NEW MELONES RESERVOIR — The big news was the lake-record, 18.11-pound largemouth bass landed by 20-year-old Kyle Gentry of Oakdale during Saturday's Anglers Choice Western Rookie League tournament. He landed the fish on a homemade brown/purple jig with a cinnamon/purple Yamamoto 5-inch twin-tail trailer on 12-pound Vanish line. Gentry released the fish after the weigh-in. There were two other huge notable bass taken: Nick Barse had a 13.5-pound largemouth on a Huddleston swimbait and William Vernon a 14-pound, 10-ounce largemouth on a Hammer swimbait. Alex Niapas won the California Bass Championships on Friday with a 12-pound-plus limit. Danny Layne reported a good bite for rainbows to 3 pounds from the surface to 25 feet near the Spillway, Rose Island and Bear Creek to Peoria Bay. He has been scoring with blade/crawler combinations, F-7 Rapalas or UV Humdingers trolled behind a 6-inch blade. The lake rose six inches to 976.74 elevation and 52 percent capacity. Call: 736-4333; Monte Smith 581-4734; Danny Layne 586 2383; Sierra Sport Fishing 599-2023.
SAN LUIS RESERVOIR / O'NEILL FOREBAY — Ly Tu of Ly's Fishing Goods in San Jose reported vastly improved striper action in the main lake near Portuguese Cove, the Trash Rack or on the north end of the lake near the 152 Bridge. Fishermen are dropping filleted anchovies to the bottom and cranking up until they find the fish. The stripers are staying with the abundant shad schools. Mickey Clements at Coyote Bait confirmed the improved striper bite with continued good trolling action in the Forebay at depths of 15 feet with Rapala X Raps for quick limits ranging from 20 to 24 inches. Some larger fish to 28 inches have been taken on cut baits near the 152 Bridge or Check 12 in the Forebay with catfish also found on mackerel or frozen clams near Check 12. Call: Ly's Fishing Goods (408) 629-9644; Coyote Bait and Tackle (408) 463-0711; wind conditions (800) 805-4805.
McSWAIN RESERVOIR — Diana Mello of A-1 Bait in Snelling said the trout bite has been better from the banks than by trolling with Power Eggs in Bubble Gum, Sunrise or green Power Bait mixed with white. A few fish have been taken on Kastmasters. The Cruz family from Atwater pulled in a five-fish, 13-pound limit on Sunrise Power Eggs from the banks across from the Dam. McSwain Marina said Calaveras Trout Farm planted 1000-pounds on March 16th, and trollers have been scoring from 2 to 3 fish per rod on CD5 Rapalas or blade/crawler combinations from the 2nd Fence Line to the Chimney. The water dropped slightly earlier in the week in preparation for irrigation releases. The Merced Irrigation Tournament is scheduled for April 17/18th with prizes to $3000 for tagged fish. Call: (209) 378-2534
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McCLURE RESERVOIR — Diana Mello of A-1 Bait in Snelling reported that Randy Hasten of Modesto landed a huge 14.75-pound largemouth off of the Point on a night crawler. She said there are more and more bass over the slot, and live crawdads or minnows have been the top baits. Barretts Cove, McClure Point, Piney and Cottonwood Creeks have been the top locations. Manny Basi of the Bait Barn said the Berserk Purple Hornet Jig in ½ or 3/8th oz. is working best, but there is also a top water bite in the mornings with PopR's. He sold 120 dozen large minnows on Friday for both McClure and Don Pedro. Mello said trout fishing is improving in the lower lake or near the Dam with Ford Fender/crawler combinations or Wedding Rings tipped with a crawler. King salmon are biting rolled shad from the Buoy Line to the Dam. Crappie fishing has improved in the upper end of the lake near the Horseshoe with live minnows. There is a small crappie bite near the Houseboats. No catfish report. The lake came up six feet to 783.51 in elevation and 54% of capacity. Call: A-1 Bait (209) 563-6505, Bub Tosh (209) 404-0053.
LAKE DON PEDRO — Monte Smith of Gold Country Sport Fishing took Bill Karr of Western Outdoor News on a combination salmon/trout trip this week, and they found the salmon from 10 to 14-inches on rolled anchovies or shad trolling from 1 to 1.5 mph. Karr brought the new Daisy Chain Vertical Ball Trolls from Bechold and Sons Flasher and Lure Company, and all of the fish were hooked on the side of the boat with the trolls, even after they changed sides. Smith switched over to his trout trolling gear, pulling large spoons on lead core line at speeds from 2.5 to 3 mph, and they quickly boated three rainbows from 2 to 3-pounds before calling it a day. Danny Layne of Fishn' Dan's Guide Service confirmed the good action for both species with the rainbows scattered throughout the lake. The lake is at 796.61 feet in elevation and 80% of capacity. Call: Monte Smith (209) 581-4734, Danny Layne (209) 586-2383, Bait Barn (209) 874-301.
SAN FRANCISCO BAY — Bay area party boats are taking reservations for the salmon opener, and there is room out of Emeryville Sport Fishing and also on the Happy Hooker out of Berkeley. Halibut, stripers, shark, and sturgeon are all available in the bays in various locations at this time. The center of the halibut kingdom is currently near Oyster Point where there were several halibut landed by private boaters over the weekend. John Akina at Oyster Point Bait, Tackle and Deli said three fish over 20-pounds were landed in 25 feet of water near the A Crane at Hunter's Point. The majority of fish have averaged 26-inches, but these three big fished weighed between 20 and 24-pounds. The majority of halibut anglers are trolling either Red Label Herring or bagged anchovies. Halibut have been landed in the Berkeley Flats and from Candlestick to the Birdcage at depths ranging from 8 to 12 feet. There are good reports of bait schools in the Berkeley Flats.
HALF MOON BAY — Crabs-3 The great weekend weather out of Half Moon Bay had the private boaters pulling their crab pots, and easy limits were had by all. The majority of crab was of commercial grade with some in the sport range, found in depths from 120 to 150 feet off of the Radar Towers. The private boaters were looking for bait in anticipation of the salmon opener, but there were only a few small pods of bait, and there were no birds working as of yet. Party boats are scheduling for the salmon opener on April 3rd and the rockfish opener below Pigeon Point on May 1st .
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.
MONTEREY — Todd Arcaleo of Chris's Landing said they had a mackerel/sand dab combination out on Sunday with good numbers of sand dab, but the mackerel weren't as cooperative until they finally went on the bite. They are running these combination trips until the salmon opener for $50/trip. They have pulled their crab pots for the season, as the numbers have been diminishing. The Humboldt squid have vanished, and the white sea bass that were so much fun for several weeks have also "left the building". Arcaleo said an occasional halibut has been taken from the beaches, but it has slowed down in the past couple of weeks. They are booking for the salmon opener and still have a few spots on Easter Sunday, April 4. There are big balls of krill in Monterey Bay with some sardines, but there haven't been any anchovies. Rockfishing begins May 1. Call: Chris' Landing (831) 375-5951, Bayside Marine (831) 475-2173, usafishing.
STOCKTON — James Smith on the Cal Dawn reported some great sturgeon action over the weekend with trips Friday and Friday night and again on Saturday that all saw good results. In all they landed keepers at 63, 63, 55, 55, 52-inches, releasing oversized sturgeon at 83,82 and 70-inches in addition to several undersized fish. Smith has been fishing the deep water between the Benicia/Martinez and Carquinez Bridges or in San Pablo Bay. Salmon roe has been the hot bait for the past 10 days. These are his last sturgeon trips of the season, as he is headed to Berkeley this week to begin his halibut trolling trips. Call: Randy Pringle (209) 543-6260; Mark Wilson Sport Fishing (916) 682-1630, Fin Addict Sport Fishing (209) 367-4665, Jolly Jay's Guide Service (209) 478-6645.
Reservoirs and lakes that will be planted with trout during the week of March 21:
Fresno — Avocado Lake; Fresno Regional Sports Complex pond; Kings River below the Pine Flat Reservoir; San Joaquin River below the Friant Dam; Woodward Park Lake
Madera — Bass Lake; Eastman Lake; Hensley Lake.