The MAP – San Luis Reservoir

San Luis Reservoir and Oneill Forebay  – A Flyfisheman’s Map

The San Luis Gentleman’s Club evolved over the years with a core group or regular Fly Fisherman that fish the lake on a regular basis and share reports and tips.   Cloud Flyfishing.

“Here’s tae us! There’s gey few like us–and they’re a’ damned or deid!”
Hogmanay toast, trad. attr. Gordon Highlanders

48 thoughts on “The MAP – San Luis Reservoir

  1. Group Camping Two group campgrounds are available at the San Luis Creek Area along the shoreline of O’Neill Forebay. Both sites offer shade ramadas, tables, fire rings, flushable toilets, and hot pay showers. Group Camp A can accommodate 60 people and 15 vehicles. Group Camp B can accommodate 30 people and 10 vehicles. Boats must be removed from the water by sunset. These group campsites are available only by reservation.

  2. July 27th report

    Gentlemen,

    First things first: I fished the Forebay yesterday with Dan B in his boat. We were on the water a little before 8:00 am. The wind was brisk at the boat launch, but not a factor out on the lake. The inflow was still pushing current and still had a good group of grabby stripers, some of which went 16 or 17 inches. They were pretty aggressive to the fly and we caught fish at an entertaining pace for 2-3 hours. We both had short strikes and I had a few LDR’s, but most hooked fish were landed. We had 5-6 doubles. It seemed to both of us that the current slowed down late in the morning and the bite eventually died off. We ran around the lake looking for, but not finding, another good pod of fish. Took a lunch break at noon, then went back on the hunt. No fish landed after the lunch break. Off the lake around 2:30. I caught at least 25 fish, Dan caught more than 30. Both of us fished 7 weights–excellent choice! I used the little white and brown craft fur fly, Dan used his little brown/yellow/white darting fly. The fish were all hard pulling little fatties.

    The Reata is still sitting at Boatmasters, waiting on the repaired prop. Boatmasters tells me it should be back by the end of next week–hallelujah!. The Champion is sitting in my driveway, stripped of it’s electronics in preparation for selling it–I got a little ahead of myself there…. Hopefully I’ll be able to fish the Reata a time or two before I leave for a visit with my sister in New Jersey on August 7. I get back from New Jersey on August 14 and then I take the Reata to C&C Marine to have them rig the fish finders on August 15. Hopefully that process only takes a couple of days.

    I can’t wait ’till the end of August–I’m looking forward to fishing out west on the Delta out of the Reata and, who knows, maybe San Luis will fish well again this fall!

    Vaughn

  3. Thursday July 5 2018
    Went yesterday-no wind but slow fishing. We marked fish at some of the usual spots but only got a handful of hook-ups. Trash Racks had NO fish. Weird. The thought police threw us off the dam at Guardrail.

  4. Saturday June 2
    Gentlemen,

    Fished the big lake yesterday with Wayman. Got to the lake around 8:15 am. We ran around the lake roughly clockwise. We caught fish along the dam, but we were chased off the dam twice by the security guard: once at Monument and again at Daves Rock. We found a few at Parking Lot, Mouse Ears, and Lone Oak. Only one in Portuguese. We ran back out to the Trash Rack after getting a text message from Stef. He and Max were doing pretty well, so we joined them. Both Wayman and I caught 5-6 at the Racks. No interruptions from the security guard! We caught fish for maybe 45 minutes, then decided to run around checking other spots. We ended the day on the west side, catching a few more apiece before calling it quits around 4:30 pm.

    Total for the day: a dozen apiece, including a 7-8 pounder at Parking Lot and a solid 20 incher on the west side of Tunnel Island at the end of the day, plus a couple of pounds of wild hog sausage–thanks, Stef! All but a few of the fish were sub-legal.

    It was a hot, bright, windless day; very light boat traffic. A low stress day in those conditions, but we fished hard all day, hoping for a bigger bite. Wayman summarized the day as “a lot of work, given the results”. Fun to get some grabs, but most of the fish were around 12 inches….

    Thanks for coming along, Wayman!

    Vaughn

  5. Posted by Dan Blanton on 2018-05-29 10:56:31

    Had a great day of fishing and catching on San Luis Reservoir yesterday with pal Vaughn Willett. The lake was glass all day and we put in a long day hitting just about all the HPSs I know. We found lots of fish and bait – some big schools which clearly showed on my Humminbird 10 down/side scanner.

    We ended up with more than 40 fish to hand, most of them undersized but with a good number of decent fish.

    Thanks for joining me again Vaughn – we hit it just right.

    Dan

  6. On Monday, May 28, 2018, 6:25 PM, Steve Van Den Brand Horninge wrote:
    Fished the big lake today with Eric and we ended with 23 fish to the boat. Spent time at TR , BOP , Lone Oak and Portegee cove. Most were under sized with a few at 18 /19 inches. Both of us got 1 each 7/8 ish lber one at BOP and one at TR. the day did not start off well and was very expensive. I hooked the boat up so I thought and ended up losing the boat over the tracks in Morgan hill. Was not good. Came off the ball and started dragging it for a short distance. Ended up lifting it back on and going back home where we hitched correctly and fixed the lighting. But ended up ramming my TM into the back of the tailgate and putting a huge hole in it and broke the skag off the TR. Not a great start. Then coming from Portegee cove we lost a $500 dollar rod , reel and line in the water while leaving. Not good. Then fishing BOP Eric breaks his other rod at the handle. A St. Croix rod. Good thing it has a lifetime warranty, All in all was a great day outside the mishaps. LOL. Enjoy the pics. Saw Mark for short period who was doing well and Saw Dan and Vaughn briefly and ended up fishing with Meng at the TR. Good to see you all today.

    Stef

  7. Guys,

    Fished the big lake today with Dan B. It was windy, cloudy, and cool all day, some times it blew harder than others–a west wind. We started at Las Piedras and caught a couple of fish apiece, then made a bouncy run across the lake to Mouse Ears, but Mouse Ears took the full brunt of the west wind: to quote a text message from Meng fishing at the Trash Racks on a windy day a couple of years back: “Hard to stand”. No fish from Mouse Ears. We went around the point to the north shore of Lone Oak Bay where we found some fish. We kept running down the shoreline from north to south, catching one here and one there as we went, but the wind kept coming up and finally sent us back over to the west side of the lake where we could find some water with wind we could cast into or across. Once again, we caught one here and one there running north from Big Windy to Las Piedras. Our last stop was up in the San Luis Creek arm, where we each caught a couple.

    Total for the day: Dan B – 6-7. Vaughn W 11-12. I stayed with the medium sized brown over yellow over white clouser all day; Dan started with a small purple over pink over white, and changed a couple of times through the day. Some fish took two or three strips from the shoreline, some took out in 10 to 15 feet of water. Lots of hard takes and solid hook-ups. Biggest fish was 6-7 pounds, next biggest about 5 pounds. Lots of small but fat fish in the 12-14 inch range.

    In sum: Lone Oak kicked out a couple of decent stripers, but it was tough fishing with the bounce and the wind shoving the boat up toward the shore. The west side had fish and it was more fishable, since the hills provided just enough cover from the wind. It was a good day to fish with Dan in his boat: I could focus on managing my fly line in the wind and staying in touch with the fly.

    Given the conditions and the results, would I do it again? In a heartbeat, but I’ll need a day to recover….

    Vaughn

    Finally got back out on San Luis Reservoir with pal, Vaughn Willett, nearly a full two weeks since I last fished it with Kesley Gallagher. The wind wasn’t quite as bad as it was when Kes and I fished together but it was bad enough to restrict us to protected water on the west/south-west side. We, or I should say, Vaughn scored OK though. Vaughn ended up with a “Baker’s Dozen” about a half-dozen decent fish. I managed 7, nothing worth taking a photo of.

    It was great getting out though since I was really starting to get a serious case of cabin fever. This has been the windiest spring I can recall in a long time. We had wind, fog and rain threatened us all day. Hopefully we’ll get some warm, calm days soon.

    Thanks for joining me again Vaughn! It was fun day, as it always is.

    Dan

  8. Date: Monday, May 14, 2018, 7:47 PM

    Thanks for the
    update. Good to hear you have your electronics dialed in!
    Very cool can’t wait to see it.This wind has been driving me nuts, fingers crossed for this weekend…wind or not still a pretty decent Monday! MB On Mon, May 14, 2018 at 7:12 PM Vaughn Willett
    wrote:
    Guys,
    I fished the Delta today, hoping to
    catch some black bass (and maybe a striper). The wind forecast for Discovery Bay looked reasonable for the morning, so I launched at Orwood around 8:30 am. I caught
    3 black bass on a spinnerbait on Indian Slough in the first
    45 minutes, then headed out onto the river proper. My first river stop was at Happy Isle, hoping to catch stripers on the fly–did not happen. No fish marked and no stripers caught. I then headed for the Ski School, where the combination of ripping wind and tidal current kept me busy with the trolling motor while casting Texas rigged plastics, chatterbaits, and spinnerbaits. I had a few lackadaisical bass grabs and landed one striper on a chatterbait. The striper put up a pretty good fight! Running around checking additional spots did not improve my catch. I had the boat on the trailer and was heading for home at 2:00 pm.
    Overall
    conditions: water temp in the high 60’s. The water was a little muddy most places, probably due to the tide and the strong wind, which was fairly gusty. Very little boat traffic–only a couple of cabin cruisers and a couple of wake board boats ran by me today. Only a handfull of anglers out, as well.
    Total for the day: 3 LMB on a
    spinnerbait and 1 keeper striper on a chatter bait. I lacked ambition today–the wind reduced my enthusiasm to about 3.5 out of a possible 10. I only burned about 4 gallons of gas.
    Side
    note: I installed a Lowrance Totalscan transducer at the transom to get sidescan and higher resolution 2D sonar on my finder at the helm. I also networked my finders using ethernet. I can now run the finder at the bow using the Totalscan transducer at the transom. 2D sonar, downscan, and sidescan running simultaneously on both finders–wow! All this new stuff worked great! It also showed there were no fish anywhere I looked for them. Hmmmm…. Apparently I have lost my bass mojo.
    Summary: bassin was tough, but the
    electronics are a big win.
    Vaughn

  9. On Thu, May 10, 2018 at 9:41 PM, Vaughn Willett wrote:

    Guys,

    I got two reports on San Luis this week: one from Dan B and one from Mike Esposito.

    Dan B had a call from Tom Malech (some years ago he was the owner of the San Jose Fly Shop) on Tuesday evening. Tom was out on the big lake on Monday and Tuesday of this week. He and his buddy had 50-60 fish, both days. The wind was a bitch, but they caught lots of fish up shallow all over the lake. Lone Oak was particularly good for them. Mike Esposito was out on Tuesday, as well. He had much the same experience. The wind was a bitch for him, as well, even though he has a much bigger/heavier boat. Mike found fish all over the lake and also did well in Lone Oak. Mike said he went for smaller lures to encourage grabs from the smaller fish he was finding. He left mid-afternoon due to wind.

    Apparently the average size is smaller right now, but the grab was hot all over the lake. Both guys did find some better fish mixed in with the dinks. The fishing was good, despite, or maybe because of, the wind.

    Time to line up the 7 and 8 weights and leave the 9’s in the rod locker! Looks like Sunday will be my next day on the lake.

    Vaughn

  10. San Luis Friday 5/4 with grandson, Brad
    [Bulletin Board]
    Posted by Dan Blanton on 2018-05-05 11:56:24

    Finally the wind laid down and I was able to get out on San Luis reservoir for the first time in more than a month with my grandson, Brad Martin. After six days of winds gusting over 30, shutting down the lake to boaters the lake turned to glass. However, as is typical after prolonged banshee winds, the fish and bait were scatted and while the fishing was wonderful the catching was tough. I was really proud of Brad’s casting. He was bombing them out there and fishing very well (first time out in more than a year). He got a few bumps but no fish and I only scored two small fish. Most of the regulars who were fly-fishing had tough fishing as well.

    I’ve lost so much weight, my fishing shirt looks like it was made by Omar the tent maker… ;-).

    Catching should improve if we can get a few days of light to no wind on the lake. Had a great time otherwise and I’m looking forward to getting out with Brad again soon. Oh, I’ve got three new, smaller-size Columbia Bonehead fishing shirts coming…

    Dan

  11. From: Vaughn Willett
    Sent: Thursday, April 26, 2018 11:51:31 AM

    Guys,

    I fished the big lake yesterday with Tubin Louie (Tim Anderson). The wind forecast looked good for 4-5 hours in the morning and the wind lady gave an excellent report when I called her at 5:00 am. I met Tube at the Tractor Supply at 7:00 am (earlier start to get in the maximum time before the wind ramped up). We were at Dino at 7:30 am. The wind was blowing and cold as hell. The flags were standing out and bouncing around. The cooling fans were spinning. The coves on the north side of Dino had whitecaps. We had the classic marine layer effect with fog in Gilroy and west wind at the lake.

    So… we waited for a while to see what would happen. Around 8:15 we got bored, put the rods together, and launched the boat. The water on the south side of Dino was choppy, but no whitecaps. We headed for the rock wall at the back of the cove. We marked fish in the way back behind the trees–yay! But no eats–boooo! We kept fishing around the trees, because we could. Around 11:00 am we noticed the wind was dropping; by 11:30 the wind had dropped to a breeze. We headed out onto the lake and started the milk run.

    Big Windy did not give up any fish. Mouse Ears was a breakthough: the fishfinders showed bait and a few fish. I dredged up 3-4 good stripers and TL pounded up 5-6, nice! All from deep water. Teener cove showed very little bait and no stripers and we caught nothing. The wind seemed to be holding where we were fishing, so we decided to test the waters and head for the dam. The waters were troubled. Once we cleared the point and hit the main lake it was blowing cold and hard and whitecaps were coming up. We headed for Portuguese Creek. Another minor breakthrough: the fish finders again showed bait and fish. I caught 2-3, TL again pounded up 5-6, very nice!

    At that point, around 2:30, the wind was ramping up again on the west side. Time to head for Dino. By the time we got up as far as Big Windy the wind was blowing hard and the ride had some bounce. We ran in to Dino and tried the rock wall again, but no fish. We put the boat on the trailer–enough!

    A good day overall, given the wind. It was a learning experience for me: I fished the medium sized brown/yellow/white clouser that has been working for the last two months and I caught 5-6 fish. TL used his small brown/yellow/white clouser and he caught a dozen. By the time I accepted the facts and changed to a small fly, we were blown off the lake. Many years ago, Al Whitehurst told me “Any fly will work, as long as it’s white and 3 inches long.” Yesterday the small fly was better than the larger fly. The lesson: try lots of things and accept the thing that works. Thanks to TL for showing me his small thing.

    Vaughn

  12. 4/17
    Guys,
    Bob Valko and I fished the big lake yesterday.
    Cool and breezy all day. On the water around
    9:00 am. The lake level was at 527 feet.
    The west side was slow for us in the am (Big
    Windy – 0, Mouse Ears – 0, Teener Cove – 0). We
    ran to Monument around noon and caught 10 fish in an
    hour and a half of fishing–nice! Guardrail and
    Dave’s Rock only had a couple of fish for us. BOP
    was a bust.
    We headed back to the west side and hit Mouse
    Ears and Teener Cove; in both coves we marked some bait, but
    caught no stripers. Portuguese Creek had a couple of
    fish, but those fish took an hour to find/catch. We
    headed up to the willows at Big Windy for a second
    attempt–good call: we each had 5-6 grabs and landed some
    hard pulling stripers, including my best fish of the day, a
    fat 5+ pounder that hit the fly hard and put up a great
    fight. We marked a few fish out in deep water in front
    of the willows, but did not get any eats. We then
    tried Little Windy, but no fish. By this point we were
    getting close to the end of the day, so decided to make our
    last stop at the willows in the Earthen Dam cove–another
    good call: Bob caught a beautiful 5 pounder that put a deep
    bend in his switch rod before he tired it out and landed
    it.
    We had the boat on the trailer a little before
    7:00 pm.
    It was a good day, overall: 20 fish total for the
    two of us. Bob did a little better with the chartreuse
    and white clouser, I caught fish on brown/yellow/white
    clousers. We did NOT check any spots along the Hwy 152
    side of the lake. Given our results in the willows on
    the west side at the end of the day, it might have been good
    to check that side of the lake in the afternoon. Deep
    water did not show strong bait marks on the finders and did
    not give up many fish yesterday. As usual, we had to
    keep moving and keep checking spots to find fish that would
    eat.
    Thanks for sharing the boat, Bob! It was a
    fun day on the water. Maybe you could share a few
    photos from the day?
    Vaughn

  13. 4/22
    Gents
    Headed out to the lake today with a buddy today. Skipped hog hunting again. Figured i would go out with the boat since it has been over 3 months. Launched at 8:30 ish and fished the Dino dam with no luch. Headed over to the willows i think it is V2 but not sure. Nothing there either and was going to head down to Portegee cove but changed my mind and glad i did. Headed over to the TR and we were the only ones there and started fishing and with a 45 to 50 count we started hitting them. Wind was down and water was about 62 or so. Fished there all day and never got called off by the damm police. It was awesome. Meng texted me and asked how the TR were doing and told him Banzai come on over. He was there and we nailed them all day. We had 24 to the boat and only a couple of dinks. I ended upo with my yellow and Red fly all day and put 20 to the boat on it. It was crazy. My buddy who is a little new landed 4. I hooked and lost 3 to 4 fish as well. Many of takes for the day too. Meng ended up with a super day as well. Cant wait for the video. He found a great School and they were hitting a very fast retrieve. I could not do it as fast but did pick up a few that way. We fished if from about 9:30 to 3 ish and called it a day. By buddy’s back was sore or else i would have stayed longer, lol. Still a great day. Pics atttached.,
    If your headed out there tomorrow hit the TR and count to 50 and make sure slack is out of the line and start stripping.

    Stef

  14. April 19
    Hey gents,

    Update on my day at the lake today. Time fishing has been at a minimum these days with the new career move, so I decided to take the afternoon. Hit the water at 130pm and was off the water by 6pm.

    Hit Earthen Dam first stop – 3 fish. Willows. Vaughns Brown / Red fly worked well. Was cool to see a dozen nice sized fish follow my first hook up right to the surface. All 3 were good pulling fish from 3-5lbs.

    Los Pedros – 1 small fish in very shallow water on the beach.

    Big Windy – 3 fish in the Willows, pulled hard and 2 were around 2-3lbs, the last one looked around 8lbs! Didnt put on the boga but was a nice fish who kicked my butt on the 7wt.

    Teener / Mouse ears – marked fish but no takers. Fish were deep at 40ft. Wind was not cooperative here.

    Monument – no fish but marked a lot of bait on the downslope. Was later in the afternoon and Wind was big factor.

    Overall a great afteroon until the wind started to blow. Fishing excellent, only two boats on the water.
    Financally, not so good. I use an aqua stick which sits in my light receptor in the stern of the boat and holds my GoPro. Well the wind was bouncing me around more than I realized and when I landed at the dock I was bummed that the stick, GoPro, case and new 3GB card all now sit at the bottom of SL. Meng, I’m sure you probably have $1000’s of worth In equipment at the bottom also.

    Lesson learned for next time, tehter everythign.

    Good luck tomororw gusy,

    Mark

  15. Guys,

    Bob Valko and I fished the big lake yesterday. Cool and breezy all day. On the water around 9:00 am. The lake level was at 527 feet.

    The west side was slow for us in the am (Big Windy – 0, Mouse Ears – 0, Teener Cove – 0). We ran to Monument around noon and caught 10 fish in an hour and a half of fishing–nice! Guardrail and Dave’s Rock only had a couple of fish for us. BOP was a bust.

    We headed back to the west side and hit Mouse Ears and Teener Cove; in both coves we marked some bait, but caught no stripers. Portuguese Creek had a couple of fish, but those fish took an hour to find/catch. We headed up to the willows at Big Windy for a second attempt–good call: we each had 5-6 grabs and landed some hard pulling stripers, including my best fish of the day, a fat 5+ pounder that hit the fly hard and put up a great fight. We marked a few fish out in deep water in front of the willows, but did not get any eats. We then tried Little Windy, but no fish. By this point we were getting close to the end of the day, so decided to make our last stop at the willows in the Earthen Dam cove–another good call: Bob caught a beautiful 5 pounder that put a deep bend in his switch rod before he tired it out and landed it.

    We had the boat on the trailer a little before 7:00 pm.

    It was a good day, overall: 20 fish total for the two of us. Bob did a little better with the chartreuse and white clouser, I caught fish on brown/yellow/white clousers. We did NOT check any spots along the Hwy 152 side of the lake. Given our results in the willows on the west side at the end of the day, it might have been good to check that side of the lake in the afternoon. Deep water did not show strong bait marks on the finders and did not give up many fish yesterday. As usual, we had to keep moving and keep checking spots to find fish that would eat.

    Thanks for sharing the boat, Bob! It was a fun day on the water. Maybe you could share a few photos from the day?

    Vaughn

  16. Hey Guys
    I may not do this justice but here it goes. Had the pleasure of fishing with Mr. VW himself yesterday on the big lake. It has been an invitation from Vaughn for many months but with the hog hunting season we just could not connect. Got a text from Vaughn on Friday inviting me onto his boat CHAMP. I could not pass it up and bagged the hog hunt for the day. We hit the water about 9 am by the time we started fishing and went to the normal spots for the morning. Every stop we ended up at for th morning VW would pick one here one there. I just kept watching him catch the fish while I did not even have a eat once during that time. Weather was great wind was down and water was about 61/62 from what recall. Still zero fish to the boat for me and we ended up meetjng up with Meng at Monument and the sonar was on. I switched up my rod and went to a yellow and Red clouser and we all did well there for about 20 mins and had about 6 fish among the 3 of us. It slowed down and headed over to the Damm Racks and met up with Phillip and Nate. What a nice boat they have! They were killing them at the racks and we squeezed in and picked up a few more. I figured that I met both Nate and Phillip at the forebay a couple of years ago where we all did very well over by the islands. Was a great time but had not seen them since then, Great to meet up with you both again. From the racks we went to the normal run over to, Mouse ears, teener cove and V2 and was slow. I mentioned to VW that i did OK back in up Portegee cove over 3 months ago on my last time out. So we headed up over there and picked up 6 plus fish and was a decent spot. We ended up day up over by Dino coves with not much luck there. Ended up getting off the lake about 7ish and the wind stayed down all day and was a great warm ish day. Really enjoyed the invite and learned a lot about fishing deeper waters which is not what do that often. The highlight was being able to ride that lake at over a 60 MPH and get to the spots so quickly. CHAMP is awesome and i was truly spoiled and now want a faster boat. LOL! Thanks for the invite Vaughn and enjoyed sharing CHAMP with you. Pics attached and most of the fish were in this range with a few smaller ones.

    Stef

  17. Guys,

    Had a good day yesterday. On the lake at 9:30 am, put the boat on the trailer at 6:30 pm. There was a brisk wind from the southeast when I launched the boat; the wind dropped around 11:00 and stayed down for the rest of the day. Total of 15+ fish for the day. Fished around the lake from the west side to the dam and back again. Water temps hovered around 68.5 degrees. Some stops gave up 1-3 fish. 0 off the dam and BOP. 0 at the boils–I didn’t work very hard on the boils. I marked fish from 50 to 80 feet deep and counted down as long as 100 without a grab. It didn’t take long to get bored and I headed for spots with better potential for eats….

    Mouse Ears and Teener Cove each gave up fish in the morning, then another fish or two the end of the day. Coyote Spring was a fun stop in the middle of the day: I caught nothing off the willows, but as I eased out toward the main lake I began marking/catching fish in the deeper water in front of the willows. There were a couple of 6-7 pounders mixed in with smaller fish. The stripers were hanging along the drop-off into the channel in small groups and they were hungry! The takes were pretty aggressive. Classic San Luis spring fishing!

    In spots with fully submerged willows I marked fish alongside and above the willows. I fished the 8 weight with a Rio OBS type 6 line and a relatively short count, pulling the fly over the tops of the willows. This tactic got me 3-4 fish. Once again, the takes were aggressive.

    It was a long day, but fun.

    Vaughn

  18. Fished the big lake today, solo. Ended the day on a painful note–I’ll get to that shortly. Got to the lake around 10:00 am. Hit Coyote Spring – no fish, then Mouse Ears where I caught 2, then Teener Cove, where I caught 4 dredging them up from 35-40 feet of water. Headed for Guardrail – no fish; Dave’s Rock – no fish; BOP – a couple of small ones, then I noticed the wind was coming up. I decided to make one more cast and then leave. On that next cast the fly was eaten by a fish that took a lot of line before I had it under control. I landed a striper that bottomed out my 15 pound Boga grip. As I was fighting this fish, the wind had come up from a brisk breeze to a strong, steady wind out of the west. The chop turned into whitecaps by the time I had the fish landed. I had drifted toward the dam and was within 20 feet of the rocks when I tried to revive the fish. I was holding the fish in the water with my left hand and running the trolling motor with my right hand. I kept the boat away from the rocks, but the fish slipped from my grasp and the wind and waves pushed it up against the rocks where I could not take the boat. If I had a lanyard on the Boga it would have been possible to leave the fish in the water and tow it out to a safe distance from the dam to try to revive it. I regret my lack of preparedness. This is the first truly big fish I have caught when alone in the boat. The ride back to Dino was rough and got rougher by the time I reached the middle of the lake. I was dry, but unhappy, as I put the boat on the trailer around 2:30.

    It was the biggest striper I have caught since 2013. I’m guessing between 18 and 20 pounds.

    Vaughn

  19. Gentlemen,

    Fished the big lake today with Dan B. Fishing was slow, actually. I think Dan got 5-6; I got 4-5. I did catch a 17 pounder, which was very cool, except we could not get it to restart–that took a little of the bloom off the rose. Nice day on the lake, all-in-all.

    See the photos, below.

    Vaughn

  20. Gorgeous but tough day on San Luis Reservoir yesterday. Only 3 fish to hand, all about this size. Still it was fun to be out with life-long pal, Ed Given. From reports, others did better. Oh well, like they say “The sun doesn’t shine on the same dog’s ass all day…” A few float and kick-boat tubers were out too. Took a couple of shots on one angler and his black lab. Lots of white pelicans around too. Next time!!

  21. I am doing well–thanks.
    His boat. He was positioning.

    I think the fly was the single biggest difference in our presentations. We were both using T14 lines and fly-line style shooting lines. Roughly similar retrieve–Dan did a better job of throwing long stops into his retrieves. Roughly similar colors, as well. Dan was using a significantly heavier darting fly. It seemed the fish were much closer to the bottom than on sessions earlier this month–so the heavier fly was getting closer to them sooner and staying in their strike zone longer than my relatively light clouser. I think the darting fly can help, but the weight may be more important, fishing to structure like the willows, where you are fishing a vertical wall of branches: you want the fly to drop parallel to the “face” of the structure, if at all possible.

    Today I used a clouser I tied with heavier eyes. It got grabs deeper and a little away from the wood, especially after a long stop and drop. Tubin Louie and I each got a dozen fish. My biggest was just under 7 pounds. There were some dinks mixed in, to be sure, so it was not a banner day, but we found fish that would eat all through the day.

    Vaughn

  22. Posted by Dan Blanton on 2018-02-07 14:37:56

    Jay and I got out on the big lake yesterday, launching about 9:15, only 7 boats ahead of us at the Dino ramp. It was a gorgeous, summer-like day with only a slight breeze out of the east. It was Jay’s first fishing outing of the New Year.

    We started out hitting some spots where I’d scored before but drew a blank on the first two. Jay finally scored a fish on one flooded tree that usually held a fish or two, and quickly scored another on another willow barely sticking out of the water. He was using a small white/yellow Clouser style fly.

    It took me awhile to score but I finally did. After that I had a severe case of the “dropsies” – dropped three nice fish in a row. One was when Jay and I had a double going. I rarely drop fish on a jig hook but the fish were deep and we had to do a lot of drop backs, sometimes up to 5 seconds, 3 or 4 times a retrieve to get bit. They were holding deep over totally submerged trees. They weren’t really slamming the fly and turning – just sucking it in and we’d come tight. I think this may have been part of the problem: the fish eating the fly, coming up from below and then not turning. Dropped a nice 8 or so pounder right at the leader so I consider that a landed fish – sort of… grin.

    My little Darting Jig Hook Face Mask Minnow in the herring color was working for me. I stuck 5 and landed 3 if you count the leadered fish. Jay landed 4 nice, medium-all-purpose fish. All of our stripers were legal size and put up a good scrap.

    It was fun to get out with Jay. We hadn’t shared a skiff in almost a year and it had been a long while since Jay fished San Luis Reservoir.

    Let’s not wait so long before doing it again Jay-bird!

    Dan

  23. I’ve been fishing the Big Lake for the last serval weeks but have been too embarrassed to post due to the lack of results! Got blanked twice and had only one dink in my last outing. Well, maybe the curse is lifting.

    Fished yesterday from Dino. Put in around 8:00. Glassy water at 58 degrees. Headed straight to the earthen dam on the south side of the Dino peninsula. Worked my way in quietly under the trolling motor. I poked a very nice 7 pounder within minutes; probably on the 4th or 5th cast. That sucker pulled like a freight train! I was hopeful that it would mean a repeat of the day Meng had on the 28th. Alas, that was the only fish I caught. I worked that cove for about 1.5 hours and had only one additional bite. Fished an 8wt w/T-11 head and unweighted fish mask fly with pulse disk. I fished that because I that cover is not very deep and didn’t want the fly to hang up on the bottom on a long slow retrieve.

    I marked a few small groups of fish chasing small bait balls further out in that cove. Also fished the dam cove north of Dino and marked a fair amount of bait and fish, but couldn’t get any to eat. Called it an early day around 11:45 to get home and watch the super bowl. So, not many fish to show for my effort, but one very nice one. I’ll take it!

  24. Posted by Dan Blanton on 2018-02-03 12:35:51

    Well, from reports it looks like San Luis Reservoir is fishing better than the delta right now. Fished it yesterday with Vaughn Willett again and even though it was only a couple of days after that big full moon, which always makes the bight tougher on the lake, I was able to score 9 stripers to hand, all from about 20 to 24 inches (5-pounds), fishing from about 9:30 to 4:30. Got them all but one on my little white/yellow/brown Darting Jig Hook Face Mask Minnow, size 1. Unfortunately Vaughn didn’t lake a single fish and it wasn’t for the lack of skill or trying.

    The only thing I could think of that gave me the edge was the fly. It darts on the pause, was heavier than the flies Vaughn was using and accordingly dropped quicker right at the base of the flooded trees. Lots of takes came on the first or second pull/drop or just a few feet out from the tree line. We metered lots of fish in deeper water, some nice size marks but couldn’t get them of open their mouths. I think I only caught one from one of those schools. It was a gorgeous day on the lake, almost like mid-Spring. There was no breeze to speak of. It was fun, as, always fishing with Vaughn. Hey pal, you’ll get them next time. Remember last time – you kicked my butt with the Green Meanie.

    Dan

  25. From: Vaughn Willett
    Sent: Tuesday, January 30, 2018 6:41:11 PM
    To: Larry Morrissey; Wayman Lee; Mark Baldwin; Bob Valko; Steve Van Den Brand Horninge; Meng Syn; Michael Esposito; Tool Time
    Subject: The Big Lake was a bust today….

    Guys,
    Fished the big lake with Mark B out of his boat today. Late start: on the lake at 10:00 am. 6-7 trailers ahead of us on the ramp, including Tubin Louie. We did the west side milk run, marking few fish on the finders anywhere except East Cottonwood, where we marked a bunch of fish and got some tentative nibbles, but no solid bites and no hook-ups. Mark caught 2-3 fish at random through the day. Tubin Louie caught two fish today. I landed one fish that was foul hooked behind the eye–hooked it off the trees in the cove just to the west of where Dan B got the 23 pounder. Warm, hazy, spring-like conditions. Flat, glassy calm for all but one hour of the day. That hour there was a light breeze. The water is clear, clear, clear. Spectacular day to be on the lake, just not a productive day for us. I thought the 12 fish I caught yesterday was a poor showing; today made yesterday look like heaven. Hey, that could be a country song. I’m crying in my beer already….

    Thanks to Mark for the boat ride and the company. I’m going to take a short break from fishing and get some personal business done over the next couple of days.

    Vaughn

  26. Well…. to add more confusion to this talk regarding the effect of the the Full Moon – I did very well today, all day, on the Salinas River- despite the Blue/Blood/Full Moon. The bite was never red hot, but was steady all day. Wind was a PITA. Trying to keep a tight line to your “junk” while positioning the kayak in the wind is not easy!

    Despite several extended stops to help out my newbie buddy with his shooting head casting, and trying to work the boat in the wind, I ended the day with probably close to 24-25 fish. Had I been alone that number could have gone much higher as I was more focused on getting him into fish (He hooked 3 and lost them all). The stripers here all continue to be of the 2 1/2 – 4 1/2 lb cookie cutter variety that this fishery seems to produce. These fish LOVE a “bloody black” Farrar Blend clouser tied about 4″ long. They have also reacted well to a craft fur minnows tied Chart/White, or all black. The depth is 1-10′ everywhere in the estuary – a Typ3 head is perfect for it.

    Some pics of today’s activities….

  27. I had my canoe out on Saturday morning and fished a couple of the other west side coves east from where you were. I was amazed at the water clarity – I could make out bottom features in 20 feet of water! Fishing was a bit slow but I did connect with three nice 20-inch stripers. I also managed a first for me in the big lake, picking up an 18-inch American shad on a size two chartreuse and white clouser with the fly firmly firmly embedded inside its mouth. I also spent a couple of hours chasing busting stripers that seemed to be working to corral pond smelt out in the open water of the second cove I fished. Unlike Lake Lanier last fall when schools of hundreds of fish would be working on top for several minutes, these San Luis pods appeared to be only a half dozen fish or so at a time and they only stayed up for 20 or 30 seconds before disappearing for the next 5 minutes. Lots of fun, nonetheless, and spectacular weather for January. I only encountered one other boat gear fishing in the area I covered, and they were blanked.

    Best regards,

  28. Friday at SL with Vaughn Willett – tough post storm day
    [Bulletin Board]
    Posted by Dan Blanton on 2018-01-27 11:55:04

    Nothing is etched in granite but I have found over the decades that striper fishing can be tough the day or two following a good storm and major pressure drop. Fishing the pre-storm day can be very good though, especially if it’s calm and overcast.

    Yesterday was sunny and fairly calm at the Big Lake but man the fishing was tough – a lot tougher than it has been for sure. The fish were holding deep and were tough to feed. Vaughn actually did pretty well landing maybe 8 to 10 fish. I only hooked 5, dropping a decent fish that felt like it might have gone 6-plus. For awhile I thought I might get the big donut but finally nailed a decent one that hit hard and fought like it was larger than it was. Didn’t take any photos of mine but got a nice shot of Vaughn’s best fish of the day. As always it was a good time. Just glad to be out there doing it.
    Dan

  29. Caught 15 on the West Side – Best places were Trash Racks and Monument.
    I have lidocaine and hook removing surgical equipment in the boat as well as an AED in the boat. Always willing to help.

  30. Posted by Dan Blanton on 2018-01-22 14:14:29

    Fished San Luis yesterday with Evan Praskin. Hit the water around 9:30 and fished hard until 4:30. Weather was nice, little to no wind, some overcast. Fishing was pretty tough for everyone I spoke with who was out. We ended up with 14 to hand and dropped a couple. We got some nice fish to about 6-pounds. We were happy with those. My little Darting Jig Hook Face Mask Minnow worked well again; and Evan did well with a FT Jig Hook Minnow actually tied by the Umpqua folks (it was a sample of my flies they sent me. ). It worked well, as I expected it would. They do a great job tying my patterns. Fun day Evan! Thanks for joining me and putting up with an old-timer… 😉

  31. Guys,
    I tried a new “look” this afternoon–not really my style. Unfortunately, the adornment ended our fishing for the day as I had to put the boat on the trailer and drive up to Fremont to have Bob Tisdale (Dr. Bob) remove the fly from my ear. Thank god for a good veterinarian, Lidocaine, and needle nose pliers.
    Fishing was slow for Wayman and me. I think we caught 4-5 apiece. We did the standard milk run, starting with the coves on the north side of the Dino launch, then heading over to the coves east of Cottonwood Creek, then ending the day back in the coves to the north of Dino. I broke off a good one moments before pinning the green meanie in my ear. There were a fair number of fly rodders out today, including Dan B. We got poor reports from the guys we talked to…. Thanks to Wayman for coming along today. Once again, I can’t wait to get out on the lake again!

    Vaughn

  32. Fished the big lake with Bob Valko today. We met at the Tractor Supply Store at 8:15 and launched at Dinosaur before 9:00 am. Fog right down on the water and cold first thing in the morning and for the next couple of hours. It finally lifted and became cloudy and cold for the rest of the day. Very light wind today. We started at the Earthen Dam cove, then went into the San Luis Creek arm (see the iPhone photo below), then headed across to the woody cove east of Cottonwood Creek. We then hit tree lines all the way back to Dinosaur, finishing up with another session at the Earthen Dam. Better than 25 fish for the two of us. Best fish was just under 8 pounds, a good number were over 4 pounds, and a good number 3 pounds or better–Bobby checked weights on and off through the day, just to keep me honest. Water temps from 57.5 to 58.5. The DWR site says the lake was at 516 feet of elevation this morning. Trees were the bees knees! Not just up in the wood, but out in front of the willows in deeper water, as well. It’s a strong pattern right now. Thanks to Bobbito for sharing the boat again today. Overall, it was a mellow day, with enough fish to make it interesting all day long–we were the last boat to leave this afternoon a little before 5:00 pm. Looks like Sunday may be the next light wind day–I’m looking forward to it!
    Vaughn

  33. “From Dans Board” Monday Jan 15
    Had another great day on San Luis Reservoir with Vaughn Willett, this time fishing out of my skiff. Again, gentleman’s hours, hitting the water around 9:30. It was almost dead calm with some fog still lingering. Cold! We bundled up in layers and headed out using my Humminbird Lake Master GPS chart. Damn I love that chart. We fished the same pattern as last time hitting coves with flooded trees. It paid off. We ended up with more than 20 to had, lots of nice, hard hitting fish from 3 to 6 pounds with me getting very lucky sticking a gorgeous 23-pounder. Man did she pull, getting at least 175 yards into my backing before I turned her. Had to follow with the electric since I only had a couple of hundred yards on the little 8 TFO Prism reel. What a blast on the Axiom II 8-weight. I love this rod! Best fish I’ve scored in a couple of years. I was due… 🙂 Same little size 1 Darting jig Hook Face Mask Minnow. I’ve caught more than a hundred fish on that same little fly and it’s still going strong. Vaughn did well with his white/tan version of a Lee Haskin fly – San Luis Smelt I think. Long casts and T-11 and LC-13.

    Great day! Thanks for being such a good boat partner Vaughn.
    Dan

    Gentlemen,

    I fished the big lake today with Dan B out of his boat. We got a relatively late start, launching at Dino around 9:30. We hit the high spots around the launch rMP and caught a couple each, then headed to the coves east of Cottonwood Creek. The big cove with lots of wood had a decent number of small stripers, although not as many as Bob V and I found there last Thursday. From the coves east of Cottonwood Creek we moved to the coves west of Cottonwood Creek. We found decent stripers here and there as we moved west, then, out in ~30 feet of water in one of the smaller coves, I got a short strike. Hmmm. Dan made a cast back to that spot, pulled on the string a couple of times and hooked up with a fish that took him into his backing in a jiffy. Turned out to be a 23 pound fish. WOW! We kept fishing and kept catching one here and one there as we moved west across the lake. Our last stop was way back in the San Luis Creek arm, where the lake only gave up one fish and I was the lucky angler for that one.

    The lake is coming up at a slow and steady rate–it’s up to 515 feet. Water temps were in the 56 to 58 degree range. The water is clearing up well, with less and less algae every time I’m on the lake.

    I seem to have recovered from the vertigo, but I’m sore as hell after casting all day.

    Vaughn

  34. Monday January 15: Our results were similar to Meng’s : SKUNKED! Socked in with fog all day. launched from Dino and fished South Dino/Dam, Honoker tree line, Cottonwood, and Romero. We maybe marked 1-2 fish and i little bait. Gear guys were catching few at 60+ feet. Water temp 58 F. BTW. Nine boats launched from Dino. Hard to tell how many on whole of lake since we could only see 25-100 feet all day. Fog started to clear from west side about 1:00 when we we were leaving. East side was socked in.

  35. I had a S#%T hole day today. Fished from 8:30 to 3:00 and got one dink–basically skunked. Big FOG all day long with very little wind. Cold and clear water. The dink was caught at the Basalt Ramp where I metered big schools of bait again I fished the entire lake today.with over 50 other boats. When I left at three, there were only 6 fishheads in the garbage cans for the 25 boats launching at Basalt. Oh well, The new year reset button has definitely been pushed. I should probably go over to Pajaro and see what Ken Oda is all excited about. Last week was a perfect storm somewhere on the SAC around Chico.

  36. Three for the day all 22 inches. Slow, cold day with lots of Tule Fog. Did best in channel at Potuguese Cove. About 25 boats at Basalt Launch this morning.

  37. (From Dan Blantons’s Board)
    Well our outing on San Luis Reservoir yesterday was tough. The weather was great, no fog at dawn and the water temp as we left the ramp was 58 degF! That’s at least 4 degrees warmer than I’d expected, and over 10 degrees warmer than the delta so I thought those stripers would be in a mood to search and destroy our flies. (three guys casting) The water was mostly quite clear and warmed up to almost 60 deg F by 2pm. Bruce caught 3 stripers ranging 18″-23″, I caught 1 striper 22 1/2″, and Mike hooked 2 decent stripers that got off before we saw them. That was it! It was the first time fishing SLR for both friends. We didn’t catch or mark fish along the dam wall, which was a shock; very different from the last times I fished there. Where we did mark fish often they were way too deep for us to catch, or they just didn’t respond to our flies as usual. Main factors why it was such a tough day… a breeze was mostly non-existent; less than 2 mph. Because of the very calm condition we had to rely on the elec trolling motor, and Bruce’s new Minn Kota Riptide motor still has a faulty controller. Minn Kota has sent him a new circuitboard 3 times, but the third one cannot hold a solid Autopilot course, it keeps wigging out, jiggering back & forth. We couldn’t use Autopilot and that made controlling the boat position very difficult, much less effective. We cut out at 2pm for the loooong drive home. The morning was cold & overcast, and that burned off around noon, turning into a great summer-like day. The NOAA wind forecast proved to be VERY accurate. Next time I will pick a day with at least a 5 mph breeze.

  38. Guys,

    Good day! Fished the big lake yesterday with Bob V. There was fog hiding the dam when we got to Dino and a cold breeze out of the east. Cool and cloudy most of the day–cold when running. Water temp was 58.5 to 59.4 degrees. The water is pretty clear and getting clearer as it cools. We started by hitting the key spots on the west side, then went to the woody cove east of the Cottonwood Creek rock wall, then the Trash Racks, then Lone Oak, then back to the coves on the north side of the Dino Launch. T14 and LC13 heads fished deep with small flies got a positive response. We had lots of short strikes, but plenty of good, solid grabs and hook-ups, as well. We each caught a dozen fish, mostly on the west side of the lake. Only 2-3 fish were keeper size or better and no fish above 3.5 pounds. We did see some larger stripers shadowing hooked fish. The water around the trees in the coves on the north side of the Dinosaur launch ramp kicked out a good number of fish. The other place we did well yesterday was the woody cove just east of the Cottonwood Creek rock wall (Hwy 152). Interesting note: we caught stripers out away from the willows–don’t just pound the willows! The Trash Racks were a bust. We did not fish any spots along the dam or BOP, opting to go back to the west side, instead. Thanks to Bob for sharing the boat yesterday!

    Vaughn

  39. Fished today with Wayman. We were on the water before 8:00 am. 10-12 boats launched before we got there. Cloudy and cool all day long. It was a tough day, but Wayman managed to catch 10 stripers. I had two fish for the day (what a come-down after the last few trips to the lake). We stayed on the west side and roamed as far south as Portuguese Creek. The earthen dam cove showed lots of fish on the finders–Wayman caught some, but they were not aggressive to the fly. Mark B was out, as well. He did better than I, but I did not get his results–he may have sent me a text message, but my phone has died. Thanks to Wayman for sharing the boat today–sorry it was so slow.

    Vaughn

  40. Subject: San Luis 1/4/18
    Gentlemen,
    Good day today on the lake. I fished with Dan Blanton out of my boat. We got to the lake around 9:30. The weather was fantastic: partly cloudy, warm, flat calm. The lake is at 512 feet of elevation. The water temp was 58.5 to 60.5. There was one other trailer on the ramp–we were the second boat to launch on the west side. We did the regular milk run, starting in the coves on either side of Dinosaur, then to Las Piedras and the two coves just to the south. We then ran across to the Trash Racks, then the Guardrail, after that we turned north and west and headed for the coves with willows west of Romero on the 152 side of the lake. From there we went back to Dino for a second pass through the trees in the cove on the south side of the launch ramp. I put the boat on the trailer at 4:30. The totals for the day: Dan 15, Vaughn 10. It was Dan’s first outing of 2018–he was stoked with this start for the new year. Dan used a small tan, yellow, and white clouser; I used the little white/yellow/tan craft fur fly in the trees and the chartreuse and yellow clouser in the deeper open water. Dan did a stop and drop retrieve more that I did and that seemed to help him do a little better. We caught at least one fish at every stop, except the Guardrail. Biggest was 6+ pounds, more than half the fish were 2-3 pounds. The San Luis Creek arm was our best stop: we each caught multiple fish back around the willows. The coves to the west of Romero were good, as well. We found fish that would eat in water from 14 to 40 feet, with water around 20-25 feet being the most productive, especially around the willows. Based on our counts, we did better on the west side, but there is a large cove on the 152 side with lots of trees in 12 to 25 feet of water where we marked fish and caught a decent number of fish. This cove is about a mile to the east of the Cottonwood Creek section (the one with the long rock wall with 152 running along the top). The Trash Racks kicked out 2 for Dan and 1 for me, which was a bit of a disappointment. The pumps were not running. We never saw the security guard. It was a fun day on the water. Dan took a lot of pictures (I took some of him with his camera, as well), some of them may show up on his bulletin board and on his Facebook page. The day was over too quickly–if I could do it over, I would get to the water an hour or two earlier, but we did avoid the rain and fog first thing in the morning and the rain has not yet started this evening. As usual, I can’t wait to do it again, I’m keeping my eye on the weather. Vaughn

  41. Sent: Tuesday, January 2, 2018 9:33 PM
    Subject: San Luis Today
    Guys,
    Had a good day–caught 12-13 fish. Biggest was just over 6 pounds–on the 7 weight! Big fun.
    I did the standard milk run: started by hitting my favorite spots on the west side then ran across to the Trash Racks in the middle of the day; then back to the west side for a second pass through the hot spots before putting the boat on the trailer around 4:30. The little white/yellow/tan craft fur fly worked better in shallower water; the yellow and chartreuse Clouser worked better in deeper water. Las Piedras did not hold any fish (nothing showing on the finder and no grabs off the shoreline), but the second cove to the south had a big pod of fish this afternoon–they were a bit spread out, but they stayed around for 45 minutes, so I could catch ’em. Very cool. I made two stops at the Trash Racks (never saw the security guard) and caught a total of 4 fish by counting down to 50, then pausing every so often on the retrieve. The dam from the Guard Rail down to Dave’s Rock was a big nothing. BOP showed fish on the finder, but I couldn’t feed ’em. Neither fly got their approval. The willows in the coves on the north and south sides of Dinosaur gave up my best fish today–one in the morning and another one in the afternoon.

    Beautiful day in the neighborhood, but gray–cloud cover all day; little to no wind. Very few boats out. The only other fly boys were a guy in a pontoon boat and Rod Somai in his little Whaler.

    I can’t wait to get out again!

    Vaughn

  42. Happy New Year Gents!

    A quick report, I did spend my New Years Eve on the lake. Fishing conditions were ideal, a small breeze and water temps right at 60. 8 fish total for the day, they all pulled extremely hard. I did find fish north of Dino launch and on the Dam wall, and with no one around the “racks” I hooked 3 fish. They were pretty deep (count down to 50!). Wasn’t marking a lot of fish in any spot but did mark good schools of bait. Hope you all had a great New Year, here is to a very productive 2018!

    Mark

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