Fishing Report

Fishing report for week of Nov. 6-12: Striper fishing and crabbing heating up in NorCal spots

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.

Photo gallery

Show off your success! Share your fish photos and videos with Bee readers. Please share only jpeg images and Mp4 video files. Include “Fishing Report” in the subject line and email to

Best bets

Delta sturgeon and stripers take center stage, Alan Fong said. Aqueduct stripers hitting, Pete Cormier reported. Half Moon Bay and San Francisco crabbing off to great start, Dave Hurley reported. San Luis stripers active, Steve Newman said. McClure trollers scoring trout, Steve Marquette reported. Shaver trout and kokanee still available, Dick Nichols said. Wishon and Courtright rainbows still biting, Kelly Brewer 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

In the northern section of the aqueduct, Steve Newman of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis reported jerkbaits such as Duo Realis 120s along with topwater lures are popular as the fishermen are chasing boils in the California Aqueduct. The heavy water releases are filling up the canals, and the Mendota area has been popular for largemouth bass along with catfish.

In the southern section of the aqueduct in Kern County, Pete Cormier of Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield reported striped bass action is good with blood worms, anchovies or sardines along with tubes, flukes, small swimbaits, jerkbaits and Rat-L-Traps for striped bass in the 20-inch range. There are still those soaking bait, but a weightless presentation with bait is best as using heavy weights will only load the line up with grass or debris. Catfishing remains solid decent with 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 at Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “The bass bite remains tough as the largemouth bass are not chasing in the cooling water conditions. Wacky-rigged worms, jigs or 4-inch plastics on a Ned Rig over both dirt or rock areas are picking up bass to 2 pounds, and the larger fish are found deep over submerged island tops. The bigger grade may be susceptible to a larger creature bait trailer on a jig.”

The River Rats held a tournament on Saturday, and the limits were indicative of the slower action with Alex Carrillo taking first at 15.10 pounds for four fish while the second-place limit was reported to be over 9 pounds with 6 pounds for third place. The lake held at 46%.

Call: Eastman Lake 689-3255

Hensley Lake

Bass 2 Trout 2 Catfish 2 Bluegill 2 Crappie 2

Similar to Eastman, the largemouth bass bite continues to be slower with the dropping water levels and the cooling temperatures. Jigs or Senkos are best over brush piles or exposed rockpiles, but the better grade may be holding deep and eating selectively at night. The lake dropped from 25% to 23%.

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 2 Kokanee 2 King salmon 1 Crappie 2

The Mother Lode reservoirs of Don Pedro and New Melones are known for big largemouth and spotted bass, but so far this season, the action has been left wanting at both lakes. The cooler water temperatures should improve the reaction bite, but for now, both reservoirs are primarily experiencing a finesse bite.

The best action is deep with spoons or plastics on the drop-shot, and the shad schools have scattered, particularly with the wind on this large reservoir.

The Gold County Junior Bass Club led by young Michaela Schmigdall of Lake Camanche held the Autism Speaks event on Saturday, and all 19 teams experienced a tough bass bite. Ryan Cook of Ryan Cook’s Fishing said, “There were only four or five limits weighed in with the winning weight over 12 pounds and it took only 7 pounds to cash a check. The bass bite was just brutal, and you have to cover tons of water and be willing to try different techniques. The bass are on the move, almost hourly, and you can fish fast closer to the shoreline or fish deep with spoons or plastics on the drop-shot on light line as deep as 80 feet. Finding shad is essential to find the bass.”

Don Pedro is at 79%.

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 2 Catfish 3 Bluegill 2

Pete Cormier of Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield said, “There are still crappie coming out of deep water at Isabella on small to medium minnows, and two anglers posted limits of slabs working as deep as 30 feet around structure. Catfish continue to be a highly targeting species with Sonny’s Triple S Dip Bait in Blood Formula, frozen shad, or clams. There is a decent largemouth bass bite with plastic worms, jigs, or crankbaits, and I’m not surprised that this is happening at this time of year. The upper river remains good for planted rainbows with live crickets, salmon eggs, Roostertails, or Panther Martins. The lower river is also holding some trout as a plant was made in the past week. Catfish and smallmouth bass are also found in the lower river. The local lakes of Hart Park, River Walk, and Ming were planted with rainbow trout, but the bite slowed down within a few days of the plant as the heat may have driven the rainbows into deep water.” Isabella held at 30%.

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

Lake Kaweah

Bass 2 Crappie 2 Trout 2 Catfish 2

Little change in the past week with the lake holding at near-minimum pool at 8%, and it is difficult to launch a large boat. Gary Wasson of Visalia reported bass fishing has slowed with the fish moving into deep water. Plastics on the drop-shot or jigs are working best as the fish are oriented to the shad schools. Good bass action with deep-diving crankbaits or large profile jigs.

Call: Sierra Sporting Goods 592-5212

Lake Success

Bass 2 Trout 2 Catfish 2 Crappie 2 Bluegill 2

After there were huge largemouth bass to 11.07 pounds landed in the past week, the bass bite slowed down with Wasson reporting the bass have moved deep, and the bite has slowed. Plastics on the drop-shot or jigs are working best for the deep fish as they are oriented to the schooling shad. The lake dropped slightly to 10%.

Call: Sequoia Fishing Co. 539-5626,

McClure Reservoir

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

The shad schools have been scattered as a result of the big winds over the past week, but the cooling water temperatures should get the shad to ball up once again. Trout trolling remains solid for those pulling a variety of trout-patterned lures at 30 to 65 feet, but the rainbows are moving towards the surface.

Steve Marquette of the Lake McClure/Lake McSwain Recreation Company said, “We were out this week a few times, and a variety of lures were scoring, but the best action came on any type of trout-patterned spoon. Needlefish or Kastmasters in trout patterns along with white Needlefish were working, and we found trout at depths from 30 to as deep as 65 feet. The rainbows are clearly moving towards the surface, but the shad schools were elusive due the lake being stirred up from the high winds. We caught-and-released rainbows to 2.5 pounds, but I did hear of a 5.5-pound trout taken this week at 85 feet.”

For bass, Ryan Cook of Ryan Cook’s Guide Service said, “The bass bite is clearly improving, and we have found more jig fish this week. Plastics on the drop-shot are working along with spoons or Fatty Worm’s underspins. I was out with Joel Chin of Los Angeles, and we landed a beautiful smallmouth bass at 3 pounds that was a true smallmouth. McClure traditionally doesn’t have a lot of smallmouth bass, but I have landed six or seven this year on my guide trips, and this is a good sign for the future.”

McClure dropped from 62% to 61%.

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

McSwain Reservoir

Trout 2

Marquette said, “The trout bite has slowed from limits to a few fish per rod with either trout dough bait or nightcrawlers along with silver/gold Kastmasters from the Handicapped Docks or the two points near the Marina. Lake levels remain high.”

Call: McSwain Marina 209-378-2534

Millerton Lake/San Joaquin River

Bass 2 Striped bass 1 Shad 1 Bluegill 2 Crappie 2

The bass bite remains throughout the low-elevation Central California reservoirs, but none as difficult as Pine Flat and Millerton outside of Fresno.

Steve Newman of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “The water is dropping also but not as rapidly as at Pine Flat. The wide span of the lake is allowing the shad to hold mostly in the main lake, and the bass being taken are feeding on both shad and crawdads while bass up the river arm are concentrating on shad. You have to work to find fish, and we landed a dozen bass on a recent trip with around a fourth of these being legal. The bass were on a light bite, and I switched to a longer shaft hook on a shakey head, and the longer and lighter hook somewhat solve the short strikes. Up in the river arm, we found some small bass, but there were long stretches with nothing. The 3-inch leech in green pumpkin poured by my co-worker, Merritt Gilbert, was producing, but you have to use a small plastic in the 3- to 4-inch range. Working vertical walls is best along with narrow passages as the bait is holding on the rockwalls. I tried a spy bait with no luck or followers. There are more largemouth bass in the main lake, and a few have been taken from the shoreline with crankbaits, but I would rely on this technique solely for success.”

Millerton dropped slightly from 53% to 52%.

Call: Valley Rod & Gun 292-3474

New Melones Reservoir/Tulloch

Bass 2 Crappie 2 Catfish 2 Trout 2 Kokanee 1

The Swimbait Underground tournament is coming to New Melones this month, and this tournament will attract the big-fish hunters such as Alex Niapas of Hawg Hunter swimbaits along with several other top sticks from California and other states tossing large baits throughout the day to seek bragging rights and cash, but the reaction bite has been lacking so far this year with the unseasonably warm temperatures during the daytime along with the lack of rain. The big winds over the past week spread out the shad schools, but the cooler water temperatures should bring them back together. Finding shad is the key to success for either trout or bass. Trout trolling is improving with some limits taken by guide Gary Burns of Take It To the Limit Guide Service. Burns said, “The rainbows are still deep as we worked from 55 to 65 feet with our lures 100 feet behind the boat at 2.5 mph. The Rapala countdown CD9 in the German brown color landed the biggest ones while Speedy Shiners in Chrome and blue and Needlefish blue with black dots did the trick on the rainbows, as well. There are a lot of shad schools around the main lake so when you find the shad make sure you fish that area.” The lake dropped slightly to 83%.

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 2 Kokanee 0 King salmon 0 Catfish 2 Crappie 2

Newman said, “The dropping water conditions and the change in temperature have led to a tough bite at Pine Flat, and you have to work to find fish as the most activity is taking place at 20 to 30 feet and deeper. The bait seems to be dropping to deep water, and the best action is found around Trimmer and Windy Gape. You have to find the bait, but the bite is not wide open by any means. A finesse technique is the best approach as jigs, plastics on a Ned rig, or smaller creature baits are working. You have to use light gear as the bass are locked up. There isn’t much of a reaction bite, but there have been some bass taken on deep-diving crankbaits along with topwater lures in the early mornings, but I wouldn’t count on a reaction bite saving the day. Larger walking baits such as a Whopper Plopper are a good option, but the bait is spread out in the deep lake.”

Trout trolling should improve with the cooler water, but as of yet, there have been few reports.

Trout plants continue in the lower Kings River, and the best action is from the dam to Alta Weir for planted rainbow trout with salmon eggs, nightcrawlers or trout dough bait in the slower water. Kastmasters or Roostertails are also effective in the slow water. The flows remain fast, but it slows down some below Winton Park. The lake dropped from 43% to 41%.

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

San Luis Reservoir remains a go-to location for Valley and coastal striper fishermen, and the O’Neill Forebay is another option for action for undersized to barely-legal linesides. The troll bite has been tough, but it will improve as the water cools and the bait balls up.

Mickey Clements of Coyote Bait and Tackle in Morgan Hill said, “There is a solid topwater bite with Spooks or Sixth Sense Mad Dog 150s along with flukes and ripbaits in the flats by the Rockwall along Highway 152 or in the small coves in Portuguese Cove. The jumbo minnow bite has also been very good near Romero Visitor Center and the dam. In the O’Neill Forebay, there is excellent action for stripers in the 8- to 16-inch range for the undersized linesides which must be released, but there are plenty of them around Check 13 and the old launch ramp. Forebay fishermen like to throw lures for the action, and ripbaits, topwater lures and flukes are all effective. The Rebel Jumping Minnow has been a big-ticket item.”

Steve Newman of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis added, “The forebay has been better than the big lake, and shore anglers are soaking anchovies along with tossing jerkbaits or flukes. Numbers, but not size, are found in the forebay, but the size in the main lake has also been diminishing.”

Roger George of Roger’s Guide Service said, “San Luis reservoir continues to fall at nearly a foot a day, and it is down 34 feet within the past month. The overall bite has been very sporadic and mainly slow to moderate at best. The troll and ripbait bites are very slow with minnows seemingly the only bright spot. I scouted the lake on Friday, and it was one of the toughest bites I’ve experienced in the last year. I tried finding active schools all day but I only caught four school fish between trolling and jigging everything I could throw. The drastic drops in the water levels seem to be affecting the bite quite a bit. There may be days where the fish are going, but most of my buddies who fish the lake around three days a week are also having tough days. I’m hoping the lake stops going down soon, and they start pumping into the lake. Last year at this time the lake was coming up, but it seems to be a completely opposite trend this year. The water temps are holding at 68 or so, and the algae is moderate. I expect the lake to begin filling very soon and the rising cooling waters should kick the bite in for trollers, ripbait and topwater anglers. I’m talking to a lot of folks looking for topwater boils and action (and who fish the lake almost daily) who are telling me that the topwater bite is much more sporadic and elusive than some are reporting. Some shore anglers are out at the break of dawn for the short topwater windows boaters are missing sometimes.”

The lake dropped from 49% to 46%.

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

High Sierra

Bass Lake

Bass 3 Trout 2 Kokanee 2

Bass fishing continues to be solid around healthy weed growth at depths from 20 to 30 feet on a slow-fall technique with plastics on the drop-shot on a long leader to avoid the weeds. There is an emerging swimbait along with glide bait bite as the water continues to cool. Rainbow trout action is best upriver on the north end, and the trout bite should improve with the plants anticipated in November. The lake dropped from 67% to 65%.

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 from 46% to 40% and Florence at 51% with Mammoth Pool from 75% to 67%. 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 3 Trout 3

One of the only reservoirs in the state still kicking out kokanee is Shaver Lake in the Central Sierra, and the beautiful weather in the Sierra has brought out the trollers to try their fortune.

Dick Nichols of Dick’s Fishing Charters said, “Several boats went out over the weekend, and most showed success on the planted rainbows along with some boats targeting kokanee. Jared and Manny Romero of Merced were out on Sunday, and they had a double-hook up on kokanee within 5 minutes of dropping down their gear at Rock Haven Cove at depths from 12 to 22 feet with orange or pink hoochies. The kokanee are still semi-silver and edible at this late date. After picking up seven kokanee, they headed over to Stevenson Cove for rainbow trout, and found good action before returning to Rock Haven to attempt to fill out their kokanee limit. They ended up with another 12 kokanee, and although many of these were deep red, they ended up with two limits of semi-silver kokanee and also rainbow trout to 12 inches. Stevenson Bay has been the top location for rainbows, and Steven Riggs and Cindy Garcia of Hanford scored limits of rainbows to 16 inches trolling either his custom flies or a pink hoochie behind a mini dodger on a long set back at 100 feet on lead core line. Speedy Shiners have also been effective, and brothers Bill and Russell Wingo of Visalia scored limits with the fast-trolled spoons at 4 colors in Stevenson Bay. Finally, the recently planted rainbows are showing up, and trout fishing has taken a much-needed turn for the better. Although the Romeros were focusing on the kokanee, most fishermen are gearing up for trout. The rainbows should move closer and closer to the surface as the lake continues to cool.”

Shaver is down from 69% to 67%.

Sierra Marina launch ramp webcam:

Upstream, Huntington continues to heavily release water (receding from 43% to 37%), and the launch ramp is problematic for anything but small aluminum boats. There are few reports now, but the secretive brown trout baggers are waiting to drag their aluminums down to the waterline as soon as it starts to snow.

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


Trout 3

Kelly Brewer of the Wishon RV Park and Store said, “The Wishon RV Park and Store is now closed for the season, but the trout bite remains hot for those arriving at the lake. With the closure of the store, fishermen have to be prepared by bringing their bait and supplies up to the high elevation lakes. but it remains high enough for launching a boat with no problems. At Wishon, trout fishing remains outstanding with trollers scoring with wedding Rings tipped with a nightcrawler behind a dodger, Needlefish, or similar spoons are all working for trollers in front of the dam, near the river inlet, along the east side, and at depths from 20 to 30 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, but it remains high enough for launching a boat with no problems. At Courtright, the highest elevation lake in the area with a viable trout bite remains solid for trollers pulling Apex lures, Needlefish, or Krocodile spoons from the surface to 20 feet. Shore fishing is best along both sides of the dam or near the boat launch with trout dough bait, night crawlers, or salmon eggs. The lake level remains relatively high for this time of year, but the levels have been fluctuating with the need for power generation. The windows for action will become shorter as the region gets colder at the 7,000-foot elevation level.

Call: Wishon RV Park 865-5361


Half Moon Bay

Rockfish 3 Striper 2 Crab 3 Surf Perch 3

The Dungeness crab came pouring into the pots over the opening weekend, and both Captain Dennis Baxter on the New Captain Pete out of Half Moon Bay Sport Fishing and Captain Tom Mattusch on the Huli Cat found spectacular action for both rockfish and crab.

Baxter said, “We set a string in 200 feet of water in the Separation Zone, and we pulled up an average of 20 crab per pot to return with 35 limits of rockfish and 35 limits of crab. These were all commercial grade, and we didn’t have to measure a crab. There were also crab in tight to the beach with Wallace on the Queen of Hearts finding limits in 160 feet of water using Danielsons which do not fish as well as the commercial pots. He was pulling around 13 legal crab per pot only 5 miles offshore. The draggers have their lane 3 to 4 miles out so it is a bit risky to be this close to their lane. We have plenty of room throughout the week and on Veteran’s Day.”

Captain Tom Mattusch of the Huli Cat also found spectacular crabbing action with full pots and plenty of rockfish on his combination trips. Their boat also has plenty of room for the upcoming week.

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

Monterey/Santa Cruz

Rockfish 3 Striper 2 Crab 2

Chris Arcoleo of Chris’s Fishing Trips reported around 4 crab/angler on the Check Mate with 85 Dungeness to go along with 20 limits of rockfish and a few ling cod. He said, “Some of the boats working shallower water pulled around 15 crab per pot, but it appears that the biomass of crab is not the same as it is above Half Moon Bay. We will work hard to get located on the crab. The remainder of the week into the weekend is full. When the weather is calm, we have been finding great action for vermilion and copper rockfish along with ling cod at Point Sur.”

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

San Francisco Bay

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

It was a phenomenal crab opener out of the Golden Gate with all boats returning with limits of big rockfish along with full limits of crab. Captain Trent Slate found tremendous action for both species on the calm ocean over the weekend, and in addition to limits of huge crab, they posted a full box of quality rockfish on both Saturday and Sunday. Slate is focusing upon the combination trips in the coming months. Slate took the long ride to Fanny Shoals with Captain Mike Libero at the helm, and they maxed out the fish box with huge rockfish from this very infrequently fished location north of the North Farallon Island.

Name the boat out of the bay, and all vessels taking combination trips came home with full limits of crab and rockfish. The Pacific Dream, California Dawn, El Dorado III, and Happy Hooker out of Berkeley Marina, the Salty Lady out of Emeryville along with the remainder of the the Emeryville Fleet returned with Groundhog Day action for both species over the weekend. The California Dawn took their last Phenix Rod trip of the year on a crab combo this morning, and they returned with full limits of rockfish, crab, and a heavy ling cod count at 30.

Captain Jeff Soo Hoo of Soo Hoo’s Sport Fishing is operating the Crab Shack at Emeryville, and they were swamped over the weekend due to the massive number of crab coming in from the party boats. He is looking for people to help him out on the weekends and even during the week as the business has been intense.

J and P Bait in San Francisco has closed down their operation for the season so live bait will be limited to a few select bait shops. Loch Lomond will still be offering live smelt or shiners upon availability.

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 3

Out of San Luis Obispo County, the Morro Bay boats returned with rockfish limits on longer trips with Avenger, Endeavor, and Starfire out of Morro Bay Landing scoring near-limits of rockfish on Sunday along with a combined 35 ling cod to 25 pounds along with with 345 vermilion, 75 copper, 20 Boccaccio, and 210 assorted. 25 of the 35 lings, including the largest ling, were taken in the Endeavor. Out of Virg’s Landing in Morro Bay, the Fiesta, Rita G, and Black Pearl were out on Monday, and 74 fishermen returned with 8 ling cod to 8 pounds, 204 vermilion, 444 assorted rockfish, 12 copper, 20 Boccaccio, 3 canary, an ocean whitefish, and a rock sole. Jackpot winners were Chastity Sanchez of Bakersfield, Barbara Pecuch of Hanford, and Cesar Reyes of Fresno. Out of Patriot Sport Fishing in Port San Luis, the Patriot and Flying Fish out of Patriot Sport Fishing took ½ day trips on Sunday with 47 passengers for 32 vermilion, 9 copper, 19 Bolina, 406 assorted, 2 ocean whitefish, and 4 canary to go with 2 ling cod to 8 pounds. All ports are running a variety of trips in the coming weeks for rockfish/ling cod including overnight trips until the bottom fish closure on December 31st.

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



Bass 2 Striper 3 Sturgeon 3 Catfish 2 Bluegill 2 Salmon 2

Within a short period of the past two weeks, sturgeon have taken over as the top species in the Sacramento-Delta as the grass continues to plague striped bass trollers while salmon fishing is clearly on the wane. The sturgeon derbies have begun with the innovative Addathon Derby taking place this past weekend out of Pittsburg, but after two weeks of great sturgeon fishing, the bite slowed down over the weekend, perhaps due to heavy boat traffic.

The week began with high winds, and the gusts cooled down the waters of the Sacramento-Delta along with muddying up the waters. The calm weather over the weekend will clear the water, and the action for all species should improve.

Alan Fong, manager of the Fishermen’s Warehouse in Sacramento, was up in the Liberty Island area where he had such good success the previous week, and he said, “It was a very tough bite as the wind muddied up the water and dropped the water temperature 11 degrees. The shallows in Liberty are particularly susceptible to getting muddy. We slaughtered them the week before, but it was slow for us this week. However, our assistant manager, Michael Kidwell was in there on this kayak on Saturday night, and he caught and released stripers to 20 pounds on topwater lures. I expect the stripers and largemouth bass to acclimate by mid-week as the water is clearing up already.”

Johnny Tran of New Romeo’s Bait and Tackle in Freeport said, “There are still salmon around for those who are interested, but most of our fishermen have moved on to striped bass and sturgeon. The pressure is much lighter, but there are still some salmon taken on Brad’s Cut Plugs behind an 11-inch Pro-Troll E-Chip Dodger along with Silvertron spinners or Flat Fish. Schoolie stripers are taken in the Deep Water Channel, Liberty Island, and around Sherman Island by those drifting live mudsuckers. Sturgeon fishing is best in Suisun Bay, and since the water is still warm, bluegill, crappie, and red ear perch are found in Liberty Island, along the Delta Loop, and in all of the sloughs. Catfishing is best in the Deep Water Channel or in Lisbon Slough with nightcrawlers or chicken livers.”

Sturgeon fever is in full force, and Captain Joey Gamez of Golden State Sport Fishing has been roping them in the sloughs. There was a huge oversized landed on one six-pack this Wednesday, but the bite slowed down significantly over the weekend. Gamez said, “It has been really good, but it was dead slow this weekend as we struggled for a shaker on Sunday along with a few stripers. The boat traffic was very high over the weekend, and this may have been a factor. We have been targeting the diamondbacks near the mouth of Montezuma Slough with salmon roe.”

Captain Steve Mitchell of Hook’d Up Sport Fishing is repowering his vessel, the ‘Top Gun,’ and the bracket for his new outboards should be arriving in California this week. He will be back on the water as soon as possible to chase sturgeon out of the Pittsburg Marina.

Tim Boggs of Elkhorn Outdoor Sports said striper fishing has been good near the Mothball Fleet. “I went out Friday to the Mothball Fleet and we did real well on stripers,” Boggs said. “We kept five and threw three keepers back. The striper bite is doing really well. The guy next to us got a 59-inch sturgeon on the incoming tide.” Boggs said he was using ghost shrimp. The keeper stripers were between 3 and 5 pounds, with one 9 pounds. There was grass, but it didn’t interfere with the fishing.”

Captain Dave Sharp has joined the staff at Marina Bait and Tackle in Suisun City, and as Captain Dave learned most of what he knows from Jay Sorensen, the best bait fisherman in the Delta, he will be a great source of information. Sharp was out with a friend on Sunday, and they limited out on stripers soaking butterflied shad. He said, “We set up around the flats leading into the deep hole near Chain Island, and we landed at least four limits of stripers to 7 pounds with our best action on butterflied shad at depths from 36 to 38 feet. Everything came on the incoming tide as the outgoing tide was full of grass. We tried live mudsuckers on the anchor, but we only hooked one fish on the live bait. The bite was real light, and the stripers were not running with the bait, but they were swallowing it and laying down on the bottom. You have to be very perceptive on watching your rod.”

Tony Lopez of Benicia Bait in Martinez reported high interest over the weekend for all sorts of fishing, and they sold out of all live bait by early on Sunday morning. He said, “There were at least 35 boats on the anchor at the Fleet on Sunday when I was coming over the bridge, and the sturgeon bite had been very good throughout the week with one boat with two fishermen landing 18 keepers and 4 oversized before calling it a day. Ron Reisinger of Chico was out soaking live splittail for striped bass near Pittsburg, and he hooked a huge oversized sturgeon on the live bait. There have been several large stripers reported near Pittsburg on live splittail.”

The San Joaquin Delta has been the location for upcoming tournaments, and the annual Dan Blanton StriperFest was held out of Sugar Barge on November 2nd. The annual event is to raise funds for the causes that Blanton was passionate about – protecting the California Delta, preserving it’s fishery, and promoting youth fly fishing. The fly fishing community stepped up in force for this annual event.

The Rat-L-Trap Open will be held out of Russo’s Marina on Saturday, November 16th, and while this team event will be primarily targeting limits of largemouth bass, there is a side pool for striped bass. The five bass have to be over 13 inches as measured on a flat board. The fee is $125.00/team by November 8th with a $15.00 late fee after this date along with an add-on of $50.00 for the striped bass pool for the target-length striper. Information:

Dan Mathisen of Dan Mathisen Outdoors said, “Things might be picking up on the San Joaquin side as the water is just now starting to clear up after the winds, but the water temperature is down. I will be out this week looking for stripers, and with the colder water, the bait should be balling up. The bite has been tough so far as the stripers are scattered and you have to hunt them down. Largemouth bass fishing is best with crankbaits, chatterbaits, or punching the weeds, and our team tournament is this weekend on November 9/10th out of Russo’s Marina. If we have 25 boats, the payout will be at least $9500.00 with registration beginning at the site starting at 5:00 a.m. The best striper fishing remains in deep water further west as they haven’t moved in yet in force.Some of the proceeds from the event will go to the East County Student Anglers in Brentwood and the Delta Teen Team out of Oakley.”

H and R Bait in Stockton reported a tremendous number of fishermen were out taking advantage of the weather over the weekend, and they sold out of live bait with the exception of fresh shad. Whiskey Slough and Eight Mile Road have been the top shoreline locations for bluegill, red ear perch, and striped bass to 21 inches.

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 2 White bass 2 Striper 1 Catfish 2 Crappie 2

At Nacimiento, the spotted bass bite has slowed down with the best action on plastics on the drop-shot at depths to 30 feet. The numbers are down, but there have been some decent spots in the 2-pound range happening. The white bass are also on the slowdown as the schools are scattered. When the white bass are located, small white spinners or spoons are picking up the whites. Catfish are taken on cut baits, but the quality has been lacking. The fuel dock is now selling fuel again from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. The lake held at 46% this week as the reservoir is making minimal releases for fishery restoration in the river. A webcam of the lake is available at At Lopez, the bass bite is also slow, but there have been largemouth bass in excess of 5 pounds taken on a variety of lures including Brush Hogs, spinnerbaits, crankbaits, topwater lures, or plastics on the drop-shot. The panfish have dropped in the water column, and they are holding in deeper water. Meal worms, wax worms, or red worms are working for the bluegill and red ear perch. Catfishing is fair with cut baits. A webcam of the lake is available at At Santa Margarita, the crappie bite has emerged as the slabs are holding in deep water to 25 feet with minijigs or small shad-patterned grubs around structure. The bass bite has cooled off with the water temperature, and the numbers are down overall, but the possibility of a quality largemouth remains on a variety of reaction baits or plastics. Bluegill are found on meal worms or red worms. \ A webcam of the lake is available at

At San Antonio, fishing interest has been minimal with bass action slow with the occasional largemouth or smallmouth found with finesse techniques in deep water. Catfish are taken on Sonny’s Triple S Dip Bait in Blood Formula along with anchovies or mackerel. Bluegill are found on red worms in deep water. The lake is now on the winter schedule, and the launch ramp is closed on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. The lake is at 34%.


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



Delta/Russo’s Marina – Hook, Line, and Sinker - October 27th – 1st –John Martin/Bob Squaglia – 15.91 pounds; 2nd – Neil Sterud/John Rodgers– 15.06 pounds (Big Fish – 5.42); 3rd – Justin Venuble/Chris Wadsworth – 13.45 pounds.

Don Pedro – Autism Speaks Fundraiser Tournament- November 2nd : 1st –– Ostrander/Johnson – 12.54 (Big Fish – 3.56); 2nd –Karam/Souza – 10.25; 3rd – Oliver/Oliver – 9.52. (Big Fish – 11.07);


November 5/6th –

Lake Camanche – Bass N’Tubes

November 9th –

Delta/Russo’s Marina -Dan Mathisen Outdoors

Delta/Big Break Marina – Bass Anglers of Northern California/Tri Valley Bass Masters

Tulloch – California Hmong Bass Tournaments

Don Pedro – Kerman Bass Club/Sonora Bass Anglers

McClure – Gold Country Junior Bass Club

Pine Flat – Bakersfield Bass Club

Nacimiento – Golden Empire Bass Club

November 10th –

McClure – Riverbank Bass Anglers

Kaweah – Kings VIII Bass Club

November 16th-

New Melones – Christian Bass League

Don Pedro – Merced Bass Club

Eastman – Sierra Bass Club

November 17th –

Delta/Russo’s Marina – Hook, Line, and Sinker

November 23rd –

McClure – American Bass Association

Pine Flat – Bass 101

November 24th –

Delta/Russo’s Marina – Delta Teen Teams

Lake Camanche – Lodi High School Bass Club

Eastman – Central Valley Kayak Fishing

Millerton – Roosevelt High School Bass Fishing Club

Trout plants

Scheduled for week of Nov. 10 by California Department of Fish and Wildlife:

Fresno County: Kings River below Pine Flat Dam

Kern County: Kern River sections 2-3-4, Brite Valley Reservoir

Solunar table










































f = full moon > = peak activity