NEW MELONES RESERVOIR — Monte Smith of Gold Country Sport Fishing got great rainbow trout action trolling on the surface and to 15 feet with heavy spoons on lead-core line with a fluorocarbon top shot at speeds of 2½ to 3 mph. He has been running the lures 120-150 feet behind the boat. Melanie Lewis of Glory Hole Sporting Goods reported plenty of 'bows averaging 2 pounds from the banks from the Tuttletown Launch Ramp and Glory Hole Point with Berkley Power Bait in chartreuse or green glitter, Power Eggs, marshmallow/crawler combinations or small Kastmasters in firetiger, rainbow trout or silver/blue. Boaters anchoring nearby and at Carson or Mormon coves are also scoring with the same baits. For the occasional brown trout, Rapala Countdowns, Trophy Sticks or other large plugs in rainbow trout or shad patterns, trolled fast from 10-30 feet near structure are the best options. A near-lake record 7.51-pound spotted bass was caught and released this week on a green plastic worm up the river arm by Rod Byers. The bass are targeting the bait schools in open water in the middle of the lake. Lucky Craft Pointer 100s in rainbow trout, watermelon/redflake or green pumpkin Zoom Baby Brush Hogs or other creature baits on a Carolina-rig or shaky head, brown/purple jigs with a trailer or drop-shotting a 4-inch shad-patterned plastic at depths from 20-50 feet are the top techniques. A few large bass went for Huddleston ROF 12 in trout patterns along windy points. Catfish are moving into deeper water, but whiskerfish to 15.75 pounds have been landed on mackerel near Glory Hole launch ramp. Anchovies, chicken livers, mackerel, sardines or a ball of night crawlers are all working. Quality crappie continue to be taken weekly with the best fishing at night under lights around submerged trees at depths from 30-45 feet in Bear Creek, Mormon Creek or Carson Creek with live small or medium minnows. The lake rose a vertical foot to 965.88 in elevation and 48 percent of capacity. Danny Layne of Fishn' Dan's Guide Service said nearby Lake Tulloch has been drawn down to wintertime levels -- about 10 feet from the spillway. He reported good action for rainbows 14-16 inches off the resort from the surface to 20 feet on blade/crawler combinations, Humdingers, ExCels, Triple Teasers or Shasta Tackle Matrix Paddletails. A few larger trout are holding near a large bait ball near the Powerlines in the Green Springs Arm. Water temperature is perfect at 52 degrees, and the water is clear. 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 striper fishing in the big lake continues to be very slow with the best action in the Forebay with top-water lures or anchovies near Check 12. The key has been timing the water movement when the dam opens at Check 12. Tu said boaters in the main lake are landing a few fish to 5 pounds, but few limits. Mickey Clements of Coyote Bait and Tackle reported trollers in the main lake have been dragging X Raps at depths to 60 feet near the Pumps when the water is moving. Moochers continue to drop jumbo minnows or pile worms near the Trash Racks with some top-water action in the early morning in Portuguese Cove with Zara Spooks or pearl Flukes. Clements confirmed Tu's report with most anglers in the Forebay hanging around the bridge in the dam area or near the Highway 152 bridge when the water is moving. The bass bite at Los Banos Creek Detention Reservoir has been slow. The lake rose to 447.22 vertical feet with an influx of Delta water. Call: Ly's Fishing Goods (408) 629-9644, Coyote Bait and Tackle (408) 463-0711.
McSWAIN RESERVOIR — McSwain Marina reported limits to near-limits of trout being taken from the banks on Power Bait. Steve and Ruben Alvarez of Ceres landed limits with a 2-pound average on green and salmon peach Power Bait at the Handicapped Docks. Only a few trollers. No plants scheduled until February, but they may get an unscheduled plant. Call: 378-2534.
McCLURE RESERVOIR — Manny Basi of the Bait Barn reported bass fishing is still slow with the best action on small-profile jigs such as the brown or brown/purple Bass Patrol jigs in ›- and ½-ounce sizes. The majority of fish are taken on finesse techniques worked very slowly with light line. Drop-shotting with Reaction Innovations Bad Shad Green or the Flirt at depths from 20-50 feet. Trout trollers have been scoring limits or near-limits of planted rainbows on F5 Rapalas, white grubs or Vance's Slim Fins from the surface to 10 feet. The area around the Horseshoe has been holding a large school of trout. The bank bite is fair with rainbow glitter Power Bait or gold Kastmasters. There is no catfish report or crappie report. The lake held at 747.87 feet and 40 percent capacity. The only two open ramps 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 — Monte Smith got great rainbow trout action in the top 15 feet with large spoons in the 2½- to 3½-inch range such as the Chucker T, Needlefish, ExCels or Vance's Slim Fins. He had three rods out with a client last week for 19 fish to 2½ pounds from near the Dam and near Big Oak Island. He has been using lead-core line with a topshot of 100 feet of fluorocarbon and a 3- to 4-foot leader of 100 percent fluorocarbon. He has been trolling 2½-3 mph; with the clear water, the fish are on a strictly reaction bite at the higher speeds. He has been not using sideplaners, but they are leaving 120-150 feet of line behind the boat. The water temperature is 54.5 degrees. Manny Basi said bass action requires finesse techniques of a slow presentation with small-profile jigs at 20-50 feet. The occasional larger fish has been taken on 6- to 8-inch swimbaits in rainbow trout or shad patterns. Bank fishing for planted trout continues to be good with rainbow glitter Power Bait or gold Kastmasters throughout the bank access areas. The lake is at 777.45 feet in elevation and 70% of capacity. Call: Monte Smith 581-4734, Danny Layne 586-2383, Bait Barn 874-3011.
STOCKTON — Jim Smith of the Happy Hooker out of Martinez reported very slow action over the weekend despite several boats anchored in the Pittsburg area. He said the water temperature has been stable at 48.1 degrees but with the lack of fresh water inflow, they actually picked up a Dungeness crab this far east in the Sacramento River system. Previous to the weekend, sturgeon fishing was on the upswing in upper and lower Suisun Bay. Benicia Bait and Tackle reported similar results over the weekend with a major slowdown in action on the sturgeon front in the area with anglers still plagued by the small Dungeness crabs. A couple of exceptions have been a few fish taken at Garnet Point on straight eel or grass shrimp/eel combinations. There have been several party boats working the area. One local angler consistently catches 20- to 35-pound stripers off Chipps Island in 40 feet in the main channel on splittail. Shore fishing has slowed down with few reports from the group at 1st Street. Alan Fong of the Fisherman's Warehouse in Sacramento has been targeting the school of stripers near Liberty Island, and he reported fantastic action with 50-80 fish to 12 pounds last week on top-water lures such as the new IMA Big Stick in red head/white body. Fong changes the hooks out on the lure, but he said, "You can throw it a mile, and it's really easy to walk." Fong said the stripers moved out this week, and his group struggled to land 10. He thought the school dispersed in the north Delta, and they are staying in the upper end due to the clear water conditions. The school should reassemble within 10 days, and they may be sticking around in anticipation of the steelhead releases at the end of February in the Mokelumne River system. Fong has also been "dead-sticking" Lucky Craft lures, and the stripers have been loading up on the still bait. The fish have all been in 3-5 feet. Fong will give a seminar on Delta striper fishing at the Sacramento Fisherman's Warehouse on Jan. 28 at 6 p.m. The launch ramp at Brannan Island State Park will be closed Mondays and Tuesdays in response to a service reduction from the state parks department. Anglers will have to use the public ramps at Sherman Island, Rio Vista or private marinas on these days. 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 — Best sturgeon fishing is on the northern portion of San Pablo Bay from the Pumphouse around and into the Napa River. The party boat Morningstar landed a legal sturgeon and released seven shakers Saturday to go with 10 flounder from San Pablo Bay and several missed opportunities on sturgeon bites. Striped bass have been scarce. Private boaters reported picking up sturgeon to 64 inches on ghost or mud shrimp in 10 feet near the Alameda Ferry Terminal. The morning fog has been thick in the south bay, so radar is helpful and GPS essential.