Fresno Bee Fishing Report | Oct. 3, 2017


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. Have a photo of a recent catch to share? Email it to [email protected] with “fish photo” in the subject line.

Best bets

New Melones trout and bass action good, John Liechty said. San Luis stripers picking up the pace, Paul Jolley reported. Huntington trout kick in, Merritt Gilbert said. San Francisco salmon, halibut and stripers hitting, Keith Fraser reported. Delta bass, stripers and salmon on a tear, Randy Pringle said. Kaweah bass on hot bite, Pete Cormier reported. Courtright rainbows still feisty, Chuck Crane said.


1-Try dynamite

2-Have to work hard

3-Limits possible

4-Fish jumpin’ in boat

Delta Mendota Canal and Sloughs

Most striped bass fishermen near the northern section of the aqueduct, with action having yet to take off, continue to opt for more productive options such as the main San Luis Reservoir or O’Neill Forebay for linesides. To the south, Pete Cormier of Bob’s Bait Bucket in Bakersfield said, “It’s pretty much the same thing for striped bass as the flows are good and the moss is starting to lessen. A 16-pound striper was reported this week, and this is a big fish for the aqueduct. Sardines or blood worms continue to be the top baits for linesides while catfish are taken on Sonny’s Stink Baits, frozen shad, or chicken livers.” Anglers, in order to maintain access to public areas along the aqueduct, are reminded to take out all trash and debris when departing.

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

Bass 2; Trout 1; Bluegill 2; Catfish 3; Crappie 2

Related stories from The Fresno Bee

The bass bite remains decent, but it is not as solid as it was a few weeks back. The better cut of fish are holding off the shoreline over rockpiles and submerged islands; lizards on a Carolina-rig, Senkos or deep-diving crankbaits are working best for largemouths to 3 pounds. The dam area has slowed, and the shoreline is limited to small, but aggressive bass. There is a catfish bite from dusk to dark and midnight to 4 a.m. with chicken livers or anchovies. The river arm is open. The lake held at 69 percent capacity.

Call: Six Star Tackle Box 673-5688; Eastman Lake 689-3255

Bass 2; Trout 1; Catfish 3; Bluegill 2; Crappie 2

Hensley has been slower than nearby Eastman for bass, but a few can be taken with plastics on the drop-shot at depths from 15-25 feet above submerged humps or rock piles. Catfishing is productive with chicken livers or anchovies from the evening through early morning. The lake continues to release water, dropping to 22 percent capacity.

Call: Valley Rod & Gun, Clovis 292-3474; Six Star Tackle Box 673-5688; U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Hensley Lake Hidden Dam 673-5151

Bass 2; Trout 2; Kokanee 1; King salmon 2; Crappie 2

Bass fishing remains very slow with the spotted and largemouth bass loading up with shad at depths to 65 feet. Shad-patterned plastics on the drop-shot or jigs such as Berserk’s Purple Hornet jigs are working best as the reaction bite is very slow. The fish are suspended off the bottom and oriented to the schools of bait. Few trout fishermen are targeting the lake, but with the abundant shad schools, the rainbows are holding around the shad balls. The lake held at 84 percent capacity,

Call: Monte Smith 209-581-4734; Gary Vella 209-652-7550

Lake Isabella/Bakersfield area

Bass 2; Trout 3; Crappie 2; Catfish 3; Bluegill 2

In Kern County, the upper Kern River above Kernville toward the Johnsondale Bridge continues to be the best local bet for planted and the occasional holdover rainbow or brown trout. Pete Cormier of Bob’s Bait Bucket in Bakersfield said, “We have had many anglers reporting limits and exceptional fishing with salmon eggs or Power Bait working best with crickets a bit slower. A 22-inch brown trout was reported.” At Lake Isabella, the catfish bite continues to intrigue fishermen with frozen clams, mackerel and even live crickets, with the best action in the South Fork. A few fishermen are targeting carp with Wussy’s Bait. Crappie remain slow as is bass bite, with the best action on plastics on the drop-shot or dart head. The lake dropped to 2,566.69 feet in elevation and 37 percent capacity. The lower Kern River is producing a few planted rainbow trout along with smallmouth bass in the areas with slower moving water. The local lakes are kicking out bluegill and carp. Buena Vista is also best for catfish and the occasional crappie. The Taft Chamber of Commerce Trout Derby at Lake Buena Vista is Nov. 18.

Call: Bob’s Bait 661-833-8657; North Fork Marina 760-376-1812

Bass 4; Crappie 2; Trout 1; Catfish 2

The lowered pool of water and abundant shad schools have contributed to a hot bass bite. Pete Cormier of Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield reported anglers have been enjoying 50-fish days within a few hours with plastics on the drop-shot. The bass are holding around the shad schools. With the lake finally stable, the bite has been excellent for the past three weeks. Crappie fishing is fair, with the best action at night while catfish are taken on chicken livers or cut baits. The lake level came back up slightly to 594.47 elevation and 9 percent capacity.

Call: Sierra Sporting Goods 592-5212

Bass 2; Trout 1; Catfish 2; Crappie 2; Bluegill 4

Pete Cormier of Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield reported Kern County anglers are heading to Success for bluegill with wax worms, red worms or meal worms. He said, “There have been some huge bluegill to 2 pounds landed in the past month, but the overall grade of bluegill seems to have gotten smaller.” The lake dropped to 597.11 feet in elevation and 13 percent capacity.

Call: Sequoia Fishing Co. 539-5626,

Bass 2; Trout 2; King salmon 1; Kokanee 1; Crappie 2; Catfish 2

The bass bite remains slow as the water is still warmer than normal. Fish are feeding on the abundant shad schools and less willing to fall for artificial lures. Mike Gomez of Berserk Baits has been pre-fishing McClure the past two Saturdays for minimal action despite throwing a variety of offerings. He said, “I only landed 10 fish this past Saturday, and only two of the bass were keeper-size, and the story was the same the previous Saturday with 15 fish resulting in only two keepers. A recent club tournament from the 1790 group out of Modesto produced a winning weight at 11 pounds, with 9 pounds getting you paid. The only thing I could get them to go on is plastics on the drop-shot, and I have been scoring the occasional bass with the Pro Worm’s 124p or Pro Gold 300 at depths from 40-65 feet in 80-90 feet of water. Every one of the bass are spitting up shad up to 1.5 inches, and the fish are holding around the shad. We see them down there but getting them to go is a different story. With all of the bait, they just aren’t going for lures right now. I tried reaction baits, jigs and crankbaits, but the only successful lures have been plastics. The water temperature starts off at 70 degrees in the mornings, and it rises to 75 by the afternoons. Once the weather cools down, the bass will go on a major feed, but right now, they are suspending in deep water. Don Pedro is the same way, and interest in both lakes has waned as there were only 15 boats on the lake on Saturday.” McClure dropped to 75 percent capacity and 826.19 feet in elevation.

Lake McSwain has been in the doldrums for much of the summer with the lack of trout plants, but the addition of 3,000 pounds within the past month along with plants before this weekend’s Merced Irrigation Trout Derby have bolstered action from the banks and for trollers. The Calaveras Trout Farm is back in operation after being closed during the final year of the recent drought, and fishermen are expected to line the banks for the derby starting at 7 a.m. Saturday and closing at noon Sunday. There will be 50 tagged fish released into the lake with top prizes of $2,000 for tag #51, $1,000 for tag #52, and $500 for tag #53. The remaining tags from 54 to 100 will draw equal shares from a prize pool. And there is a $200 prize for the heaviest trout along with $500 for tag #51 if it’s landed by a derby participant after the derby closes. With the recent trout plants and cooler water, rainbows are coming from the normal locations of the brush pile, handicapped docks and the peninsula near the Marina with Kastmasters, inflated nightcrawlers, various colors of trout dough bait or Power Eggs. Trollers are working with Wedding Rings tipped with a nightcrawler behind a dodger, blade/’crawler combinations or silver/blue Kastmasters from the first fence line upriver to the dam.

Call: McSwain Marina 209-378-2534

Millerton Lake/San Joaquin River

Bass 2; Striper 1; Shad 1; Bluegill 2; Trout 2

Pine Flat and Millerton are limited to small five-fish limits less than 10 pounds, and Millerton is producing the better cut of bass at the current time. Both lakes continue to recede with water releases, with Pine Flat dropping much faster than Millerton. At Millerton, Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “More people are fishing here right now, and the cut of fish is a little better as we are seeing some spots to 3 pounds with 9 pounds being a solid limit right now. There are a lot of small fish to be culled through, but the better fish are found at 30 feet in depth. There are shad everywhere in the main lake with more of a bluegill/worm bite in the river arm. Crankbaits and spy-rigs have been the top lures, and the good news is there have been at least a half-dozen smallmouth bass to 12.5 inches that have been caught and released. One of the smallmouth bass was landed in the main lake around East Bay with the remainder up the river arm. This is a new and exciting development. Bass fishermen are also picking up the occasional striped bass to 10 pounds as incidental catches.” Millerton held at 70 percent capacity and 543.11 feet in elevation.

Call: Valley Rod & Gun 292-3474

New Melones Reservoir/Tulloch

Bass 3; Crappie 2; Catfish 2; Trout 3; Kokanee 1

Despite struggles for spotted bass at the nearby lakes of Don Pedro and McClure, New Melones is featuring a progressively improving spotted bass bite. In addition to the spots, quality rainbows continue to tug on lines in the deepest waters, and an October catfish contest is under way. John Liechty of Xperience Bass Fishing Guide Service said, “I am really excited about the next two months, and if we don’t get an early winter with very cold temperatures, the bass bite should be incredible. It is very good right now with the fish holding in certain areas, and you can catch fish until you are bored. Of course, you have to figure out the pattern, and over the past six to seven years, I have figured out that these bass are holding at depths around 30 feet with our best action on shad-patterned plastics on the drop-shot. I figure out how far the bass are holding off of the bottom and adjust my drop-shot weight to the proper leader length. The larger fish are holding off of the edges, and I try and keep the boat at 30-35 feet in depth and drop over the edges with either a three-sixteenths or quarter ounce weight. I am looking for an early swimbait bite, but it hasn’t happened as of yet. We caught and released 100 bass on Sunday, and 95 percent of the fish are spots. There are also loads of spots in the 8-inch range, and they must have spawned in February and grown rapidly in the high water conditions.” Trout fishing remains solid for rainbows to 6 pounds for trollers working from 50-60 feet with shad-patterned spoons. The water temperature has dropped 10 degrees in the past month to 74 degrees, and the trout should start moving closer to the surface. Glory Hole is holding its annual Catfish Derby from Nov. 1-30. The monthlong event is limited to 50 entrants with sign-ups beginning Oct. 1. The lake held at 84 percent capacity and 1,054.42 feet in elevation.

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

Kokanee 1; Bass 2; Trout 2; King salmon 1; Catfish 2; Crappie 2

At Pine Flat, Gilbert said, “The bass bite has been spotty with some guys catching fish while others are struggling. There have been more and more largemouth bass showing up in the lake, and around 40-50 percent of the bass landed have been largemouths to 2 pounds. A 6.5- to 8-pound limit is a successful day, but the bite is not consistent. One day, you can pick up 8 pounds up the river arm, and the next day, the action is off with no keepers in the river arm. It has been hard to catch keepers over 13 inches, and there are 6- to 7-inch spots boiling all over the surface throughout the day. Anglers are trying to get below the small fish on the surface, but there are no larger fish chasing up the shad. There is a small window for topwater lures with Whopper Ploppers or Spooks for spots to 1.5 pounds, and the afternoon bite from 2 p.m. to dusk is better than in the morning. A few crappie are taken on minijigs or live minnows from the houseboats at Pine Flat Lake Marina or Lakeridge. Trout fishing has been very slow, but the lower Kings River has been excellent near the old Sheriff’s substation with trout dough bait or Kastmasters for planted rainbows to 6 pounds.” Pine Flat dropped to 59 percent capacity and 871.33 feet in elevation this week.

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

Striped bass fishing continues to occupy Central Valley fishermen, and O’Neill Forebay is back in play for numbers of linesides in addition to the main San Luis Reservoir. Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “Fishermen are picking up around 30 striped bass per trip to 5 pounds in the big lake, and there is a topwater bite as the stripers are chasing bait and boiling on the surface. The stripers are pushing the bait into the shorelines, and topwater lures such as River2Sea Whopper Ploppers or Vixens are working in addition to flukes and Lucky Craft ripbaits or Duo Realis jerkbaits. In the forebay, more and more local fishermen are stopping short of the big lake to work the shorelines around Check 12 or the Highway 152 bridge with topwater lures in the early evenings. There is a large number of striped bass in the 13- to 15-inch range, and anglers will have to be patient to pick up a limit to 22 inches.” Roger George of Roger George Guide Service said that the fish are showing up on top some days. “The guys who fished between windy days this last week had some flurries of topwater action on fish to 26 inches when it got calm. I expect the overall bite to improve this coming next two weeks with the forecast of somewhat stable temps. There are a lot of small fish.” Paul Jolley of Coyote Bait and Tackle in Morgan Hill said, “I went out to Dinosaur Point this week, and the bite is really good as there is so much bait in the water. When the stripers were feeding and boiling, jerkbaits and squarebill crankbaits were working for me. The key is to cast towards the shoreline and target the feeding schools. The forebay has been good with topwater lures throughout the lake, even in the open water. Anchovies are working around Check 12 and the Highway 152 Bridge.” San Luis held at 86 percent capacity.

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

Bass 2; Trout 2; Kokanee 1

Bass fishermen are still picking up 10-12 fish per trip with an early topwater bite with Zara Spooks or River2Sea Whopper Ploppers along with ripbaits, but the bass are not oriented toward the docks. The average bass is 1.25-1.5 pounds, but there have been largemouth bass to 3 pounds reported. The swimbait bite should start up with the cooling water temperatures, and the lake is expected to drop to 50 percent capacity by Nov. 15. Boaters are expected to pay the Sheriff’s Motor Fee at the Sheriff’s Tower prior to launching. There were no trout reports. Webcams of the lake are available at The lake is releasing water, dropping from 97 to 88 percent capacity this week.

Call: Todd Wittwer 288-8100; Mike Beighey 642-3748

Edison/Florence/Mammoth Pool

Few reports are coming out of the high-country lakes of the Kaiser Pass, but Lake Edison is the best bet with high water while Florence is still down at about 2 percent for dam maintenance.

Call: Vermilion Valley Resort at Edison Lake 259-4000

Shaver Lake/Huntington Lake

Kokanee action continues to be slow, but a few anglers are jigging for the few large and red fish remaining in the lake. There are still plenty of trophy-sized rainbows in the lake, and the fish should start moving up in the water column. The lake is dropping about 1.5 feet per day, and it receded to 83 percent capacity this week. At Huntington Reservoir, Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun reported continued good rainbow trout fishing with trout dough bait in rainbow, pink or chartreuse around the mouth of Rancheria Creek. He said, “Some are getting limits within a few hours.”

Call: Dinkey Creek Inn 841-3435; Rancheria Marina 893-3234; Shaver Lake Sports Inc. 841-2740; Todd Wittwer Guide Service 288-8100; Steve Santoro Fish Box Charters 871-3937

Courtright Reservoir continues to produce quick limits of quality rainbow trout for both trollers and bank fishermen while Wishon remains a mystery for trout anglers. Chuck Crane of Wishon Village RV Park and Store said, “Courtright is kicking out early limits for shore fishermen soaking trout dough bait in pink or red below the Trapper Springs Campground in the cove with trout dough bait in red or pink, and there have been limits taken within an hour of setting up and casting out. These are quality rainbows with several in the 16- to 18-inch range. Trollers are working blade/’crawler combinations or Wedding Rings tipped with a nightcrawler at 3-6 colors along the shoreline from the dam to across the launch ramp in the cove at Trapper Springs.” Crane said, “Wishon is a much different story with trollers struggling for one or two fish per day trolling Wedding Rings tipped with a nightcrawler or blade/’crawler combinations at 3-6 colors of leadcore. Bank fishing is also very slow with most fishermen leaving without catching a fish. Trout dough bait in pink or red have been the best option for the few fish taken near the mouth of Short Hair Creek. There have been very few fishermen stopping at Wishon with most anglers heading further up the hill to Courtright.”

Call: Wishon RV Park 865-5361

Salmon 3; Rockfish 3; Striper 2

Salmon continue to make a spirited showing for commercial fishermen, skiffs and even kayaks outside and inside the harbor while rockfishing remains the staple species. With crab season on the near horizon, private and party boats are starting to gear up for the Nov. 4 opener, Captain Dennis Baxter of the New Captain Pete said, “Salmon are still found between the buoys outside of the harbor, and we picked up a couple of limits in the late afternoon this week after hearing on the radio that the bite was on.” Sherry Ingles of Half Moon Bay Sport Fishing confirmed the good bite for private boaters, saying, “There is not enough going on for party boats, but private and commercial boats are scratching out quality fish. There were six kayaks out on one morning this week, and all kayaks limited out by 7 a.m. working just inside of the harbor. The salmon are fin-clipped so they are returning from the Coastside Fishing Club pen project. Salmon are also found inside the harbor for those throwing Corkies or spinners with barbless hooks, but fishermen who have snagged salmon have received citations as the Department of Fish and Wildlife is closely monitoring the area. Most shore fishermen are working from the restrooms to the private boat launch, but the salmon also enter a drainage ditch near the Fish Trap restaurant. We were able to make it out for rockfish on Saturday, Sept. 30, despite the weather, and the Queen of Hearts returned with limits of rockfish along with a few lings.” Captain Tom Mattusch on the Huli Cat found great action for yellow, vermilion, and copper rockfish on his last trip off the Deep Reef, but this area may be closed within a few weeks due to private boaters returning to the harbor with restricted yelloweye rockfish. Ahead of the Dungeness crab opener Nov. 4, and the Huli Cat remains one of the only boats in the harbor running crab/rockfish combination or crab-only trips.

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

Rockfish 3; Striper 2; White sea bass 2

Chris Arcoleo of Chris’ Fishing Trips in Monterey said, “We have a white seabass trip on Wednesday, Oct. 4, and there is room at the present time.” The Check Mate put in 172 rockfish and 2 lings for 24 anglers on Sunday with the Caroline coming back with three-quarter limits of rockfish and 2 lings for a small group of six fishermen.

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

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

The ocean was a mess Saturday and Sunday, but there may have been more than a few bruised male egos Friday during the fitfh annual Ego Trip on the Happy Hooker with the first woman winner of the contest in Celestial Smith-Hinz of El Sobrante . “Danny Boy” Higginbotham of San Francisco was second in the ling contest, with Ron Little posting the largest limit of rockfish. Inside the bay, the smaller tides were just what was ordered over the weekend since the ocean was torn up, and the California Dawn stayed in the bay for 25 halibut to 25 pounds along with a white sea bass and two striped bass. They also released another 5 undersized white sea bass. The Happy Hooker also went out with a small load on Sunday for four halibut to 14 pounds and two striped bass for 3 fishermen. Keith Fraser of Loch Lomond Bait and Tackle in San Rafael reported salmon fishing at California City has been very good when the schools are moving through, and there was a skiff Sunday that landed three salmon to 12 pounds. Striped bass are thick in San Pablo Bay, and although 75 percent are undersized, there are some to 6 pounds. Halibut fishing improved over the weekend with the smaller tides.

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 707-655-6736

It’s still all about rockfishing out of the San Luis Obispo County ports with perhaps another year without albacore. The season is getting later and later, and with each passing week, the hope of tuna chasers shrink. Out of Morro Bay Landing in Morro Bay, the Endeavor and Avenger were out Sunday for 46 limits of rockfish and seven ling cod while the Fiesta out of Virg’s Landing took out 19 fishermen on Monday for limits of rockfish and eight ling cod to 16.8 pounds. The Phenix out of Patriot Sport Fishing in Port San Luis also found limits of rockfish Monday, with 11 anglers scoring 11 ling cod to 10 pounds, 22 vermilion, 33 copper, three Boccaccio and 53 assorted rockfish. All landings are taking a variety of trips ranging from half day to long range in the coming weeks.

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

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

The 70th Rio Vista Bass Derby is Oct. 13-15. The Rio Vista Chamber of Commerce has teamed again with the California Striped Bass Association – Isleton Chapter to put on the derby. In addition to the striped bass target-length derby, there is a kid’s derby, a sturgeon target-length derby, and heaviest weight salmon category. Due to the urging of the California Striped Bass Association, the bass derby has been strictly targeting length for striped bass for the past several years. The weekend-long event will feature a car show, rummage sale, food and beer vendors, a kid’s carnival, rock ’n’ roll music, and a farmer’s market. Information and registration are available at After weeks of building salmon action in lower Suisun Bay and from Clarksburg to Freeport in the north Delta, the action is heating up to a fever pitch with big numbers of salmon landed on Sunday. Tony Lopez of Benicia Bait and Tackle said, “Everybody has been coming up to the shop and buying lures on Sunday. I was at First Street at 10:30 in the morning, and there were eight salmon landed by then, but by 2 p.m., there were 40 salmon reported. This is the most I have ever heard of in a single day. A number of fishermen went home with limits as the bite turned on just like that. The Vee-Zee spinner in yellow/green or green/green have been the top lures.” Johnny Tran of New Romeo’s Bait in Freeport confirmed the outstanding bite for salmon. He said, “Flying C’s from the banks, jigging with P-Line’s Laser Minnows or Slammer Minnows or trolling with Brad’s Cut Plugs behind an 11-inch Pro Troll dodger are all working. The cold water is keeping the salmon in the area, and the fish are still chrome. Davis Cochrane of Sacramento landed a limit to 20 pounds on Saturday throwing Flying C’s off of the banks, and he put in another early limit on Sunday trolling Silvertons.” The Central Valley Anglers out of Lodi held their first Sandy Leiting Memorial Salmon Derby out of Wimpy’s Marina on Sunday with 75 anglers weighing in 14 salmon with the big fish taken by Edward Alvarez at 20 pounds, 6 ounces followed by Chuck Souza at 17 pounds, 3 ounces, and Richard Wright at 17 pounds. The Bureau of Reclamation has begun weekday closures at its Delta Cross Channel gates that are expected to last at least into mid-October and intended to help reduce fall-run Chinook salmon straying from the Sacramento River. The gates will close Mondays about 10 a.m. and will reopen Fridays about 10 a.m.; the process takes about one hour. Alan Fong of the Fisherman’s Warehouse in Sacramento went in the north Delta near Liberty and Prospect Sloughs for striped bass to 17 pounds released on ripbaits in shallow water. After fishing for striped bass, Fong targeted the northern-strain largemouth bass found in the colder waters of the north Delta, and he flipped plastics off of one spot with submerged wood for a five-fish limit to 21 pounds. He said, “The northern-strain bass get active at this time of year, and the bite is really good.” Out of McAvoy’s Harbor, huge striped bass to 30 pounds are being caught and kept on a daily basis by a select group of knowledgeable striper fishermen working the deep water near the Firing Line or the shallows near the Middle Grounds with live splittail. Launch ramps at Brannan Island State Park remain open, but the restroom and parking lot area is under construction, which may continue through November. The temporary fence around the parking lots is making for difficult conditions for transporting a large boat around the fence. Largemouth bass continue to be the top species in the San Joaquin-Delta, but striped bass and salmon are making a bit of an impact. Randy Pringle, the Fishing Instructor, was out on the Delta in the heat this week, and he said, “The weather change has been freaking out the bass, and they aren’t reacting like they should be since the temperatures were far below normal last week and way above normal in the 90s this week. The key is to slow everything down, and don’t ‘Overfish the fish’ as you can’t do something that they don’t want to do. Don’t move things too quickly, and the ima Rock N’Vibe Suspend is so good, that is should be outlawed. We have been scoring consistently with this lure in either shad or crawdad colors as the bass are feeding on both species. There is plenty of shad in the San Joaquin River, and the small stripers are pushing up the bait, attracting birds breaking the surface. A few good schools of stripers are coming into Frank’s Tract since this is where they start when they arrive in the Delta, but they don’t stick around here very long, moving through quickly. Working the outside edge with the Flat Dog in deeper water is another productive technique as well as flipping the Crazy Legs Chigger Craw in black/red in front of rocks and tules. You have to fish it slow, but the action will pick up again before slowing down once the water becomes too cold in the coming months.” Vince Borges of Vince Borges Outdoors and Phenix Rods was on the Delta on Tuesday, and he reported good action for both stripers and largemouth bass with topwater lures or swimbaits. He said, “The water temperature has dropped to 68 degrees, and once it gets to the 62-degree range, the action will really improve. The better stripers came on topwater, but we went through a lot of linesides in the 8- to 10-inch range on flukes. The bass were chasing the flukes, and there is so much bait on the San Joaquin. Largemouth bass are mixed in with the small stripers chasing shad, and we must have gone through 50 largemouth and 30 stripers. The birds are working the surface, and the shad is of a large grade at 3-5 inches. Chatterbaits and flukes were our best bet for largemouth bass, and we never switched over to anything else with the hot action. I imagine that spinnerbaits and crankbaits will also be effective. My son landed a bass in the 5.5- to 6-pound range, and I had one largemouth bass that came out of the water to hit my fluke before it hit the water. They were really chewing the flukes.” Dan Mathisen of Dan’s Delta Outdoors in Oakley held his last event of the year out of Big Break Marina, and Harvey Pulliam and Jamond Andrews won with a total of 30.58 pounds, also taking Anglers of the Year in the process. Mathisen reported continued good salmon action with Flying C’s from the Humphrey’s Pier along with striper action in the San Joaquin with Optimum’s Bad Bubba Shad swimbaits or Delta Mizer topwater plugs.

Call: Randy Pringle 209-543-6260; Captain Mike Gravert – Intimidator Sport Fishing 916-806-3030; Vince Borges – 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 2; Catfish 3; Crappie 3

Lopez continues to be the most promising of the coastal lakes for largemouth bass, crappie and bluegill, with a brief window for topwater lures in the early mornings before switching over to chatterbaits, spinnerbaits, jerkbaits, or crankbaits. The greatest numbers continue to be found on the bottom with plastics on the drop-shot. A few crappie are taken on minijigs, but the best panfishing is for bluegill or red ear perch with red worms, jumbo red worms or meal worms. Catfishing is fair with cut baits or nightcrawlers. A webcam of the lake is available at At Nacimiento, small spotted bass are the rule with most fish under a pound. The largest grade of bass to 2 pounds come out in the early mornings or evenings with topwater lures or small swimbaits while numbers are found with finesse techniques on the bottom. White bass remain elusive, but there are a few schools emerging, and once they are located, white Roostertails or Kastmasters are working for the occasional white. The action has not turned on as of yet. The lake continues to release water slowly. A webcam of the lake is available at San Antonio has been slow overall, but there are schools of small striped bass chasing bait on the surface in the mornings and evenings. The largest grade of striper is taken by trolling shad-patterned swimbaits near the dam. Other than the occasional striper, catfish are taken on stink baits, cut baits or nightcrawlers in the evenings. Santa Margarita has a brief window for largemouth bass with buzzbaits or topwater walking baits while working the bottom continues to produce the most fish. Bluegill and crappie are still around with minijigs or small plastics on the outside weed line for the slabs with red worms, meal worms, or wax worms for the bluegill. Catfishing is decent with mackerel, sardines or chicken livers. Reminder that consuming white bass, black bass, crappie, catfish or carp is subject to safe eating guidelines because of the risk posed by excessive mercury.

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

Go to for reports on Half Moon Bay, Monterey/Santa Cruz, San Francisco Bay and San Luis Obispo

  • Sierra Bass Club on Sept. 23-24 at Delta/B and W Resort: 1, Gary Johnson/Jamal Lane 24.01; 2, Ryan Reynolds/Ronnie Rustigian 23.66; 3, Michael Murphy/Don Hodges 20.41; big fish, Ronnie Rustigian 7.78, Craig Gong 7.48
  • Oct. 7: Delta/Ladd’s Marina, Sonora Bass Club; McSwain, Merced Irrigation District Trout Derby; Pine Flat, Kern County Bassmasters; Bass Lake, Kerman Bass Club; Kaweah, Golden Empire Bass Club; Success, Visalia Bass Club; Isabella, Lake Isabella Bass Club
  • Oct. 7-8: Delta/Russo’s Marina, Angler’s Press
  • Oct. 8: Delta/Ladd’s Marina, Modesto Ambassadors; Eastman, Kings VIII Bass Club; Nacimiento, Good Old Boys
  • Oct. 11: Delta/Ladd’s Marina, Bass Pro Shops
  • Oct. 13-14: New Melones, California Bass Federation
  • Oct. 13-15: Rio Vista Bass Festival and Derby at Delta/Rio Vista,
  • Oct. 14: Delta/Russo’s Marina, Bass Anglers of Northern California; Camanche, Riverbank Bass Anglers; New Hogan Manteca Bassin’ Buddies; McClure, Angler’s Press; Nacimiento, San Luis Obispo County Bass Ambushers; Santa Margarita, Bakersfield Bass Club
  • Oct. 15: Delta/Russo’s Marina, Hook, Line, and Sinker; McClure, Valley Hawg Hunters; Pine Flat, Central Valley Kayak Fishermen
  • Fresno County: Kings River, below Pine Flat Dam
  • Tuolumne County: Stanislaus River Clarks Fork










































f = full moon > = peak activity

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