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Gabriel Montejano shows off a stringer caught May 29 at Courtright Reservoir. He reports he was bank fishing parallel to Courtright Village, casting about 20-30 yards out with corn-scented Power Bait and a gold bucktail Kastmaster.
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 Don Pedro producing limits of kokanee, Monte Smith said. New Melones kicking out kokanee and bass, Kyle Wise reported. McClure spots are small and hungry, Ryan Cook said. Shaver Lake kokanee on tap, Dick Nichols reported. Delta stripers and sturgeon are top draws, Jeff SoomHoo said. Wishon and Courtright anglers catching limits of trout, Kelly Brewer reported. Roger’s remarks: A cautionary tale about loading a boat I’ve seen a lot of boat ramp mishaps. Here’s one that reminds how dangerous such a seemingly simple act can become. I was returning after a day fishing alone at the lake. The wind was coming from the south at about 15 mph; I usually dock on the downwind side so the waves don’t shove me against the dock, but the space was already filled by another boat. I returned with my truck and trailer as a party was beginning to load a good-sized pontoon boat about 20 feet south of me. That group consisted of a truck driver, a pontoon driver and several kids still onboard. Before I know it, the pontoon is almost sideways across the back of the trailer, as the guy in the truck jumps into the water to push the end of the boat around. It was no easy task, but he did it. I was about to pull my boat out of the water when things really went south. The helper is still in the water when the pontoon driver slams the pontoon into the right trailer side guide which stops everything dead in the water. Now the pontoon is very quickly being pushed onto my boat by the south wind. The guy in the water is trying to keep the pontoon away from me but it’s gathering steam from the strong wind. I tell him to get away from between the boats or he’ll get crushed! Moments later, the front end of the pontoon crashes up against my boat’s right side (still tied to the dock!). I can’t see him; I’m mortified, thinking he just got crushed! He pops up a couple feet away by my boat. I plead with him to get out of the water. We’re somehow holding the pontoon off my boat, thinking now the driver can back out, let me pull out, and they can use the dock to load. Suddenly the pontoon’s 60-horsepower outboard goes berserk, pushing the pontoon forward at full throttle and ramming it into the back of the trailer! The guy in the water is barely hanging on to the back of the pontoon as the screaming engine is throwing water everywhere and the boat’s fishtailing. He’s only six or seven feet from the razor-sharp propeller. What had just happened? One of the young kids was standing at the controls and had inadvertently moved up against the throttle stick. I yelled at him to get away from the controls, but when he did he somehow pushed the throttle full down into reverse. Now the boat is screaming backward with the guy in the water suddenly trying to keep from getting pulled under. In the nick of time, the driver was able to get back to the controls and turn off the engine. The guy in the water was clearly shaken, as was I. Being in the water during a launch or pullout is dangerous. Waiting to use the dock and walk the boat on the trailer is the safest and right choice. Never give up! Valley West-side waterways Striper 3 Catfish 2 In the north aqueduct, hot weather conditions led to fewer fishermen out during the daytime, but there is an early or late jerkbait bite with Duo Realis 120s or topwater lures such as Zara Spooks along with big lures such as an 8-inch Huddleston or Mega Bass Mega Draft swimbaits along with River2Sea Swavers. During the daylight hours, there hasn’t been much change as working the bottom with heavy lures such as flukes on a 3/4- to 1-ounce jigs head along with heavier Rat-L-Traps are the best bet. Senkos are working for largemouth bass when the flows have slowed. In the southern section of the aqueduct in Kern County, Pete Cormier of Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield said, “We have started on June Striped Bass Derby, but there haven’t been any fish weighed in as of yet. The shop puts up $100 and the entry fee is $1 per angler. The largest striper at the end of the month will collect the prize money. Cut baits, chicken livers, and dip baits working for catfish while striped bass are found on cut baits, blood worms, or lug worms along with throwing jerkbaits or topwater lures in low-light conditions.” Call: Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis 292-3474; Bob’s Bait Bucket in Bakersfield (661) 833-8657 Eastman Lake Bass 2 Trout 1 Bluegill 2 Catfish 2 Crappie 2 There is very little change with catfish providing the best action along with a few small bass. Cut baits, chicken livers, or nightcrawlers are working for the whiskerfish while plastic worms or Senkos are best for bass. Green algae is forming as the lake has remained stagnant at 11%. Call: Eastman Lake 689-3255 Hensley Lake Bass 2 Trout 1 Catfish 2 Bluegill 2 Crappie 2 Similar to Eastman, fishing interest is limited with the lake holding once again at 23% with only 15 cfs of inflow. Catfish remain the top species with cut baits or chicken livers from the shorelines in the evening. 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 The top kokanee anglers in California have been descending upon Don Pedro over the past few weeks in preparation for the culminating event this coming Saturday, June 12 with the Kokanee Power Don Pedro Phil Johnson Memorial Team Derby. Johnson was an innovator in northern California kokanee fishing, and along with Russ Faught of Lodi, aka “Mr. Kokanee,” the influence of the two trendsetters is remembered in annual memorial tournaments. Don Pedro is the home lake of Monte Smith of Gold Country Sport Fishing, and he was on the lake three times at the end of the week, targeting kokanee and rainbow trout. He said, “The kokanee are fat and healthy with a solid 15 to 15.5 inches, but the recreational boat traffic has scattered the kokanee during the past two weeks. Our best action has come between 47 and 50 feet with J-Pex lures, custom micro-hoochies, or Uncle Larry’s or Rocky Mountain Tackle spinners behind Vance’s dodger. With the heavy boat pressure with as many as 10 boats working a single spot, I have been working away from the fleet, and I found the kokanee hanging along one 100-yard area. I just worked this back and forth for two limits of kokanee. What is interesting is that the fish are coming up in the water column later in the morning because usually the bright sunshine pushes them down in the water column. We also had six rainbow trout on one trip including an 18 incher that burned off 50 yards of line when it hit a micro-hoochie on the surface while reeling in the rod. That fish wanted that lure, and young Chris Ledford of Stockton was up to the task by bringing in this hot fish.” Kyle Wise of HeadHunter Guide Service said, “I have been at Don Pedro all week long saying last week that I was going to leave it to the tournament anglers, but the fishing is just too good there right now. We had two limits of kokanee to 17 inches early in the morning on J-Pex or Apex lures behind a gold 5.5-inch Mag Tackle dodger so we put on spoons to find a few limits of rainbows. We ended up picking up two limits of rainbows along with 5 more kokanee on the spoons. There are kokanee in a number of locations on the lake, but most trollers are stuck on working close to structure near the Graveyard or Hatch Creek with 25 boats in this small area. I have been tucked up against the banks as the kokanee are starting to orient to structure. The fish are coming up in the morning to feed on plankton before moving back down between 55 and 70 feet after feeding.” The lake has dropped to 65%. Kokanee fishermen are requested to diligently complete the kokanee/king salmon survey every trip at bit.ly/kokesandkings. 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, Pete Cormier of Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield reported fair action for trout trollers pulling small crankbaits such as Flicker Shad at depths to 20 feet. The bank bite is slow with the trout moving into deeper water in the shallow lake, but there are a few taken on Power Bait or nightcrawlers near areas with deep water access. Bass fishing is decent with with squarebilled crankbaits, plastics on the drop-shot, or spinnerbaits. The majority of bass are in post-spawn and feeding aggressively, Crappie are found near structure in the North Fork around Tillie Creek with live minnows or minijigs while minnows are also picking up rainbow trout. Catfish are taken on frozen shad, Triple S Dip Bait, chicken livers, or nightcrawlers. 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 kernrivervalley.com/2020-isabella-lake-fishing-derby. The French Gulch Marina hosts the only launch ramp with the low lake level. The lake is releasing water, and it has dropped to 16%. At Buena Vista, there have still been trout taken from the earlier plants, but the rainbows are few and far between, Crappie on minnows at night along with catfish on cutbaits are another option at BV. The upper Kern River is running slow, and the planted rainbows are holding in the deeper pools. A trout plant is scheduled for this week and the week of June 20. Live crickets, Power Bait, nightcrawlers, or salmon eggs with as little weight as possible are working in the deeper holes. The lower river is low and warming, and the bass and catfish remain the top options. 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 Bass 2 Crappie 2 Trout 1 Catfish 2 The lake held at 34% this week, but water releases are expected to begin shortly. Gary Wasson, president of the Xtreme Bass Club, said, “The bass bite has slowed with Senkos, jigs, or topwater lures working best.” Crappie are found near submerged rock or bush around Horse Creek with live minnows or minijigs. Lake Success/Tule River Bass 2 Crappie 2 Trout 3 Catfish 2 Chuck Stokke of the Sequoia Fishing Company in Springville said, “Bass fishing is good to fair due to recreational boaters on the lake. The best time is during the week. The bass are hitting Senkos, crankbaits, and Ned-rigs with by far the best action early or late in the day.” The lake dropped to 22%. In the Tule River, Stokke reported low water conditions, and fly fishing is excellent with caddis or Woolly Buggers. The Middle Fork of the Tule will be planted this week with Balch Park lower and upper next week. Call: Sequoia Fishing Co. 539-5626, sequoiafishingcompany.com McClure Reservoir Bass 3 Trout 2 King salmon 0 Kokanee 0 Crappie 2 Catfish 2 Ryan Cook of Ryan Cook’s Fishing said, “The bass bite is good for numbers in the river arm with a topwater bite with the Berkley El Choppo in open water as the bass are pulling off of the banks, chasing shad. Tubes, jigs, or small plastics on the drop-shot are best by mid-morning. The majority of bass are small, but there is a chance for largemouth to 7 pounds.” The Kerman Bass Club held a tournament on Saturday with the light weights confirming the prevalence of small fish in the lake. 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 dropped to 43%. Call: Ryan Cook – Ryan Cook’s Guide Service- 691-7008 McSwain Reservoir Trout 2 Rainbows holding over from the recent derby are found from the banks 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 Bass2 Striped bass 1 Shad 1 Bluegill 2 Crappie 2 Michael Crayne of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis reported the lake continues to rise with inflow from the San Joaquin River watershed, and it is currently at 51%. Small spotted bass remain the rule with shad-patterned plastics such as Robo Worms Prism Shad, Pro Gold, or Hologram Shad along with Merritt Gilbert’s custom Casper on the drop-shot or split-shot. The best action is from Finegold into the river arm as the spotted bass have moved off of the banks and suspending around rock. No reports of any striped bass since Roger George’s recently released striper that spanned 41 inches and weighed 28.8 pounds. Bass 101 is holding a Father’s Day Open at Millerton on June 20 – information from Mark Corrente, 284-2768. Sarah Parkes, development director of the San Joaquin River Parkway and Conservation Trust, reported several bass to 8 pounds were landed at Sycamore Island on plastics this week with catfish to 15 pounds on stink baits. Crappie and bluegill are very active on red worms. She reminds us that no fires or BBQs are allowed at Sycamore Island. Sycamore Island is open Fridays through Sundays and state holidays through Nov. 11. Seasonal hours of operation are 6 a.m. to 8: 30 p.m. May through August. Entry fees are $9 per vehicle and $5 per trailer. Annual passes are available for $85. Call: Valley Rod & Gun 292-3474 New Melones Reservoir/Tulloch Bass 3 Crappie 2 Catfish 2 Trout 2 Kokanee 3 Ryan Cook of Ryan Cook’s Fishing said, “There is a great topwater bite for schooling bass in the main lake and river arm with the Berkley El Choppo, Whopper Plopper, or Reaction Innovation’s Vixens in open water as the bass are chasing shad to the surface out into 200 feet of water. Working submerged or exposed island tops with 5-inch Senkos, jigs, or plastics on a Neko-rig or shakey head are also effective at depths from 10 to 25 feet.” Kyle Wise of HeadHunter Guide Service said, “Kokanee fishing is best near structure as the fish are starting to orient closer to structure. The kokanee are coming up in the water column by mid-morning to feed on plankton before heading back into deeper water.” The middle ramps at Glory Hole Point and Tuttletown are open along with one ramp at Angels Cove. The Bureau of Reclamation administration office and visitors center is now open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., weekends only, and annual passes for the lake are available there. The lake dropped to 56%, and there are numerous unmarked hazards 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 Michael Crayne of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “Other than a 10-pound largemouth caught and released a few weeks ago on a Whopper Plopper, the bass action is limited to numbers of spotted bass on plastics on a Texas-rig or jerkbaits when the wind is blowing. The best bass action remains around Trimmer into Sycamore Creek. Trout trollers are working the main lake around the shad schools at depths to 65 feet with shad-patterned spoons such as Needlefish in Cop Car. The crappie action has slowed to a crawl.” The Cen Cal Elite Bass tournament on Saturday was taken with a limit pushing 10 pounds. The lake has dropped slightly to 40%. In the lower Kings River, another trout plant will occur this week, and there are holdovers from the heavy planting schedule throughout the spring. 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 Windy days, falling water levels, and a slow bite are the story at the big lake. The water is falling about a half-foot per day, and the Basalt dock is sitting at an angle off the launch ramp making it very hard to launch or pull out a boat. In addition, there’s some heavy mud that’s piled up due to the constant winds. The Dinosaur Point ramp might be the best choice, especially in a northwest wind. The falling water has the fish moving a lot with trollers finding a slow bite working points at 40 to 70 feet with either Rapalas and Yo-Zuris. The bait bite has also been slow overall but finding an active school is providing limits of school fish. Roger George of Roger’s Guide Service scouted for several hours this week for 10 fish to 7 pounds working at 60 to 70 feet with silver/black minnow lures. . He said, “Regular anglers have been concerned about reports of big fish being taken lately since releasing the big brooders is the key to the health of the lakes striped bass fishery.” The lake is at 42%. In the O’Neill Forebay, there are continued reports of the occasional huge striped bass in the 20- to 30-pound range on anchovies, but the majority of stripers are undersized. There is a topwater bite in the mornings with Poppers or small shad-patterned plugs, but cut baits, pile worms, or blood worms remain the best option. Fishermen continue to cull through many shakers for a legal limit. At San Luis, there are three wind warning and lake closure lights near the Basalt Entrance Station, Quien Sabe Point, and the Romero Visitor Center. At the O’Neill Forebay, the lights are located near the old Medeiros boat ramp and above the South Beach Area. Amber lights signify caution conditions for winds or other concerns while red lights indicate the lake is closed to boating and all vessels must immediately vacate the lake. 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 2 There is a window for trout and kokanee from the Sheriff’s Tower to the dam in the early morning with Todd Wittwer of Kokanee.net Guide Service reporting a few huge kokanee to 18.5 inches at depths to 32 feet with holdover rainbows found from 12 to 22 feet. Jared Romero took his first guided trip for eight rainbows, one kokanee and two spotted bass. The kokanee are all large at 16 to over 18 inches. There is a topwater bite for bass in the early morning. Boat pressure ramps up after 8 a.m. The Sheriff’s Motor Fee remains in effect. The lake held at 70%. Edison/Florence/Mammoth Pool The road to Edison and Florence is open, but Edison is very low at 18% with Florence dropping slightly to 57%. Mammoth Pool is at 92%, but the lake is closed until June 15 for the annual deer migration. The South Fork of the San Joaquin River will be planted the next three weeks with Portal Forebay and Ward Lake planted the weeks of June 13 and 20. Call: Vermilion Valley Resort at Edison Lake 259-4000 Shaver Lake/Huntington Lake Kokanee 3 Trout 2 Dick Nichols of Dick’s Fishing Charters said, “Even with the 105-degree weather in the Central Valley, few boat fishermen made the trek to Shaver Lake during the middle of last week. My guests bagged multiple limits each trip out. While the early bite was best, we had only had one fish on board at 7: 30 a.m. on Thursday, but we found a hot bite after 9 a.m., picking up the remainder of two limits for Jerry Lakeman of Fresno and his daughter Sarah of San Diego while celebrating an early Father’s Day. Sarah is an RN in San Diego and a former cheerleader for the San Francisco 49ers. The Ligenfelter brothers, Michael of Visalia and Mathew of Fresno, took their dad, Tom, also of Fresno, out for his birthday and connected with multiple limits of large kokanee along with the birthday boy picking up a trophy rainbow weighing 6.2 pounds. For the past three weeks, we have been using orange or purple Koke Busters and pink Mountain Hoochies with scented corn behind Mountain Dodgers in watermelon, gold/ orange foil, and purple/pink. Even our side poles with Trout Buster’s behind weighted Mountain Flashers, tipped with scented corn are picking up kokanee about 25 feet down. The surface water temperature came up a tad to 66 degrees, and the lake continues to slowly rise. We have found a median depth of 43 feet to be the most active. With the rising water bringing insects onto the surface, the trout bite is off. We have been picking up an occasional brown. but with exception of the single trophy trout, we have not picking up any ‘bows. The weekend boat traffic built up with many anglers trying to get out of the Valley heat.” Todd Wittwer of Kokanee.net found large kokanee to 17.5 inches, and he reported that an 18-inch kokanee was landed this week. He said, “Our best action has been coming around 40 feet with Rocky Mountain Tackle’s spinners in orange or blue behind a custom RMT glow dodger.” Shaver is scheduled for a trout plant the week of June 20. Anglers are requested to complete the kokanee survey at bit.ly/kokesandkings upon the completion of every trip to provide accurate information to the Department of Fish and Wildlife. At Huntington, the lake has risen to 94%, and the docks are in the water at the launch ramp. Limits of small kokanee are taken on hoochies or spinners behind a flasher or dodger at depths from 20 to 25 feet. Planted rainbows are taken from the mouth of Rancheria Creek on Power Bait or nightcrawlers. Tamarack Creek is scheduled for a trout plant this week. Call: Dick Nichols – Dick’s Fishing Charters at Shaver Lake Sports 841-2740; Todd Wittwer – Kokanee.net Guide Service 288-8100; Dinkey Creek Inn 841-3435 Wishon/Courtright Trout 3 Kelly Brewer of the Wishon Village RV Park and Store said, “Bank fishing has slowed down to some degree at both lakes, but the trolling is fantastic with Wedding Rings tipped with a nightcrawler behind a dodger or a blade/’crawler combination at both lakes. Wishon is still low, but boaters can still launch on the dirt ramp.” Courtright, Wishon, and Hume Lake will be planted the week of June 20, and Dinkey Creek will receive plants for the next three weeks. At high-elevation Courtright Reservoir, Jay Irvine of Visalia was out with College of the Sequoias coach Jody Allen this weekend, and they kept two limits of trout trolling streamer flies and Dicks Orange Koke Busters or a pink TNK hoochie-spinner behind a mini-Mountain Dodger. They found a bit slower action the following day, and pink seemed to be the right color Saturday where orange was much better on Friday. The trolling streamer flies worked well both days. The wind has been extremely strong on the high- country lakes. Call: Wishon RV Park 865-5361 Ocean Half Moon Bay Salmon 2 Rockfish 3 Striper 3 Crab 3 Sand dabs 2 Surf perch 2 Seven days can make a huge difference when we are talking about salmon, and in reality, the action can change within a single day. This was the story of this week for boats traveling south of Pigeon Point out of Half Moon Bay as the Huli Cat started off with a bang on Memorial Day with 15 salmon to 27 pounds for 8 anglers trolling straight bait. With the encouraging scores taking place in Monterey Bay at the end of the week, it won’t be long before these fish make their way north. The wind blew hard the remainder of the week until there was another weather window on Saturday; however, the salmon went on hiatus. Captain Dennis Baxter of the New Captain Pete said, “We knew that the Queen of Hearts didn’t find any salmon on Friday, and we repeated their performance on Saturday morning as there was a lot less life with a few humpbacks migrating north, but there was no obvious feeding activity. The anchovies that we saw were 100 feet down, and we tried our standup rod with braided line with a 4-pound weight to get down to these fish, but we couldn’t entice a strike on the hoochie/Hot Spot flasher combination. We passed out shrimp flies at 10: 30 a.m. to salvage the day, ending up with 90 of rockfish for 10 anglers.” The Queen of Hearts went straight to the rockfish grounds on Saturday for 12 limit of rockfish and 4 lings while the Ankeny Street posted 16 limit of rockfish including 5 cabezon along with 5 ling cod to 14 pounds. The Huli Cat was out on Sunday with 15 anglers for 140 Dungeness crab and 110 rockfish. Captain Tom Mattusch of the Huli Cat said, “We are going to pull a number of our pots in the southern string as there are quite a few whales in the area.” Striped bass fishing below the Golden Gate has been outstanding in the early mornings or evenings along the beaches with Miki’s spoons, topwater lures, or ripbaits. The local salmon season begins on June 26, and the final net pen release took place this week. These salmon are anticipated to return in three years to the harbor. 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 Crab 2 Sand dabs 3 Surf perch 3 Allen Bushnell of Santa Cruz Kayak and Surfcasting Guide Service said, “Monterey Bay anglers continue to enjoy a steady salmon fishing season. There are ups and downs as one day is hot, and one day is not. Still, most boats are averaging at least a fish per rod most days, and early limits when the bite is on. The salmon remain high in the water column, anywhere from 40 feet down to 150 most days. Bait is abundant. Commercial seiners are reaping tons of anchovies on a daily basis right now. Water temperatures remain cool, in the 50 to 55-degree range. Dominant northwest winds continue to provide a strong upwelling process, keeping the salmon cool and the waters nutrient-rich. Chris Arcoleo from Chris’ Fishing Trips in Monterey was particularly happy about Thursday’s trip on the Check Mate. “We slayed them on Thursday,” he said. “Full limits for the boat, and these were big fish!” They put 20 fish in the box for the ten anglers aboard. Chris’ posted fish count report included the descriptive “PIGS.” In Santa Cruz, Beth Norton from Go Fish Charters reported on Monday’s trip saying, “Great day on the bay. We fished for salmon today and had a lot of opportunities, hooking at least 14 fish. The clients landed five king salmon weighing between 14 and 27 pounds. The 27-pounder was the biggest one of the season so far. These fish are big and angry. The clients had their hands full today.” Thursday, the bite was ON. Norton reported, “We went back to the Hole. The bait was thick and so were the fish. As soon as we got the lines in the water the big boys were home with three fish in 15 minutes. Then there was a dry spell for 45 minutes before the bite was back on. We had five clients on the boat and they got their limits of two nice king salmon each. Then JT got to pull on one, and it was a nice 20 pounder for him and Greg to split. We pulled the gear and headed back to the dock. Let’s hope these fish stay in the bay for a while.” Nearshore ocean temperatures remain cooler than usual. Still, the halibut are moving in. We received a number of reports of bigger halibut caught from the 40 to 60-foot depths. When the waves die down and the water is clear of weeds, it’s also possible to catch flatties from the shore. A white fluke on a dropper loop rig is most productive, and since most of the surf cast halibut are undersized, please treat them with care and release quickly as they are the 20pounders of the future. Surfcasting is still improving all around Monterey Bay. There are plenty of sand crabs to use as bait. Anchovies are abundant in Monterey Bay as well, but remain mostly off-shore, away from the beaches. Stiff winds started early most days this week. Combined with a persistent south swell, conditions were tough at most surfcasting spots. Floating grasses and kelp were fouling lines. Depending on the particular beach and the tide, clean spots can be found, and big barred surf perch are still on the bite all around the bay. Reports of striped bass remain inconsistent. Undersized stripers are roving near the Monterey Harbor and near the Capitola Wharf in the evenings with an occasional big boy in the moving schools. The big broad beaches by Moss Landing have produced a number of keeper bass as well for those willing to make the long walk in those areas far from roads and parking lots. If you hit the right beach at the right time, smaller barred surf perch can be hooked on almost every cast.” 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 The tides normally have a tremendous influence on the action for California halibut, and last week’s huge king tides slowed the bite to a crawl. This week was a different story as the tides backed off to the point of halibut limits were not uncommon on private, six-packs, and party boats during the week, but heavy boat pressure brought the halibut bite to its knees on Sunday. Striped bass are starting to pour in to San Francisco and San Pablo Bays, and they should be holding on the rockpiles soon when the bait gets stacked up on the rocks. With the ocean salmon season closed until June 26th and few party boats targeting rockfish, there is tremendous pressure on the halibut fishery leading a discussion to lowering the daily bag limit to two fish. Two boats from Emeryville were able to make it to the Farallon Islands on Sunday for 42 limits of rockfish and 11 ling cod, but the wind have kept them inside the bay on most occasions. Captain Steve Mitchell of Hook’d Up Sport Fishing has been putting his clients onto up to two halibut per rod working in the central bay near Alcatraz Island, and he said, “We have moved into a more normal pattern as the halibut are not biting on the big tides like they were last year. They are far more predictable of biting on smaller tides with clearer water, and when the tides are big, you have a small window at the top or of the bottom of the tide before the water starts moving too fast. I didn’t look at the rockpiles, but there were more stripers landed at the end of the week by the other boats so they must be coming back into the bay. “ Captain Trent Slate of Bite Me Charters didn’t have passengers on Friday, he went commercial fishing in the central bay with Matt Smart for plenty of action and some big halibut to over 30 pounds using the ‘biggest anchovies of the year.’ He said, “Once the tide started going out, the wind started blowing, and it made it near impossible to drift. We called it a day with 8 quality halibut with a number in the teen’s into the 20-pound range.” Slate will begin his ocean salmon season by mooching, and he is one of the only boats in the Bay Area specializing in salmon mooching. Captain Ron Koyasako of Nautilus Excursions went to Red Rock on Friday for limits of striped bass fly-lining anchovies before heading over to Angel Island for nearly two halibut per rod. The Pacific Dream and Happy Hooker were in the central bay on Friday for a combined 33 halibut to 25 pounds and a bass for 29 anglers, but the scores for all but one large party boat dropped to far less than a fish per rod on Sunday. With few boats heading outside the Golden Gate, the heavy pressure was a major factor on Sunday along with the bait moving out of the bay. The bait dock at Pier 45 in San Francisco has been extremely crowded on the weekends, and it has been described as resembling the ‘Drive through at In-and-Out.” The bait boat has been working hard to keep up with demand, but the bait was harder to locate over the weekend. Ed Chin of Bay Tackle in El Cerrito said, “It continues to blow 15 to 20 knots in the afternoons. We haven’t been able to toss lures along the eastern side of the bay for stripers due to the winds.” Keith Fraser at Loch Lomond Bait and Tackle in San Rafael said, “The halibut fishing went from sensational to terrible with the big minus tides, but the tides are perfect right now. You can’t sturgeon fish right now as the bat rays have taken over the bay with the lack of fresh water.” 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 61 passengers for near-limits of rockfish composed of 444 assorted rockfish, 86 vermilion, 19 Boccaccio, and copper rockfish. The Avenger, Endeavor, and Starfire out of Morro Bay Landing were out on Saturday with trips ranging from ½ day to full day, and 88 anglers came up with near-limits of rockfish consisting of 188 vermilion, 60 copper, 15 Boccaccio, 467 assorted, 100 kelp rockfish, and 2 ling cod to 10 pounds. The Patriot, Flying Fish, and Phenix out of Patriot Sport Fishing at Port San Luis were out on local reefs on ½- or all day trips on Sunday for limits for 50 anglers with 6 ling cod to 8 pounds Their catch included 47 vermilion, 8 copper, 368 assorted rockfish, 8 Boccaccio, 62 Bolina, 2 treefish, 4 canary, and one ocean whitefish. 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. Call: Virg’s Landing (800) 762-5263; Patriot Sport Fishing (805) 595-4100; Morro Bay Landing Others Delta/Stockton Bass 2 Striper 3 Sturgeon 3 Catfish 2 Bluegill 2 Striped bass and sturgeon are there for the taking in the Sacramento-Delta, but the anglers that were fighting for position on the West Bank or in Suisun Bay weeks ago have moved on. Jeff Soo Hoo of Soo Hoo’s Sport Fishing out of Lauritzen’s Yacht Harbor in Oakley said, “We were out on Saturday and Sunday for really good striped bass action on the Sacramento side drifting minnows as we left them biting on both days. There are still female stripers that have yet to spawn as several of our fish were loaded with ripe green eggs. However, I have never experienced such a tough spring as this year with the high winds and the overall lack of fish. The West Bank didn’t have a boat on it as nearly all of the trollers have moved on to other species, but there is an opportunity to troll and the end of the outgoing tide. There is quite a bit of grass in the water, and it has even been tough to drift minnows with the grass. There will be stripers in the system throughout the summer, and it is a matter of putting in the effort to find them. I will travel 20 miles one way to find the fish, and that’s what it has taken this year.” There have been few sturgeon fishermen, but the diamondbacks remain in Suisun Bay with Tony Lopez of Benicia Bait reporting good action for anglers spending the night near the Red Barn in Montezuma Slough with grass shrimp. He said, “Our owner, Curtis Hayes, has been bringing in some good grass shrimp, and we are selling quite a bit for shore anglers. There have been at least 5 halibut landed off of the shoreline at the Dillon Point State Park, a clear sign that the salt water is intruding this deep into the Delta. Small stripers are the rule off of the shorelines as the big females normally do not arrive until late July into August.” Alan Fong, manager of the Fishermen’s Warehouse in Sacramento, punched Missile’s D-Bombs in the north Delta in Snodgrass Slough for a 21-pound limit including largemouth bass at 8.5 and 5 pounds.” Johnny Tran at New Romeo’s Bait and Tackle in Freeport reported shad are still moving through around Freeport as they are staying in the area with the low water in the Sacramento River. He said, “There are also a lot of small, undersized striped bass, and you have to go through several to pick up a legal limit on sardines coated with garlic spray. Smallmouth bass are showing up on the rocks in the Old Sacramento River or Steamboat Slough with deep-diving crankbaits, nightcrawlers, or large minnows. Bluegill are everywhere in the sloughs with wax worms or red worms, either on a floater or drop-shot rig.” The San Joaquin-Delta will be the top side for summertime action for largemouth bass, bluegill, crappie, and catfish as the striped bass have gone on hiatus. Randy Pringle, the Fishing Instructor, said, “The action has slowed down as the temperatures have risen as the bass get lethargic until they get acclimated to the warmer water. However, the opportunity for a real giant on untypical techniques is there. I have been throwing the ima Big Stick in the mornings, but I am not working it fast. It is important to cast it across current as the bass are hanging out in front of the weeds. They are lethargic and not feeling too good with the water temperature rising. They would rather it be cooler so they will be lethargic for a few days before adjusting. Typically, frogs are good at this time of year as one big bite is possible, but you have to stick it out in the early hours. By mid-morning, I am switching over to a spinning rod with the Berkley General or Bottom Hopper on a Zappu head working the outside edges from 5 to 8 feet deep. It is important to see the weed line with the best window for this occurring during the low to the mid- high tide.” Vince Borges of Vince Borges Outdoors confirmed the tougher bite as the water temperature has risen 5 degrees in 2/3 days with some areas as hot as 81 degrees. He fished the Wednesday Night Shoot Out out of Ladd’s Marina with approximately 50 other boats, and a 19-pound plus limit by Kris Huff of Stockton took the top prize. He said, “It took 15 pounds to cash a check, and the overall weights were much less than they have been. We flipped a little and punched the week for two fish to around 3.5 pounds. The topwater bite was slow for us, but we continue to score with Reaction Innovation’s Skinny Dipper swimbaits or punching the weeds with the Reaction Innovation’s Sweet Beavers. I went east on Wednesday night, and it was tough as the herbicide spraying has been throughout the sloughs. The weeds are dying in the surface, and the bass are suspending around 7 feet in 13 feet of water. The weeds in the back of Fourteen Mile Slough and Connection Slough are dying along with the weeds in the south Delta near Bullfrog Marina and Tracy Oasis. The combination of spraying and the sudden rise in temperature have made for a tougher bite, but you can find some decent bass if you know where to look.” Dan Mathisen of Dan’s Delta Outdoors held the inaugural Diamond Pet Foods Open at Holland Riverside Marina on Saturday, and the ‘Father of Flipping,’ octogenarian Dee Thomas paired with Jeff Chauvet for the winning limit at 19.03 pounds including the big bass at 5.89 pounds. Mathisen said, “It was good to see the band get back together with Dee teaming up with Jeff for the win. Most anglers either got their fish punching the edges of the deep grass around the ledges or pennywort along with tossing frogs over the pennywort or along pockets in the tules. Finding current was a key. Nail-weighting 6-inch Senkos was another productive technique.” Johnny Wang, manager of Turner’s Outdoors in Stockton, reported small, spawned-out striped bass are in the south Delta near the Stucco House in False River, Frank’s Tract, and Fishermen’s Cut near the breaks. Fly fishermen are catching and releasing 100 small stripers per day. The largemouth bass are still on the beds off of Eight Mile Road.” In the south Delta, Omega Nguyen of Mega Bait and Tackle in Lathrop reported a much slower bite for striped bass with the majority of linesides being undersized. He said, “I went out to try out four different baits from the shoreline south of Mossdale, and within 2 hours I released 20 undersized stripers along with a single legal 23-incher. Pile worms worked best with the smaller fish coming on anchovies or sardines. The river near Turtle Beach rose three to four feet last week as previously you could walk across the river. I will be getting in fresh shad this coming week, but I will freeze it within a few hours as I want to keep it in the best condition possible as it falls apart easily if not frozen quickly.” 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 3 Crappie 2 Bluegill 3 Trout 2 At Nacimiento, the water level continues to drop, receding from 29 to 27% this week. There are unmarked hazards throughout the lake with the low water conditions. Recreational boaters are dominating the lake so fishermen need to get on and off early or later in the day. The spotted bass are scattered, and anglers will have to work a number of locations with finesse techniques of plastics on the drop-shot or dart head. Trollers are picking up a few of the white bass on small white Kastmasters, Roostertails, or small Keitech swimbaits. Crappie are holding near structure in shallow water, and minijigs have been the best option. A webcam of the lake is available at http://www.lakenacimientolive.com/. At Lopez, trolling is by far the best option for planted rainbows withsmall Needlefish or crankbaits such as Flicker Shad. Bank fishing is slow due to the rainbows moving out into deeper water. Bass fishing is fair at best with somewhat of a reaction bite on spinnerbaits, topwater lures, or crankbaits in the mornings. By mid-morning, plastics on the drop-shot or Senkos work best. The panfish bite is best with red worms or wax worms with the warming water conditions. A webcam of the lake is available at http://805webcams.com/lopez-lake-webcam/. At Santa Margarita, trollers are picking up a few planted rainbows with small crankbaits like Flicker Shads or spoons, but the bite is slowing down with the warmer temperatures and fewer trout in the lake. There is a possibility for a trophy largemouth with a rainbow trout swimbait. The most consistent bass technique remains with plastics on the drop-shot or dart head, but there is a window in the morning for crankbaits. The crappie are holding around certain submerged trees or brush. At San Antonio, water releases have dropped the lake from 15 to 13%, and the lake is warming rapidly. Catfish are biting cut baits soaked in garlic along with dip baits, nightcrawlers, or chicken livers fished with as little weight as possible. Bass fishing remains slow with an occasional smallmouth or largemouth on plastics. Boaters need to check for ramp availability with the low water. Events Tournament results Delta/Riverside Holland Marina – Dan Mathisen Outdoors Diamond Pet Open – June 5: 1st –– Dee Thomas/Jeff Chauvet – 19.03 pounds (Big Fish – 5.89); 2nd – Marc Young/Dave Newton – 16.16; 3rd –Blake Dyer/Mark Nelson – 16.14. Delta/B and W Resort– California Bass Federation Boater Division (Two Limits)– June 5/6: 1st –– Mike Alvarez – 35.92; 2nd – Brandon Gaither – 28.77; 3rd – Ralph Encizo – 28.66. Delta/B and W Resort– California Bass Federation Non-Boater Division (Two Limits)– June 5/6: 1st –– Tas Moua – 21.80; 2nd – Tim Meeks – 16.33; 3rd –Nick Dulleck – 14.05. Don Pedro – Modesto AmBASSadors– June 5: 1st –– Justin Bacton/Dan Sexton – 17.35; 2nd – Jerry Woetsy/Jordyn Woolsey – 14.70 (Big Fish – 5.61); 3rd –Steven and Cardyn Grisson – 13.69. McClure – Kerman Bass Club– June 5: 1st –– Shaun Young/Francisco Montes – 8.43 pounds; 2nd – Ron Orbacker/Tony Lopez – 8.33(Big Fish – 2.55); 3rd – Kevin and Trevor Lamley – 6.61. Pine Flat – Cen Cal Elite Bass Tournaments – June 5: 1st –– Bill Kunz/Cory Kerber – 9.92 pounds (Big Fish – 3.48); 2nd – Larry and Xang Vang – 8.46; 3rd – David and Gage Coy – 7.57. Upcoming tournaments (subject to change) 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 tableAMPMMinorMajorMinorMajor>Wednesday4: 3310: 454: 5711: 09n-Thursday5: 2011: 325: 4511: 57>Friday6: 1111: 546: 3712: 24>Saturday7: 0512: 527: 311: 18Sunday8: 011: 498: 272: 14Monday8: 582: 459: 233: 11Tuesday9: 533: 4110: 184: 06n = new moon > = peak activity
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