BEST BETS Don Pedro bass and trout action good. ... McClure rainbows and bass bites improved. ... Millerton cranking out good numbers of spotted bass. The Pine Flat trout are eating ... New Melones trout are on the prowl.
LAKE DON PEDRO Guide Monte Smith said the trout bite was excellent early in the week, but had fallen off by Saturday morning. With the full moon, the first hours of the morning were tough until Smith dropped to 30 feet. As it warmed, action closer to the surface improved with Smith scoring with heavy shad-patterned spoons at 4 to 6 colors on a fast troll. The bait has scattered and fishermen will have to search for schools of fish. Trout plants are scheduled at Don Pedro and downstream at Turlock Lake next week. Bass fishing is best with drop shotting shad patterned plastics, but better quality fish with average numbers are taken in deep water with jigs. Anglers willing to toss swimbaits or top-water lures might or might not be rewarded. Call: Monte Smith (209) 581-4734; Danny Layne (209) 586-2383; Gary Vella (209) 652-7550; Bait Barn (209) 874-3011
McCLURE RESERVOIR Guide Randy Pringle was the tournament director for Saturday's Best Bass Tournaments, and noted that 74 of the 76 teams weighed fish, "so catching them wasn't a problem. The difference in the top weights was the willingness of a few fishermen to toss swimbaits or top-water lures throughout the day for the chance at one large fish," he said. The big fish was taken on a Pencil Popper in the afternoon. The better than average cut of fish came on jigs with numbers being taken by drop-shotting plastics. Jason Mello at A-1 Bait in Snelling said live minnows are best for bass at 20 to 50 feet in the Cottonwood Arm or near McClure Point. Catfish and crappie have been taken under lights on medium minnows in Barrett's Cove. Trout trolling remains good with gold Kastmasters of blade/crawler combinations near the dam at 20 to 40 feet. Call: A-1 Bait (209) 563-6505; Bub Tosh (209) 404-0053
McSWAIN RESERVOIR The trout plant from Calaveras Trout Farm last week really had an impact. Bank anglers from at the brush pile, the handicapped docks or the points near the marina are producing fish on various colors of Power Bait or Power Eggs. Jason Mello of A-1 Bait said chartreuse garlic Power Bait for rainbows to 3½ pounds near the brush pile. On sunny days, gold Kastmasters are working. Only a few trollers are working the lake, and they are concentrating on Gilligan's Island toward the floating restrooms. A DFG trout plant is scheduled for next week. Call: McSwain Marina (209) 378-2534
NEW MELONES RESERVOIR / TULLOCH Trout are scattered throughout the lake, and trollers will need some patience. Guide Danny Layne took the Bernal family out last week for solid action for rainbows to 22 inches on Uncle Larry's Copper Pop spinners scented with a small piece of night crawler or a small green-backed ExCel spoon behind Shasta Tackle Sling Blade. Layne found fish just below the 49 Bridge and into Coyote Creek with his lures 75 feet behind the downrigger ball at 18 feet. Guide Gary Burns switched to still fishing instead of trolling, targeting rainbows in the back of coves in the running water with garlic Power Bait or night crawlers. Melanie Lewis of Glory Hole Sporting Goods said the bass bite has been "fairly tough" in the cold water. "The fish seemed to have moved into deep water for the winter, and they are feeding on main lake points throughout the day," she said. She recommends "finesse" style, such as using a drop-shot rig with a very slow presentation with small, 3- to 4-inch hand-poured plastics in natural shad or crawfish. Dead-sticking a 5-inch Senko is working as are smaller swim baits. Catfishing and crappie fishing are slow. Lake Tulloch is at 49 percent capacity after dropping two feet in the past week. 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 Alex Tran of Coyote Bait in Morgan Hill said striper anglers are starting to target the main lake with the best action near the trash racks, the Basalt Recreational Area or in Portuguese Cove at 80 to 120 feet. He recommended jumbo minnows, trolling broken-backed Rebels, P-Line Predators or Yozuris. Dropping 1¾ to 2-ounce Duh! spoons in black/white or chartreuse/white also works. The bait has dropped in the water column, and the stripers are holding around the bait schools. Guide Roger George said the passing front affected the bite and the fish were not hitting till later in the day. In the Forebay, the action has been best near Checks 12 or 13 and the Rockwall with jumbo minnows or Lucky Craft Pointer 128's in American shad or Ghost Minnows. Pile worms, anchovies, or frozen shad are also good options. Call:; Coyote Bait and Tackle (408) 463-0711; Roger George's Guide service (559) 905-2954
DELTA Lots of anglers are expected to compete for some big prizes in the Original Sturgeon Derby out of Bay Point. The target length will be announced Saturday at 7 a.m. To register, go to www.foundationsportsmansclub.org. The Diamond Classic "Catch and Release" Sturgeon Derby was Saturday with 367 adult entrees and 101 kids. High wind and cold air slowed the action only 20 legal sturgeon released. Guide Randy Pringle said you'll need patience to find largemouth bass. He recommended to only slightly move bait from side to side. He has been scoring with the ½-ounce Persuader E-Chip jig in black/blue or the Berkley Havoc Bottom Hopper plastic in dark colors. The bulbous tail on this worm wiggles even when the bait is still. With the water still cold, Pringle has been targeting ledges to 15 feet. Call: Randy Pringle (209) 543-6260; Vella's Fishing Adventures (209) 521-0164.
HALF MOON BAY Capt. Tom Mattusch on the Huli Cat is the only party boat going out for sand dab/crab combos until the start of salmon season in April. In Pacifica, Sheryl Jimno of the Rusty Hook said crabbing is decent from the pier, but the water was rough Sunday. Call: Happy Hooker (510) 223-5388; Roger Thomas, Salty Lady (415) 760-9362, Bait and Switch Sport Fishing Center (650) 726-7133 or 726-7133
MONTEREY/SANTA CRUZ Chris Arcoleo at Chris's Landing said one of his boats got out Saturday with 20 anglers, and they brought back around 50 sand dabs and 3½ crabs each. They are running the combination trips every day, weather and interest permitting. The Sand Crab Classic Surf Perch Derby is March 9 in Santa Cruz; go to www:theletsgofishingradioshow.com for info. Call: Chris' Landing (831) 375-5951
SAN FRANCISCO BAY Keith Fraser of Loch Lomond Bait and Tackle in San Rafael said sturgeon action was good early last week but slowed by the weekend. Joel Sinkay of Leonard's Bait confirmed the slow action in San Pablo Bay. Mike's Bait in Oakland reported jack smelt are the best thing going from the shore while perch are biting at Treasure Island, the Rockwall and the 7th Street Pier.
Compiled by Dave Hurley and Roger George