Fishing report: Week of Sept. 19
Compiled by Dave Hurley and edited by local fishing expert Roger George, a former Olympic-class decathlete at Fresno State and striper record-holder at Millerton Lake.
Telephone numbers are in 559 calling area unless noted.
Eastman and Hensley top bass bites, Merritt Gilbert said. Albacore go crazy near Farallons, Dennis Baxter said. Don Pedro trout feeding, Monte Smith reported. Wishon and Courtright rainbows hitting, Chuck Crane said. Crappie limits at Isabella, Pete Cormier reported. Excellent rainbow action at New Melones, Danny Layne reported. Striper action at San Luis picks up, Mickey Clements said. Shaver plants boost catches, Dick Nichols reported. Delta bass on rampage, Randy Pringle said.
You can feel anticipation of an exploding fall bite growing as anglers who have slogged through a very hot, low-water summer prepare to get back in the game.
All the signs are there and substantially improving each week.
Lots of lower elevation lakes are stable or coming up slowly, the days are getting much shorter and nighttime temperatures significantly lower. This is causing surface water temps to fall into the optimal feeding zone, spurring a frenzy that’s just starting to emerge. The recent heat spell slowed things a bit, but it’s still looking much better than a month ago. I think we are at a tipping point, and each year I watch smart anglers quietly hitting the water as they try to catch the very front edge of this bite before everyone else. It can be some of the best fishing of the year.
I used to like the spring bite the best, but as time goes by, I have come to appreciate the fall bite as the best of the year. I think the fall bite is more predictable than the spring because water levels are usually pretty stable or coming up slowly. Spring water patterns can wash away your bite or never come at times. And spring weather can be a roller coaster ride — like it was early this year — making it nearly impossible to time your trips. Fall weather temps are usually more constant as things slowly cool, and not nearly as volatile. Fish seem to like stability.
Another benefit I didn’t think about for a long time was the actual length of the bite window. We had a very long, mild fall last year, and the bass and striper bites seemed to go on until late December and later. I believe the striper bite in the Valley was the most consistent during the fall season and it actually bled into the early spring. A fall pattern of mild weather with very little rain until much later is another factor that has tipped the scales to a fall bite. Although I don’t relish cold weather, it hasn’t seemed to be a problem.
Lastly, fall fishing can go through a gamut of techniques as the season progresses. Top-water baits, crankbaits, spinnerbaits, umbrella rigs, plastics and even live bait can be effective as temps fall. Other than an occasional passing low pressure front, I think anglers can feel pretty confident they can find a technique during the fall pattern of heavily feeding fish.
If we have another mild temperature pattern, get more water flowing into our lakes to cool them and give the fish some new food and room, I believe the stage is set for it to be a great fall. However, I am praying that we once again will get a very wet spring to recharge our reservoirs and snowpack, especially since I think we dodged a big bullet this summer and got lucky by avoiding fish die-offs with low water levels and hot surface temps.
The next few months could be the best fishing of the year for all of us, and it’s already getting started!
Roger George is The Bee’s fishing expert. He 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 * *
Sardines or anchovies continue to be the top baits for anglers willing to sit in the heat along the area canals. The striped bass continue to be in the sublegal to barely legal size and most fishermen are heading to the O’Neill Forebay or San Luis Reservoir for larger linesides. In the south aqueduct in Kern County, Pete Cormier of Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield reported a consistent striper bite with cut baits on a weightless presentation. The increased flows and cooler water have decreased the amount of moss and debris plaguing fishermen. There continues to be a small window for top-water lures and swimbaits in low light conditions.
Bass * * * Trout * Bluegill * * Catfish * * Crappie *
Eastman and nearby Hensley continue to be the best bass lakes in the region and the pressure continues to be greater at Eastman. Merritt Gilbert at Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis reported an 8-pound largemouth was taken recently by an angler drop-shotting while prefishing for an upcoming tournament. The new full moon should bring out a good night bite with the fish oriented towards the submerged islands and structure. Brush Hogs and Senkos in bluegill colors are a good option. Eastman is a trophy bass fishery with a bag limit of one fish that must be over 22 inches. The lake is on the lowest ramp on the Codorniz Campground side and the top boat ramp is on the Chowchilla Day Use side. Ranger Andrew Steele encourages boaters to launch from the Codorniz ramp if they wish to avoid the long walk to the parking lot. The area inside the 5 mph Buoy is shallow. The lake is shutting off the water and held at 500 feet in elevation and 23% capacity. The Lakeview Trail is open 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.
Call: Eastman Lake 689-3255
Bass * * * Trout * Catfish * * Bluegill * * Crappie * *
Hensley continues to be a good option for area bass fishermen and Merritt Gilbert said, “The action should be particularly good during the coming full moon.” Bass in the 1.5- to 2.5-pound range are being taken at night with Carolina-rigged Brush Hogs or jigs along submerged island tops. The pressure is far less than at nearby Eastman making Hensley an attractive option. Catfishing remains fair from the banks for fish in the 2- to 3-pound range with sardines, anchovies or chicken livers from the banks. The best action continues in the evenings. The lake dropped less than a quarter foot to 475 feet and 19% 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 * * Crappie * *
Manny Basi of the Bait Barn in Waterford said, “Everything has been on the drop-shot in the past week with bass fishermen reporting good action with two distinct patterns of plastics: the Reaction Innovations Flirts in Bad Shad Green or Pro Worms Purple Shad pattern 124,” adding, “The fish are moving off the banks in the mornings to 30 feet in depth.” The top-water bite has been slow. With slower action at New Melones, Monte Smith of Gold Country Sport Fishing headed for Don Pedro. Clients Charles Wilson Jr. and Mike Abourzek landed rainbows to 3 pounds working open waters at 35 to 60 feet with heavy spoons trolled fast. Smith said, “The water temperatures are hovering around 74 to 76 degrees and with cooler weather predicted, the lake temperatures should continue to drop, forcing the shad to ball up.” He added, the trout are stuffed with shad.
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 has rebounded with good action reported by Pete Cormier of Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield. He said, “Bank fishermen and boaters are picking up limits of slabsides on a variety of offerings including small minnows, little Kastmasters, small Roadrunners or minijigs.” Several have reported limiting out while working the submerged trees and structure around Rocky Point and Kissack Cove. Bass fishing has slowed considerably, but this may be due to the scarcity of reports with a number of upcoming tournaments. Catfishing is fair with the whiskerfish gorging on floating shad from a recent shad die-off. As a result, catfish are less willing to eat, but frozen shad is the top bait. Trout continue to be non-existent in the low and warm water. As the water temperature cools as fall approaches, trout should emerge from the depths. The lake dropped a half foot to 2,544 feet in elevation and 16% capacity. Low and hot water levels on the upper river have contributed to poor trout action and the lower river is also running very low. The best action remains on the lower river for catfish, bass and the occasional trout with live crickets, salmon eggs or night crawlers. The local reservoirs are limited to bluegill as the carp bite has slowed considerably in the past two weeks.
Call: Bob’s Bait (661) 833-8657; North Fork Marina (760) 376-1812
Bass * * * Crappie * * Trout * Catfish * *
Bass fishing remains good for largemouths from 2 to 3 pounds as fish are chasing shad in the low water. The fish are working a smaller pool and action has been on shad-patterned plastics on the drop-shot. There is a top-water bite in the early morning and late evenings, but the best action remains on the bottom with plastics. The banks continue to be lined with anglers targeting anything that will bite with live minnows, crawdads or night crawlers. Catfishing is fair with the best action at night on chicken livers, sardines, anchovies or mackerel. The water levels continue to decrease with the lake dropping 2 feet to 590 feet in elevation and 8% capacity.
Call: Sierra Sporting Goods 592-5922
Bass * * Trout * Catfish * * Crappie *
The lake is very low and there are exposed islands throughout; Boaters need to be cautious. Bass action has improved in the low water as the fish are chasing trapped shad schools. Experienced boaters are able to squeeze their vessels in the water at the lower Tule Ramp while the lower Rocky Hill Ramp remains a better option. The lake dropped 1 foot to 587 feet and 8%.
Call: Lake Success 784-0215
Bass * * * Trout * * King salmon * * Kokanee * * Crappie * * Catfish * * *
Live bait has been consistent for the bigger grade of spotted and largemouth bass with Diana Mello at A-1 Bait in Snelling reporting live minnows or large crawdads are working for bass to 8 pounds and catfish to 7 pounds. McClure Point has been a good area as well as behind the Houseboats in Arnold Bay. Mello said, “We have been selling out of large minnows due to the action and small minnows also are very popular,”adding, “Although we have received few reports, the sales of small minnows tell me that the crappie bite has been good.” Trout and king salmon reports have been scarce with most trollers heading to McSwain, Don Pedro or New Melones. For artificials, Manny Basi of the Bait Barn in Waterford touted drop-shotting at 30 feet with Reaction Innovation’s Bad Shad Green Flirt or Pro Worm’s Purple Shad color 124. The lake dropped 4 feet to 763 feet in elevation and 45%.
Call: A-1 Bait (209) 563-6505; Bub Tosh (209) 404-0053
Trout * * *
Stephanie Powell of the McSwain Marina reported good trout action from the banks near the Brush Pile with garlic Power Bait or night crawlers. McSwain will be hosting its Fall Trout Derby from 7 a.m. Oct. 6 to noon Oct. 7; info: www.lakemcclure.com or (855) 800-2267. Fees are $12/individual and $28/family with a grand prize of $3,000. For trollers, Diana Mello of A-1 Bait in Snelling said, “One of our customers came in with a limit of quality rainbows on Monday trolling blade/crawler combinations between the Floating Restrooms to the Second Fence Line.” There will be a trout plant by today or Thursday.
Call: McSwain Marina (209) 378-2534
Millerton Lake/San Joaquin River
Bass * * Striper * Shad * Trout * *
Small bass are still the rule, but an exceptional largemouth at 4.5 pounds was landed in the past week. Merritt Gilbert said, “A 7- to 7.5-pound limit is possible, but fishermen will have to cull through a number of fish to reach this weight.” There has been minimal interest in the lake, but several tournaments are scheduled in the coming months, including the popular Clovis Mounted Police Department tournament on Sept. 29. A brief opportunity for small top-water lures exists in the morning, but the most consistent bite is on the bottom by mid-morning at depths to 30 feet. The fish are holding along the steeper walls with deep-water access in the main lake. Striped bass reports continue to be non-existent. The lake rose 6 feet to 525 feet and 57% with releases upstream. Most area trout fishermen are heading to the lower Kings River as opposed to the San Joaquin, but a few anglers continue to work Lost Lake or around the Broken Bridge for planted rainbows with Power Bait, night crawlers or salmon eggs.
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 and Monte Smith of Gold Country Sport Fishing reported excellent rainbow action at Melones, although Smith did find much slower action last Friday. Layne said, “We enjoyed another fantastic week of fishing at New Melones with rainbows and spotted bass gorging themselves on threadfin shad in open water,” adding, “Rolling shad or trolling Excel lures in Cop Car or blue/silver at 60 to 75 feet are the right depth for rainbows up to 20 inches and 3 pounds.” Layne said, “Steve Goodrich of Cedar Ridge and Joe Fernandez of Sonora boated a 10-fish limit that topped the scales at 28.5 pounds with four fish over 3 pounds and a big fish caught by Goodrich at 3.85 lbs.” Melanie Lewis of Glory Hole Sporting Goods in Angels Camp reported Andrew Palleschi of Oakdale landed a 7-pound, 2-ounce brown trout while trolling a kokanee lure near the Tuttletown boat launch. She added, “Night fishing under a submersible light is really good right now and should be for the next couple months,” adding, “Most anglers that are targeting fish at night are bringing in limits of fat 2- to 3-pound rainbows while fishing the main lake by the dam or spillway.” Lewis said, “Bank fishing has been slow. Kokanee fishing is only fair as the fish are starting to lose their scales in preparation for an attempt to spawn, a few limits of dark fish have been taken and orange has been a productive color. Bass fishing remains fair, as the water has been dropping at least 2 foot a week for the past four months with the fish being pushed out of shallow water haunts each week.” She advised fishing vertical banks with an eighth-ounce darthead in natural crawdad or shad patterns or a quarter-ounce jig as the lighter weighted baits will stay in the strike zone longer. With the schooling shad schools, bass have been busting shad on the surface and Pop R’s, Spooks or Lucky Craft Gunfish are working. Catfishing continues to be excellent with frozen shad, mackerel, chicken livers or anchovies. Lewis said, “Melones catfish tend to be fish eaters, so the frozen shad and cut baits are the top offerings.” Crappie fishing is fair with the best action coming at night under lights with Beetle Spins, minijigs or small minnows. The lake is releasing water and dropped 1.5 feet to 1,006 feet in elevation and 63% capacity.
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 * * Kokanee * *
The salmon bite is consistent with the regular trollers picking up around three fish per rod working from 100 to 110 feet in front of the dam with a few fish still found around the Power Lines. Merritt Gilbert said, “The majority of anglers are trolling near the dam for the larger accumulation of fish and the occasional kokanee can be taken, but the kokanee are turning rapidly toward their spawning colors.” The salmon action that had occurred around Deer Creek has slowed. Trout fishermen are few and far between with the majority of anglers seeking rainbows heading to the high country, On the bass front, small bass are the rule with Larry Kerns of the Visalia Bass Club reporting, “We landed a good number of fish on Saturday but finding keepers was a challenge,” adding, “The top limits were taken on buzzbaits in the mornings, but top-water lures and drop-shotting shad-patterns were our most effective lures.” Jerry Williams of Porterville put in a 9-plus-pound limit to take first place in the Visalia Bass Club Tournament; he reportedly landed his fish on buzzbaits. The lake levels are dropping and the river arm near Rattlesnake is very low with boaters needing to be cautious of hazards. The lake dropped over 1 foot to 758 feet in elevation and 20% capacity. The lower Kings River is a good option for planted rainbows with night crawlers, salmon eggs or Power Bait. The area behind Doyal’s Store in Piedra has been popular. With the lower river levels, various baits have been more effective than spinners. The bite should continue to get better with low river levels, cooling water and heavy fall plants.
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 heavy pumping into the main lake has spurred on the striper bite with large linesides taken on live jumbo minnows near the Trash Racks. Mickey Clements of Coyote Bait in Morgan Hill said, “The bite has really turned on near the Trash Racks and the pumping water must be the reason for the action heating up.” He advised dropping the minnows down halfway to the bottom with a three-quarter- or 1-ounce weight. The top-water bite has been best in the Forebay with rip baits such as Rapala XP8 or Lucky Craft 78 in American shad or ghost minnow. Merritt Gilbert reported local anglers continue to purchase 4-inch Storm swimbaits in bluegill pattern or small Lucky Crafts for plugging along the banks in either lake in the evenings. Cut baits from the shoreline area near Check 12 or under the bridge at night continue to be effective for catfish, particularly when the water is being pumped. The lake has risen to 32% capacity.
Important note: All watercraft must undergo an inspection for Quagga and Zebra mussels before launching.
Call: Ly’s Fishing Goods (408) 629-9644; Coyote Bait and Tackle (408) 463-0711
Bass * * Trout * * Kokanee *
Bass fishing should improve since the warm water species are less affected by the turbidity of the lake’s waters due to the seismic retrofit of the dam. The dissolved sediment will raise the temperature of water and provide more cover for bass. The retrofit project is on target to complete the seismic retrofit by early 2013 with pre-retrofit lake levels expected by the summer. The winter elevation will be in the range of normal winter operations. For coldwater species, not much has changed with the occasional trout still holding in the northern end. There was a report of a heavy plant of rainbows in Chiquita Creek. The lake held at 71% capacity, but it may be released after Sept. 15 to manage winter run-off.
Call: Todd Wittwer 288-8100; Mike Beighey 642-3748
Brown trout * * * Trout * *
Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun reported good action for small brown trout to 15.5 inches and the smaller fish are plentiful in the lowered water pool. Flatfish, Wedding Rings and Rapalas in the deeper sections are top options. Dedicated brown trout fishermen are itching to get on the lake once the first snowfall limits access. This traditionally is the best time for fooling a large brown. The lakes are trickling out their supply and Edison dropped to 10%, Florence to 4%, Mammoth Pool to 9% and Redinger to 63%.
Call: Vermilion Valley Resort at Edison Lake 259-4000
Shaver Lake/Huntington Lake
Kokanee * * Trout * * *
Trolling for trout remains good at Shaver Lake with multiple limits the norm. With a DFG plant of larger than normal catchable-sized trout, the better areas of trolling has spread out to include the dam, Roads 1 and 2 and the Point. The island, Black Rock and the mouth of Dorabella Cove continue to be some of the best spots. Guide Dick Nichols of Dick’s Fishing Charters says his clients averaged 20 fish per trip this past week. He is trolling with Trout Busters behind weighted Mountain Flashers at a depth of 23 feet. Bank fishermen continue to experience hit or miss days on the lake. Roads 1 and 2, the Point, Edison Camp area and around Sierra Marina have been the best with Power Bait. Both marinas at Shaver will be open until late October, however, boaters are urged to contact their favorite Shaver marina for a schedule before coming. You can get a view of the lake and launch by going to sierramarina.com/webcam. The lake rose slightly to 60%, however, launching at the Edison Camp ramp is not recommended, the county ramp at Sierra Marina is in good shape. Dick Nichols said that he and Lee Gates, board member of the Shaver Lake Trophy Trout Project, took out wheelchair fisherman Brad Mack and his son, Dennis, of Chowchilla for limits of trout with the older Mack landing his first fish in 15 years. Nichols said, “It is all part of the Shaver Lake Trophy Trout Project’s mission to get people with disabilities back into fishing, adding, “The SLTTP meets every third Wednesday of the month and invites anyone who wants to attend to the 9 a.m. meeting at the SCE office in Edison Camp. Nichols added, The SLTTP would appreciate donations for future plants to be sent to the SLTTP, PO Box 908, Shaver Lake, CA 93664,” adding, “A thank you letter will be returned to the donor.” It is the donations that makes planting of trophy trout a success at Shaver and 3,500 trophy-sized trout will be planted before the spring. At Huntington, bank anglers are picking up a few fish in Rancheria Creek with pink or chartreuse Power Bait while trollers are working for a few small planted trout pulling a variety of lures from the surface to 40 feet along the main river channel toward the dam. Shaver rose slightly to 60%, Huntington dropped to 86%. Huntington is expected to continue to release water.
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 * * * *
Chuck Crane of the Wishon RV Park and Store reported excellent rainbow trout action at Wishon and Courtright, but larger fish are found at Courtright. Crane said, “Courtright is very low, but boats can still use the launch ramp for the time being,” adding, “Rainbows in the 14- to 22-inch range are found on Wedding Rings or a plain night crawler behind a Shasta Tackle Sling Blade at depths from 3 to 4 colors of lead core.” Shore fishing is also good with Power Bait or night crawlers near the launch ramp. A number of limits have been taken from the banks. At Wishon, Crane said, “Fishing is good for 10- to 12-inch trout and one troller has been working at 40 feet on the downrigger for larger fish in the 16- to 18-inch range.” Blade/crawler combinations with a slow troll have been working best. Shore fishing is fair along either side of the dam with pink or orange Power Bait or salmon eggs. Crane added that the opening of the rifle deer season brought seven bucks to the store for pictures with the majority of bucks being small, forked horns.
Call: Wishon RV Park 865-5361
Half Moon Bay
Rockfish * * * * Salmon * * Striper * * Albacore * * * * White seabass * *
The albacore bite exploded Saturday and Sunday with epic scores landed by Captain Dennis Baxter on the New Captain Pete with over 51 big fish with the live bait for five passengers and four crew. The action has been within sight of the Farallon Islands and he trolled a mile circle near Gumdrop in the neighborhood of 37.33/123.12. There has been a hard temperature break from 55 to 58.2 degrees in the area. Captain Dew on the Mooch Better, a six-pack out of Bait and Switch Sport Fishing was up to 30 fish on Sunday in the same area. Private boats have been getting in on the action and they have been plugging their boats with longfins. Rockfishing on the local reefs remains terrific with Captain Guy Anthony of the New Gravy posting limits Saturday and Sunday with over a ling cod per rod. White sea bass action has slowed since an excellent bite at the beginning of September in response to the market-grade squid schools showing up from outside the harbor south to Pescadero. The heavy boat traffic may have put the fish off the bite. For salmon, a few boats have been willing to run north to Duxbury for less than a fish per rod, but the salmon have been large. Up the San Mateo coast in Pacifica, Sheryl Jimno of the Rusty Hook reported salmon have been taken from the beaches at the RV Park and Apartments north of town by fishermen targeting striped bass or perch. The occasional salmon is still taken from the end of the pier under the balloon floats. Striper fishing is fair.
Call: Happy Hooker (510) 223-5388; Roger Thomas, Salty Lady (415) 760-9362; Bait and Switch Sport Fishing Center (650) 726-7133 726-7133; Emeryville Sport Fishing (510) 654-6040; Don Franklin, Soleman (510) 703-4148
Rockfish * * * * Salmon * Striper * * White seabass * * Albacore * * *
Chris Arcoleo of Chris’ Landing in Monterey reported excellent rockfishing over the weekend with limits on all three trips from the local reefs with an average of 12 ling cod per trip. They are focusing on rockfish with the possibility of white sea bass depending on the action. The squid have moved out of the bay. The albacore are far offshore at 60 miles and one party boat out of Moss Landing was reported to land 60 with the bonus of a few bait stops. Most private boats are working 15 to 20 miles outside of the Weather Buoy. Bayside Marine in Santa Cruz reported good inshore action at the Mile Buoy, Capitola and up the coast with white sea bass taken in 35 to 70 feet of water around the balls of bait. Rockfishing has been excellent up the coast or near South Rock in 40 to 80 feet of water. They reported a good albacore bite at 36’32/122’19, 36’29/122’19 and 36’26/122’20 with scores ranging from five to 20 fish per boat with the best action in the morning.
Call: Chris’ Landing (831) 375-5951; Bayside Marine (831) 475-2173; usafishing.com
San Francisco Bay
Halibut * * Striper * * Rockfish * * * * Salmon * * Leopard shark * * * Sturgeon * * Albacore * * *
The New Huck Finn took six anglers out Monday on a charter for albacore and they used live bait for 60 longfins working the same waters as the Half Moon Bay boats 35 miles southwest of the Golden Gate. The live bait is an advantage for the Bay Area fleet over other ports. Salmon fishing remains slow, but the fish taken are large. Two boats went out of Sausalito on Sunday with 42 fishermen for 11 salmon to 25 pounds and a pair of halibut to 25 pounds while trolling from Rocky Point to Buoy 1. Inside the bay, James Smith of the California Dawn targeted the big sharks on Thursday and Friday and they put in two soup fins to 60 pounds, a 25-pound leopard shark and released six sevengill to 200 pounds. Keith Fraser of Loch Lomond Bait and Tackle said bass fishermen are picking up around a striper per boat to go with a pair of halibut. Drifting live shiners has been the best technique for larger fish with Fraser saying, “The drifting fish are four times the size of those taken by trolling, but troll fish can be found along the Marin shoreline and near the Pumphouse with the best action at high tide and the first two hours of the outgo.” Halibut fishing remains fair with their party boats following the script of heading outside the Gate for rockfish before putting in a couple of hours drifting for halibut. Fraser said, “The halibut bite has improved, but it is not hot.” California City has been similar to the ocean, with some spurts of action and Fraser was aware of a 27-pounder landed. A 44-pound white sea bass was landed Saturday morning at Diablo Canyon on the Morningstar. On the Napa River, Sinkay reported an excellent troll bite with boaters picking up from 20 to 30 linesides to 7 pounds with pearl RatLTraps. The first sturgeon taken in a while came over the weekend with a regular customer putting two in his boat Saturday night on Leonard’s grass shrimp on the Napa River near the mouth of Napa Slough. The sturgeon have been jumping, but the bite has been slow. In the south bay, John Akina at Oyster Point Bait, Tackle and Deli reported slow fishing. Most boaters ran outside the Gate for salmon and there is talk of heading out for albacore Monday. Sharks and rays are still the top draw off the pier.
San Luis Obispo
Salmon * * Rock cod * * *
Rockfishing remains steady with the Black Pearl, a new addition to Virg’s Landing, bringing in 33 limits with a 50% vermilion/assorted rockfish mix to go with five ling cod to 7 pounds on Saturday, Monday’s action was solid with 35 limits of rockfish and 29 ling cod to 15 pounds on the Princess with Terry Ellington of Bakersfield landing the jackpot ling. Virg’s is planning its first albacore trip of the year Saturday with a 10 p.m. departure and 6 p.m. Sunday return. Live bait updates at Patriot Sport Fishing are available at (805) 595-7200, option 4.
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 * * * Salmon * * *
Salmon fishing at the State Park remains solid with Tony Lopez of Benicia Bait saying, “The Friday and Saturday were good, but it slowed down on Sunday.” Striper fishing has improved at night from the shorelines with bullheads. Blood worms have been a desired bait and they sold out on Sunday. Sturgeon fishing has been decent in Honker Bay with eel strips. Jerry Greene of Brentwood, released an 80-inch sturgeon estimated between 150 and 200 pounds. There had been an excellent striper bite near the Middle Grounds with live bullheads on Saturday for fish to 9 pounds. Dockside Bait in Pittsburg confirmed the improved striper bite with live bullheads, mudsuckers or fresh shad. Sturgeon fishing has been slow with most anglers targeting striper. For largemouth bass, Randy Pringle said, “They are jumping in the boat with a good top-water bite in the mornings, followed by crank baits or worms on the bottom,” adding, “Get loud on windy days and quiet on calm days.” The Ace in the Hole and Persuader Double Buzz bait are tops for getting loud while the Timber Tiger DC 8 in bluegill or crawdad patterns are best for getting quiet at depths to 5 feet. The fish are acclimated to the 85 to 87 degree days and the larger fish are coming out to play. The striper action should continue to improve as we move toward the prime months of October and November. Upriver, Alan Fong of the Fisherman’s Warehouse in Sacramento reported outstanding action at Viera’s on Saturday and he expected these fish to be at Freeport by Sunday.
Call: Randy Pringle (209) 543-6260; Vella’s Fishing Adventures (209) 521-0164; Mark Wilson Sport Fishing (916) 682-1630; Intimidator Sport Fishing (916) 806-3030
Lake Nacimiento/San Antonio/Santa Margarita/Lopez
Bass * * White Bass * * Striper * * Catfish * * Crappie * *
Not much change at the coastal lakes with the striped bass boils at San Antonio still on slowdown. The most consistent action has been for smallmouth or largemouth bass with live bait. At Nacimiento, reports have been scarce despite decreased boat traffic. Brush Hogs, jigs or Robo Worms on the drop-shot are best for spotted bass. At Margarita, an 11-pound limit was reported to win a club tournament over the weekend. There is a calendar of coastal lake tournaments available at my.calendars.net/cctsched
Quagga mussel inspections are required before boat launching is allowed.
The lakes are dropping steadily and Nacimiento receded 2.5 feet to 749 feet and 40% capacity with San Antonio dropping 1 foot to 748 feet and 56%. Lopez is at 80%, Santa Margarita 65%.
Call: Lake Nacimiento (805) 238-1056, ext. 3; Lake San Antonio Marina(805) 472-2818; Central Coast Bass Fishing.com (805) 466-6557
Fresno Bass Club at Delta/B and W Resort on Sept. 16: 1, Ron Red Sr., 14.19 pounds; 2, Walt Austin, 12.07 (Big Fish, 5.99); 3, Larry Hodge, 11.81
Hook, Line and Sinker at Delta/Russo’s Marina on Sept. 16: 1, Tim Domingues/Craig Groves, 26.85 pounds (Big Fish, 8.86); 2, John Garrett/Tony Vaughn, 23.38; 3, Ed and Travis Ortman, 22.23
Sept. 27: Monte Smith of Gold Country Sport Fishing on Fall Rainbows, 6 p.m. at Fisherman’s Warehouse in Manteca
Sept. 27: Edd Allen on Lowrance Products, 6:15 p.m. at Fisherman’s Warehouse in Fresno
Oct. 4: Dave Mierkey of Rip Their Lips Off Guide Service on Salmon/Steelhead Techniques, 6 p.m. at Fisherman’s Warehouse in Manteca
Oct. 18: Barry Canevaro of Fish Hookers Sport Fishing on Striped Bass/Sturgeon Bait Fishing Techniques, 6 p.m. at Fisherman’s Warehouse in Manteca
Oct. 25: Is Monroe, Professional Bass Fishermen, on Crankbait Techniques, 6 p.m. at Fisherman’s Warehouse in Manteca
Saturday: Sonora Bass Club at Don Pedro; New J Bass Club at Hensley; Cast4Kids at Millerton; Future Pro Tour at Pine Flat; Bass Ambushers at Nacimiento
Saturday-Sunday: Sierra Bass Club at Delta/Ladd’s Marina; South Coast Bassmasters at Santa Margarita
Sunday: Western Outdoor News at Delta/Russo’s Marina; Riverbank Bass Club at Delta/Ladd’s Marina
Sept. 29: Clovis Mounted Police Tournament at Millerton
Fresno County: Kings River, Below Pine Flat; San Joaquin River, below Friant Dam
Madera County: San Joaquin River, below Friant Dam
Merced County: Yosemite Lake
Stanislaus County: Turlock Reservoir
Tuolumne County: Tulloch Lake; Lyons Canal; Moccasin Creek; Powerhouse Stream; Stanislaus River Middle Fork
q = quarter moon