LAKE DON PEDRO Mike Gomez of the Bait Barn in Waterford said bass fishermen are struggling for bites. Those trying for trout are having better luck. Guide Monte Smith "finding the balls of shad" is the key to finding the rainbows. He has been running heavy spoons at 35 to 60 feet in open water. He expects fall fishing to get better as the water cools and the recreational boaters disperse. Guide Danny Layne recommended fishing Big Creek Arm and Graveyard Bay with Cop Car lures at 35 feet. Call: Monte Smith (209) 581-4734; Danny Layne (209) 586-2383; Gary Vella (209) 652-7550; The Bait Barn (209) 874-3011.
McCLURE RESERVOIR Diana Mello at A-1 Bait in Snelling said bass to 5 pounds have been taken by drop-shotting Pro Worms in cinnamon/blue up the river arm while Mike Gomez in Waterford added that Pro Worms 124 and 300 color patterns are good choices for drop shotting in addition to Reaction Innovation's Bad Shad Green. You'll find the bass at 35 feet with brown/purple jigs. The top-water bite has slowed in the past week. Mello said fishing for king salmon has gotten better, with limits taken on chrome Needlefish at 65 feet near the dam. Catfishing is still outstanding at 15 to 25 feet along muddy, sloping banks with anchovies, chicken livers or live crawdads. Call: A-1 Bait (209) 563-6505, Bub Tosh (209) 404-0053.
McSWAIN RESERVOIR Stephanie Powell at the marina said there has was heavy interest in the free fishing day Saturday. Anglers reported limits by 9 a.m. with green Power Bait in garlic or plain near the brush pile. Diana Mello of A-1 Bait in Snelling also reported limits at on night crawlers topped with a Power Egg. Trollers are working the area from the floating restrooms to the second fence line with copper Wedding Rings, blade/crawler combinations or silver/blue Kastmasters at 25 feet. A Department of Fish and Game plant is expected by mid-week. Call: McSwain Marina (209) 378-2534.
NEW MELONES RESERVOIR/TULLOCH John Gray of Sonora caught a rainbow trout weighing 8 pounds, 2 ounces, breaking the lake record. He was fishing with guide Gary Burns using a silver/blue Excel spoon while trolling the main lake at 2.4 mph at 76 feet. Guide Monte Smith confirmed the excellent action, saying his clients have released trout in the 2½- to 3-pound range while keeping those over 4 pounds. For the big fish, fast troll heavy spoons or run ExCel spoons behind an 18-inch leader on a slow troll at 45 to 70 feet. Smith said they're gorging on shad. Guide Danny Layne confirmed that there are trophy rainbows out there, especially off of the dam, spillway, Carson Creek and the river channel around the 49 Bridge. He recommends Triple Teasers in blue or hammered silver, Needlefish or ExCel lures without flashers or dodgers at 20 feet behind the downrigger ball trolled at 1½ mph. Melanie Lewis of Glory Hole Sporting Goods in Angels Camp said night fishing under a submersible light is really good, too, and should be for the next couple months. She advised anglers to "drop the light down as far as it will go," and use Power Bait, Gulp Eggs, and nightcrawlers on the hook. Try using spinners such as Panther Martins and Rooster Tails with 4# test on an ultra light spinning rod. Kokanee fishing has shown little change with easy limits, but interest has been minimal due to the excellent trout bite. The fish are rapidly transitioning to fall spawning colors. With the schooling shad, there are wolf packs of fish boiling on the surface, and Pop R's, Spooks or Lucky Craft Gunfish are working. Lewis asked that any female largemouth bass be released. Catfishing is excellent, too, with Jose Reyes of Angels Camp landing a 10¼-pound whiskerfish on a night crawler. Call: Glory Hole Sports (209) 736-4333; Monte Smith (209) 581-4734; Danny Layne (209) 586-2383; Sierra Sport Fishing (209) 599-2023.
SAN LUIS RESERVOIR / O'NEILL FOREBAY The big lake is taking diversions from the Delta, but still is at only 31 percent of capacity. Even with the small pool, striped bass fishing is slow. Jason Toslovich of Coyote Bait in Morgan Hill recommended trying Dinosaur Point and the Romero Visitor Center in the morning. Weightless white flukes, Lunker Punkers, or Super Spooks are the top baits. A few anglers are drifting live jumbo minnows near the trash racks. Call: Ly's Fishing Goods (408) 629-9644, Coyote Bait and Tackle (408) 463-0711.
DELTA Salmon are biting in the Sacramento River. Tony Lopez of Benicia Bait said 25 fish were taken from the banks at Dillon Point State Park on Sunday and another 10 to 15 landed Monday with the best action on the afternoon incoming tide. Vee Zee or Flying C spinners are the top lures. A 27-pound chrome bright salmon was landed on a Vee Zee at 1st Street on Sunday morning. Guide Randy Pringle reported 15- to 30-pound stripers are showing up in the San Joaquin system at Old River, Frank's Tract and Holland Cut. Look for moving water with bait schools in the main thoroughfares. Pringle has been scoring with the ima Big Stick on a slow, methodical retrieve with a stagger-step motion. Schools of stripers in the 18 to 22-inch range are roaming the south Delta chasing bait schools. Meanwhile, largemouth bass are "jumping in the boat," said Pringle, especially in the mornings. He suggested getting "loud on windy days and quiet on calm days." The Ace in the Hole and Persuader Double Buzz bait are tops for getting loud while the Timber Tiger DC 8 in bluegill or crawdad patterns are best for getting quiet down to 5 feet. The fish are acclimated to the 85 to 87 degree days, and the larger fish are coming out. Pringle will be at the Fishermen's Warehouse in Fresno on Thursday at 6:15 p.m. Call: Randy Pringle (209) 543-6260; Stan Koenigsberger (925) 570-5303; Mark Wilson (916) 682-1630; Intimidator Sport Fishing (916) 806-3030; Jolly Jay's Guide Service (209) 478-6645; Mark Delnero -Fin Addict Sport Fishing (209) 367-4665.
HALF MOON BAY Dennis Baxter of the New Captain Pete said the albacore bite was slow Saturday with 7 to 9 fish for even the best boats. Bob Mazzetti on the Connie O came back from Pioneer Canyon with 4. The squid schools have evaporated, and the Moss Landing commercial squid boats have gone home. The big news was the rare appearance of Atlantic gannets at the Farallon Islands, and bird watchers are scrambling to put together trips to add this East Coast and European species to their bird list. Baxter will be taking a nature trip to the Farallons on Wednesday for the gannets. Call: Happy Hooker (510) 223-5388; Huck Finn Sport Fishing Center (650) 726-7133; Emeryville Sport Fishing (510) 654-6040; Don Franklin, Soleman (510) 703-4148.
MONTEREY/SANTA CRUZ Chris Arcoleo of Chris's Landing said, "The Star of Monterey went to the nearby reefs Monday for limits of rockfish and 15 quality lings. They are taking rockfish trips throughout the week with the possibility of running south to Point Sur, if there's interest. Call: Chris' Landing (831) 375-5951, Bayside Marine (831) 475-2173.
SAN FRANCISCO BAY As the winds picked up, the salmon bite went down. Sunday, Emeryville Sport Fishing's C Gull and Salmon Queen combined for only 11 salmon for 35 anglers. Rockfishing remains great out at the Islands and along the Marin coast with the New Huck Finn and Sea Wolf out of Emeryville reporting 48 limits of rockfish adding 49 lings to 16-pounds.
Reservoirs and lakes that will be planted with trout during the week of Sept. 16:
Stanislaus Turlock Reservoir.
Tuolumne Tulloch Reservoir; Lyons Canal; Powerhouse Stream; Moccassin Creek; Middle Fork Stanislaus River.
Merced Yosemite Lake.
Fresno Kings River below the Pine Flat Reservoir; San Joaquin River below Friant Dam.