The sturgeon bite is showing signs of life with the influx of fresh water and warming water temperatures. Just like in the bays, the winds blew hard from the northwest Sunday, but Jim Smith of the Happy Hooker out of Martinez was able to boat a 51-inch sturgeon in upper Suisun Bay. He continues to mark good numbers of sturgeon in a wide swath from the Martinez Marina up to Montezuma Slough. Mike Andrews off Predator Sport Fishing participated in the Third Annual Diamond Classic Catch and Release Derby with 264 participants. They released three legal sturgeon and 14 undersized fish while working deep water at Port Costa and Garnet Point with straight grass shrimp. Jay Lopes of Right Hook Sport Fishing also participated in the derby with two fish released on shrimp/eel baits in the same areas. A total of 18 fish were entered into the derby where every legal fish had an equal chance for the top monetary prize. These two guides had five of the 18 entrants into the derby. Lopes said the tides will be favorable again next weekend through the following week with the fish expected to start biting in earnest with the 51-degree water temperatures. Randy Pringle, the Fishing Instructor, said the striper schools have moved from the central San Joaquin River, and successful fishermen will have to go on the hunt to locate them. Once he has found the fish, the Berkley Hollow Belly swimbait in shad colors on a half-ounce Persuader jig head continues to produce as well as 1-ounce Hopkins Spoons in green or blue with a single Siwash hook. Largemouth bass are starting to wander and move around. He has landed several bass by "dead-sticking" the Berkley Heavy Weight worm in greenpumpkin or watermelon. The IMA Flit rip bait is also working, in addition to the Strike King Sexy Shad No. 5 deep-diving crankbait bounced off of structure. Both of these lures will find the occasional striper. 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 hasn't been much action on the local canals, but Pete Cormier of Bob's Bait in Bakersfield reported striper fishing is good in the Aqueduct near Taft and Lost Hills with a 30-pound striper landed on a River2Sea Bubble Popper. Lucky Craft LVD15 in American shad, RatLTraps in black or blue backs are all working, in addition to blood or sand worms.
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LAKE DON PEDRO
Manny Basi of the Bait Barn in Waterford said the bass continues to challenge anglers with a tournament Saturday, only producing a winning limit of 13 pounds. Heavy jigs or spoons are working at depths of up to 60 feet with RoboWorms in Hologram Shad the best plastic for drop-shotting in shallower water. The swimbait bite has been slow. Trout fishing has slowed a bit in the past week with patient anglers waiting for limits with RoosterTails in yellow or red/white, Kastmasters in blue/chrome or rainbow glitter Power Bait. Trolling action for trout should be picking up as the fish move into open water.
Call: Monte Smith 581-4734, Danny Layne-Fishn' Dan 586-2383, Bait Barn 874-3011.
Monte Smith of Gold Country Sport Fishing reported "Lights out" action for planted trout to 2-pounds with ExCel spoons in Hot Orange/Black Scale behind a Max Lures Hot Wing spinning flasher. He brought shad and crawlers, but they didn't need to rig these as the ExCels produced quick limits of rainbow and brook trout trolling near the banks at Barretts Cove South at depths from 6 to 17 feet on the downrigger with a long line at 2 mph. The best action came at 10 to 12 feet. Diana Mello confirmed the hot trout bite, and added the areas from the McClure Point to the Buoy Line and from Cottonwood to the Dam to the hot list. Manny Basi of the Bait Barn in Waterford said the bass bite is tough with brown/purple jigs with a cinnamon/purple Yamamoto Hula Grub trailer or HoloGram Shad on the drop shot working for a few fish. Live minnows or crawdads are picking up a few fish, as they are holding tight to structure or trees. The water is stained because of the inflow. The crappie haven't started to school, but a few fish have been caught incidentally on the live minnows. Catfishing is almost nonexistent. The lake rose 5711 acre-feet to 27 percent of capacity. Call: A-1 Bait 563-6505, Fishwrangler's Guide Service 604-8222, Bub Tosh 404-0053.
Diana Mello of A-1 Bait in Snelling reported continued excellent trout fishing for trollers and bank anglers alike. There have been some larger brook trout taken up the river arm, and the normal trolling pattern from the Dam to the Chimney has been releasing limits from the surface to 25 feet on various colors of Kastmasters, Wedding Rings tipped with a crawler behind a dodger or blade/crawler combinations. Bank anglers are putting in limits with assorted Power Bait, Kastmasters, or inflated crawlers at the Handicapped Docks, Brush Pile or near the Dam. Call: 378-2534.
The squid have disappeared from the deep water, so local party boats are running combination trips for mackerel and sand dabs on Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Ly Tu said perch fishing has been slow on the Santa Cruz beaches. Call: Chris' Landing 831-375-5951, Bayside Marine 831-475-2173, usafishing.com.
NEW MELONES RESERVOIR
Trout fishing for fish to 2 pounds continues to be best from the banks or still fishing from a boat, Melanie Lewis of Glory Hole Sporting Goods. The Berkley Natural Scents Garlic Trout Bait, rainbow or chartreuse glitter have been the top baits. Live minnows under a bobber have also been effective from the bank or on the anchor. Trolling has been fair, as trout are chasing shad in the creek arms. Participants in Central Valley Anglers Annual Derby landed plenty of fish, but the largest topped out at 1.84 pounds. Planters are the rule at the present time. Bass fishing is improving with several spotted bass in the 4- to 6-pound range taken on swimbaits. John Chiarpotti landed a 4.91-pound spot on a Hopkins spoon. Catfishing is slow in the cold water. Crappie fishing is showing signs of life with clear crappie jigs in six feet of water in Glory Hole Cove. Glory Hole will start a series of Sunday afternoon seminars beginning Feb. 15. The lake came up 2933 acre-feet from upstream sources to 48 percent of capacity.
Call: 736-4333, Monte Smith 581-4734, Danny Layne, Fishn' Dan 586 2383, Sierra Sport Fishing 599-2023.
SAN FRANCISCO BAY
The winds roared through the bays on the weekend, keeping all but the hardy off of the water. The best sturgeon bite was in the South Bay with seven legal sturgeon landed off the Oyster Point Pier on Sunday. Legal fish were also reported in the South Bay at the Sierra Point Pier, off of Oyster Point, between the Train Trestle and the Dunbarton Bridge, and Bay Farm Island. The Captain Hook of Emeryville boated one legal sturgeon at 60 pounds Saturday on its first trip of the season. It is booking sturgeon trips Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Don Franklin on the Sole Man out of Pier 45 in San Francisco said this week brings excellent shark tides through the weekend with good numbers of leopards in the South Bay. Herring spawns have been reported at Paradise Cove, Richardson's Bay and Belvedere in the Marin area, and along the San Francisco waterfront, Treasure Island and Alameda in the South Bay. Sturgeon are usually found anywhere herring are spawning. The winds made things nearly impossible to fish in San Pablo Bay over the weekend with few reports of success on the sturgeon or striper front. The Foundation Sportsman's Club, aka Super Bowl Sturgeon Derby will be held in the Bay and Delta this coming weekend with up to 1000 anglers expected to participate. Loch Lomond Bait in San Rafael is the only North Bay outlet for the derby, and anglers are advised to reserve bait for next weekend. This goes for all of the bait shops in the Bay/Delta areas because of heavy demand for live bait next weekend.
SAN LUIS RESERVOIR AND O'NEILL FOREBAY
Ly Tu of Ly's Fishing Goods reported slow action on both the main lake and the Forebay over the weekend. One regular fisherman reported striking out with grass shrimp in the deep hole off Dinosaur Point. Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said bank anglers have been tossing white tube baits on a quarter-ounce jig head or pearl flukes for a few stripers to 27-inches. The lake has risen 4228 acre-feet from Delta sources to 32 percent of capacity. Wind conditions: 800-805-4805. Call: Ly's Fishing Goods 408-629-9644; Coyote Bait and Tackle 408-463-0711.