Fishing report, Oct. 25-31: Sturgeon are biting, trout still active at McSwain and Courtright

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 sturgeon are biting, and McSwain holdover trout active, Dave Hurley reported. Pine Flat bass and Courtright trout headline local action, Brandon Grimsley said. McClure trout and catfish top species to target, Ryan Cook reported.


Westside waterways

Striper 2 Catfish 2

In the north section of the California Aqueduct, Josh Mesa of Coyote Bait and Tackle reported a slow striped bass bite with the majority of action remaining on the bottom for catfish with chicken livers, live minnows, or cut bait.” The best striped bass action has been in the early mornings prior to the sun coming over the mountains with topwater lures or glide baits. The River2Sea Rover 128 in Bone or shad-patterned swimbaits ranging from 4.8 to 5.8 inches on a ½ to 1-ounce jig head are working for numbers including the occasional lineside to 25 inches. In the south aqueduct in Kern County, once again, the water is dirty and filled with debris in certain locations. You have to move around to find the fish, and the best action for stripers continues around the headgates. Jerkbaits, Rat-L-Traps, or small shad-patterned swimbaits remain the best options. Catfish are taken on nightcrawlers, chicken liver, or cut baits on the bottom.

Call: Valley Rod & Gun, Clovis (559) 292-3474; 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, “At Eastman, bass fishing remains hit or miss, but there are numbers of small bass in the 8-inch range. Crappie are found in submerged brush with small profile jigs.” Hensley remains slow for bass with bluegill or catfish the best option. Bluegill can be taken on red worms or meal worms while catfishing is best with chicken livers, cut baits, or stink baits. Eastman dropped slightly to 551.16 feet in elevation and 63% with Hensley dropping another 3 feet to 476.52 feet in elevation and 20%.

Call: Eastman Lake (559) 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 3 Trout 3 Kokanee 2 King salmon 2 Crappie 2

The trout trolling bite has slowed, but limits are possible by trolling shad-patterned spoons at depths from 50 to 90 feet through the shad schools. The occasional king salmon is also a possibility. Bass fishing continues to be very tough with only a few suspended fish landed on spoons or shad-patterned plastics on the drop-shot. The lake dropped 3 feet to 799.10 feet in elevation and 80%. Updates on the launch ramp are available at 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 2 Crappie 3 Catfish 3 Bluegill 3

The water releases continue to be steady as the lake dropped 2 feet to 2,578.47 feet in elevation and 53%, but the releases out of the lake have dropped from 2599 to 1955 cfs at First Point. Crappie continue to be solid with minijigs or live minnows as the slabs can be found holding in certain submerged trees, bush, or rockpiles at depths to 20 feet. With the water cooling slightly, the crappie are starting to school up into tighter groupings. Trout can still be found near the inlet of the North Fork at the Wolford Heights Old Cemetery with Power Bait or nightcrawlers. Surprisingly, trollers continue to locate holdovers with shad-patterned spoons in the cooler waters of the North Fork. There is a reaction bait for largemouth bass with a variety of offerings including spinnerbaits, crankbaits, topwater lures, and jigs. Triple S Dip Bait, mackerel, frozen shad, or large nightcrawlers are best for catfish. Most fishing action has focused upon the Kern River, and since the flows in the upper Kern River are excellent, limits of holdover rainbow trout have been the rule with spinners, crickets, nightcrawlers, or Power Bait in the pools. The Kern River at Kernville is at 546 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

Lake Kaweah

Bass 2 Crappie 2 Trout 0 Catfish 3

The lake has stabilized at 600.68 feet in elevation and 11 %. Bass action continues to be decent for small fish with finesse techniques of plastics on the drop-shot, Ned-rig, or dart head in the deepest water off of main lake points. There is the possibility for an occasional trophy largemouth bass, particularly as the fish are concentrated with the low water levels. Crappie are found around the submerged structure near Horse Creek with minijigs or small swimbaits in shad patterns near the coves around Horse Creek while catfishing continues to be best with garlic-scented nightcrawlers, cut bait, or Triple S Dip Baits on a long soak, and The flows in the Kaweah River have dropped once again to 129 cfs.

Lake Success

Bass 2 Crappie 2 Trout 2 Catfish 2

Water releases have begun in earnest as the lake receded another 6 feet this week to 624.57 feet in elevation and 41%. Catfishing is best with chicken livers, anchovies, or Triple S Dip Bait while crappie are schooling near the docks in the marina or near submerged brush with small live minnows, Keitech swimbaits, or minijigs. Bass fishing is picking up here as well with the best action found on plastics on the drop-shot or a similar finesse presentation over main lake points at depths to 20 feet.

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

McClure Reservoir

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

Ryan Cook of Ryan Cook’s Fishing is the organizer for the Third Annual Ed Lacy Memorial Tournament on Nov. 4 at Barrett’s Cove South at Lake McClure with the proceeds from the event dedicated to the Reel Warriors Foundation. Cook has been working with the foundation by taking two anglers out every month to fish for largemouth and spotted bass in one of the Mother Lode reservoirs. The Reel Warriors Foundation is “a group of combat veterans from different branches that have a love for fishing. Veterans returning from deployment or transitioning to civilian life face many challenges. Our goal is to provide a network of support and the opportunity for a brief break through offshore fishing trips with other veterans.” The organization originated in southern California, but it has recently expanded to northern California with a focus on freshwater fishing opportunities. Reel Warriors is one of many organizations who have sprung up across the United States to support combat veterans through the outdoors. Ed Lacy was an avid bass fisherman from Stockton, CA, and he was a regular client of Cook’s. After his untimely passing, Cook and Stage Shop in Atwater organized the first memorial tournament in 2021 with the proceeds going to the Gold Country Bass Tour. The cost is $200 per team “all in”, and it is designed for a two-person team, but a third member is possible in the boat if one is a veteran or an angler 15 years old or younger. There are no pre-sign ups, and registration will be open at 4:30 a.m. the morning of the event. Afterwards, there is a barbecue with weigh in at 2 p.m., followed by the award ceremony. McClure has been the steadiest of the Mother Lode reservoirs with numbers of spotted bass possible; however, landing large fish remains a challenge. This allows the tournament to be ‘anyone’s game,’ as whomever lands a larger-than-average bass or two will have the upper hand on the top places. Cook said, “Catching fish isn’t a problem but finding anything decent is tough. We have been scoring from 20 to 60 fish with 3/4th-ounce Hopkins Shorties in hammered metal along with small shad-patterned plastics or tubes in green pumpkin or shad patterns on the drop-shot or Neko-rig.”Crappie are biting Notorious Jigs in the coves, and there have been some limits removed from the lake. Trolling for holdover rainbow trout has been excellent for those trying, and the rainbows are found in the deep water 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 dropped over a half-foot per day, dropping 9 feet within two weeks to 812.45 feet in elevation and 67 percent.

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

McSwain Reservoir

Trout 3

Trout fishing has been solid from the banks in the early mornings or late afternoons as holdovers from the recent Merced Irrigation District’s Fall Trout Derby are found at the Brushpile, Handicapped Docks, or peninsula near the marina with Power Bait, nightcrawlers, or Kastmasters in blue/silver or gold. The water level will remain relatively stable throughout the year.

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

The lake continues to recede, dropping 9 feet this past week 473.52 feet in elevation and 28%. Due to the low water, the Tulare Police Activities League Fundraising Bass Tournament on Nov. 4 has been moved to the Fresno ramp, and it may be held at another body of water if the lake continues to drop past safe launching levels. Brandon Grimsley of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “I was out there on Saturday fishing from the shoreline with my son, and although the water was very low, I caught and released 6 or 7 spotted bass using small Keitech swimbaits or plastics on the drop-shot. There is a lot of shad in the lake.” Michael Spencer, adviser for the Roosevelt High School Bass Club said, “We had an amazing weekend at Millerton’s FamCamp with our friends, the RHS Outdoor Club. 24 students for 3 days of camping with 6 for the first time. Canoe trip, hiking, cook-outs, fishing, s’mores at the campfire, cut-throat games of Uno, coyotes yelping, owls hooting, tarantulas creeping, and a whole lot of fun and laughter. And thanks to many of you, we were camping with new tents and sleeping mats because our Donor’s Choose project was a huge success! This village is strong and the students are thriving. Quality outdoor recreation makes for a quality community- we believe it, we provide it, we live it, and we know it’s true.”Sycamore Park is open seven days per week. Sycamore Park Pond continues to kick out quality largemouth bass. Entry is free from Monday through Friday, and $9 per vehicle on weekends. Bass, bluegill, crappie, and catfish can be caught in all of them. Drinks, snacks, live worms, lures, and tackle are available onsite at the bait shop. Canoe and kayak rentals are available on the ponds for $10 per hour or bring your own hand-launched boat. The flows in the San Joaquin River at Friant are steady at 383 cfs.

Call: Valley Rod & Gun (559) 292-3474.

New Melones Reservoir/Tulloch

Bass 2 Crappie 2 Catfish 2 Trout 2 Kokanee 1

Bass fishing is showing signs of life as similar to the other Mother Lode lakes, the bass are focusing upon the shad schools in open water. Large topwater Spooks or other big walking-style baits are working when the fish are boiling on the surface while working submerged island tops with shad-patterned plastics on the drop-shot is another option. Holdover rainbow trout are also working the shad schools at depths from 50 to 70 feet and running shad-patterned spoons within the bait balls is your best bet. Finding the bait is the key.

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

The lake continues to release water, dropping 5 feet this week to 869.75 feet in elevation and 58 percent. Brandon Grimsley of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “The bass are holding around the shad schools, and there is a good spoon bite with small shad-patterned spoons.” Plastics on the drop-shot are also effective for the deep water fish. Trout trolling is picking up as the holdover rainbows are keying on the shad schools. Shad-patterned spoons trolled through the baitfish schools near the Power Lines are a good option. Crappie can be found around the docks or in the submerged brush. Catfish are possible near the Power Lines with chicken livers, cut baits, or Triple S Dip Bait. The flows on the lower Kings at Trimmer have dropped from 1465 to 849 cfs, and the last trout plant was over a month ago. The action has slowed for bait casters.

Call: Valley Rod & Gun (559) 292-3474; Sequoia Fishing Co. (559) 539-5626

San Luis Reservoir and O’Neill Forebay

Striper 2 Catfish 2 Bass 2 Crappie 2

High water levels leading to water diverted from the Sacramento and San Joaquin River watersheds to throughout central and southern California have led to outstanding striped bass action at both the main San Luis Reservoir and O’Neill Forebay. In past years, the main reservoir has dropped as low as 10% with a regular algae bloom during the summer months, but the main reservoir was in the high 90% range for months before steady water releases have brought it to its current state of 78 percent. Even though outgoing construction has limited launching a boat to Dinosaur Point on the north end of the lake off of Highway 152, interest in the lake has been extremely high due to the outstanding striped bass action. There are a variety of methods to land striped bass at the main lake and forebay, either by soaking bait, casting lures, drifting live jumbo minnows, or trolling large plugs.

For the past few months, striped bass fishing has been solid at both the main lake and forebay, and Josh Mesa of Coyote Bait and Tackle in Morgan Hill reported “San Luis Reservoir has been as good as in recent memory with outstanding striped bass action for bank and boat anglers. In the main lake, lure casters are tossing jerkbaits such as Duo Realis 120’s in Neo Pearl in the boils while bank anglers are soaking anchovies or jumbo minnows. We have been selling either a half-dozen or dozen jumbo minnows, and the reports are they are getting bit as soon as they drop toward the bottom. There is an early morning topwater bite with River2Sea Whopper Ploppers, the Berkley Choppo 30, or Heddon’s Spooks for linesides with a number of shakers in the mix.”

Roger George of Roger George Guide Service reported that the rapidly falling water of about a foot and a half a day - has greatly slowed the bite the last couple days for all the good anglers I’ve talked to that are fishing the lake a couple times a week. “. You need to be on top of what the bites really doing right now . I m having guys telling me how tough the bite has gotten and I tell them that the falling levels have created it. I fished Thursday with John Turner of Fresno, owner of Turner Security Systems , and the fish were very suspended and guys at the dock were complaining that the bite had changed. We only got 5 fish that day- but we were looking for a big one. It took all day but we finally got the one big bite I was looking for. The fish was 42” and right at 30 pounds a very healthy striper- that we released.. a new PB for John. The falling water has changed things rapidly and the bite can be very sporadic. “ George said.

High water levels created by heavy pumping out of the south Delta has led to outstanding summer and fall striped bass at San Luis but the rapid lake drawdown is changing the formula. . However, the wind can be a major problem at both lakes as two kayakers flipped over in the forebay recently, requiring a water rescue. 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

The bass bite is fair at best, but there is some action near the docks with crankbaits or finesse presentations. Small 3- to 4-inch swimbaits are also effective. Trout fishing has also slowed with the lack of planting since the annual trout derby in May. A webcam of the launch ramp is available at Call: Mike Beighey, Bass Lake Fishing (559) 676-8133

Edison/Florence/Mammoth Pool

The Kaiser Pass lakes are starting to release water with fewer anglers heading over the pass to fish the small impoundments, but Edison has been solid for rainbow trout near the inlet in the rear of the lake. Road conditions (559) 297-0706.

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

Shaver Lake/Huntington Lake

Shaver guide emeritus, Dick Nichols of Dick’s Fishing Charters said,Rainbow trout are found in front of the Tunnel and in Stevenson Bay. In search of the spawning kokanee eggs, the trout have moved into those locations. Fishing at 20 feet down using Dick’s Trout Busters tipped with crawler in pink/hartreuse or orange/green behind Dick’s Mountain Flashers at a 100-foot setback has been a good combination. There is still a second year kokanee bite near the island and Black Rock on orange Dick’s Mountain Hoochies tipped with corn behind a Dick’s Mountain Dodger at 30 to 40 feet deep, but for the second year kokanee, it’s hit or miss.” Shaver Marina closed on Oct. 15. Fishing remains slow at Huntington with high water limiting shore access along with heavy flows at Rancheria Creek.

A webcam of the Shaver launch ramp is at and for Huntington at

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 3

The Wishon RV Park and Store is closed for the season, but Brandon Grimsley of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “Courtright has been very strong for holdover rainbows for trollers pulling blade/’crawler combinations or hoochies at depths to 30 feet while shore anglers are scoring with Power Bait or nightcrawlers near the dam.” Both lakes have been much fuller than normal, but the lakes are starting to release water.

Call: Wishon RV Park 865-536


Half Moon Bay

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

Bluefin tuna overtook this port during the past week, but the weather had other ideas starting on Sunday. There is optimism for another window to break open. Michael Cabanas of the New Captain Pete is gearing up for crab-only trips starting Nov. 4th, and he anticipates using hoop nets at the start of the season. The closest deep water over 50 fathoms is at least 18 miles from the harbor, and a few boats have been heading to the deep for limits of big chili pepper rockfish along with black cod. The distance is too far to account for a rockfish/crab combination trip. 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 Bluefin tuna 2 Halibut 2 Striper 2 White seabass 2 Sand dabs 3 Surf perch 2

Chris Arcoleo of Chris’s Fishing and Whale Watching Trips in Monterey reported continued outstanding deep water rockfishing with 30 limits of vermilions on the Star of Monterey as part of limits of rockfish, and the lingcod counts are decent down south at Point Sur. There are plenty of deepwater areas off of Point Sur. They will be holding off on running crab trips until pots are available to be used as it is too difficult to use hoops in the deep water where are crab are found. There are still loads of whales in Monterey Bay, and all boats will be using hoops at the start of the season. Out of Moss Landing, similar to the other ports north of Montery, bluefin tuna struck hard during the past week with a few fish taken near the Davenport Fingers towards the Half Moon Bay Weather Buoy, but once again, the weather arriving on Sunday put a kibosh on the ability to run offshore. Rockfish trips continue to report limits of big cod from the depths beyond 300 feet. A few halibut are taken from the beaches by drifting live bait. Out of Santa Cruz, in addition to last week’s window for bluefin tuna, the deep reefs continue to kick out quick limits of cod, and the quality remains high. The big groundswell slowed down the lingcod action.

Josh Mesa of Coyote Bait and Tackle in Morgan Hill said, “The perch action off of Monterey slowed down due to the heavy grass in the surf along with a huge groundswell. The beaches off of Marina remain the best location for striped bass with Lucky Craft’s Flash Minnows, Miki’s, or topwater lures, but the overall action has slowed.”

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

Golden Gate/San Francisco Bay

Halibut 2 Bluefin tuna 2 Striper 2 Rockfish 3 Leopard shark 2 Sturgeon 2

The hysteria accompanies the presence of bluefin tuna in northern California waters came on with Round 3 this past week with hook ups from Monterey north to Shelter Cove, and the boats out of Half Moon, San Francisco, and Bodega Bays all got the invite to the party. The majority of the action took place near the Half Moon Bay Weather Buoy, but there were a number of fish landed outside of the continental shelf off of Bodega Bay. After a week of solid action, the weather window was shuttered once again on Sunday.

Captain Jerad Davis of the Salty Lady out of Sausalito put on a clinic during the week with an initial foray of two bluefin out of five hookups on Monday, followed by a highlining 5 bluefin to nearly 200 pounds out of seven hookups on Friday. He said, “We had taken a number of trips without the results we desired during the previous two weather windows, and it was really great to find success. You aren’t going to catch a number of bluefin in Nor Cal, but it certainly is a ‘feather in the cap,’ for a northern California angler to land one. We have developed a system of trolling at 8 knots and setting out the Madmac’s at 50, 70, and 90 seconds using 130-pound braid with 130-pound monofilament. After the early dry runs, I was kind of over it, but when the weather flattened out and the reports came in, I got fired up again. I hope we get another shot as there were bluefin landed into November last year.”

Captain James Smith of the California Dawn II finally took a day off from deepwater rockfishing to take an exploratory trip on Monday with two of his deckhands, and he said, “There was a five square mile area of breaking fish, and it was absolutely incredible. There were 200-pound tuna out there chasing anchovies, and I wish we had as much cooperation as there was the mass of fish. We were rewarded with a 130-pound bluefin trolling Madmac’s. I have been waiting for the right conditions to try my sonar for a night trip similar to trips in southern California, and we were able to get out on Saturday night. Unfortunately, our 140-mile round trip for nighttime bluefin wasn’t as expected as we found lots of south wind not forecast earlier in the day. The wind made conditions nearly impossible for jigging, but we made the best of it with only a few fish to stop on. It just wasn’t our night, but I plan on trying my hand again sometime next week as I think this has tremendous potential for the future. If you don’t try, you will never know.”

Inside the bay, limits of striped bass remain the rule throughout San Francisco Bay as there are schools of linesides in the south bay, the central bay, and San Pablo Bay. Even though it is nearly November, limits of halibut are possible as Captain Ron Koyasako of Nautilus Excursions out of San Francisco put his clients onto 8 limits of striped bass and halibut including a few halibut in excess of 20 pounds on Saturday. White sea bass have yet to decide to bite, but there is optimism for the coming weeks. The availability of live bait is important for all three species, and live bait is available at the San Francisco receiver, the receiver is open 6 a.m.-9 a.m. Friday-Monday with a goal of remaining open until the middle of November, but things are always subject to change.

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 Endeavor was on a full-day trip on Sunday with 18 anglers for limits of rockfish consisting of 72 vermilion, 80 assorted rockfish, and 28 Boccaccio while the Starfire was on a 3/4th- day on Sunday with 15 anglers for a limits of rockfish consisting of 10 vermilion, 10 Boccaccio, and 130 assorted rockfish. Virg’s Landing in Morro Bay sent out the Black Pearl on a 1.5-day trip on Saturday with 20 anglers for 80 vermilion (sub-limits), 60 assorted rockfish, and 50 Boccaccio. The Fiesta went on a 3/4th- day on Saturday with 28 passengers for 28 vermilion, 50 assorted rockfish, 25 Boccaccio, and a solitary lingcod. Out of Patriot Sport Fishing in Port San Luis, the Flying Fish and Patriot were out on 3/4th-day trips on Sunday with 19 passengers for 24 vermilion, 21 Boccaccio, 95 assorted rockfish and 2 lingcod. Webcams of many of the coastal locations are available at

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



Bass 2 Striper 2 Sturgeon 3 Catfish 2 Bluegill 3

Since the emergency regulations for white sturgeon have yet to go into effect due to the lengthy process of working through the Office of Administrative Law, sturgeon anglers are on the hunt, trying to mop up every legal sturgeon in the 40- to 60-inch range and fill 3-fish tags before the regulations change the slot to 42 to 48 inches and one-fish per year. Sturgeon have been willing accomplices in the act of looting as the action has been outstanding from Pittsburg west to past the Carquinez Bridge. The emergency regulations should go into effect by the printing of the next issue in early November, but in the meantime, it’s ‘Open Game’ for sturgeon in Suisun Bay.

For striped bass, the numbers of linesides have yet to arrive in bulk, and the consensus is that the fall run is around a month late due to all of the high and cold water in the system throughout the spring and summer. Jeff Soo Hoo of Soo Hoo’s Guide Service out of Lauritzen’s Yacht Harbor cancelled on Saturday due to wind, but he had found solid action earlier in the week, finding biting fish both trolling and drifting live minnows. He said, “Sunday was a challenge as we found the stripers lined up on the meter, but after a small window where all the rods were hooked up, the linesides stopped biting. They just quit, and it didn’t make sense since they were just stacked on the meter. We went from Broad Slough to Benicia, and earlier in the week, we found fish in Montezuma Slough.” There are still three distinct large schools of striped bass in San Francisco Bay including a recently found school in the South Bay. At some point, these fish should make their way into the Sacramento or San Joaquin River systems. There are still striped bass upriver at the mouth of the Feather River and into the Feather.

For largemouth bass, Randy Pringle, the Fishing Instructor, said, “Fishing is fair, but there aren’t a lot of big bass to be found. We will catch 3-pound fish, and every tournament will come up with 2 or 3 larger ones, but with all of the high water throughout the year, both the fish and the fishermen have yet to adjust. Tournament winning weights are far short of the Delta standard as they have been consistently in the 13-pound range. I have been working current, and the key is current, with the ima Squarebill in crawdad or bluegill patterns until the water cools down further. At that point, I will switch over to shad patterned squarebills. Bladed jigs, spinnerbaits, or the ima Glide Fluke are also working, but you have to be in current. If the weeds aren’t moving and bent over, the bass aren’t biting.”

Ryan Cook of Ryan Cook’s Fishing and Guide Service took a rare venture into the San Joaquin system to target largemouth bass with his wife, Diana, and longtime friend and mentor, Don Longston. He said, “We caught a number of bass using Senkos or on topwater lures such as Lunker Punker’s, but we were working outside of the grass line in current, ending up with a limit in the 16- to 18-pound range. We also picked up a few nice stripers as well.”

Alan Fong of Alan Fong Outdoors was up north at Liberty Island searching for striped bass. Finding no one home, they switched over to targeting largemouth bass and found success with Strike King’s Rage Craws or spinnerbaits for number of bass. He said, “We couldn’t find any large ones as the biggest fish was around 3 pounds. The stripers aren’t in their yet.”

The emergency regulations will be as follows:

  • Harvest will be reduced to one white sturgeon for 2023 and 2024. Catch and release fishing for white sturgeon will still be allowed with a valid sturgeon report card after one sturgeon is kept except for closures outlined in California Code of Regulations, title 14, sections 5.80(opens in new tab) and 27.95(opens in new tab).

  • The slot limit was reduced to 42-48 inches, and a limit of two fish per vessel per day was added.

  • Fishing for white sturgeon will also be closed seasonally upstream of the Highway 50 bridge on the Sacramento River and Interstate 5 bridge on the San Joaquin River from January 1 to May 31, 2024. This upstream area will re-open to catch and release fishing on June 1, 2024, once spawning season is over.

  • Sturgeon Report Cards purchased in the 2023 calendar year remain valid for the remainder of 2023. All reporting, tag and report card requirements remain in effect. Only one sturgeon harvest tag will be valid.

  • Any remaining sturgeon harvest tags beyond one still in possession for the 2023 calendar year will be invalid for the remainder of 2023 once the new regulations take effect.

  • Anglers that have already harvested one or more fish in 2023 will still be allowed to catch and release sturgeon for the remainder of 2023 with a valid Sturgeon Report Card.

  • The changes to sturgeon harvest regulations may cause a delay in availability of 2024 sturgeon report cards and the single harvest tag. Report cards for 2024 will be available for sale as soon as possible after Nov. 15, 2023, and before January 1, 2024. Sturgeon Report Card requirements will remain in effect for 2024.

  • CDFW is currently working on a white sturgeon regulation package to allow for limited harvest. The regulation package is scheduled to go through the Commission regulation setting process with a target effective date of January 2025.

In the south Delta below the Mossdale Bridge, catfish, bluegill, and red ear perch remain the top species with nightcrawlers for catfish or red or wax worms for the panfish. Fresh shad is available in Stockton-area bait shops.

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, spotted bass are congregating around the shad schools, and spoons or ice jigs are working for the deep fish. Shad-patterned plastics on the drop-shot or Texas-rig are another solid option. White bass are taken with shad-patterned spoons once the bait balls are located. Catfishing is best with anchovies or Triple S Dip Bait while crappie are found in the submerged structure with live minnows or minijigs. The lake dropped to 58%. A webcam of the lake is available at Lopez Lake dropped slightly to 95.5%, and the high water levels are quite a change from having the launch ramp unavailable within recent memory. The best bass action remains on the bottom with finesse presentations of plastics on the drop-shot, Ned-rig, dart head, or split-shot. Anglers can view a live webcam of the lake at At Santa Margarita, the lake is dropping slowly, and it is currently at 89.6%. Similar to the other coastal lakes, the levels are much higher than in past years, and the largemouth bass are holding in the submerged weeds. Chatterbaits, jerkbaits, or swimbaits are working along the outside weed line, and there is a window for topwater lures in the early mornings or evenings. Catfishing remains best with cut mackerel scented with garlic. A webcam of the lake is available at At San Antonio, the lake dropped to 64%. The lake is higher than it has been in years, and the bass remain spread out into deep water. Catfish remain the best option with chicken livers, mackerel soaked in garlic scent, or Triple S Dip Baits.

Reminder: consuming white bass, black bass, crappie, catfish, or carp are subject to safe eating guidelines due to excessive mercury.


Nov. 4-5

City of Pittsburg Fishing Derby – information:

Tournament results

Oct. 21

Tulloch – Sierra Bass Club

1st – John Albridrez – 10.34 pounds; 2nd – Dan Riportella – 9.66; 3rd – Chase Dixon – 9.28. (Big Fish – Jamal Lane – 4.05)

Upcoming tournaments (dates and locations subject to change)

Oct. 28-29

Don Pedro – California Bass Federation

Oct. 28

Hensley – Central Valley Kayak Fishing

Nov. 4-5

Delta/San Joaquin County – Valley Backlashers

Nov. 4

Delta/Brannan Island – Central Valley Anglers Striped Bass Derby

Delta/Contra Costa – Bass Anglers of Northern California

New Melones – Manteca Bassin’ Buddies

McClure – 3rd Annual Ed Lacy Memorial Bass Tournament

McClure – Kerman Bass Club/River Rat/Oro Madre Bass Club

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

Nov. 5

Don Pedro -Modesto Ambassadors

Millerton – Big Valley High School Anglers

Pine Flat – Kings River Bass Club

Nov. 11

Delta/Ladd’s Marina – Nor Cal Bass

Delta/Contra Costa – Delta Bass Club

Delta/B and W Resort – Santa Clara Bass Busters

Don Pedro – Sonora Bass Club/American Bass Association/

McClure – Fresno Bass Club/Angler’s Press

Pine Flat – Cope’s Tackle and Rod

Nacimiento – Bakersfield Bass Club

Nov. 12

Delta/Russo’s Marina – Hook, Line, and Sinker

New Hogan – Riverbank Bass Anglers

Don Pedro – Stanislaus County Sheriff’s

Kaweah – Kings VIII Bass Club

Nov. 18

Camanche – Yak-A-Bass

Don Pedro – Sierra Bass Club

McClure – Gilroy Bassmasters

Pine Flat – California Bass Nation

Nov. 19

Delta/Russo’s Marina – Delta Teen Team

Delta/Ladd’s Marina – American Bass Association

Nov. 24

Nacimiento – 805 Bass Addicts

For more go to