Monte Smith of Gold County Sport Fishing reported solid rainbow action on Monday with a father and son landing 15 rainbows, keeping seven of the bleeding fish instead of focusing on limits. Smith said, “We also had several hits, and we worked a number of different areas of the lake with heavy spoons at three to six colors of lead core on a fast troll,” adding, “The rainbows are growing larger over the past few weeks with the planters reaching 15-inches.” They found an area with a bait ball, but the rainbows were holding in the bait, and one location was loaded with 200 grebes on the surface, but the fish were also absent near the birds. The surface temperature ranges from 54 to 56 degrees. They also marked fish that were possibly king salmon or kokanee near the dam at 30 to 40 feet, but they couldn’t get them to bite. Bank fishermen are scoring with night crawler/marshmallow combinations with chartreuse or hot pink marshmallows under a bobber is a solid option from the shoreline around Fleming Meadows. Manny Basi of the Bait Barn in Waterford reported jumbo minnows are the top option for bass, and they have been selling dozens and dozens of the jumbo minnows despite their high price tag. Drop shotting shad patterned plastics such as Robo Worm’s Hologram Shad or Pro Worm Pro Gold 300 are working at depths to 50 feet. Boats over 20 feet are advised to launch at Fleming Meadows. The lake rose 1.5 feet to 735.10 feet in elevation and 52 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.
Manny Basi of the Bait Barn in Waterford reported jumbo minnows have been very popular for bass fishermen, and although medium minnows also are effective, the larger minnows have been the best thing going. Drop shotting with shad-patterned plastics is another possibility with the bass holding as deep as 50 feet. The trout plant last week brought out the bite for bank fishermen along McClure Point and Barrett’s Cove, and Basi touted marshallow/night crawler combinations under a bobber. 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. The lake dropped nearly 2 feet to 679.49 feet in elevation to 21 percent of capacity. Call: A-1 Bait (209) 563-6505; Bub Tosh (209) 404-0053
Last week’s DFW trout plant assisted anglers in finding better action from the banks with various colors of Power Bait with garlic or white Power Eggs. Trollers continue to work purple PPK Tomahawk spinners, Rapalas, or night crawlers behind silver flashers up the river arm. Call: McSwain Marina (209) 378-2534.
Randy Pringle, the Fishing Instructor, reported excellent bass action on a mid-week trip with a variety of techniques in various locations in the lake. He said, “We started off tossing Ima Flit rip baits before switching to Persuader Rock Jigs dragged along the bottom.” He added: “Then we went searching for some wood and started tossing the Berkley Havoc Flat Dawg on a Texas-rigs for spots to nearly 5-pounds.” They ended up catching and releasing nearly 30 at depths from 5 to 25 feet. Melanie Lewis of Glory Hole Sporting Goods in Angels Camp confirmed the good bass bite, stating, “The action is getting better every day with plenty of spotted bass in the 2 to 4-pound range landed with the occasional larger fish to 9-pounds.” She added, “The fish are spread out from deep to shallow, and they are in transition.” Carolina-rigged Brush Hogs, Senkos, quarter-ounce dartheads on a tube, or jigs are all working. Trout fishing is fair as the fish have left the surface with the preponderance of sunny days during recent weeks. The rainbows are cruising the shorelines at depths from 15 to 30 feet, and Randy Pringle observed a huge school of rainbow trout in the back of one cove. Bank anglers are finding their best action near Glory Hole Point or the Tuttletown Boat Launch with Power Bait, Gulp! Eggs, or night crawler/marshmallow combinations. 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.The kokanee generally start biting around mid-April, but reports of kokanee in the 10 to 13-inch range are trickling in. Lewis advised trolling a pink Micro-hootchie behind a teardrop dodger within the next several weeks for the opportunity for a kokanee. 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. Bob James of Murphys landed a 7.5-pound whiskerfish using garlic-scented Power Bait at the south end of the lake. Crappie and bluegill action is non-existent. New Melones rose 1.5 feet to 950.21 feet in elevation and 44 percent of capacity with Tulloch dropping to 500.02 feet in elevation and 83 percent of capacity. A double trout plant occurred at Tulloch last week, but there have been no reports of success. 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.
Anthony Lopez of Coyote Bait and Tackle in Morgan Hill reported the main lake has been more productive than the Forebay with anglers dropping jumbo minnows at depths to 90 feet with the best action near the Trash Racks. Later in the afternoon, the striped bass are up in the coves chasing bait on the surface. Live minnows, white flukes, or rip baits are all working once the stripers move into the shallows. The majority of striped bass are in the 18 to 24-inch range. Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis confirmed the minnow bite for stripers to 25-inches, and he said, “We are selling far more white flukes at this time of year than I would have expected.” Roger George of Roger’s Guide Service said that the bite was affected negatively by the full moon and the passing storm front. “It was tough sledding late last week in the big lake- as well as Saturday and Sunday- with the fish very scattered and suspended. A few guys did well when the pumps were running, but otherwise it was barely decent for the guys I talked to. The pumps are running some days – or they are turning them off-contributing to a sporadic bite,” George said. In the Forebay, Lopez said, “The action isn’t as good as in the main lake, and most anglers are working the banks near Check 12 and along Highway 152 with blood worms, pile worms, or anchovies,” adding, “Numbers of fish aren’t a problem, but it is difficult to find a striper over 18-inches.” A few fishermen are tossing RatLTraps or rip baits. The lake rose to 32 percent of capacity with the inflow of 10,408 acre feet of water from the California Delta. Call: Coyote Bait and Tackle (408) 463-0711, Roger George of Roger’s Guide Service (559) 905-2954
Captain Tom Mattusch of the Huli Cat was back out on Saturday on a sand dab/crab combination trip, and they ended up with 9 limits of Dungeness crab and plenty of sand dabs only three miles from the harbor. Captain Roger Thomas of the Salty Lady plans on running whale watching trips for the Oceanic Society every weekend out of Half Moon Bay until the salmon opener. Reservations are available through the Oceanic Society or (415) 256-9604. The California gray whales will be migrating both north and south during the next few weeks. The occasional striped bass is taken from the shoreline, but the action is limited. 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.
Todd Arcoleo of Chris’s Landing in Monterey said, “We were able to bring in four crab apiece for our larger than normal load of 22 fishermen on Sunday in addition to plenty of sand dabs and lots of blue mackerel.” They have trips planned for Wednesday and Friday of the current week. Allen Bushnell of Santa Cruz Kayak Fishing reported good perch action from the Santa Cruz beaches with the 10th Annual Sand Crab Classic Perch Derby only a few weeks away. The entries close Thursday, and entries for the March 8 event can be picked up at Bayside Marine in the Santa Cruz Harbor, or downloaded from www.lgfrs.net This year, contestants can sign up online as well from the website. Hosted by The Let’s Go Fishing Radio Show, the derby serves as a benefit event with all proceeds going to the Monterey Bay Salmon and Trout Project. The family-friendly event features a giant raffle and banquet at Portuguese Hall in Santa Cruz. Call: Chris’s Landing (831) 375-5951; Bayside Marine (831) 475-2173 or www.usafishing.com.
Out of the Golden Gate, Emeryville Sport Fishing hasn’t had a trip out since the rockfish closure on Dec. 31. Keith Fraser of Loch Lomond Bait and Tackle in San Rafael reported a decent sturgeon bite in the Pumphouse area with Loch Lomond mud shrimp. Victor Le at Phu Quy Bait and Supply in Oakland reported slow fishing in the central bay with the exception of jack smelt from the Alameda Rockwall or from Crab Cove in Alameda. Bay Farm Island continues to be slow for sturgeon. Tom Dudenhoeffer of Sweeney’s Sports in Napa, reported bank anglers are lining up at Cuttings Wharf, the Sea Ranch, and under the Highway 29 Bridge for decent action for both striped bass and sturgeon. The majority of sturgeon have been undersized, but there have been a few keepers taken from the shoreline. Stripers are primarily landed on cut or live bait.
The inflow of fresh water has moved the sturgeon around in Suisun Bay, and the action has been outstanding on some days. Captain Steve Talmadge of Flash Fishing out of Martinez said, “The water temperature is up, and the rain seem to help at the sturgeon bite. J.D. Richey of Richey’s Guide Service continued to find a solid striped bass bite both north and south of the Rio Vista Bridge with Robo Worm’s Ocean swimbaits for linesides to 10-pounds. Alan Fong of the Fishermen’s Warehouse in Sacramento continued to tout the Liberty Island area for stripers with swimbaits or glide baits, but he cautioned boaters to be extremely cautious in the shallow water of the area, particularly at low tide. The striper bite has taken off in the San Joaquin River system with the bass seeking clearer water after last weekend’s storms. Fong said, “The San Joaquin turned on Saturday (Feb. 15) with a great top water bite with Lunker Punker’s in white for stripers to 20-pounds.” Doug Chapman at Gotcha Bait in Antioch reported a few sturgeon have shown up in the San Joaquin River between the River View Lodge Pier and the Humphrey’s Pier, but most sturgeon fishermen are targeting the Sacramento River. For largemouth bass, Randy Pringle, the Fishing Instructor, reported the San Joaquin River provided good action for 15 to 20 largemouth bass on a recent trip with a rip bait bite in the morning with the ima Flit in Olive Herring before flipping and pitching Berkley 10-inch Power Worms in green pumpkin. He said, “Once the wind starts to blow, the reaction bite will really take off.” He added, “The water temperature ranges from 53 to 57 degrees, and the fish are more active in the warmer pockets of water,” adding, “The back slough were the most off-color, and we found our best action in the dingy water since the fish weren’t able to see the line.” He thought the spawn would arrive early during this unseasonably dry winter. Overnight closures on Highway 160 from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. from Wilbur Avenue, south of the Antioch Toll Bridge, to the junction of Highway 12 for a $2.98 million rehabilitation project to the Three Mile Slough Bridge could remain for the next two months. 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.