LAKE DON PEDRO Guide Monte Smith said the key to fishing this time of year is to find the bait. But right now, with the water still warm, the bait fish are scattered all over the lake. Smith said some fish are are hitting lead core with heavy spoons on a fast troll. He added that shad will start to congregate at the mouths of coves soon. For bass, Manny Basi of the Bait Barn in Waterford reported a tough bite, but large fish have been taken on the Berserk Baits Umbrella rig loaded with Mad Shad Light Smoke Holographic swimbaits. Drop shotting with Reaction Innovations Flirts in Bad Shad Green or Pro Worms Purple Shad pattern 124 also are effective as are twin-tailed Hula Grubs in colors 208 and 221 on a half-ounce jig head. 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 decent bass fishing on from boats around Barrett's Cove. He scored spots to over 15 inches by drop shotting Robo Worm's Warmouth at 30 to 50 feet. His partner was also successful with live crawdads. Bank fishing is limited to smaller bass on crawdads. He said the bite died after 11 a.m. Watermelon seed Brush Hogs have also been effective at similar depths. Manny Basi reported a tough overall bite, but said there is some action with double-tail Hula Grubs in colors 301 and 338 on a half-ounce jig head. The other option is drop shotting with Reaction Innovation's Bad Shad Green Flirt or the Pro Worms Purple Shad at 50 feet. Call: A-1 Bait (209) 563-6505; Bub Tosh (209) 404-0053.
McSWAIN RESERVOIR Stephanie Powell of the marina reported outstanding trout action for trollers from the launch ramp to the first fence line on night crawlers behind a Ford Fender flasher or chartreuse Wedding Rings. She said the best action from a boat or the bank has been in the early mornings. Bank fishing is good near the brush pile with salmon eggs or Power Bait in rainbow, orange, or chartreuse. Trout were planted Oct. 26 and a Calaveras Trout Farm plant is set for Thursday. Call: McSwain Marina (209) 378-2534.
NEW MELONES RESERVOIR / TULLOCH Melanie Lewis of Glory Hole Sporting Goods said bank fishing for trout is slow but she expects action to improve significantly once the lake turns over "around Thanksgiving week." Trout action is only fair with trollers struggling for a few fish last week. The best action has been at 50 to 65 feet in the main lake with shad-patterned Needlefish, ExCels, Vance's Slim Fins or Speedy Shiners. The river and stream season ends Nov. 15. Lewis said good bass fishing with the shad staging along the main lake points and the mouths of major coves at 15 to 30 feet. She advised looking for "both small clusters and huge schools of the bait fish." Once you find the bass, try ½-ounce spoons in shad patterns just above the bottom. Catfishing is good with the whiskerfish moving into the shallows, especially on overcast days. Live minnows, frozen shad, mackerel and anchovies are all working, and Matthew Repko of Sonora landed a 18¾-pound whiskerfish on an anchovy. Crappie fishing has been slow, but Lewis reported fish in the 15 to 40 depth range in the backs of creek channels near submerged timber. 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 are being caught on different techniques with Jared Dominici of Coyote Bait in Morgan Hill reporting consistent action for linesides up to 22 pounds by drifting minnows or spooning with 1½ to 1¾-ounce Duh! or P-Line Lazer Minnows in black/silver or chartreuse/white at 40 to 70 feet at the trash racks or Basalt Recreation area. Roger George guided clients to 22 stripers on ABT X2 mini crankbaits at 80 feet. Shore fishing with pile worms or shad on a sliding sinker rig is good from the banks near the dam. In the Forebay, Patrick Movey of the Fishermen's Warehouse in Fresno said anglers are buying 4-inch Storm Wild-Eyed Rainbow Trout or white flukes to entice striped bass. Dominici said numbers are much better in the Forebay, but the fish are smaller, adding, "the best action is around Check 12 or anywhere the water is moving from the pumps." Some anglers are catching and releasing 20 to 30 fish a day. From the banks, anglers have been using shad, anchovies or tossing jumbo minnows under a clear bobber. RatLTraps, Magnum Flukes, and bone white Zara Spooks are working on the surface in the mornings.
DELTA/STOCKTON A few anglers are still trying for salmon, but the tide has turned toward striper and sturgeon. Tony Lopez of Benicia Bait said "everyone is catching stripers." Sturgeon fishing is also heating up, and a female diamondback loaded with 10-pounds of roe was landed at the Firing Line. Mike Pipkins of Gotcha Bait in Antioch told of a school of stripers a mile long from the Antioch Fishing Pier west to Big Break. "This is the best striper action we have seen in 20 years," said Pipkins. "There have been an average of 50 to 75 legal stripers landed off of the Antioch Fishing Pier on a daily basis with up to 100 fish landed last Monday." Guide Randy Pringle said anglers in the San Joaquin River "are crushing the stripers" with 15-pounders biting on ima Big Stick or Double AA swimbaits. A slow, grinding presentation works best. The largemouth bite has been best on crank baits with an erratic return, and Pringle has been scoring with the new ima Pinjack 200 or Timber Tiger DC 8 in shad patterns. 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 The albacore might still be out there, but the focus has turned toward the crab opener on Nov. 3. Coastal rockfishing is still outstanding. Humboldt squid in the 5- to 10-pound range are hanging around Martin's Beach and a few white sea bass have been taken out of the squid schools. In Pacifica, Sheryl Jimno of the Rusty Hook reported perch fishing has been the best thing going. Call: Happy Hooker (510) 223-5388; Roger Thomas, Salty Lady (415) 760-9362, Bait and Switch Sport Fishing Center (650) 726-7133 726-7133; Emeryville Sport Fishing (510) 654-6040; Don Franklin, Soleman (510) 703-4148.
MONTEREY/SANTA CRUZ Rockfishing remains outstanding. Action for 5- to 10-pound Humboldt squid is heating up and Keith at Chris's Landing said there are squid washing up on the beach at Lover's Point and Cannery Row. A few boats went out for albacore, and the best score was 15 longfins and a bluefin tuna at 36'10/122'07. Call: Chris' Landing (831) 375-5951.
SAN FRANCISCO BAY Rockfishing is the best game in town. Salmon action spiked Saturday with the New Seeker and New Salmon Queen boating more than a fish per rod with 20 salmon to 25-pounds for 15 anglers. Capt. Jim Smith of the Happy Hooker got 44 limits of bass to 11-pounds. The striper bite remains hot in the Petaluma River. Sturgeon fishing is picking up with the fresh water moving down the Petaluma River. In San Pablo Bay, leopard sharks dominate action at the Pumphouse with numbers of striped bass closer to the Mare Island Rockwall.
COMPILED BY DAVE HURLEY AND EDITED BY GUIDE ROGER GEORGE