New Melones is hosting the Kokanee Power Team Kokanee tournament this coming weekend on July 13, and this is the first kokanee tournament held at the lake in several years, marking the resurgence of action for the landlocked salmon. Melones was a traditional location for numerous kokanee tournaments in past years, but nearby Lake Pardee has filled the void for Kokanee Power and the Central Valley Anglers tournaments. The Kokanee Power tournament will start at 5:30 a.m. with the three fish weigh in from 1:00 to 2:00 p.m. at the Calaveras County Fairgrounds. With the complete turnaround of kokanee action at the lake, some of northern California’s top kokanee anglers will be participating. A 19-inch kokane is not out of the question as the top anglers will be seeking individual big fish holding to structure. There is a side pot for trout, and this lake has been kicking out the occasional quality rainbow to 7 pounds.
Monte Smith of Gold Country Sport Fishing was out on Saturday with three anglers, and he said, “We had a great morning as we didn’t even get our third rod in the water before it was fish on. The best action was in the early morning before the sun rose, and when the sun rose, the bite lasted for a while before slowing down. But by 10:30 a.m., we had three limits of quality kokanee. We are scoring at depths from 40 to 60 feet with Apex lures, Uncle Larry’s spinners, pink micro-hoochies, and Apex lures behind Sling Blades.”
Gary Burns of “Take It to the Limit” Guide Service said, “If you want to put limits in you boat on Melones you have to put time on the water and find the fish. With the water rising and lowering, the kokanee are spread out and moving all over the main lake, and you have to find them to put them in the boat. We found the kokanee starting to hang out on structure and went down to 70 feet, and put them in the boat, but we also caught them at 40 feet in the middle of the lake. When you do find them you are in for a good time as they are hitting hard and fighting as wild as they can good luck trying to put them in your net. I changed so many setups this last week it's hard to tell what to use, but the colors I would start with are watermelon, pink and green and pink and purple.”
Kyle Wise of Headhunters Guide Service put his client onto a limit of kokanee on an evening trip with Apex lures behind a Paulina Peak or MAG Stealth Dodger.
The bass have scattered in the high water conditions, and some banks are holding bass while others are loaded with bass. There is some solid topwater action in the morning and evenings around the shade lines.
The lake dropped slightly from 93 to 92 percent.
Lake McClure/Don Pedro bass
Lake McClure continues to spill over, and the bass have fallen off of the bite with the high water, but the catfish action is improving. Don Pedro is featuring a solid bass bite for quality largemouth bass with a variety of techniques.
Ryan Cook of Ryan Cook’s Fishing said, “At McClure, the topwater bite has been slow as the fish have gone deep and scattered. The bite has been off this past week, and I would expect it to be better. Finding any size has been ‘hit or miss’, but jigs, Senkos, and underspins remain the top techniques. There is a good jig bite right now at both McClure and Don Pedro with the fish holding from 25 to 40 feet.”
Steve Marquette of the Lake McClure/McSwain Recreation Company reported an excellent catfish bite with various baits including chicken livers, cut baits, or nightcrawlers for whiskerfish from 2 to 8 pounds. He said, “I haven’t seen catfishing this good for some time, and bass are found around 25 feet with plastic worms.”
At Don Pedro, Cook said, “Big bass are found on topwater lures or Alabama rigs as there is a lot of bait activity. Underspins such as the ½ to 3/8th ounce Fatty Worm’s loaded with a 3.8 to 4.3 Kei Tech swimbait are producing numbers. There are lots of fish in the shallows at Pedro, and jigs are also a solid option.” There is a lot of floating debris on the surface at both lakes, and anglers are advised to use extreme caution as several boats have ruined props and lower units recently.
McClure is at 98 percent with Don Pedro at 97 percent.
Lake Alpine on Highway 4 at 7300 feet in elevation is now completely clear of ice, and Bill Reynolds of Ebbetts Pass Sporting Goods in Arnold said, “There is lot of good fishing here as the lake was planted recently and also at the end of last fall, and there have been some big trout landed within the past two weeks. The road to Spicer Reservoir is also open, and fishing has been excellent. As of July 1, you can now fish Hobart Creek, and with the high water, the dock is in the lake for easy launch.”
For Alpine, Reynolds said, “Bait casters are scoring with Mice Tails, trout dough bait, or Power Eggs along with nightcrawlers on a sliding sinker rig, Effective lures are Kastmasters, Jake's Spin A Lure, Panther Martin spinners, Mepps, and Rooster Tails. Fly fishermen are using sparrow nymphs, bead head woolly buggers, stone fly nymphs, ants, and bead head nymphs.
Spicer Reservoir normally produces more numbers of a smaller grade of rainbow trout than the smaller Lake Alpine, and similar techniques to Alpine have been effective for shore anglers. Trollers have more success at Spicer, and blade/’crawler combination, spinners, or spoons are all effective from the surface to 20 feet in depth.
The North Fork Of The Stanislaus is running extremely high this year due to the heavy rains and snowfall this past winter, and those at the river’s edge have to use extreme caution.
Mike Canevari went to Hell Hole this past weekend, and he said, “The kokanee were on fire and we limited out both days with decent fish running pink mini-hoochies behind a dodger at 20 to 25 feet. There were four or five other boats who also limited out.”
Recreational boating remains heavy on the weekends, but good action for bass is found up the river arm with plastics on the drop-shot along with deep-diving crankbaits, jigs, or plastics on the drop-shot at 10 to 25 feet. Anglers launch early and get off the lake by noon to avoid the boat traffic.Trout plants have ceased for the year, and the rainbows are congregating in the deepest waters of the lake from the main river channel to the dam. Speedy Shiners or similar heavy spoons are finding limits of holdover rainbows in the main river channel near the dam as deep as 90 feet. The lake rose to 95 percent.
The trout bite is solid in the south end of the lake near the mouth of the river arm with fast-trolled lures such as Speedy Shiners, and the rainbows are in very good shape in the cold water. Kokanee are on the small side, but next year should be phenomenal for kokanee to 17 inches. Bass fishing remains best in the river arm with plastics or jigs along with small swimbaits. 1000 pounds of Calaveras Trout Farm rainbows were planted again this week as part of their weekly plant for a total of 32,000 pounds released this season. The lake is at 100 percent.
Shaver Lake Boat traffic was heavy over the 4th of July weekend, but limits of kokanee continue to be the rule for those getting on and off of the lake by mid-morning. With the high water levels, the trout bite has slowed considerably as there are abundant food sources on the surface of the lake. The trout bite should improve as the lake levels drop and then stabilize later in the summer.
Dick Nichols of Dick’s Fishing Charters said, ”The boat traffic was heavy, but I was out on the 4th with two first-time anglers, and they landed 17 kokanee, releasing 7 for their two limits by 8:45 a.m. using Dick's Koke Busters in orange or Apex lures tipped with
crayfish scented corn behind purple and silver Mountain Dodgers on the downriggers at depths to 32 feet. The trout bite has slowed.”
Todd Wittwer of Kokanee.net Guide Service also has been putting in limits for his clients using Rocky Mountain Tackle’s orange Radical Glow Tube or the orange double-glow hoochie behind an orange Moonshine dodger, the orange double-glow hoochie, or Rocky Mountain Tackle’s Signature Squids in pearl white behind a purple/pink Tsunami dodger along with Cotton Candy Squid behind the purple Moonshine dodger.
Jay and Delinda Irvine of Visalia were also out this week, and they landed 7 kokanee and a brown trout with the kokanee taken on an orange Koke Buster behind a Mountain Dodger with a set back of 110 to 120 feet with 1-ounce weights. Irvine said, “This set up should bring the lure down between 17 and 32 feet while trolling from 1.2 to 1.4 mph. We also landed two fish on leadcore at 5 colors.”
Irvine was also at upstream Huntington Reservoir on two occasions this week, and he said, “On our first trip, we landed six small kokanee, using orange/green spinners behind a gold dodger, but there were no rainbow or brown trout. On our second trip with Jody and Payton Allen, we released two limits of small kokanee with either Apex lures in orange sparkle or Dick’s Trout Busters.”
Also at Huntington, Todd Goolkasian, his wife Maureen, his 83-year old mother, Inge Goolkasian, and Bruce and Jeannie Brown trolled the south side of the lake on the 4th, and his mother landed her largest rainbow trout ever in 65 years of fish at 21 inches and 7 pounds at 5:00 p.m. just off of the point west of the Boy Scout Camp on a red wedding ring tipped with a nightcrawler at 3.5 colors of leadcore.
THe water level at Pine Flat rose slightly this week despite heavy water releases down the lower Kings River. However, bass fishing remains consistent with numbers taking precedent over size. The trout bite continues to be very slow, but crappie action is picking up in the upper portion of the lake above Trimmer as the slabs are holding around structure in the moving water.
Steve Newman of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “The bass bite remains consistent with a good topwater bite in the mornings and evenings along with crankbaits such as the Strike King XD5 or 6 at depths from 15 to 25 feet over submerged islands or rock piles. Sexy Shad or Chartreuse Shad have been good color patterns on the crankbaits, and it is important to keep contact with the rocks as the fish are moving into their traditional summertime pattern. There have been some good fish taken up the river arm with jigs around the rock piles or the submerged humps as the water is cooler and the bass are actively chasing shad. In the main lake, keeping contact with the bottom on a slow-fall is the key, and plastics on a shakey head, wacky-rig, or Ned-Rig with a light weight are the best bets. Dragging it slowly is important to entice strikes as the bass are wanting to eat, but they want a slow presentation.”
Trout fishing in the lake remains slow as few anglers have been drifting roe or salmon eggs within the past few weeks with the high water. Newman said, “Crappie are starting to show up in the river arm above Trimmer, and they are holding in the trees or rockpiles to stay out of the current. Using a heavier minijig will get through to the fish in the structure as the slabs are not suspending in open water. The high water has flooded new territory, and the upper river is loaded with ants, grasshoppers, and other insects with all of the fish are feeding upon.”
In the lower Kings River, the county parks and parking areas remain closed due to high and dangerous flows, but a few anglers have been working the section above the catch/release section near the Alta Weir for a few rainbows per rod. Newman advised, “You have to use caution in the river right now, be smart and don’t risk it.”
Pine Flat rose from 94 to 95 percent.
The wind has been a factor for boaters, but small linesides have been the rule for trollers working between the weather windows. Shore anglers are trying with minimal success with anchovies, pile worms, or blood worms. During periods of wind, launching at Dinosaur Point is advised for safety. A toxic blue-algae warming has been issued for the main lake. The lake held at 73 percent despite water releases with increased pumping out of the south Delta.