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Fishing Report for week of Jan. 16: Pine Flat bass and trout biting, Eastman still hot

The Fresno Bee

By Roger George And Dave Hurley
Special to The Bee

January 16, 2018

Joe O’Brien and Steve O’Brien Jr. show off their 21.08-pound catch that won the Christian Bass League tournament Jan. 13 at Lake Don Pedro.

Joe O’Brien and Steve O’Brien Jr. show off their 21.08-pound catch that won the Christian Bass League tournament Jan. 13 at Lake Don Pedro. Christian Bass League

Read more here:

Compiled by Dave Hurley and edited by Roger George, a former Olympic-class decathlete at Fresno State and striper record-holder at Millerton Lake and who now guides in the greater Fresno area. Telephone numbers are in 559 calling area unless noted.

Photo gallery

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Best bets

Delta stripers and sturgeon react to warming water, Randy Pringle said. New Melones bass, crappie and trout action good, John Liechty reported. Pine Flat bass and trout biting, and Eastman remains the best big bass bet ,Steve Newman said. San Luis the place for stripers, Paul Jolley reported. Kaweah bass on solid bite, Pete Cormier said. McClure bass bite steady, Dave Hurley reported.


1-Try dynamite

2-Have to work hard

3-Limits possible

4-Fish jumpin’ in boat


Delta Mendota Canal and Sloughs

Striper 2 Catfish 2

The interest in the aqueducts remains slow as most are bypassing the water conveyance systems to head north to the main San Luis Reservoir. The aqueducts have been quiet for several months, but there is water moving south through the system, and the bait is accumulating near the headgates when the water is being pumped. In the south, Pete Cormier of Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield said, “Most of our aqueduct fishermen are focusing on trout in the lower Kern River or the local lakes.”

Call: Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis 292-3474; Bob’s Bait Bucket 661-833-8657

Eastman Lake

Bass 3 Trout 2 Bluegill 2 Catfish 2 Crappie 2

Steve Newman of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis reported quality bass over 4 pounds are taken on the bottom with rainbow trout swimbaits on a slow roll, and he said, “The bigger fish have grouped up, and if you find them, stay on them, but if they are not biting, come back later to the same spots as they may go. It is a morning to evening bite, and River2Sea’s Swavers and Huddlestons are working at depths from 10 to 40 feet. There is also a good bite with plastics on the Texas-rig or ned rig in deep water above rockpiles as well as deep-diving crankbaits or Rat-L-Traps. The water is a big dingy in the river arm so noise-creating baits are working best.” Eastman held at 58 percent.

Call: Six Star Tackle Box 673-5688; Eastman Lake 689-3255

Hensley Lake

Bass 2 Trout 2 Catfish 2 Bluegill 2 Crappie 2

Not much change at this lake with most fishermen heading to Eastman or Pine Flat for bass. Small bass can be taken from the shorelines with finesse techniques, but the majority of action is for catfish or rainbow trout from the banks. The lake held at 21 percent.

Call: Valley Rod Gun, Clovis 292-3474; Six Star Tackle Box 673-5688; U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Hensley Lake Hidden Dam 673-5151

Lake Don Pedro

Bass 2 Trout 2 Kokanee 1 King salmon 1 Crappie 2

Trout trollers have been primarily absent from the lake over the past few weeks, but there are quality rainbows to be found with shad-patterned spoons around the shad schools. The bait has scattered and dropped in the water column. The lake is still clear despite last week’s rain, and more rain is necessary to improve the trout bite. The bass are following shad into deeper water, and jigs, plastics on the drop-shot and swimbaits on a slow roll are the top techniques. The lake rose to 81 percent.

Call: Monte Smith 209-581-4734; Gary Vella 209-652-7550

Lake Isabella/Bakersfield area

Bass 2 Trout 3 Crappie 2 Catfish 2 Bluegill 2

Pete Cormier of Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield said, “There is a good bite on the lower Kern River near Hobo Campground with Power Bait in Chunky Cheese, rainbow garlic, or garlic/garlic or Sierra Slammers 1/32nd ounce minijigs. The local lakes of Ming, Truxton, Hart Park, and River Walk are good for a few days after the plants, but the action falls off quickly within a couple of days.” The upper river has slowed with the lack of plants and lower flows, and the upper river is closed above the Johnsondale Bridge. Few anglers continue to head up to Lake Isabella, where catfish remain the staple with frozen clams, sardines or anchovies. A trout plant took place at the lake last week. Lake Isabella held at 29 percent.

Call: Bob’s Bait Bucket 661-833-8657; North Fork Marina 760-376-1812

Lake Kaweah

Bass 3 Crappie 1 Trout 2 Catfish 2

Pete Cormier of Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield reported a solid largemouth bite with large minnows with local anglers making the trek north for up to 30 bass on the live bait. There is a deep spoon bite with ice jigs or Silver Buddies on the bottom. The lake rose to 10 percent. When the lake is this low, there are limited locations holding the best quality fish. Planted trout are generating interest with Power Bait, Mice Tails or Kastmasters from the 2nd Launch Ramp.

Call: Sierra Sporting Goods 592-5212

Lake Success

Bass 2 Trout 2 Catfish 2 Crappie 2 Bluegill 2

Chuck Stokke of Sequoia Fishing Company in Springville said, “The action has been similar to last week with the trout plants bringing in a number of shore anglers soaking Power Bait or nightcrawlers along with tossing Kastmasters for the planters. Bass fishing remains sporadic due to the bass being hard to locate. They seem to be in different locations on a daily basis.” Steve Newman of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis reported a solid deep bite with Silver Buddies or ice jigs. He said, “This bite traditionally lasts for a few weeks every year, and once it is over, it is over, but there are big fish to be taken this way.” The Lake Success largemouth record was taken on a Silver Buddy at 19 pounds .05 ounces by Larry Kerns of the Visalia Bass Club on Jan. 27, 2001. The lake rose slightly to 15 percent. In the Tule River, Stokke reported fair action with nymphs and Woolley Buggers, and the warmer temperatures have helped the bite.”

Call: Sequoia Fishing Co. 539-5626,

McClure Reservoir

Bass 3 Trout 2 King salmon 1 Kokanee 0 Crappie 1 Catfish 2

The Best Bass Tournaments held an event Saturday with 48 limits to over 13 pounds weighed in by 55 boats. The bite is best with finesse techniques at depths from 35 to 50 feet with plastics on the shaky head, drop-shot or dart head along with Berserk’s Purple Hornet jig. The tournament winners took their fish on jigs or shaky-head worms, and you had to search to find the fish. Light line is a must with the finesse technique. A larger grade of bass can be found on reaction baits, but these fish are hard to locate. The lake held at 65 percent.

McSwain Reservoir

Trout 2

Anglers should check the marina for upcoming trout plants as 1,000 pounds of rainbow trout was released into the lake a few weeks back including 250 pounds of trophy-sized trout, and the bite from the shoreline from the normal locations of the Handicapped Docks, Brush Pile or peninsula around the marina has improved with trout dough bait in garlic or Power Eggs. Kastmasters are working on sunny days.

Call: McSwain Marina 209-378-2534

Millerton Lake/

San Joaquin River

Bass 3 Striped Bass 1 Shad 1 Bluegill 2 Crappie 1 Trout 2

Steve Newman of Valley Rod and Gun said, “Numbers of spotted bass are available in the 1.5- to 2-pound range with finesse techniques of plastics on the drop-shot, dart head or shaky head. More bass in the 4- to 5-pound range are showing up, and these fish are mixed in with the smaller grade. The fish remain scattered in both the main lake and in the river arm. Stripers are starting to appear in Squaw Cove working the edges for shad.” The lake held at 68 percent this week.

Call: Valley Rod & Gun 292-3474

New Melones


Bass 3 Crappie 3 Catfish 2 Trout 3 Kokanee 1

New Melones continues to kick out spotted bass for experienced anglers, and the action for big fish should be heating up within the next few weeks. Rainbow trout trollers have been hitting the lake for the chance at a trophy trout, and there are reports of big crappie taken near the docks.

John Liechty of Xperience Fishing Guide Service said, “We were out on Sunday in beautiful weather conditions, and we caught and released a number of quality spotted bass. Finesse techniques of drop-shotting or shaky head at depths from 30 to 50 feet was the way to go as the conditions were not right for tossing swimbaits. We tried near the shoreline with swimbaits, but the water in the main lake remains very clear. Dragging a Carolina-rig was also productive as the bass are focusing on sculpin, crawdad or shad patterns. The water temperatures are very warm for this time of year at 56 degrees. This is the temperature range that we look for when we chase big fish in the spring, but it is hard to tell when the big fish will emerge. I anticipate that this will happen within a few weeks by mid-February.”

Trout trollers continue to roll shad or run shad-patterned spoons for the opportunity for big rainbows and browns, but the fish are holding in open water and not working the surface in the warmer than normal water temperatures.

Luther Thompson of H and R Bait in Stockton said, “There have been photos of crappie in the 16-inch range brought into the shop from anglers who have purchased medium minnows, and they are fishing along the docks at Melones.”

The lake held at 83 percent despite releasing water down the Stanislaus River and into Tulloch Reservoir.

Call: Glory Hole Sports 209-736-4333; Monte Smith 209-581-4734; John Liechty Xperience Fishing Guide Service 209-743-9932

Pine Flat Reservoir/Kings River

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

Eastman Reservoir remains the top location for big bass in the Central Valley, but Pine Flat is emerging as a close second for solid action in the region. The high water at both lakes has contributed to improved action in addition to the unseasonably warm water temperatures.

Steve Newman of Valley Rod and Gun said, “Pine Flat is picking up, and the 2.5- to 3-pound spotted bass are now readily available with rainbow-trout patterned swimbaits. The big bass in 4- to 7-pound range aren’t really eating the baits, but they are following up the big swimbaits. However, around one out of every five followers are striking the swimbaits. The recent trout plants have definitely helped the bass bite with the larger baits. The fish are responding to the vertical walls and submerged trees with finesse techniques such as wacky-rigged Senkos or ned rigs. The warmer temperatures have contributed to more largemouth bass showing up.”

The trout bite is consistent in the main lake with shad-patterned spoons or blade/’crawler combinations in the main lake from the dam to the Power Lines to Deer Creek at depths from the surface to 30 feet while a larger grade of holdover rainbow to 22 inches can be found at depths to 20 feet in the river arm above Trimmer Marina. The lake rose slightly to 51 percent this week.

Pine Flat held at 50 percent.

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

San Luis Reservoir

and O’Neill Forebay

Striper 3 Catfish 2 Bass 2 Crappie 2

San Luis Reservoir continues to be the location for big fish and consistent limits for Central California striped bass anglers, and fishermen are bypassing the aqueducts and the O’Neill Forebay to work the big lake with a variety of techniques.

Jesus Reyes Silva of Hollister continues his clinic on the lake with his weekly big fish caught and released using one of his custom JKings Lures. Reyes said, “I went out with Ivan Ramos at first light, and we went straight to the flats off of Basalt Recreation Area, and on my third cast around the trees, I caught and released a 44-inch, 33-pound striper along with two other keepers on the topwater jerkbait. The bite was slow after that. We talked to several boats at the ramp in the afternoon, and they reported a slow trolling bite.”

Roger George of Roger George Guide Service said that the trolling bite for most anglers has been slower in the fog and overcast conditions. “Conditions are changing by the hour, sometimes with bright sunshine, then a big fogbank will move in, changing the bite. I had trollers working the back of Portagee and Lone Oak telling me they had a fish or two, and many blanks, too. I was scouting alone when I found an area with some active fish and during a few hours in the afternoon I released over 20 fish to 24 inches on shad-colored baits in 50 to 100 feet of water until they totally shut off. I’ve gotten a few topwater fish to 24 inches in brief boils. The windows for the bites can be very small, and they seem to be very picky. Experience really seems to count now.”

Steve Newman of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “The big lake is still fishing well with ripbaits and large 7-inch flukes in low light conditions at dawn and dusk. Some anglers are throwing topwater lures into the boils while trollers are working Alabama rigs or broken-backed lures. There is a smaller grade of fish between 18 and 25 inches in shallower water around 20 feet.”

Paul Jolley of Coyote Bait and Tackle in Morgan Hill said, “The topwater bite has been good for the occasional big fish after this week’s storm, and we are selling plenty of jumbo minnows in the mornings for those drifting live bait. The O’Neill Forebay continues to be slow, but I would concentrate around Check 12 or the rockwall with underspins, small white swimbaits or topwater lures when they are boiling. The fish have moved out of the grass.”

The lake has risen to 83 percent with increased pumping out of the south Delta.

Call: Coyote Bait and Tackle 408-463-0711, Roger George of, 905-2954

High Sierra

Bass Lake

Bass 2 Trout 2 Kokanee 1

Trout action is decent with blade/’crawler combinations at 4 to 6 colors of leadcore on a slow-troll, and shore anglers are finding a few trout near the Sheriff’s Tower with trout dough bait. Recent trout plants are propping up the action. Bass anglers continue to avoid the lake with the low water levels. The double-digit largemouth bass on swimbaits have been absent so far this year. The launch ramp is out of the water for larger boats with no courtesy dock. The lake rose slightly to 51 percent. See a lake webcam at

Call: Todd Wittwer 288-8100; Mike Beighey 642-3748


Mammoth Pool

Kaiser Pass Road closed Dec. 1 and access to the area will be limited to snowmobile. Edison is at 34 percent, Florence remains at 2 percent and Mammoth Pool at 12 percent.

Call: Vermilion Valley Resort at Edison Lake 259-4000

Shaver Lake/

Huntington Lake

Kokanee 2 Trout 2

The majority of the central Sierra trout reservoirs are inaccessible at the present time, but Shaver remains a viable option for experienced trollers plus a few bank anglers taking rainbows.

Dick Nichols of Dick’s Fishing Charters said, “I got two reports on Saturday, and both reported beautiful weather conditions. Downriggers are a key to success right now, as the boat with the ability to get down to 40 feet was able to land seven kokanee in the 12-inch range working between the Sierra Marina and the dam with red or pink spinners loaded with crayfish-scented corn behind a dodger. The other boat did not have downriggers, and they ended up with two rainbows and a brown to 15 inches using Needlefish or blade/’crawler combinations behind a Mountain Flasher at a setback of 100 feet. Kokanee fishermen with downriggers are finding fish that are concentrated in front of the Sierra Marina at depths from 30 to 40 feet. The main Sierra Marina ramp is out of the water, but the auxiliary ramp is good to launch despite the lack of a courtesy dock.”

Nichols and Todd Wittwer of Guide Service are holding a free seminar at Herb Bauer’s Sporting Goods on Blackstone near Bullard in Fresno at 6 p.m. Feb. 8. A wide variety of information will be presented, including the expected water levels for Shaver from spring to fall and the trout plants forecast by both the Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Shaver Lake Trophy Trout Project. There will be snacks and bottled water along with a free raffle at the event.

Shaver and Huntington held at 41 percent and 60 percent respectively. No reports from Huntington. A webcam of the lake is available at updated every 20 minutes.

Call: Dick Nichols, Dick’s Fishing Charters 281-6948; Todd Wittwer, Guide Service 288-8100; Dinkey Creek Inn 841-3435; Rancheria Marina 893-3234; Shaver Lake Sports Inc. 841-2740; Steve Santoro Fish Box Charters 871-3937


The central Sierra trout season is now limited to the lower-elevation lakes of Bass and Shaver as the road to Courtright and Wishon closed on Dec. 1 at Dinkey Creek..

Call: Wishon RV Park 865-5361


Half Moon Bay

Striper 2 Crab 2

Captain Tom Mattusch of the Huli Cat took out a research trip this past week for NOAA in “phenomenal” ocean conditions, and they tagged 294 rockfish comprising 15 species at depths from 140 to 270 feet. The Maverick’s Big Surf Contest tentatively scheduled for Tuesday has been postponed, but it could occur anytime when conditions allow through the month of February.

All party boats in the area will be running whale watching and nature trips during the winter months, and the Salty Lady, captained by Jerad Davis, will make its annual pilgrimage to Pillar Point for the whale watching season.

Call: Captain Dennis Baxter, New Captain Pete 650-576-3844; Captain Tom Mattusch, Huli Cat 650-619-0459

Monterey/Santa Cruz

Striper 2 Crab 2

Chris’ Fishing Trips in Monterey continues to take sand dab/crab combination trips, and the sand dabbing has been solid with Sunday’s trip bringing in lots of sand dabs and 34 Dungeness crab for 13 anglers on the Caroline while the Check Mate went whale watching for humpback whales. The best crab counts have been up to three per angler, but the action could improve at any time. Whale watching trips have centered from Marina to Mulligan Hill as there are 19 humpback whales gorging on anchovies there. There are tons of anchovies in this section of the bay.

The big surf hit Santa Cruz with 6-foot waves on Sunday, and Allen Bushnell was working the striped bass off the southern Santa Cruz County beaches. The surf is expected to hit 15 feet by midweek.

The annual Sand Crab Classic Surf Perch Contest is on March 10 and the contest is limited to the first 300 entries with proceeds going to the Monterey Bay Salmon and Trout Project. Information:

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

San Francisco Bay

Striper 2 Leopard shark 2 Sturgeon 2 Crab 2

Live mud shrimp were available for the weekend out of Loch Lomond Marina in San Rafael with Keith Fraser picking up a shipment of shrimp from the Pacific Northwest. This is in addition to live grass shrimp and ghost shrimp at the shop. Fraser said, “The tides were great over the past weekend, and they will stay good through the minuses.” Fraser also has live Dungeness crab for sale.

Captain Trent Slate of Bite Me Charters put on a clinic on Sunday on the outgoing tide near China Camp using Loch Lomond mud shrimp. They put in five legal sturgeon, releasing another legal fish along with two oversized to 130 pounds and two undersized sturgeon. He said, “There were a number of sturgeon that came through today despite really horrible conditions with waves coming over the rail throughout the day from the east wind in the shallow water.” He will be out this week with more mud shrimp in search of more diamondbacks.

The upcoming rains should spur on the sturgeon bite in the south bay out of Alviso and in the surrounding sloughs.

Call: Captain Trent Slate, Bite Me Charters 415-307-8582; Happy Hooker 510-223-5388; Captain Jerad Davis, Salty Lady 415-760-9362; Captain Steve Mitchell 707-655-6736

San Luis Obispo

The San Luis Obispo harbors will be running whale watching and nature trips until the rockfish opener in April. Patriot Sport Fishing out of Port San Luis is also running crab/sand dab trips from January to March. With the rockfish season closed, the majority of fishing action is from the shoreline with Berkley Sand Worms or Camo Worms along with blood worms and lug worms when they are available.

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



Bass 2 Striper 3 Sturgeon 3 Catfish 2 Bluegill 3

The first appreciable rain of the season arrived at the start of this past week, and the water temperatures warmed up enough to create improved conditions in the Sacramento Delta. More rain is predicted for the coming week, and the warmer and muddy water is just what is ordered for the upcoming sturgeon derbies in Suisun Bay. However, sturgeon are on the move into both San Pablo Bay for the upcoming herring spawn or up the Sacramento River in order to spawn.

Captain Steve Talmadge of Flash Sport Fishing out of Martinez said, “I didn’t go out during the storm, but we were out on Saturday in tough conditions with the east wind against the incoming tide so we held off until the outgoing tide. I had a gut feeling and brought some herring, and despite having only one rod with herring, my six anglers ended up with two sturgeon that were just under the 40-inch slot limit along with four striped bass. Two of the bass were huge at 22 and 27 pounds, and I was really surprised at the size of the stripers as these fish don’t normally show up until March. Everything was on the outgoing tide.”

Talmadge is the director of the 12th annual Diamond Classic Catch and Release Sturgeon Derby coming to the Martinez Marina on Jan. 27, and he is very excited for the upcoming opportunities for children at the event. He said, “We have 35 rods and reels for children fishing at the Martinez Fishing Pier, and every hour we will be raffling off a tackle box or rods for the children on the pier. Registration for children is free, and if they catch and release a fish, they will be entered into the larger raffle for the big prizes.”

Adult registration is $25 with 100 percent payback in cash prizes from first through seventh place Information is available at with the official registration location of Martinez Bait. A pre-derby seminar is at La Tapatia Restaurant on Main Street in Martinez from 6-9 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 26. Participating captains are Bill Clapp of Bill’s Sport Fishing, Mike Andrews of Predator Sport Fishing, Don Franklin of Soleman Sport Fishing, John Badger of Barbarian Sport Fishing, and Steve Mitchell of Hook’d Up Sport Fishing.

John Badger of Barbarian Sport Fishing out of Martinez had a very productive week with a total of 10 legal sturgeon landed on three trips fishing around Roe and Ryer Islands. He said, “We are back to a salmon roe bite with cured roe as eel was working for a bit, but the roe is back to the top bait. The water temperature has improved to around 51 degrees, and although it is still cold, the sturgeon are biting much better than in the past few weeks.”

Closer to Sacramento in the north Delta, Johnny Tran of New Romeo’s Bait and Tackle in Freeport said, “The Sacramento River has become muddy from the storms, and the sturgeon are on the move with both males and females coming up river to as far north as Knight’s Landing in order to spawn. Pile worm/eel combinations or ghost shrimp are working for the diamondbacks while sardines coated with garlic spray are finding striped bass in the Sacramento Deep Water Channel.”

Tony Lopez of Benicia Bait reported good action in the Big Cut for sturgeon on Saturday with the boats hiding from the wind.

The Diamond Classic Catch and Release Derby will be followed by the Foundation Sportsmen’s Club (aka “Original Sturgeon”) Derby on Feb. 3-4. Information and registration at

In the San Joaquin Delta, The water temperatures have risen slightly, and it seems that more striped bass have moved into the system. The largemouth bass bite remains solid, but the key is slowing down. Quality crappie can be found around the marinas in the south Delta with live minnows or minijigs.

Randy Pringle, the Fishing Instructor, was on the San Joaquin on Thursday, and he said, “We landed a number of striped bass in the 18- to 22-inch range with the ima Flit 120 in shad patterns. We weren’t trying to catch them as they were mixed in with the largemouth bass feeding on shad. The interesting thing is that there is one here followed by nothing, two there, followed by nothing so you have to do a lot of running around. The stripers are where the largemouth bass should be right now. There are sea lions all over the San Joaquin right now. The largemouth bite is not bad right now, but you have to find areas off of the current with weeds since the shad is staying close to the weeds, feeding on plankton. Making multiple casts to a single area is important, and the water has risen to 52 degrees, and it is clear. The new General Max Scent weightless worm is also an effective presentation along the edges of the current.”

Dan Mathisen of Dan’s Delta Outdoors reported improved action for striped bass to 30 inches on the anchor with frozen shad in Winter Cut. He said, “The water temperature has risen a few degrees, but the best striper bite is still with bait. The water is in good shape, and I expect the troll bite to come back on once the water warms up further. The largemouth bass bite has been fair, but I see it starting to pick up now.” He has plenty of frozen shad and eel in the shop.

Christian Lauritzen of Lauritzen’s Yacht Harbor in Oakley said, “The good news is the most recent rainstorm was a warm storm so that has warmed up the river several degrees from a few weeks back. The rain was not enough to really dirty up the river as far as I can see. The water at our launching ramp is still pretty clear. Sturgeon fishing should improve, but there have been few boats out on the Sacramento Delta.”

Mike Pipkins at Gotcha Bait in Antioch said, “Live mudsuckers are working for stripers in Sherman Lake and Big Break, and frozen shad and mudsuckers are working in Discovery Bay. The water got cold so fast that the fish aren’t wanting to chase lures, and bait fishing is working much better. The water is very clear back in Discovery.”

Alan Fong of the Fishermen’s Warehouse in Sacramento said, “The water of the San Joaquin is clearer than in the Sacamento River, and there have been small striped bass in the 22- to 26-inch range found on topwater lures outside of Eddo’s Marina on the flats.”

Call: Randy Pringle 209-543-6260; Captain Mike Gravert, Intimidator Sport Fishing 916-806-3030; Vince Borges, Vince Borges Outdoors 209-918-0828; J.D. Richey, Richey’s Sport Fishing 916-952-1554

Lake Nacimiento/

San Antonio/

Santa Margarita/Lopez

Bass 2 White bass 2 Striper 2 Catfish 2 Crappie 3

At Nacimiento, the majority of spotted bass remain deep between 40 and 70 feet with finesse techniques such as plastics on the drop-shot or dart head along with small spoons. There are spots holding in shallower water around 25 feet with similar techniques. The fuel dock at the marina is closed to avoid spill accidents during the winter months. The lake rose slightly to 42 percent. A webcam of the lake is available at

At Lopez, bass are holding in deep water from 25 to 40 feet with plastics on the drop-shot or shaky head being the top presentations. The largest grade of bass has been located on jigs. Crappie are found around structure with minijigs while bluegill are also available with red worms on a drop-shot rig. Planted trout are also a possibility from the shoreline with Power Bait. The lake is at 31 percent. A webcam of the lake is available at

t San Antonio, catfish are the most consistent species with prepared dough baits or cut bait. Largemouth and smallmouth bass are starting to become more active with finesse presentations of jigs or plastics on a Texas-rig. The South Shore Marina is back on their regular winter schedule after the holidays, and it is open on weekends only from Friday morning through Sunday evenings.

At Santa Margarita, spoons are the key to largemouth success, and the bass are striking chrome spoons as well as large jigs and big plastics. The water temperature is relatively warm at 59 degrees, and there are crappie to be found in minijigs tipped with some type of enhancement such as a Crappie Nibble or a piece of ’crawler. Catfishing is decent with cut baits.

Reminder: consuming white bass, black bass, crappie, catfish, or carp are subject to safe eating guidelines due to excessive mercury. Quagga mussel inspections are now required before boat launching is allowed.

Call: Lake Nacimiento 805-238-1056, ext. 3; Lake San Antonio Marina 805-472-2818; Central Coast Bass 805-466-6557



Lake Don Pedro: Christian Bass League Jan. 13 – 1, Joe O’Brien/Steve O’Brien Jr., 21.08 pounds (big fish 7.90 pounds); 2, Mitch Forrest/Mike Groves, 16.06; 3, Christian Ostrander/Chris Sagoya, 15.94.

McClure: Best Bass Tournaments Jan. 13 – 1, Pete Rodriguez/Manuel Martins, 13.84 (big fish 4.57); 2, David Grant/Robie Gaither, 13.02; 3, Charles and Jimmy Welch Jr., 12.78.Jan. 18-21: International Sportsmen’s Exposition at Cal Expo in Sacramento,



Jan. 18-21: International Sportsmen’s Exposition at Cal Expo in Sacramento.

Feb. 8: Herb Bauer’s Sporting Goods, 6 p.m., Dick Nichols of Dick’s Fishing Charters and Todd Wittwer of Guide Service – Shaver Lake trout and kokanee techniques

March 10: Sand Crab Classic Surf Perch Derby in Santa Cruz. Entries begin in January, event limited to first 300 entrants.


    • Jan. 20: Delta/Russo’s Marina – Delta Bass Club; McClure – Best Bass Tournaments/Sierra Bass Club; Pine Flat – NewJen Bass Tournaments; Nacimiento – Best Bass Tournaments
    • Jan. 21: Delta/Russo’s Marina – Hook, Line, and Sinker; Pine Flat - Kings River Bass Club
    • Jan. 27: Martinez Marina –Diamond Classic “Catch and Release” Sturgeon Derby,; Pine Flat – Bass 101; Nacimiento – Bakersfield Bass Club

Trout plants

Week of Jan. 21

    • Fresno County: Kings River below Pine Flat Dam, Woodward Park Lake, Bass Lake
  • Tulare County: Mooney Grove Park Pond

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