Modesto-area fishing report (March 5)

March 4, 2014 

Delta Mendota Canal and Sloughs

Striper fishing in the California Aqueduct and the Delta-Mendota Canal slowed over the past week, most likely due to less pressure with the inclement weather. Sales of white flukes, Storm swimbaits and Lucky Craft 128s continue to be solid at tackle shops in response to the desire to land the mostly sublegal stripers along the head gates in the water conveyance systems. In the south aqueduct in Kern County, Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield reported a solid bite with blood worms, wax worms and sardines for linesides. The majority of fish remained undersized, and anglers can go through 15 to 20 fish to find a legal lineside more than 18 inches.

Lake Don Pedro

The big news was the largemouth bass going 15 pounds-plus and measuring 30¼ inches, landed by Mitch Melikian of the Kerman Bass Club on a newly released ABT Glidebait. The fish was reported to be taken to a certified scale for an official weight. It originally was thought to be around 19 pounds and a lake record. Milikian released the fish.

Manny Basi of the Bait Barn in Waterford reported live bait continued to be the best offering as the overall action is slow, but there were several impressive weights more than 20 pounds during last weekend’s American Bass Association tournament. Rainbow trout-patterned swimbaits continued to find the larger fish for those willing to toss the heavy lures throughout the day. Numbers are found by drop-shotting with shad-patterned plastics such as Robo Worm’s Hologram Shad at depths from 30 to 40 feet.

Gary Vella of Vella’s Sport Fishing reported good action for rainbow trout to nearly 2 pounds trolling nightcrawlers behind a small blade in the Woods Creek Arm. Monte Smith of Gold County Sport Fishing advised trolling near the shorelines on the outside of the mud line since the rainbows have moved into the shallows, saying, “There was a large number of rainbows from 1.5 to 3 pounds within sight of the banks when we brought our boat to the Fleming Meadows ramp on a recent trip.”

Bank fishermen are scoring with night crawler/marshmallow combinations with chartreuse or hot pink marshmallows under a bobber a solid option from the shoreline around Fleming Meadows. Boats more than 20 feet are advised to launch at Fleming Meadows. A 13.75-pound catfish was landed from the banks on rainbow Power Bait. The lake rose 1 foot to 735.89 feet in elevation and 52 percent of capacity. 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 trout trollers are scoring limits using Wedding Rings tipped with a nightcrawler or the PPK Tomahawk spinner in purple at depths to four colors. Large minnows are working for bass at depths to 30 feet around structure near Barrett’s Cove, and a few anglers are targeting crappie in the evenings from the banks with minnows for a few slabsides. The lake rose 2 feet to 681.53 feet in elevation, 21 percent of capacity. Call: A-1 Bait (209) 563-6505; Bub Tosh (209) 404-0053.

McSwain Reservoir

The McSwain Marina reported improved trout fishing for trollers and bank fishermen due to the 1,000-pound Calaveras Trout Farm plant Friday. Bank fishermen are targeting the Handicapped Docks and shorelines near the marina with green garlic or salmon egg Power Bait or white garlic Power Eggs. Jason Mello reported slower action from the banks, but one group limited on red garlic Power Eggs. Trollers are scoring up the river arm with nightcrawlers behind a silver dodger, Mack’s Wedding Ring 09122 (pink/yellow/hot pink) or PPK Tomahawk spinners in chartreuse at depths to 20 feet. The Merced Irrigation District’s 19th annual Spring Trout Derby is scheduled the weekend of April 12. Information is available at www.lakemcclure.com. Call: McSwain Marina (209) 378-2534.

New Melones Reservoir/Tulloch Lake

Trout fishing continued to be fair with fewer trollers on the lake during the past week because of rain and wind. Melanie Lewis of Glory Hole Sporting Goods in Angels Camp said, “The fresh water inflow should improve the bite, and there will be a few breaks in the weather during the current week.” Bank fishermen are scoring from Glory Hole Point and near the Tuttletown Launch Ramp with Power Eggs, Gulp Eggs, night crawler/marshmallow combinations, Kastmasters or Krocodiles. Trollers are scoring near the surface and along the shorelines in the early mornings at depths from 15 to 35 feet with bright-colored plugs, spinners or spoons. Gary Burns of Take It to the Limit Guide Service said, “It’s that time of year to get your boat and tackle ready for the 2014 kokanee season, as we put kokanee to 14 inches in the boat last year during mid-March.” Said John Liechty of Xperience Fishing Guide Service, “The bass are starting to move into shallow water, and we are catching a handful on each outing.” He has been scoring spotted bass in the 2- to 3-pound range on a variety of swimbaits or soft plastics. Tanner Donnelly caught and released a 5.5-pound spot on a River 2Sea SWaver.

Catfishing continues to be slow as the fish move toward the ledges and deep water near the mouths of creeks. The coming rains should spur on the action, as in the past, huge catfish have been taken in shallow water a few days after a winter rain. The whiskerfish will be seeking easy meals floating off the banks and down the creeks.

Bob James of Murphys landed a 9.76-pound catfish on garlic Power Bait. Crappie and bluegill action remained slow. New Melones rosea half foot to 950.93 feet in elevation and 44 percent of capacity with Tulloch rising more than a foot to 501.25 feet in elevation and 85 percent of capacity. 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.

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