Compiled by Dave Hurley and edited by Roger George, a former Olympic-class decathlete at Fresno State and striper record-holder at Millerton Lake and who now guides in the greater Fresno area. Telephone numbers are in 559 calling area unless noted.
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Delta stripers and bass hitting, Randy Pringle reported. Eastman and Hensley producing nice bass, Steve Newman said. Wishon trout fishing is “red hot,” Kelly Brewer reported. California Aqueduct stripers improved, Pete Cormier said. McClure trout action steady after big plant, Steve Marquette reported.
2-Have to work hard
4-Fish jumpin’ in boat
Delta Mendota Canal and Sloughs
Striper 3 Catfish 2
The California Aqueduct continues to improve for striped bass, and more anglers are heading to the water conveyance system instead of the O’Neill Forebay due to the improved action. Steve Newman of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis reported that the water has cleared up with the heavy releases, and the headgates around Los Banos are a good location as the shad are balling up and holding in the moving water close to the headgates. Anglers are tossing Duo Realis jerkbaits or topwater lures into the shad boils.
In the southern section of the aqueduct in Kern County, Pete Cormier of Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield said, “The aqueduct is still good with blood worms along with large minnows, flukes, and jerkbaits. We have seen a number of pictures of stripers this week. For catfish, anchovies, sardines, mackerel, minnows, and chicken livers are all working.”
Bass 3 Trout 2 Bluegill 2 Catfish 2 Crappie 2
Eastman Reservoir remains the best bet for largemouth bass for Central Valley bass fishermen as it is approaching a normal fall routine. The night bite continues to be the best, and the time for throwing deep-diving or lipless crankbaits is rapidly arriving.
Steve Newman of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “The night bite is best with big plastic worms from 7 to 10 inches on a Texas or Tokyo-rig along with smaller swimbaits such as the 4-inch boot tail Kei Techs on a 3/8- to 1/4-ounce jig head. The bass are eating at night as there is a lot of bait forming around the humps and saddles. There is also a crankbait bite at the dam with Rat-L-Traps on a slow fall. You have to let it fall from five to seven counts and not let it fall into the rocks. Deep-diving crankbaits such as Strike King’s XD6s in blue-back herring or fluorescent colors such as Sexy Shad are also effective. Catfishing has been slow as Tyler from our shop blanked after sitting on the banks for five hours with chicken livers. There are some crappie, but we have been selling a minimum of crappie gear lately.”
Eastman dropped from 52% to 51%.
Call: Eastman Lake 689-3255
Bass 3 Trout 2 Catfish 2 Bluegill 2 Crappie 2
Newman said of Hensley, “The bass are grouped up, and you can find them in the 2.5- to 3-pound range on Senkos on a wacky-rig, Texas-rigs plastics, or jigs along with spinnerbaits. Topwater lures such as buzzbaits, River2 Sea Whopper Ploppers, or frogs are working close to the shoreline. There is far less fishing pressure at Hensley than at Eastman, and a few boats can really crowd the lake.”
Hensley receded from 40% to 37%.
Lake Don Pedro
Bass 2 Trout 2 Kokanee 2 King salmon 1 Crappie 2
Few reports of the trout action, but the last reports were excellent at depths from 55 to 80 feet with Speedy Shiners or similar heavy spoons at 3.5 mph in the main lake. The rainbows are holding around the shad schools, and it is a matter of locating the bait to locate the trout. The lake is releasing water, and the bass bite is very tough with small swimbaits or wacky-rigged plastics along vertical walls with shade.
The lake dropped slightly to 85%.
A fundraiser tournament for Autism Speaks with a 50% payback is planned for Nov. 2, contact Michaela Schimgdall at 209-603-5258.
Lake Isabella/Bakersfield area
Bass 2 Trout 3 Crappie 3 Catfish 3 Bluegill 2
Pete Cormier of Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield reported that there is still a good crappie bite off of the bank near Red’s Marina with minijigs. He said, “If they are finding them here, they are located in other places in the lake. The catfish are biting Sonny’s Dip Bait, mackerel, sardines, or chicken livers from the banks at night, and there is a bass bite with crankbaits or plastic worms.” Isabella has dropped to 37%. The upper Kern River continues to be good for planted rainbow trout above the Kernville Bridge and also at the Kernville Park Recreation Area with salmon eggs, nightcrawlers, or Power Bait. The flows in the lower Kern River are still moving, and a few bass and catfish can be taken from the access points below the day. 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 3 Trout 2 Catfish 2
Local bass expert Gary Wasson of Visalia reported an improved bass bite with jigs or underspin as the lake has been dropped to near-minimum pool at 9%.
Pete Cormier of Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield said, “We are getting good reports of crappie action from the banks with minijigs around the submerged trees and rockpiles in the lowered lake.”
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, “There is definitely more interest in the lake since school has started as anglers are hitting the rocky points and scoring on bass on plastics and big spinnerbaits. The bite should really improve next week as the temperatures are going to drop into a fall pattern. The water releases continue, and the lake is very low at 16%. The lower water levels will bring the bass into rocky points will be making fall fishing more enjoyable.”
Wasson landed a largemouth bass over 6 pounds this week, and he said, “There is a good reaction bite along with jigs and plastics on a dart-head.”
Stokke said the Tule River is lower, and the dry fly action is excellent: “My son Zach and I fished the Middle Fork this week, and we scored some quality browns and rainbows from 6 to 15 inches on caddis patterns.”
Bass 2 Trout 3 King salmon 0 Kokanee 0 Crappie 2 Catfish 2
The Mother Lode lakes trout trolling action will heat up as the rainbows migrate to the surface once the reservoirs turn over, but there are still some solid possibilities existing for those willing to go deep with downriggers. Lake McClure may be the best option as the huge 150,000-pound trout plant of a few months has yet to be depleted.
Steve Marquette of the Lake McClure/Lake McSwain Recreation Company said, “We were out on the lake this week near the south ramp at depths from 55 to 65 feet to catch and released easy limits of rainbows to 3 pounds using the silver/blue Kastmaster. The fish are getting a little smaller, and we are releasing our rainbows in the water to avoid netting them for near-certain mortality. A 4.5-pound rainbow was also caught near the dam on a blade/’crawler combination. The Speedy Shiner or silver/gray Needlefish are other options.”
For bass, Ryan Cook of Ryan Cook’s Fishing said, “The bite is really tough right now as the bass are roaming around in open water with the releases. There are two different groups of fish at both lakes – one from 10 to 40 feet and the others below 75 feet. I don’t target fish that deep because there is too much mortality. Glide baits are working for the larger fish, and I would find vertical cover like bridge pilings or along vertical walls or ledges with small swimbaits like Kei Techs or weightless worms on a slow fall. The action will rebound within the next three weeks, but it is brutal right now.”
The River Rat Bass Tournament at McClure on Saturday was taken with a winning weight of 9.80 pounds, and tournament organizer Ron Sanches Jr. of Fresno said, “We ended up in third with 8.28 pounds, but two weeks ago while prefishing, we had 25 pounds for five with one almost 12 pounds and another at 6 pounds.”
McClure dropped from 79% to 75%.
Call: Ryan Cook – Ryan Cook’s Fishing 691-7008
The Turlock Remote Control Flying Club took center stage at the lake over the weekend, closing off a good portion of the lake to fishing. A few rainbows are taken in the early mornings or late afternoons with trout dough bait or nightcrawlers. The annual Merced Irrigation Fall Trout Derby has been canceled for this year; it was scheduled for Oct. 4-5. No trout plants are scheduled for the upcoming months.
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. Steve Newman of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “Finding numbers of spotted bass is not a challenge, but the size remains limited. The spots are holding along points transitioning into deep water, particularly areas with large rock moving into shad or smaller rock. Dragging plastics on shaky head, drop-shot, or Ned Rig from 25 feet to the bank are getting bite, and plastics on green pumpkin, Casper, or Purple Ghost are best as the bass are keying on the shad schools. Deep-diving crankbaits have not been productive yet, but jerkbaits running around 6 feet on a slow cadence are working. The best fishing is in the main lake.”
The lake is releasing water, and it dropped from 75% to 73%.
Call: Valley Rod & Gun 292-3474
New Melones Reservoir/Tulloch
Bass 2 Crappie 2 Catfish 2 Trout 2 Kokanee 1
The bass bite at the Mother Lode lakes has hit the doldrums as the lakes are releasing water for agricultural and domestic uses in the valley and beyond, and the bass are suspending in response. Once the lakes settle down within the next few weeks, the action should take off once again.
Randy Pringle, the Fishing Instructor, was on New Melones this week, and he said, “The bite was not as good as I hoped it would be as the lake is dropping and the fish are suspending. We found our best action with the small Opti Shad on a drop-shot rig alogn with the Splittail Flatnose Minnow with Max Scent. Dark colors worked best in the morning with lighter plastics in the afternoons as the shad are starting to ball up.”
With the kokanee action over for the season, trollers are focusing on the occasional large rainbow trout with big profile lures at depths to 60 feet. Catfish are found on nightcrawlers or chicken livers. Glory Hole’s annual Catfish Contest starts on Oct. 1, and registration has begun with a limited number of participants.
The lake held at 85%.
Pine Flat Reservoir/Kings River
Bass 2 Trout 2 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. Steve Newman of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “The receding water levels continue to contribute to a tough bait as the bass are suspending and the bait is moving around. In the early mornings, the bait moves into the shallows, and there is some action with underspins, spinnerbaits, or topwater lures such as poppers. By mid-morning, the shad drops down between 25 and 40 feet, and big plastic worms on the drop-shot or Ned-rig along with jigs are effective. The shad are pulling off of the banks into deeper water, particularly in the deep canyons of the main lake. Vertical walls or rocky outcroppings around Windy Gap have been some of the most productive locations. Trout trolling remains slow, and there are few crappie reports.”
The lake dropped from 60% to 58%.
In the lower Kings River, trout plants continue with a plant scheduled for this week. Trout fishing is good with salmon eggs or trout dough bait as the planters are holding in the slower water with quality rainbows caught and released by fly fishermen in the catch-and-release section. The impending caddis hatch will further spur on trout action.
San Luis Reservoir and O’Neill Forebay
Striper 2 Catfish 2 Bass 2 Crappie 2
The water levels at San Luis Reservoir remain consistent with a balance between pumping out of the South Delta in conjunction with water releases down the California Aqueduct, but the blue-green toxic algae persist despite the recent cooler weather.
Steve Newman of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “In the main lake, trollers are doing well with umbrella rigs along with deep-diving plugs, and the stripers are shallow in the morning between 25 and 30 feet before dropping deeper in the water column by mid-morning. Most trollers are running the edges and the banks around the dam or the Trash Racks. Shad are congregating into the coves, and they are being pushed into structure by the stripers.”
Roger George of Roger’s Guide Service said, “The recent full moon combined with a temperature drop of 20 degrees and wind seemed to put the troll bite on hold for most anglers. The stripers are suspending in deep water, but there has been a sporadic topwater bite with schoolie stripers in some coves in the early mornings, but this isn’t consistent as even experienced anglers are getting blanked as the bite is changing each day. I was out with a friend on Friday, and I was hoping the bite was going to rebound from the wind, moon and cool front, but we found tough sledding most of the morning with just a few troll fish. The pumps were running on Friday, and we caught a few small fish on Lucky Crafts in ghost colors there. We covered Portuguese Cove, the Romero Visitor Center, the West Bank and the north side for a couple hours but it was the same story with a lot of scattered and inactive fish. The water temperatures had fallen to 70.5, and the algae seems to be mixing more so things looked better. We had only 10 small fish for the day when I dropped my friend off and went back out solo. I decided to just try one more area by the dam and then leave when I suddenly hooked up a big fish over 41 inches that I released quickly.”
San Luis rose to 61%.
In the O’Neill Forebay, Mickey Clements of Coyote Bait and Tackle said, “The forebay continues to be slow with the best action in the evenings with frozen or live bait. The action should get better as we move into the fall.”
Bass 2 Trout 2 Kokanee 2
A few bass fishermen have been out, and the reaction bite should pick up as the water continues to cool, but kokanee are still a possibility with Mike Beighey of Bass Lake Fishing working hard for a pair of limits 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 from 95% to 89%.
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% with 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
The light switch stays off at Shaver Lake for both kokanee and rainbow trout, leaving many of the locals wondering what is going on. It seemed like everything shut down right after the big derby on the first Saturday in September, and it has been a grind since then as the water levels at all of the Central Sierra reservoirs are dropping.
Dick Nichols of Dick’s Fishing Charters, said, “Fishing at Shaver continues to be slow for kokanee and trout are not on the scope. There is no rhyme or reason for this as kokanee fishing for pre-spawn salmon Is usually decent now. Normally, it would be a couple limits of 5 kokanee and 5 trout now, but the trout can’t be found. There have been some kokanee found in Stevenson Bay at 31 to 36 feet along with the mouth of Boy Scout Cove and the south side of the island at similar depths, but you have to go from 80 to 95 feet to get bit near the Point. This makes us wonder what is going to happen next year with few 3rd-year kokanee. The few kokanee we are picking up have been on pink/white Tiger Mountain or orange hoochies behind purple or orange Mountain Dodgers. With the slow bite, I have been warning my clients of the slow fishing and offering full refunds if they choose not to give it a try.”
Todd Wittwer of Kokanee.net has also postponed scheduled guide trips during the past week, and he is holding off with any bookings until the bite improves. He said, “One experienced troller was out for 8 hours in order to put in a limit of kokanee, and that’s a tough bite.”
Shaver dropped from 81% to 80%.
At Huntington, the lake is releasing water, and it dropped from 73% to 67% this week due to heavy releases into Shaver Lake and down the San Joaquin River system. Not much change in the trout action as 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, “The trout fishing is hotter than a firecracker as last week’s trout plant has lit up the bite. Trollers and bank fishermen are scoring limits, and I went myself for a few minutes on Sunday for three trout on trout dough bait. Trollers are scoring with 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 20 feet. Shore fishermen are scoring at the mouth of Short Hair Creek, the dam, and the boat launch with inflated nightcrawlers or trout dough bait.”
At Courtright, Brewer reported the lake is kicking out limits due to the recent plants with similar techniques to Wishon. Trollers are pulling blade/’crawler combinations, Wedding Rings, or Dick’s Trout Busters tipped with a nightcrawler at depths to 20 feet. 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
Captain Tom Mattusch of the Huli Cat said, “The boat went rockfishing off of the Deep Reef on Saturday in 220 feet of water, and we landed 13 limits of rockfish with some nice bottom dwellers mixed in with blues and yellows. Rockfishing remains very good for limits with a few lings possible. The Coastside salmon haven’t arrived in the numbers that we are expecting yet, but second Captain Michael Cabanas was able to pick up 10 salmon for 11 passengers on a recent trip. I went out on the private boat Noosa Cat recently and was able to land a 12-pound Coastside release salmon.”
The Coastside Fishing Club received a generous donation of $5,000 towards the Salmon Acclimation Net Pen Program from Sean White, who puts on the Albion Open Kayak Fishing Tournament.
The opening of the recreational Dungeness crab season on November 2nd is a huge celebration out of this harbor, and the campgrounds and parking lot will be full of RV’s, tents, and boat trailers. The Huli Cat is the only large party boat out of Half Moon Bay running the popular combination crab/rockfish trips. The opening of the recreational season looks promising with the warm water blob far off of the central coast as the warm water affects the domoic acid level in crab.
Salmon 2 Rockfish 3 Striper 2 Halibut 2 White sea bass 2 Surf Perch 3
Chris Arcolleo of Chris’s Fishing Trips in Monterey said, “The weather has been rough, and we have been limited to the local reefs for limits of rockfish. There are commercial boats working the beaches for white sea bass, and it is interesting that the bite is in the afternoons with nothing in the morning. The boats are heading out at 4:00 p.m., and they are finding as many as 7 white sea bass. The coming weekend is full, but there is room for rockfish on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week.”
Allen Bushnell of the Santa Cruz Kayak Fishing and Surf Casting Guide Service said, “Seasonal weather changes always come with some confusion and tumult. This year is no exception. On one morning the ocean will be calm as glass, and the next day winds can howl. Sometimes the winds are howling later that same morning. It sometimes makes for difficult trip planning. But plucky anglers keep pushing forward.
California halibut remain firmly on the menu. Most flatty reports these days are coming from the beaches north of Santa Cruz, or from Capitola down towards Pajaro as well as the Sand City area near Monterey. Commercial squid boats are working close to Pajaro at this time, and a few anglers are finding white sea bass by flylining fresh live squid in that area. Night fishing, especially with a big moon, is a good bet for the white sea bass. Surfcasters who take the P.M. shift are also doing well with striped bass. Anglers night-fishing the Seaside area beaches reported multiple stripers coming in measuring over 30-inches. On the north side of the Bay most striper reports lately have come from the Harbor and Rivermouth beaches. The stripers are elusive, with schools moving in and out. Persistence pays off. Keep watching for nearshore bait and throwing those lures. The bite will come.
San Francisco Bay
Salmon 2 Halibut 3 Striper 2 Rockfish 3 Leopard shark 2 Sturgeon 2
The big spawner salmon have shown up along the Marin coastline, and Captain Chris of Big C’s Charters came close to limits with 9 big salmon for 5 passengers on Sunday before having his best action of the season on Monday with quick limits including 6 hook ups at one time. His scores are comparable with Captain Trent Slate as he is normally the highliner of the trolling fleet. Slate was commercial salmon fishing during the week, and they landed 18 fish with a 15-pound average. Slate’s 26-foot Boston Whaler is being repowered, and he will be back on the water mooching by the weekend.
The transition from bay potluck trips to rockfishing has started, and with the overall slow action for salmon along the Marin coastline, there are more and more party boats heading to the reefs along the coast or at the Farallons Islands.
The Happy Hooker out of Berkeley went to the Farallons on Saturday for 26 limits of rockfish along with 16 lings. Dan, aka ‘The Barnacle’ Wulff of Manteca landed the jackpot ling cod on a recent trip.
The California Dawn out of Berkeley went along the Marin coast on Sunday for 27 limits of rockfish along with 27 limits of lings to 27 pounds before returning to the bay for drifts for halibut and bass for 3 halibut to 20 pounds and 6 striped bass.
Even Captain Shawn Taylor on the El Dorado III switched over to rockfish and halibut over the weekend instead of salmon fishing, and his 11 passengers put in limits of rockfish, 5 ling cod, and 16 halibut to 21 pounds.
Ed Liu at Bay Tackle in El Cerrito has been heading out with his buddy and co-worker, Pete, on a regular basis to cast Strike King swimbaits, Reaction Innovation’s Skinny Dippers, or Zoom Flukes with a paddletail on a 3/8th to ½-ounce jig head in the bay, but he said, “The halibut and striped bass are there, but there is no pattern and you have to hunt them down as they are moving every day. They are here today and gone tomorrow. It is mind-boggling how much they are moving around. There have been some big white sea bass taken by those trolling for salmon or halibut outside the Gate on the bars, and these are big fish in the 40- to 70-pound range. There are also white sea bass in the bay, but these are a smaller grade from 30- to 40 inches and around 15 pounds. Salmon fishing has been up-and-down as the fish are moving through the area very fast on their way through the bay and up into the Sacramento River.”
Keith Fraser of Loch Lomond Bait and Tackle was crowing about the amazing array of live bait in the shop, stating, “We have live shiners, live bullheads, live anchovies, live grass shrimp, live ghost shrimp, and live pile worms in the shop.” Now that is an amazing array of live bait.
San Luis Obispo
Rockfish 3 Surf perch 2
Out of San Luis Obispo County, rockfishing continues to be the story 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 28 anglers for 16 vermilion, 9 copper, 210 assorted rockfish, and 1 ling cod to 5 pounds with Alex Garcia of Wasco landing the jackpot ling. Out Morro Bay Landing, the Starfire and Avenger came up with near-limits for 67 fishermen on Sunday with a combined count of 186 vermilion, 11 copper, 31 Boccaccio, 439 assorted rockfish, 1 Bolina, 2 cabezon, 5 ocean whitefish, and 7 ling cod to 11 pounds. Out of Virg’s Landing in Morro Bay, the Fiesta was out on Monday with 26 anglers for limits of rockfish consisting of 25 vermilion, 15 Boccaccio, and 220 assorted rockfish to go with 2 lings. 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 salmon bite has been showing some signs of life, but the fish are rapidly on the move. Striped bass action is best below the Rio Vista Bridge towards Collinsville along the West Bank, and trollers are finding consistent action as the schools are moving in to the Delta. For the first time in months, sturgeon fishermen are returning from the bay and the ocean, and sturgeon tags are starting to be used once again.
Johnny Tran of New Romeo’s Bait and Tackle in Freeport said, “Salmon fishing continues to improve, and trollers are picking them up with Flat Fish, Silverton spinners, and Brad’s Cut Plugs while bank anglers are tossing Flying C’s. Jigging with Slammer Minnows or P-Line Laser Minnows are also effective. Stripers are taken on live minnows or mudsuckers near Liberty Island while sardines or anchovies coated with garlic scent are best on the anchor. Smallmouth bass can be taken on the normal spots, but there has been less interest in this species lately. Catfish are found around Liberty Island, Prospect Slough, and the Deep Water Channel with nightcrawlers or chicken livers.”
Tom and Davis Uslan of Clarksburg were jigging P-Line Laser Minnows south of the Freeport Bridge on Saturday, and they landed two chrome-bright salmon.
Sylvia Vieira of Vieira’s Riverside Bait near Isleton said, “We had a crowd out here on Saturday with the Isleton Chapter of the California Striped Bass Association holding a derby, and those trolling for salmon are bringing in fish. Most trollers are using double-bladed chartreuse Silvertron spinners. The bite should be getting better and better, and it will definitely last through October.”
Senior Field Scout, Dave Scatena of Stockton, was out on Wednesday trolling from the Ryde Hotel and back to Walnut Grove with no hits, runs, or errors, and he said, “We know of three salmon landed in the area, and one was a 4/5-pound jack. I was back again on Friday for similar results, and normally by this time of year, I have landed 4 or 5 salmon.”
Cory Kellar, tackle representative, was near Walnut Grove on Saturday on a friend’s boat, and he landed a limit at 10 and 12 pounds with one on a Silvertron and the other on a Kwikfish.”
Striped bass trolling has been feast or famine, and Clyde Wands, shallow trolling expert, was out twice this week in the West Bank to Collinsville area. On Thursday, he said, “We quit around 2:30 p.m. with 9 keepers to 9 pounds including an 8 and a 7, and we released everything. We had to look around for them, and things are looking better for salmon in the river near Walnut Grove as there were a number of boats out there on my way down to the launch ramp further west. I was out on Tuesday, and the school of stripers around Collinsville had disappeared, and we picked up only 4 small keepers.”
Dave Houston of Livermore has been on a roll with a 13-pound striped bass released earlier this week along with a 22-pound lineside on Thursday. He said, “The grass has dissipated quite a bit since earlier in the week, and the bite has definitely picked up. We put on a lot of miles today searching for new fish from Frank’s Tract through Broad Slough, and most of the fish were caught on the Sacramento River side Mos of the stripers have been in the 4/5-pound range, but my largest was a 22 pounder released on a gold Yozuri Crystal Minnow on the deep troll. I was back on Sunday during the CSBA event, and he said, “It was flat calm with very little grass to deal with, and we ended up with 13 keepers with almost everything taken between Collinsville and the Sherman Island Power Lines. We marked a lot of fish on the West Bank, but they wouldn’t go, and there are squawfish jumping everywhere.”
Ryan Schembri was also trolling around Collinsville on Saturday, and they put in two limits of stripers using chartreuse or red head/white deep-diving Yozuris with all of the action at the beginning of the incoming tide. He said, “The stripers were stacked up along the drop offs at 10 to 18 feet just off of the banks.”
In Suisun Bay, Tony Lopez of Benicia Bait said, “Salmon fishing has really picked up at both 1st Street in Benicia and the Dillon Point State Park. There have been around 5 salmon taken per day from each location, and there have also been some steelhead caught. We are selling loads of Vee-Zee spinners for the shore casters. I went sturgeon fishing with Ron Reisinger this week, and the grass was horrible so we moved into shallow water and the sturgeon were biting. We released three small legal sturgeon to 47 inches on lamprey eel, and Ron went back out on Sunday for a 52-inch diamondback released. The incoming tide has been the only clear water as once the tide turns, the grass is heavy. Striper fishing has been decent from the shorelines, and we are selling bullheads on a regular basis.”
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 Oct. 11-13 with information at 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.
Vince Borges of Vince Borges Outdoors was out with Captain Joey Gamez of Golden State Sport Fishing on Thursday afternoon searching for striped bass. Borges said, “It is beautiful out here right now as the wind was down after blowing in the morning, but we found only small stripers out of Big Break, Eddo’s, Sherman Island, and in Broad Slough.”
Randy Pringle, the Fishing Instructor, was out on the Delta on Wednesday after fishing with the same client at New Melones on Tuesday. He said, “The conditions were overcast, and we found a great bite for largemouth bass with the ima Pinjack crankbait in shad patterns as there is a lot of shad in the Delta. A vibrating jig is also effective, but you have to make accurate casts to get to the fish. With clients with less experience, I have been using spinning rods with the General with Max Scent in either Baby Bass or Watermelon Candy on a Zappu head as there are schools of perch and baby bass in the shallows, and the bass are feeding on these larger baits in the shallows.”
Kris Huff of Stockton was out with his wife, Giana, on their anniversary, and he put her on to a solid limit of largemouth bass punching the weeds in Mildred Island.
Dan Mathisen of Dan Mathisen Outdoors is working guide trips out of Russo’s Marina, and he said, “Small stripers have been the rule, but there have been reports of some larger linesides to 15 pounds in the early mornings. I haven’t been able to tie into any of these stripers with most legal linesides in the 3- to 6-pound range Optima’s Bad Bubba Shad swimbaits. The bait is balling up as the water is cooling down. For largemouth bass, there is a chatterbait and spinnerbait bite when the wind is blowing, and it has been blowing a lot lately. Punching the weeds is still the top technique, but there has been some topwater action with River2 Sea Whopper Ploppers or Spooks in Mildred and Little Mandeville Island.”
The FLW Costa Delta Series event will take place out of Russo’s Marina on Frank’s Tract from Sept. 26-28.
Stockton area bait shops continue to receive an adequate supply of fresh shad on a regular basis.
Lake Nacimiento/San Antonio/Santa Margarita/Lopez
Bass 3 White bass 3 Striper 1 Catfish 2 Crappie 2
Nacimiento continues to experience the boiling of the white bass in the early mornings, and small topwater lures are working on the surface when they are chasing up bait before moving to the subsurface with small spoons, crankbaits, or spinnerbaits in shad patterns. The bird activity will let you know where the white bass are popping up. Spotted bass fishing is fair, and finesse techniques of plastics on the drop-shot at depths to 25 feet are the best bet. Catfish remain a possibility with cut baits soaked in scent, and mackerel is working particularly well. The lake dropped from 50% to 48% this week.
At Lopez, there hasn’t been much change within the past week with the best action for bass remaining in the early mornings and late afternoons with topwater frogs or walking topwater lures around the grassy mats before working the bottom with plastics on a long leader to stay out of the grass on either a drop-shot or Texas-rig. Crawdad crankbaits are working around the rocks. Bluegill and redear perch are taken on red worms or jumbo red worms at depths to 20 feet, and similar to Nacimiento, mackerel is the best bet for whiskerfish.
At Santa Margarita, it is quality over quantity right now with largemouth bass to 5 pounds a possibility. Working the bottom to 15 feet with big plastic worms to 8 inches on a drop-shot or Texas-rig along with crankbaits in bait fish patterns such as bluegill or shad. The topwater and subsurface reaction bite has been slow. Catfish are also biting mackerel here, and bluegill and red ear perch can be taken on meal worms or red worms.
At San Antonio, catfish are once again the top species with Sonny’s Dip Bait, Triple S Stink Bait in Blood Formula, and mackerel soaked in garlic being the best options. The bass have moved into the shallows as the water levels have remained stable, and a few small fish are taken on plastics on the shaky head, split-shot, or drop-shot. The lake is now on the winter schedule, and the launch ramp is closed on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. The lake held at 34%.
Yak A Bass Duel on the Delta: Sept. 21 at Delta/Paradise Point – 1, Greg Blanchard, 89.25 inches (Big Fish 24.50); 2, Sheldon Gooble, 89.00; 3, Coty Chavarria, 87.75.
River Rats Bass Tournaments: Sept. 21 at McClure – 1, Garrett Maddox/Keith Rowland, 9.80 pounds; 2, Rich Ingram/Robbie Gaither, 9.56 (Big Fish 2.44); 3, Ron and Nick Sanches, 8.28.
Fresno Bass Club: Sept. 22 at Delta/B and W Resort – 1, Gene Bruns, 13.77 pounds (Big Fish 4.76); 2, Corey Squires, 12.90; 3, Mark Corrente, 12.03.
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 209-603-5258
Week of Sept. 29 by California Department of Fish and Wildlife:
Kern County: Kern River sections 3-4
n = new moon > = peak activity