Lake Don Pedo The trout bite is happening, and Monte Smith of Gold Country Sport Fishing reported great action for rainbows to 16-inches on Monday's exploratory trip. They started rolling shad in the morning for a single kokanee before switching to heavy spoons on a 3 mph troll at depths from 30 to 40 feet on a downrigger or 5 to 7 colors of lead core. He was trolling around Schoolhouse Point to Waterford Bay to Raymus Creek in open water. The bait balls were absent, but the fish were loaded with small bait fish. He said, "The rainbows are from the surface to 40 feet with kokanee found at depths from 40 to 70 feet," adding, "If you target kokanee, landing a few limits shouldn't be a problem, and the king salmon bite will be taking off soon." For bass, Jay Graham of the Fresno Bass Club reported only a few fish were locked down on beds, but plenty of fishermen in the tournament landed 2 or 3 bed fish, Call: Monte Smith (209) 581-4734; Danny Layne-Fishn' Dan (209) 586-2383; Gary Vella (209) 652-7550; Bait Barn (209) 874-3011
McClure Reservoir Jason Mello of A-1 Bait in Snelling reported large minnows continue to produce limits of bass from the banks or boats. Mello has been finding bass from the banks along Barrett's Cove with the Keeper 082 plastic in red flake. Overall, crappie fishing has slowed down, but a few large crappie at 1.75 and 2.25-pounds have been weighed in at the shop. King salmon limits have been reported at depths to 40 feet near the dam on blade/crawler combinations. Rainbow trout have also been reported near the dam and up the river arm with blade/crawler combinations, Wedding Rings tipped with a night crawler behind a dodger, or blue/chrome Kastmasters. The lake rose nearly a foot to 762.94 feet in elevation and 45 percent of capacity. Call: A-1 Bait (209) 563-6505; Bub Tosh (209) 404-0053
McSwain Reservoir Stephanie Powell of the McSwain Marina reported slow fishing for bank anglers over the past several days despite last week's 1,000-pound plant from Calaveras Trout Farm. A DFW plant is scheduled this week, and this should spur on the action. Field scout Tom Gillespie of La Grange continues to find good action trolling PPK Tomahawk Spinners in chartreuse for limits from the Floating Restrooms to the 2nd Fence Line. The Merced Irrigation Trout Derby will be April 20-21 with entry forms available at either the Marina or Main Office. Entry fees are $12 per fisherman or $28 per family. Call: McSwain Marina (209) 378-2534.
New Melones Reservoir/Tulloch The huge bass of the week at 17-pounds/13-ounces was caught and released by local bass fisherman Alex Niapas on a California Lure's Bed-Wetter jig with a Slim Thrasher trailer. Crappie fishing is improving with the slabsides found at depths from 15 to 40 feet in the backs of creek channels near submerged structure with live minnows or red worms fished under a slip-float. Catfishing will improve as the lake continues to warm up. For kokanee, Gary Burns of Take It to the Limit Guide Service has been scoring both kokanee and rainbow trout at depths from 17 to 65 feet around Glory Hole Point with Glitter Bug minihootchies or tube bugs in garlic or root beer. Bank fishing has been a struggle with only a few limits taken on Power Bait, Power Eggs, or night crawler/marshmallow combinations. The lake continues to recede, and it dropped over a foot to 1,009.69 elevation and 65 percent of capacity. Lake Tulloch rose nearly four feet to 500.70 feet in elevation and 83 percent of capacity. The annual Glory Hole Sporting Goods Seminar and Sale is April 6. Call: Glory Hole Sports (209) 736-4333; Monte Smith (209) 581-4734; Danny Layne-Fishn' Dan (209) 586-2383; Sierra Sport Fishing (209) 599-2023.
San Luis Reservoir and O'Neill Forebay Coyote Bait and Tackle in Morgan Hill reported a continued improvement in striper action at depths from 30 to 90 feet with jumbo minnows or by trolling with P-Line Predators, broken backed Rebels, or Yozuris. Soaking anchovies, blood worms, or pile worms has also been effective near Quinsabe Point and Portuguese Cove. Merritt Gilbert at Valley Rod and Gun reported bank anglers and boaters are tossing the smaller profile Lucky Crafts such as the Pointer 110 or 127 in American shad or ghost minnow for stripers ranging from undersized to 22-inches. Roger George of Roger's Guide Service said that the bite has been fair to slow for most anglers at times, but that the reaction bite is better than the bait bite. He fished the lake with clients and got limits of 19-23" fish/all released, trolling in the 60-80' range. Water temps are running about 57 degrees. In the Forebay, trollers have been working shallow water with similar jointed minnow plugs near the rockwall across from the dam and around the Power Lines. Bank fishermen continue to focus on Check 12 with blood worms, pile worms, or anchovies. Important note: All boats, personal watercraft, kayaks, canoes, sailboards, inflatables and float tubes must undergo a mandatory inspection for Quagga and Zebra mussels. Failure to allow inspection will result in the refusal to launch. Call: Coyote Bait and Tackle (408) 463-0711, Roger's Guide Service (559) 905-2954.
Delta/Stockton Springtime has arrived, and all species are showing up in force. In Suisun Bay, Tony Lopez at Benicia Bait reported continued good striper fishing from the shorelines with grass shrimp, pile worms, blood worms, or anchovies. Crappie action is best from boats with small minnows or jigs in Discovery Bay, Whiskey Slough, and Sandmound Slough. Sturgeon fishermen have been "catching all of the stripers they want" on the anchor with grass shrimp. 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 on Sunday, but the crab was limited with only 27 Dungeness for 12 anglers on the Checkmate. For salmon, Arcoleo reported schools of small sardines have been located on the Santa Cruz side of the bay, and commercial sardine boats will be looking for them Sunday night. Arcoleo said, "The bait situation in California is looking pretty dismal with minimal bag bait for anglers for the salmon opener," adding, "It looks like most of the bait will have to come down from Washington, and it will be the more expensive tray bait." The opening day for salmon is sold out, but they still have a few spots for April 7. There hasn't been a tremendous amount of krill in the bay, but there have been several reports of incidental catches of salmon over the past week. Call: Chris' Landing (831) 375-5951; Bayside Marine (831) 475-2173; usafishing.com
San Francisco Bay There have been no trips outside of the Golden Gate, but this will all change once the salmon season opens on April 6. Halibut action has been mostly miss in the bay. ... Keith Fraser of Loch Lomond Bait and Tackle reported halibut fishing is on the rise in the north bay. Striped bass fishing continues to be good with the Cuanang Brothers landing a total of 10 bass using a combination of anchor and trolling techniques on Sunday. Joel Sinkay of Leonard's Bait in Port Sonoma said, "The action in San Pablo Bay has been fair this week with the exception of the days with high winds, and a number of sturgeon pictures have been submitted to our newsletter." The bass bite in the Petaluma River has been good with stripers to 31-inches reported.