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, bass and sturgeon bites going, Randy Pringle reported. Eastman bass bite best in Valley, Jake Figgs said. Success and Kaweah bass action good, Gary Wasson reported. McClure trout and bass hitting, Steve Marquette said. Wishon and Courtright trout action continues, Kelly Brewer reported. San Luis Reservoir and Forebay topwater bite going, Alex Tran said.
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, Jake Figgs of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis reported anglers are starting to focus on the California Aqueduct with Duo Realis 120 jerkbaits in white pearl as the bait is starting to congregate around the headgates when the water is moving. 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 striped bass fishing remains solid with lures now starting to take precedence. Tubes, flukes, small swimbaits, jerkbaits, and Rat-L-Traps being increasingly popular. There is still those soaking bait, but a weightless presentation with bait is best as using heavy weights will only load the line up with grass or debris. Blood worms have been particularly popular. Catfishing has been decent with anchovies, sardines, mackerel, minnows and chicken livers.
Bass 3 Trout 2 Bluegill 2 Catfish 2 Crappie 2
Figgs said, “The lake is the best in the region for largemouth bass as the lake levels have dropped and the island tops are now exposed. The reaction bite remains very slow, and the best fishing is with plastics on either a wacky-rig or with a 1/16-ounce dart head worked slowly on the bottom. The visibility is excellent at around 10 feet.”
The colder water temperatures are affecting the Florida-strain largemouths, but if you work the bait slowly, the chance of getting bit increase. There are a few followers but no takers on jerkbaits or crankbaits.
The lake dropped slightly to 46%.
The third annual River Rats appreciation tournament that concludes the year is Saturday. Director Ron Sanches Jr. said the tri-tip lunch/dinner is on again for participants. The field is limited to 50 boats, and sign-ups are being held at Valley Rod and Gun which has donated a $25 gift card to raffle off to every team that signs up at the shop. Sanches said, “If we fill the 50-boat field and everyone gets in all the options, first place will be over $3,000, and with a team fee of $120, that is a great payout.”
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 reaction bite is also slow, but there is some action on the bottom with wacky-rigged Senkos, jigs or plastics on the Texas-rig remain the top techniques. Crappie can be taken on minijigs in submerged structure. The lake dropped from 27% to 25%.
Lake Don Pedro
Bass 2 Trout 2 Kokanee 1 King salmon 1 Crappie 2
The bass bite is beginning to show signs of life with a better grade of fish found deep with a hodge-podge of lures including spoons, umbrella rigs, heavy jigs or plastics on the drop-shot. Ryan Cook of Ryan Cook’s Guide Service caught and released a 5.25-pound largemouth bass in 80 feet of water on a custom purple shad pattern Dead Stick plastic designed by David Coy. The best action for bass is from 30 to 60 feet in the main lake. Finding the shad schools is essential as both the bass and the rainbows are holding near the shad.
The lake dropped slightly to 80%.
A fundraiser tournament for Autism Speaks is Saturday with a 50% payback – contact Michaela Schimgdall at 209-603-5258 for details.
Lake Isabella/Bakersfield area
Bass 3 Trout 3 Crappie 3 Catfish 2 Bluegill 2
Pete Cormier of Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield said, “Trout plants at Hart Park, River Walk, and Ming has sparked local interest for shore anglers soaking trout dough bait, salmon eggs, or nightcrawlers for the planted rainbows. The water might be a bit warm for the rainbows, but our folks are thankful for the plants after limited planting last year. At Isabella, the bass bite is starting to come on with live minnows while crappie are found out in deep water with either minnows or minijigs. Catfish continue to be a highly targeting species with Sonny’s Triple S Dip Bait in Blood Formula, frozen shad, or clams.” Isabella has dropped from 31% to 30%.
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, Power Bait, or nightcrawlers are the best bets for the planters, and Cormier reported some quality fish over 20 inches have been taken out of the upper river.
Bass 3 Crappie 2 Trout 2 Catfish 2
Minimal change in the past week with the lake holding 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 3 Catfish 2 Crappie 2 Bluegill 2
There were two huge limits weighed in during Sunday’s Porterville Bass Club tournament with the team of Gary Wasson and Joe Baeza taking first at 22.76 pounds and David Coy and Jerry Williams in second at 22.00 pounds with Coy landing a massive 11.07-pound largemouth. Wasson reported deep-diving crank baits and jigs are working for the best grade of largemouth bass. Chuck Stokke of the Sequoia Fishing Company in Springville said, “Bass fishing is good to great if you can find their location. Jigs, plastics on the drop-shot or dragged on the bottom along with spoons in deep water are the top techniques. The lake is low, and fishermen are scoring quality bass with rocky points of structure being the top locations. The lake dropped slightly to 11%.
In the Tule River, Stokke said, “The river is still fishing well on dry flies such as hoppers or caddis patterns, and the browns and rainbows are being aggressive in all three forks of the Tule.”
Bass 3 Trout 3 King salmon 0 Kokanee 0 Crappie 2 Catfish 2
Steve Marquette of the Lake McClure/McSwain Recreation Company continues to take out friends during the week for trolling adventures above the dam, and he said, “I had three guys on the boat this week, and we were using the Mepp’s XD in a trout pattern along with one in blue/orange/yellow with black dots, and these all caught rainbows along with the Mepp’s Trophy Series with bright green plastic salmon eggs and Roostertails in dark green at depths to 60 feet. The rainbows are still hanging around the shad schools, and it is important to find the shad as the rainbows are close by. We also had a report of a 5-pound king salmon landed by a troller south of the South Ramp, and this is the first king salmon that we have heard about in some time.”
For bass, Cook said, “The bite is getting better and better, and we haven’t had a trip this week without catching and releasing at least 25 bass, but there haven’t been many large ones. Heavy jigs, spoons, Fatty Worm’s underspins, or umbrella rigs are all working at depths from 30 to 60 feet. It has been a hodge-podge of deep baits on light line.”
McClure dropped from 64% to 62%.
Call: Ryan Cook – Ryan Cook’s Fishing 691-7008
The recent plant of 1,500 pounds of rainbow trout by the Department of Fish and Wildlife continues to pay dividends.
Steve Marquette said, “Lake McSwain remains hot from the shorelines with limits taken on a regular basis from the Handicapped Docks and the two points near the Marina with salmon eggs or trout dough bait in bright green or bright orange. Trollers are scoring with nightcrawlers behind Ford Fenders, and that plant has brought out the fishermen.”
Call: McSwain Marina 209-378-2534
Millerton Lake/San Joaquin River
Bass 2 Striped bass 1 Shad 1 Bluegill 2 Crappie 3
The dropping water levels at both Pine Flat and Millerton continue to contribute to a tough bass bite, and the lake levels need to stabilize before a consistent pattern is established once again.
Figgs said, “Karen Newman from our shop and I went out this past week to Millerton, and it was a tough bite. We saw bait on the meter, but the bass were very finicky. We worked upriver near Big Bend at depths from 20 to 45 feet with spinnerbaits or jigs along the rockwalls, but the bass were picking up the jig and spitting it back out. The previous week, I found good action with a spy bait for quality bass from 2.5 to 3 pounds along the steep rock ledges, and I would advise using light jigs on a 1/4-ounce jig head on light line on a spinning rod now as a slow fall presentation is working best.”
The lake is releasing water, and it dropped from 56% to 53%.
Call: Valley Rod & Gun 292-3474
New Melones Reservoir/Tulloch
Bass 2 Crappie 2 Catfish 2 Trout 2 Kokanee 1
Finding shad is the key to success for either trout or bass as both species are loading up on the abundant shad schools. The rainbow bite has slowed, and it takes some time to locate the shad as the schools are scattered throughout the lake. There are some locations just loaded with bait while it is bare in others. The trout action should improve as soon as we finally receive some rain. A finesse presentation remains best for bass, and vertically jigging spoons is another option at depths to 60 feet. Catfish are found on nightcrawlers or chicken livers. Glory Hole’s annual Catfish Contest ends Thursday.
The lake held at 84%.
Pine Flat Reservoir/Kings River
Bass 2 Trout 2 Kokanee 0 King salmon 0 Catfish 2 Crappie 2
Figgs said, “It is also a slow bite as the best action is coming deep with Zoom Trick Worms or 6-inch straight-tail Robo Worms in either shad or crayfish patterns at depths to 45 feet. Most of the success has been in the main lake as the river arm is getting muddy with the exposed banks from the receding levels. There haven’t been a lot of bait balls found recently. Numbers of fish are hard to come by, but there have been some quality spots in the 2- to 2.5-pound range by those slowly dragging plastic worms.”
The River Rat Open last weekend produced a winning limit at 11.37 pounds with a big fish at 5.61 pounds weighed in by the team of Gary Wasson and Matt Frazier.
Trout plants continue in the lower Kings River, and the best action is 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, and the trout are holding in the transition from fast to slow water.
Pine Flat has receded from 48% to 45%.
San Luis Reservoir and O’Neill Forebay
Striper 3 Catfish 2 Bass 2 Crappie 2
The main San Luis Reservoir continues to drop water in rapid fashion down the California Aqueduct for agricultural, industrial and domestic uses in the South Valley and Los Angeles Basin, and the receding water levels are dramatically affecting the troll bite. However, the topwater and subsurface reaction bite in the coves has been hot in the early mornings and evenings.
Alex Tran of Coyote Bait and Tackle in Morgan Hill said, “There is a great topwater bite in the first few hours in the morning before the sun hits the water, and the stripers are chasing shad into the coves along Dinosaur Point and in Portuguese Cove.” Tran was out throwing the GFunk Alabama Rig made by Jason Borofka of Salinas, and he found great action from the shoreline. He said, “These are the best umbrella rigs for casting.
In the O’Neill Forebay, Tran said striped bass fiishing is phenomenal “as there is so much bait in the small impoundment. We found them with topwater lures at Check 12 along with Kei Tech swimbaits, jerkbaits and on 3/8-ounce scrounger heads. The legal stripers are on the 18- to 25-inch range, and you have to work for the larger fish.”
Roger George of Roger’s Guide Service said, “The water levels in the main lake continue to plummet, dropping 26 feet in the past three weeks, and the overall conditions at the lake have slowed the overall bite. The big changes in temperature along with the incoming windy cold fronts from the north are major factors in the slower action. The fish are reacting negatively overall with more non-active suspending stripers than I have seen for some time. I took Marco Vuicich of Fresno out on Friday in dead calm conditions, and we found some fish at 60 feet off of a hump and began working it when he got a good hit. The big striper went 39 inches and 24 pounds, a new PB for Vuicich. We quickly released the big fish at 70 feet using the Seaquilzer release tool. Got a sonar video of the release showing the big fish swimming away when the tool released it around 70 feet – great to see her take off . Releasing these big fish right away is essential in the warm water conditions. The schools are moving around quite a bit, but we have found them in Lone Oak Bay, and minnows are working for school-sized linesides. It’s harder to find the stripers now as they are sliding off of their usual structure into deeper flats and dropoffs. The troll bite has been poor, and there isn’t much of a reaction bite after the early morning. I had to work the lake for almost eight hours to get the one big fish and a few school fish. The days I fished there was no topwater action and my buddies said it was sporadic.”
George said he will be announcing a date for one of his popular “Downrigging 101 for Stripers” classes at Sportsman’s Warehouse in Fresno for sometime in mid-November.
The lake dropped from 53% to 49%.
Bass 2 Trout 2 Kokanee 2
Figgs said, “Bass fishing is best with plastics on a wacky-rig or dart head on a slow fall along the deep water edges. The grass is dying, but the bass continue to hold near sparse grass and weeds. There are fish following big glidebaits, but they have been reluctant to commit to striking the lure as they are only bumping the artificial. Swimbaits may be a more effective offering as a reaction bait.” For kokanee, Mike Beighey of Bass Lake Fishing continues to pull some late spawning kokanee, and the rainbow trout action is best upriver near the falls. The trout bite should improve with the plants anticipated in November. The lake dropped from 71% to 67%.
The Sheriff’s Motor Fee is enforced on a year-round basis. 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 46% to 40% and Florence at 51% with Mammoth Pool from 75% to 67%. 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 water levels at Shaver Lake have been dropping, and the Shaver Lake Marina docks have been moved out, but this didn’t stop local guide Todd Wittwer of Kokanee.net Guide Service from locating some still-bright kokanee on a trip this past week.
Dick Nichols of Dick’s Fishing Charters has closed up shop for the season, but he said, “The reports coming in show that there are ‘Glory Holes’ in the lake where kokanee are holding in large schools in their effort to find a spawning location. Bikini Cove is one such location where the kokanee are 20 feet down and stacked up on top of each other. Pink hoochies or my Koke Busters are working, and the area around the Point and in front of the large homes at the Point can also be good for kokanee. Trolling along the shoreline between Road 2 and the Sierra Marina is another option, and if I was going to search for the rainbows, I would use a Trout Buster tipped with a piece of crawler on the back hook and corn on the inside hook behind a weighted Mountain Flasher at 100 feet back or around 20 feet deep in Stevenson Bay or around the tunnel. Only a small percentage of the trophy rainbows released have been landed from our Shaver Lake Trophy Trout Project plant in June so there are plenty left in the lake.”
Wittwer has taken his pontoon boat out of the water with the dropping levels at the marina, but he found excellent action for 15 kokanee running Rocky Mountain Tackle’s double glow squids in orange behind an orange Sunrise Dodger at 16 to 24 feet near Rockhaven, aka “Bikini Cove.” He said, “Four of the females still had their scales on, and four of the males were lighter in color. Some of the males were dark, and these were all spawning fish. The pink Radical Glow Tube or Purple Haze hoochie were also working behind a purple Moonshine Dodger.”
Upstream, Huntington continues to heavily release water, receding from 46% to 43%, and the launch ramp is problematic for anything but small aluminum boats. There are few reports now, but the secretive brown trout baggers are waiting to drag their aluminums down to the waterline as soon as it starts to snow.
Sierra Marina launch ramp webcam: sierramarina.com/camera.html.
Kelly Brewer of the Wishon RV Park and Store said, “Wishon remains solid for rainbow trout with the occasional brown trout with trollers scoring with Wedding Rings tipped with a nightcrawler behind a dodger, Needlefish, or similar spoons in front of the dam, near the river inlet, along the east side, and also beside the rockwall at depths from 20 to 30 feet. Heavy spoons such as Krocodiles are working in deeper water. 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, but it remains high enough for launching a boat with no problems.
At Courtright, the trout bite remains outstanding for both trollers and shore anglers alike. Apex lures or Needlefish are working higher in the water column with Krocodile spoons effective as deep as 30 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. The lake level remains relatively high for this time of year, but the levels have been fluctuating with the need for power generation. The windows for action will become shorter as the region gets colder at the 7,000-foot elevation level.
Call: Wishon RV Park 865-5361
Half Moon Bay
Salmon 2 Rockfish 3 Striper 2
The recreational Dungeness crab opener is Nov. 2, and private and party boats are gearing up for the opening of the season. The crab counts are expected to be strong, particularly during the first two weeks of the season prior to the anticipated commercial crab opener.
In addition to the Huli Cat which has been running crab/rockfish combinations for years, Captain Dennis Baxter on the New Captain Pete will join the fray this year along with other party boats from Half Moon Bay Sport Fishing due to the interest in the combination trips.
During the final weeks of October, rockfish only trips were the rule, and Captain Tom Mattusch of the Huli Cat went south below Pigeon Point this past week, 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. 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 Veterans Day on Monday, Nov. 11. 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 waiting game for salmon out of Half Moon Bay continues although 100% of the fish that are being taken are from the Coastside Net Pen fish from the Mokelumne River Hatchery.
Salmon 2 Rockfish 3 Striper 2 Surf Perch 3 Halibut 3
The boats out of Chris’s Fishing Trips in Monterey were out over the weekend, and the Check Mate returned with 15 limits of rockfish while the Caroline posted 3/4th limits with 180 rockfish for 24 anglers on Sunday. They have a trip to Point Sur on Monday.
Matt Frazier of Denair, a regular on the local bass circuits, went south to Point Sur on a private boat on Saturday, and he scored his first ling cod over 30 pounds using a D and M Custom Salty Dog jig head with a 10-inch swimbait.
Allen Bushnell of the Santa Cruz Kayak Fishing and Surfcasting Guide Service said, “Savvy anglers who favor Dungeness crab are prepping for the season opener on November 2. Crab pots, bait boxes, lead-core lines and marker buoys all need attention at this time of year. Sport anglers get a two-week period of crabbing before the commercial season opens up on November 15. It is estimated that 80% of Dungeness crab taken each season are caught before December 31, while the crab are concentrated in certain areas. Wintertime is always the best for crabbing in our area. History shows the best spots to crab across the Monterey Bay are the flat areas of sand or mud bottom in 180-200 feet of water, often along the edges of our marine canyons.
Following the seasonal pattern, rockfishing is best these days on the deeper reefs from 120 to 240 feet of water. Halibut are biting well off the North Coast beaches from Four-Mile to Davenport and in Monterey off Del Monte Beach up to Marina. The halibut are slowly moving towards deeper water, so targeting the 50- to 70-foot depths will pay off. Anglers continue to find halibut near Capitola and the Cement Ship all the way to the Pajaro area.
Surfcasters are catching more, and bigger perch along all the beaches that ring the Bay. The latest groundswell kicked up some seaweed, but most beaches are clearing nicely at this point. Forays north to the San Mateo County beaches can be very productive right now, as evidenced by Alex Velasco’s recent trip to Tunitas Creek. He caught a nice stringer of red-tail perch and a limit of small stripers. The larger beaches in the Big Sur area such as the north side of Point Sur and Sand Dollar Beach are also fantastic spots to target big perch.”
Crab/rockfish combination trips start on Saturday, Nov. 2.
San Francisco Bay
Halibut 2 Striper 3 Rockfish 3 Leopard shark 2 Sturgeon 2
Recreational crab season starts this Saturday, and the Pacific Dream out of Berkeley Marina is running a crab-only on the afternoon of the opening day. Many boats are running the combination trips including the Salty Lady out of Sausalito with Captain Jerad Davis. The commercial season is expected to open within two weeks, and the best crabbing is always within the first two weeks of the opener. Time to make a reservation as many of the boats are light during the week but plugged during the weekends.
Before the winds and evacuations, the California Dawn was able to run out to the Farallons on Friday for 30 limits of ling cod to 29 pounds along with scratching out 30 limits of rockfish
Captain Trent Slate of Bite Me Charters is also running crab/rockfish combination trips on his six-pack out of Loch Lomond Marina.
The bay has been ‘En Fuego’ for striped bass as Captain Trent Slate of Bite Me Charters out of Loch Lomond was out this week, and they rolled up and found the bass right outside of the harbor. He said, “We saw some marks, and I started throwing out some bait and my clients caught and released 60-plus stripers to 8 pounds fly-lining live bait using spinnerods with 3/4th-ounce inline weights. The white sea bass that the young boy caught in the south bay on the boat this last week was the first fish that he had ever caught. How many of us haven’t landed a white sea bass in our lives because I have only caught a few myself, and this was his first fish.”
Pretty incredible as I am also waiting for my first-ever ghost.
Keith Fraser of Loch Lomond Bait was out on Wednesday with his former player, Jerry Goff, and his fishing partner, Rico, and he said, “I didn’t fish, but my friends each landed around 20 stripers with around half of the linesides being legal to 27 inches. We picked them up trolling Loch Lomond worm-tailed jigs or drifting live bait. It is amazing how many stripers are in San Pablo Bay right now. We have bass in our harbor and baby bass in our traps. However, the Soleman drifted the Brothers during a bad tide this week, and they kept hooking stripers, but there were no legal fish. We have live smelt, live shiners, live grass shrimp, live ghost shrimp, live pile worms, and live anchovies in the shop for the weekend.” Goff happens to be a fan of the Los Angeles Rams for some reason.
Captain James Smith of the California Dawn out of Berkeley found some tremendous halibut action with a combined 72 keepers for 35 fishermen on two trips. Don’t count the halibut out yet along the interest is slowing way down.
J and P Bait in San Francisco will only be open from 6-9 a.m. from Friday through Sunday for the remainder of the season.
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 73 limits of rockfish on Sunday along with 18 ling cod to 11 pounds as part of combined limits of rockfish with 260 vermilion, 75 copper, 60 Boccaccio, 325 assorted, and three rock sole. Out of Virg’s Landing in Morro Bay, the Fiesta, Rita G, and Black Pearl were out on Sunday including the two-day trip on the Black Pearl, and 63 fishermen returned with 62 ling cod to 22 pounds, 288 vermilion, 331 assorted rockfish, 32 copper, 22 Boccaccio, a canary, and two rock sole. The majority of the lings and the big rockfish were taken on the two-day trip up the coast. Out of Patriot Sport Fishing in Port San Luis, the Patriot and Flying Fish out of Patriot Sport Fishing took ½ day trips on Sunday with 48 passengers for 28 vermilion, 6 copper, 1 Boccaccio, 432 assorted rockfish, 10 starry, and 3 ocean whitefish to go with 6 lings for limits of rockfish. 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 Dec. 31.
Bass 3 Striper 3 Sturgeon 3 Catfish 2 Bluegill 2 Salmon 2
The salmon continue to trickle through the Delta, but the overall numbers anticipated prior to the start of the run have been lacking. The best locations for the opportunity for a shoreline salmon remain either 1st Street or the Dillon Point State Park in Benicia or below the Freeport Bridge in the north Delta. Shore anglers continue to toss Vee-Zee or other heavy spinners along the Benicia shoreline while Mepp’s Flying C’s are the choice in the north Delta.
The wind was the big story over the past weekend with tremendous gusts from the northeast Delta blowing through the Delta keeping all boats off of the water. Prior to the high winds, sturgeon fishing has been tremendous in lower Suisun Bay. A massive fire broke out on Sunday near the Carquinez Bridge, shutting down the bridge for hours and burning the adjacent vegetation in a blaze.
One six pack out of Martinez scored six limits of sturgeon on Saturday prior to 11:30 a.m. as most of the boats have been concentrated around Martinez and upriver towards Pittsburg where the grass and debris has been far less than in the main river channel. Gracie Marran of Yuba City was out with her husband, Scottie Marran, on Saturday in 21 feet of water near Ryer Island along Sturgeon Alley, and she landed a 58.5-inch diamondback on salmon roe when the tide was almost slack.
Sturgeon fever is heating up, and Captain Joey Gamez of Golden State Sport Fishing have found consistent action for his clients in lower Suisun Bay with salmon roe. Captain Steve Mitchell of Hook’d Up Sport Fishing will be running out of Pittsburg Marina once his boat, the ‘Top Gun’ is repowered with outboard engines. Mitchell has been assisting either Gamez of Mike Funtanilla of Bend Ur Rod while his boat is being repowered. Both Mitchell and Zach Medinas will be presenting seminars on Delta sturgeon fishing during the upcoming International Sportsmen’s Exposition at Cal Expo in Sacramento in January 2020. Mitchell’s donation for a two-person sturgeon trip received the highest winning bid of any sturgeon trip during the recent CIFFI Inc. dinner.
Captain Zach Medinas of Gatecrasher Fishing Adventures has moved into Pittsburg Marina for his ‘Catch and Release’ sturgeon fishing, and he said, “It is a matter of finding the right tide in an area with less grass as getting out of the grass is the key. You can’t fish anywhere around Pittsburg in the shallows as the grass is thick, but we moved around quite a bit for catch and release 5 slot fish on a recent trip with another two at 57 and 52 inches on another trip along with three or four shakers. Most of our sturgeon have been coming in less than 25 feet, but we did fish the last of the outgo in deep water to take advantage of the slower tide, and we did pick a slot fish out of the depths. Keith Washington of Benicia released a 57-inch sturgeon on salmon roe as we exclusively fish our cured roe.”
For striped bass, Alan Fong of the Fishermen’s Warehouse in Sacramento went up into the north Delta near Liberty Island, and he found a great striped bass bite as he saw the linesides chasing shad in the shallows. He said, “The stripers were in from one to three feet, and I got the bow stuck twice getting in as shallow as possible. The stripers were in there swirling around, and we found great action. I’m looking forward to going in deeper this week on the high tide, and there should be even some bigger fish. After catching and releasing lineside to 8 pounds, we flipped Sweet Beavers for an 18-pound limit of northern largemouth bass.”
Striped bass are moving into the San Joaquin-Delta system, but finding the schools requires some work. With the continuation of hot temperatures in the Central Valley, the best cut of largemouth bass is holding under cover. The grass and debris continue to plague anglers and finding clear water is a key along with a slow presentation.
The Purple Heart Veteran Angler’s Salmon Derby this Friday, November 1st out of the Sacramento Marina, and there are over 100 veterans signed up to participate.
Striped bass continue to move into the San Joaquin-Delta in increased numbers, and a variety of techniques are finding success for the linesides.
Kris Huff of Stockton continues his assault on Delta linesides on his catch and release sessions going deep into the night with glide baits while Tom Amberson of Elk Grove has been chasing down the birds to find the striped bass working the surface for limits of linesides to 23 inches working the surface. He said, “We were looking for larger fish, and we did scratch out a decent bite during our pre-dawn efforts before chasing down the bird schools for the schoolies. We do need the water temperatures to drop into the 50-degree range before the bite is on.”
Randy Pringle, the Fishing Instructor, said, “I went out this week with Matt Paino of Optimum Baits to target largemouth and striped bass during a film session this week, and we found stripers to 5 pounds along with largemouth bass to 7 pounds on the ima Little Stick along with the Rock N’Vibe Suspend. The key was matching the shad as we couldn’t get bit on the red crawdad pattern until we switched over to the shad pattern. The ima Flit 120 bite is ‘Off The Chain,’ as we are working them off of the outside weedline for multiple hookups for both striped and largemouth bass as they are mixed in chasing shad. The most important aspect is to pause the lure as the longer the pause, the more effective the presentation will be. The water is very clear, and the larger grade of bass will be holding under structure or found in low-light conditions on topwater in the mornings. Anything with a shad pattern along with translucent body is working, and top patterns are Olive Herring or Sexy Minnow. We also worked the bottom with the Berkley Bottom Hopper or Flat Dog in earth tones on a Zappu head, and once again, the key is to keep it in the strike zone as long as possible.”
Vince Borges of Vince Borges Outdoors will be targeting striped and largemouth bass after November 1st with around 70% of his trips for linesides with topwater plugs or the Optimum Double AA swimbait in shad patterns.
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, fly fishing with Clowsers, or spooning with shad-patterned lures. The grass varies by location, and it is important to find clear water as the ‘witch’s hair’ has been horrendous. We had doubles and triples all day long on Thursday using jumbo minnows as they wouldn’t bite a spoon. The previous day, we had found a solid spoon bite. I fly fished one day before my next two trips were with topwater lures and live bait. The striped bass bite has been excellent for me.”
Dan Mathisen of Dan Mathisen Outdoors said, “We have been running all over the place to find the striped bass as there is no consistent location for the stripers. We found two linesides to 10 pounds at the tip of Decker Island, but they are scattered from Honker Bay to Liberty Island. I have been using the Bad Bubba Shad or all varieties of topwater lures. The ima Big Stick has been very effective in the wind. For largemouth, flipping or chatterbaits are best, and the bass are stacking up in moving water along berm points.” Mathisen’s Delta Fall Classic Bass Tournament will be the weekend of November 9/10th out of Russo’s Marina, and a 25-boat field will result in a $9000 payout. Some of the proceeds from the event will go to the East County Student Anglers in Brentwood and the Delta Teen Team out of Oakley.
H and R Bait in Stockton reported huge interest in shore fishing on Saturday, but Sunday’s winds slowed it all to a crawl. They are receiving regular loads of fresh shad during the week and especially on the weekends.
Lake Nacimiento/San Antonio/Santa Margarita/Lopez
Bass 2 White bass 2 Striper 1 Catfish 2 Crappie 2
At Nacimiento, the spotted bass has slowed down with the reaction bite taking a downward spiral, and the best action is with finesse techniques of plastics on the drop-shot at depths to 30 feet with structure including rocky ledges or rock piles. The white bass have also slowed down as they have gone deep, but there are some boaters trolling with white Roostertails or similar spinners once a school is location. Small shad-patterned spoons are also effective. Crappie are holding in submerged brush with small shad-patterned swimbaits or minijigs. Catfish are taken on cut baits, but the quality has been lacking. The fuel dock is now selling fuel again from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The lake dropped from 47 to 46% this week. A webcam of the lake is available at www.lakenacimientolive.com.
At Lopez, the bass bite remains fair, and you have to work hard to be rewarded for the opportunity for a quality largemouth. The reaction bite remains slow, but there is some action with plastics on the shakey head or drop-shot along with jigs throughout the water column. Panfish are taken on the normal offerings of meal worms, wax worms, or red worms, and catfishing is fair with cut baits. A webcam of the lake is available at 805webcams.com/lopez-lake-webcam.
At Santa Margarita, the surface reaction bite is break out, and there are windows for topwater lures in the early mornings and evenings along with working the sub-surface around ledges with swimbaits or lipless crankbaits. Large plastic worms in natural earth tone colors are another option. There are some crappie taken near structure with small shad-patterned swimbaits or minijigs while panfish are taken with a piece of nightcrawler or meal worms near submerged brush. A webcam of the lake is available at 805webcams.com/santa-margarita-lake-webcam-california.
At San Antonio, catfish remain the top species with cut baits, and the massive amount of shad in the reservoir has contributed to a slower bass bite for both largemouth and smallmouth bass as they are loading up on natural food sources. The lake is now on the winter schedule, and the launch ramp is closed on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. The lake is at 34%.
Delta – Sierra Bass Club – Oct. 19 – 1, Danny Lopez/Michael Coss – 19.63 pounds (Big Fish – 4.18 Lopez); 2, Chris Flamming/Ryan Motter – 18.76; 3, Quincy and Mickie Marrs – 17.94 pounds.
Success – Porterville Bass Club – Oct. 26 – 1, Gary Wasson/Joe Baeza – 22.76; 2, David Coy/Jerry Williams – 22.00 (Big Fish – 11.07).
November 1st – 3rd:
Delta/Suisun City – Virgil’s Bait Striped Bass Derby
November 2nd –
Delta/Brannan Island – Central Valley Anglers Sturgeon Derby
Lake Camanche – Manteca Bassin’ Buddies
Don Pedro – Autism Speaks Fundraiser Tournament - contact Michaela Schimgdall at (209) 603-5258
Eastman – RiverRats Bass Club information and registration - 259-0289.
Delta/Tracy Oasis – Tracy Oasis Marina
Don Pedro – Modesto Ambassadors
November 4th –
Success – Cen Cal Elite Bass Tournaments
November 5/6th –
Lake Camanche – Bass N’Tubes
November 9th –
Delta/Russo’s Marina -Dan Mathisen Outdoors
Delta/Big Break Marina – Bass Anglers of Northern California/Tri Valley Bass Masters
Tulloch – California Hmong Bass Tournaments
Don Pedro – Kerman Bass Club/Sonora Bass Anglers
McClure – Gold Country Junior Bass Club
Pine Flat – Bakersfield Bass Club
Nacimiento – Golden Empire Bass Club
November 10th –
McClure – Riverbank Bass Anglers
Kaweah – Kings VIII Bass Club
New Melones – Christian Bass League
Don Pedro – Merced Bass Club
Eastman – Sierra Bass Club
November 17th –
Delta/Russo’s Marina – Hook, Line, and Sinker
November 23rd –
McClure – American Bass Association
Pine Flat – Bass 101
November 24th –
Delta/Russo’s Marina – Delta Teen Teams
Lake Camanche – Lodi High School Bass Club
Eastman – Central Valley Kayak Fishing
Millerton – Roosevelt High School Bass Fishing Club
Week of by California Department of Fish and Wildlife:
Kern County: Hart Park Lake, Kern River sections 2-3-4, Ming Lake, River Walk Lake
q = quarter moon> = peak activity