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 January

 February

 March

 April

 May

 June

 July

 August

 September

 October

 November

 December

Calendar

January

Bass
Winter has arrived for good and bass are well established into their winter patterns. Storm run-off makes most reservoirs muddy with heavily fluctuating water levels. The most consistent pattern this time of year will be fishing shad imitations in deep water. Such as spooning shad schools or drop-shotting deep points and breaks. Occasionally during a very active weather cycle some larger fish will move up shallow and good bags can be caught on jigs and spinnerbaits. But this is not typical and highly unpredictable.

Trout
Most reservoirs will have water too muddy to effectively fish for trout. The best pattern would simply be to find the clearest lakes. Shadow Cliffs Lake can be your best bet this time of year since it gets no natural run-off.

Striped Bass

The stripers are still going strong in the Delta this time of year.

February

Bass
February is a transition month from winter to prespawn. During the first few weeks the bass are still in deep winter sleep. But as we get closer to March the bass start thinking about the prespawn. In the later part of the month the big females will find a prime area and just straight out gorge themselves. What's a "prime area"? First you need a good piece of structure. Large points, ledges, and channels are all good. Second the structure must have deep water access. The closer the feeding area is to very deep open water the better it will be. And finally, some kind of cover is a must. Rock can be good, but wood is best. For whatever reason huge prespawn fish just gravitate to timber during the prespawn. As far as baits go, a jig will be your number one bait. These fish are feeding heavily on crawdads and will go out of the way to crunch a big jig. Also, if the water is at least moderately clear big trout imitations are also worth trying. Finally, don't forget to keep it slow. Even though the bass may be relatively active in the last week of February, the water is still cold and the fish won't move very far. Fish prime areas slowly and thoroughly and you'll be rewarded.

Trout
Same story as January. Finding some clear water is going to be the hardest challenge.

March

Bass
March is the peak of the prespawn in the bay area. Depending on the severity of the winter and moon phases the prespawn peak can occur any time during March. But it's generally in the first few weeks. Follow the February instructions for finding good prespawn spots. But also keep an extra eye out for freshly flooded heavy cover. One of the most productive March areas is where the creek enters the lake. In many south Bay Area reservoirs the creek end of the lake has a creek channel lined with live or dead brush. Big bass will move into this thick cover as soon as it gets covered! Try flipping dark jigs or bulky plastics into the brush.

March is one of the best month to throw giant swimbaits for bass. All the trout planting has started, the water has cleared a bit, and the bass are getting active. Throw the swimbaits where you would normally fish this time of year, and also throw them places that get a lot of trout activity. Such as where ever they get stocked. Also, if the water clears a good rip bait bite can materialize during the later part of March. If the water is stained I like throwing the larger Rattling Rogues. If it's clear try the natural colored Pointer minnows.

Trout
Most the south Bay Area lakes get their first trout plants in the beginning of March. By the end of March the fishing can become worth your effort. Over in the east bay the large lakes should be clear enough by now for both trolling and bait fishing to be productive.

April

Bass
April is when most of spawning happens between bass. The peak of the spawn in the south bay is typically late April through the first of May. Besides bed fish the rip bait and swim bait bite will also be going full throttle in April. I doubt you'll ever get more follows on swim baits then by throwing them around spawning areas in April. Getting the bass to commit is a little trickier, but it will happen if you throw them enough.

Trout
The trout fishing is excellent in April. Both bait fishing and trolling. Flat line trolling can be superb this time of year. There are lots of fish and the water hasn't warmed up so much to send the fish deep. Although the fish aren't big, some of the best April fishing I've had was C&R'ing dozens and dozens of trout at Loch Lomond flat lining needlefish. The bait bite and spot casting with kastmaster is also great right now at Stevens Creek and Lexington

Crappie
April is a great time to catch crappie. They spawn this time of year, but catching crappie off beds isn't very efficient. Instead look for deep brush alongside spawning areas. Adult crappie often hang out here and can provide non-stop action

Striped Bass
Stripers are in the bay in big numbers around this time.

May

Bass
During the beginning of May many bass are still caught up in the spawning ritual. But by the end of May pretty much all that's left is some straggling females and males guarding the nest. Late May can be a brutal tough time of year for Bay Area bass fishing. The general theory for catching post-spawn bass is to move backwards through the pre-spawn spots. Some bass stick around the spawning areas because there's generally a lot of baitfish (especially bluegill) activity in the area. So naturally, throwing panfish colored worms (senkos!) or jigs around the bedding areas can work. Another more common pattern is to throw crankbaits around prespawn structures. Finally, if you're into the big bass thing, the big swimbait bite is one of the few bites that holds up through the post-spawn.

Trout
May is still the height of trout season. Although the warm weather will have pushed the trout a little deeper, they still can be caught with ease. Almost all lakes will be very clear by now and the stocks of trout have built up from previous month's plants.

American River Shad
The shad runs are a little different each year, but typically by mid May the American River will have good numbers of fish. And by the end of may the fishing should be good from the mouth up to Gristmill at least. During the early part of the shad run I've done best fishing faster sections of the river. The fish aren't really spawning quite yet, and don't sit in one spot for too long.

June

Bass
With a bit of luck the bass should be coming out of their post-spawn funk in June. There's a lot of food in the water and the bass should feed heavily. The reaction bait bite should pick up by mid June. Spinnerbaits, crankbaits, and most of all topwater should start producing. And don't forget the big swim baits.

Trout
The trout fishing should still be great in early June, but it begins to slide downhill soon after. Still, it's overall a good month to be out there.

American River Shad
June is THE month to be on the American River for shad. These runs are extremely difficult to predict. But the first three weeks of June, along with the last week of May, are probably your best time to hit a 100 fish day on the river. By the last week of June things start to slow down. By that time either the fish have swam all the way up to Sailor Bar or are on their way out.

Pacifica Stripers
The stripers start arriving on the beaches in June. There usually aren't all that many out there, and most are up north around Ocean or Baker beaches. And don't count on any "runs". But it can be worth it some days. Especially for throwing poppers in the city.

July

Bass
By July the bass are all settling down into their summer patterns. The fishing isn't spectacular, but at least it will be more predictable. In this earlier part of the summer the fish are a little more active. There are just-hatched fish everywhere so there's plenty for a bass to eat. This time of year just about any lure can catch bass. But it would be wise to stick to the bait fish imitations. Since by now just about all the bass have switched from crawdads to shad and bluegill.

Trout
The trout fishing is definitely sliding but it's not hopeless yet. Fish the deeper, heavily stocked east bay lakes and either troll deep or fish bait deep

Pacifica Stripers
July is THE month to be on the beach chasing stripers. These fish are strangely predictable and unpredictable at the same time. The big beach runs always seem to happen each year in between July 4th and July 31st. But trying to predict on what exact day the fish will run is absolutely not possible. And will drive anyone who tries into insanity about as fast as anything. Just try to get in as many days possible on the sand between July 4th and July 31st.

August

Bass
The bass are still in their set summer pattern. Except now the free lunch is over. All the fry that has hatched has either been eaten or has learned how to run away from the bass. So in general the fish won't be quite as aggressive. Still, baitfish imitators of all makes will be producing. One thing to try on those extra hot nights is to try night fishing Coyote. There's nothing like a good night time topwater bite.

Trout
The slide has stopped and it now IS hopeless. You're only choice is to go to deep lakes like San Pablo or maybe Loch Lomond and winch the fish out with bait.

September

Bass
Pretty much the same stuff as August. Not exactly my favorite time of year. The fishing can be good if you hit it on the right day, though.

Trout
See above

Benicia Salmon
September gives you a shot at catching salmon from the bank in Benicia and Pittsburgh. Good areas are the jetty west of the Benicia harbor and Dillons State Park. Use #5 Blue Fox spinners in silver.

Striped Bass
Stripers are back in the bay

October

Bass
The fall is coming and the bass should start getting a little more active as the month goes on. Try fishing a little shallower and a little faster. The topwater bite should pick up as well. And if the lake gets early trout plants don't forget trout imitations.

Trout
By October trout plants should be in full swing again on the east bay lakes. If there's an early turnover it can bright the trout straight to the surface. Fall is when I catch a lot of incidental trout on bass and crappie lures in shallow water.

November

Bass
November is one of my favorite times of year to catch bass. In mid to late November the bass, and quite a few big bass, move up shallow. The water temps are uniform throughout the lake giving bass freedom to move. The most common fall technique is to find bass chasing balls of baitfish in the backs of coves and around deep creek channels. Spoons, shaking worms, crankbaits, spinnerbaits, and topwater will all catch these bass. But I prefer going after the super shallow crawdad eaters. Sometime during the fall you may notice that all of a sudden the shallows of the south Bay Area reservoirs are crawling with crawdads. I look for shallow structure and plow the bottom with spinnerbaits and jigs. For these shallow jig fish it pays to cover water. The fish are all spread out rooting up the crawdads.

Late fall as the storms start coming it pays to follow the weather closely. If there's one thing that bass fishermen agree on, it's that the bass fishing can be spectacular right before a strong front blows through.

Trout
November is a good trout month. The water is cool again and not muddied by rains yet. Focus on the east bay lakes, though. With the exception of Los Gatos Creek Park, all the Santa Clara County lakes won't get trout plants until March.

December

Bass
In early December the bass are still in their active state from November. But as the month goes on the bass transition into the stable winter patterns. The few killer days left in December will probably be associated with the weather fronts. Watch the barometer. But after it's all over and the bass have settled into their winter routine (generally mid-late December) it's time to slow down. Choose some main lake points or good deep ledges and pick them apart. Now is the time when casting a few dozen times to one small point will be worth the effort. I can't count the times in dead of winter where a good fish has hit my jig the 4th or 5th time I've made the exact same cast.

Trout
As long as the water stays reasonably clear and the trout plants continue trout fishing will be very good in December. Both trolling and bait fishing.

Striped Bass
December is prime time for delta stripers. The fishing can be very good jigging spoons or swimbaits over schooled fish. The fish are pretty much all over, but some of the most popular areas are Franks Tract and Discovery Bay.

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