LAKE DON PEDRO Manny Basi of the Bait Barn in Waterford said, "The word got out over the weekend, and we sold a ridiculous amount of live minnows." Live bait has been working for bass and trout with the smaller minnows catching crappie around submerged structure. For artificial lures, Basi touted brown/purple jigs on the bottom at 40 feet. Early in the mornings there is a top-water bite with PopR's or similar smaller lures. You can troll for trout if you're good at locating a school. Check the Woods Creek arm because the water is slightly warmer there. The prime time for king salmon fishing is just around the corner, from April through early June. Trout plants are scheduled this week for Turlock and Modesto Reservoirs with a plant at Don Pedro next week. Call: Monte Smith (209) 581-4734; Danny Layne (209) 586-2383; Gary Vella (209) 652-7550; Bait Barn (209) 874-3011
McCLURE RESERVOIR Live bait is working really well, according to Jason Mello of A-1 Bait in Snelling. "We sold out of large minnows Friday and medium minnows on Saturday," he said. "We were really busy, and we could have sold tons more minnows." Live crawdads are also effective, and A-I sold out a shipment within a few hours. One bass angler caught 11 in 4 hours on crawdads. Mello used plastic worms in a Green Weenie pattern in Temperature Cove, and they landed 10 bass totalling 12 pounds. He said the bite was slow in the morning, "so we trolled for trout," and he caught two in 20 minutes on blue/silver ExCels at 3 colors of lead core. King salmon are showing up at 25 feet near the dam, and there have been reports of small kokanee near the surface. The bass size limit drops to 12-inches at McClure on March 18. Call: A-1 Bait (209) 563-6505; Bub Tosh (209) 404-0053
McSWAIN RESERVOIR Jason Mello of A-1 Bait in Snelling said trollers have been scoring quality rainbows to 18 inches from Gilligan's Island to the floating restrooms on Mack's Wedding Rings in purple/gold behind a Shasta Tackle Sling Blade. Night crawlers behind a baby hammered cowbell flasher are also working. Bank fishing with marshmallow/night crawler combos from the brush pile or handicapped docks are working for quality planters. The McSwain Marina said there was a plant Sunday with another DFW plant next week. Call: McSwain Marina (209) 378-2534
NEW MELONES RESERVOIR / TULLOCH Bass fishing is slow overall, but the occasional huge spotted or largemouth bass is still being pulled in. The latest lake record to fall was for a spotted bass caught by Oakdale's Randy Pierson. It weighted 10 pounds, 1-ounce just 3 ounces below the current state record set at Pine Flat Reservoir. Pierson declined to indicate the lure or location. Melanie Lewis at Glory Hole Sporting Goods figures with spring right around the corner, that record is in jeopardy. She recommends fishing at 10 to 25 feet with soft plastics including Brush Hogs, Senkos, or lizards. Meanwhile, trout are still scattered throughout the lake; when you find them, they're at the surface or down to 30 feet. It makes it tough on trollers. Anglers are spending the entire day on the water to put in limits with blade/crawler combinations being the top set up. With the DFW no longer planting brown trout, Glory Hole will no longer recognize a brown trout as the Big Fish of the Week, and anglers are encouraged to release brown trout. Bank fishing has also been slow, with the best action taking place with a sliding sinker with a 3- to 4-foot leader and a light wire hook loaded with either a crawler/mallow combo, or a Berkley Pinched Crawler with a pink, or white Gulp or Power Egg. 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 reported trollers have been pulling Lucky Craft 128's or broken backed Rebels at 60 to 80 feet near the trash racks for the chance at an occasional big fish. The numbers are down, but fishermen are motivated by the big ones. Drifting jumbo minnows is also productive with a 15-pound lineside taken in Portuguese Cove within the past week. Merritt Gilbert at Valley Rod and Gun reported Lucky Craft Point 78's or 110's have been top lures from the banks for stripers ranging up to 21 inches. Guide Roger George fished two days and caught only two fish over 12 pounds (he released both), but said the bite was from poor to moderate with water temps up to 56 degrees. Most fish are 18- to 22-inch schoolies. George also said that many anglers and guides are considering releasing as many big fish as they can after taking pictures since they're concerned the fishery could once again be over-harvested. In the Forebay, bank anglers are picking up a few stripers on pile or blood worms with the best action at night around Check 12. Call:Coyote Bait and Tackle (408) 463-0711; Roger's Guide service (559) 905-2954
DELTA/STOCKTON Sturgeon fishing has taken off with private boaters, six-pack operators and party boats all scoring legal diamondbacks in Suisun Bay. Capt. Mike Gravert of Intimidator Sport Fishing caught and released "the fish of a lifetime" a 54-incher. The average weight of a 53-inch fish is 60-pounds. In Suisun Bay, Capt. Chris Smith ran the California Dawn and landed two legal sturgeon, releasing two additional shakers at the Mothball Fleet. Upriver, Mike Pipkins in Antioch said "things are going to bust wide open," within two weeks. For largemouth bass, Alan Fong of the Fishermen's Warehouse in Sacramento reported said the largemouth bite is "red hot" on Lucky Craft rip baits or RatLTraps. Guide Randy Pringle said the "entire spectrum from small bass to giants" are hitting half-ounce spinnerbaits. The key, he said, is "deflection, deflection, deflection." Call: Randy Pringle (209) 543-6260; Vella's Fishing Adventures (209) 521-0164; Mark Wilson (916) 682-1630; Intimidator Sport Fishing (916) 806-3030.
HALF MOON BAY The weather kept even Capt. Tom Mattusch of the Huli Cat tied to the docks. In Pacifica, Sheryl Jimno of the Rusty Hook reported striped bass are showing up along the beaches north of town, and crabbing is steady from the pier on mackerel, anchovies or squid. 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 said it was "lights out" fishing for sand dabs on Friday. They put in bucketloads to go with the 20 limits of crab. There have been striped bass along the beaches, and the top water fishermen are starting to target linesides. In addition, stripers have been trapped in the lagoons at the Salinas, Carmel and Pajaro Rivers, and easy limits are being taken out of the murky lagoon of the Salinas River. Out of Santa Cruz, the Sand Crab Classic Surf Perch Derby is Saturday. Call: Chris' Landing (831) 375-5951; Bayside Marine (831) 475-2173
SAN FRANCISCO BAY Emeryville Sport Fishing hasn't had any trips for the past month, but they are scheduling a halibut trolling trip for March 16. In the south bay, John Akina at Oyster Point Bait, Tackle, and Deli reported slow halibut fishing.
Reservoirs and lakes that will be planted with trout during the week of March 10:
Tuolumne/Calaveras Tulloch Reservoir.
Merced Merced River, Section 1.
Mariposa Merced River, Section 1; McSwain Reservoir; Eastman Lake.
Madera Bass Lake; Eastman Lake; Hensley Lake.
Fresno Kings River below the Pine Flat Reservoir; San Joaquin River below Friant Dam
Compiled by Roger George and Dave Hurley