Monte Smith of Gold County Sport Fishing found good action on a recent trip pulling heavy spoons on lead core line for a dozen rainbows to the boat. He said, “We found rainbows everywhere we looked, including the dam, the south end, and the Power Lines. ... We saw fish jumping and working bait on the surface, and a few of the rainbows were greater than planter size.” The lake is clear with the water temperature at 53 degrees. He expected the lake to remain clear despite the weekend’s rainfall. Mike Gomez of the Bait Barn in Waterford touted drop shotting or jigs at depths from 25 to 60 feet. Shad patterned plastics are working best, and a light line in the 6-pound test range with a three-sixteenth drop shot weight is advised. 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 733.62 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.
Mike Gomez of the Bait Barn in Waterford reported the best action during Saturday’s Best Bass Tournament took place at depths from 45 to 55 feet with jigs such as the brown/purple TNT or the Berserk Baits Purple Hornet or with plastics such as the Pro Worm 124p on the dart head or drop shot. Randy Pringle, the Fishing Instructor, said, “There was a huge largemouth over 10 pounds landed earlier in the morning during the tournament, and the angler was able to win the tourney despite weighing in only two more fish.” This is a very large bass for the lake. 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. Trollers are finding decent action in the main lake near Temperance or the dam with blade/crawler combinations or Wedding Rings tipped with a night crawler behind a dodger. Rainbow Power Bait is working from the banks at McClure Point for planters while those targeting bass are scoring with live minnows or crawdads. The lake rose six inches to 681.32 feet in elevation and 21 percent of capacity. Call: A-1 Bait (209) 563-6505; Bub Tosh (209) 404-0053.
Victoria Sturdevant of the McSwain Marina reported a trout plant is scheduled Thursday or Friday from the Department of Fish and Wildlife, and this should help trout action since the last plant occurred Jan. 30. Trollers are scoring with purple PPK Tomahawk spinners, Rapalas, or night crawlers behind silver flashers up the river arm. Jason Mello of A-1 Bait in Snelling reported one boat found limits pulling a J5 broken backed Rapala in gold from Gilligan’s Island to the second fence line. Bank action is focused around the Handicapped Docks with chartreuse/garlic Power Bait or white garlic Power Eggs. The one-eighth ounce Pot O’ Gold spoons continue to be very popular. Call: McSwain Marina (209) 378-2534.
Mike Gomez of the Bait Barn in Waterford reported a “wide open” bass bite with drop shotting shad-patterned plastics, jigs, or swimbaits for spotted bass. He continued to tout Reaction Innovation’s Bad Shad Green or Pro Worms 124p as the top plastics on the drop shot. Melanie Lewis of Glory Hole Sporting Goods in Angels Camp was less optimistic, reporting a fair bass bite with the fish scattered at various depths, but she did highly recommend California Reservoir Lures. John Liechty of Xperience Guide Service caught and released a 6.3-pound largemouth on a California Reservoir Lures jig with a twin trailer. Trout fishing remains good from both the bank and by trolling with Lewis reporting the best action off 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. 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, and Lewis continued to request that anglers release the brown trout since there is no possibility of the species being planted in the lake in the future. Catfishing continues to be slow is with the fish moving towards the ledges and the deep water near the mouths of creeks. The recent rains should improve the action. Crappie and bluegill action is non-existent. New Melones is currently at 948.67 feet in elevation and 43 percent of capacity with Tulloch at 501.07 feet in elevation and 84 percent of capacity. A double trout plant is scheduled for Tulloch this week. 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.
Alex Tran of Coyote Bait and Tackle in Morgan Hill reported the rainstorms limited the number of anglers targeting stripers in the main lake; however, the same techniques of drifting jumbo minnows along the bottom at depths below 90 feet, trolling P-Line Predators, Smithwicks, or broken backed Rebels on a downrigger, or dropping 1.75 to 2-ounce spoons to the bottom are producing linesides. Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis reported a pair of fishermen returned with limits to 23-inches drifting minnows in 90 feet of water near the Trash Racks. Roger George of Roger’s Guide Service said, “The low pressure front and rain has scattered the fish even more, and with more suspended fish showing up, the stripers are moving shallower,” adding, “The early bite seems to have receded, but the mid-day bite is the best. The average angler is struggling to catch a few small fish now.” In the Forebay, Movey touted white flukes or swimbaits for stripers from the banks or boats. Alex Tran said, “We normally sell out of blood and pile worms by the end of the weekend, but with the storm this weekend, the demand dropped precipitously.” The lake held at 30 percent of capacity with water releases into the California Aqueduct. Call: Coyote Bait and Tackle (408) 463-0711.
Out of the Golden Gate, Emeryville Sport Fishing hasn’t had a trip out since the rockfish closure on Dec. 31. Inside the bay, George Liu at Bay Tackle in El Cerrito reported herring spawns had been taking place from the Richmond Pier, and anglers are tossing cast nets for coolers full of fresh bait. Most sturgeon fishermen have been heading to Suisun Bay. Tom Dudenhoeffer of Sweeney’s Sports in Napa reported a good sturgeon bite in the Napa River as far north at the Highway 29 Bridge. Stripers to over 30-inches have been taken by fly fishermen tossing Clouser Minnows in the clear waters of the river or bait. The water clarity is relatively good with the lack of rain, but Dudenhoeffer said, “The larger tides will murk up the water.”
The first winter storms of 2014 occurred last weekend, and the constant rainfall throughout the weekend limited the number of fishermen in the Delta. Those who braved the conditions were rewarded with diamondbacks in the box with the best action in lower Suisun Bay. Alan Fong of the Fishermen’s Warehouse in Sacramento reported an excellent bite for largemouth bass in the south Delta from Mildred Island to Victoria Tract with rip baits or spinnerbaits in the shallows and that the striper bite is great in the Port of Sacramento as a big school of fish has moved inside the protected waters. Dropping 1.75 to 2-ounce spoons are doing the trick. For largemouth bass, Randy Pringle, the Fishing Instructor, said, “The bite will be really good now that the streams and creeks are flushing new food sources into the Delta, and I expected the fish to be pushing hard into the back sloughs and creeks,” adding, “With the weather expected in the 60s and 70s, the bass will start to cruise towards the banks.” 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.