The spring striped bass run is on and the fish are biting, as long as water conditions are right.
"Find clean water and trolling is pretty good for both shallow and deep diving lures in the Sacramento River below Rio Vista," Barry Canevaro of Fish Hookers Sportfishing in Isleton said. "Most fish are males, 4 to 7 pounds, with numbers of shakers that measure less than 18 inches."
He suggested trying traditional locations such as the West Bank, Old Dairy, Horseshoe, Collinsville and the mouth of Three Mile Slough with lures like Yo-Zuri, P-Line, Bomber or Rebel. A white plastic worm should trail from the rear treble hook.
Cut bait such as shad or anchovies, or live mudsuckers, blood worms and pile worms, also produce strikes and, at times, larger stripers 9 to 12 pounds.
Bass also are reported coming from Cache and Miner sloughs, Steamboat Slough, Old Sacramento River and farther up the system from Courtland to Freeport. Some larger fish in the 15- to 25-pound bracket have been hooked on Pencil Poppers and other surface lures in the lower American and Feather rivers.
"Everything seems to be caught out near Rio Vista on blood worms," Ron Halvorson at Thornton Road Bait said. "I've heard some reports on the San Joaquin River side, where they're catching bass at B&W Resort on the Mokelumne River and farther upriver into Hog, Beaver and Sycamore sloughs on flies, spoons and lures. But that's about it."
Halvorson confirmed school-sized bass in the Port of Stockton that get after live jumbo minnows and periodic flurries in Potato Slough, Mildred Island, Piper Slough and Santa Clara Shoals.
Freeport Bait, located south of Sacramento, reports striped bass fishing is "off the hook" for 3- to 4-pound striped bass, with new arrivals to 10 pounds. Blood worms, pile worms and sardines do the number. American shad haven't arrived yet on their annual migration.
Meanwhile, black bass fishing continues to produce large fish to 8 pounds. It's spawning time and fish are moving into the shallows.
Said Dave Sanchez at The Outdoor Sportsman: "There are tons of fish on beds right now. They're responding to crankbaits, though not as well as when they are in the pre-spawn. At times, they can be funky."
Hot crankbait colors are shad or crawdad red or orange.
Ocean - Salmon season opened with a bang on Saturday with the best fishing in eight years. Hot spots were the edge of the canyon in Monterey Bay or nine miles outside Half Moon Bay. Typical salmon weighed 7 to 12 pounds, though there was a scattering of big fish in the 17- to 21-pound bracket. The bite slowed with Tuesday's rain and drop in barometric pressure. The season runs through Oct. 7 between Shelter Cove in Mendocino County and Pigeon Point in San Mateo County. Scientists believe there are an estimated 820,000 adult-sized kings in the sea.
San Pablo Bay - Low tide this week produced very swift current and helped wash away the pesky, bait-stealing juvenile crabs. As a result, sturgeon fishing improved above the Pumphouse, reported Keith Fraser at Loch Lomond Live Bait in San Rafael. He said live bait drifting for halibut also is underway, with flatfish to 12 pounds logged.
Amador - Spilling and looking good for the entire summer. Trophy trout will be stocked weekdays through Memorial Day, making this impoundment the best destination in Northern California to catch a 3- to 14-pound trout. Florida-strain largemouth bass are pre-spawning.
Camanche - Off and on trolling for trout, depending on barometric pressure and wind. Limits are scarce but boats pick up one to three trout that measure 17 inches. Top rainbows go 4 to 7 pounds, reported The Fisherman's Friend in Lodi. "It's the most large fish we've seen in many years," Mike Faught said. Black bass are moving up, with anglers hooking them in 7 to 15 feet on plastics and jigs.
Don Pedro - Very good bite for largemouth and spotted bass with anglers using the drop-shot method and moving plastic worms. Crankbaits also are worth a try. South wind and the cold front put king salmon, 16 to 18 inches, off the bite. Toplining for rainbows also is iffy.
Hogan - White flukes, elk hair jigs and cut sardines, anchovies or shad will produce stripers, 3 to 7 pounds. The narrows is a good place to start. Wait for surface feeding and get close enough to cast into them without spooking the school.
New Melones - An all-day fishing seminar starts at 9 a.m. Saturday at Glory Hole Sports in Angels Camp. Free admission. Those who prefer to fish should work 15 to 30 feet for a mix of holdover trout and second-year kokanee. Spotted bass fishing is good for 1- to 2-pounders.
Pardee - Kokanee, 9 to 12 inches, seem to respond best to hoochies and spinners in the top 20 feet. Stocked rainbows keep shoreline anglers happy in the Recreation Area, but success is pretty limited to the day of the plant. Trolling for trout is slow. The lake is within feet of spilling.