Sturgeon action is starting to show signs of life in the past week in the lower Delta with Captain Jay Lopes of Right Hook Sport Fishing out of Martinez boating legal sturgeon each trip, highlighted by twin 55 and 56 inches on Monday fishing with ghost shrimp or grass shrimp/pile worm combinations at depths of 40 feet. He has caught and released oversized sturgeon to an estimated 98 inches on each trip. The incoming tide has been the top producer. Jim Smith on the Happy Hooker continues to put in limits of stripers to 19 pounds with 14 limits Saturday. The combination of larger tides and colder water may bring the striper action to a halt within the next week. He has enough live anchovies for trips through this weekend. The water temperature has dropped to 53 degrees in the past week. Mark Delnero of Fin Addict Sport Fishing landed four schoolie stripers to 7 pounds with the best action on the incoming tide with cut bullheads on Saturday in the Pittsburg area. He reported the winter bite has arrived with the fish only pulling the rods down, not running with the bait. The heavy fog continues to be a major concern with boaters needing to be familiar with the water they are fishing, as well as having all safety equipment and GPS in working order. J.D Richey of Richey's Guide Service has been finding great striper action with top water lures and Fish Traps in the San Joaquin system with from 20 to 35 fish caught and released, particularly with the assistance of the extended cloud cover throughout the day. Randy Pringle, the Fishing Instructor, continues to work the north Delta for stripers, largemouths and smallmouths. The same lures and techniques are working, but the secret is to slow the presentation. The prototype IMA Big Stick top water lures, Strike King Red-Eye lipless crankbait , the 1-ounce Roadrunner, or the Berkley 6-inch shad or chartreuse Hollow Belly on a half-ounce Persuader jig head are all working for quality fish. Call: Happy Hooker (510) 223-5388; Randy Pringle 543-6260; Kevin Yost, Lucky Strike Fishing (707) 301-8050; Mark Wilson Sport Fishing (916) 682-1630; Fin Addict Sport Fishing 367-4665.
DELTA MENDOTA CANAL AND SLOUGHS
Mendota Slough reportedly is dropping, but the canal and the Aqueduct near Firebaugh continue to kick out small catfish or school stripers on anchovies. Pete Cormier of Bob's Bait in Bakersfield said stripers continue to hit, Lucky Craft Pointers in American Shad or the Garland Gitzit 3.75-inch sculpin-imitation tube baits in pumpkin or green/blackflake in the southern portion of the California Aqueduct.
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LAKE DON PEDRO
Manny Basi reported a continued tough bass bite with the best action on drop-shotting shad-colored plastics or jigs at depths from 30 to 50 feet. There have been a few large fish to 4 pounds landed on 8-inch Huddlestons in rainbow trout colors. Basi said one technique is to hold your boat over 20 feet of water and cast away from the banks, allowing the swimbait to sink in the deeper water. The fish hold closer to the banks on foggy days. Live minnows or crawdads are probably the most consistent offering. The Do Poe Men will be holding weekly midweek tournaments with a $50 entry fee each Wednesday from December to March with a monthly tournament on Sunday with a $100 entry fee. Call: Monte Smith 581-4734, Danny Layne-Fishn' Dan 586-2383, Bait Barn 874-3011.
Diana Mello of A-I Bait in Snelling reported excellent trout fishing for fish to 4 pounds due to regular plants from the Department of Fish and Game or Calaveras Trout Farm. Trollers are pulling Wedding Rings tipped with a night crawler behind a dodger or drifting rainbow or white Power Bait at depths from 25 to 30 feet from the Dam to the Chimney. Bank anglers have been scoring with rainbow Power Bait or inflated crawlers and red or green Power Egg combinations at the Brush Pile or Handicapped Docks. A DFG trout plant is scheduled for this week. Call: 378-2534.
Manny Basi reported good numbers of generally smaller fish can be found on the Reaction Innovations Flirt in Bad Shad Green at depths from 30 to 40 feet. Lunker Punkers or Huddlestons are working for the occasional quality largemouth. Diana Mello of A-I Bait said bass fishing is generally slow with live minnows or crawdads working for small fish at depths from 35 to 40 feet during the day and closer to the banks in the mornings and evenings. Deep-diving crankbaits or Speed Traps are working at these times. Piney Creek and at the Spillway have been the best locations. Trout fishing is continuing to improve with fish to 2.5 pounds hanging between 30 and 35 feet in depth from the Buoy Line to the Dam or in Cottonwood Creek. Needlefish in rainbow, sky or Cop Car are producing; as well as blade/crawler combinations or Wedding Rings tipped with a crawler behind a dodger. A DFG trout plant is scheduled for this week. The crappie have disappeared, but interested anglers should target around the houseboats in marinas with lights at depths to 40 feet with small minnows or minijigs. Catfishing has slowed down with the cooling water temperatures. Anchovies or chicken livers should find the remaining fish around soft, muddy banks at depths to 20 feet. Call: A-1 Bait 563-6505, Fishwrangler's Guide Service 604-8222, Bub Tosh 404-0053.
Sonny Arcaleo of Chris' Landing in Monterey reported a great day on the Checkmate on Sunday with a light load of 10 anglers picking up 30 mackerel and 30 sand dabs per rod to go with a couple of crab/rod. The highlight is when they were called over to a hot bite on Humboldt squid with a skiff which lured the squid from the depths to under the surface. They didn't have squid jigs on board, and had to use diamond bars, but they were able to hook over 100 squid, landing 25 on the decks in an hour. They will be running crab/sand dab combinations on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays with open boats on Saturday for sand dab/mackerel. They also will run Humboldt squid trips depending upon angler interest. Call: Chris' Landing (831) 375-5951, Bayside Marine (831) 475-2173, usafishing.com.
NEW MELONES RESERVOIR
Melanie Lewis of Glory Hole Sporting Goods said trout fishing continues to be red hot as a result of heavy plants from the Department of Fish and Game. Glory Hole Point, Angels Cove and under the Highway 49 Bridge remain the hot spots from the bank with rainbow glitter Power Bait or marshmallow/crawler combinations. Kastmasters or Roostertails also are working. A few anglers have found limits. Trolling has been slow, but should improve with the cooling water. Bass fishing is improving with numerous spots in the 1- to 2-pound range with a few larger fish to 5 pounds found from 5 to 50 feet in depth with Carolina-rigged crawdad-patterned plastics or greenpumpkin Baby Brush Hawgs in the creek beds. Spoons also are working near rockpiles or structure. A few large catfish to 9.5 pounds have been landed at the Glory Hole Boat Ramp on sardines. Crappie and bluegill fishing is slow. Call: 736-4333, Monte Smith 581-4734, Danny Layne-Fishn' Dan 586-2383, Sierra Sport Fishing 599-2023.
SAN LUIS RESERVOIR AND O'NEILL FOREBAY
Ly Tu of Ly's Fishing Goods in San Jose said live minnows drifted near Portuguese Cove have found striper limits to 9 pounds. Most anglers are concentrating on the Trash Racks. The bank bite has slowed down with the colder water. Tu said the Forebay will produce limits to 4 pounds from the banks, but it will take the majority of the day. A few fishermen are plugging fresh water bullheads by wading out into the Forebay for stripers to 24 inches. Buck Deaner of the Fisherman's Warehouse in Fresno reported the best bite has been to troll chartreuse Yozuris at depths from 18 to 20 feet in the Forebay. One boat reported catching and releasing 28 fish in a short window from 10 a.m. to noon for fish to 24 inches. The lake has risen with 3561 acre-feet of Delta water to 21 percent capacity. No trout report for Los Banos Creek Reservoir despite trout plants plants in the past two weeks. Wind conditions: 800-805-4805. Call: Ly's Fishing Goods (408) 629-9644, Coyote Bait and Tackle (408) 463-0711.
SAN FRANCISCO BAY
Mike Aughney of usafishing.com reported crab counts are hit and miss. The few private boaters still crabbing are reporting counts of one or less per pot, but a few private boaters are reporting up to three per pot in 110 to 120 feet of water on the outer edge of the bar after a three-day soak. With numbers like this and live crab going for as little at $3 to $4 per pound; there has been minimal interest. Emeryville Sport Fishing had a sand dab/crab combo charter Sunday, but this most likely will be the last trip of the year until sturgeon fishing takes off inside the bay in January. Keith Fraser of Loch Lomond Bait in San Rafael said things were very slow over the weekend with the east wind blowing cold in the face of anglers, making conditions unfishable.