Striper fishing in main Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers has slowed dramatically in past weeks because of 46-degree water. Water has been as cold as 43 degrees on the San Joaquin side. A few large stripers can be found in deep water near Mothball Fleet with cut bullheads or live mudsuckers, but best striper action has been in Montezuma Slough or in the south San Joaquin River system. Ly Tu of Ly's Fishing Goods said the bite has also slowed in Clifton Court Forebay, but fishermen have landed stripers up to 20 pounds using remote control boats to take their baits far out from the shoreline. Mark Wilson of Mark Wilson's Sport Fishing has found consistent striper action for fish up to 14 pounds on fresh shad in upper Suisun Bay sloughs. Benicia Bait said best sturgeon area has been in deep water from the Martinez Marina downstream to the Ozol Pier. There have been six sturgeon landed out of this general area this week with frozen ghost shrimp being the hot bait. Dockside Bait in Pittsburg reported good sturgeon action over the weekend with several fish brought into the shop. The PGE plant and near Buoys 30 and 33 have been the hot spots, and grass shrimp and eel have been the top bait as pile worms and ghost shrimp were difficult to obtain. Kevin Yost of Lucky Strike Fishing said things were slow Saturday morning with water temperatures ranging from 45 to 46 degrees, but fishing improved on the big incoming tide on a Saturday night trip with a 53-incher landed to go with an oversized estimated at 75 inches lost about 20 feet from the boat. He has been fishing in shallow water of 10 feet in the large tides. Roe/eel combinations have been the hot baits using the Aqua Spinner scented with shrimp pills. 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 (209) 367-4665.
DELTA MENDOTA CANAL AND SLOUGHS
Continues to be little interest in local canals and sloughs in past weeks with cold weather and good trout bite on the lower Kings and San Joaquin rivers. Pete Cormier of Bob's Bait in Bakersfield said striper action in southern portion of Aqueduct has also slowed considerably in past week.
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LAKE DON PEDRO
Planted trout are headliner with easy limits from the banks near the Marina and Fleming Meadows. Manny Basi said shore anglers are limiting with Kastmasters, Roostertails or Panther Martins and also with rainbow glitter Power Bait. Bass fishermen have also been catching trout while throwing spinnerbaits, rip baits or drop-shotting shad-colored plastic. The bass bite is slow as the fish are scattered and roaming at depths from banks to 40 feet. The majority of fish are found from 10 to 20 feet with shad-colored plastics. The best technique for large fish remains holding the boat in 10 to 20 feet of water and tossing 6- or 8-inch Huddlestons in rainbow trout away from shoreline and keeping the lure in contact with the bottom. The lake is at 51 percent of capacity. Basi added that the small local Turlock Lake has been producing trout limits on Power Bait near the inlet. Call: Monte Smith 581-4734; Danny Layne at Fishn' Dan 586-2383; Bait Barn 874-301.
Manny Basi of the Bait Barn in Waterford reported slow bass action the past week as fish are holding in deep water from 30 to 35 feet around main lake points. Drop-shotting with purple/green worms or jigging with brown/purple Pacific Catch or Hopkins spoons have been pulling out 12- to 14-inch fish in either Piney or Cottonwood Creek. Monte Smith of Gold Country Sport Fishing reported excellent trout fishing along Buoy Line to Dam for quick limits to 20 inches. One group of three anglers boated limits in two hours with shad-patterned ExCels at 10 feet on the downrigger. Crappie fishing is slow as 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 also slow with the cooling water temperatures. Lake dropped 148 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.
Diana Mello of A-I Bait said trout fishing continues to be outstanding for trollers and bank anglers alike. Trollers are pulling red or green Wedding Rings tipped with a nightcrawler behind a dodger or blade/crawler combinations at depths from 25 to 30 feet from the Dam to Chimney for fish to 16 inches. Bank anglers continue to score with rainbow Power Bait, red or green Power Eggs or inflated crawlers at the Brush Pile or Handicapped Docks.
Todd Arcaleo of Chris' Landing in Monterey reported Humboldt squid are holding at depths of 100 feet, and are readily coming to surface with standard ling cod jigs. The Checkmate put in over 70 squid Saturday to go with both mackerel and sand dabs. Anglers are walking off boat with more than 200 pounds of squid fillets. He added sand dab fishing has improved in past week. They are running these combination trips Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays for $65.00. Call: Chris' Landing (831) 375-5951, Bayside Marine (831) 475-2173, usafishing.com
NEW MELONES RESERVOIR
Melanie Lewis of Glory Hole Sporting Goods reported easy limits from the banks because of heavy DFG trout plants in the past few weeks. Glory Hole Point, Angels Cove, Tuttletown and under the Highway 49 Bridge have been the top spots. Yellow Panther Martins, nightcrawlers or green Power Bait are working with large fish to 20 inches taken on shad-patterned Rapalas. Trolling has been slow, but this should change soon as fish move into open water. In the meantime, sideplaners to stay close to shorelines are recommended. Bass fishing is slow because of cold water temperatures. The larger bass are in shallow water chasing planted trout. Rainbow-trout swimbaits near points or drop offs have produced a few quality fish. Numbers of fish are most likely located with drop- or split-shot 4-inch shad-colored plastics dragged along the bottom. Catfishing, crappie and bluegill are all slow at the present time. The lake came up 1,020 acre-feet from upstream sources to 47 percent of capacity. Nearby Lake Tulloch continues to be solid for rainbows up to 2 pounds with rolled shad or shad-patterned ExCels at depths from the surface to 12 feet. Call: 736-4333, Monte Smith; 581-4734.
SAN FRANCISCO BAY
Best sturgeon bite continues to be in the extreme south bay, but there have been signs of life at the famous Sturgeon Triangle in San Pablo Bay in the past week. Ly Tu of Ly's Fishing Goods in San Jose said sturgeon bite in south bay is outstanding with anglers hooking up in shallow water of 3 to 5 feet south of the Dunbarton Bridge. The areas between Markers 17 and 18 have been hot spots with grass shrimp or herring. The Redwood City launch ramp still is closed, but there is a little-known private launch available at times. If not, boaters have to make trek down from Coyote Point. The recent rains and shot of fresh water has improved bite. A 70-inch sturgeon was released off Dunbarton Pier, but there are scores of fishermen working pier for occasional fish. Keith Fraser of Loch Lomond Bait in San Rafael reported good sturgeon action off of China Camp with ghost shrimp for few anglers heading out. Bank fishing in the same areas also has been solid with ghost or grass shrimp. Chris Seabourne at C Biscuits in Vallejo said the majority of fishing action has been in San Pablo Bay along the Rockwall and the Flats from the Rockwall to the Pumphouse. There have been a few fish taken off of the Rodeo Flats as well. Striper fishing has been pretty slow with a few fish biting live bullheads. The closure of the north bay waters to Point Chauncey will be in effect Jan. 1 to allow sturgeon to be left alone while massing for the herring spawns. HALF MOON BAY
Mike Aughney of USAfishing.com reported crab counts have dropped to under a steamer per pot, and even the hard-core anglers are pulling their gear out of harm's way. There are squid to be had out along the shelf, but you will want to pick the best weather days. The squid heads make excellent bait for the spring crab fishery. Sheryl Jimno at the Rusty Hook in Pacifica said the pier was crowded with crabbers Sunday after a few days of high surf which closed the pier. Call: Roger Thomas (415) 674-3474; Huck Finn Sport Fishing Center (650) 726-7133,; California Dawn (510) 773-5511, Don Franklin, Soleman (510) 703-4148.
SAN LUIS RESERVOIR AND O'NEILL FOREBAY
Ly Tu of Ly's Fishing Goods in San Jose said jumbo minnows have produced limits of stripers up to 27 inches in the main lake. The same regular group of fishermen continue to limit out with anchovy fillets at depths to 80 feet at edge of the dropoff in front of Dinosaur Point launch ramp. Buck Deaner said the Forebay is also slow, as the trollers have found other bodies of water to work. The lake has risen 2,915 acre-feet to 23 percent of capacity, but water continues to be released down the Aqueduct. Wind conditions: 800-805-4805. Call: Ly's Fishing Goods (408) 629-9644; Coyote Bait and Tackle (408) 463-0711.