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Fishing report, Sept. 20-26: If you’re looking for trout, Don Pedro, McSwain and New Melones are the places to be.

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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Best bets

Don Pedro trout hitting, Monte Smith reported. McSwain trout plants bolster the bite, Dave Hurley said. New Melones trout action at night very good, Kyle Wise reported. Pine Flat bass on a tear, Brandon Grimsley said. Delta stripers,bass and sturgeon bites good, Dave King reported.

Valley

Westside waterways

Striper 2 Catfish 3

Mickey Clements of Coyote Bait and Tackle in San Jose the California Aqueduct has been a busy place for fishing as anglers are lining the banks in search of striped bass or catfish. Brandon Grimsley of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis touted the largemouth bass bite with the striped bass action ready to turn the corner. Bill Sterling of Striperz Gone Wild added, “Striper fishing has slowed a bit in the aqueduct. North of the forebay has slowed down, and some days, the gates are completely closed with few opportunities for success. Dusk seems to be the best chance to catch a striper. Smaller largemouth still bring caught in the smaller irrigation canals mostly on crawdad-patterned squarebilled crankbaits. The water is moving pretty fast south of the forebay and there are lots of weeds being pulled in, making it tough to throw lures or any bait.”

Striperz Gone Wild’s Three-Year Anniversary ‘Fall Classic’ Striper Derby is 5 a.m.- 2 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 7 at the Hilldale Bridge with a BBQ, 50/50 raffle, and prizes in the adult and youth divisions. The group is also helping with the upcoming City of Gustine Kid’s Derby at the Schmidt Duck Pond on Sept. 30.

In the south aqueduct in Kern County, Cope’s Tackle and Rod in Bakersfield reported nightcrawlers, garlic-scented nightcrawlers, lugworms, extra-large minnows, or cut baits are working for both striped bass and catfish near the head gates. Jerkbaits, Rat-L-Traps, or small swimbaits in shad patterns are also effective. Catfish are inhaling nightcrawlers, chicken liver, or cut baits near outtake grates, bridge pylons, and slower sections of the aqueduct. Bass anglers score with plastics on the drop-shot or grubs the slow water either before or after the head gates.

Call: Valley Rod & Gun, Clovis (559) 292-3474; Bob’s Bait Bucket, Bakersfield (661) 833-8657

Eastman Lake/Hensley Lake

Bass 2 Trout 2 Bluegill 2 Catfish 2 Crappie 2

Brandon Grimsley of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “Eastman is starting to show some signs of life with numbers of small bass, but the big ones have been absent. We had a great run of big fish last spring, but they seem to be missing in action now. Plastics on a Carolina-rig, deep-diving crankbaits, or plastics on the drop-shot are all working. Hensley remains tough for largemouth bass, but a few bass in the 1- to 2-pound range are taken. Hensley remains green from an algae bloom, and there is a submerged rock just inside of the buoys that is hazardous for boaters. Eastman held at 551.81 feet in elevation and 63% with Hensley dropping 5 feet to 491.52 feet in elevation and 33%.

Call: Eastman Lake (559) 689-3255; Valley Rod & Gun, Clovis (559) 292-3474; U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Hensley Lake Hidden Dam (559) 673-5151.

Lake Don Pedro

Bass 2 Trout 2 Crappie 2 Catfish 2 Bluegill 3

Water releases have slowed as the lake only dropped just over a foot to 2,591.10 feet in elevation and from 75 to 73%, and the flows in the North Fork at Kernville have dropped to only 22 cfs. The releases out of the lake are steady at 2,248 cfs at First Point. Cope’s Tackle and Rod in Bakersfield reported crappie are found with Keitech swimbaits or minijigs around Red’s Kern Valley Marina and in the South Fork. Catfishing is best near the dam or Camp 9 with Triple S Dip Bait, mackerel, frozen shad, or large nightcrawlers. Largemouth bass are loading up on the abundant bait schools, and the artificial bite has been tough. The most productive techniques are spinnerbaits or buzzbaits in the trees or walking-style topwater lures such River2Sea’s Whopper Ploppers.

Trout fishing remains best in the Nork Fork with Power Bait near deep water access or with shad-patterned spoons such as Flicker Shad, Needlefish, or Tasmanian Devils for trollers. The upper Kern will be stocked this week at Section 4, Powerhouse #3 to Riverside Park in Kernville, and Section 6, Fairview Dam to Johnsondale Bridge. With the plants and the slower water movement, trout fishing has improved in the upper river with spinners, crickets, nightcrawlers, or Power Bait. In the lower river below the dam, flows are dangerously high in the canyon, but closer to Bakersfield, bass are taken on small plastics and spinnerbaits.

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 2 Crappie 2 Catfish 3 Bluegill 3

The lake is releasing water, and it dropped 41/2 feet to 2,592.40 feet in elevation and from 83 to 75%, and the flows in the North Fork at Kernville have dropped to only 28 cfs. The releases out of the lake are steady at 2,474 cfs at First Point.

The most consistent action remains for catfish with Triple S Dip bait, nightcrawlers, or chicken livers while the bass and crappie are both focusing on the shad schools. Shad imitation minijigs, plastics, or crankbaits are working for both species. The crappie are holding offshore within structure, but you have to find the right structure holding the schools. Trout fishing has slowed down in the lake, but there are still a few holdovers found in the cooler waters of the North Fork with Rapalas, or Tasmanian Devil spoons.

The upper Kern will be stocked this week with double plant in Section 5, Fairview Dam to Lazy River Lodge, and plants will occur in at Section 4, Powerhouse 3 to Riverside Park in Kernville, and Section 6 the week of Sept. 17. With the plants and the slower water movement, trout fishing has improved in the upper river with spinners, crickets, nightcrawlers, or Power Bait.

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

Lake Kaweah

Bass 2 Crappie 2 Trout 1 Catfish 2

The lake continues to drop, but it receded only six feet to 643.20 feet in elevation and from 37 to 33% this week. Bass fishing was tough during Saturday’s Golden Empire Bass Club with the winning weight weighing only 6.80 pounds with a big fish at 2.80. There is a topwater bite in the early mornings and late afternoons, but the most consistent technique remains been plastics on a Ned-rig, drop-shot, or dart head on a slow presentation on the bottom.

Crappie are taken with minijigs or small swimbaits in shad patterns near the coves around Horse Creek. Catfishing remains best with garlic-scented nightcrawlers, cut bait, or Triple S Dip Baits on a long soak. The lake will be dropping water rapidly within the next few months.

Lake Success

Bass 2 Crappie 2 Trout 2 Catfish 2

The lake receded only six-inches to 640.23 feet in elevation and 69%. Crappie are found around the docks in the marina or near submerged brush with small live minnows, Keitech swimbaits, or minijigs. Catfishing remains best with chicken livers, anchovies, or Triple S Dip Bait at night. There is a topwater bite for bass early or late before heading to the bottom with twin-tailed grubs, or Roboworm’s on a drop-shot or Carolina-rig at 10 to 20 feet in depth.

Call: Cope’s Tackle and Rod (661) 679-6351; Sequoia Fishing Co. (559) 539-5626, sequoiafishingcompany.com

McClure Reservoir

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

Crappie action with Notorious Jigs in the coves has been the best bet as the bass bite is limited to small spotted bass. The largest grade has been found at night with big crankbaits or topwater lures in dark color patterns. Holdover rainbow trout are found in the deep water near the dam with shad-patterned spoons such as Kastmasters in black/silver, blue/silver, or Cop Car as the rainbows are feeding heavily on the shad schools. Catfishing is best at solid at night along sloping banks with chicken livers, nightcrawlers, or cut baits. The lake dropped seven feet to 833.61 feet in elevation to 79% from 83%.

Call: Ryan Cook, Ryan Cook’s Guide Service (559) 691-7008.

McSwain Reservoir

Trout 3

Recent trout plants have led to vastly improved fishing for rainbow trout from the banks or from trollers. Kayakers are trolling Flicker Shad in front of the Brush Pile for steady action for rainbows in the 12- to 14-inch range while bank anglers are garlic Power Bait, nightcrawlers, or silver/blue or gold Kastmasters at the Brush Pile, Handicapped Docks, or the peninsula by the marina. The Merced Irrigation District’s Fall Trout Derby starts at 6 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 30 and ends at noon Sunday, Oct. 1. The lake rose slightly to 90%, and the water level will remain relatively stable throughout the year. Information - https://mercedid.org/fall-2023-trout-derby/.

Call: Angler’s Edge Market (209) 226-4416; McSwain Marina (209) 378-2534.

Millerton Lake/San Joaquin River

Millerton

null

Call: Valley Rod & Gun (559) 292-3474

New Melones Reservoir/Tulloch

Bass 2 Crappie 2 Catfish 2 Trout 3 Kokanee 2

It’s about holdover rainbow trout at this time of year as the kokanee are all but done. Kyle Wise of Head Hunter Guide Service continues to find great action for rainbow trout to 20 inches working under lights at night. He sets up in water from 80 to 100 feet deep once he locates a shad school, and after anchoring, he drops up to three lights under the surface before waiting an hour for the shad to arrive. Once the shad congregate, the rainbows are thick. John Liechty of Xperience Bass Fishing Guide Service said, “Bass fishing remains very tough, but it should improve up the river arm once it gets cooler. The shad is just starting to school up, and this is what we have been looking for.” Water releases have slowed as the lake dropped only six inches this week to 1,043.29 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 3 Trout 2 Kokanee 0 King salmon 0 Catfish 2 Crappie 2

The lake is also releasing water heavily, dropping 10 feet this week to 910.49 feet in elevation and from 83 to 77 percent. Brandon Grimsley of Valley Rod and Gun said, “I was out there on Sunday, and it is a great bite for bass with plastics on the drop-shot or Ned-rig along with umbrella rigs or small swimbaits on a ball head. The fish are suspended from 10 to 15 feet with the dropping water levels, but you will find them on occasion at a depth of 12 feet in 60 to 80 feet of water.

There is a tremendous amount of bait in the lake right now, and Roboworm’s Morning Dawn or darker colors on the Ned-rig were working best, but they weren’t eating the jerk bait.” Crappie are starting to ball up, but they have been challenging to find. There are few trout reports.

The flows on the lower Kings at Trimmer have dropped to 1,079 cfs, and another trout plants is scheduled this week. Successful techniques remain the same with spinners or nightcrawlers with split-shot worked in the confluence of fast to slow water for up to limits of recently planted rainbows.

Call: Valley Rod & Gun (559) 292-3474; 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 reported excellent trolling action with big ripbaits such as Lucky Craft’s 128’s or P-Line’s Predator Minnows. He said, “The larger non-jointed ripbaits seem to be working best, and the Duo Realis Tide Minnows in Neo Pearl, bone, or Ghost Minnow are all effective as there have been a number of large striped bass in the 20- to 30-pound range landed recently. Most anglers are trolling, but some are tossing large 6- to 8-inch swimbaits, Rat-L-Traps, or larger swimbaits such as the 6-inch Magdraft or the River2Sea Rig Walker.

Roger George of Roger George Guide Service said that the troll bite had slowed down for the last few days in the colder morning wind and fog on the pass.“

I would say the bite has been in the tough to decent category at best. I spent two whole days last week guiding and we had to work for our fish. They were hard to find and I covered the whole lake and the key spots more than several times each trip. Many of the fish were suspended as the cooling temps hit Friday. We released guest Al Echols 35.2 lber last week , but the overall regular bite was slow to fair at best – but it could rebound this week with the weather stability,“ George said.

In the forebay, the access under the 152 Bridge appears to be blocked, and it has been very windy this past week. The grass is building up, but smaller stripers can be taken on Rat-L-Traps, flukes, or topwater lures as the fall bite is coming on.”

Bill Sterling of Striperz Gone Wild added, “The striper bite remains very strong both in the main lake and in the forebay, but it is mostly by boaters.” The main lake continues to release water, and it has dropped from 85 to 82 percent. The forebay is at 83 percent with water releases down the aqueduct.

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

High Sierra

Bass Lake

Bass 2 Trout 2 Kokanee 0

The bass bite remains very tough, but there is a small window for reaction baits with topwater lures or crankbaits before working jigs around submerged rocks and trees. Crappie are found at night around the docks with minijigs. Trout fishing has also slowed with the lack of planting since the annual trout derby in May. Trout/kokanee guide Mike Beighey has shut down for the season other than an occasional exploratory trip. A webcam of the launch ramp is available at https://basslakeca.com/.

Call: Mike Beighey, Bass Lake Fishing 676-8133

Edison/Florence/Mammoth Pool

Trout 3

The Kaiser Pass lakes are starting to release water, but trout fishing remains solid at both Edison and Florence Lake. All the lakes are nearly filled, but they are dropping with Edison from 89 to 83%. Florence holding at 91, and Mammoth Pool from 98 to 89%. Road conditions (559) 297-0706.

Call: Vermilion Valley Resort at Edison Lake (559) 259-4000

Shaver Lake/Huntington Lake

Kokanee 2 Trout 2

Dick Nichols of Dick’s Fishing Charters said, “Shaver’s water level is dropping as fall approaches, but the kokanee bite was decent this week, depending on with whom you talked. I fished with my friend, Bob Hatmaker of Arroyo Grande, and we started at dawn fishing near the bottom with orange Apex behind Mountain Dodgers in Sun Tea, Captain J, or the new Hawaiian. We spent a couple of hours fishing the bottom for only one spawning kokanee. A boat passed with two anglers who had five kokanee to our one with their best action at 40 feet. We reacted positively to their advice and immediately started catching kokanee by switching over to Dick’s Mountain Tubes with a tipped with scented corn behind weighted Mountain Flashers.

We immediately got into them. On the downriggers, we used Mountain Tubes in orange behind the same Mountain Dodgers, and they started hitting at 40 feet. 17 hookups resulted in 2 limits keeping one limit for his pastor. Without question, fishing between 20 and 40 feet was the answer as was switching to orange Mountain Tubes. We found most kokanee between the island and southwest of Black Rock. On the other hand, there were two boats that got skunked. Basically, it’s a hit or miss situation. My recommendation is to stay in the 20 to 40 feet range and use orange tackle.”

The remaining three-year-old kokanee have completely turned to spawning colors, and the bulk of kokanee are second-year fish that should be left alone to grow for 2024. With the lack of any kokanee planting by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife this year, a healthy spawn is necessary for action three years from now.

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. Shaver is at 89% and Huntington at 98%. Huntington remains slow for both trout, and the kokanee are well into their spawn and moving into Rancheria Creek and other inlets.

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. Shaver is at 95% and Huntington at 97%.

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/Courtright

Trout 2

The last trout plant at Courtright took place two weeks ago, and the trout action is fairly decent at both Courtright and Wishon. The best location for holdovers remains in the upper lake near the inlets for trollers pulling blade/’crawler combinations or Rapalas. Wishon received a trout plant last week, and bank fishing is up near the mouth of Short Hair Creek or in the back of the lake near the inlet with inflated nightcrawlers or Power Bait. Interest in fishing the high-country lakes remains down from past seasons.

Call: Wishon RV Park (559) 865-5361.

Ocean

Half Moon Bay

Rockfish 3 Striper 2 Halibut 2 White seabass 1 Sand dabs 3 Surf perch 3

The closest access to waters deeper than 50 fathoms are found far from the harbor off of Pigeon Point with limited areas at the Farallon Islands. Bill Smith of the Riptide reported his business is down 90 percent due to the salmon closure and now the nearshore rockfish closure. The next hope for a shot of business will be the possible opening of Dungeness crab season on Nov. 4.

A few anglers have been heading out for albacore or bluefin tuna, but the action is lacking near the Half Moon Bay Weather Buoy. With a tremendous albacore bite out of Fort Bragg, boaters are trailing up the North Coast to take advantage of the close warm water break at 25 miles. An impressive number of bigeye tuna to 250 pounds have also been landed off of Fort Bragg. Crab-only trips will start on Nov. 4, but crab/rockfish combination trips are in jeopardy.

The Half Moon Bay Weather Buoy (46012) located 20 miles offshore, and it provides weather conditions at this location. It has been non-operational since June, but it is vitally important to the commercial and recreational fishing communities. Retired Captain Tom Mattusch said, “the recreational fleet has been ordered to fish deeper than 300 feet for the balance of this year, potentially next year as well. With diesel fuel over $6/gallon, the angling public needs finer scale weather data than just guessing. Please stress to National Buoy Data Center (NDBC) and the USCG Buoy Tender ‘Aspen’ the importance of getting this buoy operational again.”

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.

Monterey/Santa Cruz

Rockfish 3 Halibut 2 Striper 2 White seabass 1 Sand dabs 3 Surf perch 3

Chris Arcoleo Jr. of Chris’s Fishing and Whale Watching in Monterey reported limits of big vermilion and chili pepper rockfish along with half-limits of ling cod are the rule as they are only able to fish deeper than 50 fathoms. Fortunately, deep water access is fairly close to the harbor as opposed to other northern California ports. From the surf, Mickey Clements of Coyote Bait and Tackle in Morgan Hill reported good surf perch action from the beach while striper anglers are getting up as early as 3 a.m. to fish from sunrise on the Monterey beaches with topwater poppers in white/red or purple. Duo Realis’s Tide Minnow 140’s have been extremely popular due to their weight-transfer system that allows for a longer cast.

Allen Bushnell of Santa Cruz Kayak and Surf Casting Guide Service said, “Ocean fishing remains steady on Monterey Bay as we move into fall. Weather and sea conditions were somewhat confused last week, with some very windy days, some overnight winds and a mixed swell from the South and West. Most boaters could head out to the deeper reefs where quick limits have been the norm all season. Inshore fishing for rockfish and lingcod is now closed for the year, but a number of boats fished shallow in hopes of catching halibut, white sea bass, or thresher shark. The charter boats continue to post limits of fish for their clients. Chris’ Fishing and Whale Watching Trips from Monterey had limits for every trip last week, up to 220 cod on Sunday’s trip aboard the Check Mate. The six-pack charter Santa Cruz Coastal’s Rodney Armstrong reported on a duo of good days fishing outside the 60-fathom line. On Monday Armstrong said, “lots of big chili’s today. Another wide-open action day.”

On Wednesday, this reporter observed the beautiful Miss Beth from Go Fish Santa Cruz returning to the Harbor before 11 in the morning. Considering their travel time to and from the deepwater areas they are fishing these days, I’d say they enjoyed very quick limits. Skipper JT Thomas reported “We fished the deep waters today with Harry and his team. They caught limits of quality rock fish including vermillion, canaries, green spots, and chili peppers.” Sizable halibut are still being hooked in waters of 40-to 80-foot depths. The most productive areas include the Mile Buoy area in Santa Cruz, North Coast Beaches above Santa Cruz, Capitola, and the New Brighton area and the Sand City Area and Tioga Street near Monterey. These areas also happen to be holding the most significant amount of bait lately.”

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

Golden Gate/San Francisco Bay

Halibut 3 Striper 3 Rockfish 3 Leopard shark 2 Sturgeon 2

The weather offshore has been flat calm for the past few days, and party boats are making the long run out to Rittenburg Bank at 37.8833° N, 123.3333° W for full limits of huge rockfish and lingcod to 25 pounds. The California Dawn 2 has been taking regular trips to Rittenburg when the weather cooperates, and Monday’s action of 22 limits of rockfish and lingcod has been the rule. Sunday’s total for both the California Dawn 1 and California Dawn 2 was 44 limits of rockfish and lingcod to 25 pounds. The California Dawn is combining with Western Outdoor News for a charter on Oct. 13th out of Berkeley Marina. There are still a few spots available on the charter. Information - https://wonews.com/charters/.

The epic halibut bite inside of San Francisco Bay remains, and party boats are reporting quick two-fish limits drifting live bait in the central bay around Alcatraz Island, Angel Island, or Crissy Field. White sea bass are starting to congregate into schools, and it is hoped the ‘ghosts’ will start to bite within the coming months. September through November are the peak time for the bay’s white sea bass. Striped bass are also holding strong with limits possible for those chasing them with live bait in San Pablo Bay.

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

Similar to the other ports in northern California, the boat-based nearshore rockfish season above Point Conception ended on Sept. 1, forcing boats out of Morro Bay to either fish nearshore below Point Conception or deep water of 50 fathoms or more. 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. Out of Morro Bay Landing, the Avenger was on a half-day trip on Sunday with 23 passengers for 100 46 vermilion rockfish, 21 Boccaccio, 117 assorted rockfish, a black cod, and a rock sole. All three boats were busy out of Virg’s Landing in Morro Bay on Sunday with the Black Pearl, Rita G, and Fiesta taking out 66 passengers on trips ranging from ½- to 3/4th day for 147 vermilion along with 193 assorted rockfish, 65 Boccaccio, and two lingcod for a total of 405 fish. Out of Patriot Sport Fishing in Port San Luis, the Patriot was out on a half-day trip on Monday with 10 anglers for 40 vermilion, 19 Boccaccio, and 21 assorted rockfish. Webcams of many of the coastal locations are available at https://805webcams.com/.

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

Others

Delta/Stockton

Bass 3 Striper 3 Sturgeon 3 Catfish 2 Bluegill 3

Striped bass fishing has been outstanding on both the San Joaquin and Sacramento sides of the Delta, but the combination of high winds and heavy grass has created challenges to get to the linesides. Jeff Soo Hoo of Soo Hoo Sport Fishing out of Lauritzen’s Yacht Harbor in Oakley said, “I cancelled over the weekend due to the winds, and although I could have gotten the trips in with limits in the early mornings, I opted for far more comfortable conditions in the future for my clients. The tide was outgoing in the morning, and the combination of the northwest wind and outgoing tide makes for very rough conditions on the main river arms. The grass has been bad with the larger tides, and there is a lot of the small ‘witch’s hair’ once the tide gets rolling. If you can work through the tops and bottoms of the tides when the current slows down, you do have a small window for great action. We have been drifting live bluegill, and the accumulation of grass on the line will kill the bait. There are plenty of stripers out there, but it is a matter of finding the right conditions.”

Johnny Wang, manager of Turner’s Outdoorsman in Stockton, added, “The Delta is wide open for striped bass for those drifting live perch or minnows as mudsuckers have been scarce. In the San Joaquin system, Lights 42 and 44 near Korth’s Pirate’s Lair, Prisoner’s Point, in front of either Hilton’s or Nomellini’s Duck Clubs, both sides of Eddo’s Marina, and Bacon Island have been hot for stripers. On the Sacramento side, the West Bank has been excellent for trollers working deep diving P-Line’s Predator Minnows or Yo-Zuri’s Crystal Minnows at 14 to 16 feet. The striped bass are starting to school up.

For largemouth bass, Dave King of Nor Cal Bass said, “We had 32 boats on Saturday out of Ladd’s Marina, and there were some heavy limits as 20 pounds took first with following limits at 19, 17, and 17. It took 15 pounds to cash a check. The best action was on reaction baits, and I caught numbers of fish on the River2Sea Whopper Plopper over the weed lines on high tides and on a red Rat-L-Trap on the outside weed lines on low tide. I was casting parallel to the weeds, and the bass were coming out of the weed and attacking the lures. Danny Berbena, my partner at Nor Cal, landed a largemouth at 9.19 pounds on an alabaster Bobby’s Perfect Frog on the incoming tide fished over thick water weeds while slowly twitching the frog. Berbena also reported good action with the Whopper Plopper or crankbaits around Herman and Helen’s to Tower Park. The east Delta near Fourteen Mile Slough has been heavily sprayed, and all of the grass is dead. There is little life in the region.”

Information on the spraying schedule is available at https://dbw.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=29465. The herbicide spraying occurs throughout the Delta, and it will continue through November.

The 19th Annual Northern California Delta Club Classic will be held on Sept. 30 out of Russo’s Marina in Bethel Island, and it is a club versus club tournament hosted by the Delta Bass Club. Participating clubs are the Bass Busters of Santa Clara, Bass Anglers Northern California, Contra Costa Bass Club, Fresno Bass Club, Manteca Bassin’ Buddies, Modesto Ambassadors, Sacramento Bass Wranglers, Valley Backlashers, Sierra Bass Club of Clovis, Great Basin Bassers of Reno, and the host, Delta Bass Club. Each club has a maximum of 6 teams. Information: http://www.deltabassclub.com/uploads/1/0/2/8/102806244/2023_club_classic_flyer.pdf.

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.

Lake Nacimiento/San Antonio/Santa Margarita/Lopez

Bass 3 White bass 3 Striper 0 Catfish 3 Crappie 2 Bluegill 2 Trout 1

At Nacimiento, water releases have started, and the lake dropped to 65%. Cope’s Tackle and Rod in Bakersfield reported solid bass action with 4-inch plastics in brown, dark green, or baitfish on the drop-shot, dart head, or Ned-rig in 10 to 20 feet of water. There is a morning and dusk topwater bite with River2Sea Whopper Ploppers or poppers while white bass are also hitting the topwater lures. Catfishing is best with anchovies or Triple S Dip Bait while crappie are found in the submerged structure with live minnows or minijigs. White bass are holding around the shad schools, and trollers are scoring with white Roostertails or Kastmasters or similar spoons.

A webcam of the lake is available at https://805webcams.com/lake-nacimiento-live-webcam/. Lopez Lake dropped slightly to 96.9%, and the best bass action remains on the bottom with finesse presentations of plastics on the drop-shot, Ned-rig, dart head, or split-shot. Creature baits are also working at depths to 20 feet. Tournaments are scheduled at several coastal lakes in the coming months. Anglers can view a live webcam of the lake at https://805webcams.com/lopez-lake-webcam/. At Santa Margarita, the Central Valley Kayak Fishing tournament was a big success with a winning limit over 94 inches with a big fish at 21.75 inches. There is a reaction bite with jerkbaits, chatterbaits, or topwater lures over the flooded vegation. The lake is releasing water, and it dropped slightly to 90.9%, but there is still plenty of flooded grass. A webcam of the lake is available at https://805webcams.com/santa-margarita-lake-webcam-california. At San Antonio, the lake held at 67%. Not much change here as catfishing remains best with chicken liver, mackerel soaked in garlic scent, or Triple S Dip Baits. With the high water, the bass are spread out throughout the lake, but a pattern can be developed with search baits such as jerkbaits or underspins.

Reminder: consuming white bass, black bass, crappie, catfish, or carp are subject to safe eating guidelines due to excessive mercury.

Events

Sept. 30

City of Gustine Kid’s Fishing Derby at the Duck Pond

Oct. 7

Striperz Gone Wild Three-Year Anniversary ‘Fall Classic’ Striper Derby - 5 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Hilldale Bridge with a BBQ, 50/50 raffle, and prizes in the adult and youth divisions.

Oct. 14

Fishapalooza at Cope’s Tackle and Rod Shop in Bakersfield 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Meet factory representatives from all your favorite brands and save on tackle during our biggest sale of the year.

Oct. 14

Kid’s Fishing Derby – California Striped Bass Association – West Delta Chapter – Antioch Fishing Pier in Antioch – prizes, lunch, and raffle.

Tournament results

Sept. 16-17

Delta – Cen Cal Elite Bass Tournament of Champions

1st – Delmar Gaspar/ John Paul Fraga – 19.44 pounds (Big Fish – 8.34); 2nd – Mark Corrente/John Albidrez – 27.84; 3rd – Ron Red Sr. and Jr. – 26.15.

Sept. 16

Kaweah – Golden Empire Bass Club

1st – John Oglesby – 6.80 pounds (Big Fish – 2.80); 2nd – Nathan Towes/David Childress – 6.05; 3rd – Juan Verdugo/Don Luna – 5.90.

Santa Margarita – Central Valley Kayak Fishing

1st – Angel Lallilo Sanchez – 94.5 inchess ; 2nd – Damian Thao – 85.25 inches; 3rd –Jeff Sander – 76 inches. Big Fish – Jess Coulter – 21.75 inches.

Upcoming tournaments (dates and locations subject to change)

Sept. 23

New Melones – El Dorado Bass

Don Pedro – Nor Cal Bass

McClure – Christian Bass League

Isabella – American Bass Association

Sept. 24

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

Lake Camanche – Gold Country Bass Tour

New Melones – Fresno Bass Club

Sept. 30

Don Pedro – 17/90 Bass Club

Nacimiento –3rd Annual Cope’s Customer Appreciation Bass Tournament

Oct. 1

Delta/Contra County – East County Student Anglers

Delta/Ladd’s Marina – 17/90 Bass Club

For more go to fresnobee.com/fishing.