Lake Don Pedro
A huge 13-pound largemouth was taken on a new ABT Prototype swimbait by Matt Dolph of Fresno – one he was throwing for the first time this weekend. Manny Basi at the Bait Barn in Waterford reported extremely slow action for bass fishermen with the best action occurring from the banks with live night crawlers or live minnows from the banks. Deep water access is a must, and fishermen are finding the best action in 30 to 40 feet of depth. He said, “The lake is in transition with the arrival of the cold weather, and the action will not improve until the lake’s temperatures stabilize.” Trout fishing continues to be very slow with no discernible pattern at the present time. Call: Monte Smith (209) 581-4734; Danny Layne-Fishn’ Dan (209) 586-2383; Gary Vella (209) 652-7550; Bait Barn (209) 874-3011
Bait has been the way to go for both bass and catfish, and Jason Mello of A-1 Bait in Snelling reported whiskerfish in the 4-pound range have been taken from the banks at McClure Point with chicken livers or anchovies while live crawdads are working for bass. He fished for a few hours recently, landing a bass on his first cast with a live crawdad before switching to tossing a River2Sea SWaver. He said, “One 18-inch bass followed up the SWaver, but it didn’t strike.” Live crawdads also produced bass off of Barrett’s Cove. Plastic worms in greenpumpkin have also been effective from the banks. Trout fishing continues to be slow with few reports, but the Department of Fish and Wildlife will start planting the lake next week. The lake is currently at 692.39 feet in elevation and 24 percent of capacity. Call:A-1 Bait (209) 563-6505; Bub Tosh (209) 404-0053.
The McSwain Marina reported 1,000 pounds of trout were planted into the lake by Calaveras Trout Farm last Friday, but the action has been on the slow side for both trollers and bank anglers. Limits have been taken from the Brush Pile on pink lemonade Power Bait while trollers have been scoring with night crawlers behind a hammered nickel cowbell flasher. The Pot O’Gold spoons in purple/green or firetiger continue to be in high demand. Jason Mello of A-1 Bait in Snelling reported rainbows in the 2 to 3-pound range were taken on garlic Power Bait. A DFW plant is scheduled for next week. Call: McSwain Marina (209) 378-2534
New Melones Reservoir
Melanie Lewis of Glory Hole Sporting Goods in Angels Camp reported fair trout action with the coming cold weather predicted to change the surface temperature dramatically. This front should move more and more fish toward the surface and to the shorelines, making them easier to catch for both shore fishermen and trollers. Monte Smith of Gold Country Sport Fishing reported slow action for rainbows on a recent trip, but he marked huge schools of kokanee near Mormon Creek, the dam, and Rose Island. The rainbows have moved into the shallows, and Smith observed them at a depth of 2 feet near the marina. Lewis advised trollers to use small shad-patterned spoons or spinners fishing at depths from the surface to 30 feet behind a string of flashers. She said, “This is a great time to catch some trophy browns and rainbows, and we encourage the catch and release of the brown trout since they will no longer be planted into the lake.” Bank fishermen continue to work the bottom with various colors of Power Bait, Power Eggs, marshmallows, or any of these combined with a night crawler on a sliding sinker rig with an 18 to 24-inch leader. Light line and a wire hook will keep the bait off of the bottom. Bass fishing remains slow with the lake beginning the process of turnover, and the fish seem to be spread out anywhere from 5 to 70 feet in depth. A few bass are taken on finesse techniques with small shad-patterned plastics on light line, and the shad are starting to ball up around the mouths of creek arms. As a result, vertical jigging has been effective over the bait balls. Pat Olson of Bishop caught and released a 12.07-pound largemouth bass on a rainbow trout patterned swimbait in the main lake. With the colder water temperatures, catfishing is only fair, and anglers are finding the best action on anchovies, frozen shad, or night crawlers fished weightless with an open bail. Crappie and bluegill action continues to be very slow. New Melones slightly to 947.57 feet in elevation and 43 percent of capacity with Tulloch at 500.38 feet in elevation and 83 percent of capacity. At Lake Tulloch, Monte Smith reported slow action on Monday trolling heavy spoons throughout the lake. He said, “We worked a lot of water, and there were more floating weeds in the lake as the plants on the bottom are dying off with the colder water temperatures.” He added, “It was a good bite last week, but it can be a fickle lake.” 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
Tas Castrence at Coyote Bait in Morgan Hill reported a slower bite for big fish in the main lake this past week. Fishermen are experiencing a sporadic bite with an average of 1 to 3 linesides taken either by drifting jumbo minnows or anchovies off of the dam or trolling at depths from 30 to 90 feet in front of the Trash Racks with the best action has been in the afternoons. Trollers are using Lucky Craft 128’s, P-Line Predators, Yozuris, and broken-backed Rebels. The cold front bringing in freezing night-time temperatures will lower the water temperatures, and the bait fish should start to accumulate into tight groupings. Roger George of Roger’s Guide Service took 12-year-old Michael Nott and Dwayne Bivins of Coarsegold out in the big lake-scoring 14 released fish – with several to 5 pounds on trolled lures. George said, “The overall bite got tougher, and the fish have scattered somewhat in the 59 degree water – plus now, the low pressure cold front will probably shock them for a couple days as they readjust – but it should rebound soon. Several experienced anglers have contacted me-worried that too many anglers are keeping the trophy fish they’re catching. They are asking anglers to voluntarily release big fish – the ones that are very tough to replace – whenever they can.” In the Forebay, the boils are dissipating quickly once the sun hits the water, and the overall action has slowed down at the 152 Bridge. Live grass shrimp, blood worms, and pile worms have been the top baits from the shoreline in both the Forebay and the main lake. The lake is currently at 25 percent of capacity. Important note: All boats, personal watercraft, kayaks, canoes, sailboards, inflatables and float tubes must undergo a mandatory inspection for Quagga and Zebra mussels. Failure to allow inspection will result in the refusal to launch. Call: Coyote Bait and Tackle (408) 463-0711, Roger George’s Guide Service (559) 905-2954.
Half Moon Bay
Captain Tom Mattusch of the Huli Cat said, “I thought the crabs were slowing down, but after putting in fresh bait and moving the string, all of our pots produced crab.” 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.
Chris Arcoleo of Chris’s Landing in Monterey completed an interview on ABC-TV this week in response to the tremendous whale watching in Monterey Bay. The schools of anchovies have moved into the bay, and the whales are sticking around and loading up on the baitfish. The mass of market-grade squid remains, and they continue to jig up squid for ling cod and hard-head rockfish. “The rockfishing at Point Sur was just ‘insane’ as we loaded up with big coppers, vermilions, and lings on the fresh dead squid.” Arcoleo said. Call: Chris’ Landing (831) 375-5951; Bayside Marine (831) 475-2173; usafishing.com.
San Francisco Bay
Rockfishing remains outstanding at both the Farallon Islands or along the Marin coastline. Despite the pressure from commercial fishermen, party boats have been able to keep up to limits to near-limits of Dungeness crab.. Inside the bay, this week’s minus tides should improve the sturgeon bite and subsequently slow down the striped bass action in San Pablo Bay. Captain Craig Hanson of Argo Sport Fishing said, “Sharks are still biting in the south bay, and we will be running shark trips until the rain pushes them out of bay.” Sturgeon trips are next on top. Hanson promotes catch and release of all leopard sharks.
Sturgeon are migrating from their early season stronghold in the deep water near Pittsburg, and they are spreading out throughout the Delta from lower Suisun Bay into the upper stretches above the Rio Vista Bridge. Captain John Badger of Barbarian Sport Fishing found spectacular action with salmon roe near Roe and Ryer Islands in lower Suisun Bay, putting his clients onto 7 legal diamondbacks within two days. James Nguyen at Dockside Bait had a similar report for both sturgeon and stripers in the Pittsburg area despite the presence of over 40 boats outside of the harbor on Sunday. Alan Fong of the Fishermen’s Warehouse in Sacramento said, “The stripers have left the main channel, and they may have gone into the sloughs.” Mike Pipkens of Gotcha Bait in Antioch said, “The striper action is not as intense as it has been as the fish are not running with the bait anymore,” Further upriver, Alan Fong of the Fishermen’s Warehouse continues to toss glide baits into the sloughs around Liberty Island for the occasional quality striped bass to 12-pounds. He said, “After they get acclimatized to the temperature change from 49 to 52 degrees, this becomes the time when I find the big ones in the shallows.” Randy Pringle, the Fishing Instructor, found schools of striped bass on the main river channel on Monday, and they landed between 20 and 30 linesides to 7-pounds using 5-inch Optimum AA swimbaits in shad, silver/white, or white/chartreuse on a 3/8th or ½-ounce Persuader jig head over the flats at depths to 17 feet. He said, “We are targeting the flats on the main river, and the Lowrance Structure Scan electronics is a boon for sticking with the moving schools of fish.” The Hopkins Smoothie in green or blue continues to be effective for spooning up linesides, and there is a top water bite with the ima Big Stick on overcast days. The rip bait bite continues to be effective for largemouth bass, and the ima Flit in Misty Shad, Olive Herring, or American Shad on 12-pound 100% Trilene Fluorocarbon line is his recommendation.
Reservoirs and lakes to be planted by the California Department of Fish and Game with trout during the week of Dec. 8:
Fresno: Avocado Lake, Fresno City Woodward Park Lake, Kings River, Below Pine Flat Dam, San Joaquin River, below Friant Dam.
Madera: San Joaquin River, below Friant Dam, Sycamore Island Pond.
Mariposa: McClure Reservoir, McSwain Reservoir.
Tuolumne: Don Pedro Reservoir, New Melones Reservoir.