Fishing Report

Fishing report for week of July 10-16: Kokanee action good at Shaver, New Melones

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

Don Pedro bass on the take, Ryan Cook said. San Francisco salmon, stripers and halibut action good, Steve Mitchell reported. Shaver kokanee bite good, Dick Nichols said. New Melones kokanee still on a tear, Monte Smith reported. Huge trout plant kicks off action at McClure, Ryan Cook said. Millerton and Pine Flat bass action steady, Steve Newman reported. Wishon producing trout limits, Kelly Brewer said.


1-Try dynamite

2-Have to work hard

3-Limits possible

4-Fish jumpin’ in boat


Delta Mendota Canal and Sloughs

Striper 3 Catfish 2

Steve Newman of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis reported more anglers are heading to the California Aqueduct as the shoreline bite in the main San Luis Reservoir has slowed. The best action remains in the clearer, moving water south of Highway 152 with anchovies, sardines, or blood worms along with hard jerkbaits like Duo Realis 120s.

In the southern section of the aqueduct in Kern County, blood worms and pile worms continue to score striped bass as minnows have been scarce. Catfish are coming on chicken livers, nightcrawlers, or large minnows. Bob’s Annual July Catfish Derby has started with an entry fee of $1, and the leader at the end of the month will collect all of the entry fees along with the contribution from Bob’s Bait.

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, “There haven’t been the double-digit largemouth bass coming out of the lake so far as in the past few years, but there are a number of quality 4- to 8-pounders taken in a variety of methods. There is a wakebait bite in the evenings along with jigs or frogs in the shallows. There is flooded grass along the shorelines, and jigs and Senkos are a good option along with flipping and pitching around every rock. Dragging big 10- to 12-inch plastic worms or Brush Hogs on a slow presentation on a Texas-rig over island tops at 20 feet in depth is a good option during the middle of the day.”

Eastman dropped from 82% to 80%.

Call: Eastman Lake 689-3255

Hensley Lake

Bass 2 Trout 2 Catfish 2 Bluegill 2 Crappie 2

Steve Newman of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “Bass fishermen are keeping quiet with the upcoming night tournament, but the slow action during the kayak tournament could have been due to a late bite after the weigh in hours. The visibility at Hensley has been good at 6 to 8 feet, and chartreuse-color patterns are working well. This is a good lake to power fish with jigs, Senkos, or spinnerbaits as the bass move into the shallows in the mornings before roaming into deeper water in the afternoons. There are more and more crappie fishermen heading to Hensley to work the submerged structure and brush in the coves.”

Hensley dropped from 71% to 70%.

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 2 King salmon 1 Crappie 2

Ryan Cook of Ryan Cook’s Fishing said, “Big bass are found on topwater lures or Alabama rigs as there is a lot of bait activity. Underspins such as the half- to 3/8-ounce Fatty Worms loaded with a 3.8 to 4.3 Kei Tech swimbait are producing numbers. There are lots of fish in the shallows at Pedro, and jigs are also a solid option.”

There is a lot of floating debris on the surface at both lakes, and anglers are advised to use extreme caution as several boats have ruined props and lower units recently.

Don Pedro held at 97%.

Call: Monte Smith 209-581-4734; Ryan Cook’s Fishing 691-7008

Lake Isabella/Bakersfield area

Bass 3 Trout 2 Crappie 3 Catfish 3 Bluegill 2

Good crappie, catfish, and bass fishing at Lake Isabella with the slabs found around structure in both forks of the river arm. A boat is better for reaching the crappie, but there are still those finding success from the banks with minijigs. Minnows have been hard to obtain. Bass fishing is best with deep-diving crankbaits, Senkos, or plastic worms at depths to 30 feet. Catfish are coming on chicken livers, frozen shad, large minnows, or nightcrawlers. The lake held at 60%. Chuck Stokke of the Sequoia Fishing Company in Springville said, “ I just came out of the upper Kern, and the flow is unbelievable. Everything is green and lots of wild flowers. I fished the Big Lake area with Steve Day, the owner of the Golden Trout Wilderness Pack Station, and we caught many quality Kern River rainbow trout from 14 to 20 inches. We have started out pack trip in the Golden Trout Wilderness.”

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

Local expert bass angler Gary Wasson of Visalia said, “Kaweah has been hit-or-miss with the high water levels.” Water releases have started, and the lake dropped to 92%. Recreational boating season has begun at the lake.

Call: Sierra Sporting Goods 592-5212

Lake Success

Bass 2 Trout 3 Catfish 2 Crappie 2 Bluegill 2

Chuck Stokke of the Sequoia Fishing Company in Springville said, “The bass fishing is fair due to recreational boaters and the heat. Crankbaits and plastics are working best, but there haven’t been many anglers out.” The lake is overcapacity at 108%. In the Tule River, Stokke said, “The upper Tule is fishing excellent with dry flies.”

Call: Sequoia Fishing Co. 539-5626,

McClure Reservoir

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

Lake McClure continues to spill over, and the bass have fallen off of the bite with the high water, but the catfish action is improving. Don Pedro is featuring a solid bass bite for quality largemouth bass with a variety of techniques.

A huge plant of more than 150,000 pounds of brook and rainbow trout with thousands of pounds of ‘trophy-sized’ trout was added to the lake according to the Merced Irrigation District. The addition of the trout is part of long-term environmental stewardship efforts, which include restoring the Lake McClure trout population impacted by the recent statewide drought.

Ryan Cook said, “At McClure, the topwater bite has been slow as the fish have gone deep and scattered. The bite has been off this past week, and I would expect it to be better. Finding any size has been ‘hit or miss’, but jigs, Senkos, and underspins remain the top techniques. There is a good jig bite right now at both McClure and Don Pedro with the fish holding from 25 to 40 feet.”

Steve Marquette of the Lake McClure/McSwain Recreation Company reported an excellent catfish bite with various baits including chicken livers, cut baits, or nightcrawlers for whiskerfish from 2 to 8 pounds. He said, “I haven’t seen catfishing this good for some time, and bass are found around 25 feet with plastic worms.”

Call: Ryan Cook’s Fishing 691-7008

McSwain Reservoir

Trout 3

Steve Marquette of the Lake McClure/McSwain Recreation Company reported a trout plant occurred this past week, and shore anglers are scoring with bright colors of Power Bait from the Handicapped Docks or shoreline near the new cabins as the water is off color from the inflow from Lake McClure. Trollers are pulling Wedding Rings tipped with a piece of nightcrawler behind a dodger upriver. The lake is expected to remain at flood stage for the next few months.

Call: McSwain Marina 209-378-2534

Millerton Lake/San Joaquin River

Bass 3 Striped bass 1 Shad 2 Bluegill 2 Crappie 2

Steve Newman of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “Millerton remains consistent for number of bass, and this is an excellent time to practice topwater techniques in the evenings with walking baits or Poppers. Largemouth bass 2.5 to 4 pounds are possible, but you have to work the topwater lures methodically over points and submerged points. The high water is pushing the bass into the shallows, and plastics on a Texas-rig dragged along the bottom slowly near the point and flat areas is effective as well as jigs or small plastics on a Ned-rig at 15 to 30 feet over rocks and sand. A 30-inch striped bass was caught and released from the banks near the dam on a nightcrawler under a bobber. Boaters have to be very cautious when running full out along the edges. There are also fallen trees and floating logs and debris in the river arm. The logjam has been nearly impassable for the last week due to huge trees in the mix and up to 70 yards wide. The shad are still not showing in numbers in the river yet.”

The lake rose from 91% to 98%, and the lower San Joaquin is also running high.

Call: Valley Rod & Gun 292-3474

New Melones Reservoir/Tulloch

Bass 2 Crappie 3 Catfish 2 Trout 2 Kokanee 3

New Melones is hosting the Kokanee Power Team Kokanee tournament July 13, and this is the first kokanee tournament held at the lake in several years, marking the resurgence of action for the landlocked salmon. Melones was a traditional location for numerous kokanee tournaments in past years, but nearby Lake Pardee has filled the void for Kokanee Power and the Central Valley Anglers tournaments. The Kokanee Power tournament will start at 5:30 a.m. with the three-fish weigh-in from 1 to 2 p.m. at the Calaveras County Fairgrounds. With the complete turnaround of kokanee action at the lake, some of Northern California’s top kokanee anglers will be participating. A 19-inch kokanee is not out of the question as the top anglers will be seeking individual big fish holding to structure. There is a side pot for trout, and this lake has been kicking out the occasional quality rainbow to 7 pounds.

Monte Smith of Gold Country Sport Fishing was out on Saturday with three anglers, and he said, “We had a great morning as we didn’t even get our third rod in the water before it was fish on. The best action was in the early morning before the sun rose, and when the sun rose, the bite lasted for a while before slowing down. But by 10:30 a.m., we had three limits of quality kokanee. We are scoring at depths from 40 to 60 feet with Apex lures, Uncle Larry’s spinners, pink micro-hoochies, and Apex lures behind Sling Blades.”

Gary Burns of Take It to the Limit Guide Service said, “If you want to put limits in you boat on Melones you have to put time on the water and find the fish. With the water rising and lowering, the kokanee are spread out and moving all over the main lake, and you have to find them to put them in the boat. We found the kokanee starting to hang out on structure and went down to 70 feet, and put them in the boat, but we also caught them at 40 feet in the middle of the lake. When you do find them you are in for a good time as they are hitting hard and fighting as wild as they can good luck trying to put them in your net. I changed so many setups this last week it’s hard to tell what to use, but the colors I would start with are watermelon, pink and green and pink and purple.”

Kyle Wise of Headhunters Guide Service put his client onto a limit of kokanee on an evening trip with Apex lures behind a Paulina Peak or MAG Stealth Dodger.

The bass have scattered in the high water conditions, and some banks are holding bass while others are loaded with bass. There is some solid topwater action in the morning and evenings around the shade lines.

The lake dropped from 93% to 92%.

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

Pine Flat Reservoir/Kings River

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

The water level at Pine Flat rose slightly this week despite heavy water releases down the lower Kings River. However, bass fishing remains consistent with numbers taking precedent over size. The trout bite continues to be very slow, but crappie action is picking up in the upper portion of the lake above Trimmer as the slabs are holding around structure in the moving water.

Steve Newman of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “The bass bite remains consistent with a good topwater bite in the mornings and evenings along with crankbaits such as the Strike King XD5 or 6 at depths from 15 to 25 feet over submerged islands or rock piles. Sexy Shad or Chartreuse Shad have been good color patterns on the crankbaits, and it is important to keep contact with the rocks as the fish are moving into their traditional summertime pattern. There have been some good fish taken up the river arm with jigs around the rock piles or the submerged humps as the water is cooler and the bass are actively chasing shad. In the main lake, keeping contact with the bottom on a slow-fall is the key, and plastics on a shakey head, wacky-rig, or Ned-Rig with a light weight are the best bets. Dragging it slowly is important to entice strikes as the bass are wanting to eat, but they want a slow presentation.”

Trout fishing in the lake remains slow as few anglers have been drifting roe or salmon eggs within the past few weeks with the high water. Newman said, “Crappie are starting to show up in the river arm above Trimmer, and they are holding in the trees or rockpiles to stay out of the current. Using a heavier minijig will get through to the fish in the structure as the slabs are not suspending in open water. The high water has flooded new territory, and the upper river is loaded with ants, grasshoppers, and other insects with all of the fish are feeding upon.”

In the lower Kings River, the county parks and parking areas remain closed due to high and dangerous flows, but a few anglers have been working the section above the catch/release section near the Alta Weir for a few rainbows per rod. Newman advised, “You have to use caution in the river right now, be smart and don’t risk it.”

Pine Flat rose from 94% to 95%.

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

The wind has been a factor for boaters, but small linesides have been the rule for trollers working between the weather windows. Shore anglers are trying with minimal success with anchovies, pile worms, or blood worms. During periods of wind, launching at Dinosaur Point is advised for safety. A toxic blue-algae warming has been issued for the main lake. The lake held at 73% despite water releases with increased pumping out of the south Delta.

In the forebay, there is not much change with few anglers targeting the forebay, opting for the main lake or the California Aqueduct for striped bass. Water movement is constant with pumping in and out of the Delta and the big lake and the aqueduct. Anchovies, sardines, blood worms, or frozen shad near the moving water. The key is finding moving water. Jerkbaits and ripbaits are also effective, and you have to cull through a number of linesides before putting in a limit.

Delta anglers are gearing up to attend the California Fish and Game Commission meeting on Aug. 7 at the Natural Resources Building in Sacramento regarding an agenda item on modifying regulations for non-native species such as striped and largemouth bass. Roger George of Roger George Guide Service said, “Valley anglers need to attend this critical meeting that is considering the elimination of any non native species such as bass, crappie and stripers in the Delta and its tributaries. This modification could also include San Luis Reservoir and the aqueduct from the wording we’ve seen. We need to pack this hearing with concerned anglers.”

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

High Sierra

Bass Lake

Bass 2 Trout 2 Kokanee 2

Recreational boat traffic was intense over the holiday weekend, and it will take a few days for the lake to settle down after being churned up by various vessels. There are still bass to be had for those working the front edges of the docks in the afternoons with jigs, spinnerbaits, or chatterbaits. The bass can be found shallow in the mornings before the boat traffic starts with spinnerbaits or reaction baits. Most anglers are working the quieter north end. There are still some quality kokanee taken in the early mornings at depths from 25 to 35 feet from Miller’s to the Towers.

The lake held at 94%. The Sheriff’s Motor Fee is enforced on a year-round basis now. Lake webcams and conditions:

Call: Todd Wittwer 288-8100; Mike Beighey 642-3748

Edison/Florence/Mammoth Pool

Kaiser Pass is open, but drivers are advised to be very cautious. The lakes continue to rise with Edison at 75%, Florence at 90%, and Mammoth Pool at 102%.

For the latest Sierra National Forest road conditions:

Call: Vermilion Valley Resort at Edison Lake 259-4000

Shaver Lake/Huntington Lake

Kokanee 3 Trout 2

Boat traffic was heavy over the Fourth of July weekend, but limits of kokanee continue to be the rule for those getting on and off of the lake by mid-morning. With the high water levels, the trout bite has slowed considerably as there are abundant food sources on the surface of the lake. The trout bite should improve as the lake levels drop and then stabilize later in the summer.

Dick Nichols of Dick’s Fishing Charters said, ”The boat traffic was heavy, but I was out on the 4th with two first-time anglers, and they landed 17 kokanee, releasing seven for their two limits by 8:45 a.m. using Dick’s Koke Busters in orange or Apex lures tipped with crayfish scented corn behind purple and silver Mountain Dodgers on the downriggers at depths to 32 feet. The trout bite has slowed.”

Todd Wittwer of Guide Service also has been putting in limits for his clients using Rocky Mountain Tackle’s orange Radical Glow Tube or the orange double-glow hoochie behind an orange Moonshine dodger, the orange double-glow hoochie, or Kevorkian Apex behind a purple/pink Tsunami dodger along with Cotton Candy Squid behind the purple Moonshine dodger at depths from 20 to 40 feet. He said, “The water showed a bit of a stain on Sunday near the sides of the lake from the heavy boat traffic over the holiday weekend. Orange, pink, or purple were the hot colors of the week.”

Jay and Delinda Irvine of Visalia were also out this week, and they landed seven kokanee and a brown trout with the kokanee taken on an orange Koke Buster behind a Mountain Dodger with a set back of 110 to 120 feet with 1-ounce weights. Irvine said, “This setup should bring the lure down between 17 and 32 feet while trolling from 1.2 to 1.4 mph. We also landed two fish on leadcore at 5 colors.”

Jody and Payton Allen boxed two limits of kokanee and a trophy rainbow with Dick’s pink or orange Koke Busters behind a purple/green Mountain dodger.

Irvine was also at upstream Huntington Reservoir on two occasions this week, and he said, “On our first trip, we landed six small kokanee, using orange/green spinners behind a gold dodger, but there were no rainbow or brown trout. On our second trip with Jody and Payton Allen, we released two limits of small kokanee with either Apex lures in orange sparkle or Dick’s Trout Busters.”

Also at Huntington, Todd Goolkasian, his wife Maureen, his 83-year old mother, Inge Goolkasian, and Bruce and Jeannie Brown trolled the south side of the lake on the Fourth, and his mother landed her largest rainbow trout ever in 65 years of fishing at 21 inches and 7 pounds at 5 p.m. just off of the point west of the Boy Scout Camp on a red wedding ring tipped with a nightcrawler at 3.5 colors of leadcore.

Shaver is at 84%.

Sierra Marina launch ramp webcam:

Call: Dick Nichols, Dick’s Fishing Charters 281-6948; Todd Wittwer, Guide Service 288-8100; Dinkey Creek Inn 841-3435; Tom Oliveira Fishing 802-8072


Trout 3

Kelly Brewer of Wishon Village RV Park and Store reported continued good action for trollers pulling blade/’crawler combinations or Rapalas from the surface to 15 feet near the dam. A trout plant occurred this week, and in addition to the planted and holdover rainbows, a few brown trout have also been landed from the shoreline. The lake is brim full, and launching is no problem at all from the concrete ramp. Bank anglers are working near the launch ramp or both sides of the dam with various colors of trout dough bait. The inlets are flowing heavily. The Kiwanis Special Olympics Trout Derby is July 13.

At Courtright, the water level is high and dirty with debris from the inflow. Jay Irvine of Visalia trolled for 2 hours without success with others reporting slow action. Kelly Brewer reported a trout plant occurred both at the lake and at Dinkey Creek this week.

Call: Wishon RV Park 865-5361


Half Moon Bay

Salmon 3 Rockfish 3 Striper 2 Surf perch 2

Warm water conditions off of the San Mateo coastline have required a long run for salmon fishermen, but there are limits to be found offshore despite high winds. There is a accumulation of salmon far south of the harbor at Davenport, and the commercial boats found great action there with up to 100 salmon days prior to the current two-week commercial closure. With the water temperatures reaching 60 degrees off of the coast, the salmon are very deep and difficult to reach for a private or party boat.

Second captain of the Huli Cat, Michael Cabanas, was out for 12 limits of salmon plus crew fish in 200 feet of water off of the Golden Gate after posting limits of rockfish at the Deep Reef on Saturday.

The Riptide and The Queen of Hearts out of Half Moon Bay Sport Fishing are also alternating between rockfish/ling cod and salmon trips, and they have also been traveling north and east for salmon after a few ventures south to the Deep Reef.

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

Monterey/Santa Cruz

Salmon 2 Rockfish 3 Striper 2 Surf perch 2

Chris Arcolleo of Chris’s Fishing Trips out of Monterey reported tremendous rockfish action at both the local reefs and also south at Point Sur. They went to Sur on Friday for full sacks of big rockfish along with 25 ling cod. He said, “We have been averaging a fish per rod on the salmon all week long, but we didn’t run a salmon trip over the weekend. The private boats did very well at the Soquel Hole early on Sunday morning, and there are three separate schools of salmon here as one day we found big fish in the 20-pound range, the following day there were salmon in the 10- to 12- pound range, and there were a number of shakers along with 12 smaller legal salmon on Saturday by a Moss Landing party boat off of Fort Ord.” Chris’s is running salmon and rockfish/ling cod trips every day during the coming week.

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

San Francisco Bay

Salmon 3 Halibut 3 Striper 3 Leopard shark 2 Sturgeon 2

The ocean conditions have been big boat weather offshore, but the fish are there and the party boats are finding limits of quality salmon. The Golden Gate Salmon Association’s Fish Like A Girl trip on Friday was a huge success with 25 limits of salmon to 23 pounds with GGSA’s own Cat Kaiser landing the largest salmon at 23 pounds. Online booking:

It was limits again on Sunday for those boats able to make it out, and the fish have been found offshore between the Islands and N Buoy.

Captain Steve Mitchell of Hook’d Up Sport Fishing confirmed the excellent bite for salmon, saying, “It’s just a matter of getting out there, and we were the only small boat fighting the seas on Independence Day. Once you can get to them, it’s on.”

Inside the bay, the halibut and striped bass bite in the bay remains tremendous, and the California Dawn posted close to 4 fish per rod for a 22-man charter on Sunday with 36 halibut and 50 striped bass for limits plus crew fish. The numbers of shaker halibut also remain incredible.

Keith Fraser of Loch Lomond Bait and Tackle said, “Even with the big tides and the wind making for miserable conditions on Sunday, halibut fishing remains sensational. There are still sturgeon out there, and I could take you out on a good outgoing tide to the Pumphouse and we would catch fish. Well, at Ieast I would – I don’t know about you, Hurley. Shark fishing is also picking up interest, and we have midshipmen in the shop.”

Bill Clapp of Bill’s Sport Fishing took out first-time anglers Glen Frazier of Grass Valley and Nancy Purtie of Benicia along with Dave Erlwine of San Leandro for 8 halibut and 3 striper bass working the Berkeley Flats, Paradise, and near the Bay Bridge.

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

Rockfish 3 Surf perch 2

Out of San Luis Obispo County, the Endeavor out of Morro Bay Landing posted an impressive ling cod count with 53 lings to 16 pounds on Sunday while combining with the Avenger and Starfier for 567 vermilion, 49 copper, 23 Boccaccio, and 241 assorted along with a total of 68 lings for 88 anglers. Out of Virg’s Landing in Morro Bay, the Fiesta was out on Monday for limits of rockfish and 8 ling cod to a whopping 25 pounds landed by Jack Childs of Bakerfield. Their count was 100 vermilion, 90 assorted, and 20 copper rockfish along with the lings for 21 anglers. Out of Port San Luis, the Patriot, Phenix, and Flying Fish, took out a combined 56 anglers on Sunday for a total of 114 vermilion, 17 copper, 16 Boccaccio, 364 assorted rockfish, 9 canary, and 15 treefish along with 3 lings to 8 pounds. Danny Albias of Bakerfield took one jackpot with a 10-pound Boccaccio while Oscar Chapas of Fresno took another with a 7-pound ling cod. All ports are running a variety of trips in the coming weeks for rockfish/ling cod including overnight trips.

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



Bass 3 Striper 3 Sturgeon 2 Catfish 2 Bluegill 2

The river salmon season in the Sacramento River opens on July 16, and there is high anticipation for a banner year for salmon as the daily bag limit has been raised from one to two salmon this year. As is normal during the months of July and August, salmon action is spotty, but there will be anglers lining the shorelines off of the Dillon Point State Park and 1st Street in Benicia as well as off of the banks near Freeport in the north Delta.

The striped bass bite has not materialized in the Sacramento River this summer, and the best techniques for resident fish are soaking sardines coated with garlic spray or pile worms. Catfish can be found in the Sacramento Deep Water Channel and in Lisbon Slough with chicken livers, nightcrawlers, or cut baits while bluegill are in the back sloughs.

Sturgeon are still in lower Suisun Bay, but few anglers are out trying for the diamondbacks. Jack smelt continue to be taken off of the Benicia shoreline with pile worms or grass shrimp.

Delta anglers are gearing up to attend the California Fish and Game Commission meeting on August 7 at the Natural Resources Building in Sacramento regarding an agenda item on modifying regulations for non-native species such as striped and largemouth bass.

Frogs have been on the minds of Delta anglers as the two major specialty frog tournaments are on the horizon with theUltimate Frog Challenge is in late July out of Russo’s Marina, and the original frog tournament, the Snag Proof Open, is the following weekend, August 3/4, also out of Russo’s Marina on Bethel Island.

Kris Huff of Stockton scored a 20-pound limit on Saturday to win a local club tournament, and he said, “ I dedicated my time on the water with a frog rod in my hand, stayed true to my game plan, and it paid off with the winning limit using Scum Frogs on a Phenix rod and Diawa reel.” The Scum Frog is weedless, and the design allows the lure to slide over and around weedbeds, lilypads, limbs, and stumps. Various frog manufacturers will be represented in the Ultimate Frog Challenge, but the Snag Proof Open is limited to specific Snag Proof frogs.

There are some big striped bass coming into the San Joaquin system, and Clyde Wands and Mark Wilson were out on this week working the areas around the Antioch Bridge with Yozuri Crystal Minnows. Both Wands and Wilson landed keepers to 8 pounds, but the big story were the two fish at 42 and 24 pounds caught and released by Gene Nies of Lodi, also in the same area with Yozuris. Wands said, “We are targeting big fish right now, and we are running the lures in the boat wake on a shallow presentation even though they are deep diving lures. Last July brought in a number of large fish, and I expect this year to be similar. Of course, we release all of our large fish.”

Windmill Cove on the main San Joaquin River continues to be the location for Stockton-area bank fishermen, and some huge bluegill hauls have been taken out of the main San Joaquin River here with red worms or jumbo red worms. Catfish are also landed on sardines, anchovies, or chicken livers in any of the south Delta sloughs or main river near the Dos Ries launch ramp.

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

Lake Nacimiento/San Antonio/Santa Margarita/Lopez

Bass 3 White bass 3 Striper 1 Catfish 2 Crappie 2

At Nacimiento, recreational boating has taken over the lake by mid-morning, particularly on the weekends, but anglers getting out early in the mornings are finding good action for white bass in the coves. The whites are boiling in the mornings, and small white Kastmasters, Roostertails, or topwater lures are working. Both species of bass are oriented to shad, and there is a topwater bite for spotted bass before dropping to the bottom with plastics on the drop-shot or dart head. Crappie are taken in the trees with minijigs as deep as 25 feet. Catfish are taken on cut baits. The fuel dock is now selling fuel again from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The lake dropped slightly to 70%.

At San Antonio, catfish remain the top species with cut baits soaked in scent. Small largemouth bass averaging around a pound are possible while bluee are taken on red worms. Crappie remain slow. The lake dropped slightly to 40%, and the lake is now open daily at the South Shore.

At Lopez Lake, there is a good topwater bite in the mornings for quality largemouth bass with a few smallmouths mixed in. Once the wind is blowing, spinnerbaits are effective, and working the bottom with jigs or plastics on the drop-shot are effective by mid-morning. Panfish are found as deep as 25 feet with red worms or jumbo red worms.

At Santa Margarita, there is a good topwater bite with walking baits or Poppers in the mornings and evenings while reaction baits are effective when there is a breeze. Dropping to the bottom with big plastics to 10 inches along with jigs or creature baits is best by mid-morning. Crappie are scarce, but there have been some big slabs to 2 pounds taken so it is quality over quantity rightnow. Catfish are found with cutbaits, and there have been some big cats landed within the past week.


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

More online

Go to for Ocean, Delta, Kern County and Central Coast lakes and for event results and the tournament schedule.





July 12: Santa Margarita – 101 Bass

July 13-14: Don Pedro – Fresno Bass Club, Isabella – Kern County Bass Masters, Lopez – Golden Empire Bass Club

July 13: Delta/Russo’s Marina – New Jen Bass Tournaments, Delta/Ladd’s Marina – Bass N’ Tubes, Camanche – Gold Country Junior Bass Club, New Melones – Kokanee Power Team Kokanee Tournament, Don Pedro – Riverbank Bass Anglers, McClure – Merced Bass Club, Eastman – Kings River Bass Club, Pine Flat – Bakersfield Bass Club, Wishon – Kiwanis Division 5 Trout Derby, Santa Margarita – Best Bass Tournaments

July 14: Camanche – Gold Country Junior Bass Club, Success – New Jen Bass Tournaments

July 20: Delta/Russo’s Marina – Dan Mathisen Outdoors, Pine Flat – Sierra Bass Club, Isabella – American Bass Association

July 21: Salt Springs Reservoir – Manteca Bassin’ Buddies, Eastman – Cen Cal Elite Bass Tournaments

July 28: Kaweah – Finatics Fishing

Aug. 3-4: Delta/Russo’s Marina – Snag Proof Open Frog Tournament

Trout plants

Week of July 14 by California Department of Fish and Wildlife:

Fresno County: Dinkey Creek, Hume Lake, Mono Creek, Portal Forebay

Madera County: Lewis Creek, Chiquito Creek west fork and lower, Rock Creek

Mariposa County: Big Creek

Week of July 21 by California Department of Fish and Wildlife:

Fresno County: Bearskin Creek, Courtright Reservoir, Huntington Lake, Kings River below Pine Flat Dam, Shaver Lake

Madera County: Granite Creek (west fork), Chiquito Creek west fork and lower

Mariposa County: Big Creek

Tulare County: Big Meadows Creek, Stony Creek

Tuolumne County: Lyons Canal (Columbia Ditch), Lyons Reservoir, Pinecrest Lake, Stanislaus River middle and south forks, Tuolumne River middle and south forks

Solunar table










































> = peak activity

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