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.
Best bets Don Pedro trout wake up, Monte Smith said. Kaweah Bass hitting, Sierra Sporting Goods reported. New Melones pumping out bass, crappie and catfish, John Liechty said. Shaver trout active, Dick Nichols reported. Delta bass, stripers and sturgeon on fire, Alan Fong said. Success kicking out bedding bass, Chuck Stokke reported.
2-Have to work hard
4-Fish jumpin’ in boat
Delta Mendota Canal
In the California Aqueduct, Meng Xyong, of the Fishaholics out of Fresno, reported the south aqueduct continues to produce with anglers catching limits on cut baits. The low water level in the north has effected fishing in some areas, but some anglers continue to produce using SpeedLures, Duo Realis 120 and Lucky Craft Pointers. Flukes remain popular for fish feeding near the bottom. Anglers continue to produce at the Delta-Mendota Canal using the same techniques as the aqueduct. Some are having success throwing A-Rigs for shakers. Fishermen have been discovering more poaching activity recently, and some anglers are encountering poachers in the act of laying down baited lines. Anglers should not confront these individuals and report the activity on the toll-free CalTIP line at 888-334-2258. In Kern County, Jacob Rutledge of Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield reported the area near the Buena Vista Golf Course is still fenced off, but access for fishermen may open up as early as this coming weekend. Catfish are the top species along with schoolie stripers on jumbo minnows, frozen shad, sardines or anchovies. Most striper fishermen continue to work to the section of the aqueduct adjacent to Highway 166. Trash and debris left along the aqueduct’s levees remains a major problem, and anglers are advised to pack out all debris in order to maintain the ability to fish these valuable locations.
Bass 2 Trout 2 Bluegill 2 Catfish 2 Crappie 2
Numbers of bass are down, but the quality is good with some in the 6-pound range. Patrick Movey of the Fishermen’s Warehouse in Fresno said single-tail grubs on a one-fourth-ounce jig head, plastics on the drop-shot or Carolina-rigged lizards are working for six to seven fish per rod. The water is warming up at 69 degrees, and the visibility is 4 feet with some areas of the lake clouded in an algae bloom. Ranger Bryan Stiles of the U.S. Army Corp of Engineer’s Ranger Station added that the best bass fishing seems to be at depths of 15 feet, with rainbow trout-patterned lures with jigs, crankbaits or nightcrawlers the most successful baits. The No Wake area in the northwest corner of the lake is proving to be the hot spot for 5- to 8-pound bass. Power Bait, spinners or spoons are working for the planted trout, and a few crappie up to 1.5 pounds are taken on minnows near the Chowchilla Recreation Area launch ramp. 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 lake has risen to 32 percent capacity and 513.77 feet in elevation. The northeastern portion of the lake behind the buoy line is closed to water recreation to protect nesting bald eagles. The area will reopen Aug. 1.
Call: Six Star Tackle Box 673-5688; Eastman Lake 689-3255
Bass 2 Trout 2 Catfish 2 Bluegill 2 Crappie 2
The lake rose another week to 505.22 feet in elevation and 49 percent capacity. Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said the numbers of bass are solid, but the quality is limited. There is a reaction bite as well as Brush Hogs, Senkos, or Texas-rigged plastics. The fish are shallow at depths from 10 feet to the bank. The water clarity is improving. A few small crappie are landed on minijigs or minnows.
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 3 Kokanee 2 King salmon 2 Crappie 2
After months of slumber, the trout bite broke wide open. Monte Smith of Gold Country Sport Fishing found success trolling Rocky Mountain Tackle’s spinner hootchies behind a Vance’s dodger as well as Apex lures at 15-30 feet deep. “The trout are on a tear, and although there are scattered groups of kokanee, it is hard to get past the trout to get to the kokanee,” Smith said. “The rainbows are all over the place, and we found our best action near Jenkins Hill. The water continues to rise, and it is warming up at temperatures from 60 to 62 degrees with clarity from 8 to 10 feet in depth. King salmon haven’t shown up as of yet, but this will change soon.” For bass, Mike Gomez of the Bait Barn in Waterford reported a tough bite as the rising water is keeping the fish in a confused state. Just as soon as the fish are starting to bed, the water rises, and the fish are backing off. “They are really confused right now, and the best action is with jigs or plastics on the drop-shot or Texas-rig,” Gomez said. The lake came up 4.5 feet to 756.20 feet in elevation and 61 percent capacity. All three launch ramps are open.
Call: Monte Smith (209) 581-4734; Danny Layne-Fish’n Dan (209) 586-2383; Gary Vella (209) 652-7550; Bait Barn (209) 874-3011
Bass 2 Trout 2 Crappie 3 Catfish 2 Bluegill 2
Jacob Rutledge of Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield reported the crappie bite is showing some signs of life, but it is not quite red hot yet. The submerged trees around the point at Kissack Cove has been a top area for crappie. Largemouth bass are available, but there are few anglers trying for them – although this will change with the upcoming tournaments on the lake. There are plenty of trout remaining from the heavy plants prior to last month’s derby. Catfish continue to take frozen shad, jumbo minnows or store-bought salmon near Rocky Point. The lake has risen to 2535.93 feet in elevation and 11 percent capacity. The lower Kern River received a trout plant, and Rutledge reported a few limits have been taken on salmon eggs. Buena Vista still is holding rainbow trout from last week’s plant, but the top species has been largemouth bass and a few crappie. Lake Ming is the best spot for largemouth bass.
Call: Bob’s Bait (661) 833-8657; North Fork Marina (760) 376-1812
Bass 3 Crappie 2 Trout 2 Catfish 2
A trout plant was made just before last weekend, and Sierra Sporting Goods reported limits of planters are taken from the second launch ramp with Power Bait, Kastmasters or nightcrawlers. The bass are on the beds, and plastics on the drop-shot or large creature baits are plucking them out of the shallows. Crappie fishing is best at night with minijigs or small minnows. The lake level is back on the rise, coming up 3 feet to 655.55 feet in elevation and 42 percent capacity.
Call: Sierra Sporting Goods 592-5212
Bass 3 Trout 3 Catfish 2 Crappie 2
Chuck Stokke of Sequoia Fishing Company in Springville said the bass are in full spawn mode, and Brush Hogs, lizards, Senkos and jigs with a trailer have been excellent. The crappie bite went from good to fair within the past week, he added. The lake rose to 2 feet to 627.38 feet in elevation and 46 percent capacity. In the Tule River, Stokke said, trout action is good with spinners, nightcrawlers, and salmon eggs, and fly fishing is picking up on dry flies. “It looks like this year is going to be good,” Stokke said.
Call: Sequoia Fishing Co. 539-5626, sequoiafishingcompany.com
Bass 3 Trout 2 King salmon 1 Kokanee 1 Crappie 2 Catfish 2
Spotted bass are the story with the largest grade taken on topwater lures such as the River2 Sea Rover as the water clarity has improved, Mike Gomez of the Bait Barn in Waterford said. The lake has risen 8.5 feet to 729.89 feet in elevation and 34 percent capacity, but the lake is still below the 50 percent average at this time of year. The water is clearing steadily enough for a reaction bait bite. The Barrett’s Cove launch ramps are in the water.
Call: A-1 Bait (209) 563-6505; Bub Tosh (209) 404-0053
The Merced Irrigation District’s annual trout derby is this weekend and the lake will be closed to fishing Friday night in order to plant rainbow trout. The derby starts at 7 a.m. Saturday and ends at noon Sunday. The lake is full, and it is clearing up. Bank fishing has been best at the Marina, the Brush Pile and the Handicapped Docks with Kastmasters, trout dough bait or inflated nightcrawlers.
Call: McSwain Marina (209) 378-2534
San Joaquin River
Bass 2 Striper 1 Shad 1 Bluegill 2 Trout 2
Numbers of spotted bass are available, with a few fish to 3 pounds, Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said. “The bass have yet to move up on the beds, and the best action is with plastics on the drop-shot, Texas-rig or shaky-head along with Senkos in shad or watermelon patterns,” Gilbert said. “There are a few spots taken on reaction baits with the action similar in the main lake and up the river arm. Small catfish in the 2-pound range are found with anchovies or crawdads near Squaw Cove or Sky Harbor. No striper reports. All boats need to possess a low-emission sticker on their motors. The lake has dropped 5 feet to 535.89 feet in elevation and 65 percent capacity as the lake is releasing water into the Friant/Kern Canal. In the San Joaquin River, Sycamore Island Pond is still holding a few trout from the recent plants for the derby at the start of the month. New regulations on the lower San Joaquin and from Friant Dam downstream to the Highway 140 Bridge: Only two hatchery trout or hatchery steelhead are allowed with a total of four hatchery trout or hatchery steelhead in possession. The hatchery fish have a healed adipose fin clip.
Call: Fresno Fisherman’s Warehouse 225-1838; Valley Rod & Gun 292-3474
Bass 3 Crappie 3 Catfish 3 Trout 2 Kokanee 1
The Glory Hole launch ramp is in the water with two lanes and a courtesy dock, making access to the lake much easier for boaters. The combination of warming water temperatures and rising lake levels have created ideal conditions for bass fishermen for both largemouth and spotted bass. Josh Parris of San Andreas caught and released a huge limit of largemouth bass using large swimbaits with the larger fish weighing 11.24 pounds. “The bite has been good for awhile,” John Liechty of Glory Hole Sports in Angels Camp said, “and we can expect it to remain for another couple of months as the water temperature continues to rise. The warmer water will increase metabolism in the bass, and they will feed more actively. Baits that are a threat to nesting areas are working best as the fish are very territorial at this time of year. Bulky soft plastics such as Sweet Beavers or Brush Hogs in bluegill colors are good choices as the panfish are the enemy of spawning bass. Reaction baits are also effective with crankbaits, chatterbaits and spinnerbaits, and flukes are a good option through and around heavy stricture. As the water is rising each week, heavy jigs in crawdad colors with a trailer are picking up bass that have staged outside of the spawning areas. Kayak fishermen are finding solid action with finesse techniques.” Liechty continued to promote catch and release of the spotted and largemouth bass. Mike Gomez of the Bait Barn in Waterford confirmed the excellent bass fishing during Saturday’s Future Pro Tournament event. “I landed at least 50 fish on reaction baits, and they were mostly spots with a few largemouth mixed in,” he said. The crappie bite has also been solid with much improved action this spring as opposed to recent years. The crappie are bunched in schools around submerged trees, and small Beetle Spins, minijigs in bright colors or live minnows are all effective for the slabsides. The warming water has also enhanced the catfish bite, and the whiskerfish are holding near large rocks along the south facing banks. Large portions of cut baits are the best bets. Trout fishing remains fair with trollers working the main river channel for both planted and holdover rainbows with Cop Car Needlefish, small Rapalas or lipless crankbaits. Bank fishing is slow since the rainbows never really moved into the shoreline this year. The kokanee have yet to emerge, but the second week of April is traditionally the start of the showing of the landlocked sockeyes. The lake has risen 4 feet to 881.62 feet in elevation and 26 percent capacity. With the launch ramp back on the concrete, the lake will be able to host upcoming bass tournaments. Glory Hole remains the only launch available on the lake with another 25 feet of vertical rise necessary to open up the Tuttletown ramp.Glory Hole Sports is under new ownership after Dan and Melanie Lewis finished their 20-year run at the business, and the new owners will hold a grand opening under their management on April 23 with a large sale, raffle prizes and barbecue.
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/
Kokanee 0 Bass 2 Trout 2 King salmon 1 Catfish 2 Crappie 2
A few planted trout have finally made a showing at depths from 15 to 20 feet with blade/crawler combinations, Merritt Gilbert said. “The bass bite remains touchy at best with the fish still holding off of the shoreline,” he added. “Drop-shot plastics or Senkos are best for the small bass, generally in the 10-inch range. A few crappie are taken near the trash barrier along with above the barrier near Trimmer Marina with minnows or minijigs.” Patrick Movey of the Fishermen’s Warehouse in Fresno confirmed the tough bass bite with the fish still off of the banks. Recreational boats are showing up on weekends. The lake rose 3 feet to 822.78 feet in elevation and 39 percent capacity. In the lower Kings River, trout anglers continue to find tough fishing despite the solid flows. There are special regulations in the Kings River above and below Pine Flat Dam. The season is open 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.
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 is at 52 percent capacity due to heavy pumping out of the south Delta, but water releases have already started out of the lake, and it may have reached its high water mark. Roger George of Roger’s Guide Service in Fresno, the only regular guide working the lake, said: “The striper season is in full swing, and it is quickly moving towards the key spawning period around the first full moon in May. We have a good water level that’s slowly falling the last few days but it’s the closest thing to stability the lake has experienced for the last three months. We are already catching milting males and the females are heavy with eggs so the spawn could be coming fast. I took out John Turner of Fresno, CEO of Turner Security and his 15-year-old son, Hunter, for seven fish to 24 inches trolling lures on a sporadic bite, but I also got a 29-inch, 10-pounder scouting later that day.” Alex Tran of Coyote Bait and Tackle in Morgan Hill said jumbo minnows are the top bait in the main lake. The most consistent action appears in the O’Neill Forebay with Tran touting pile worms, blood worms, anchovies or frozen shad near Check 12 for school-sized stripers. “There were at least 50 stripers taken from the banks at Check 12 on a recent trip from all of the fishermen there,” Tran said. Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis confirmed the good action at the Forebay with Speed Lures or Lucky Craft rip baits for stripers in the 17- to 24-inch range. Trollers are also pulling the same lures for success with more Central Valley striper fishermen heading to the Forebay as opposed to the main lake or the aqueducts.
Call: Coyote Bait andTackle (408) 463-0711, Roger George of rogergeorgeguideservice.com (559) 905-2954
Bass 2 Trout 2 Kokanee 1 Crappie 2
For the first time in months, the trout bite is showing signs of life – which is good news for the Bass Lake Chamber of Commerce Trout Derby on April 30-May 1. Todd Wittwer of Kokanee.net Guide Service has been trolling the lake a few times per week, and his clients landed eight rainbows on April 2 with another seven lost opportunities. “Our best action was with the Gulp! Minnow behind a Captain Jack’s CJ Dodger at depths from the surface to 25 feet with our best action north of the Eagle’s Nest,” Wittwer said. “The Gulp! Minnows worked better than blade/crawler combinations. There was an 8-inch kokanee landed this week, and this is the first confirmed kokanee landed this year.” The water temperature has risen to the 58-59 degrees. For bass, Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, a few spots in the 3- to 3.5-pound range have been landed, and a regular customer caught and released 11 fish working depths from 15 to 20 feet. The crappie bite is fair at best near submerged structure with minijigs or Beetle Spins as live minnows are prohibited at Bass Lake. The lake level is at 72 percent capacity, and the boards were installed on April 1, allowing the lake to rise once again. The bark beetle invasion during the drought has been particularly destructive to the forest at 3,000 to 5,000 feet, and several campgrounds will remain closed until the July 4 holiday due to removal of over 5,000 hazard trees resulting from the beetles. Campground info available at 559-642-3212.
Call: Todd Wittwer 288-8100; Mike Beighey 642-3748
Brown trout 2 Trout 2
Access to the Kaiser Pass lakes is limited to snowmobiles. The lakes are starting to rise, but they remain very low with Edison at 10 percent capacity and Florence at 29 percent. The lower elevation Mammoth Pool dropped to 35 percent.
Call: Vermilion Valley Resort at Edison Lake 259-4000
Kokanee 2 Trout 3
At Shaver Lake, the kokanee bite has slowed, but trollers can find limits of rainbow trout with Apex lures or Wedding Rings tipped with a nightcrawler at depths from 20 to 35 feet around the island, Black Rock and the dam. Small rainbows are still holding near the dam for bank anglers using dough bait or nightcrawlers. The marinas are set to open by mid-April, and the launch ramp at the Sierra Marina remains open. A trophy trout plant from the Shaver Lake Trophy Trout Project will occur this spring. The funds for the plants are raised during their annual Sportsmen’s Dinner, scheduled this year for Aug. 13. Dick Nichols of Dick’s Fishing Charters will begin his charter operations April 15. Shaver held at 57 percent capacity. At Huntington, Merritt Gilbert reported the ice is starting to get soft in the coves, and there is some open water despite the snow around the lake. The water level rose to 47 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, and the road to both lakes is closed. If the good weather continues, Wishon will be accessible sooner than later. The heavy plants of rainbows from last year are holding over for the start of the 2016 spring season.
Call: Wishon RV Park 865-5361
Half Moon Bay
Salmon 2 Striper 2 Crabs 3
The ocean salmon opener provided a good excuse to pull crab pots, as scores ranged from goose eggs to a pair of fish for party and private boats. The rockfish opener below Pigeon Point provided another reason to leave the harbor, and rockfishing in local waters will begin on April 15. Captain Tom Mattusch of the Huli Cat went salmon fishing on Sunday and reported: “We were able to pull four pots for eight limits of crab, but we only ended up with a scratched bait on one rod and a dropped weight on another for the day. We started off at Martin’s Beach where two salmon were landed on the Ankeny Street on the opener, but we ran back up to the Radar Towers after reports of bait in the area. There was squid in the area, but nothing materialized for our efforts so we pulled our crab pots.” Despite the commercial opener, as many as 34 crab have been in the pots. Mattusch went rockfishing below Pigeon Point on the April 1 opener, and they ended up with crab limits and around 3 fish per rod for their anglers. He added, “Those that stay on the rail and work their gear will end up with around half-limits, but you can’t just put your rod in the rodholder and expect to catch fish in the cold water. It’s funny, the water has been extremely warm all winter long, but this past two weeks of wind have brought upwelling out of the canyon.” Mattusch will continue to run a variety of trips including crab-only, crab/rockfish, and salmon trolling trips. Captain Dennis Baxter of the New Captain Pete will be commercial crabbing until further notice before starting recreational salmon and rockfish trips. Captain Chris Chang of the Ankeny Street went south to Martin’s Beach on the opener for two salmon to 11 pounds for Bill Buchin from Half Moon Bay and Paul Huang from San Mateo in 210 feet of water on straight anchovies. Captain Roger Thomas of the Salty Lady will run chartered or open loads for salmon on weekdays after the season opener. Half Moon Bay Sport Fishing are sending out the Queen of Hearts and Riptide for ocean salmon and rockfish.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 https://fareharbor.com/calkayak/items/14239/.
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’s Landing in Monterey reported two hookups on each of their boats Sunday, resulting in a single salmon landed. “We went to a different area outside the point and fished on the krill. The fish were on top. One of Randy’s boats picked up three salmon for four hooked, so it was better than Saturday’s opener, but not much,” he said. There have been a number of salmon reservations that have been canceling after the news of the lack of action on the opener. Rockfishing is a more productive option for someone who wants to return with fish as Captain Nick Lemon went south for nine limits of rockfish and 71 ling cod on the Star of Monterey. They have plenty of room this week for salmon, rockfish, or whale watching.
Call: Chris’ Landing(831) 375-5951; Bayside Marine (831) 475-2173; usafishing.com
San Francisco Bay
Halibut 2 Striper 3 Leopard shark 3 Sturgeon 2 Crabs 2 Salmon 2
With the crab pots blocking the trolling lanes, most party and private boats have been working near the Light Bucket in order to stay out of the gear. Cancellations on salmon trips have also limited the number of passengers, but the New Huck Finn out of Emeryville went out with only nine fishermen on a crab/salmon combination Sunday for five salmon to 10 pounds along with limits of crab. The commercial crabbers have made more than a dent on the local crab scene, and commercial boats are already stacking their gear to head back to the Pacific Northwest after mopping up some heavy biomass. As mentioned before, Chris Smith on the California Dawn had to pull 50 pots for 10-crab limits for a big load Sunday. Female crab are starting to show up in the pots, and anglers will start scratching out limits of sport-grade crab at 5.75 inches instead of jumbos experienced before the commercial opener. Captain Jim Smith pulled crab limits on both Friday and Saturday, and they picked up five halibut to 18 pounds Friday along with a bass Saturday. Also inside the bay, the California Dawn out of Berkeley has had some solid halibut scores in the bay trolling over the weekend with some huge flatfish to 30 pounds along with crab limits. John Badger of Barbarian Sport Fishing also has been conducting crab/halibut combinations, and in addition to crab limits, he has trolled up to four halibut to 20 pounds on recent trips. Captain Steve Talmadge of Flash Sport Fishing said his Flash II is back in service and did two half-day shark trips, with Bill White of Missouri landing a 52-inch leopard shark on salmon roe in 42 feet of water in the south bay near the Oakland Airport. Keith Fraser of Loch Lomond said a great series of minus tides start Wednesday, and the minuses are in the morning which should make for some good sturgeon fishing. The sturgeon bite in San Pablo Bay has been good with a number of oversized sturgeon released. Halibut fishing has been fair as the water is clearing up, but it should slow with this week’s tides. There has been a big demand for Loch Lomond shiners.
San Luis Obispo
Rock fish 3
Rockfish season began with a bang last Friday, and Monday’s score on the Princess out of Virg’s Landing in Morro Bay is indicative of the action. They put in 31 limits of rockfish composed of 66 vermilion rockfish, 212 assorted rockfish, and three cabezon along with 29 ling cod. Virg’s is offering a two-for-one on rockfish trips during April along with Lady’s Days on Wednesday’s half-day trips. They are taking reservations for this year’s two-day trips aboard the Princess along the Big Sur coastline. The trips leave on Friday night and return Sunday evening at $295 per angler for the boat, bait and bunk on limited loads of 24 anglers. Two limits are possible and generally the rule on these trips. The trip dates are available at www:virgslanding.com. Out of Patriot Sport Fishing in Port San Luis, the Patriot came through with 20 vermilion rockfish, 10 copper rockfish, 117 assorted rockfish, and 29 lings to 11.4 pounds for 37 anglers on Sunday while the Avenger took out 45 passengers for 90 vermilions, 263 bolina, 90 assorted rockfish, three cabezon, and 13 lings to 12 pounds.
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 sturgeon bite remains especially hot in the Sacramento River in lower Suisun Bay while striped bass are starting to reappear with the water returning to its normal color from weeks of inflow from the upper rivers. Captain Jay Lopes of Right Hook Sport Fishing out of Martinez made the decision to stay in the Delta instead of heading to San Francisco Bay, and the decision appears to be a good one with five keepers and an oversized sturgeon on a recent trip. “The bite is nothing short of exceptional for sturgeon, and we are even hooking striped bass to 11 pounds on lamprey eel,” Lopes said. “The previous day’s trip, we had three keepers and three oversized for four fishermen. I will be switching between striped bass and sturgeon in the coming weeks, and I predict the striped bass bite will be off the hook next week and it will last for the next five weeks.” Captain Steve Talmadge of Flash Sport Fishing confirmed the excellent sturgeon action, particularly with the minus series of tides. Captain Bill Clapp of Bill’s Sport Fishing out of Martinez put George Flores of San Jose onto a keeper sturgeon at 44 inches on lamprey eel as one of three sturgeon landed between Buoys 2 and 4 in Suisun Bay. In the Freeport area, Johnny Tran of New Romeo’s Bait and Tackle said, “Sturgeon fishing is spotty right now with the fish moving upriver in order to spawn, but the striped bass bite is on fire with blood worms, pile worms, sardines and anchovies in the Sacramento River while trollers are scoring with shallow-diving P-Line Angry Eye Predator Minnows or Yozuri Crystal Minnows in Steamboat and Miner Sloughs.” Do Doung at Dockside Bait in Pittsburg reported big stripers to 40 pounds with either jumbo minnows or live splittail, but most striped bass are in the 20- to 22-inch range. Sturgeon have been the top story out of Pittsburg with a number of oversized sturgeon released. Dan Mathisen of Dan’s Delta Outdoors in Oakley said, “Striper trolling and plug casting has started to recover a bit from the dirty water, and there are more stripers taken in Cache Slough with the increased water temperatures.” Benicia Bait reported continued good sturgeon action at the Mothball Fleet with lamprey eel while the river is just now clearing up enough to cast plugs for striped bass. Most of the stripers are taken on pile worms and blood worms, and there have been a few quality bass to 26 pounds landed near Buoy 2. Largemouth bass are moving into the banks in preparation for spawning, but there are still large females holding in slightly deeper water. The chatterbait bite has been hot for experienced anglers, but fishermen will be transitioning to Senkos as the fish move closer to the banks. Alan Fong of the Fishermen’s Warehouse in Sacramento found great action this past week for largemouth bass with fish to 9.14 pounds. Randy Pringle, the Fishing Instructor, has also been finding excellent largemouth action in the San Joaquin system. “It has been cold in the morning,” he said, “so we are working the Havoc Flat Dawg on a Zappu head on 8-pound 100 percent fluorocarbon line, and as the day progresses, the bite becomes more active, so I have been switching over to the ima Squarebill crankbait or the Rockn’Vibe in bluegill or crawdad patterns.” Dan Mathisen of Dan’s Delta Outdoors in Oakley is preparing for his next tournament out of Big Break Marina on April 9, and said: “The largemouth bass bite is rolling in Discovery Bay with Senkos or slow-rolling blades close to ledges near sparse tule flats. Red-Eye Shad or Big Poppa’s are also solid options for keepers.” James Netzel of Tight Lines Guide Service has been finding great striped bass action in the normal trolling locations along Eddo’s Marina, the mouth of Three-Mile Slough, the Sounding Board, Prisoner’s Point and the San Andreas Shoals with shallow-diving P-Line Predator Angry Eye or Yozuri Crystal Minnows in chartreuse or red/head white. “We have been averaging 40 to 50 fish per day with some larger bass at 7 and 11 pounds with most keepers in the 4-pound range,” he said. Steve Santucci of Steve Santucci’s Fly Fishing Guide Service reported Delta fishing is peaking with many quality fish available for those who put in the time.
Call: Randy Pringle (209) 543-6260; Captain Stan Koenigsberger – Quetzal Adventures (925) 570-5303; Intimidator Sport Fishing (916) 806-3030
Bass 3 White bass 2 Striper 0 Catfish 2 Crappie 3
The coastal lakes are starting to heat up, and there are several tournament scheduled at Nacimiento within the month, and Lopez is also slated for a few events. Both lakes remain the only coastal lakes where boats can be launched from a ramp. At Nacimiento, the reaction bite is starting for the spotted bass with chatterbaits, jerkbaits, spinnerbaits or Umbrella-rigs as well as Brush Hogs or jigs. Working the lake’s ledges is the top option. There is a crappie bite with live minnows or minijigs. At Lopez, the largemouth bass are waking up from a long slumber, and plastics on the drop-shot or Texas-rig along with jigs are working around submerged structure. Crappie are also available with minijgs in slightly deeper water. San Antonio remains closed indefinitely as a result of extremely low water conditions at 4 percent of capacity and high operating expenses. The launch ramp at Lopez is anticipated to remain open for the remainder of the season, but there is no report for the lake. At Santa Margarita, there is a reaction bite with Umbrella rigs, chatterbaits, ripbaits, and small swimbaits for largemouths while crappie are biting in the early morning and evenings around ledges and steep rock walls. Some large catfish to 12 pounds have been reports. The marina store is open for supplies and rental vessels.
Call: Lake Nacimiento (805) 238-1056, ext. 3; Lake San Antonio Marina (805) 472-2818; Central Coast Bass Fishing.com (805) 466-6557
- Kerman Bass Club at Delta/Ladd’s Marina on April 2: 1, Darren and Merv Graef, 14.21 pounds (Big Fish, 6.19); 2, George Espino/Ken Eddy, 13.93; 3, Ed and Cory Kerber, 13.49.
- California Team Trail at Delta/B&W Resort on April 2: 1, Scott Adkins/Tim Woltkamp, 28.97 pounds (Big Fish, 8.48); 2, Hunter Schlander/Vincent Bernal, 28.19; 3, Greg Leonard/Wade Goodwin, 20.89.
- Central Valley Angler’s Spring Striper Shootout at Delta/Sandy Beach on April 3 (29.75-inch target length): 1, Greta Turner, 29.25 inches: 2, Fernando Vasquez, 29 inches; 3, Dave Houston, 27 inches.
- Saturday: Dan’s Delta Outdoors at Delta/Big Break Marina; Stanislaus County Employees/Sonora Bass Club at Delta/Ladd’s Marina; Local 3999 at McClure; Best Bass Tournaments at Pine Flat; Oro Madre Bass Anglers at Tulloch; Best Bass Tournaments at Nacimiento
- Saturday-Sunday: Bakersfield Bass Club at Lopez
- Sunday: California Delta Team Trail at Delta/Russo’s Marina; California Bass Federation at Delta/B and W Resort; Tracy Bass Club at Delta/Tracy Oasis; Kings VIII Bass Club at Bass Lake
- April 16: Best Bass Tournaments at Delta/Russo’s Marina; Stanislaus County Employees at Delta/Ladd’s Marina;Manteca Bassin’ Buddies at Pardee; Stanislaus County Employees at Tulloch; Stanislaus County Employees/Tri Valley Bassmasters at Don Pedro; Visalia Bass Club at Kaweah; Success Bass Club at Success; Lake Isabella Bass Masters at Isabella; San Luis Obispo County Bass Ambushers at Santa Margarita
- April 17: Rat-L-Trap Open at Delta/Russo’s Marina; Kings River Bass Club at Don Pedro; California Bass Federation at Bass Lake
- April 23: Best Bass Tournaments Delta/Russo’s Marina; Stanislaus County Employees at Delta/Ladd’s Marina; Manteca Bassin’ Buddies at Pardee; Stanislaus County Employees/Kerman Bass Club at Tulloch; Stanislaus County Employees at Don Pedro; American Bass Association at Pine Flat; Sierra Bass Club at Bass Lake; Success Bass Club at Success; American Bass Association at Isabella
- April 23-24: Escalon Sportsmen’s Club Striped Bass tournament at Delta/Sacramento County; Kern County Bassmasters at Santa Margarita
- April 24: Riverbank Bass Anglers at Delta/Ladd’s Marina; California Bass Federation at New Melones; Fresno Bass Club at Tulloch; Kings River Bass Club at Bass Lake
- April 30: Best Bass Tournaments at Delta/Russo’s Marina; Mid Valley Bass Club at Delta/Ladd’s Marina; Badge Packers at Don Pedro; American Bass Association at Nacimiento; Tri Valley Bass Club at Lopez
- May 1: California Delta Team Trail at Delta/Russo’s Marina
- Fresno County: Kings River, below Pine Flat Dam
- Kern County: Cat Fish Lake; Cuddy Creek Pond; Kern River, sections 1-5
- Madera County: Corrine Lake; Manzanita Lake
- Tulare County: Kern River, sections 5-6
n = new moon > = peak activity