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. Have a photo of a recent catch to share? Email it to email@example.com with “fish photo” in the subject line.
Eastman/Hensley top bass lakes in Fresno area, Merritt Gilbert said. Salmon showing off Half Moon Bay, Dennis Baxter reported. Striped bass moving into San Pablo Bay, Keith Fraser said. Shaver Lake trout bite hot, Dick Nichols reported. Courtright/Wishon still limiting out, Chuck Crane said.
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2-Have to work hard
4-Fish jumpin’ in boat
Delta Mendota Canal and Sloughs
Striper 2; Catfish 2
The striped bass bite in the California Aqueduct remains solid for keeper stripers from 18-24 inches with Duo Realis 120 jerkbaits or Lucky Craft 128’s. Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “Most of our fishermen have been heading south near Kettleman City for striped bass, and the Duo Realis jerkbaits have been the No. 1 option.” In the south aqueduct in Kern County, Jacob Rutledge of Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield reported anglers have landed largemouth bass in excess of 7 pounds with drop-shot plastics along with striped bass in the 18- to 20-inch range with Zoom Flukes in smoke/silver. Catfish are biting super meal worms, Katnip Beef Bait, or Sonny’s Dip Bait. The August Carp Derby has started with an entry fee of $1; Samia Sarasone of Bakersfield leads with an 8.39-pounder.
Bass 2; Trout 1; Bluegill 2; Catfish 2; Crappie 1
Water levels at Eastman and Hensley have hovered at about 8% capacity for more than a year as both have received a minimum of snowmelt from the Fresno and Chowchilla rivers. Despite the low-water limiting the launching of larger boats, Merritt Gilbert at Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said: “Eastman is the top bass lake in our area with quality bass taken near the dam on a regular basis. Most fishermen are working the deeper water near the dam with Carolina-rigged lizards, spinnerbaits, or plastics on the drop-shot, and the best fishing has been in the evening hours.” The area up the river arm that had been closed reopened Aug. 1, but extends only about 100 yards past the buoy line given the shallow conditions. Ranger Bryan Stiles of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reported, “We sincerely appreciate our visitors’ cooperation in protecting the habitat of the nesting bald eagles in the area. As anglers enter the area once again, please remember that beyond the buoy line, submerged hazards are not marked, and the area will remain a no-wake zone.” Bluegill are found on red worms or wax worms in a variety of locations, and catfishing is very good with frozen sardines, chicken livers or anchovies near the dam, the fishing access lot near the Cordoniz boat ramp, and in the no-wake area north of the buoy line. Vegetation is forming in most of the lake in less than 10 feet of water. There are unmarked rockpiles throughout, with most boaters either running their trolling motors or idling slowly when in transit. The lake dropped to 7% capacity and 468.01 feet in elevation.
Call: Six Star Tackle Box 673-5688; Eastman Lake 689-3255
Bass 2; Trout 1; Catfish 2; Bluegill 2; Crappie 1
At Hensley, Merritt Gilbert reported it is very difficult to launch a trailered boat; both wheels of the tow vehicle are in the water when putting in a boat. “Kayakers have been finding largemouth bass to 4.5 pounds with Senkos, Carolina-rigged lizards or plastics on the drop-shot,” he said. Catfishing remains solid with sardines or anchovies at night. Anglers are advised to call the ranger station at the Corps of Engineers office for launch updates. The lake dropped slightly to 448.35 feet in elevation and 5% capacity.
Call: Fresno Fisherman’s Warehouse 225-1838; Valley Rod Gun, Clovis 292-3474; Six Star Tackle Box 673-5688; U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Hensley Lake Hidden Dam 673-5151
Lake Don Pedro
Bass 2; Trout 2; Kokanee 1; King salmon 2; Crappie 2
Warm water has driven king salmon and rainbows into the depths, leading Danny Layne of Fish’n Dan’s Guide Service to say, “Think deep at Don Pedro with the surface temperature in the river channel at 83 degrees and 59.7 degrees at 100 feet in depth.” He put his clients onto five king salmon and a rainbow trout on a recent trip with nearly all fish taken at depths greater than 100 feet with Sockeye Slammers, ExCel spoons or Needlefish. Monte Smith of Gold Country Sport Fishing has the game plan of fast-trolling heavy spoons in search of rainbow trout before dropping to the bottom with rolled shad or Shasta Tackle’s Wriggle Hoochies tipped with a piece of sardine in search of king salmon. Recent overcast weather has brought the rainbows closer to the surface. For kokanee, Smith said, “Don Pedro is traditionally one of the reservoirs in which the kokanee bite shuts off early, and as a result, we plan on concentrating on king salmon and rainbows.” Bass fishing is best with medium, large or extra-large minnows from the shore. The ramp at Fleming Meadows is the only launch on the lake, and it requires a skillful backup job. The lake dropped nearly 2 feet to 679.97 in elevation and 33% capacity.
Call: Monte Smith (209) 581-4734; Danny Layne-Fish’n Dan (209) 586-2383; Gary Vella (209) 652-7550; Bait Barn (209) 874-3011
Lake Isabella/Bakersfield area
Bass 2; Trout 1; Crappie 2; Catfish 3; Bluegill 1
Catfish are providing the best action in the lake with 3-inch super meal worms, garlic shrimp, Sonny’s Dip Bait or Katnip Beef Bait. The long flat near Red’s Marina remains the top location. Quality largemouth bass are found in deeper water near the submerged stumps with Senkos or heavy spinnerbaits. With the low lake levels, it is necessary to use a four-wheel-drive vehicle to launch from the dirt ramp near Red’s. There are no marinas or courtesy docks currently in the lake. The lake dropped slightly to 2,523.60 feet in elevation and 6% capacity. In the lower Kern River, there is a solid largemouth and smallmouth bass bite with Zoom Trick Worms or Deadly Duo custom-poured plastics in green pumpkin or watermelon colors. Recreational boaters are taking over Buena Vista during the day, but crappie fishermen are starting to take minnows out at night. Truxton Lake is pumping out bluegill on wax worms or jumbo reds.
Call: Bob’s Bait (661) 833-8657; North Fork Marina (760) 376-1812
Bass 2; Crappie 1; Trout 1; Catfish 2
There are still huge largemouth bass available as evidenced by the 10.12-pound kicker that provided separation for the winning team at this past weekend’s Visalia Bass Club tournament. The key is finding the right location; reaction baits are locating the larger fish. Numbers can be taken on plastics on the drop-shot or shaky head. Catfish are biting chicken livers, nightcrawlers or sardines with the best action at night. The lake receded 1.5 feet to 611.87 in elevation and 15% capacity.
Call: Sierra Sporting Goods 592-5212
Bass 2; Trout 1; Catfish 2; Crappie 1
Chuck Stokke of Sequoia Fishing Co. in Springville reported, “Bass fishing is slow to fair with the best action in Zoom lizards in watermelon red on a slow presentation in the deepest part of the lake near the dam in 10-15 feet of water. Working the points with crankbaits is another solid option.” The lake dropped a half-foot to 585.47 in elevation and 7% capacity. In the Tule River, Stokke reported, “The river has become lower, but fly fishermen are catching quality browns and rainbows on caddis, ants, Royal Wulf and small Woolley Buggers.”
Call: Sequoia Fishing Co. 539-5626, sequoiafishingcompany.com
Bass 2; Trout 2; King salmon 1; Kokanee 1; Crappie 1; Catfish 3
The North Barrett Cove ramp is the only operational launch as the one at South Barrett Cove is closed with the water level falling to 11% capacity. The North Barrett ramp requires a long walk back to the parking lot unless you arrive early, and it may be open for only a few more weeks. Launch condition updates are available at (855) 222-5253. Catfish and bass can be found near the dam in the deepest water with medium to large minnows. The lake fell 2 feet in elevation to 619.33 and 10% capacity.
Call: A-1 Bait (209) 563-6505; Bub Tosh (209) 404-0053
McSwain Marina is closed on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Spotted bass are dominating action for the few bank and boat fishermen, as the warm-water species have moved in because of releases from upstream McClure. There will be no additional trout plants this summer, and a decision on when they will resume is pending a review based on water temperatures.
Call: McSwain Marina (209) 378-2534
Millerton Lake/San Joaquin River
Bass 2; Striper 1; Shad 1; Bluegill 1
Recreational boat traffic and steadily dropping water levels have contributed to few fishermen heading to the lake. Small bass in the 10- to 11-inch range are possible, but catching one in excess of that is a challenge. There is a small window for topwater in the early morning. Brass ’n’ glass worked along the bottom also are producing small fish. Catfish to 3 pounds can be found at night with anchovies or sardines near the Madera Launch Ramp. There were no striper reports. All vessels must possess a low-emission motor. Millerton dropped 3 feet to 483.94 in elevation and 33% capacity. Regulations on the lower San Joaquin, and from Friant Dam downstream to the Highway 140 Bridge allow only two hatchery trout or hatchery steelhead with a total of four in possession. The hatchery fish have a healed adipose fin clip. All wild steelhead or trout with an adipose fin present must be released immediately. The San Joaquin River is closed to the take of salmon; they may not be targeted and must be released immediately if inadvertently caught.
Call: Fresno Fisherman’s Warehouse 225-1838; Valley Rod & Gun 292-3474
New Melones Reservoir/Tulloch
Bass 2; Crappie 3; Catfish 3; Trout 2; Kokanee 1
At New Melones, catfish are the top species with John Lietchy of Glory Hole Sports in Angels Camp stating, “The catfish bite has been really good this year, and within the past week, anglers have been hauling in a handful of quality whiskerfish.” The best bet is using a combination of smell and vibration to attract the bottom feeders, and Lietchy advised using a bead below the weight and lightly shaking the rod to make the weight and bait tick. Placing Pro Cure scent on frozen bait also will create more opportunities as the whiskerfish are roaming along the shallows in search of food. Bass action is fair, but the bite is unpredictable as the lake level continues to drop every day. Lietchy said, “The receding water will make the fish a little finicky, and many will pull offshore and suspend making them difficult to target.” Most are being taken on the bottom with soft plastics in crawdad or shad patterns on a weedless presentation to avoid being snagged on the submerged wood. The topwater bite has slowed, and trout trollers continue to hook spotted bass in the middle of the lake in deep water. For trout and kokanee, Gary Burns of Take It To the Limit Guide Service said, “The kokanee bite has slowed, but the rainbow trout bite is solid as after trolling for 2.5 hours without a hit for kokanee, we switched over to fast-trolling spoons at 3 mph for six rainbows to 2 pounds, losing three or four others. The dam was the best area at depths from 40-50 feet with chrome Speedy Shiners or Rapalas in Blue Steel.” Crappie action continued to be slow with a few slabsides taken under submersible lights with minijigs. A four-wheel-drive is essential to place a boat into the lake, and there is no courtesy dock. The lake fell 4 feet to 14% capacity and 815.49 feet in elevation. Tulloch held at 507.95 and 96%.
Call: Glory Hole Sports (209) 736-4333; Monte Smith (209) 581-4734; Danny Layne-Fish’n Dan (209) 586-2383; Sierra Sport Fishing (209) 599-2023
Pine Flat Reservoir/Kings River
Bass 2; Trout 1; King salmon 1; Catfish 2; Crappie 2
The trout bite is all but dead, and few trollers are focusing on this lake. The bass bite is also very slow, even during the night bite. The best action remains on the bottom with plastics on the drop-shot, dart head, Texas-rig or brass ’n’ glass. Recreational boating has basically taken over the lake, and the water level continues to drop on a daily basis. The lake fell 5 feet in the past week to 734.63 in elevation and 14% capacity. In the lower Kings River, trout fishermen are working the banks below the dam for planters with Kastmasters, spinners or Power Bait. The spinners are working best in the fast water as bait has a tendency to get hung on the bottom. Special regulations in the Kings River above and below Pine Flat Dam set the season as running from the last Saturday in April to Nov. 15 from Pine Flat Dam downstream to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Bridge on Pine Flat Road with a five-fish limit. The bridge is the first one to the west of the dam. The area from Cobbles (Alta) Weir downstream to the Highway 180 crossing is open all year with only artificial lures with barbless hooks and a zero limit. The Thorburn Spawning Channel, the 2,200-foot long channel 5 miles downstream from Pine Flat Dam, and the reach of river within a 200-foot radius of the channel exit is closed to all fishing all year.
Call: Fresno Fisherman’s Warehouse 225-1838; Valley Rod & Gun 292-3474; Sequoia Fishing Co. 539-5626; The I Forgot Store 787-3689
San Luis Reservoir and O’Neill Forebay
Striper 2; Catfish 2; Bass 1; Crappie 1
In the main lake, the water level continues to recede significantly each week given domestic and agricultural demands. Bank fishing has been best at Dinosaur Point or Basalt Recreation Areas in order to avoid the long walk to the shore at Romero Visitor Center. Blood worms and pile worms are the top baits from the shore, and the elusive grass shrimp is an excellent option. The arrival of extra-large minnows has brought out more boaters in order to drift minnows in and around the entrance of Portuguese Cove or the trash racks. Few trollers are working plugs near the bottom over submerged humps. Electronics are a must in order to locate the striper schools. In O’Neill Forebay, white flukes on three-sixteenths-ounce Scrounger head are the top lure for schoolie striped bass near Check 12 or the Highway 152 Bridge. Most Fresno-area striper fishermen are heading to the California Aqueduct for striped bass. Blood worms, pile worms or anchovies also are working for catfish and striped bass. There are stripers chasing bait on the surface in the early mornings or late evenings for a topwater bite with small Spooks or Duo Realis 120 jerkbaits. The main lake fell 2% to 23% capacity with a release of 5,733 acre-feet on Monday.
Call: Coyote Bait andTackle (408) 463-0711, Roger George of rogergeorgeguideservice.com (559) 905-2954
Bass 2; Trout 2; Kokanee 1
There is little news given the recent fire in the region along with heavy recreational boating activity, especially on the weekends. The only location to avoid that traffic is between the 5-mph buoys and the Dam Buoy Line. Submerged trees are a concern for trollers throughout the lake. The Sheriff’s Motor Fee is in effect, and few bass fishermen are launching boats. Bank fishermen are tossing crankbaits or Senkos at night, but the weed growth is heavy, particularly on the north end. The lake held at 51% capacity.
Call: Todd Wittwer 288-8100; Mike Beighey 642-3748
Brown trout 2; Trout 2
At Mammoth Pool, trout action remains extremely slow, but fishermen are dropping traps for crawdads with success. The lake held at 77% capacity, and the launch ramp is open. Over Kaiser Pass, Lake Edison has risen to 18%; anglers walking the banks are picking up rainbows and browns casting small Kastmasters, Roostertails or trout dough bait from the shore. Florence held at 33%.
Call: Vermilion Valley Resort at Edison Lake 259-4000
Shaver Lake/Huntington Lake
Kokanee 1; Trout 4
Trout plants have helped turn on the bite, and Dick Nichols of Dick’s Fishing Charters reported, “Fishing at Shaver Lake is an A-plus with every boat picking up multiple limits, and thanks to the three plants within a week, our scores have risen from a single limit to over six limits.” The fish are a mixture of brooders to 4.5 pounds to smaller planters using orange or pink Apex lures tipped with a nightcrawler at depths to 55 feet on downriggers. Nichols added, “Rick Betz of Santa Maria, along with sons Andy, Tyler, and Mike landed 30 fish on Saturday, keeping only two limits including a 5-pound Nebraska-strain holdover. I think everybody is catching fish regardless of the depth this week, and with the plants, it should last through the winter.” Kokanee fishing is null and void, with expert kokanee trollers Carl House and Earl Taniguchi only landing a few on a recent trip. Steve Santoro of Fish Box Charters out of Madera has been picking up 3-4 fish per rod working at depths from 50-60 feet from the point to the island with Apex lures tipped with a white hoochie behind a dodger. He added that the smallmouth bass bite is still on fire with small jigs around rocky structure. Bank fishermen are scoring limits near Roads 1 and 2 with trout dough bait or inflated nightcrawlers. At Huntington, the trout bite has slowed for bank anglers with a few fish per rod taken on trout dough bait or inflated nightcrawlers near Dam 2 or the mouth of Rancheria Creek. Launching a trailered boat is a challenge as the lake continues to recede. Shaver Lake held at 64% while Huntington is at 56%. The Shaver Lake Trophy Trout Project’s fifth annual fundraising dinner was a sellout and huge success under the direction of chairwoman Caroline Hackett. “There will be plenty of trophy fish planted next year thanks to the generous response of the dinner attendees,” Hackett said. The group will resume its regular meetings Sept. 16 at the Edison Tiffany Pines meeting room. The public is always invited.
Call: Dick’s Fishing Charters 841-2740; Dinkey Creek Inn 841-3435; Rancheria Marina 893-3234; Shaver Lake Sports Inc. 841-2740; Fish Box Charters 871-3937
Wishon and Courtright remain solid options for trout anglers, both from the banks and for trollers. Chuck Crane at Wishon Village RV Park and Store said, “The lake is still low at Wishon, but small boats can easily launch off of the dirt road.” Trout fishing from the banks has slowed down, but patient fishermen are rewarded with limits to 18 inches from the dam area and also at the mouth of Short Hair Creek with Power Bait in Captain America, pink, or orange. Trollers are scoring limits from 14-18 inches with blade/crawler combinations or Speedy Shiners and Needlefish in copper/red at depths from 3-4 colors of lead core. Dan Joseph of Coarsegold put in a limit ranging from 14-16 inches pulling one-eighth-ounce Speedy Shiners in copper/red. Courtright was planted again this week, and limits ranging from 12-14 inches are taken from the banks near the ramp or the dam with Power Bait in pink or orange. Lure casters are tossing Thomas Buoyants in brass or copper while trollers are pulling blade/crawler combinations, Speedy Shiners or Needlefish at 2-4 colors near the dam for limits. The lake is still on the concrete launch ramp.
Call: Wishon RV Park 865-5361
Half Moon Bay
Salmon 2; Rockfish 4; Striper 2
The salmon finally are showing up out of Pillar Point, and Captain Dennis Baxter of the New Captain Pete reported, “The salmon showed up at Buoy No. 1 South late last week, and private boats managed to pull out limits throughout the day.” The six-pack Mooch Better put in six limits of salmon Thursday, and four were in the 18-pound class. The halibut bite has been consistent outside the reef; commercial halibut fishermen are coming in with an average of 2-6 fish per day. Baxter said, “If you have some squid left after loading up on limits of rockfish, it is a solid bet to make a few drifts outside of the reef. There is plenty of fresh squid to jig up in the area as the squid boats have moved north to Bodega Bay in order to find a larger grade of market squid, as the grade near Half Moon Bay is too small for commercial use.” A few white sea bass have been reported within the squid schools, and there are boats trying on a daily basis. Baxter put in limits of both rockfish and ling cod Thursday north off Montara; he has an open-load rockfish trip Sunday. He added, “We will stay with the rockfish unless the salmon bite absolutely erupts.” Captain Tom Mattusch of the Huli Cat took rockfish research trips early in the past week to the closed zone off Ano Nuevo. They caught, tagged and released ling cod to 36.5 inches along with a variety of quality rockfish. Out of Half Moon Bay Sport Fishing, the Queen of Hearts and Riptide are working the southern reefs for limits of rockfish and healthy ling cod counts. Farther north near Pacifica, the stripers keep coming out of the Pacifica area with shore fishermen picking up limits within an hour tossing 8-inch topwater plugs off Linda Mar Beach.
Call: Happy Hooker (510) 223-5388; Roger Thomas, Salty Lady (415) 760-9362; Bait and Switch Sport Fishing Center (650) 726-7133726-7133; Emeryville Sport Fishing (510) 654-6040; Don Franklin, Soleman (510) 703-4148
Rockfish 4; Striper 2; White sea bass 1
Chris Arcoleo of Chris’ Fishing Trips in Monterey reported excellent rockfishing with the Check Mate returning with 21 limits of rockfish and 23 lings fishing south near Twin Rocks on Monday. The scores have remained consistent with limits of rockfish and healthy ling cod counts to over a fish per rod. They have limited room throughout the week and this Sunday.
Call: Chris’ Landing(831) 375-5951; Bayside Marine (831) 475-2173; usafishing.com
San Francisco Bay
Halibut 2; Striper 2; Rockfish 4; Leopard shark 3; Sturgeon 1; Crabs 1; Salmon 2
Salmon action off the Marin coast continues to be great one day followed by a few days of slower action. The bite slowed Monday with the Sundance out of Emeryville Sport Fishing putting in four salmon to 20 pounds for six anglers after posting limits for much of the past two weeks. Two Sausalito boats combined for 13 salmon to 27 pounds for 25 anglers. Rockfishing is the best bet, with the Happy Hooker out of Berkeley traveling up the Marin coast Saturday for 32 limits of rockfish and 33 ling cod before returning to the bay for 22 striped bass. The Marin coast and the Farallon Islands have been the top two locations for rockfish. Inside the bay, Keith Fraser of Loch Lomond Bait and Tackle in San Rafael said, “The bass are moving into San Pablo Bay, and there are a combination of undersized and keeper stripers to 8 pounds off of Red Rock, the Marin Islands, and the Brothers with Loch Lomond shiners or worm-tailed jigs. The bass bite slowed a bit, but it has picked up again with three of our customers taking out two dozen shiners for 20 bass to 8 pounds caught and released at Red Rock.”
San Luis Obispo
Rock cod 3
Rockfishing continued to be excellent off San Luis Obispo, with the Patriot out of Port San Luis putting together 21 limits of rockfish including a cabezon along with 48 ling cod to 13 pounds Monday. They have live bait in the harbor, and the bait was the key to the high ling count. Out of Virg’s Landing in Morro Bay, the Fiesta picked up 21 limits of rockfish including two cabezon Monday and 14 ling cod to 15.5 pounds. The jackpot fish was landed by Kevin Lampley of Madera. The landing’s ling cod count for 2015 is at 4,321. At Port San Luis, downtown Avila Beach Pier is closed but the Harford Pier remains open. Live bait is still available at Morro Bay Landing and also in Port San Luis at Patriot Sport Fishing. Surf perch fishing remained outstanding along the coastal beaches with blood worms. Bob’s Bait Bucket in Bakersfield is setting up a charter on the Island Spirit out of Ventura on Oct. 18; the August trip is sold out.
Call: Virg’s Landing, (805) 772-1222; (800) 762-5263; Patriot Sports Fishing (805) 595-4100; Port Side Marine Sports Launch (805) 595-7214
Bass 4; Striper 2; Sturgeon 1; Catfish 3; Bluegill 3
The salmon bite remains exceedingly slow with warm and muddy water pushing the fish through the Delta as quickly as possible. The fish are blowing through the Delta in search of the coolest water above the Red Bluff Diversion Dam on the Sacramento River, the Thermolito Outlet on the Feather, and the Nimbus Dam on the American River. Johnny Tran at New Romeo’s Bait in Freeport reported few salmon have been taken in the upper Delta with the hot water. The best bet has been for smallmouth bass in Steamboat and Miner Sloughs or in the Old Sacramento River near Walnut Grove around rocky structure with live crawdads, crankbaits or wacky-rigged Senkos. In Suisun Bay, Pam Hayes at Benicia Bait reported salmon fishing remained slow with only a single salmon reported off Dillon Point State Park. The water has been very muddy with the minus tides over the weekend. Striped bass are hitting the Vee-Zee or Flying C spinners, and there was a 28-inch striper taken off Glen Cove on grass shrimp. There are still jack smelt along the shore. More and more bank fishermen are starting to come out to try for salmon, but the results have been underwhelming. Jim Pickens of the Fishermen’s Friend in Lodi confirmed the slow salmon bite, stating, “The Salmon bite hasn’t taken off with only a few reported being taken in the Benica area. Striper action has picked up the last couple weeks on the Sacramento side with some local shallow trolling anglers picking up linesides to 13 pounds from Sherman Island up past Rio Vista to the Sacramento Deep Water Channel.” James Nguyen of Dockside Bait reported high winds have been keeping most boats off the water, but the top location in the area for stripers in the 5- to 7-pound range has been Sherman Lake with live minnows, frozen shad or live mudsuckers. Clyde Wands, shallow trolling expert, was back on the Delta during the week, and he reported good action for striped bass in the Collinsville area with shallow and deep-diving plugs. He said, “We caught and released a dozen stripers, and they were all cookie-cutters in the 6- to 7.5-pound range, and the hot lure was the P-Line Angry Eye Minnows in red head/chartreuse in the shallows.” Steve Santucci of Steve Santucci’s Fly Fishing Guide Service confirmed the solid striper bite in the west Delta, stating, “Striper fishing is really good in the west Delta if you are lucky and pick a day that is wind friendly. The largemouth and smallmouth action is also good, and you can catch them on the surface, shallow and deep. The wind should start to lay down as we get into September and hopefully we will get a combination of overcast days laced with some early precipitation.” For panfish, the Delta Loop is still the top location on the Sacramento side of the Delta, and wax worms and jumbo red worms are the top baits for bluegill and red ear perch. Largemouth bass action is as good as it can be with the combination of smaller tides and overcast days with humidity. Striped bass also are starting to move into the San Joaquin River, and despite the vast amount of undersized linesides, more and more keepers are starting to make an appearance. Fresh shad has returned to local bait shops, and the grade is getting progressively larger. For largemouth bass, Randy Pringle, the Fishing Instructor, reported, “The action is the most amazing bite we have experienced in some time, and the overcast conditions are allowing the use of topwater lures throughout the day. The slower tides over the past week have also contributed to the improved topwater action, and we have been scoring bass to 8 pounds tossing the ima Helly P prop bait or the ima Little Stick topwater lure in between segregated weed patches that serve as runways for ambush spots for the fish.” He advised using a reel with a gear ratio of 7:1, 8:1, or 9:1 in order to keep up with the speed of the bass on the retrieve. “It is difficult to set the hook when the fish are chasing the lure back to the boat with a 5:4 or 6:4 gear ratio, and the key is to keep the lure in the strike zone by moving it, let it sit, and move it again,” Pringle said. The bass are loading up on crawdads, shad, or bluegill, and once the stripers start busting bait along the surface Pringle advised tossing lures against the banks since the largemouth bass will be hugging the rocks, picking up the shad chased in by the stripers. Numbers of bass can be taken by pitching Chigger Craws in black/red or the Havoc Flat Dog in green pumpkin/gold flake near the banks. The key is to pitch the lures to the bank and walk it back to the boat. Pringle was the tournament director for the Snag Proof Open this past weekend, and more than 200 boats participated. He said, “The wind blew hard both days, and it blew particularly hard on Sunday, creating conditions less than ideal for frog fishing. Temperatures in the 100-103 range with no wind are optimal for tossing frogs, but we still managed a winning weight over 25 pounds and the tournament went off without a hitch at Russo’s Marina.” Jim Pickens of the Fishermen’s Friend confirmed the excellent largemouth bass bite on the San Joaquin, reporting that Lodi angler Rick Long has landed several largemouths in the 4- to 5-pound range with his largest at 13.7 using Senkos or Fat Baby Craws. Striped bass are showing up, and Brandon Gallegos of H and R Bait in Stockton reported good action in Empire Cut near Whiskey Slough with linesides to 14 pounds brought to the shop within the week. Live bluegill are producing the largest fish, but fresh shad is a solid option. H and R is receiving several pounds of shad on a daily basis, with the quality getting better and better. Bluegill are abundant throughout the south Delta with wax worms or jumbo red worms working in a variety of locations including Bacon Island Road, Whiskey Slough, Eight Mile Road, Big Break and along Inland Drive. Doug Chapman of Gotcha Bait in Antioch reported more keeper striped bass are being taken from the Antioch Fishing Pier on a daily basis with fresh or frozen shad, live mudsuckers or frozen sardines. Boaters are drifting live mudsuckers or extra-large minnows in Broad Slough for limits of stripers. Bluegill is best in Holland Tract with wax worms or jumbo red worms. Kenji Nagakawa of Lodi, pro-staffer for Delta Wood Bombers, continues to catch and release quality linesides on the San Joaquin, tossing the custom hand-made topwater lures during low light conditions.
Call: Randy Pringle (209) 543-6260; Captain Stan Koenigsberger – Quetzal Adventures (925) 570-5303; Intimidator Sport Fishing (916) 806-3030
Lake Nacimiento/San Antonio/Santa Margarita/Lopez
Bass 2; White bass 2; Catfish 2; Crappie 2
Low water conditions continue to plague the coastal region lakes with only Nacimiento and Lopez featuring viable launch ramps. With recreational boating taking over, it is important to get on in the early mornings or evenings. Recreational boating continues to be the top draw at Nacimiento, but spotted bass can be taken in the less-trafficked morning and evening hours with drop-shot plastics, crankbaits or spinnerbaits. Santa Margarita is at less than 15% capacity, but the marina store is open for supplies and rental vessels. San Antonio is closed because of the low water. Lopez is the main location for upcoming coastal bass tournaments within the month. Reminder that consuming white bass, black bass, crappie, catfish, or carp is subject to safe eating guidelines because of the risk of excessive mercury. Quagga mussel inspections are required before launching a boat.
Call: Lake Nacimiento (805) 238-1056, ext. 3; Lake San Antonio Marina (805) 472-2818; Central Coast Bass Fishing.com (805) 466-6557
- Angler’s Choice on Aug. 8 at Delta/Ladd’s Marina: 1, Scott Adkins/Tim Woltkamp 22.93 pounds (big fish 7.59; 2, Lorenzo and John Rossetti 22.06; 3, Jerred Jennings/Alan Da Silva 19.40
- Visalia Bass Club on Aug. 8 at Kaweah: 1, Kyle Manes/Bobby Blaswich 17.77 pounds (big fish 10.12); 2, Eric Arbelo/Jerry Williams 10.99; 3, Junior Demacabalin/Josh Housey 10.24
- Saturday: Best Bass Tournaments at Delta/Russo’s Marina; Angler’s Choice at Delta/Ladd’s Marina; American Bass Association at Isabella; Tri Valley Bass Club Inc. at Lopez
- Sunday: Stockton Bass Club at Delta/Ladd’s Marina
- Aug. 22-23: Best Bass Tournaments at Delta/Russo’s Marina; Manteca Bassin’ Buddies at Delta/B and W Resort; Riverbank Bass Anglers at New Melones; 101 Bass at Kaweah
- Aug. 23-24: Fresno Bass Club at Pine Flat
- Aug. 28: Jim’s Pro Bass Tackle at Lopez
- Aug. 28-29: 101 Bass at Millerton
- Aug. 29: Angler’s Choice at Delta/B and W Resort; Glory Hole Sporting Goods at New Melones; Sierra Bass Club at Eastman
- Tuolumne County: Lyons Reservoir; Moccasin Creek; Powerhouse Stream; Stanislaus River Clarks Fork; Stanislaus River Middle Fork; Stanislaus River South Fork
n = new moon> = peak activity