Fly over the Lower Kings River and Pine Flat Lake
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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Shaver plants kick in mixed limits, Dick Nichols reported. New Melones kokanee getting bigger, Monte Smith said. Hensley bass hitting, Steve Newman reported. McClure trout continue attracting anglers, Steve Marquette said.
2-Have to work hard
4-Fish jumpin’ in boat
Delta Mendota Canal and Sloughs
Striper 3 Catfish 2
Triple-digit heat in the Valley has limited the number of fishermen working the banks at the California Aqueduct, but there are a few diehards in the early morning hours or late evenings soaking sardines, anchovies, or mackerel near Los Banos or in the canals near Mendota.
In the southern section of the aqueduct in Kern County, Pete Cormier of Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield reported in particular sand worms along with blood worms and sand worms along with sardines and anchovies are working for both striped bass and catfish. The southern section of the aqueduct has not been inundated with weeds and grass of any appreciable amount so far this summer. The annual Carp Derby starts on Thursday, Aug. 1 and lasts throughout the month.
Bass 2 Trout 2 Bluegill 2 Catfish 2 Crappie 2
Steve Newman of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “It is a grind right now with the heat, and the best action is at night. Once the sun comes up, the action slows to a crawl. The best action is in the early mornings or late evening with larger reaction baits or topwater lures. There is a wake bait bite along with large jigs or creature baits. Topwater Spooks work early, but the lake is very slow from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.”
Catfish around 4 to 5 pounds have been taken more regularly with chicken livers at both lakes.
Eastman dropped from 75% to 71%.
Call: Eastman Lake 689-3255
Bass 3 Trout 2 Catfish 2 Bluegill 2 Crappie 2
Hensley Reservoir continues to be the best option for the biggest grade of largemouth bass in the Fresno-area while Eastman remains a grind.
Newman said, “Hensley remains good as the lake is paying dividends from the high water conditions this past year. It is fishing better than it has in years, and there is a good bite with Senkos, jigs, or lizards in deep water on a slow-fall presentation. Multiple bass can be taken this way, but it is definitely a finesse bite over the rockpiles or submerged islands.”
Deep-diving crankbaits such as Norman’s in fire tiger or Strike King’s KVDs in powder blue or chartreuse are also working over the submerged islands or rockpiles.
Water releases have started, but with the limited flows coming into the lake along with triple-digit temperatures, a toxic blue-green algae bloom is found in certain locations within the lake. Adult, children, and pets are advised to avoid these areas as consumption of water affected by the blooms can harm pets if ingested.
Hensley dropped from 64% to 60%.
Lake Don Pedro
Bass 2 Trout 2 Kokanee 3 King salmon 1 Crappie 2
With the amazing kokanee action at New Melones, few, if any kokanee anglers have targeted Don Pedro within the past several weeks, but there are quality fish to be had. Bass fishing is decent, but the bass are scattered from the shallows to over 40 feet in depth.
WON field reporter Andre Fontenot took his latest vessel acquisition to the lake after over a month of renovations, and he said, “I went through growing pains breaking in the new kicker and a larger motor, and I never did completely figure out the fishfinder, but I plugged away for a limit of kokanee to 16.5 inches along with a few rainbow trout. I was using some custom Wedding Rings with purple/pink Radical Glow beads and the new UV Smile Blade along with a custom mini- pink/chartreuse Wedding Ring at depths from 45 to 60 feet in Middle Bay at a speed from 1.1 to 1.5 mph. The best depth was at the upper end of this range, and the new 4 Fin downrigger weights were outstanding.”
For bass, Ryan Cook of Ryan Cook’s Fishing reported a number of bass were found in the shallows less than 5 feet during the Nolan Cox Benefit tournament over the weekend, but there is also a bite off of main lake points from 25 to 40 feet with large jigs in the 3/4- to 1-ounce football head, deep-diving crankbaits such as Norman’s DD 22s or KVDs along with plastics on the shaky head or drop-shot.
Don Pedro held at 98% despite water releases.
Lake Isabella/Bakersfield area
Bass 2 Trout 2 Crappie 2 Catfish 3 Bluegill 2
Pete Cormier of Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield reported catfish continue to be the top species at the lake with sardines or mackerel along with Sonny’s Dip Bait. The bass bite is decent in the deeper water with jigs or deep-diving crankbaits. Crappie fishing has slowed, but the slabs found around structure in both forks of the river arm out in deep water. Live minnows have been difficult to keep alive in the shops due to the heat. The lake dropped from 56% to 55%. The upper and lower rivers are now fishable, and catfish and smallmouth bass are found in the lower river with planted rainbows in the upper river. The local lakes are kicking out carp on powder bait or Wussy Bait along with bluegill while Buena Vista produced the leading catfish at 21 pounds by Ivory Shepard in their annual July Catfish Derby.
Bass 2 Crappie 2 Trout 2 Catfish 2
Local expert bass angler Gary Wasson of Visalia said, “There is a crankbait, Senko, and jig bite at 5 to 20 feet in depth, but the lake is dropping 2 feet per day and the fish are suspended due to the water releases. The lake dropped from 72% to 59%.
Call: Sierra Sporting Goods 592-5212
Bass 2 Trout 2 Catfish 2 Crappie 2 Bluegill 2
Wasson said, “The bite is picking up on topwater lures, crankbaits, and jigs, but the lake levels are dropping so the fish are suspended more from the banks out into open water.” The lake is releasing water, and it has dropped from 96% to 85%.
Bass 2 Trout 4 King salmon 0 Kokanee 0 Crappie 2 Catfish 2
After the massive trout plant at Lake McClure a few weeks ago, the amount of traffic at the lake has more than doubled. The trout are now moving off of the shoreline area towards the colder waters in the river arm.
Steve Marquette of the Lake McClure/McSwain Recreation Company was out trolling to see where the schools had moved, and he said, “There are still lots of trout in the lake, and the big ones are heading up the river towards the Horseshoe. We must have released 40 rainbows from 1 to 4 pounds working nightcrawlers behind Ford Fender dodgers or silver/blue Kastmasters at 35 to 40 feet. The rainbows were from Barrett’s Cove to the dam earlier in the week, but they are moving upriver. Fishermen have been coming from all over the state to fish the lake, and it has been amazing the number of anglers that have arrived to take advantage of the huge plant. The shoreline bite has slowed down considerably as the rainbows have moved out into colder water. There have been a number of big fish over 8 pounds taken by trollers, and the Department of Fish and Wildlife has been on scene, issuing citations for any violation of fish and game regulations.”
For bass, Ryan Cook of Ryan Cook’s Fishing said, “The action has been similar to last week, but we are picking up a few more on topwater as more bass are moving into the shallows. Right now, I would target steep vertical rock walls or bridge pilings with jigs or swimbaits on an underspin.”
The lake dropped from 98% to 96%.
Call: Ryan Cook – Ryan Cook’s Fishing 691-7008
The lack of recent trout plants coupled with the action at nearby McClure has limited fishing interest in the colder afterbay of McClure, but a few planted rainbows continue to be taken on trout dough bait or nightcrawlers from the Brush Pile, the Handicapped Docks, or the peninsula near the Marina in the early morning or late afternoon hours. The lake has dropped 5 or 6 feet from its apex, but it is still higher than normal.
Call: McSwain Marina 209-378-2534
Millerton Lake/San Joaquin River
Bass 2 Striped bass 1 Shad 1 Bluegill 2 Crappie 3
Both Millerton and Pine Flat Reservoirs have toughened up for bass fishermen with small spotted bass being the primary story in the high water conditions along with triple-digit heat.
At Millerton, Steve Newman of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “The lake has been good for numbers, but finding anything of size is tough. Small walking baits like Spooks or Poppers are effective in shadowed areas in the early mornings or late afternoons along main lake point, but once the sun hits the water, the topwater bite is over. We were on the lake this week, and we found bass to 1.25 pounds up the river arm with 6-inch plastics on a Neko-rig or 5-inch Senkos in crawdad patterns as the bass are spitting up crawdads. Green pumpkin, watermelon, or something with an orange streak are all working on a slow-fall finesse presentation at depths from 30 to 35 feet. You have to leave it in their face and move it slow. The water temperature is in the 78- to 81-degree range, and with the water level so high, the bass are dropping in the water column. There are also a plethora of big carp in the 10- to 15-foot range, and they force the bass down as well. Upriver to the pumphouse to the Deep Gorge, there is a lot of big logs and debris on and just under the surface so boaters have to use caution.”
Millerton is at 96%.
Call: Valley Rod & Gun 292-3474
New Melones Reservoir/Tulloch
Bass 2 Crappie 3 Catfish 2 Trout 2 Kokanee 3
The prediction for a huge kokanee coming out of New Melones has been talked about for several weeks since the bite broke out, and within the week, several massive kokanee over 3 pounds have been landed.
Kyle Wise of Head Hunter Sport Fishing said, “We have landed big kokanee at 3.2, 3.3, and 3.8 pounds this past week, and client Rick Hansen of Wilton picked up the new lake record kokanee on a pink JPex lure behind a Paulina Peak dodger. Wise said, “We are working from 55 to 70 feet with a combination of Paulina Peak and MAG tackle on the Phenix Reaper rod. The big kokanee are found on the bottom, and they are still bright and full of scales. I have been taking a number of afternoon trips as well, and when I fish in the afternoons, I will work from 90 to 110 feet. In addition to kokanee, I also have been targeting crappie with Capela’s or Berkley one-inch grubs in the trees, and we have been catching up to 6 limits of slabs on a single trip.”
Monte Smith of Gold Country Sport Fishing is working a bit higher in the water column from 40 to 65 feet, and he put in three limits by 8:30 a.m. this week, also using a JPex lure from the Fishermen’s Friend in Lodi behind one of their custom dodgers along with Sling Blades. He said, “The kokanee fishing has just been incredible, and these are some of the largest fish I have seen. We had three fish that weighed nearly or up to 7 pounds, and this would have taken first-place in the derby a few weeks ago.”
The kokanee are starting to hold tighter to structure and making their move towards the south end of the lake and the river arm.
The lake has dropped to 90%.
Pine Flat Reservoir/Kings River
Bass 2 Trout 2 Kokanee 0 King salmon 0 Catfish 2 Crappie 2
Newman reported a toughening bite, saying, “We are in the dog days right now with the heat, and you have to get on the lake early or late. Tyler from our shop was out by the houseboats in the Deer Creek area, and he found a number of spotted bass and crappie holding under the shade of the boats. Working 4- to 6-inch plastics on wacky-rig with a slow fall presentation at depth from 30 to 40 feet is the most productive technique as the water is very clear. There is a topwater bite in the early mornings or evenings with small Poppers and a subsurface bite with spinnerbaits or underspins. Trout fishing is null and void after a start a few weeks ago, and crappie are holding in the docks, trees, or houseboats around Deer Creek.”
Pine Flat dropped to 90%.
San Luis Reservoir and O’Neill Forebay
Striper 2 Catfish 2 Bass 2 Crappie 2
The combination of wind and heat have limited boaters on the lake, but there have been some huge striped bass caught and released by trollers working deep water. Roger George of Roger’s Guide Service put John Turner, owner of Turner’s Security of Fresno on a 30-pound striper that was caught and released on a Lucky Craft Pointer. George said, “We managed to catch and release 20 school-sized stripers as well with the best action in Portuguese Cove or the Dam area at depths to 70 feet. The stripers are bunched up, and you have to find them. Trolling has been decent for experienced anglers with the water temperatures up to 80 degrees.” Shore fishermen are soaking blood worms or pile worms, primarily from dusk throughout the evening, and there have been some huge striped bass reported. During periods of wind, launching at Dinosaur Point is advised for safety. A four-wheel-drive is advised for launching at the Basalt Ramp due to slick conditions. A toxic blue-algae warming has been issued for the main lake. The lake dropped from 72% to 70% despite water releases with increased pumping out of the south Delta.
Bass 2 Trout 2 Kokanee 3
With all of the recreational boat traffic, few bass anglers are out on the lake. If they are, they have to make quick work before the boat traffic gets very heavy after 8 a.m. For rainbow trout and kokanee, Mike Beighey of Bass Lake Fishing had found good action until Saturday running Radical Glow tubes in light pink or a MAG Tackle orange mini hoochie behind a MAG Tackle’s Stealth dodger from Miller’s Landing to the dam. The Sheriff’s Motor Fee is enforced on a year-round basis now. Jim Travis of Affordable Tackle Company was on the lake this week, and he reported three limits of healthy kokanee to 16.5 inches were taken from the center of the lake from the Narrows to the Sheriff’s Tower from 34 to 50 feet at a speed of 1.1 to 1.5 mph with Affordable Tackle’s pink and orange mini hoochies behind pine and orange Firework’s Flashers. He added, “The Affordable Tackle’s orange or pink Spn-N-Glow behind a Holographic Flasher was also effective.”
The lake held at 94%.
Lake webcams and conditions: basslakeca.com/index.php.
The lakes continue to rise with Edison at 88%, Florence at 97%, and Mammoth Pool at 101%. Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun reported decent action at Edison with good action at Mammoth Pool for both rainbow trout and crawdads.
For the latest Sierra National Forest road conditions: bit.ly/2rfH8BB
Call: Vermilion Valley Resort at Edison Lake 259-4000
Shaver Lake/Huntington Lake
Kokanee 3 Trout 3
It’s been all about kokanee for the past few months at Shaver Lake, but the heavy plants from the Department of Fish and Wildlife along with the trophy plants from the Shaver Lake Trophy Trout Project, the rainbows have been thicker than the kokanee.
Dick Nichols of Dick’s Fishing Charters said, “The trout bite was so heavy on Sunday near the Point that we had to move out towards kokanee country. Peter and Monique Castanos and their son, Wyland, of Fresno caught 35 combined kokanee and rainbow trout, and they released everything but three limits of kokanee within 1.5 hours. The trout are stacked from Sierra Marina to the Point. Jeff Richie and his son Jeffrey of Visalia picked up 20 mixed kokanee/rainbow trout within 1.5 hours on Monday.”
Todd Wittwer of Kokanee.net Guide Service confirmed the multitude of rainbow trout in the lake, saying, “It must have been a big plant as the trout have spread out towards the middle of the lake, and they are in the 10- to 13-inch range. We have been targeting kokanee at 27 to 33 feet with Rocky Mountain Tackle’s Radical Glow Tubes in pink, orange, or pink/orange behind either a Tsunami or Moonshine dodger. The trout are found from 23 to 27 feet, and we are primarily trolling from the Island to the middle of the lake to Camp Edison. Limits of kokanee continue to be the rule.”
The annual Kokanee Power Shaver Lake Team Derby is scheduled for Sept. 7 with information at kokaneepower.org.
Shaver rose from 86% to 91%.
At Huntington, with the high water conditions, more anglers are targeting the lake, and it is a solid option for small kokanee and the chance at a quality rainbow or brown trout. Rapalas without a dodger on leadcore at 3 to 5 colors are producing a few rainbows per rod, and small kokanee to 10 inches are found from the surface to 18 feet with small hoochies or spinners. Bank fishermen are working the Dam 3 area with various colors of trout dough bait along with Panther Martin spinners for rainbows along with an opportunity for a holdover brown trout. This past week’s trout plant should help. The lake held at 98%.
Sierra Marina launch ramp webcam: sierramarina.com/camera.html.
The 23rd annual Kiwanis Special Olympics Trout Fishing Derby, a fundraiser to benefit Special Olympics, took place at Wishon Reservoir on July 13 and 517 participants attended the derby. Kelly Brewer of the Wishon Village RV Park and Store reports that there were over 3,500 fish planted prior to the derby. The $10,000 grand prize tagged fish #5001 was not caught. It is now worth $1,000 through Sept. 30 to all fishing derby registrants. There were 400 tagged fish planted with 32 of the tagged fish turned in with a total payout of $1,150. In the measured five-fish category for the children first place was 11-year-old Logan Murad with 70.50 inches. In the adult category, Trevin Falls won first place with 71.75 inches. Next year’s derby is scheduled for July 11.
Currently, trout fishing at Wishon is fair at best as the lake is fluctuating due to the need to generate power with the triple-digit temperature raising demand in the valley. Shore anglers are picking up a few rainbows on nightcrawlers or trout dough bait while trollers are finding their best action with blade/’crawler combinations near the mouth of Woodchuck Creek or the main inlet at the far end of the lake. The lake remains close to full, but the inflow has slowed.
At Courtright, the water level remains high, and a trout plant occurred this past week. Launching a boat is not problem from the concrete ramp, but fishing from shore and also for trollers has been fair at best for planted rainbow trout.
Call: Wishon RV Park 865-5361
Half Moon Bay
Salmon 2 Rockfish 3 Striper 2 Surf Perch 2
Captain Dennis Baxter of the New Captain Pete went north on Monday for 8 salmon and 7 striped bass for 9 anglers off of Pacifica on Monday after heading north on Sunday for salmon, but the bite was off. He said, “The fleet was all the way north to Arch Rock, and it was scratch fishing everywhere as the fish were off of the bite. We ended up with 7 salmon and a striper.”
Captain Tom Mattusch had his lucky charm on the Huli Cat earlier this week, and he landed his largest salmon of the year at 24.5 pounds on Tuesday as part of 18 limits of salmon. According to local field scout, Clara Ricabal of Jackson Fishing Kayaks, they were trolling frozen sardines behind flashers with 2.5 pound weights, and the action was fast and furious as they limited out by noon. There are fish on the southside now out of Linda Mar, and some of the Bay Area Fleet has been heading south.
Captain Pete will be picking up the slack in his absence as the boat is back on the water and ready to run salmon trips seven days a week.
Salmon 2 Rockfish 3 Striper 2 Surf Perch 2
Chris Arcoleo of Chris’s Fishing Trips said, “We continue to scratch up a few salmon, but they have gone down to the bottom. We went to Point Sur over the weekend with a group of novice fishermen, and we picked up quick limits of rockfish along with a few lings. The Star of Monterey had 45 anglers on board, and they had limits within an hour after only a few drifts. There have also been a few thresher sharks taken off of our coastline.”
San Francisco Bay
Salmon 2 Halibut 3 Striper 2 Rockfish 3 Leopard shark 2 Sturgeon 2
Seal Rocks and the South Bar was the location over the weekend as the salmon bite slowed considerably since its apex in the middle of last week. Captain Trent Slate of Bite Me Charters wisely opted for halibut on both weekend days, and they ended up with limits of halibut. On Saturday’s trip, Mark Andronico of the Golden Gate Meat Company, had the hot stick with a heavy contribution to boat limits with 6 halibut. Slate said, “There were at least 100 boats at Seal Rocks on Saturday and another 50 on Sunday. The pressure has affected the bite, but there is a massive amount of halibut outside of the Gate. The salmon haven’t gone anywhere, they are just off of the bite. “
The Crusty Crustacean continues to score limits while other boats struggle with 6 limits trolling on Sunday while the Sundance posted a fish per rod for six anglers. The larger party boats ended up with as few as 2 salmon for 14 anglers.
Captain Steve Mitchell of Hook’d Up Sport Fishing with limits and crew fish on both Friday and Saturday with some big halibut to 22 pounds. He said, “The bigger fish are out in deeper water, and it is hard to believe the amount of halibut out here right now. It is unbelievable.” He is back out on a halibut trip on Monday.
The California Dawn was out with the West Delta Chapter of the California Striped bass Association, and they ended up short of limits for the first time in four days of up to 30 limits. They scored 65 keeper halibut with some jumbos in the mix along with a pair of striped bass.
Inside the bay, with the hot halibut bite outside of the Golden Gate, the bays have been left alone, but if the weather reports are accurate, the boats will be in the bay over the next few days. Keith Fraser of Loch Lomond Bait and Tackle in San Rafael said, “The series of minus tides over the next week might slow down the halibut bite, but it has been historic so far. A 34.5-pound halibut taken off of Seal Rocks over the weekend on a Loch Lomond live anchovy is the current leader of the Lord of the Sea Summer Striped Bass/Halibut Derby.”
San Luis Obispo
Rockfish 3 Surf Perch 2
Out of San Luis Obispo County, the Endeavor, Avenger, and Starfire out of Morro Bay Landing posted a tremendous score on Sunday with limits of quality rockfish including 555 vermilion, 25 copper, 40 Boccaccio, a petrale sole, and 30 assorted rockfish to go with 18 ling cod to 16 pounds. Out of Virg’s Landing in Morro Bay, the Fiesta was out on Monday on a 3/4th day trip with 35 passengers for limits of rockfish composed of 40 vermilion, 30 copper, and 290 assorted rockfish. Ethan Winton of Visalia took the jackpot with a 7.5-pound vermilion. Out of Port San Luis, the Patriot, Phenix, and Flying Fish, scored limits of rockfish for 50 clients on Sunday including 185 vermilion, 40 copper, 14 Boccaccio, 70 Bolina, 179 assorted rockfish, 10 treefish, 2 cabezon, and 10 lings. Matt Siede of Bakersfield took the jackpot on the Patriot with a 10-pound ling while William Ortiz of Fresno scored the jackpot fish on the Phenix with an 8-pound cabezon. All ports are running a variety of trips in the coming weeks for rockfish/ling cod including overnight trips.
Bass 2 Striper 3 Sturgeon 2 Catfish 2 Bluegill 2 Salmon 2
The river salmon season in the Sacramento River continues to be spotty with the best action in either the cooler waters of the Feather River or the upper Sacramento River. Triple-digit temperatures are contributing to the paucity of salmon as any anadromous species is pouring quickly up the river system to cooler waters.
There are still huge schools of salmon up and down the California coast that have yet to enter the Golden Gate, and most guides will start to get active in the area around mid-August through the month of November.
In the Freeport area, an occasional salmon is taken off of the shoreline with Mepp’s Flying C’s while boaters are backtrolling Brad’s K-15 Killer Fish with a sardine wrap. Sardines coated with garlic spray or pile worms are working best for striped bass while smallmouth bass are taken along the rocky banks in Steamboat Slough with live minnows, deep-diving crankbaits, or plastics on the drop-shot. The bass have gone deep in response to the warming water temperatures. Catfish are found in the Sacramento Deep Water Channel or Lisbon Slough with cut baits or chicken livers.”
Sylvia Vieira of Vieira’s Riverside Bait near Isleton reported no salmon had been landed yet out of their launch, and only a few boats have been launching on a daily basis. The months of September and October are expected to provide banner action, and they still have more room in the
Out of Benicia, Tony Lopez of Benicia Bait said, “There still hasn’t been a salmon taken off of the Benicia shorelines, but there was a decent striper landed on a Vee-Zee spinner this week by a fisherman targeting salmon. Striper action from the shorelines has been pretty decent with pile worms or grass shrimp, and we have had a good supply of grass shrimp in the shop along with some quality bullheads. No one that I know of has been sturgeon fishing in the past weeks, most likely due to the combination of either wind or heat.”
It is very good to see Mark Wilson, striper trolling expert, back in the place that he loves, and after some prolonged health concerns, he has been back out on the river within the past few months. He went out with Dave Houston of Livermore along with Clyde Wands, shallow trolling expert, this week, and Houston said, “We launched out of Lauritzen’s Yacht Harbor in Oakley, and after struggling for many weeks to find the summertime stripers, we finally had a good day for this time of year with 11 keepers with many in the 7- to 9- pound range. Most of the fish came from the Sacramento River, and this may make the beginning of the fall run. We also fishing above and below the Antioch Bridge for a few more stripers. The water clarity is excellent, and the abundance of weeds we experience this year are gone.”
Wands was back out on Friday, and off of the water by 10:30 a.m. due to the heat, but they posted 14 stripers to 8 pounds with many in the 5- to 6-pound range. He said, “We had a few doubles, and we left them biting. The West Bank is now holding fish, but we have it all to ourselves. The weeds and grass are now gone.”
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.
Triple-digit temperatures have hit the Delta, and this is a good omen for the upcoming frog tournaments. The triple-digit temperatures have contributed to algae blooms breaking
Vince Borges of Vince Borges Outdoors was on the water this week during the afternoon, and he said, “We are pre-fishing for this weekend’s tournament, and we caught and released a half-dozen frog fish, but nothing large yet. The bite is changing with the heat, and we ran north to find more active fish as the water temperature is five degrees cooler in the north Delta. It is a matter of finding some active fish. There has been a lot of pelleting and spraying in the Delta, but the dying weeds will make a ‘cheese’ on the surface, and the bass will be seeking overhead cover. We are using Strike King frogs as any type of hollow-body frog is allowed in this weekend’s tournament.”
Randy Pringle, the Fishing Instructor, is the tournament director for next weekend’s original frog tournament, the Snag Proof Open. He said, “The water temperatures on the Delta keep rising, and it is close to 70 degrees in the early mornings with a high over 100 degrees in the afternoons. You have to target areas with current as the back waters will be very hot. Running Optima’s Bad Bubba Shad across the tops of the weed beds along with crankbaits such as the ima Squarebill or Rock N’ Vibe Suspend are working, and we also found topwater action with the ima Finesse Popper. I was throwing the swimbait for better quality fish. During next weekend’s Snag Proof Open, only Snag Proof frogs will be allowed. I think the key to this tournament will be to try and find your own water and get away from all of the boats. Find something unique, and you can catch bass in open water with frogs, but they should be looking for shade and areas with dead tules inside of pockets of live tules will be holding bass.” Over 200 teams are expected for this event.
The first of the frog tournaments, the Ultimate Frog Challenge, took place over the weekend, and the hot temperatures made for uncomfortable conditions. The day one leaders were the team of Mullins/Nutler with a weight of 15.64 pounds with a kicker at 7.24 pounds. However, coming out of 7th place at the start of day two, the team of Juan Acosta/Mark Gomez posted a two-day limit over 26 pounds to take first place. Jeff Huth served as the emcee on the second day, and he said, “The bite was pretty rough, but we weighed in a number of 3-fish limits on Sunday. The rumor was that the fish were biting short which is not uncommon in a frog tournament. The weed spraying kept a few anglers away as the areas that they normally fish are devoid of grass. Strike King won the Manufacturer’s Cup out of the 7 manufacturers entered with professional anglers Billy Hines and Cody Meyers representing the company, and although Snag Proof did not enter the competition, the team of Acosta/Gomez used Snag Proof frogs. The Manufacturer’s Cup creates an exciting aspect to the event. Jordan Wong took first in the Junior Division with his partner, Tim Meeks, and we had a good turnout despite the heat.”
Dan Mathisen of Dan Mathisen Outdoors participated in the event, and he said, “The lack of weeds in the south Delta contributed to a slower bite as the water is muddy from Fishermen’s Cut back to Holland Tract. There was so much boat traffic from heavy cruisers and recreational boaters over the weekend that the constant wakes muddied up the river, and the sparse weed growth due to heavy pelleting and spraying is unable to filter out the sediment. The frog bite was tough for me on Saturday, and although we land over 20 bass on frogs on Sunday, we couldn’t find any size. I have been working the Boom-Boom frog. The key is finding clear water, and we have also seen more and more small striped bass busting shad on the surface.”
There are algae blooms breaking out in downtown Stockton, Discovery Bay, and the Big Break Area, and the Department of Boating and Waterways advised limiting contact with the water, especially for pets.
Anglers are requested to report any sightings of algae blooms through the HAB hotline at 1-844-729-6466 or through the following link https://mywaterquality.ca.gov/habs/do/bloomreport.html)
Lake Nacimiento/San Antonio/Santa Margarita/Lopez
Bass 3 White bass 2 Striper 1 Catfish 2 Crappie 2
At Santa Margarita, big bass are the story, but the numbers are few and far between. Largemouths to 6 pounds are taken on early morning topwater lures along with crankbaits or large jigs. Big plastic worms to 8 inches on a drop-shot or Texas-rig are also working. Catfish are taken on scented mackerel. Mealworms and red worms are working for bluegill and red ear perch with crappie found on minijigs. A webcam of the lake is available at http://805webcams.com/santa-margarita-lake-webcam-california/. Lopez has been affected by the wind over the past week, but there is a good bite for quality on reaction lures such as spinnerbaits, crankbaits, jerkbaits, and chatterbaits. There is a topwater bite in the early mornings before working the bottom with plastics or jigs. Bluegill are found on mealworms or red worms along with a few catfish on cut baits. A webcam of the lake is available at http://805webcams.com/lopez-lake-webcam/.
At Nacimiento, the recreational boating is heavy, and it has affected fishing access to the lake. The best action for spotted bass remains on the bottom with plastics on a drop-shot, shakey head, or Ned rig along with crankbaits or chatterbaits at depths to 30 feet. Working the reaction baits along submerged structure is the best location. White bass remain scarce with the boat traffic, but they can be found in the coves in the early mornings with the best action with small white spoons or spinners. Crappie are found with minijigs, and bluegill are biting red worms in the evenings. The fuel dock is now selling fuel again from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. The lake dropped to 66% this week. A webcam of the lake is available at http://www.lakenacimientolive.com/. At San Antonio, the shad spawn has perked up the bass bite, and shad-patterned crankbaits or plastics on the drop-shot are working best for small fish. Catfish remain the top species with cut baits soaked in scent. Small bluegill are found along the shorelines. The lake held at 40%, and the lake is now open 7 days per week at the South Shore.
Go to fresnobee.com/fishing for Ocean, Delta, Kern County and Central Coast lakes and for event results and the tournament schedule.
Delta/Russo’s Marina – Ultimate Frog Challenge – July 27/28th (6-fish total limits): 1st –Juan Acosta/Mark Gomez – 26.24 pounds; 2nd –Mullins/Nutler – 23.03 (Big Fish – 7.39); 3rd – Polhemus – 21.67.
Aug. 3-4: Delta/Russo’s Marina – Snag Proof Open Frog Tournament
August 4th –
New Melones – Riverbank Bass Anglers
Eastman – Central Valley Kayak Fishing
August 10th –
Delta/Ladd’s Marina – Bass N’ Tubes
Don Pedro – Manteca Bassin’ Buddies
Pine Flat – Bass 101
Nacimiento – Good Ole Boys
Lopez – 101 Bass
August 11th –
New Hogan – Gold Country Jr. Bass Tournaments
Kaweah – Cen Cal Elite Bass Tournaments
August 16th –
Lopez – 101 Bass
Delta/Russo’s Marina – Hook, Line, and Sinker
Don Pedro – Modesto Ambassadors
August 17th –
Pine Flat – Fresno Bass Club
Success – Porterville Bass Club
Nacimiento – San Luis Obispo County Bass Ambushers
August 24th –
Delta/Russo’s Marina – Best Bass Tournaments
Hensley -Sierra Bass Club
August 25th –
Delta/Ladd’s Marina – Nor Cal High School Bass Tournaments
August 31st –
Delta/Russo’s Marina – Dan Mathisen Outdoors
Santa Margarita – 805 Kayak Fishing
n = new moon> = peak activity