Fishing report, Feb. 21-27: Delta sturgeon and McSwain trout on tap, Isabella catfish are on the prowl and big bass at Eastman.

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 on tap, Steve Mitchell said. McSwain trout limits on tap, Dave Hurley reported. Lake Isabella catfish on the prowl, Copes Tackle said. Eastman kicking out big bass, Michael Crayne reported.


Westside waterways

Striper 2 Catfish 3

Fast flows and muddy water remain the theme in the California Aqueduct and Delta Mendota Canals. With the dirty water, soaking bait is the best option. In the south aqueduct in Kern County, Cope’s Rod and Tackle in Bakersfield reported aqueduct anglers took advantage of the nice weather before the recent storms to soak cut sardines, jumbo live minnows, or live worms after check gates. Jerkbaits, tube baits, or flukes on a jig head took fish during low light conditions. Catfish anglers did well with dip bait, chicken liver, or cut baits while largemouth fell for finesse baits in slower moving water.

Fishing Safety at the California Aqueduct

Anglers must be extremely cautious in the wet and slippery conditions on the concrete. The aqueduct has fast and deep currents – up to 30 feet in some places – so please heed all water safety tips, along with these tips for staying safe on the Aqueduct:

• Wear rubber-soled shoes for safe footing and life jacket.

• Never fish alone.

• Observe no trespassing and all signs, like restricting vehicles or bicycle use. Keep out of fenced areas.

• Stand back from the aqueduct’s steep, slippery, and difficult-to-climb sloping concrete sides.

• Look for the safety ladders and lines. Safety ladders along both sides of the aqueduct are spaced 500 feet apart and marked by bright yellow paint. The safety lines are strung on plastic floats, close to bridges and other structures that cross the Aqueduct. These ladders and lines can save your life.

• Do not go into the water to land a fish, recover fishing gear, or for any other reason.

• Take your own drinking water. The aqueduct water is untreated and not safe to drink.

• Don’t play near the aqueduct.

• Don’t make fires.

• No camping.

• Don’t block vehicle access gates or roadways.

• Do not climb structures or fish from bridges crossing the aqueduct.

A map of the 16 designated fishing locations on the California aqueduct can be accessed through this link: What-We-Do/Recreation/Files/230424_SWP-Fishing-Guildines Locations_Online_FINAL.pdf.

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

Eastman Lake/Hensley Lake

Bass 3 Trout 2 Bluegill 2 Catfish 2 Crappie 2

Michael Crayne of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis reported huge largemouth bass at 13 and 9 pounds were caught and released this past week by anglers casting large trout patterned swimbaits such as Huddlestons. The larger bass are focusing on the recently planted rainbow trout to bulk up for pre-spawn. A ‘dead-stick’ presentation such as jigs or plastics on a shakey head, drop-shot, or Neko-rig with a heavy weight to get it to the bottom remains a solid option for numbers of smaller fish.

Planted trout are landed from the banks with Power Bait, nightcrawlers, or spoons. Crappie are found deep in the rockpiles or brush piles with minijigs. Hensley is improving slightly for bass in the 1- to 2-pound range with plastics in the shallows. Similar to Eastman, crappie or bluegill can be located around submerged structure. Eastman over a foot to 556.94 feet in elevation and 68% of capacity with Hensley rose 2 feet to 484.44 feet in elevation and 27% of capacity. A double trout plant is scheduled at Eastman this week with a single plant at Hensley.

Call: Eastman Lake (559) 689-3255; Valley Rod & Gun, Clovis (559) 292-3474; 559 Fresno Bait and Tackle (559) 515-6273. 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

High winds and stormy weather continue to be the story, but the bass action is showing clear signs of life with a near 20-pound limit winning Saturday’s well attended Christian Bass League tournament. This is good news for the nine remaining bass tournaments during February and March. The larger fish are taken on glide baits or trout-patterned swimbaits with finesse techniques working for numbers of mostly spotted bass.” For rainbow trout, the action has slowed with the stained water in the inlets. There is daily vehicle fee of $20 and with an additional $15 for boat launch. The lake dropped slightly to 799.03 feet in elevation and 82% of capacity. Updates on the launch ramp are available at https://

Call: Monte Smith, Gold Country Sport Fishing (209) 581-4734; Central Valley Bait and Tackle (209) 312-9417.

Lake Isabella/Bakersfield area

Bass 2 Trout 2 Crappie 2 Catfish 3 Bluegill 3

The lake rose slightly to 2,567.83 feet in elevation and 38% despite minimal water releases from the dam at 313 cfs at First Point. Cope’s Rod and Tackle in Bakersfield reported boaters are finding solid catfish action in deep water from 40 to 60 feet as the whiskerfish are feeding on the live shad schools. Catfishing from shore is slow, but they can be found with cut baits, dip baits, and nightcrawlers. The trout plant a couple weeks ago has improved action, and anglers are scoring with live red worms, spinners, garlic rainbow Power Bait, or minijigs. Boaters trolling Needlefish or similar shad-patterned spoons around the dam have picked a few quality rainbows. Crappie seem to be getting more active and are holding around structure in 20 to 25 feet deep with crappie jigs and small/medium

minnows. The bass bite is fair in deep water with Heddon’s Sonars, spoons, or ice jigs.

The 33rd Annual Kern River Valley Chamber of Commerce Isabella Lake will be held from March 23-25. Adult entry is $40, youth entry $15. Information and registration is available at isabellalakefishingderby.

Cope’s reported the upper Kern River was once again stocked in all three sections, and trout fishing is strong with trout jigs, salmon eggs, spinners, or Power Bait while fly fishing has been best later in the afternoons with nymphs or streamers. Section 4, Riverside Park in Kernville to Powerhouse #3 will be stocked. The lower Kern River was stocked with trout last week in all three sections, Section 1, Lower Richbar to Democrat Beach, and Section 2, Democrat Beach to Sandy Flat; and Section 3, Sandy Flat to Isabella Dam. Trout have been going for minijigs, salmon eggs, or Power Bait. The :ower Kern bass bite is fair to good on crankbaits, jigs, and spinners. Catfish can be found on dip bait, nightcrawlers, or cut baits. The flows on upper Kern at Kernville rose from 567 to 627 cfs. The local lakes of River Walk and Ming are scheduled for trout plants this week.

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 dropped 4 feet to 617.45 feet in elevation and 18% of capacity. Cope’s Rod and Tackle in Bakersfield reported fair fishing with spotted bass found from 10 to 40 feet with plastics on the drop-shot or similar finesse techniques. Dragging the bait slowly along the bottom is the most effective method to entice strikes. Vertical jigging with small spoons in deep water is another option. Crappie action has been ‘hit or miss’ with Keitech swimbaits or small to medium minnows once locating the schools within submerged structure. Catfishing is fair at best with Triple S Dip Bait, sardines, or anchovies. Trout fishermen are picking up a few planters with Power Bait, minijigs, or Kastmasters near the marina. The Kaweah River at Three Rivers rose from 82 to 334 cfs.

Lake Success

Bass 2 Crappie 2 Trout 2 Catfish 2

The lake rose 2 feet to 617.92 feet in elevation and 32% of capacity. Cope’s Rod and Tackle in Bakersfield reported fair bass action with Roboworm’s in the Peoples Worm, Margarita Mutilator, or green pumpkin on the drop-shot, Ned-rig, or Carolina-rig in deep water. Crankbaits and spoons worked for anglers willing to make numerous casts along main lake points and over submerged humps. Catfish picked up cut baits, chicken liver, or Triple S Dip Bait while recently planted rainbow trout were landed on Power Bait, in-line spinners, or spoons. Another trout plant is scheduled this week.

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 2 Catfish 2 Similar to the other Mother Lode reservoirs, the larger cut of bass are found on swimbaits in the shallows, particularly in the slightly warmer waters of the afternoons, but the most consistent bite continues to be with finesse presentations in deep water or humps or submerged islands in the main lake. Crappie have gone deep, but they can be found in certain submerged brush piles or trees with live minnows or minijigs. With the warmer than normal water, catfishing is fair with chicken livers, nightcrawlers, or cut baits. The lake dropped 2.5 feet 804.85 feet in elevation and 63% of capacity. The Barrett Cove South Marina and Café will open under new ownership weekends-only through Memorial Day starting March 30. Six bass tournaments are scheduled on the lake through March 2. Call: Central Valley Bait and Tackle (209) 312-9417.

Lake McSwain

Trout 3

Another 6,400 pounds of Calaveras Trout Farm rainbow trout were released into the lake last week, bringing the total to more than 26,000 pounds since the New Year. Quick limits of the planters remain the story at the regular locations of the Brush Pile, the Handicapped Docks, and the peninsula near the marina, and the angling pressure remains heavy. Similar to past weeks, limits are taken using rainbow garlic Power Bait, nightcrawlers, Berkley Mice Tails, or Kastmasters in gold or blue/chrome continue to be effective. Trout plants will continue through the spring months in preparation for the spring Merced Irrigation Trout Derby in April.

A few trollers are working the river arm from the First Fence Line to the Second Fence Line with Ruby Red Wedding Rings tipped with a nightcrawler, blade/crawler combinations, or Kastmasters. The lake held at 85% of capacity.

The McSwain Marina is closed through March 30 before opening for weekends only from April 1 through May 31. 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 was the location for the Saturday Feb. 17 Best Bass Tournament with 15 boats, and as anticipated, the overall action was tough.

Joe Gardiner fished solo for top weight of 9.57 pounds with a big fish of 2.75, using 1/2-ounce jigs in green pumpkin on 15-pound test at depths from 10 to 15 feet near submerged brush piles in the main lake.

The second-place team of Ron and Jeremy Pitts dead-sticked a 6- inch green pumpkin worm on a shakey head at depths from 20 to 40 feet. Both Michael Crayne of Valley Rod and Gun confirmed the tough bass bite as most bass anglers are heading to other lakes. The best action is up the river arm with underspins, swimbaits, finesse jigs, or small plastics on a drop-shot. Crappie continue to be found in deep water around submerged brush or rock piles, but you must hunt to find the slabs with electronics. The lake rose3 feet to 531.20 feet in elevation and 61% of capacity.

Sycamore Island is open once daily from 6 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. The flows in the San Joaquin River at Friant rose slightly to 566 cfs.

A trout plant is scheduled for Sycamore Island this week.

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 2 Kokanee 1

Bass fishing is showing signs of improvement here as the 41-boat two-day Future Pro event produced a winning 10-fish limit at over 32 pounds with the top three finishers posting over 29 pounds.

“We were doing very well before the arrival of the storms, but it has gotten slower with an average of 15 to 20 bass per trip,” John Liechty of Xperience Bass Fishing Guide Service said. Plastics on a shakey head or drop-shot along with jigs are the best producers for numbers, but there is the occasional quality largemouth or spotted bass taken on rainbow trout patterned swimbaits for those willing to cast the big lures all day. The slowdown on the trout bite continues as regular guides are working at nearby lakes such as Camanche, Amador, or Pardee to take advantage of the concessionaire’s planting programs.

Apex lures. Wiggle Hoochies, or shad-patterned spoons near the surface along with Rapalas on side planters remain the best options.

The Kokanee Power net pens are loaded with rainbows, and they will be released in the spring. New Melones has a daily use fee of $8 with a boat launch of $10 (day use included). The lake dropped 1 1/2 feet at 1049.25 feet in elevation and 82% of capacity. Nine bass tournaments are scheduled within the next two months including three large tournaments.

Call: John Liechty, Xperience Fishing Guide Service (209) 743-9932; 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

Michael Crayne of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis reported an overall slow bass bite with the best action with finesse techniques. The Kern County Bassmasters brought out 28 boats to Deer Creek on Saturday Feb. 17 for a winning limit at 12.76 pounds with a big fish at 4.64 by the team of David Childress and Nathan Towes.

Trout and king salmon have been taken at depths from 40 to 60 feet with shad patterned spoons such as Needlefish in Cop Car or blue/silver along with blade/’crawler combinations as the fish are holding around the shad schools, Crayne said.

Find the shad, and you will find the trout and salmon. Crappie continues to be decent in submerged brush piles or rock in deep water with a variety of crappie jigs. In the lower Kings, another trout plant is scheduled this week, and the recent trout plants have brought out the anglers. Atomic Tubes, spinners, nightcrawlers, or Power Bait are working for up to limits and finding less pressured water is the key. Avocado Lake has also been busy due to the recent trout plants, and another plant is scheduled this week. The flows on the lower Kings at Trimmer have risen to 957 cfs while the lake rose 3 feet to 892.51 feet in elevation and 69% of capacity. Pine Flat is hosting most tournaments in the region over the next two months with six more events scheduled.

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

High winds have kept boaters off the water for most of the week. With the muddy water along the shoreline, bait fishing with anchovies has been best. The reaction bite has slowed with the muddy water. The banks around Dinosaur Point continue to produce keeper stripers to 7 pounds on sardines, anchovies, pile worms, or blood worms.

In the O’Neill Forebay, the water is also getting dirt, and largemouth bass remain the best bet with Senkos or jigs flipped into the tules. Keeper stripers are found with jerkbaits.”

Roger George of Roger George Guide Service said that the overall bite in the lower visibility runoff water changed the bite quite a bit.

“ I scouted hard again on Friday and finally found some active fish in the main lake that were biting our Lucky Craft Shad colored baits working at 50 feet plus. My buddy Sonny Johansen of Clovis and I were able to release over 30 fish to 25 inches, moving from area to area when the fish stopped biting. This year we’re seeing a new class of smaller fish in the 15-20” range that may sometimes show up in the area you’re fishing- but this new class of upcoming schoolies is a very good sign that the lake is healthy. Finding the moving schools of fish is the key right now. Most of our fish on Friday averaged about 20-21” overall. The current storms and rising water, plus the full moon on Friday may slow the bite this week. “ George said.

The main lake rose to 66% of capacity with the forebay holding at 87% of capacity.

To check the wind conditions on the lake - use san_luis_reservoir.

Call: Coyote Bait and Tackle (408) 463-0711, Roger

George, (559) 905-2954

High Sierra

Bass Lake

Bass 2 Trout 2 Kokanee 0

Mike Beighey of Bass Lake Guide Service said, “With the recent storms, the lake has come up enough to launch and troll the lake. Quality rainbows are being caught in front of Miller’s Landing on Dick’s Mountain Tubes in orange with a tip of crawler or maggots, behind Dick’s Blue Fin Mountain Dodgers. Rocky Mountain Tackle’s Red Plankton with maggots behind a blue dodger has also been effective. The current storm will keep most off the lake. The water level continues to rise with each storm. I am taking reservations for what I feel will be an excellent season for both trout and kokanee. The ramps are open.” A webcam of the launch ramp is available at

Call: Mike Beighey, Bass Lake Fishing (559) 676-8133.

Edison/Florence/Mammoth Pool

The gate to Kaiser Pass Road remains closed.The Kaiser Pass lakes are starting to release water with fewer anglers heading over the pass to fish the small impoundments. Edison held at 32% of capacity with Florence rising to 13% while Mammoth Pool held at 34%.

Road conditions (559) 297-0706.

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

Shaver Lake/Huntington Lake

Trout 2 Kokanee 2

“Storms have been hitting Shaver with a mixture of rain and snow. Prior to the storms, few fishermen were on the lake, probably due to the cold weather,” Shaver guide emeritus, Dick Nichols of Mountain Tackle said. “I talked to a local fisherman who has fished Shaver three times between storms, and he said he had had no problem catching kokanee with spinner hoochies, Koke Busters, or Mountain Tubes in purple, orange, or combo tipped with scented corn behind a Mountain Dodger at depths from 25 to 35 feet from the island along Fisherman’s Club to Stevenson Creek. The trout bite helps finish a limit or two of mixed fish. There was a decent trout bite near the dam and the island to Black Rock. Some yearling trout could be found in Stevenson Bay and the Tunnel Creek areas from the surface to 25 feet down with orange/ green or orange/chartreuse Trout Busters with a piece of crawler behind a Mountain Flasher or Dodger.”

A webcam of the Shaver launch ramp is at and for Huntington at Shaver is at 48% of capacity with Huntington dropping to 37%.

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 0

The gate to McKinley Grove Road closed on Dec. 1, limiting access to the high elevation lakes. The road is anticipated to be reopened in April. Call: Wishon RV Park (559) 865-5361.


Half Moon Bay

Striper 2 Halibut 2 White seabass 1 Sand dabs 3 Surf perch 3 crabs 3 10-crab limits remain a possibility, but the New Captain Pete has completed their crab season to head to the boatyard for annual maintenance. There are six-packs and large party boats still opting for crab-only trips. Commercial crabbers are selling live Dungeness off the docks. The Pacifica Pier was closed over the weekend due to high winds and surf, but it was scheduled to reopen on Tuesday, Feb. 20.

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

Halibut 2 Striper 2 White seabass 1 Sand dabs 3 Surf perch 2 The beaches have been pounded with huge waves for the past several weeks, and this past weekend was no exception. Ultimately, once the ocean settles down, perch fishing should be outstanding with the development of all the new structure. The big perch fishing event of the year is only a few weeks away with 300 participants in the annual Sand Crab Classic Surf Perch Derby out of Santa Cruz on March 9. Out of Chris’s Fishing and Whale Watching Trips in Monterey, whale watching make up most of the ventures, but they are still running the occasional sand dab/ Petrale sole/Dungeness crab combination trip depending upon weather conditions and interest.

“Location, location, location,” Allen Bushnell of Santa Cruz Kayak Fishing and Surf Casting Guide Service said. “We’ve heard real estate brokers touting that to us for years. Property values vary according to the area of location. Well, the same might be said for fishing. As avid anglers, of course we want to be where the fish are.

“And fish swim. They’re not always in the same place. Nowhere is this concept more vital than for us surfcasters. The nearshore environment is relatively fluid, moving all the time and in a constant state of remaking itself according to waves, swells, currents, and wind. Recognizing underwater structure in the surf zone is a key element for success at catching fish from the beach. Keeping track of these changes is fundamental to surfcasting. Equally important as the “where” we’re going to fish is the “when.” Surfperch and stripers seem to prefer lower light conditions, so dawn and dusk are naturally preferred times of day to hit the beach for a couple hundred casts or so. Even more important in our timing is the height of the tide. A familiar adage suggests “two hours before and two hours after high tide.” As a rule of thumb, this is useful advice to follow because the water is deepest through high tide. But depending on the particular beach and current structure, anglers sometimes find more success on a lower tide, which may serve to allow closer access to the deep holes and troughs just out of casting range when the tide is all the way up the beach.”

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

Golden Gate/San Francisco Bay

Halibut 4 Striper 3 Leopard shark 2 Sturgeon 2 Crab 3

The 2024 salmon season setting process started last week with the Pacific Fisheries Management Council (PFMC) Salmon Technical Team releasing the Sacramento and Klamath River escapement numbers on Feb. 14. Salmon escapement is the amount of a salmon population that does not get caught by commercial or recreational fisheries and return to their freshwater spawning habitat. For the first time in nearly six years, the annual escapement goal of the fall run on the Klamath came in at over 40,000 adult salmon. 133,638 adult fall-run salmon along with 11,933 jacks returned to the combined Sacramento, American, Yuba, and Feather Rivers. This is above the minimum escapement of 122,000 adult fall-run Chinook salmon. Inland escapements from other western states will also be released followed by Oregon’s salmon meeting with Oregon inland numbers and future fisheries estimates on Feb. 28. The California Fish and Game Commission will also receive an update and discuss the PFMC process and timeline during their Feb. 14-15 meeting. From Feb. 20-23, the PFMC Salmon Technical Team will meet m to complete the preseason report providing abundance forecast estimates for key salmon stocks and other information pertinent to the development of management options. This report will be available online in early March at

The next major event will be the annual Salmon Information Meeting by the Department of Fish and Wildlife on March 1. This meeting will cover 2023 spawner abundances returning to the Central Valley and Klamath Basins, 2024 abundance forecasts, and management context guiding the development and implementation of 2024 ocean salmon fisheries. The public are invited to learn about pertinent data and management context shaping the upcoming ocean salmon season, but this meeting will be hosted as a webinar only. The meeting agenda and other materials will be posted at https:// when available. This meeting will be followed by a PFMC meeting on March 6-11 in Fresno to determine whether any in-season actions are required for fisheries scheduled to open prior to May 16. They will also craft three regulatory alternatives for ocean salmon fisheries in effect on or after May 16. Final adoption of alternatives for public review is tentatively scheduled for March 11.

This will be followed by a PFMC public hearing from 7 to 9 p.m. in Santa Rosa to hear comments from the public on the three alternatives. Finally, the PFMC will meet from April 6 to 11 in Seattle to adopt the final regulatory measures for analysis by the Salmon Technical Team. Final adoption of recommendations to the National Marine Fisheries Service will also occur and is tentatively scheduled for April 11. This will be followed by a California Fish and Game Commission meeting on April 17-18 to receive and update on ocean salmon sport fishery regulations in effect in 2024.

It’s far too early to tell what the possibilities are for the upcoming salmon season, and there is talk of a few windows where fishing will be allowed. There isn’t much optimism for anything less than a few bubbles of a season due to the once again absolutely paltry returns in the upper Sacramento River, especially in a year where no commercial or recreational salmon fishing was allowed.

On the rockfish front, the nearshore season less that 300 feet in depth was shut down early in 2023 due to the scarcity of quillback rockfish, but since the range of the quillback is normally from 120 to 300 feet, changes are proposed for the 2024 rockfish season. Two options have been proposed with Option One being April greater than 300 feet, May and June less than 120 feet, July greater than 300 feet, August/September less than 120 feet, October greater than 300 feet, and November/December less than 120 feet.

Option Two is April greater than 300 feet, May through September less than 120 feet, October greater than 300 feet, and November-December less than 120 feet. Both options have no retention of quillback or yelloweye rockfish with sub limits for copper and vermilion rockfish. The 2024 season will be determined during the PFMC meeting in March.

Crab-only or Petrale sole/sand dab/crab combination trips remain the only game in town until the reopening of rockfish season; however, the ocean conditions have kept any boats even thinking about heading outside the gate tied to the docks. There are still a few commercial vessels selling live Dungeness crab off the docks, but most of the boats have stacked their gear. Inside the bay, Patrick Clifton of Loch Lomond Bait and Tackle in San Rafael reported a continued solid striped bass bite near the Pumphouse, China Camp, or from the McNear’s Pier with ghost or grass shrimp. Both the Petaluma and Napa Rivers have been outstanding for striped bass as well.

March 2 is the first day of operations for Emeryville Sport Fishing boats, and they will be offering halibut/crab combination trips as well as striped bass and shark trips. Live bait won’t be available so it will be trolling with frozen herring or anchovies along with hoochies. Herring spawns have been few and far between.

For the third year in a row, sturgeon fishing remains very slow in San Pablo Bay despite the herring spawns. The annual central bay closure for white sturgeon continues through March 15. During this period, white sturgeon may not be taken in the following described area: That portion of San Francisco Bay included within the following boundaries: A direct line between Pt. Chauncy (National Marine Fisheries Laboratory) and Pt. Richmond, the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge and a direct line between Pt. Lobos and Pt. Bonita.

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

Surf perch 3

Until the 2024 rockfish season is announced, boats from Morro Bay and Port San Luis will be running whale watching and nature trips until the 2024 rockfish season is open. Regulations are being formulated for the upcoming rockfish season, and significant changes are anticipated once again. 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

The visibility on the Sacramento side of the Delta has decreased to around an inch due to heavy inflow from the recent storms along with increased water releases from upstream reservoirs to make room for additional inflow. The warm temperature remains in the low 50-degree range, and the warm muddy water has been excellent for sturgeon fishing while leaving striped and largemouth bass action hanging on for a few more weeks. Despite outstanding sturgeon fishing between Pittsburg and Martinez, most of the six-pack boats remained tied to the docks. The trips offer the opportunity to fight the largest freshwater fish on the West Coast, but the mindset of northern California anglers remain with the desire to keep a sturgeon. The emergency regulations limit a boat to only two fish per day along with an annual bag limit of one sturgeon between 42 and 48 inches. The Department of Fish and Wildlife has proposed a lottery system with a total of 1300 sturgeon tags to be selected by random and preference points sold at $5/apiece. All anglers targeting sturgeon will need to purchase an annual Sturgeon Report Card to catch-and-release. Under this proposal to be adopted by the Fish and Game Commission by June, the sturgeon slot-limit would be between 40 and 55 inches. Captain Steve Mitchell of Hook’d Up Sport Fishing out of Pittsburg continues to find solid action with multiple undersized and oversized sturgeon with the occasional fish falling within the current slot. Cured salmon roe, ghost shrimp, grass shrimp, or eel. Captain Zack Medinas of Gatecrasher Fishing Adventures is the original catch-and-release six pack for white sturgeon, and he said, “We are getting close to the best time of the year as March and April are always great months for sturgeon fishing. We were out twice over the past few days with a total of 6 sturgeon released.

There have been a number of sturgeon under 40 inches as 2017 was a very good spawn year. Overall, there have been few private boaters out on the water this year with only a few six-packs out on occasion. The only other West Coast body of water that allows harvest of white sturgeon is the Columbia River in Washington/Oregon, and the season and slot limit is severely restricted. California’s regulations are starting to mirror those of Washington, Oregon, and Idaho. A different mindset needs to be developed to sustain this species. If you take care of the fish, you will take care of the fishermen.”

Although bass fishing has been slow in the dirty water, Sunday’s American Bass Association out of Ladd’s Marina in Stockton produced two limits over 24 pounds with the first-place limit only 0.06 ounces shy of 27 pounds by Delta stalwarts Mark Gomez and Juan Acosta. Finding clear water is the key along with throwing lures with thump and flash such as a white/chartreuse spinnerbait. The crappie bite east of Stockton off Eight Mile Road continues to be strong with small swimbaits or minijigs. With the water temperatures ranging from 53 to 58 degrees, once the Delta clear, the action for both striped and largemouth bass will be tremendous.

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. Soo Hoo Sport Fishing (925) 899-4045.


Feb. 24

Stockton – Free Coast Guard Boat Inspection at the Reel Custom Boat Shop, 8090 Rio Blanco Road from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

March 2

Oak Grove Regional Park – Bob McMillen Memorial Trout Derby

March 15-17

Bakersfield – Central Valley Sportsmen’s Boat and RV Show – information -

March 24

Oakley – Bass Hole Tackle Swap Meet – 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

April 6

Roosevelt High School Bass Fishing Club Spring Fishing Tackle Faire at The Boat Shoppe, 2125 Ventura Ave Fresno from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Tournament results

Feb. 17

Millerton – Sierra Bass Club

1st - Ron Orbaker – 10.29 pounds (Big Fish – 4.11); 2nd –Carlos Contreras Jr. – 5.94; 3rd – Mike Pawlowski – 5.83.

Millerton – Best Bass Tournaments

1st: Joe Gardiner – 9.57 pounds (Big Fish – 2.75); 2nd – Jeremy and Ron Pitts – 8.15; 3rd – Seth and Justin Rowe – 7.76.

Don Pedro – Christian Bass League

1st: Brian Dickson/Colin DeGough – 19.62 pounds; 2nd – Kirk Sakamoto/Keith Freisen – 15.60(Big Fish – 5.46); 3rd – Rick Fox/Cooper Scarbrough – 15.56.

Pine Flat – Kern County Bassmasters

1st: David Childress/ Nathan Towes – 12.76 pounds (Big Fish – 4.64); 2nd – Brian and Kennemer– 12.19; 3rd – Jeremy Barela/Jesse Aguilar – 10.40.

Feb. 17-18

New Melones –Future Pro Tour Classic Championship

1st: Halleib/Thurman – 32.43 pounds (Big Fish – 5.18); 2nd – Ballardo/Munoz– 29.65; 3rd – Luke Lipanovich/Joe Mariani – 29.47.

Feb. 18

Delta/Ladd’s Marina – American Bass Association

1st: Mark Gomez/Juan Acosta – 26.94 pounds; 2nd – Nicholas Kanemoto/Gary Wiedner – 24.20 (Big Fish – 7.06); 3rd – Chris Raza/Wesley Cook– 17.75.

Upcoming tournaments (dates and locations subject to change)

Feb. 24

Don Pedro – Nor Cal Bass

Millerton – Best Bass Tournaments

Pine Flat – Golden Empire Bass Club

Nacimiento – Best Bass Tournaments

Lopez – San Luis Obispo Bass Ambushers

Feb. 25

Delta/B and W Resort – California Bass Federation

March 2

Delta/Russo’s Marina – American Bass Association

New Melones – Angler’s Press

Tulloch – Manteca Bassin’ Buddies

Eastman – Kerman Bass Club

Pine Flat – Central Valley Kayak Fishing

March 3

Lake Pardee – Riverbank Bass Anglers

March 5

Santa Margarita – Bakersfield Bass Club

March 9-10

Don Pedro – Fresno Bass Club

Lake Success – Cen Cal Elite Bass Tournaments

March 9

Lake Camanche – Central Valley Anglers Team Trout Derby – Information: (209) 479-4172

Bass Lake – 559 Bass Kayak

Santa Margarita – American Bass Association

March 10

Delta/Russo’s Marina – Bass Hole LLC

Pine Flat – California Bass Nation

Kaweah – Kings VIII Bass Club

March 16-17

Pardee – Yak-A-Bass

Kaweah – Lahu Bass Club

March 16

Camanche – 17/90 Bass Club

New Melones – Best Bass Tournaments/Santa Clara Bass Busters Tulloch – Valley Backlashers

Don Pedro – Sierra Bass Club

Hensley – Kerman Bass Club

Bass Lake – Kings VIII

Murry Park Pond – City of Porterville

Success – Kern County Bassmasters

Santa Margarita – Best Bass Tournaments/San Luis Obispo Bass Ambushers

March 17

Lake Camanche – Best Bass Teen Tournaments

New Melones – Kings River Bass Club

Pine Flat – Bass 101

March 23-24

Don Pedro – Cen Cal Elite Bass Tournaments

March 23

Delta/Ladd’s Marina – Christian Bass League

Pardee – Bass Anglers of Northern California

Tulloch – Nor Cal Bass

San Antonio – Golden Empire Bass Club

March 24

Delta/B and W Resort – California Bass Federation

Delta/Ladd’s Marina – Modesto Ambassadors

Salt Springs – Bass ‘N Tubes

March 29

Don Pedro – E and J Gallo Winery

March 30

Bass Lake – California Bass Federation

Santa Margarita – 805 Bass Addicts

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