DELTA / STOCKTON
Striped bass fishing took a rebound for a few days around the New Year in the deep water near Martinez. Jim Smith of the Happy Hooker boated 15 bass to 25-pounds and a 60-inch sturgeon early in the week to go with 8 bass to 25-pounds Friday. Live bullheads and mudsuckers are the top baits. Things slowed a bit over the weekend with diminishing tides and a smaller bite window. Benicia Bait reported slow fishing with minimal angling pressure for both sturgeon and stripers in the bigger water in the main channels with the exception of a few large stripers near the Mothball Fleet. In the Pittsburg area, Kevin Yost of Lucky Strike Fishing said the best sturgeon action has been on the evening incoming tide with salmon roe. The bite is very light, so he has switched to a 24-inch leader weightless on 30-pound braid with the Aqua Spinner scent dispenser. There have been quality stripers to 14-pounds landed on frozen cured shad in Montezuma and Nurse Sloughs. Allison at Hap's Bait in Rio Vista said overall fishing has been slow, but there have been a few sturgeon taken down stream off of Sherman Island or up river at Cache Slough with ghost or grass shrimp. On the San Joaquin River, Jay Sorensen of Jolly Jay's Guide Service has boated sturgeon to 52-inches and limits of schoolie stripers in deep water holes on the lower San Andreas Shoals. The water temperatures are still cold in the 46 to 48 degree range. Randy Pringle, the Fishing Instructor, reported stripers are back on the move in the San Joaquin system despite the cold water temperatures. Flocks of birds are working the shad boils as far upriver to the Turning Basin in downtown Stockton. 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
There is little interest in the local canals and sloughs over the past weeks with the cold weather and good trout bite on the lower Kings and the San Joaquin Rivers. Clay Rutledge of Bob's Bait in Bakersfield said stripers averaging from 3 to 5 pounds have been taken out of the southern portion of the Aqueduct with chrome/black RatLTraps or blood worms. A few fish in the teens have been landed.
LAKE DON PEDRO
Planted trout are still the best thing going with continued easy limits off the banks near the Marina and Fleming Meadows. Manny Basi of the Bait Barn in Waterford said RoosterTails in yellow or red/white, Kastmasters in blue/chrome or rainbow glitter Power Bait have been the hot offerings. Some anglers have reported limits within 10 minutes of fishing. Bass fishermen are also bothered by trout while throwing spinnerbaits, rip baits or drop shotting shad-colored plastics. The bass bite is slow with a few quality fish landing on swimbaits, but the fish prefer the natural feed to the wood or plastic. Drop shotting shad patterned plastics have been the best thing going. The Lucky Craft Staysee 90 rip baits in chartreuse shad or ghost minnow have picked up a few bass, but trout are hammering the rip baits. Basi added that another local body of water, Turlock Lake, has been producing trout limits on rainbow glitter Power Bait near the inlet. Call: Monte Smith 581-4734, Danny Layne-Fishn' Dan 586-2383, Bait Barn 874-301.
Monte Smith of Gold Country Sport Fishing said rainbow trout fishing is "on fire" for fish to 2 pounds. He took a recent trip with his daughters and a family friend, and they hooked up before the second rod went into the rod holder. They enjoyed non-stop action, keeping four limits and releasing a couple more limits in short order. They were trolling ExCel spoons in various colors at depths from 7 to 15 feet adjacent to the Buoy Line at 2 mph. The white/red dot, blue, shad-patterned or red ExCels were all working. He also was using the Chucker T spoons which are no longer in production. These spoons were also extremely effective, particularly from 8 to 10 feet in depth. Manny Basi said the swimbait bite has been slow with the bass gorging themselves on the natural baits with the heavy trout plants. A few small fish have been found by drop shotting shad-patterned plastics around deep rocky banks. Bass fishermen are pestered by the abundant trout pecking on the plastic worms. Shore trout fishing has also been excellent with quick limits near the south launch ramp and the Marina with Power Bait or night crawlers. Crappie fishing is slow as 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 also slow. Call: A-1 Bait 563-6505, Fishwrangler's Guide Service 604-8222, Bub Tosh 404-0053.
McSwain Marina reported over 5,800 pounds of trout were planted in December; and, as a result, trout fishing continues to be excellent from the bank and by boat. Local angler William Routt has limited out on 12 consecutive trips using white Bubblegum or Chartreuse Power Eggs at either the Brush Pile or the Handicapped Docks. 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 for fish to 16-inches. Call: 378-2534.
Todd Arcaleo of Chris' Landing in Monterey reported continued good action on the weekend's Humboldt squid trips on the Checkmate. The squid are readily coming to the surface after a few hookups. However, private boaters were unable to find the squid Monday, and they may disappear as quickly as they moved into the area. Arcaleo said sand dab and mackerel fishing continues to be solid. They are running these combination trips Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays for $65. Call: Chris' Landing (831) 375-5951, Bayside Marine (831) 475-2173, usafishing.com.
NEW MELONES RESERVOIR
Melanie Lewis of Glory Hole Sporting Goods reported continued easy limits from the banks with rainbow glitter Power Bait, yellow or rainbow trout RoosterTails, and gold or shad-patterned Kastmasters along Glory Hole Point, Angels Cove, Tuttletown and under the Highway 49 Bridge. The key is to keep the bait off of the bottom. A four-pound brown trout was caught and released on a gold Kastmaster in Glory Hole Cove. Trolling has been slow but starting to pick up. Jeff Williams landed a limit while pulling a Needlefish tipped with a crawler from the surface to 8 feet in depth near the south end of the lake. Bass fishing is slow with the exception of some large fish landed on swimbaits. Catfishing, crappie and bluegill are all slow. Call: 736-4333, Monte Smith 581-4734, Danny Layne -Fishn' Dan 586 2383, Sierra Sport Fishing 599-2023.
SAN FRANCISCO BAY
Emeryville Sport Fishing reported the New Salmon Queen found Humboldt squid southwest of the Farallon Islands with 11 anglers Sunday for 35 squid with a solid 35-pound average. They are scheduling squid trips this coming weekend on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Inside the bays, the sturgeon appear to be moving out of the shallow water in the far south bay. There was heavy boat pressure in the shallow water south of the Dunbarton Bridge in response to excellent action. As a result, the fish have moved into deeper water off of the Old Pier at the San Mateo Bridge. There were eight sturgeon taken on ghost shrimp from this area over the weekend. Joel Sinkay of Leonard's Bait in Port Sonoma reported good striper fishing off the banks at Sonoma Creek with grass shrimp.
SAN LUIS RESERVOIR AND O'NEILL FOREBAY
Fishermen need to be prepared to bring a variety of techniques to locate the bite in the main lake. Anglers reported bait fishing with shad without success before switching over to trolling with Yozuris in fire tiger or chartreuse from 1.3 to 2 mph at depths from 65 to 100 feet on the downrigger in water to 125 feet. Other anglers have had limited success with trolling but have landed fish to 27 inches after changing to drifting live jumbo minnows near the Dam. Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said Lucky Craft 128s in American shad have been picking up stripers to 24 inches. Similar sized fish are found in the Forebay near the Bridge with grass shrimp. 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.