This lake is one of the only lakes still producing the big kokanee, and they can be found on the bottom with Troy Barr of T-Roy’s Guide Service finally ending a tremendous season by scoring three limits up to 19.5 inches using Apex lures with Pautske’s Fire Corn and Atlas Mike’s Scents behind a Rocky Mountain Tackle’s 5.5-inch dodger at depths from 70 to 90 feet. Private boaters found similar action by bouncing the bottom with hoochies ran solo or Pro-Troll’s E-Chip Kokanee Killers. Alan Fong of the Fishermen’s Warehouse reported solid bass action.
The air is officially out of the balloon for the kokanee bite at New Melones as few anglers are heading to this lake after several weeks of spectacular kokanee action with some huge fish in the mix including the first Kokanee Power tournament in several years. Kyle Wise of Head Hunter Guide Service said, “Kokanee fishing is limited to a few big fish in the saddles in 80 to 90 feet of water with Apex lure or Paulina Peak’s Flutter Bugs with big dodgers. Patience is the key as they are in full spawn mode and are not in the mood to chase offerings, stay with it and eventually one will hit. “
Gene Hildebrand of Glory Hole Sports in Angels Camp said, “The cooler temps approaching we're looking forward to chasing the big rainbows that New Melones has to offer.”
John Liechty of Xperience Fishing Guide Service said, “It was really tough for bass on Sunday as the topwater bite really slowed down. We have been picking up some larger fish on topwater lures, swimbaits, and glide baits, but the bite shut off on Sunday. In addition to the full moon, there were a number of recreational boats on the lake stirring up the shoreline, and normally during the week, the shad and baby bass stage on the points, but with the boat traffic, the points were churned up and not holding bait. We picked up our best action on jigs with a few on topwater lures, but the swimbait bite wasn’t happening. We did also score a few on underspins, but the patterns weren’t developing.”
Hildebrand said, “Anglers have been landing numerous large cats in the 8- to 10-pound range, and the cove on the south side of the dam and Tuttletown coves have been giving up cats using night crawlers, cut baits, and chicken livers. Jim Good of Dorrington brought in a 6-pound and a 7.5-pound catfish. The Annual Glory Hole Catfish Contest started to accept registrations on September first for the month-long contest held from October 1st through the 31st. The entry and insurance fees total $15.00, and the contest has a limited entry. Three fish can be weighed in, and the first catfish over 12 pounds will take the Big Cat side pot.”
Melones held at 85 percent.
The massive 150,000-pound trout plant of a few months back is still paying dividends at Lake McClure as trollers are finding great action both in the river arm and near the dam in the deepest waters in the lake. Bass fishing is best on the bottom with finesse techniques as the topwater and reaction bite has been slow.
Steve Marquette of the Lake McClure/Lake McSwain Recreation Company said, “I was on the lake three times this week trolling for rainbows, and we more than limited each trip as we are releasing everything at the side of the boat without using the net. Once you net a trout, they are all but dead. We are scoring at depths from 60 to 80 feet with Speedy Shiners, silver Needlefish, blade/’crawler combinations, or Wedding Rings tipped with a nightcrawler behind a dodger. There are still large fish out here, and we are averaging rainbows in the 2- to 3-pound range. Bank fishing has slowed, but there is the occasional rainbow taken in the early mornings or late afternoons into the evenings with trout dough bait or nightcrawlers.”
For bass, Ryan Cook of Ryan Cook’s Fishing said, “The water is dropping fast, and the bass are suspending. We are finding our best action from 25 to 50 feet with jigs in brown/purple with a green pumpkin trailer or plastics in Margarita Mutilator or Morning Dawn on the drop-shot. The trout trollers are loading up near the dam in the deep water.”
Don Pedro remains another option for rainbows with similar lures in the 50 to 70-foot range.
McClure dropped from 82 to 79 percent.
Lake Pardee is the only Mother Lode reservoir currently planting rainbow trout due to the cooler water coming out of the upper Mokelumne River watershed, and although a plant didn’t occur this week, there will be a few more 1000-pound plants of rainbows in the 1- to 3-pound range from the Mt. Lassen Hatchery. Nearby Lake Camanche and Amador will start their trout plants in late October while Pardee will close for the winter from November 3, 2019 to February 13, 2020. Bass fishing has been decent at Pardee, and there have been more bass fishermen targeting the lake as the water starts to cool.
The Rocky River Recreation Company has released 37,000 pounds of rainbows into the lake since the February 2019 opener. A catfish plant is also scheduled for Pardee in the coming weeks. Rainbow trout are taken by trollers working the south end of the lake near the river mouth at depths to 40 feet with Speedy Shiners or similar lures.
Chris Lonicki of Auburn was on Pardee over the weekend, and he caught and released 15 bass to 4 pounds with the majority in the 2.5-pound range. He was using plastics on a Texas-rig along with squarebill crankbaits in the coves in the mornings before moving out into deeper water with shade by mid-morning for drop-shotting.
Pardee is at 97 percent.
The trout bite remains good with Speedy Shiners at 3.5 mph in the main lake at depths from 55 to 80 feet. The bass bite continues to improve, but the fish remain scattered at depths to 50 feet with plastics on the shakey head or drop-shot along with jigs or small swimbaits on an underspin. The recent hot spells have brought out the recreational boaters on the weekends. The lake dropped slightly to 85 percent. A fundraiser tournament for Autism Speaks will occur on November 2nd with a 50% payback – contact Michaela Schimgdall at (209) 603-5258.
Recreational boating was heavy once again on the weekends with the recent hot spell, but bass fishermen are starting to arrive once again and stay longer at the lake. Andrew Schmigdall of Lake Camanche Village found a solid jig bite with Wicked Weights jigs over the weekend a week after catching and releasing at huge largemouth 14.71 pounds on the jig. A few trollers are working over the holdover rainbows at depths from 40 to 60 feet near the dam over the main river channel with Speedy Shiners, but more trout plants are on the way starting in late October. Catfish are found from the banks with nightcrawlers, cut baits, or chicken livers from the shorelines near the campground or up the river arm. The lake held at 86 percent.
Minimal change with no trout plants occurring recently or are on the horizon. A few rainbows are taken from the banks in the early mornings or late evenings with trout dough bait or nightcrawlers. The annual Merced Irrigation Fall Trout Derby scheduled for October 4/5th has been cancelled for this year
It was as a light switch went off with a major slowdown in kokanee fishing at Shaver Lake, right after the annual Kokanee Power Team Derby. The September 7th Derby was won by the husband/wife team of Kevin and Karla Smith of San Mateo with a three-fish limit of 57.60 ounces with a big fish at 20.40 ounces. Nathaniel Lenerd of Elk Grove took first place in the junior division with a one-fish limit at 17.35 ounces.
Dick Nichols of Dick’s Fishing Charters, said, “After a fantastic kokanee season, fishing has turned into a disaster at Shaver Lake as we are experiencing a drastic slowdown with the kokanee in pre-spawn mode. Up until the past week, we have been collecting multiple limits of kokanee, but during the current week, you had to work very hard for 3 to 5 fish. Veteran Shaver regular and Edison campground host, Craig Davidson, didn’t get a single bite on Friday. At this time of year, I count on the rainbow trout action in Stevenson Bay, but we haven’t had anything going there for the past two weeks. The few kokanee we have landed have come on orange or pink/white Tiger Mountain Hoochies tipped with scented corn behind a purple/silver Mountain Dodger at 33 to 100 feet as there is no consistency in the location, depth, or time of day. I have warned all of the clients on the books in the coming months, but it seems that they still want to fish. We landed 5 on our last trip, and Jared and Manny Romero of Madera, regulars on the lake, worked hard for five kokanee with two of them being next year’s fish.”
Todd Wittwer of Kokanee.net Guide Service said, “The kokanee have not been schooling up like they should, and you can pick up a couple in the early morning before the sun hits the water. We see them on the bottom, but they aren’t schooling up like they have in the past. You can pull everything through them and even jig for the fish on the bottom, but it doesn’t really matter since they aren’t biting. We couldn’t get anything to touch the lures. I will be back out again this week to see if we can get them to go because perhaps the full moon has been the deterrent.”
Shaver dropped from 83 to 81 percent.
Eastman Reservoir continues to be the top largemouth bass lake in the Fresno-area as the water releases have been far less than at Pine Flat or Millerton. The largemouth bass are eating when you get a lure in front of their face, and a variety of techniques have been effective. Eastman is California’s first trophy bass fishery, and a single largemouth with a minimum length of 22 inches may be taken per day with all smaller bass to be released back into the lake.
Jake Figgs of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “There is a good bite for largemouth bass in the 1.5- to 2-pound range, and you can find some larger fish to 3 pounds with jigs, deep-diving crankbaits, or Trick Worms throughout the lake. The bass are holding on the rocks and near structure.”
Steve Newman of Valley Rod and Gun said, “Eastman remains very good as the largemouth will eat when you get the lure in front of their face. Karen Newman from our shop was out this past week, and she caught and released a 4.5-pound bass on a spinnerbait with the smaller fish holding from 20 feet to the bank in the morning before moving out into deeper water off of the shoreline. Swimbaits grinded along the bottom such as a 4.5-inch Kei Techs are working along with large Senkos over the rockpiles. There is a crankbait bite in the evenings along the dam as the rocks deflect the full moon and attract baitfish. The bass are moving in to swoop up on the bait, and deep-diving crankbaits such as Strike King’s XD 6’s in Blue Backed Herring are working against the rip rap at depths to 20 feet. The key is to keep the lure close to the rocks.”
At nearby Hensley, Newman reported similar techniques are working at Eastman as the algae bloom is dissipating. Big Senkos, worms, and jig along with small swimbaits are working best when dragged slowly across the bottom.”
Eastman dropped from 53 to 50 percent with Hensley also receding from 43 to 40 percent.
San Luis Reservoir
San Luis Reservoir remains plagued by a blue-green toxic algae bloom, but the striped bass are starting to chase the bait into the coves and the shorelines.
Steve Newman of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “In the main lake, the action has been pretty good for striped bass as we have kayakers chasing the boils with topwater lures or big 7-inch Flukes in Smokin’ Shad. Many of the bank fishermen are using one rod to soak bait while the other rod is ready to throw jerkbaits or topwater lures once the stripers start boiling on the surface. There have been some nice limits taken recently.”
Roger George of Roger’s Guide Service out of Fresno caught and released another huge striped bass at 43 inches and 30.02 pounds on a Lucky Craft Pointer on the downrigger this week, and he has caught and released several huge stripers over the past six weeks. He said, “The blue-green algae continues to grow on the surface, but the striper bite is erupting as the linesides are corralling minnow schools. The water temperatures are at 72 degrees, but the longer and cooler nights are beginning to change things into a fall pattern. It looks like the fish are moving into the shorelines when I scouted the lake this past week as I saw fish on top in Portuguese Cove and several other coves both early and late. The full moon really affected the trolling bite with a number of suspended fish not wanting to cooperate. The overall troll bite has slowed for most everyone I talk to, and I began seeing some change around noon when the fish began a slow bite. I’ve found that full moon periods are really tough, and this was not exception, but sometimes you can get a big one if you keep after it. Around noon, I got hit at 70 feet on the downrigger in Portuguese Cove, and the fish took off on a screaming run. At 43 inches and 30.02 pounds, it was a very fat fish, and I took a quick picture with my camera mount before releasing the fish at 70 feet on the Seaqulizer. You have to work fast in the hot surface water to get them back down, and I got a few other school fish, but things are changing rapidly.”
The Basalt launch ramp is in good shape, and the water level is stable, but water releases should begin soon.
In the O’Neill Forebay, Jason Cureselli of Coyote Bait and Tackle said, “The O’Neill Forebay has been slow overall, but the best action is at night with frozen baits or live anchovies. The action should get better as we move into the fall.” San Luis held at 60 percent.
This lake hasn’t been living up to its name for bass as there have been few reports, but there is decent kokanee action with limits for experienced trollers. Steve Peckham, owner of Affordable Tackle, was out with Rod and Terry Brown for limits of kokanee to 16.5 inches trolling the center of the lake from Miller’s Landing to the Sheriff’s Tower at 35 to 45 feet in depth with Affordable Tackle’s UV Pink Fade Mini Hoochie and Pink Spin-N-Glow Spinners behind a 4.4 -inch Sierra Holographic Flasher worked well on this trip. Todd Wittwer of Kokanee.net Guide Service was out with Mike Beighey of Bass Lake Fishing on Thursday, and they posted limits of kokanee to 17.5 inches working Father Murphy’s bugs solo along with Radical Glow Tubes at depths from 35 to 40 feet near the Sheriff’s Tower. The Department of Fish and Wildlife planted 50,000 kokanee fingerlings this year for the future. The Sheriff’s Motor Fee is enforced on a year-round basis now. A webcam of the lake is available at basslakeca.com/index.php. The lake held at 95 percent.
Kelly Brewer of the Wishon RV Park and Store said, “I haven’t seen it this good for a long time as easy limits have been the rule for both bank fishermen and trollers.” Boaters are working Wedding Rings tipped with a nightcrawler behind a dodger, Needlefish, or similar spoons in front of the dam and along the rockwall at depths from 10 to 15 feet for quick limits. Shore fishermen are scoring at the mouth of Short Hair Creek, the dam, and the boat launch with inflated nightcrawlers or trout dough bait. The lake level is fluctuating for power generation. A trout plant is scheduled for this week.