BEST BETS Delta sturgeon on feeding spree. ... Millerton and Pine Flat best local bass bets ... McClure producing trout and bass limits. ... New Melones trout feeding near bank.
LAKE DON PEDRO Recent rains have washed food in from the banks, so the trout have moved in closer. Side planers are very effective for getting in close. Trollers are advised to use flashers such as Vance's Little Slim Willies combined with scent to entice trout in the stained water. Plants have improved the action for 8-inch Huddlestons in rainbow trout pattern with a Rate-Of-Fall 12 for those willing to toss the lure throughout the day. The bass bite has slowed, but you can get a bite or two by drop-shotting with Reaction Innovation's Bad Shad Green Flirt or Pro Worms Purple Shad color 124 at about 35 feet. Trout plants at Don Pedro continue this week. Call: Monte Smith (209) 581-4734; Danny Layne (209) 586-2383; Gary Vella (209) 652-7550; Bait Barn (209) 874-3011
McCLURE RESERVOIR Diana Mello of A-1 Bait and Tackle in Snelling said the trout action is good for trollers pulling an Apex Lure from the surface to about 10 feet near the dam. Blade/crawler combinations or Wedding Rings tipped with a night crawler behind a dodger are also working. For bass, live crawdads or minnows are doing the trick with anglers scoring in the slot and from the banks at Barrett's Cove. Spotted bass to 2¼ pounds have been reported. Cottonwood Creek is another productive area. Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said a few Fresno fishermen are finding limits of crappie to 1½ pounds on minijigs or Crappie Stingers. "We have had few reports of crappie or catfish, and our sales of medium minnows has been slow," Gilbert said. Call: A-1 Bait (209) 563-6505; Bub Tosh (209) 404-0053
McSWAIN RESERVOIR The marina reported lake levels were lowered during the past week for maintenance on the dam, but the level returned to normal by Saturday, where it should remain all this week. The last trout plant was Dec. 11, and more plants are expected biweekly. Diana Mello of A-1 Bait in Snelling said there was fantastic action for trollers pulling blade/crawler combinations, Wedding Rings tipped with a night crawler, or silver/blue Kastmasters around the floating restrooms. Bank anglers have been concentrating around the brush pile and handicapped docks with chartreuse or rainbow Power Bait. Call: McSwain Marina (209) 378-2534
NEW MELONES RESERVOIR/TULLOCH Melanie Lewis of Glory Hole Sporting Goods in Angels Camp reported good trout action from the banks after the DFG plants. Power Bait, Gulp! Eggs, or a night crawler/marshmallow combination are all working as well as tossing silver or gold Kastmasters. She recommended tossing silver lures on cloudy days and gold lures on sunny days, adding "it never hurts to add Pro Cure scents in garlic, anise, and garlic/crawler." Trollers picked up a few limits this week with the fish holding in shallow water near the shoreline. Top lining with Thomas Buoyants, Rapalas, or Kastmasters at 100 to 150 feet behind the boat at speeds from 2.4 to 3.0 mph is working. Bass fishing is fair with the bite slowing from last week. Lewis advised targeting primary and secondary points leading to and from major creek arms with shad patterned lures such as spinnerbaits, crankbaits or lipless cranks. Drop shotting with Robo Worm's Alive Shad, Gulp! Minnows, or Zoom Tiny Flukes is another productive technique. Crawdad-patterned jigs around wood or rock on main or secondary lake points are also working. Catfishing is still only fair, but the lake is still warm for the season and the fish are still active. Live minnows, frozen shad, mackerel, and anchovies are all working. Lake Tulloch is at 62 percent of capacity with the North Shore launch ramp out of the water.
Call: Glory Hole Sports (209) 736-4333; Monte Smith (209) 581-4734; Danny Layne (209) 586-2383; Sierra Sport Fishing (209) 599-2023
DELTA/STOCKTON Last week's big tides dragged wood and debris from the banks into the river. Combined with the debris washing down the watershed after the storms, the San Joaquin and Sacramento rivers are loaded debris some visible, some not. With the huge tides, there has been good sturgeon fishing from the Benicia shorelines; all of the sturgeon were taken in the shallows on grass or ghost shrimp combined with eel. Mudsuckers are working better for striped bass with the best action in the shallows. Guide Randy Pringle advised using vibrating crankbaits to entice strikes in the stained water. He's gotten good action on Timber Tiger DC 8 in chartreuse/blue in the off-color water with the rattles imbedded in the lure. "With the water in the current state, you have to use either noise, vibration, or scent to bring out the bite," Pringle said. He likes the Berkley Power Worm for that reason. Striped bass are "playing hide and seek" with the majority of schools moving into the back sloughs such as Discovery Bay. Water temperature is down to 54 degrees. 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.
SAN LUIS RESERVOIR / O'NEILL FOREBAY Paul Jolley of Coyote Bait in Morgan Hill reported heavy inflow, raising the main lake level. The islands at the far side of Basalt are now submerged, making them a great place to toss half-ounce Scrounger heads, 1¾ Blade Runner spoons or rip baits. Stripers are holding inside Portuguese and Lone Oak coves, but you have to find them with your graph, said Jolley. In the forebay, the water is dirty from the inflow, so live bait is working best. Fast-moving rip baits are working near the launch ramp along the weed lines. Call: Coyote Bait and Tackle (408) 463-0711
HALF MOON BAY Dennis Baxter of the New Captain Pete reported excellent rockfish north of the Montara MPA with large black rockfish holding on the pinnacles. Ge said pots pulled in the Separation Zone 9 miles outside the harbor averaged 20 crab each, weighing an average of 40 pounds. He also reported loads of market grade squid along a 4 mile stretch from the Ritz Carleton Hotel to Martin's Beach. 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 Chris Arcoleo of Chris's Landing in Monterey reported limits of rockfish and crab on Sunday's combination trip. No Humboldt squid were seen Monday or Tuesday after they landed 50 on Friday. Rockfish season ends Dec. 31. Call: Chris' Landing (831) 375-5951; Bayside Marine (831) 475-2173
SAN FRANCISCO BAY The commercial crab strike has been settled, but party boats have still been pulling limits. Chris Smith of the California Dawn went up the Marin coast Sunday for 14 limits of rockfish and crab to go with 3 ling cod. There are only 2 weeks left in the rockfish season. Inside the bay, Keith Fraser of Loch Lomond Bait and Tackle in San Rafael said the pumphouse has been the spot for sturgeon with good scores even during "questionable" weather.