Fishing report, Nov. 29-Dec. 5: New Melones trout bite on fire. Delta stripers, bass and sturgeon are hitting.

Compiled by California Outdoors Hall of Fame member Dave Hurley and edited by Roger George, who guides in the greater Fresno area and holds the striper record at Millerton Lake.

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Best bets

Delta stripers, bass and sturgeon all hitting, Alan Fong reported. New Melones trout bite on fire, Kyle Wise said. McClure crappie on a solid much, Dave Hurley reported.


Westside waterways

Striper 2 Catfish 2

Bill Sterling of Striperz Gone Wild said, “The aqueduct continues to be very challenging with our regular group of anglers struggling for an occasional striped bass. There hasn’t been much life in the northern section of the aqueduct. It was very cold the past few days, and this also was a factor in fewer fishermen out in the open at the aqueduct.”

Striperz Gone Wild’s 4th Annual SGW Toy Drive Tournament is Saturday, Dec. 9 at the California Aqueduct at Volta Road in Los Banos, and the entry fee is one unwrapped toy. Over the past three years, over a thousand toys have been donated to children in the community, and this year’s event should bring in hundreds more. During the spring, the entry to the Hailey Lauchland Memorial Tournament are unopened cans of food for food pantries in the community. The tournament will be target-length instead of the largest fish.

Mickey Clements of Coyote Bait and Tackle in Morgan Hill confirmed the slow bite, saying, “It’s either been catfish or a few small stripers to 18 inches using bait.”In the south aqueduct in Kern County, Cope’s Tackle and Rod in Bakersfield reported decent striper fishing with a combination of bait and lures. The best action has been on the downstream side of control gates and along inside bends with jumbo live minnows, lugworms, and cut sardines for bait anglers while lure casters tossed out flukes, jerkbaits, or tube baits on a slower presentation with the colder water temperatures. Catfishing is best with chicken livers, garlic nightcrawlers, or cut baits, but the largemouth bass bite has slowed down, but Senkos working best.

Call: Valley Rod & Gun, Clovis (559) 292-3474; Cope’Tackle and Rod, Bakersfield (661) 679-6351; Bob’s Bait Bucket, Bakersfield (661) 833-8657.

Eastman Lake/Hensley Lake

Bass 2 Trout 2 Bluegill 2 Catfish 2 Crappie 2

Michael Crayne of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis reported, “Eastman is picking up as one of our customers caught and released 22 bass from the bank near the dam. The afternoon bite after 3 p.m. seems to be best.” A double trout plant occurred last week, and in addition to the planted rainbows from the banks with Power Bait, nightcrawlers, or Kastmasters, the plants will bring out the swimbait tossers in search of trophy largemouth bass. Hensley remains slow overall with the exception of panfish as bluegill on red worms or meal worms or catfish with chicken livers, cut baits, or stink baits. Eastman held at 549.8 feet in elevation and 61% capacity with Hensley holding at 466.82 feet in elevation and 14%.

Call: Eastman Lake 689-3255; Valley Rod & Gun, Clovis 292-3474; 559 Fresno Bait and Tackle 515-6273. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Hensley Lake Hidden Dam 673-5151.

Lake Don Pedro

Bass 2 Trout 3 Kokanee 1 King salmon 2 Crappie 2

Trout plants took place the previous two weeks, and trout bite from the shorelines has improved as well as providing another source of food for the large versions of bass. The shad schools are forming in deep water, but with the colder temperatures, the trout are migrating toward the banks. Trolling is best from the surface to 40 feet. Bass action will improve in the coming weeks until it slows once the water temperatures become too cold, but after the lake turns over, the bass will be found in shallow water along sunlight banks in the afternoons. Crappie are taken in the submerged trees in the coves with minijigs or small Keitech swimbaits. The lake dropped less than a half-foot to 796.33 feet in elevation and 80%. Updates on the launch ramp are available at

Call: Monte Smith, Gold Country Sport Fishing (209) 581-4734; Kyle Wise, Head Hunter Guide Service (209) 531-3966; Ryan Cook, Ryan Cook’s Fishing (559) 691-7008.

Lake Isabella/Bakersfield area

Bass 2 Trout 3 Crappie 2 Catfish 2 Bluegill 3

The lake dropped slightly to 2,566.25 feet in elevation and 36% as the releases have dropped from 763 to 666 cfs at First Point. Cope’s Tackle and Rod reported the largemouth bass bite has slowed down as anglers are working hard to find a bite. The quality has been better, and jigs, swimbaits, big worms, and crankbaits are working. Catfishing remains steady with Triple S Dip Bait, mackerel, or shrimp. The crappie bite remains steady with live shiners and minijigs. Trout fishing has been fair with Power Bait, trout jigs, or spinners.

In the Upper Kern River, Cope’s reported excellent trout fishing due to the recent heavy plants with salmon eggs, crickets, or nightcrawlers working in the 20-Mile section. Fly anglers are scoring fish with caddis patterns in the afternoon. In the Lower Kern, flows have decreased, and the bass bite has been good on crankbaits, jigs, or spinners. Small catfish can be found with dip baits, nightcrawlers, and cut baits. The Kern River at Kernville dropped from 559 to 478 cfs.

Cope’s added, “Anglers reported excellent fishing at the annual Taft Chamber of Commerce Trout Fishing Derby as 3000 pounds of trout were planted with easy limits using Power Bait, minijigs, live worms, spinners, or spoons. Another plant went into the lake on Monday which kept the bite solid through the Thanksgiving Week with Lightning trout to 10 pounds. Bass anglers did well on weightless Senkos,Texas-rig plastics, crawdad crankbaits, or spinnerbaits. Crappie anglers reported catching fish while using small live minnows while catfish took dip bait and chicken liver on the Carolina rig. River Walk was stocked last week, and the trout fishing has been very good. After the initial plant, it was limit-style fishing, but anglers are having to work a little harder now. Pinched crawlers or mini jigs in white, chartreuse, perch and pearl blue are working for the planted rainbows. The bluegill bite is fair with way worms or red worms on a split-shotted rig.”

Call: Cope’s Tackle and Rod (661) 679-6351; Bob’s Bait Bucket, Bakersfield (661) 833-8657; North Fork Marina (760) 376-1812; Golden Trout Pack Station (559) 542-2816.

Lake Kaweah

Bass 2 Crappie 2 Trout 2 Catfish 3

The lake has risen another 4 feet to 609.03 feet in elevation and 14%. Cope’s Tackle and Rod in Bakersfield reported bass fishing is best in deeper water near rocky structure such as main and secondary points with plastics in green pumpkin or brown on the drop-shot, shakey head, or Ned-rig in 10 to 30 feet of water. Crappie are found around submerged structure with minijigs while catfishing is best with mackerel, chicken liver, or Triple S Dip Bait. The flows in the Kaweah River has dropped from 229 to 145 cfs. The Tulare Parks and Recreation 2023 Trout Fishing Derby will take place on Saturday, Dec. 2 at Del Lago Park. Pre-registration is available until Friday, Dec. 1 at the Tulare Parks and Recreation Office at 830 S. Blackstone St. On-site registration will also be able. Cash and checks only. Information (559) 684-4310.

Lake Success

Bass 2 Crappie 2 Trout 2 Catfish 2

The lake rose 4 1/2 feet this week to 595.46 feet in elevation and 12%. Cope’s Tackle and Rod in Bakersfield reported finesse baits or spoons along points and deep structure spots are working for bass along with plastics on the drop-shot or Carolina rig and dark patterns of jigs. There is a spoon bite in deep water. Crappie is best using small live minnows over submerged rock piles and bushes while catfish are found in the deeper coves with cut baits. Last week’s trout plant should spur on the swimbait bite for largemouth bass.

Call: Cope’s Tackle and Rod (661) 679-6351; Sequoia Fishing Co. (559) 539-5626,

McClure Reservoir

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

Crappie fishing remains solid in the coves with small jigs such as Notorious Jigs or small swimbaits. Kayak anglers have been focusing upon the crappie schools, but the majority of crappie kayak anglers have been heading north to the Rattlesnake area of Clear Lake. Bass fishing has been decent as the fish remain in open water working over the shad schools. Large swimbaits or glide baits are producing a few large bass as a direct result of the recent trout plants. Bass are chasing bait into the cuts and creek channels, and once the lake turns over, the bass will be moving into shallow water during the warmer periods of the day. Catfish are another option with chicken livers, nightcrawlers, or cut baits along muddy, sloping banks. The lake rose less than a half-foot to 807.41 feet in elevation and 65%.

Call: Ryan Cook, Ryan Cook’s Guide Service (559) 691-7008.

McSwain Reservoir

Trout 2

The majority of the 2,500 pound plant from a month ago have either migrated into the river arm or have been landed, and trollers now have the upper hand as the remaining rainbows have headed into the river arm near the Second Fence Line. There is still an opportunity for holdover trout from the shoreline with the best bet being in the early mornings or late afternoons at the normal locations of the Brushpile, Handicapped Docks, or peninsula near the marina with Power Bait, nightcrawlers, or Kastmasters. Call: Angler’s Edge Market (209) 226-4416; McSwain Marina (209) 378-2534.

Millerton Lake/San Joaquin River

Bass 2 Striped bass 1 Shad 1 Bluegill 2 Crappie 2

Millerton continues to rise, making launching a much easier proposition. Michael Crayne of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “There have been a number of bass anglers pre-fishing for this Saturday’s tournament, and the big first-place prize has created quite a bit of interest. As a result, people are being very quiet as to their pattern. Aaron Vang caught and released a large striped bass this week, and this is a good sign as there are still some large linesides in the lake.” The Tulare Police Activities League Fundraising Bass Tournament is this Saturday, Dec. 2 with a first-place prize of $5000. The lake rose 8 1/2 feet to 482.50 feet in elevation and 32%. Sycamore Park is open seven days per week. The flows in the San Joaquin River at Friant have dropped from 414 to 337 cfs.

Call: Valley Rod & Gun (559) 292-3474; 559 Fresno Bait and Tackle (559) 515-6273.

New Melones Reservoir/Tulloch

Bass 2 Crappie 2 Catfish 2 Trout 3 Kokanee 1

Kyle Wise of Head Hunter Guide Service Monte Smith of Gold Country Sport Fishing said, “I had a 6-man charter out on Sunday, and we ended up with a total of 23 rainbow trout running Wiggle Hoochies from the surface to 40 feet at 1.8 mph. They weren’t biting the Speedy Shiners at 2.8 mph so I put on something to run slower, and it was ‘lights out’ after that. The rainbows are a mixed grade with recent planters and holdovers, and we were releasing the planters as much as possible. The shad schools are deep, and we found some larger grade of rainbow as deep as 80 feet. Melones is on fire right now for trout, and the heavy boat traffic of a few weeks ago has died down.”

High water conditions have led to fat, healthy spotted and largemouth bass, and the bite continues to improve. With the recent double trout plant will spur on the glide bait and swimbait bite for those willing to cast the large baits throughout the day. The most consistent action continues with finesse techniques of plastics or tubes on the drop-shot in 25 to 55 feet of water working best. The bass are moving into the backs of creek channels. The lake rose 2 feet to 1045.70 feet in elevation and 80%.

Call: John Liechty, Xperience Fishing Guide Service (209) 743-9932; Ryan Cook, Ryan Cook’s Guide Service (559) 691-7008; Kyle Wise, Headhunter Guide Service (209) 531-3966; Monte Smith (209) 581-4734.

Pine Flat Reservoir/Kings River

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

King salmon have been landed on a fairly regular basis, and the larger kings could be survivors from the 74,970 fish released in 2020. No salmon were released in Pine Flat in 2021, but 74,998 were released in 2022 with 96,016 king smolts in 2023. The king salmon add another viable species for trollers at the lake. Michael Crayne of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “The trout bite has slowed down, but there are still schools out there near the shad schools. Bass fishing was much slower this week with a limit in the 8-pound range taking the 40-boat Black Friday tournament.” The flows on the lower Kings at Trimmer have dropped from 626 to 481 cfs, and the recent trout plants have led to excellent fishing from the banks with Atomic Tubes in grasshopper, or one-inch pinched crawlers. Anglers are also working the catch-and-release barbless hook section for quality holdovers that have been released. The lake rose 1 1/2 feet to 867.78 feet in elevation and 57%.

Call: Valley Rod & Gun (559) 292-3474; 559 Fresno Bait and Tackle (559) 515-6273. Sequoia Fishing Co. (559) 539-5626.

San Luis Reservoir and O’Neill Forebay

Striper 2 Catfish 2 Bass 2 Crappie 2

Mickey Clements of Coyote Bait and Tackle in Morgan Hill said, “Striped bass action at the main lake remains consistent, but it has slowed down to some degree as there are no more 30-fish days right now.There is an early morning topwater bite with Heddon Spooks or Reaction Innovation’s Vixens.

Roger George of Roger George Guide Service said , “ the bite is slow with some bank action early, but the falling water has trollers catching a few schoolfish in the Portuguese Cove area on Lucky Crafts and Duo Realis lures working the 40-60 foot range. Minnow anglers are getting a few fish for their efforts . The lake is about 73 feet below the top now, at 1.172 million acre feet and 469 feet elevation right now. In the last week it’s fallen about a half foot a day .“

In the O’Neill Forebay, the cold weather is starting to break up the grass, and the grass is dying. It has been a bite slower there with more bait used instead of lures with most anglers working near the rockwall or on the Highway 33 side. The main lake dropped to 58 feet with the O’Neill Forebay at 81%.

To check the wind conditions on the lake - use

To check the wind conditions on the lake - use

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

High Sierra

Bass Lake

Bass 2 Trout 2 Kokanee 0

A trout plant occurred last week, but there have been few reports from this lake. The trout plant should create opportunities for shore anglers near the Sheriff’s Tower with Power Bait, nightcrawlers, spinners, or spoons. The trout plant should assist with the swimbait bite for larger spotted and largemouth bass which are feeding on the planters. A webcam of the launch ramp is available at

Call: Mike Beighey, Bass Lake Fishing 676-8133

Edison/Florence/Mammoth Pool

The gate to Kaiser Pass Road closed on Nov. 15. The Kaiser Pass lakes are starting to release water with fewer anglers heading over the pass to fish the small impoundments. Edison has dropped to 30 while Florence at 25%. Mammoth Pool has risen to 65%.

Road conditions (559) 297-0706.

Call: Vermilion Valley Resort at Edison Lake (559) 259-4000.

Shaver Lake/Huntington Lake

Trout 2 Kokanee 2

Shaver guide emeritus, Dick Nichols of Dick’s Fishing Charters said,Shaver provided mixed results this week. Some anglers reported a limit of mixed fish while regulars like Jay and Delinda Irvine of Visalia said it was slow. The Irvines picked up a few mixed fish, down from their previous trips. Personally, I feel it’s one day chicken and the next day feathers, meaning that every day this past week provided different experiences. I would still plan on fishing the Island, Black Rock, and the Stevenson Bay areas in the top 20 feet with purple and orange tubes or spinner hoochies in the same color tipped with corn or crawler or both behind weighted flashers or larger dodgers should be the best tackle. Aggressive fishermen might want to make a dip into the Boy Scout or Dorabelle Coves. The weather cools significantly this week with snow possible the next couple days.”

The Shaver Marina last month, but a webcam of the Shaver launch ramp at the Sierra Maris at and for Huntington at Huntington remains very slow for both rainbow trout and kokanee. Shaver has dropped to 79 with Huntington dropping to 56%.

Call: Todd Wittwer, Guide Service (559) 288-8100; Jerad Romero, Jrods Guide Service (559) 392-6994; Tom Oliveira, Tom Oliveira Fishing (559) 802-8072.


Trout 2

The gate at the McKinley-Grove Road is scheduled to be closed on Friday, Dec. 1. Even before the road was scheduled to be closed, few anglers have been heading to the high country. The road is anticipated to reopen in April.

Call: Wishon RV Park (559) 865-5361.


Half Moon Bay

Rockfish 3 Striper 2 Halibut 2 White seabass 1 Sand dabs 3 Surf perch 3 crabs 3

The New Captain Pete is under new ownership as Captain Melynda Dodds of California Guide Service has obtained the vessel, but Captain Michael Cabanas will continue to run the boat during crab season on crab-only trips. Limits of quality Dungeness crab remain the rule, and hoop nets are doing the job with the New Captain Pete scoring a combined 35 limits of Dungeness on their last two trips. The Ankeny Street went on a crab-only for 7 limits of crab over the weekend. Crab-only trips have been the story as the ability to run to deep water more than 50 fathoms requires not only the weather, but enough customers to make the trip a go. The Pacifica Pier remains crowded on the weekends, and although limits of Dungeness crab are possible, it is a matter of dealing with shoulder-to-shoulder conditions. Fish and Game wardens have been enforcing size, bag limit, and number of rods in the water with citations. Off of the pier and the surrounding beaches, crab snares work best.

Call: Captain Michael Cabanas, New Captain Pete (510) 677-7054; Captain Chris Chang, Ankeny Street (650) 279-8819; Captain Bill Smith, Riptide (650) 728-8433; Half Moon Bay Sport Fishing, Queen of Hearts (510) 581-2628.

Monterey/Santa Cruz

Rockfish 3 Halibut 2 Striper 2 White seabass 1 Sand dabs 3 Surf perch 3 crabs 3

For Dungeness crab, currently only hoops or snares are allowed in Zone 4 from Point Arena on the Sonoma/Mendocino County line to Point Lopez south of Monterey.

From the beaches, Mickey Clements of Coyote Bait and Tackle in Morgan Hill said, “Perch fishing has been outstanding, and motor oil/redflake grubs are working best. Lucky 13, Mekini Baitz, and Honey Badger Baits grubs have all be popular choices.”

Allen Bushnell of Santa Cruz Kayak and Surf Casting Guide Service said, “Despite the delay of commercial Dungeness crab season, and the temporary prohibition against using”long soak” rigid crab pots, plenty of Monterey Bay residents enjoyed their traditional Thanksgiving Dungeness crab feast this week.

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife along with other federal alphabet agencies deemed it too dangerous to migrating and feeding whales to allow crab pot use at the beginning of our scheduled season. Harvesting Dungeness using hoop nets or crab snares remains legal, as neither of the techniques includes overnight or multi-day soaks that can cause whale entanglements. WE have no hard information on when crab pot restrictions may be lifted this year, but some rumors suggest this might occur sometime in December. Deep water rockfishing will remain open through Dec. 31.

This is a boon, as the populations of chili peppers, vermilion, canaries and green-spot rockfish remains robust. Limits are still the rule, even this late in the season. And those fish typically are significantly larger than their inshore counterparts. We are allowed to fish for bottom fish only past the 50-fathom line. That legal line does not precisely follow the 50-fathom topography of the bay, but rather is a series of straight lines connecting specific GPS points in that 300-foot depth area. It’s critical that fishermen use the DFW regulation map to ensure they are outside of this boundary, lest they incur a citation and fine. In Monterey Bay, most Dungeness crabbing is best between 120 to 240 feet of water. So, hoop netters can set their nets down, and shoot out for rockfish, making sure they return to pull the nets within two hours which is the maximum soak time allowed for hoops. There’s a long list of specifics in the DFW regulations regarding design and use of hoop nets. All are advised to be very familiar with the intricacies before going out for crab. The DFW is working to accommodate concerns caused by the in-season changes forbidding nearshore rockfishing months prior to the scheduled season closure. Recently, DFW amended the emergency closure regulations to allow possession of rockfish onboard a vessel that is within the 300-foot boundary for anglers pulling their hoop nets. All fishing rods must be stowed when using this practice. Remember, there’s some pretty delicious fish in some good abundance that we can still pursue in the shallower water. Drop your hoop nets in 160-180 feet of water on the edge of the Soquel or Pajaro Hole, or the main Monterey Canyon near Moss, and then fish the sandy bottoms for sand dabs or Petrale sole. All perfectly legal.”

Limits of rockfish and a healthy lingcod count remains the rule out of Chris’s Fishing and Whale Watching in Monterey fishing deep water either in the canyon or south at Point Sur. Rockfish trips have been dependent upon interest as whale watching has been extremely popular with the number of humpback whales in Monterey Bay.

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

Golden Gate/San Francisco Bay

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

Party boats out of San Francisco Bay and Bodega Bay have been able to make the long run to either Fanny Shoals or even further to Rittenburg Bank in order to rockfish at the required depth of over 50 fathoms. Bodega Bay is the closest port to Rittenburg, and Captain Rick Powers of the New Sea Angler took out a combined 57 anglers to the bank on Saturday and Sunday for limits of rockfish and crab. Powers said, “The crab are absolutely huge with at least a 2-pound average, and the rockfishing has been outstanding as we are landing more and more vermilion, Boccaccio, and canary rockfish in addition to the huge yellowtail.” The San Francisco Bay area boats are finding similar action, but an easterly wind on Sunday made for bouncy conditions. The California Dawn I out of Berkeley Marina ran a crab-only trip on Sunday for 25 limits of Dungeness while the California Dawn II posted 30 limits of crab with 3/4th limits of rockfish. This was their first trip since the July 16th rockfish opener with less than limits of rockfish in the deep water. Saturday’s scores were impressive with a combined 60 limits of rockfish and crab on the California Dawn I and II. Rockfish/crab combination trips are one of the top values in northern California fishing with the unavailability of fresh crab in the market due to the continued commercial crab closure. However, few party boat have been running trips consistently with most boats remaining tied up to the docks, even on the weekends. As early as last season, the majority of boats were filled on the combination trips.

Inside the bay, the live bait receiver in San Francisco is closed, but a few individual party boats have their own small receivers filled with a few remaining scoops of bait. Captain Ron Koyasako found excellent striped bass and Dungeness crab action on his combination trips early in the week, but Sunday’s easterly wind made for tough conditions on the crab grounds, settling for half-limits before heading to San Pablo Bay for ‘lights out’ action for striped bass limits to 6 pounds. He said, “We have enough bait for another trip, and after that, I will switch over to mudsuckers or shiners. The water was so clear that we could have trolled.”

With the 50-fathom limit for rockfish from Point Conception north to the Oregon border, cooperative weather is necessary to make the 20-plus mile run to the deep water out of Half Moon Bay, San Francisco Bay, and Bodega Bay. In addition, party boats must have enough passengers to justify burning thousands of dollars of fuel, but the rockfish/crab combination trips remain a tremendous value for northern California anglers with the price of Alaska Dungeness crab at $22/pound. On the combination trips, anglers are routinely taking home 10-crab limits with crab in the 2.5- to 3-pound range along with heavy sacks of rockfish coming out of the relatively untouched depths. With the commercial Dungeness crab season in Fishing Zones 1 and 2 delayed due to the crab not ready for market, the earliest this season above Point Arena will open is Dec. 16. South of Point Arena to Lopez Point in Zones 3 and 4, the commercial crab season is delayed due to the presence of high numbers of humpback whales, leading to the potential of entanglement. The next risk assessment in these zones will be on Dec. 7. As a result, recreational anglers have the ocean all to themselves for the next few months, and crabbing has been tremendous to say the least.

Normally, November would be the time that the bay’s white sea bass population would become active, but this year remains slow for the most mysterious fish in the bay. Captain Ron Koyasko, aka, ‘The Ghost Whisperer,’ of Nautilus Excursions out of San Francisco has been keeping an eye out for the white sea bass, but he is focusing upon striped bass in the bay before heading outside the Golden Gate to set and pull crab hoops for limits of Dungeness on his striper/crab combination trips. Koyasako also has a stash of live bait that should last for a few weeks. After that, it is mudsuckers and shiners for live bait.

Striped bass are definitely migrating from San Francisco Bay into the Sacramento/San Joaquin Delta, but there is still a large population of bass in the bay. It remains to be seen if sturgeon will reappear in San Pablo Bay and the south bay this winter as the majority of white sturgeon have stayed put in Suisun Bay over the past few years.

Of important note for San Francisco Bay, the Department of Fish and Wildlife is proposing to make the emergency two-halibut daily bag limit permanent and also change the daily bag limit in Southern California from 5 to 2 fishInformation on the proposed regulation change is available at

Call: Captain Ron Koyasako, Nautilus Excursions (916) 704-4169; Captain Jerad Davis, Salty Lady (415) 760-9362; Captain Steve Mitchell, Hook’d Up Sport Fishing (707) 655-6736; Happy Hooker (510) 223-5388.

San Luis Obispo

Rockfish 3 Surf perch 2

The boat-based nearshore rockfish season above Point Conception ended on September 1, forcing boats out of Morro Bay to either fish nearshore below Point Conception or deep water of 50 fathoms or more. Out of the San Luis Obispo County ports, scores were all over the board ranging from limits of rockfish to ½ limits depending upon the length of the trip. Out of Morro Bay Landing, the Avenger and Starfire were out on trips ranging from ½ to 3/4th day on Sunday with a combined 22 anglers for trip for near limits of rockfish consisting of 66 vermilion, 80 assorted rockfish, 64 Boccaccio and a lingcod for a total of 211 fish. The Fiesta out of Virg’s Landing was on a 12-hour trip on Sunday with 26 passengers for 78 vermilion rockfish 104 assorted rockfish and 15 lingcod while the Black Pearl was on a ½- day with 22 passengers for 7 vermilion, 60 assorted rockfish, and 45 Boccaccio. Out of Patriot Sport Fishing in Port San Luis, the Flying Fish and Phenix were out on Sunday on trips ranging from ¾- to full-day with a combined 33 passengers for limits of rockfish consisting of 116 vermilion, 9 Boccaccio, 205 assorted rockfish, and 2 lingcod. Patriot will also offer Dungeness crab/rockfish combination trips. Webcams of many of the coastal locations are available at The rockfish season in this section of coast is open seaward of 50 fathoms through Dec. 31 in both the Central Management Area above Point Conception and in the Southern Management Area below Point Conception.

Call: Virg’s Landing (800) 762-5263; Patriot Sport Fishing (805) 595-4100; Morro Bay Landing.



Bass 3 Striper 3 Sturgeon 3 Catfish 2 Bluegill 2

Striped bass are flooding into the Sacramento and San Joaquin River, and bait fishing, trolling, and plug casting are all working for quality linesides. The majority of stripers are holding from Rio Vista west toward Collinsville, and once the water cools, the linesides will be moving further into the Delta and up the river arms. The striped bass have also poured into the San Joaquin River as far south as Discovery Bay, and December has been prime time for striped bass inside of Discovery Bay as the shad move there to find slightly warmer water. Alan Fong of Alan Fong Outdoors was out this week before the wind came up over the weekend, and they caught and released over 50 striped bass using 5-inch swimbaits or Blade Runner spoons. Fong said, “The stripers will stick around until the water turns dirty and they have to move up in the system.” Fong will start a consulting business on focusing on the use of electronics as well as fishing techniques starting in January.

The stripers are also in the San Joaquin River as Kyle Wise of Head Hunter Guide Service went out on Thanksgiving Day with Captain Joey Gamez of Golden State Sport Fishing, and they drifting live minnows in the south Delta near the Tracy Oasis for numerous linesides caught and released. Johnny Wang, manager of Turner’s Outdoorsman in Stockton, added, “I was throwing a fluke on an underspin in McLeod Lake in downtown Stockton, and I released 7 stripers as there are striped bass breaking the surface on shad schools along with salmon being devoured by sea lions. Rough and Ready Island near the Firing Range as well as the Turning Basin and the main channel outside of the Stockton Golf and Country Club are also holding stripers. Casting topwater lures, jerkbaits, or ripbaits are all working as wells as trolling. In the Sacramento River side, stripers are thick from Decker Island through Sherman Lake toward Collinsville. Crappie fishing has been solid off of Inland Drive or Woodboro Road off of Highway 4 west of Stockton.” This is prime time for soaking butterflied shad on the anchor and will remain so until the water temperatures move into the high 40-degree range.

Largemouth bass have also become more active as Fresno-native Vince Borges of Vince Borges Outdoors was fishing a tournament out of Tracy Oasis when he landed a big fish at 7.99 pounds punching the weeds with a Reaction Innovation’s double-wide Sweet Beaver in Bloody Mary on his Phenix Rod’s Recon 796 loaded with Phenix Hydra8 65-pound braided line.

The hyacinth has been moving out, and the water is much clearer in the central Delta as the water temperatures have dropped into the 52- to 58- degree range. Punching remains a top technique for largemouth bass, but the majority of bass are in the 1.5- to 3-pound range. Jerkbaits are also effective.

Sturgeon fishing remains outstanding, and the only limiting factor has been the wind, particularly on the outgoing tide. In spite of the emergency white sturgeon regulations, anglers still want to fight a sturgeon, and Captain Steve Mitchell of Hook’d Up Sport Fishing out of Pittsburg continues to find solid action with his cured salmon roe. He said, “The bite slowed down for a few days, but as long as the water temperature holds above 50 degrees, the action should stay strong. We have been finding multiple fish on our electronics, and one of the keys is to locate feeding fish on the bottom. Once we locate the fish, we anchor above the fish in the direction of the tide to intercept them with our scent trail. It has not been unusual to catch-and-release over ten sturgeon in a day. Finding sturgeon in the new 42- to 48-inch slot limit has been a challenge, but there is plenty of meat on this size of sturgeon

Call: Randy Pringle (209) 543-6260; Captain Steve Mitchell, Hook’d Up Sport Fishing (707) 655-6736; Vince Borges, Vince Borges Outdoors (209) 918-0828.


Jan. 18-21

International Sportsman’s Exposition – Cal Expo/Sacramento – information:

Upcoming tournaments (dates and locations subject to change)

Dec. 2

McClure – Manteca Bassin’ Buddies

Millerton – 3rd Annual Tulare Police Activity League Fundraising Bass Tournament – contact Mark Corrente at 284-2768 or Sgt. Ed Hinojosa at 331-4920 for details. $180 per team with a huge number of prizes available

Pine Flat - Kerman Bass Club

Del Lago Park in Tulare – Tulare Parks and Recreation Trout Fishing Derby

Dec. 3

McClure – Hughson High School Bass Anglers

Dec. 9

New Melones – Sonora Bass Anglers

Lopez – American Bass Association

Dec. 16

Pine Flat – Sierra Bass Club

Dec. 17

McClure – Fresno Bass Club

Eastman – Sierra Bass Club

For more go to