NEW MELONES RESERVOIR -- Melanie Lewis of Glory Hole Sporting Goods in Angels Camp said the trout bite from the banks is slowing, with the best action on small silver/blue, firetiger or rainbow trout Kastmasters or similar spoons with similar colors in Countdown Rapalas also working. Berkley Power Bait in chartreuse or green glitter, Power Eggs or marshmallow/night crawler combinations are working for boaters on the anchor fishing depths at 5-25 feet deep in Carson or Mormon coves. Trolling has also been fair with Wedding Ring/night crawler combinations, Uncle Larry's Spinners or spoons around the mouth of Glory Hole Cove or other major creek arms. Monte Smith of Gold Country Sport Fishing advised trolling spoons from the surface to 15 feet with spoons on lead core line pulled from 2.5 to 3 MPH from the Spillway north and along the mouth of Mormon Creek. In addition, Saturday's Anglers Choice Bass Tournament winners, Kyle Rasmussen and Joe Menzes, landed a 6-point trout during the event on a plastic worm in the shallows. Lewis said bass fishing continues to be strong with numbers of 2-pound spots and several to 5 pounds. Call: (209) 736-4333; Monte Smith (209) 581-4734; Danny Layne -- Fishn' Dan (209) 586 2383; Sierra Sport Fishing (209) 599-2023.
SAN LUIS RESERVOIR/O'NEILL FOREBAY -- Mickey Clements at Coyote Bait in San Jose said anglers are taking off for the Forebay for schoolie stripers with bag anchovies or pile worms. The action at Check 12 is dependent on the pumps being turned on, and limits of small stripers can be taken on RatLTraps or pearl flukes. The top-water bite has been slow. Clements said boaters are starting to work the Portuguese Cove area in the main lake along the drop-offs with jumbo minnows, but reports of success have been scattered. Wind conditions: (800) 805-4805. Call: Ly's Fishing Goods (408) 629-9644; Coyote Bait and Tackle (408) 463-0711.
MCSWAIN RESERVOIR -- There was a plant of quality fish from Calaveras Trout Farm last Thursday afternoon, and McSwain Marina reported excellent trout action on Friday and Saturday from the Brush Pile or the Handicapped Docks with lime glitter, sunrise or bubble gum Power Bait or Power Eggs. Felicia Luzek and Mark Lopes of Merced did a combination trolling and still fishing trip Monday for quality limits on firetiger Rapalas from the Chimney to the second fence line and in the cove near the waterfall with rainbow Power Bait. The lake is scheduled to be planted again by the end of February. The Merced Irrigation Tournament is scheduled for April 17-18 with prizes to $3,000 for tagged fish. Call: (209) 378-2534.
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DELTA MENDOTA CANAL -- Merritt Gilbert said the Lucky Craft 128 is the top lure in the aqueducts and canals with area tackle shops selling out of these lures in ghost minnow or American shad for targeting stripers in the barely legal to 25-inch range. The anchovy bite has been slow with only a few bags of bait being sold. In the south aqueduct, The best bite has been when the water is running hard from pumping.
MILLERTON LAKE/SAN JOAQUIN RIVER -- Gilbert reported an improved bite for bass to 2 pounds. There is a small window for top-water action in the early morning, but the most consistent bite continues to be drop-shotting shad-imitation plastics at depths to 50 feet. Most anglers are keeping quiet in advance of Saturday's American Bass Tournament. There are still no reports of striped bass. The lake rose three vertical feet to 513.76 feet in elevation and 50% of capacity. The lower San Joaquin is scheduled to receive a trout plant, and fishing continues to be fair in the Lost Lake area with Power Bait, night crawlers, and various spinners and spoons. Avocado Lake is scheduled for a trout plant. Call: 225-1838; 292-3474.
MCCLURE RESERVOIR -- Diana Mello reported that Rick White of Fresno landed a lake-record 9.25-pound spotted bass in Cottonwood Creek on Monday morning. A large contingent of Fresno bass anglers has been prefishing for this weekend's tournament, but information has been scarce due to the upcoming competition. Manny Basi of the Bait Barn said numbers of bass haven't been the problem, but keeper fish have been hard to find. The best technique continues to be drop-shotting Pro Worms in ProGold small redflake from the surface to 40 feet deep, or small profile jigs. Mello said trollers have been working near the dam or up the river arm with small spinners or 3-inch orange grubs from the surface to 15 feet deep. There has been increased interest in crappie fishing from the banks with small minnows. The only two launches available for large boats are Barrett's Cove or McClure Point. Call: A-1 Bait (209) 563-6505; Bub Tosh (209) 404-0053.
LAKE DON PEDRO -- Monte Smith of Gold Country Sport Fishing has experienced solid action on his last two trips fast-trolling shad-imitation spoons such as Chucker T's, Vance's Slim Fins, ExCels, large Humdingers or Needlefish on lead core line or on the downriggers from the surface to 13 feet. On Thursday's trip, they landed 11 fish to 2.5 pounds, and all were fat and healthy. Basi said the best bass bite has been on River2Sea SWave swimbaits in bright trout. This yellow-colored bait is being used like a jerk bait, as anglers are targeting bank areas with shallow water. Drop-shotting ProWorms in ProGold 300 small redflake or 4-inch Shaken Paddle Tails on 5-pound test is still a consistent technique. Call: Monte Smith (209) 581-4734, Danny Layne -- Fishn' Dan (209) 586-2383, Bait Barn (209) 874-3011.
BASS LAKE -- Gilbert reported a decent trout bite with the best action on shad-colored Needlefish, Rainbow Runners or Wedding Rings from the surface to 15 feet. Some trollers have been flat-lining, while others are using lead core to two colors. The snow has melted from lakeside. No bass report. Anglers can check on launch conditions on the webcam at basslakeca.com. Call: 642-3141, Todd Wittwer 288-8100, 642-3633, 642-3737; Mike Bieghy 642-3748.
SHAVER LAKE -- Dick Nichols of Dick's Fishing Charters expected great action Sunday, but he was disappointed without a single hookup in the Stevenson and Tunnel Creek areas. Ice on the surface in Tunnel Creek made for difficult trolling conditions. On Saturday, Nichols fished with Lee Gates of Shaver Lake for five hookups and a 14-inch rainbow. All of the hookups came on Dick's Trout Buster spinners tipped with a crawler or piece of corn at 20-35 feet deep. The majority were holding close to the bottom in the cold, 39-degree water. Bank anglers continue to score with orange or rainbow Power Bait near the Sierra Marina Cove, Edison Cove or the Point. Anglers can get updated launch information at sierramarina.com. Huntington Lake is still out of commission due to the snow level. Call: 841-2522, 841-2740; Dinkey Creek Inn 841-3435; Rancheria Marina 893-3234; Young's Sporting Goods 841-8271; Dick's Fishing Charters 841-5331.
SAN FRANCISCO BAY -- There are solid signs that striped bass are moving into the upper bays and tributaries. Joel Sinkay of Leonard's Bait reported a large school of stripers moved into the Napa River with local angler Brad Hood scoring a limit with ghost and grass shrimp. Sinkay added that one boat fished all night above the 37 Bridge on the Petaluma River for a limit of stripers to 28 inches to go with a pair of keeper sturgeon and a pair of released oversized on ghost/grass shrimp combinations. In the central bay, John Akina of Oyster Point Bait, Tackle and Deli said a 28-inch halibut was landed on Sunday at the Brisbane Tubes in 18 feet of water on frozen anchovies by a boater actually drifting for halibut. There have been a few boats out pushing the window lately, and this boat came up with a bonus. Akina has already been getting calls for live shiners for halibut. A more consistent species has been sturgeon, and a 57-inch was landed Saturday off of Coyote Point on a boat on ghost shrimp. Most boats are heading either to the Dunbarton Bridge or the Oakland Airport. Off of the Oyster Point Pier, numerous leopard sharks have been pulled over the rails. A few have been more than 36 inches, but most are undersized. Perch fishing continues to be strong with pile worms from the pier or the banks.
HALF MOON BAY -- The Mavericks Big Wave competition was Saturday, and that is a sure sign of some of the biggest swells of the year off of the Northern California coast. At least one private boat made it out to the crab grounds in swells to 20 feet, and it was rewarded with eight limits of crab, averaging just more than four crab per pot in the deeper water. 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.
MONTEREY -- Captain Tinker on the Checkmate out of Chris' Landing reported "wide-open" Humboldt squid fishing over the weekend in the big, lazy swell. They put in 120 squid to 40 pounds for 17 anglers Sunday, averaging from 25 to 40-pounds, but they weren't able to locate any white sea bass. The sea bass are still in the bay with one private boat landing five Sunday. They followed up Sunday's performance with 75 squid for 9 anglers with the bonus of 54 Dungeness crab on Monday. They are taking squid combination trips throughout the week. The 6th Annual Sand Crab Classic Perch Derby is scheduled for March 20 with registration forms available at http://www.theletsgofishingradioshow.com/events.php. Call: Chris' Landing (831) 375-5951; Bayside Marine (831) 475-2173; usafishing.com.
SAN LUIS OBISPO -- Virg's Landing in Morro Bay and Patriot Sport Fishing are holding whale watching trips departing at 9:30 a.m. and returning at noon on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and holidays for $39 for adults and $29 for children 15-and-under until rockfish season May 1. Barred surf perch and other species of perch have been taken on Berkley Sandworms on a Carolina-rig in Estero Bay. Virg's will launch their new website on February 17th at virgslanding.com. The winter tackle shop hours are from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Patriot Sport Fishing will be taking nature and whale watching trips on Fridays and Sundays. Rockfish season will reopen on May 1, 2010. Call: Virg's Landing, (805) 772-1222, (800) 762-5263; Patriot Sports Fishing (805) 595-4100; Port Side Marine Sports Launch (805) 595-7214.
Sturgeon fishing is back on track with the warmer water temperatures and decreased boat traffic after last weekend's large derby. The fish are holding from the Carquinez Bridge through the Straits into the Big and Little Cuts. Benicia Bait reported a 60-incher was landed off of the bank at Glen Cove and a 57-inch sturgeon and 25-pound striper were taken off of Buoy 4 at the top of the Fleet over the weekend. Jay Lopes of Right Hook Sport Fishing reported good sturgeon fishing in upper Suisun Bay. He left the Straits to try shallower water in the cuts, and they were rewarded with a 57-inch keeper on Friday, a 73-inch oversized released on Saturday on ghost/grass to go with a bonus 14-pound striper and sturgeon at 64.75 and 48-inches on Sunday. ... In the Pittsburg area, B and S Bait at McAvoy's Harbor in Bay Point said things have been very slow. Ross Edwards of Martinez pulled a 51-incher from the banks at Sandy Beach, and Allison said she had to hose the sand off of the fish, a 57-inch was taken by Gary Duchada from Modesto on grass shrimp at the Sherman Island Power Lines and a 64-incher was taken on frozen shad just south of the Rio Vista Bridge by Mike Garcia of Modesto. Uncle Larry Barnes of Elkhorn Outdoors in Rio Linda said the banks in Lisbon Slough near the Bypass have been "red hot" with ghost or grass shrimp, pile worms or eel. ... Alan Fong of Fisherman's Warehouse in Sacramento is looking forward to the next week in the upper delta, as steelhead smolts were released directly from the Mokelumne River fish hatchery due to budget restrictions. The remaining loads will either be released at the hatchery or trucked to Antioch or the tubes behind Decker Island given enough money in the budget. Because the steelhead were released at the hatchery, they won't make it to the delta for at least a week. Greeting them in the delta will be schools of striped bass, and the largest predator of all, anglers targeting stripers. Call: Randy Pringle (209) 543-6260; Mark Wilson Sport Fishing (916) 682-1630; Fin Addict Sport Fishing (209) 367-4665; Jolly Jay's Guide Service (209) 478-6645.
Fresno County: Avocado Lake, Kings River below Pine Flat, San Joaquin River below Friant.