BY DAVE HURLEY
SANTA NELLA – San Luis Reservoir has been quiet for the past several months due to high winds, rapidly dropping water levels, and warm surface temperatures, but there are some large striped bass lurking in the depths for those willing to work hard for them.
Roger George of Roger’s Guide Service out of Fresno is the only authorized fishing guide on the lake, and he is willing to spend long, lonely hours on the lake waiting for the one big bite. He said, “The wind has kept boats off of the water some days, but a few trollers along with those throwing reaction baits have been picking up limits of school fish focusing in 60 feet of water. I scouted alone on Wednesday trying to find some new patterns after several tough trips, and I ended up with two big, unexpected hits. My first bite came after two fruitless hours of trolling came in at 45 inches and 34.2 pounds, and three hours later, I thought I was snagged on the bottom, but it was a 42-inch/26.9-pound striper. It was an epic day with only a few bites in the algae-laden waters. The stripers are very scattered, and 60 feet seems to be the range. I always release the big fish, and with the hot temperatures, it is very important to get the fish back in the water as soon as possible after taking a quick photograph. The Seaqualizer Descending Device is the best method to get the fish back safely to deep water. There have been some quality stripers taken from the banks around Dinosaur Point as well as off of the main lake points. The Basalt Launch Ramp and docks are temporarily closed at least the next two weeks as the lake level continues to fall around a foot per days. The State Park is waiting for the lake to recede another 5 feet in order to evaluate the damage to the old road that leads out to the Basalt Stage 2 dock area. The heavy wind and waves have destroyed the old road, and they will need to see what can be done to make access safe for launching. For now, boaters will have to drive around to the west side of the lake to the Dinosaur Point Ramp which is also at Stage 2. Boaters need to use extreme caution as underwater plateaus, humps, and points are just showing up. There is a serious hazard at Dinosaur Point for boaters heading directly east from the dock, and you are advised to head south into the deeper channel for a few hundred yards before heading east.”
Coyote Bait and Tackle in Morgan Hill reported good bank action for large fish from the shorelines near Dinosaur Point with anchovies or blood worms along with flukes in the early morning. The California Aqueduct is another option for striper fishing as there is plenty of bait in the water conveyance system, and fishermen are tossing Magnum Flukes on a ½- or 3/4th-ounce jig head and dragging them through the bottom of the channel.
At San Luis, there are three wind warning and lake closure lights near the Basalt Entrance Station, Quien Sabe Point, and the Romero Visitor Center. At the O’Neill Forebay, the lights are located near the old Medeiros boat ramp and above the South Beach Area. Amber lights signify caution conditions for winds or other concerns while red lights indicate the lake is closed to boating and all vessels must immediately vacate the lake. The lake has dropped to 21 percent.