Fishing report, May 26-June 1: Snow and limits highlight openings at High Sierra lakes – Fresno Bee


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Christi Avakian borrowed her father’s fishing pole and scored her first catch, a 6.6-pound rainbow trout at Shaver Lake.

Special to The Bee

Compiled by Dave Hurley and edited by Roger George, a former Olympic-class decathlete at Fresno State (he still holds the school record). George guides in the greater Fresno area and holds the striper record at Millerton Lake. Telephone numbers are in 559 calling area unless noted. Photo gallery Show off your success! Share your fish photos and videos with Bee readers. Please share only jpeg images and Mp4 video files. Include “Fishing Report” in the subject line and a full caption and email to [email protected] Best bets Delta kicking out good multi species bites, Dave Hurley reported. Don Pedro kokanee hitting, Monte Smith said. New Melones bass action good, Ryan Cook reported. Wishon and Courtright producing trout limits, Kelly Brewer said. Shaver kokanee keep on biting, Dick Nichols reported. Half Moon Bay salmon on tap, Dennis Baxter said. Roger’s remarks: Have a plan before pulling your boat out of the water I’ve written about the crazy things that happen at the ramp, but I’ve never written about some of the most common mistakes I’ve seen while taking a boat out of the water. It’s usually a two-person operation: the truck driver who backs down; and the boat operator who drives the boat on the trailer and connects the trailer wench line to the eye of the boat. All good most of the time, but it most often goes awry when the truck driver is not used to pulling a boat out of the water. They’re concentrating on their mirrors and don’t put their windows down so they can clearly hear what’s going on behind them. Both people need to be able to see and hear everything. Pulling a boat out of the water needs to be a coordinated affair to account for the unexpected — things get stuck, a child runs over to the boat to get something, the trailer rope breaks. It’s critical to have a good plan in place before someone tells you they will pull you out. Make sure they know how to drive your vehicle; emphasize that they need to turn off the music and roll down both the driver and passenger windows; understand that the boat operator will clearly let them know when it’s time to pull — but when they hear “go,” they will first confirm; they will pull out slowly and carefully until you’re out of the water completely, then stop and put the emergency brake on; they will once again make sure things are OK (boat centered, everyone clear of boat and trailer, especially with kids); and then they’ll go slowly up the ramp until reaching the unload area. There are too many moving parts to just take it for granted in pulling out your boat, especially at the end of a long, hard day when we all want to get home. It’s even harder when there are people in the water (usually ski boats) helping center the boat — a disaster I’ve watched unfold many times. You’ve got to have a system to keep your boat and everyone safe during the transfer. Keep it simple and clear. Communicate. Most mistakes and accidents could have been easily avoided. Pulling your boat out of the water involves a lot more to watch out for than just getting it out of the water. Never give up! Roger George: [email protected], Rogergeorgeguideservice on Facebook and @StriperWars Valley West-side waterways Striper 2 Catfish 2 Mickey Clements at Coyote Bait and Tackle in Morgan Hill reported the California Aqueduct has been the top location for local striped bass fishermen with the main San Luis and the O’Neill Forebay blown out by winds. There have been some large bass in excess of 20 pounds caught and kept on bait, and the lure casters continue to work the bottom of the aqueduct with heavy lures such as flukes on a 3/4- to 1-ounce jig head along with heavier Rat-L-Traps. Senkos are working for largemouth bass when the flows have slowed. In the southern section of the aqueduct in Kern County, Clay Rutledge of Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield said, “The action is spotty with a decent catfish bite on mackerel or sardines with striped bass on blood worms or lug worms. There has been a lot of wind in the unprotected aqueduct.” Call: Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis 292-3474; Bob’s Bait Bucket in Bakersfield (661) 833-8657 Eastman Lake Bass 2 Trout 2 Bluegill 2 Catfish 2 Crappie 2 The lake remains a “mud puddle” with green algae forming. Few anglers are heading here, but catfish are taken in the evenings with cut baits, chicken livers, or nightcrawlers. The lake dropped to 11%. Call: Eastman Lake 689-3255 Hensley Lake Bass 2 Trout 2 Catfish 2 Bluegill 2 Crappie 2 Fishing interest is also low with the water levels and algae forming. Catfish are the best thing going with cut baits or chicken livers from the shorelines. The lake held at 23%. Call: Valley Rod Gun, Clovis 292-3474; U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Hensley Lake Hidden Dam 673-5151 Lake Don Pedro Bass 2 Trout 2 Kokanee 3 King salmon 2 Crappie 2 Don Pedro remains the epicenter of kokanee fishing in Northern California — despite heavy winds — due to the quality of the lake’s landlocked salmon along with the upcoming Kokanee Power Don Pedro Phil Johnson Memorial Team Derby on Saturday, June 12. Monte Smith of Gold Country Sport Fishing was out several times this week with clients, and he said, “The wind has been difficult as it scattered the kokanee at the end of the week. We had been finding limits fairly early, but after picking up a fish here and there on Saturday morning, we worked a small spot for 10 kokanee, losing another seven or so along with eight rainbows at depths from 40 to 60 feet with Uncle Larry’s spinners, Rocky Mountain Tackle’s hoochies, or J-Pex lures in orange or pink behind a Mack’s Sling Blade. We had what must have been a big king salmon on, but after making two or three big runs, it came unbuttoned. You have to hunt the kokanee down right now, but the fish are getting fatter and fatter and clean with no copepods.” Kyle Wise of HeadHunter Guide Service has been out for 11 straight days, and he said, “It’s hard to go anywhere else but Pedro right now as the action has been excellent with either gold Apex or J-Pex lures behind a gold 5.5-inch Mag Tackle or Paulina Peak dodger at depths from 40 feet in the morning and 60 feet by 10: 30 a.m. I took out ‘Catch ‘Em Quick’ Corey Griffin and his father this week, and Corey went five for five on kokanee before putting in his limit of rainbow trout at depths from 25 to 30 feet with J-Pex lures.” For bass, Ryan Cook of Ryan Cook’s Fishing reported there is a jig bite in the morning with 3/8-ounce G-Money jigs with a small Sweet Beaver trailer along with a topwater bite with River2Sea Rovers or Reaction Innovation’s Vixens in the coves or cuts. Plastics on the drop-shot or small underspins on 1/4- or 1/8-ounce with a 2.8 or 3.3 Keitech swimbait are also effective. A few fish have been taken on spinnerbaits or creature baits in the winds.” The lake dropped slightly to 67%. 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 3 Bluegill 2 At Lake Isabella, Clay Rutledge of Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield reported few anglers have been heading up the hill to the lake due to the wind. Trout trolling is fair with a few planted rainbows taken off of the banks. Crappie fishing has slowed considerably, but the catfish bite is decent with frozen shad, Triple S Dip Bait, chicken livers, or nightcrawlers. Largemouth bass are in the shallows with plastics, spinnerbaits in the wind, and squarebilled crankbaits. The annual Lake Isabella Kern Valley Chamber of Commerce Trout Derby started on April 24 and it will run through Sept. 6. A total of 500 tagged trout valued from $20 to $500, and the organizers are designed a virtual format for the event. Information is available at The French Gulch Marina hosts the only launch ramp with the low lake level. The lake held at 17%. At Buena Vista, catfish and bluegill are the top species with a few crappie taken on minnows at night. Bluegill dominate the local lakes with wax worms or red worms. The upper Kern River had received a number of trout plants over the past few weeks, and salmon eggs or nightcrawlers are working best in the deep holes. The lower river is low and warming, and the bass and catfish are getting active. Call: Bob’s Bait Bucket in Bakersfield (661) 833-8657; North Fork Marina (760) 376-1812; Golden Trout Pack Station 542-2816 Lake Kaweah Bass 3 Crappie 2 Trout 2 Catfish 2 The lake rose only slightly to 33% this week. Gary Wasson, president of the Xtreme Bass Club, reported a solid bite on Senkos or jerkbaits. Lake Success Bass 3 Crappie 2 Trout 2 Catfish 2 The Cen Cal Elite Bass Club held a 30-boat tournament over the weekend, and the winning weight was pushing 21 pounds along with second and third place weighing in over 19 pounds. The two big fish of the tournament were just below 8.50 pounds. The best action has been on Senkos, jigs, or flukes in the shallows. The lake held at 23%. Call: Sequoia Fishing Co. 539-5626, McClure Reservoir Bass 3 Trout 2 King salmon 1 Kokanee 1 Crappie 2 Catfish 2 Ryan Cook of Ryan Cook’s Fishing said, “The bass bite is wide open for numbers of small post-spawn bass with topwater or flukes in the morning at depths to 15 feet. The better fish are taken on jigs or tubes, and the bass are feeding heavily on shad. Main lake points or cuts from mid-lake to the river arm are holding the majority of the bass.” Crappie fishing is decent with minijigs or small minnows in the shallows. Barrett’s Cove, Bagby, Horseshoe Bend, and McClure Point North launch ramps are closed due to water levels. The lake held at 44%. Call: Ryan Cook – Ryan Cook’s Guide Service - 691-7008 McSwain Reservoir Trout 2 There are rainbows holding over from the annual Merced Irrigation Derby. Ethan Hue won the largest trout category worth $2,000 with a 24.75-inch rainbow. Bank fishing is best with trout dough bait, nightcrawlers, or Kastmasters from the Brush Pile, Handicapped Docks, or peninsula near the Marina in the early mornings while trollers are working blade/’crawler combinations, Wedding Rings, or Rapalas up the river arm. Call: McSwain Marina (209) 378-2534 Millerton Lake/San Joaquin River Bass 3 Striped bass 1 Shad 1 Bluegill 2 Crappie 2 Millerton has been one of the only reservoirs in the state that is rising as the snowmelt from the watershed has brought the lake up to 50%. The spotted bass are in post-spawn, and they have moved out into deeper water with small topwater lures, underspins, swimbaits, or shad-patterned plastics on the drop-shot or dart head with the best action from Finegold into the river arm. Call: Valley Rod & Gun 292-3474 New Melones Reservoir/Tulloch Bass 3 Crappie 2 Catfish 2 Trout 2 Kokanee 2 Cook said, “The bass bite remains outstanding with topwater lures, flukes, or underspins as the bass are chasing shad in the coves and along main lake points.” The ima Little Stick topwater lure in shad pattern or the ima Finesse Popper are good topwater choices. Kyle Wise of HeadHunter Guide Service reported slower kokanee action with most trollers heading to Don Pedro. There are kokanee to be had, but you have to work hard for limits of quality fish with a variety of gear from 40 to 60 feet in front of the dam in the main river channel. The middle ramps at Glory Hole Point and Tuttletown are open along with one ramp at Angels Cove. The lake dropped to 58%. 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 1 Catfish 2 Crappie 2 Michael Crayne of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “The spotted bass bite remains slow with the spots moving out into deeper water in post-spawn. Topwater lures, jerkbaits, crankbaits, and jigs are the best bets around Sycamore and Big Creeks for small spots.” Crappie fishing has slowed near the Deer Creek and Trimmer Marina. The recent trout plant has picked up the troll bite in the upper part of the lake. The lake rose to 40%. In the lower Kings River, trout plants are scheduled again this week, and shore fishermen are scoring with salmon eggs, nightcrawlers, or trout dough bait along with spinners such as Panther Martins or Mepp’s near moving water adjacent to an eddy of slower water. The harvest zone is between the dam and Alta (Cobbles) Weir, and between Alta Weir and Highway 180 is a catch-and-release zone with a zero limit. 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 Mickey Clements of Coyote Bait and Tackle in Morgan Hill reported winds shut the lake down for the majority of the week, and the striped bass bite has been limited to the shorelines in protected coves. The troll and minnow bite were slow prior to the past several weeks of wind, and stable water levels and weather conditions are necessary for the action to improve. There has been the occasional huge striped bass caught and kept from the shorelines on bait, and similar to Millerton, the removal of large striped bass will impact the future of the fishery. The algae bloom is set to take off with warmer days ahead. The lake dropped to 46%. In the O’Neill Forebay, Clements said, “Wind was again the story over the weekend, but fishermen have been heading to the lake with cut baits, pile worms, or blood worms for mostly-undersized striped bass. There is a topwater bite with topwater poppers or Spooks along with flukes in white ice or pearl on an underspin along the rockwall. When the wind is blowing, the Check 12 side becomes crowded as it is less affected by the wind.” Call: Coyote Bait and Tackle (408) 463-0711, Roger George of 905-2954 High Sierra The Sierra National Forest has extended closures for select recreational sites, roads, and trails until May 26. Updated information is available at Bass Lake Bass 2 Trout 2 Kokanee 2 The reaction bite for bass with swimbaits has improved with the recent plants prior to the early May derby. Mike Beighey of Bass Lake Fishing has been finding either good action for kokanee to 16 inches along with a few rainbows or much slower action, but the key is to get on the lake well before sunrise. The holdover rainbow trout from the plants before the derby along with a few large kokanee are found at depths to 30 feet with hoochies or spinners behind a Mag Tackle dodger. The Sheriff’s Motor Fee remains in effect. The lake rose to 70%. Edison/Florence/Mammoth Pool The first 5.6 miles of Kaiser Pass Road have been opened, but the second 14.5 remains closed. Edison held at 19% with Florence rising to 57%. Mammoth Pool dropped from 95% to 91%. Mammoth Pool is closed until June 15 for the annual deer migration. Call: Vermilion Valley Resort at Edison Lake 259-4000 Mike Hurley shows off a 5.78-pound trout caught May 17 at Shaver Lake. Special to The Bee Shaver Lake/Huntington Lake Kokanee 3 Trout 2 Dick Nichols of Dick’s Fishing Charters said, “It was another good week of kokanee fishing on Shaver Lake as we picked up multiple limits each trip. Bob and Bonnie Jorgensen of Glendale picked up their limits by 7: 30 a.m. while the following day, Roger Alter and his son Troy of Visalia picked up a couple limits by noon. Dave Marriott and his son Brent of Clovis went out in 28-degree weather on Saturday for two limits within two hours. We continue to fish at depths of 35-40 feet with orange, purple, or pink Dick’s Koke Busters tipped with corn behind purple/green or gold/orange Dick’s Mountain Dodgers. We have had great luck south of the Point since May 1.” Nichols was out on Monday, and he said, “The full moon is slowing things down, but we finally got our limits by mid-morning.” Todd Wittwer of Guide Service added, “It still seems that they want spinners in orange or pink in the mornings and purple or blue later on. The best bite is in the early morning at 40 feet, but it’s a scratch bite shortly after the sun hits the water.” Oscar Yeppez shows off his personal-best, a 7.76-pound trout caught at Shaver Lake on Power Bait. Special to The Bee At Huntington, bank fishing is the best option as the launch ramp remains out of the water. A plant was scheduled occurred last week, and planted rainbows are taken from the mouth of Rancheria Creek on Power Bait or nightcrawlers. Michael Crayne of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis has been catching and releasing brown trout on crankbaits from the shorelines. The lake rose to 79%, getting closer to the level when boats can be launched. Call: Dick Nichols – Dick’s Fishing Charters at Shaver Lake Sports 841-2740; Todd Wittwer – Guide Service 288-8100; Dinkey Creek Inn 841-3435 Wishon/Courtright Trout 3 Neither snow, nor sleet, nor hail could stop dedicated trollers in the Central Sierra over the weekend as the high-country lakes of Shaver, Wishon and Courtright are all producing. Courtright opened last weekend, and Jay Irvine and Garret Maze of Visalia braved the snow and wind and drove up to Courtright on Saturday morning in 19-degree temperatures. The road to Courtright had from 2 to 4 inches of snow and ice on the way up early Saturday morning, requiring 4-wheel drive, but the trip was worth the effort as they were able to boat over 40 rainbow and brown trout, keeping two limits. Three of the rainbows were over 19 inches and 2 pounds. They trolled black, silver, and red streamer flies back 175 feet on side rods, and these were responsible for the majority of the trout. On the downrigger, Irvine used a TNK bubble gum spinner hoochie with a copper pink Paulina Peak dodger at 11 feet down with a setback ranging from 50 to 125 feet. Courtright and Dinkey Creek are scheduled for a trout plant this week. Kelly Brewer of the Wishon Village RV Park and Store said, “Courtright is kicking out large trout from the banks on nightcrawlers, and Wishon is hot for both bank anglers and boaters pretty much on everything thrown at them. Wishon is on the dirt ramp, and Courtright is low, but the water is over the ramp. The RV Park and store will be opened last Friday.” Call: Wishon RV Park 865-5361 Ocean Half Moon Bay Salmon 3 Rockfish 3 Striper 2 Surf perch 2 Gale force winds blew and blew throughout most of the week, but there was a window on Saturday that allowed the Half Moon Bay party boats to head south of Pigeon Point for outstanding salmon action. A few boats stayed above the line and targeted rockfish, but with the good action for salmon returning, rockfishing should be on hold for a while as salmon is the ‘straw that stirs the drink.’ Second captain Michael Cabanas of the Huli Cat was the only party boat below Pigeon on Saturday, and he said, “The bite was slow till around 10: 30am with no fish on the boat until I got word of fish being caught further south. We made the move, dropped in, and started hooking fish. We lost some to some sea lions, but landed some also. We finally got rid of the sea lions and it was a steady pick afterwards till about noon when it started to slow down. We ended up with 27 salmon to 22 pounds for 15 anglers with the potential for limits. There were plenty of missed opportunities to fill out limits at the end of the day, but still a great day with some happy customers. Sunday was even better with 16 limits to 22 pounds, and there was a different grade of fish from the previous day as many of the cookie-cutters had to be measured to be above the 20-inch size limit which took effect on May 16th.” Captain Dennis Baxter of the New Captain Pete made his first venture south for salmon on Sunday, and despite having a number of first-time fishermen with rent rods, they posted 26 salmon to 22 pounds for 15 customers. He said, “The number of shakers was atrocious, and we had to release several silver salmon as well. The salmon all have anchovies in their bellies, and 50-feet was the ticket for the depth. We were all fishing around 9/31 or 10/31 as these fish were higher in the water column and attainable for party and private boats. Some of the commercial fleet were out 3 to 4 miles out further, and they were scoring up to 100 fish days, but these fish were much deeper than we could reach. We are seeing the anchovies showing up along the drop-off from the Continental Shelf to the Deep Reef, and there are humpback whales feeding on the anchovies along with shearwaters and baitfish scales on the surface.” Captain Tom Mattusch of the Huli Cat said, “The winds have turned over the water, and there is krill on the surface along with dirty water in most locations. The reports from the commercial boats have been phenomenal conditions above Pigeon Point. Normally in April and May, salmon fishing is best in our area before the fish migrate north towards the Gulf of the Farallons. We hope the salmon are still off of our coast when the season opens on June 26th. We have rockfish/crab combination trips on the 24th and 28th. The school fish have been reluctant to bite in the cold water, and we have having to work the bottom for Bolinas and vermilions to get strikes.” On Saturday, the Queen of Hearts and Riptide out of Half Moon Bay Sport Fishing went rockfish for a combined 22 limits of rockfish and a pair of ling cod. The Queen of Hearts took out a light load on Sunday for 6 limits of salmon including crew fish. The Coastside Fishing Club net pen salmon project will occur on May 23, May 29, and June 5 with smolts arriving from the Mokelumne River Hatchery. After the release from the pens, the salmon should return to the harbor in three years. Call: Captain Dennis Baxter – New Captain Pete (650) 576-3844; Captain Tom Mattusch – Huli Cat (650) 619-0459 Monterey/Santa Cruz Salmon 3 Rockfish 3 Striper 2 Halibut 3 Sand dabs 3 Surf perch 3 Allen Bushnell of Santa Cruz Kayak and Surfcasting Guide Service said, “High winds were the story of the week along the entire north coast of California, including Monterey Bay. Occasionally reaching gale force, wind waves up to eight-feet were generated, vexing many local anglers. When boats did get out, they found some pretty good fishing for most of their forays. And, the sustained winds will maintain an ongoing upwelling process that is keeping water temperatures low as well as supercharging the surface with nutrients that serve to hold bait fish and their predators. John (JT) Thomas, skipper of the Miss Beth from Go Fish Santa Cruz Charters experienced ‘night and day” differences to his schedule and catch rate this week. “We’ve been landlocked for four days now due to wind and rough water,” he said on Thursday. The Miss Beth made it out with clients on Friday for most of the morning. As Thomas reported, “Today we fished the Soquel Hole and landed two nice salmon with one at 25 pounds. We lost four and had two shakers. The wind kicked us off the water before noon. Still, everyone had fun.’ On Saturday, patience and persistence were rewarded. Thomas got to submit a report more to his liking, saying, “We found them! Fourteen nice king salmon up to twenty pounds. Bayside Marine proprietor Todd Fraser gave a salmon overview on Saturday, saying, “The fishing for salmon was good for the anglers who worked in 260- to 290-feet of water near the edge of the canyon close to Mulligan’s Hill. The anglers found some big salmon trolling from 100- to 190-feet down. Anglers near the Soquel Hole did pretty good first thing in the morning. There were some salmon caught near Davenport in the deeper water. We are seeing an increasing number of silver salmon in the mix. Please release these silvers or any short kings while they are still in the water. Salmon that are netted and especially ones that hit the deck have a tragically high mortality rate. Slide a gaff down your line to flip out the barbless hook.” Despite the low water temperatures even in the shallows, halibut are moving in steadily. Fraser reported, “The halibut have been keeping anglers busy from Santa Cruz to Pajaro in 50- to 65-feet of water. Rock fishing was good in the morning. Ed Burrell from Capitola Boat and Bait reported a number of flatties weighing into the teens caught near the Mile Reef off of Capitola by anglers using a variety of baits, including drifting with fresh dead squid. Both squid and anchovy populations are healthy in Monterey Bay right now. Other anglers reported halibut caught in the “ones and twos” in shallow waters of 35- to 50-feet. We’ve not seen a robust halibut bite from the beaches or piers yet, probably due to the cool water temps. Anchovies are moving in closer to the sand so that could change very soon. Beach trekkers have been getting their perch on lately. Big muscular pregnant females are lurking in the shore break area and snapping at sand crabs, GULP! sandworms, and some small lures. Plenty of smaller perch are around to provide action and usually inhabit the calmer deep spots a little further out of the violent sand side wash areas. The big mama fish are quite large enough to make filets, but we’d encourage release of the gravid females to ensure survival of their living young. Surf perch average around 30 young per birth and can produce over 100 babies at a time. Please take a quick picture and release gently. Also remember, if that pregnant female spews out her brood while in your fish bag, each newborn will count as a distinct “fish in possession.” One fish can turn into 31 fish while you’re not looking, and if a DFG Warden checks that catch its citation time! Striped bass catches are slowly picking up from the Aptos area down to Monterey, but most of these stripers are small and skinny.” Call: Chris’ Landing (831) 375-5951; Allen Bushnell – Santa Cruz Kayak and Surf Casting (831) 251-9732 San Francisco Bay Halibut 3 Striper 2 Rockfish 3 Leopard shark 2 Sturgeon 2 Similar to the rest of California, San Francisco Bay was not immune to the high winds that blew throughout the week, but despite the wind raising up on a daily basis, halibut scores remained solid for party boats and six-pack operators. Captain Steve Mitchell of Hook’d Up Sport Fishing out of Berkeley was the highliner on Sunday with 5 limits of halibut to 14 pounds working the central bay. He said, “The wind actually helped since it produced a good drift.” Earlier in the week, Mitchell had three halibut in the box late in the day on Wednesday, but he was certain that they would fill out limits on the incoming tide at the Berkeley Flats. He made good on his promise as they came through with limits within an hour. Mitchell went to the docks on Thursday morning, but all of the six-packs cancelled after evaluating the winds at 6: 00 a.m. A few party boats went out to scratch out between a ½ fish to just over a fish per rod in the calmer south bay.” Captain Steve Talmadge of Flash Sport Fishing out of San Francisco said, “We have been picking away at the halibut in a variety of locations, and we picked up two at Crissy Field on Sunday morning before the wind came up. I moved over to the waterfront near Candlestick Point, and the scores have been from nearly a fish per rod to over a fish a rod for both of our boats on half-day trips. We took our first shark trip near the PGE Stack between the Bay Bridge and Hunter’s Point, and we had 7 leopard shark to 51 inches, and all of the sharks were well over the 36-inch size limit. We had all of the action we wanted with only three rods out.” Ron Koyasako of Nautilus Excursions out of San Francisco took out a first-time charter on Sunday on a half-day trip for five halibut and a pair of striped bass. Captain Trent Slate of Bite Me Charters out of Loch Lomond Marina was out on Friday, and he said, “We started off in the deep water off of Angel Island, but we dropped three fish in a row before the wind came up. It was blowing 20 mph so we moved over to Red Rock Shoals and then in front of the Marin Rod and Gun Club for ‘wide open’ shaker action. Our best action was in the Berkeley Flats, but I wish we could have worked the deep water at Angel Island longer.” Slate will be starting his salmon trips on June 26th, and he plans on mooching exclusively at the start of the season. Captain Jerad Davis of the Salty Lady was also out on Friday for 16 halibut to 20 pounds along with 5 striped bass, a pair of ling cod, and around 20 Bolinas cod. He said, “We actually went outside of the Golden Gate around Bonita Cove since I thought about working the North Bar where the commercial drag boats have been loading up on halibut, but it was far too rough. Most of our halibut came in front of the Berkeley Pier with a few at Angel Island.” Captain Chris Smith on the Pacific Dream out of Berkeley found better action earlier in the weekend with 23 halibut to 30 pounds along with a bass. He said, “It was a tough bite on Sunday, and it really didn’t matter where you went because you really couldn’t make the wrong move. I would have liked to fish the deep water at Angel Island where we scored 27 big halibut on Thursday, but the conditions have to be right, and they weren’t right on Sunday.” The sister boat, the Happy Hooker, is taking a Phenix Rods charter out on Monday, one of several Phenix charters on the Pacific Dream, Happy Hooker, or California Dawn this summer. 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 Salmon 2 Surf perch 2 The San Luis Obispo party boats continue to concentrate solely on bottomfish, and out of Virg’s Landing in Morro Bay, the Black Pearl, Fiesta and Rita G were out on Sunday with 70 passengers for near-limits of rockfish composed of 245 assorted rockfish, 157 vermilion, 116 copper, 6 Boccaccio, 1 ling cod, 1 California sheephead, and 3 rocksole. Avenger, Endeavor, and Starfire out of Morro Bay Landing were out on Sunday with 64 anglers scoring limits of rockfish with 175 vermilion, 105 copper, 319 assorted, 10 Boccaccio, 30 kelp rockfish, 1 kelp greenling, and 4 ling cod to 10 pounds for limits. The Patriot, Flying Fish, and Phenix out of Patriot Sport Fishing at Port San Luis were out on local reefs on ½-day trips Sunday with 70 anglers for 58 vermilion, 12 copper, 330 assorted rockfish, 13 Boccaccio, 31 Bolina, 2 ocean whitefish, 1 cabezon, and six ling cod to 8 pounds. The ling cod continue to be scarce along the local reefs. The new sub-limit is 5 vermilion as part of a 10-rockfish limit this season. Private boaters continue to troll for salmon with mixed results as a number of fish have been moving north. 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 Shad 3 It’s getting to be a broken record with high winds blowing out the Sacramento-Delta for the second or third week in a row. In fact, it has been so windy, that it is hard to remember when the wind wasn’t blowing. American shad action in the north Delta remains on fire while sturgeon fishing has been outstanding for experienced fishermen on the incoming tide off of Sherman Island with salmon roe. Striped bass has been a challenge with high winds making trolling nearly impossible. The six-pack operators trolling for striped bass in the Delta are ready to move on, and the Delta will be dominated during the summer months by jet skiers, sail boaters, or bass fishermen. In the north Delta, Johnny Tran of New Romeo’s Bait and Tackle in Freeport said, “Shad fishing remains great with shad darts or grubs in the Freeport area, and there are stripers to be had with sardines or anchovies coated with garlic spray along with frozen shad, blood worms, or pile worms. There are a whole bunch of shaker stripers so you will be going through a lot of bait. The bluegill are thick in all of the sloughs with wax worms or red worms.” Johnny Wang, manager of Turner’s Outdoors in Stockton, said, “The wind has been brutal, but we have customers heading over to the Old Sacramento River near the Isleton Bridge to throw swimbaits for lineside to 12 pounds starting at dusk into the evening hours.” There are still sturgeon to be taken in the Sacramento River, and one of the only six-pack boats is still operating is Dragon Sport Fishing out of Pittsburg Marina. They went upriver off of the Sherman Island Power Lines for out of Pittsburg for 5 limits of sturgeon by 9 a.m. with double and triple hook ups, even released a bonus sturgeon that bit when the rod was lifted to be reeled in at the end of the trip. They followed this up with more limits on their next trip. The sturgeon are still holding on in the Delta, but with the wind, the only tide to be able to fish on the anchor in the main river is the incoming. Captain James Netzel of Tight Lines Guide Service said, “Though a very few are still trying, striper fishing is not done yet. We caught 12 keepers to 10 pounds trolling deep divers on the Sacramento side. It was wind, but the great tides make all of the difference.” Jeff Soo Hoo of Soo Hoo’s Sport Fishing out of Lauritzen’s Yacht Harbor in Oakley found tough action on Sunday in both the San Joaquin and Sacramento Delta. He said, “We picked up limits on Tuesday, but the wind kept us off of the water until Saturday. It was easy limits drifting live minnows on Saturday, but Sunday was a different story. We went back to where we left them biting on Saturday, and the fish just didn’t want to bite. I have never experienced this at this time of year, and we ended up with only 3 keepers. I have a trip on Tuesday, and I was planning on taking Monday off, but I will be going back out to see if I can get them to bite before Tuesday’s trip. There is grass on both rivers, and the water is dirty even on the bottom of the tide. There were at least 5 big ships that came through on Sunday, and the ships will stir up the river that is already dirty from the winds. We landed everything that bit on Sunday on minnows, and I was even thinking about switching over to trolling. The water temperature is 64 degrees, and the stripers on the Sacramento are clearly done with the spawn.” Chris Ditter of HeadRush Sport Fishing cancelled most of his trips this week due to the wind, but he plans a few more trips on the Delta before moving to Lake Tahoe’s North Shore on June 7. He plans on drifting live minnows at this time since he can get deeper in the water column where the stripers are holding now. Alan Fong, manager of the Fishermen’s Warehouse in Sacramento, went out in the wind during the week, and he said, “It was whitecapping in the sloughs so we called it a day at 1: 00 p.m. after landing a number of largemouth bass in the north Delta in the 2-to 3-pound range on spinnerbaits or chatterbaits. It was far too windy to flip into the tules.” High winds remain the story in the San Joaquin-Delta, but the largemouth bass action continues to be strong for those willing to brave the gusty conditions. Striped bass are less frequent, and they are still in various stages of spawning. Captain Stan Koenigsberger of Quetzal Adventures out of Bethel Harbor was on the Delta in the wind on Thursday, and he took a young man and his grandfather out striper trolling in the San Joaquin River. They worked a number of areas including the lee side of Sherman Island, outside of Eddo’s Marina, the Peacock, and the San Andreas and Santa Clara Shoals. While taking the young man over to view the sea lions off of Bouy 33 A, they had a hard strike on a deep-diving plug. A 32-inch/13-pound striper came to the net, and a 5-pound male jumped into the net. The young boy released the female fish, but this is clear proof that the stripers are spawning in the mid-Delta.” Vince Borges of Vince Borges Outdoors was on the Delta on Thursday in the wind, and he said, “The wind has been ridiculous, but we did find a good bite in the morning before the winds came up around 8 a.m. We have had winds in the 25 to 30 mph range for a couple of days. There is a good bite with the Reaction Innovation’s Skinny Dipper weightless on a 5/0 hook along with chatterbaits in the Central Delta. The majority of bass are post-spawn, but there are still bass on beds. I had to go into the tules to retrieve my client’s lure, and there were a number of bed fish. You can sight fish, and the reaction bite has been excellent. My client’s daughter really caught on well on Thursday, and she hooked an estimated 8- to 10-pound largemouth on a Skinny Dipper, but the big fish broke off. The water clarity remains pretty good despite the wind, but the water temperature has dropped several degrees from 71/72 to 66 degrees.” Johnny Wang, manager of Turner’s Outdoors in Stockton, has been targeting largemouth bass with Don Davis in the San Joaquin River near Stockton. He said, “We caught and released 15 largemouths within 3.5 hours before the wind came up pitching plastic worms along the Stockton Sailing Club, the launch ramp at Rough and Ready Island, and inside of the Turning Basin. The bass are in all stages of the spawn with a number still on beds. In the south Delta, bass fishing is strong, but the striped bass is not as solid. Those who are jigging up brooder minnows on Sabiki rigs are finding the best action for striped bass. Fishermen will toss out potato chips or crumps on the surface along the docks in the marinas and jig up a few of the live bait.” In the south Delta, Omega Nguyen of Mega Bait and Tackle in Lathrop said, “It has been slow for legal stripers in the San Joaquin River below Mossdale with the shakers outnumbering barely-legal stripers 10 to 1. There are more catfish than stripers right now, and pile worms, anchovies, or sardines have been the best baits. Small catfish are taken on nearly every cast around Two Rivers or Sturgeon Bend. Both the Sheriff’s Department and the Game wardens have been issuing citations for parking violations or trespassing in NO FISHING areas in the south Delta. We hope to have fresh shad in the shop by next week.” 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 Bass 2 White bass 2 Striper 0 Catfish 2 Crappie 2 Bluegill 2 At Nacimiento, the water level continues to drop, and the spotted bass are moving as the water recedes. The reaction bite is limited with the best action on the bottom with plastics on the drop-shot or Ned-rig along bluff walls or ledges. White bass have also scattered with the dropping water, but a few whites are taken by trollers pulling small white Kastmasters, Roostertails, or small Keitech swimbaits. Water releases have ramped up, and the lake dropped from 31 to 30%. A webcam of the lake is available at At Lopez, Clay Rutledge of Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield reported a tremendous bluegill bite with wax worms or red worms. The trout bite is decent for trollers pulling spoons or small crankbaits while bank fishing is slow with the exception of an occasional planter taken in deep water with Power Bait. There is a fair reaction bite with crankbaits or spinnerbaits early in the morning before switching over to working the bottom with Senkos or plastics on the drop-shot or dart head. A webcam of the lake is available at At Santa Margarita, the reintroduction of rainbow trout has brought out trollers and bank fishermen, and the best action is experienced by trollers pulling small crankbaits or spoons at depths to 20 feet. The bank bite is slow, but it is best with deep water access with Power Bait or nightcrawlers. Bass action has slowed, but there is a limited reaction bite with 10-inch Power Worms, crankbaits, or small swimbaits during the daytime while the topwater bite is improving with buzzbaits. Catfishing is decent with mackerel soaked in garlic scent. Bluegill are found on wax worms or red worms. At San Antonio, water releases have dropped the lake to 15%. Catfishing has improved with mackerel soaked in garlic scent, chicken livers, or nightcrawlers. The bass bite remains slow with a few smallmouth or largemouth taken on plastics or Senkos. Events Tournament results Don Pedro – River Rat Saturday Night Shootout– May 22 (No last names provided): 1st –– Kevin/Linda– 13.06 pounds; 2nd – Hayden/Ryan – 12.81 (Big Fish – 5.70); 3rd – Steve/Brock – 11.63. Success – Cen Cal Elite Bass Tournaments – May 22: 1st –– Kyle Manes/Kevin Flint – 20.76 pounds (Big Fish – 8.49); 2nd – Daniel Moreno/Troy Larsen – 19.60 (Big Fish – 8.48); 3rd – Michael Johnson/Jeff Pierini – 19.08. Upcoming tournaments (subject to change) May 30 Don Pedro – California Bass Federation June 5-6 Delta/Ladd’s Marina – Anglers Press Outdoors Delta/Riverside Marina – Dan Mathisen Outdoors Don Pedro – Modesto Ambassadors June 5 Delta/Tiki Lagun – Bass N’ Tubes Delta/B and W Resort – California Bass Federation Lake Pardee – Sonora Bass Anglers McClure – Kerman Bass Club Pine Flat – Cen Cal Elite Bass Tournaments Success – Golden Empire Bass Club Isabella – American Bass Association June 12 Delta/Ladd’s Marina – NorCal Bass Club Lake Camanche – Contra Costa Bass Club Lake Pardee – 17/90 Bass Club New Melones – Contra Costa Bass Club Don Pedro – Kokanee Power Phil Johnson Memorial Team Tournament Don Pedro – Santa Clara Bass Busters McClure – Merced Bass Club Pine Flat – Kings River Bass Club Kaweah – Cen Cal Elite Bass Tournaments Success – Kern County Bassmasters Nacimiento – Best Bass Tournaments Santa Margarita – Bakersfield Bass Club June 13 Lake Pardee – Gold Country Bass Trail/Riverbank Bass Anglers Lake Amador – NorCal High School Bass New Melones – Modesto Ambassadors Don Pedro – Wild West Bass Trails Hensley – Kings VIII Bass Club Pine Flat – Fresno Bass Club June 19-20 Delta/Ladd’s Marina – Best Bass Tournaments June 19 New Melones – Yak-A-Bass Tulloch – River Rat Millerton – Bass 101 Eastman – Xtreme Bass Club Hensley – Sierra Bass Club Nacimiento – San Luis Obispo Bass Ambushers June 22 McClure – River Rat June 25 Tulloch – Stanislaus County Sheriff’s June 26 Delta/Russo’s Marina – Best Bass Tournaments McClure – Merced Bass Club Pine Flat – Bass 101 Solunar tableAMPMMinorMajorMinorMajorf-Wednesday5: 1511: 315: 46—>Thursday6: 1912: 036: 5112: 35>Friday7: 271: 117: 591: 43Saturday8: 362: 219: 072: 52Sunday9: 433: 2810: 123: 57Monday10: 444: 3011: 104: 57Tuesday11: 385: 26_5: 50f = full moon > = peak activity
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