NEW MELONES RESERVOIR — The Tuttletown Launch Ramp has been crowded with shore anglers pulling easy limits of planted rainbows on Berkley Power Bait in chartreuse or green glitter, Power Eggs, marshmallow/crawler combinations or small Kastmasters in firetiger, rainbow trout or silver/blue. The Glory Hole launch is also a hot area. The best action has been close to the shoreline at 5-20 feet deep. Bass anglers are targeting the shad schools suspended in the middle of the lake or upriver at 20-50 feet deep. A slow presentation is a must in the 55-degree water. Jason Taylor landed a 4.5-pound largemouth in Angels Creek on a live minnow. Steep drop-offs with deep water access have been the best areas. Larger fish are coming on Huddleston swimbaits in rainbow trout dragged across windy points. There were a few large catfish, including a 21-pound, 12-ounce whiskerfish landed by Leon Atkins off Glory Hole Point on a Roostertail/crawler combination. Chicken livers are also working, as well as anchovies, mackerel, sardines, or a ball of night crawlers. Crappie and bluegill action has been slow, but Ellery Stevenson of Fresno continues to pound the slabsides, landing a 25-pound crappie on a jig from the bank near Carson Creek after dark. The lake rose to 48 percent capacity. Call: 736-4333; Monte Smith 581-4734; Danny Layne 586 2383; Sierra Sport Fishing (209) 599-2023.
SAN LUIS RESERVOIR / O'NEILL FOREBAY — Ly Tu of Ly's Fishing Goods in San Jose said the best striper bite has been with top-water lures such as Rebel Jumbo Minnows, Lucky Craft Sammies or RatLTraps from the banks in the early morning near Goosehead Point or the left side of the Dinosaur Launch Ramp for 22- to 24-inch fish, with a few up to 15 pounds. The bite turns on and off quickly. Minnow drifting has been slow, with only a few small fish taken off of the Trash Racks and Portuguese Cove. In the Forebay, bank anglers have been plugging with white Flukes or small swimbaits for stripers to 20 inches. There have been a few catfish landed near Check 12 with clams, mackerel or anchovies. Wind conditions (800) 805-4805. Call: Ly's Fishing Goods (408) 629-9644; Coyote Bait and Tackle (408) 463-0711.
McSWAIN RESERVOIR — Diana Mello of A-I Bait in Snelling said trout action has rebounded and bank anglers have an advantage over trollers. Limits have been landed at the Brush Pile on Sunrise or Bubble Gum Power Eggs and also at the Marina Docks on blue/chrome Kastmasters. Trollers are working from the dam to the floating restrooms for decent action on Kastmasters or Wedding Rings tipped with a crawler behind a dodger. McSwain Marina said a trout plant is scheduled later this week. Call: 378-2534.
McCLURE RESERVOIR — Diana Mello at A-I Bait in Snelling reported limits of bass in the slot limit have been taken in Cottonwood Creek on brown/purple jigs on a football head or the Keeper Worm in color 411 (dark green/purpleflake) on the drop-shot. There is an early morning crank bait bite. Live crawdads are working best on overcast days off the banks at Barrett's Cove. Manny Basi said the bass bite has been tough, with drop-shotting Reaction Innovations Bad Shad Green or brown jigs with a green pumpkin trailer at 20-50 feet deep the best bets. Mello said limits of trout have been located at 35 feet deep near the dam on shad-patterned Needlefish. The bank bite has been good with rainbow glitter Power Bait or gold Kastmasters. The crappie bite is picking up with red/white minijigs or medium minnows in the submerged trees or under the Houseboat docks. No catfish report. The lake is holding at 40 percent capacity. McClure Point and the Barrett's Cove south ramp are the only launches open. Call: A-1 Bait 563-6505; Fishwrangler's Guide Service 604-8222; Bub Tosh 404-0053.
LAKE DON PEDRO — Manny Basi of the Bait Barn said the bass bite has slowed, and anglers' best bets remain dragging Brush Hogs in watermelon candy red at 50 feet deep then moving up towards 20 feet along the bottom. Rainbow trout 8-inch Huddlestons with a Rate of Fall of 12 at 10-20 feet deep are still working for a few quality fish in any of the creek channels where the planted trout are holding. Bank fishing for planted trout continues to be good with rainbow glitter Power Bait or gold Kastmasters throughout the bank access areas. Trolling as close to the shoreline as possible with blade/crawler combinations or shad-imitation spoons on sideplaners while using an electric motor is still the best technique. Call: Monte Smith 581-4734; Danny Layne 586-2383, Bait Barn 874-3011.
SAN FRANCISCO BAY — Few reports of crabbing on the Marin coast due to weather conditions, but limits should be possible once you get over the north bar and leave the pots for a longer soak. Joel Sinkay of Leonard's Bait reported six sturgeon were taken over the weekend with a couple of fish taken Sunday near China Camp where the boats were able to get out of the wind. He said there were several boats stacked at the mouth of the Petaluma River near the Train Trestle in response to the winds and rollers on the bay. John Akina at Oyster Point Bait, Tackle and Deli said Red or Purple Label Herring combined with ghost shrimp have been the top baits, with the shrimp working best the farther you move south in the bay. Don Franklin of Soleman Sport Fishing has been out near the Oakland Airport on his last two trips with frozen Loch Lomond mud shrimp. They landed a 49-inch sturgeon on a mud shrimp/herring combination on the outgoing tide on Christmas Eve, and they released a 44-inch shaker on Saturday on mud shrimp. Ly Tu said a few sturgeon anglers have been scoring legal fish to 55 inches near the Dunbarton Train Trestle with ghost shrimp. The local creeks are flowing, and the bite in the shallow water at the bay inlets should take off in the next week with more inflow.
HALF MOON BAY — Easy limits of crabs have been reported at 130-165 feet after a short soak off Montara Beach. Weather conditions are the only limiting factor in getting crab limits of sport grade. Sheryl Jimno at the Rusty Hook in Pacifica said most anglers are working the pier for a few crabs, even in the rain and wind. The swells have been high one day before backing down the next. There are still a few fishermen trying for surf perch. Call: Happy Hooker (510) 223-5388; Huck Finn Sport Fishing Center (650) 726-7133; Emeryville Sport Fishing (510) 654-6040; Don Franklin — Soleman (510) 703-4148.
STOCKTON AREA — Sturgeon fishing is picking up as the water temperature rose a few degrees. The temperature is still in the high 40s throughout most of the Delta, but the fish are adjusting and starting to bite. Jim Smith of the Happy Hooker out of Martinez took out a group of 16 anglers in upper and lower Suisun Bay on Saturday for two legal fish in the 60-inch range to go with an oversized 73-incher released. The majority of bites came on eel, grass or salmon roe. Benicia Bait reported good sturgeon action in Honker Bay in shallow water to 4 feet. There have been sturgeon taken out in front of Benicia in the main channel and near Ozol Pier. There are new regulations regarding the take of splittail taking effect March 1, with two splittail allowed per day. Dockside Bait in Pittsburg reported good sturgeon action. The area around the PG&E Plant and up to Chain Island has been the best with ghost or grass shrimp. Jay Sorensen of Jolly Jay's Guide Service reported slow action on the lower Santa Andreas Shoals on the San Joaquin River for sturgeon and stripers. Hap's Bait in Rio Vista reported most of the action has been upriver around Prospect, Steamboat and Liberty Sloughs for sturgeon and stripers. Mike Gravert of Intimidator Sport Fishing said the water on the Mokelumne River north of Highway 12 has been beautiful and clear, but fishing has been slow with the bait vacating the area. Randy Pringle, the Fishing Instructor, said striper fishing in the south Delta continues to be hit or miss, with the bite continuing to slow down. He said the fish have moved off of the main San Joaquin River and are heading upriver towards the mouth of the Stanislaus. For largemouth bass, he advised targeting areas around marinas where the winds and current are less of a factor with the water a bit warmer. Finesse techniques of Berkley 6-inch Power Worms in greenpumpkin or watermelon on a Zappu head on a very slow presentation are still the best bet with the IMA Flit ripbait in shad-patterns also effective. He said once you locate a fish, continue to work the area as there will be others nearby. Call: Randy Pringle 543-6260; Mark Wilson (916) 682-1630; Fin Addict Sport Fishing 367-4665; Jolly Jay 478-6645.
Reservoirs and lakes that will be planted with trout during the week of Dec. 27:
Fresno — Avocado Lake; Kings River below the Pine Flat Reservoir; San Joaquin River below Friant Dam; Woodward Park Lake.