San Luis Reservoir and O'Neil Forebay Fishing Map and 2017 fishing Report, How to fish this area, and info on Hunting Clubs nearby
San Luis Reservoir Fishing Reports (for a detailed fish map and report on O'Neill Forebay click here )
December 28, 2016 - The main reservoir is rising every day and is above 60% full. Trollers and drifters hook striped bass up to 24 inches by working 80-100 foot depths with trolling lures and live minnows. Others toss minnows from the dam, especially near the trash racks.
Fishing Map of San Luis Reservoir and O'Neill Forebay
About San Luis Reservoir and O'Neill Forebay- the biggest striped bass in the state
Californians like their lakes. They also like their striped bass. The bigger the lake, the better the ﬁshing and the heavier the ﬁsh, the happier the angler. The Merced County impoundment is the best striped bass lake in the state as far as big ﬁsh go. Last year, a Madera angler caught a 55- pounder trolling a Rebel.
DFG deserves absolutely no credit for the ﬁshery , the fish simply get sucked into the Forebay San Luis Reservoir was built in the late 1960s by the Bureau of Reclamation and state Water Re- sources. Water from the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers are pumped into the O'Neill Forebay and San Luis Reservoir during the winter and spring. With it comes thousands of ﬁngerling (baby) striped bass which get sucked into the pumps and tossed into the lake.
Some miraculously manage to make it through alive and those ﬁsh provide anglers with some good recreational sport ﬁshing. It’s a Catch-22 situation, and a sad one when you consider the fact that striped bass runs are the worst ever in the Delta system. Pumps like the ones at San Luis and Pittsburg are largely to blame, among other things like pollution and poaching.
Nonetheless, let's focus on the available bass ﬁshery and leave the bureaucratic water wars alone for the time being. First, a few words about the fish. All the stripers in San Luis and O’Neill Forebay come from the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers, so you know you‘rc catching Delta ﬁsh. As most of us know, Delta stripers are voracious feeders, tough ﬁghters and good eaters. That’s why we love hooking, battling and eating them.
Because these bass eat just about everything that moves, they grow rapidly. The state record striped bass came out of the San Joaquin River in 1951. It weighed 65 pounds. The new record could be lurking in San Luis or O’Neill Forebay. Who knows‘! Tales are told about stripers up to 100 punds that have been netted by commercial Sacramento black ﬁsh anglers in the main lake.
We do know that trophy-class stripers are available in both impoundments and that’s evident by all the 40-pounders caught every year. lt can happen, but you’ve got to be lucky. Instead, plan on catching lots of bass in the 5- to 10-pound class because there are certainly plenty of those linesides in the lakes. Fish in the 10- to 20-pound class are common, and targeted by the anglers who ﬁsh it most frequently. Limits are liberal at San Luis.
Typically, smaller ﬁsh can be caught from the surface down to 25 feet, while the big ﬁsh lurk in 80 feet of water or more. Local experts agree that bigger ﬁsh come out of the main lake, while O’Neill Forebay has, perhaps, more but smaller ﬁsh.
How do you catch ‘em? Trolling is the way to go, and plugs like Rebels or Rapalas are the most effective bass catchers. Trolling a yellow Hair Raiser on one side and a broken-back, blue 7-inch Rebel on the other on a spreader.
Besides Rebels, large silver Kastmasters are productive because they imitate the lake’s natural food source — thread- ﬁn shad. Krocodiles and 2- to 3 ounce yellow or white Hair Raisers should be included in your tackle box before heading to San Luis.
Rods should be short with a heavy butt for extra ﬁghting power. Rig up with at least 14-pound test line. Some go with 25 in case they hook that monster. Boaters equipped with ﬁsh ﬁnders have the added, and necessary, advantage over those who don’t . Boaters rigged with ﬁsh ﬁnders can save a lot of time if they locate ﬁsh, then set their downriggers, leadcore line and lures at the proper depth. It’s not uncommon to troll Rebels in 80 feet of water or more.
No fish finder? The technique is to troll at various depths until you ﬁnd a school of ﬁsh. Thenl concentrate on that spot until you are sure the bass have stopped feeding or have moved.
Where to catch ‘em San Luis Reservoir
The east shoreline of Portuguese Creek and Lone Oak Bay for trolling. Willow Spring Bay in the south end for boaters and bank fishermen. The Dinosaur and Basalt launching ramp areas for bank fishing. The Romero Outlook. O'Neill Forebay Under the powerlines, on the approach to Highway 152 from the bank or a boat. Along the deep canal just inside the levee for trollers. Skirt the buoy line, make a U-turn and come back along the face of the dam.
San Luis Reservoir is a huge piece of water that features 65 miles of shoreline with 12,700_surface acres. O’Neill Forebay is no slouch with its 12 miles of shoreline and 2,700 surface acres Stripers are schooling ﬁsh so where you ﬁnd one, you’ll undoubtedly ﬁnd two or more.
(for a detailed fish map and report on O'Neill Forebay click here )Location: San Luis Reservoir is located between Los Banos and Gilroy off Highway 152 which runs perpendicular to Highway 99 and Interstate 5. The lake is 15 miles from Los Banos and 40 miles from Gilroy. Size: The main reservoir features 65 miles of shoreline and has 12,700 surface acres when full. O'Neill Forebay has 12 miles at shoreline and 2,700 surface acres of water. Species: Striped bass, catfish, some black bass.
Facilities: Boaters will find two ramps on the main reservoir, one at Dinosaur Point and the other at Basalt. At O'Neill Forebay, there are launch ramps on the west and south shores.
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