Fishing report: Week of May 16
Compiled by Dave Hurley and edited by Roger George, a central San Joaquin Valley native and local fishing expert.
Delta is kicking out big bass, Randy Pringle said. New Melones kokanee action is good, Danny Layne said. San Luis striper bite is strong and Millerton spots are eating everything, Merritt Gilbert said. Success bass are on a tear, Larry Kerns said. Kaweah crappie biting, Sierra Sport Fishing reported. New Melones bass on fire, Melanie Lewis said.
I was pondering my life experiences growing up, the ones that were the key to becoming passionate about fishing, and it made me realize that the very reasons I’m an avid angler are actually buried deeply in my consciousness. I’m sure all of us have strong memories and emotions tied to experiences long ago that set us on our paths.
I was about 7, and we were at my great uncle’s home for a visit, and I was bored the minute we arrived. Dressed in my good clothes and shoes, I noticed a canal covered by weeds about 50 yards from the house. Letting the adults talk, I decided to investigate the 5-foot-deep ditch, which was down to only a few inches of muddy water. I noticed a wave under the water and knew it had to be a fish. So taking off my shoes, into the muddy canal I went to capture this unknown denizen. For the next hour, I worked up and down that canal trying to capture the many fish that would burst out of the mud holes, but they would always slip through my fingers. Suddenly, a big orange carp went splashing off for the next pothole. Looking like he weighed 10 pounds, I decided this was the prize I needed to catch at all costs, to show everyone.
Just then, Mom peeked over the tall grass and screamed: “What are you doing?” Never got the fish, but somehow Dad didn’t get too upset, even though my clothes were ruined. You know, that fish was one of the most important of my life — as I got to imagine what it would have been like to catch that trophy. I decided I wouldn’t let it get away next time. In the imagination of a kid, it was a huge new dream.
On the west side of the Valley, we had a few weirs but most of the time they were dry until the spring. I loved exploring these places, along with catching and playing with the crawdads walking on the bottom. Dad had told me a buddy had caught a bass down at the weir and that maybe I should try it out. Taking the old pickup on the back roads (farm kid — aged 13!) I headed for the big Burrel slough weir. Armed with my pole spooled with 8-pound test line and tipped with a black rubber worm in the back, I was ready for anything. I went into the middle the weir, about 50 feet across and 12 feet high. Could there really be a bass in that area? I decided to just cast the lure out and fish it on pure faith this one time. After dropping into the water, the worm fell for about 3 seconds before it hit bottom. Sure, bass everywhere!
Dragging the worm back in on the bottom, I suddenly noticed a small “tick” of the line where it entered the water. Shocked, I thought maybe it was a crawdad. I waited a few seconds, and the line headed away from the weir. As I set the hook a 2-pound bass came erupting out of the water. Turns out, I got three bass working the area and I went home feeling like a real giant killer who had overcome incredible odds and slayed the dragon!
When you’re a kid, everything is bigger than life, and little things can have a profound impact on your life and passions. It’s experiences like these that drive most of us to fulfill our passion for the sport — and relive a time when something special happened in our life.
Roger George can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
* Try dynamite
** Have to work hard
*** Limits possible
**** Fish jumpin’ in boat
Delta Mendota Canal and Sloughs
Striper * * Catfish * *
The action in the south aqueduct has slowed as the moss is starting to form. Pete Cormier at Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield said, “With less interest in the past weeks, this may be our last order of jumbo minnows.” Catfish are starting to show up on frozen shad, night crawlers, anchovies or mackerel. Blood worms continue to work for striper, but sand worms are difficult to keep alive with the arrival of hot temperatures, In the Fresno area, the local canals are full of water and a few fishermen are picking up catfish on bait while targeting striped bass.
Bass * * * * Trout * * Bluegill * * Catfish * * Crappie * *
Bass fishing remains very good with wacky-rigged Senkos in Peanut Butter and Jelly or jigs at depths from the banks to 15 feet. The spawn is basically finished and the fish are feeding aggressively in post-spawn mode. Bass also are holding in the backs of coves. Mark Inman echoed the reports of good fishing with jigs in shallow water, with some anglers catching up to 30-plus fish a day. Several fish to 8 pounds also were reported. The Lakeview Trail is now open to all use between the Codorniz Recreation Area and Raymond Bridge. The area of the lake extending upstream from the Keep Out buoy line is closed to fishing and boats. The trail closure was implemented to protect an observed bald eagle nesting site. After conducting additional surveys, park rangers and biologists determined that there had been a change in the eagles’ nesting behavior and that the original site would not be negatively affected by recreational use of the Lakeview Trail. A few anglers are trying for crappie, but the best action for slabsides continues to be at nearby Hensley. No trout reports with few anglers trying. The lake held at 564.20 feet in elevation and 75% capacity.
Call: Eastman Lake 689-3255
Bass * * Trout * * Catfish * * Crappie * * *
Crappie interest remains high with minijigs, Fin-S-Fish or Crappie Stingers with bank anglers scoring an average of 10 to 12 small hand-sized slabsides while boater have the advantage with near limits. The key is to work the submerged structure. Bass fishing is fair with the best action on Senkos, Brush Hogs or drop-shotting. No trout reports for either trollers or bank fishermen with the last plant four weeks ago. The lake rose a half foot to 510.42 feet in elevation and 55%.
Call: Fresno Fisherman’s Warehouse 225-1838; Valley Rod Gun, Clovis 292-3474; U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Hensley Lake Hidden Dam 673-5151
Lake Don Pedro
Bass * * * Trout * * * Kokanee * * King salmon * * *
Monte Smith of Gold County has been targeting king salmon at depths from 90 to 135 feet with rolled shad or anchovies and kokanee at depths from 35 to 60 feet with standard kokanee gear. The kokanee are on the small side from 9 to 12 inches in length. He plans on fast trolling heavy spoons at depths from 35 to 60 feet for rainbows on Tuesday since the trout are mixed in with the kokanee. Danny Layne of Fishn’ Dan’s Guide Service has been trolling along the face of the dam, off Mexican Gulch, Big Oak Island and into Fleming Bay for kokanee at similar depths on hootchies, spinners or Apex lures. He added that the rainbows have moved into open water and small lures, bugs or night crawlers at depths from 10 to 15 feet are working. He has been targeting king salmon in the depths of the river channel with shad or anchovies cured in Pautske’s Fire Brine. Manny Basi of the Bait Barn in Waterford said the bass are in all stages of spawning, but they remain shallow and very aggressive. Senkos in Natural Shad (306) or Greenpumpkin/purple/copper flake (330) or 6-inch lizards in watermelon/red on a Carolina rig are working in the shallows. Deep diving crankbaits in Chartreuse shad or Ghost Minnow are effective, and Basi advised, “You have to keep contact with the bottom with the crankbaits.” Another hot lure has been the Sinister Wacky Worm in watermelon/candy or watermelon/red with the worm rigged similar to a Senko on a wacky-rig in the middle with a 3/0 hook. The key is letting the bait sit. Basi added, “Although the swimbait bite has been slow, you can see the bass chasing the small rainbow trout on the surface, so the swimbait should produce the occasional large fish.”
Call: Monte Smith (209) 581-4734; Danny Layne-Fishn’ Dan (209) 586-2383; Gary Vella (209) 652-7550; Bait Barn (209) 874-3011
Lake Isabella/Bakersfield area
Bass * * Trout * * * Crappie * * Catfish * * * Bluegill * *
The crappie action over the past weekend was only fair, but the quality was good with slabsides in the 1- to 2-pound range. Pete Cormier of Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield said, “I don’t think it will be a banner crappie year and experienced anglers on boats are enjoying the best action in Kissack or Joachim coves and also near Camp 9.” Small minnows are working better than minijigs. Action from the banks is much tougher. Catfishing remains good with clams, frozen shad, anchovies or mackerel in the shallows, especially in the South Fork. Trout are moving toward the river arms, but a few fish continue to be taken from the banks with garlic Power Bait around the Auxiliary Dam. For bass, Cormier said, “There are lots of bass on the bed but getting them to bite is a different story.” After this weekend’s American Bass Association Tournament, a better read on the bass action should be evident. The lake rose 1 foot to 2,568.00 feet in elevation and 39% capacity with higher flows from the upper river. Trout action in the upper river remains strong with night crawlers, salmon eggs or live crickets and trout plants will occur from sections 0 to 6 on the Kern River. The flows have peaked around 1,200 to 1,300 cubic feet per second with the lack of snow pack. In the lower river, more fishermen are targeting bass and catfish with live crickets or night crawlers. At Buena Vista, bass fishing is hit or miss with the best action on Senkos. Bluegill or catfish provide the best action. The small local lakes have transitioned to warm water species for bluegill or catfish.
Call: Bob’s Bait (661) 833-8657; North Fork Marina (760) 376-1812
Bass * * * Crappie * * * * Trout * * Catfish * *
Sierra Sport Fishing in Exeter reported the lake continues to rise and it is nearly full with water all the way into Horse Creek and Slick Rock. Crappie fishing remains excellent with small minnows in the submerged trees and brush at Horse Creek. Numbers of bass are available and Senkos, Brush Hogs, lizards and drop-shotting are working. Live jumbo minnows or crawdads continue to take quality bass. Trout continue to move upstream near Slick Rock and Power Bait, and night crawlers are taking the planted and holdover rainbows from the bank areas near the river mouth. Large trout plants will take place prior to this weekend’s second annual Lake Kaweah Trout Derby sponsored by Vox Pop Influentials Magazine with over $60,000 in prizes. No registrations will be taken after noon Wednesday. Forms available at www.lakekaweahtroutderby.com. Entry is $25/individuals, $50/families. The lake rose 8 feet to 704.38 feet in elevation and 88% capacity.
Call: Sierra Sporting Goods 592-5922
Bass * * * * Trout * * Catfish * *
Larry Kerns of the Visalia Bass Club said, “We whacked them again,” adding, “The fish are on the banks in the morning before retreating to the submerged trees by mid-morning.” The winning weight in the American Bass Tournament was in the 15-pound range. Kerns continues to score with drop-shotting plastics or dragging lizards. Trout anglers continue to move closer to the river mouth with the warming lake temperatures. The Rocky Hill side of the lake is still under construction and access to the back side of the lake remains closed. The north and south Tule launch ramps on the Highway 190 side are accessible. The lake rose 1 foot to 642.95 feet in elevation and 75% capacity.
Call: Lake Success 784-0215
Bass * * * Trout * * King salmon * * * Kokanee * Crappie * * * Catfish * * *
The crappie are starting to bite and Diana Mello of A-1 Bait in Snelling reported many families have arrived to fish for the slabsides with small minnows or minijigs. Up to 25 crappie have been taken in the evenings near the Old Marina with small minnows. Another emerging bite is for king salmon with Bruce Hamby of Sierra Sport Fishing finding good action between the A-Frame House and Temperance Bay in the river channel at depths from 40 to 80 feet by rolling shad or anchovies injected with Pro Cure. King salmon also have been found up the river arm near Bagby at depths to 45 feet with regular customer Owen Burgess using a silver tiger Excel spoons for quality kings. Live crawdads remain the top bait for bank fishermen and a few limits of bass have been taken on live minnows. Manny Basi of the Bait Barn in Waterford touted deep diving crankbaits in Chartreuse shad or Ghost Minnow while bouncing the bill along the bottom. The Sinister Wacky Worm in watermelon/candy or watermelon/red with the worm rigged similar to a Senko on a wacky-rig in the middle with a 3/0 hook. The key is letting the bait sit. The lake rose 1 foot to 830.15 feet in elevation and 77% capacity.
Call: A-1 Bait (209) 563-6505; Bub Tosh (209) 404-0053
Trout * * *
Heavy trout plants have contributed to steady action from the banks or by trollers in the past week. Boaters are working the upper portion of the lake with blade/crawler combinations or Wedding Rings tipped with a night crawler behind a dodger. White Power Eggs or rainbow/garlic Power Bait are working from the Handicapped Docks. Another trout plant is scheduled for this week. A Calaveras Trout Farm plant is two weeks off. Below McSwain on the Merced River, night crawlers are producing quality trout at the Mill Pond.
Call: McSwain Marina (209) 378-2534
Millerton Lake/San Joaquin River
Bass * * * * Striper * * Shad * * Trout * *
Similar to last week’s report, the bass bite is wide open with large numbers of 11.5- to 12.75-inch spots willing to strike most anything. There is a top-water, rip bait and spinner bait bite when the wind is up; during periods of no wind, Senkos, drop-shotting or jigs are effective. Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun said, “It is not hard to catch fish.” He also thought the striped bass bite should improve soon. There’s a substantial logjam now that’s over 70-plus yards wide, full of heavy wood and growing rapidly that’s tightly plugging up the river channel. Boaters attempting to pass the logjam should have stainless props — metal props can get bent very easily and damaged by the heavy wood. Still no reports of any striper being taken in the river or lake. The CSBA Striper Derby has been rescheduled for this weekend. The lake rose 5 feet to 556.11 feet in elevation and 81% capacity. Trout action in the lower San Joaquin River is fair with plants continuing for the next few weeks. Lost Lake and the Broken Bridge remain the top locations with Kastmasters, Roostertails orange Power Bait or night crawlers.
Call: Fresno Fisherman’s Warehouse 225-1838; Valley Rod & Gun 292-3474
New Melones Reservoir/Tulloch
Bass * * * * Crappie * * Catfish * * * Trout * * * Kokanee * * *
Danny Layne of Fishn’ Dan’s Guide Service reported good action for kokanee from Coyote Creek to the southern end of the lake at varying depths. The salmon have been found from the surface to 60 feet in depth and Layne has been scoring with pink or purple Apex lures, Shasta Tackle’s Wiggle Hootchies, Uncle Larry’s spinners or Sockeye Slammers behind a Vance’s Dodger or a small Sling Blade. Layne has been scenting his corn with vanilla, ginger, garlic or shrimp, and he also has been using Pautske’s Fire Corn. Layne has been picking up rainbow trout at depths from 10 to 30 feet off the spillway or along Glory Hole Point with blade/crawler combinations, small ExCels or green Glitter Bugs. Melanie Lewis of Glory Hole Sporting Goods in Angels Camp reported slower action for bank trout fishermen with the water temperatures rising in the shallows. The fish have moved off the banks into open water and bank anglers are advised to target deeper water near the main lake and making a long cast with a slip float rig with a bobber stop adjusted from 15 to 25 feet from the bobber. Live minnows or night crawlers are working best, but Power Bait or Power Eggs in rainbow/garlic also are effective. Night fishing under lights is improving and Power Bait or minnows are working near the spillway/dam areas or under the Highway 49 Stevenot Bridge. Bass fishing remains wide open, with good numbers of 2- to 3-pound spotted bass on a variety of soft plastics in the shallows. Anglers have been walking the banks, tossing plastics and there is action on nearly every cast. The fish are transitioning from the shallows back into deeper water. Top-water lures have been effective in the mornings on windy days before switching to the bottom with drop-shotting or jigs. Catfishing is picking up. This is prime time for crappie fishing with small minnows or minijigs in the submerged willows in Bear or Carson Cove. There have been several large slabsides to 2 pounds taken in the past week. The lake is releasing water and it dropped 2 feet to 1,043.67 feet in elevation and 79%. Glory Hole Sporting Goods is hosting Sunday seminars through the summer at 1 p.m., but none this Sunday with the annual Frog Jump in town.
Call: Glory Hole Sports (209) 736-4333; Monte Smith (209) 581-4734; Danny Layne-Fishn’ Dan (209) 586-2383; Sierra Sport Fishing (209) 599-2023
Pine Flat Reservoir/Kings River
Small bass continue to dominate catches and there are plenty of the spots willing to bite brass and glass, Senkos or drop-shot plastics such as the Robo Worms Green Weenie or Oxblood. The fish are scattered from the banks to 15 feet in depth and there is a reaction bite when the wind is up. Merritt Gilbert said, “It is tough to find keeper-sized fish.” King salmon are holding in the main lake near the front of the dam and Patrick Movey of the Fisherman’s Warehouse reported, “It is difficult to find the schools, but once you find them, you are in them.” White hootchies, Needlefish, Apex or rolled shad are producing a few kings to over 20 inches. Trout fishing for numbers remains best up the river arm, but the trout are skinny in this area. Rainbow Runners at two to three colors of lead core are working upriver and Patrick Movey also touted long-lining on the surface in the main lake early in the mornings. The rainbows also have been found as deep as 60 feet in the main lake. A few crappie are biting from the banks near Deer Creek on small minnows or minijigs. The lake rose 5 feet to 915.64 feet and 78%. The lower Kings River continues to be planted and rainbows are available with Joe’s Flies, Mepp’s, Roostertails orange Power Bait or night crawlers. There is also interest for planted rainbows in Avocado Lake with Power Bait.
Call: Doyal’s General Store 787-2387; Fresno Fisherman’s Warehouse 225-1838; Valley Rod & Gun 292-3474
San Luis Reservoir and O’Neill Forebay
Even with the water dropping rapidly, striper fishing from the banks continues to be strong for linesides in the 18- to 24-inch range with the occasional trophy. Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis reported a 30-pound plus striper was taken from the banks near the Romero Visitor Center with a white fluke. The flukes have been the hot seller with over 20 packs leaving the shop in the past couple of days. Lucky Craft 128s in American shad or ghost minnow also are a top lure. Anthony Lopez of Coyote Bait in Morgan Hill said the lake is producing schoolie striper with pile worms, blood worms or anchovies along the bank access areas with some fishermen tossing top-water lures in the backs of the coves in the mornings or evenings. Boaters continue to soak jumbo minnows at depths from 60 to 80 feet off the Trash Racks and there are striper as deep as 200 feet, but they are not actively feeding. A fizzing needle is a must for boats taking the linesides out of the deep water. In the Forebay, a few small striper are the rule, but more and more catfish are showing up at the terminal end on baits intended for striped bass. The Highway 152 access areas and Check 12 remain the top locations. Lopez added, “The weeds are starting to grow in the Forebay and jerkbaits or small plastics yanked over the tops of the weeds are starting to produce.” The lake is releasing water at a high rate with 11.935 acre-feet of outflow and it dropped to 74% capacity.
Important note: All boats, personal watercraft, kayaks, canoes, sailboards, inflatables and float tubes must undergo a mandatory inspection for Quagga and Zebra mussels. These invasive species threaten recreational opportunities, the water delivery infrastructure of California and the aquatic habitat of San Luis Reservoir. Failure to allow inspection will result in the refusal to launch.
Call: Ly’s Fishing Goods (408) 629-9644; Coyote Bait and Tackle (408) 463-0711
The action didn’t slow down as much as predicted after last weekend’s heavy boat pressure and Todd Wittwer of Kokanee.net Guide Service targeted kokanee on Saturday and Monday with encouraging results. He said, “The fish are hugging the bottom and the key is to key your presentation close to the structure.” He has been scoring kokanee to 16 inches with the Assassin Spinners or Radical Glow Tubes in chartreuse, pink or blue behind a pink splatter Hyperplaid or Funky Frog Purple Passion dodgers. The kokanee are holding at depths from 20 to 25 feet in the mornings before dropping to 30 to 35 feet later in the day as the surface temperatures have risen to the high 60s in the mornings and low 70s in the afternoons. With the heavy loads of rock being dumped behind the curtain at the dam, the best action remains near Fawn Point, Miller’s Day and around the Eagle’s Nest. Trout are found closer to the surface with Wedding Rings tipped by a night crawler behind a dodger or blade/crawler combinations. There are three tagged trout worth $500 remaining in the lake and these tags can be redeemed by any registered participant of the 32nd annual Bass Lake Trout Derby. The creeks and coves are holding the planted trout and another trout plant is scheduled for this week. Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis reported a decent bass bite for fish to 2.75 pounds on Senkos or drop-shotting plastics. The lake is at 70% capacity and it will hold near this level for the remainder of the year.
The quarry blasting has ended for the season, but loads of rock are dumped off the dam at 7 a.m. weekdays.
Call: Todd Wittwer 288-8100; Mike Beighey 642-3748
Brown trout * * Trout * *
Access to the Kaiser Pass lakes opened up Thursday, and a number of anglers traveled over to spend the weekend at Lake Edison or Florence. Trout plants are scheduled at Ward Lake and Portal Forebay this week, and these will be good options for bank fishing for trout. All of the lakes remain high for this time of year, and they rose this past week with Edison at 49%, Florence at 56%, Mammoth Pool at 99% and Redinger at 93%. Mammoth Pool is closed through June 15 for the annual deer crossing. A trout plant is scheduled for Mammoth Pool to allow the fish to acclimate for the reopening in June. Many of the high country streams also will be planted this week.
Call: Vermilion Valley Resort at Edison Lake 259-4000
Shaver Lake/Huntington Lake
Just when you thought the action for huge trout couldn’t get better, a pair of trophies over 12 pounds have been landed. The first at 12.40 pounds was taken by Bill Atkins of Fresno near Black Rock while still-fishing from a boat with night crawlers. Mike Clay, the manager of the Shaver Lake Village Hotel, caught a 12-pound, 29-inch trout on Monday downrigging with a Halloween (orange) Wedding Ring with a night crawler on the shaft of the hook. He was with Tom Gilardi, who caught a 6.4-pounder, and they released three 4-pounders back into the lake. Mike’s fish is now leading in the derby. Lee Gates of Shaver Lake has been consistently catching and releasing rainbows to over 6 pounds while trolling Dick’s Trout Busters in chartreuse/orange tipped with a night crawler on the top hook and a piece of corn on the bottom hook behind a Mountain Flasher at a depth of 10 feet near Black Rock and the island. Gates released three fish over 6 pounds and a 4-pounder on a recent trip. Dick Nichols of Dick’s Fishing Charters said, “Trolling for trout has been hit or miss, with some boats coming up empty while others are doing great,” adding, “We have been consistently scoring with Trout Busters behind a Mountain Dodger. Nichols added, “Most of the big fish have been caught still-fishing in boats with Power Bait, Power Balls, crawlers and Gulp!, while others have come from the bank using the same combinations.” Captain Jack Yandell scored fish to 6 pounds trolling, too. Shore fishermen are connecting at Roads 1 and 2, the Point and both marinas. Nichols added, “The majority of the fish I have cleaned this week contain flies and other insects indicating that the fish are finding feed and getting used to the lake.” Approximately 3,500 of the trophies have been planted with another 1,000 to be planted in the near future. A DFG trout plant is scheduled for this week. Shaver rose to 67% and it should be holding at this level for the remainder of the season. A few experienced fishermen are dragging aluminum boats through the snow to launch at Huntington in search of large brown trout. However, with the lure of trophy trout, few anglers are bypassing Shaver on the way up the hill. It won’t be long before access to Huntington is available with the Department of Fish and Game planting trout next week at the majority of local creeks. Huntington is at 98% capacity.
Call: Dick’s Fishing Charters 841-2740; Dinkey Creek Inn 841-3435; Rancheria Marina 893-3234; Young’s Sporting Goods 841-8271; Jack Yandell 841-2522; Shaver Lake Sports Inc. 841-2740
Chuck Crane of Wishon Village RV Park said, “The trout action at Wishon continues to be very good with bank anglers and trollers both loading up with limits.” The lake is rising over a foot per day, and the launch ramp is at the turnout. Shore fishermen are scoring holdover or planted rainbows with pink or rainbow Power Bait or inflated night crawlers at the mouth of Short Hair Creek or the far side of the dam. “The key is to keep the bait floating off of the bottom,” Crane said. On the boats, trollers are pulling blade/crawler combinations or lures such as Thomas Buoyants, Speedy Shiners or Needlefish in a variety of colors at depths from one to three colors of lead core. There have been three trout plants already this season, and another trout plant is scheduled for this week. Crane added that a large mayfly hatch has occurred near the dam, and the trout are on the surface slurping up the bugs. The creeks remain high, and the best fly action is still a few weeks off. Courtright still is closed, but the road may open up any day. Trout plants are occurring in the majority of local creeks, including Dinkey, next week.
Call: Wishon RV Park 865-5361
Half Moon Bay
The San Mateo coast remains the center of the Bay Area salmon activity, and boats from Emeryville, Berkeley, and Sausalito continue to make the long run south of Pillar Point to join the Half Moon Bay fleet. Captain Dennis Baxter of the New Captain Pete out of Bait and Switch Sport Fishing said, “It is a typical shrimp bite with boats landing on the fish finding great action while others in the same area are struggling.” He worked hard for 14 salmon for a full load of fishermen on Sunday, saying, “There is dark water, krill and humpbacks everywhere in the area we have been working at 27/38, around 8 miles southwest of the harbor.” The krill fish are hard to handle, and the Queen of Hearts out of Half Moon Bay Sport Fishing experienced more than a few fish coming unbuttoned on their way to six salmon to 15 pounds Sunday. The Coastside Fishing Club net pens are scheduled to release their first load of 60,000 salmon smolts on May 24, and there are two more loads of similar numbers scheduled for this summer.
Call: Happy Hooker (510) 223-5388; Huck Finn Sport Fishing Center (650) 726-7133; Emeryville Sport Fishing (510) 654-6040; Don Franklin, Soleman (510) 703-4148
Chris Arcoleo at Chris’ Landing in Monterey reported a slowdown in the local salmon bite with the Checkmate putting in nine salmon for 17 anglers on Sunday and the Star of Monterey boxing 10 for 24 fishermen. He said, “We have been struggling a bit, while one of Randy’s boats and the Kahuna were reported to land over 20 fish in the same areas.” The boats have been focusing north at the Soquel Hole and they also found a few fish on the way home near D Buoy. There are loads of krill on Monterey Bay and Arcoleo said, “The huge amount of krill has made things difficult since you can’t target one particular area, so we have to see if there are fish holding under any of the vast pockets of bait.” The Pajaro Hole is loaded with commercial and private boaters and the presence of the fleet makes it difficult to drift while mooching.
Call: Chris’ Landing (831) 375-5951; Bayside Marine (831) 475-2173; usafishing.com
San Francisco Bay
The salmon focus remains south of Pillar Point harbor and the Bay Area boats continue to add to their fuel expenses by traveling long distances to put their clients on to fish. Emeryville Sport Fishing sent out five boats for salmon on Saturday and the New Huck Finn, New Seeker, Super Fish, C Gull II and Talisman put in 55 fish to 19 pounds for 75 passengers off the San Mateo coast. Also on Saturday, the New Rayanne and Outer Limits out of Sausalito also went south for 37 salmon to 23 pounds for 62 anglers. With the lack of live bait in the receivers and high interest in salmon fishing, there have been few party boats working inside of the bay. The New Huck Finn out of Emeryville Sport Fishing went out on a half day charter on Sunday and they trolled for 4 hours with 15 fishermen for four halibut to 10 pounds and a 10-pound striped bass. Craig Stone of Emeryville Sport Fishing thought this was a sign of improving action. The Hog Heaven out of Sausalito went to the south bay on a shark charter on Sunday and they came back with two-thirds limits with 16 shark to 40 pounds. Joel Sinkay of Leonard’s Bait at Port Sonoma said his best bets have been near the Corregidor (the ruins of pilings north of the Pumphouse) in San Pablo Bay or the Napa River for sturgeon. The Napa River from Cuttings Wharf south to Vallejo has been holding many oversized sturgeon with the occasional slot limit fish.
San Luis Obispo
Rockfishing has been outstanding and the Pacific Horizon out of Port San Luise has been putting on an impressive display of results with 40 limits of rockfish including 13 cabezon on Saturday to go with 40 ling cod to 17.25 pounds. They followed this up with 26 limits on Monday to go with 22 lings to 12 pounds. Patriot has a special event June 2, with television personality Dan Hernandez hosting an open load while filming a TV show on a rockfish/crab combination trip, but it already has sold out.
Call: Virg’s Landing, (805) 772-1222, (800) 762-5263; Patriot Sports Fishing (805) 595-4100; Port Side Marine Sports Launch (805) 595-7214
Sturgeon fishing is attracting a few anglers late in the spring and Tony Lopez at Benicia Bait touted the Big Cut or Buoy 2 as the best sturgeon areas with pile worms, eel, ghost shrimp or grass shrimp with a pair of legal sturgeon at 47 and 62 inches brought in from Buoy 2. Lopez said, “These were some fat fish.” The minus tides have created havoc for bank fishermen with limited access to the water at First Street, Ninth Street or 12th Street. James Nguyen at Dockside Bait in Pittsburg said, “Things were really slow this weekend between the winds and Mother’s Day.” Captain Stan Koenigsberger of Quetzal Adventures has been soaking frozen shad from H and R Bait in Stockton in the San Joaquin River off Three Mile Slough or Twitchell Island for keeper striper to 25 inches. In the Old Sacramento River, striper trollers have been scoring limits of either spawned out or fish in their way to spawn and some guides have been taking both morning and afternoon trolling trips with the hot action. There have been reports of striper spawning in the Old Sacramento in the mornings or evenings near Viera’s Resort. For largemouth bass, Randy Pringle, the Fishing Instructor, has been tearing up the big bass in the past week with largemouths at 15.10 and over 10 pounds. The big fish hit on the new Opti Shad from Lucky Craft which is a lure designed by Optimum. This lure is a huge seller in Europe at the present time and Pringle has been experiencing the bait with outstanding results. He said, “Casting accuracy is the key to getting hit, since it is very important to place the lure right in the spot.” The big bass was the longest ever landed by Pringle at 32 inches and he hit the fish with a cast right next to the tules. The changing morning temperatures have caused him to adjust his techniques, since the past few mornings have been colder than earlier in the week. The top-water bite with Furbet the Frog or the Ace in the Hole changed to the Berkley 10-inch Power Worm to the Persuader spinner bait and chatterbaits. Pringle said, “You have to adjust every day based on the conditions.” He added that the top-water bite continues to improve with the warming water temperatures and prolonged stable weather conditions and he has been scoring with the ima Big Stick or the OB Minnow.
Call: Randy Pringle (209) 543-6260; Stan Koenigsberger/Quetzal Adventures (925) 570-5303; Mark Wilson Sport Fishing (916) 682-1630; Intimidator Sport Fishing (916) 806-3030; Jolly Jay’s Guide Service (209) 478-6645
Lake Nacimiento/San Antonio/Santa Margarita/Lopez
Santa Margarita was truly the big bass lake over the weekend with 16 teams in the Angler’s Choice tournament weighing full limits with an average weight of 4.14 per fish. Drop-shotting along the banks is working best, particularly in the early mornings before 10 a.m. Top-water action is possible in low light conditions. The Best Bass Tournaments will be holding a tournament at Santa Margarita this coming Saturday. At Nacimiento, Pete Cormier of Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield reported the bass bite is on fire with one customer landing over 40 bass including a 5-pound spotted bass and a 6-pound largemouth. White bass can be taken with white grubs or Roostertails near the mouth of Dip Creek. A calendar of tournaments is at my.calendars.net/cctsched/
Quagga mussel inspections are required before boat launching.
The lakes are dropping slightly with Nacimiento at 774.8 feet and 66%, San Antonio at 762.2 feet and 73%, Lopez at 87.7% and Santa Margarita at 79.1%.
Call: Lake Nacimiento (805) 238-1056, ext. 3; Lake San Antonio Marina (805) 472-2818; Central Coast Bass Fishing.com (805) 466-6557
Visalia Bass Club Open at Success on May 6: 1, Craig Penn/David Bema, 15.91 pounds (Big Fish, 4.39); 2, James Beasley/Matt Saesee, 13.46; 3, Daniel Moreno/Jess Rodriquez, 13.08
Best Bass Tournaments at Pine Flat on May 12: 1, Dennis Bingham/Jason Higginbotham, 9.80 pounds; 2, Stephen Magill/Adam Belmont, 9.50; 3, Joe Alanis/Rick White, 9.07
Angler’s Choice at Santa Margarita on May 12: 1, Luigi Lucas/
Rick Jarakian, 27.53 pounds (Big Fish, 11.13); 2, Jay Wright/Cory Dispensiero, 26.96; 3, Matt Newman/Brian Linehan, 26.55
Thursday: Ken Jones on Pier Fishing, 6:15 p.m. at Fresno Fisherman’s Warehouse
Saturday-Sunday: The Central Valley Great Outdoors Expo at the Clovis Rodeo Grounds
June 2: Open House for local tackle manufacturers at Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis
Saturday: Tracy Bass Club at Delta/Tracy Oasis; Angler’s Choice at New Melones; Best Bass Tournaments at Don Pedro; Taft Bass Club/Kerman Bass Club at Don Pedro; Western Outdoor News at McClure; Sierra Bass Club at Eastman; Angler’s Choice/
South Coast Bassmasters at Pine Flat; New J Bass at Kaweah; American Bass Association at Isabella; Best Bass Tournaments at Santa Margarita; Tri-Valley Bass Club at San Antonio; Angler’s Choice/Golden Empire Bass Club at Lopez
Saturday-Sunday: Yamamoto Big Bass Challenge at Delta/Russo’s Marina
Sunday: Stockton Bass Club at Delta/Ladd’s Marina; Kings River Bass Club/Modesto Ambassadors at Delta/San Joaquin County; Angler’s Choice at Don Pedro; Kings VIII Bass Club at McClure; Angler’s Choice at Pine Flat; Vox Pop/Influentials Magazine second annual Trout Derby at Kaweah; Success Bass Club at Success
May 26: Angler’s Choice at Delta/Russo’s Marina; Angler’s Choice at Pine Flat; Western Outdoor News at Santa Margarita
June 9: 17th annual Youth Fishing Derby at Shaver for kids ages 3 to 15, free, info: Greg Marks (559) 841-3134
June 16: Central Valley Anglers Russ Faught “Mr. Kokanee” Memorial Tournament at New Melones, information: (209) 369-0204
Fresno County: Kings River, Below Pine Flat Dam; Mammoth Pool Lake; San Joaquin River, below Friant Dam
Kern County: Kern River, sections 4 and 5
Madera County: Mammoth Pool Lake; San Joaquin River, below Friant Dam
Tulare County: Dry Meadow Creek; Freeman Creek; Kern River, sections 5 and 6; Nobe Young Creek; Peppermint Creek, Lower and Upper
Tuolumne County: Beaver Creek; Lyons Canal; Lyons Reservoir; Moccasin Creek; Pinecrest Lake; Powerhouse Stream; Stanislaus River, South, Middle, North and Clarks forks; Tuolumne River, South, Middle and North forks
> = peak activity; n = new moon