Lake Don Pedro
Monte Smith of Gold County Sport Fishing received a good report from Ron Wilson of Western Outdoor News who found good action trolling spoons for planter and hold over rainbows. Smith planned on using similar techniques at the start of this week, but he is bringing night crawlers and side planers for hugging the shorelines in the event the spoons aren’t effective. He said, “You always have to be prepared with a backup plan.” A trout plant is scheduled for this week. Mike Gomez of the Bait Barn in Waterford said, “The bass bite is fair, but you have to locate the fish in deep water from 45 to 60 feet with shad patterned plastics,” adding, “You have to use a light line around six-pound test with a three-sixteenths drop shot weight in order to feel the bite at these depths.” Live jumbo or extra-large minnows remain effective for those wishing to soak live bait. Boats over 20 feet are advised to launch at Fleming Meadows. The lake is currently at 733.68 feet in elevation and 51 percent of capacity. Call: Monte Smith (209) 581-4734; Danny Layne-Fishn’ Dan (209) 586-2383; Gary Vella (209) 652-7550; Bait Barn (209) 874-3011.
Randy Pringle, the Fishing Instructor, was the tournament director for the past weekend’s Best Bass Tournament, and said, “There were no large fish taken on swimbaits, and anglers worked hard for small limits averaging less than two-pounds per fish.” Mike Gomez of the Bait Barn in Waterford confirmed the lack of size of the bass, stating, “The fish were active but landing a large fish was difficult as it only took six pounds to get in the money.” Jigs such as the Berserk Bait’s Purple Hornet or Brown Craw with a green pumpkin/black flake grub trailer from Zoom or Yamamoto. The brown/purple TNT jig also has been effective. The bass were found as deep as 100 to 120 feet on the drop shot, and Gomez advised using six-pound test with a three-sixteenths drop shot weight to get to the bottom and feel the bite. A trout plant is scheduled for this week, and this should help both the swimbait bite for bass and the bank action for planted trout. Jason Mello of A-1 Bait in Snelling reported good action for trollers pulling limits out of the main lake near Temperance or the dam with blade/crawler combinations or Wedding Rings tipped with a night crawler behind a dodger. One angler scored a limit of planters trolling blade/crawler combinations on a setback of 120 feet over main lake points. Rainbow Power Bait is working from the banks at McClure Point for planters while those targeting bass are scoring with live minnows. Live crawdads have been picking up catfish to 4-pounds. The lake dropped over a foot to 680.92 feet in elevation to 21 percent of capacity. Call: A-1 Bait (209) 563-6505; Bub Tosh (209) 404-0053
Jason Mello of A-1 Bait in Snelling reported overall slow action for rainbow trout with the best fishing taking place for trollers up the river arm with blade/crawler combinations or Wedding Rings tipped with a night crawler behind a flasher. A trout plant is scheduled for next week, and this should spur on action from the banks with Power Bait, white garlic Power Eggs, or night crawlers. Call: McSwain Marina (209) 378-2534
New Melones Reservoir/Tulloch
Little change in the trout action with Melanie Lewis of Glory Hole Sporting Goods in Angels Camp reporting fair action for bank fishermen off of Glory Hole Point and near the Tuttletown Launch Ramp with Power Bait, Gulp! Eggs, or night crawler/marshmallow combinations fished off of the bottom as the rainbows are congregating in shallow water. Brent Goucher of Murphys scored a limit of rainbows to 1.87-pounds soaking Power Bait in Angels Cove. Trollers continued to find their best action at depths from the surface to 15 feet long-lining a small F5 or F7 Rapala at least 150 feet behind the boat. A threaded night crawler behind a tear drop dodger worked close to the shoreline with a side planer is another good trolling technique. Large brown trout continue to be landed on a weekly basis. Trout plants are scheduled at New Melones this week with a double-plant at Tulloch next week. Bass fishing is fair with Mike Gomez of the Bait Barn in Waterford reporting, “Drop-shotting with Reaction Innovation’s Bad Shad Green or Pro Worms 124p have been working best as the swimbait bite remains very slow.” Lewis reported, “The hardest part is finding the fish, as they are moving from one day to the next into different locations.” Carolina-rigged Brush Hogs or Senkos on a slowly dragged presentation or half to three-quarters ounce football jigs with crawdad colored twin tail grubs, Brush Hog or Beaver as a trailer have all been productive. Catfishing continues to be slow is with the fish moving towards the ledges and the deep water near the mouths of creeks. Crappie and bluegill action is non-existent. 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/O’Neill Forebay
Jeff Boyle of Bass Pro Shops in Manteca reported fair action in the Forebay on a recent trip with Tony Lopes and Tim Huber of Turlock, finding their best action on swimbaits for three limits of stripers to 6-pounds. He said, “The fish were very fat and healthy,” adding, “We started out tossing swimbaits before the weed growth became too much prior to trolling plugs.” In the main lake, Roger George of Roger’s Guide Service said, “The weird weather has kept the bite at around 2 of 4 stars with the bright sun and clear water pushing the fish down during the day.” He added, “With the lack of pumping during the day, the stripers and bait are scattered and most fishermen are averaging from one to four stripers per rod – either drifting live minnows or trolling plugs. I also think there are more guys proactively releasing fish now-rightly concerned that we have a very limited resource of water and fish to protect this year!“ George guided Steve Thao, Fresno Director of Trout Unlimited for over 20 stripers to 24 plus inches, with one released 13-pounder. The lake dropped to 30 percent of capacity due to water releases into the California Aqueduct. Call: Coyote Bait and Tackle (408) 463-0711, Roger George of Roger’s Guide Service (559) 905-2954.
San Francisco Bay
Out of the Golden Gate, there hasn’t been much taking place with minimum interest in running 45 minutes to the Gate only to have a longer ride to fish for sand dabs. Inside the bay, Keith Fraser of Loch Lomond Bait and Tackle in San Rafael reported one boat with four anglers returned with a 56-inch sturgeon and a few stripers from the Mothball Fleet on Sunday after fishing for bat rays on Saturday near the Pumphouse. The occasional striped bass is landed from the Pinole shorelines on mudsuckers or blood worms.
The second major sturgeon derby in as many weeks occurred last weekend with the 30th annual Foundation Sportsmen’s Club “Original Sturgeon Derby” out of McAvoy’s Boat Harbor in Bay Point. More than 1,000 participants registered. This year’s target was 58-inches for both days, and the winning spread between first and seventh place was only 15/16 inches from the target length of the 17 sturgeon measured on Saturday and of the 18 diamondbacks on Sunday. John Badger of Barbarian Sport Fishing landed several diamondbacks with seven keepers to 55-inches. “There was a big dumping ebb tide on Saturday night, and the fish were biting everything,” he said. “Salmon roe and eel worked best with less action on ghost shrimp.” J. D. Richey of Richey’s Sport Fishing continues to find outstanding action for striped bass both north and south of the Rio Vista Bridge with white Robo Worm swimbaits on jig heads ranging from a quarter to half ounce. “I may have had my best day ever for average size on Jan. 31 with linesides to 18 pounds with the average size ranging from eight to 10-pounds,” he said. In addition to striped bass, Richey has released a pair of steelhead on recent trips along with the occasional smallmouth bass. Striper fishing is showing signs of life on the western edge of the reaches of the San Joaquin River. In the Stockton area, striped bass fishing remained very slow. For largemouth bass, Randy Pringle, the Fishing Instructor, found great action for numbers during a recent stormy morning with the ima Flit or the Berkley Havoc 5-inch “Flat Dawg” on a Zappu Head, but the big fish were absent. The Flat Dawg is a stick-type plastic. Pringle said, “Everything is still slow on the bottom.” 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.
Trout plants for Feb. 9: Stanislaus County (Modesto Reservoir, Woodward Reservoir). Mariposa County (McSwain Reservoir, Merced River, Section 1). Merced County (Merced River, Section I).