LAKE DON PEDRO Guide Monte Smith took clients onto the lake twice last week and said the key to finding trout is finding concentrations of bait fish. "The trout have been scattered in various schools of bait," he said. But "the trout aren't holding in every bait ball." So you also have to be lucky. Smith worked Middle Bay in open water for seven trout before heading to Jenkins Hill where they hooked several spotted bass in 50 to 65 feet of water. The bass are down in the column feasting on shad along with the trout and king salmon. Guide Danny Layne has been working higher in the column (40 to 45 feet) with ExCel lures in shad patterns or Cop Car near Jenkins Hill, Middle Bay, and around Big Oak Island for quality rainbows from 16 to 20 inches. Bass fishing is limited to finesse techniques since there is very little reaction bite. Manny Basi of the Bait Barn in Waterford said the best action is on the bottom at depths to 30 feet with Senkos in color patterns 208, 221 and 301 with a drop-shot bite on Reaction Innovations Flirts in Bad Shad Green or Pro Worms Purple Shad pattern 124. Call: Monte Smith (209) 581-4734; Danny Layne (209) 586-2383; Gary Vella (209) 652-7550; Bait Barn (209) 874-3011.
McCLURE RESERVOIR Jason Mello of A-1 Bait reported king salmon and spotted bass are together feeding on the shad schools near the dam at around 50 feet. He suggests using shad-patterned Rapalas to entice both species. Anglers prefishing for last weekend's Future Pro Tour tournament were said to have landed largemouth bass to 11 pounds on jigs with smaller fish taken on crankbaits. Mello said white flukes on a dart head were also successful. Manny Basi of the Bait Barn said the best bass action is still on the bottom, and he suggested Senkos color patterns 201, 305 and 33 at around 30 feet, in addition to drop shotting with Pro Worms Purple Shad color 124 and Reaction Innovations Bad Shad Green Flirt. Few trout fishermen have been targeting the lake, and crappie and catfish reports have been minimal. Call: A-1 Bait (209) 563-6505; Bub Tosh (209) 404-0053.
McSWAIN RESERVOIR Stephanie Powell of the marina reported good action for trollers in the usual locations the floating restrooms to the second fence line with night crawlers behind a Sep's Sidekick in watermelon or silver/gold at 25 feet. Shore anglers are focusing on the brush pile with garlic rainbow or salmon peach Power Bait. Powell said that since the recent derby, salmon peach has been the hot color for Power Bait. A Calaveras Trout Farm plant on Oct. 10 and a DFG plant scheduled for Thursday could improve the bite. There are still plenty of planted trout in the lake from the double-plants prior to the Oct. 6 derby. Call: McSwain Marina (209) 378-2534.
NEW MELONES / TULLOCH RESERVOIRS A fair number of trout are being caught, and the quality is excellent with rainbows in the 2½- to 3-pound range. Melanie Lewis of Glory Hole Sporting Goods in Angels Camp said trollers are picking up a few limits in the main lake and in the mouth of major creek arms at 35 to 65 feet with shad-patterned trolling spoons such as Needlefish, ExCels, Vance's Slim Fins, and Speedy Shiners. With the trout feeding heavily on the large shad, pulling plugs such as Countdown Rapalas, RatLTraps, or Speed Traps are also effective. Guide Gary Burns said that with the water cooling the shad are moving to the backs of the coves and creek inlets in search of food. So the rainbows are spread throughout the lake looking for the shad. He has been scoring with ExCels in blue/chrome scented with Pro Cure Bloody Tuna, Kokanee Magic or Threadfin Shad at speeds to 2.6 mph at 56 feet. Night fishing under submersible lights is also producing quality limits with the best action in the backs of coves. River and stream season ends on Nov. 15. Kokanee action is all but over. Lewis reported good bass action along the main lake points and on submerged island tops. Top-water lures such as Spooks, Lucky Craft Gunfish, or PopR's are effective, but after the sun comes up, shad-patterned plastics at 25 to 45 feet are the top techniques. Catfishing is fair with frozen shad, mackerel, wads of night crawlers, chicken livers or anchovies drifted slowly across the bottom. Night fishing has been producing crappie with live minnows or minijigs at 15 to 30 feet near structure. The lake is at 62 percent capacity. Call: Glory Hole Sports (209) 736-4333; Monte Smith (209) 581-4734; Danny Layne (209) 586-2383; Sierra Sport Fishing (209) 599-2023.