• LAKE DON PEDRO
Monte Smith of Gold County Sport Fishing reported continued slow trout fishing with no distinct pattern at the present time. He said, “In years past, the lake has been cranking out fish at this time of year, but we need rain and colder temperatures to turn out the bite.” One angler reported only a single strike early in the day on a recent trolling venture. For bass, drop shotting or spooning main lake points remain the top techniques, but the overall bite is slow. The lake will need to turn over before the action returns to the traditional fall/winter topwater bite. The lake is currently at 50 percent of capacity and 731.18 feet in elevation. Call: Monte Smith (209) 581-4734; Danny Layne-Fishn’ Dan (209) 586-2383; Gary Vella (209) 652-7550; Bait Barn (209) 874-3011
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• McCLURE RESERVOIR
Jay Graham of the Fresno Bass Club reported most limits came out of the Horseshoe area during Sunday’s club tournament with the Narrows being the second-best condition. The main lake produced only small fish with drop shotting being the top technique. Graham said, “One angler tossed reaction baits all day, and he only weighed in one keeper.” Diana Mello of A-1 Bait in Snelling reported live minnows or crawdads are the top baits for bass, and they have a supply of the live bait. Trout fishing continues to be slow with few reports. Live crawdads are also working for bass. The lake dropped 2 feet to 694.88 feet in elevation and 24% of capacity. Call: A-1 Bait (209) 563-6505; Bub Tosh (209) 404-0053.
• McSWAIN RESERVOIR
The McSwain Marina reported 1,000-pounds of trout were planted into the lake by Calaveras Trout Farm on Nov. 14, and the Brush Pile has been the top area for bank anglers. Power Bait or Power Eggs in a variety of color patterns continue to be the top baits, but the Pot O’Gold spoons in Premium Trout or firetiger have also been very effective. Trollers remain above the Floating Restrooms, and PPK Tomahawk spinners in green or chartreuse are top sellers while blade/crawler combinations or Wedding Rings tipped with a night crawler are also working. Call: McSwain Marina (209) 378-2534
• NEW MELONES RESERVOIR
Melanie Lewis of Glory Hole Sporting Goods in Angels Camp reported good trout action with more and more rainbows showing up on the surface and near the shorelines, making them accessible to both trollers and shore fishermen. Bank anglers are catching more and more fish per week. Lewis advised using a sliding sinker with an 18 to 24-inch leader, light line, and light wire hook loaded with Power Bait, Power Eggs, marshmallows, night crawlers, or combinations of baits. Kastmasters are another solid option. Trollers are targeting the large schools of tiny shad, and the trout are pushing the bait into the shallows. Lewis advised working from the surface to 30 feet in depth with Rapala Jointed Shad Raps or Floating Minnows, or spoons such as Speedy Shiners, ExCels, or Needlefish in shad imitations. Charlene Winkler of San Andreas landed a 3-pound/11-ounce rainbow while trolling near the spillway with a Rapala at 25 feet in depth. Kokanee are done. Bass fishing is slow as the lake is in transition with the cooler water temperatures but not quite cold enough to turnover. The fish are spread out at depths from 5 to 70 feet, and most fishermen are using finesse techniques with small shad-patterned plastics or 4-inch worms on the drop shot. Vertically jigging small spoons in the shad balls is another productive technique. Catfishing is only fair, but the whiskerfish in the shallows are feeding heavily. She said, “At this time of year we generally see some really large cats being caught, especially if we get a little rain.” Crappie and bluegill are slow, but the crappie normally chase shad similar to bass and trout at this time of year. Lewis advised using small Kastmasters or Beetle Spins near wood and standing timber. The main channel has a number of exposed trees with the low water levels. At Lake Tulloch, Monte Smith of Gold Country Sport Fishing said, “I will start targeting rainbows at Tulloch since the lake is nearly full, and the months of November and December are prime time for action at this lake. “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 have been productive for rainbows ranging from planters to holdovers. New Melones is currently at 43 percent of capacity and 946.61 feet in elevation with Tulloch at 499.89 feet in elevation and 82 percent of capacity. 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
Roger George of Roger’s Guide Service reported hit and miss action for experienced anglers willing to work hard for a large fish. He took Dan Bacher, Managing Editor of the Fishsniffer Magazine out on Friday, and after fishing hard for only 8 bites for linesides to 22-inches by noon, George moved to a different location where they experienced a double-hookup with Bacher landing a 22-pound striper. Twenty minutes later they hit another double with Bacher boating an 18-pounder, only to be followed by another double with Bacher scoring a 17-pounder with George’s fish weighing 9-pounds. They released all of the stripers with the exception of one that expired – after a hard deep fight. George said, “Our total fish weight for two limits was 66 pounds, but if we had landed the two big fish I had pop off after long fights, the four-fish limit could have easily totaled 85-90 pounds-plus I think. After a bad start, we somehow hit a perfect storm Friday, but Saturdays bite was terrible, and shows how fast it completely changes – with only three small fish! It’s not easy!” Mickey Clements at Coyote Bait in Morgan Hill confirmed the ‘hit or miss’ action in the main lake with anglers drifting jumbo minnows or trolling large plugs on spreader rigs near Basalt Recreational Area or Goosehead Point. There have been some boils in the main lake, and anglers are tossing lures into the boils. In the Forebay, the boils have slowed down, but stripers in the 10 to 20-inch range are willingly striking P-Line Predators, broken-backed Rebels, Yozuris, or Umbrella rigs along the Rockwall or near Check 12 at depths to 15 feet. San Luis Reservoir continues to pump through heavy amounts of water and it rose to 25 percent of capacity. Call: Coyote Bait and Tackle (408) 463-0711; Roger George’s Guide Service, (559) 905-2954
Sturgeon fishing has slowed down in the area, but it has been better upriver nearer to Pittsburg. Ron Reisinger was out in Grizzly Bay on Sunday for one legal sturgeon released on salmon roe. James Nguyen at Dockside Bait in Pittsburg said, “I am catching plenty of stripers in the 5 to 7-pound range, but I haven’t landed anything over 10-pounds on my past few trips.” Bullheads or fresh shad are the top baits, and Nguyen added, “All of the stripers are much smaller, and this is very different than it was two weeks ago.” Sturgeon fishing remains good, and Nguyen said, “The fish are spreading out from the shallow water into the deep.” Jacob Dubin of Gotcha Bait in Antioch reported sturgeon fishing has been best from Antioch toward Martinez on ghost shrimp, grass shrimp, and fresh shad. Alan Fong of the Fishermen’s Warehouse in Sacramento went north around Liberty Island to toss a 10-inch ‘glide bait’ in 2 feet of water for three hookups within the first hour before the action died. He lost two fish estimated in the 20-pound range, landing a 15-pounder on his second strike. After the bite tide, they targeted largemouth bass with spinnerbaits, and he said, “The bass are holding on the breaks.” Randy Pringle, the Fishing Instructor, found great action for numbers of striped bass on Monday, but size was a major concern. He said, “We were loading up with 3 to 8-pound stripers in the San Joaquin River last week, but on Monday, the fish ranged from 12 to 16-inches with nary a keeper landed from the 30 fish hooked.” He has been scoring with half-ounce Hopkins Smoothies in green or blue at depths from 11 to 26 feet or the Double AA swimbait in chartruese/white or all white. For largemouth bass, the ima Flit in Olive Herring, Misty Shad, or American Shad on 12-pound 100% Trilene Fluorocarbon is working with a irregular retrieve with frequent pauses. Call: Randy Pringle (209) 543-6260; Captain Stan Koenigsberger – Quetzal Adventures (925) 570-5303; Mark Wilson Sport Fishing (916) 682-1630; Intimidator Sport Fishing (916) 806-3030.
• HALF MOON BAY
Captain Tom Mattusch of the Huli Cat was on a crab/rockfish combination trip on Sunday, and he reported a huge load for his boat at 34 anglers. Even with the large load, he said, “We had no problem with limits of rockfish or limits of crab, even adding 15 ling cod. Call: Happy Hooker (510) 223-5388; Roger Thomas, Salty Lady (415) 760-9362, Bait and Switch Sport Fishing Center (650) 726-7133, 726-7133; Emeryville Sport Fishing (510) 654-6040; Don Franklin, Soleman (510) 703-4148
• MONTEREY/SANTA CRUZ
Chris Arcoleo of Chris’ s Landing in Monterey reported ling cod action remains excellent with the Check Mate returning with 38 ling cod for 23 anglers to go with limits of Dungeness crab and three-fourths limits of rockfish on Sunday. They have openings on the combination trips throughout the week, but the combination trips are already filled this coming Friday and Saturday. Fishing in the Salinas River is closed until the steelhead opener on December 1. Chris’ Landing (831) 375-5951; Bayside Marine (831) 475-2173; usafishing.com
• SAN FRANCISCO BAY
Rockfishing has returned to expectations with Captain Jim Smith of the Happy Hooker loading up with 30 limits of rockfish, 30 limits of crab, and 10 lings along the Marin coast. Inside the bay, Keith Fraser of Loch Lomond Bait and Tackle in San Rafael reported Sunday “It was windy on Friday and Saturday, but it was decent on Sunday.” A number of stripers are being caught, and Fraser touted drifting around Red Rock with Loch Lomond shiners as the top pick. The shore areas have muddied up with the minus tides and the winds, and trolling for stripers has slowed down as a result.
Reservoirs and lakes to be planted by California Department of Fish and Wildlife with trout during the week of Nov. 24: