LAKE DON PEDRO Guide Monte Smith fished Woods Creek Arm, finding water temperatures 2.5 degrees higher than in the river arm. Rainbows were easy targets with spoons on lead core at 5 to 7 colors are on the downrigger at depths from 25 to 35 feet. Trollers in the Fleming Meadows section of the lake reported slower action. One boat up the river arm was able to score a quality brown trout and a pair of king salmon. Smith said, "The king salmon action is ready to start, particularly if the weather pattern stays consistent." Manny Basi at the Bait Barn in Waterford said, "Plastics have been the top offerings for bass with drop shotting Pro Gold Purple Shad, Reaction Innovation's Bad Shad Green, or Robo Worms Hologram Shad at depths from 30 to 40 feet with twin-tailed Hula Grubs on a ½-ounce jig head in colors 297, 301, and 330." The reaction bite has been slow. Basi reported continued high sales of live minnows for both bass and trout from the banks. Call: Monte Smith (209) 581-4734; Danny Layne (209) 586-2383; Gary Vella (209) 652-7550; Bait Barn (209) 874-3011
McCLURE RESERVOIR The Angler's Choice Western Rookie League tournament was Saturday, and tournament director Danny Peluso said most teams caught their fish at 40 feet by drop-shotting jigs or plastics or by using a Carolina rig. There were 43 limits weighed in by the 47 teams with 221 bass released for a total of 356 pounds. A few fish have moved shallower around 20 feet. As the weather warms the fish should move closer to the banks. Senkos or rip baits also produced a few fish. Jason Mello of A-1 Bait in Snelling said bank fishermen are "hammering the bass at Barrett's Cove" using live crawdads or minnows. One angler landed six keepers over 15 inches on a recent trip. The size limit drops to 12-inches at McClure on Friday. Trout action has improved with trollers picking up limits with Kastmasters in Horseshoe Bend or trolling blade/crawler combinations near the dam. Call: A-1 Bait (209) 563-6505; Bub Tosh (209) 404-0053 McSWAIN RESERVOIR Jason Mello of A-1 Bait in Snelling reported limits of rainbows have been taken from the banks at the brush pile on regular lemon-lime Power Eggs. Trollers are scoring quality trout to 2 pounds pulling night crawlers behind a baby hammered cowbell flasher from Gilligan's Island toward the second fence line. Call: McSwain Marina (209) 378-2534
NEW MELONES RESERVOIR / TULLOCH LAKE Guide Gary Burns went out several times last week and reports taking brown trout to 2½ pounds on rolled shad along the rocky banks inside the dam. He said the rainbows are "all over the main portion of the lake, the dam, the spillway, Angels Cove and in the coves in the south part of the lake." He recommends blade/crawler combinations or smaller Excels and Kastmasters in chrome/blue. Melanie Lewis of Glory Hole Sporting Goods in Angels Camp said trout fishing is slow with trollers having to work hard to find any fish in the main lake or up the river arm. With the DFG no longer planting brown trout, Glory Hole Sporting Goods will not recognize brown trout in their weekly big fish contest. Anglers are encouraged to release browns back into the lake. Bank fishing has slowed, too, with few anglers getting limits. Lewis advises using a sliding sinker with a 3- to 4-foot leader and a light wire hook loaded with a crawler/mallow combo, a Berkley Pinched Crawler with a pink, or white Gulp or Power Egg. She recommends tossing a shad patterned casting spoon such as Kastmasters or Krocodiles on the main lake. Bass fishing is also slow. Finesse techniques with small moving baits such as 3- to 4-inch hand poured worms in natural shad or crawdad hues works if you use a "dead-stick" approach. Heavy half-ounce or three-quarter ounce football head jigs worked slowly at 60 feet have also been picking up a few good bass. The crappie and catfish are also refusing to bite in the cold water. Call: Glory Hole Sports (209) 736-4333; Monte Smith (209) 581-4734; Danny Layne (209) 586-2383; Sierra Sport Fishing (209) 599-2023
SAN LUIS RESERVOIR / O'NEILL FOREBAY Richard Flores of Coyote Bait in Morgan Hill reported jumbo minnows drifted along the face of the dam at 30 feet are landing schoolie stripers. Patrick Movey at the Fishermen's Warehouse in Fresno reported a 30-pound striper landed on a swimbait from a boat, and sales of white flukes or swimbaits and the 4-inch Storm orange rainbow swimbaits have been high. Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun said dipping minnows is the best way to catch schoolie stripers up to 6 pounds. Jeff Boyle of Bass Pro Shops in Manteca confirmed the schoolie bite with minnows by dropping live bait over shad schools. Guide Roger George said the water is around 51 degrees and the full moon has slowed the bite. In the Forebay, bank anglers are picking up a few stripers on pile or blood worms with the best action at night. Call: Coyote Bait and Tackle (408) 463-0711
DELTA Capt. Jim Smith of the Happy Hooker out of Martinez found oversized and legal sturgeon in the shallows of Grizzly Bay and near the Mothball Fleet. He released sturgeon estimated at 250 and 150 pounds with a 57-inch keeper on two trips. Sturgeon fishing has been best in the Sacramento River, especially near the opening at Broad Slough. There have been "tons of flounder" caught in the Sacramento on grass shrimp or pile worms. Alan Fong of the Fishermen's Warehouse in Sacramento reported stripers have moved into the Old Sacramento River near Isleton, and guide Jay Lopes has been trolling up limits near Viera's Resort with P-Line Angry Eyes. For largemouth bass, guide Randy Pringle reported an improved bite in the warming water. Pringle is tossing half-ounce Persuader spinnerbaits in chartreuse/white then changing to a -ounce baits on high tides to keep it in the strike zone as long as possible. Pringle said the moving bite is happening "sooner than normal," and with the full moon he expects to see spawning fish next month. He has been bouncing crankbaits off the rocks and recommends a bluegill pattern in chartreuse/blue or crawdad pattern of black/red. Call: Randy Pringle (209) 543-6260; Vella's Fishing Adventures (209) 521-0164.
HALF MOON BAY Capt. Tom Mattusch of the Huli Cat said it was "really ugly out there on Saturday." He will run sand dab/crab combination trips any day, weather and interest permitting. Sheryl Jimno at the Rusty Hook in Pacifica said the surf has been rough, but there are still people crabbing off the pier with snatchers. Perch fishing is decent with blood worms, pile worms, and prawns from the access areas along the coast. Call: Happy Hooker (510) 223-5388; Emeryville Sport Fishing (510) 654-6040; Don Franklin, Soleman (510) 703-4148
MONTEREY / SANTA CRUZ Chris Arcoleo of Chris's Landing in Monterey said none of his boats have been out since last Thursday due to high wind and big swells. Out of Santa Cruz, the Sand Crab Classic Surf Perch Derby is March 9; it's fundraiser for the Monterey Bay Salmon and Steelhead Project. Call: Chris' Landing (831) 375-5951; Bayside Marine (831) 475-2173; usafishing.com
SAN FRANCISCO BAY The start date for the ocean salmon season should be announced after Thursday's meeting of the Fish and Wildlife Commission in Santa Rosa. With high winds, the only action has been on the rivers that feed the Bay.