Fishing report, June 23-29: Shaver kokanee, Wishon/Courtright trout among best bets – Fresno Bee


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Waylon Babshoff of Kerman caught a fisherman’s dream his first time fishing, reports Shannon Babshoff. Waylon’s first fish weighed slightly under 9 pounds and was 23 inches long with a 14.5-inch girth. He used a pink hoochie at 42 feet depth trolling at Shaver Lake. “Gave a great fight as it almost wore Waylon’s arms out. Hooked for life.”

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 bass and sturgeon continue hitting, Randy Pringle said. Shaver kokanee keeping anglers busy, Dick Nichols reported. Don Pedro kokanee and bass the best bets, Monte Smith said. McClure pumping out good bass numbers, Ryan Cook reported. Wishon and Courtright trout still biting, Kelly Brewer said. Roger’s remarks: Four things to make your lake excursion more enjoyable The traffic and pucker factors at the lakes this summer will probably get worse than normal. The combination of low water, hot forecasts and lots of anxious people ready to get back to some semblance of normalcy after the pandemic is a recipe for big crowds, short tempers and long waits. What can we do? Anglers accustomed to easy access and open waters will be challenged to deal with these uncomfortable situations. I know it bothers me at times. Here are four things you can do: Prepare to wait. I have to take a few deep breathes, decide I’m going to stay calm and not let the chaos overwhelm me. Many times I find that just not letting myself get irritated and descending into a rant (I confess it happens!) keeps me sane and not overreacting. Most anglers are pretty savvy about loading and launching, and most of us are used to it going that way, so it’s painful to watch folks figure things out on the fly. Breathe! Have a plan for launching and loading. What’s the best and quickest spot to launch or dock? Having everything ready to go before you back down to the water or pull out makes sense — but how many do it? Launch and/or load without anyone getting in the water, especially on crowded ramps. Preplanning ways to get your boat on and off the trailer without people taking the time and risk of trying to help position the boat is usually a lot quicker, efficient and safer. Being in the water around a running prop, a moving trailer or having possible windy conditions throwing the boat around all present unnecessary risks if good measures are figured out beforehand. It also can tie up the ramp, and there may be other nearby boats that jeopardize the folks in the water. Trailer side guides, good leash ropes and dock placement can all help make it simpler, safer and easier to do things quickly. Keep a good attitude. I hate crowds , but I’m always amazed how important it is to keep a smile on my face and assume the best. Lots of people don’t know how or what to do, and many times I find that just by politely asking if they need any help, it eases everyone’s anxiety. I’m sorry to say I’ve also watched folks struggling at the ramp while I mumbled under my breathe. Most of us “know” what we should do, but it’s easy to get in a hurry and become irritated, especially at the dock/ramp of a busy lake. It’s probably going to be a long, hot summer with low water, but each of us can do our part in making it as easy and fun as possible. Never give up! Valley West-side waterways Striper 3 Catfish 2 Bass 2 Omega Nguyen of Mega Bait and Tackle in Lathrop reported a number of anglers have been heading to the California Aqueduct near Patterson with pile worms or mudsuckers for striped bass in the 5- to 9-pound range. The aqueduct near Tracy is loaded with undersized stripers on anchovies or sardines. Catfish are also taken on chicken livers. Water releases have been heavy, and the aqueduct has been full. In the southern aqueduct in Kern County, Pete Cormier of Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield reported good striped bass action with cut baits, blood worms, or large minnows along with flukes or topwater lures. Largemouth bass are taken on plastics on the drop-shot. The current leader in the Bob’s Bait July Striped Bass Derby is only 4.11 pounds. Entry to the derby is $1, and the largest striped bass at the end of the month will keep the entry fees plus money donated by the bait shop. 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 Few bass fishermen are heading to the lake with the low water becoming more stagnant, holding at 11%. Cody Greer of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis reported a small window for topwater lures in the early mornings. Catfish remain the top species with cut baits, chicken livers, or nightcrawlers. Call: Eastman Lake 689-3255 Hensley Lake Bass 2 Trout 1Catfish 2 Bluegill 2 Crappie 2 The Sierra Bass Club out of Clovis held a 21-boat tournament on Saturday with only two limits landed to 6.11 pounds. There was no reaction bite with only Senkos or plastics on the drop-shot working. Catfish remain the top species with cut baits or chicken livers from the area around the launch ramp. The lake dropped slightly to 22%. Call: Valley Rod Gun, Clovis 292-3474; U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Hensley Lake Hidden Dam 673-5151 Lake Don Pedro Bass 3 Trout 2 Kokanee 3 King salmon 2 Crappie 2 The kokanee bite continues to be solid at Don Pedro with the bonus of king salmon available. The reservoir is dropping water rapidly, pushing the kokanee schools out into open water in the main river channels. Monte Smith of Gold Country Sport Fishing said, “We had a double of king salmon in the 4-pound range right off the bait, and Chris Sanders of Stockton was able to land one of the salmon with the other getting wrapped around a downrigger cable. We were targeting kokanee when landed the king, and we put in nine kokanee at depths from 50 to 70 feet with Uncle Larry’s spinners or hoochies behind a dodger. The fish are starting to move down in the water column with the hot weather. It is very important that a breeze ripples the surface of the water because the fish aren’t biting unless the breeze is blowing. The action isn’t fast and furious, but it is steady. There are massive clouds of plankton, and if you work the edges of the plankton blooms, you will get into fish as they are there. When they are coming up into the plankton, we are getting them as shallow as 40 feet.” Kokanee fishermen are requested to diligently complete the kokanee/king salmon survey every trip at For bass, Ryan Cook of Ryan Cook’s Fishing said, “There is a topwater bite in the mornings with the Berkley El Choppo or Whopper Plopper before heading to the bottom with 3.5-inch Dry Creek Tubes, 5-inch Senkos on a Ned-rig, or 4.5-inch worms on a drop-shot over submerged islands, exposed islands, or main lake points at depths from 15 to 30 feet. The night bite has been outstanding with spinnerbaits for as many as 70 spotted and largemouth bass.” The lake dropped slightly to 63%. 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 At Lake Isabella, Pete Cormier of Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield reported crappie are still being found on live minnows while trout are also picking up the minnows. The crappie bite is up and down, and the key is finding the right tree or bush holding fish. Mice Tails, Power Eggs, Pinched Crawlers, or nightcrawlers are working for the holdover rainbows despite the warming water temperatures. Bass fishing is best with topwater lures, buzzbaits, small swimbaits, or crankbaits along with 10-inch Berkley Power Worms. Catfishing are most likely the best bet with dip baits, chicken livers, nightcrawlers, or minnows. 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 dropped from 15% to 14%. At Buena Vista, a few crappie are found at night with minnows while catfishing is fair with cut baits or dip baits. Bluegill are taken on wax worms or meal worms. The upper Kern River is scheduled for a trout plant this week, but the river is low and the holdovers are hanging out in the deep pools. Live crickets. Power Bait, nightcrawlers, or salmon eggs fished with as light a weight as possible is the key to success. The lower Kern River is kicking out catfish, bass, and even holdover rainbow trout with the bass on Senkos, jigs, or plastics with catfish on cut baits or dip baits. 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 2 Crappie 2 Trout 1 Catfish 2 The lake held at 34% this week, but water releases are expected to begin shortly. There is a topwater bite in the mornings before heading to the bottom with Senkos or plastics. Jerkbaits are also effective. With the triple-digit temperatures, the bass have gone deep by mid-morning, and recreational boat is taking over the lake during the daylight hours. Lake Success/Tule River Bass 2 Crappie 2 Trout 3 Catfish 2 Chuck Stokke of the Sequoia Fishing Company in Springville said, “The bass have gone deep, and fishermen have a short shot early in the morning or very late evening to outwit a bass with plastics on a Ned-rig, Senkos, or deep-diving crankbaits are working best.” The lake dropped to 21%. In the Tule River, Stokke said, “The river is fishing excellent with dry flies, and any caddis or hopper pattern is working. Large Hare’s Ear nymphs with no indicator are doing excellent.” Balch Park lower and upper were planted this week. Call: Sequoia Fishing Co. 539-5626, McClure Reservoir Bass 3 Trout 2 King salmon 0 Kokanee 0 Crappie 2 Catfish 2 Ryan Cook of Ryan Cook’s Fishing said, “Numbers of bass remain the rule with underspins, plastics on the drop-shot, jigs, or Senkos on a Ned-rig. Most bass are small, but there is the opportunity for a trophy largemouth in the early mornings with topwater lures as a 10-pound largemouth was caught and released on a Spook this past week.” 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 41%. 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 Bass 2 Striped Bass 1 Shad 1 Bluegill 2 Crappie 1 Aaron Loucks of the Sportsmen’s Warehouse in Fresno said, “With last week’s triple-digit temperatures in the Valley, recreational boating has been wide-open. Bass fishing has taken a back seat, but the few anglers heading out have to get in and out early before the recreational boats taken over the lake. The ramp is on the sixth level already with the low water. The best action is in the San Joaquin River near the Broken Bridge below Friant Dam with frogs or crankbaits for largemouth bass to 5 pounds.” The lake is releasing water, and it dropped from 52% to 50%. Sycamore Island will be open Fridays through Sundays and State holidays through November 11. Seasonal hours of operation are 6: 00 a.m. to 5: 30 p.m. January, February, March, October, and November; 6: 00 am to 7: 00 pm April and September, and 6: 00 a.m. to 8: 30 p.m. May through August. Entry fees are $9.00 per vehicle and $5.00 per trailer. Annual passes are available for $85. Call: Valley Rod & Gun 292-3474 New Melones Reservoir/Tulloch Bass 2 Crappie 2 Catfish 2 Trout 2 Kokanee 2 The lake will start being inundated with trollers in preparation for the July 17 Kokanee Power open tournament, but last week’s heat wave kept most boats off of the water. Kyle Wise of HeadHunter Guide Service said, “We have been able to find some big kokanee to nearly 18 inches and 2.6 pounds. The lake is dropping around 6 inches per day, and this has pushed the kokanee out into the main river channel. If you work any point off of the main channel, you will find fish, but they are always moving with the receding water levels. They were starting to orient to structure, but once the water releases ramped up, they are moving. Once again, a breeze is necessary for the kokanee to bite, and after working 8 hours for 9 big kokanee in 114-degree temperatures with no wind, we called it before landing the 10th fish. 55 feet has been the most consistent depth, but they can be found from 40 to 75 feet. Paulina Peak’s Tahoe Krack spinners or orange J-Pex’s behind a 5.5-inch gold dodger are my go-to set up.” Anglers are requested to complete the kokanee survey at upon the completion of every trip to provide accurate information to the Department of Fish and Wildlife. Ryan Cook of Ryan Cook’s Fishing said, “There is a topwater bite throughout the day with the Berkley El Choppo or Whopper Plopper, and flukes are also effective over main lake pockets. The bass are chasing shad.” 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: 00 a.m. to 4: 00 p.m., weekends only, and annual passes for the lake are available there. The lake dropped from 55% to 53%, 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 Aaron Loucks of the Sportsmen’s Warehouse in Fresno said, “The best action remains on the bottom near Trimmer with plastics on the drop-shot or Neko-rig along with jigs, and Senkos. The trout have gone deep, and trollers are switching over to downriggers to get to the schools holding near the shad from the Power Lines to the dam. Shad-patterned spoons such as Cop Car Needlefish are working best.” The lake is releasing water at a rapid clip, dropping from 39% to 36% this week. Recreational boating is high, and bass fishermen are few and far between. In the lower Kings River, future trout plants are not on the schedule, and fewer fishermen are heading to the river, particularly with the hot weather. Power Bait, spinners, and crappie jigs are working best for the holdovers in moving 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 1 The lake dropped from 39% to 37% this week, and with the triple-digit temperatures in the Valley, few boats have been on the water. Shore fishermen are doing best in the early morning or late evening with anchovies, sardines, or shad from the banks along with tossing 5.25-inch white flukes on a 1/4- to ½-ounce jig head. The Basalt ramp continues to be a work in progress and the Dinosaur Point launch ramp could be a good choice in any wind. Roger George of Roger George Guide Service said he took out guests Ray and Randy Jacobsen of Easton along with Tim Norgard of Ukiah last Wednesday and they caught and released over 25 school fish to 27 inches trolling minnow lures at 55 to 70 feet over flats in the main lake. “ We fished hard from 8 a.m. to 6: 30 getting a few fish here and there, but it added up to a great day. The fish are moving all over, it’s a tough bite but I found a pattern that worked. Most anglers were scratching out just a fish or two in the falling water. “ Randy Jacobsen of Easton shows off a striper caught June 16 at San Luis Reservoir. Roger George Special to The Bee In the forebay, hot weather has anglers targeting the lake early or late, and anchovies are the top bait for small striped bass along with Magnum Flukes on a ¼-ounce jig head. 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 905-2954 High Sierra Bass Lake Bass 2 Trout 2 Kokanee 2 The lake continues to experience heavy recreational boating pressure, and this will continue throughout summer until September. Trout and kokanee action has been limited to a few holdover rainbows along with the possibility for a big kokanee to 18 inches in the early, early morning. Trollers have to be behind the 5 MPH Zone near the dam after 8 a.m. with the boat traffic ramping up. Spinnerbaits are effective for bass early or late along with plastics on the drop-shot or Neko-rig along with 8- to 10-inch worms dragged 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 19% with Florence at 58%. Mammoth Pool dropped to 89%, but it reopened last week. The South Fork of the San Joaquin River, Portal Forebay, and Ward Lake will be planted again this week. 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, “The kokanee fishing was a tad on the slower side the first part of the week, but we managed to pick up a couple limits each day with exception of one. My main trolling location went dead, and I moved to the Point and Island areas for some quality kokanee to 17 inches. Monday started off with Stan and Scott Jenanyan of Fresno for a couple of limits of quality kokanee by 11 a.m. Tom Anderson of Fresno took his grandsons, Titus and Luke, out with both boys picking up their limits. On Father’s Day, Ricki and William Dooley of Clovis took dad, Bill, out for a couple limits of quality kokanee. The kokanee have moved to new locations; therefore, don’t be afraid to move. I found the Black Rock area to be loaded with 2nd-year fish and have avoided it, searching for the larger fish. Dick’s Mountain Hoochies in pink and orange and Mountain Koke Busters in the same colors remain my go-to tackle behind Dick’s Mountain Dodgers in watermelon or gold/orange foil at depths from 30 to 43 feet feet. The side poles picked up several fish with a setback of 135 feet using Koke Busters behind a weighted Mountain Flasher. A decent bite of rainbows can be found near Tunnel Creek, but should improve with a Department of Fish and Wildlife plant scheduled for this week.” Cody Greer of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis reported good action from the banks with chartreuse garlic or fluorescent orange Power Bait. Anglers are requested to complete the kokanee survey at upon the completion of every trip to provide accurate information to the Department of Fish and Wildlife. The lake rose slightly to 78%. At Huntington, Greer reported solid action for both brown and rainbow trout from the shoreline near the mouth of Rancheria Creek with Panther Martin spinners or Power Bait in fluorescent orange or rainbow with garlic. Joe’s Flies have also been extremely effective for the trout. The lake dropped slightly to 97%, and the docks are in the water at the launch ramp. Most fishermen are heading to Shaver for larger kokanee, but limits of small kokanee are taken on hoochies or spinners behind a flasher or dodger at depths from 20 to 25 feet. 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 Kelly Brewer of the Wishon Village RV Park and Store said, “There hasn’t been much change over the past week as both lakes are fishing well. Bank fishing is best with nightcrawlers or Power Bait while trollers are producing limits with blade/’crawler combinations.” Cody Greer of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis reported trollers are scoring with Rapalas in black/silver or rainbow trout along with Affordable Tackle’s Pink Shrimp or Pink/Orange Shrimp at Wishon. Power needs in the valley from the heat wave are requiring water to be pumped up from Wishon to Courtright, fluctuating the levels of the lakes. Wishon is on the dirt launch ramp while Courtright is on the concrete ramp with docks in the water. Both lakes will be planted this week. Dinkey Creek is scheduled to be planted again this week. Call: Wishon RV Park 865-5361 Ocean Half Moon Bay Salmon 2 Rockfish 3 Striper 2 Crab 2 Sand dabs 2 Surf perch 2 “I’m glad we opted for rockfishing,” said Captain Dennis Baxter of the New Captain Pete as they were able to find limits of rockfish south off of the reefs at Pescadero on Friday. “The Queen of Hearts got skunked, and the Huli Cat only had one bite, but what a bite it was as Clara Ricabal made the single bite count with a massive 35-pound salmon. It wasn’t a day for salmon fishing overall.” Captain Michael Cabanas of the Huli Cat said, “The action was slow, but Clara picked up the fish of a lifetime that gave her at least a 10- minute battle, coming to the boat three times before taking off again. She fought the big fish like a champ, and it was finally ready to come to the net.” All three boats found the dreaded striped cat on Sunday with the Huli Cat, Queen of Hearts, and New Captain Pete putting in the effort below Pigeon Point, but coming up empty for salmon. The local salmon season can’t get here soon enough as the waters north of Pigeon Point open up on Saturday, allowing the local boats to find the salmon which have been progressively moving north and offshore towards the Farallon Islands. In the meantime, before the local salmon opener, rockfishing remains excellent along the nearshore reefs from Martin’s Beach south to Pescadero while the Deep Reef is a solid deep-water option. Further north at the reopened Pacifica Pier, there are only a few days left to try for Dungeness crab as the season ends on June 30. Snares loaded with squid, anchovies, or sardines are working best for crab from the pier. Call: Captain Dennis Baxter – New Captain Pete (650) 576-3844; Captain Tom Mattusch – Huli Cat (650) 619-0459 Monterey/Santa Cruz Salmon 3 Rockfish 4 Striper 2 Sand dabs 3 Surf perch 3 The salmon are around in Monterey Bay, and while hooking them doesn’t seem to be a problem, holding onto them is another story. Rockfishing remains outstanding on both sides of Monterey Bay, and the interest in fishing has been high, causing Chris’s Fishing and Whale Watching in Monterey to run double-trips on occasion. Chris Arcoleo of Chris’s Fishing said, “It has been very crazy for salmon as every time we go out, we hook a bunch of fish, but getting them to the net has been a challenge. The Check Mate hooked 11 salmon on Sunday, but they only landed a single fish as there were two 20 pounders lost within sight of the boat, and we also had three other breaking lines. It is difficult for a first-time fisherman to bring in these big, hot fish, and we have had a number of fish break off when someone thumbs the spool. The salmon are high in the water column at only 5 to 10 feet below the surface, and the commercial fishermen can’t get to them when they are this shallow.” Clara Ricabal, Western Outdoor News columnist, confirmed Arcoleo’s report by landing her two bites this week for a limit of salmon while the remainder of the boat was only able to bring in a single additional salmon. Captain Mike Baxter of Santa Cruz spoke with Jason Truesdale of the Legacy out of Stagnaro’s Fishing Trips, and he reported, “Truesdale said the seven-hour trips are returning with limits of rockfish with a mixed grade of quality fish while the half-day trips are returning with half limits. Starting this Sunday, the live bait ling cod trips will begin and follow through summer every Sunday!” Baxter added, “Kris Victorino has been running the Kahuna, and he checked in after a long day with 18 limits of quality bottom-grabbing rockfish, fishing deeper water up the coast.” Baxter continued, “Light boats are used to gather squid, and they can be seen outside Santa Cruz and Aptos. They continue to light the skies as we near the summer solstice and the next full moon phase. With the squid spawn, comes the halibut, and there has been a positive showing on the halibut as anglers jig up fresh squid and drift it in front of Santa Cruz, Capitola, and the beaches of Aptos. Private boats have been getting decent halibut scores, and commercial anglers are filling the local market with 10- to 30-pound fish. Commercial salmon season re-opened on the 16th from Mexico to Point Arena with a closed zone from Point Reyes to Point San Pedro. Call: Chris’ Landing (831) 375-5951; Allen Bushnell – Santa Cruz Kayak and Surf Casting (831) 251-9732 San Francisco Bay Halibut 3 Striper 3 Rockfish 3 Leopard shark 2 Sturgeon 1 Big halibut were the rule this week as six-packs and party boats ventured outside the Golden Gate to work the rocking and rolling waters over the dredge piles of the North and South Bars. The ocean salmon opener this coming Saturday will relieve the intense pressure on the bay that has been the rule since the live bait receiver opened up as the salmon boats will leave the halibut alone and return to their primary species. Captain Quang Vo of the Goldeneye 2000 has been one of the only boats poking his nose outside the gate for halibut in recent weeks, and his early ventures paid off for many as Captain Steve Mitchell of Hook’d Up Sport Fishing decided to take a risk and go outside on Wednesday morning, only to find the Mother Lode of big halibut and striped bass. Mitchell communicated with Vo about the conditions outside, and within hours, the big party boats along with six-packs willing to deal with the rough conditions were outside picking up thick flatfish to 30 pounds. What followed were two of the best days of the year with the Pacific Dream captained by Chris Smith loading up with 10 limits of halibut along with crew fish and a pair of bonus stripers on Thursday, Mitchell putting his customers onto 6 limits of big halibut and striped bass over 20 pounds on Friday, and Captain Ron Koyasako of Nautilus Excursions scoring limits of bass and halibut for his boatload. Captain Trent Slate of Bite Me Charters put in a total of 26 halibut for 10 anglers over the weekend, and he said, “WE put in 10 big ones on Saturday for 4 anglers with another 16 for six on Sunday, but the fish were acting like the pressure was getting to them as there have been so many big fish taken off of the bar in the past few days.” Captain Steve Mitchell of Hook’d Up Sport Fishing posted 5 limits of halibut plus crew limits on Saturday, coming up a few shy of 3-fish limits on Sunday for Brad Bloom’s group out of Ripon. The California Dawn and New El Dorado III posted a season-high score of 72 halibut to 30 pounds and 24 striped bass to 26 pounds, releasing two big stripers over 20 pounds. What is notable is that a party boat released the big bass, mirroring what most sportsmen do on a private boat. With the pressure relieved on the bay, boats will be able to work the rockpiles in the central bay for striped bass as they are just now starting to pile up on the rocks, particularly on the incoming tide. There will be a plethora of opportunities out of the bay in the coming months with halibut both inside and outside the Gate, rockfishing at the Farallons and along the Marin coast, and ocean salmon. All the signs are present for a much better than expected salmon season as the commercial opener was very successful with scores over 100 fish in the first few days. The salmon have moved into their traditional patterns of holding between the Deep Reef and the Farallon Islands, and early season action should be found out in deeper water. Most boats will be trolling, but Slate will start by mooching along the Marin coastline. Mooching is drifting with a dead bait on a light weight at various depths, avoiding dropping the heavy ball weight used in trolling. However, with the intense interest in fishing, reservations are going to be necessary to get on your favorite six-pack or party boat. With the supply of six-pack boats growing exponentially in both San Francisco Bay and in the Delta, you are advised to book with a registered, bonded, and insured captain for safety as well as a quality trip. 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, Out of Virg’s Landing in Morro Bay, the Black Pearl, Fiesta and Rita G were out on Sunday with 72 passengers for near-limits of rockfish composed of 473 assorted rockfish, 106 vermilion, 5 copper, 2 Boccaccio, 2 rock sole, and one petrale sole. The Avenger, Endeavor, and Starfire out of Morro Bay Landing were out on Sunday with 92 anglers for near- limits of rockfish with 221 vermilion, 50 copper, 35 Boccaccio, 424 assorted, 40 kelp rockfish, and 10 ling cod to 11 pounds. Richard Crabtree of Fresno took one jackpot with a 9-pound vermilion. The Patriot, Flying Fish, and Phenix out of Patriot Sport Fishing at Port San Luis were out on local reefs on Sunday with 72 anglers for 50 vermilion, 11 copper, 525 assorted rockfish, 16 Boccaccio, 3 treefish, 2 cabezon, and 9 ling cod to 16 pounds. Ling cod continue to be scarce along the local reefs, but the counts were slightly higher this week. The new sub-limit is 5 vermilions 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 2 Sturgeon 3 Catfish 2 Bluegill 3 Shad 2 The Sacramento-Delta is in the summer transition period when striped bass and sturgeon fishermen go on hiatus, and the Delta is left to recreational boaters along with those targeting warm-water species of catfish, crappie, bluegill, smallmouth and largemouth bass. The next big happening is the opening of the river salmon season on July 16th, but with last year’s poor returns along with low and hot water conditions this year, there aren’t many feeling too fired up about the coming season. In the north Delta, Johnny Tran of New Romeo’s Bait and Tackle in Freeport said, “There are still a few shad around along with lots of small shaker striped bass with sardines coated with garlic spray, anchovies, or frozen shad. Smallmouth fishing is very good in the rocky banks in the Old Sacramento River and Steamboat Slough with live minnows, plastics on the drop-shot, or deep-diving crankbaits. Bluegill are all over in the sloughs with wax worms or red worms, either on a bobber or on a drop-shot rig.” Alan Fong, manager of the Fishermen’s Warehouse in Sacramento, was back in his haunts in the north Delta sloughs with Warren Trumbley of Elk Grove this week, and he said, “We found a good spinnerbait bite in the wind for largemouth bass to 4 pounds.” Striped bass are moving through the Sacramento River quickly in search of colder water in San Francisco Bay and outside the Golden Gate, and the wind has been a deterrent for boats sitting on the anchor in the main river. Tony Lopez of Benicia Bait reported few fishermen have been out during the week of triple-digit temperatures, but there are still plenty of small striped bass taken from the shoreline on anchovies, pile worms, or grass shrimp. He said, “A 23-inch striped bass was landed off of 1st Street, and there are still halibut coming into the Delta as far as Benicia.” Sturgeon fishing remains excellent for the few boats trying, and the lone six-pack remaining in the Delta out of Pittsburg was releasing legal sturgeon this week. The diamondbacks are still there, just few anglers are targeting the species. With the paucity of striped bass in the warm waters of the San Joaquin system, largemouth bass have taken center stage, and the bass will remain the most targeted species until the fall striped bass run starts in late August into November. For largemouth bass, Randy Pringle, the Fishing Instructor, has been out in the heat the past two days, and he said, “We are finding a great bite with the ima Finesse Popper which has been ‘off the chain’ by tossing it out, popping it a few times and letting it sit. We had doubles all day long. We picked up big bass at 5 and 7 pounds on Wednesday on the Popper and on Furbet the Frog for a 21-pound limit for a father/son combination. The ima Rock N’Vibe is also happening when you return it slow and then speed it up. We also found a bite with the ima Squarebill crankbait on Wednesday. Everything was on reaction baits as I tried to worm for around a ½-hour for only 8-inch bass before going strictly reaction. The bass are all chasing fry, and you have to be near weeds. If you don’t see weeds, you aren’t catching fish. Weeds near rocky banks, weeds on the shoals, or weeds in the berms as the baby bass are hiding in the weeds.” Pringle’s Best Bass Tournament circuit held two events out of Ladd’s Marina in Stockton over the weekend, and the team of Adrian Murar and Tim Meeks took first in the 107-boat Central Division event on Saturday with a 22.73-pound limit with a big fish at 6.22 pounds. Ocsanna Seropyan, manager of the Fishermen’s Warehouse in Manteca, reported a good topwater bite with the Berkley El Choppo, the River2 Sea Whopper Plopper for largemouth bass with River2Sea’s Swaver working for the occasional striped bass. In the south Delta, Omega Nguyen of Mega Bait and Tackle in Lathrop reported the triple-digit temperatures are limiting fishermen in the south San Joaquin, but there are a lot of shaker stripers in the river with anchovies or sardines. The best grade of striped bass has been coming at night from 9: 00 p.m. to midnight with pile worms or mudsuckers. Catfish are taken in a number of locations along the river with chicken livers, anchovies, or sardines. He said, “We expect to have fresh shad in the shop within a week. Our shad supplier has finally received his permit to be able to take the bait, and we will be freezing it the same day if it isn’t purchased in the mornings. I like to keep the shad in the best condition when it is frozen.” A temporary emergency drought barrier has been placed in False River to slow the movement of saltwater into the central Delta and prevent the contamination of water supplies. The work began in early June, and the temporary barrier will be removed by November 30, 2021. With the arrival of the frog bite starting up in June, the bite will only get better and better as the weather warms up with anticipated triple-digit temperatures arriving this week. The two big frog tournaments of the Ultimate Frog Challenge and Snag Proof Open will be held on consecutive weekends out of Russo’s Marina on July 31/August 1 for the UFC with the following weekend of August 7/8th for the Snag Proof Open. 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 3 White bass 2 Striper 0 Catfish 3 Crappie 2 Bluegill 3 Trout 1 At Nacimiento, the spotted bass bite remains solid for numbers with the occasional 3-pound bass landed. Topwater lures are working in the mornings in shad patterns over main lake points, but after the sun hits the water, the fish move to the bottom with jigs or plastics on the drop-shot. Triple-digit temperatures have kept the best action to the early mornings and late evenings. White bass are starting to boil with the hot daytime temperatures, and trollers are pulling small white Kastmasters, Roostertails, or small Keitech swimbaits. Crappie are taken on small 2.8-inch Keitech swimbaits or minijigs near structure. The lake dropped from 25 to 24%. A webcam of the lake is available at At Lopez, the lake is dropping around a foot per week, and launching may be inaccessible later this summer with the lake continuing to recede. The bass bite remains good for quality, but not for quantity, with the best action on topwater lures in the early mornings before dropping to the bottom with plastics on the drop-shot, jigs, or Senkos. Bluegill and red ear perch are taken on meal worms, red worms, or mini-crawlers. A webcam of the lake is available at At Santa Margarita, similar to Lopez, it is quality over quantity, and the best reaction bite has been in the mornings with topwater lures before switching to finesse techniques of Senkos or plastics on a Texas-rig or drop-shot. Bluegill and red ear perch are taken on mini-crawlers or red worms. Catfishing is best with mackerel soaked in garlic. At San Antonio, water releases have dropped the lake from 13 to 12%. Carp are found in the shallows with dough baits, and the catfish bite remains good with dip baits, mackerel, chicken livers, or nightcrawlers fly-lined with as little weight as possible. A few crappie are showing up around structure, but bass fishing remains slow with an occasional smallmouth or largemouth on plastics. Reminder: consuming white bass, black bass, crappie, catfish, or carp are subject to safe eating guidelines due to excessive mercury. Events Tournament Results: Delta/Ladd’s Marina - Best Bass Tournaments Mother Lode Division – June 19th: 1st –– Adrian Murar/Tim Meeks – 22.73 pounds (Big Fish – 6.22); 2nd – Brent Zieska/Jim La Rosa – 21.08; 3rd – Adam Cartwright/Toby Farkas – 19.55. Delta/Ladd’s Marina - Best Bass Tournaments Central Division – June 20th: 1st –– Brandon Gee/Michael Hitomi – 22.23 pounds (Big Fish – 7.09); 2nd –Ed Ortman/Mike Guzman – 19.62; 3rd –Kevin Moore/Jamie Lima– 18.14. Tulloch -River Rat– June 19th: (No last names provided) 1st –– Andrew/Trevor – 20.68 pounds (Big Fish – 5.01); 2nd – Steve/Russ – 16.50; 3rd –Brock/Blake –14.35. Hensley - Sierra Bass Club – June 19th: 1st –– Ron Orbaker – 6.11 pounds; 2nd – Tony Lopez – 6.00; 3rd – Michael Coss – 5.94; Big Fish – Jim Lozano – 3.07. Upcoming tournaments (subject to change) June 25 Tulloch – Stanislaus County Sheriff’s June 26 Delta/Russo’s Marina – Best Bass Tournaments McClure – Merced Bass Club Pine Flat – Bass 101 July 3 Success – Cen Cal Elite Bass Tournaments July 9/11 Camanche – Wild West Bass Trails Apex Tournament July 10/11 Delta/Big Break Marina – Bass N’Tubes Santa Margarita – Kern County Bassmasters July 10/12 Delta/Contra Costa County – Wild West Bass Trails July 10 Delta/Holland Riverside Marina – Dan Mathisen Outdoors Delta/Ladd’s Marina – Manteca Bassin’ Buddies Delta/Big Break Marina – CA Bass Nation Kayak Eastman – Kings River Bass Club Lopez – Bakersfield Bass Club July 17 Delta/Russo’s Marina – American Bass Club Delta/Ladd’s Marina – Nor Cal Bass New Melones – Kokanee Power Team Tournament New Melones – Riverbank Bass Anglers McClure – Gold Country Bass Tour Pine Flat – Sierra Bass Club Success – Xtreme Bass Club Isabella – Golden Empire Bass Club July 23/24 Success – Cen Cal Elite Bass Tournament July 24 Tulloch – 17/90 Bass Club McClure – Yak-A-Bass Isabella – Fresno Bass Club Nacimiento – San Luis Obispo Bass Ambushers July 25 McClure – Nor Call High School Bass July 31/August 1 Delta/Russo’s Marina – Angler’s Press Ultimate Frog Challenge August 7/8 Delta/Russo’s Marina – Snag Proof Open Solunar tableAMPMMinorMajorMinorMajor>Wednesday4: 0010: 154: 3110: 47>Thursday5: 0011: 165: 3211: 48f-Friday6: 04—6: 3612: 20>Saturday7: 1112: 557: 411: 26>Sunday8: 152: 018: 442: 30Monday9: 163: 039: 423: 29Tuesday10: 124: 0010: 354: 23f = full moon > = peak activity
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