LAKE DON PEDRO Manny Basi of the Bait Barn in Waterford reported overall action has been slow, but the swimbait bite has improved with 8-inch Huddlestons in rainbow trout with a Rate-Of-Fall 12. The other top technique has been drop shotting with Reaction Innovation's Bad Shad Green Flirt or Pro Worms Purple Shad color 124 at depths to 35 feet. For trout, the fish are moving closer to the banks, and with the off-color water in the creek arms and closer to shore, trollers are advised to use flashers such as Vance's Little Slim Willies combined with scent to entice trout action in the stained water. The fish should be moving toward the shorelines in the top 10 to 15 feet of the surface with the sudden abundance of food washing off of the banks. The lake is currently at 757.52 feet in elevation and 61% of capacity. Call: Monte Smith (209) 581-4734; Danny Layne-Fishn' Dan (209) 586-2383; Gary Vella (209) 652-7550; Bait Barn (209) 874-3011.
McCLURE RESERVOIR Jason Mello of A-1 Bait and Tackle in Snelling trout fishing has improved with trollers taking limits of rainbows on night crawlers behind a hammered nickel cowbell at depths from 10 to 20 feet near the dam. Bank fishing for trout is good in Barrett's Cove with gold Kastmasters. Mello has been using a combination of live crawdads or 6-inch plastics in Hologram Shad or Robo Worms Purple Weenie on a Texas-rig. Jigs and drop shotting at depths from 10 to 30 feet has been productive with a small window for top water in the mornings. Spoons and shaky head plastics are working at depths to 60 feet with the overall best action at the mouth of Piney Creek, the river channel, Temperance, and Cottonwood Creek. Call: A-1 Bait (209) 563-6505; Bub Tosh (209) 404-0053.
McSWAIN RESERVOIR The lake levels were lowered last week for maintenance at the McSwain Dam, and Stephanie Powell of the McSwain Marina reported excellent trout action near the Handicapped Docks or the peninsulas around the Marina. Anglers were able to walk out farther towards the lowered pool of water, finding quick limits in the earlier morning hours. Chartreuse and rainbow Power Bait are currently the top offerings. The lake filled again by the weekend, and trollers were able to launch without concern. The best action for trollers remains in the upper portion of the lake with night crawlers behind a baby cowbell hammerend nickel flasher or Wedding Rings tipped with a night crawler at depths to 25 feet from the Floating Restrooms to the 2nd Fence Line. Call: McSwain Marina (209) 378-2534.
NEW MELONES RESERVOIR/TULLOCH Melanie Lewis of Glory Hole Sporting Goods in Angels Camp reported improved trout action with the consistent DFG plants. A few limits were taken by trollers in the past week working the shallower water near the shorelines with gold, silver, or blue Rapalas, ExCels, or Kastmasters top-lined on the surface. Side planers are very effective for getting close to the shoreline. Bank action is also picking up with planters and a few holdovers in the mix. Bass fishing is also good with plenty of quality fish taken by vertically jigging with ½ or ¾-ounce spoons. Crappie fishing remains on the slow side, but Lewis reported fish in the 15 to 40 depth range in the backs of creek channels near submerged timber. The lake rose 2.5 feet to 1007.64 feet in elevation and 64% of capacity. Call: Glory Hole Sports (209) 736-4333; Monte Smith (209) 581-4734; Danny Layne-Fishn' Dan (209) 586-2383; Sierra Sport Fishing (209) 599-2023.
SAN LUIS RESERVOIR/O'NEILL FOREBAY Richard Flores of Coyote Bait in Morgan Hill reported the best action for striped bass remains in the main lake near the Basalt Recreational Area boat launch with jumbo minnows or cut bait. He found a good bite for schoolie stripers on a recent trip to the Basalt Area with white swimbaits trolled on an Umbrella rig. The bait is thick in the area, and the stripers are hanging around the bait. Drifting jumbo minnows is another productive technique. Frozen shad, anchovies, or pile worms are the top baits from the shorelines with bank access in the big lake best at the Romero Visitor Center or Basalt Recreation Area. Call: Ly's Fishing Goods (408) 629-9644; Coyote Bait and Tackle (408) 463-0711.
DELTA/STOCKTON The sturgeon and striper action is heating up at the Mothball Fleet with Tony Lopez of Benicia Bait reporting area boaters are concentrating in the area. Grass shrimp combined with eel is working best with more action than just plain eel. Shore fishing is good for undersized to barely-legal stripers with anchovies from 9th Street. The fresh water has pushed out the crabs from the area. 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 With the commercial crabbers on strike, recreational crabbing is the only game in town, and Captain Tom Mattusch on the Huli Cat put in 19 limits of rockfish for customers and 21 limits of Dungeness crab to go with 3 ling cod on Sunday, on a trip south of the harbor from Martin's Beach, Tunitas Creek, and San Gregorio. Call: Happy Hooker (510) 223-5388; Roger Thomas, Salty Lady (415) 760-9362, Bait and Switch Sport Fishing Center (650) 726-7133 and 726-7133; Emeryville Sport Fishing (510) 654-6040; Don Franklin, Soleman (510) 703-4148.
MONTEREY/SANTA CRUZ Chris Arcoleo of Chris's Landing in Monterey reported ¾ limits of rockfish, 100+ Humboldt squid, and 92 Dungeness crab for a average of 4 crab/angler on Sunday's trip on the Caroline to the local reefs. On Saturday, the Caroline once again put in ¾ limits of rockfish and 47 Dungeness for an average of 3 crab/angler. They are running the rockfish/crab combinations and rockfish-only trips throughout the week. Rockfish season ends Dec. 31. Call: Chris' Landing (831) 375-5951; Bayside Marine (831) 475-2173; usafishing.com.
SAN FRANCISCO BAY Rockfishing remains consistent both at the Marin coast or at the Farallon Islands. Captain Jim Smith of the Happy Hooker took perhaps his final trip of the rockfish season on Sunday for 18 limits of rockfish and 13 ling cod to 15-pounds on a private charter.
Reservoirs and lakes that will be planted with trout during the week of Dec. 16:
Stanislaus Modesto Reservoir; Woodward Reservoir.
Fresno Avocado Lake; Kings River below the Pine Flat Reservoir; Woodward Park Lake; San Joaquin River, below Friant Dam.
Madera San Joaquin River below Friant Dam.