Compiled by California Outdoors Hall of Fame member Dave Hurley and edited by Roger George, who guides in the greater Fresno area and holds the striper record at Millerton Lake.
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Delta stripers sturgeon and bass bites good to great, Steve Mitchell reported. Pine Flat trout keeping shore anglers busy, Tas Moua said. Isabella trout and catfish action top the charts, Dave Hurley reported.
Striper 2 Catfish 2
Bill Sterling of Striperz Gone Wild said, “The aqueduct remains very tough for striped bass as we are seeing minimal bait and no boils above the O’Neill Forebay. Normally, the stripers would be chasing bait, and we would see the boils, but the flows have been so heavy in the aqueduct from all of the pumping out of the south Delta this year, we are wondering what type of effect this has had on the fishing. In any case, it has been slow for stripers.”
Striperz Gone Wild’s 4th Annual SGW Toy Drive Tournament is Saturday, Dec. 9 at the California Aqueduct at Volta Road in Los Banos, and the entry fee is one unwrapped toy. Over the past three years, over a thousand toys have been donated to children in the community, and this year’s event should bring in hundreds more. During the spring, the entry to the Hailey Lauchland Memorial Tournament are unopened cans of food for food pantries in the community. The tournament will be target-length instead of the largest fish.
Omega Nguyen of Mega Bait and Tackle in Lathrop added, “In the northern section, it’s been mostly catfish with anchovies or chicken livers. Stripers have been slow.”
In the south aqueduct in Kern County, striped bass are taken on sardines, blood worms, or jumbo live minnows along with flukes or jerkbaits while catfishing is best with sardines, anchovies, or dip bait on sinker rigs. Small had imitation swimbaits, flukes, topwater lures, or plastics on a shakey head have been effective for largemouth bass.
Call: Valley Rod & Gun, Clovis (559) 292-3474; Cope’Tackle and Rod, Bakersfield – (661) 679-6351; Bob’s Bait Bucket, Bakersfield (661) 833-8657.
Eastman Lake/Hensley Lake
Bass 2 Trout 2 Bluegill 2 Catfish 2 Crappie 2
Trout plants occurred last week at both lakes, and the larger fish are becoming more active right now at Eastman. Tas Moua of 559 Fresno Bait and Tackle said, “Numbers of smaller fish remain possible, but the crappie bite seems to have slowed down.” Brandon Grimsley of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis added, “The trout plants will bring out the swimbait tossers in search of trophy largemouth bass.” Hensley has been slow overall with the exception of panfish as bluegill are taken on red worms or meal worms. Catfishing is best with chicken livers, cut baits, or stink baits. Eastman held at feet to 549.83 feet in elevation and 61% with Hensley dropping 3 feet to 463.87 feet in elevation and 14%.
Call: Eastman Lake (559) 689-3255; Valley Rod & Gun, Clovis (559) 292-3474; 559 Fresno Bait and Tackle (559) 515-6273. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Hensley Lake Hidden Dam (559) 673-5151.
Lake Don Pedro
Bass 2 Trout 2 Kokanee 1 King salmon 2 Crappie 2
Monte Smith of Gold Country Sport Fishing plans on returning to Don Pedro from New Melones as the trout should be moving closer to the surface with the cooling water temperatures. Trout plants have occurred over the past two weeks, and this should help not only the trout action, but also the swimbait fishing for largemouth bass. The water temperature is dropping, and the shad schools are forming. Working around the shad schools with shad-patterned spoons remains the best option for trollers while the bass remain holding out in open water, chasing the bait. Limits in the 12-pound range have been winning recent tournaments, but the bite was even tougher this past Saturday with the winning limit coming in at just over 7.5 pounds with a big fish at 2.68 pounds. The lake held at 796.78 feet in elevation and 80%. Updates on the launch ramp are available at https://www.donpedrolake.com/.
Call: Monte Smith, Gold Country Sport Fishing (209) 581-4734; Kyle Wise, Head Hunter Guide Service (209) 531-3966; Ryan Cook, Ryan Cook’s Fishing (559) 691-7008.
Lake Isabella/Bakersfield area
Bass 2 Trout 3 Crappie 2 Catfish 3 Bluegill 3
The lake dropped 2 feet to 2,566.69 feet in elevation and 37% with steady releases of 763 cfs at First Point. Trout trolling remains excellent with shad patterned spoons at depths from the surface to 25 feet in the North Fork. Bass fishing remains best with crankbaits, jigs, Senkos, or plastics on the drop-shot or Ned-rig. Catfishing is solid with Triple S Dip Bait, mackerel, or shrimp near Camp 9 or French Gulch. Crappie are around structure and have been caught with live minnows and various minijigs. In the upper Kern River, anglers have been scoring fish with salmon eggs, nightcrawlers, or spinners. Trout plants continue with single plants in sections four and six this week.
Midges, streamers, or attractor nymphs are working for fly fishermen in the 20-mile stretch in the warmer waters in the afternoons warms up. The area doing best along the 20-Mile stretch with The Lower Kern River continues to have a solid bass bite on crankbaits, jigs, or spinners. Catfish can be found on dip baits, nightcrawlers and cut baits. The Kern River at Kernville has risen to 559 cfs.
Call: Cope’s Tackle and Rod (661) 679-6351; Bob’s Bait Bucket, Bakersfield (661) 833-8657; North Fork Marina (760) 376-1812; Golden Trout Pack Station (559) 542-2816.
Bass 2 Crappie 2 Trout 2 Catfish 2
The lake has risen another 18 inches to 604.99 feet in elevation and 13% of capacity. Bass fishing remains slow with finesses plastics or small jigs in deeper water producing best. Last week’s trout plant have brought out bank anglers near the launch ramp with Power Bait, nightcrawlers, or Kastmasters. Crappie fishing has been decent with small swimbaits or minijigs over submerged structure as the crappie are starting to school up. Catfishing is best with sardines, anchovies, or Triple S dip bait. The flows in the Kaweah River have risen to 229 cfs. A trout plant is scheduled at Mooney Grove Park this week. The Tulare Parks and Recreation 2023 Trout Fishing Derby will take place on Saturday, Dec.2 at Del Lago Park. Pre-registration is available until Friday, Dec. 1 at the Tulare Parks and Recreation Office at 830 S. Blackstone St. On-site registration will also be able. Cash and checks only. Information (559) 684-4310.
Bass 2 Crappie 2 Trout 2 Catfish 2
The lake rose slightly this week to 590.90 feet in elevation and 9%. Bass fishing is best with finesse techniques near rocky structure and main lake points with plastics on a shakey head or drop-shot. Spooning over the shad schools in deep water is also producing fish. Last week’s trout plant has brought out anglers from the banks, and the swimbait bite should also improve as the larger bass feed on the planters. Catfish anglers reported a good bite using cut baits, dip bait, and chicken liver. A trout plant is scheduled at Success this week.
Call: Cope’s Tackle and Rod (661) 679-6351; Sequoia Fishing Co. (559) 539-5626, sequoiafishingcompany.com
Bass 2 Trout 2 King salmon 0 Kokanee 0 Crappie 2 Catfish 2
Ryan Cook of Ryan Cook’s Fishing said, “The bass bite remains basically the same as they are still out in open water chasing bait. The recent trout plants have brought out the big swimbaits, and there has been the occasional larger model taken on a trout-patterned swimbait or glide bait. There is an early morning spinnerbait bite, and there are bass chasing bait into the creek channels and cuts.” Crappie are taken on Notorious Jigs, and they are schooling up in the trees. Another trout plant is scheduled this week, and, and there are holdover rainbows taken near the dam with shad-patterned spoons such as Kastmasters in black/silver, blue/silver, or Cop Car. Catfishing remains solid at night along sloping banks with chicken livers, nightcrawlers, or cut baits. The lake dropped less than a six inches to 807.09 feet in elevation and 65%.
Call: Ryan Cook, Ryan Cook’s Guide Service (559) 691-7008.
It’s been three weeks since 2,500 pounds of Department of Fish and Wildlife catchable rainbow trout were released into the lake, and trout fishing from the banks has slowed down with the best opportunities in the early mornings or late afternoons at the normal locations of the Brushpile, Handicapped Docks, or peninsula near the marina with Power Bait, nightcrawlers, or Kastmasters. Trollers have the upper hand now as the remaining rainbows have headed into the river arm near the Second Fence Line. Call: Angler’s Edge Market (209) 226-4416; McSwain Marina (209) 378-2534.
Millerton Lake/San Joaquin River
Bass 2 Striped bass 1 Shad 1 Bluegill 3 Crappie 2
Millerton is starting to creep up in elevation as water releases from upstream reservoirs are reaching the lake. Launching is less of an issue now as the island/hump in the channel of the ramp is now under 8 feet of water. Boats are launching to prepare for the upcoming Tulare Police Activities League Fundraising Bass Tournament on Dec. 2. The lake rose 2.5 feet to 473.88 feet in elevation and 27%. Sycamore Park is open seven days per week. The flows in the San Joaquin River at Friant are steady at 414 cfs.
Call: Valley Rod & Gun (559) 292-3474; 559 Fresno Bait and Tackle (559) 515-6273.
New Melones Reservoir/Tulloch
Bass 2 Crappie 2 Catfish 2 Trout 2 Kokanee 1
Monte Smith of Gold Country Sport Fishing said, “Trout trolling has been up and down over the past week as the effects of the recent fronts moving through have changed up conditions. The rainbows have moved up to 35 to 50 feet near the shad schools, but they should be closer to the surface with the water temperatures moving into the high 50’s.” A double trout plant occurred last week. John Liechty of Xperience Bass Fishing Guide Service added, “Bass fishing continues to improve on a weekly basis with finesse techniques of plastics or tubes on the drop-shot along with small swimbaits in 25 to 55 feet of water working best. The spotted bass are healthy with the occasional largemouth found. The bass are halfway back into the creek channels and seem to be targeting dirt areas void of rocks. The numbers are outstanding as up to 40 fish per outing is possible. “The lake basically held at 1043.63 feet in elevation and 79%.
Call: John Liechty, Xperience Fishing Guide Service (209) 743-9932; Ryan Cook, Ryan Cook’s Guide Service (559) 691-7008; Kyle Wise, Headhunter Guide Service (209) 531-3966; Monte Smith (209) 581-4734.
Pine Flat Reservoir/Kings River
Bass 2 Trout 3 Kokanee 0 King salmon 2 Catfish 2 Crappie 2
Tas Moua of 559 Fresno Bait and Tackle said, “There has been a really good trout bite here from the shoreline near Lakeview Marina with Kastmasters and crappie jigs. The trout are pushing up bait against the shorelines, and trollers are having to search around for them as the shad schools are scattered throughout the lake. These are holdovers even though there was a. recent plant. King salmon have also been landed from the shoreline, and these are fish in the 16-17-inch range. The bass are still out in open water, and there aren’t many bass up shallow.” Moua added, There will be a tournament on Black Friday, Nov. 24 here, and interested anglers can sign up at the shop in advance or at 5 a.m. on the morning of the tournament.
The flows on the lower Kings at Trimmer are excellent at 626 cfs, and last week’s trout plant spurred on action below the dam or near the bridge with Atomic Tubes in grasshopper, or one-inch pinched crawlers. Dave McGlothlin of Clovis limited out on rainbows to 17 inches casting rainbow-patterned Rooster Tails or red/white/bronze Mepp’s spinners. The lake rose less than a foot to 866.13 feet in elevation and 56%.
Call: Valley Rod & Gun (559) 292-3474; 559 Fresno Bait and Tackle (559) 515-6273. Sequoia Fishing Co. (559) 539-5626.
San Luis Reservoir and O’Neill Forebay
Striper 2 Catfish 2 Bass 2 Crappie 2
Mickey Clements of Coyote Bait and Tackle in Morgan Hill said, “Striped bass fishing remains decent for bank anglers with live minnows or anchovies from the shoreline along the rockwall off of Highway 152.
Roger George of Roger George Guide Service reported that the daily half-foot falling water level - bringing the reservoir down to 1.2 million acre feet storage and 70-feet below the top has got the fish suspending in deeper water.“
These low pressure fronts and the falling water has the fish moving into new areas right now. I’m having to really work to catch 10 fish trolling the coves. There’s more small fish showing up now than I’ve seen in awhile. I don’t know why they are continuing to lower the lake with no certainty of a rainy season. We need some stability for things to become normal again.” George said.
The O’Neill Forebay has been slower due to the grass breaking off with the colder water temperatures. The weeds and debris are being pumped into the aqueduct south of the forebay, and this has also limited action for striped bass.
Bill Sterling of Striperz Gone Wild added, “The area off of Highway 152 near the big curve has been extremely crowded with as many as 20 shore anglers by 7 a.m., and there are only four parking spaces there. It has been very crowded all of the time.” The main lake dropped to 57 feet with the O’Neill Forebay at 83%.”
To check the wind conditions on the lake - use windfinder.com/forecast/san_luis_reservoir.
To check the wind conditions on the lake - use windfinder.com/forecast/san_luis_reservoir.
Call: Coyote Bait and Tackle (408) 463-0711, Roger George, rogergeorgeguideservice.com (559) 905-2954
Bass 2 Trout 2 Kokanee 0
A trout plant is scheduled this week, and this will help spur on the shoreline bite near the Sheriff’s Tower along with the troll bite. Bass fishing remains only fair near the docks with crankbaits, small swimbaits, or finesse presentations, but the introduction of trout will get the swimbait and glide bait bite going. A webcam of the launch ramp is available at https://basslakeca.com/.
Call: Mike Beighey, Bass Lake Fishing (559) 676-8133.
The Kaiser Pass lakes are starting to release water with fewer anglers heading over the pass to fish the small impoundments. Edison has dropped to 38 while Florence rose to 24%. Mammoth Pool has risen to 61%.
Road conditions 297-0706.
Call: Vermilion Valley Resort at Edison Lake (559) 259-4000.
Shaver Lake/Huntington Lake
Trout 2 Kokanee 2
Shaver guide emeritus, Dick Nichols of Dick’s Fishing Charters said, “ater a few days of rain and cold weather, Shaver Lake returned to mostly clear skies and highs in the upper 40’s over the weekend. Trout and kokanee fishing remained about the same. A limit or two of mixed fish was common. Trollers don’t necessarily need to have downriggers as both species are in the upper 25 feet of water. Purple or orange tubes, spinner hoochies or spinners of the same colors, tipped with corn or crawlers, behind weighted flashers, or a dodger have been the best tackle. The island, Black Rock, and into Stevenson Bay have been the most productive areas for both trout and kokanee. A recent trip found some browns in Dorabella Cove. The kokanee are ranging from 13 to 15 inches and yearling trout up to 18 inches. This week’s trout plant will only help, particularly as the fish become acclimated.”
The Shaver Marina closed on Oct. 15th. A webcam of the Shaver launch ramp is at sierramarina.com/webcam-weather-page.html and for Huntington at http://www.shaverlakewebcams.info/huntington.html. Huntington remains very slow for both rainbow trout and kokanee. Shaver has dropped slightly to 84 with Huntington dropping to 65%.
Call: Todd Wittwer, Kokanee.net Guide Service (559) 288-8100; Jerad Romero, Jrods Guide Service (559) 392-6994; Tom Oliveira, Tom Oliveira Fishing (559) 802-8072
Wishon is very low, making launching a boat problematic. There are holdover trout at Courtright from shoreline at the dam with nightcrawlers or inline spinners, but few anglers are heading to the high country. The Wishon RV Park and Store is closed for the season.
Call: Wishon RV Park (559) 865-5361.
Half Moon Bay
Rockfish 3 Bluefin tuna 2 Striper 2 Halibut 2 White seabass 1 Sand dabs 3 Surf perch 3 crabs 3
Boats remain waiting for a weather window to chase bluefin tuna, and they should be still out there, at least in a few numbers. Crab-only trips have been the story as the ability to run to deep water more than 50 fathoms requires not only the weather, but enough customers to make the trip a go. Limits of quality Dungeness crab remain the rule, and hoop nets are doing the job. The New Captain Pete posted 10 limits of Dungeness while the Queen of Hearts brought home seven limits on trips over the weekend. The Pacifica Pier was extremely crowded on the opening weekend with shoulder-to-shoulder conditions seeking Dungeness, and a number of citations were issued by Game Wardens for overlimit and as many as six rods per angler in the water.
Call: Captain Michael Cabanas, New Captain Pete (510) 677-7054; Captain Chris Chang, Ankeny Street (650) 279-8819; Captain Bill Smith, Riptide (650) 728-8433; Half Moon Bay Sport Fishing, Queen of Hearts (510) 581-2628.
Rockfish 3 Bluefin tuna 2 Halibut 2 Striper 2 White seabass 1 Sand dabs 3 Surf perch 3 crabs 3
Limits of rockfish and a healthy lingcod count remains the rule out of Chris’s Fishing and Whale Watching in Monterey fishing deep water either in the canyon or south at Point Sur. For Dungeness crab, currently only hoops or snares are allowed in Zone 4 from Point Arena on the Sonoma/Mendocino County line to Point Lopez south of Monterey.
Allen Bushnell of Santa Cruz Kayak and Surf Casting Guide Service said, “The weather held off this week until Wednesday, when a low pressure moved in bringing rain and some gusty winds and prompting a small craft advisory. Gusts were forecast up to 30 knots over a three to four-foot swell. It’s still “Anglers Choice” on the Monterey Bay. Nearshore rockfishing is closed out to 300 feet of water, but there’s still halibut to be had while fishing the flat sandy areas from 40 to 120 feet. Just make sure you don’t have any rockfish aboard, and release any unintended bycatch immediately. This is a good time to look for those bigger halibut outside the bull kelp between the rocky points of Carmel Highlands and North Coast Santa Cruz. Live bait is always the best for big flatties, though dead squid, or trolling a hoochie/dodger combo can bring success. Remember, those kelp beds might be harboring a big white sea bass this time of year. Make sure your knots are good.
Big game remains firmly on the menu in the form of bluefin tuna. We still have a big number of bluefin stretching along our coast, some 10-40 miles offshore. Only a few were reported caught this week, mostly by boats out of Half Moon Bay or San Francisco. But, they are out there and chances improve to bring home a big one the more often you try. Surfcasters are limbering up their rods as winter season approaches. We need a few more northwest swells to roll through and create structure along the wide expanse of Monterey Bay beaches, but fishing is already improving noticeably on both sides of the bay. Catch and release of 30-40 barred surf perch in just a couple hours were not unusual this week for anglers who have their spots dialed in. Most these perch are still on the small side, but the average size is ramping up. Quite a few jacksmelt are lurking just past the shorebreak. Striped bass are fewer and farther between though we did get reports of legal bass caught from the mid-bay beaches by anglers throwing hard lures. Expect perch fishing to improve dramatically as soon as we get some big waves, and striper fishing to accelerate once we get some big rains.”
Call: Chris’ Landing (831) 375-5951; Allen Bushnell, Santa Cruz Kayak and Surf Casting (831) 251-9732.
Golden Gate/San Francisco Bay
Halibut 2 Striper 2 Rockfish 3 Leopard shark 2 Sturgeon 2 Crab 3
With the 50-fathom limit for rockfish from Point Conception north to the Oregon border, cooperative weather is necessary to make the 20-plus mile run to the deep water out of Half Moon Bay, San Francisco Bay, and Bodega Bay. In addition, party boats must have enough passengers to justify burning thousands of dollars of fuel, but the rockfish/crab combination trips remain a tremendous value for northern California anglers with the price of Alaska Dungeness crab at $22/pound. On the combination trips, anglers are routinely taking home 10-crab limits with crab in the 2.5- to 3-pound range along with heavy sacks of rockfish coming out of the relatively untouched depths. With the commercial Dungeness crab season in Fishing Zones 1 and 2 delayed due to the crab not ready for market, the earliest this season above Point Arena will open is Dec. 16. South of Point Arena to Lopez Point in Zones 3 and 4, the commercial crab season is delayed due to the presence of high numbers of humpback whales, leading to the potential of entanglement. The next risk assessment in these zones will be on Dec. 7. As a result, recreational anglers have the ocean all to themselves for the next few months, and crabbing has been tremendous to say the least.
Out of Bodega Bay, Captain Rick Powers of the New Sea Angler has been able to make the run to Rittenburg Bank for up to 33 limits of rockfish and crab along with the occasional lingcod to 21 pounds. Powers said, “When we are able to get out, it has been as good as it gets. The rockfish are all big yellowtail, widow, vermilion, and canaries, and the crab are huge.” The San Francisco Bay area boats are finding similar action, running either to Fanny Shoals or even further Rittenburg before setting the hoops for crab limits. Captain James Smith of the California Dawn 1 and II out of Berkeley said, “The rockfish have been on an absolute tear, and we are putting in up to 33 limits on a single drift as they are biting as fast as you can put get your line to the bottom. Every rod is on the bent over with either one or two fish on once they reach the bottom. We used to pull as many as 120 hoops to put together limits, but we have cut back our string to only ten or so hoops as they are all coming up loaded with crab.” The California Dawn II posted 30 limits of rockfish and crab along with two lingcod on Saturday while the California Dawn 1 held a crab-only for 26 limits of Dungeness. They are running a crab-only trip on Thanksgiving morning.
Captain Jonathan Smith of the Happy Hooker out of Berkeley had a charter of 12 anglers on Saturday for rockfish/crab limits, and he ran a crab-only on Sunday for 16 limits. Jonathan’s father, Captain Chris Smith on the Pacific Dream went rockfishing on Saturday, and he said, “It was tough getting through the bar, but once we got out in the open ocean, conditions settled down and rockfishing was outstanding.” Captain Jerad Davis of the Salty Lady out of Sausalito has a combination trip on Monday, but he is offering crab-only trips just before and on the morning of Thanksgiving on Nov. 21, 22, and 23.
Inside the bay, The live bait receiver in San Francisco has closed for the season, but many of the individual party boats have their own small receivers filled with a few remaining scoops of bait. Captain Steve Talmadge of Flash Sport Fishing in San Francisco said, “The Flash 1 and Flash 2 were out on Saturday, and the big news is the striped bass action has been excellent with limits on nearly every trip, even on ½-day trips. We are also still landing halibut as well, and even though there is no live bait available, we have two pens fully stocked.”
Normally, November would be the time that the bay’s white sea bass population would become active, but this year remains slow for the most mysterious fish in the bay. Captain Ron Koyasko, aka, ‘The Ghost Whisperer,’ of Nautilus Excursions out of San Francisco has been keeping an eye out for the white sea bass, but he is focusing upon striped bass in the bay before heading outside the Golden Gate to set and pull crab hoops for limits of Dungeness on his striper/crab combination trips. Koyasako also has a stash of live bait that should last for a few weeks. After that, it is mudsuckers and shiners for live bait.
Striped bass are definitely migrating from San Francisco Bay into the Sacramento/San Joaquin Delta, but there is still a large population of bass in the bay. It remains to be seen if sturgeon will reappear in San Pablo Bay and the south bay this winter as the majority of white sturgeon have stayed put in Suisun Bay over the past few years.
Of important note for San Francisco Bay, the Department of Fish and Wildlife is proposing to make the emergency two-halibut daily bag limit permanent and also change the daily bag limit in Southern California from 5 to 2 fishInformation on the proposed regulation change is available at https://nrm.dfg.ca.gov/FileHandler.ashx?DocumentID=216742&inline.
Call: Captain Ron Koyasako, Nautilus Excursions (916) 704-4169; Captain Jerad Davis, Salty Lady (415) 760-9362; Captain Steve Mitchell, Hook’d Up Sport Fishing (707) 655-6736; Happy Hooker (510) 223-5388.
San Luis Obispo
Rockfish 3 Surf perch 3
The rockfish season in this section of coast is open seaward of 50 fathoms through Dec. 31 in both the Central Management Area above Point Conception and in the Southern Management Area below Point Conception. Similar to the other ports in northern California, the boat-based nearshore rockfish season above Point Conception ended on September 1, forcing boats out of Morro Bay to either fish nearshore below Point Conception or deep water of 50 fathoms or more. Out of Morro Bay Landing, the Avenger was on a full day trip on Saturday with 20 anglers for limits of rockfish consisting of 88 vermilion, 67 assorted rockfish, and 65 Boccaccio for a total of 220 fish. The Fiesta and Rita G were on ½- and 3/4th-day trips on Sunday with a combined 13 passengers for 13 vermilion and 112 assorted rockfish. Out of Patriot Sport Fishing in Port San Luis, the Patriot was out on Sunday on a three-quarter day trip with 16 passengers for just shy of limits of rockfish consisting of 44 vermilion, 5 Boccaccio, and 144 assorted rockfish. Patriot will also offer Dungeness crab/rockfish combination trips. Webcams of many of the coastal locations are available at https://805webcams.com/.
Call: Virg’s Landing (800) 762-5263; Patriot Sport Fishing (805) 595-4100; Morro Bay Landing.
Bass 3 Striper 3 Sturgeon 3 Catfish 2 Bluegill 3
Sturgeon and striped bass have been on a tear in the California Delta, and the action will only get better in the coming weeks as the end of November is the optimal time for the fall striped bass run. Largemouth bass are also on the rise with plenty of numbers and enough quality fish to push the winning tournament limit average toward 20 pounds.
Sturgeon fishing has been just incredible, and with the emergency white sturgeon regulations in effect as of Nov. 17, the new slot limit from 42 to 48 inches will allow more and more adult sturgeon to make it to the spawning grounds. Captain Ron Koyasako of Nautilus Excursions took Johnny Wang, manager of Turner’s Outdoorsman in Stockton, for sturgeon out of Pittsburg on Friday night, and they caught and released a total of 17 sturgeon. Wang said, “I had to take several Ibuprofen Saturday morning since I couldn’t straighten out my arms after fighting all the fish. We had 6 doubles and 2 triples in shallow water, and every fish came out of the water during the fight. We were using Captain Ron’s cured roe, and with the water temperatures still in the high 50’s into the low 60’s, the sturgeon will remain on the bite.”
Captain Steve Mitchell of Hook’d Up Sport Fishing out of Pittsburg has also been putting on clinics on the water, and he said, “After bringing 10 fish to the boat during the day on Friday along with more on a night crew trip with Captain Joey Gamez of Golden State Sport Fishing, we had another banner day on Sunday. We had a group cancel in the morning due to a car accident on the way so we ventured out with a single angler, Tony Beltran. He had an epic adventure as he hooked and landed 11 fish consisting of slots, oversized, and undersized ranging from 20 to over 80 inches. What a day he had all by himself fighting every fish that came aboard the Top Gun.” He might also be looking for the Ibuprofen bottle on Monday morning.
For striped bass, Jeff Soo Hoo of Soo Hoo’s Guide Service out of Lauritzen’s Yacht Harbor said, “We cancelled on Saturday due to the wind and rain, but the fish were happy to see us on Sunday with limits of a quality grade of striped bass drifting live mudsuckers or bluegill. There are stripers throughout the Delta in both the San Joaquin and the Sacramento Rivers, and the grade has been outstanding. With the water temperature still at 58 degrees, the stripers will continue to bite aggressively until the temperatures drop below 50 degrees.”
When he was not nursing sore arms, Wang added, “There are stripers throughout the San Joaquin system from Eight Mile Road to Tracy as well as from the shoals to Broad Slough and Sherman Lake. The breaks in Frank’s Tract are producing more stripers than largemouth bass for those casting, and the Old River is another location for linesides.”
Alan Fong of Alan Fong Outdoors continues to work the north Delta near Liberty Island, and although the numbers of stripers haven’t arrived in numbers, there are some big fish in the system. He said, “Warren Trumbly was out with me this week, and we were fishing in the shallows when I heard a huge splash. A massive striper hit his lure and began stripping off line before coming off as Warren had the drag set too loose. The big school of stripers is holding from Rio Vista to Collinsville, and one angler caught and released an amazing 70 stripers from 5 to 15 pounds casting 5-inch white Fish Traps. These fish will be up north soon. I have been concentrating on crappie as they are starting to school up in the trees.”
For largemouth bass, Fresno-native Vince Borges of Vince Borges Outdoors said, “We fished the American Bass Tournament out of Ladd’s Marina on Saturday, and since we had boat issues, we had to stick close to the marina. Our two previous trips had produced limits in the 19- to 21-pound range, but we came in with around 12 pounds. You can catch from 40 to 70 fish per day using Alabama rigs or rip baits, but the larger fish are coming on chatterbaits. Our pattern has been to put in from 15 to 17 pounds with the A-rigs before culling up with chatterbaits. There are birds working the main San Joaquin out of Ladd’s, and I wanted so bad to stop on the surface boils, but we were in a tournament. We probably caught 20 stripers from 4 to 7 pounds on Thursday’s trip in the south Delta as there are stripers in the Old River, the Middle River, and near the Grantline Canal. The rock dams have been removed, and the flows have been restored in this section of the Delta.”
In the south Delta, Omega Nguyen of Mega Bait and Tackle in Lathrop reported the current remains strong in the south San Joaquin River from Turtle Beach to Mossdale, and striped bass action has been ‘hit or miss.’ Catfish have been the best bet, but there have been stripers to 15.5 pounds caught and released in the Old River on fresh shad. Most of the stripers are undersized, but there are keepers in the mix.” This is prime time for butterflied shad on the anchor as the temperatures move into the mid-50’s. Fresh shad is available in Stockton and Rio Vista area bait shops
Call: Randy Pringle (209) 543-6260; Captain Steve Mitchell, Hook’d Up Sport Fishing (707) 655-6736; Vince Borges, Vince Borges Outdoors (209) 918-0828.
International Sportsman’s Exposition – Cal Expo/Sacramento – information:
Don Pedro –Sonora Bass Anglers
1st – B. Hemphill/D.Hemphill – 12.50; 2nd – N. Vantrease/A. Pearson – 11.50; 3rd – J. Junette/C.Junette - 10.70.
Delta/Russo’s Marina – Hook, Line, and Sinker
1st – J. Larosa/R. Young – 18.19; 2nd- R. Fonbuena/C.Fonbuena – 17.70; 3rd- J. Goerhring/R. Blevins– 15.94.
Pine Flat – Sierra Bass Club
1st –Nathan Jones – 7.68; 2nd- Michael Murphy – 7.58; 3rd- Ron Orbaker – 7.48. Randy Rowe – Big Fish – 2.68.
Delta/Ladd’s Marina – American Bass Association
1st – Lorenzo and Luca Rosetti – 23.16 (Big Fish – 8.79); 2nd- Paul Polhemus/Tim Woltkamp – 21.06; 3rd- Harvey Pulliam/Jamond Andrews – 17.38.
Upcoming tournaments (dates and locations subject to change)
Nacimiento – 805 Bass Addicts
McClure – Manteca Bassin’ Buddies
Millerton – Third Annual Tulare Police Activity League Fundraising Bass Tournament – contact Mark Corrente at 284-2768 or Sgt. Ed Hinojosa at (559) 331-4920 for details. $180 per team with a huge number of prizes available
Pine Flat - Kerman Bass Club
Del Lago Park in Tulare – Tulare Parks and Recreation Trout Fishing Derby
McClure – Hughson High School Bass Anglers
New Melones – Sonora Bass Anglers
Lopez – American Bass Association
Pine Flat – Sierra Bass Club
McClure – Fresno Bass Club
Eastman – Sierra Bass Club
For more go to fresnobee.com/fishing.