LAKE DON PEDRO Guide Monte Smith took clients onto the lake twice last week and said the key to finding trout is finding concentrations of bait fish. "The trout have been scattered in various schools of bait," he said. But "the trout aren't holding in every bait ball." So you also have to be lucky. Smith worked Middle Bay in open water for seven trout before heading to Jenkins Hill where they hooked several spotted bass in 50 to 65 feet of water. The bass are down in the column feasting on shad along with the trout and king salmon. Guide Danny Layne has been working higher in the column (40 to 45 feet) with ExCel lures in shad patterns or Cop Car near Jenkins Hill, Middle Bay, and around Big Oak Island for quality rainbows from 16 to 20 inches. Bass fishing is limited to finesse techniques since there is very little reaction bite. Manny Basi of the Bait Barn in Waterford said the best action is on the bottom at depths to 30 feet with Senkos in color patterns 208, 221 and 301 with a drop-shot bite on Reaction Innovations Flirts in Bad Shad Green or Pro Worms Purple Shad pattern 124. Call: Monte Smith (209) 581-4734; Danny Layne (209) 586-2383; Gary Vella (209) 652-7550; Bait Barn (209) 874-3011.
McCLURE RESERVOIR Jason Mello of A-1 Bait reported king salmon and spotted bass are together feeding on the shad schools near the dam at around 50 feet. He suggests using shad-patterned Rapalas to entice both species. Anglers prefishing for last weekend's Future Pro Tour tournament were said to have landed largemouth bass to 11 pounds on jigs with smaller fish taken on crankbaits. Mello said white flukes on a dart head were also successful. Manny Basi of the Bait Barn said the best bass action is still on the bottom, and he suggested Senkos color patterns 201, 305 and 33 at around 30 feet, in addition to drop shotting with Pro Worms Purple Shad color 124 and Reaction Innovations Bad Shad Green Flirt. Few trout fishermen have been targeting the lake, and crappie and catfish reports have been minimal. Call: A-1 Bait (209) 563-6505; Bub Tosh (209) 404-0053.
McSWAIN RESERVOIR Stephanie Powell of the marina reported good action for trollers in the usual locations the floating restrooms to the second fence line with night crawlers behind a Sep's Sidekick in watermelon or silver/gold at 25 feet. Shore anglers are focusing on the brush pile with garlic rainbow or salmon peach Power Bait. Powell said that since the recent derby, salmon peach has been the hot color for Power Bait. A Calaveras Trout Farm plant on Oct. 10 and a DFG plant scheduled for Thursday could improve the bite. There are still plenty of planted trout in the lake from the double-plants prior to the Oct. 6 derby. Call: McSwain Marina (209) 378-2534.
NEW MELONES / TULLOCH RESERVOIRS A fair number of trout are being caught, and the quality is excellent with rainbows in the 2½- to 3-pound range. Melanie Lewis of Glory Hole Sporting Goods in Angels Camp said trollers are picking up a few limits in the main lake and in the mouth of major creek arms at 35 to 65 feet with shad-patterned trolling spoons such as Needlefish, ExCels, Vance's Slim Fins, and Speedy Shiners. With the trout feeding heavily on the large shad, pulling plugs such as Countdown Rapalas, RatLTraps, or Speed Traps are also effective. Guide Gary Burns said that with the water cooling the shad are moving to the backs of the coves and creek inlets in search of food. So the rainbows are spread throughout the lake looking for the shad. He has been scoring with ExCels in blue/chrome scented with Pro Cure Bloody Tuna, Kokanee Magic or Threadfin Shad at speeds to 2.6 mph at 56 feet. Night fishing under submersible lights is also producing quality limits with the best action in the backs of coves. River and stream season ends on Nov. 15. Kokanee action is all but over. Lewis reported good bass action along the main lake points and on submerged island tops. Top-water lures such as Spooks, Lucky Craft Gunfish, or PopR's are effective, but after the sun comes up, shad-patterned plastics at 25 to 45 feet are the top techniques. Catfishing is fair with frozen shad, mackerel, wads of night crawlers, chicken livers or anchovies drifted slowly across the bottom. Night fishing has been producing crappie with live minnows or minijigs at 15 to 30 feet near structure. The lake is at 62 percent capacity. 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 Striped bass fishing is on the upswing with linesides to 20 pounds taken from in front of the trash racks at 60 to 100 feet while the pumps are running. But the pumping stopped over the weekend and that slowed the bite. Jared Dominci of Coyote Bait and Tackle in Morgan Hill said live minnows have been the best baits, especially when the pumps are on. When stripers are schooled up, jigging with 1½ to 1¾-ounce Duh! Spoons or P-Line Lazer Minnows in black/silver or chartreuse/white is working. If the wind is blowing, Dominci said to use the heavier spoons. And if the water is off-color, he recommends chartreuse spoons. With the low water, access to Portuguese Cove is limited, but bank anglers are tossing live minnows or cut baits from the Basalt Recreation Area. In the Forebay, pearl white flukes or the 3 to 4-inch Storm swimbaits in rainbow trout have been producing stripers, but most are undersized. Check 12 is putting out catfish or striped bass on pile worms, blood worms, anchovies or frozen shad. Call: Ly's Fishing Goods (408) 629-9644.
DELTA Salmon fishing remains steady with reports of eight being landed at the State Park on Saturday. Striper action continues to be strong from the banks under the Benicia/Martinez Bridge west toward 12th Street. Mike Pipkins at Gotcha Bait in Antioch confirmed some good striper action with the fish at the mouths of inlets in Big Break, Sherman Lake, Discovery Bay and Frank's Tract. The recent water releases in the Mokelumne River have finally spurred the salmon bite for trollers and those jigging spoons. Call: Randy Pringle (209) 543-6260; Vella's Fishing Adventures (209) 521-0164; Mark Wilson Sport Fishing (916) 682-1630; Intimidator Sport Fishing (916) 806-3030.
HALF MOON BAY Captain Dennis Baxter of the New Captain Pete went north Saturday for epic albacore action with 38 big longfins ranging from 22 to 38 pounds at 37/45-123/29 between the Farallon Islands and the Cordell Banks. Rockfishing is still outstanding. Further up the coast in Pacifica, Sheryl Jimno of the Rusty Hook reported perch fishing has been the best thing going with blood worms. Call: Happy Hooker (510) 223-5388; Salty Lady (415) 760-9362, Bait and Switch Sport Fishing Center (650) 726-7133 726-7133; Emeryville Sport Fishing (510) 654-6040.
MONTEREY/SANTA CRUZ Chris's Landing in Monterey reported Humboldt squid in the 5 to 10-pound range have shown up outside Carmel, and it's difficult to get bait past the squid to get to the rockfish. The Chubascho out of Randy's Sport Fishing put in 66 of the small Humboldts for 4 anglers Saturday. Limits of rockfish were the rule. Call: Chris' Landing (831) 375-5951.
SAN FRANCISCO BAY Salmon fishing has been only fair for party boats and slightly better on the private boats. Rockfishing remains outstanding at the Farallon Islands and along the Marin coastline. Jim Smith of the Happy Hooker posted 17 limits of striped bass to 11 pounds. Keith Fraser said halibut fishing is "shockingly good" after a dismal summer on the bay.
Reservoirs and lakes that will be planted with trout during the week of Oct. 21:
Fresno Kings River below the Pine Flat Reservoir;San Joaquin River below Friant Dam
Madera Corrine Lake