Slimy algae blooms foul California’s waterways
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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Delta stripers and bass bites going, Randy Pringle reported. Eastman bass action “best in Valley,” Jake Figgs said. Don Pedro kokanee and trout hitting, Kyle Wise reported. Success bass on good feed, Chuck Stokke said. McClure bass improving, Ryan Cook reported. Bass Lake bass and kokanee pleasing anglers, Mike Beighey said. Shaver trout and kokanee bites slow, but continue producing, Dick Nichols reported. Wishon limits the rule, Kelly Brewer said. San Francisco striped bass and halibut on a tear, James Smith reported.
2-Have to work hard
4-Fish jumpin’ in boat
Delta Mendota Canal and Sloughs
Striper 3 Catfish 2
The California Aqueduct continues to attract more and more striped bass fishermen, and Jake Figgs of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “They are letting a lot of water through the aqueduct, and most anglers are soaking anchovies, but lure tossers are working Storm swimbaits or paddletail swimbaits in white near the moving waters at the headgates.”
In the southern section of the aqueduct in Kern County, Pete Cormier of Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield said, “Some fishermen are complaining about the moss and debris, but striped bass are taken on swimbaits, anchovies, sardines, or mackerel with catfish on cut baits along with chicken livers.”
Bass 3 Trout 2 Bluegill 2 Catfish 2 Crappie 2
Eastman Reservoir remains the best bass bite in the area for numbers of largemouth bass as the bait balls are starting to form. A few crappie are also showing up with minijigs, but they have been difficult to locate and to entice to bite.Eastman is California’s first trophy bass fishery, and a single largemouth with a minimum length of 22 inches may be taken per day with all smaller bass to be released back into the lake.
Jake Figgs of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “It is still the best bite in the area with largemouth bass to 4 pounds possible, but the majority of fish are in the 2- to 2.5-pound range. The bait is piling up in the rock piles, and there is a good jig bite over the submerged island tops, saddles, or rockpiles at 30 to 35 feet. Deep-diving cranks are also working in shallower water to 20 feet.”
Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun added, “The numbers are good at Eastman, but there are a lot of small fish. One group of three boats were out, and they landed over 100 fish to 2.5 pounds using plastics on a wacky-rig, split-shot or shaky head at depths from 20 to 30 feet over the rockpiles.”
Eastman dropped from 57% to 53%.
Call: Eastman Lake 689-3255
Bass 2 Trout 2 Catfish 2 Bluegill 2 Crappie 2
At nearby Hensley, Figgs reported much slower bass fishing over the past week despite an 8-pound largemouth being taken out of a total of four fish on a Trick Worm on a Neko Rig. He said, “The bite had been good, but it slowed down this week.” Fewer bass fishermen have been heading to Hensley with the numbers available at Eastman, and the bite has slowed down to some degree. Crappie fishing is also fair with the best action with small swimbaits such as the 3- to 3.5-inch Kei Tech swimbaits or a curly-tailed Shadpole on a 1/8-ounce black jig head. An algae bloom has formed on the surface of the lake, particularly in the coves, and visitors are advised to avoid contact with the areas with algae. The lake dropped from 46% to 43%.
Lake Don Pedro
Bass 2 Trout 3 Kokanee 3 King salmon 1 Crappie 2
Don Pedro has exploded for both kokanee and rainbow trout as it has been mostly ignored for these species all summer. The bass bite is also starting to show signs of life as the water temperatures are finally starting to cool.
Kyle Wise of Head Hunter Fishing said, “New Melones is all but dead right now. You can catch next year’s kokanee, but I am not interested in doing this as I want these fish to grown for next year. Since the kokanee bite died at New Melones, I have been traveling to Don Pedro, and we found an ‘epic’ trout bite on both Saturday and Sunday. We crushed the kokanee on Saturday, but we couldn’t find a bite on Sunday. However, the trout bite has been outstanding, and we scored two easy limits trolling Speedy Shiners at 3.5 mph at depths from 55 to 85 feet. It was overcast on Saturday, and the Speedy Shiners in gold/copper worked best while on Sunday in much lighter conditions, gold/red and gold/blue were producing. The key is to run the lure fast, and another boat was struggling so I tossed him a Speedy Shiner and said, ‘Keep up with me,’ and he started to catch. You aren’t going to outrun a hungry trout. The kokanee are coming at depths from 95 to 127 feet with Paulina Peak’s Flutter Bugs or hoochies behind a Paulina Peak Dodger.”
For bass, Ryan Cook of Ryan Cook’s Guide Service said, “The bass are still all over the board, and the umbrella rig bite will start going soon in 15 to 20 feet of water. Right now, plastics on the drop-shot or shakey head along with small swimbaits on underspins are working at depths from 25 to 50 feet with some action on topwater in the early mornings.
Don Pedro is still high in elevation, but it dropped from 88% to 86%.
Lake Isabella/Bakersfield area
Bass 2 Trout 3 Crappie 2 Catfish 2 Bluegill 2
Pete Cormier of Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield reported some decent bass fishing at Lake Isabella with a local club scoring over 40 pounds for a winning weight during a recent two-day tournament. Senkos and Brush Hogs are working on the bottom, and there is a topwater bite in the early morning. Crappie fishing remains decent with minijigs or live minnows while catfishing is solid with Sonny’s Dip Bait, mackerel, sardines, or chicken livers from the banks at night. He said, “We are selling a lot of the dip bait.” Isabella has dropped to 41%. The upper Kern River is still kicking out planted rainbow trout at the Kernville park with salmon eggs, nightcrawlers, live crickets, or lures in the deeper pools. The flows in the lower Kern River have slowed down, and there are catfish, largemouth bass, and smallmouth bass available. The local lakes are good for carp with Wussy Dough Bait. In the high county, Chuck Stokke of the Sequoia Fishing Company in Springville said, “The upper Kern River is fishing excellent with dry flies, and the Golden Trout Wilderness Pack Trains will be taking pack trips for the next two months.”
Bass 2 Crappie 2 Trout 2 Catfish 2
Local bass expert Gary Wasson of Visalia reported continued slow bass action, but the bite should turn on when the weather cools. Nearby Success is a much better option with the slow bite at Kaweah. Recreational boating has slowed down considerably. Kaweah has been emptied to only 10%.
Call: Sierra Sporting Goods 592-5212
Bass 3 Trout 3 Catfish 2 Crappie 2 Bluegill 2
Chuck Stokke of The Sequoia Fishing Company in Springville said, “Bass fishing has improved since recreational boating has slowed down. Fishermen have been scoring with topwater lures or crankbaits, and the bite should continue to improve with the cooler temperatures on the horizon. Local bass fishing expert, Gary Wasson of Visalia said, “The bass bite is good with plastics working best.” Success has gone from over 100% to 26% due to heavy water releases within the past two months. In the Tule River, Stokke said, “The river has been excellent on browns this week with dry flies or Panther Martins. I caught some outstanding browns from 12 to 15 inches this past week on dry flies. It’s the best I have seen for quality trout in the river for a decade.”
Bass 3 Trout 2 King salmon 0 Kokanee 0 Crappie 2 Catfish 2
The trout have gone deep, and Steve Marquette of the Lake McClure/McSwain Recreation Company reported the best action for rainbows at depths from 60 to 85 feet with Wedding Rings tipped with a nightcrawler behind a dodger, blade/’crawler combinations, Cop Car Needlefish, or blue/silver Kastmasters towards the river arm. A few anglers are soaking trout dough bait from the houseboats near Piney Creek in the evenings. Bass fishing is picking up as the shad are schooling up. Ryan Cook reported good action with G-Money jigs at depths from 25 to 50 feet as the jig bite is improving. Plastics on the drop-shot or split-shot along with small swimbaits on underspins are also working as the same depths. The umbrella rig bite is ready to break out as fall approaches.
The lake dropped from 85% to 82%.
Call: Ryan Cook – Ryan Cook’s Fishing 691-7008
Minimal change with no trout plants occurring recently or are on the horizon. The annual Merced Irrigation Fall Trout Derby has been canceled for this year.
Call: McSwain Marina 209-378-2534
Millerton Lake/San Joaquin River
Bass 2 Striped bass 1 Shad 1 Bluegill 2 Crappie 3
The bass bite crashed this week with a 12.70-pound 10-fish limit leading the 20 team Cen Cal Elite Bass Tournaments Tournament of Champions on Saturday. Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun reported the bass bite just clammed up. Gary Wasson, Angler of the Year for Cen Cal Elite with his partner Joe Baeza, said, “The reaction bite just died at the lake as we found good action while prefishing, but the tournament was a different story.” Small bass to 12 inches have been taken on ripbaits as they are suspending around 15 feet in depth, and the best quality is coming on jigs at 25 to 30 feet over rockpiles or main lake points with rock. The lake is releasing water, and it dropped from 79% to 77%.
Call: Valley Rod & Gun 292-3474
New Melones Reservoir/Tulloch
Bass 2 Crappie 2 Catfish 2 Trout 2 Kokanee 2
The air came out of the balloon quickly at New Melones as the kokanee bite has all but died within a period of a few weeks. Limits were the rule as recently as mid-August, but the past two weeks have been as slow as could be as the kokanee have migrated to the bottom in full spawning mode. The largemouth and spotted bass bite remains a grind, but quality fish are showing up on topwater lures, swimbaits, and glide baits.
Kyle Wise of Head Hunter Guide Service said, “Kokanee at Melones is dead so I have moved on to Don Pedro.”
For bass, John Liechty of Xperience Fishing Guide Service said, “I have been concentrating on throwing big baits when the conditions are right, and my client Dean Korbelick of Vallecito caught and released two largemouts at 6 and 6.48 pounds with one on a swimbait and the larger of the two on a topwater lure. It is typical swimbait fishing as we are working for a half-dozen to 8 bites per day, and there are long stretches of bank devoid of bass. I covered more water in a day recently, and there were a number of stretches without fish. The bigger bass are targeting the baby bass, and when it’s time to feed, they are biting. We have been using a combination of topwater lures, glide baits, and 5.8-inch Kei Tech swimbaits as it has been ‘feast or famine’ out there with the larger baits. Numbers have also been a chore, but we are finding small fish in the 12- to 13-inch range on 6X crankbaits or squarebilled crankbaits along with plastics on the drop-shot suspended around 15 to 20 feet in depth in 60 feet of water.”
The annual Glory Hole Catfish Contest runs Oct. 1-31. The entry and insurance fees total $15, and the contest has a limited entry. Three fish can be weighed in, and the first catfish over 12 pounds will take the Big Cat side pot.
Melones dropped slightly to 85%.
Pine Flat Reservoir/Kings River
Bass 2 Trout 2 Kokanee 0 King salmon 0 Catfish 2 Crappie 2
Jake Figgs of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “The bass bite is fair, and it is much better than at Millerton as there is a topwater bite with Spooks or River2Sea Rovers in the mid-lake area around Windy Gap. When the wind is blowing, the topwater action improves, and the bass are mostly in the 1- to 1.5-pound range. Buzzbaits and Whopper Ploppers have also been popular lures, The bass have been chasing bait into the coves in the mornings and evenings. The plastic worm bite has been challenging as water releases have the bass suspending off of structure, and there is some action on jigs at the right depth. Most of the action for bass is taking place in the middle section of the lake. Trout trolling remains slow. Crappie action has also slowed with a few slabs found in the main lake in submerged trees or rocks.”
The lake dropped from 67% to 63%.
In the lower Kings River, trout plants continue, and trout fishing remains good with salmon eggs, trout dough bait, Panther Martins, or Mepp’s spinners in the transition areas from fast to slow water movement. Working with the drift is best, and it is important to find the correct depth by counting down with the split-shot.
San Luis Reservoir and O’Neill Forebay
Striper 2 Catfish 2 Bass 2 Crappie 2
San Luis Reservoir continues to be a go-to location for Fresno- and San Jose-area striper fishermen, and the banks off Dinosaur Point or Portuguese Cove have been busy with anglers either soaking bait or tossing ripbaits.
Jake Figgs of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “We have had a number of fishermen heading up to the main lake, and they have been picking up stripers in the 20- to 23-inch range on white Duo Realis 120 ripbaits as they are walking the banks and watching for the boils.”
Coyote Bait in Morgan Hill confirmed the reaction bite from the banks off Dinosaur Point and Portuguese Cove with jerkbaits, topwater lures or Kei Tech swimbaits while bait soakers are using blood worms, pile worms, anchovies or shad.
Roger George of Roger’s Guide Service out of Fresno said, “The water levels are holding fairly steady, but the blue-green algae continue to grow in the warm water with a surface temperature ranging from 72 to 76 degrees. Boat anglers are finding an overall tough bite due to the recent fronts and heavy wind moving through the region last week causing the fish to suspend a lot. The numbers are down for trollers, and it takes some work to find biting fish. I have had to cover a lot of water. I took out Darryl Zuber of Fresno and his 16-year-old grandson, Tyler, and Tyler’s friend Nick Stubblefield, 14, last week and we had to work all day long for around 20 fish in 12 hours. We got a good strike around noon by the dam area, and Tyler caught and released his personal-best striper at 38 inches and 22 pounds. Nick also caught and released his personal-best at 9 pounds and 29 inches with both fish found between 40 and 70 feet with minnow plugs. We have been looking for one good bite, and we got it. I have been working long days hitting the best areas like Portuguese and the north shore. The heat has affected the overall numbers. With the hot water temperatures, I have been quickly using the Bends Mender needle on bigger fish to bleed out as much air as possible before I put them down with the Seaquilizer release tool. It’s a “scratch them out” bite now. Basalt launch ramp is in good shape, but the wind has been an issue most days.”
In the O’Neill Forebay, Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun said, “Many of our fishermen have been going to the forebay to throw flukes, Lucky Craft Pointers, or Duo Realis jerkbaits for stripers to 22 inches.”
San Luis held at 60%.
Bass 3 Trout 2 Kokanee 3
The boat traffic has clearly slowed down, and there have been some quality kokanee to 18 inches taken at depths from 30 to 35 feet with hoochies tipped with scented corn behind a dodger. Mike Beighey of Bass Lake Fishing has been working from Miller’s Landing to the Sheriff’s Tower and back as the kokanee have not staged by the dam as of yet. Bass fishing remains good with the best action in the isolated weed patches with weedless rigs at depths to 20 feet. Plastics on a slow-fall along with spinnerbaits or chatterbaits are working as the bass are holding in the weeks.
The lake held at 95%.
The Madera County Sheriff’s Office reported that arrests for boating under the influence (BUI) arrest were up 45% in 2019. The Sheriff’s Motor Fee is enforced on a year-round basis now. Lake webcams and conditions: basslakeca.com/index.php.
Still few reports from the high-elevation lakes, and the Kaiser Pass lakes are now dropping with Edison receding from 68% to 65%, Florence to half and Mammoth Pool from 85% to 77%. Mammoth Pool is a still an option 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
The kokanee bite at Shaver Lake this year has been one of the most memorable on record with consistent limits of the landlocked salmon to 15 inches since the trollers first hit the lake in the spring, but all good things have to come to an end.
Dick Nichols of Dick’s Fishing Charters, said, “The kokanee bite fell off this week with a couple of limits per trip being the norm as they are not easy to find with long spells between a few fish being the rule. The early morning bite has been the best because by 8 a.m., you might as well read the newspaper as fish. My game plan has been to fish first thing in the morning for kokanee before heading over to the inlets for the rainbow trout. We have been trolling from the Point to the Island at 33 to 50 feet with pink, orange, or pink/white Mountain Hoochies tipped with scented corn behind a purple/silver Mountain Dodger on the downriggers with the side poles equipped with orange Koke Busters tipped with corn behind weighted Mountain Flashers at a setback of 125 feet for a depth around 24 feet. I am surprised that we are still picking up kokanee on the side poles and also so high in the water column as normally at this time of year, the kokanee are holding between 80 and 95 feet near the Point, and these fish have been fully in pre-spawn mode. There are still a lot of fish out there, and I expect the best kokanee anglers will do well in Saturday’s tournament. A factor in the slower bite may be the constant rising and falling of the reservoir as it is being drawn down daily before rising again from water releases out of Huntington.”
Todd Wittwer of Kokanee.net Guide Service said, “It has been a little tougher, but there are kokanee to be had. There are some holding off of the bottom in Stevenson Bay, and that is where the largest fish in the derby were taken, but we have been primarily fishing from 35 to 50 feet around the Point with white Radical Glow Tubes or the orange Double-glow or Glitter spinners behind a Rocky Mountain Tackle Moonshine or Tsunami dodger. The kokanee should be on the bottom now in pre-spawn, but they are mostly higher in the water column. The females are only half or three-quarters full of eggs. I plan on staying on Shaver until the end of September.”
Shaver rose from 80% to 83%.
At Huntington, the lake dropped from 98% to 80% this week due to heavy releases into Shaver Lake and down the San Joaquin River system. The best trout fishing remains from the banks in Rancheria Creek with salmon eggs, live crickets, or trout dough bait on the slow fall with split shot rigs. The key is working current and counting the bait down to the right depth.
Limits of rainbow trout are the rule with Kelly Brewer of the Wishon RV Park and Store reporting quick limits to 14 inches on Wedding Rings tipped with a nightcrawler behind a dodger, Needlefish, or similar spoons. He found great action trolling in front of the dam and along the rockwall at depths from 10 to 15 feet for quick limits. He said, “The bite took off this week.” Shore fishermen are scoring at the mouth of Short Hair Creek, the dam, and the boat launch with inflated nightcrawlers or trout dough bait. The lake level is fluctuating as it came up 15 feet before dropping 6 feet overnight for power generation needs in the Central Valley.
Brewer of the Wishon RV Park and Store reported slower trout fishing at Courtright with much better action at Wishon. The lake has dropped to the second turnaround, and a few rainbows and browns are found with Wedding Rings or Dick’s Trout Busters tipped with a nightcrawler at depths to 15 feet. Shore fishing has been relatively slow with a few planters found on trout dough bait, night crawlers, or salmon eggs along the dam. The lake levels have been fluctuating with the need for power generation.
Call: Wishon RV Park 865-5361
Half Moon Bay
Salmon 2 Rockfish 3 Striper 2
Captain Dennis Baxter of the New Captain Pete took a ride up to Duxbury on Friday for several quality salmon, but the local action remains slow. However, the Santa Cruz/Monterey Bay fish should be on their way. Baxter said, “Three albacore were landed on Saturday by the commercial boat, the Stacy Joanne, out of Half Moon Bay 43 miles offshore near the Pioneer Canyon seamount.
Captain Tom Mattusch of the Huli Cat was out for rockfish with a search for salmon on Saturday, and he said, “The best-looking salmon area has been below the 11 lines where the salmon season is closed. There were lots of whales working the surface along with many murres and shearwaters working the surface in addition to solid bait marks and bait balls. It didn’t look as good above the 11 lins, but it was somewhat similar with less life. No takers on salmon, but I feel they should be on their way. We did post 17 limits of rockfish and a few lings to 16 pounds working below Pigeon Point in deep water. Daniel Robins of Oakdale came through with the big ling on a hitchhiker.”
Rockfish 3 Striper 2 Surf Perch 2
Chris Arcoleo of Chris’s Fishing Trips said, “The rockfish are on the bite, and we scored limits of rockfish along with 5 ling cod to a whopping 25 pounds working the local reefs on Sunday. The wind has been bad on the outside, and we had to cancel Monday’s afternoon whale watching trip. However, the weather is expected to turn around by the end of the week.” They are running rockfish/ling cod trips all week long, and there is room throughout the week.
San Francisco Bay
Salmon 2 Halibut 3 Striper 3 Leopard shark 3 Sturgeon 2
The salmon scores have been dropping off to around a ½ fish to a fish per rod for the large party boats, but with the large size of the salmon hooked, there are plenty of missed opportunities. The New Easy Rider out of Berkeley came back with 12 salmon to 19 pounds for 24 anglers while the El Dorado posted 7 salmon to 13 pounds for 24 anglers on Sunday.
The Hog Heaven out of Sausalito posted a respectable score on Sunday with 12 salmon for 15 anglers. These seem to be typical scores on a larger party boat while the six-packs are finding more consistent action, most likely due to the less crowded conditions and more personal attention when a fish is hooked up.
Captain Zach Medinas of Gatecrasher Fishing Adventures was able to put young anglers Kyan Walker of Marin and Ethan Pham of San Francisco onto limits of kings.
The desire to target salmon remains from the six-pack captains as they know the fish will be making a push down the Marin coast, but interest from fishermen has been waning after the Labor Day Holiday weekend.
Captain Trent Slate of Bite Me Charters out of Loch Lomond Marina in San Rafael said, “The salmon bite should last all the way through October, but it has been challenging to attract enough fishermen right now. I know the fish are there and are coming.”
Inside the bay, limits of striped bass have been the rule, and the halibut bite remains outstanding despite the fact that it is already September. Captain James Smith of the California Dawn out of Berkeley Marina returned to the wheelhouse after a week of fishing at his brother’s lodge in Alaska, and he said, “Seems that little has changed since I last said “drop them in”. We had a wide open striped bass bite along with a healthy pick on the halibut with over a fish per rod again, not to mention releasing a green sturgeon. We didn’t hit the century mark but finished up with 91 keepers on the day.” They ended up with 60 striped bass, 30 halibut to 20 pounds, and a solitary ling cod. They have a Phenix Rods big shark trip on Monday, and these are limited load trips. This trip turned out to be amazing with 7 seven gill sharks with 3 kept and 4 huge shark released at 275, 300, and 350 pounds along with 15 limits of striped bass including crew fish, 17 halibut, and a 40-pound soupfin shark.
San Luis Obispo
Rockfish 3 Surf perch 3
Out of San Luis Obispo County, rockfishing was excellent over the weekend with limits or near-limits the story. On Sunday, the Endeavor and Avenger out of Morro Bay Landing posted 63 limits with some quality in the sacks as they posted a combined count of 560 vermilion, 50 copper, and 20 Boccaccio to go with 15 lings to 17 pounds. Out of Virg’s Landing in Morro Bay, the Fiesta and Black Pearl came back just shy of limits on Monday with 20 fishermen scoring 60 vermilion and 110 assorted to go with 7 ling cod to 16 pounds. Out of Port San Luis, the Patriot and the Flying Fish out of Patriot Sport Fishing took out 41 passengers for 43 vermilion, 310 assorted rockfish, 7 copper, and 50 Bolina to go 5 lings to 10 pounds with Robert Outten of Exeter taking the jackpot with the big ling. All ports are running a variety of trips in the coming weeks for rockfish/ling cod including overnight trips.
Bass 3 Striper 3 Sturgeon 2 Catfish 2 Bluegill 2 Salmon 2
The Sacramento-River salmon bite has kicked up a notch with the recent arrival of cooler weather conditions, and there have been more salmon landed from the Benicia shorelines along with consistent action in the north Delta near Freeport. Striped bass trollers are finding excellent fishing along the stretch of river from the Rio Vista Bridge to Collinsville, and live bait is working best above the Rio Vista Bridge into Liberty Island. Sturgeon fishermen are just getting warmed up, and the six-packs are planning a return to the Delta during the month of October.
Johnny Tran of New Romeo’s Bait and Tackle in Freeport said, “There have been a number of salmon landed by the Freeport Bridge by those jigging 2-ounce P-Line Laser Minnows or Slammer Minnows, but you have to switch over to 3-ounce spoons when the wind is blowing or the outgoing tide is moving. Those sitting on the anchor are using Brad’s Killer Fish or Flat Fish with a sardine wrap. Stripers are found in Liberty Island or the Deep Water Channel with live minnows, and we should have mudsuckers in the shop next weekend. The smallmouth bass bite has slowed down, but you can still find them along the rocky banks in Steamboat and Miner Sloughs along with around Walnut Grove.”
Sylvia Vieira of Vieira’s Riverside Bait near Isleton reported more salmon have been coming in with trollers scoring out in front near the gas docks to the front of the marina with Silvertron spinners. She said, “There were also a few salmon taken off of the dock at Walnut Grove by lure tossers this week. The bite is picking up, and we have had more boats out this week. There is still some limited room in the campgrounds in October.”
Alan Fong of the Fishermen’s Warehouse in Sacramento was out with Warren Trombley of San Jose near Liberty Island, and he said, “Warren caught a 15-pound striper on a Sneaky Pete, and we landed a total of five stripers using either the Sneaky Pete’s or River2 Sea Swavers. We also flipped plastics for around 20 of the Northern-strain largemouth bass. The bait is moving in, and many fishermen are using live minnows for the stripers as the water is clearing up and the grass is diminishing.”
In Suisun Bay, Tony Lopez of Benicia Bait said, “A 26-pound salmon was landed on a Vee-Zee Spinner on Sunday off of 1st Street, and there were a few steelhead landed as well. Fortunately, many of our fishermen have gotten smart and purchased their Steelhead Report Cards. The water has cleared up, and the action is getting better. A 50-inch sturgeon was also landed off of the 1st Street Pier. Things are starting to wake up around here. Live grass shrimp keeps coming in, and the bullheads are getting as large as 6 inches.”
There has been a tremendous early season striped bass bite for trolling working from the Rio Vista Bridge to Collinsville along the West Bank, and Captain David Hammond of Delta Pro Fishing has been consistently scoring limits with some larger fish to 19 pounds.
Dave Houston of Livermore took out Clyde Wands, shallow trolling expert, during the middle of the week, and he said, “We started out on the Sacramento River, but we were unable to find any schools of fish. The grass was really bad around Collinsville so we moved upriver and picked up a few keepers along the West Bank. We found 5 more keepers in Broad Slough, but the wind made for difficult trolling in certain areas. All of the fish were over 5 pounds, and we released everything. We were back out on Saturday, and the water clarity is excellent and the grass that we experienced throughout the week was gone. We scored five early limits by 9:00 a.m. trolling primarily lures with chartreuse. The stripers were hitting very aggressively, striking the top hook almost every time.”
Sturgeon have been an afterthought for months, but this is about to change as the six-pack boats will be making their return to the Delta by October. Currently, Captain Steve Mitchell of Hook’d Up Fishing out of Pittsburg and Joey Gamez of Golden State Sport Fishing will be starting their sturgeon adventures in October while Captain Zach Medina of Gatecrasher Fishing Adventures will be beginning his ‘catch and release’ trips out of Martinez in October.
On August 7th, the Fish and Game Commission deferred their vote to revise the regulations for striped bass until their next meeting in northern California on December 11th. It is important for all fishermen interested in the preservation of the current regulations to attend this meeting in Sacramento.
The shad schools are moving in to the San Joaquin-Delta, and this is contributing to more and more striped bass starting to make the scene. Stripers and largemouth bass are starting to focus on feeding on shad in addition to bluegills and crawdads, and the action will only get better and better as the water continues to cool.
Randy Pringle, the Fishing Instructor, said, “The shad are moving into the Delta, and the largemouth bass are now keying on shad as a food source. There is a topwater bite with shad-patterned lures such as the ima Finesse Popper or the Flit ripbait as the shad like to whirl around on the surface while feeding on plankton and zooplankton. The key is to keep the lure in the strike zone as long as possible and fishing in current is essential. Tossing the Flit out and jerking it twice is a guarantee to get pummeled as there is a tremendous number of small striped bass in the San Joaquin right now. Fly fishermen could be having a ball with the 11/12-inch fish with the possibility of a few to three pounds. The birds are the indicator of where the stripers are working the surface. The small stripers are feeding on 1-inch shad, but the larger shad in the 2- to 3-inch range are starting to ball up. Flipping for bass is another good technique, and I would switch to a lighter color plastic such as the General in light green or brighter colors. Flipping a Berkley Crazy Leg Chigger Craw has also been one of my favorite baits right now as there are still fish feeding on bluegill or crawdads, but shad is now getting a lot of play.”
Pringle is hosting the annual Bass Fest at Russo’s Marina on September 14/15th, and this event is part tournament, part trade show with an emphasis on bringing in anglers who have never fished a tournament previously. The entry fee is only $60.00 with a mandatory $10.00 insurance fee up until September 9th with a $10.00 late fee after this date. The payout is 100%. The tournament is on Sunday with 100% payback with a two-day trade show out of Russo’s Marina.
Dan Mathisen of Dan Mathisen Outdoors said, “I have been finding more bait that is balling up around Frank’s Tract, and the first real push of striped bass is starting. I have been averaging around 15 stripers to 22 inches on Optimum’s Bad Bubba Shad swimbaits. Punching the weeds was the key for our fishermen in Saturday’s Open tournament, and a 13.80-pound limit took the event.” Mathisen is now guiding out of Russo’s Marina for largemouth and striped bass.
The FLW Costa Delta Series event will take place out of Russo’s Marina on Frank’s Tract from September 26-28th.
H and R Bait in Stockton has been regularly receiving up to 70 pounds of quality fresh shad during the week, and the shad are of a varying grade from medium to large. Blood worms have been popular for striper fishing from the banks while bluegill are found off of Eight Mile Road or Whiskey Slough with red worms, meal worms, or jumbo red worms.
The algae blooms continue in the east and south Delta, 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.
Lake Nacimiento/San Antonio/Santa Margarita/Lopez
Bass 3 White bass 3 Striper 1 Catfish 2 Crappie 2
Nacimiento kicked out a solid winning limit during Saturday’s 101 Bass Tournament with a 3-pound average. The recreational boating has slowed down, and the white bass have come out to play, boiling in the coves along the Oaks Shores. The whites are chasing shad, and they are moving on a daily basis. Small spoons, spinners, or swimbaits in white with a small profile to match the shad are working. Finesse techniques are working best for the spotted bass as smaller jigs or plastics on the drop-shot are working to 20 feet in depth while there is a crankbait or spinnerbait bite when the wind is blowing. Catfish are still taken on cut baits while panfish are taken on red worms or jumbo red worms. The lake dropped from 55% to 52% this week.
Lopez continues to kick out quality 3- to 5-pound largemouths with topwater frogs or small Poppers working in shaded areas or over weeds and mats. Working the bottom with jigs, Brush Hogs, or plastics to 6-inches on a Texas rig are the most effective techniques by mid-morning as the bass are holding around the outside weedlines in 10 to 20 feet of water. Panfish is best with red worms, jumbo red worms, or meal worms at depths from 10 to 30 feet, and there are crappie to be had with minijigs at depths to 25 feet over submerged structure.
At Santa Margarita, quality largemouth bass have been boiling on the surface chasing shad, and spoons, topwater lures, or small swimbaits in shad patterns are working best. By mid-morning, the most consistent action occurs with big plastics to 8 inches along with deep-diving crankbaits. Crappie are holding in certain trees or rockpiles near the dam with minijigs or small swimbaits while catfish are found on nightcrawlers.
At San Antonio, the bass bite is improving as the water is just now starting to cool slightly, but you have to ‘run and gun’ to find the fish. The bass are chasing shad, and shad-patterned squarebill crankbaits to 15 feet are working along with smaller profile plastics with a purple line imitating the shad on the drop-shot. The water levels are dropping, and the fish are suspending in open water off of structure, feeding on shad. Catfish are taken on cut baits scented with various concoctions. The lake dropped to 35%.
Shaver Lake Team Kokanee Derby: Sept. 7 – 1, Kevin and Karla Smith, 57.60 ounces (big fish 20.50); 2, Jim and James Franco, 54.10; 3, Gary Coe/John Lico, 53.00. Juniors (1 fish) – 1, Nathaniel Lenard, 17.35; 2, Brody Code, 16.20; 3, Annabella Zambataro, 15.45.
Cen Cal Elite Bass Tournaments Tournament of Champions: Sept. 7-8 at Millerton (10-fish weigh in) – 1, Josh Housey Jr./Jr. Decmacablin, 12.70; 2, Tim and Timmy Wells, 12.53; 3, Craig Gong/Ryan Reynolds, 12.02 (Big Fish 3.00).
New Jen Bass Tournaments Marine Reconnaissance Foundation: Sept. 7 at New Melones – 1, Jerod and Joshua Adams, 14.86; 2, Christian Ostrander/Ronnie Heil, 13.17; 3, Jamieson and Shaun Heaney, 12.55 (Big Fish 6.09).
101 Bass: Sept. 7 at Nacimiento – 1, Tim and TJ Sharpe, 15.81; 2, Ken Sauret/Paul Butler, 12.99; 3, Stephen Jasso/Jake Cotta, 12.86.
Sept. 14: Isabella – American Bass Association, San Antonio – Gold Ole Boys
Sept. 14-15: Delta/Russo’s Marina – Bass Fest, Millerton – Bass 101
Sept. 15: Pine Flat – Kings River Bass Club
Sept. 21: Delta/Ladd’s Marina – Sonora Bass Club/Manteca Bassin’ Buddies/Merced Bass Club, Don Pedro – Bass N’ Tubes/Christian Bass Leagues, McClure – River Rats/17-90 Bass Club/Bakersfield Bass Club, Success – Golden Empire Bass Club, Nacimiento – 101 Bass, Lopez – 805 Kayak Fishing, Santa Margarita – San Luis Obispo Bass Ambassadors
Sept. 22: Delta/B and W Resort – Fresno Bass Club, Delta/Ladd’s Marina – Gold Country Jr. /Riverbank Bass Anglers, Delta/Tracy Oasis – Tracy Oasis Marina
Sept. 26-28: Delta/Russo’s Marina – Costa Forrest L. Wood Delta Series
Sept. 28: Delta/Russo’s Marina – Hook, Line, and Sinker, Delta/Pittsburg Marina – City of Pittsburg Fishing Festival, New Melones – Tri Valley Bass Masters, McClure – Sierra Bass Club
Sept. 29: Delta/Russo’s Marina – Costa Forrest L. Wood Delta Series Final, Success – Porterville Bass Club
Oct. 4-5: Don Pedro – California Bass Federation
Oct. 5: Camanche – Sonora Bass Club, New Melones – Kings River Bass Club, Hogan – Manteca Bassin’ Buddies, McClure – Angler’s Press/Merced Bass Club, Nacimiento – Kern County Bass Masters, Santa Margarita – Bakersfield Bass Club
Oct. 5-6: Delta/Russo’s Marina – New Jen Bass Tournaments
Oct. 6: Delta/Wimpy’s Marina – Central Valley Anglers Salmon Derby, Salt Springs – Central Valley Kayak Fishing
Week of Sept. 15 by California Department of Fish and Wildlife:
Fresno County: Wishon Reservoir
f = full moon> = peak activity