Central California fishing report week of April 6-12

Harlan Van Der Kooi of Helm holds the 28-inch, 8-pound striper he caught and released on Saturday, April 2 at San Luis Reservoir on a trip with his dad, Daniel, grandpa Charles and younger brother Hayes, 7.

Harlan Van Der Kooi of Helm holds the 28-inch, 8-pound striper he caught and released on Saturday, April 2 at San Luis Reservoir on a trip with his dad, Daniel, grandpa Charles and younger brother Hayes, 7.

Special to The Bee

Compiled by Dave Hurley and edited by Roger George, who guides in the greater Fresno area and holds the striper record at Millerton Lake.

Photo gallery

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Best bets

Monterey and Half Moon Bay salmon and rockfish openers good, Allen Bushnell reported. Delta stripers, sturgeon and bass action taking off, Alan Fong said. Shaver Lake kokanee off to a big start, Dick Nichols reported. Don Pedro trout bite holding up, Monte Smith said. McClure bass and trout top attractions, Dave Hurley reported. New Melones bass and trout on tap, Ryan Cook said.

Proposed new bag limit

The Department of Fish and Wildlife proposed eliminating the two-fish 15-inch size limit at Eastman, Hensley, Kaweah and Success since efforts to create a trophy fishery have been unsuccessful. The recommendation is to return to the state standard of a bag limit of 5 fish with a 12-inch size limit.

Roger’s remarks: Be careful what you pay for

Technology! I’m still debating whether it’s a bane or a blessing.

For example, several competitors are selling new sonar that shows bass swimming across the screen in real time. You can also see the lure that you just cast out 40 feet dropping down to the fish and watch them swim up and strike it.

That’s just one piece of new high-end gear, from trolling motors to drones to fully interfaced boat systems that run off your cellphone. Faster, stronger, smarter, more effective and easier to use than the old stuff – so they say.

We try to stay up with it, but it’s a lot for a normal fisherman to digest. About the time you decide to get a new gizmo, you see one that’s possibly better. Some of us abdicate picking between new sonar systems and blow the budget on the new brushless, self-anchoring trolling motor.

Purchase is just the beginning. There’s installation, troubleshooting, downloads to keep it synced … and the help line is not my idea of a good time.

The really hard questions are: Does buying this tech really help me be a better fisherman – or am I just in love with the idea? And am I willing to completely change and embrace this new tech? Over and over I’ve seen anglers who purchased pricey new tech, then years later admit that they never took the time to learn how to use it. They ended up disgusted and irritated.

Getting a bright shiny new toy can be very exciting, but there are more options than ever before to make an expensive mistake.

Being brutally honest with yourself and really digging into what it’s going to take to make it all worthwhile usually takes effort and hard research. Get the right tools. Never give up!

Roger George: rogergeorge8@protonmail.com, Rogergeorgeguideservice on Facebook and @StriperWars


Westside waterways

Striper 3 Catfish 2

Michael Crayne at Valley Rod and Gun said, “The California Aqueduct has been slow for striped bass, but largemouth bass action is good with ripbaits or plastic worms.” Striperz Gone Wild is holding another huge fundraising tournament, the first Hailey Lauchland Memorial Tournament on April 23 at the Volta Bridge with 10 cans of unexpired food as the entry fee. Check -in at 4 a.m. with the weigh-in closing at 2 p.m. Prizes for 1st, 2nd and 3rd in both adult and kids divisions and a raffle.

Bill Sterling of the Sportsman’s Warehouse in Fresno said, “Fishing in the aqueduct has picked up. There are a number of shakers being caught on anchovies or blood worms with keepers found on jerk baits.”

In the south aqueduct in Kern County, there hasn’t been much change as there is a decent striped bass bite with small swimbaits, jerkbaits, sardines, mackerel, or anchovies, particularly where the water slows. Catfish are taken on cutbaits.

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

Eastman Lake/Hensley Lake

Bass 2 Trout 2 Bluegill 2 Catfish 2 Crappie 2

Michael Crayne of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “There have been some quality largemouth bass taken on Z-Man’s Jackhammer chatterbaits in black/blue along with jigs in the back of the lake. With the stained water at both lakes, scent and vibration is a must.” Trout plants spurred on action from the banks, but the planted rainbows have spread out in search of cooler water. Eastman held at 10% with Hensley rising slightly to 19%.

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

Lake Don Pedro

Bass 2 Trout 3 Kokanee 2 King salmon 2 Crappie 2

The 2nd annual Ed Lacy Memorial Bass Tournament on Saturday drew 52 boats on a weekend with 102 boats in the Delta, 131 at Clear Lake and another 35 at McClure during competing tournaments.

Ryan Cook of Ryan Cook’s Fishing is the initiator and organizer of the tournament, and he said, “Ed Lacy was a customer of mine, and he was the type of angler who would ask 30 questions when he was out on the water in an attempt to learn as much as possible. He has a huge heart for children, and when he was in the hospital with COVID-19, he called me and requested that all of his gear be donated to youth.”

Cook added, “I was hoping for 30 or 40 boats, but we were very grateful that 52 teams showed up. My mentor, Don Longton, and his partner, John Myers, won the tournament with 12.90 pounds. Longton took me under his wing 20 years ago when I first started bass fishing, and he stuck with me when I was dealing with personal issues several years ago. He taught me a tremendous amount about bass fishing, and it was wonderful to see this event come full circle as he has been very ill over the past few months. Three months ago, he started experiencing heart issues, and even two months ago, he could barely breath and his legs were swollen from his heart not functioning properly. He recovered to the point where he was able to fish his first tournament since dealing with his health issues, and he and Myers went ‘old school’ by using Lunker Daddy’s 6-inch worms on a dart-head or shaky head. There are some bass on beds, but the majority of bass remain outside of the shallows.”

Cook landed a largemouth bass just shy of 7 pounds on a jerkbait during the week, and he added, “There are some schooling fish as the bass are in all stages of the spawn. There is a reaction bite with topwater lures or flukes in the mornings before working the bottom at depths from 15 to 20 feet with plastics on a shaky head or Carolina-rig along with tubes.”

For trout, Monte Smith of Gold Country Sport Fishing launched out of Blue Oaks on Saturday due to all of the traffic at Fleming Meadows, and he said, “It took some time to locate them, but once we got on them, it was doubles and triples. We finished with 15 rainbows, a small king salmon, and a kokanee running Pro-Troll’s Kokanee Killers behind a Mack’s Sling Blade at 20 to 35 feet. The kokanee are mixed in with the trout.”

The lake is at 61% with the 5 mph zone remaining between Blue Oaks and Fleming Meadows. There are unmarked submerged mooring buoys between the two launch ramps, and anglers have to use caution, particularly when running in low-light conditions.

Call: Monte Smith of Gold Country Sport Fishing (209) 581-4734; Kyle Wise – Head Hunter Guide Service – (209) 531- 3966; Ryan Cook – Ryan Cook’s Fishing – 691-7008

Lake Isabella/Bakersfield area

Bass 2 Trout 2 Crappie 2 Catfish 2 Bluegill 2

Lake Isabella is happening for a few species, and planted rainbows are a possibility from the banks with deep water access with Power Bait, nightcrawlers, Mice Tails, Atomic Tubes, or minijigs. Trollers are picking up a few holdovers with shad-patterned spoons. Crappie fishing is limited to those finding the right tree holding the slabs, and once the crappie are located, small to medium minnows or minijigs are working. Catfishing is decent and improving with Triple S Dip Bait, live minnows, chicken livers, or nightcrawlers. The 31st Annual Kern County Chamber of Commerce Trout Derby will run from April 9th through July 4th with 500 tagged fish ranging in value from $20 to $5000. The Derby Headquarters is returning to the senior center for opening weekend, and if you enter prior to March 30, 2022, you will be included in the early bird drawing for $250 before the event even starts. All anglers must enter before April 9 at 7:00 a.m. when all entries are shut down. To enter the derby, go to www.kernrivervalley.com and click on the fishing derby link. The largemouth bass were moving into the shorelines, but Monday’s storm pushed them back out off of the beds. They will be back in the shallows soon. The Department of Fish and Wildlife proposed eliminating the two-fish 15-inch size limit at Isabella since efforts to create a trophy fishery have been unsuccessful.. Lake Isabella held at 11%. There haven’t been any recent trout plants at Buena Vista, but there have been some quality rainbows and Lightning trout landed on Kastmasters, Power Bait, or nightcrawlers from the shorelines with deep water access. Anglers have to be aware of the planting schedule as the bite slows quickly after the plant. Daily Fishing Permits at Buena Vista are $6.00/adults and $1.00/children under 15. Information on trout plants is available at (661) 868-7000 – press 1. In the local lakes, Ming and Brite Valley were planted with trout last week. Heavy planting throughout the Kern River has brought about solid action despite low flows, and insect hatches in the afernoons have created the opportunity for fly fishermen with BWO’s in the 20-Mile Section along with the Wild Trout Section. The lower Kern is improving for bass on plastics. The river at Kernville has bumped up from 352 to 587 cfs due to snowmelt while the flows have also risen at First Point below the dam, rising from 363 to 446 cfs.

Call: Bob’s Bait Bucket in Bakersfield (661) 833-8657; North Fork Marina (760) 376-1812; Golden Trout Pack Station (559) 542-2816

Lake Kaweah

No report.

Lake Success

No report.

Call: Sequoia Fishing Co. 539-5626, sequoiafishingcompany.com

McClure Reservoir

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

35 boats participated in a tournament on Saturday with the first-place team weighing in over 12 pounds with a big fish pushing 5 pounds. There are bed fish throughout the lake, and slow presentations with plastics, creature baits, or jigs are working best. When the wind is blowing, there is a reaction bite with squarebilled crankbaits, ripbaits, or spinnerbaits. Recent trout plants have spurred on action for both trollers and bank fishermen. The area from the Houseboats south including Temperance and Cotton is now 5 mph. There are several additional tournaments in the coming months. The lake rose to 32%, and the best ramp continues to be at Barrett Cove South.

Call: Ryan Cook – Ryan Cook’s Guide Service – 691-7008

McSwain Reservoir

Trout 3

The annual Merced Irrigation District Spring Trout Derby was a big success with some quality Calaveras Trout Farms rainbows and Lightning trout taken from the shorelines near the Brush Pile, Handicapped Docks, and the peninsula around the marina with gold or blue/silver Kastmasters, garlic Power Bait, or nightcrawlers. As the rainbows work their way up the river arm in search of cooler water, trollers are scoring with blade/’crawler combinations or red Wedding Rings tipped with a nightcrawler at depths to 20 feet near the 2nd Fence Line. The lake is at 92%, but lake levels will remain high throughout the year.

Call: McSwain Marina (209) 378-2534

Millerton Lake/San Joaquin River

Bass 2 Striped bass 2 Shad 1 Bluegill 2 Crappie 2

Michael Crayne of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “Bass fishing is fair with plastics or jigs over the submerged humps. The spotted bass are moving into the shallows, and the best action has been in the upper lake or on the Madera side near Winchell’s Cove or at the main boat launch on the Fresno side. A couple striped bass to 30 inches have been taken above Finegold.” The San Joaquin River rose once again from 677 cfs to 983 cfs at Friant as water releases continue. The lake rose from 58% to 60%.

Call: Valley Rod & Gun 292-3474

New Melones Reservoir/Tulloch

Bass 3 Crappie 2 Catfish 2 Trout 3 Kokanee 2

Kyle Wise of HeadHunter Guide Service said, “Kokanee are showing up at depths from 8 to 40 feet with the new Paulina Peak’s UV micro-minnow or a white hoochie behind a Paulina Peak gold hammered dodger. The trout bite continues to be excellent for planters in the main lake at depths from the surface to 15 feet, and easy limits have been the rule.” Ryan Cook of Ryan Cook’s Fishing said, “The bass can be found from 2 to 40 feet with reaction baits such as ripbaits, spinnerbaits, or squarebilled crankbaits along with Senkos or jigs.” The lake dropped slightly to 39%, and numerous unmarked hazards remain throughout the lake. Boaters have to be extremely cautious.

Call: Glory Hole Sports (209) 736-4333; Monte Smith (209) 581-4734; John Liechty Xperience Fishing Guide Service (209) 743-9932

Pine Flat Reservoir/Kings River

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

We have been following the exploits of the Roosevelt High School Bass Fishing Club through their season, and the season is coming to a close within a few months with the California High School Student Angler Tournament Trail TBF State Championship out of Ladd’s in Stockton on April 24. High school bass fishing has become a major factor in the industry, providing an alternative to traditional sporting competition for youth.

Roosevelt High School Bass Fishing Club adviser Michael Spencer said, “The fourth and last of this school year’s California High School Student Angler Tournament Trail Big Valley Region Open was held on Sunday at Pine Flat Lake. It was a smaller field with 15 boats, but we still drew teams from Folsom, Oakdale, and the Delta area to take on the students from the Big Valley High School Anglers group. True to form, the traveling teams did well, but not well enough to take home the title. That honor went to the team of Sebastion Her and Kevin Xiong, both from Fresno High School. It was the young Warriors’ first title, and they needed most of their 13.50-pound bag to hold off the team of Joaquin Elliot and teammate Vince Fonte from Delta’s East County Student Anglers who managed 12.18 pounds on the unfamiliar lake. Her and Xiong anchored their bag with Sebastion’s 5.75-pound kicker, the event’s Big Fish winner. The Fresno High duo said they targeted steeper walls that had good rock with weightless Senko’s, taking advantage of suspending fish in the lake’s rapidly rising water. Pine Flat had come up 11 feet in the 12 days before the tournament. Elliot and Fonte used mainly a drop-shot with a long dropper to get their limit. While the fish were suspending around the lake, they were not being too difficult to catch. The field averaged 9.13 pounds for the event, and only one team didn’t weigh a limit. Most teams were fishing inside 20 feet deep, and it seemed most baits worked to some degree. Edison High students Jaiden Vang and Morgan Yoder, winners of both Millerton events and runners-up at the February Pine Flat tournament, finished the day in third and ended a very impressive season, locking up the Anglers of the Year from the Big Valley Region. Their title qualifies them to fish in the MLF High School National Championship, held this year in Florence, Alabama on Pickwick and Wilson lakes. It remains to be seen if they will be able to overcome the logistical and financial obstacles standing between them and the opportunity. Anyone with questions or an interest in high school fishing is directed to text or call me at 559-261-5296.”

In the lower Kings, a trout plant is scheduled for this week, but the flows have dropped slightly from 2,686 cfs to 2,241 cfs at Trimmer, but they are still high creating more dangerous conditions for waders. Finding slower water is a key to success with Float N’Flies, crappie, jigs, Roostertails, Atomic Tubes, Trout Magnets, or Power Bait. The lake rose from 35% to 38%.

Call: Valley Rod & Gun 292-3474; Sequoia Fishing Co. 539-5626

San Luis Reservoir and O’Neill Forebay

Striper 2 Catfish 2 Bass 2 Crappie 2

San Luis Reservoir is demonstrating signs of life as the minnow bite, the shore bite, and the troll bite are all picking up. Mickey Clements of Coyote Bait and Tackle in Coyote said, “It seemed like the action has picked up as drifting minnows in the early morning before the sun hits the water in Portuguese Cove or Lone Oak Bay are producing quick limits. Shore anglers are soaking pile worms near Dinosaur Point or the turnoffs off of Highway 152, and we went through three boxes of pile worms this week. Trollers are pulling broken-back Rebels, Yo-Zuri Crystal Minnows, or Lucky Craft Pointer 128s and picking up some lineside, as well.”

Bill Sterling of the Sportsman’s Warehouse in Fresno said, “Striper fishing has picked up as this weather continues to warm up. Top water in the O’Neill Forebay and reservoir has been hot with the best action in the early mornings or at dusk.“

Roger George of Roger’s Guide Service in Fresno said, “The lake is rising some with a recent input of water raising the reservoir, but I still rate the fishing as tough. Although the water temperatures are in the 58/59-degree range, the fish are still not patterning out as usual. Normal haunts like Portuguese Cove, Romero, and Quien Sabe Point are not yet holding the usual schools of fish anglers usually see right now. I’ve had to do more scouting than usual to find any active biting fish, and the schools that are often on structure aren’t there right now. We went to a trolling tactic on Friday, hoping to cover ground and find some biters. Luckily I found that working the 70-foot range seemed to be the best zone. I worked all day from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. for 14 fish topped by 8-year-old Harlan Van Der Kooi’s personal-best spanning 28 inches and 8 pounds. Seven-year-old Hayes Van Der Kooi also landed his personal-best lineside at 26 inches and 6 pounds. The boys were out with their dad, Daniel, and grandfather, Charles Van Der Kooi. Some males are milting. but it may happen when we get to a 60-degree water temperature range. Minnow and bait anglers are telling me they’re not doing well. Spawning season is upon us and I think that’s got to improve our bite. I’m doing a 2-hour striper seminar at Sportsman’s Warehouse on Thursday, April 21 from 5:45 to 8 p.m. called “Beginning Downrigging -Trophy Tactics and Tips.” Go to rogergeorgeguideservice.com for seminar info and signup. Reserved limited seating for 30 guests in order of signup. Cost is $60.”

The main lake rose slightly to 45% this week with the O’Neill Forebay rising to 88% with heavy pumping out of the south Delta.

Call: Coyote Bait and Tackle (408) 463-0711, Roger George of rogergeorgeguideservice.com (559) 905-2954

High Sierra

Bass Lake

Bass 2 Trout 2 Kokanee 1

Todd Wittwer of Kokanee.net Guide Service trolled the lake with Mike Beighey of Bass Lake Fishing this week, and they found fair action for planters to 14 inches by long-lining lead core or on the downrigger with Warden’s chartreuse Spin N’Glow or the Rocky Mountain Tackle’s orange Hornet Spinner. The annual Bass Lake Chamber of Commerce Trout Derby is April 30-May 1 with $55,000 in prize money available. Bass fishing is fair at best with finesse techniques. A webcam of the launch ramp is available at https://basslakeca.com/. The lake rose to 64%, creating more accessible conditions at the launch ramp.

Edison/Florence/Mammoth Pool

The gates at Kaiser Pass will not reopen until Memorial Day at the earliest. Edison is at 15%, Florence has dropped to 4% with Mammoth Pool dropping slightly to 69%.

Call: Vermilion Valley Resort at Edison Lake 259-4000

Shaver Lake/Huntington Lake

Kokanee 3 Trout 2

Kokanee action at Shaver Lake continues to draw fishermen from around the state in search of some of the largest early-season kokanee in memory. Despite waiting for the docks to be installed at the Shaver Lake Marina, boaters are launching in droves to troll for kokanee as large as 18.5 inches in April. In addition to kokanee, golden trout from the plant a few years back are reaching 12 inches and larger, and there have been some quality brown trout landed as well. The action has been so good that guides from around the state have arrived to work the lake despite not possessing one of the six guide permits issued by Southern California Edison.

Dick Nichols, guide emeritus at Shaver Lake, has kept his guide status intact, and he said, “Dick’s Pro-Staff Jay Irvine of Visalia took a group of friends that were celebrating a birthday, and they went out in two different boats with the big fish of the day being a trophy rainbow at 4.5 pounds landed by Johnny MacArthur of Valencia near the dam on an orange/brown Jay Fair trolling fly on the surface at a setback of 200 feet. The big rainbow gave him a battle all the way to the net. The group landed a total of 14 fish, split equally between kokanee and trolling with the best action on a pink/white Dick’s Mountain hoochie behind a gold/orange Mountain dodger at 34 feet on the downrigger. The best set up for trout with the trolling fly on the surface. The best trout set up of the day was the trolling fly on the surface. Another solid set up on the down rigger was a watermelon micro-shrimp behind a gold/pink/purple dodger at 25 to 35 feet in depth. Most of the fish were caught off the Point, in front of the dam, and the Shaver Marina at a trolling speed of 1.3- to 1.5- mph. The surface water temperature was 51 degrees, and the fish were definitely high in the water column due to the water surface temperature. Ospreys were constantly flying around above them looking for their next meal.”

With Nichols’ semi-retirement, Todd Wittwer of Kokanee.net Guide Service has assumed the primary role of the full-time guide at Shaver, and he is waiting for the docks to be installed at the Shaver Lake Marina before bringing up his pontoon boat. He said, “I was out there this week, and we found good action in the morning at depths from 8 to 12 feet before the breeze came up and the fish dropped to 25 to 35 feet. The Rocky Mountain Tackle’s orange Hornet Spinner behind a 4.5-inch orange Moonshine dodger did most of the damage.”

Jared Romero of Clovis will be assisting Wittwer on the weekends prior to leaving for UC Santa Barbara in the fall, and he possesses one of the six permits. Romero was out with his girlfriend Meadow and his brother Parker on Saturday for limits of kokanee using pink hoochies behind a Mag Tackle dodger at depths from 11 to 37 feet. Romero said, “It’s hard trying not to lose a downrigger ball with the lake being so low.”

Shaver is starting to increase in capacity, rising to 43% this week, and it won’t be long until the docks are installed.

Todd Wittwer – Kokanee.net Guide Service 288-8100; Tom Oliveira – Tom Oliveira Fishing – 802-8072


Trout 0

Information is available at https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/sierra/home/?cid=stelprdb5399344.

Call: Wishon RV Park 865-5361


Half Moon Bay

Salmon 3 Rockfish 3 Striper2 White seabass 1 Crabs 2 Sand dabs 3 Surf perch 3

The Pillar Point Harbor north of Half Moon Bay lit up again over the weekend as the boat were out and happening with Friday’s rockfish opener, followed by the salmon opener the next day.

Out of Half Moon Bay Sport Fishing, Sherry Ingles reported their flagship, the Queen of Hearts, posted near-limits with 123 rockfish and 2 ling cod for 16 anglers on Friday’s opener before following up with 15 salmon to 13 pounds for 15 passengers on Saturday before putting in 17 salmon to 18 pounds for 14 fishermen on Sunday with another 21 salmon less than 24 inches released. She said, “They shook some, lost some, and found good action on the inside edge of the Deep Reef.”

Captain Michael Cabanas of the New Captain Pete was out on a rockfish trip on the opener from Martin’s Beach south through San Gregorio to Pescadero, and they put in 3/4th limits of rockfish. The wind came up by mid-morning, and the ride back to the harbor was slow. Cabanas was back out on Saturday’s salmon opener for 20 salmon to 20 pounds for 11 passengers with plenty of opportunities for two more fish for limits, also at the Deep Reef. They went rockfishing on Sunday in 90 feet of water off of Pescadero for 3/4th limits of rockfish including 5 cabezon along with 7 ling cod with Ron Jew of San Francisco landed a 7-pound ling on a swimbait.

Captain Bill Smith on the Riptide was out on Saturday’s salmon opener for 12 salmon to 20 pounds while the Ankeny Street focused on rockfish for 7 limits on Friday and 85 rockfish and 2 ling cod for 11 passengers on Saturday. Captain Chris Chang said, “We cancelled on Sunday due to high winds.”

The winds have been the limiting factor for private boaters as it has been pretty sporty out there, but the opening of the salmon and rockfish seasons have infused life back into the harbor.

Shore line action has been decent for surf perch, and limited scores of Dungeness crab are taken on snares or hoops from the crowded pier or surrounding beaches.

Anglers can check the status of the pier via https://www.cityofpacifica.org/depts/pw/parks/pacifica_pier.asp. There is also a live feed from a web cam available at https://www.pacificaview.net/livecam/index.php.

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

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

Allen Bushnell of the Santa Cruz Kayak Fishing and Surfcasting Guide Service said, “Woo-hoo! Anglers all around the Monterey Bay are stoked to be fishing again. Everyone enjoyed the season openers this weekend. Rockfish started Friday, and salmon season opened Saturday. Weather and ocean condition forecasts didn’t look so good for the weekend, but most boats found very fishable conditions despite a persistent swell and stiff winds all week, including overnight wind. In Santa Cruz, Bayside Marine owner Todd Frasier reported on Sunday, “Salmon fishing was hit and miss today for the anglers. There were fish caught on the east edge of the Soquel Hole. There were other anglers catching some fish near the Moss Landing Canyon. The anglers did find a few fish near Mulligan Hill. The majority of the salmon are being caught 25 to 80 feet down, but there have been some caught 125 to 220 feet down. The wind was expected to be bad today but it was fine until 12:00.”

JT Thomas from Go Fish Santa Cruz is certainly glad to be back on the water doing what he does best: finding fish for the clients. The beautiful Miss Beth counted limits of rockfish for Friday’s trip, mostly reds from the North Coast area. On Sunday’s salmon trip, JT and the crew got a slow start with no keepers until mid-morning. The bite picked up then and included a few fish in the high teens and low twenties, along with a couple smaller fish. “The salmon are really scattered,” said JT. “There’s no real bait balls, just a lot of bait all over the place. We finally found a couple small areas holding fish, then we worked fast.” A persistent and powerful west swell and high winds including overnight winds are likely reasons the bait and fish are so scattered. “These fish are moving fast, they’re up in the top water. All our fish were caught between 30 and 50 feet down. It may be the moon phase. We should see a much better bite over the next couple weeks.” Thomas added.

Rodney Armstrong from Santa Cruz Coastal Fishing Charters gave his new boat Knot Alone its first salmon shakedown on Saturday. He bought the boat in Texas. Ain’t no salmon there. Armstrong reported, “It went pretty good today as it was the first time the new boat has ever fished salmon. We went five for eight today. Great group of guys that know how to pull on fish.” Private boat reports ranged from total skunks to full limits before 9:00 a.m. on both Saturday and Sunday. It really depended on where they were and how good the crew was. There’s a fair number of shakers in the mix and some hogs as well. Numerous salmon in the 20-pound range were caught this weekend, and at least one fish was weighed in on the Bayside Marine certified scale at 31 pounds. Hopefully the salmon will stick around and provide even better fishing as ocean and weather conditions ease over the next couple weeks.

In the meantime, fishing for rockfish and lingcod is going strong. Chris’ Fishing and Whale Watching Trips in Monterey reported 25 limits of rockfish on Friday’s opener, along with five lings on the Check Mate. Private boaters are doing well for the cod also, with bigger fish coming more quickly from the more remote areas. Halibut are making an appearance at the 50- to 70-foot depths at the usual spots. In Monterey, Del Monte Beach and Sand City are always a good halibut bet. The flats outside of Moss Landing Harbor, especially towards the Pajaro Pipeline is a great place to hunt the for big flatties. And, in Santa Cruz, we’ve received reports of halibut caught this weekend from both the Capitola area as well as the Mile Buoy area just off Santa Cruz Harbor.”

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

Golden Gate/San Francisco Bay

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

The weather was sporty outside the Gate over the weekend, and only a few boats ventured outside to hug the Marin coast, but there was encouraging signs with one four-pack out of Emeryville landing 6 salmon on opening day near Rocky Point. Sunday’s scores were less impressive, most likely due to inclement weather as the Sausalito boats canceled for the weekend.

With the majority of boats working inside the bay, it was a cornucopia of species out there with Captain Steve Talmadge of Flash Sport Fishing out of San Francisco reported ‘lights out’ leopard shark fishing in the south bay in deep water from 45 to 60 feet. He said, “Shark fishing has been excellent, but the key is to find deeper water further south as the Dungeness and rock crab will eat you up in the shallows.”

The only six-pack with live bait in the receivers is the Bite Me out of Loch Lomond Marina, and Captain Trent Slate found 8 limits of striped bass and a halibut drifting live smelt in San Pablo Bay on Saturday. There is more encouraging news on the live bait front as the new bait boat appears to be getting closer to operation, and it may start stocking anchovies in the seven pens at Pier 45 in San Francisco as early as the end of the month. However, the halibut don’t seem to worry about whether there is live bait or not as Captain Chris Smith of the Pacific Dream out of Berkeley Marina posted a solid score of 30 halibut, a striped bass, and a leopard shark for Sunday’s Fat Boy swimbaits charter in the south bay. He said, “The boat traffic was much less than last weekend as the fleet has spread out to other locations in the bay including Pinole and in front of Emeryville Pier. Boats are looking for their own water. The scores have been very good in spite of not having live bait.”

Captain Steve Gutierrez of Deadliest Kast Sport Fishing out of Oyster Point said, “The pressure was half of what it was last weekend as one boat with a drone counted 278 boats in the south bay. We have been finding quality halibut in the south bay near the Alameda Rockwall trolling my custom Deadliest Kast leaders with a frozen herring or anchovy. I was out in 6 feet of water on Monday and landed a 20-pound halibut on one of my leaders with a hoochie instead of bait. The water in the shallows was muddy, but the 36-inch halibut hit the hoochie.”

Keith Fraser of Loch Lomond Bait and Tackle in San Rafael said, “There are a lot of bass around, and anglers are picking them up inside the marina, the levee, the shoreline at China Camp, and at McNear’s Pier. The pier has been producing both bass and halibut, and there were four legal halibut taken outside of the Marin Islands on Loch Lomond smelt and shiners. Point Pinole has also been productive, and a 40-inch halibut was landed there last week. There are halibut everywhere with a ‘zillion’ shakers around.”

Captain Steve Mitchell of Hook’d Up Sport Fishing will unveil his new 12-pack, the Malia Kai, out of Berkeley Marina this coming weekend. Mitchell will continue to run sturgeon trips out of Pittsburg Marina with the new boat out for bay potluck, rockfish, or salmon. Captain Ron Koyasako of Nautilus Excursions out of Pier 45 in San Francisco has also moved from the Delta back to the bay, and he will start his bay potluck trips this week.

Call: Captain Trent Slate Bite Me Charters (415) 307-8582; Captain Jerad Davis, Salty Lady (415) 760-9362; Captain Steve Mitchell of Hook’d Up Sport Fishing (707) 655-6736; Happy Hooker (510) 223-5388

San Luis Obispo

Rockfish 3 Surf perch 3

The rockfish opener was good to the San Luis Obispo County ports with the Endeavor and Starfire out of Morro Bay Landing taking out 55 anglers on Sunday for 195 vermilion, 35 copper, 40 Boccaccio, 260 assorted rockfish, 20 ocean whitefish, a sheephead, and 18 ling cod to 22 pounds. Chin Lee landed the big ling at Ragged Point. The boats were out on 12-hour and 3/4th day trips, and the longer the trip, the better the ling cod count. Also out of Morro Bay, the Fiesta, Rita G, and Black Pearl were out on Friday’s opener with 85 anglers for ¾-limits of rockfish composed of 70 vermilion, 10 copper, 17 Boccaccio, 510 assorted, 2 sand sole, and 5 ling cod. Out of Port San Luis, the Patriot, Flying Fish, and Phenix went on trips ranging from ½- to full-day on Sunday, and their 73 anglers returned with 83 vermilion, 5 copper, 7 Boccaccio, 468 assorted rockfish, one ocean whitefish, two ling cod, and a 10-pound cabezon for a total of 612 fish. The sublimit for vermilion rockfish has dropped from 5 to 4 with one copper rockfish also as a sublimit. 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 3 Bluegill 3

It’s springtime on the Sacramento-Delta, and it finally appears that the striped bass have decided to flood into the Delta in greater numbers. The action has been fits and spurts for the past month, but there was a rush of linesides moving in over the weekend.

The north Delta has been producing some big stripers for those tossing lures on catch-and-release missions, and Alan Fong of Alan Fong’s Outdoors caught and released a pair of linesides in the 20-pound range on the new 4.5-inch Flutter Spoon by Blade Runner Tackle. He said, “I lost one over 30 pounds, and when the stripers are on a feeding frenzy, these spoons will drive them crazy. We are tossing the spoons into the shallows from 2 to 3 feet, and the big stripers can’t resist. When the stripers aren’t on a frenzy, Fish Traps or River2Sea Swavers work best. Our Fishermen’s Warehouse cashier, Natalie Moua caught and released a 20-pound striper from the banks on a Duo Realis jerkbait while our assistant manager, Michael Kidwell, was in Liberty Island on Saturday for great action on big stripers.”

Johnny Tran of New Romeo’s Bait and Tackle said, “It’s springtime, and the stripers are everywhere. Blood worms, pile worms, or sardines coated with garlic spray are all working. Bluegill and crappie are thick in the slough with the bluegill on wax worms or red worms with the slabs on small minnows. A few sturgeon are coming back down from the upper river, but the numbers have been limited.”

Captain James Netzel of Tight Lines Guide Service put on a clinic on Saturday morning with four stripers hanging while conducting a radio interview, and he finally had to hang up the phone to tend to business. He said, “We were trolling Rat-L-Traps at depths from 5 to 6 feet on the West Bank, and with the boat traffic, I had to have my hands free to keep the boat clear of the other vessels. We started out with a double, but when you slow down, it is pretty common that the other Rat-L-Traps will get hit when they stop. After the early flurry on the West Bank, two ship came through, muddying up the water so we went over to the San Joaquin near the Antioch Bridge to finish up with eight limits.” With Brannan Island temporarily closed, Netzel has moved his boat to the Rio Vista Marina.

Chris Ditter of HeadRush Guide Service has been bouncing back and forth between the Sacramento and San Joaquin sides of the Delta, and he said, “We have been grinding away for our limits, but the heavy boat pressure really pushes the fish out from the shallow water over the shoals. I try to stay on the San Joaquin as much as possible, but I was out at first light on the West Bank on Sunday morning. We found great action at the start before the bite slowed to a fish here and there. Everyone is trying to go shallow, and this is where the boat pressure makes a big difference. We have caught and released at least one big fish on every trip, and we had one straighten out a split-ring this week.”

California Striped Bass Association Isleton Chapter President, Ken Baccetti, said, “66 anglers participated in the 1st Annual Barry Canevaro Memorial Tournament out of Rio Vista, and the target-length was 25.5 inches. Clint Scholting came in first at 25.25 inches followed by striped bass trolling legend, Mark Wilson, at 23 and 7/8th inches. The Isleton Chapter hosted the event, and if individuals want to join the chapter, they can go to www:striper-CSBA.org and go to the Isleton link. New members receive a hat and decals as a thank you for joining.”

The sturgeon bite remains outstanding, perhaps too good, as numbers of sturgeon continue to be removed from the system prior to spawning. With the spring time bite happening, a number of female sturgeon loaded with eggs have been caught within the past few weeks.

Captain Zack Medinas of Gatecrasher Fishing Adventures said, “Fishing is really, really good as to be expected in the springtime, but where I used to average about 15 sturgeon per day, we are catching and releasing between 6 and 10. The females are loaded with eggs, and we are seeing either slot-limit or oversized fish with very few undersized sturgeon.

Captain Steve Talmadge of Flash Fishing said, “We will keep the Flash I in Pittsburg until the end of this month, but Captain Charles Kimberly has been doing well with three keepers on one trip followed by an oversized and another slot-fish on another trip. Sturgeon fishing has been strong near Chain Island as the bite near the Carquinez Bridge, Martinez, and Ozol Pier never materialized this year.”

Another striped bass derby is scheduled this coming Saturday, April 9th, as the NorCal Fish Whisperers and Hammerdown groups are holding their annual Spring Striper Derby at B and W Resort from 5:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Information and registration available via Jason Judson at (209) 663-3579.

The largemouth bass bite in the San Joaquin-Delta has been heating up for weeks, and it is ready to break wide open as the first of the fry will start swimming around in the shallows. Randy Pringle, the Fishing Instructor, said, “Once you start seeing fry balls, it will be a nuclear holocaust out here as the bite will really get going for the big fish. Once the bigger fish have fry in the water, their mothers and fathers will start fighting for their fish. Dad will protect the fry as the females head to cooler water within a few days of the appearance of the fry. This is when everything will work, particularly anything with orange, yellow, or chartreuse as perch and bluegill are the enemy of the bass. With only the earlier spawners on the beds, the key right now is to toss a plastic into the strike zone and let it sit. I don’t target bed fish, but you will run into them when you dead-stick a heavy worm like the Berkley General into the shallows. Right now, the bass are just escorting the bait away from the beds, but when the fry show up, it will be on!’

Pringle was the tournament director for Saturday’s Best Bass Tournaments Delta/Wine Division out of Russo’s Marina, and he said, “There were 15 limits brought to the scales that weighed more than 20 lbs. with the team of Jimmy Kuroki and Scott Mackenzie topping all with their 5 fish limit of 34.48 lbs. Their big fish of the bag weighed in at 7.99 lbs. The Delta also kicked out several big fish during the event. There were 4 fish brought in that weighed over 8 lbs. with top honors going to Zack Reil and Jeremy Lorenzo for their 10.04 pounder, second-place finishers John Garrett and Tony Vaughn with a 9.98-pound largemouth; Michael Jr. and Michael Henry III with 8.91; and Ronald Vanairsdale and Dan Daniel at 8.36 pounds. Including these 4 giant fish, there were another 19 fish weighed in between 5 and 8 pounds.”

For striped bass, Jeff Soo Hoo of Soo Hoo’s Sport Fishing out of Lauritzen’s Yacht Harbor in Oakley, said, “Sunday was the best bite all year long for numbers as there were more females showing up. There are plenty of males around, and we found fish right away in the San Joaquin by drifting live bait before switching over to trolling. The water has been dirty will all of the wind, but I was very encouraged by what we found on Sunday.”

Chris Ditter of HeadRush Guide Service prefers to work the San Joaquin, and he has been targeting the shoals with shallow or deep-diving lures. He said, “I prefer the San Joaquin since the boat traffic is less, but it has been picking up this week. Boat traffic really pushes the fish out into deeper water off of the shoals.”

Johnny Wang, manager of Turner’s Outdoors in Stockton, reported good striped bass action in the Mokelumne for bank anglers off of Tyler Island near B and W Resort along with trolling near the Highway 12 Bridge. He said, “The south Delta near Bacon Island, Empire Cut, Union Point, and the Old River are all holding stripers, and they were boiling in the morning off of Bacon Island. One angler put in a limit on three casts into the boils on topwater lures. For largemouth bass, there are lots of cruising fish in the 5- to 7-pound range in the shallows, and one of our customers posted a 20-pound limit inside of Frank’s Tract. Eight Mile Road near the first bridge has also been producing striped bass with brooder minnows or cut baits.”

Call: Randy Pringle (209) 543-6260; Captain Steve Mitchell – Hook’d Up Sport Fishing – (707) 655-6736; Chris Ditter – HeadRush Sport Fishing – (916) 284-9236; Vince Borges – Vince Borges Outdoors (209) 918-0828

Lake Nacimiento/San Antonio/Santa Margarita/Lopez

No report

Call: Lake Nacimiento Marina (805) 238-3256; Lopez Lake Marina (805) 489-1006; Santa Margarita Marina Store (805) 438-1522; Lake San Antonio Marina (805) 472-2313

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


Tournament results

Delta/Russo’s Marina – Best Bass Tournaments/Delta Wine Division – April 2nd: 1st –Jimmy Kuroki/Scott Mackenzie – 34.48 pounds; 2nd – John Garrett/Tony Vaughn – 25.63 (Big Fish – 9.98); 3rd –Lloyd and Shawn Dasonville – 24.79.

Delta/Rio Vista – 1st Annual Barry Canevaro Memorial Striped Bass Derby (25.5-inch target length)– April 2nd: 1st – Clint Scholting – 25.25 inches; 2nd – Mark Wilson – 23 7/8th inches; 3rd – Chapin Fowler- 23.25 inches.

McClure – Angler’s Press (No first names provided)- April 2nd: 1st –Loung/Ho – 12.59 pounds (Big Fish 4.82); 2nd –Alvarez/Alvarez – 10.85; 3rd –Karem/Harrel –10.45.

Kaweah – Cen Cal Elite Bass Tournaments- April 2nd: 1st – David Coy/Larry Kerns – 12.66 pounds (3rd Big Fish 3.99); 2nd –Jeremy Barela/Jesse Aguilar – 12.57; 3rd –Josh Steinhauer/Daniel Vega – 11.33. Big Fish – Tommy Mestmaker/John McNally – 6.78 pounds.

Nacimiento – Best Bass Tournaments/Coastal Division – April 2nd: 1st –Geno and Jason Lazzerini – 10.84 pounds; 2nd – Tucker Mount/Landon Ralston – 10.11; 3rd – Bryan and Rebecca Botts – 8.55 (Big Fish – 2.85).

Pine Flat – California High School Student Angler Tournament Trail Big Valley Region Open – April 3rd: 1st – Sebastian Her/Kevin Xiong – 13.50 pounds (Big Fish – 5.75); 2nd – Joaquin Elliot/Vince Fonte – 12.18; 3rd – Jaiden Vang/Morgan Yoder – 10.31.

Upcoming tournaments (subject to change)

April 9/10th

Delta/Ladd’s Marina – Kern County Bass Masters

Tulloch – California Bass Federation

Don Pedro – Best Bass Tournaments

April 9th

Camanche – Sonora Bass Anglers

Lake Pardee – 17/90 Bass Club

McClure – American Bass Association

Success – Cen Cal Elite Bass Tournaments

Nacimiento – American Bass Association

Santa Margarita – Bass Addicts of Southern California

April 10th

Bass Lake – Kings VIII Bass Club

April 13th

Millerton – Bass 101

April 15 –

Don Pedro- Mid-Valley Agriculture

April 16th

Delta/Holland Riverside Marina – Dan Mathisen Outdoors

Delta/Ladd’s Marina – NorCal Bass

New Melones – Christian Bass League/Sierra Conservation Center

Santa Margarita – San Luis Obispo Bass Ambushers

April 23rd

Delta/B and W Resort – Bass Anglers of Northern California

Pardee – NorCal Bass

Don Pedro – Bakersfield Bass Club

Bass Lake – Sierra Bass Club

Isabella – American Bass Association

Nacimiento- Golden Empire Bass Club

Santa Margarita – American Bass Association

April 24th

Delta – Big Valley Region of the California High School Student Angler Federation (CAHSATT)

Delta/Ladd’s Marina – California Bass Federation

Bass Lake – Kings River Bass Club

April 30th

McClure – Stanislaus County Employees

April 30th/May 1st

Delta/Ladd’s Marina – Wild West Bass Trails

Pine Flat – Cen Cal Elite Bass Club

June 5th

Delta – Major League Fishing California High School State Championship

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