Manny Basi at the Bait Barn in Waterford reported continued slow action with the freezing temperatures. Live minnows or night crawlers from the banks is the only thing happening with Basi saying, “A few hard-core guys are going out, but they aren’t coming back very happy.” Trout trolling is also slow, but the lake should have turned over with the recent cold spell, and the fish should be moving toward the surface and the shorelines as the water temperature stabilizes. A trout plant is scheduled for next week at Don Pedro and also at the local reservoirs of Modesto and Woodward. 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-1Bait in Snelling reported very slow bass fishing in response to freezing temperatures at the lake. Live bait is the only game in town, and this pattern will remain until the weather warms up.. Trout fishing continues to be slow with few reports, but the Department of Fish and Wildlife will start planting the lake next week. A trout plant is scheduled for next week. The lake should have turned over during the cold snap, and the trout are located close to the surface and also along the shorelines. The lake dropped over a foot to 691.16 feet in elevation and 24% of capacity. Call: A-1 Bait (209) 563-6505; Bub Tosh (209) 404-0053.
Similar to every other location in Northern California, freezing weather temperatures have limited fishing action at McSwain. The McSwain Marina reported a DFW trout plant occurred this week with another trout plant from Calaveras Trout Farm scheduled in the near future. Jason Mello of A-1 Bait in Snelling said a few bank fishermen have been braving the cold for limits to near limits of rainbows from either the Brush Pile or the Handicapped Docks with garlic Power Bait or while garlic Power Eggs. Trolling has been slow, but the PPK Tomahawk spinner in chartreuse continues to be the top lure. Call: McSwain Marina (209) 378-2534
Melanie Lewis of Glory Hole Sporting Goods in Angels Camp said, “The cold snap has forced the lake to turnover, and the trout are moving into the shorelines and towards the surface.” Trout fishing continues to be fair with trollers concentrating their efforts from the surface to 30 feet in depth with blade/crawler combinations, particularly on a side planer to get very close to the shoreline. Bank fishing continues to improve each week, and most fishermen continue to work the bottom with sliding sinker rigs loaded with Power Bait, Power Eggs, marshmallows, night crawlers, or combinations of the above baits. Lewis advised, “Another great technique is to toss out a Kastmaster in order to cover water and locate feeding fish.” Jeremy Ortega of Mountain Ranch caught a limit of rainbow trout to 2-pounds bank fishing off of Glory Hole Point with Power Bait. Trout plants are scheduled for the next two weeks. Bass fishing continues to be slow, but the lake is turning over, causing the bass to go on a late fall/winter bite with the fish spread out from 5 to 70 feet in depth. The turnover of the lake will improve bass fishing, as the fish will relocate to a consistent depth. Vertical jigging over the bait balls, dragging jigs on a three-fourths-ounce football head, or drop shotting with shad-patterned plastics on a slow presentation are the top techniques. Margaret Shelton caught and released an estimated 6-spotted bass on a half-ounce brown/purple jig with a twin tail green pumpkin trailer along a rock wall. With the colder water temperatures, catfishing is slow with the fish moving towards the ledges and the deep water near the mouths of creeks in response to the plummeting water temperatures. Crappie and bluegill action is non-existent. New Melones rose slightly to 947.88 feet in elevation and 43 percent of capacity with Tulloch at 500.80 feet in elevation and 84 percent of capacity. No trout reports for Tulloch, but the action should be decent once the cold nighttime temperatures cease. 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.
Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis reported a 62-pound striped bass was landed in the Forebay within the past week by a troller. He said, “The fish was huge in the picture that I saw, and it was longer than the 9 year-old boy that was lying beside it on a garage floor.” There is no more detail on this huge fish other than it was landed in the Forebay on a trolled lure. Paul Jolley at Coyote Bait in Morgan Hill reported the cold weather has slowed down interest, but a few fishermen continue to drift extra-large and jumbo minnows off of the Trash Racks for small stripers. Blood worms and pile worms are the top baits from the banks, and Jolley said, “There is a top water bite in both the Forebay and the main lake in the very early morning.” Trolling at depths from 30 to 90 feet in front of the Trash Racks with Smithwicks, P-Line Predators, Rebels, or Yozuris continues to work for a few fish. Roger George of Roger’s Guide Service said that the few anglers that braved the cold picked up a few fish trolling. “The overall bite should improve with the warming weather this week , and the now lower water temps should cause the bait fish to start to accumulate into tight groupings too”, he said.. The lake rose to 26 percent of capacity with an import of 2331 acre-feet of Delta water. 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: Call: Coyote Bait and Tackle (408) 463-0711, Roger George at Roger’s Guide Service (559) 905-2954.
Rockfishing remains strong for party boats running either straight rockfish trips or rockfish/Dungeness crab combination trips. Captain Tom Mattusch of the Huli Cat said, “The commercial pressure has made an impact, but we have been able to score limits for our clients with an average of 4 to 8 crab per pot out of both our shallow or deep strings.” Sherry Ingles of Half Moon Bay Sport Fishing confirmed the excellent rockfish action. The Huli Cat and the Ankeny Street are the only party boats offering the crab/rockfish combination trips. 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 at Chris’s Landing in Monterey reported both the Check Mate and the Star of Monterey were busy on whale watching trips on Sunday while the Caroline went rockfishing for half limits of rockfish, 19 ling cod, and 19 limits of Dungeness crab. They are running the combination trips throughout the week. Whale watching remains outstanding with huge schools of anchovies remaining in the bay. The market-grade squid has moved out of the bay, but they have been jigging up live sand dabs to entice the ling cod. Chris’ Landing (831) 375-5951; Bayside Marine (831) 475-2173; www.usafishing.com.
The rockfish bite slowed a bit , but Captain Jim Smith on the Happy Hooker was able to rouse up 29 limits of Dungeness crab after putting in limits of rockfish and two quality ling cod at 12 and 17-pounds. The New Huck Finn out of Emeryville Sport Fishing found better ling cod action at the Farallon Islands on Sunday with 15 lings to 16-pounds to go with 26 limits of rockfish and Dungeness crab. Keith Fraser of Loch Lomond Bait and Tackle in San Rafael reported cold weather slowed interest to a crawl, but he likes the minus tide series starting on Friday, quipping, “It’s time to put a sturgeon under your Christmas Tree.” In the south bay, Craig Hanson of Argo Sport Fishing out of San Francisco continues to catch and release leopard sharks, despite the cold weather.