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Bill Ryan

Clear Lake bass seem to be getting smaller for St. Helena angler Bill Ryan.

The Clear Lake Bass Conspiracy… is in full swing. We fished hard all day Tuesday and caught just two wimpy little bass, both on live jumbo minnows. No, I can’t blame my 20-year guide, Bob Myskey – he doesn’t “guarantee” fish, and shouldn’t (he also doesn’t take too much credit for putting me on my personal-best, 10.1-pound Clear Lake largemouth bass a few Aprils ago, either).Bob and I threw over a dozen different lures and baits in over a dozen normally high yield bass-holding parts of the lake. Little ones and big ones, and medium ones. Lures that have worked all 30 years of my fishing there. Some lures I have never seen before, as we tried to solve the “no bite” puzzle.

True, it’s winter fishing, but the key water temperature wasn’t the culprit. It was 49 degrees at put-in and went up to 54 by take-out. Usually 50 degrees is the trigger for a solid bite, but not Tuesday. While there has been an OK bite this late winter period, it is way behind the winter fishing experience I have had there. In a note of boyish optimism, I declare that the spring bass action at Clear Lake will be excellent. Pundits tell you to fish right after the April full moon and when the redbud bushes blossom.

If those bass keep their lockjaw stance, you can work around that by fishing in the Clearlake Oaks/Glenhaven Catfish Derby May 18-20. It is a wonderful family friendly event; that’s why it has been going on for 35 years. Typically it attracts more than 1,000 anglers, family members and friends. Two Kids Derby categories keep all of the young anglers involved. There are prize purses for the adult category as well as the ones for youth anglers. Add in pancake breakfasts and other shore side family activities for lots of fun. Don’t wait to sign up; go online to for all the news.

Berryessa’s BBT Tournament Results… Fishing in the Best Bass Tournament’s February 24 event, Kip Whitacre and Todd Clark won the Northern Region’s 2018 kickoff derby with a five bass bag that totaled 20.47 pounds. It also put $4220.00 bucks into their pockets. They beat 104 other boats. This close in tournament program is the perfect place for you to take the plunge if you want to become a pro bass angler.

Go online to Call the local tournament director, Randy Pringle, at 209-543-6260 or visit his website at Better hustle; the Delta/Wine Region group is having a Berryessa tourney on March 17 (by the way, Clear Lake is one of their tournament lakes, too).

Napa River… continues to deliver good bites for anglers putting in the time. We’ve been sending down a good bit of muddy water from Sulphur Creek up here; expect that to keep the sturgeon up close in the river and ready to bite. I’m still hearing of striper bites for both bank plunkers and anglers trolling and casting.

Bodega Bay… is in a repair and refurbish mode—in front the upcoming April openers of the king salmon season as well as the season for rockfish. I’m told the rockfish opener below Pigeon Point is April 7 and above it will be April 15. The salmon opener is scheduled to be April 7. So, it’s time to be sure you all have your sport fishing licenses and time to get out your salt fishing gear for repair and replenishment. Do not lose your personal best fish because you didn’t do a “spring tune-up”. Ask the guys at Sweeney’s Sports on Imola (255-5544) to help.

California Delta Sturgeon Bite… will stay solid through March, and could continue into April. Weekend weather was a bear that disrupted Delta angling, but the spring situation looks good to the old pros.

Mike Pipkins of Gotcha Bait in Antioch told the Monday Hot Sheet that his supply of ghost shrimp was spotty because of heavy rains in Washington and Oregon. He went on to say, “I know things will change in less than two weeks as spring arrives, and the bite should break out for everything.”

Kenji Nakagawa of P-line said, “There are definitely some better fish around, but we just had to run a ton of water to find the lone larger females (stripers). I expect the bite to bust loose within the week.” (Thanks again to Dave Hurley’s Monday Hot Sheet for some key updates here).

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