FLYFISHING REPORT Jimi Morales said that the Merced, Toulumne and Stanislaus rivers opened Jan. 1. No Sea-run fish as of yet, but plenty of wild Trout being caught. Little surface activity even with a very strong BWO Mayfly (No. 18-No. 29)hatch. Some midday success high-sticking the riffles with small dark nymphs. A few salmon are still around; a two-fly setup with a Glo-bug will bring some strikes. Call: Sierra Fly Fisher Guide Service (559) 683-7664. Yosemite Rivers Fly Shop (559) 641-7788
LAKE DON PEDRO Plenty of planter trout can be found along the shorelines on ExCels, Needlefish, Speedy Shiners or similar lures. Find the bait, find the fish is the mantra. Look for birds above the water. Manny Basi at the Bait Barn in Waterford said there was excellent trout action from the bank at Blue Oaks or Fleming Meadows with live minnows or night crawlers. The fish seem to prefer live bait to Power Bait, but rainbow Power Bait is also working. Bass fishing is slow with the best action on shad-patterned plastics or Robo Worms Hologram Shad on the drop shot. A "dead stick" presentation is necessary. The swimbait bite has slowed considerably. Warmer weather, longer days, and some rain will help. Call: Monte Smith (209) 581-4734; Danny Layne (209) 586-2383; Gary Vella (209) 652-7550; Bait Barn (209) 874-3011
McCLURE RESERVOIR Manny Basi at the Bait Barn reported excellent trout action from the banks at the south ramp with live minnows or night crawlers. As at Don Pedro, he said live bait is working better than Power Bait. Bass fishing is tough with the best action on shad-patterned plastics. The Reaction Innovation's Bad Shad Green Flirt or Robo Worms Hologram Shad are working on a very slow presentation. Again, use an absolute dead-stick presentation. Basi said once the weather warms up, so should the swimbait bite. Trollers are finding limits of rainbows at 20 to 40 feet on night crawlers behind flashers or Wedding Rings tipped with a night crawler behind a dodger in Temperance Creek or around the dam. Call: A-1 Bait (209) 563-6505; Bub Tosh (209) 404-0053
McSWAIN RESERVOIR Stephanie Powell at the marina reported very good action from the banks near the brush pile with lemon-lime Power Eggs or white Power Bait with garlic. Trolling has been only fair with just a few boats on the water. The majority of action is coming from the banks. The last plant was by Calaveras Trout Farm on Jan. 17; a DFG plant set for this week. Call: McSwain Marina (209) 378-2534
NEW MELONES RESERVOIR / TULLOCH Trout fishing is good for those on the banks or on the water after weekly plants by the Dept. of Fish and Game. Guide Joe Askamit fished the lake for limits this weekend, though the bite was different depending on the day. Askamit said Friday's bite started strong then slowed down as the day went on. He fished Mormon Creek and Angels Creek using black and white Fresh Water Basic 3-inch grub and rolled shad at 25 feet and got two dozen hook-ups with limits to 1¾-pounds and 17 inches. "Find the bait and you will find the fish," Askamit said. Melanie Lewis of Glory Hole Sporting Goods in Angels Camp reported decent action from the banks with anglers tossing Kastmasters far into the lake. Lewis said bass fishing is tough, and most anglers are having difficulty finding quality fish. The rapid drop in water temperature has slowed the bite considerably as the fish move into deeper water. A slow presentation with a small 3- to 4-inch hand-poured plastic in natural shad or crawfish on the drop shot is the top technique. The catfish bite has been slow and so has crappie fishing. Live minnows or red worms under s slip-float are picking up a few slabsides in creek channels near submerged wood. The North Shore launch ramp is 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
SAN LUIS RESERVOIR / O'NEILL FOREBAY Anthony Lopez of Coyote Bait in Morgan Hill reported a slowdown in striper action in the main lake with most anglers targeting the linesides with anchovies or jumbo minnows at 80 to 100 feet near the trash racks or along the creek channels in Portuguese Cove. Guide Roger George said they landed over 15 fish to 24 inches, but reported a "hit-and-miss" bite that seems to last for a few hours then dies. He said the fish are holding much deeper than usual since the water is around 51 degrees. The bait has either gone deep in the main lake or is in moving water in the coves. In the forebay, stripers are being taken on blood worms, pile worms or anchovies near Check 12 or the Highway 152 bridge. Lopez said Check 12 has been "the best area, by far." Trollers are pulling broken backed Rebels or Rapalas, P-Line Predators or Yozuris while rip baits or RatLTraps are also effective. Top-water action has been very slow. Call: Coyote Bait and Tackle (408) 463-0711 Roger George (559) 905-2954
DELTA It's too cold and the water is too muddy for either sturgeon and or striped bass. When it rains, the bite should perk up. Tony Lopez at Benicia Bait said there are flounder out there, and one boat came back from Big Cut with three 21-inch stripers and a huge flounder caught on grass shrimp or ghost shrimp. The best sturgeon action has been in Cache and Liberty Sloughs. Guide Randy Pringle said the cold water (from 38 to 43 degrees) is keeping the Florida-strain largemouth from "wanting to play." The fish are eating the smallest variety of food source, which is a minnow, said Pringle. He said a dead-stick presentation is essential and recommended the ima Flit rip bait or the "smallest Berkley bait you can use." Agricultural pumping keeping the water cold and muddy in the back sloughs. Pringle said the stripers are "playing hide and seek." The 7th Diamond Classic in Martinez will be Jan. 26. The Original Sturgeon Derby, aka "Super Bowl Sturgeon Derby," will be Feb. 2 and 3. Registration at www.foundationsportsmansclub.org. Call: Randy Pringle (209) 543-6260; Vella's Fishing Adventures (209) 521-0164; Mark Wilson (916) 682-1630.
HALF MOON BAY The Mavericks Surf Contest took place for the first time in three years last Sunday, and though the swell was not as large as it has been for previous events, the weather was spectacular. Capt. Dennis Baxter said, "The Coast Guard did an excellent job limiting the number of private boats on the water." Despite the huge event, people were fishing in Half Moon Bay with sand dab/crab combination trips being popular. 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 ran ran sand dab/crab combination trips over the weekend, and put in 18 crab limits Sunday to go with an average of 60 sand dabs. The annual Sand Crab Classic Surf Perch Derby is March 9 in Santa Cruz. It's a fundraiser for the Monterey Bay Salmon and Steelhead Project. The derby is limited to the first 300 entrants. Go to www:theletsgofishingradioshow.com. Allen Bushnell of Santa Cruz Kayak Fishing said perch fishing will be good this year. Call: Chris' Landing (831) 375-5951; Bayside Marine (831) 475-2173
SAN FRANCISCO BAY Emeryville Sport Fishing will be closing next week through Jan. 29.
Roger George and Dave Hurley