The water temperature dropped dramatically to the mid- to high-40s after the cold front moved through. As a result, striped bass fishing in the main portions of the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers slowed.
A few fish continue to be found in the back sloughs, such as Nurse Slough inside Montezuma Slough, but the overall bite from Martinez to Rio Vista has been slow. Benicia Bait and Tackle said a couple of legal sturgeon to 65 inches were brought into the shop over the weekend despite minimal angling pressure. Cut bullheads continue to pick up a few stripers in the deep water near the Mothball Fleet.
Jay Lopes of Right Hook Sport Fishing continues to find great sturgeon action with ghost shrimp in upper Suisun Bay. They have landed at least a keeper sturgeon on all recent trips to go with fish both above and below the slot limit. There are numerous fish holding in the upper Suisun area, and the bite is extremely light as the fish get adjusted to the cold water.
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Ly Tu of Ly's Fishing Goods said the majority of his Delta anglers have been traveling from San Jose over to the Clifton Court Forebay to fight the crowds lining the banks for a chance at some big fish. The striped bass will gravitate to the slightly warmer waters in the south or east Delta as long as there is a food source. Also in the east Delta, J.D. Richey of Richey's Guide Service said prior to the storms, striper fishing was as good as it has been all season with every trip yielding at least 30 fish and over 50 wasn't out of the question. He will continue to find stripers on swimbaits or top water lures if the water temperatures stay above 45 degrees; if the temperatures drop below this, they will switch to spoons. 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
There has been little interest in the local canals and sloughs in the past weeks with the cold weather and good trout bite on the lower Kings and the San Joaquin Rivers. A 30-pound striper was taken on the California Aqueduct near Tracy on a Huddleston. Pete Cormier of Bob's Bait in Bakersfield said striper action in the southern portion of the Aqueduct continues to an attraction with bait producing better than artificial with the colder water. Lug worms or anchovies are the best baits with a few fish taken on RatLTraps.
NEW MELONES RESERVOIR/TULLOCH
Melanie Lewis of Glory Hole Sporting Goods said anglers willing to brave the cold and rainy weather have found red hot trout action from the banks for fish to 2 pounds. The recent plants and colder water have turned on the bite. Rainbow glitter Power Bait, marshmallow/night crawler combinations, Kastmasters or Roostertails are all working from the banks at Glory Hole Point, Angels Cove and under the Highway 49 bridge. There is very easy access to the bank spots. The troll bite should also be good with sideplaners hugging the shorelines. Bass fishing is fair with anglers catching and releasing numerous spotted bass 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 or split-shot crawdad-patterned plastics or greenpumpkin Zoom Baby Brush Hawgs in the creek beds. Spoons, jigs are top water lures are all working in low light conditions. Catfishing, crappie and bluegill are all slow at this time of the year, but a few large catfish continue to be landed weekly. The lake came up 1406 acre-feet from upstream sources to 47 percent of capacity. Call: 736-4333, Monte Smith 581-4734, Danny Layne -Fishn' Dan 586-2383, Sierra Sport Fishing 599-2023.
LAKE DON PEDRO
Manny Basi of the Bait Barn in Waterford said the bass bite continues to be very tough with a few quality fish found on 6- or 8-inch Huddlestons in rainbow trout with a Rate to Fall of 12 feet. Dropshotting RoboWorms in Hologram Shad is working in deeper water to 60 feet. Trout fishing from the banks is excellent with Rooster Tails, Panther Martins or Power Bait in various colors for limits of planters. The shoreline near Fleming Meadows or at the Marina has been particularly hot. The trout are holding close to the shoreline, so trolling with sideplaners to get the lures next to the banks is essential. Monte Smith of Gold Country Sport Fishing recommended using a Vance's dodger or Uncle Larry's spinners on the sideplaners, as the fish will be holding in the warmer water waiting for bugs and other food to come off the banks. Call: Monte Smith 581-4734, Danny Layne -Fishn' Dan 586-2383, Bait Barn 874-3011.
Diana Mello of A-I Bait in Snelling reported a so-so bass bite with the fish holding in deep water from 30 to 35 feet around main lake points. Dropshotting with purple/green worms or jigging with brown/purple Pacific Catch or Hopkins spoons have been pulling out the 12 to 14-inch fish. The best areas have been in Piney or Cottonwood Creek. Trout fishing has turned on from the mouth of Cottonwood Creek to the Buoy Line and along the Buoy Line to the Dam. Trollers are pulling blade/crawler combinations or Wedding Rings tipped with a crawler behind a dodger from the surface to 40 feet. CopCar or rainbow Needlefish and chrome/green Kastmasters are also working. A DFG trout plant is scheduled for next week. The crappie have scattered with a few fish found up in the river canyons at depths to 45 feet with small minnows or red/white minijigs. Catfishing is slowing with the cooling water temperatures. The lake dropped 98 acre-feet to 24 percent of capacity. There are launch ramps open at McClure Point or Barretts Cove. Call: A-1 Bait 563-6505, Fishwrangler's Guide Service 604-8222, Bub Tosh 404-0053.
The McSwain Marina reported over 5,300 pounds of trout has been planted within the past month due to unscheduled plants from the DFG. Diana Mello of A-I Bait said trout fishing is outstanding for trollers and bank anglers alike. Trollers are pulling red or green Wedding Rings tipped with a night crawler behind a dodger or blade/crawler combinations at depths from 25 to 30 feet from the Dam to the Chimney. The fish are ranging between 13 and 16-inches. Bank anglers have been scoring with rainbow Power Bait, red or green Power Eggs or inflated crawlers at the Brush Pile or Handicapped Docks. Call: 378-2534.
Todd Arcaleo of Chris' Landing in Monterey reported great action on their Humboldt squid/mackerel combinations with eight anglers boating over 50 squid in the 25 to 30-pound range to go with ice chests loaded with mackerel. They are running these combination trips on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays for $65. The squid are rising up quickly to just below the surface after getting pulled up off of the bottom. Sand dab and crab action has been slow. Private boaters have been getting in on the red-hot squid fishing with one boat with two anglers putting over 1,000 pounds and 41 squid within a couple of hours. The squid are holding in the deep canyons off of Cypress Point. Ly Tu said perch fishing with grass shrimp has been working from Sea Cliff to Marina Beaches for 2 to 3-pound barred perch. Call: Chris' Landing (831) 375-5951, Bayside Marine (831) 475-2173, usafishing.com.
SAN FRANCISCO BAY
The biggest news has been the sturgeon bite in the extreme south bay in shallow water of 5 feet between Buoys 17 and 18 south of the Dumbarton Bridge. Herring fillets and ghost shrimp have been the best baits. Ly Tu of Ly's Fishing Goods in San Jose said the anglers are boating over from Coyote Point to Buoy 17, as the opening of the Redwood City launch ramp has been delayed until the end of January. Coyote Point is quite a run down to Buoy 17, and boaters have to stay in the main channel and fight the wind on the return trip due to the shallow water outside of the channel. Oyster Point Bait, Tackle and Deli in South San Francisco reported slow sturgeon fishing in the mid-bay with the herring spawns moving north to Hunter's Point and the Tiburon area. The closure of the north bay waters to Point Chauncey will be in effect on Jan. 1 to allow sturgeon to be left alone while massing for the herring spawns.
SAN LUIS RESERVOIR AND O'NEILL FOREBAYBuck Deaner of the Fisherman's Warehouse in Fresno said the previously hot striper bite in the Forebay came to a halt over the weekend with the water temperatures dropping to 48 degrees. Trollers that had been scoring easy limits found the conditions changing for the worse in the chilly water. Ly Tu of Ly's Fishing Goods in San Jose said the main lake is producing limits of small stripers at depths to 80 feet at the edge of the drop off in front of the Dinosaur Point launch ramp with mooched anchovies cranked up off of the bottom. Other than this, the main lake has been slow. Tu added that catfishing has been good in the Forebay along Highway 33 with chicken livers or mackerel. Fishermen continue to plug with artificial, live mudsuckers or fresh water bullheads in the Forebay with minimal success. The lake has risen to 23 percent of capacity, but water continues to be released down the Aqueduct. No trout report for Los Banos Creek Reservoir despite recent trout plants. Wind conditions: 800-805-4805. Call: Ly's Fishing Goods (408) 629-9644; Coyote Bait and Tackle (408) 463-0711.