Lake Don Pedro
The majority of trout and kokanee fishing has focused upon nearby New Melones due to last weekend’s Kokanee Power Derby at Melones, although Monte Smith of Gold County Sport Fishing said, “The kokanee should be still around, but they are most likely scattered and will require some effort to locate.” Bass fishing has been best with top water lures in the morning such as the River2Sea Whopper Plopper in shad or rainbow trout patterns. There is midday action on 5-inch Senkos in cinnamon/purple/black flake (Color 221) or the half-ounce Berserk Purple Hornet jig with a Yamamoto twin-tail cinnamon/purple/black flake trailer. Live minnows are popular for bank fishermen, but anglers are limited to medium and large minnows for the next several weeks. There is a new 5 MPH speed limit from the ramp at Blue Oaks Recreation Area to the buoy line at the mouth of Fleming Bay. The lake is currently at 719.30 feet in elevation and 46 percent of capacity. Call: Monte Smith, (209) 581-4734; Danny “Fish’n Dan” Layne, (209) 586-2383; Gary Vella, (209) 652-7550; Bait Barn, (209) 874-3011.
McSwain Marina reports the last trout plant occurred July 16, and bank fishermen are averaging around two to three fish per rod with night crawlers or Power Bait in red or green, with the best fishing near the brush pile. Diana Mello of A-I Bait in Snelling touted garlic Power Eggs or any Power Bait with garlic as producing from the shoreline. Trollers are scoring at depths to 20 feet with blade/crawler combinations or Wedding Rings tipped with corn-yellow Power Bait or a night crawler behind a dodger near the chimney. Another trout plant is expected this week. Call: McSwain Marina, (209) 378-2534.
Millerton Lake/San Joaquin River
The lake is the best bet for bass numbers in the area with Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis stating, “It is our most consistent lake in the area, and the afternoon bite has been better than the morning with top water lures or spinnerbaits along windy banks with anglers averaging from 10 to 15 fish.” Recreational boating pressure remains high during the week, and especially on the weekend. There have been no striped bass reports, but catfish can be found in Squaw or Winchell coves with anchovies or sardines. The lake is currently at 523.06 feet in elevation and 56 percent of capacity with a release of 1,197 acre-feet this week. The upper river area has lots of rocks coming up just under the surface. All boats must fill out a Quagga mussel self-inspection form before launching. In the lower San Joaquin, increased flows and lack of trout plants have contributed to minimal interest. There are new regulations on the lower San Joaquin, and from Friant Dam downstream to the Highway 140 Bridge only two hatchery trout or hatchery steelhead are allowed with a total of four hatchery trout or hatchery steelhead in possession. The hatchery fish have a healed adipose fin clip. Call: Fresno Fisherman’s Warehouse, (559) 225-1838; Valley Rod & Gun in Clovis, (559) 292-3474.
New Melones Reservoir/Tulloch
Catfish have provided outstanding action, with John Lietchy of Glory Hole Sporting Goods in Angels Camp saying, “Most anglers that are targeting the cats are catching multiple fish on each outing, with the fish showing up in the shallows with live minnows, frozen shad, mackerel, or anchovies for their best success.” Karl Brown, Karshaun Brown and Alan Brown-Lee of Oakland landed an 11.9-pound cat on a night crawler in the early morning near the Highway 49 Bridge, For kokanee, Monte Smith of Gold County Sport Fishing reported putting his clients onto limits of kokanee at depths from 65 to 90 feet outside the Glory Hole ramp, using Pro Troll E-Lures or Rocky Mountain Signature Squids with shoe peg corn soaked in various Pro Cure scents behind a Rocky Mountain Tackle dodger. Smith said, “We found a nice-sized school of fish, so I stayed with the school until we limited out by 10 a.m.” Bass fishing remained fair, with Lietchy saying, “We are in a summertime pattern of the bass moving into the shallows in the mornings and evenings before heading into deeper water during the daytime.” Dragging a Carolina-rig near deep water or shaking a Texas-rig near wood are effective techniques after the sun rises. There is a brief window in early morning or late afternoon for top water lures. Trout fishing remains slow, with night fishing providing the best action during the hot summer months. Lietchy advised anchoring in 25 to 50 feet of water and dropping the light down from 15 to 25 feet, waiting for the bait fish to be attracted to the light. Live minnows, minijigs, Power Bait or night crawlers are all working under the lights. Trollers should target deep water in the main lake as the fish are feeding on the 2- to 4-inch shad. Shad Raps, Scatter Raps, RatLTraps or jointed Shad Raps are working coated with Pro Cure’s Shad Gel. Crappie fishing remains very slow with the best action at night under submersible lights. New Melones dropped 3 feet in the past week to 888.28 feet in elevation and 27 percent of capacity with a release of 2,711 acre-feet. The Tuttletown Launch ramp is closed, while the Glory Hole Point launch ramp is open on the volunteer ramp. There will be some transition periods between launches when the ramp will be limited to one or two lanes. Launching over the weekends requires extreme patience. Call: Glory Hole Sports, (209) 736-4333; Monte Smith, (209) 581-4734; Danny “Fishn’ Dan” Layne, (209) 586-2383; Sierra Sport Fishing, (209) 599-2023.
San Luis Reservoir and O’Neill Forebay
Mickey Clements of Coyote Bait and Tackle in Morgan Hill reported much slower action for striped bass in the main lake,with bank fishermen releasing lines in front of the dam by use of a remote-control boat. He said, “There are lots of fishermen doing this, and they are using large minnows, pile worms, blood worms, or anchovies.” Extra-large and jumbo minnows are not expected in the shop for another six weeks. The striped bass bite lasts from first light to 10 a.m., but it dies quickly after 10. In the forebay, anglers are vying for positions at either Check 12 or under the Highway 152 Bridge since the weed growth has limited the number of prime spots. Small striped bass in the 10- to 18-inch range are found on pile worms or blood worms, and Coyote is selling out of these baits within two days of receiving its supply on Thursday, due to high demand. The lake dropped to 25 percent of capacity after releasing 4,045 acre-feet during the past week. Call: Coyote Bait and Tackle, (408) 463-0711.
San Francisco Bay
Salmon scores were all over the place over the weekend after the spurt of big fish last Friday. Capt. Roger Thomas of the Salty Lady out of Sausalito returned with 12 big salmon, including two 26-pounders for eight anglers Friday, but the action slowed for the weekend party boats. The boat pressure at Duxbury over the weekend was described as “unbelievable,” with an estimated 500 vessels trolling or mooching for salmon. George Wight of Antioch, on the California Dawn, landed a 65-pound white sea bass, a 25-pound halibut, seven ling cod, and a limit of quality rockfish. Eric Whitney and Bill Beale took out their 17-year-olds for a shark experience near Red Rock and along the east side of the Richmond Bridge in shallow water from 25 to 30 feet for ‘fantastic’ action for seven-gill, leopard and smoothhound shark, with a few bat rays in the mix. They used midshipmen or squid for the majority of the fish.
Salmon fishing remained slow in Suisun Bay, with Tony Lopez of Benicia Bait saying, “There was optimism with the big fish taken on the opener, but there hasn’t been another salmon landed since then. A few halibut to 19 inches were caught and released off of 1st Street in Benicia on the Vee-Zee spinners.” Coupled with reports of leopard shark in the Carquinez Straits, this is an ominous sign of saltwater intrusion farther and farther into the Delta. Local striper fishing remained slow. Capt. Mike Gravert of Intimidator Sport Fishing said, “The metropolitan Sacramento area remained quiet, with few reports of success, which is typical for this time of year.” Sturgeon fishing has made a resurgence, and diamondbacks have shown up along the Antioch Bridge side of West Island in 20 feet of water on grass shrimp, pile worms or lamprey eel. Brandon Gallegos of H and R Bait in Stockton reported striper fishing has all but died in the south Delta. For largemouth bass, Randy Pringle, the Fishing Instructor, reported outstanding action for numbers on Monday with over 50 fish caught and released, using crankbaits, rip baits and Berkley Havoc Flat Dawgs on a Zappu head. The ima Square Bill in bluegill or crawdad colors was the hot lure, with the bluegill pattern landing the better fish in the 2 to 4-pound range along rocky banks. There is a top water bite in the mornings with buzz baits, Spooks or frogs, with punching the weeds also being effective. Call: Randy Pringle, (209) 543-6260; Capt. Stan Koenigsberger of Quetzal Adventures, (925) 570-5303; Mark Wilson Sport Fishing (916) 682-1630; Intimidator Sport Fishing, (916) 806-3030.