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.
Delta Mendota stripers picking up, Meng Xyong said, McClure bass hitting, Kevin Cheek reported. Millerton spots hot, Merritt Gilbert said. New Melones bass, crappie and catfish on the prowl, John Liechty reported. Delta sturgeon, stripers and bass red hot, Andy Doudna said. Shaver kicking out mixed limits, Dick Nichols said.
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2-Have to work hard
4-Fish jumpin’ in boat
Delta Mendota Canal and Sloughs
In the California Aqueduct, Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “The majority of action is taking place near Huron, but overall our sales of striper lures has slowed down with the exception of Speed Lures as 35 of certain colors went out of the shop within two days earlier in the week.” Patrick Movey of the Fisherman’s Warehouse in Fresno said, “Duo Realis jerkbaits and Lucky Craft ripbaits are working in Mendota Slough near Bass Avenue.” Meng Xyong, of the Fishaholics out of Fresno, reported, “Striper activity has increased from the month prior. Anglers fishing the north ’ducts are having better success on artificial lures such as SpeedLures, flukes and rattle traps. As the popularity of the aqueduct grows, many are taking to the planar board to cover more water away from the popular areas. In the south ’ducts, the feeding pattern is quite different. Stripers are foraging on small crustaceans hiding in the moss. Local ’duct fishermen are having success using cutbaits. Big catfish still remain the best bet, with Jake Rath landing several catfish in the double digit size while soaking bait. Water is flowing full bore through most of the aqueduct, which is decreasing water clarity. An illegal set line was discovered in the southern portion of the aqueduct over the weekend and was dismantled by concerned fishermen from the Fishaholics group. The set line consisted of spikes driven into the bank every 50 feet with 100-pound test monofilament. The reporting party said, “An entire one mile stretch of the aqueduct was laced with trot lines that were nailed into the concrete wall. With so much water to cover, poaching activity like this goes undetected and can impact the fishery when anglers turn a blind eye. Not only can it pose a threat to the fishery but to anglers as well. The long lines are nearly invisible and can become a tripping hazard. Fishermen have hooked into these lines and have broken fishing rods because poachers are using heavy rocks to anchor down their trot lines from the fast moving current. Anglers are encouraged to report poaching activity to the proper authorities.” In Kern County, water is flowing through the previously closed section near the Buena Vista Golf Course, but access is limited. Striped bass and some huge catfish are being taken in the moving water on cut baits. In order to maintain the right to continue to fish along these public areas, fishermen are encouraged to take out all trash and debris when departing.
Bass 2; Trout 1; Bluegill 2; Catfish 2; Crappie 2
Shore fishermen are finding a few quality bass along with the occasional crappie, but an algae bloom has limited visibility. There are reports of fishermen removing largemouth bass from the lake smaller than the 22-inch limit, as Eastman is a designated trophy lake. The northeastern portion of the lake behind the buoy line is closed to all water recreation to protect bald eagles nesting there for the winter. The area reopens Aug. 1. The lake rose 15 feet to 511.17 in elevation and 30 percent capacity.
Call: Six Star Tackle Box 673-5688; Eastman Lake 689-3255
Bass 2; Trout 2; Catfish 2; Bluegill 2; Crappie 2
The lake jumped to 45 percent capacity from last week’s 36 percent, rising a foot per day to 501.93 feet in elevation. Overall action for bass and crappie remained very slow in the stained water. Few fishermen are heading to the lake, but the overall water level will produce dividends as the clarity improves.
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
The lake continues to rise leaps and bounds, with the latest increase of 12 feet to 747.40 in elevation and 57 percent capacity. Harold Hass of the Fresno Bass Club reported water clarity issues made for difficult bed fishing as most of the fish are in the shallows. Jigs and soft plastics near the shore are working best at depths to 20 feet, while there is an early-morning spinnerbait bite. Most limits consisted of spotted bass with a few largemouths mixed in. The water temperature ranges from 60-64 degrees, and the bass are spawning. All three launch ramps are open, but boaters who use Blue Oaks are advised that the area from this ramp out to the no-wake buoys between Schoolhouse and Fleming Point will remain a slow 5-mph no-wake zone until such time that lake level conditions allow for the removal of houseboat mooring. Travel time from the Blue Oaks launch ramp to the 5-mph buoys at no-wake speed is about 25 minutes. Bass fishing is limited to shad patterned plastics on the drop-shot or shakey head with a dead-stick presentation. The fish are scattered with the rising lake levels. The trout action has yet to emerge, similar to New Melones, but a few planted trout are taken by trollers.
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 3; Bluegill 2
At Lake Isabella, the 27th annual Kern River Valley Chamber of Commerce Lake Isabella Trout Derby drew more than 5,000 people to the lake. The longest fish was worth $5,000, with second place at $2,500, third at $1,500, fourth at $1,000, and fifth at $500. Brandon Sullivan of Downey came in second at 27.25 inches using Berkley mice tails and green Power Bait while a 9.5-pound largemouth bass was landed on yellow Power Bait. Catfishing remains solid with jumbo minnows, frozen shad or store-purchased Atlantic salmon. The launch ramp is on the dirt, and a four-wheel-drive vehicle is necessary to put a boat into the lake. The lake rose nearly 4 feet to 2,533.72 in elevation and 10 percent capacity. Trout action in the upper river remained slow despite recent trout plants. In the lower Kern River, the level is rising, but there were few reports of largemouth or smallmouth. The bass are in the shallows in the local lakes.
Call: Bob’s Bait (661) 833-8657; North Fork Marina (760) 376-1812
Bass 2; Crappie 3; Trout 1; Catfish 2
The lake has risen rapidly, and the bass are on the beds with the warm water temperatures. Plastics on the drop-shot, lizards and Brush Hogs are picking the bass off the beds while live bait such as minnows, crawdads and nightcrawlers are working for catfish and bass. The banks are lined with fishermen targeting crappie. The lake level is back on the rise, coming up 19 feet this week to 646.95 in elevation and 36 percent capacity.
Call: Sierra Sporting Goods 592-5212
Bass 2; Trout 2; Catfish 2; Crappie 3
Chuck Stokke of Sequoia Fishing Co. in Springville said, “There are a lot of crappie in the trees, and the bass are in shallow water in pre-spawn mode.” Larry Kerns of the Success Bass Club fished the Success Derby on Sunday, and he reported most fishermen were working the shallows for bass on the beds, but the stained water made it difficult to locate fish. A 10-pound limit took the tournament. The lake rose 10 feet to 623.13 in elevation and 40 percent capacity. In the Tule River, Stokke reported that browns are being taken on nightcrawlers or worms.
Call: Sequoia Fishing Co. 539-5626, sequoiafishingcompany.com
Bass 3; Trout 2; King salmon 1; Kokanee 1; Crappie 2; Catfish 2
The lake has risen 45 feet within the past two weeks to 715.75 in elevation and 30 percent capacity. Best Bass held a tournament at the lake Saturday, with 69 boats producing limits over 19 pounds including largemouth to 8.19 pounds and a spotted bass of more than 6 pounds. Kevin Cheek, tournament director said, “The water is stained throughout most of the lake, but there is clear water to be found.” Numbers of small fish are the rule in the shallows with jigs, plastics on the drop-shot, or tube baits.
Call: A-1 Bait (209) 563-6505; Bub Tosh (209) 404-0053
The rainbow trout bite rebounded with the addition of another plant at the beginning of the past week. The water is starting to clear, and the lake is back to the normal level. Blue/chrome Kastmasters or various colors of trout dough bait are working from the shore at the marina, the brush pile and the handicapped docks.
Call: McSwain Marina (209) 378-2534
Millerton Lake/San Joaquin River
Bass 3; Striper 2; Shad 1; Bluegill 2; Trout 2
Millerton Reservoir on the San Joaquin River continues to be the top spotted bass lake in central California despite limited numbers of fishermen accessing the lake. The high price of launching a boat at $17, along with the two-stroke motor ban, have led to few tournaments scheduled for the lake. With the decreased number of tournaments, anglers are opting for other lakes in spite of the good action at Millerton. Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis fished the lake last week, and he said, “ I started off with reaction baits in the early morning, but I couldn’t get bit for the first several hours. After switching over to drop-shotting plastics, I landed nine spotted bass working the exact same areas as the reaction baits. All of my fish came between 20 and 25 feet in depth on drop-shot plastics, and I had another friend on the lake during the same day, and he couldn’t get bit until he started to drop-shot as well. There are male bass cruising the banks in the 10- to 12-foot range, and I had a striper come up on a small spotted bass that was hooked near Finegold. The fishermen who reported the 58-pound striped bass last week did not come into the shop this week to show us the photo, but he did say that he doesn’t come into town very often, so the big fish is still a possibility.” The lake has risen 1.5 feet to 542.11 in elevation and 69 percent capacity, and it is now on the top ramp with the docks installed at this level. 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.
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, the big news is the reappearance of the Glory Hole Point launch ramp on the concrete for the first time in several months as the lake has risen to 24 percent capacity and 873.34 feet in elevation. Boaters can launch without the use of a four-wheel-drive vehicle. The Best Bass Tournament event over the past weekend was moved to Lake McClure because of the unknown status of the launch ramp. But with the launch now covered with water, Melones will be a destination for Mother Lode circuit bass tournaments. Bass action remains the top draw, leading John Liechty of Glory Hole Sports in Angels Camp to state, “We can expect to see some giants caught and released within the next couple of months, and it is really important with the spawn being near and many fish holding eggs to take photos and carefully release the fish back into the lake in order to maintain a healthy population for generations to come. Brush Hogs and lizards in darker colors are effective in the stained water as bass like to eat one big meal before resting. Purples and blacks work well in stained waters while natural colors are best in clearer water.” Trout fishing remains very slow, and the action has been a major disappointment this season. The late spring and summer months may produce rainbows in the deeper water in the main lake over the main river channel. Kokanee have yet to emerge, but April should start to produce limits. Catfish are roaming the shallows with the inflow from the lake’s creeks, and they are looking for easy meals washed from the banks. Cut baits such as frozen shad, mackerel, or sardines work best for the larger catfish. Crappie are showing up near submerged wood around the lake’s shore near major creek channels and in the coves with crappie jigs, live minnows or Beetle Spins.
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
Both Patrick Movey and Merritt Gilbert reported that the bass bite remained tough overall with plastics or Senkos on the bottom working best with the absence of a reaction bite. Gilbert added, “There have been quality spots and largemouth bass to 4 pounds landed near the trash racks along the dam. The best action remains on the bottom with Senkos or drop-shot plastics as the reaction bite remains slow. Crappie in the 9- to 10-inch range can be taken above the debris barrier near Sycamore Creek with crappie jigs or live minnows.” The trout bite is still basically non-existent. The lake continues to rise, coming up over a foot per day with an increase of 19 vertical feet this week to 812.24 in elevation and 36 percent capacity. In the lower Kings River, trout anglers are finding very tough fishing despite the solid flows. A group of six regular fishermen only landed one rainbow trout on a recent trip. 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 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
In the main San Luis Reservoir, Anthony Lopez of Coyote Bait and Tackle in Morgan Hill said, “The best action for keepers has been with jumbo minnows near the trash racks and into Portuguese Cove for legal fish in the 18- to 22-inch range while trollers are working the mouth and into Portuguese Cove with broken-backed Rapalas, ripbaits, or small swimbaits. Near Dinosaur Point, anglers are tossing minnows from the banks or drifting or trolling in boats.” The main lake has risen to 50 percent capacity with increased pumping from the south Delta. Roger George of Roger’s Guide Service out of Fresno said, “I took out two of the Roosevelt High School Bass Clubs members on Sunday in my boat for their third annual San Luis Striper tournament. We got seven nice stripers to over 24 inches (my boater, Ricardo, not only caught his first fish ever, but got the released 24-incher that placed second!) before the wind came up after lunch. The bite was not easy and it’s changing a lot from day to day, which is common for this time of year. We had six boats, with Bret Phillips, Dexter Ibara, Edd Allen and Greg Yost helping take out the 16 kids that qualified.” In the O’Neill Forebay, Lopez said, “Anglers are finding the best action near Check 12 as the pumps are working full bore on a full time basis.” The moving water brings out bait which attracts the schoolie striped bass, and bait such as blood worms, pile worms, and anchovies are working for mostly undersized fish. Lopez added, “Legal stripers are possible, but you will have to go through a number of shakers for a limit. Catfish are also showing up near Check 12 while blood or pile worms are working best under the Highway 152 Bridge. Boaters are using small ripbaits, jumbo minnows or small ripbaits for the smalls stripers.”
Call: Coyote Bait andTackle (408) 463-0711, Roger George of rogergeorgeguideservice.com (559) 905-2954
Bass 2; Trout 2; Kokanee 1; Crappie 2
Todd Wittwer of Kokanee.net Guide Service said, “Trout fishing is starting to show signs of life with yellow/chartreuse Wedding Rings tipped with a piece of nightcrawler behind a dodger at depths from the surface to 40 feet.” Bank fishermen are also starting to get in on the trout action.” Crappie are available with minijigs with small slabsides in the 9-inch range found near submerged structure. Bass fishing is best with jigs or drop-shot plastics for fish in the 1.5- to 2.25-pound range, but weed growth limits access to the best areas. A few large bass may have been landed, but fishermen are keeping this information close to the vest. The lake has risen to the point where launching a boat is easy, and the courtesy dock is back in the water. The lake level should be held down by power generation and/or spilling over the boards for the rest of March. The boards will be installed on April 1, and the lake will continue to rise once again. Power generation will be on hold after this date until the last week in August, losing about 2 feet of water during the summer. The lake dropped slightly to 74 percent capacity.
Call: Todd Wittwer 288-8100; Mike Beighey 642-3748
Brown trout 2; Trout 2
The high country along Kaiser Pass continues to receive snow and access is limited to those on snowmobiles. The lakes are still very low with Edison at 8% and Florence at 24%. The lower elevation Mammoth Pool rose to 41%. Merritt Gilbert said, “Rainbow trout in the 10-inch range are possible from the banks with trout dough bait or nightcrawlers.”
Call: Vermilion Valley Resort at Edison Lake 259-4000
Shaver Lake/Huntington Lake
Kokanee 2; Trout 3
Dick Nichols of Dick’s Fishing Charters reported, “Shaver Lake has produced limits of mixed trout and kokanee all week and is one of the few lakes in the region with a kokanee bite. I have been monitoring the activity on the lake all week, and it looks like we may have a successful kokanee season. This is the result of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s kokanee plant of 50,000 kokanee fingerlings three years ago as the fish are now ranging around 13-13.5 inches and are in good shape. Earl Taniguchi, Carl House and Terry Walton fished this week and picked up over three limits of mixed kokanee and trout. They kept some kokes for dinner and released the remainder using Terry Walton Sierra Gold spinners tipped with corn at depths from 25-32 feet around the Point, dam, island, and Black Rock areas. I have heard several reports this week, one from a pair who fished the dam area 25 feet deep and produced some good kokanee. There have been around a dozen boats on the lake every day.” Bank fishermen reported picking up a couple fish per pole near the dam where the Fish and Wildlife plant occurred three weeks ago with various colors of Power Bait or nightcrawlers are doing well. At Huntington, a foot of snow fell last weekend, and access was difficult. But with sunny, warm weather, access to the bank areas next to moving water inlets has been producing some nice holdover rainbows on Power Bait or nightcrawlers. Nichols will be starting his season of charters in April. Shaver dropped slightly to 57 percent capacity with Huntington also dropping slightly to 42 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
The road to both lakes has closed for the season at Dinkey Creek. The rainbows will be holding over until the road reopens in spring.
Call: Wishon RV Park 865-5361
Half Moon Bay
Crabs 4; Stripers 2
New opportunities are on the horizon out of Pillar Point Harbor with the opening of rockfish below Pigeon Point starting April 1, the ocean salmon opener April 2, and the rockfish opener in local waters above Pigeon Point on April 15. Dungeness crab action remains outstanding with Captain Tom Mattusch of the Huli Cat returning with limits of hard-shelled jumbo crab every trip. Second Captain Michael Cabanas ran the boat over the past weekend, and they found spectacular results with 38 ten-crab limits out of 12 pots Friday, followed by 11 ten-crab limits out of five pots Saturday. Cabanas said, “We have been pulling our pots off of Martin’s Beach, and as many as 31 legal Dungeness have been in the pots.” The commercial season opens Saturday, but there should be enough crab to continue to put together limits to near-limits. Mattusch will start a variety of trips including crab-only, crab/rockfish, and salmon trolling trips after April 1. Captain Roger Thomas of the Salty Lady is looking forward to the ocean salmon opener, and he will run chartered or open loads for salmon on weekdays after the season opener. “Where the fish are will determine if we will run up to Sausalito on weekdays after April 2, and we will keep the boat in Pillar Point if there are salmon in the traditional early season location south of the harbor. If the fish are above the Golden Gate, we will bring the boat up to Sausalito on weekdays until our whale watching commitment is completed.” Thomas, through his work with the Golden Gate Salmon Association, is one of the primary individuals responsible for the continued ability for ocean salmon fishing in California despite four years of drought and the near-extinction of the winter run. Half Moon Bay Sport Fishing will be unleashing the Queen of Hearts and Riptide for ocean salmon and rockfish once the seasons are opened. The California Kayak and Canoe Company will be offering their kayak fishing safety and rescue class on April 23 at Pillar Point Harbor, Registration is available at fareharbor.com/calkayak/items/14239/. Farther north in Pacifica, Rob Chaney of the Rusty Hook reported schoolie striped bass are still invading the local beaches with sand crabs working best while surf perch are taken both off of the Pacifica Pier and beaches with blood or pile worms.
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
Crabs 3; Stripers 2
The story was much the same over the weekend with 126 Dungeness crab and plenty of sand dabs for 14 anglers on the Check Mate with 45 crab and loads of sand dabs for nine anglers on the Caroline. Saturday brought 12 limits of crab and sand dabs on the Caroline, with 198 crab and sand dabs for 22 fishermen on the Check Mate. Both boats operate out of Chris’ Fishing Trips. Chris Arcoleo of Chris’s Fishing said, “There is great interest in the upcoming ocean salmon season, and we are filled on the opening Saturday and Sunday, April 2 and 3. We will be pulling our crab pots at the end of the month, but we may put them back in the water depending upon the salmon action.” He added that there are schools of striped bass working up and down Monterey Bay from the Soldier’s Club down to the Fishermen’s Wharf. A few stripers have been taken off the new wharf, where fishing is legal. Without much bait in Monterey Bay, the striped bass must be feeding on sand crabs.
Call: Chris’ Landing(831) 375-5951; Bayside Marine (831) 475-2173; usafishing.com
San Francisco Bay
Halibut 2; Striper 2; Leopard shark 2; Sturgeon 2; Crabs 3
Captain Jim Smith of the Happy Hooker found excellent action Friday for striped bass with Dave Marquardt, scoring a 15-pound striper in addition to five other fish landed by clients. They pulled up 19 limits of crab. Smith said, “The bay is loaded with bait, but it went deep on Sunday as the water is relatively clear.” Captain Chris Smith of the Captain Hook was out with six anglers on his six-pack Saturday for six halibut, a striped bass, and limits of Dungeness crab. Switching between running and decking the California Dawn and running his six-pack, Smith reported limits of crab and nine halibut on the California Dawn on Friday, limits of crab and five halibut and a bass on Saturday, and limits of crab and an a halibut on Sunday as they have been working on one area of apparently resident fish. Captain Mike Andrews of the Predator said, “We have having great luck right now fishing up in the Napa River and out into the upper flats of San Pablo Bay. On Saturday, when the winds howled and the rain poured, I have some true diehards, probably will get my award for the most resilient group of the year. They ended up landing two slot-sized sturgeon in the 40-pound range and breaking off two others. The action was off of the river towers near American Canyon, and in the main straits proper near the lift bridge.”
San Luis Obispo
Virg’s Landing in Morro Bay is taking reservations for its two-day trips aboard the Princess along the Big Sur coast. The trips leave Friday night and return Sunday night at $295 per angler for the boat, bait and bunk on limited loads of 24 fishermen. Two limits are possible and generally the rule on these trips. The trip dates are available at virgslanding.com. Out of Patriot Sport Fishing in Port San Luis, nature cruises will be running on the weekends, but groups of 10 or more are able to be scheduled during the week. Virg’s Landing in Morro Bay will be running whale watching and nature excursions through March. They have a two-for-one on rockfish trips during April. Bob’s Bait Bucket in Bakersfield has scheduled its first of a series of rockfishing charters on the Endeavor out of Morro Bay Landing on April 10. Pismo Beach continues to be the top location for surf perch anglers; the perch are biting Berkley Camo or Sand Worms along with sand crabs, pile worms or blood worms
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 3; Striper 3; Sturgeon 4; Catfish 2; Bluegill 3
The water has been clearing up after last weekend’s heavy storms, but the opening of the Yolo Bypass at midweek brought debris and chocolate water into the northern section of the Delta. Two sturgeon derbies were held over the past weekend. Andy Doudna, organizer of the Addathon Iron Man Sturgeon Derby out of Pittsburg said, “Sturgeon fish changed from challenging to red hot just like that, and our derby took place on Saturday and Sunday with 15 teams combining for a total of 130 sturgeon caught and released along with many diamondbacks shaking the hook. The tournament is based up on total points for sturgeon released as verified by video, and Michael Hale and Zack Medina caught and released a total of 25 sturgeon. The second- and third-place teams were close in total points with 40 sturgeon landed between them. We saw a large amount of sturgeon show up at both the Mothball Fleet and the Big Cut. For the most part lamprey eel and salmon roe are both a good choice for good quality fish.” Suisun Bay appeared to be slower for sturgeon, with Captain Bill Clapp of Bill’s Sport Fishing finding similar results Saturday. He said, “It was really slow for us on Saturday, and although we saw plenty of fish moving under the boat, we couldn’t get them to go on either eel or fresh salmon roe.” Captain Steve Mitchell of Hook’d Up Sport Fishing put Jose Chavez onto his first ever sturgeon on his birthday Saturday with a 67-inch oversized caught and released in the Big Cut on fresh salmon roe. There have been some huge stripers in the 30- to 40-pound range landed in the deep water downstream of Pittsburg by anglers using jack smelt from San Pablo Bay, and the ability to catch smelt is the limiting factor. Transporting of smelt from San Pablo Bay must be done by water but there are fishermen transporting smelt in live wells by vehicle in opposition to regulations. James Nguyen of Dockside Bait reported good sturgeon action in the area, confirming the numbers of diamondbacks caught and released during the Addathon derby. The upper Delta around Liberty Island sported a solid striped bass bite, but this all came to a halt with the arrival of muddy water from the Sacramento River. Randy Pringle, the Fishing Instructor, found stripers in the 6- to 8-pound range in the San Joaquin River during the week. He said, “Everywhere we went we caught them, and we weren’t even trying for stripers.” They found good action for largemouth bass to 6.5 pounds with the half-ounce ima Rock N’Vibe in chartreuse/blue in the dingy water and red/black in the clear water. He said, “The fish want to move up again as they were in full pre-spawn mode during the month of February with clear weather, and they backed off again last week, but they want to come back. We caught them in muddy water and in clear water as the water temperature hasn’t changed at all as it is in the 59- to 61-degree range. The reaction bite has been so good that we barely went to the Havoc Flat Dog on a Zappu head. In Discovery Bay, as water temperatures reach the upper-50s, bass fishermen are sticking with Senkos and slow rolling blades searching ledges near sparse tule flats. Others looking to beat the clear conditions are starting to crank Red-Eye Shad and Big Poppa’s. In Frank’s Tract, the largemouth are on a consistent pace with spinnerbaits or AC Minnows along with Sweet Beavers in Hematoma on overcast days.” Alan Fong of the Fisherman’s Warehouse in Sacramento reported good action for largemouth bass in the Delta, stating, “You have to find clear water to get bit, and the best clarity is in the west near Mildred Island while Frank’s Tract is starting to clear up as well. The fish are holding tight in the tules, and Senkos and spinnerbaits in chartreuse/white are working best in the 61-degree water temperatures.” Steve Santucci of Steve Santucci’s Fly Fishing Guide Service said, “Conditions should improve rapidly with this week’s sunshine and mild weather. I expect the fishing will be good this week.”
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. Nacimiento sports fair action for bass with a good reaction bite with spinnerbaits, chatterbaits and Alabama-rigs with small swimbaits. Crappie are starting to show up with mini-jigs tipped with a Crappie Nibble around submerged brush or trees. Lopez is starting to turn on for bass with jigs, crankbaits, or plastics on the drop-shot or Texas-rig. Crappie are starting to appear around structure in deep water. San Antonio remains closed indefinitely as a result of extremely low water conditions at 4 percent capacity and high operating expenses. The launch ramp at Lopez is anticipated to remain open for the rest of the season, but there is no report for the lake. Santa Margarita remained less than 15 percent capacity, but the crappie bite is picking up with live minnows or minijigs tipped with a Crappie Nibble from the shoreline. A few catfish are taken on cutbaits. The marina store is open for supplies and rental vessels. Cold water temperatures have limited action.
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 March 19-20 at Don Pedro: 1, Ryan Reynolds/Koo Lau 27.82; 2, Michael Murphy/Carlos Contreras Sr. 26.65; 3, Jimmy Smith/Ron Moreno 23.60; big fish Carlos Contreras 4.68
- Fresno Bass Club on March 20 at Don Pedro: 1, Roger Lockhart 11.06 pounds; 2, Mike Brossard 10.85 (big fish 4.06); 3, Jesse Perez 10.80
- Wednesday: Riverbank Bass Anglers at Don Pedro
- Friday: E and J Gallo at Don Pedro
- Saturday: Dan’s Delta Outdoors at Delta/Big Break Marina; American Bass Association at Don Pedro; Success Bass Club at Success; Lake Isabella Bass Club at Isabella; San Luis Obispo Bass Anglers at Nacimiento
- Sunday: Central Valley Anglers Striped Bass Derby at Delta/Sandy Beach
- Kern County: Kern River, sections 1-5
- Madera County: Corrinne Lake; Manzanita Lake
- Tulare County: Del Lago Park Lake; Kern River, sections 5-6
f = full moon > = peak activity