LAKE DON PEDRO Guide Danny Layne reported a decent but "not red-hot" rainbow bite up the river arm above Moccasin Point. He used small spoons, spinners or blade/crawler combinations trolled near the surface. "The rainbows have been plus or minus 2 pounds, and rolling shad at depths from 30 to 40 feet is producing a few king salmon in the same range," said Layne. Live minnows have been the top bait for bass and trout. Manny Basi of the Bait Barn in Waterford said they've been selling fast. The top artificials have been swimbaits in the 3- to 4-inch range, in particular the Berserk Bait's Mad Shad Holographic Light Trout or the K-Tech Rainbow Shad. Basi said it's best to slow-roll the swimbaits on the bottom at 30 to 40 feet. The Pro Worms Purple Shad is a good option for drop shotting. Call: Monte Smith (209) 581-4734; Danny Layne (209) 586-2383; Gary Vella (209) 652-7550; Bait Barn (209) 874-3011
McCLURE RESERVOIR Around 75 boats showed up for the Best Bass Tournament. Anglers found fish with a variety of techniques, from drop shotting to throwing brown/purple jigs in deep water, said host Randy Pringle. An occasional large fish was found by slow-rolling swimbaits in deep water. Jigs also worked for larger fish. Jason Mello of A1 Bait in Snelling reported a good bass bite with live crawdads or minnows form the banks in Barrett's Cove and McClure Point. A 9-pound limit was taken by an angler prefishing for an upcoming tournament with 4-inch Keeper 1038 plastics. Another limit in the 8½-pound range was caught on Baby Brush Hogs in watermelon/red and crankbaits in Piney Creek, Arnold's Bay, and Barrett's Cove. Crappie can be caught at night in Horseshoe Bend with live minnows. One anlger came back on consecutive days for near limits. Trout fishing has slowed with few reports. The lake rose slightly to 44 percent capacity. Call: A-1 Bait (209) 563-6505; Bub Tosh (209) 404-0053McSWAIN RESERVOIR Plants from both the Calaveras Trout Farm and the Department of Fish & Game spurred action over the weekend from boats and the shore. The brush pile and the handicapped docks are good for those using various colors of Power Bait while trollers are pulling Panther Martin spinners or Wedding Rings tipped with a night crawler behind a dodger from Gilligan's Island to the floating restrooms. Orange garlic or chartreuse garlic Power Eggs have produced limits. Jason Mello of A-1 Bait in Snelling said jointed Rapalas J5s in rainbow or brown trout worked better than blade/crawler combinations. Boaters have also been anchoring in the coves up the river arm to catch rainbow on Power Bait. The lake level rose considerably Monday. Call: McSwain Marina (209) 378-2534
NEW MELONES RESERVOIR / TULLOCH RESERVOIR Melanie Lewis of Glory Hole Sporting Goods in Angels Camp said trout action has been slow despite weekly DF&G plants. The lake has turned over, and the rainbows are scattered. Trollers are picking up a few fish with blade/crawler combinations or large plugs in gold, copper or fire tiger. "In past years," said Lewis, "this has been a good time to target the large brown trout." Bank fishing is also slow, with only 2 to 3 fish per rod. Lewis suggests a sliding sinker with a 3 to 4-foot leader and a light wire hook loaded with either a crawler/mallow combo, a Berkley Pinched Crawler with a pink or white Gulp or Power Egg. Bass fishing has also been tough. Water temperatures have dropped rapidly and the incoming cold front lowered the water temperature even more. Lewis advised using finesse techniques with small moving baits such as 3- to 4-inch hand poured worms in natural shad or crawdad hues. "Dead sticking" is the best way to go with 5-inch Senkos in crawdad patterns. Heavy half ounce football head jigs worked slowly at 60 feet have also picked up a few quality bass. The bite on smaller swim baits is improving. Crappie fishing remains slow, but there are fish at 15 to 40 feet in the backs of creek channels near submerged wood. Despite the recent plant at Tulloch, the bite has been slow for trollers pulling night crawlers, 3-inch grubs or pond smelt imitation flies with a set back of 125 feet. 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 Guide Roger George caught and released a 20-pound striper Saturday, the fifth lineside over 20 pounds in the past 11 months. Partner Andy Bedell scored a 10 pounder. George said the fish are scattered through the water column and tougher to target. Anthony Lopez of Coyote Bait in Morgan Hill said the shop was lined with fishermen buying jumbo minnows Saturday; they dropped them at the trash racks, Portuguese Cove and Dinosaur Point for stripers ranging from 22 to 24 inches. The fish are hanging at 100 to 130 feet. Patrick Movey touted tossing white or pearl ice flukes or Fish Traps from the banks for schoolie stripers. In the Forebay, bank fishing has been fair at best. Call: Coyote Bait and Tackle (408) 463-0711, Roger's Guide Service-(559) 905-2954
DELTA With smaller tides this week, Curtis Hayes of Benicia Bait suggests fishing the deeper sections of the Carquinez Straits near the Green Buoy at Ozol. Grass shrimp and eel have been the top baits, but real lamprey eels are hard to find. Hayes cautioned against using a freshwater eel from the Great Lakes that is being packaged as lamprey eel. It's not as bloody and doesn't have the right scent. Sturgeon have been found in several locations. Rio Vista Bait reported three legal sturgeon to 60 inches caught on the Rio Vista Fishing Pier under the bridge. Alan Fong of the Fishermen's Warehouse in Sacramento fished the Mokelumne River this week watching the trucks dump 40,000 steelhead smolts ranging from 4 to 6 inches. The normal push of stripers and boils on the smolts didn't happen at New Hope Landing, and Fong only caught two stripers. For largemouth bass, guide Randy Pringle said the key is use a "dead stick" approach with 10-inch Berkley Power Worms in dark colors. He said he pitches the worms to the banks and drags them back slowly to the boat. Slow-rolling a spinnerbait between the tule clumps is also working for a few bass. The weather cools the bass will move to deeper water. Call: Randy Pringle (209) 543-6260; Vella's Fishing Adventures (209) 521-0164; Mark Wilson Sport Fishing (916) 682-1630.
MONTEREY/SANTA CRUZ Todd Arcoleo at Chris's Landing reported limits of crab and 30 to 40 sand dab per angler over the weekend. The krill is starting to show up in the bay. The annual Sand Crab Classic Surf Perch Derby in Santa Cruz is March 9; it raises money for the Monterey Bay Salmon and Steelhead Project.Call: Chris' Landing (831) 375-5951; Bayside Marine (831) 475-2173
HALF MOON BAY Capt. Tom Mattusch on the Huli Cat goes out on sand dab/crab combination trips, weather and interest permitting. He took out 20 passengers Saturday, pulling 45 pots for 120 Dungeness. In Pacifica, Sheryl Jimno at the Rusty Hook said Sunday was too rough for pulling pots. Call: Happy Hooker (510) 223-5388; Roger Thomas, Salty Lady (415) 760-9362, Bait and Switch Sport Fishing Center (650) 726-7133 726-7133.
SAN FRANCISCO BAY Keith Fraser of Loch Lomond Bait and Tackle in San Rafael said there is a lot of herring in the bay. Fraser added, "If we get some rain, the bite will really go."
Dave Hurley and Roger George