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 and sturgeon biting, Steve Mitchell said. Isabella bass and catfish best bets, Copes Tackle reported. New Melones trout continue hitting, Monte Smith said. McClure crappie action good, Ryan Cook reported. Kaweah crappie bite solid, Dave Hurley said.
Roger George’s column will return.
Striper 2 Catfish 3
Bill Sterling of Striperz Gone Wild said, “Fishing the aqueduct has been very tough since the water temperature has been dropping, and I haven’t seen any bait fish or (silversides or shad) north of the Forebay. I didn’t see a boil this fall at all in the aqueduct north of the forebay this year, and I’ve been out numerous times the last couple weeks without seeing a fish jump out of the water. If you do go fishing, bait and wait or swimbaits with at least a 1-oz. jighead or an Umbrella rig retrieved slowly could be the ticket this time of year. Flutter spoons, or anything you can get to the bottom of the aqueduct with will work the best. Bass fishing in the local canals still producing 1- to 3-pound. bass, but you have to search for them. Reaction baits should work, but I did land five in an hour on the Dizzy Diamond worm on a shakey head. I had nothing until after 4 p.m. which seems to be the time to catch them right now.” Josh Mesa of Coyote Bait and Tackle in Morgan Hill confirmed this report, but he added, “Catfishing is the best thing going on right now with chicken livers or anchovies.”
In the south aqueduct in Kern County, Cope’s Rod and Tackle in Bakersfield reported striped bass and catfish continue to be a reliable with bait anglers hooking striper with sardines, blood worms, or jumbo live minnows while flukes and jerkbaits produced for the lure anglers. Catfish to 8 pounds have been taken on sardines, anchovies, or dip bait on sinker rigs, Largemouth bass chased shad at sunrise, and anglers used shad imitations like Keitech swimbaits, small flukes, or shaky head worms to fool fish. Topwater lures also produced early and late in the day for anglers fishing before and after the check gates.”
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
Brandon Grimsley of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “I was fishing off the bank with my son over the weekend, and I landed a 3-pound largemouth on a drop-shot along with a number of smaller fish. The larger fish are becoming more active right now.” Tas Moua of 559 Fresno Bait and Tackle added, “The bass are getting into more of a winter mode right now, and they are orienting toward the trees. The crappie bite has been decent as well.” Hensley has been slow overall with the exception of panfish as bluegill are taken on red worms or meal worms. Catfishing is best with chicken livers, cut baits, or stink baits. Eastman held at feet to 549.81 feet in elevation and 61% with Hensley dropped two feet to 469.11 feet in elevation and 15%. A double trout plant is scheduled at Eastman next week with a single plant at Hensley. The trout plants will bring out the swimbait tossers in search of trophy largemouth bass.
Call: Eastman Lake 689-3255; Valley Rod & Gun, Clovis (559) 292-3474, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Hensley Lake Hidden Dam (559) 673-5151.
Lake Don Pedro
Bass 2 Trout 2 Kokanee 2 King salmon 2 Crappie 2
Monte Smith of Gold Country Sport Fishing has been focusing upon New Melones due to more consistent trout action there, but he reported large schools of one-inch shad throughout the lake. The troll bite has been a grind, but you can put together a limit of holdover rainbows working the shad schools with shad-patterned spoons at depths from 40 to 90 feet. Ryan Cook of Ryan Cook’s Fishing reported a challenging bass bite as the fish are also offshore chasing bait. The 50-boat Christian Bass League tournament was won with a 12.54-pound limit while the big fish of the tournament came in at 4.40 pounds. Only 2 bass over 4 pounds and 2 bass over 3 pounds made it to the scales. The lake dropped slightly to 796.45 feet in elevation and 80%. Updates on the launch ramp are available at https://www.donpedrolake.com/. Trout plants are scheduled this week at both Don Pedro and downstream Modesto Reservoir.
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 3 Trout 2 Crappie 2 Catfish 3 Bluegill 2
The lake dropped 4 feet to 2,568.39 feet in elevation and 39% with steady releases of 1718 cfs at First Point. Cope’s Tackle and Rod in Bakersfield reported the excellent bass bite continued for another week with numbers taken on crankbaits, jigs, Senkos, or plastics on the drop-shot or Ned-rig. Many of the fish are on the smaller side, but an occasional 5 pounder is fooled in the mix. The catfish bite also continues to be solid with good reports coming from Camp 9 and French Gulch for whiskerfish to 8 pounds taken Triple S Dip Bait, mackerel, and shrimp. Crappie are around structure and have been caught with live minnows and various minijigs. The key seems to be finding the right structure holding fish that can be fooled. Trout can be taken with Power Bait or spinners from shore, and boat anglers are trolling around the dam using lead core line with needlefish or Tasmanian Devils.
In the upper Kern River, Cope’s said, multiple trout plants are scheduled throughout the remainder of November. The trout bite has been great for some and slow for others. Anglers have been scoring fish with salmon eggs, nightcrawlers, or spinners. The water is cooling off, and fly anglers are doing best along the 20-Mile stretch with midges, streamers, attractor nymphs, and dry-droppers as the afternoon warms up. The Lower Kern River continues to have a solid bass bite on crankbaits, jigs, or spinners. Catfish can be found on dip baits, nightcrawlers and cut baits. Trout plants continue with a plant in section 5 and 6 this week with a double plant in section 5 along with single plants in sections 4 and 6 during the week of Nov. 19. Brite Valley Reservoir and the River Walk are also scheduled to be planted this week.
The Taft Chamber of Commerce Annual Trout Fishing Derby will be held this coming Saturday, Nov. 18, at the Buena Vista Aquatic Recreation Area, and lake will remain closed to all fisherman until the opening of the Derby at precisely 6 a.m., on Nov. 18. This year’s Derby will signal a return to the closure of Lake Webb for the days between the delivery of the 3,000 pounds of fish and the start of the fishing contest. The rules of the contest continue: all Derby contestants must have a valid California Fishing License unless they are under the age of 16 years, and all participants must be registered prior to fishing.
The cost for adults (14 and older) is $30; children (13 and under) are $25. The places to register for the Derby (and to receive your wristband) are:
Taft Chamber, 400 Kern Street, Taft
Cooper’s True Value, 407 9th Street, Taft
Bob’s Bait Bucket, 2131 Chester, Bakersfield
Cope’s Tackle and Rod, 1654 Calloway, Dr., Bakersfield
Poor Man Aqueduct Fishing Tackle Shop, 4 Monterey St, Bakersfield
The Kern River at Kernville is at 502 cfs.
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.
Bass 2 Crappie 3 Trout 2 Catfish 2
The lake has risen three feet to 603.51 feet in elevation and 12%. Cope’s Rod and Tackle in Bakersfield reported most bass anglers reported a slower bite with finesses plastics and small jigs in deeper water producing best. Plastics such as Roboworm’s Oxblood or Hologram Shad on the drop-shot, Ned-rig, or shakey head are working. Crappie action has been solid with small swimbaits or minijigs over submerged structure as the crappie are starting to school up. Catfishing is best with sardines, anchovies, or Triple S dip bait. The flows in the Kaweah River are stable at 123 cfs. A trout plant is scheduled at Kaweah this week with a plant at Mooney Grove Park next week.
Bass 2 Crappie 2 Trout 2 Catfish 2
Water releases have begun in earnest as the lake receded a whopping 18 feet this week to 589.28 feet in elevation and 8%. Cope’s Rod and Tackle reported decent bass action with finesse techniques near rocky structure and main lake points with plastics on a shakey head or drop-shot. Spooning over the shad schools in deep water is also producing fish.
Catfish anglers reported a good bite using cut baits, dip bait, and chicken liver. A trout plant is scheduled at Success this week.
Call: Cope’s Tackle and Rod (661) 679-6351; Sequoia Fishing Co. 539-5626, sequoiafishingcompany.com.
Bass 2 Trout 2 King salmon 0 Kokanee 0 Crappie 3Catfish 2
Ryan Cook of Ryan Cook’s Fishing said, “The bass bite remains the same deal as the bulk of the fish continue to chase bait offshore, and it will be this way for the next few weeks. We are working main lake points or creek channels at depths from 20 to 60 feet in 60 to 100 feet of water for the suspended fish. 3/4-ounce Hopkins Shorty spoons or Blade Runner Duh! Spoons are working along with small shad-patterned swimbaits on the drop-shot. Umbrella rigs are also starting to work, and we are picking up a few jig fish along with spinnerbaits. Big fish have been hard to find, but there are numbers of willing biters. We also got on an excellent crappie bite using Notorious Jigs from Fresno 559 Bait and Tackle. The slabs are holding in the trees and having Forward Facing sonar is a big advantage.” Trout plants are scheduled for the next two weeks, and there are holdover rainbows taken near the dam with shad-patterned spoons such as Kastmasters in black/silver, blue/silver, or Cop Car. Catfishing remains solid at night along sloping banks with chicken livers, nightcrawlers, or cut baits. The lake held this week at 807.50 feet in elevation and 65%. A trout plant is scheduled this week.
Call: Ryan Cook, Ryan Cook’s Guide Service (559) 691-7008.
It’s been two weeks since 2,500 pounds of Department of Fish and Wildlife catchable rainbow trout were released into the lake, and trout fishing from the banks has slowed down with the best opportunities 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. Trollers have the upper hand now as the remaining rainbows have headed into the river arm near the Second Fence Line.
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 3 Crappie 2
Millerton is starting to creep up in elevation as water releases from upstream reservoirs are reaching the lake. But it is still very low, and launching a boat requires a 4XD tow vehicle, and even then, it is touch and go. Once the lake rises, more boats will be launching to prepare for the upcoming Tulare Police Activities League Fundraising Bass Tournament on Dec. 2 . This tournament boasts a guaranteed $5,000 first-place payout. The lake is starting to fill once again with water releases from upstream reservoirs, and it came up a foot to 471.11 feet in elevation and 27%. Sycamore Park is open seven days per week. A trout plant is scheduled at Woodward Park in Fresno this week. The flows in the San Joaquin River at Friant are steady at 410 cfs.
Call: Valley Rod & Gun 292-3474.
New Melones Reservoir/Tulloch
Bass 2 Crappie 2 Catfish 2 Trout 3 Kokanee 2
Trout trolling has been excellent as the number of boats has increased over the past few weeks to the point where the area around the Spillway is crowded on the weekends. Monte Smith of Gold Country Sport Fishing said, “The pressure has been high, and I went to find my own fish on Friday, but once the wind died down, the bite became tougher. The water temperature is dropping, and it is currently from 61 to 63 degrees. I plan on breaking out the side planers and lead core line this coming week as I expect the trout to be near the surface. We found a great bite on Tuesday when there was high fog and overcast conditions. The rainbows have been from 45 to 70 feet, and we hooked something large on a Rapala at 70 feet on Friday.
“ I was reeling in the line when the fish hit, but it came off within 30 seconds after I handed the rod off to my client. It was most likely a large brown. The bait is scattered, but it is larger at 2 inches than the 1-inch bait at Don Pedro. The fish are a quality grade, and we even released a 12-inch planter this week.” Kyle Wise of Head Hunter Guide Service confirmed the excellent troll bite with easy limits of rainbows running Speed Shiners at depths from 40 to 90 feet. Bass fishing remains the upswing as the spotted and largemouth bass are suspended over main lake points or bluff walls at depths from 20 to 40 feet with flukes, plastics on the drop-shot, small Keitechs, or topwater lures are all working. With the bass in open water, they are boiling on occasion over the submerged islands. The lake rose one foot to 1,043.50 feet in elevation and 79%. A double trout plant is scheduled this week.
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 0 Catfish 2 Crappie 2
Michael Crayne of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “The lake was in a lull, but it is picking up as the bass are starting to bite again. Trout fishing is also improving.” Brandon Grimsley of Valley Rod and Gun added, “Spoons have been the top offering as the bass are holding near the shad schools, but small swimbaits or crankbaits are also working. There have been a number of reports of trout from Pine Flat this week.” Trollers working the shad schools from the Power Lines to Lefevre Creek with shad-patterned spoons. Tas Moua of 559 Fresno Bait and Tackle added, “There will be a tournament on Black Friday, Nov. 24 here, and interested anglers can sign up at the shop or at 5 a.m. on morning of the 24.”
The flows on the lower Kings at Trimmer have dropped to only 419 cfs, and a trout plant is scheduled the week of Nov. 12. A trout plant at the lake is scheduled this week with a plant at downstream Lake Avocado next week. Trout fishing on the lower Kings has improved considerably for those soaking nightcrawlers, Power Bait, Atomic Tubes, or spinners. The lake rose less than a foot to 865.63 feet in elevation and 56%.
Call: Valley Rod & Gun 292-3474; Sequoia Fishing Co. 539-5626.
San Luis Reservoir and O’Neill Forebay
Striper 2 Catfish 2 Bass 2 Crappie 2
Josh Mesa of Coyote Bait and Tackle in Morgan Hill reported, “Striped bass action at the main lake remains strong with numbers of anglers finding limits on the shorelines near Dinosaur Point. There are a number of shakers in the mix, but the legal fish have been averaging between 24 and 26 inches. A 36-inch striper was reported this week. The bite lasts from early morning throughout the day with jumbo minnows, flukes on a scrounger head, umbrella rigs, or Duo Realis jerkbaits.
Roger George of Roger George Guide Service said that he guided this weekend and that the overall troll and boat bite had suddenly slowed - especially on Monday - probably due to the falling water and the low pressure frontal system . . “ We hope that they will stop lowering the lake soon- and bring some stability back to the bite,“ George said.
In the forebay, Check 12 is going off with consistent numbers of legal linesides from 22 to 26 inches on minnows, Rat-L-Traps, jerkbaits, paddletail swimbaits, or glide baits such as G-Ratt’s Pistol Pete or Sneaky Pete. The topwater bite has been slow at both lakes.” The main lake dropped to 62%.
To check the wind conditions on the lake - use windfinder.com/forecast/san_luis_reservoir.
Call: Coyote Bait and Tackle (408) 463-0711, Roger George, rogergeorgeguideservice.com (559) 905-2954.
Bass 2 Trout 2 Kokanee 0
A trout plant is scheduled the week of Nov. 12, and this will help spur on the shoreline bite near the Sheriff’s Tower along with the troll bite. Bass fishing remains fair near the docks with crankbaits, small swimbaits, or finesse presentations, but the introduction of trout will get the swimbait and glide bait bite going. A webcam of the launch ramp is available at https://basslakeca.com/.
Call: Mike Beighey, Bass Lake Fishing 676-8133.
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 41 and Florence to 14 while Mammoth Pool has risen to 59%.
Road conditions 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 continued with a limit or two of mixed fish and cool but nice weather. Beginning on Monday, the fishing weather will not be good for four or five days due to the projected weather system. This past week, reports show a ‘one here and one there’ bite for both kokanee and trout beginning at the island and into Stevenson Bay at depths from 10 to 25 feet deep with purple or orange lures behind dodgers or weighted flashers. Black Rock, Fisherman’s Club, and Stevenson Bay has been the best areas for both kokanee and trout. Good yearling-sized trout have moved up to areas where kokanee are spawning for the eggs. The kokanee being caught are second year fish ranging from 13 to 15 inches. In a little over a month, they become the third-year fish. The trout plant this week could be either fingerlings, catchables, or brooders. Regardless, it’s good for Shaver. In that case, the Sierra Marina area will be the hot spot for the fresh plant. Shaver Lake veteran guide, Todd Wittwer of Kokanee.net Guide Service did an exploratory trip on Saturday, and he picked up several kokanee along with a few trout to 15 inches using a combination of Apex lures along with Dick’s Trout Busters behind Dick’s Mountain Dodgers from the surface to 20 feet. Wittwer reported good action on brown trout in the Dorabella Cove area.” A trout plant is scheduled at Shaver next week.
The Shaver Marina closed on Oct. 15. A webcam of the Shaver launch ramp is at sierramarina.com/webcam-weather-page.html and for Huntington at http://www.shaverlakewebcams.info/huntington.html. Huntington remains very slow for both rainbow trout and kokanee. Shaver has dropped slightly to 86 with Huntington dropping from 72% to 67%.
Call: Todd Wittwer, Kokanee.net Guide Service (559) 288-8100; Jerad Romero, Jrods Guide Service (559) 392-6994, Tom Oliveira, Tom Oliveira Fishing (559) 802-8072.
There hasn’t been much change here as Wishon is very low, making launching a boat problematic. Courtright has been producing holdover rainbows and browns from the shoreline at the dam with nightcrawlers or inline spinners. and although there are holdover rainbows in both lakes and the lakes remain high, few anglers are heading to the high country. The Wishon RV Park and Store is closed for the season.
Call: Wishon RV Park (559) 865-5361.
Half Moon Bay
Rockfish 3 Bluefin tuna 2 Striper 2 Halibut 2 White seabass 1 Sand dabs 3 Surf perch 3 crabs 3
Bluefin tuna chasers continue to find a few big fish near the Half Moon Bay Weather Buoy fast-trolling Nomad Design’s Madmacs at 12 to 15 knots, but the weather this week will slow down the ability to make it out to edge of the Continental Shelf.
Captain Michael Cabanas of the New Captain Pete said, “We are running crab-only trips for up to 20 limits of Dungeness, and the crab are large and full of meat.” A few boats are making the 18- to 20-mile run to water deeper than 300 feet for rockfish/Dungeness crab combination trips. The Pacifica Pier and surrounding beaches continue to be some of the best shore locations for tossing out crab snares, but the pier is extremely crowded most days with shoulder-to-shoulder conditions seeking Dungeness.
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.
Rockfish 3 Halibut 2 Striper 2 White seabass 1 Sand dabs 3 Surf perch 3 crabs 2
Chris Arcoleo of Chris’s Fishing and Whale Watching in Monterey said. “Rockfishing continues to be tremendous as we had limits of big sacks rockfish along with 20 lingcod with a few pushing 20 pounds on our recent trip to Point Sur. Deep water rockfishing is interesting as some days you find big schools of chili peppers, Boccaccio, and vermilion, and they are willing to bite, but on other days, you have to scratch out limits when they are less willing to bite. Limits continue to be the rule.”
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.
Josh Mesa of Coyote Bait and Tackle in Morgan Hill said, “There is an evening bite for striped bass near Marina with topwater lures or Duo Realis Tide minnows. Perch fishing has been excellent from Moss Landing to Rio Del Mar for various perch in the 8- to 14-inch range. Lucky 13 grubs in motor oil/red flake, Berkley Gulp! Sand Worms in Camo, or Mekeni Baitz grubs in Carmel Oil or Watermelon.
Allen Bushnell of Santa Cruz Kayak and Surf Casting Guide Service said, “Late fall fishing on Monterey Bay can be immensely fulfilling and extraordinarily frustrating. Sometimes both extremes occur on the same day. We are almost guaranteed to experience both within the same week during this time of year. Much of this unpredictability can be ascribed to the normal movement of local species, like halibut heading for the deep water wintertime feeding grounds, or ling cod moving in towards the shallows for winter spawning. Governmental regulations can often be counted on to limit fishing opportunities during this transitional season as well, such as the recent closing of nearshore rockfishing two months early for protection of ‘overfished’ quillbacks, or prohibiting the use of crab traps until the danger of whale entanglement abates.
Mostly though, it’s the weather. As we move in towards winter we might enjoy a few balmy days in a row with light winds on the water, perfect for fishing. Then, a sneaky low-pressure system rears up by the Aleutian Islands and sends pulses of giant waves and gale force winds our way. Or we start the day with glassy waters and a clear sunrise but by noon it looks like Victory At Sea, while a pea soup fog has erased all landmarks for navigation. The message here is, this time of year expect the unexpected. Don’t get so far away from the harbor that your craft can’t make it back when conditions get dicey. Learn to read the little signs that show the weather change is coming. Whether it’s that fat fog bank out on the horizon, or the line of whitecaps to the North. If you see five or ten fishing boats roaring past you at top speed, heading for the harbor, you might want to make a couple queries and maybe start moving in that direction yourself. Checking the weather forecasts is a must before any go-out, and re-checking for changes in that forecast while fishing isn’t a bad idea either. Forecasts will always change. We would consider it negligence of the highest order to foray out on the Monterey Bay or open ocean without proper safety gear including VHF radio(s), GPS and chart plotter and a reliable and accurate sonar unit for depth readings. Other safety items include personal flotation devices, professional flare guns and a couple reliably charged fire extinguishers.”
Call: Chris’ Landing (831) 375-5951; Allen Bushnell, Santa Cruz Kayak and Surf Casting (831) 251-9732.
Golden Gate/San Francisco Bay
Halibut2 Striper 2 Rockfish 3 Leopard shark 2 Sturgeon 2 Crab 3
Good weather conditions have allowed for party and private boats to take the 102-mile ride to Rittenburg Bank for limits of huge rockfish along with the occasional ling cod. The California Dawn 1 and II out of Berkeley Marina returned with a combined 50 limits of rockfish and Dungeness crab along with a single lingcod on Monday. Captain James Smith said, “These are some of the biggest crab I have ever seen.” Captain Rick Powers on the New Sea Angler out of Bodega Bay was also out at Rittenburg Bank on Monday for 18 limits of rockfish consisting of Boccaccio, widow, yellowtail, and canary rockfish along with limits of Dungeness crab. Powers also took out a pelagic bird trip on. Sunday, putting out Madmacs, and hooking a pair of bluefin tuna that came off within minutes. They also saw an extremely rare Great Shearwater which is common to the south Atlantic Ocean. The Pacific Dream out of Berkeley went to the 50-fathom curve near the Farallons for limits of rockfish and Dungeness crab.
Since access to deep water greater than 50 fathoms requires at least a 20-mile or more run out of Half Moon, San Francisco, and Bodega Bays, a flat ocean is necessary to complete the rockfish portion of the combination. The hold until at least December 1 on commercial crabbing along with the emergency provision allowing for crab fishing inside of the 50-fathom Rockfish Conservation Area boundary permitting hoop nets when legally taken groundfish are on board qualify as good news for recreational anglers already limited by hoop nets in Zones 3 and 4 along with the 50-fathom rockfish restriction that went into effect Sept. 1. Hoop nets are required in Zones 3 and 4 stretching from Point Arena on the Mendocino/Sonoma County line to Point Lopez south of Monterey due to the continued presence of endangered humpbacked whalesThe Salty Lady out of Sausalito will offer combination or crab-only trips out of their Marin County port instead of Emeryville this season. They are offering some relatively shorter, easier ‘crab-only trips just before and on the morning of Thanksgiving on Nov. 21-23.
Captain Steve Mitchell of Hook’d Up Sport Fishing will offer crab-only trips twice per day out of Berkeley Marina. The biomass of Dungeness crab is predicted to be one of the best in years, and the only way to get fresh crab for Thanksgiving is to jump on a party or private boat.
Inside the bay, Captain Ron Koyasako of Nautilus Excursions out of San Francisco continues to run striped bass/Dungeness crab combinations for near-limits to limits of bass along with 10-crab limits of Dungeness. He said, “It’s not like the bass are all over as you have to look for them, and there are a number of small undersized bass.” The San Francisco bait receiver has closed for the season, and the only live bait available will be shiners or mudsuckers from locations such as Loch Lomond Bait in San Rafael.
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 five fish to two fish. The emergency regulations were implemented this past summer in response to intense angling pressure due to the recreational and commercial salmon season. According to the department’s press release, “It is expected that the fishery will require additional time to rebuild following the high take caused by an effort shift from the salmon and nearshore groundfish closures, and environmental conditions, documented in 2023. Due to the necessity displayed by the emergency regulation, and interest from the recreational industry for increased stability in the halibut population, the Department has determined that the fishery should not revert to a bag limit of three fish in this region. In addition, the proposed regulation includes a second option, which reduces the daily bag and possession limit in southern California from five to two fish, and results in a uniform statewide limit of two. This second option enhances the sustainability of the southern halibut stock. The proposed bag limit of two fish will have minimal impact on anglers under current halibut stock conditions, provides a precautionary buffer against increased fishing harvest, and ensures a sustainable halibut population statewide.”
Information on the proposed regulation change is available at https://nrm.dfg.ca.gov/FileHandler.ashx?DocumentID=216742&inline
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 3
The rockfish season in this section of coast is open seaward of 50 fathoms through December 31 in both the Central Management Area above Point Conception and in the Southern Management Area below Point Conception. Similar to the other ports in northern California, 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 Morro Bay Landing, the Avenger was on a ½-day trip with the Starfire on a 3/4th-day trip on Sunday with combined 30 anglers for 25 vermilion, 175 assorted rockfish, and 35 Boccaccio for a total of 235 fish. The Fiesta and Rita G were on ½- and 3/4th-day trips on Sunday with a combined 37 passengers for 26 vermilion, 240 assorted rockfish, 52 Boccaccio, and two lingcod. Out of Patriot Sport Fishing in Port San Luis, the Flying Fish was out on Monday on a 3/4th day trip with 16 passengers for 52 vermilion, 23 Boccaccio, 85 assorted rockfish, and 2 lingcod to 12 pounds. Patriot will also offer Dungeness crab/rockfish combination trips. Webcams of many of the coastal locations are available at https://805webcams.com/.
Call: Virg’s Landing (800) 762-5263; Patriot Sport Fishing (805) 595-4100; Morro Bay Landing.
Bass 2 Striper 3 Sturgeon 3 Catfish 2 Bluegill 3
The public launch ramp at Pittsburg is closed until Nov. 18.
The new emergency white sturgeon regulations have yet to go into effect, and private and party boats are hurrying up to get in as many days on the water prior to the regulation changes which are expected any day now. Captain Steve Mitchell of Hook’d Up Sport Fishing out of Pittsburg Marina has been putting on an absolute clinic on the water with 11 sturgeon brought to the rail on Saturday with four other missed opportunities. Mitchell said, “The slot-fish we have been landing have been in the upper slot from 55 to 59 inches, and it will be good to release these big fish once the regulations change. Fishing has been outstanding with cured salmon roe with good action in the Big Cut and from Pittsburg to the Benicia/Martinez Bridge.”
Schools of striped bass are migrating into the California Delta, and Jeff Soo Hoo of Soo Hoo’s Guide Service out of Lauritzen’s Yacht Harbor had a great day on Saturday, saying, “We found an excellent grade of striped bass, trolling when the current slows down and drifting bait when the current is moving. We started out on the San Joaquin and moved through Three-Mile Slough to the West Bank on the Sacramento before ending up in Broad Slough. There are new fish coming in all of the time, and there are a number of boats out there now.”
Dave King of Nor Cal Bass was the director for the weekend’s Tournament of Champions out of Ladd’s Marina. He said, “We found a good bite on Saturday on reaction baits, but I couldn’t get bit on spinnerbaits or topwater on Sunday while my partner, Danny Berbena, was able to land numbers on plastics or Senkos. The winning two-day weight was very respectable at over 39 pounds by Juan Garcia with big fish at 7.25 and 6.87 pounds on Saturday and Sunday.”
Randy Pringle, the Fishing Instructor, said, “The largemouth bass bite is fairly good for numbers, but the size is somewhat limited. The fish are focusing on shad, and the Optimum Opti Shad swimbait on a 1/4th to 3/8th jig head is working on open water by just simply swimming it back to the boat on 15-pound fluorocarbon in and around current. This bait has a thinner profile, and it resembles a small shad or splittail. The ima Squarebill or Shaker is also a good option in either crawdad or shad patterns as both lures give out a lot of wobble. We haven’t been finding many large stripers on the San Joaquin, but we did pick up one at 8 pounds using Optimum’s Bad Bubba Shad swimbaits with a chartreuse line or chartreuse tail. The water temperature is now on the upper 50’s, and it is dropping steadily towards prime striped bass fall run time.”
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
Lake Nacimiento/San Antonio/Santa Margarita/Lopez
Bass 3 White bass 2 Striper 0 Catfish 3 Crappie 2 Bluegill 2 Trout 2
At Nacimiento, the lake held at 56%. Cope’s Tackle and Rod in Bakersfield reported good spotted bass fishing in the 10- to 25-foot zone using finesse baits, swimbaits, or spoons. Plastics on the drop-shot or dart head along with small jigs have been working for finesse anglers while underspins and spoons have been getting bit after metering a school of shad. The white bass went for vertical spoons and in-line spinners. Crappie were reported by anglers using minijigs tipped with Crappie Nibbles. Catfish anglers reported a decent bite using cut mackerel, dip bait, or chicken liver. A webcam of the lake is available at https://805webcams.com/lake-nacimiento-live-webcam/.
Reminder: consuming white bass, black bass, crappie, catfish, or carp are subject to safe eating guidelines due to excessive mercury.
Don Pedro – Christian Bass League
1st – Angelo Quierolo/A.J. Azevedo – 12.54; 2nd Vic Geis/Russ Pearson – 12.06; 3rd – Jonathan Whitesitt/Chuck Fuller - 10.68.
Delta/Ladd’s Marina – Nor Cal Bass Delta Circuit Tournament of Champions (10 Fish weigh in)
1st – Juan Acosta – 39.89; 2nd- Lorenzo and Lucca Rosetti – 32.00; 3rd- Rick and Quinn Alexander– 18.87.
Upcoming tournaments (dates and locations subject to change)
Camanche – Yak-A-Bass
Don Pedro – Sierra Bass Club
McClure – Gilroy Bassmasters
Pine Flat – California Bass Nation
Buena Vista Lake – Taft Chamber of Commerce Trout Derby – information
Delta/Russo’s Marina – Delta Teen Team
Delta/Ladd’s Marina – American Bass Association
Nacimiento – 805 Bass Addicts
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.
For more go to fresnobee.com/fishing.