By The Bakersfield Californian
Kern County, southern San Joaquin Valley
CATFISH DERBY: Bob's Bait Bucket's annual month-long July catfish derby started July 1. The entry fee is $1 per angler and you must register before you weigh in a fish. Only fresh fish can be weighed in and no weighing in of fish the same day as entering derby. The biggest catfish weighed in during July will take the $100 prize, plus all the entry fee money from everyone entered. There are currently 188 anglers signed up so the pot is at $288. The current leader is Donnie Wilson, Bakersfield, with a 14-pounder caught from the aqueduct this past week. Call Bob's Bait (661) 833-8657.
LAKE ISABELLA: The catfish bite continues to provide some of the best action in the region with most of the fish moving into deeper water (15-feet plus). The crappie bite finally shut down, and the bass, trout and bluegill bites have all been pretty slow. Carp anglers are doing pretty fair on homemade dough baits and Powder Bait.
KERN RIVER: Upper river slow to fair this past week for bait and lure anglers fishing the planted rainbows, but the last plants were three weeks ago and none are scheduled for this week or next week. Fly anglers are seeing generally good early morning or afternoon action on wild fish with better action upriver near the Johnsondale Bridge or above. In the lower river, the smallmouth and largemouth bass have been pretty good on nightcrawlers, plastics and Roostertails. The catfish bite has also been pretty good in the bigger pools. Water levels are very low.
AQUEDUCT NEAR TAFT: Light fishing pressure with the heat. The striper bite is fair with mostly small fish in the catch right now. Catfish are very good with a lot of nice cats showing in this bite. The action is mostly on garlic shrimp, chicken liver, and mackerel. Mike Becerra, Bakersfield, landed a 9-pound catfish on a sardine, while a 14-pounder was caught by Donnie Wilson, Bakersfield.
MILL CREEK PARK: Most action has been for bluegill on crickets and wax worms and carp on Powder Bait. Few catfish showing on nightcrawlers.
RIVER WALK PARK LAKE: Bluegill are very good on most of the small baits, especially on wax worms, meal worms, crickets or red worms. The carp bite is good on dough baits. A few bass continue to show early.
HART PARK LAKE: The bluegill action is good on wax worms and meal worms. The carp action is also very good on Powder Bait. A rare bass is still showing early and late.
TRUXTUN LAKE: The carp action has been good on dough baits, especially Powder Bait. The bluegill are also good, while the bass have slowed with only a few fish early and late in the day on nightcrawlers, plastics and Brush Hawgs. The bluegill are best on wax worms, meal worms or crickets and most are in less than 10 feet of water.
MING LAKE: Very good carp action on homemade dough baits or Powder Bait. The bluegill are also very good on wax worms and meal worms. The largemouth bass bite is tough, but a few are showing on plastics and nightcrawlers early and late in the day
BRITE LAKE: The bluegill action is pretty good on wax worms, crickets and meal worms. Few reports of other species.
BUENA VISTA LAKES: The catfish and bluegill bites are both pretty good. The catfish are best on garlic shrimp, shad, or nightcrawlers at night, but most are on the small side. The bluegill are showing on wax worms, meal worms, red worms, crickets and nightcrawler pieces. The carp bite is fair to good on Powder Bait and other dough baits. Bass action slow.
WOOLLOMES LAKE: Good bluegill and carp action, with a few catfish, bass.
SUCCESS LAKE: Bluegill action pretty good on wax worms and meal worms. A fair number of carp and catfish. Bass spotty. Other species still slow.
KAWEAH LAKE: The bass bite has been spotty on nightcrawlers, but the bluegill and carp bites are pretty good. The bluegill bite is best on meal worms, wax worms, crickets and small jigs, while the carp are best on dough baits.
Other regional lakes
CACHUMA: Catfish pretty much became the only game in town this past week with other bites slowing way down. The best action has been on cut baits and dough baits in most of the bays and coves. Some of the fish are topping six pounds and some limits or near-limits reported.
CASITAS: There has been a good topwater and reaction bait bite in the mornings for the bass.
CASTAIC: The striper bite remains pretty good and there have been topwater boils early in the morning for the past week and schools of small shad are massing around the dock.
NACIMIENTO: Fair to good action on smaller 1- to 3-pound spotted bass.
LOPEZ: The topwater bass bite taking off with a lot of fish on frogs and other topwater baits early and late in the day.
PIRU: The largemouth bass bite has been fair to good on plastics and reaction baits with most fish in 12-30 feet of water, but there is some topwater action early and late in the day.
PYRAMID: Striper bite fair to good with a lot of small fish from one to three pounds. Syed Khizer, Bakersfield, caught a 10-pound catfish on anchovies. Largemouth bass bite fair.
SAN ANTONIO: The striped bass bite has been fair with the best bite on swim baits in the evenings.
SANTA MARGARITA: Bass action fair to good and the grass beds are up now and there has been better topwater action on frogs in the past week.
BRIDGEPORT REGION: Bridgeport Reservoir is still pretty good for both fly and bait anglers, but trolling was tougher. The East Walker has been tough in the miracle mile stretch, but pretty decent below the bridge.
JUNE LAKE LOOP-LEE VINING REGION: Overall, fair trout action throughout the June Lake Loop with mornings and evenings the best time to fish.
MAMMOTH AREA: Crowley Lake has been fair to good for trout for midge anglers fishing in the bays, while trollers are fishing in 25-40 feet of water, away from the weed beds.
BISHOP AND BIG PINE AREA: The Bishop Creek drainage was fair to good this past week during the full moon, but a little off from the previous week. North Lake, South Lake and Sabrina were all slower with just fair action.
LONE PINE TO INDEPENDENCE AREA: All of the trout streams in this region are fair to good with light pressure. Most are being planted each week now.
TULARE COUNTY: Balch Park Lake (upper and lower), Hedrick Pond (Redwood Lake).
EXCEPTIONAL PELAGIC ACTION: Anglers aboard the San Diego overnight, 1-1/2-day, and 2-day boats are seeing exceptional action on bluefin and yellowfin tuna along with yellowtail. Even with the recent closure on bluefin in Mexican waters, skippers are finding bluefin in U.S. waters and the yellowfin tuna are showing all the way up into the Catalina Channel. While the yellowfin and bluefin have shown in very good numbers late summer and early fall the past three years, this action is a full month or more earlier than usual and the volume of fish is exceptional. There are even a few dorado mixed in this bite (and they don't usually show up in the best years until September), and there was even a report of a wahoo taken out of San Diego this week. The bottom line: It just doesn't get much better than this.
HALF- AND THREE-QUARTER DAY PELAGICS: The half- and three-quarter day boats out of San Diego and the three-quarter day boats out of Los Angeles and Orange County landings have also been getting in on this exceptional bite.
ANOMOLIES ALONG WEST COAST: This warm water surge is showing all along the West Coast. In Morro Bay, the water temperatures hit 70 degrees this week, something it almost never does even in August or September.
CHANNEL ISLANDS NEWS: With most everyone fishing pelagics south of the Channel Islands, anglers in the Santa Barbara region are mostly fishing calico bass and rockfish, with occasional picks on yellowtail and some pretty good halibut action on overnight trips. On Wednesday, the Island Tak out of Channel Islands Sportfishing in Oxnard was out with eight anglers and they landed five-fish limits of keeper calico bass on Wednesday this week along with seven sheephead.
CENTRAL COAST UPDATE: The rockfish action has been the best it has been in several seasons. When you add in white seabass, halibut and salmon, the fishing in this stretch of coast is also excellent right now. The surf perch bite is also very good.