NEW MELONES RESERVOIR — Melanie Lewis of Glory Hole Sporting Goods in Angels Camp reported good trout fishing, particularly from banks for rainbows to 3 pounds on Berkley Power Bait in chartreuse or green glitter, Power Eggs, marshmallow/crawler combinations or small Kastmasters in firetiger, rainbow trout or silver/blue. Glory Hole Cove and the Tuttletown launch ramp have been the top spots for shore anglers, as well as those still fishing on the anchor. The best fishing continues along shore with the warmer water on the north slopes in the afternoon. Monte Smith of Gold Country Sport Fishing advises staying as close to the shore as possible with blade/crawler combinations or shad-patterned lures such as Needlefish, ExCels, Vance's Slim Fins or Cripplures in the top 15 feet from the surface on sideplaners in all of the Mother Lode lakes. This week's rains will provide runoff and nutrients and the fish will be hanging along the banks waiting for easy meals. Gary Burns of Take It to the Limit reported landing rainbows on Trophy Stick lures at 40 to 55 feet in depth. Brown trout can be found at similar depths with similar lures near structure. The Kokanee Power Pen Project is in full swing with rainbows from the Department of Fish and Game being fed on a daily basis at the New Melones Lake Marina. These fish will be released in the spring when they range from 3 to 5 pounds. The bass are around the shad balls in the middle of the lake, and they have been hitting lures dragged by trout trollers. On calm days, a slow presentation with Carolina-rigged creature baits in green pumpkin, crawdad-colored Zoom Baby Brush Hogs or Reaction Innovation Sweet Beavers from 30 to 40 feet with a heavier weight of half-ounce to get the lure to the bottom. Numbers of smaller fish can be taken on 4-inch plastics on the drop shot. The larger bass are found on Huddleson ROF 12 in any trout patterns dragged across windy points. Catfish have moved into deep water, but there are a few whiskerfish found on anchovies, mackerel, sardines, chicken liver or a ball of night crawlers. Crappie and bluegill action continues to be slow in the cold water. The lake rose to 47 percent of capacity. Smith said some of the large brown trout to 6 pounds from the recent plants from the closure of the Moccasin Creek Hatchery have been landed from the banks on Kastmasters. Call: 736-4333, Monte Smith 581-4734, Danny Layne 586 2383, Sierra Sport Fishing 599-2023.
SAN LUIS RESERVOIR / O'NEILL FOREBAY — Ly Tu of Ly's Fishing Goods in San Jose said action was very slow over the weekend with the rain and wind. Jumbo or extra-large minnows on a slow drift should work near the trash racks or Portuguese Cove. In the forebay, fishing is slow with low water levels. The lake rose to 34 percent. Call: Wind conditions (800) 805-4805; Ly's Fishing Goods (408) 629-9644; Coyote Bait and Tackle (408) 463-0711
McSWAIN RESERVOIR — The lake has refilled after repairs, requiring a drawdown. The level is now stable — and a plant of 7,000 pounds of brooder fish was made this week. McSwain Marina said inclement weather conditions have limited angler interest, but the trout have been observed breaking the surface. Call: 378-2534
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McCLURE RESERVOIR — Manny Basi of the Bait Barn reported a continued tough bass bite with a small limit of more than 8 pounds winning the weekend tournament. Most fish continue to be located in water from 60 to 70 feet. Planted trout to 3 pounds are showing up off the banks near the dam or McClure Point with rainbow-glitter Power Bait or Roostertails. Diana Mello of A-I Bait in Snelling said trollers picked up limits of rainbows around the dam and into Cottonwood Creek on shad-patterned Needlefish from the surface to 20 feet. Catfish have moved into deeper water to seek warmer temperatures. The lake rose to 40 percent of capacity. The only two launch ramps open are McClure Point and the Barrett's Cove south ramp. Call: A-1 Bait 563-6505, Fishwrangler's Guide Service 604-8222, Bub Tosh 404-0053.
LAKE DON PEDRO — Manny Basi reported a greatly improved bass bite, with fish in the 5- to 7-pound range taken on rainbow trout 8-inch Huddlestons with a Rate of Fall of 12. The bass are chasing the planted trout and are up on the surface. These large fish accounted for the 20-pound-plus limit at the American Bass tournament. Finesse is still working from 50 to 70 feet with the Reaction Innovations in Bad Shad Green or Pro Gold small redflake plastics, but the best cut of fish is on the swimbaits. Monte Smith of Gold Country Sport Fishing advised trolling close to shore with blade/crawler combinations or shad-imitation spoons on sideplaners while using an electric motor. A long-line presentation and quiet approach should work for trout, particularly on sun-exposed coves and banks. Call: Monte Smith 581-4734, Danny Layne 586-2383, Bait Barn 874-301.
STOCKTON AREA — It has been hard to get a read on delta action, with few fishermen over the weekend. There should be stripers still in the deeper water in lower Suisun, but Jim Smith on the Happy Hooker didn't fish over the weekend. He hasn't given up on stripers yet. The best striper fishing seems to be in the back sloughs in the north or south delta, with the fish moving out of the main channels, chasing bait fish. Dockside Bait in Pittsburg reported a pair of legal sturgeon over the weekend on ghost/grass shrimp combinations. In the Pittsburg area, striper fishing has been slow, with a few fish to 6 pounds landed on frozen shad or mudsuckers. Jay Sorensen of Jolly Jay's Guide Service out of Eddo's Boat Harbor on the San Joaquin River fished for a combination of stripers and sturgeon on Friday and Saturday. He said fresh shad has been impossible to get with the shad moving down in the water column with the cold water temperatures. He found some frozen bait from H and R Bait Shop in Stockton where they have about 3,000-pounds on ice. Despite the good bait, fishing was very slow. Mike Gravert of Intimidator Sport Fishing has been experiencing the best action with live jumbo minnows out of Freeport Bait. Working his special spot in the north delta, Gravert caught and released seven fish over 10 pounds Friday with two at 15 and 21 pounds. Jeff Boyle of Bass Pro Shops in Manteca caught and released six stripers to 15 pounds Monday, working the south delta off the main San Joaquin River. All fish came on Berkley Hollow Belly swimbaits on a very slow retrieve. The stripers were holding near rocky structure, perhaps because of a warmer temperature near the rocks. There were no birds working the surface with only a few ripples of minnows on the top. Randy Pringle worked the San Joaquin on Monday for a pair of stripers to 10 pounds to go with smaller fish on the Berkley Hollow Baits near the bottom. A slow presentation was necessary in the 50-degree water. He said the larger stripers move into the back bays and sloughs on the incoming tide, with smaller fish holding in the currents. He had an excellent day Friday, with cloudy conditions giving cover for 19 stripers to 20 pounds.He thought the striper bite would resume after the period of high pressure passes midweek. For largemouth bass, finesse techniques are still tops, with the 6-inch Power Worm in greenpumpkin or oxblood on a Zappu head. He advised not shaking the plastic, with an absolute "dead-stick" working best. The IMA Flit ripbait in shad-patterns continues to be effective. Call: Randy Pringle 543-6260; Mark Wilson Sport Fishing (916) 682-1630, Fin Addict Sport Fishing 367-4665, Jolly Jay's Guide Service 478-6645.
SAN FRANCISCO BAY — A few private boaters continue to score limits of crab off Marin after a long soak when the weather cooperates. The bay fishery has officially changed over to sturgeon as the prime species. Top areas seem to be the Oakland Airport or near the pumphouse in San Pablo Bay. The storms should produce enough runoff to get fish to move into the extreme south bay and the flats of San Pablo Bay. Keith Fraser of Loch Lomond Bait in San Rafael liked the outgoing tide for the next three to four days. Fraser said legal sturgeon at 58 and 47 inches to go with a 68-inch oversized released were reported Sunday inside the pumphouse at the Shell Banks in 10 feet of water with live mud shrimp. The legal sturgeon were loaded with mud shrimp. At this time, Loch Lomond and Leonard's Bait at Port Sonoma are the only San Pablo Bay shops with live mud shrimp. Benicia Bait also has some. Joel Sinkay of Leonard's Bait said things were very slow Saturday with the weather, but there were a few boats Tuesday. He heard of a couple of legal sturgeon landed Saturday prior to the rain. There was a 40-pound striper caught and released at the mouth of Sonoma Creek on grass shrimp or herring fillets. A 29-inch striper was landed at Black Point Launch Ramp on a mudsucker. Don Franklin of the Soleman out of San Francisco said there were a number of smoothhound sharks near Hunter's Point. A 54-inch sturgeon was landed Sunday off the airport on ghost shrimp, and three legal sturgeon Saturday. Call: Happy Hooker (510) 223-5388; Huck Finn Sport Fishing Center (650) 726-7133, Emeryville Sport Fishing (510) 654-6040, Don Franklin, Soleman (510) 703-4148.
Reservoirs and lakes that will be planted with trout during the week of Dec. 14:
- Fresno Countys — Avocado Lake, Kings River below Pine Flat Dam, San Joaquin River below Friant Dam, Woodward Park Lake.
- Kern — Brite Valley Reservoir, Hart Park Lake, Lake Truxton, Lake Woollomes, Ming Lake