Lake Don Pedro
The trout are scattered, but if you are willing to look around, quality rainbows can be taken on spoons at depths from 25 to 45 feet. Monte Smith of Gold Country Sport Fishing on the lake during the week, and he looked a number of locations before finding the fish. They started off picking up two rainbows within 10 minutes before the bite died. He found the rainbows and ended up with limits of rainbows for his clients running his heavy spoons. Threadfin shad are the top food source for both the rainbow trout and bass, and shad-imitation lures are working best. Bass are in various stages of spawning. Kokanee have yet to emerge, but the land-locked salmon should be showing up soon. The Blue Oaks and Fleming Meadows launch ramps are open, and the main lake is clear of debris.
Crews are working to corral the 40-acre mess of floating and submerged logs up the river arm. The lake held at 798.15 feet in elevation and 81 percent.
Call: Monte Smith (209) 581-4734; Danny Layne-Fish’n Dan (209) 586-2383; Gary Vella (209) 652-7550.
There has been fewer reports from the lake over the past week, but bass fishing remains good with Pro Worms in 124p or 300 along with Berserk jigs or plastics on a shakey head. The lake rose 6 feet this week to 68 percent and 813.25 feet in elevation. Water releases will no longer be directed by the US Army Corps of Engineers as the lake is at 67 percent of capacity or below. The launch ramps at Barretts Cove South and McClure Point are open.
There is minimal change at this impoundment with heavy flows running through the spillway of McSwain Dam from upstream Lake McClure. The last troutplant was October 2016, and with the high water levels, trout plants have been on hold. There are small park-model rental cabins overlooking the lake that are currently under construction and slated to be open in the coming months. The Exchequer Bike Park will be opened with a constructed cross-country bike loop.
Call: McSwain Marina (209) 378-2534.
New Melones Reservoir/Tulloch
The kokanee have arrived, and although the numbers aren’t in full swing, trollers are picking up a few fish per rod.
Monte Smith of Gold Country Sport Fishing said, “It’s past time for kokanee to appear, and fishermen are picking up 3 to 4 kokes per trip so I will start targeting the lake for kokanee.”
Gary Burns of “Take It To The Limit” Guide Service said, “We finally put kokanee in the boat, and they were the largest first two kokanee ever at 15.25 and 16 inches and up to 2 pounds. The rainbow trout are also on the bite, but when we landed the two kokanee of the year of this size, we were pretty excited. Pink Wedding Rings or pink Wiggle Hoochies tipped with garlic corn soaked in beet juice behind pink or purple Rocky Mountain Tackle’s dodgers did the trick for the kokanee, and we also landed rainbows this week at the dam, spillway, Glory Hole Point, and Angels Cove on kokanee gear at depths from 8 to 27 feet.
Justin Wolff of Angler West TV filmed an episode on the lake this week, and he said, “When I first saw the weather change, I knew it would be a tough bite, but the Shasta Tackle Cripplure in Crushed Orange came through with a limit of trout including bonus bass and crappie.”
John Liechty of Glory Hole Sports in Angels Camp said, “The trout bite has been quite good for the past few weeks as trollers are still catching fish near the surface. Angels Creek, the dam, the spillway, and Coyote Creek are some of the most productive locations for rainbows. The bank fishing continues to be slow, and we are advising bank anglers to head into the higher elevation lakes or streams.”
For bass, Liechty also runs Xperience Fishing Guide Service, and he reported excellent bass fishing on three consecutive days with Bob Schaefer landing largemouth bass to 5 pound plus throwing swimbaits, glide baits, and topwater lures. Soft plastic swimbaits, Senkos, or plastics on the drop-shot have also been effective, and as the water warms, the reaction bite should pick up. The flooded vegetation that covers the shoreline is great habitat for the bass and will provide shelter for their fry.”
Catfishing is improving as the whiskerfish are moving into the shallows with frozen shad, mackerel, sardines, or nightcrawlers coated with scent. Crappie have moved into the warm water pockets in the coves, and live minnows or mini jigs are working around submerged structure. There are some crappie out in open water, and trollers targeting rainbow trout or kokanee are occasionally picking up a bonus slab.
The lake continues to rise, and it rose 2 feet this week to 1056.00 feet in elevation and 85 percent.
Call: Glory Hole Sports (209) 736-4333; Monte Smith (209) 581-4734; Danny Layne-Fish’n Dan (209) 586-2383.
San Luis Reservoir and O’Neill Forebay
Striped bass remain the top species when the wind cooperates, and shore fishermen are using Lucky Craft Pointers for huge striped bass over 40 inches. One angler landed two big stripers on consecutive days, and he did release one lineside at 41 inches from the shoreline. Trollers are scoring with P-Line Angry Eye Predator Minnows or Lucky Craft Points at depths from 40 to 60 feet as the fish have moved down in the water column.
Roger George of Roger George Guide Service reported that there has been a decent bite when the pumps are running, but that the overall day bite has been tough otherwise.
“The shore anglers working the last storm during the night got some big stripers, as they usually do during the period up to the first full moon in May. That’s when the big spawning females are moving up and prowling around the shoreline in the dark. Most of the males are milting heavily so the spawn is in full swing right now. There could be an epic spawn this year with all the water. Wind has been the biggest problem, and May is known for being one of the worst wind months so planning a trip is difficult with the forecast changing daily. It’s been a weird year so far with the stripers not following normal patterns, and I think it may be a very late season this year.” George said.
The minnow bite remains good, but jumbo minnows will be difficult to obtain in the coming weeks due to unavailability from the supplier. Extra-large minnows will have to make due. The water level held at 98 percent.
In the forebay, Mickey Clements of Coyote Bait and Tackle in Morgan Hill said, “Numbers of small striped bass are available for shore fishermen at Check 12 with chicken livers or anchovies. Fishermen are going through 15 to 20 stripers in order to find one or two keepers. The chicken livers have been the trick.”
Catfish are starting to get active.
Call: Coyote Bait and Tackle (408) 463-0711, Roger George of rogergeorgeguideservice.com (559) 905-2954 San Luis Reservoir and O’Neill Forebay
Wind Conditions: (800) 805-4805.