Fishing report, June 30-July 6: Hot kokanee bite plus a rare big brown trout at Shaver – Fresno Bee


Before we begin, allow me to say that camDown has no foreign owners and no foreign influences!

Randy Jacobsen of Easton shows off a striper caught June 16 at San Luis Reservoir.

Roger George

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 bass and kokanee bites good, Monte Smith reported. New Melones bass hitting everything, Ryan Cook said. Shaver kokanee on tap early, Dick Nichols said. Wishon and Courtright trout keep up the pace, Kelly Brewer reported. San Francisco salmon opener good, Jerad Davis said. Delta bass action going, Randy Pringle reported. Roger’s Remarks: Tackle boxes are time machines I recently went through the many piles, boxes and trays of ancient lures I’ve had stored away for the last millennium or so. This amazing journey took me back to the many fishing eras I went through. Like many anglers, my collection of lures is a multi-generational (dad and grandfather) assortment of the trends of each particular time. Digging through them is like counting the rings in a trunk to tell the age of a tree. Funny how certain lures seemed to be the epitome of a particular fishing era and the breakthroughs of that period. Remember when rubber worms changed the world, or the first Rapalas’ massive impact on all kinds of fishing? As I rifled through the dusty trays and boxes, I realized I haven’t changed much. I would open up an old tackle box and there would be at least five to 10 of the hottest lures of that time. I remember thinking that if we were going bass fishing and we didn’t have any purple creme worms, why go? Same thing with the early Rapala craze. Anglers even rented the lures back then. It’s easy to forget how far we’ve come, but pulling out an old “flasher” type depth finder brings you back to reality. Finding old faithfuls like a frog-patterned Hula Popper or a black Arbogast Crazy Crawler make my day. You never fished without having one with you. Conversely, The sticky goo of melted plastic worms of every shape, size and color is a time machine to all my days fishing local ponds, rivers and backwaters. Despite all the changes and ideas that have moved the angling world, fundamentals never seem to change no matter what era. Good lures are usually still good lures. You could tie a lot of the old classics on today and still catch fish on them. I’m going to do a little more digging. Never give up! Valley West-side waterways Striper 3 Catfish 2 The California Aqueduct has been one of the better locations for striped bass with overall slow action at the main San Luis Reservoir. Mickey Clements of Coyote Bait and Tackle in Morgan Hill reported Magnum Flukes or 4.8-inch Keitech swimbaits on a ½- to ¾-ounce jig head are working along with big jerkbaits such as Duo Realis Beachwalkers. 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, the hot temperatures have limited anglers to early mornings or at night, but striped bass action has been decent with cut baits, blood worms, or large minnows along with flukes or topwater lures. Largemouth bass are taken on plastics on the drop-shot. 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, dropping to 10%. Michael Crayne of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis reported a 6-pound largemouth was landed from the bank by dragging a 10-inch lizard on a Carolina-rig, but this has been the exception. Catfish remain the top species with cut baits, chicken livers, or nightcrawlers. Call: Eastman Lake 689-3255 Hensley Lake Bass 2 Trout 1 Catfish 3 Bluegill 2 Crappie 1 Aaron Loucks of the Sportsmen’s Warehouse in Fresno reported catfish are the best thing happening here with the low water and warm water temperatures. Chicken livers or nightcrawlers along with cut baits are working best at night around the launch ramp. Bass fishing is beyond slow. Crayne at Valley Rod and Gun reported bass fishing is best with topwater lures, plastics on the drop-shot, or jerkbaits. The lake held at 20%. 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 Kokanee fishing has been excellent when the schools are located as the dropping water is causing the kokanee to move on a daily basis. Monte Smith of Gold Country Sport Fishing said, “The kokanee are moving back to where we started months ago towards Middle Bay, and they are moving a couple of hundred yards per day out in open water. We worked a small area with J-Pex lures or small micro-hoochies behind a 5.5-inch Mack’s dodger for 14 kokanee on Monday along with a big rainbow and 11 kokanee and a few trout on Wednesday. The fish moved around 100 yards from where they were on Monday when we were back out on Friday. The kokanee are all fat and healthy, and they are feeding heavily on the plankton blooms. Not every plankton cloud is holding kokanee, but when you find the right one, you will find the kokanee between 45 and 55 feet as they are coming up to feed. We also landed a 2.5-pound king salmon this week.” 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, “We have been having a lot of fun here with topwater lures in the mornings along with plastics on the drop-shot at depths from either the banks to 10 feet or from 25 to 50 feet on main lake points and over submerged island tops with 4.5-inch Robo Worms in Hologram Shad along with 3.5-inch Dry Creek tubes.” The lake dropped slightly to 62%. 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 3 Trout 2 Crappie 2 Catfish 3 Bluegill 1 The lake continues to drop, and it is currently at 13%. The bass bite has improved with a few quality largemouths to 9 pounds reported on 10-inch Power Worms, deep-diving crankbaits, topwater lures, buzzbaits or small shad-patterned swimbaits such as Keitechs. The bass are holding along main lake points or submerged islands at depths to 15 feet. Crappie fishing has been fair, but if you are able to find the correct submerged tree or bush, the slabs can be taken with minijigs, small swimbaits, or live minnows. Catfish are a good bet with Triple S Dip Bait in Blood Formula along with frozen shad. Trout are even being taken from the shoreline with Power Bait, Mice Tails, or Power Eggs with deep water access. 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. At Buena Vista, a catfish plant is expected within the next week, and the action has been slow for both catfish or crappie. The upper Kern River has had several recent trout plants, but with the low water levels, the holdovers are in the deeper pools. The water is clear, and stealth is necessary with live crickets. Power Bait, nightcrawlers, or salmon eggs fished with as light a weight as possible. 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 (559) 542-2816 Lake Kaweah Bass 2 Crappie 2 Trout 1 Catfish 2 The lake dropped from 34% to 31% this week as water releases have begun. Once the water releases start, the lake drops quickly. Recreational boaters have the run of the lake, but there is a window for topwater in the early mornings before finesse techniques with Senkos or plastic work best. With the triple-digit temperatures, the bass have gone deep by mid-morning. Lake Success/Tule River Bass 2 Crappie 2 Trout 3 Catfish 2 Chuck Stokke of the Sequoia Fishing Company in Springville said, “The bass bite is very tough with the hot temperatures, and you have to get on the lake early or late or not at all. It’s that time of year with mainly slow action with plastics being the best option.” The lake dropped to 20%. In the Tule River, Stokke said, “The river is excellent on a caddis pattern with a non bead Hare’s Ear. Spin fishermen are also scoring with Panther Martins or Roostertails along with nightcrawlers or salmon eggs.” 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, “Catching bass isn’t a problem, but finding any with size is a challenge. There is the occasional trophy bass taken, but this is a good location to get dialed in with plastics on the drop-shot, jigs or Senkos with the best action in the river arm at depths to 30 feet.” Barrett’s Cove, Bagby, Horseshoe Bend, and McClure Point North launch ramps are closed due to water levels. The lake dropped to 39%. 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 2 Aaron Loucks of the Sportsmen’s Warehouse in Fresno said, “The water is hot, and the fish have gone deep. Spinnerbaits are working best.” Michael Crayne of Valley Rod and Gun touted Millerton as the best bass option in the region with topwater lures such as Whopper Ploppers or Spooks, but the finesse bite has been slow. He said, “Millerton has been consistent for numbers, but there haven’t been many larger fish.” Near the Broken Bridge in the San Joaquin River, the water is low and hot, and anglers are working frogs for largemouth bass. The lake is releasing water, and it dropped to 49%. 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 3 Crappie 2 Catfish 2 Trout 2 Kokanee 2 New Melones is putting out huge kokanee, but it’s not a slam-dunk. Kyle Wise of HeadHunter Guide Service said, “The bite changed from an Apex bite over the past several weeks to pink hoochies at depths from 50 to 75 feet. The water is dropping around 6 inches per day, and the kokanee are moving on a daily basis. The plankton is in the middle of the lake, and if you work any of the points in the main river channel, there will be kokanee holding there. We took out ‘Catch ‘Em Quick’ Cory Griffin this week, and he was able to reel in 18 kokanee and three rainbow trout as I was running four pink hoochies. It’s not fast and furious by any means, but the boat traffic for the upcoming Kokanee Power Derby on July 17th hasn’t started as of yet.” 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, “The lake continues to drop 6 inches per day, but the bass don’t seem to mind as they have been willing to bite any offering from topwater to finesse in both shallow or deep water. The Berkley El Choppo. River2Sea Whopper Plopper, and flukes are effective as the bass are chasing shad in both open water or in the cuts and coves. We have been finding a topwater bite adjacent to the banks or in water as deep as 95 feet. The best grade of bass has been on topwater, but there is also a finesse bite with 3.5-inch Dry Creek tubes or G-Money jigs at depths from the banks to 30 feet. Shad-patterned swimjigs are also effective.” Both the Glory Hole and Tuttletown launch ramps at New Melones are on the middle ramp with a long walk back to the parking lot. Angels Creek is closed. 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 water is dropping, and the surface temperature is getting hot. The bass bite has been slow with the exception of spinnerbaits around the dam. Trollers are working hard for a few holdover rainbow trout around the shad schools, but they have gone deep with the warm water temperatures.” The lake is releasing water at a rapid clip, dropping from 36% to 31% 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. The river is flowing at 376 cfs near Trimmer. 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 37% to 34% this week, and Roger George of Roger’s Guide Service reported slow overall fishing as the striped bass have moved into deep water. The algae blooms are forming, and between the falling water, algae growth, high temps and constant windy conditions it’s been tough to find calm windows to work the fish. George has found stripers on flats in the main lake at 40 to 65 feet with Rapalas, Smithwicks, or Lucky Craft Pointers in shad patterns, but finding biting fish has been an issue. The stripers are feeding on small gobies, minnows, or shrimp. Mickey Clements at Coyote Bait and Tackle in Morgan Hill reported that using a fluke or 4.8-inch Keitech swimbait bite on a ½- to 3/4-ounce underspin from the shorelines in the early mornings is working. In the forebay, small striped bass remain the rule with pile worms, anchovies, or sardines. The grass is starting to form along the Highway 152 and Highway 33 sides along with the Old Medieros launch ramp. 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 1 Recreational boating is the story here with full summer recreational season in full swing. A few trollers are finding limited success for holdover rainbows or big kokanee at depths to 50 feet above the buoy line. Trollers have to be behind the 5MPH Zone near the dam after 8 a.m. with the boat traffic ramping up. Trolling this deep will result in losing some gear on the submerged tree tops. Bass fishermen are finding good action with topwater lures along with plastics on the drop-shot or jerkbaits. The Sheriff’s Motor Fee is in full 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 59%. Mammoth Pool dropped to 86%. Michael Crayne and Cody Greer of Valley Rod and Gun were throwing spinners in the low waters of Lake Edison for brown trout to 23 inches. Call: Vermilion Valley Resort at Edison Lake 259-4000 Shaver Lake/Huntington Lake Kokanee 3 Trout 2 Shaver Lake is known for trophy rainbow trout planted by the Shaver Lake Trophy Trout Project, and it is a rare occurrence when a massive brown trout is caught, but one of the largest browns in recent memory was caught and released by Susan Deegan of Tollhouse on a trip with weekend guide Tom Oliveira of Tom Oliveira’s Guide Service. The massive brown was quickly weighed at 14.13 pounds, photographed, and released back into the lake after being brought up from 52 feet on a clear UV Apex behind a MAG Tackle dodger in Rock Haven Cove. While a brown trout of this size is an anomaly at Shaver, the recent plants of kokanee fingerlings and small brown trout in the 5-inch range contribute to the growth of the aggressive brown trout. Upstream Huntington Lake is known for its secretive society of anglers pulling their aluminum boats through the snow in order chase browns early in the spring, but this big fish is a sign that Shaver is also a strong possibility for trophy brown trout. For kokanee, Dick Nichols of Dick’s Fishing Charters said, “What a week of early morning kokanee fishing it was at Shaver as despite the full moon we were able to boat a couple limits or more of quality 3rd-year kokanee to 17.25 inches for five days, not counting the smaller kokanee and trout released. The key is getting on the lake by 5 a.m. in order to find maximum action because as soon as the sun crests over the mountains and hits the lake, the kokanee bite is off. Bob Anderson of Sacramento and his partner fished Tuesday for early limits, while the following day, Jim Allen, the former mayor of Coalinga, picked up 13 big kokanee, keeping a five-fish limit. Anderson returned Thursday with his wife, Kathleen, and had their limits by 6 a.m., boosted by three triple hookups. At one point, we had five kokanee on the deck while netting fish. Craig and Lisa Hanson of Paso Robles picked up their limits of kokanee on Friday, but we had to avoid the area around the Sierra Marina as the recently-planted rainbows were hitting everything. We worked the Point all week at a median 40 to 43 feet down with Dick’s Mountain Koke Busters in orange and orange Mountain Hoochies in orange behind 5.7-inch Mountain Dodgers.” Todd Wittwer of Guide Service confirmed the good early bite from 40 to 55 feet with the Rocky Mountain Tackle double-glow orange hoochie behind an orange Moonshine dodger, a pearl squid behind a custom glow-in-the-dark 5.5-inch dodger, or Cotton Candy squids in orange or purple behind matching Moonshine dodgers. 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. At Huntington, Michael Crayne of Valley Rod and Gun reported rainbow and brown trout to 16 inches have been taken from the banks near the mouth of Rancheria Creek with spinners. Power Bait in fluorescent orange or rainbow with garlic is also working for the planters. The lake is at 98%, 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. The High Sierra sailing regatta will take over the lake during the weekends of July 10-11 and 17-18. 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, “Trolling remains fantastic at both lakes with blade/’crawler combinations, Thomas Buoyants, Speedy Shiners, or Rapalas from the surface to 20 feet. Shore fishermen are scoring with Power Bait, nightcrawlers, or Roostertails.” The ramp at Wishon is at the bottom, but with the fluctuating water levels for power generation, the ramp could be either above or below. There will be no docks installed at Wishon in the low water. Call: Wishon RV Park 865-5361 Ocean Half Moon Bay Salmon 3 Rockfish 3 Striper 2 Crab 2 Surf perch 2 The salmon bite below Pigeon Point quickly dissipated as the schools have run north to the Marin and Sonoma County coastlines so when the ocean salmon season opened above Pigeon Point, the large party boats looking for a score also had to make the 18-mile trek north to the Channel Buoys. Captain Dennis Baxter of the New Captain Pete had a two-day charter on Saturday and Sunday, and he was glad to have them for two days as Saturday was all about getting located. After looking high and low for two salmon on Saturday, missing the early bite up at the Channel Buoys, he was ready on Sunday. His 15-person crew came up one fish short of limits with 29 salmon of a mixed grade ranging from 22 inches to commercial-grade salmon. He said, “We started off at Duxbury for 19 salmon before the bite died, and there was action along the north side of the Channel Buoys so we motored down there for the remainder of our salmon. The devil fish just wouldn’t come on board. We looked for sign along the coastline, but there was nothing worth stopping on with no bird life or whales in the local waters. There was one six-pack out of Half Moon Bay with a few fish at Pedro Point, and the Riptide hooked one at San Gregorio while rockfishing, but right now, you have to make the run to the Marin coast to put up a score on a large boat.” Captain Michael Cabanas of the Huli Cat also went north to Duxbury in 60 feet of water for 9 salmon to 31 pounds for 9 passengers. He said, “There was plenty of bait in the area, and we had a number of scratched baits during the day accounting for more than our fair share of missed opportunities as the potential for limits was there.” The Queen of Hearts out of Half Moon Bay Sport Fishing also went north on Sunday with 13 anglers for 17 salmon to 14 pounds. Rockfishing remains outstanding along the local reefs south of the harbor with the Ankeny Street scoring 19 limits of rockfish including 7 cabezon to 8 pounds along with 7 ling cod. The beaches around Half Moon Bay are kicking out some quality ocean-run striped bass with topwater lures, hair raisers, Miki’s spoons, or bait. Dungeness crab season ends on June 30. Call: Captain Dennis Baxter – New Captain Pete (650) 576-3844; Captain Tom Mattusch – Huli Cat (650) 619-0459 Monterey/Santa Cruz Salmon 2 Rockfish 3 Striper 2 Crab 2 Sand dabs 3 Surf perch 2 Allen Bushnell of Santa Cruz Kayak Fishing and Surf Casting Guide Service reported, “A powerful south swell was booming on the beaches most of this week which can make surfcasting more difficult. South swells also put a lot of the nearshore species off the bite as it creates heavy currents that roil the water all the way to the bottom. Rockfish look for a place to hide from the currents, and halibut will move out to deeper water until the swells subside. Wind and swell are forecast to drop as we move into the weekend which makes for easier fishing. Deeper reefs continued to produce well during the week for skippers who know where to go. At Chris’s Fishing and Whale Watching Trips in Monterey, the Check Mate tallied limits of up to 250 rockfish on their trips near Monterey and towards Carmel. They picked up a few bonus ling cod and at least one halibut as well. The Kahuna from Moss Landing scored with a limit of 170 rockfish last Saturday for the 17 anglers aboard. In Santa Cruz, Beth Norton from Go Fish Santa Cruz reported on another day of limit-style fishing just north of town on Monday saying, “We fished the Davenport area for rock cod and ling cod. The clients caught huge reds and browns along with very nice canaries, blues, yellows and coppers. There was nice whale show that provided entertainment for everyone. The weather was nice. It was the best cod day of the season so far.” Rodney Armstrong, skipper for Santa Cruz Coastal Fishing Charters gave us an update on Saturday saying, “The nearshore rock fish and lingcod bite is on fire. The salmon bite is super slow.” For Tuesday’s light tackle cod trip up the coast, Armstrong said, “Despite the south swell this morning, the rock fishing was still wide open in the shallows. The blacks and blues are big and ferocious.” Surfcasters had to be careful this week. The south swell provided a pounding shore break on the steeper beaches. It’s easy to get knocked over if you are not extra careful. The bigger, broader beaches towards the middle of the bay are still in good fishing shape, though. Even when the waves are big and powerful, those beaches have an outside sandbar that will cause an incoming wave to crash, and then back off as it hits deeper water before the shore break. The powerful waves also create great side currents and rip currents that provide deep spots full of suspended sand and bits of food. That is where we want to cast our lures and bait. Hungry fish hang on the edge of those channels waiting to pounce. We are seeing more and more striped bass caught from New Brighton Beach down to Sand City, though most of the stripers caught in Monterey Bay are still of the smaller variety. One notable exception was 31- inch, 16-pound bass caught by Santa Cruz native Chrissann Furtado while fishing the Manresa area. No stranger to big fish from the beach, Furtado reported, “I was exhausted when I landed her!! She pulled drag the whole time!! The waves didn’t help much either. She was a fighter!! I try and fish as much as possible during striper season.” Furtado was using a white bucktail jig when the big striper bit. For more consistent large stripers, it might be worth a quick trip north on Highway One to the cliffside beaches near Half Moon Bay. Rumor has it some there are some “large variety” stripers in that area right now.” Call: Chris’ Landing (831) 375-5951; Allen Bushnell – Santa Cruz Kayak and Surf Casting (831) 251-9732 San Francisco Bay Salmon 3 Halibut 3 Striper 3 Rockfish 3 Leopard shark 3 Sturgeon 2 The ocean salmon season opened from Pigeon Point in San Mateo County to Point Arena in Mendocino County on Saturday, and once the party boats got located, it was limit-style fishing for a mixed grade of salmon. Rockfishing remains tremendous, both at the Farallon Islands when the weather is conducive along with the resurgence of the Marin coastline. Captain Jerad Davis of the Salty Lady out of Sausalito has been waiting not so patiently for the salmon opener, and when a whale watching trip cancelled for Sunday, it only took a few hours to fill the day for salmon. Davis said, “We ended up with 19 limits of a mixed grade with 10-pound average with some less than 10 pounds and several in the 20- to 25-pound range. They bit like mad dogs in the early morning before they went off the bite at Duxbury, Stinson Beach, and Rocky Point, but we scratched out the remainder of the limits. The fish were biting equally well from the bow at 20 feet and from the stern as deep as 60 feet. It was a good start to the season. We are almost filled up already for the month of July with just a handful of spots here and there.” Several party boats were able to put together limits of salmon with the New Easy Rider and El Dorado combining for 35 limits to 23 pounds working up the coast above Double Point. Trolling is clearly the way to go as the salmon aren’t grouped up enough to mooch yet. Captain Trent Slate of Bite Me Charters tried mooching on the opener with limited success. The previous day, he found a school of big beach bass working a massive school of bait, and they landed 14 striped bass from 10 to 18 pounds. When he went back on the salmon opener, the school of bait vacated the area, and both the bass and salmon were gone. Captain Ron Koyasako of Nautilus Excursions went out on the opener with three clients, and they put together a fish per rod to 18 pounds. He said, “We had a late start when a few scheduled guests didn’t make it so we didn’t make it to the grounds until 7: 30 a.m. By this time, the early bite was over, but we did find fish near the Channel Buoys, dropping 4 big fish in a row over 20 pounds at the side of the boat. These were big fish. The boats that found the early bite were onto a school of mostly small legal salmon in the 21/22-inch range, but they were able to put together as many as 15 limits.” Rockfishing is also a great option, and the Pacific Dream was out on Sunday for 21 limits of rockfish, 18 ling cod to 8 pounds, and 7 striped bass. This is the time of year when party boats will load up on rockfish before making some drifts for halibut and striped bass, either at the North or South Bars or near Alcatraz or Angel Islands inside the bay. With the opening of the ocean salmon season in local waters, the intense pressure experienced for halibut and striped bass in San Francisco Bay was relieved as most boats vacated the bay for the ocean over the weekend. Those who stayed in bay over the weekend were greeted with muddy water from the combination of the big tides and the high afternoon winds. Captain Ron Koyasako of Nautilus Excursions in San Francisco found great action on Friday afternoon on a half-day trip with 9 halibut and two striped bass off of Angel Island, but the conditions were vastly changed on Sunday with muddy water throughout the central bay. The action was much slower for 4 halibut and a striped bass along with a ‘million’ shaker halibut. Captain Joey Gamez of Golden State Sport Fishing did his first shark trip of the year this week, and they put a hurt on the soup fins with 8 soup fins along with a 100-pound seven gill by 11: 00 a.m. Gamez is getting filled up between shark or halibut trips with an occasional salmon trip in between. Gamez also did well on his last halibut trip outside the Gate on the North Bay with young Jason Gibson of Gatesville, Texas scoring a big halibut. The diminishing tides will clear the waters of the bay, creating a longer window for halibut, but with the great salmon bite up the Marin coastline, few boats will be staying inside the bay in the coming weeks. 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 3 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 trips ranging from ½-day to 12-hour long range. Their 71 passengers for near-limits of rockfish composed of 460 assorted rockfish, 166 vermilion, 24 copper, and one ling cod. The Avenger, Endeavor, and Starfire out of Morro Bay Landing on Sunday on trips ranging from ½-day to 12-hour long range, and their 71 anglers scored 70 vermilion, 70 copper, 35 Boccaccio, 340 assorted, and 8 ling cod to 9 pounds. Daniel McCleary of Hanford took one jackpot with a 4-pound vermilion. The Flying Fish out of Patriot Sport Fishing at Port San Luis was out on Sunday with 15 anglers for 19 vermilion, 7 copper, 124 assorted rockfish, one ocean whitefish, and one ling cod for rockfish limits. Ling cod continue to be scarce along the local reefs. The new sub-limit is 5 vermilions 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 3 Striper 2 Sturgeon 2 Catfish 3 Bluegill 3 The Sacramento-Delta is heavily entrenched in the summer doldrums with small striped bass making their way back to the cooler waters of the bay, few sturgeon fishermen, halibut moving past the Carquinez Bridge with the low water flows, and largemouth bass, catfish, and bluegill taking over as the top species. River salmon season opens in a few weeks, and although there will be salmon struggling to make it upriver in the low, warm water, the bulk of the run won’t arrive until late September into October. In the north Delta, shad are all but over, and small, undersized striped bass are the rule for fishermen casting sardines coated with garlic spray, anchovies, or frozen shad from the shorelines. The warming waters have brought out the smallmouth bass to the rocky shorelines in Steamboat Slough and the Old Sacramento River towards Walnut Grove, and live minnows, plastics on the drop-shot, or deep-diving crankbaits are working for the smallies. 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, went into the south Mokelumne River this week for largemouth bass as he didn’t even try to head toward Liberty Island in the high winds. After launching at Wimpy’s Marina, he introduced Denise Loo of Sacramento into the use of a baitcaster for the first time, and she landed several quality largemouths throwing red Z-Man’s Jackhammer chatterbaits or chartreuse spinnerbaits in the grass in Sycamore Slough. Tony Lopez of Benicia Bait reported halibut continue to make their way into the Benicia shoreline, a clear indicator of saltwater intrusion far into the Delta. Grass shrimp has been the top bait for the flatfish along with a few legal striped bass. He said, “Sturgeon continue to come out of Montezuma Slough, but this is normal for this time of year.” Largemouth bass continue to take center stage during the summer months in the San Joaquin-Delta, but the catfish bite is heating up as the waters continue to warm. The Sacramento-Delta has been very windy so the few striped bass trollers still in the Delta came into the San Joaquin this week for linesides from 7 to 15 pounds on their way back down to the bay. Randy Pringle, the Fishing Instructor, is running the big Delta/Wine Division for his Best Bass Tournaments out of Russo’s Marina on Bethel Island this weekend, and he said, “The topwater bite has been very good, but the key is not to move the lure too fast. The big fish don’t really want to chase in the warm water, and if you move it too fast, you will catch all the small bass you want. The secret to larger fish is to work it slow because they have to be enticed to expending the energy to blow up on a lure. There are tons of baby fry in the water, and the bass are feeding on the fry. You have to work the outside of the weed lines on the low tide in the morning as the bass are holding on the outside edge with the fry hiding in the grass. Frogs are easier to accurately cast into the weeds than a plug, and Furbet the Frog has been working along with the ima Finesse Popper and the prop bait, the Heli P. The prop bait gives the illusion of a small fish feeding on an even smaller fish, and the bass can’t resist getting in on the action. If I go to a worm right now, I am using the Berkley Bottom Hopper in Junebug or green pumpkin on a small leader of 3 to 5 inches to keep the plastic tight to the bottom. We are making short casts right now instead of long casts, and the shorter leader will keep the bait on the bottom at the angler on a short cast.” A 46-boat tournament was held out of Ladd’s Marina on Saturday, producing one limit over 20 pounds for the winning team of Kevin Flynt and Kyle Manes at 20.41 pounds. The average weight per team was 10.55 pounds. Ocsanna Seropyan, manager of the Fishermen’s Warehouse in Manteca, reported an excellent topwater bite with Spro or Booyah Poppin’ Frogs along with Mega Bass buzzbaits in White Tiger or Black Mamba. Chatterbaits with a Reaction Innovation Sweet Beaver trailer are also effective. Dan Mathisen of Dan Mathisen Outdoors is holding his next tournament out of Holland Riverside Marina on July 10th, and he confirmed the solid action for frogs. In the south Delta, Omega Nguyen of Mega Bait and Tackle in Lathrop said, “It’s been pretty slow everywhere in the San Joaquin River below Mossdale as there are more catfish around than striped bass. The stripers are almost all undersized during the day with the possibility of a larger lineside over 18 inches at from 9: 00 p.m. to midnight. It is cooler at night, and the stripers are chasing shad. I went out with five different kinds of bait for a few hours, and I released over 20 shakers within an hour with pile worms, mudsuckers, minnows, sardines, or anchovies. We do expect to have fresh shad in the shop this week, finally.” Johnny Wang, manager of Turner’s Outdoors in Stockton, reported a great catfish bite for boats nosing up into the tules in Disappointment Slough west of Stockton for up to 50 whiskerfish with chicken livers, anchovies, or sardines along with the possibility for striped bass to 27 inches. He added, “Eight Mile Road has been very muddy with the big tides and the wind, but the recent full moon brought another batch of largemouth bass to the spawn. In the south Delta, Union Point and the Middle River are kicking out catfish on various baits.” 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 poppin’ up, 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 2 At Nacimiento, the spotted bass bite is strong with an early morning topwater bite with River2Sea Whopper Ploppers or large Spooks for the larger grade of bass before the sun comes up over the mountains. After the window for topwater has passed, dropping to the bottom with jigs or plastics on the drop-shot are working best. Most fishermen are avoiding the lake during the middle of the day with the very hot temperatures. White bass are boiling on occasion around Las Tablas and the Narrows, and trollers are picking up the whites with 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 24 to 22%. A webcam of the lake is available at At Lopez, the lake is dropping rapidly, and the launch ramp may be inaccessible within the coming months. Bass fishing is limited to a few quality largemouths on reaction baits, but numbers are taken on finesse techniques of Senkos, jigs, or plastics on the drop-shot. Bluegill and red ear perch are taken on mealworms, red worms, or jumbo red worms. A webcam of the lake is available at At Santa Margarita, there is a reaction bite in the early mornings, and topwater lures are working for quality largemouth bass. Once the topwater bite dies with a brief window, it is time to head to the bottom with plastics on the drop-shot or Texas-rig along with Senkos. Catfish are found on mackerel soaked in garlic scent while bluegill or red ear perch are taken on meal worms, red worms, or jumbo red worms. At San Antonio, water releases have dropped the lake from 12 to 11%. Despite the low water levels, fishing is actually as good as it has been all year long with catfish taken on Triple S Dip Bait along with mackerel, sardines, or anchovies. Bass are taken on plastics on a drop-shot rig while carp are found in the shallows with dough baits. Reminder: consuming white bass, black bass, crappie, catfish, or carp are subject to safe eating guidelines due to excessive mercury. Events Tournament results Delta/Russo’s Marina - Best Bass Tournaments Delta/Wine Division – June 26: 1st ––Cameron Ewing/Blake Temby – 27.94 pounds (Big Fish – 8.92); 2nd – Duke Kanaya/Brandon Gee– 20.46; 3rd – Austin Phillips/Kyle Santos – 20.38. Delta/Ladd’s Marina -– June 26: 1st ––Kevin Flynt/Kyle Manes– 20.41 pounds (Big Fish – 10.); 2nd –Mark Casey/Ed Christo – 19.20 (Big Fish – 6.60); 3rd –Thaxter Arterberry/Tony Vaughn – 18.81. Upcoming tournaments (subject to change) 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 tableAMPMMinorMajorMinorMajorWednesday11: 014: 5011: 235: 12Thursday11: 465: 35—5: 56q-Friday12: 066: 1612: 276: 37Saturday12: 456: 551: 057: 15Sunday1: 227: 321: 437: 53Monday1: 598: 102: 228: 33Tuesday2: 398: 513: 029: 14q = quarter moon
Lastly, as we move on to the next post, may I add that camDown is easy to use, easy to maintain and I am certain your mother would say the same!