around Walnut Grove.
Sylvia Vieira of Vieira’s Riverside Bait near Isleton reported two or three salmon were landed per day by the few boats trolling the Old Sacramento from the mouth to the Isleton Bridge with Silvertron spinners.
Striped bass action remains very good in the Sacramento River, and Dave Houston of Livermore said, “I took out Rob Turner of Sonora on Thursday, and we fished the San Joaquin for no fish, but plenty of grass before moving over to the Sacramento side. The incoming tide was fairly clear, and we did find 18 keepers and five shakers on the West Bank with chartreuse lures working best.”
Clyde Wands, shallow trolling expert, was also out on Thursday in the Collinsville area, and she said, “We had a pretty good day with a number of stripers to 9 pounds. Dave Houston was in the same area, and he had the hot rod with 18 keepers, but we also found them. The grass was too thick in Broad Slough to troll shallow so we found everything deep near Collinsville, and the incoming tide was best as the grass dropped out. We also saw a few salmon roll, and I have heard of improved action in the Old Sacramento River near Vieira’s Resort. I will be fishing the Central Valley Anglers Salmon Derby out of Wimpy’s Resort on the 21st.”
Bill Crooks and Guy Brown of Sacramento were out with Ron Retzlaff in the middle of the weekend, and Crooks said, “We had a great trip as we trolled deep-diving lures for around 5 hours near Collinsville and Broad Slough, and it was a great day for big fish. We landed 20 keepers with only one shaker, and the fish were from 4.5 to 12 pounds, and we threw back a 10 and a 12. A short time on a shallow troll did not produce. It was great to see Mark Wilson back on the water, and he was out there catching more and bigger fish.”
In Suisun Bay, Tony Lopez of Benicia Bait said, “There were five salmon landed off of the shoreline on Saturday on Vee-Zee or similar heavy spinners, and there were only 9 salmon taken off of the banks before this date. The incoming tide has been the top time. Sturgeon fishermen are starting to show up into the area, and Ron Riesinger of Chico is back on the water for his annual month-long sturgeon and striped bass attempts. There was a report of several sturgeon landed under the Benicia/Martinez Bridge, and striped bass fishing is starting to take off as our sales of bullheads have been very high.”
The six-packs will be back in the water within two weeks, and Captain Steve Mitchell of Hook’d Up Fishing out of Pittsburg and Joey Gamez of Golden State Sport Fishing will be starting their sturgeon adventures in October while Captain Zach Medina of Gatecrasher Fishing Adventures will be beginning his ‘catch and release’ trips out of Martinez.
The 72nd Rio Vista Bass Derby and Festival will take place from October 11-13th with information at www:bassfestival.com.
The waters of the San Joaquin-Delta are starting to cool, and the shad is balling up which is a good sign for fall fishing in the Delta. Fresh shad is available in area bait shops, and striped bass are starting to compete with largemouth bass for angler attention.
Randy Pringle, the Fishing Instructor, hosted this past weekend’s annual Bass Fest at Russo’s Marina on Bethel Island, and he said, “We launched 87 teams during Sunday’s tournament along with hosting a solid array of booths for the trade and vendor show on both Saturday and Sunday. With the event, we are attempting to attract as many new fishermen as possible who have never fished a tournament but would like to. The bite is going to be really good although some fishermen are ‘crying the blues.’ The nights are cooler right now, and there are shad moving into the Delta. The shad is shallow now, and I have been scoring with the Opti Shad on a Zappu underspin jig head as the underspin has flash which is similar to the shad in the 2- to 4-inch range. There are lots of 2-inch shad in the shallows, and the ima Finesse Popper has been deadly, but you have to keep it still and not move it a lot. We have also been scoring with the Bottom Hopper or General with Max Scent along the Hit Worm in bluegill patterns. Lighter colors are working now due to the amount of shad. Once again, keeping the bait in the strike zone as long as possible is essential.”
Vince Borges of Vince Borges Outdoors and Phenix Rods reported an excellent punch bite with the same techniques of 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.
Dan Mathisen of Dan Mathisen Outdoors has been running guided trips out of Russo’s Marina, and he said, “We have been tying into striped bass in the 3- to 6-pound range with the occasional lineside to 11 pounds using Optima’s Bad Bubba Shad swimbaits. I netted 18 keepers out of 23 stripers landed on a morning trip this week. The big fish are few and far between, but I expect the action to improve as the bait is balling up. It is a good time to go out right now with the cooler nights and the stripers coming in.” Mathisen is now guiding out of Russo’s Marina for largemouth and striped bass.
The FLW Costa Delta Series event will take place out of Russo’s Marina on Frank’s Tract from September 26-28th.
Caution is advised while boating in the San Joaquin-Delta as a tragic boat accident occurred halfway between Discovery Bay and Stockton on Saturday evening resulting in the death of a 24-year old woman and five other passengers hospitalized .
H and R Bait in Stockton continues to receive plenty of fresh shad in the shop, and the shad has been the top bait for shoreline anglers from Discovery Bay towards the Stockton Deep Water Channel. Bluegill continue to be taken east of Stockton along Eight Mile Road and Whiskey Slough with red worms, meal worms, or jumbo red worms.
The algae blooms continue in the east and south Delta, 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 3 Striper 1 Catfish 2 Crappie 2
Nacimiento is experiencing white bass boiling on the surface along with spotted bass getting in on the action chasing shad throughout the lake. Finding the birds diving or working the surface is the key as the shad are being pushed up by both species of bass. Topwater lures such as River2Sea Whopper Ploppers, small swimbaits, Kastmasters, or Roostertails are picking up the white bass which have been as large as 3 pounds. Vertically jigging with small white spoons is the technique for the white bass when the fish are suspended at depth to 25 feet. Spotted bass fishing is best with small plastic worms on the drop-shot. Shade pockets with structure is the best location for crappie with minijigs while catfish are found with scented cut baits or dip baits.. The fuel dock is now selling fuel again from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. The lake dropped from 52 to 50% this week.
At Lopez, the cooler weather this week should help the bass bite as the present action has been fair at best with topwater frogs or small Poppers working in shaded areas or over weeds and mats in the early morning before dropping to the bottom with jigs, Brush Hogs, or plastics to 6-inches on a Texas rig around the outside weedlines in 10 to 20 feet of water by mid-morning. Rocky structure is another location where the bass are holding. Panfish remains 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, spoons, topwater lures, or small swimbaits in shad patterns are working best for largemouth bass in the mornings and evenings near the surface as they have been chasing shad. Large plastics to 8 inches along with deep-diving crankbaits are best by mid-morning over structure. Crappie are holding in certain trees or rockpiles near the dam with minijigs or small swimbaits while catfish are found on nightcrawlers.
At San Antonio, the cooler water temperatures will also help out the bass bite, and as in the other coastal lake, the bass are chasing shad, 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 34%.
Kokanee Power Team Derby: Sept. 7 at Shaver Lake – Adult Division (3-fish limits): 1, Kevin and Karla Smith, 57.60 ounces (Big Fish 20.50 ounces); 2, Jim and James Franco, 54.10; 3, Gary Coe/John Lico, 53.00. Junior Division (1-fish limit): 1, Nathaniel Lenard, 17.35; 2, Brody Code– 16.20; 3, Annabella Zambatero, 15.45.
Best Bass Tournament’s Bass Fest: Sept. 15 at Delta/Russo’s Marina (3-fish limit) – 1, Adrian Murar/Nick Dulleck, 15.62 pounds (Big Fish 7.29); 2, Andy Doudna/Andrew Kobayashi, 13.81; 3, Nick Cloutier/Joey Skym, 13.27.
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
Oct. 6: Delta/Wimpy’s Marina – Central Valley Anglers Salmon Derby, Salt Springs – Central Valley Kayak Fishing
Nov. 2: Don Pedro – Autism Speaks Fundraiser Tournament (contact Michaela Schimgdall at 209-603-5258)
Week of Sept. 22 by California Department of Fish and Wildlife:
Fresno County: Kings River below Pine Flat Dam
Kern County: Kern River sections 4-5
Madera County: San Joaquin River Middle Fork, Starkweather Lake
Tulare County: Kern River section 5
Week of Sept. 29 by California Department of Fish and Wildlife:
Kern County: Kern River sections 3-4
q = quarter moon