Compiled by Dave Hurley and edited by Roger George, a former Olympic-class decathlete at Fresno State and striper record-holder at Millerton Lake and who now guides in the greater Fresno area. Telephone numbers are in 559 calling area unless noted.
Delta Mendota Canal and Sloughs
Striper 2 Catfish 2
Few anglers are heading to the California Aqueduct, and with the slowdown at San Luis Reservoir, striper anglers are heading to new locations such as the Delta or Hogan Lake in Calaveras County. In the south aqueduct in Kern County, Pete Cormier of Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield reported fair action for striped bass at best, but the moss is starting to make for rough conditions for soaking bait or throwing lures. Sardines, blood worms, and lug worms are working for stripers while catfish are found on cut baits or stink baits.
Lake Don Pedro
Bass 2 Trout 3 Kokanee 2 King salmon 1 Crappie 2
Bass action has been affected by the dropping water levels while trout trolling for small planters remains a good option.
Beau Courtroul of the Lake Camanche Recreation Company has been pre-fishing for the upcoming Modesto Ambassadors night tournament this Saturday evening, and he said, “I found a good bite with the big KeiTech swimbaits at 15 to 20 feet for the post-spawn bass, but once the lake dropped two feet, the swimbait bite died, I also have been on a good River2Sea SWaver bite, but this has also has dried up with the dropping water. My game plan for this Saturday night through Sunday is to try for a big fish on the swimbaits before working the bottom with 10-inch worms to cap off our limit.”
Monte Smith of Gold Country Sport Fishing said, “I would expect the trout action to continue to be good, and there are a few more kokanee showing up.” Trollers have been scoring with shad-patterned spoons at depths from 30 to 50 feet near Jenkins Hill or the dam area.
The Blue Oaks launch ramp is currently closed due to the fluctuating lake levels, but the Moccasin Point and Fleming Meadows launch ramps are both open for vessel launching. Boaters are cautioned to watch for unmarked hazards and floating debris. The lake is at 94 percent.
Bass 3 Trout 2 King salmon 1 Kokanee 0 Crappie 2 Catfish 2
In the nearly filled lake, recreational boating was heavy over the Memorial Day weekend, limiting bass fishermen to a small window in the mornings with plastics on the drop-shot or shakey head such as the Pro Worm 266s at depths to 40 feet. The topwater bite dies quickly in the early morning. Steve Marquette of the Lake McClure/McSwain Recreation Company said, “Bass fishing has been excellent with plastics, particularly the Zoom Watermelon as our cook has been going out and catching between 20 and 25 bass. The crappie bite has slowed down, but a few slabs are still holding in the flooded timber with live minnows or minijigs. The lake rose held at 92 percent.
Steve Marquette of the Lake McClure/Lake McSwain Recreation Company said, “There was a plant prior to the holiday weekend on Friday, and shore anglers are scoring with Power Bait or nightcrawlers from the normal locations of the Handicapped Docks, Brush Pile, or peninsula near the marina. Kastmasters in silver or gold are also working from the shore. Trollers are pulling Wedding Rings tipped with a piece of nightcrawler behind a dodger. Live minnows are also working.”
Call: McSwain Marina 209-378-2534
New Melones Reservoir/Tulloch
Bass 3 Crappie 2 Catfish 2 Trout 2 Kokanee 2
The opportunity for a trophy rainbow or brown trout exists at New Melones, and although the numbers are down overall, the few trout landed have been huge. Rolling shad as deep as 60 feet has been the top set up, but various lures are working. An occasional kokanee is also showing up for those targeting the landlocked salmon.
Monte Smith of Gold Country Sport Fishing took out Butch Betshart of Milton out during the week, and they started off near the main lake before the wind drove them south of the Highway 49 Bridge. He said, “We had a few hits on my custom spoons, and at 11:00 a.m., I set up all four rods with rolled shad, and when I was setting down a rod, I saw a few taps on the back rod. I pulled the rod off of the release and handed it to my client, saying, ‘This feels like a nice fish.’ He thought he was snagged, but it was burning line off of the reel straight down under the boat. After a period of time, we got the fish to the boat, and it was a 9-pound, 10-ounce brown trout that we tried for 45 minutes to release. It swam off for a short distance, but it didn’t make it. We had a couple of other big fish on that we saw within 30 feet of the boat, but they became unbuttoned. After the big fish succumbed, Betshart committed to having his trophy mounted.”
Gary Burns of ‘Take It To the Limit’ Guide Service has been focusing around the main lake and the Highway 49 Bridge for rainbows and browns to 6 pounds rolling shad from 45 to 60 feet, and he also picked up a 13-inch kokanee on Paulina Peak’s Wickiup spinner hoochie. He said, “This is the first week that the water temperature has hit 70 degrees, and the shad are starting to hit the surface in the open water.”
John Liechty of Xperience Bass Fishing Guide Service said, “The bass bite continues to be good on New Melones. The lake level is starting to drop and the fish are repositioning themselves daily. Each morning we have been starting with topwater poppers and prop baits and then switching to subsurface reaction baits as the sun comes up. The fish are keying on shad, baby bass and small sunfish making these lure color selections most productive. When the bite does seem to become a bit slow we will use finesse techniques to coax a few more bites. We have been seeing a lot of healthy bass and the future of the lake looks bright.”
Crappie continue to be landed with medium minnows or minijigs in the submerged brush, and bluegill are also a possibility.
The lake dropped from 83 to 82 percent.
San Luis Reservoir and O’Neill Forebay
Striper 2 Catfish 2 Bass 2 Crappie 2
Trolling and drifting live jumbo minnows have taken a back seat to bank fishing from Dinosaur Point, Romero Visitor Center, or Basalt Recreation Area with flukes or paddle-tail swimbaits in the mornings. Some anglers are looking for boils, but they have been absent. Bait fishermen are working pile worms, blood worms, or sardines for a few fish, The lake dropped from 79 to 77 percent with increased water releases. In the forebay, Paul Love of Coyote Bait and Tackle said, “Largemouth bass are the best thing going with squarebill crankbaits or dragging curly-tailed worms in the grass as the fish are in post-spawn mode and feeding aggressively. Small striped bass are found around Check 12 with blood worms, pile worms, or anchovies, but the majority of stripers are undersized.”
Roger George of Roger George Guide Service said that he will be waiting till around August to resume his “Downrigging 101 for Stripers” on- the -water class due to the heavy winds at San Luis.
For largemouth bass, Randy Pringle, the Fishing Instructor, said, “There are fry balls with baby bass, and the small fish are attacking the fry. The males are guarding the fry, and they will only move off of the beds so far before swimming back to defend another attack from a small fish. The key is to keep the lure in the strike zone longer as the males are escorting the lures out of the zone. The females have moved off of the beds, and they are transitioning into the summer pattern of holding around current. The wind has muddied up the water, and I have been using the ima Little Stick in chartreuse/blue or the new Toucan. The Rock N’ Vibe Suspend is another lure that stays in the strike zone, and the key is to sit it, pause, and retrieve. The Chigger Craw in black/blue or black/red is also working. Everyone wants to throw the topwater lures and the frogs, but it is very possible that this day is gone as the weed growth is being eliminated in the Delta. Without weeds, the little fish don’t have places to hide, and the larger bass don’t have enough oxygen. There also hasn’t been enough current to push out the silt, and it is starting to build up in many areas. Without weeds, the volume of water in the Delta rises, and this may be the ultimate goal of the 8 boats spraying and tossing pellets throughout the south Delta.”
f = full moon > = peak activity