The Delta was stacked with boats of all makes and models from the Carquinez Bridge upstream to the Rio Vista Bridge over the past weekend with over 1,000 participants in the Original Sturgeon Derby. There were more than 30 fish measured Saturday near the target length of 58 inches with a similar number Sunday. B and S Bait in Bay Point reported the best action came in the shallows near Montezuma Slough, the Big Cut, the PGE Plant and Antioch. Kevin Yost of Lucky Strike Fishing said overall the bite has been slow, despite the large number of anglers working the same waters. There is a good feeling about this weekend's larger daytime outgoing tide combined with the water temperature rising into the lower 50's on the Sacramento River. Jay Lopes of Right Hook Sport Fishing predicts the sturgeon bite will explode over the weekend, although he boated two legal fish on an evening crew trip this week in the small tides. Jim Smith of the Happy Hooker fished deep water near Martinez to have a legal sturgeon over 50 inches ripped out of the net by a marauding sea lion. Striped bass fishing is relatively slow with most bass moving into the upper Sacramento River or south San Joaquin Rivers. Fresh shad has been difficult to obtain in the past week. Randy Pringle, the fishing instructor, had a decent week for both stripers and largemouth the previous week, but Monday brought extremely slow fishing. He said the fish were suspended in deeper water and unwilling to bite. The water temperature has risen slightly to 47 degrees on the San Joaquin, but there is a scarcity of bait fish with no sign on birds in a feeding mode. He has been scoring with the Berkley Hollow Belly swimbait in shad colors on a ½ ounce. Persuader jig head, the 1 ounce. Hopkins Spoons in green, the IMA Flit ripbait or Strike King Sexy Shad #5. Heavy boat pressure over the weekend and an incoming weather front may account for the slow action. 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
Buck Deaner said local anglers are starting to toss crankbaits or RatLTraps for stripers to 25 inches on the Aqueduct from Firebaugh to Kettleman City. Pete Cormier of Bob's Bait in Bakersfield said the lure bite has slowed down in the Aqueduct near Taft and Lost Hills with anchovies and blood worms being the top baits for the schoolie stripers.
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HALF MOON BAY
Fishing action is pretty much on hold at this port with Humboldt squid disappearing, and most private boaters pulling their crab pots. The Pacifica Pier is still steady for a few Dungeness crab with nets or snatchers and the occasional surf perch on blood or pile worms. 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.
LAKE DON PEDRO
Manny Basi of the Bait Barn in Waterford reported watermelon/red in plastics has been the top color to go with cinnamon /purple jigs. Swimbaits have been working for a few quality fish, including a 13-pound, 13-ounce largemouth Monday. The weekend's American Bass Derby produced a winning limit of nearly 10 pounds out of 45 boats. Trout fishing from the banks has slowed as the lake hasn't been planted for a few weeks. The fish should be moving into open water soon, and trolling action should be improving. Call: Monte Smith 581-4734, Fishn' Dan 586-2383, Bait Barn 874-301.
Merritt Gilbert said local anglers are driving the extra hour to this lake to participate in the hot trout action. Diana Mello of A-1 Bait in Snelling confirmed the strong bite, and she had the first reports of a couple of king salmon. Manny Basi of the Bait Barn in Waterford said the bass bite continues to be difficult with the best action on 6-inch ProWorms in color 300s or brown/purple jigs with a cinnamon/purple Yamamoto Hula Grub trailer. Crappie fishing is taking off with A-1 Bait needing extra minnows over the weekend to keep up with demand. Catfishing is almost nonexistent. The lake rose 1271 acre-feet to 28 percent of capacity. Call: A-1 Bait 563-6505, Fishwrangler's Guide Service 604-8222, Bub Tosh 404-0053.
McSwain Marina reported a slowdown in the trout bite with the corresponding 25-foot drop in lake level in order to complete maintenance at the Exchequer Dam on Lake McClure. Launching a boat was difficult Monday, and anglers are advised to call for conditions as the completion date for the work has not been determined. The marina dock is sitting on dry land. There have been no additional trout plants since Jan. 15, but there are still good numbers of fish in the lake. Call: (209) 378-2534
NEW MELONES RESERVOIR
Melanie Lewis of Glory Hole Sporting Goods said trout fishing for fish to 2 pounds continues to be best from the banks or still fishing from a boat. Linda Taquinod caught three nice rainbows weighing up to 1½ pounds, on pink Power Bait, while bank fishing off of Glory Hole Point. The Berkley Natural Scents Garlic Trout Bait, rainbow or chartreuse glitter have been the top baits. She recommended that anglers long-line on the surface in the early morning before dropping to 15 feet in depth when the sun is out. Best lures for trollers have been gold, silver or shad patterned lures such as Rapalas, Rebels, Kastmasters or Needlefish used without flashers. Kokanee fishing should begin in March or April, although an occasional kokanee has been landed. Bass fishing is decent with the largest fish hitting swimbaits. There have been quite a few big spotted bass caught that were in the 4-to-6-pound range. Fish are being found anywhere from 5-to-50-feet deep in creek arms. The larger bass seem to be in shallower water, and are chasing the trout that are in the creek arms. Drop-shot-rigged or split-shot rigged 4-inch shad-colored worms are producing numbers on a soft bite. John Chiarpotti of Bassin' 1-A Guide Service and his client George Brokema landed seven spotted bass weighing a total of 24.68 pounds with the largest at 6.57 pounds on spoons. Crappie, bluegill and catfishing is slow. Glory Hole Sporting Goods will start a series of Sunday afternoon seminars at 3 p.m. beginning Feb. 15. The lake came up 1034 acre-feet from upstream sources to 48 percent of capacity.
Call: 736-4333; Monte Smith 581-4734; Fishn' Dan 586-2383; Sierra Sport Fishing 599-2023.
SAN FRANCISCO BAY
Bay fishing is centered on sturgeon near the Oakland Airport or in San Pablo Bay east of the Pumphouse. Don Franklin of the Soleman on Pier 45 in San Francisco was on the anchor in 17 feet of water near the Airport on Monday, and he reported observing sturgeon jumping all around the boat. They had released a 46 inch legal fish on the incoming tide. Mud shrimp was the hot bait which is only available currently at either Loch Lomond in San Rafael or Leonard's in Port Sonoma. Ly Tu said sturgeon action in the south bay has been very slow with the lack of fresh water inflow.The Captain Hook out of Emeryville released an oversized 150 pounder to go with a 15-pound leopard shark on a weekend trip. They are booking sturgeon trips Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Perch fishing in Richardson Bay and along the Richmond shoreline has been steady with grass shrimp or pile worms. This weekend's series of excellent outgoing tides is predicted to spur on the sturgeon bite throughout the Bay/Delta system. Striped bass fishing has been minimal in all parts of bay.
SAN LUIS RESERVOIR AND O'NEILL FOREBAY
Ly Tu of Ly's Fishing Goods reported striper action in the main lake improved with his regulars taking quick limits Saturday on frozen anchovies at 60 feet in depth near the Trash Racks. He added that stripers to 4 pounds have been taken out of the Forebay near Check 12 on jerkbaits. Merritt Gilbert said local anglers have been purchasing pearl flukes for the lakes in the past week, but there have been no reports of catching. The lake has risen 1953 acre-feet from Delta sources to 35 percent of capacity. Wind conditions: 800-805-4805. Call: Ly's Fishing Goods (408) 629-9644; Coyote Bait and Tackle (408) 463-0711.
Todd Arcaleo of Chris' Landing said bucketloads of big mackerel have been pulled out on their weekend trips to go with a few sand dab. Humboldt squid have vanished from local waters. They are running these combination trips for mackerel/sand dabs on the weekends. Ly Tu said perch fishing has been extremely slow on the Santa Cruz beaches with regular customers finding few fish. Call: Chris' Landing (831) 375-5951, Bayside Marine (831) 475-2173, usafishing.com