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.
Marin coast salmon hot, Roger Thomas said. American shad in Sacramento River, Alan Fong exclaimed. Rockfish in Port San Luis happening, Patriot Sport Fishing reported. Catfish biting in south aqueduct, Jacob Rutledge confirmed. New Melones kokanee on the rise, John Liechty added. Delta bass fishing awesome, Randy Pringle said.
2-Have to work hard
4-Fish jumpin’ in boat
Delta Mendota Canal and Sloughs
Stripers 2; Catfish 3
In the California Aqueduct, Meng Xyong, of the Fishaholics out of Fresno reported, “The stripers are becoming more active up north. Some anglers are encountering surface activity in the morning hours and catching their limits on these trips. You can avoid the popular areas by trolling with a planar board out in open water. Andy Nuber of Concord was able to locate a school after hooking into a striper and targeting the area using flukes. If you’re looking for catfish, the south ’ducts is where they’re at. Jake Rath out of Bakersfield landed several catfish to 5 pounds soaking bait. Water continues to flow in most sections of the aqueduct. Water clarity is improving with less rainfall.” In the south aqueduct in Kern County, Jacob Rutledge of Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield confirmed excellent catfish action in the Taft area and said, “Jake Rath landed 16 catfish on one trip and 17 on the next day, and all of the whiskerfish were in the 3- to 8-pound range.” Striper fishing has slowed a bit, and the linesides are still on the small side. Catfishing remains best with Sonny’s Dip Bait, Katnip Beef Bait, or anchovies. Trash and other debris left along the aqueduct’s levees remain major problems, so fishermen are reminded to pack out all debris in order to maintain the ability to fish these locations.
Bass 2; Trout 2; Bluegill 2; Catfish 2; Crappie 2
Patrick Movey of the Fisherman’s Warehouse said, “Bass fishing is decent for the occasional largemouth over 5 pounds with Senkos, Brush Hogs, or dragging worms off of the island tops in 15-20 feet of water.” Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis added, “Numerous small male bass in the 11- to 12-inch range can be found by walking the banks, but the larger fish are holding in deeper water.” Catfishing remains fair with anchovies or sardines, but crappie are scarce. The lake continues to rise slowly, coming up to 37 percent capacity and 520.70 feet in elevation. The northeastern portion of the lake behind the buoy line is closed to all water recreation until Aug. 1 to protect nesting bald eagles.
Call: Six Star Tackle Box 673-5688; Eastman Lake 689-3255
Bass 2; Trout 1; Catfish 2; Bluegill 2; Crappie 2
A few boats are heading to the lake, but bass fishing has been slow with small fish the rule on Senkos. Most are in the 11- to 12-inch range, with keepers in excess of 13 inches hard to find. A few small crappie are taken on live minnows or minijigs near structure. The lake is starting to release water, but dropped less than a foot to 510.35 in elevation and 55 percent capacity.
Call: Fresno Fisherman’s Warehouse 225-1838; Valley Rod Gun, Clovis 292-3474; Six Star Tackle Box 673-5688; U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Hensley Lake Hidden Dam 673-5151
Lake Don Pedro
Bass 2; Trout 2; Kokanee 2; King salmon 2; Crappie 2
Don Pedro has been sleeping for the past several months. Trollers have been trying for the kings, but they only decided to cooperate within the past week. Danny Layne of Fish’n Dan’s Guide Service said, “Action at the lake is heating up with Ray Claveran of Sutter Creek landing a quality king salmon at 4.7 pounds rolling shad at 67 feet in depth in Middle Bay. He also managed both kokanee and rainbow trout to his limit on our trip.” Ron Kirkish landed the largest king salmon of the year at 7.6 pounds along with two others at more than 3 pounds rolling shad. They also landed spotted bass to 3.5 pounds in addition to a crappie. Monte Smith of Gold Country Sport Fishing found tough trout action in the main lake Friday while a weather front was moving in, saying, “We had overcast conditions along with some rain for awhile, and the fishing was really tough. We couldn’t find the kokanee or the kings, but we did see some surface activity that had to be trout, but they wouldn’t hit a blade/’crawler combination. We caught a couple of bass, and that was it for the day. We tried everything from kokanee gear, rolling shad at different depths, blade/’crawler combinations, and even heavy spoons on leadcore at a fast pace. The bass came on the spoons. The water color is good with 8 feet in clarity, and the lake level is still rising. We covered a lot of water, and I am not sure where the kokanee went, but we will be out on Tuesday in search of kokanee and kings.” Bass fishing is fair at best with plastics on the drop-shot or Texas rig along with reaction baits as the fish are starting to move off of the banks in a post-spawn move. The water lake rose to 69 percent capacity and 774.12 feet in elevation as snowmelt is starting to make its way to the lake. 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
Lake Isabella/Bakersfield area
Bass 2; Trout 3; Crappie 2; Catfish 3; Bluegill 2
At Isabella, Jacob Rutledge of Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield reported a solid trout bite for bank fishermen and trollers. Shore anglers are soaking Power Bait, live crickets, nightcrawlers and spinners; trollers are pulling Needlefish or similar spoons. The water has cooled with snowmelt coming down from the upper Kern River. A few crappie are landed on minnows or minijigs, but you have to have a boat to get to the submerged trees. Catfishing remains solid with clams, chicken livers, and nightcrawlers are working best. The bass action is hit or miss in the cold water. The lake has risen 1.5 feet to 2,545.35 in elevation and 17 percent capacity. The upper and lower Kern are planted with rainbow trout. Action has been good for the catchable-sized trout in the upper river with live crickets, salmon eggs or nightcrawlers. The final trout plant at Buena Vista is paying dividends for rainbows, and there are bluegill and largemouth bass to be had. In the local lakes, Truxton has a solid bluegill and largemouth bite; Ming and Hart Park remain solid for largemouth bass.
Call: Bob’s Bait (661) 833-8657; North Fork Marina (760) 376-1812
Bass 2; Crappie 2; Trout 2; Catfish 2
The water level is rising quickly. Cold water coming out of the upper river has moved the bass into deeper water. Plastics on the drop-shot, deep-diving crankbaits and Senkos are working best. Crappie fishing is fair with minijigs or small to medium minnows. The planted trout are moving up the river arm. The lake rose a whopping 29 feet to 680.69 in elevation and 64 percent capacity.
Call: Sierra Sporting Goods 592-5212
Bass 2 Trout 2 Catfish 2 Crappie 2
Chuck Stokke of Sequoia Fishing Co. said, “The showers, rain and cooler water has slowed down the bass as they have gone deep in the water column. Jigs with a trailer have been the best bet, but Senkos, Brush Hogs, and crankbaits are still working. There is a lot of interest in the lake on Monday with the sun shining.” The lake rose a foot to 635.29 in elevation and 59 percent capacity. As for the Tule River, Stokke said, “The river has also been slow due to cold temperatures, but it should pick up this week with the warmer weather. Dry fly fishing should start this next week. All of the campgrounds and stocked with rainbows, and spinners, nightcrawlers and Power Bait are working excellent for the spinning rod anglers.”
Call: Sequoia Fishing Co. 539-5626, sequoiafishingcompany.com
Bass 3; Trout 2; King salmon 1; Kokanee 1; Crappie 2; Catfish 2
The lake continues to rise, currently at 49 percent capacity and 772.87 feet in elevation. The water has cleared, and bass fishing remains good with jigs or plastics on the drop-shot along with an improved topwater bite with small surface plugs. The McClure Point and Barrett Cove South launch ramps are open; the Barrett Cove North ramp remains under construction.
Call: A-1 Bait (209) 563-6505; Bub Tosh (209) 404-0053
The last trout plant was April 8, and trout fishing remains extremely slow with the occasional rainbow taken from the banks with trout dough bait. A more consistent bite has been seen for spotted bass coming over from Lake McClure. The lake is full and clear. There are still several tagged fish from the MID Derby; registered participants can still pick up the No. 1 fish worth $500. The Marina Store is open Thursday through Sunday.
Call: McSwain Marina (209) 378-2534
Millerton Lake/San Joaquin River
Bass 2; Striper 1; Shad 1; Bluegill 2
Few fishermen are heading to the lake, though Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun said bass fishing remains good for numbers. Finding quality fish remains a challenge. The best action has been with ripbaits or flukes, but numbers can be taken on plastics on the drop-shot or dart-head, jigs or Senkos. A solid limit is in the 7- to 9-pound range. Most bass are 11-12 inches while a 13-inch keeper is a luxury. The bass have moved off the banks into 20 feet of water. All boat motors need a low-emission sticker. Recreational boat pressure should start to ramp up within the month leading up to Memorial Day. Millerton came back up again this week to 58 percent capacity and 526.92 feet in elevation. 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.
Call: Fresno Fisherman’s Warehouse 225-1838; Valley Rod & Gun 292-3474
New Melones Reservoir/Tulloch
Bass 2; Crappie 3; Catfish 2; Trout 2; Kokanee 2
Kokanee are the top species at present, and the land-locked salmon will be the primary focus for the summer months. Gary Burns of Take It To The Limit Guide Service said, “We landed the biggest kokanee I’ve seen in quite a few years at 15.5 inches, and it came out of the water a few times as part of our difficultly in getting it to the nets. We are seeing bigger kokanee this year, but it’s not a fast bite as the fish are not bunched up yet. This could change with the warmer weather just around the corner. The main lake in front of the dam and the spillway has been the best area at depths from 27-37 feet with Uncle Larry’s spinners in pinks or blues behind a Simon blue dodger while Glitterbug’s tube hooches in pink are also working.” The dam area has been buoyed off for several weeks, but may be reopen within the month. Trout fishing is fair with limits possible as the fish are dropping in the water column. The rainbows are keying on shad which are starting to ball up in the deeper locations in the lake. Needlefish or Speedy Shiners on a 100 foot setback on leadcore line or between 20-30 feet on downriggers are picking up a few fish. The majority of spotted and largemouth bass are in post-spawn mode. John Liechty of Glory Hole Sporting Goods in Angels Camp said, “They are trying to recuperate from the spawn, and they will be lazy and want a meal worth chasing. Slow-moving oversized baits such as large soft plastics and ribbon tail worms are good choices for these finicky feeders.” Catfishing continues to improve as the lake’s water warms, and the fish are feeding on shad near the shorelines. Nightcrawlers or chicken livers are also effective for the big cats. Crappie action has been excellent in the main lake coves near timber. Liechty advised, “To locate the crappie, it is best to use a Beetlespin or a small squarebill or Rapala on a slip-float to locate the slabsides, and switch over to live minnows to fill out your limit.” The lake dropped 2.5 feet in the past week to 879.54 in elevation and 25 percent capacity. Glory Hole remains the only launch available on the lake with two lanes and a courtesy dock.
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
Pine Flat hosted the Best Bass Tournaments Central Region on Saturday, and the bite was tough for most of the 34 teams participating. Tournament director Kevin Cheek of Clovis, said, “The winning limit of 9.70 pounds was taken by the team of Mike Martinez and Brian Orange working weightless worms or topwater lures throughout the day. The water along the shoreline is murky as the lake is rising over a foot per day, and no one could see the bed fish. Most action was found between 18 and 20 feet, and the fish may have pushed off of the banks with the recent cold front.” Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis added, “The best action for bass has been above the buoy line out of Trimmer Marina for limits to 10 pounds with ripbaits, flukes, topwater lures and crankbaits, but most of the reaction fish have been small. Most keepers are landed on the bottom with plastics on the Texas-rig, drop-shot, or dart heat.” The trout bite has been improving on a weekly basis, and Patrick Movey of the Fisherman’s Warehouse in Fresno reported, “Most trollers are scratching out limits with the occasional rainbow to 16 inches using spinners, blade/’crawler combinations, or Excels at depths from 25-30 pounds near Windy Gap.” Merritt Gilbert confirmed the improving trout bite with Needlefish or blade/’crawlers with the best action below the buoy line, stating, “The occasional 16- to 17-inch rainbow is showing up, and with the cooler weather in the past week, more trollers are heading to Pine Flat.” The lake has risen to 860.20 feet in elevation and 54 percent capacity. In the lower Kings River, trout action is fair at best with Power Bait, nightcrawlers or live crickets. 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 onr west of the dam. The area from Cobbles (Alta) Weir downstream to the Highway 180 crossing is open all year with only artificial lures and barbless hooks with a zero limit. The Thorburn Spawning Channel, the 2,200-foot long channel 5 miles downstream from Pine Flat Dam and the reach of river within a 200-foot radius of the channel exit are closed to all fishing all year.
Call: Fresno Fisherman’s Warehouse 225-1838; Valley Rod & Gun 292-3474; Sequoia Fishing Co. 539-5626; The I Forgot Store 787-3689
San Luis Reservoir and O’Neill Forebay
Striper 2; Catfish 2; Bass 2; Crappie 2
High winds and cold weather kept most boaters off the lake during the past week, but this is big fish time with the opportunity for the solitary fish of a lifetime working over the shad schools with Yozuri Crystal Minnows, P-Line Predator Minnows, or broken back Rebels. Roger George of Roger’s Guide Service found the one big bite for Marco Vuicich of Fresno with a 22-pound, 37.5-inch striped bass that was quickly released after a photo with the Seaqualizer. “The fish were not in a biting mood in the light train, but we were looking for a bigger bite and she obliged!” George said. Drifting live jumbo minnows is the most consistent producer. The lake continues to release water, and it is currently at 44 percent capacity. In the O’Neill Forebay, Check 12 remains the top location for bank fishermen as the pumps are constantly running, pumping water in and out of the reservoir. Striper fishermen have been finding schoolies to 26 inches working the wall at Check 12 with pile worms and blood worms along with 5-inch K Tech swimbaits, swimming Senkos or similar reaction baits.
Call: Coyote Bait andTackle (408) 463-0711, Roger George of rogergeorgeguideservice.com (559) 905-2954
Bass 2; Trout 2; Kokanee 1
Trout fishing is showing signs of life with a few more rainbows in the mix with blade/’crawler combinations or spinners, but the best action has been for spotted and largemouth bass. A weight over 14 pounds took Saturday’s Bass 101 tournament with anglers averaging 12-15 fish and the majority of bass in the 1- to 1.5-pound range. The best action remains on the bottom, but the weed growth is already starting to limit areas. The lake is only 8 feet from spilling, rising to 88 percent capacity after the boards were installed April 1. Several campgrounds will remain closed until July 4 because of the removal of more than 5,000 hazard trees resulting from a beetle infestation. Campground status updates are available at 642-3212.
Call: Todd Wittwer 288-8100; Mike Beighey 642-3748; Bass Lake Watersports 642-3200
Brown trout 2; Trout 2
Access to the Kaiser Pass lakes is still limited to those on snowmobiles, but the road is expected to open prior to Memorial Day. The lakes are starting to rise with Edison at 19 percent and Florence at 56 percent. Lower-elevation Mammoth Pool rose again to 85 percent.
Call: Vermilion Valley Resort at Edison Lake 259-4000
Shaver Lake/Huntington Lake
Kokanee 2; Trout 3
Cold weather was the story over the past week, but a few hardy trollers found decent action for mixed limits of rainbows and kokanee amid rain, fog and chill. Dick Nichols of Dick’s Fishing Charters said, “Only a few of us crazies were on the lake this weekend, and the action was a bit slow, but we almost finished with two limits including six kokanee. Two or more limits are possible, and we have had to cull a number of small planted rainbows in the 10-inch range. The island has been our top area.” Nichols reported slow action on Monday during his charter. Steve Santoro of Fish Box Charters stated, “This was true GPS fishing due to the 50- to 100-foot visibility. The bite was off a bit with several hits with no hookups, but my three clients were able to land three kokanee and three rainbows despite several kokanee throwing the hook at the boat. My good friend Steve Jones of Clovis and his son Richard of Madera got mixed limits of rainbows and kokanee trolling at 18-25 feet on the downrigger and 3 to 4 colors of leadcore from Road 1 to the island to the point and over to Black Rock.” Farther east at Huntington Reservoir, a few fishermen have figured out how to launch an aluminum boat without running over the snowmobile path. The path is closed to motor vehicles until June 1, and tickets have been issued tothose who have driven over it in an attempt to launch. The few fishermen are targeting large brown trout in the cold conditions, but there are few reports of success. Shaver Lake is currently at 64 percent and expected to reach 80 percent capacity by July. Huntington has risen to 87 percent. A webcam of the launch ramp at Sierra Marina is available at sierramarina.com.
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
Chuck Crane of Wishon Village RV Park said, “Cold weather limited the number of fishermen making the trek up to the lake, and action slowed considerably for bank fishermen using trout dough bait in pink or orange. Limits are possible, but you had to sit in the cold for a long time. Trollers are still launching off of the dirt road, although it is possible to launch on the concrete ramp. A long walk back to the parking lot is required for the concrete ramp. Slow-trolling is the key with blade/’crawler combinations, Speedy Shiners or Needlefish in various colors at 2-4 colors of leadcore. Patience is necessary for limits.” The Wishon Store/RV Park and campgrounds have opened for the season. At Courtright, the road remains closed to the lake, and will not open until late May. Information on the road is available at 297-0706.
Call: Wishon RV Park 865-5361
Half Moon Bay
Salmon 2; Rockfish 3; Striper 2; Crabs 3
The Huli Cat out of Pillar Point went salmon fishing north of the harbor Sunday for a few fish, with Rikki Green from Sonora along with Kevin Pine landing 13-pound salmon on anchovies. Second captain Michael Cabanas said, “The fishing was slow for the entire fleet, but there was lots of bait marking on the meter with plenty of bird life around.” They went rockfishing off San Gregorio on Saturday for a surprise 27-pound halibut landed by Nick Koulouris of Mountain View on a shrimp fly to go with a total of 22 lings to 12 pounds and some quality bottom dwelling rockfish. They still have crab pots in the water, and limits of crab for 13 were part of Friday’s rockfish/crab combination trips.
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; Salmon 2
Chris Arcoleo of Chris’ Landing in Monterey said, “We switched over quickly to rockfishing on our salmon trips on Saturday morning, and these were our Monterey Bay Disabled Veterans events. On Sunday, the Check Mate put in three-fourths limits of rockfish including 15 cabezon along with 38 lings for 20 anglers. The commercial salmon bite has slowed down from 45 fish to five or six fish, and our water is very clear in the bay. There are tons of krill, and there are whales all over the place, but there isn’t much hard bait.” They have plenty of room throughout the week, but next Saturday and Sunday are already sold out. Allen Bushnell of Santa Cruz Kayak Fishing said, ”Rockfish and lingcod fishing remains steady, but has yet to get really good for the year. Still, the Monterey boats from Randy’s Sportfishing and Chris’ Fishing trips had good reports for the week. Barred surfperch are getting more scarce, but some big ones are still being caught. Most surfcasters are concentrating on stripers these days. There are still plenty of bass around, all up and down the bay. The central beaches from Zmudowski State Beach to Sand City have been most consistent. And, as predicted, the bass are getting bigger as the season progresses. While anglers struggled a few weeks ago to catch a keeper over 18 inches, many of the striped bass caught this week were well beyond that minimum size. Austin Sprague of Aptos frequents the beaches below the Cement Ship and used a topwater popper for a hefty 13-pounder Wednesday morning while fishing an incoming high tide.”
Call: Chris’ Landing(831) 375-5951; Bayside Marine (831) 475-2173; usafishing.com
San Francisco Bay
Halibut 2; Striper 2; Rockfish 3; Leopard shark 3; Sturgeon 1; Crab 3; Salmon 3
The salmon action has gone into high gear the past three days with Captain Roger Thomas of the Salty Lady calling to report that Second Captain Jerad Davis was bringing the boat up from Half Moon Bay to its summer home in Sausalito, and he and deckhand E.J. were able to land a pair of limits working from the Channel Buoys towards Muir Beach. He added that Captain Jacky Douglas of the Wacky Jacky out of San Francisco returned with 11 early limits to 25 pounds on Saturday and most boats had big numbers with over 60 fish on the Sausalito boats on Saturday. He said, “The three other Sausalito boats came back with 67 salmon to 20 pounds for 55 passengers on Sunday, and we are running open loads on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday of this week.” The ocean conditions have been flat calm along the Marin coastline. Captain Trent Slate of Shelter Cove Sport Fishing was at the Berkeley Marina preparing for a commercial salmon trip with Mike Librero. Slate said, “I am standing here on the docks watching all of these big fish come off of the party boats. The action has been good for three straight days.” One of those boats out of Berkeley must have been the El Dorado as they came home with 21 salmon to 13 pounds. The New Seeker out of Emeryville Sport Fishing returned with 18 salmon for 14 anglers, and Captain Harry will start mooching on Monday for the first time this season. He is one of the only boats in the Bay Area Fleet that specializes in mooching when the conditions are right. On the Sundance, a six-pack out of Emeryville, they came through with seven salmon on Saturday for a 5-person charter before taking a crew trip for limits of rockfish and a few lings on Sunday. The New Huck Finn out of Emeryville took a rockfish trip for 60 lings to 28 pounds along with near limits of rockfish at 205 for 22 passengers on Saturday before taking Mother’s Day off. Mike Aughney of USAFishing.com reported, “If you have been waiting on the sidelines waiting for ‘better numbers or better weather’ you are missing the boat … literally. The Golden Gate fleet has been on the salmon all this week. Early last week the best action was off S buoy to Pedro Point. Northwest winds on Tuesday forced boats to fish up along the Marin Coast and they found good action off the Towers with midweek scores of a fish per rod to 12 limits. Here on the party boat fleet fished off Slide Ranch and most scored limits of fat salmon. Roger Thomas passed along a report from the Queen of the fleet Jacky Douglas. Her 11 anglers went home with limits of salmon averaging 10-12 pounds and up into the low 20s. Out of Sausalito Roger said his dock partners John on the Ray Anne and Sean on the Hog Heaven were just a handful of fish short of a combined 33 anglers. Emeryville Sportfishing has been reporting limits and near limits since Thursday with the New Seeker taking limits of all quality commercial grade fish. It’s very unusual for salmon to be showing along the beach this time of year. This could be a good sign that after a couple of years of doom and gloom things may be bouncing back. These fish are likely the result of the efforts of the Golden Gate Salmon Association. They were the lead advocates to truck all of the hatchery salmon from the Central Valley to the lower Delta and Bays the past three years. Captain Roger will begin salmon trips this week out of Sausalito. He has lots of room on Monday and Tuesday of this week. Emeryville will be running trips for salmon, coastal rockfish and lings and bay halibut and striper trips on their fleet of nine boats. The bite is on!” Inside the bay, the big tides put a kibosh on the halibut action over the weekend, and Captain James Smith on the California Dawn out of Berkeley went outside of the Gate for a mix of coastal potluck, Dungeness crab before moving back into the bay for a try at halibut and bass. They took out a six-person charter Saturday for limits of Dungeness crab along with 17 limits of crab on Sunday while picking rockfish near the Golden Gate. They landed 4 halibut in two days during the big tides, and they will continue to do the combo style until the tides settle down on Thursday. Smith said, “Looking ahead, the tides are excellent for bass and halibut starting this coming Friday.”
San Luis Obispo
Out of both San Luis Obispo County ports, rockfishing remains very good, and it appears to be improving with more party boats returning with limits. The Fiesta out of Virg’s Landing in Morro Bay went on a three-quarter-day trip Sunday with 20 anglers for 28 ling cod, 76 vermilion rockfish, 110 assorted rockfish, two cabezon, and 12 copper rockfish for limits of rockfish and over a ling cod per rod. There are taking reservations for this year’s two-day trips aboard the Princess along the Big Sur coastline. The trips leave Friday night and return Sunday evening 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, all three boats posted limits of rockfish Saturday, and the Avenger also pulled in 18 limits of rockfish and 11 lings to 12 pounds Monday composed of 102 vermilion rockfish, 56 bolina, five assorted rockfish, and three cabezon. Ted Costello of Bakersfield picked up the jackpot ling. Their boats have already posted 683 lings since the April 1 opener. Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield is taking a charter on the Endeavor out of Morro Bay on June 12 and a few spots are available.
Call: Virg’s Landing, (805) 772-1222; (800) 762-5263; Patriot Sports Fishing (805) 595-4100; Port Side Marine Sports Launch (805) 595-7214
Bass 4; Striper 2; Sturgeon 2; Catfish 3; Bluegill 3
A number of weather fronts passed through Northern California within the past week, and the striped bass are holding up north in the Sacramento River above Verona or moving quickly back into the colder waters of San Francisco Bay. Stripers are already showing up on the rockpiles in the bay as well as south of the Golden Gate near Pacifica. Alan Fong of the Fisherman’s Warehouse in Sacramento said, “You have to travel north above Verona to locate numbers of stripers as they have vacated the Rio Vista area. Once they spawn, they move rapidly back down river into the bay. The big story in our area is American shad, and the beginning run of males has arrived with the females expected within the next few weeks. Bank fishermen are tossing shad darts on a three-quarter-ounce egg sinker head along with pink grubs.” Do Doung at Dockside Bait in Pittsburg confirmed the slower action with few anglers out during the weekend’s rainy and windy weather. The sturgeon are still around in the Big and Little Cuts, but the fishermen aren’t as all of the six packs have headed for the confines of San Francisco Bay for halibut and striped bass. Largemouth bass action remains hot in the San Joaquin Delta, and big weights have been required to place in recent tournaments. The tournament season is just picking up steam in the east Delta, and the coming weeks will feature more than 100 boats in the Wild West Tournament out of Big Break this coming weekend as well as the FLW-Delta event out of Russo’s the following weekend. For striped bass, Captain Mike Gravert of Intimidator Sport Fishing out of Korth’s Pirates Lair said, “We have continued to put our clients onto limits of stripers along with the occasional move into the northeast Delta in search of larger fish. On windy days, we start in the mornings trolling P-Line Predator Minnows in dark colors, and once the sun hits the water, we add the Blade Runner Trolling A-Rig in front of the lure along with lightening up the plug selection. As soon as we either land on a bigger school of fish, we will get out the live bait as well as our Blade Runner spoons and P-Line Laser Minnows. I had predicted that the spring run would last through May, and here we are as we will be wrapping up our last trip of the year on May 21.” Clyde Wands, shallow trolling expert, went out with James Netzel of Tight Lines Guide Service on Tuesday, and he said, “We trolled outside of Decker Island for one pass before moving over to the San Joaquin for only four keepers from three rods. Everything was deep, although we did try shallow trolling on one of my spots without success. It looks like the fish are moving out. I want to give this one more try before starting to work upriver for smallmouth bass.” For largemouth bass, Dan Mathisen of Dan’s Delta Outdoors in Oakley reported, “ The bite is so good it is silly right now, and smaller fish are found in shallow and tight to the banks while the larger fish are in 6-8 feet of water. The swimming Tailslapper swimbait and 6- to 7-inch Senkos in junebug, green pumpkin, or black/blue are working best.” Ador Lopez of the California Tournament Trail reported, “A 35.70-pound limit took our recent tournament with a big fish at 9.27 pounds for the team of Lemaj Plaza and Ron Berg. They threw frogs and chatterbaits in the early mornings before transitioning to flipping around tules or weeds later in the day.” Randy Pringle, the Fishing Instructor, reported tremendous largemouth action with a great topwater bite on the ima Little Stick in the mornings and on overcast days as there is fry in the water. He said, “The fry in the water makes both males and females very aggressive. We have also been scoring numbers on the Berkley Flat Dog on a Zappu head with 50-60 fish days common. When there is a chop on the water, the ima Heli P Grande has been working and in the later afternoon, the crankbait bite is on when the wind is blowing. I have been throwing the ima Squarebill in 3 to 4 feet of water tight to the shoreline. It has been no problem catching fish and good fish on the California Delta right now.” Alan Fong of the Fisherman’s Warehouse in Sacramento found good action for largemouth bass for a 24-pound limit using the topwater Whopper Plopper in the early morning before working Senkos. He said, “There are still pre-spawn fish in the Delta, and the fishing is still good.” Steve Santucci of Steve Santucci’s Fly Fishing Guide Service reported, “Delta Largemouth are hitting top water offerings. Water temps are in the low 70s, so the bite is on the upswing. A good place to fish for stripers is in the west Delta as the water temps are a bit lower and you have a more central location for intercepting resident, upstream fish and down streamers.”
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
At Nacimiento, Best Bass held a tournament Saturday with 35 boats with 29 teams weighing in limits to 10.40 pounds. Most bass are in the 1-pound range with the rare fish to 2.5 pounds. Plastics on the drop-shot or shakey head on the top techniques while the larger grade are taken on reaction baits such as chatterbaits, spinnerbaits or jerkbaits. White bass are starting to show up around Las Tablas and the Narrows with small lures such as Kastmasters, or Roostertails. Crappie can be found around submerged brush. Recreational boaters will start taking over the lake for the summer within the next few weeks. Lake Lopez is the other option for launching a boat at the coastal lakes, and bass action is best with plastics on the drop-shot or shakey head for numbers while reaction baits such as chatterbaits, spinnerbaits or jigs are picking up the largest fish. Catfish are taken on cut baits near the dam as they are moving into the shallows. At Santa Margarita, the lake remains low at just over 13 percent, but bass fishing is decent with chatterbaits, small swimbaits, or plastics on the drop-shot or Texas-rig. Crappie action is picking up with small minnows or minijigs near submerged structure. Launching a boat is not an option, but the marina has rentals available. San Antonio remains closed indefinitely as a result of extremely low water conditions at 4 percent capacity and high operating expenses
Call: Lake Nacimiento (805) 238-1056, ext. 3; Lake San Antonio Marina (805) 472-2818; Central Coast Bass Fishing.com (805) 466-6557
- Best Bass Tournaments on May 7 at Pine Flat: 1, Mike Martinez/Brian Orange 9.70 pounds (big fish 3.44); 2, Tom and Mark Fishburn 8.85; 3, Fang Xiong/Xang Vang 8.33
- Best Bass Tournaments on May 7 at Nacimiento: 1, Chase Austin/Jeramie Dyer 10.20 (big fish 2.50); 2, Scott and Tim Mullins 9.40; 3, Steve Morris/Walter Kondracki 9.30
- Saturday: Best Bass Tournaments at Don Pedro; Mid Valley Bass Club at McClure; Kerman Bass Club at Bass Lake; U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at Pine Flat; Hume Lake Christian Camp Trout Derby at Hume Lake; Bakersfield Bass Club at Kaweah; Kern County Bassmasters at Success; Lake Isabella Bass Club at Isabella; Taft Bass Club at Lopez
- Sunday: California Delta Team Trail at Delta/B and W Resort; Kings VIII Bass Club at McClure
- May 19-21: Forrest L. Wood Cup at Delta/Russo’s Marina
- May 21: California Bass Federation at Delta/Ladd’s Marina; Angler’s Press at New Melones; Christian Bass League at Don Pedro; American Bass Association at Kaweah; Visalia Bass Club at Success; Golden Empire Bass Club at Lopez; Tri Valley Bassmasters at Santa Margarita
- May 21-22: Sierra Bass Club at Delta/Russo’s Marina; Fresno Bass Club at Clear Lake
- May 22: Forrest L. Wood Cup at Delta/Russo’s Marina; Modesto Ambassadors at Delta/Ladd’s Marina; Bass N’Tubes at New Melones; Riverbank Bass Club at McClure; Success Bass Club at Success; San Luis Obispo County Bass Ambushers at Lopez
- May 28: American Bass Association at Delta/Russo’s Marina
- May 29: California Delta Team Trail at Delta/Russo’s Marina
- Kern County: Kern River, sections 1-5
- Madera County: Corrine Lake; Manzanita Lake
- Tulare County: Bone Creek; Dry Meadow Creek; Freeman Creek; Kern River, sections 5-6; Nobe Young Creek; Peppermint Creek, Lower
- Tuolumne County: Beaver Creek; Lyons Canal (Columbia Ditch); Moccasin Creek; Powerhouse Stream; Stanislaus River Middle Fork; Stanislaus River North Fork; Tuolumne River Middle Fork; Tuolumne River South Fork
q= quarter moon