Fishing Report

Fishing report for week of March 6-12: Kings River kicking out trout; plenty of bass action

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.

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Best bets

Pine Flat and Eastman bass on the prowl, Steve Newman said. Stripers and surf perch biting at Manresa State Beach near Watsonville, B.J. Kendrick reported. New Melones largemouth hitting, John Liechty said. Delta sturgeon biting, Mike Pipkins reported. Kings River below Pine Flat Dam kicking out trout, Dave Hurley said. McClure and Don Pedro have good bass action, Ryan Cook reported.


1-Try dynamite

2-Have to work hard

3-Limits possible

4-Fish jumpin’ in boat


Delta Mendota Canal and Sloughs

Striper 2 Catfish 2

There still isn’t much happening in the northern section of the California Aqueduct with the water moving through the system. Few anglers are trying during this period of rainy weather as there is minimal cover along the aqueduct. In the southern section of the aqueduct in Kern County, striped bass fishing is fair at best with the slower flows.

Safety precautions at this time of year must be taken at all times as the calm waters of the aqueduct are deceptive as still waters can start flowing rapidly without warning, creating strong currents and turbulence. The concrete sides can be slippery with sand, algae, or gravel, making it nearly impossible to climb out without assistance. Float lines and safety ladders are spaced periodically along the sides, and the safety ladders are located at the end of float lines and along the canal 500 feet apart on alternate sides of the Aqueduct and marked by a yellow background painted on the concrete above the ladder.

Call: Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis 292-3474; Bob’s Bait Bucket 661-833-8657

Eastman Lake

Bass 3 Trout 2 Bluegill 2 Catfish 2 Crappie 2

Steve Newman of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “The largemouth bass bite is picking up as 3- to 5-pound fish are found with jigs on the bottom along with Senkos on a wacky-rig. Lipless crankbaits or squarebill crankbaits over structure are also effective, but the lures have to make a knocking noise as the water is stained.” The Kerman Bass Club held an event this past Saturday with the winning limit at 14.63 pounds with a big fish of 5.92 by Mitch Melikian.

The lake is already releasing water, and it held at 74 percent with inflow and outflow balanced.

Call: Eastman Lake 689-3255

Hensley Lake

Bass 2 Trout 2 Catfish 2 Bluegill 2 Crappie 2

The bass bite is best with larger plastics such as Senkos, creature baits, or jigs on a slow-presentation on a Texas-rig over structure such as brush piles or rockpiles. There isn’t a tremendous amount of bait in the lake, and the bass are holding for an ambush on the bluegill, crappie, or baby bass. The rising water levels have created more ambush locations along with new food sources. The lake dropped from 55 to 36 percent.

Hensley climbed up from 46 to 55 percent.

Call: Valley Rod Gun, Clovis 292-3474; U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Hensley Lake Hidden Dam 673-5151

Lake Don Pedro

Bass 3 Trout 2 Kokanee 1 King salmon 1 Crappie 2

The Wild West Bass Trails arrived at Don Pedro on Saturday with 184 boats, and it took a seven-fish limit at 32.44 pounds by the team of Kevin Nunes and Christian Ostrander to take the top spot. 297 teams between two Mother Lode lakes on the same day shows the high rate of participation in bass tournaments in northern California, especially in light of an additional 113 teams at Lake Berryessa for the Best Bass Tournament.

Ryan Cook of Ryan Cook’s Guide Service said, “I fished the RiverRat tournament on Saturday at Don Pedro, and he said, “A number of the bass have come up shallow, and I expect more will be coming up shortly. The reservoir has dropped 4 to 5 feet this past week, and the fish are suspending off along vertical walls. We landed around 20 bass in the tournament on jigs, Senkos, or spinnerbaits, but we couldn’t find anything over 2.5 pounds.”

Monte Smith of Gold Country Sport Fishing was out with a pair of fishermen on Friday, and he said, “We were on the water around 7:45 a.m., and we found some good fish before picking up and moving to another spot. We ended up with 7 rainbow trout with a couple of quality ones in the mix, but the bite died around 10:30 a.m., just shutting off. The water clarity was around 4 to 5 feet at the best, and I was surprised that we did as well given the clarity. My custom shad-patterned spoons on leadcore line did the trick as the trout are only feeding in small windows in the cold 51 to 52.6-degree water. Our best action came in the slightly warmer water in the main lake.”

The lake dropped from 83 to 82 percent.

Call: Monte Smith 209-581-4734; Ryan Cook – Ryan Cook’s Fishing 691-7008, Gary Vella 209-652-7550

Lake Isabella/Bakersfield area

Bass 2 Trout 2 Crappie 2 Catfish2 Bluegill 2

There are still few reports from Lake Isabella, but trout plants will be released within the next seven weeks in anticipation of the Kern Valley Chamber of Commerce Lake Isabella Trout Derby scheduled for April 13-15 with registrations being taken now. There is a total prize pool of $26,544 and counting, and all top five positions will pay double with the purchase of a T-shirt or hoodie. Online registration is open. The rainbows are getting fat in the pens at Red’s Marina. The 72,000-acre foot restriction on Lake Isabella has been lifted, and the construction work on the upstream side of the Borel Canal and the French Gulch interim boat ramp extension and lake levels will now be allowed to rise to 361,250 acre-feet or 2,589 feet in elevation, weather providing. It is currently at 22 percent and rising. There will be no further need to lower lake levels for the duration of the project, expected to be completed in 2022. The upper Kern River was last planted in early February, and the planters are holding in the deeper pools above the dam. Nightcrawlers, live crickets, or Power Bait are working for the occasional planted rainbow. The water is high and dirty in the upper and lower Kerns, and this has limited action. Buena Vista is the only local lake with regular trout plants, and Power Bait, nightcrawlers, or spinners pick up the occasional planter.

Call: Bob’s Bait Bucket 661-833-8657; North Fork Marina 760-376-1812; Golden Trout Pack Station 542-2816

Lake Kaweah

Bass 2 Crappie 2 Trout 2 Catfish 2

Few reports from Kaweah with most local anglers heading north to fish in other circuits. However, the Cen Cal Elite Bass Tournaments is holding an event at the lake this coming Sunday, and the local fishermen from Porterville, Visalia, and surrounding areas should be out on the lake. Water releases continue, and the lake dropped to 15 percent this week.

Call: Sierra Sporting Goods 592-5212

Lake Success

Bass 2 Trout 2 Catfish 2 Crappie 2 Bluegill 2

Despite rising water levels and muddy water, the Porterville Bass Club had a good turnout on Sunday for a winning five-fish limit with a near 3-pound average. The lake has risen to 30 percent. The Tule River remains blown out, and the additional rain will keep it muddy for some time. Chuck Stokke of the Sequoia Fishing Company in Springville is giving fly casting lessons at the Pierpoint Café the second Sunday of each month at 10 a.m. The lessons are free and all equipment is provided.

Call: Sequoia Fishing Co. 539-5626,

McClure Reservoir

Bass 3 Trout 2 King salmon 0 Kokanee 0 Crappie 2 Catfish 2

The Mother Lode low-elevation reservoirs of New Melones, Don Pedro, and McClure continue to round into shape for outstanding action for both spotted and largemouth bass.

The Cen Cal Elite Bass Tournament arrived at Lake McClure on Saturday, and Ralph Encizo of Fresno landed the big fish of the tournament at a whopping 11.15 pounds as part of a 31.34-pound five-fish limit with his partner, Denny Bowlin. The second-place limit came in at 20.74 pound by the team of George Rosales/Ray Grammer while Larry Kerns and Chris Reynolds came in third at 18.10.

Ryan Cook of Ryan Cook’s Fishing said, “I have been focusing on main lake points from 10 to 35 feet with jigs, and we have been averaging from 60 to 70 fish per guide trip. The lake level has stabilized, and the larger fish in this tournament came in on umbrella rigs or swimbiats. With clients wanting to put in numbers, we are concentrating working the points with finesse techniques.”

The lake is releasing water, and it dropped from 67 to 65 percent.

Call: Ryan Cook – Ryan Cook’s Fishing 691-7008

McSwain Reservoir

Trout 2

The lake remains very high and stained from water releases from Lake McClure. Trout fishing has been slow overall, but a few rainbows have been taken off of the banks at the Brush Pile or Handicapped Docks with silver or silver/blue Kastmasters or trout dough bait in bright green or rainbow with garlic scent. Few trollers have been trying with the stained water. The annual Merced Irrigation District Trout Derby is scheduled for April 6-7, and over 450 anglers participated in the event last year.

Call: McSwain Marina 209-378-2534

Millerton Lake/San Joaquin River

Bass 2 Striped bass 1 Shad 1 Bluegill 2 Crappie 2

At Millerton, Newman said, “The bit is ‘hit or miss’ as anglers are starting to prefish for upcoming tournaments. I was on the lake on Thursday, and we primarily worked up the river arm. The reaction bite was null and void with spinnerbaits, and even jigs weren’t effective. The boats on the lake were landing a fish every hour to an hour and a half as it was slow. In the main lake, once you find them, they will eat. It is a matter of finding fish and staying there with a 7- to 8-pound limit being the norm with a 12- to 13-pound limit being exceptional. In the main lake, working vertical walls with a gradual slope is best with plastics on the Ned-rig or drop-shot along with jigs, deep-diving crankbaits, or Senkos. The fish will eat once you find them. The water temperature is ranging from 52 to 54 degrees.

Millerton is already releasing water to balance inflow, and it held at 71 percent.

Call: Valley Rod & Gun 292-3474

New Melones Reservoir/Tulloch

Bass 3 Crappie 2 Catfish 2 Trout 2 Kokanee1

At New Melones, John Liechty of Xperience Fishing Guide Service said, “I haven’t been focusing on the big bite, but we are averaging around 40 bass per trip with finesse techniques of plastics on the drop—shot, Ned-rig, or shakey head. Staying in contact with the bottom is important, and I have been targeting structure with a 45-degree angle when the bass can move up and down from 5 to 65 feet. A lot of the lake is slow, and you have to find the fish as they are scattered out. However, once you find them, they are concentrated. The interesting aspect is that you can’t duplicate the pattern in different areas even if the structure is the same.”

The New Jen Bass Tournaments held an event at New Melones on Sunday, and the team of Alex Niapas and Jason Remmers continued their dominance of northern California events with a winning five-fish limit of 26.71 pounds including a big fish at 10.07, but the gap between the first and second place team was much closer than Niapas/Remmers have been experiencing at 4.63 pounds. This team finds their fish by working big baits.

New Melones has risen to 84 percent.

Call: Glory Hole Sports 209-736-4333; Monte Smith 209-581-4734; John Liechty Xperience Fishing Guide Service 209-743-9932

pine flat
Daniel Anaya shows off his personal-best bass, left, and his first brown trout. courtesy Daniel Anaya Special to The Bee

Pine Flat Reservoir/Kings River

Bass 3 Trout 3 Kokanee 0 King salmon 0 Catfish 2 Crappie 2

Pine Flat Reservoir on the Kings River remains the most consistent bass fishing lake in the region with the fish found in smaller groups in the shallows or bunched up in deeper water. Millerton is starting to feel the pressure of anglers pre-fishing for upcoming tournaments, and despite stable water levels, the spotted bass bite is ‘hit or miss.’

Steve Newman of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “At Pine Flat, there are good fish found from the banks to 20 feet, but these are nomadic fish in scattered groupings. There is a reaction bite with small swimbaits such as Kei Techs or small flukes with a boot tail along with spinnerbaits, chatterbaits, and underspins. The shallow fish are on the move, and if you are waiting in one area for them, you could be waiting for a long time. Bank fishermen can score with Senkos on either a wacky- or Neko-rig. There are piles of good fish schooled up in deeper water from 40 to 50 feet, and you have to stay in contact with the bottom with techniques such as plastics on the drop-shot or Ned-rig along with jigs.” Trout fishing in the lake remains null and void, but the lower Kings River below the dam remains strong with spinners such as Roostertails or a single or double salmon egg in front of riffles. Weekly trout plants make for consistent action. The lake rose from 51 to 57 percent.

Call: Valley Rod & Gun 292-3474; Sequoia Fishing Co. 539-5626

San Luis Reservoir and O’Neill Forebay

Striper 2 Catfish 2 Bass 2 Crappie 2

San Luis Reservoir has filled to near capacity at 98 percent, and the full lake will pay dividends for striped bass fishermen in the coming months. The linesides are chasing shad schools throughout the lake, but the topwater action has slow, leaving subsurface reaction baits as the best thing going.

Steve Newman of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “It has slowed down a bit as the bass are chasing the shad schools anywhere they can pin them up against structure in the back of coves and walls, but they have been in deeper water. Jerkbaits diving from 5 to 10 feet are working best, and trollers are out working deeper water. The shore bite for topwater lures has slowed down, and most shore fishermen are tossing the jerkbaits.

Roger George of Roger George Guide Service took out Russell Bader and Joel Ligatner of Fresno last Friday for 18 fish to over 6 pounds. “We got our fish trolling Lucky Crafts Pointers in shad patterns at around 50 to 60 feet in Portuguese but there are areas where the fish were active and places where they were just suspended and tough to entice. Lately we’ve also gotten some of our fish casting reaction baits to structure, too. Dr Lignater, who had never caught a striper before, was the star with several good fish in the 6-pound-plus class . He also lost a big one that took off on him! The water is around 55 degrees right now and I’m seeing a lot of suspending fish. It’s definitely been more difficult and I’ve had to do a lot of scouting to find the moving fish. It’s an ocean out there now.”

B.J. Kendrick of Coyote Bait and Tackle in Morgan Hill said, “The sales of live jumbo minnows has slowed down as swimbaits such as Kei Tech’s 5.8 or white 5-inch paddletails are working best.”

Travis Porter and K.C. Wilson of Hollister continue to find success for striped bass in the coves of the main lake at depths around 40 feet with JKings Lures or Lucky Craft Pointer.

Call: Coyote Bait and Tackle 408-463-0711, Roger George of, 905-2954

High Sierra

Bass Lake

Bass 2 Trout 2 Kokanee 0

With the cold weather, few anglers have been heading to the lake. Snow has fallen as low as 3,300 feet within the past two weeks, but recent rains are melting the snow. The Sheriff’s Motor Fee is enforced on a year-round basis now, and this is another limiting factor during the winter. A webcam of the lake is available at

The lake rose to 75 percent. The annual Bass Lake Chamber of Commerce Trout Derby is scheduled for May 4-5.

Edison/Florence/Mammoth Pool

Snow in the high country slowed down any interest in fishing in the Kaiser Pass region or the difficult to access high country as the road is closed for the winter. Check the Caltrans website at or call 800-427-7623 for road conditions.

Call: Vermilion Valley Resort at Edison Lake 259-4000

Shaver Lake/Huntington Lake

Kokanee 1 Trout 2

For the first time in memory, a plant of the rare golden trout will be added to Shaver Lake through the Friant Hatchery on the San Joaquin River. The California golden trout are native to two stream systems on the eastern side of the Kern River – the Golden Trout Creek and the South Fork Kern River in Tulare County, and they have been stocked extensively outside their native range into numerous high-elevation lakes and streams throughout the Sierra Nevada Mountains. They are considered one of the most beautiful of all trout species. With the upcoming plant at Shaver Lake, anglers will not have to climb above 8,000 feet to land one of these beauties.

Dick Nichols of Dick’s Fishing Charters and president of the Shaver Lake Trophy Trout Project visited the Friant Hatchery this week, and he said, “I spoke with the hatchery manager, and I initially doubted it when he told me golden trout. I asked him to write it down to make sure I was hearing this correctly, and he reported 48,000 golden trout around 5 inches in length along with 10,000 brown trout of a similar size will be released into the lake this spring in addition to 4,000 2-pound rainbow trout and 2,000 pounds of 4-pound-plus rainbows. Due to the flooding of the Moccasin Hatchery on the Tuolumne River last year, Friant is sharing fish with other waters. Our normal allotment under good condition years is 18,000 pounds of catchables, but we won’t see that this year. The bottom line is fewer, but larger, rainbow trout from the hatchery along with new species induced into the lake. The trophy plants from the Shaver Lake Trophy Trout Project will come in two different dumps this spring.”

Nichols held a seminar at the new Turner’s Outdoorsman in Fresno last week along with Todd Wittwer of Guide Service and Tom Oliviera of Tom Oliviera Fishing, and it was standing-room-only with 125 participants learning about the upcoming action at Shaver Lake.

The lake surface has been frozen, but the recent rains have started to melt the ice. The lake dropped to 47 percent.

Call: Dick Nichols, Dick’s Fishing Charters 281-6948; Todd Wittwer, Guide Service 288-8100; Dinkey Creek Inn 841-3435


Road conditions to both lakes have been affected by the recent winter storms, and the gate at Dinkey Creek is closed, eliminating access to both Wishon and Courtright until early April.

Call: Wishon RV Park 865-5361


Half Moon Bay

Striper 2 Crab 3 Sand dabs 3 Surf perch 3

There hasn’t been much change over the past month as the weather is the top story out of Pillar Point, even to the point of postponing the Coastside Fishing Club’s Swap Meet from Saturday, March 2 to the following day on Sunday. When the ocean conditions are right, 10-crab limits remain the rule on crab-only and also on crab/sand dab combination trips.

Second captain Michael Cabanas of the Huli Cat was able to make it out one day this past week for a combination sand dab/crab trip, and 10-crab limits remain the rule as they scored 15 limits of Dungeness crab along with 462 sand dabs working deep water at 280 feet. The Huli Cat will continue to take the combination trips until the start of rockfish season on April 1st. In the San Francisco Rockfish Management Area from Point Arena to Pigeon Point including the Half Moon Bay area, rockfish season starts on April 1st with a 10-fish rockfish limit including a total of 3 black rockfish, 2 canary rockfish, and 3 cabezon with a minimum of 15 inches. One ling cod with a 22-inch minimum length is allowed, and the depth restriction is 40 fathoms (240 feet).

The opening of rockfish season will bring back the private and party boats to the Pillar Point Harbor, and the area will come alive again for fishermen.

The 15th annual Sand Crab Classic Surf Perch Derby will be held out of Santa Cruz on Saturday, March 9, and the event sold out within two days. Surf perch action has been solid for those able to endure the weather, and Lucky Craft’s Flash Minnows, Joe Bagg’s lures, and Berkley Sand Worms in natural color patterns are working for both surf perch and an increasing number of striped bass.

Call: Captain Dennis Baxter, New Captain Pete 650-576-3844; Captain Tom Mattusch, Huli Cat 650-619-0459

Monterey/Santa Cruz

Striper 3 Crab 3 Sand dabs 3 Surf perch 3

The Caroline out of Chris’s Landing in Monterey was out on both Saturday and Sunday with a combined 25 anglers, and they came home with 69 Dungeness crab, a handful of rock crab, and plenty of sand dabs. They are taking the combination trips until the rockfish opner on April 1.

Out of Santa Cruz and further south along the Monterey beaches, stripers and surf perch are coming on Lucky Craft Flash Minnows or Joe Bagg’s jerkbaits. B.J. Kendrick of Coyote Bait in Morgan Hill reported great action for both stripers and surf perch at Manressa Beach with Berkley Gulp! worms in natural colors.

The 13thaAnnual Sand Crab Surf Perch Classic is Saturday, March 9, and the weigh-in will be at 1 p.m. at the Portuguese Hall in Santa Cruz, and you can still attend the lunch for $15. All proceeds go to the Monterey Salmon and Trout Project.

Call: Chris’ Landing 831-375-5951; Allen Bushnell, Santa Cruz Kayak and Surf Casting 831-251-9732

San Francisco Bay

Halibut 1 Striper 2 Leopard shark 2 Sturgeon 2

Captain Trent Slate of Bite Me Charters out of Loch Lomond Marina put in work on Saturday and Sunday with a minimum of results, traveling from Buoy 9 to China Camp to McNear’s and to west of the Petaluma River in the flats for some small stripers and a green sturgeon released. He was left scratching his head over what happened to the bite. The sturgeon should be coming back into San Pablo from the closed zone to the west as the herring spawns are few and far between now.

Reminder – if you have the opportunity to hook a green sturgeon, it must be released without taking it out of the water.

In the south bay, Laine’s Bait and Tackle in Alviso reported heavy sales of ghost shrimp as they haven’t been able to drag up any grass shrimp in over a week. One of the sturgeon was landed on frozen ghost shrimp which has been popular with the lack of live bait in area shops.

Craig Hanson of Argo Sport Fishing out of San Francisco said,” The recent weather, although great for the overall future and environment, has really put the hammer down on a consistent bite in the upper bay. Like humans, the fish are uncomfortable in changing conditions and temperatures. The bass catching seems to change by the day. We go out with no expectations and load up, then come back the next day with high hopes and get it handed to us. We’re due for a string of nice weather that should bring the bass into a more predictable pattern. As for sturgeon, we were on a roll a couple weeks ago of nearly a fish per trip, but that has fallen off the table on recent ventures. If everything goes as theorized, freshwater should soon bring diamondbacks and other hungry critters flowing into San Pablo Bay. Which brings us to the transition of chasing halibut on the horizon. Typically, our first exploratory halibut excursions beginning in late February and ramp up into early March. These are trolling trips covering a fair amount of ground that range greatly in success until we get on some fish.”

Call: Captain Trent Slate, Bite Me Charters 415-307-8582; Happy Hooker 510-223-5388; Captain Jerad Davis, Salty Lady 415-760-9362; Captain Steve Mitchell, Hook’d Up Sport Fishing 707-655-6736

San Luis Obispo

Surf perch 2

Nature and whale watching trips along with the occasional sand dab/crab trip will be on the schedule throughout February and March until the rockfish season opens once again on April 1.

Call: Virg’s Landing 800-762-5263; Patriot Sport Fishing 805-595-4100



Bass 2 Striper 2 Sturgeon 3 Catfish 2 Bluegill 2

The Sacramento-Delta is high, cold, and muddy, and the entire system from Freeport to Suisun Bay is loaded with grass and floating debris. Another heavy storm is anticipated this week, and it will take some time for the main river to clear. The best location for sturgeon fishing has been in the sloughs, and Montezuma Slough has been particularly hot.

Mike Pipkins of Gotcha Bait in Antioch said, “Montezuma Slough has been red hot, and one of our customers came in the shop at 5:30 a.m. on Saturday morning, and he purchased 4 dozen ghost shrimp. His boat landed a total of 11 slot-limit sturgeon in Montezuma while Danny from our shop landed a 56-inch sturgeon from the bank at Sherman Island on a pile worm. The Old Sacramento River near Isleton has also been producing sturgeon, and the diamondbacks are in the system from the south bay near Alviso all the way into the Feather River right now.”

Alan Fong of the Fishermen’s Warehouse in Sacramento said, “The main Sacramento River is blown out right now, and it is dangerous to be out there on the anchor with all of the logs and debris. You have to be prepared with a very sharp cutting instrument like a machete to cut your anchor rope if a tree wraps you since a boat can go down in seconds with all of the current. Striper fishing will be phenomenal when the water clears as the high water will bring in the linesides. I can’t wait to get back out there and throw some big glidebaits and swimbaits.”

Captain Steve Mitchell of Hook’d Up Sport Fishing put on a very successful sturgeon fishing seminar at the Fishermen’s Warehouse this past weekend, and he will be presenting at the Sacramento Boat Show on at Cal Expo on Saturday, March 9 at 2:00 p.m. and Sunday, March 10 at 11:00 a.m. Mitchell said, “In Suisun Bay, there hasn’t been as much floating debris, but the grass is everywhere. One of the techniques that I will cover is a way to avoid grass buildup on your lines with an extension. Right now with all of the grass, this is the only way to stay in the water for sturgeon and striped bass.

Captain J.D. Richey of Richey’s Sport Fishing will also be at the Sacramento Boat Show, and he will present on Saturday at 11:00 a.m. and Sunday at noon on light tackle Delta stripers. Richey will start his Delta striped bass trips for swimbaits, topwater, and spooning once the water clears.

Tony Lopez of Benicia Bait said, “The shoreline action has really slowed down since few anglers are fishing with all of the rain. Grass shrimp is starting to come back into the shop. There haven’t been many reports from sturgeon fishermen, but if I was out there, I would also be concentrating on the sloughs.”

There has only been more muddy water and debris flowing through the Delta, and it make finding clear water a premium for bass fishermen. Randy Pringle, the Fishing Instructor, said, “There are some pockets of clear water in the southern and eastern portions of the Delta, but you will have to search them out and it won’t be easy. If you are able to find clearer water, you can use reaction lures. The bass will be schooled up and holding tight to the weeds for warm so it is a matter of staying with an area if you find one fish. Making multiple casts to the same spot is essential as the fish are unwilling to chase and using a large profile plastic with scent is very important. Scent and vibration are the key, and rattling jigs with a trailer, large weightless worms with Max Scent like the General, or 10-inch Power Worms are good options in the stained water.”

The New Jen Bass Tournaments held an event on Saturday out of Russo’s Marina, and there were several limits over 20 pounds including the winning weight of 25.26 pounds by the team of Thomas and Steve Kanemoto, followed by Mike Andrews and Phillip Dutra with a 24.50-pound limit including a big fish at 9.91 pounds.

Kris Huff of Stockton had a great day in the rain on Saturday morning, and he said, “Fishing for me lately has been way beyond tough so to finally catch fish was awesome. I targeted pre-spawn flats with swimbaits and chatterbaits, but the water is changing daily. The mud is moving around, making for a lot of dirty water. There is clear water around, but you have to search for it.”

Dan Mathisen of Dan Mathisen Outdoors will start guiding on the Delta once again starting at the end of the current week, and he said, “The anglers with success at the New Jen event were either punching or throwing spinnerbaits or chatterbaits. The key is to get out of the current, and the best fishing took place at the switch of the tide when the current slowed down. White on white spinnerbaits with a double willow leaf blade along with the Optimum’s Bubba Shad swimbait are working for the largemouth bass, and a 10-pound striped bass was landed inside of Frank’s Tract on a spinnerbait by a bass fisherman. Our next circuit tournament will be on March 16th out of Russo’s Marina. One major concern has been the sea lions, and they are going through the tules eating largemouth bass like a bear marauding through an orchard.”

Mike Pipkins of Gotcha Bait in Antioch confirmed the excessive number of sea lions in the San Joaquin and Sacramento systems. He said, “Really, the water on the San Joaquin isn’t too bad, and I am ready to start plugging for stripers soon.”

Jeff Soo Hoo of Soo Hoo Sport Fishing will begin his striped bass trips out of Laurizen’s Yacht Harbor in Antioch as soon as the water clears, and he will focus on teaching anglers the techniques of live bait drifting and spoons with the additional opportunity for fly fishing.

The Discovery Bay Community Foundation is holding a Big Bass Family Fishing Tournament on Saturday, March 10 at the Discovery Bay Marina from 7:00 to 11:00 a.m. with a 50% payback with 50% of the proceeds going to the Discovery Bay Community Foundation. The entry fee is $100/boat with up to six anglers allowed per vessel. There is a youth division as well for participants under 16. The heaviest bass will be awarded the top three places.

Call: Randy Pringle 209-543-6260; Captain Steve Mitchell, Hook’d Up Sport Fishing 707-655-6736; Vince Borges, Vince Borges Outdoors 209-918-0828; J.D. Richey, Richey’s Sport Fishing 916-952-1554

Lake Nacimiento/San Antonio/Santa Margarita/Lopez

Bass 2 White bass 2 Striper 2 Catfish 2 Crappie 3

At Nacimiento, the lake has risen from 68 to 73 percent of capacity within the past week, and there is a possibility of the water level reaching 100 percent this year. Bass fishing is fair, but the quality is good with spots to 3 pounds taken on underspins, spoons, jerkbaits, or spinnerbaits in shad patterns. The bass are feeding on the small shad, and plastics in similar colors on the drop-shot are also working for numbers. All launch ramps are open with the high water. The fuel dock will be closed until spring. A webcam of the lake is available at

At Santa Margarita, the lake is still in excess of 100 percent of capacity, and there is a single launch ramp open. The water clarity is limited, but it is starting to clear up. Bass fishing is fair at best, but there have been some quality largemouth bass to 7.5 pounds taken on finesse techniques of plastics on the drop-shot or Texas-rig, jigs, or deep-diving crankbaits. Catfishing is starting to improve with cut baits, and crappie are holding around deep structure. A webcam of the lake is available at

At San Antonio, the lake rose from 32 to 34 percent, and the lake is also stained with debris on the surface. The best bite on the lake is for whiskerfish with cutbaits in deep water. Lopez is cold with the water temperature dropping to the low 50s, and the bite is slow for numbers. There are good fish to 5 pounds to be taken with finesse techniques of plastics on the drop-shot, Texas-rig, jigs on a football head, or creature baits on a slow presentation. The water clarity is decent despite the recent inflow.

Lopez is in the same boat as the other coastal lakes with cold and muddy water slowing down fishing interest and action. The lake is at 48 percent and should rise again this week. A webcam of the lake is available at

Call: Lake Nacimiento 805-238-1056, ext. 3; Lake San Antonio Marina 805-472-2818; Central Coast Bass 805-466-6557



Cen Cal Elite Bass Tournaments: March 2 at McClure – 1, Ralph Encizo/Denny Bowlin, 31.34 pounds (Big Fish 11.15); 2, George Rosales/Ray Grammer, 20.74; 3, Larry Kerns/Chris Reynolds, 18.10.

Kerman Bass Club: March 2 at Eastman (4-fish limit) – 1, Mitch Melikan, 14.63 (Big Fish 5.92); 2, Alex Carrillo, 12.91; 3, Darren Graef, 9.60.

Manteca Bassin’ Buddies: March 2 at New Melones – 1, Bill and William Vernon, 19.02 (Big Fish 6.11); 2, Chapin Fowler/David Oien, 18.16; 3, Jesse and Jake Hopper, 16.82.

New Jen Bass Tournaments: March 2 at Delta/Russo’s Marina – 1, Thomas and Steve Kanemoto, 25.26 (Big Fish 5.92); 2, Mike Andrews/Phillip Dutram, 24.50 (Big Fish 9.91); 3, Scott and Bob Hansen, 24.46. March 3 at New Melones – 1, Jason Remmers/Alex Niapas, 26.71 (Big Fish 10.07); 2, Mike Newton/Steve Nincioni, 22.80; 3, Art Romero/Brandon Diamond, 20.95.

RiverRat Bass Tournaments: March 2 at New Melones – 1, Christian Ostrander/Ronnie Heil, 26.26 (Big Fish 6.80); 2, Mike Goodman/Shane Serrano, 14.85; 3, Miguel Perez/Bobby Moules, 13.79.

Porterville Bass Club: March 3 at Success – 1, Mark Abler, 14.92; 2, Daniel Moreno, 14.57; 3, Troy Larsen, 13.05. Big Fish Ian Sherrill, 8.67.

Central Valley Kayak Fishing: March 3 at Eastman (4-fish limit) – 1, Taz Moua, 68.50 inches; 2, Brad Hale, 67.25; 3, Damian Thao, 62.25. Big Fish Ger Xiong, 26 inches/11 pounds.


March 8-10: New Melones – Angler’s Press Tournament of Champions

March 9: Delta/Russo’s Marina – American Bass Association, New Hogan – Sonora Bass Anglers, Pine Flat – Best Bass Tournaments, Success – Cen Cal Elite Bass Tournaments, Lopez – Best Bass Tournaments

March 10: Delta/Russo’s Marina – Nor Cal High School Bass, Delta/Tracy Oasis – Tracy Oasis Marina, Tulloch – Kings VIII Bass Club, Kaweah – Cen Cal Elite Bass Tournaments

March 16: Delta/Russo’s Marina – Dan Mathisen Outdoors, Delta/Ladd’s Marina – Christian Bass League, New Melones – Best Bass Tournaments, Don Pedro – 17-90 Bass Club, McClure – Sierra Bass Club, Millerton – New Jen Bass Tournaments, Lopez – Bakersfield Bass Club

March 17: Delta/Ladd’s Marina – Modesto Ambassadors, Pine Flat – Bass 101, Success – New Jen Bass Tournaments

March 18: Eastman – Kings River Bass Club

March 23: Delta/B and W Resort – California Bass Federation, Delta/Russo’s Marina – Hook, Line, and Sinker, Don Pedro – Fresno Bass Club, McClure – Mother Lode Kayak Anglers, Pine Flat – American Bass Association, Success – Lahu Bass Club, Lopez – San Luis Obispo Bass Ambushers

March 24: Delta/Ladd’s Marina – Riverbank Bass Anglers

March 29-31: New Melones - Wild West Bass Trails

March 30: Delta/Ladd’s Marina – Merced Bass Club/Mid Valley Bass Club, Don Pedro – Kerman Bass Club, Santa Margarita – American Bass Association, Isabella – American Bass Association, Kaweah – Lahu Bass Club

March 30: Roosevelt High School Bass Fishing Club annual Fishing Tackle Faire club fundraiser, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at The Boat Shoppe, 2125 Ventura Ave., Fresno. Local tackle manufacturers and the club will be on site selling their baits to the public. Roosevelt coach Mike Spencer will be available to answer questions about the SAF California High School Tournament Trail or how to start a high school fishing club.

Trout plants

Week of March 17 by California Department of Fish and Wildlife:

Tulare County: Kern River section 5

Kern County: Kern River sections 4 and 5

Solunar table









































n = new moon > = peak activity