The Modesto Bee
VALLEY • NEW MELONES RESERVOIR/TULLOCH — Melanie Lewis of Glory Hole Sporting Goods said the heavy plants over the past few months have made trout "very good." Limits are being caught from the banks on Power Bait or night crawlers. She suggests moving "up and down the shoreline" until you locate a school of fish. Besides Power Bait and crawlers, she recommended a hootchie skirt on a Kastmaster.
Trollers are scoring with blade/crawler combinations, Needlefish, Excels or Vance's spoons in shad patterns such as natural shad, chrome or Cop Car. Brown trout have been taken on plugs such as Rapala J9s, Sebile Magic Swimmers or a River2Sea S-waver trolled fast over structure. Kyle Wise landed a 4.5-pound brown on a firetiger Rapala at 20 feet. Bass fishing is fair, though the fish are gorging themselves on the abundant shad. Lewis said a lot of 2-pound-plus spotted bass are schooling and feeding aggressively with larger fish showing a preference for crawdads or planter trout. She said a drop-shot rig with a natural crawdad color plastic set 6 inches off your weight and a shad-patterned plastics 24 inches above the first worm will work for both larger and smaller fish. The catfish aren't biting much, but Lewis said baits soaked in Pro Cure scents and left sitting on the bottom might entice a cat. Call: (209) 736-4333; Monte Smith (209) 581-4734; Danny Layne (209) 586-2383; Sierra Sport Fishing (209) 599-2023• SAN LUIS RESERVOIR/O'NEILL FOREBAY — Jason Chin of Coyote Bait and Tackle said striper action is good, but not as hot as before. The vast majority of San Jose area anglers still are heading to the big lake to drift jumbo minnows or toss rip or jerk baits from banks or boats. He said jigging in the cold water with 1.75-ounce white Duh or similar spoons at 80 feet will get better quality of fish. In the Forebay, Chin said top-water lures or trolling with large plugs such as broken backed Rebels, P-Line Predators or Yozuris around Check 12 or the Twin Islands works best. Call: Ly's Fishing Goods (408) 629-9644; Coyote Bait and Tackle (408) 463-0711
• McSWAIN RESERVOIR — The next round of trouts plants won't start until mid-January, so fishing has slowed. But patient anglers soaking Power Eggs, Power Bait or night crawlers in the access areas from the marina to the brush pile can be rewarded with limits. Trolling action continues to be fair with Wedding Rings tipped with a piece of crawler behind a dodger, blade/crawler combinations or small spoons from the floating restrooms to Gilligan's Island. Call: (209) 378-2534• McCLURE RESERVOIR — Trout fishing is good throughout the lake including the river arm near Bagby, the coves past McClure Point, or in Cottonwood Creek. Wedding Rings with half a night crawler on a trolling sinker just under the surface are working, as well as spoons or small plugs. Bank anglers continue to score with Kastmasters, Power Bait or night crawlers around McClure Point or Barretts Cove. Bass fishing is best with live bait; crawdads are producing limits of keepers at Barretts Cove. Catfishing has slowed considerably in the cold water. Call: A-1 Bait (209) 563-6505; Bub Tosh (209) 404-0053• LAKE DON PEDRO — After heavy plants the past several weeks, the trout are biting. Bank anglers are scoring with Kastmasters, night crawlers, or Power Bait near the launch ramps at Blue Oaks or Fleming Meadows. The trout are high in the water column early in the mornings before dropping to find shad, which are holding in deeper water. Bass fishing continues to be slow. Call: Monte Smith (209) 581-4734; Danny Layne (209) 586-2383; Gary Vella (209) 652-7550; Bait Barn (209) 874-3011
DELTA — Sturgeon fishing is strong in the upper Suisun Bay to the Mothball Fleet. Capt. Mark Delnero of Fin Addict Sport Fishing of Pittsburg put a client onto a 54-inch keeper on the outgoing tide in "The Horseshoe" on Dec. 23, and also landed a 7-pound striper. The 6th Diamond Classic hosted by Steve Talmadge of Flash Fishing is Jan. 28. Randy Pringle, the Fishing Instructor, said there are a few small groupings of fish here and there, but the majority of stripers are on the move chasing bait and warmer water. He said the San Joaquin River from the Stockton Turning Basin to the mouth of the Mokelumne has been devoid of bait fish, a bad sign. The frigid water is very clear. He is working outside of the weed line at 7 to 10 feet with the Berkeley Power Worm on either a Zappu head or drop-shot. The thinner Power Worm in 4 to 6-inch size will move more than the thicker worms in cold water, and Pringle said, "Don't jiggle or wiggle it - just let it set with the lightest weight possible to keep the fish from dropping it." Weights up to 1/8th oz. may be necessary in the heavier currents. Pringle also advises uses scent. Further north in the Delta, Captain Mike Gravert of Intimidator Sport Fishing said, "We are experiencing limit fishing." For spooning, Gravert advised anglers to "Spool up with 30-pound Suffix Braid with a 2-foot Seagar Fluorcarbon leader so you can feel every tap and have the ability to drive the hook home on the hook set." Frozen shad, mudsuckers, or brined sardines have been the top baits since fresh shad remains in a very limited supply with only Thornton Road Bait or H and R Bait in Stockton having a few pounds on a daily basis. Call: Randy Pringle (209) 543-6260; Stan Koenigsberger/Quetzal Adventures (925) 570-5303, Mark Wilson Sport Fishing (916) 682-1630; Intimidator Sport Fishing (916) 806-3030; Jolly Jay's Guide Service (209) 478-6645