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 firstname.lastname@example.org with “fish photo” in the subject line.
Coastal ling cod fishing spectacular, and Aqueduct stripers continue feeding, Meng Xiong said. New Melones bass hitting, John Liechty reported..
2-Have to work hard
4-Fish jumpin’ in boat
Delta Mendota Canal and Sloughs
The popularity of the California Aqueduct has resulted in closure of some locations in Kern County and increased vigilance by private land owners along the 444-mile water-conveyance system. The stretch from Twisselman to Tupman Roads in Kern County is closed temporarily for the installation of secondary generators and maintenance to the headgate. The locked gates and increased security is a result of thousands of dollars of vandalism and theft from the companies working on aqueduct maintenance. Anglers parking along the northern section of the aqueduct have been receiving tickets for parking in posted no-parking zones on a more frequent basis. Fishermen are encouraged to clean up all trash and debris while participating in fishing along the aqueducts in order to ensure continued access. The striped bass action remains solid, and increased numbers of slab-sized crappie are coming out of the northern sections. Meng Xiong of the FishAholics out of Fresno reported, “Finding clearer water is the key to catching stripers along the California Aqueduct. Many anglers working in murkier waters are having a harder time catching stripers. On a recent trip, I observed anglers who used cut baits were the only fishermen landing stripers in these areas. If you plan on fishing murkier waters, your chances will be increased with a slower retrieve along with added scent or simply soaking baits. Most anglers fishing in clearer waters are having success using SpeedLures, Duo Realis, or Lucky Craft jerkbaits. Anglers continue to score stripers casting out Alabama rigs and swimbaits targeting lower in the water column. Largemouth bass also can be caught fishing the canal wall in front of the check gates. They’ll suspend near these deep ledges. Throwing rip baits parallel to the wall can entice these bass to bite. The water clarity should begin clearing up with the colder weather in the central and southern aqueduct system. Water continues to be clearer north of O’Neill Forebay in the aqueduct.” In the south aqueduct in Kern County, Jacob Rutledge of Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield reported the topwater bite has improved with 5-inch River2Sea Whopper Ploppers or Rovers for striped bass. Catfish action has been slow.
Bass 2; Trout 1; Bluegill 2; Catfish 2; Crappie 2
A few quality bass are taking on jigs, but the lake has been plagued by a sticky algae bloom that is making for challenging conditions. The reaction bite has slowed with the colder water temperatures, and the lake remained low at 7 percent capacity. A few catfish are taken on anchovies, mackerel or stink baits. The lake is at 466.66 feet in elevation.
Call: Six Star Tackle Box 673-5688; Eastman Lake 689-3255
Bass 2; Trout 1; Catfish 2; Bluegill 2; Crappie 1
A few bass and catfish are taken from the banks, but fishing pressure is minimal with no access to the boat launch. The lake is limited to kayaks, canoes, float tubes or walking the banks, although the water level has risen slightly to 5 percent capacity and 447.19 feet in elevation.
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
Bass fishing has been decent for numbers of small fish with jigs, plastics on the drop-shot or spoons as the fish are moving into deep water with the arrival of cold temperatures. Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “Fresno-area fishermen are heading north to the lake to take advantage of the relatively good action.” The lake rose to 674.69 feet in elevation and 32 percent 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 2; Crappie 2; Catfish 2; Bluegill 1
At Lake Isabella, there is minimal change with few anglers heading to the lake amid freezing weather temperatures and low water conditions. The launch ramp is on the dirt and a four-wheel-drive is necessary to put a boat into the lake. Few bass fishermen want to take the chance with their expensive vessels. Catfish remain the top species, but the action has slowed considerably. It’s a similar situation for crappie, with the few taken found inside the marinas where the water is slightly warmer. The shad are balling up in response to the cooler water. The lake dropped slightly to 2522.55 feet in elevation and 5 percent capacity. Jacob Rutledge of Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield said, “The lower Kern River has been kicking out a few holdover rainbow trout, but the action is slow. The upper river was last planted in July, and there have been no further trout plants since.” Buena Vista is the only local lake planting trout, and various colors of Power Bait, mice tails, salmon eggs with garlic oil, Panther Martins or Kastmasters are working for the planters. At the local impoundments, carp are surfacing at the River Walk, but the bass action is slow.
Call: Bob’s Bait (661) 833-8657; North Fork Marina (760) 376-1812
Bass 2; Crappie 2; Trout 1; Catfish 2
A number of Fresno-area bass fishermen have been heading south to Kaweah to take advantage of the improving bass bite. The water temperatures have chilled, and the shad are balling up in the deepest waters. Working the bottom with drop-shot or Texas-rig plastics has been the top technique along with jigs in crawdad imitation patterns. With the cooler temperatures, catfish action has slowed. The lake rose 2 feet to 601.80 in elevation and 13 percent capacity.
Call: Sierra Sporting Goods 592-5212
Bass 2; Trout 2; Catfish 2; Crappie 2
Chuck Stokke of Sequoia Fishing Co. in Springville said, “The colder water temperatures have made for a tough bass bite; however, running deep-diving crankbaits at a slow retrieve is working as the bass are striking the lures with a soft bite requiring a quick hook set. Silver Buddies and spoons are also working.” The lake rose over a foot to 578.98 in elevation and 5 percent capacity. In the Tule River, Stokke said, “Fly fishing is the best bet with nymphing using an indicator or with Woolley Buggers. Patience is the key. Meal worms, nightcrawlers, and Panther Martin spinners are also working.”
Call: Sequoia Fishing Co. 539-5626, sequoiafishingcompany.com
Bass 3; Trout 2; King salmon 1; Kokanee 1; Crappie 2; Catfish 2
The launch ramp is closed with the lake at 6 percent capacity, but bass fishing remained good from the shore for spotted bass in the 1- to 1.5-pound range. Plastics on the drop-shot or dart head are the top techniques, and a few decent catfish have been landed on live crawdads. A-1 Bait in Snelling is open on the weekends with a full supply of live minnows and crawdads. The lake dropped three-quarters of a foot to 588.65 in elevation and 6 percent capacity. The North Ramp at Barrett Cove may be used at boater’s risk by hand-launched craft, such as kayaks and canoes. The Barrett Cove South Ramp, as well as Lake McClure ramps at Bagby, Horseshoe Bend, and McClure Point, remain closed.
Call: A-1 Bait (209) 563-6505; Bub Tosh (209) 404-0053
The Lake McSwain Marina and launch ramp remain open, but the store is closed Monday through Wednesday. Campfires are allowed at McSwain campgrounds, and the sites remain popular. Fishing is limited to the occasional holdover rainbow along with bass and catfish that have washed over the dam from Lake McClure. The Merced River is closed to fishing until Jan. 1 from the Crocker-Huffman Bridge to G Street in Snelling.
Call: McSwain Marina (209) 378-2534
Millerton Lake/San Joaquin River
Bass 2; Striper 1; Shad 1; Bluegill 2; Trout 2
Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “The bass have gone deep with the colder water temperatures, and there is a decent bite for small fish with plastics on the drop-shot or vertical jigs at depths to 50 feet. The fish are moving into the shallows in the afternoons on occasion, and they are susceptible to spinnerbaits or crankbaits during these periods.” There were no striped bass reports. The lake dropped 1 foot to 480.37 in elevation and 31 percent capacity. Only a few anglers are working the lower San Joaquin, and Sycamore Island has closed for the winter before reopening Feb. 1. 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 must be released immediately. .
Call: Fresno Fisherman’s Warehouse 225-1838; Valley Rod & Gun 292-3474
New Melones Reservoir/Tulloch
Bass 3; Crappie 3; Catfish 3; Trout 2; Kokanee 1
At New Melones, trout have yet to make an appearance, but the bass are more than holding up their end of the bargain. John Liechty of Glory Hole Sporting Goods in Angels Camp said, “The fall is one of our favorite times for bass fishing at Melones as there is very little boat traffic and fishing pressure on the lake. At this time of year, the conditions will change on a daily basis, and some days the action has been outstanding. Searching for feeding fish is essential, and there are a handful of techniques that work well when the water cools and the fish move into deeper water.” Liechty advised using heavy football head jigs, plastics on the drop-shot or shakey head, or vertically jigged spoons in the cold water. Water temperatures have dropped 20 degrees in the past two months. Trout action remains slow, but the lake should be turning over with the recent freezing temperatures. The surface layer of water will sink, resulting in the deeper layer of water rising to the surface. The rainbows will move up with the cold water from the bottom of the lake, and trollers will find the trout feeding on the surface during this time. Brown trout are susceptible during this stretch, though releasing the large browns is advised in order to keep the population of this species in the lake. Catfish are still biting despite the cold water temperatures. They are feeding heavily on shad, crawdads or insects near the shore. Nightcrawlers have been particularly effective in Angels Creek for the past few weeks. Crappie fishing remained slow. More and more fishing boats are starting to show up at the lake, and the launch ramp at Glory Hole Point is on packed gravel with no courtesy dock. A four-wheel-drive tow vehicle is necessary to launch. The lake rose a half-foot to 798.25 in elevation and 11 percent capacity. Tulloch dropped slightly to 499.10 feet and 81 percent.
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 2; King salmon 1; Catfish 2; Crappie 2
Patrick Movey of the Fisherman’s Warehouse in Fresno said, “Bass fishing remains slow, but there is some action in deep water to 50 feet with plastics on the drop-shot or shad-patterned spoons for spotted bass in the 1.5- to 2-pound range. The swimbait bite should be improving as the water continues to cool down.” The majority of bass are small. Trout fishing remains very slow with few fishermen even making an attempt. The lake is at 729.71 feet in elevation and 13 percent capacity. 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.
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 2; Crappie 2
San Luis Reservoir continued to pump out quality stripers along with catfish along with water exports to the south Valley. The O’Neill Forebay below the main reservoir is productive for a smaller, but more numerous, grade of stripers using a variety of techniques. The main reservoir has dropped slightly to 19 percent capacity, and it is a long walk to the shore for fishermen after parking their vehicles. Jason Coslovich of Coyote Bait and Tackle in Morgan Hill reported drifting jumbo minnows at depths from 20-80 feet are working best in the main lake; a few fishermen are targeting the linesides with spoons such as 1.75-ounce Duh! Spoons and 2-ounce. P-Line Laser Minnows ran at similar depths. A few boaters are trolling broken-backed Rebels, Yozuri Crystal Minnows, or P-Line Predator Minnows above structure. Roger George of Roger George Guide Service said that the full moon, the cold front and lack of pumping had changed the game, with fish moving to new areas. “The overall bite is fair, with a few bigger fish, but I think it’s far from good overall with the afternoon bite the best bet,” George said. “I fished with Marco Vuicich of Fresno on Friday for over 12 fish to 6 pounds, some on topwater, then on Saturday I took out two Marines – Yee Yang and Weurn Saeturn – and we got 12 fish to 23 inches trolling after lunch. Water temps are down to 67-68 degrees with the fish moving anywhere from the surface down to 60 feet during the day depending on conditions.” Patrick Movey of the Fisherman’s Warehouse in Fresno confirmed a decent striper bite in the main lake with swimbaits or jerkbaits for casters; soaking anchovies or jumbo minnows is also working from the shore. Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis reported a solid catfish bite from the shore with stinkbait or anchovies for whiskerfish to 9 pounds. He said, “One of our customers came in and purchased over $50 worth of catfish gear, and he reported good action from the shoreline.” In the Forebay, Coslovish reported, “There are a lot of small stripers in the lake, but smaller paddletail swimbaits are working in the mornings and late afternoons when the stripers are boiling before dropping down with spoons or jumbo minnows at depths to 30 feet.”
Call: Coyote Bait andTackle (408) 463-0711, Roger George of rogergeorgeguideservice.com (559) 905-2954
Bass 2; Trout 2; Kokanee 1
A few boats have been struggling to launch with the lake at 47 percent capacity. The lake hasn’t risen for the past several weeks despite the inflow. Bass fishing is limited to a take of three or four with as many largemouth bass as spotted bass to 1.5 pounds. Shad-patterned plastics on the drop-shot or Texas-rig and jigs are the top lures; the swimbait bite should pick up as the water continues to cool. There were no trout reports.
Call: Todd Wittwer 288-8100; Mike Beighey 642-3748
Brown trout 2; Trout 2
The high country along Kaiser Pass continues to receive snow, with access limited. The lakes are still very low – Edison at 4 percent, Florence at 6 percent and the lower-elevation Mammoth Pool holding at 18 percent.
Call: Vermilion Valley Resort at Edison Lake 259-4000
Shaver Lake/Huntington Lake
Kokanee 1; Trout 2
The launch ramp remains open at the Sierra Marina, with the current status available webcam at sierramarina.com. A few boats worked the lake over the weekend, with the best action near the surface with blade/crawler combinations, or Dick’s Trout Busters tipped with a nightcrawler, or spinner/crawler combinations. Shore fishing is hit or miss, with the best action near Roads 1 and 2 or the Sierra Marina. Anglers are advised to bring chains for their vehicles as the highway had restrictions during the week. The launch ramp at Sierra Marina is expected to remain open through winter. The Herb Bauer’s Sporting Goods/ Shaver Lake Derby ends December 31, but there is still time to top the current leader at 10.3 pounds. The 2015 winner will be awarded a $200 Herb Bauer gift certificate. At and around Huntington, 8 inches of snow fell during the last storm. The brown trout fishermen should be dragging their aluminum boats to the lake’s edge in order to seek trophy browns by trolling large plugs along the shore. Bank fishing for rainbow trout is slow along the snow-covered shore, but a few hardy fishermen are willing to brave the conditions. Shaver is holding at 56 percent capacity and Huntington at 45 percent.
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
At Wishon, the Wishon Store and RV Park has closed, and the road to both lakes is expected to shut down as well. Anglers are advised to contact Sierra National Forest headquarters for current road conditions at 297-0706. The rainbows will be holding over until the road reopens in the spring.
Call: Wishon RV Park 865-5361
Half Moon Bay
Rockfish 4; Striper 2
Speculation abounds as to when the Dungeness crab closure will end; there is a possibility that sport anglers may be able to set pots within two weeks. In the meantime, rockfishing remains outstanding along the coastal reefs south of the harbor. Captain Michael Cabanas of the Huli Cat out of Pillar Point has been working from the Ritz Carleton Hotel to Martin’s Beach for limits of rockfish along with a healthy ling cod on Thanksgiving weekend. Donovan Ash landed a 5-pound vermilion rockfish on a swimbait and regular customer Mike Luna of El Granada put in a comparable vermilion on a live bait rig. On Saturday, while off Martin’s Beach, Bart Gaul of Burlingame picked up a 12-pound ling cod on a shrimp fly. Out of Half Moon Bay Sport Fishing, Sherry Ingles reported the Queen of Hearts continues to enjoy limit action for rockfish along with an average of a half-dozen ling cod per trip to 11 pounds in addition to an occasional cabezon with scores of 19 and 22 limits over the Thanksgiving weekend. The Queen of Hearts will be offering trips through mid-December while the Riptide will be working until the rockfish closure Dec. 31.
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 3; Striper 2
Chris Arcoleo of Chris’ Fishing in Monterey reported continued excellent ling cod action with all three boats sporting limits of ling cod Sunday. The Check Mate put in 21 limits of lings on Sunday along with half limits of rockfish. The Caroline boated 22 limits of ling and half limits, with the Star of Monterey returning with 16 limits of lings along with limits of rockfish. Saturday’s ling counts were just as impressive, with 30 limits on the Star of Monterey and 27 on the Check Mate, and half limits of lings on the Caroline. Arcoleo said, “There are tons of small mackerel the size of a large anchovy in the bay, and the lings and larger rockfish have been swallowing these baits.” They have plenty of room this week, but there is a big swell anticipated to arrive Thursday. Allen Bushnell of Santa Cruz Kayak Fishing said, “Todd Fraser from Bayside Marine has been tracking the private boaters that worked the North Coast over the weekend.” Fraser says “There were good scores in 30-80 feet of water. The anglers at Davenport caught some nice rockfish and lingcod but the bigger fish were caught at Franklin Point.” Fraser also reported a big halibut from the Franklin Point area, and Ed Burrell at Capitola Boat and Bait weighed in a 24-pound halibut caught in 70 feet of water off Capitola. With increasing north swell activity, area beaches are starting to show improving structure for perch fishing. Depending on the tide and the day, surfcasters can find limit-style fishing for these feisty little gamefish. Using a Carolina rig (sliding egg sinker) with 6- to 8-pound leader and a #4 to #8-pound bait hook, the beach anglers are finding success with motor oil grubs, and the GULP Camo Sandworms to fool the perch. Using bait such as shrimp bits, mussels or clams also can work very well on the same setup. Sandcrabs top the list for perching, however.
Call: Chris’ Landing(831) 375-5951; Bayside Marine (831) 475-2173; usafishing.com
San Francisco Bay
Halibut 2; Striper 3; Rockfish 3; Leopard shark 3; Sturgeon 2
The northeast wind arrived Sunday, making for sloppy conditions out at the Farallon Islands. Captain Jim Smith of the Happy Hooker beat it out to the islands Sunday, and he said, “Those who were able to stay at the rail and keep their gear straight put in limits of ling with five anglers in Rob Little’s group out of Sacramento putting in 15 ling cod to 23 pounds out of the total of 46 lings along with half limits of rockfish. There were some huge Boccaccio rockfish in the sacks, but half the fishermen were unable to stay at the rail due to the rough seas.” The Happy Hooker and one other boat were the only party boats out of Berkley on Sunday. Inside the bay, Captain Trent Slate of Shelter Cove Sport Fishing continues to find limits of striped bass in the bay, and he has been working the shallow waters of the north bay coves for quick limits including easy limits Sunday and Monday mornings. He said, “We caught and released 30-40 bass along with the four limits with keeper in the 5- to 8- pound range, and the best action came on Loch Lomond worm-tailed jigs in the shallows.” Slate went out with the legendary Tommy Glaser during the middle of the week, and he put in the only eight keepers on the day using the worm-tailed jigs. He added, “The larger fish want the larger baits, and the bigger profile of the Loch Lomond jigs worked.” Keith Fraser of Loch Lomond Bait and Tackle in San Rafael said, “The wind blew from the northeast throughout the weekend, and it made for crummy weather conditions. Several boats came down to the harbor for a look before turning around after seeing the 10 to 12 mph east wind. The east wind is tough in San Pablo Bay.” One anglers took Loch Lomond ghost shrimp down to the shoreline near China Camp for a 63-inch sturgeon released on his first cast before landing a 45-inch keeper. Tickets are now on sale for the “Sturgeon Fishing In Bay Area Waters” seminar at 7:15 p.m. Jan. 16 at San Rafael’s Marin Rod and Gun Club. Sturgeon guru Keith Fraser will give valuable tips on how you can improve your angling success when you fish for the elusive diamondbacks. Tickets may be obtained by sending a check for $7 each and a self-addressed stamped envelope to Loch Lomond Bait, 110 Loch Lomond Drive, San Rafael 94901.Sturgeon tackle including elite rod and reel and line (30#) combos will be available at 25 percent to 50 percent off. This 38th seminar will be the final, final one and feature the largest discount prices ever. It is highly recommended that tickets be bought in advance.
San Luis Obispo
The FishAholics group out of Fresno expanded their comfort zone by moving from the aqueduct to the ocean on a rockfishing trip out of Morro Bay. Meng Xiong of the FishAholics said, “It was a full load on the Endeavor with 34 FishAholics. We had a great captain, and he was able to drift us right over the beds. This was the first time fishing rock cod for many anglers. The cut squid bait provided by the crew was working great for rock fish. The larger ling cod came from heavy jig heads paired with larger swimbaits. I was able to land six lings up to 10 pounds back to back using an 8-ounce diamond jig with a piece of squid hooked on. Cast it against the current, let it hit bottom and bounce it back. Make sure your reel is locked because you’re gonna feel that heavy tug on your first few bounces. The biggest ling cod weighing in at 18 pounds was caught by Beau Bettencourt out of Hanford. Yee Vang out of Stockton claimed the $300 prize with a 13-pound ling. The kicker fish, a soupfin shark, was caught by Cha Xyong out of Madera. The shark was more than 5 feet long and broke his rod while he was battling it in. In total, the boat caught over 350 rock fish and over 100 ling cod by early afternoon. The calm seas and slight breeze were the icing on the cake.” The John Rowley Ling Cod Tournament out of Virg’s Landing is Dec. 12, and the largest ling cod of the week qualifies for the event. There will be two additional two-day trips out of Virg’s Landing in December.
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 2; Striper 2; Sturgeon 2; Catfish 2; Bluegill 2; Salmon 2
The striped bass bite in the upper Delta near Liberty Island has been ranging from very good to a struggle, and it was a tough bite Sunday with the water temperatures plunging to 44 degrees in some areas. Sturgeon also are having to adjust to the quick cooling off, and although they are stacked up on the bottom in the deeper waters, they have been less willing to bite with the sudden plunge in water temperature. The action should be back on as soon as the fish adjust to the new conditions, and the coming storm should bring out some biting fish. Johnny Tran of New Romeo’s Bait and Tackle in Freeport said, “The Deep Water Channel is still holding a number of striped bass, and Liberty Island, Steamboat Slough, and Miner Slough remain productive areas with live mudsuckers or trolling with shallow lures. The grass is thick in some areas, making for difficult trolling conditions.” Tran touted sturgeon fishing at the mouth of Prospect Slough at Cache Slough, Courtland, and Clarksburg with eel/nightcrawler combinations or straight pile worms, and he landed a 60-inch legal sturgeon on an eel/nightcrawler combination soaked in Sturgeon Frenzy at the mouth of Prospect. Alan Fong of the Fisherman’s Warehouse in Sacramento reported a solid crappie bite in the clear water in the north Delta with live minnows or minijigs. He said, “There are some real slabs up there.” He confirmed Richey’s assertion that the striper bite has been up and down in the Liberty area with linesides to 28 pounds landed on big glide baits on Thanksgiving Day. A few salmon continue to move through the system. Said Tran: “A few salmon are being taken on jigs below the Freeport Bridge.” Cold water created challenging conditions for sturgeon fishermen, and Andy Doudna of Oakley said, “The water temperatures are on the move downward, and the fish seem to be adjusting as the bite improved through the weekend as the temperatures stabilized. Eel and salmon roe seem to be the ticket as shrimp baits are very hard to come by. I heard of sturgeon being landed at the Mothball Fleet, the slough, and in deep water near Pittsburg, and I spend an afternoon in the shallows in Honker Bay for one 42-inch keeper on Saturday. I expect to see the number of sturgeon landed this week increasing as the tide improves and the fish adjust to the temperature.” Rio Vista Bait and Tackle reported sturgeon fishing has been best around the Sherman Island power lines, Pittsburg and Martinez, but there have also been sturgeon taken above the Rio Vista Bridge near the Ryer Island Ferry. Jay Lopes of Right Hook Sport Fishing said, “We have been averaging at least an oversized or keeper each sturgeon trip, and we released an oversized along with a 54-inch keeper in deep water on salmon roe.” In the Pittsburg area, Do Doung of Dockside Bait reported three keeper sturgeon from 44-58 inches were brought into the shop Saturday, with the best action near Buoy 34, the Pittsburg PGE Plant and Collinsville with salmon roe or eel. Maintenance at the Three Mile Slough Bridge on Highway 160 has the bridge down to one lane until July, with significant delays to the base of the Antioch Bridge. The water hyacinth in the Stockton area is starting to curl up and show some shades of brown from the recent cold spell, but it hasn’t been cold enough despite Sunday’s record 25-degree low to kill off the heavy hyacinth growth. The launch ramps in the Stockton metropolitan area remain closed because of hyacinth, but Paradise Point Marina off of Eight Mile Road west of Stockton has remained operational. There have been some huge striped bass caught and released in the south Delta, including the 27-pounder released by Shawn Hill of Manteca near the Tracy Oasis and an estimated 30-plus-pounder by Ernie Marlan of Mixed Bag Sport Fishing on a Savage Gear Glide Bait. Dan Mathisen of Dan’s Delta Outdoors in Oakley said, “The striper bite is not slowing down, but those tossing swimbaits or plugs will need to adjust their depths as the fish are holding from 6-12 feet instead of 4-6 feet.” The action with the Optimum 5-inch Bad Bubba Shad swimbait, leading Mathisen to state, “We are still cracking them as my wife and I routinely catch and release between 25 and 30 fish to 12 pounds with most of the stripers in the 4 to 6-pound range.” The action has been best in the north/south sloughs to avoid the massive islands of hyacinth, and Broad Slough and Three Mile meet this description. The Delta Cross Channel Gates has been opening and closing on a regular basis and may be closed on short notice for fishery protection. Information on the current status of the gates is available at the Army Corps of Engineers Central Valley Operations office at (916) 979-2194 or (916) 979-2683.
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
Nacimiento and Lopez remain the only coastal lakes where boats can be launched from a ramp. At Nacimiento, spotted bass action is decent with the best fishing in the early mornings or late afternoons with topwater lures while working the bottom with finesse techniques of shad-patterned plastics on the drop-shot or Texas-rig is best during the day. The white bass bite continues to be sluggish with the occasional white taken on small white Kastmasters or similar spoons. The launch ramp at Lopez is anticipated to remain open for the remainder of the season as the lake is holding at 33 percent capacity. The bass is spotty at best with the best action on plastics on the drop-shot or Senkos on a slow presentation. Deep-diving cranks are also working on occasion, but the retrieve has to be slow. Panfish can be found in the shallows around structure with wax worms or red worms. Santa Margarita is less than 15 percent capacity, but the marina store is open for supplies and rental vessels. The water temperature is starting to stabilize, and bass are focused on the shad schools that are congregating at depths to 25 feet. The best quality of bass is taken on larger subsurface baits. Panfishing is fair at best. San Antonio remains closed because of extremely low water levels.
Call: Lake Nacimiento (805) 238-1056, ext. 3; Lake San Antonio Marina (805) 472-2818; Central Coast Bass Fishing.com (805) 466-6557
- Sierra Bass Club on Nov. 21st Eastman: 1, Jimmy Smith 8.54 pounds; 2, Derek Smith 8.19; 3, Leroy Bibb 7.74; Mitch Mitchelltree, big fish, 3.37 pounds
- Saturday: Manteca Bassin’ Buddies at Delta/B and W Resort; American Bass Association Delta/Russo’s Marina; Sonora Bass Club at New Melones; Kerman Bass Club at Millerton; American Bass Association at Nacimiento
- Sunday: Stockton Bass at Delta/Ladd’s Marina; Fresno Bass Club Tournament of Champions/Riverbank Bass Anglers at Don Pedro
- Dec. 12-13: Sierra Bass Club at Pine Flat
- Dec. 13: Kings VIII Bass Club at Pine Flat; Hook, Line, and Sinker at Delta/Russo’s Marina
- Jan. 16: Final, Final Sturgeon Seminar by Keith Fraser of Loch Lomond Bait and Tackle, 7:15 p.m. at Marin Rod and Gun Club in San Rafael, (415) 456-0321
q = quarter moon