LAKE DON PEDRO Guide Monte Smith said the bite has gotten tougher as the fish have scattered, adding "it's not a slam dunk for limits anymore." They were able to release limits of planter trout after finding the fish at 27 to 30 feet on a downrigger and from 4 to 6 colors of lead core. Smith said the bait schools are non-existent, and the fish can be anywhere. He even found some near the banks at 12 feet. With water temperatures around 51 degrees, the trout are seeking warmer water and food. For largemouth bass, Manny Basi of the Bait Barn in Waterford said smaller shad-patterned swimbaits in the 3½- to 4-inch range are working on a "slow rolled presentation." The Berserk Purple Hornet or TNT Baits Special Ops jigs are working at 40 to 50 feet. A 13-pound largemouth was caught on an 8-inch rainbow Huddleston swimbait during Saturday's American Bass Association tournament. The angler didn't even weigh in the largest limit which topped 26 pounds. Trout plants are scheduled at both Don Pedro and Turlock Lake next week. Trout action from the banks with live minnows or night crawlers continues to be strong. Call: Monte Smith (209) 581-4734; Danny Layne (209) 586-2383; Gary Vella (209) 652-7550; Bait Barn (209) 874-3011
McCLURE RESERVOIR There were 20 limits weighed in during Saturday's Kerman Bass Club tourney for 24 anglers, according to Walt Lee. Jason Mello of A-1 Bait in Snelling said there was solid action from the banks at Barrett's Cove South with live minnows or crawdads while artificials such as the Yamamoto Pearl/Blue Laminate have been picking up largemouths to 2½-pounds in the Cottonwood Arm. Trout trolling has slowed near the dam, but three fishermen picked up seven trout and two kokanee pulling blade/crawler combinations from the surface to 20 feet. Action has improved in the river arm with mixed limits of trout, king salmon and a 1½-pound crappie taken on orange Wedding Rings or orange Rocky Mountain Tackle Assassin spinners at 15 to 30 feet. A trout plant is scheduled next week. Call: A-1 Bait (209) 563-6505; Bub Tosh (209) 404-0053 McSWAIN RESERVOIR The McSwain Marina reported trolling action has improved with blade/crawler combinations or Wedding Rings tipped with a night crawler behind a dodger from Gilligan's Island to the floating restrooms. The last trout plant was Jan. 29 with a DFG plant scheduled for this week. Bank anglers are scoring from the access areas at the brush pile, the handicapped docks or near the Marina on various colors of Power Bait or Power Eggs. Jason Mello of A-1 Bait in Snelling reported a group landed 20 rainbows with Bubble Gum Power Eggs and Power Bait in either chartreuse or rainbow at the Brush Pile. Call: McSwain Marina (209) 378-2534
NEW MELONES RESERVOIR / TULLOCH Melanie Lewis of Glory Hole Sporting Goods in Angels Camp said trout action from the banks has slowed with few limits being taken. She said the standard bait rig with a long leader seems to be the best bet with a sliding sinker and a 3 to 4 foot leader and a light hook. Pink/white Gulp! Power Eggs or Berkley Power Eggs are working; Kastmasters or Krocodiles are also effective. Trolling has slowed. Guide Doug McArthur said he's seeing fewer trout. The trout have scattered throughout the lake. Lewis said bass fishing is tough with one exception an unofficial lake record 8½-pound spotted bass was caught and released by Mel Caldwell while trolling a blue/silver Trophy Stick. Lewis said most anglers are having trouble locating quality fish as water temperatures fall and the fish move into deeper water. During daylight hours the bass are moving up on the main lake points, and finesse techniques are working best. She advised 3- to 4-inch plastic worms in natural shad or crawfish on a "dead-stick." California Reservoir Lures jigs are working in the Cash Call color. Cliff Larrew and Johnny Roberts of Ripon landed an 8½-pound catfish while bank fishing with night crawlers. Frozen shad, sardines or anchovies dragged slowly along the bottom work best. Live minnows or red worms under s slip-float are picking up a few crappie. Lake Tulloch rose nearly a foot to 50 percent capacity. Trout plants are scheduled in both this 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 Mickey Clements of Coyote Bait in Morgan Hill said trollers pulling Smithwick Rogue rip baits in chrome/black with an orange belly or chrome/black at the mouth of Portuguese Cove are doing well. Drifting minnows also is working. Fishermen are using electronics to find bait balls before dropping. Spooning with 1¾ to 2-ounce Duh! spoons in black/white or chartreuse/white is working. Guide Roger George said there was no problem finding fish, but the bite is later in the day. Big lake temps are around 51 degrees. Patrick Movey of the Fishermen's Warehouse in Fresno reported trollers are working the Forebay with stickbaits, flukes or Fish Traps along the rockwall and in the inlets. Call:; Coyote Bait and Tackle (408) 463-0711 Roger George's Guide service (559) 905-2954
DELTA/STOCKTON The Super Bowl Sturgeon Derby brought out 1,022 fishermen to McAvoy's Boat Harbor in Bay Point. The target length was 57 inches, and 33 sturgeon came to the measuring table Sunday. The Delta water is warming, and Clyde Wands, a shallow trolling expert, worked the west bank Monday with a chartruese P-Line Angry Eye at 7 feet for a handful of stripers to 8½ pounds. For bait fishermen, field scout Ron Zolezzi fished on the anchor at 28 feet in the San Joaquin River off Eddo's Boat Harbor and landed an 8½-pound striper on a sardine fillet. Captain Stan Lewis of Neptune Sport Fishing was solo in Grizzly Bay on Saturday, and caught and released four sturgeon in the shallow water. 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.
MONTEREY/SANTA CRUZ Chris Arcoleo of Chris's Landing in Monterey reported plenty of sand dabs and limits of Dungeness crab for 10 anglers on the Checkmate on Super Bowl Sunday. In Santa Cruz, the Sand Crab Classic Surf Perch Derby is March 9. It's limited to 300 entrants; signups close Feb. 20. Call: Chris' Landing (831) 375-5951; Bayside Marine (831) 475-2173
SAN FRANCISCO BAY The New Salmon Queen of Emeryville Sport Fishing scored 3 crabs each for 14 anglers to go with 300 sand dabs. Joel Sinkay of Leonard's Bait said the sturgeon bite picked up Thursday and Friday with one angler getting a 50-incher at the Pumphouse.
HALF MOON BAY Capt. Tom Mattusch's Huli Cat is the last party boat working until salmon season opens in April. He was out Friday and Saturday, getting crab limits, though the Dungeness are not plentiful. Call: Happy Hooker (510) 223-5388; Bait and Switch Sport Fishing Center (650) 726-7133 or 726-7133; Emeryville Sport Fishing (510) 654-6040; Don Franklin, Soleman (510) 703-4148
Compiled by Dave Hurley and Roger George