James Netzel of Tight Lines Guide Service reported excellent kokanee action as they were hardly able to keep 4 rods in the water. He said, “We started at the launch ramp by letting his lines out, and we couldn’t get all the lines out before we had fish on. We trolled to the other side of the lake to get away from the launch ramp and ended up with 7 limits of kokanee to 17 inches and there were a number of kokanee in the 15-inch range. These fish will be 19.5 inches by the end of the season. We have been using Paulina Peak tackle and hammered dodgers at depths from 30 to 45 feet.”
Alan Fong of the Fishermen’s Warehouse in Sacramento reported early limits of king salmon at Oroville, and he also likes the trout bite at Folsom and Lake Berryessa.
At Berryessa, Troy Barr of T-Roy’s Guide Service has been scoring the Eagle Lake-strain rainbows to 25 inches trolling near the Big Island with Rocky Mountain Tackle spinners behind the RMT dodgers in Hyperplaid of Bahama Mama.
Although they are few in number, trophy rainbows continue to be the story at New Melones. Trollers are working hard for the chance at a single big fish, and on most trips with experienced guides, their clients are rewarded with a trophy fish.
Monte Smith of Gold Country Sport Fishing said, “We were trolling Apex lures at 25 to 30 feet, and we kept hooking crappie in open water. When we went deeper from 35 to 50 feet with rolled shad, we landed rainbows to 5.5 pounds. We are finding big rainbows, but it is a concern that there aren’t any smaller rainbows in the lake. The net pens from Kokanee Power were released in April, and there does not seem to be any of the smaller grade of rainbows around.”
Jason Meeuwse of Sierra Sport Fishing took out father and son, Larry and Mike Moorman, this week, and he said, “ The big trout didn't want to play too much as they did the prior week, but while we battled the wind for the first few hours, we landed a rainbow that weighed almost 4 pounds along with a few smaller fish. After the wind calmed, we had a few hookups and landed a beautiful 7-lb. rainbow. After that the bite slowed, but we were able to put another fish in the boat that was smaller. Everything was taken either rolling shad and trolling Bikini Needlefish at 30to 40 feet deep.”
The crappie have moved out into deeper water, and Nikos Vellios landed a 2.73-pound slab on an artificial lure.
The bass are repositioning themselves daily with the dropping water, and starting the morning with topwater lures before working the subsurface with reaction baits are finding quality spots and largemouth bass.
The lake dropped from 82 to 81 percent.
The largemouth action at night at Don Pedro heated up with the triple-digit temperatures while the spotted bass continue to please fishermen at Lake McClure.
The Modesto Ambassadors held their 46th annual Night Classic on Saturday night, and the proceeds for this annual event are used for a special fishing day for disabled youth. Jeff Huth volunteered as the emcee for the weigh in, and he said, “30.94 pounds won the event, and the winning team had a big fish at 8.40 pounds. This is a really good event, and I look forward to the opportunity to help out since as bass fishermen, we all have to pay it forward for others. Every team had put together limits, and the few boats that didn’t weigh in dumped their limits since they were in the 12- to 13-pound range.”
At McClure, Greg Sweeney of the Sportsman’s Warehouse in Fresno said, “The spotted bass bite is on fire as my hunting manager went to the lake one afternoon this week, and they caught and released 125 spots with a variety of lures. He met pro bass fisherman, Ish Monroe, at the launch ramp, and Ish gave him a number of lures that are working including River2Sea Whopper Ploppers. Once he started using the reaction baits, he found a better grade of spots. They slept in the boat overnight and resumed pounding the fish with another 100 spots the following day.”
Don Pedro held at 94 percent with Lake McClure at 92 percent.
Triple-digit temperatures have hit the Central Valley, and the recreational boating at Lake Camanche as well as other Mother Lode lakes is taking over the water after 11:00 a.m.
The Camanche Recreation Company ceased trout plants a few weeks ago, but there are still plenty of holdover rainbows remaining in the lake. Robbie Dunham of ‘Koke Machine’ Guide Service was out on the lake four times this week with clients, and they limited on every trip before 11:00 a.m. Dunham said, “I have been fortunate to limit out on every trip this year, and the rainbows are dropping deeper in the water column. I have been working the main river channel at depths from 25 to 40 feet with my best action from 30 to 40 feet. We have caught fish as high as 25 feet and as deep as 40 feet, but I am setting out only three lines with one at 30, one at 35, and the last one at 40 feet. Speedy Shiners continue to be our best bet. Some of the fish are starting to develop copepod buds, but they aren’t bad by any means. The boat traffic doesn’t really start getting heavy until 11:00 a.m., but we have been limiting out before this.”
Bass fishing has been fair with the best action in the river arm with plastics on the drop-shot. Rick Henderson of Valley Springs found largemouths at 5 and 7 pounds up the river arm while Sean Case caught and released a 10.5-pound largemouth.
5000 pounds of catfish were released into the lake this week, and shore fishermen are loading up with chicken livers or nightcrawlers. Trout plants are over for the season, and the best time for trout is at night with dough bait in deep water from the Blue Docks. The lake remains high.
1000 pounds of Calaveras Trout Farm rainbows were released this week, but angling pressure has diminished with the triple-digit weather arriving over the weekend. A number of 2nd-year kokanee in the 10-inch range were landed this week, and anglers are advised to attempt to safely release the small fish. The overall lack of kokanee has led to the cancellation of the annual Russ Faught, aka ‘Mr. Kokanee’ Derby scheduled for June 9. The lake dropped slightly to 99 percent.
Millerton/Pine Flat Reservoirs
Millerton Lake had been constant for 30 to 40 small spotted bass per day, but the action toughened up in the past week as the water is rising while nearby Pine Flat also became problematic for daytime anglers. The crappie have scattered out at Pine Flat, leaving Millerton as the best location in the south valley for a larger grade of slabs.
Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “It has been 30 to 40 bass per day with limits in the 9.5- to 10-pound range, but it slowed down to only a few fish per rod this week. One of our good sticks that knows the lake very well worked hard for only 7 bass with three keepers that were barely 13-inches. The lake is coming up, and the recent full moon could have also be a factor with the tougher bite as it was the first full moon corresponding with warm weather. There are tons of bluegill around the flooded willows and the rockpiles. Crappie fishing is best at Millerton with 1/16 – oz. minijigs under a slip bobber, and the largest grade of slabs are found here.”
Pine Flat has also toughened up during the daytime as the weather has turned hot, but there is a solid night bite on the full moon with spinnerbaits, crankbaits, jigs, or plastics on the drop-shot. Gilbert said, “A number of spots in the 4- to 6-pound range have been landed at night. The crappie have scattered out, and a few small slabs have been the rule.”
Boat trailer parking is still limited at Pine Flat with the high water levels, and boaters are advised to arrive early in order to find a space closer to the launch ramps.
Millerton rose from 88 to 90 percent this week with Pine Flat holding at 88 percent.
Triple-digit temperatures have hit the Central Valley, and the high country reservoirs are feeling the pressure of anglers trying to escape the heat. Wishon and Courtright Reservoirs are filled, and along with Bass Lake, Shaver Lake, and Huntington Lake, all of the central Sierra reservoirs are near capacity.
The high water conditions have washed bugs and food sources off of the banks, and the trout are loading up on the easy meals at all reservoirs.
At Wishon, Chuck Crane of the Wishon Village RV Park and Store said, “The trout bite has slowed down a bit, but experienced trollers who fish the lake regularly continue to score limits. One boat was running a downrigger at 60 feet with Speedy Shiners and Rapalas, and they got their limits. There was a 24-inch brown trout landed at the far side of the lake in front of Wood Chuck Creek on a Rapala near the surface, and there have been a number of browns mixed in with the limits of rainbows this week. The most consistent action for trollers is from 10 to 20 feet with Speedy Shiners or Needlefish in brass, but limits are uncommon for most fishermen. From the shorelines, the mouth of Short Hair Creek or along both sides of the dam are kicking out a few rainbows per rod using trout dough bait or inflated nightcrawlers.”
At Courtright, Crane reported continued slow action since the road was opened before Memorial Day Weekend. He said, “Trollers are picking up a few fish, and they are trying anything and everything. Speedy Shiners in brass/red or Rapalas are working best, but only a few fish per rod is to be expected. Shore fishing is also slow with a few rainbows on trout dough bait or nightcrawlers. Both reservoirs are full, and launching a boat is easy right now.”
At Huntington Reservoir, Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis reported a few fish per rod are found by bank anglers working trout dough bait at Rancheria Creek or Dam 2.
– Bass fishing has been steadily improving at Hensley Reservoir despite fewer anglers targeting the lake while Eastman is holding up for quality largemouth bass.
Greg Sweeney of the Sportsman’s Warehouse in Fresno said, “Eastman is still good, but it is not like it was a few weeks ago. Bass fishermen who know the lake and know where to go are finding limits up to 25 pounds, and the key is to fish deep water.”
Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis confirmed the slower action at Eastman than the heyday of the big largemouth bass approaching 10 pounds a few months ago, and he said, “I think it will take between 16 and 18 pounds if there is a four-fish limit during Saturday’s NewJen Bass Tournaments event, and over 20 pounds for a five-fish limit. There has been tremendous boat and fishing pressure at the lake, and it has taken its toll.”
34 boats participated in Saturday’s NewJen event, and the team of Gary Wasson and Joe Baeza took first with 20.18 pounds and a big fish of 6.96 pounds. The team of Duke Homan and Don Javaux took second at 18.27 pounds with a big fish at 7.32.
At nearby Hensley, bass fishing is on the rise, particularly with the upcoming RiverRat Bass Tournament this coming Saturday. Gilbert said, “The reaction bite has picked up with crankbaits, jigs, or plastics on a Carolina-rig, and there are a number of fish in the 13- to 15-inch range. The bass are aggressive in post-spawn mode, and they can be found at depths from 12 to 15 feet. The lake will be pounded this week from anglers pre-fishing for this weekend’s tournament. Small crappie are still a possibility, and a number of our crappie fishermen are squeezing out limits of 5 to 6-inch slabs in the flooded willows, and there are bluegill everywhere.”
Eastman dropped from 76 to 74 percent this week with Hensley also dropping from 46 to 45 percent.
San Luis Reservoir/O’Neill Forebay
The overall striped bass fishing has slowed considerably with fewer and fewer trollers targeting the lake. The best action is from the banks in the early mornings or evenings with pile worms, blood worms, or anchovies. A few boats are drifting live minnows for schoolie stripers. Jesus Reyes Silva of How to Fish said, “We have been finding a number of keeper stripers from 20 to 24 inches working the shallows from the banks to 20 feet with topwater lures or swimbaits that match the shad. The stripers are chasing shad in the 1- to 1.5-inch range into the shallows. The American shad are also cruising the shorelines at night, and some big stripers are following them. The Lucky Craft SP Minnow in 127 or 128 are working for the large linesides. After sunset, anchovies or minnows are working from the banks for keeper stripers near the Romero Launch Ramp.” The lake dropped from 77 to 74 percent with increased water releases. Small stripers remain the story at the forebay with most anglers going out early in the mornings or late in the evenings. Anchovies, blood worms, or pile worms are working best under the Highway 152 Bridge or at Check 12. Largemouth bass are taken on jerkbaits, squarebill crankbaits, or dragging curly-tailed worms in the grass.
The lake rose rapidly within the past week from 65 to 76 percent, and the trout are loading up with insects. Heavy recreational boat pressure arrived over the weekend, and the kokanee bite slowed down. Near-limits of kokanee in the 14-inch range are possible at depths from 28 to 32 feet with white hoochies tipped with corn behind a silver dodger along with Rocky Mountain Tackle’s Cotton Candy squid behind a purple Moonshine Dodger. Kokanee as large as 17 inches have been reported by those jigging spoons at night. The top locations have been from the Sierra Marina to Black Rock and the Point. A webcam of the Sierra Marina launch ramp is available at sierramarina.com/camera.html.