Modesto-area fish report (01/28/14)

Lake Don Pedro

Live jumbo or extra-large minnows continue to be the top draw as artificial action is relatively slow. Drop shotting with shad-imitation plastics such as Reaction Innovation’s Bad Shad Green, Robo Worm’s Hologram Shad, or Pro Worm’s Pro Gold are working on a slow presentation in deep water, but by far the best action is coming on the live bait. With the heavy trout plants, planted rainbows can be taken from the banks with Power Bait, night crawlers, or Kastmasters near Fleming Meadows while trollers are locating the planters near the surface with spoons such as Needlefish, Speedy Shiners, or ExCels. In the event the rainbows are biting in open water, anglers should be prepared with blade/crawler combinations on sideplaners close to the shoreline. Boats over 20 feet are advised to launch at Fleming Meadows. The lake is currently at 733.31 feet in elevation and 51 percent of capacity. Call: Monte Smith (209) 581-4734; Danny Layne-Fishn’ Dan (209) 586-2383; Gary Vella (209) 652-7550; Bait Barn (209) 874-3011

McClure Reservoir

Larry Kerns of the Visalia Bass Club pre-fished the lake for an upcoming derby, and he said, “We were able to scratch out a limit drop shotting at depths from 31 to 50 feet, but the bite was tough,” adding, “The fish were all mouth and tail and very thin.” The dropping water levels on a weekly basis have the fish suspended and creating a difficult bite. Jason Mello of A-1 Bait in Snelling reported steady action with live crawdads or minnows for bass to 15-inches over main lake points. Large minnows are selling in great numbers in the shop. The lake record largemouth at 16-pounds, 12-ounces was established this week at nearby Kelsey Bass Ranch with a 6-inch Huddleston rainbow trout swimbait. The banks at McClure Point near the launch ramp with rainbow Power Bait is producing planted rainbows. Trolling reports have been slim. The lake dropped 1.5 feet to 682.19 feet in elevation and 21 percent of capacity. Call: A-1 Bait (209) 563-6505; Bub Tosh (209) 404-0053

McSwain Reservoir

McSwain Marina reported the recent trout plants have spurred on the bite with trollers scoring with blade/crawler combinations, Wedding Rings tipped with a night crawler behind a flasher, or blue/silver Kastmasters from the floating restrooms to the second fence line. Bank anglers are picking up fish with corn Power Bait, white garlic Power Eggs, or night crawlers. A kayaker used his fly rod with woolly buggers for a limit. No plant is scheduled this week, but the lake will be planted every other week. Call: McSwain Marina (209) 378-2534

New Melones Reservoir/Tulloch

Trout action remains good with plenty of planted and holdover rainbows moving close to the banks. Melanie Lewis of Glory Hole Sporting Goods in Angels Camp reported, “Bank anglers have been catching limits off of Glory Hole Point and near the Tuttletown launch ramp with Power Bait, Gulp! Eggs, or night crawler/marshmallow combinations fished off of the bottom.” Anglers with a two-rod stamp are casting with Krocodiles or Kastmasters with one rod while soaking Power Bait on the other. Trollers are finding the best action at depths from the surface to 15 feet long-lining a small F5 or F7 Rapala at least 150 feet behind the boat. Large brown trout to nearly 9 pounds were landed this week, and Lewis continues to request that anglers release the brown trout. Bass fishing is fair with most anglers reporting “hit or miss” action. Lewis said, “The hard part is finding the fish since the spotted bass have a tendency to roam, and they are moving from one day to the next into different locations.” She advised using electronics to locate the schools of bait and drop shot vertically over the schools with shad-patterned plastics on a light fluorocarbon line. Carolina-rigged Brush Hogs or Senkos on a slowly dragged presentation or half to three quarters ounce football jigs with crawdad colored twin tail grubs, Brush Hog, or Beaver as a trailer have all been productive. A few large bass have been landed on rainbow trout patterned swimbaits. Catfishing continues to be slow is with the fish moving toward the ledges and the deep water near the mouths of creeks. Crappie and bluegill action is non-existent. New Melones dropped slightly to 948.84 feet in elevation and 43 percent of capacity with Tulloch rising nearly a foot to 500.50 feet in elevation and 83 percent of capacity. Call: Glory Hole Sports (209) 736-4333; Monte Smith (209) 581-4734; Danny Layne-Fishn’ Dan (209) 586-2383; Sierra Sport Fishing (209) 599-2023

San Luis Reservoir/O’Neill Forebay

Mickey Clements of Coyote Bait and Tackle said, “Striper fishing in the big lake remains fair, but there have been a few large fish taken by trollers working at depths from 60 to 80 feet near the trash racks,” adding, “Smaller versions of plugs such as the Lucky Craft Pointers 68 through 100 seem to be more effective. Drifting jumbo minnows in the same areas are producing the occasional lineside, and bank anglers are soaking pile worms from the shorelines, particularly near the Basalt Recreational area.” Roger George of Roger’s Guide Service reported that the bite is still tough during most of the day, with the average angler getting from one to three fish on minnows or trolling. “We had two trips this week, with 20 and 21 fish days by trolling, for stripers from 18 to 24 inches – all released – but no bigger fish. The water temps haven’t changed in four weeks from 51 degrees in the morning, and with little pumping, it’s caused the fish to be pretty spread out. There are a few big fish, but most guys are telling me they are releasing them.” In the forebay, stripers are found near Check 12 and the twin islands with pile worms, white swimbaits, white flukes, or rip baits. The lake held at 31 percent of capacity with an import of 1,021 acre-feet of Delta water due to water releases into the California Aqueduct. Important note: All boats, personal watercraft, kayaks, canoes, sailboards, inflatables and float tubes must undergo a mandatory inspection for Quagga and Zebra mussels. Failure to allow inspection will result in the refusal to launch. Call: Coyote Bait and Tackle (408) 463-0711, Roger George – Roger’s Guide Service (559) 905-2954

Half Moon Bay

The Mavericks Invitational surfing competition took place on Friday amid a 30- to 40-foot swell, and all party boats sold out within hours. Captain Tom Mattusch of the Huli Cat is the only large party boat running the combination trips, and he said, “There are crab to be had out there since my pots are in the water, and we haven’t turned them over recently.” Anglers should expect to bring home a number of sand crabs in addition to limit of Dungeness crab on the lightly-attended ventures. Captain Roger Thomas of the Salty Lady will be running whale-watching trips for the Oceanic Society every weekend out of Half Moon Bay with reservations available at the Oceanic Society or (415) 256-9604. Thomas said, “We traveled out 10 miles to find one southbound gray whale on Sunday, Jan. 26, and by the second or third week of February, the whales will be traveling both directions up and down the coastline.” Call: Happy Hooker (510) 223-5388; Roger Thomas, Salty Lady (415) 760-9362; Bait and Switch Sport Fishing Center (650) 726-7133, (650) 726-7133; Emeryville Sport Fishing (510) 654-6040; Don Franklin, Soleman (510) 703-4148

Monterey/Santa Cruz

Chris Arcoleo of Chris’s Landing in Monterey reported, “Sand dab fishing has been ‘off the hook,’ ” adding, “I don’t know where all of these sand dabs came from, but they are gorging on the tiny squid.” In addition to the bucketloads of sand dabs, Saturday’s trip produced 8 to 10 mackerel per rod along with Dungeness crab limits for 20. The crab pots are loaded with squid spawn, and the Check Mate returned with another 8 limits of crab and loads of sand dabs on Sunday to go with a few mackerel. Whale watching remains steady as they only have to head out to the Monterey Canyon to find the gray whales. One of the best shore fishing events of the year is coming on March 8, with the 10th annual Sand Crab Surf Perch Derby out of Santa Cruz, an annual benefit for the Monterey Bay Salmon and Trout Project. Information and registration is available at www.theletsgofishingradioshow.com or through Allen Bushnell at scruzfishing@yahoo.com. Call: Chris’s Landing (831) 375-5951; Bayside Marine (831) 475-2173; www.usafishing.com

San Francisco Bay

Out of the Golden Gate, there hasn’t been much taking place with minimum interest in running 45 minutes to the gate only to have a longer ride to fish for sand dabs. Emeryville Sport Fishing hasn’t had a trip out since the rockfish closure on Dec. 31. Inside the bay, herring spawns continue to take place, and a big one happened at McNear’s Pier over the weekend. The spawns have most likely sucked some of the sturgeon into the closed zone, but a 59-incher was brought to the shop on Sunday afternoon, caught on a Loch Lomond ghost shrimp. Fraser added that Ross Peterson was out east of the Pumphouse on Saturday, and he released three striped bass and a shaker sturgeon, losing two more diamondbacks in the legal range on Loch Lomond ghost shrimp. Striped bass continue to hang around San Pablo Bay. Captain Gordie Hough of the Morningstar out of Crockett got a few stripers on Saturday fishing near Sonoma Creek on the incoming and at Buoy 11 on the outgoing tide. In the south bay, John Akina Jr. of Oyster Point Bait, Tackle, and Deli in South San Francisco reported a good surf perch bite off of the pier for barred and pogy perch on grass shrimp or prawns. Pile worms have been scarce due to the weather conditions on the East Coast.


The eighth annual Diamond Classic “Catch and Release” Derby out of Martinez Marina was a huge success. Lynda “Diehard’ Abbott said, “There was a total of 41 legal sturgeon and five oversized caught and released as part of the 95 calls for our on-the-water weighmasters.” The majority of the action took place east of the Mothball Fleet or in the Big Cut with a variety of baits. Tony Lopez of Benicia Bait and Tackle reported good action for sturgeon expert Ron Riesinger of Chico in the shallows of Grizzly Bay with eel strips. He released sturgeon at 59.5 and 55-inches on consecutive trips. Steffen Masters at the Lost Anchor Bait in McAvoy’s Boat Harbor in Bay Point reported a few stripers have been landed including one between 20 and 30 pounds. Do Doung at Dockside Bait in Pittsburg reported a few sturgeon have been brought to the shop, and the majority of striper action remained around Chain Island with mudsuckers or frozen shad. J.D. Richey of Richey’s Sport Fishing has been tossing white Robo Worm swimbaits on jig heads ranging from quarter- to three-quarter-ounce in the north Delta for stripers to 10 pounds. He said, “The action has been fair to good, and we have released at least one fish over 10-pounds on our last several trips.” On the San Joaquin River, Lee O’Brien at Gotcha Bait in Antioch reported striped bass are still hanging around the mouth of the San Joaquin. Alan Fong of the Fishermen’s Warehouse in Sacramento said, “I hit all of my favorite spots for a total of 8 small stripers on Fish Traps.” The waters of the San Joaquin are clear and full of dying hyacinth. In the Stockton area, striped bass fishing remains slow. For largemouth bass, Randy Pringle, the Fishing Instructor, reported the reaction bite is slowly emerging with the early arrival of springtime temperatures. He has been scoring with the half-ounce Persuader spinnerbait, the ima Flit rip bait, and the ima Rock ’N’ Vibe, all “ticked” over the tops of the weeds. He said, “The numbers of bass are there since the bite is hot, but the size of the fish remains on the small side.” Striped bass are scattered into small groupings of schoolies to 22-inches, and grinding Optimum Double AA shad-imitation swimbaits or Hopkins Smoothies along the bottom are producing the most action. “The fish are definitely wanting a slower presentation,” added Pringle. Call: Randy Pringle (209) 543-6260; Captain Stan Koenigsberger – Quetzal Adventures (925) 570-5303; Mark Wilson Sport Fishing (916) 682-1630; Intimidator Sport Fishing (916) 806-3030