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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Wishon and Courtright trout fishing “on a crazy bite!” Kelly Brewer said. Don Pedro trout hitting, Kyle Wise reported. McClure rainbows on a tear, Steve Marquette said. Success bass active, Dave Hurley reported. Aqueduct stripers feeding, Jake Figgs said.
2-Have to work hard
4-Fish jumpin’ in boat
Delta Mendota Canal and Sloughs
Striper 3 Catfish 2
The California Aqueduct has been a viable option for striped bass anglers, Jake Figgs of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said. Duo Realis jerkbaits in white or Magnum Flukes are working as the bait is congregating around the headgates. The section of the aqueduct near Los Banos continues to be the most productive location as the water is clearing up from heavy releases out of San Luis Reservoir.
In the southern section of the aqueduct in Kern County, the aqueduct is still good with blood worms along with large minnows, flukes, and jerkbaits. For catfish, anchovies, sardines, mackerel, minnows and chicken livers are all working.
Bass 2 Trout 2 Bluegill 2 Catfish 3 Crappie 2
Eastman Reservoir has been feast or famine with the occasional quality largemouth bass taken on live crawdads for those targeting catfish around the dam. Heavier jigs or deep-diving crankbaits around the boulders near the dam are the most productive artificial techniques. Jake Figgs of Valley Rod in Clovis said, “There are a number of smaller bass that have to be weeded through, but there are some quality largemouths in the 2- to 5- pound range.” There is a good night bite with big plastic worms from 7 to 10 inches on a Texas- or Tokyo-rig along with smaller swimbaits such as the 4-inch boot tail Kei Techs on a 3/8- to 1/4-ounce jig head. The bass are eating at night as there is a lot of bait forming around the humps and saddles. Catfishing is picking up with live crawdads, chicken livers or nightcrawlers from the shorelines with the best action in the evenings.
Eastman dropped from 51% to 47% as water releases have increased.
Call: Eastman Lake 689-3255
Bass 2 Trout 2 Catfish 2 Bluegill 2 Crappie 2
There hasn’t been much information from Hensley this week as most bass fishermen are targeting on nearby Eastman, but once you find the bass, you can take them on Senkos on a wacky-rig, Texas-rigs plastics, jigs or spinnerbaits. There is a topwater bite for a smaller grade of bass in the early mornings with buzzbaits, River2 Sea Whopper Ploppers or frogs working close to the shoreline.
Few crappie or catfish reports. Hensley receded from 40% to 32%.
Lake Don Pedro
Bass 2 Trout 3 Kokanee 2 King salmon 1 Crappie 2
The trout bite took off in a big way over the weekend as Kyle Wise of Head Hunter Guide Service found the schools at a depth of 60 feet in 400 feet of water in the main channel off of Willow. He said, “The trout are chasing shad, and we ran Speedy Shiners in copper/gold coated with Smelly Jelly at 60 to 80 feet. After picking up a 14-inch kokanee on a Speedy Shiners, we dropped down Apex lures as deep as 175 feet for some additional kokanee. These fish were missing scales, but they were in good shape.”
For spotted and largemouth bass, Ryan Cook of Ryan Cook’s Fishing said, “We put together an 18-pound limit with no kicker fish with the best fish found as deep as 60 feet. The bass are scattered from 5 to 75 feet, and you have to search around to find them as we went to at least 35 spots and found all of our fish on only two of these spots. When we were on them, it was hot, as we must have landed 50 bass on these two locations. Spooning or G-Money jigs with a 5-inch twin tail trailer on a 3/4-ounce head along with Ned Rigs. We picked up numbers on custom Dead Stick Bait Company plastics from David Coy of Exeter. Once you are on the fish, you have to keep their interest and they will bite as long as they are excited. If you have a lull, they will go off the bite, and you will have to stir them up again.”
The lake dropped from 85% to 83%.
A fundraiser tournament for Autism Speaks will occur on Nov. 2 with a 50% payback – contact Michaela Schimgdall at 209-603-5258.
Lake Isabella/Bakersfield area
Bass 2 Trout 2 Crappie 2 Catfish 3 Bluegill 2
Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield reported some crappie are still coming on live minnows around Paradise Cove while catfishing is excellent around Camp 9 with Sonny’s Dip Bait, frozen shad, or clams. The bass bite remains slow. Isabella has dropped from 37% to 33%. The upper Kern River remains outstanding for rainbow trout with salmon eggs or nightcrawlers as the flows are ‘perfect.’ The lower Kern River received a trout plant, and although the flows remain high, there may be some planters to find around Sandy Flats or Hobo Gulch. In the high country of the upper Kern River, the Golden Trout Wilderness Pack Trains will be taking pack trips through October.
Bass 2 Crappie 2 Trout 2 Catfish 2
The lake has been dropped to near minimum pool at 8%, and it is difficult to launch a large boat, but there is some action for bass on jigs or plastics on the drop-shot around the remaining submerged structure on the lake. There are some crappie taken from the banks with minijigs around submerged trees or rockpiles in the lowered lake.
Call: Sierra Sporting Goods 592-5212
Bass 3 Trout 3 Catfish 2 Crappie 2 Bluegill 2
The cooler evening temperatures have brought on the fall pattern, and the bass are found over rocky main lake points or submerged rock piles in the lowered lake. The lake has dropped to 16%, and launching a boat at the Tule Ramp requires some work. There is a good reaction bite along with jigs and plastics on a dart-head. In the Tule River, dry fly action is excellent with caddis patterns.
Bass 2 Trout 3 King salmon 0 Kokanee 0 Crappie 2 Catfish 2
The trout bite continues for trollers with excellent action at depths from 60 to 80 feet with various spoons. Steve Marquette of the Lake McClure/Lake McSwain Recreation Company said, “You can go out at any time and load up on the planted rainbows from 1 to 3 pounds with various spoons such as silver/blue Kastmasters, Speedy Shiners, Needlefish, or ExCel spoons. I continue to release the rainbows at the side of the boat without bringing them into the net as hitting the net will cause them to lose their scales and increase mortality.”
For bass, Ryan Cook of Ryan Cook’s Fishing said, “The bite is starting to improve with G-Money jigs with a 5-inch twin tail trailer on a 3/4-ounce jig head at depths from 20 to 60 feet. Numbers can be taken on a Ned Rig with plastics from Dead Stick Bait Company. You really have to work to get them to bite.”
McClure dropped from 75% to 67%.
Call: Ryan Cook – Ryan Cook’s Fishing 691-7008
There is some life at Lake McSwain as Steve Marquette of the Lake McClure/McSwain Recreation Company reported a 9-pound rainbow was taken at the Brush Pile along with the very occasional limit of planted rainbows. He said, “The cooler weather has helped, and the best action is in the mornings or evenings with Power Bait or nightcrawlers from the Brush Pile or the Handicapped Docks.”
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 3
The big news of the week and perhaps the year was the potential lake-record largemouth bass landed by Tom Pallas at 10.5 pounds. Pallas measured, weighed and released the bass back into the water on a purple/gray plastic trailer on a jig in the rocky structure close to the mouth of the river arm. This bass smashes the previous lake record of 7.59 pounds landed in 2006. The size of this fish shows the improvement of the quality in largemouth bass with three years of high-water levels and the increase in the amount of feed in the lake.
Jake Figgs of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “The bass are suspended with the water releases, and everything is coming on the slow fall with Spy Rigs in Ghost Minnow or Powder White along with Senkos on a wacky-rig or jigs on a 3/8- to 1/2-ounce head at depths from 25 to 30 feet. Watermelon Seed, watermelon/red or brown are the top color patterns.”
The lake is releasing water, and it dropped from 73% to 63%.
Call: Valley Rod & Gun 292-3474
New Melones Reservoir/Tulloch
Bass 2 Crappie 2 Catfish 2 Trout 2 Kokanee 1
The bass bite at the Mother Lode lakes remains in the doldrums during this early fall transition period, and the hot trout bite from last week also became a mystery.
Ryan Cook of Ryan Cook’s Fishing said, “It is a tough bass bite in the early fall transition, but with two weeks of cool weather, the action will break out.”
Clara Ricabal of Jackson Fishing Kayaks was out with local professional bass fisherman, Alex Niapas of Altaville, for a few hours on Sunday, and they found overall difficult action, but Niapas was able to score the occasional largemouth to 4 pounds while Ricabal focused on a smaller grade of fish.
For rainbow trout, Kyle Wise of Head Hunter Guide Service said, “Everything went downhill at Melones as both local guide Gary Burns and myself looked high and low throughout the week, and I must have only landed 5 rainbows in 4 trips. The bait moved out of the Spillway, and I searched Coyote Creek, Carson Creek, the Highway 49 Bridge, Parrot’s Ferry, and Angels Creek. Carson Creek is loaded with shad, but there were no trout there. In fact, we had to shake off way too many spotted bass at depths from 35 to 80 feet. We need rain to get the bite going once again, and the only place I haven’t tried is out in open water in the main river channel.”
Catfish are found on nightcrawlers or chicken livers. Glory Hole’s annual Catfish Contest started Oct. 1 and participation is limited.
The lake held at 85%.
Pine Flat Reservoir/Kings River
Bass 2 Trout 2 Kokanee 0 King salmon 0 Catfish 2 Crappie 2
The bass bite remains difficult with the heavy water releases as the fish are suspending. Jake Figgs of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “Windy Gap and above have been the most productive areas with a slow fall presentation on finesse plastics or dragging the bottom with jigs. Steep rock walls are a top location to focus upon as the shad schools have scattered with the dropping water lures. Targeting rocky structure is best with a slow fall presentation as there isn’t much of a reaction bite. Trout trolling remains slow, and there are few crappie reports.”
The lake dropped from 58% to 53%.
In the lower Kings River, trout plants continue with a plant scheduled for this week. Trout fishing is good with salmon eggs or trout dough bait as the planters are holding in the slower water with quality rainbows caught and released by fly fishermen in the catch-and-release section.
San Luis Reservoir and O’Neill Forebay
Striper 2 Catfish 2 Bass 2 Crappie 2
The striped bass bite had improved with the cooling water temperatures, but the overall bite has been sporadic since then with topwater action on-and-off.
Roger George of Roger’s Guide Service said, “Fishing at San Luis after the latest cooling front was rebounding back to a more normal bite as temps rose back to the 80s, but it’s slowed again. I guided Mike Piazza of Fresno and his 81-year-old father last Friday and we picked up fish on topwater early before switching over to trolling Lucky Crafts for over 20 stripers to 25 inches, averaging around 22 to 23 inches. Things are changing quickly as the weather warms up again. and the fish are moving into more of a fall pattern. Some guys were doing well casting the shores with ripbaits, but it has slowed down. The troll bite is just moderate with fish holding from the surface down to 50 feet right now. I scouted alone again on Monday looking for new patterns but the overall bite was way off from the last trip on Friday and there were very few boils. I finally found a biter after seven hours of fishing with a nice 17-pound striper I released. The low pressure this week may complicate things. DFW has been doing some on-the-water boat and angler inspections.”
San Luis dropped slightly to 60%.
Bass 3 Trout 2 Kokanee 2
Bass fishing has improved with Jake Figgs of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis reporting, “Steve Newman, our manager, was out there this week, and he found good action around the weed with finesse presentations such as a Neko Rig with Electric Shad or green pumpkin. A drop-shot presentation is also effective. The grass is dying out with the cooler water temperatures, but you have to work around the thicker pockets of remaining grass.” For trout and kokanee, Steve Peckham, owner of Affordable Tackle along with Jim Travis, Terry Brown and Harold McCracken had moderate success catching kokanee in late September. Travis said, “The kokanee were healthy and up to 17 inches, but they are in their pre-spawn cycle so be prepared to experiment with lure and flasher colors and shorter set backs on your downriggers. Most were caught trolling in front of Miller’s Landing using Affordable Tackle’s Green Spin-N-Glow Spinners and Green UV/Glow Spinners behind 4.4-inch Chartreuse Sierra Flasher, Brass Dodger and Holographic Sierra Flashers at depth from 35 to 40 feet with a speed ranging from 1.2 to 1.5 mph.”
The Department of Fish and Wildlife planted 50,000 kokanee fingerlings this year for the future.
The lake dropped from 89 to 79%.
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 65% to 46% and Florence at 51% with Mammoth Pool from 77% to 75%. 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 2 Trout 2
The light switch remains off at Shaver Lake as the local guides have either called it a season or postponed trips for the time being.
Dick Nichols of Dick’s Fishing Charters, said, “I have called it a season after my 14th year of guiding on the lake, but I will be back on the water in April 2020. The kokanee bite is very slow, and the trout have yet to ramp up. I expect that the trout bite will improve in the coming months before the winter arrives in force.”
Shaver dropped from 80% to 73%.
At Huntington, the lake is releasing water, and it dropped from 67% to 55% this week due to heavy releases into Shaver Lake and down the San Joaquin River system. Not much change in the trout action as the lake hasn’t received a trout plant since early August.
Sierra Marina launch ramp webcam: sierramarina.com/camera.html.
Kelly Brewer of the Wishon RV Park and Store said, “The trout bite has been crazy, and there are campers who have been going out every day and catching and released 30 to 50 trout per day with plenty in the 14- to 16-inch range along with a few browns. Anything that you throw in the water right now is working as bank anglers are also getting in on the act.” Trollers are scoring with Wedding Rings tipped with a nightcrawler behind a dodger, Needlefish, or similar spoons in front of the dam and along the rockwall at depths from 10 to 20 feet. 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 for power generation.
At Courtright, limits are also found due to the recent plants with similar techniques to Wishon. Trollers are pulling blade/’crawler combinations, Wedding Rings, or Dick’s Trout Busters tipped with a nightcrawler at depths to 20 feet. Shore fishermen are picking up limits along both sides of the dam or near the boat launch with 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
Rockfishing remains the story with the Huli Cat running down to the Deep Reef in 200 feet of water for 15 limits of rockfish and a few ling cod to 6 pounds. Second captain Michael Cabanas said, “There were a number of big vermillions along with yellows in the sacks, and shrimp flies were the number one offering.” The Huli Cat will continue to run rockfish trips until the salmon from the Coastside Net Pens show up later in the season. Ocean salmon fishing ends on October 31st, but the Huli Cat is the only large party boat offering the popular crab combination trips starting on November 2nd.
The opening of the recreational Dungeness crab season on November 2nd is a huge celebration out of this harbor, and the campgrounds and parking lot will be full of RV’s, tents, and boat trailers. The Huli Cat is the only large party boat out of Half Moon Bay running the popular combination crab/rockfish trips. The opening of the recreational season looks promising with the warm water blob far off of the central coast as the warm water affects the domoic acid level in crab.
Salmon 2 Rockfish 4 Striper 2 Surf Perch 2
Rockfishing has taken center stage once again with the Check Mate out of Chris’s Fishing in Monterey scoring 27 limits of rockfish and 15 lings on Saturday. The action has been solid for rockfish, and when the size of the load along with the weather allows, the trips south to Point Sur have been ‘lights out.”
Crab/rockfish combination trips start on Saturday, Nov. 2.
San Francisco Bay
Salmon 2 Halibut 2 Striper 3 Rockfish 3 White Seabass 3 Leopard shark 2 Sturgeon 2
The salmon bite has slowed down considerably, but the salmon that are coming along the Marin coast line remain big. The big news has been the presence of white sea bass in the bay, and there were at least 100 boats out around Oyster Point over the weekend. Tom and Davis Uslan of Clarksburg made their first trip out for white sea bass, and after hooking and losing two of the ghosts on their first drift, Davis landed his first sea bass at over 30 pounds on a live anchovy. The boat traffic put down the bite as there were boaters running over the shy species. When the boat traffic has been lighter on the weekdays, John Badger of Barbarian Sport Fishing has been limiting out with both striped bass and white sea bass on a daily basis. These have been a big grade of white sea bass with fish in the 40- to 60-pound range reported.
San Luis Obispo
Rockfish 3 Surf perch 3
Out of San Luis Obispo County, rockfishing continues to be the story with near-limits over the weekend for the large party boats on ½ to ¾-day trips. On Saturday, the Avenger, Endeavor, and Starfire out of Morro Bay Landing went out with 85 anglers for limits of rockfish and 34 ling cod to 14 pounds with 27 of the lings taken on the full-day trip on the Avenger. The limits consisted of 305 vermilion, 55 copper, 10 Boccaccio, 475 assorted, 5 cabezon, and a rock sole. Also out of Morro Bay, it was also limits for the Fiesta and Rita G on Monday for 43 anglers with 150 vermilion, 145 assorted, 19 copper, 12 Boccaccio, 4 sheephead, and a rocksole along with 24 ling cod to 9.4 pounds. Sam Longoria of Visalia took the jackpot with the big ling. Out of Patriot Sport Fishing in Port San Luis, the Patriot and Flying Fish out of Patriot Sport Fishing also put in limits of rockfish for 37 anglers on Sunday consisting of 106 vermilion, 18 copper, 23 Boccaccio, 221 assorted rockfish, an ocean whitefish, and a rocksole along with a single 12-pound ling landed by Raymond Garcia of Bakersfield. All ports are running a variety of trips in the coming weeks for rockfish/ling cod including overnight trips.
Bass 3 Striper 2 Sturgeon 2 Catfish 2 Bluegill 2 Salmon 2
The 72nd Rio Vista Bass Derby will dominate action over the weekend with information at www:bassfestival.com. There are adult divisions in target-length for striped bass and sturgeon with the heaviest fish taken in the salmon division. A huge festival will take place in Rio Vista throughout the weekend.
The salmon bite continues to improve, and the best action remains in the north Delta. The Mokelumne River around Hog and Beaver Slough is also showing signs of life. The Central Valley Anglers out of Lodi held their 3rd annual Sandy Leiting Memorial Salmon Derby on Sunday out of Wimpy’s Marina, and club spokesman, Ted Handel, said, “We had a nice turnout of 56 fishermen, but the action was slow with only 3 fish weighed in. Jim Fox took first at 12.98 pounds, Bobby Critchfield was second at 12.63 pounds, and Glen Greenwell in 3rd at 9.45 pounds with all fish taken on Silvertron spinners.”
Dave Scatena of Stockton took out his 6-year old grandson, Jack Scatena of Brentwood, over the weekend, and Jack reeled in his first salmon at 14.5 pounds across from Long Island on the Old Sacramento River on a pearl UV single-bladed Silvertron spinner.
Clyde Wands, shallow trolling expert, said, “You can fish on the incoming tide as the grass has been overwhelming on the outgoing tide. I thought we would get a good flush out, but it’s not happening, I have never seen it this bad this late in the year.”
The waters of the San Joaquin-Delta are starting to cool, and the shad is balling up which is a good sign for fall fishing in the Delta. Fresh shad is available in area bait shops, and striped bass are starting to compete with largemouth bass for angler attention.
For largemouth bass, there is a chatterbait and spinnerbait bite when the wind is blowing, and it has been blowing a lot lately. Punching the weeds is still the top technique, but there has been some topwater action with River2 Sea Whopper Ploppers or Spooks in Mildred and Little Mandeville Island.
Lake Nacimiento/San Antonio/Santa Margarita/Lopez
Bass 3 White bass 2 Striper 1 Catfish 2 Crappie 2
The cooler daytime temperatures have helped out with the spotted bass bite at Nacimiento with good action on topwater lures along with crankbaits. Jigs are also picking up spots, but the white bass bite has slowed with the cooler waters. A few boils can be found on occasion. Catfish remain a possibility with cut baits soaked in scent, and mackerel is working particularly well. The lake dropped from 50% to 48% this week.
At Lopez, frogs or small topwater walking baits such as Spooks are picking up quality largemouth bass, but the action isn’t fast or furious. By midday, jigs in deep water along with plastics on the drop-shot or Texas-rig around submerged grass is best. 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 Santa Margarita, quality largemouth to 5 pounds are possible, but you have to put in your time and cover water to find success. The best action has been on the surface with frogs or walking baits before switching over to jigs or large plastics. Catfish are also biting mackerel here, and bluegill and red ear perch can be taken on meal worms or red worms.
At San Antonio, the lake is loaded with shad, and catfish remain the best bet with Sonny’s Dip Bait, Triple S Stink Bait in Blood Formula, and mackerel soaked in garlic. The catfish are aggressive and even striking lures intended for bass. The bass have moved into the shallows as the water levels have remained stable, and a few small fish are taken on plastics on the shakey head, split-shot, or drop-shot. The lake is now on the winter schedule, and the launch ramp is closed on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays.
Third annual Sandy Leiting Memorial Salmon Derby: Oct. 6 at Delta/Wimpy’s Marina – 1st - Jim Fox -12.98 pounds; 2nd - Bobby Critchfield -12.63 pounds; 3rd - Glen Greenwell - 9.45 pounds.
Oct. 11-13: Delta/Rio Vista – Rio Vista Chamber of Commerce Striped Bass Derby and Festival www.bassfestival.com
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
Week of Oct. 13 by California Department of Fish and Wildlife:
Fresno County: Kings River below Pine Flat Dam
Kern County: Kern River section 3, Ming Lake
f = full moon > = peak activity