Fishing report: Week of May 23
Compiled by Dave Hurley and edited by Roger George, a central San Joaquin Valley native and local fishing expert.
Delta bass cranking, Alan Fong said. New Melones kokanee on an excellent bite, Danny Layne reported. Eastman bass action continues, Mark Inman reported. Wishon trout hitting, Chuck Crane said. Shaver monster trout showing, Dick Nichols reported. Coastal bass fishing great, Will Hesch said.
When I hear about someone catching a big fish, I always wonder: How did they actually catch it? Of course, there’s the public story, but underneath it all, I think most anglers have a bit of skepticism about all the so-called facts.
With that in mind, I thought I might tell the story about the 50.3-pound striper I got in 1998. I’ve actually run into folks on the water who never saw the fish, were never there when it happened, yet they have the audacity to tell me they know how I did it and, with a sly grin, intimate that it was done illegally. Others, who have also taken big fish, have said the same thing. Truthfully, here’s the real story:
I called Dad to pick me up to go to Millerton because I was sure the stripers were biting. A light rain was moving in, but I wanted to go anyway. As we left my house, the rain started a second time, but we still decided to go. Parking at the Madera ramp, we headed to Temperance Flats (no, I’m not going to give you the exact rock, but close enough to be true, OK?) and started to fish. The rain started again, and we wondered if we should go home. Maybe it would let up? Strike three!
About 6 p.m., we moved the boat about a half-mile upriver and cast our plugs (Bomber Long A’s) along the banks as we moved back toward Temperance. It was misting slowly — perfect conditions — when I cast my plug about 40 yards near some big rocks. As I ripped the lure back, it got about 10 feet off the shore when I saw a huge silver flash intercept the plug about 3 feet underwater and my pole doubled over! Dad asked me the size (unbeknownst to me, the fish was swimming right at me) and I told him it was about 25 pounds. “Oh,” is all he said as he continued fishing. When the striper got about 30 feet away, it suddenly saw the boat and literally exploded in the water with a huge swirl and splash — streaking away at full throttle. My 25-pound Trilene Big Game was ripping off my big Daiwa reel, and I yelled for Dad to get the motor going to follow this beast. I peeled off more than 100 yards of line before I sensed the sickening feel of the line running over big boulders as the striper dived into a major rock pile.
I worked to try to pull the line over and around the boulders for a minute as I could barely feel the pulsing monster on the other end. Suddenly, the line popped loose and it was free. No matter what happened, I thought, I was not going to let the fish back around the rock tower again! We moved the boat into deeper water, then had a standoff for 15 minutes as I stubbornly held the fish in place and it desperately tried to go down. Finally it came up, blowing us away with its size and a huge dorsal fin extending up a good 6 inches like a sail! “Roger, what have you caught?” Dad exclaimed.
Dad was barely able to scoop the fish up as we both lifted it in. Measuring the fish in the net, Dad taped it at 48 inches. No way, I thought. We decided to weigh it first, then release it. The digital scale went to 50, 52, 54 … 55! What? It couldn’t be that big. Maybe, I thought, I should keep it to have it certified. We were excited, but we kept fishing until dark, a mistake since everyone had left by then and we lost several pounds holding the fish another day.
Maybe this wasn’t the biggest striper ever (I’m sure it’s not), but future anglers would have a certified lake record to shoot for now! Yeah, I’ve heard all the stories about the monsters guys have gotten — maybe, maybe not — but there was no hard proof! Unfortunately, I’ve seen 40-pounders turn out to be 23-pounders in reality many times. In pro sports, proof needs documentation — everything else is speculation and opinion!
Roger George can be reached at email@example.com
* Try dynamite
** Have to work hard
*** Limits possible
**** Fish jumpin’ in boat
Delta Mendota Canal and Sloughs
Striper * * * Catfish * *
Striper fishing in the local canals continues to improve with white flukes working for banks anglers. Patrick Movey of the Fisherman’s Warehouse in Fresno said, “The results are mixed, but fishermen finding the right head gate are landing linesides with the white flukes.” In the south aqueduct, Pete Cormier at Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield reported a slowdown in striper action, but catfish are starting to take over with frozen shad, night crawlers, anchovies or mackerel. Carp are landed on dough baits. The moss isn’t as limiting as previously reported.
Bass * * * Trout * * * Bluegill * * Catfish * * * Crappie *
Mark Inman of Lefty’s Lures reported solid bass action with 27 fish caught and released on Sunday night with bass to 5.5, 4.5, 3 and 3.5 pounds. Inman scored with top-water Rico’s or PopR’s while quarter-ounce jigs with a 4-inch Yamamoto twin-tail grub in color 208 at depths from 4 to 20 feet. Ranger Andrew Steele of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Ranger Station, added, “With the days getting hotter, many fishermen are staying after dark and having luck fishing from shore after the day cools off.” Steele reported a good trout bite with night crawlers, but the numbers of trout are declining with the warmer water temperatures. The algae bloom is starting to form and water releases from Eastman Lake are scheduled to resume sometime this week, so there will be a gradual drawdown of the lake level. 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 lake held at 564.18 feet in elevation and 75% capacity.
Call: Eastman Lake 689-3255
Bass * * Trout * * Catfish * * Crappie * * *
Crappie fishing is the top draw at Hensley with palm-sized slabsides taken from the banks or boats with minijigs, Fin-S-Fish or Crappie Stingers with the best action remaining from boats working structure up the river arm. Bass fishing is decent with Senkos. Brush Hogs or jigs in the 20-foot depth range. No trout reports for either trollers or bank fishermen with the last plant 4 weeks ago. The lake dropped a half foot to 510.16 feet in elevation and 55% capacity.
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 Country continues to locate quality rainbow trout and king salmon on several trips while fast-trolling heavy spoons at depths from 18 to 50 feet. He said, “These rainbows are beautiful and the larger they get, the prettier they become with bright, vibrant colors.” Even though they have been fishing higher in the water column, king salmon also are biting and they landed a salmon with three 2.5-inch shad in its mouth in addition to the lure. Smith added that large schools of small kokanee are holding at depths from 30 to 70 feet, but with the excellent trout fishing, Smith continues to focus on the rainbows. Manny Basi of the Bait Barn in Waterford reported the emergence of a top-water bite with Super Spooks in Okie Shad or Lucky Craft’s Gunfish in American shad or Chartreuse shad. Senkos in Natural shad (306) or Greenpumpkin/purple/copper flake (330) remain effective as the fish are still holding in the shallows.
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 bite continues to be best in the late afternoons until early evenings and small minnows are producing the majority of the slabsides which are holding around structure in Kissack Cove, Joachim Cove, Camp 9, Boulder Gulch and the under the bridge near the marina. Bluegill action is heating up with wax or meal worms. Bass fishing remains slow and a good percentage of fish are still on beds. 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 and limits have been taken from the banks near the Wilford Heights Cemetery with Power Bait . For this weekend, there are several campsites available on a first-come, first-served basis. The lake held at 2,568.16 feet in elevation and 39% capacity with steady flows from the upper river. Heavy trout plants in both the upper and lower river have accounted for consistent action and night crawlers, salmon eggs or live crickets continue to produce limits of rainbows. The flows in the upper river are significantly lower than past season and the runoff peaked over two weeks ago. 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. A few fishermen continue to scratch out crappie at night with live minnows, but catfish or bluegill are the best bets. In the small local impoundments, the best advice is to get on and off early as the bite for bluegill, catfish or bass shuts down by mid-morning in the heat.
Call: Bob’s Bait (661) 833-8657; North Fork Marina (760) 376-1812
Bass * * * Crappie * * * Trout * * Catfish * *
The lake continues to rise to near capacity and crappie fishing remains strong with small minnows or minijigs in the submerged brush near the Horse Creek campgrounds. Heavy limits dominated the New J Bass tournament on Saturday with a big fish taken at over 11 pounds. Numbers of bass are available and Senkos, Brush Hogs, lizards and drop-shotting all are working. Live jumbo minnows or crawdads continue to take quality bass. Trout fishing remains best up the river arm near Slick Rock and there are a number of rainbows still in the lake from last weekend’s Lake Kaweah Trout Derby. The lake rose 5 feet to 709.05 feet in elevation and 93%.
Call: Sierra Sporting Goods 592-5922
Bass * * * Trout * * Catfish * * *
Sylvia Guerrero of the Army Corps of Engineers Ranger Station reported continued good action for largemouth and spotted bass with a number of boats participating in Sunday’s Success Bass Club tournament. A big fish of 8 pounds reportedly was landed. Drop-shotting plastics or dragging lizards are the top techniques. 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, but it may reopen by the end of the month. At the present time, the north and south Tule launch ramps on the Highway 190 side are accessible. The lake rose 1 foot to 643.97 feet in elevation and 77%.
Call: Lake Success 784-0215
Bass * * * Trout * * * King salmon * * * Kokanee * * Crappie * * * * Catfish * * *
Crappie action really is heating up and the slabsides are all over the lake from Barrett’s Cove, Bagby, Cottonwood and Horseshoe Bend with small minnows or minijigs over submerged brush or rocks. Trout fishing is improving with limits taken at depths from 20 to 30 feet with blade/crawler combinations or Power Bait behind a cowbell flasher up the river arm or near the dam. King salmon can be found at depths to 80 feet near the dam with rolled shad or anchovies. Bass fishing remains outstanding with live crawdads and sales of the freshwater crustaceans are high. Diana Mello of A-1 Bait in Snelling said, “One angler caught and released over 30 bass on shad-patterned plastics at depths from 5 to 30 feet.” Manny Basi touted the top-water bite with the Lucky Craft Gunfish in Chartreuse shad or American shad and Super Spooks in Okie Shad also is working. 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 one-half foot to 830.76 feet in elevation and 77% capacity.
Call: A-1 Bait (209) 563-6505; Bub Tosh (209) 404-0053
Trout * * *
The lake was planted Thursday and shore action is best with Power Bait in garlic or pink garlic Power Eggs at the Brush Pile, Handicapped Docks or the points closer to the dam. Trolling has been slower, but the best fishing remains in the upper portion of the lake from the Floating Restrooms to Gilligan’s Island with blade/crawler combinations or Wedding Rings tipped with a night crawler behind a dodger. A Calaveras Trout Farm plant is a week off.
Call: McSwain Marina (209) 378-2534
Millerton Lake/San Joaquin River
Bass * * * * Striper * * Shad * * Trout * *
“It is wide open for bass,” said Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis, adding, “Nine- to 10-pound limits have been common with a large number of spotted bass in the 2-pound range.” When the wind is blowing, there is a good spinnerbait bite up the river arm, but you need a ripple on the water to make these lures work. The majority of the spawning fish are complete and the best action is taking place from the banks to 18 feet in depth with drop-shot plastics or Senkos. Patrick Movey of the Fisherman’s Warehouse in Fresno added shad-patterned rip baits to the mix. Very few striper have shown up the river arm in the headwaters, so far, but there are some American shad hanging in the area below the log jam. Several striper anglers from the now closed CSBA Fresno chapter had a fun derby that produced no upriver striper. The club members are looking to reorganize as a local striper club soon. The logjam can be from light to pretty heavy and 80 yards wide depending on the water flows and wind. Anglers need to have a stainless prop if navigating the logjam. With the annual pass fees rising to $225/year, boaters are considering other area lakes for bass fishing. The lake rose 2 feet to 558.68 feet in elevation and 83% 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 excellent kokanee action throughout the lower portion of the reservoir at depths from 15 to 65 feet 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. He said, “Expect limits when fishing Melones.” For rainbow trout, Layne advises to pull Wee-Tads, small ExCel lures or roll shad at depths from 20 to 35 feet for trout to 3-plus pounds. Bank fishing for trout is slow with temperatures rising in the shallows. The fish have moved off the banks into open water and 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. 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 is still very good with numbers of spotted bass on a variety of soft plastics in the shallows. The spawn is wrapping up and the fish are transitioning from the shallows back into deeper water. In the early mornings or when the wind is blowing, top-water lures have been effective in the mornings. The bass drop into deeper water by mid-morning and most anglers are pounding the bottom with drop-shot plastics or jigs. Catfishing is improving. Crappie fishing with small minnows or minijigs in the submerged willows in Bear or Carson coves is a top bet for slabsides in the 2-pound range. The lake is releasing water and dropped 2 feet to 1,041.15 feet in elevation and 78% capacity. Glory Hole Sporting Goods is hosting Sunday afternoon seminars through the summer at 1 p.m., but there is no seminar this Sunday.
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
Bass * * * Trout * * King salmon * * * Catfish * * Crappie * *
“Two-pound fish are hard to find,” said Merrit Gilbert, as small bass continue to be the story. There is a reaction bite on windy days with spinner or rip baits but working the bottom at depths from the banks to 15 feet with Senkos or drop-shot plastics are the most consistent techniques. King salmon interest remains high and there are large fish in the 21- to 22-inch range taken at 90 to 120 feet in the main river channel around the Power Lines to the Dam with rolled shad, white hootchies, Needlefish or Apex lures. Patrick Movey said, “The hootchies are working better than the shad and there have been several salmon in the 3- to 4-pound class taken.” The fish are in tight schools and it is essential to find and stay on a school once they are located. Trout fishing has slowed and it is taking longer to pick up limits. The best action is up the river arm with blade/crawler combinations, Wedding Rings tipped with a night crawler, Rainbow Runners or Needlefish. A few crappie are biting from the banks near Deer Creek on small minnows or minijigs with the best action under lights. The lake rose 3 feet to 918.86 feet in elevation and 82%. 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 also is 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
Striper * * * Catfish * * Bass * * Crappie *
The more consistent striper bite has been in the Forebay with schoolie striper to 24-inches taken on threaded anchovies on a 4/0 hook with a 4-ounce weight tossed into the moving water at Check 12. A number of anglers have been fishing under the bridge in the Forebay on a nightly basis. The water flow has been consistent in the Forebay with the rapid releases from the main lake. Mickey Clements of Coyote Bait and Tackle in Morgan Hill reported bank anglers have been picking up schoolies with pile worms, blood worms or anchovies from the bank access areas in the big lake. The striper bite has been tough in the main lake with the best action remaining at the Trash Racks at 40 to 60 feet with blood worms, anchovies, pile worms or jumbo minnows. A fizzing needle is a must for boats taking the linesides out of the deep water. The lake is releasing water at 7915 acre-feet of outflow and it dropped to 71% capacity.
Important note: All watercraft 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
Bass * * Trout * * Kokanee * *
Kokanee fishing slowed down significantly with sediment from the dam reconstruction silting up the water up to the Sheriff’s Tower. The kokanee continue to hug the bottom at depths from 25 to 45 feet. The south end of the lake from Miller’s Bay to the dam has been affected by the sedimentation and trout action has shifted to the northern portion of the lake. Todd Wittwer of Kokanee.net Guide Service said, “The best trout fishing has been in the shallower portions in the north, but the fish are smaller.” There were eight boats targeting kokanee on Sunday with a total of 20 of the landlocked salmon. The best action remains with the Assassin Spinners or Radical Glow Tubes in chartreuse, pink or blue behind a pink splatter Hyperplaid or Funky Frog Purple Passion dodgers. 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. A few bass to 2.75 pounds are taken on Senkos or drop-shotting plastics. The lake is at 72% 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 continue to be dumped off the dam every weekday starting at 7 a.m.
Call: Todd Wittwer 288-8100; Mike Beighey 642-3748
Brown trout * * Trout * * *
Sierra fly fishing guides David Gregory and Jay Dunkley of Sierra Fly Fishers advise a stealthy approach to stream fishing, as this can make all of the difference with the spooky fish. They advised using brown, black, green, yellow or orange stimulators in sizes 10 through 16 or elk hair caddis in sizes 14 to 16. Since the terrestrials are increasingly present, black ants in size 18 or grasshoppers in sizes 10 to 16 are effective. Gregory and Dunkley said, “The creeks are fishing well and the main river flows have been dropping the past week to create easier access.” Ward Lake and Portal Forebay are good options for bank anglers with the recent plants. All of the lakes remain high for this time of year and they rose with Edison at 53%, Florence at 72%, Mammoth Pool at 99% and Redinger at 94%. Mammoth Pool is closed through June 15 for the annual deer crossing.
Call: Vermilion Valley Resort at Edison Lake 259-4000
Shaver Lake/Huntington Lake
Trout * * * *
The huge rainbows purchased by Southern California Edison have been showing up in style and the latest of the massive brood fish at 15 pounds, 11 ounces was landed by Torsia Lee of Fresno while still fishing from his boat with Power Bait. This fish bumped last week’s 12-pounders out of the top spot for the Shaver Lake Trophy Trout Project Derby. However, this spot is not secure since there were at least one fish over 16 pounds released into the lake. In addition to the loads of fish purchased by the SLTTP, a number of large fish were imported from a Nebraska trout farm by SCE. Dick Nichols of Dick’s Fishing Charters said, “In addition to the 15.75-pounder, several rainbows in the 6- to 10-pound range were weighed in this week.” Nichols added “We landed a total of 12 trophies to 6.5 pounds this week.” Nichols continues to score with 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 from 12 to 15 feet near Black Rock and the island. Shore fishermen continue to connect at Roads 1 and 2, the Point and both marinas. Kyle Welland of Fresno hiked into the shoreline around Black Rock and landed a 26-inch, 9.25-pound rainbow on orange Power Bait. With the good action over the past several weeks and the lure of the trophy trout, boat traffic has been heavy on the weekends. Shaver rose to 70% and it should be holding at this level for the remainder of the season. At Huntington, the shoreline is free of snow and the launch is open. The Rancheria Marina reported good action from the banks with one angler landing a limit composed of two 6-pounders and three 3-pounders using a night crawler on a 3-foot leader under a bobber. Smaller fish have been taken in Rancheria Creek. Trollers are picking up easy limits down the middle of the lake form the Boy Scout Camp to Dam One with a variety of lures. The dock is in the water. Huntington is at 99%.
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
Trout * * * *
Wishon remains an outstanding option for both trollers and bank anglers. Chuck Crane of Wishon Village RV Park reported quick limits are by trollers pulling Wedding Rings tipped with a night crawler behind a dodger or blade/crawler combinations at depths from 1 to 3 colors of lead core. Needlefish in a variety of patterns and Thomas Buoyants or Speedy Shiners in gold also are a good option at 1 to 3 colors. The majority of rainbows are in the 12- to 14-inch range, Bank fishing remains very good and Dan Joseph of Coarsegold hooked limits of rainbows from 12 to 14 inches in Short Hair Creek on a night crawler under a bubble in under an hour. Power Bait or inflated crawlers are top options from the banks across from the dam or at the mouth of Short Hair Creek. At Courtright, the dock is already in the water and the lake is ready to go. The road is anticipated to open by May 24 and interested anglers should call the Wishon RV Park Store for confirmation on road access. At Dinkey Creek, Dennis Beard said, “We anticipate an early and shortened fishing season on the creeks since the maximum runoff occurred a few weeks back. I haven’t seen it this low so early in 32 years.” Dinkey Creek with its deep holes will be one of the best options as the summer months approach. There have been few anglers since the first plant of the season, but Memorial Day weekend should be crowded with the Dinkey Creek Inn and Camp Fresno already filled. The campgrounds are expected to open Friday.
Call: Wishon RV Park 865-5361
Half Moon Bay
Salmon * *
Captain Dennis Baxter of the New Captain Pete reported a spotty bite on Sunday, as they worked hard to locate 10 salmon for 20 anglers. He found a water break with nice, chocolate water 18 miles offshore in 70 fathoms of water and they hooked a few large fish in the area. He said, “The fish are trickling in and there are no large concentrations of salmon after the several days of wind.” The wind blew between 10 to 18 knots on Sunday and the krill was scattered at depths from 20 to 30 fathoms under the surface. Baxter said, “There is much less krill than the immense amount we witnessed last week.” Captain Guy Anthony of the New Gravy had a solid score on Sunday with six fish ranging from 10 to 20 pounds for five passengers. Two of these fish were in the 20-pound class and the anglers wanted to come in early after having at least a salmon per rod. Captain Tom Mattusch of the Huli Cat went out to the Deep Reef on Sunday for six salmon to 15 pounds for eight anglers. He said, “Things were a little breezy out there.”
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
Rockfish * * * Salmon * *
Chris Arcoleo at Chris’ Landing in Monterey reported rockfish action has picked up with the Checkmate and Caroline boating limits of rockfish on Sunday. On Saturday, the Caroline back at the harbor with early limits and a dozen ling cod fishing locally while the Star of Monterey put in three-quarter limits of rockfish and 20 ling cod on Saturday on a charter. The salmon action continues on a slowdown. Arcoleo said, “None of the skiffs are doing particularly well right now, but the commercial anglers fishing deep along the bottom are picking up to 30 salmon.”
Call: Chris’ Landing (831) 375-5951; Bayside Marine (831) 475-2173; usafishing.com
San Francisco Bay
Halibut * * Striper * * Leopard shark * * * Salmon * * * Sturgeon * * *
The Super Fish and New Salmon Queen out of Emeryville Sport Fishing put in near limits at 54 salmon to 23 pounds for 31 anglers. The New Rayanne out of Sausalito fished below Chimney Rock Buoy on the Marin coast on Sunday for full limits of salmon to 24 pounds for 16 anglers. These are the first actual showing of a concentration of salmon in the area immediately north of the Golden Gate. For the first time this season, live bait was supplied to the party boats over the weekend with sales to private boaters yet to come once enough bait has been located. Unfortunately the fish counts didn’t reflect the presence of live bait with the bay’s waters muddied up by a combination of minus tides and high winds. The Happy Hooker, despite excellent bait, came back with three halibut to 10 pounds and six bass to 12 pounds for just under a fish per rod for a dozen fishermen on Sunday. A few halibut continue to be landed near the Birdcage near the Oyster Point Marina with trollers using Green Label herring behind dodgers. Shark fishing in the south bay near the Alameda Rockwall is a solid bet with the leopards loading up on anchovies or small Dungeness crab. In San Pablo Bay, Keith Fraser of Loch Lomond Bait and Tackle reported good sturgeon fishing near the Pumphouse with Captain Jim Cox of the Touch of Gray putting a client on to a 52-inch sturgeon while releasing a shaker. An oversized at 70 inches was also released at the Pumphouse while Ross Peterson of Stockton released two legal sturgeon at 52 and 62 inches, losing another two sturgeon and releasing a legal bass on Loch Lomond live mud shrimp.The minus tides favor a good sturgeon bite for the next couple of days. Halibut fishing has been slow, but Captain Gordie Hough of the Morningstar put in a half fish per rod on Friday with five flatties for nine anglers while drifting Loch Lomond shiners. Joel Sinkay of Leonard’s Bait and Tackle at Port Sonoma said, “The Napa River is still the best bet for sturgeon or striper and the overall boat traffic has slowed down from a few weeks past.”
San Luis Obispo
Rock cod * * *
The ling cod counts are up out of both Morro Bay and Port San Luis and party boat trips are consistently averaging three-quarter limits of rockfish on all trips. The majority of the rockfish are vermilions. On Sunday, the Fiesta out of Virg’s Landing in Morro Bay put in 90 vermilion, 36 assorted rockfish and six lings for 18 anglers while the Princess came back with 210 vermilions, 80 assorted rockfish and 17 ling cod to 9 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 the trip is full. For surf perch, Pete Cormier of Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield reported a good bite with blood worms from the San Luis Obispo county beaches.
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 * * * * Striper * * Sturgeon * * * Catfish * * *
A few sturgeon are around and Tony Lopez of Benicia Bait reported good action in the Big or Little cuts with eel. Ron Reisinger of Chico is back down catching and releasing sturgeon in the area, and he released four sturgeon out of the Little Cut on eel strips. All of the sturgeon action was on the incoming tide with nothing on the outgo. Lopez said, “Eel is going to be a problem to obtain in the future since the supplies will be limited.” It has been the hot bait this year and anglers are starting to purchase up the existing supply at local bait shops. Sturgeon continue to be landed until the Benicia/Martinez Bridge and small striper from the shoreline are the rule. Mark Delnero of Fin Addict Sport Fishing went out with six anglers on Saturday in beautiful weather conditions armed for sturgeon in Sturgeon Alley. Delnero said, “There were sturgeon jumping all over the area, including one that jumped completely out of the water just three feet from the stern, actually nearly hitting the rods.” Although there were sturgeon all around, they weren’t biting. The heavy winds in the past week made fishing difficult, but the breeze had calmed to between 5 and 10 mph on Sunday. Striper are still in the area, but they are scattered out as a number of fish are running downstream. Alan Fong of the Fisherman’s Warehouse in Sacramento reported continued excellent largemouth bass fishing in the central Delta with chatterbaits or Senkos. Randy Pringle, the Fishing Instructor, reported an outstanding top-water bite with a variety of lures including, Furbet the Frog, Poppin’Furbet, the ima Roumba and buzz baits. Pringle said, “The weather has paralleled out and the key is to find what the fish want, as you shouldn’t give up on the top-water bite if one particular lure isn’t working.” They have been catching and releasing largemouths in the 3- to 5-pound range with fish up to 7 pounds and the best action on top-water has been on the high tide. Pringle added, “Tossing into isolated clumps of weeds has produced much better action than large mats and current is essential.” On low tides, casting accuracy is necessary as the fish are holding in the small holes outside the weedlines. On windy days, Pringle has been scoring with Poppin’Furbet for the extra action while the regular Furbet in marbled black/white or bluegill patterns is best in calm conditions. The Berkeley Chigger Craw in black/red on a Texas-rig worked slowly against the weeds with moving water also is a good option.
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
Bass * * * White Bass * * Striper * * Catfish * * Crappie * * *
Big limits of largemouths were taken during Saturday’s Best Bass Tournaments with 15 limits over 15 pounds landed by the 25 boats entered in the big and small boat divisions. A largemouth at 11.61 pounds was taken by Mike Garza. San Antonio also is kicking out big limits with two teams averaging over 20 pounds during the weekend’s two-day Golden Empire Tournament. For steady action, Nacimiento continues to be the top coastal lake with a variety of techniques. Pete Cormier of Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield reported a good crappie bite at Nacimiento with small minnows within the submerged structure. There is a calendar of tournaments at my.calendars.net/cctsched/
Quagga mussel inspections are required before boat launching.
The lakes are dropping slightly and Nacimiento is at 774.15 feet and 65%, San Antonio is at 761.55 feet and 73%, Lopez is at 87.4% and Santa Margarita is at 78.7%.
Call: Lake Nacimiento (805) 238-1056, ext. 3; Lake San Antonio Marina (805) 472-2818; Central Coast Bass Fishing.com (805) 466-6557
New J Bass Club at Kaweah on May 19: 1, Ge and Tony Yang, 18.45 pounds (Big Fish 11.04); 2, LA and Fang Xiong, 15.96; 3, Ryan Schaefer/Josh Adams, 14.09.
Sierra Bass Club at Eastman, May 19: 1, Chris Flammang, 11.64 pounds; 2, Ryan Hennecke, 11.36 (Big Fish 4.95); 3, Matt Solorio, 11.05.
Best Bass Tournaments at Santa Margarita on May 19: 1, John Flynn/Scott Lamberton, 22.50 pounds; 2, Jason Ballew/Ken Allerton, 22.02 (Big Fish 10.15); 3, Eddie Davidson/Matt Messina, 21.49.
Best Bass Tournaments at Don Pedro on May 19: 1, Terry Odom/Dennis Wainwright, 21.82 pounds (Big Fish 10.25); 2, Don Hendrix/Roger Cummings, 19.15; 3, Kyle Deklevy/Daniel Sexton, 15.13.
Kerman Bass Club at Pine Flat on May 19: 1, David McEwen, 10.38 pounds; 2, Ed Kerber, 9.70; 3, David Coson, 9.60. Big Fish, Ron Brown, 4.29 pounds.
Kings River Bass Club at Delta on May 20: 1, Jerry Martens, 9.73 pounds (Big Fish 4.92); 2, Marlon Hubert, 9.25; 3, Terry Mergan, 7.31.
Fresno Bass Club at Clear Lake on May 19-20: 1, Roger Lockhart, 42.90 pounds; 2, Dan Marshall, 35.50 (Big Fish 5.94); 3, John Albidrez, 35.22.
Golden Empire Bass Club at San Antonio on May 19-20: 1, Noah Chess/Craig Carrier, 40.34 pounds (Big Fish 7.76); 2, Justin and Roy Neal, 31.64; 3, Richard Carrier/Kevin Dan Dees, 24.00.
Thursday: Ken Jones on Pier Fishing, 6:15 p.m. at Fresno Fisherman’s Warehouse.
June 2: Open House for local tackle manufacturers at Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis.
Saturday: Angler’s Choice at Delta/Russo’s Marina; Angler’s Choice at Pine Flat; Western Outdoor News at Santa Margarita
June 2: Stockton Bass Club at Delta/Ladd’s Marina; Angler’s Choice at Delta/B and W Resort; American Bass Association at Delta/Russo’s Marina; Phil Johnson Memorial Kokanee Derby at Don Pedro, information: www.kokaneepower.com; Christian Bass League at Don Pedro; Kerman Bass Club at McClure; Western Outdoor News at Kaweah; Clovis Elks Club Trout Derby at Shaver; Angler’s Choice/Taft Bass Club at San Antonio; Jim’s Pro Tackle at Nacimiento
June 3: California Bass Federation at Delta/Ladd’s Marina
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; Coastside Fishing Club Halibut/Striper Derby at San Francisco Bay/Oyster Point Marina, information: coastsidefishingclub.com
Fresno County: Big Creek, Huntington; Big Creek, Kings; Courtright Reservoir; Dinkey Creek; Hume Lake; Huntington Lake; Kings River, Below Pine Flat Dam; Mono Creek; Portal Forebay; Rancheria Creek; San Joaquin River, South Fork; Shaver Lake; Tamarack Creek; Tenmile Creek, Upper; Ward Lake; Wishon Reservoir; San Joaquin River, below Friant Dam
Kern County: Alder Creek; Cedar Creek; Cuddy Creek Pond; Kern River, sections 0, 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5
Madera County: Bass Lake; Chiquito Creek, Lower and West forks; Corrine Lake; Fish Creek; Lewis Creek; Manzanita Lake; Nelder Creek; Rock Creek; San Joaquin River, Middle Fork and below Friant Dam; Starkweather Lake; Willow Creek North Fork; Big Creek, Madera
Mariposa County: Big Creek, Madera
Monterey/San Luis Obispo counties: Nacimiento River, Upper
Tulare County: Balch Park Lake, Lower and Upper; Big Meadows Creek; Bone Creek; Deer Creek; Dry Meadow Creek; Freeman Creek; Hedrick Pond (Redwood Lake); Kern River, sections 5 and 6; Nobe Young Creek; Peppermint Creek, Lower and Upper; Spear Creek (aka Poso Creek); Stony Creek; Tule River Middle Fork; Tule River North Fork, Middle Fork No. 1; Tule River South Fork, Middle Fork Nos. 2 and 3; White River
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