Fishing Line: Top Picks

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Feb 14, 2009
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• CAPLES LAKE – The lake is at capacity. A 15-pound Mackinaw was caught last week by Matt Nolan of Pleasanton while casting a white grub off the shore at the Woods Creek inlet. A big plant of 9,000 pounds of trophy trout, 3 to 15 pounds, was scheduled for this week.

• AMERICAN RIVER – There were still plenty of shad around last week as flows stabilized. Anglers caught them all the way from 12th Street, where Larry Barnes of Elkhorn Bait and Tackle has been fishing for them from a boat, to Sailor Bar, where spin-fishers and fly-fishers have been wading. Striper fishing has been spotty – actually, lousy – in the lower end of the river, according to Barnes. As for the rest of the river, this is the time of year when throwing a topwater bait, swimbait or streamer early in the morning can elicit a strike or two, sometimes from a real hog of a fish, but either there's not much catching going on or, more likely, the folks who specialize in this type of fishing just aren't talking.

• EMERYVILLE – It was a great week of halibut fishing. The Talisman had a good day last week when three anglers caught halibut limits topped by a 33-pound flattie. Frank Salazar at Emeryville Sportfishing said he wasn't sure where he was fishing, but somewhere in San Francisco Bay. The first halibut of the season showed at Seal Rocks and on the north side. Rockfish trips were canceled on the weekend due to the offshore wind, and most of the boats found good live bait action in the bay, with counts of combined halibut and bass up to over two around.

• LAKE BERRYESSA – Sep's chrome Starlite dodgers with Uncle Larry's spinner or Radical Glow Tubes were all that was needed to net kokes from 14 to 17 inches. The Big Island, where 73-degree water put fish down to 50 to 58 feet in about 100 feet of water, was productive. Bass up to 3 pounds were found using topwater baits in the morning and by working coves just off the Narrows. Then move out to the main body and work plastics along the weed beds, such as grubs on a darthead and Carolina-rigged Robo worms. The drop-shot bite is also on; use Robo worms in Aaron's Magic or the new shad color.


• FEATHER RIVER – A few small steelhead were caught on nymphs and nightcrawlers in the Low Flow Section while some shad were caught below the rapids at Shanghai Bend. Lots of little bait-stealing striped bass were noted around Boyd's Pump.

• FOLSOM LAKE – Most of the fish caught through the end of the week were still down deep, with the best odds going to drop- shotting or dartheading plastics like Robo-Worms in Aaron's Magic or Morning Dawn over rock piles in water 20 to 30 feet deep. A few trout were caught by diehards trolling Needlefish, hoochies and nightcrawlers behind spinners in front of the dam and by Browns Ravine, 30 to 50 feet deep.

• SACRAMENTO RIVER – Too-small striped bass were about the only action all the way from Freeport to Colusa. There were still lots of shad being caught from Colusa to Red Bluff, however.

• YUBA RIVER – Shad fishing was very good in the evenings at Hallwood.


• SACRAMENTO RIVER side – Trolling shallow-running Yo-Zuri's Crystal Minnows in green colors, in water less than 10 feet, produced stripers between Isleton on the Old Sac and the lower Decker Island area. The sturgeon bite was good from the mothball fleet all the way up to Montezuma Slough. Sturgeon were taken on ghost, grass and mud shrimp with anise or shrimp scents added. This week, sturgeon anglers should focus on waters from 25 to 65 feet deep.

• SAN JOAQUIN RIVER side – The bass have settled into their summer pattern. Look for a good topwater bite in the morning and in the afternoon using Lunker Punkers in open water and frogs in the weeds and muck. For the rest of the day, look for shade with current and use crankbaits, drop-shot and swimbaits.

– Western Outdoor News

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