FLYFISHING REPORT Saturday is the official opening of trout season in the Sierra. The light snowpack means many roads are already open and lots of streams are in great shape for this time of the year. Not many bugs are hatching this early, but try using Terrestrial patterns like the Foam Black Ant(No. 14 - No. 16).
LAKE DON PEDRO Guide Danny Layne said multi-species action is the norm but rainbow trout are really biting, especially in the top 30 feet. He has been scoring with blade/crawler combinations, spinners or by throwing small silver spoons into Mexican Gulch, Fleming Bay and off of Big Oak Island. "Kokanee are hitting scented spinners or lures off of School House Point and Waterford Bay at the 60-foot (depth) range, and king salmon to three pounds are showing up off Jenkins Hill, Big Oak Island and Blank Peak," he said. He recommended glow hootchies at 60 to 120 feet. Manny Basi of the Bait Barn in Waterford reported good bass action on jigs such as the Berserk Bait's Purple Hornet. He said the top-water bite is just emerging on River2Sea Rovers. Drop shotting is solid with shad-patterned plastics such as Reaction Innovations Bad Shad Green or Robo Worms Hologram Shad. Wacky-rigged Senkos in natural shad also work, as do live minnows for bass and trout. Call: Monte Smith (209) 581-4734; Danny Layne (209) 586-2383; Gary Vella (209) 652-7550; Bait Barn (209) 874-3011
McCLURE RESERVOIR Manny Basi of the Bait Barn said spotted bass are biting on jigs loaded with Berserk Bait's Purple Hornet. There is a developing top-water bite with the River2Sea Rover. Working the bottom in 20 feet of water with drop-shot plastics such as Reaction Innovations Bad Shad Green or Robo Worms Hologram Shad are good options. Live minnows and crawdads are working. Crappie action is heating with Fresno fishermen heading north with plenty of minows. Kokanee, small king salmon and rainbow trout can be found off the A-frame, Temperance Bay and near the dam into the mouth of the Cottonwood Arm. They're hanging at about 15 to 30 feet and striking blade/crawler combinations. The kokanee are sitting at 40 feet and hook up with Sockeye Slammers or orange hootches tipped with anise-scented shoepeg corn. King salmon are deeper (75 to 110 feet) and hitting rolled shad. The lake level is rising and there is some floating debris. Catfishing is improving with chicken livers off the banks. Call: A-1 Bait (209) 563-6505; Bub Tosh (209) 404-0053
McSWAIN RESERVOIR The lake was crowded with anglers fishing in the Merced Irrigation District Trout Derby last weekend, spurred to action by heavy plants. But don't worry, they didn't catch nearly all the trout. Bank action is best near the brush pile, handicapped docks, and the peninsula near the marina with Power Bait, Power Eggs or night crawlers. Trollers are pulling a variety of blade/crawler combinations, Wedding Rings tipped with a night crawler behind a dodger, or the PPK Tomahawk spinner in a variety of colors tipped with a piece of night crawler around Gilligan's Island toward the second fence line. Call: McSwain Marina (209) 378-2534
MILLERTON LAKE/SAN JOAQUIN RIVER "Wide open" bass fishing is the rule, though most of the fish are smaller than 2½ pounds. A 7.2-pound largemouth was landed on a night crawler next to a bobber from the bank near the launch ramp. Rip baits, Senkos and drop shotting are all working with anglers picking up 30 to 50 bass per outing. Millerton is the most consistent bite in the area. Wacky rigged Senkos in natural shad, bluegill (214), or watermelon black/red (208) are productive. All boats must fill out a Quagga mussel self-inspection form before launching. In the lower San Joaquin, trout action continues is slow, but it will be planted this week. Call: Fresno Fisherman's Warehouse 225-1838; Valley Rod & Gun 292-3474
NEW MELONES RESERVOIR/TULLOCH Guide Joe Askamit called the kokanee action "red hot" in the open water north of the spillway. He recommended fishing in 35 to 60 feet using Rocky Mountain Plankton Squids, Murphy's Spin Bugs or Dakota Diamond Spinners tipped with shoepeg corn scented with Pro Cure Garlic. Guide Danny Layne said he has scored kokanee in the 12- to 13-inch range around Rose Island, South Island, the spillway and Glory Hole Point with scented lures or spinners behind a Shasta Tackle Sling Blade at 30 to 60 feet. Layne said, "Expect limits." Melanie Lewis of Glory Hole Sporting Goods in Angels Camp said trout fishing is "very slow" with the fish scattered throughout the lake, making it hard to develop any type of pattern. But balls of shad starting to form in the shallows, so there's hope. Trollers are advised to find the shad and you'll find the trout. Bank fishermen have been picking up a few fish on Power Egg/night crawler combos, said Lewis. Larger fish are in deeper water either preparing to spawn or recovering from the spawn. Dragging a Brush Hog or a lizard on a Carolina rig are solid techniques, and the top-water bite with Zara Spooks, Rovers or Lucky Craft Sammies in the morning hours is a coming on. Catfishing is improving with live minnows, anchovies, mackerel or frozen shad. Crappie fishing is good. Lake Tulloch rose to 502.67 feet in elevation and 87 percent capacity. 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 When the wind is blowing, it's difficult to get out on the lake or the forebay. Travis Bounds of Coyote and Tackle in Morgan Hill said things haven't changed much, and striper fishing is still decent for boaters drifting jumbo minnows or mooching anchovies or shad at 60 to 80 feet around the trash racks, Basalt Recreational Area or Portuguese Cove. Trollers are pulling a variety of plugs, at 25 to 50 feet. Many of those who usually go for stripers from the banks are switching to crappie at Kaweah or Isabella. In the Forebay, use pile worms or blood worms or anchovies at night under the Highway 152 bridge or at Check 12. Call: Coyote Bait and Tackle (408) 463-0711, Roger's Guide service (559) 905-2954
DELTA/STOCKTON Striper fishing is very good from lower Suisun Bay throughout the Sacramento River system to Colusa. James Nguyen at Dockside Bait in Pittsburg said there's good striper action in Honker Bay with linesides in the 25- to 30-inch range taken on frozen shad or ghost shrimp. There have been stripers over 30-pounds caught and released on top-water lures near Discovery Bay. Clyde Wands, shallow trolling expert, found some quality stripers to 9 pounds north of the Rio Vista Bridge on Monday pulling shallow-running P-Line Angry Eye Predators or SavageGear lures. For largemouth bass, Alan Fong of the Fishermen's Warehouse in Sacramento has been getting great action on Senkos in preparation for the upcoming Yamamoto Big Bass Challenge. Call: Randy Pringle (209) 543-6260; Vella's Fishing Adventures (209) 521-0164
HALF MOON BAY Salmon fishing out of Pillar Point has been the highlight of the entire California coastline, and Capt. Roger Thomas of the Salty Lady was able to post 18 limits to 15 pounds Monday while fishing near 37'27/122'48. Capt. Dennis Baxter of the New Captain Pete also reported excellent action Monday with 14 limits along the 50 Fathom Curve. There are a lot of salmon along a wide stretch of the San Mateo coast along the 50 Fathom Curve for 10 miles from 37'29/122'49 to 37'17/122'41. "The fish are loaded with crab larvae, sories and krill," said Baxter. 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 not much has changed on Monterey Bay with the Checkmate putting in 3 salmon for 19 anglers Saturday while the Star of Monterey had only one for 23 fishermen. Chris's boats went to the Soquel Hole on Sunday, but the fish are high in the water column and very hot. Call: Chris' Landing (831) 375-5951; Bayside Marine (831) 475-2173;usafishing.com
SAN FRANCISCO BAY Three party boats out of Sausalito loaded up with 49 limits of salmon to 22-pounds fishing south of Pillar Point. The reported furious spurts of action with 13 to 20 fish hooked up at one time. Inside the bay, Capt. Jim Smith on the Happy Hooker was out drifting in the central bay. He put his 18 anglers onto 5 halibut to 22 pounds and four striped bass to 12 pounds.