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Lake Nacimiento Fishout

by Bob Garbarino

I first heard about white bass fishing at Lake Nacimiento about twenty years ago. Even though the lake is only about two hours from Santa Cruz, I never made the trip down there. During the spring spawn when the the conditions are favorable (like ample water) is the prime time to head up the Narrows on the opposite side of the lake from the Marina. Club member Kathryn Yant got the ball rolling this year. She had been working on plans for a trip to Naci with Geoff Malloway, the owner of Central Coast Fly Fishing. Scott Kitayama and I were fortunate to be invited by her to join the group of eight anglers. Dagur Guðmundsson, a central coast guide that presented to our club was took part in the trip. He is quite familiar with Naci and San Antonio and guides these fisheries. We camped the night before at Lake San Antonio because there is a three night minimum at Naci. After setting up the tent, we spread out in search of carp before the rest of the gang arrived. We didn’t find any, but it was great to see the lake near full. The meal that night was full-on gourmet thanks to Chef Brandon Miller. We even had a sighting in the sky which turned out to be a Starlink pass-by.
The next morning we caravanned over to the Marina at Naci and hopped on our rented pontoon boat—what a sweet ride with Captain Malloway at the helm! It was brand new with cushy seats and plenty of room for all of us. The water was glass-smooth and aside from some wood debris we had to keep an eye out for, it was a relaxing cruise. After about an hour, we made it to as far as we could go up the Narrows, which is where the Nacimiento River empties into the lake. After Geoff gave us a brief “how-to” talk and made sure we had some flies, we got out of the boat and waded upstream in search of white bass. Unfortunately, after a couple hours of searching the clear water, it became evident the spawn was over and the whites had moved back into the lake. We did manage to eke out a few spotted and largemouth bass. Dagur thought we may have caught a couple of smallmouth/spotted bass hybrids. It was a beautiful day and we had the place to ourselves, but the fish didn’t get the memo with our invitation….oh well. On the way back we fished out of the boat in a few of the coves. I guess Dagur decided the boat was to full to try to fish, so he jumped out with rod in hand and proceeded to “fish/swim”. It’s a strange sight to see only a head and arm with rod sticking out of the water! And he was making some nice casts. Oh, to be a young buck. To sum up the fishout: close to home, beautiful scenery, great company, fantastic dinner, fun boat ride, good fishing, not so good catching. I have no regrets, learned a lot, had a great time and look forward to doing it again. I think our club should think about exploring this area for fishouts in the future. And if you are interested in learning about fishing in this area, subscribe to the Central Coast Fly Fishing newsletter to keep up on events offered.
Also contact Dagur Guðmundsson for guided fishing opportunities in the area. He is super knowledgable, energetic and a lot of fun.
The bass photos in this article are courtesy of Dagur.
Here is some interesting information about white bass: