BEST BETS Millerton and Pine Flat bass action has improved. ... San Luis stripers steady. ... Kaweah bass continue hitting ... Albacore action out of Morro Bay. ... McSwain trout bite good. ... Delta striper action heats up. ... New Melones bass feeding.
LAKE DON PEDRO Guide Monte Smith said you have to search for bait fish, but once you find them the rainbows won't be far behind. Unfortunately, the shad have scattered throughout the lake. "The rainbows will be moving up continuously as the water cools in the next month, and you will have to hunt them down," Smith said. Look for birds working (or even sitting on) the surface; that's a good indication of bait fish. Pay close attention to the mouths of coves. Manny Basi of the Bait Barn in Waterford said it's still difficult to catch bass, but recommended drop-shotting and dragging a Berserk Purple Hornet jig with a Yamamoto cinnamon/purple trailer at 30 feet. There is a top-water bite in the early mornings and it's best on Super Spooks or the River2Sea Rover. 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 caught and released a 4-pound largemouth from the banks at Barrett's Cove on Monday with a Robo Worm Warmouth. One angler caught 25 bass on live crawdads in Cottonwood Creek with five of them over 15 inches. Live crawdads have also been effective for crawdads. Heavy trout plants near the Barrett's Cove south ramp over the past two weeks have spurred bank action with Kastmasters or Panther Martins. Few king salmon or trolling trout reports have been coming in, but expect trout to leave the banks soon. Call: A-1 Bait (209) 563-6505; Bub Tosh (209) 404-0053
McSWAIN RESERVOIR Stephanie Powell at the marina reported very good action for trollers past the floating restrooms; it's best early in the mornings with blade/crawler combinations or Wedding Rings tipped with a night crawler behind a dodger. Silver spoons have also been very effective. Corn yellow, original garlic, or yellow garlic Power Bait have been working for shore anglers at the brush pile or handicapped docks. There was a Calaveras Trout plant last week and there's a DFG plant set for Wednesday or Thursday. Call: McSwain Marina (209) 378-2534
NEW MELONES RESERVOIR / TULLOCH Bass fishing has been good with Melanie Lewis of Glory Hole Sporting Goods in Angels Camp saying the fish are feeding on shad or crawdads, "fattening up for the cold winter months." Jigging with ½- to ¾-ounce spoons are working. She touted the California Reservoir Lures jigs in Melones Craw, Sculpin, Green Pumpkin or cinnamon/purple. Lewis said trout action is slow as the rainbows are transitioning from deep water toward the shallows. Shore anglers are starting to pick up a few fish. The river and stream season ends Nov. 15. There is no kokanee action. Catfishing is good with the whiskerfish moving into the shallows. Roy Grover of Manteca caught a 10¾-pound whiskerfish on red/yellow Power Bait. Crappie fishing remains slow, but Lewis said fish can be found from 15 to 40 feet in the backs of creek channels. 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 Stripers are still biting continues, especially for those drifting jumbo minnows off of the trash racks or dropping 1½- to 1¾-ounce Duh! or P-Line Lazer Minnows in black/silver or chartreuse/white from 40 to 70 feet. Anthony Lopez of Coyote Bait in Morgan Hill said there's been good action from the banks near the Romero Visitor Center with 15- and 26-pound stripers being caught on successive casts. The angler was using grass shrimp. There is a small window for surface action with top-water lures, Umbrella rigs and jerkbaits. Lopez said there are smaller stripers in the Forebay for those throwing jerkbaits over the top of the grass, soaking blood worms or pile worms near Check 12 and around the Highway 152 bridge. Call: Ly's Fishing Goods (408) 629-9644; Coyote Bait and Tackle (408) 463-0711; Roger George (559) 905-2954
DELTA The pendulum has swung from salmon to stripers and sturgeon, but a few salmon are being caught near Benicia over the weekend. Sturgeon fishing is on the upswing with good reports coming from shallow- and deep-water locations. James Nguyen of Dockside Bait in Pittsburg called the action "excellent." Stripers are hitting live bullheads, live mudsuckers or fresh shad from several locations. Gotcha Bait in Antioch said large schools of stripers are hanging around the Antioch Fishing Pier and upriver toward Bethel Island and Frank's Tract. He said more fish on the way since the action around the mothball fleet has picked up. Guide Randy Pringle said the weather change has chased the big largemouths under cover. That means the small bass to 1½ pounds "are having a field day." He has been catching bunches using the new ima Pinjack 200 or Timber Tiger DC 8 in shad or bluegill patterns. The key is to work the main river sections with current. Call: Randy Pringle (209) 543-6260; Vella's Fishing Adventures (209) 521-0164; Mark Wilson Sport Fishing (916) 682-1630.
MONTEREY/SANTA CRUZ The Dungeness crab season started with a bang with Chris Arcoleo of Chris's Landing saying "we slaughtered the crab on Sunday." He said it took only eight pots to reach 18 limits on the Checkmate. The squid counts are also up. He's running either crab/rockfish combos or straight rockfish trips throughout the week. Out of Santa Cruz, experienced fishermen are plucking an occasional white sea bass to 55 pounds from the Cement Ship to Pajaro by drifting fresh dead squid. Rockfishing is best north of Santa Cruz from Four-Mile Beach towards Davenport. Call: Chris' Landing (831) 375-5951; Bayside Marine (831) 475-2173
HALF MOON BAY Captain Dennis Baxter of the New Captain Pete caught limits of crab and said the quality "is very good; all of our limits were commercial grade." He said the numbers are down from 2011, nearly in half. Captain Tom Mattusch of the Huli Cat had a spectacular Saturday with 25 limits of rockfish, 30 lings to 22 pounds, and 25 limits of Dungeness. Sheryl Jimno of the Rusty Hook reported good crabbing off of the pier with people tossing pots shoulder-to-shoulder during the opening weekend. 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
SAN FRANCISCO BAY Mike Aughney of USA Fishing.com said the crab season has had great weather, "stuffed pots and boats full of happy anglers." The majority of boats are working between N and W buoys and the North bar in 20 to 30 fathoms. Private boaters are seeing 12 to 20 crabs per pot working in as little as 10 to 12 fathoms off Muir beach and outer Bolinas Bay. Captain Roger Thomas of the Salty Lady put in five salmon to 25 pounds Friday with a few scratched baits and a couple of shakers released. The salmon season close s Nov. 11. Inside the bay, Keith Fraser of Loch Lomond Bait in San Rafael reported good action from the shorelines for striped bass.