Fish Report

Lake Don Pedro

Mike Gomez of the Bait Barn in Waterford said, “The bass bite is ‘on and off’ but there have been some quality largemouth bass in the 7- to 8-pound range taken on swimbaits for those willing to throw the heavy lures for a single bite or two throughout the day. The lake is getting ready to bust wide open for the big swimbait bite.” Monte Smith of Gold Country Sport Fishing had an encouraging report on the trout front with one boat landing a number of 14-inch rainbows and one big fish at 18 inches. Don Pedro rose 2 feet to 772.49 in elevation and 68 percent capacity. Call: Monte Smith (209) 581-4734; Danny Layne-Fish’n Dan (209) 586-2383; Gary Vella (209) 652-7550; Bait Barn (209) 874-3011

McClure Reservoir

Lake McClure continues to pump out spotted bass, and interest in this reservoir has grown now that the lake has risen and the launch ramps are open without complications. Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “There have been limits of spotted bass in the 15- to 16-pound range, and the spots are averaging in the 2- to 3-pound range. One bass fisherman put in 15 pounds this week working the bottom with jigs or 6-inch plastics on a Texas-rig on the bottom.” Mike Gomez of the Bait Barn in Waterford fished the Modesto Ambassadors tournament Sunday, and he claimed fourth place with a five-fish limit of 12.20 pounds. He said, “The fish went to the bottom with the recent cold spell, and I drop-shotted 4-inch Robo Worms in 124p or 300 at depths from 25-40 feet all day long. … The bite is not dynamite like it was a few weeks back as the cold weather has really slowed down the bite, but the bass are thick and stuffed with shad. We found schools and schools of shad throughout the day.” The lake rose 3 feet to 744 in elevation and 39 percent capacity. Call: A-1 Bait (209) 563-6505

New Melones


The big news is the Glory Hole launch ramp is back on the concrete as lake water levels continue to rise. A courtesy dock is in the water, and launching should not be a concern throughout the winter until water releases begin again. This will allow easier access to the lake just as the trout bite is reaching its peak. John Liechty of Glory Hole Sports in Angels Camp said, “The top line action has started, and Brian Goldsmith landed a 3.4-pound rainbow running a Krocodile on the surface in a major creek arm. Although there are still rainbows down as far as 100 feet, more and more rainbows have been found in the 20- to 40-foot range with ExCel or Hot Ticket spoons or Rapalas in F9 or F11. On clear days, a natural shad or trout pattern works best while on cloudy days, a gold or bright-color pattern is more effective.” Bank fishermen are starting to score, and the bite will continue to improve with nightcrawler/marshmallow combinations or trout dough bait on a standard bait rig. Light line and hooks along with a garlic scent will improve the strike ratio.The bass are transitioning into a winter mode with the cooling water temperatures, and their metabolism has slowed considerably, making them less apt to chase fast-moving baits. The best action is with spoons, jigs, or plastics on the drop-shot or shakey head in deep water. Catching fish with reaction baits is possible, but a slow presentation is necessary. Catfishing remains slow. Few anglers are targeting crappie, but Liechty added that the winter months can be good for crappie as they move into creek arms and feed on shad. Recent rains have brought the lake up 3.5 feet to 868.37 in elevation and 23 percent capacity. Call: Glory Hole Sports (209) 736-4333; Monte Smith (209) 581-4734; Danny Layne-Fish’n Dan (209) 586-2383; Sierra Sport Fishing (209) 599-2023


The surge of muddy water has arrived in the north Delta, leading to greatly improved sturgeon fishing but chasing the striped bass in search of clearer water. Sturgeon have been found from Suisun Bay upriver to Cache Slough. Johnny Tran of New Romeo’s Bait and Tackle in Freeport said, “The sturgeon bite is going off in the normal locations of Cache Slough, Prospect Slough, the Sacramento Deep Water Channel, and the main Sacramento River near Merritt’s Landing, Hood, and Courtland. Eel/nightcrawler or eel/pile worm combinations are effective as well as ghost shrimp. The striped bass bite has slowed down, but they are still in the system. The Deep Water Channel is the best location for stripers with live mudsuckers or with sardines or frozen shad coated with scent.” Steve Mitchell of Hook’d Up Sport Fishing out of Pittsburg is back on the water, and he was off to a good start on Sunday morning with keeper sturgeon at 42.5 and 45 inches on the incoming tide using salmon roe. They were both on salmon roe, but the sturgeon are biting both roe and lamprey eel. The outgoing tide should be even better this afternoon.” Alan Fong, manager of the Fisherman’s Warehouse in Sacramento said, “The stripers will either head north to clearer water near the Port of Sacramento or back down into the San Joaquin River from Mildred Island to Discovery Bay.” Tony Lopez of Benicia Bait confirmed the continued slow action over the weekend with only a few sturgeon fishermen out in the cold and wet weather. Pile worms or eel have been the top bait since ghost shrimp has been in short supply and only Lost Anchor Bait has grass shrimp. The cold and wet weather over the weekend has brought muddier conditions to the San Joaquin-Delta, and the striped bass and largemouth bass action has slowed considerably. The water temperatures on the east Delta have plummeted rapidly within the past few weeks, and the cold water in the 50-degree range has slowed up the reaction bite for both largemouth and striped bass. Randy Pringle, the Fishing Instructor, said, “The striper schools have dissipated in the San Joaquin system, and with the cold water, the bite is just a little tick. The key is to slow down your presentation since the fish do not want to chase in the cold water. We picked up a few keepers working the shoals on the San Joaquin west of the mouth of the Mokelumne.” Our best action during this trip was with the ima Sasuke ripbait in chartreuse/white or sardine. With the bait fish moving so slow, it is very important to pause your retrieve. Largemouth bass can be taken on ripbaits, and I have been using the ima Flit 120 on a very slow retrieve.” Dan Mathisen of Dan’s Delta Outdoors in Oakley confirmed the slower action for striped bass as they have scattered as the water temperature has cooled to the 50-degree range, even falling into the high 40s in the south Delta. The black bass bite has slowed with the colder water. Sturgeon fishing has been good in the normal locations on the Sacramento River with Bloody Eel combined with night crawlers. Call: Randy Pringle (209) 543-6260; Intimidator Sport Fishing (916) 806-3030; Captain Steve Mitchell – Hook’d Up Sport Fishing (707) 655-6736

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f = full moon > = peak activity