Fishing Report

Fishing report for week of Oct. 2-8: Wishon and Courtright trout bite ‘on fire’ and more

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

Wishon and Courtright trout fishing “on fire,” Kelly Brewer said. San Luis shore anglers getting stripers, Mickey Clements reported. New Melones and Don Pedro trout biting, Kyle Wise said. Delta bass fishing good, Randy Pringle reported. McClure trout action still going, Steve Marquette said. Millerton bass hitting, Steve Newman reported.


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

The California Aqueduct has been receiving more play by striped bass anglers soaking anchovies, nightcrawlers or cut baits in the cleaner water above Highway 152 in Los Banos. The moving water is clearing up, and the shad and baitfish are accumulating around the head gates. Hard baits such as Duo Realis jerkbaits or lipless crankbaits are working in the moving water. There have been more shad boils as the wter is cooling down.

In the southern section of the aqueduct in Kern County, blood worms along with large minnows, flukes and jerkbaits are working for striped bass, and the key is finding clearer water without moss or debris. Catfish are taken on anchovies, sardines, mackerel, minnows and chicken livers.

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

Eastman Lake

Bass 2 Trout 2 Bluegill 2 Catfish 2 Crappie 2

Steve Newman of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “Bass fishing remains ‘hit or miss’ with some anglers reporting excellent action while others are struggling. There is a good topwater bite with walking baits such as Spooks in bluegill or blue-backed herring patterns before the sun comes up. Crankbaits, jigs or plastics on a Texas-rig are working over the island humps while the dam is best with 5- to 6-inch weightless Senkos in blue/black, red/black or greenpumpkin just above the rocks. It is a matter of working a slow-fall bait just above the rocks.”

Catfishing remains slow, but there has been an occasional quality crappie found on minijigs or small swimbaits. The lake dropped from 51% to 49%.

Call: Eastman Lake 689-3255

Hensley Lake

Bass 2 Trout 2 Catfish 2 Bluegill 2 Crappie 2

At nearby Hensley, Newman reported the bass bite has slowed down a bit with the best fishing on large plastics on a Texas-rig dragged on the bottom after a slow fall. Senkos on a slow-fall on a weighless or wacky-rig is also an effective technique over the rockpiles or brush piles. Spinnerbaits are effective along the banks for a smaller grade of bass. A few crappie are taken on small swimbaits or minijgs near structure. The lake dropped from 37% to 35%.

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

Lake Don Pedro

Bass 2 Trout 3 Kokanee 2 King salmon 1 Crappie 2

Don Pedro has been a sleeper for rainbow trout and kokanee for the past few months with most trollers heading to New Melones or other reservoirs in the state for kokanee, but it remains one of the only viable options for kokanee in the state. Bass fishing remains a challenge, but there are a number of upcoming tournaments in the months of October and November, including the second day of the Tournament of Champions for the Best Bass Tournament trails.

Kyle Wise of Head Hunter Guide Service took out Tom Oliveira, part-time fishing guide and recent owner of Mag Tackle, to Don Pedro this past week, and they found huge numbers of rainbow trout running Speedy Shiners coated with Smelly Jelly at 70 to 95 feet in front of Hatch Creek and Willow Creek on a fast-troll at 3.0 to 3.5 mph. Wise said, “We saw marks at 125 feet, and after catching a kokanee on a Speedy Shiner at 70 feet, we dropped down orange sparkly Apex lures to see what was down there. Tom landed one of the larger kokanee of the year at 19.25 inches, and we picked up seven other silver bright kokanee with all of their scales intact. These were next year’s fish that were down hugging the bottom with the big spawner. When you see marks on your meter, you have to trust your electronics. The trout at Don Pedro are smaller than at New Melones, but they are plentiful with excellent numbers.”

Mother Lode lakes trout trolling action will heat up as the rainbows migrate to the surface once the reservoirs turn over, but there are still some solid possibilities existing for those willing to go.

For bass, the bite remains very tough with small swimbaits or wacky-rigged plastics along vertical walls with shade working best as the fish are suspending with the dropping water levels.

Don Pedro dropped slightly from 85% to 84%.

Call: Monte Smith 209-581-4734; Kyle Wise – Head Hunter Guide Service 209-531-3966; Ryan Cook – Ryan Cook’s Fishing 691-7008

Lake Isabella/Bakersfield area

Bass 2 Trout 3 Crappie 3 Catfish 3 Bluegill 2

At Lake Isabella, there are still crappie to be taken off of the bank near Red’s Marina with minijigs, and catfish are taken with Sonny’s Dip Bait, mackerel, sardines, or chicken livers from the banks at night. The bass bite is decent with crankbaits or plastic worms, and the action should improve with a few upcoming tournaments on the lake. Isabella has dropped to 35%. The upper Kern River continues to be good for planted rainbow trout above the Kernville Bridge and also at the Kernville Park Recreation Area with salmon eggs, nightcrawlers, or Power Bait. The flows in the lower Kern River are still moving, and a few bass and catfish can be taken from the access points below the day. In the high country of the upper Kern River, the Golden Trout Wilderness Pack Trains will be taking pack trips through October.

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

Lake Kaweah

Bass 3 Crappie 3 Trout 2 Catfish 2

The bass bite has improved with jigs or underspins, and the action should continue to improve as the fish move to the available structure in the lowered lake. There are good reports of crappie action from the banks with minijigs around the submerged trees and rockpiles in the lowered lake. The lake dropped from 9% to 8%.

Call: Sierra Sporting Goods 592-5212

Lake Success

Bass 3 Trout 3 Catfish 2 Crappie 2 Bluegill 2

The bass are holding around main lake points with rocky structure as the bait has moved in and started to school up. Big plastics on the drop-shot or big spinnerbaits are working best, and the action should continue to improve with the dropping water temperatures. The water releases continue, and the lake is very low at 15%.

In the Tule River, Chuck Stokke said the dry fly action is excellent in the lowered flows with caddis patterns.

Call: Sequoia Fishing Co. 539-5626,

McClure Reservoir

Bass 2 Trout 4 King salmon 0 Kokanee 0 Crappie 2 Catfish 2

Trout trolling remains excellent with planted rainbows to 4 pounds found near the dam at depths from 55 to 80 feet with heavy spoons such as Speedy Shiners, blue/silver Kastmasters, or silver/gray Needlefish on the fast-troll. Steve Marquette of the Lake McClure/McSwain Recreation Company said, “This is the best week of trout fishing for trollers, and I couldn’t even get our downriggers to my desired depth before I hooked up four times in a row. We caught and released rainbows to 4 pounds.”

The bass bite remains very tough as the fish are suspending with the water releases, and the best action continues to be around vertical structure such as bridge pilings or walls at depths to 40 feet with slow falling swimbaits or plastics on a wacky-rig are producing a few bass. The reaction bite is non-existent after the sun hits the water.

The lake dropped from 75% to 70%.

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

McSwain Reservoir

Trout 2

A little better action here with up to four rainbow trout landed by a bank angler near the Brush Pile with trout dough bait. The cooler water is bringing the rainbows closer to the shorelines. The best fishing is in the early mornings or late afternoons with trout dough bait or nightcrawlers.

The annual Merced Irrigation Fall Trout Derby that had been scheduled Oct. 4-5 has been canceled for this year.

No trout plants are scheduled for the upcoming months.

Call: McSwain Marina 209-378-2534

Millerton Lake/San Joaquin River

Bass 3 Striped bass 1 Shad 1 Bluegill 2 Crappie 2

Steve Newman of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “Spotted bass numbers remain very good as the bass are holding along rocky structure of basketball-sized boulders or longer as they are not orienting towards sandy flats. Plastics on a drop-shot or dart head are working best at depths from 10 to 20 feet along with deep-diving crankbaits or jerkbaits in the river arm along sharp rockpiles or boulders. In the main lake, Senkos on a wacky-rig or plastics on a drop-shot on as light a weight or no weight as possible in order to find the right depth. The bass are suspending due to the water releases, and the bass are keying on shad as they are spitting up shad. The bass upriver are more aggressive with an increased reaction bite while the main lake requires more of a finesse bite. Light colored plastics with a pastel line are working such as Pro Gold, Kasper, or Electric Shad with the red flake and purple flakes coming later in the season.”

The lake is releasing water, and it dropped from 73% to 69%.

Call: Valley Rod & Gun 292-3474

New Melones Reservoir/Tulloch

Bass 2 Crappie 2 Catfish 2 Trout 3 Kokanee 1

New Melones hasn’t been kicking out more than an occasional very large rainbow trout with few numbers of smaller rainbows over the past two years, but the key to unlocking the secret of the lake may have been found over the weekend.

Kyle Wise of Head Hunter Guide Service found “epic trout action” on Sunday with numbers of rainbows caught and released in addition to their limits kept. He said, “I was asked by the management of the Fishermen’s Warehouse in Manteca to show their employees some techniques to add to their knowledge for tackle sales, and I took out Ocsanna Seropyan and Tammy for some trolling, and we found the trout around the bait. All you have to do is find the shad, and the rainbows will be there. I am running Speedy Shiners coated with Smelly Jelly between 3.0 and 3.5 mph at depths from 40 to 65 feet in the main lake near the dam and over the main river channel. We also caught and released some spotted bass at these depths as they are also keying on the shad schools. The numbers are better at Don Pedro, but the size is best at Melones. I will be taking advantage of this action in the coming weeks since we discovered these fish. I took out my young daughter Chloe on Sunday, and she posted a quick morning limit of rainbows.”

The bass bite remains tough as the bass are suspending in response to water releases. Once the lakes settle down within the next few weeks, the action should take off once again.

Catfish are found on nightcrawlers or chicken livers. Glory Hole’s annual Catfish Contest runs the month of October; registration has begun with a limited number of participants.

The lake held at 85%.

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

Steve Newman of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “The dropping water levels have moved the spotted and largemouth bass out into deeper water, and they are suspending from 20 to 40 feet by mid-morning. There is a brief window for topwater lures such as Heddon’s Spooks or River2Sea Whopper Ploppers in the early morning before the sun comes up, but the larger fish are holding on the bottom as the bass are not grouped up on the shad. Spy baits or crankbaits are a good option to get to the right depth, and the fish will eat if you get the lure in front of their face. A big profile jig with a 4- to 5-inch trailer is another option. The best technique is a plastic on a drop-shot or wacky-rig on a slow fall with as light of a weight as possible.”

The lake dropped from 58% to 56%.

In the lower Kings River, trout plants continue on a regular basis, and trout fishing is good with salmon eggs or trout dough bait in the faster water with a bubble or float while a light egg sinker is best in the slower water. The water is fastest in the section from Winton Park to the dam while it slows down below Winton Park.

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

San Luis Reservoir and O’Neill Forebay

Striper 3 Catfish 2 Bass 2 Crappie 2

The water levels at San Luis Reservoir remain stable as the lake rose slightly with increased pumping out of the south Delta, but the algae bloom is still in full swing. Striped bass action is heating up for shore fishermen now that the waters are cooling down.

Steve Newman of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “The striped bass bite from the banks has been red hot, and anglers are heading out with anchovies along with a rod ready to throw topwater lures such as Heddon’s Spooks or Sexy Dogs. Hard baits have clearly been the favored type of lures right now along with soaking bait.”

Mickey Clements of Coyote Bait and Tackle in Morgan Hill said, “The striper bite has taken a 180-degree turnaround as it has gone from slow to pretty good as the fall pattern is emerging. Bank fishermen are working around the Basalt Recreation Area or the Romero Visitor Center with cut baits, topwater lures, and we just started with our first shipment of jumbo minnows since late spring.”

Roger George of Roger’s Guide Service said, “Intermittent pumping into San Luis is slowly raising the water level, and cooler evenings have lowered the water temps down to around 70 degrees, but troll anglers are struggling to find schools of active biting fish. Even experienced anglers are having to search for fish right now with lots of suspended fish showing up in open water. I fished with my buddy Andy Bedell of Watsonville and we went from spot to spot almost all day looking for activity, but it was mostly small fish in the 18- to 20-inch range at the 50-foot level with Lucky Craft Pointers. The bite was slow, even at the pumps that were running. We picked up a few school fish despite the slow bite. We went to Portuguese, the West Wall, the Dam and Trash Racks looking for schools but they seem to be more spread out now. After lunch, the fish got a little more active, and we picked up some larger school-sized striped bass near the pumps when Andy got a hard hit. The fish was 37 inches and a fat 18 pounds, and we released it quickly using the Seaqualizer. The fish was in beautiful shape. For the past two months, my strategy has been to fish hard and long, looking for one good bite from a bigger fish. The overall bite is still pretty slow, but there are short sporadic flurries for trollers. Some friends drifting minnows say they are working but finding the right school is tough. The topwater bite seemed to take off a week or so ago, and shore anglers seem to be doing well, but I’m not hearing much this week from boat guys. The algae is still heavy but things are changing fast with new areas and patterns emerging as things cool down. They were pumping in water, but the last few days they began some releases again, shutting off the pump bite.”

Mickey Clements of Coyote Bait and Tackle said, “The forebay continues to be slow with the best action in the evenings with frozen or live bait. The action should get better as we move into the fall.”

San Luis rose to 61%.

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

High Sierra

Bass Lake

Bass 2 Trout 2 Kokanee 2

The lake is dropping rapidly, from 89% to 74% this week. Bass fishing has been slow with few reports while trout trollers are scoring a few rainbows along with some changing kokanee with Father Murphy’s bugs solo along with Radical Glow Tubes at depths from 35 to 40 feet near the Sheriff’s Tower. The Department of Fish and Wildlife planted 50,000 kokanee fingerlings this year for the future.

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

Still few reports from the high-elevation lakes, and the Kaiser Pass lakes are now dropping with Edison receding to 52% and Florence at 52% with Mammoth Pool at 73%. Mammoth Pool is a still an option for both rainbow trout and crawdads.

For the latest Sierra National Forest road conditions:

Call: Vermilion Valley Resort at Edison Lake 259-4000

Shaver Lake/Huntington Lake

Kokanee 2 Trout 2

Shaver Lake has gone from one of the best kokanee lakes in the Central Sierras to a dead sea over the past few weeks, and the local guides have been calling it a season for kokanee, but there is good news higher up the hill with Courtright Reservoir turning on for planted and holdover rainbows.

Dick Nichols of Dick’s Fishing Charters, said, “With the winding down of the 2019 kokanee season, there are a few spawners out there, but they are so scattered and at varying depths, that a single limit per boat is the most you could ask for. My last trip for the season was this past Saturday, and I have found that Stevenson Bay and the Island provide the best opportunities for success. So many trollers have told me that they have been skunked with not even a hook up. Our side poles at a set back of 125 feet with pink Koke Busters behind a Mountain Flasher at approximately 24 feet are working best. Normally, we would be getting three limits of rainbows, but there are few to be found, and these fish are only 11 to 12 inches. Shaver is experiencing its worst September in years. Without the normal allotment of 3rd-year kokanee for 2020, the Department of Fish and Wildlife will need to heavily plant rainbow trout for next year for the lake to be a viable fishery. If not, Shaver will simply be a water sports lake for water and jet skiers.”

Todd Wittwer of Guide Service was out for a few hours in the morning during the middle of the week, and he said, “I picked up three kokanee with two of the three on a pink Radical Glow Tube, and if I had stuck around the area, I probably would have had a few more, but I went searching around in other locations without much success.”

Upstream Huntington Lake is also fishing very slow at this time of year with only a few rainbows taken from the banks at the Auxiliary Dam or the mouth of Rancheria Creek with trout dough bait or inflated nightcrawlers.

Shaver dropped from 80% to 78% with Huntington also dropping from 67% to 61%.

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

The high-elevation lakes of Courtright and Wishon have been relatively full of water for the past several months despite fluctuating water levels due to power generation in the Central Valley. Recent trout plants have spurred on the bite at both lakes, and the colder water temperatures have led to more aggressive action for rainbow and holdover brown trout.

Kelly Brewer of Wishon Village RV Park and Store said, “Both lakes have been on fire, and all I can say it that it is great. Wishon remains high at the first turnout, and trollers are scoring with blade/’crawler combinations, Wedding Rings tipped with a nightcrawler behind a dodger, or Rapalas from the surface to 15 feet at both lakes while shore fishermen are soaking trout dough bait or inflated nightcrawlers from the access areas.”

Jay Irvine of Visalia took out John Anderson and Nate Smith at Courtright this week, and he said, “The trout bite is really hot as we caught 50 fish, keeping three limits and returning the remainder. The weather was cold, rainy, and windy, but the fish were biting from the surface to 20 feet on orange/green spinners behind a copper/orange dodger. This pattern worked in the overcast conditions, and we also picked some up using a small broken-back German brown trout Rapala on the surface.”

With the slowdown in trout action at both Shaver and Huntington Lakes, trollers are heading to these two higher elevation lakes.

Call: Wishon RV Park 865-5361


Half Moon Bay

Salmon 2 Rockfish 3 Striper 2

The big spawner salmon that were anticipated to make their way up the coastline from Monterey Bay have yet to emerge, and combined with the paucity of the Coastside Fishing Club net pen fish so far this season, salmon fishing has been very spotty out of Half Moon Bay moving into the month of October.

With the salmon bite being so spotty, Captain Tom Mattusch of the Huli Cat has been running rockfish trips, and they went south to the Deep Reef in 220 feet of water for 9 limits of rockfish. He said, “There are some Coastside salmon, but rockfishing is number one right now. We will be running crab/rockfish combination trips starting November 2nd, and the domoic acid testing so far is showing no signs of the acid below Point Reyes. The recreational season will open on November 2nd, and things look good for the opening of the commercial season as the details are being worked out regarding the entanglement issues for whales and turtles.”

Captain Dennis Baxter of the New Captain Pete out of Half Moon Bay Sport Fishing said, “Local anglers have been trying to find the Coastside net pen fish outside of the harbor, but the action is limited to one or two fish per evening between the buoys. The flossers are lined up near the bathrooms inside of the harbor, and this is a sign that a few salmon are making their way into the harbor.”

Out of Half Moon Bay Sport Fishing, the Riptide and the Queen of Hearts will be running rockfish trips through the end of the season until December 31st, and they have been working the local reefs for limits to near-limits of rockfish along with a few ling cod. The Huli Cat will be the only large party boat running the crab/rockfish combination trips, and they are filled on the opening weekend with plenty of room starting on weekdays.

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 White sea bass 2

Chris Arcolleo of Chris’s Fishing Trips in Monterey said, “The local rockfishing has been excellent with limits of quality school fish including some big yellows along with a few bottom-dwelling fish. The near shore action on the local reefs remains strong, and we are finding a few ling cod on every trip. There was a white sea bass bite earlier in the week, and there have been some huge white sea bass landed along the beaches. We cancelled on Saturday due to wind, but we found limits of local rockfish on Sunday. We have also been taking bird watching trips out to 30 miles offshore, and there have been a number of bluefin tuna observed breezing along the surface. We have room during the weekdays, but the weekends continue to be fully booked. There is tremendous interest in the crab/rockfish combination trips starting on November 3rd, and these trips are filling up fast on the weekends.”

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

San Francisco Bay

Salmon 2 Halibut 3 Striper 3 Rockfish 3 Leopard shark 2 Sturgeon 2

The boats are starting to focus on coastal rockfishing as the wind is up on the outside, and there were some solid scores earlier in the week by both the California Dawn and Pacific Dream out of Berkeley with limits of rockfish and lings along the coast. They must have hit some rocks that have been left alone for some time since the action for lings has been slow overall along the coast. Salmon fishing is ‘hit or miss’ but those in the know are finding some large salmon as Big C’s Charters out of Sausalito was able to put in 9 salmon and a pair of lings on Wednesday. Captain Chris Smith of the Pacific Dream took out Stacey Barawed from the Fishsniffer Magazine this week, and after getting up very early to make the trip from the Central Valley, she was able to put in a limit of both rockfish and lings. Their boats have potluck trips over the weekend with a rockfish trip on Inside the bay, Keith Fraser of Loch Lomond Bait and Tackle said, “I can’t believe that halibut are still an option this late in the season, and I have never seen anything like this before. We went out drifting and trolling this week at the Brothers and the Marina Islands for striped bass, and multiple fish were the rule along with plenty of undersized striped bass. We are almost to the World Series striped bass bite in San Pablo Bay. California City is a viable option for salmon, and there have been some boats out there. It is a typical Cal City bite with some days of 4/5 salmon while the same techniques only produce a long boat ride. It all depends on when the salmon are moving through similar to in the rivers. We have live ghost shrimp, live grass shrimp, live smelt, and live pile worms in the shop, and the smelt is an outstanding bait for halibut or ling cod.” The Happy Hooker was last out earlier this week as all of the party boats are experiencing a slowdown in interest, but the halibut bite remains tremendous as they put in 27 halibut for 14 anglers along with a striped bass. The wind was pretty brutal in the bay over the weekend, and in the words of Keith Fraser, “My birdbath had whitecaps.”

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 ling cod counts are starting to climb with the Endeavor ouf of Morro Bay Landing posting 53 lings out of their three-boat total of 68 lings to 11 pounds along with 567 vermilion, 49 copper, 23 Boccaccio, and 241 assorted rockfish for near limits on the Endeavor, Avenger, and Starfire. The boats out of Virg’s Landing also posted a healthy ling score on Sunday with 34 lings to 19 pounds along with 472 vermilion, 290 assorted, 11 copper, 15 Boccaccio, and single rock sole, cabezon, and sheephead for 57 anglers on the Fiesta, Black Pearl, and Rita G. Mike Clayton of Lemoore took a jackpot with the 9.6-pound sheephead. Out of Patriot Sport Fishing in Port San Luis, the Patriot, Flying Fish, and Phenix took out 51 anglers on Sunday for 50 vermilion, 17 copper, 20 treefish, 3 Boccaccio, one cabezon, and 343 assorted rockfish. 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 2 Sturgeon 2 Catfish 2 Bluegill 2 Salmon 2

The Sacramento-River salmon bite has been ‘up and down’ as the schools are starting to move in with more regularity. The grass has been difficult to deal with for trollers, and the wind has been a major factor over the weekend. The six-pack captains are returning to Martinez and Pittsburg as it is close to time for sturgeon fishing.

The Freeport area has been consistent for those jigging spoons, but you have to be there when the fish are moving through. Steve Wirfs of Modesto was out at the end of the past week, and he landed a 15-pound salmon with another hit without hooking up. He said, “The action was pretty slow, but it was exciting when I hooked up. The morning was spectacular, but the wind came up in the afternoon, and we were off the water by 1:30 p.m.”

Alan Fong, manager of the Fishermen’s Warehouse in Sacramento, was out for a few hours in the morning this week at Freeport, and he said, “It was very slow as there were 15 boats out there without a single net flying, I will be going out this week to see what is going on at Liberty Island with some big glide baits for striped bass. The striper bite has been good on the outgoing tide when the water is cleaner, but the grass has been really difficult to deal with. My nephew, Michael ‘Bubs’ Fong took 7th in the 99-boat FLW Delta Costa Series, and I told him, ‘Pray that it gets cold since he fishes up north where the northern largemouth are in the cooler water as the Florida-strain largemouths in the central and east Delta will slow down when it’s cold.”

Sylvia Vieira of Vieira’s Riverside Bait near Isleton said, “The salmon bite has been improving, and we were crowded on Saturday with a number of boats in the Old Sacramento River. My neighbor landed his fourth salmon of the season on Saturday, and he has been using a silver/blue double-bladed Silvertron spinner while everyone else is using chartreuse double-bladed Silvertrons. It really doesn’t matter as long as you get it in their face. The wind was bad on Friday and also on Saturday morning, but it calmed down in the afternoon with great conditions on Sunday. I expect this action to last through October.”

The Fishermen’s Warehouses are carrying the new Purple Heart Veteran’s Silvertron, and proceeds from sales of this lure will be donated to the Purple Heart Veterans, an organization to take out disabled veterans into the outdoors.

Striped bass trolling was tough this week with the minus tides and heavy grass, and Clyde Wands, shallow trolling expert, said, “Between the wind and the grass, it was a very difficult week for trolling so I tried something different by drifting mudsuckers, but the wind came up and we were off the water early with only three small, legal stripers to 20 inches that were released. Our California Striped Bass Association – Isleton Chapter Salmon Derby last week was limited to three salmon out of 18 experienced anglers. I ended up in third with one of the three salmon weighed in.”

In Suisun Bay, Tony Lopez of Benicia Bait said, “The salmon bite really shut down with the minus tides along with the wind, and the water has been very dirty with both of these challenges. The good salmon fishing last week slowed down to a single jack at 1st Street on Saturday along with another one on Sunday at the Dillon Point State Park. The winds over the weekend limited the number of boats out on the water. Bullheads have been in high demand, and we have been able to keep up with demand as Curtis Hayes has been finding plenty while shrimping.”

The six-packs are on their way back, and Captain Bill Clapp of Bill’s Sport Fishing and Captain Steve Mitchell of Hook’d Up Fishing will be 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.

The oldest fishing derby on the West Coast is coming with the 72nd Rio Vista Bass Derby and Festival taking place from October 11-13th with information at There are categories in junior divisions along with adult categories in striped bass and sturgeon target-length along with the largest salmon.

The San Joaquin-Delta largemouth and striped bass bite is starting to stabilize as the waters continue to cool, and there were some solid weights during this past week’s FLW Costa Delta Series event out of Russo’s Marina featuring 99 boats with professionals and co-anglers. The cooler weather is causing the shad to school up, and the largemouth bass are keying on shad.

Blake Dyer of Walnut Creek took first place in the pro division of Costa FLW Series with a three-day total of 62 pounds, 13 ounces while Jason Borofka of Salinas in second with a pound, nine ounces behind. The top prize in the event was $31,114, and Dyer posted a massive 27-pound, 3-ounce limit on the first day in high winds, and he was punching the weed beds with Reaction Innovation’s Spicy Beaver in green pumpkin on a 1.5-ounce tungsten weight. The high winds on Thursday created different conditions on Friday, and Dyer went south to protected areas in order to chatterbaits or by punching the weeds once again. Local angler Mike Birch of Oakley came in 5th in the pro division with Michael ‘Bubs’ Fong of Sacramento in 7th.

Randy Pringle, the Fishing Instructor, said, “The key to the Delta right now is to downsize in order to catch numbers. Many fishermen are doing what they want to do and going after large fish, but chosing this option will only work for one or two larger bass. The Delta bass are very susceptible to weather changes, and the transition from 100 to 60 degrees has a dramatic effect on the largemouth bass. I have been downsizing to 8-pound test line on spinning rods with plastics in natural patterns on a Zappu head. The Berkley Bottom Hopper or heavy weight General are working best with Max Scent, and it is best to target rockwalls with weed clumps or voids. Chatterbaits or crankbaits are also effective, and you can find the better fish on the outside edges of the weed lines.”

Vince Borges of Vince Borges Outdoors is looking forward to targeting large striped bass in the Delta with topwater plugs or the Optimum Double AA swimbait in shad patterns, and he said, “My next six guide trips are for striped bass, and the shad is schooling up in the 69/70-degree water. I am going to start throwing hollow belly swimbaits in shad patterns such as the Double AA paddletail. Some anglers have been finding them in the morning on topwater lures, but I was out with Joey Gamez on my last trip, and we didn’t get out until the afternoon so we were sticking with swimbaits. The bass are starting to school up. For largemouth bass, with the hot temperatures earlier this week, you can still punch the weeds.”

For striped bass, George Wight of Antioch, one of the charter members of the California Striped Bass Association in 1974, caught and released a 31-pound striped bass on a topwater lure on Wednesday, and he said, “After losing my first hook up, I didn’t think I would get hit again, but there is nothing like landing a big fish on a topwater lure. I had to work to revive the fish, but she swam after fine after a few minutes.”

Mike Gravert of Intimidator Sport Fishing out of Korth’s Pirates Lair has put his salmon trolling trips on hold and instead is focusing on striped bass with live bluegill. He said, “The stripers are really hitting the live bait aggressively in the 68-degree water of the San Joaquin.”

Stockton area bait shops continue to receive an adequate supply of fresh shad on a regular basis.

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

The spotted bass bite at Nacimiento has improved considerably, and there are still white bass to be found. Working the bottom with contact baits such as jigs or plastics on the drop-shot are working best, but there is some action on vertical jigs with small shad-patterned spoons. When the white bass are located, they are blowing up on top water lures, along with the normal subsurface lures of white Kastmasters or RoosterTails. Some large catfish are taken on cut baits with scent while bluegill are biting red worms or meal worms around submerged structure. The lake held at 48% this week.

At Lopez, a brush fire closed the marina and launch ramp for a few days, but anglers will need to contact the marina to see if they have reopened the ramp. Largemouth bass fishing has been solid with walking baits in the early mornings on the surface before working deep water with jigs. Working around grass is the key, and large plastics on a drop-shot presentation or Texas-rig are also effective. Bluegill and redear perch are taken on red worms or jumbo red worms at depths to 20 feet, and similar to Nacimiento, mackerel is the best bet for whiskerfish.

At San Antonio, catfish remain the top species with Sonny’s Dip Bait, Triple S Stink Bait in Blood Formula, and mackerel soaked in garlic being the best options. Small panfish are taken on red worms or meal worms, while bass fishing is best around rocky structure with crankbaits, jigs, or plastics on the drop-shot. The lake is now on the winter schedule, and the launch ramp is closed on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. The lake held at 34%.


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



Costa FLW Delta: Sept. 26-28 at Delta/Russo’s Marina – Pro Division: 1, Blake Dyer, 62 pounds 13 ounces; 2, Jason Borofka, 61-4; 3, Austin Wilson, 57-0. Co-Angler Division: 1, Jack Farage, 37-2; 2, Cesar Laguna, 36-9; 3, Travis Williams, 35-3.

Sierra Bass Club: Sept. 28 at McClure – 1, Quincy Marrs, 8.26 pounds; 2, Ryan Reynolds, 7.84; 3, Martin DeHaven, 7.39. Big Fish: Carlos Contreras Jr., 2.28.


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, New Melones – Kings River Bass Club

Oct. 6: Delta/Wimpy’s Marina – Central Valley Anglers Salmon Derby, Salt Springs – Central Valley Kayak Fishing

Oct. 11-13: Delta/Rio Vista – Rio Vista Chamber of Commerce Striped Bass Derby and Festival

Oct. 12-13: Delta/Russo’s Marina – Dan Mathisen Outdoors

Oct. 12: New Melones – Best Bass Tournaments Tournament of Champions Day One, New Melones – Kerman Bass Club, Tulloch – Christian Bass League, McClure – Oro Madre Bass Anglers, Kaweah - Golden Empire Bass Club, Eastman – Roosevelt High School Bass Fishers/Kings VIII Bass Club

Oct. 13-16: Nacimiento – Good Ole Boys

Oct. 13: Delta/Ladd’s Marina – Modesto Ambassadors, Lake Camanche – Gold Country Jr. Bass Tournaments, Don Pedro – Best Bass Tournaments Tournament of Champions Day Two

Oct. 19-20: Lake Camanche – Riverbank Bass Anglers, Isabella – California Bass Contenders, Nacimiento – San Luis Obispo Bass Ambushers

Oct. 19: Delta/B and W Resort – Fresno Bass Club, Delta/Russo’s Marina – Sierra Bass Club, Delta/Tracy Oasis – Tracy Oasis Marina, Delta/Ladd’s Marina – 17-90 Bass Club, Pine Flat – RiverRats Bass Club

Oct. 20: Lake Camanche – Yak-A-Bass, New Melones – East County Student Anglers, Isabella – Finatics Fishing

Oct. 26-27: Santa Margarita – 805 Kayak Fishing Club

Oct. 26: Success – Porterville Bass Club

Oct. 27: Delta/Russo’s Marina – Hook, Line, and Sinker

Nov. 2: Delta/Brannan Island – Central Valley Anglers Sturgeon Derby, Lake Camanche – Manteca Bassin’ Buddies, Eastman – RiverRats Bass Club, Don Pedro – Autism Speaks Fundraiser Tournament contact Michaela Schimgdall 209-603-5258

Nov. 3: Delta/Tracy Oasis – Tracy Oasis Marina, Don Pedro – Modesto Ambassadors

Nov. 4: Success – Cen Cal Elite Bass Tournaments

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q = quarter moon