Mike Her of the New J-Bass Club reported tough bass fishing during Saturday’s California Hmong Bass Tournament with only 5 of 27 boats returning with limits to the weigh in and nearly half the field not weighing in. He said, “The top techniques were drop shotting shad patterned worms or spooning main lake points,” adding, “Anglers who pre-fished hard had to abandon their game plans and start over by junk fishing for only one to three keepers.” He continued, “It’s not hard to find fish as the graph would light up, but it was difficult to get them to bite anything.” Trout fishing has also been slow, and the lake will need to turn over before the action returns to the traditional fall/winter topwater bite. Call:Monte Smith (209) 581-4734; Danny Layne-Fishn’ Dan (209) 586-2383; Gary Vella (209) 652-7550; Bait Barn (209) 874-3011
Jason Mello of A-1 Bait reported bass fishing best with small Gulp minnows or live crawdads. The Gulp minnow produced limits of bass and 5 catfish while 5-inch Senkos were effective bass to 3-pounds from the banks. Mello observed a number of large spotted bass cruising the shoreline on a recent outing. Trout fishing has been slow with few reports. Live crawdads are also working for bass. The lake dropped to 696.18 feet in elevation and 25% of capacity. Call: A-1 Bait (209) 563-6505; Bub Tosh (209) 404-0053
Jason Mello of A-1 Bait in Snelling reported trollers pulling F 5 Rapalas have scored limits to 3-pounds while a Wedding Ring tipped with a night crawler scored a 9.75-pound. Another 5.5-pound rainbow was landed from the banks on a night crawler. The normal bank areas of the Brush Pile and the Handicapped Docks are producing with variety of colors of Power Bait or Power Eggs. Call: McSwain Marina (209) 378-2534
•NEW MELONES RESERVOIR
Melanie Lewis of Glory Hole Sporting Goods in Angels Camp reported continued improvement in trout fishing as the water temperature continues to drop. The trout are migrating towards the shoreline and also towards the surface. The rainbows are pushing up shad schools from deep water towards the surface. Trolling has been solid with jointed Rapalas, Needlefish, Speedy Shiners, or ExCel spoons while bank angling continues to improve on a weekly basis. A sliding sinker rig with an 18 to 24-inch leader and light hook loaded with Power Bait, Power Eggs, or marshmallow/night crawler combinations are all effective. Kastmasters tossed from the banks are also producing. Bass fishing is fair as the lake is transitioning from summer to fall, and the fish are scattered from the deep to shallow water. The American Bass Association tournament held their opener on Saturday, and an impressive 19.12-pound limit took 1st place. Drop shotting or dart-heading 6-inch plastics or California Reservoir Lure jig at depths from 5 to 50 feet were effective. Catfishing remains very good with the whiskerfish holding in the shallows and feeding heavily. Once some runoff makes its way into the lake, the catfish will move into the feeder creeks to take advantage of the new source of food washing into the lake. Night crawlers, chicken livers, shad, or anchovies are the top baits. Crappie and blue gill action continues to be slow, but small Kastmasters or Beatle Spins are working next to standing timber. With the low water levels, there is an abundance of standing timber and wood in the lake. New Melones rose slightly to 946.24 feet in elevation and 42% of capacity with Tulloch dropping 1.5 feet to 500.03 feet in elevation and 83% of capacity. At Tulloch, Danny Layne of Fishn’ Dan’s Guide Service said, “I have made a few trips over here recently since it is the only lake not stressed out due to lack of water; and although the action isn’t red hot, those willing to put in their time will be rewarded with some quality rainbows.” He has been trolling Vance’s Slim Willies tipped with a night crawler or Uncle Larry’s spinners behind a Vance’s Dodger at depths from 8 to 10 feet for planters holding off of the Buoy Line to the Dam and over to the mouth of Black Creek. The fish range from smaller planters to holdover rainbows from 16 to 20-inches .The larger fish are found at depths from 25 to 37 feet. Layne added, “Next year’s kokanee are holding in the opening to Black Creek.” Call: Glory Hole Sports (209) 736-4333; Monte Smith (209) 581-4734; Danny Layne-Fishn’Dan (209) 586-2383; Sierra Sport Fishing(209) 599-2023
•SAN LUIS RESERVOIR AND O’NEILL FOREBAY
Striper action remains solid in the O’Neill Forebay for stripers in the 16 to 21-inch range with around half of fish landed being of the legal 18-inch size. Lucky Craft lures in American shad or ghost minnow in sizes from 78’ to 128’s are working as well as 4-inch Storm swimbaits in baby bass, bluegill, or rainbow trout. The fish are busting bait in the surface in the morning hours and on days with overcast conditions. In the main lake, trolling plugs on a downrigger at depths to 80 feet around the Trash Racks or Basalt Recreation Area are producing, and P-Line Predators, broken backed Rebels, or Smithwicks remain the top lures. Roger George of Roger’s Guide Service said that he fished with Elaine Fetterman of Clovis for 10 fish in the 19-22” range using lures at 60-90’ on a steady slow bite . He said, “ Water temps are around 61 degrees now and the fish are spitting up shad-which is an indicator the reaction bite is starting. The bite has been early, slows with the calm bright conditions, then it kicks in again later. Most minnow anglers we saw were catching a smaller grade of fish than the trollers-averaging about 1-3 fish per angler. They are pumping in some water-but its all at night. ” Many anglers are also trolling umbrella rigs in both the main lake and the Forebay. San Luis Reservoir continues to pump through heavy amounts of water and it rose to 23% of capacity with the inflow of 3760 acre feet of Delta water.
Sturgeon fishing has been outstanding, and Tony Lopez of Benicia Bait said, “They are all over right now with sturgeon landed at the Fleet, the Big Cut, the Middle Grounds, and Roe/Ryer Islands.” Striped bass have been found at the Firing Line on bullheads or splittail, and the winning fish of the Pogo Tournament at 35 and 1/8th inch was landed at the Firing Line. Striper fishing from the shoreline remains solid with bullheads or blood worms. Dockside Bait in Pittsburg said, “We weighed in 4 sturgeon on Saturday, and the fish are biting really good.” Striper fishing continues to be strong with linesides in the 6 to 12-pound range taken on bullheads, mudsuckers, or fresh shad. Doug Chapman at Gotcha Bait in Antioch reported more of the same with sturgeon fishing gaining momentum with the majority of fish taken in the Pittsburg area, although there have been sturgeon landed in Broad Slough. Striper fishing remains good for school-sized linesides in the 18 to 22-inch range. Alan Fong of the Fishermen’s Warehouse in Sacramento found great striper action dropping 1.75-ounce Blade Runner spoons in dark green or shadpatterns on the San Joaquin River outside of the Stockton Turning Basin on the main river.”H and R Bait in Stockton reported larger stripers have been moving in to the main San Joaquin River near the Turning Basin, and fresh shad has produced linesides to 18-pounds, especially at night.
•HALF MOON BAY
On Sunday, Captain Tom Mattusch of the Huli Cat took a large load of 31 anglers to the Farallon Islands for limits of rockfish, limits of Dungeness crab, and 15 ling cod. Mattusch said, “The quality of crab has been excellent, and the pots are ranging from 12 to 24 legal crab.” Coastal rockfishing remains outstanding. Sheryl Jimno at the Rusty Hook said, “Surf perch action is only fair, and very few stripers are showing up along the beaches.”
Chris Arcoleo of Chris’s Landing in Monterey reported outstanding rockfish action with crab counts holding steady. The whale watching trips remain incredible with Arcoleo reporting pods of orcas, 20 to 30 humpback whales, and thousands of sea lions all working the mass of anchovies in the center of the Monterey Canyon. Fishing in the Salinas River is closed until the steelhead opener on December 1st. Chris’ Landing (831) 375-5951; Bayside Marine (831) 475-2173.
• SAN FRANCISCO BAY
Captain Roger Thomas of the Salty Lady said, “That’s it for the 2013 salmon season, and it was a good one all in all.” They are open for the rest of the rockfish season until December 31st for the occasional bottomfishing trip. Keith Fraser of Loch Lomond Bait and Tackle in San Rafael reported minimal action on the bay over the weekend with the sturgeon on hold with the smallish tides. He is looking forward to next weekend with the ‘tides getting really good.” He added, “You can stick a fork in halibut fishing since we haven’t seen or heard of one for two weeks, and salmon fishing is now officially over for the season.”