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 bass and stripers hitting, Randy Pringle reported. Bass Lake bass bite steady, Steve Newman said. Don Pedro trout following shad, Kyle Wise reported. Kaweah bass action good, Gary Wasson said. Lake Success bass gulping baits, Chuck Stokke reported. Wishon and Courtright trout filling stringers, Kelly Brewer said. McClure and McSwain trout continue to please anglers, Steve Marquette reported.
2-Have to work hard
4-Fish jumpin’ in boat
Delta Mendota Canal and Sloughs
Striper 3 Catfish 2
In the northern section of the aqueduct, there have been fewer reports within the past week after interest in the water conveyance system has been building over the past several weeks. Heavy water releases out of the main San Luis Reservoir is pushing the bait up against the headgates and providing improved clarity.
In the southern section of the aqueduct in Kern County, Pete Cormier of Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield reported lures have taken over as the top offerings for the striped bass with tubes, flukes, small swimbaits, jerkbaits and Rat-L-Traps increasing in popularity. There are still those soaking bait, and catfishing has been decent with anchovies, sardines, mackerel, minnows and chicken livers.
Bass 2 Trout 2 Bluegill 2 Catfish 2 Crappie 2
Steve Newman of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “Bass fishing is slowing down as the Florida-strain largemouth bass are affected by the colder water temperatures. Working bottom structure with large worms or big jigs are less effective right now as smaller worms in the 4- to 6-inch range are the best option on a drop-shot. The largemouth bass will eat, but you have to leave it in their face for some time in order to trigger a response.”
The lake held at 47%. The next scheduled tournament on the lake is the River Rats event on Saturday, Nov. 2.
Call: Eastman Lake 689-3255
Bass 2 Trout 2 Catfish 2 Bluegill 2 Crappie 2
Similar to Eastman, the largemouth bass bite has slowed with the cooler temperatures. The overall grade of bass is smaller, but there is a topwater bite with frogs on a slow presentation in the shallows in the morning as a few fish sneak into the shallows. A Zoom Horny Toad or a slow moving topwater lure such as a 4- to 5-inch Spook are good options before the sun comes up. Once the sun is up, going to the bottom with wacky-rigged Senkos, jigs or plastics on the Texas-rig remain the top techniques.
The lake dropped from 30% to 27%.
Lake Don Pedro
Bass 2 Trout 3 Kokanee 1 King salmon 1 Crappie 2
The shad have been elusive as they have been moving on a daily basis throughout the big lake. Kyle Wise of Head Hunter Guide Service found shad at the mouth of Big Creek earlier in the week, and it was down by the waterfall near the Flume over the weekend. Once you find the shad, the rainbow trout trolling has been solid with Speedy Shiners coated with Smelly Jelly at depths from 45 to 85 feet. Bass fishing is a challenge with the best action on 1-ounce Hopkins Spoons as deep as 60 feet as the bass are suspended. Ryan Cook of Ryan Cook’s Fishing Guide Service said, “This is the time of year that you have to rely on your electronics as it will take some time to find the shad as it is scattered, but once you find the bait, you will find both the bass and the trout. The bass bite remains tough, but it is improving, and it will continue to improve as we move into the late fall.’
The lake dropped to 81%. A fundraiser tournament for Autism Speaks with a 50% payback is set for Sunday, Nov. 3 – contact Michaela Schimgdall at 209-603-5258.
Don Pedro has been challenging for bass, but experienced anglers are finding success while finding the bait is the key to success for trout trollers.
Lake Isabella/Bakersfield area
Bass 2 Trout 3 Crappie 3 Catfish 2 Bluegill 2
Pete Cormier of Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield said, “Crappie continue to come out of Lake Isabella with minijigs, live minnows, or small Kastmasters as deep as 40 feet. The slabs are near the Marina, but they are also out in deeper water. There was also a trout landed near Kissack Cove, and I don’t know how it got up in this part of the lake as I would have expected the rainbows to be around the North Fork river arm. Catfish remain decent with Sonny’s Triple S Dip Bait in Blood Formula, frozen shad, or clams. The bass bite remains slow.” Isabella has dropped from 32% to 31%.
The upper Kern River continues to be planted, and most fishermen are targeting the planters from the Kernville Park section of the river. Salmon eggs or nightcrawlers are the best bets for the planters. The local lakes of Hart Park and River Walk are anticipated to receive trout plants this week, and Lake Ming received a trout plant last week. In the high country of the upper Kern River, the Golden Trout Wilderness Pack Trains will be taking pack trips through October. Chuck Stokke of the Sequoia Fishing Company in Springville said, “I fished the Golden Trout Wilderness this past weekend, and the goldens and brooks were aggressive on dry flies.”
Bass 3 Crappie 2 Trout 2 Catfish 2
The lake held at near-minimum pool at 8%, and it is difficult to launch a large boat. Local bass expert Gary Wasson of Visalia reported good bass action with deep-diving crankbaits or large profile jigs. The cooling water temperatures should improve the action as the shad ball up near the submerged rockpiles and the vertical spoon bite should also be coming on. There are some crappie taken from the banks with minijigs around submerged trees or rockpiles in the lowered lake.
Call: Sierra Sporting Goods 592-5212
Bass 3 Trout 2 Catfish 2 Crappie 2 Bluegill 2
Chuck Stokke of the Sequoia Fishing Company in Springville said, “The fall bass fishing has been getting better and better each week, and anglers have been scoring some chunky bass on jigs, plastic worms, or swimbaits. This week should be a good week for bass fishing due to the cooling weather conditions.”
The lake dropped slightly to 12%.
The Tule River “is still fishing excellent on dry flies,” Stokke said.
Bass 2 Trout 3 King salmon 0 Kokanee 0 Crappie 2 Catfish 2
For rainbow trout, Steve Marquette of the Lake McClure/McSwain Recreation Company reported continued excellent trout trolling above the dam at depths around 60 feet with Speedy Shiners, Needlefish lures in shad patterns, or Tasmanian Devil spoons. He said, “Fishing is still good, but you have to look around for the shad schools in order to find the rainbows. Once you are on the shad and get on top of them, the rainbow limits will come easily. We had to hunt around for around an hour and a half, but once we were on them, the bite was on. Looking for diving birds is helpful in finding the shad.” Mike Rodriguez of Modesto landed an 8-pound, 11-ounce rainbow on a Speedy Shiner at 40 feet in depth.
Bass fishing remains tough with a 10.80-pound limit taking first place during Saturday’s Merced Bass Club tournament. However, Ryan Cook of Ryan Cook’s Fishing Guide Service said, “The bite is improving, and once you find the bait, you will be able to stay on the fish. We searched for the shad schools for three hours on Monday, but once we found the fish, we were able to stay in one spot for four hours, catching and releasing at least 40 rainbow trout ranging from 10 inches to 2.75 pounds along with numerous spotted bass. You have to hunt them down, but we found the trout and bass mixed in with each other chasing small shad on the surface. The 1/8-ounce silver Kastmaster was the key as we got hit by a trout or a bass on every cast, but they wouldn’t touch a 1/4-ounce Kastmaster. Spooning or shad-patterned plastics on the drop-shot are the best techniques, but there is an emerging jig bite. The shad are scattered from the surface to 90 feet, and we have been averaging from 20 to 70 fish per day with a few rough days mixed in so the bite is clearly improving. Trusting your electronics is the key at this time of year.”
McClure dropped from 66% to 64%.
Call: Ryan Cook – Ryan Cook’s Fishing 691-7008
A surprise plant of 1,500 pounds of rainbow trout was released into Lake McSwain this past week, and this was the first plant in many months. Steve Marquette of the Lake McClure/Lake McSwain Recreation Company said, “Shore fishermen are scoring with Panther Martins, Roostertails and silver/blue Kastmasters from the Brush Pile and the Handicapped Docks along with different colors of trout dough bait or nightcrawlers. The plant was a pleasant surprise, and our anglers really appreciated their efforts. We haven’t had a plant for months, and our annual Fall Trout Derby is still 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 levels at both Pine Flat and Millerton have been dropping steadily, but with the slower releases at Millerton on the San Joaquin watershed, the bass bite has been better than the faster-receding Pine Flat on the Kings River system.
Steve Newman of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “The action at Millerton is decent, and it is better than at nearby Pine Flat as the water releases have been slower. You have to run and gun to locate the bass, but once you find them, you can get on a good bite. Five-inch Senkos on a wacky-rig or plastics on a drop-shot, shaky head or dart head are the best techniques, and you have to use finesse. The typical colors of light blues, purples, pinks, or reds are best as the bass are suspended and keying on shad. Jake Figgs from our shop was out this week, and he found the best action in the main lake around big boulders or rock as the bass are not oriented to the sand or mud right now. Deep-diving crankbaits against the big rocks is another option.”
The lake is releasing water, and it dropped from 60% to 56%.
Call: Valley Rod & Gun 292-3474
New Melones Reservoir/Tulloch
Bass 2 Crappie 2 Catfish 2 Trout 2 Kokanee 1
The early fall transition period continues for the largemouth and spotted bass at New Melones, and the best action remains deep with spoons or plastics on the drop-shot around the shad schools while the rainbow trout are also oriented to the shad schools.
John Liechty of XPerience Bass Fishing Guide Service is back on the water after the birth of his son, Elliot Lincoln, at the end of September. He said, “I have been on the lake at least once a week, and we were out the Sunday after the Best Bass Tournaments TOC, and we put in a decent limit including bass at 3 pounds with a few in the 2.5-pound range. Our best bite was with 1/2- to 1-ounce shad patterned spoons at depths from 45 to 65 feet, and the water is very clear. Normally, I will use light line at 8 pounds on a spinning rod to get down this deep. With the clear water, the shoreline bite with reaction baits has been nonexistent. The bass bite will continue to improve as we move farther into the fall to winter.”
Josh Parris of Josh Parris’s Guide Service said, “The lake is in the midst of the summer to fall transition and it’s not always the easiest time to catch bass. With the fish and bait on the move from their summer haunts to fall areas, it can be hard to locate fish, let alone catch them. They can also become finicky with the weather bringing cold mornings down to the 40s and highs in the 80s. Currently I have been doing a lot of junk fishing from rip baits, drop shots and Alabama rigs to jigs, swimbaits, dart-heading worms and jigs. I have two patterns to locate fish right now, either find it or get as far away from it as possible. When we find fish on bait, I always try starting with reaction shad imitations like topwater, crank baits, rip baits and typically progressing to finesse, drop shots or Ned rigs. When we aren’t around bait the drop shot, dart head or jig have been best.”
For rainbow trout, Kyle Wise of Head Hunter Guide Service was on the lake four times with only one fish landed, and he said, “The lake is so full of shad right now in many of the coves, but the spotted bass are all over the bait schools. I was looking at my logs from last year, and around Thanksgiving is when the trout bite took off. I think once we get some water flowing from rain, the trout bite will be solid.”
Gary Burns of Take it to the Limit Guide Service said, “You have to put in your time on the water to put nice ’bows in your boat, but it’s worth it. The surface temperature is cooling down with the cooler nights, and the big ’bows should start working their way toward the surface more. As of now, the ’bows seem to be from 50 to 80 feet, and when the water cools the fishing should even get better with the trout being in the top 20 feet of water. We are seeing schools of shad all over the lake and at different depths, and when you find the shad, work that area. We’ve been trolling about 2.8 mph using different types of spoons in blue in the main lake.”
The lake dropped from 85% to 84%.
Pine Flat Reservoir/Kings River
Bass 2 Trout 2 Kokanee 0 King salmon 0 Catfish 2 Crappie 2
Newman said, “The bite is tough as the bass are suspending with the dropping water. The water releases combined with the cooling temperatures have the fish locked up. A finesse technique with Senkos on a wacky-rig along with plastics on the drop-shot or dart head as the bass are wanting a slow presentation. You can put the plastics in front of their face, and they will bite, but you have to move the plastic slowly. The bass are holding from 25 to 30 feet along main lake points, and the shad have congregated up the river arm.”
Trout trolling should improve with the cooler water, but as of yet, there have been few reports.
The lake dropped from 51% to 46%.
The lower Kings River remains consistent from the dam to Alta Weir for planted rainbow trout with salmon eggs, nightcrawlers, or trout dough bait. The water in the river has slowed down, but it remains clear. The transition from fast to slow water is the best location for holding rainbows. Fly fishing in the catch and release section is best with Wooley Buggers, streamers, or dry flies.
San Luis Reservoir and O’Neill Forebay
Striper 2 Catfish 2 Bass 2 Crappie 2
The main San Luis Reservoir is releasing water like a sieve as heavy releases have continued down the California Aqueduct for agricultural, industrial and domestic uses in the South Valley and Los Angeles Basin. The dropping water levels continue to affect the troll bite, leaving drifting live minnows the top technique for boaters.
Coyote Bait and Tackle in Morgan Hill reported flukes and jerkbaits are working from the shorelines in the early mornings when the stripers ae pushing up bait, and there is a good topwater bite in the mornings as well. Most of the linesides are 20 inches, but there have been a few bigger linesides up to 40 inches landed this week.
Steve Newman of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “The size of the striped bass is slowing down, and anchovies and cut baits are working best as the shad are not coming into the shallows as consistently as in the past months. Trollers are having to work at depths from 30 to 40 feet over humps with u-rigs in various swimbait patterns.”
Roger George of Roger’s Guide Service said, “Rapidly falling water at the reservoir has been the big news as the trolling bite has faded to slow; however, there have been some reports of topwater action in the recent overcast conditions. The troll bite has become hard with few fish holding on the regular spots like Quien Sabe Point, Lone Oak or the Romero area. The water has fallen almost 20 vertical feet since Oct. 2, and we don’t have any idea when the drawdown might end. I’ve personally been waiting for the lake to stabilize before I hit it which may be around the 1 million acre feet level if the past is any indicator. The algae bloom is slowing down, and some shore anglers and boaters throwing topwater lures like Zara Spooks are getting results with a few fish to 10 pounds. We’ve gone through a tough period with the last full moon, rapid water level drops and some dips in the temperatures. It will get better soon.”
The lake dropped to 53%.
The forebay is receiving more play from Central Valley striped bass fishermen, but the majority of striped bass remain undersized. The best action has been close to moving water at Check 12 or the Medeiros launch ramp with anchovies, pile worms or blood worms. The California Aqueduct has been more productive than either the main lake or the forebay with Duo Realis 120s or Lucky Craft Pointers near moving water.
Bass 3 Trout 2 Kokanee 2
Steve Newman of Valley Rod and Gun said, “Bass fishing continues to be solid at depths from 20 to 30 feet near weeds with Senkos or Trick Worms on a 1/16-ounce weight as using too heavy a weight will result in ending up in the weeds. The weeds are dying, but it hasn’t been cold enough for a complete die-off. Underspins and crankbaits are also effective if you find the right depth, and there is an early morning glide bait bite in the shallows.”
The Department of Fish and Wildlife planted 50,000 kokanee fingerlings this year for the future.
The lake dropped from 76% to 71%.
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 65% to 46% and Florence at 51% with Mammoth Pool from 77% to 75%. Mammoth Pool is a still an option for both rainbow trout and crawdads.
Call: Vermilion Valley Resort at Edison Lake 259-4000
Shaver Lake/Huntington Lake
Kokanee 2 Trout 2
At Shaver, a few kokanee and rainbow trout are still available, but the overall action for trollers has slowed to a crawl. The rainbows should be moving toward the surface soon, and the surface bite will begin. The lake’s guides have postponed trips until the rainbow trout bite emerges. The lake rose dropped from 71% to 70%.
At Huntington, the lake has receded from 52% to 46%, leaving the ramp questionable at best for large boats. The lake hasn’t received a trout plant since August, but the brown trout anglers will be dragging their aluminum boats to the shoreline as soon as the first snow shuts down access. Few fishermen are targeting the lake for rainbow trout now.
The high-elevation lakes on the Kings River watershed of Courtright and Wishon continue to be the top best for rainbow and brown trout in the Central Sierras, and the water levels remain high despite the need for power generation.
Steve Newman of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “Wishon has been stocked on a regular basis, and both shore anglers and trollers are finding great action. Orange trout dough bait is best from the shorelines along with Roostertails with trollers scoring with Thomas Buoyants or similar spoons in rainbow, brook or brown trout patterns at depths to 20 feet. You have to deal with the colder temperatures at both lakes, and the windows for action will become smaller as the winter approaches. The morning to sun-up is the best window, and trollers are finding best action at Wishon along the dam and on the eastern side. The trout sense that the winter is coming, and they are feeding to stock up.”
Kelly Brewer of the Wishon RV Park and Store said, “It’s still been crazy at Wishon, and the water levels remained the same. Bank fishing has been excellent with various colors of trout dough bait, spinners or nightcrawlers, and the trollers are still ripping it up. The fly fishermen are catching and releasing some huge brown trout in the river arm and up the river.”
At Courtright, limits are also found due to the recent plants with similar techniques to Wishon, and a few more brown trout are taken out of Courtright. 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, nightcrawlers or salmon eggs along the dam.
Call: Wishon RV Park 865-5361
Half Moon Bay
Salmon 2 Rockfish 3 Striper 2
Captain Tom Mattusch of the Huli Cat went south below Pigeon Point on Saturday, and they scored limits of rockfish along with the occasional ling cod. The ocean conditions were much rougher on Sunday, and he ran south to Pescadero in 70 feet of water for a slow pick on the rockfish. However, they did put together 20 limits of rockfish highlighted by a 7-pound vermilion landed by a first-time ocean fisherman and six ling cod to 12 pounds with the big fish taken by Darren Sejii of Vallejo on a swimbait. Mattusch is planning on putting a trip together on Wednesday for rockfish as the swell is backing off. They are filled on the crab opening weekend, and their first weekend opening is on November 30th, but there is plenty of room during the week including Veteran’s Day on Monday, November 11th.
Captain Dennis Baxter of the New Captain Pete will also feature the popular combination trips this season starting November 2nd, and he is booking out of Half Moon Bay Sport Fishing. Similar to the Huli Cat, Baxter has a commercial crab puller on the boat which makes for much better results in bringing the crab up from the depths. He was working on his pots on Thursday, and he plans on seasoning them by soaking them in the saltwater before the opener. Baxter plans on dumping his pots at midnight on the opener, and in addition to the opening weekend, he is running a Veteran’s Trip sponsored by the Coastside Fishing Club on November 9th followed by a 1:00 p.m. crab-only trip. He said, “There are still a trickle of salmon out in front, and I had two fresh salmon heads in my cooler this week, and they were both hatchery fish once again so we are still batting 1000%.”
The Queen of Hearts has also seen the light, and they will be also offering crab combination trips for the first time, starting with the Danielson cages and an electric puller before making the investment for a commercial puller.
The commercial crab season is expected to open, and the commercial crab catch represents 98% of the total biomass taken on an annual basis. The threat to commercial crab anglers remains whale entanglement, and two whales entangled could shut down the commercial season. There are some strange things going on in the ocean as there are loads of anchovies, but the sardines have been absent in the warmer water conditions. Squid has also been scarce with the commercial fishermen only bringing in a few tons out of the 118,000 ton quota.
Inside the harbor, shore fishermen have been lining up near the bathrooms to floss for salmon, and the game warden has been on high alert to cite those who are hooking the salmon someplace other than the mouth. There are still a few salmon taken out between the entrance buoys on a daily basis with the Noosa Cat hooking 8 salmon and landing 3 on a recent trip.
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. crab/rockfish trips.
Rockfish 3 Striper 2 White sea bass 2
Keith Semler of Chris’s Fishing Trips reported the swell backed off a bit on Sunday after its apex on Saturday. The Caroline was able to score 19 limits of rockfish and 9 lings despite the swell on Saturday, and the Check Mate went out with a private charter for 15 ling cod and 55 rockfish when the 11-person charter only had around ½ of the participants on the rail due to ‘mal de mar.’ The Caroline and the Star of Monterey combined for 43 limits of rockfish and 3 lings working the local reefs on Sunday. The crab combination trips are booked completely on the opening weekend, but there is room on weekdays. Semler said, “There is plenty of room this week, and the swell is coming down.”
The Turner’s Outdoors trip on the Kahuna out of Moss Landing scheduled for this past weekend south to Point Lopez was postponed due to the swell, and it has been rescheduled for Sunday, Nov. 17.
Crab/rockfish combination trips start on Saturday, Nov. 2.
San Francisco Bay
Salmon 2 Halibut 2 Striper 3 Rockfish 3 Leopard shark 2 Sturgeon 2
The swell affected the ling cod bite over the weekend, but rockfish limits were the rule. The California Dawn went to the Farallon Islands on Saturday for 28 limits and a single ling before returning to the bay for a solitary halibut. The El Dorado, also out of Berkeley, went rockfishing for 14 limits and 4 lings to 12 pounds on Sunday as the swell is backing off a bit.
There are those who continue to try for salmon, and the New Easy Rider out of Berkeley started salmon fishing with 2 fish to 15 pounds before switching over to rockfishing for 17 limits. This boat is shutting down for the winter season.
Inside the bay, the striped bass bite has been on fire with Captain Trent Slate of Bite Me Charters out of Loch Lomond Marina worked the bay on Friday for an amazing 157 striped bass caught and released to go with 4 legal halibut. Captain Slate was back on Sunday, and he put Michio Kashiwazaki of Novato onto a 20-pound white sea bass in the south bay, and they lost another that was on. The striped bass bite is wide open, and there is always the possibility for a ghost.
J and P Bait in San Francisco will only be open 6-9 a.m. from Friday through Sunday for the remainder of the season.
Ocean salmon season ends Oct. 31 with the recreational Dungeness crab starting on Nov. 2.
San Luis Obispo
Rockfish 3 Surf perch 2
Out of San Luis Obispo County, the Morro Bay boats returned with rockfish limits on longer trips with Avenger, Endeavor, and Starfire out of Morro Bay Landing scoring limits of rockfish on Sunday along with 22 ling cod to 15 pounds as part of combined limits of rockfish with 294 vermilion, 50 copper, 20 Boccaccio, 425 assorted, and a cabezon for 79 anglers. Tom Rome of Fresno won a jackpot with the 10-pound cabezon. Out of Virg’s Landing in Morro Bay, the Rita G took out a light load of 15 anglers on Monday for limits with 105 vermilion, 19 assorted rockfish, 4 copper, 12 Boccaccio, and 10 canary rockfish along with 6 ling cod to 10 pounds. Out of Patriot Sport Fishing in Port San Luis, the Patriot and Flying Fish out of Patriot Sport Fishing took ½ day trips on Saturday for 2/3rd limits consisting of 23 vermilion, 8 copper, 3 Boccaccio, 294 assorted rockfish, 4 treefish, and 3 lings to 10 pounds for a combined 59 fishermen. All ports are running a variety of trips in the coming weeks for rockfish/ling cod including overnight trips until the bottom fish closure on December 31st.
Bass 3 Striper 3 Sturgeon 2 Catfish 2 Bluegill 2 Salmon 2
The boat traffic on the Sacramento-Delta calmed down a bit over the weekend after the first large multi-species derby of the fall/winter months took place over the previous weekend with the 72nd Rio Vista Bass Derby and Festival bringing 338 adult and 52 youth participants. The floating and submerged grass continues to plague trollers and bait fishermen on the Sacramento side of the Delta, but the salmon continue to push through quickly as the water temperature remains high.
In the Rio Vista Derby, the adult striped bass division was taken by Steve Cruz with his winning fish only a quarter-inch shy of the 30-inch target length. Cruz took home $3000 for this division. The adult sturgeon division was taken by Charles Leon with a 53.17-inch sturgeon, closest to the 54-inch target length for a cash prize of $1000. The adult salmon division was one by Ken Baccetti, President of the California Striped Bass Association – Isleton Chapter, with a 27.2-pound salmon on the Sacramento River above the Rio Vista Bridge for a prize of $1000.
In the north Delta, Alan Fong of the Fishermen’s Warehouse in Sacramento went chasing stripers around Liberty Island, and he said, “We tried with glide baits for 2 hours without success, and every other cast came back loaded with grass so we switched over to targeting largemouth bass with great success using spinnerbaits and flipping.”
The salmon bite has been spotty in the Freeport area, but there are fish landed every day for those trolling with Brad’s Cut Plugs behind a Pro-Troll E-Chip dodger and a Good Day Release along with tossing heavy spinners off of the banks or jigging 2-ounce spoons. Tom Uslan of Clarksburg landed a 25-pound bright-chrome salmon on a Silvertron spinner in front of the Clarksburg launch ramp. Fong added, “The salmon are in really good shape, and the cut plug/E-Chip dodger technique along with the Silvertrons have been the best options. Trollers are also using the triangular spinning flashers in front of the Silvertrons.”
Sylvia Vieira of Vieira’s Riverside Bait near Isleton said, “We were full over the weekend with duck hunters along with salmon trollers, and there were at least a dozen salmon landed on Saturday with a few more as of Sunday morning. The north wind on both days made for difficult conditions, and a lot of folks packed it in by mid-day. Silvertron spinners seem to be the best option, and the silver/blue combination has been a big seller out of our shop.”
The Mokelumne River is also coming into play for salmon fishermen as it is traditionally one of the later runs of the salmon season.
Dave Scatena of Stockton, fresh off putting his six-year old grandson, ‘Dodger Jack,’ onto his first salmon, took out Mike Junker of Lodi for some success with an 11-pound salmon on a chartreuse Silvertron spinner at the confluence of Georgiana Slough and the Old Sacramento River near Walnut Grove.
The Purple Heart Veteran Angler’s Salmon Derby is in two weeks on Friday, November 1st out of the Sacramento Marina, and there are over 100 veterans signed up to participate. More volunteer boats are needed, and if you are interested in volunteering, Darren Butler at (916) 300-5420 is coordinating this important event.
In Suisun Bay, Tony Lopez of Benicia Bait and Tackle reported small striped bass have been the rule, and there have been around 8 to 12 salmon landed per day off of 1st Street in Benicia with either Vee-Zee or Flying C spinners. A 28-inch halibut was landed off of 1st Street on Sunday on a Flying C intended for salmon. Despite the north wind, sales of bait has been heavy with bullheads, grass shrimp, ghost shrimp, pile worms, and jumbo blood worms in high demand.”
Sturgeon fever is starting to ramp up, and the six-packs are returning to Martinez and Pittsburg. Captain Mike Funtanilla of Bend Ur Rod and Captain Joey Gamez of Golden State Sport Fishing have been finding the diamondbacks in lower Suisun Bay, and the action will only get better from now forward. It is always interesting how the transitions go from season to season, and it is time for sturgeon now that anglers are tired of halibut and salmon.
Gamez has been finding success near the mouth of Montezuma Slough with salmon roe, and Kyle Aarreberg of Clear Lake caught and released a 59-inch sturgeon on his boat this week.
Captain Zach Medinas of Gatecrasher Fishing Adventures out of Martinez is also starting his ‘Catch and Release’ Sturgeon trips out of Martinez Marina.
Steve Mitchell of Hook’Up Sport Fishing is having twin outboards installed on his vessel, the ‘Top Gun,’ and he will be back on the water chasing sturgeon as soon as possible.
Striped bass continue to move into the San Joaquin-Delta in increased numbers, and a variety of techniques are finding success for the linesides.
Jeff Soo Hoo of Soo Hoo’s Sport Fishing out of Lauritzen’s Yacht Harbor said, “We have continue to score limits of striped bass every day on the San Joaquin side, and we have used a number of different methods between drifting live jumbo minnows, plugging with glide baits or swimbaits, or spooning with shad-patterned lures. The grass varies by location, and it is important to find clear water. The stripers have been mostly school-sized, but our largest of the week was 14 pounds.”
Vince Borges of Vince Borges Outdoors is fresh off the United States Open at Lake Mead, and he will be targeting striped bass with topwater and reaction baits in the coming weeks.
Randy Pringle, the Fishing Instructor, said, “I will be out with Matt Paino from Optima Bait Company on Monday filming a striper adventure with the AA and Bad Bubba Shad swimbaits as it is this time of year. For largemouth bass, the recent north wind will stir the pot, and I am looking forward to the reaction bite that will be starting up. The shad are balling up, and the ima Flit, vibrating jigs, or spinnerbaits will all be effective. I would fish as tight as I could get to the banks on the high tide against the rocks and weeds before moving out to the outside weed line parallel to the banks on the low tide.”
Mike Pipkins of Gotcha Bait in Antioch said, “We are as busy as could be as we are selling 160 dozen jumbo minnows every week along with 150 dozen mudsuckers. Interest in largemouth bass and striped bass has been high, and the stripers have been found at the mouth of Twin Slough and also at the mouth of Big Break and in Broad Slough. Fresh shad and mudsuckers are the top baits, but those drifting live minnows are working the 4.5- to 5-inch minnows through the schools of stripers at 10 to 18 feet in depth. There were 13 salmon taken off of Humphrey’s Pier this week, and these salmon are in really good shape. Normally with the number of anglers out there fishing shoulder-to-shoulder, we would have around 25 salmon per day, but these fish are moving through the system very quickly. Bluegill and red ear perch have been thick in Holland Tract and near the Lazy M Marina, and we sold 40 cups of wax worms within two days.”
H and R Bait in Stockton had a similar report with high bait sales as they went through all of their fresh shad over the weekend along with red worms, meal worms, and wax worms as fishing interest was high despite the persistent north wind over the weekend.” They are receiving regular supplies of fresh shad during the week.
Lake Nacimiento/San Antonio/Santa Margarita/Lopez
Bass 3 White bass 2 Striper 1 Catfish 2 Crappie 2
At Nacimiento, spotted bass remain the most available species as they are active closer to the surface with small topwater poppers, underspins, crankbaits, and spinnerbaits in the early mornings before dropping to the bottom with small profile jigs. White bass are scattered, but they can be located with electronics in deeper water. Small spoons and deep-diving crankbaits in shad patterns are working for the white bass when located. Catfish are taken on cut baits scented with various concoctions while crappie are holding in deep structure. Minijigs or small swimbaits are working for the crappie. The fuel dock is now selling fuel again from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The lake dropped from 48% to 47% this week.
At Lopez, the bass bite remains fair, but there have been a few largemouth bass to 6 pounds taken on shad-patterned deep-diving crankbaits, swimbaits, spinnerbaits, or underspins while jigs are working best on the bottom by mid-morning. Bluegill and red-ear perch are taken on small nightcrawlers, mealworms, or red worms at depth to 30 feet around structure. Mackerel remains the top bait for catfish.
At Santa Margarita, bass anglers have to work hard to score largemouth bass to 4 pounds with small swimbaits along with large plastic worms to 10 inches and larger profile jigs. Catfish are taken on cut baits, in particular, mackerel coated in garlic scent while panfish are found in deep cover with red worms, meal worms, or small nightcrawlers. The lake held at 34%.
At San Antonio, the bass have been scarce with plastics on the drop-shot being the top technique for the occasional largemouth or smallmouth bass. The reaction bite remains very slow. The shad schools are abundant, and all species are gorging themselves on the shad. Catfish remains the best option with cut baits such as anchovies or mackerel. Sonny’s Triple S Stink Bait in Blood Formula is also popular. Bluegill are found on red worms or meal worms near submerged brush. The lake is now on the winter schedule, and the launch ramp is closed on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. The lake is at 34%.
McClure – Merced Bass Club - October 19th – 1st – Al and Albert Karam – 10.80 pounds; 2nd – Cory and Ed Kerber – 9.52 pounds; 3rd –Chris and Colton Goodman – 8.12 pounds.
Pine Flat – RiverRat Open – October 19th: 1st – Gary Wasson/Matt Frazier – 11.37 (Big Fish – 5.61); 2nd – John McHanally/Jim Spillers – 9.68; 3rd – Junior Lor/Chufu Vang – 7.27.
Lake Camanche – Yak-A-Bass – October 20th: 1st – Garrett Clark – 81.25 inches; 2nd – Shaun Leytem – 80.50 inches; 3rd – Obedie Williams – 80.00 inches.
Oct. 26-27: Santa Margarita – 805 Kayak Fishing Club
Oct. 26: Success – Porterville Bass Club
Oct. 27: Delta/Russo’s Marina – Hook, Line, and Sinker
Nov. 2: Delta/Brannan Island – Central Valley Anglers Sturgeon Derby, Lake Camanche – Manteca Bassin’ Buddies, Eastman – RiverRats Bass Club, Don Pedro – Autism Speaks Fundraiser Tournament contact Michaela Schimgdall 209-603-5258
Nov. 3: Delta/Tracy Oasis – Tracy Oasis Marina, Don Pedro – Modesto Ambassadors
Nov. 4: Success – Cen Cal Elite Bass Tournaments
Week of Oct. 27 by California Department of Fish and Wildlife:
Fresno County: Kings River below Pine Flat Dam
Kern County: Brite Valley Reservoir, Kern River section 3
Mono County: Little Walker River, Twin Lake upper and lower, Virginia Lake upper and lower, West Walker River sections 2-3
Tulare County: Kern River section 6
n = new moon > = peak activity