FAIRFIELD — The word is out: Lake Berryessa remains one of the top spots for bass fishing in the nation, at least according to Bassmaster.com.
Once again the website included Lake Berryessa in its annual review of places to fish for bass, ranking it No. 22 in its “Bassmaster’s 100 Best Bass Lakes for 2014,” written by James Hall.
The lake jumped 31 spots from No. 53 in 2013 after being unranked in 2012.
“This is a hot spot in California right now,” Hall wrote. “The drought has had minimal effect on the fishing. Perhaps the best aspect of angling this lake is its trophy potential for spotted, smallmouth and largemouth bass. You may well catch your personal best of all three species in a single day.”
Other Northern California locales were also highly ranked, with Shasta Lake coming in at No. 32, the California Delta at No. 13 and Clear Lake at No. 2.
Topping the list was Sturgeon Bay in Wisconsin.
Floyd Koelling, former treasurer and secretary with the Fairfield-Suisun Bass Reapers, isn’t surprised Lake Berryessa ranks so high.
“Not at all. It’s because of the weather,” Koelling said. “You have a more consistent weather so fish are able to feed and grow faster. That’s why Florida bass are large and grow big, not only having the genes, but the weather promotes it.”
The Bass Reapers held a fishing tournament on Saturday with “about 100 boats” taking part and the winning catch weighing in “a little over 7 pounds,” according to Billy Arrington, publicity director for the club.
“We have tournaments at Clear Lake and have tournaments at the Delta and also at Berryessa,” Arrington said. “Everybody’s blessed around here and they don’t know it. We have some world-class fishing that other guys never get a chance at.”
Of the Delta, which dropped from No. 9, Hall wrote, “This is one body of water on the West Coast that will not suffer from the drought there. The Department of Water Resources must release enough water from nearby reservoirs to fight saltwater intrusion, and the bass benefit. A local tournament last March saw two 30-pound limits, eight fish weighing more than 8 pounds and two more than 10.”
Clear Lake bumped up a spot from No. 3 in 2013 after being 10th in 2012.
“When you catch 50 bass between 4 and 6 pounds on a tournament day, you likely feel good about your chances of winning – unless you are fishing this California bass factory,” Hall wrote. “Recent rains are slowly bringing the water levels up, but it’s far from full pool right now. That said, not only will anglers catch a lot of solid fish here, but they also could hook the largemouth of a lifetime.”
Hall praised Sturgeon Bay’s big numbers in tournament catches, one reason it made the leap all the way from No. 29 the year before.
“If you want to catch a pile of smallies, Sturgeon Bay should be your next trip,” Hall wrote. “Simply put, if you want to angle the best bass fishing waters that currently exist for size and numbers, head to Wisconsin.”
Reach Paul Farmer at 425-4646, ext. 264, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/pfarmerdr.