Jeff Goodwin of Jeff Goodwin’s Guide Service found good action for an easy limits of trout consisting of browns and rainbows.
Alan Fong of the Fishermen’s Warehouse in Sacramento reported great action for catfish, trout, and bass at 50 to 65 feet in the main lake around the Big Island with small spoons. The fish are moving north, and they will follow the shad schools towards the main inflow in Putah Creek in the northern portion of the lake.”
The reopening of the Lake Amador Hatchery is bringing new life to this small Mother Lode impoundment as the ‘Amabows’ are back in the lake. These are their own unique cutbows, Donaldson steelhead, and even golden rainbows raised in the on-site hatchery. It has been a few years since the hatchery has been in operation due to low water conditions, but the past two years of normal or above normal precipitation has allowed for the reopening of the hatchery. The hatchery will be raising their own Lightning trout which are a variation of a rainbow trout as golden eggs are in the process of coming to the hatchery.
The Lightning or golden rainbow trout were developed in West Virginia starting in 1949 from 10,000 original rainbow trout from a California strain from the White Sulphur Springs Federal Hatchery. These fish were bred over the years to create a brood stock that went on to produce a single embryo that started the golden stain. The Lightning trout have become popular in northern California lakes, and Amador has been stocking the Lightnings from the Mt. Lassen Hatchery for the past few years. Recently, nearby Lake Camanche has started to plant the variety in the South Shore Fishing Pond.
Amador’s concessionaires planted 500 pounds of their fish this week including 50 more tagged fish for the annual Trout Derby which started on November 23. The 50 tagged fish are part of a total of 300 tagged trout worth $5000 in cash or prizes during the three-month long derby.
The lake remains relatively clear despite the recent rains as it will be a few days before inflow arrives in Jackson Creek. The water temperature has remained around 67 degrees, but it should be dropping with the colder evening temperatures. The water is stained around the edges with some degree close to the shorelines. Shore fishing remains best with trout dough bait, nightcrawlers, or white crappie jigs under a bobber on light line, but there is some trolling action in the main lake and Jackson Creek. Joseph Dominguez of Turlock landed a 4.6-lb. tagged rainbow from the bank on trout dough bait.
Rainbow trout trolling has taken off at Don Pedro, and the rainbows have risen close to the surface despite the shad schools holding in deep water. The lake is getting ready to turn over, and the wintertime pattern of trout on the surface and bass in deep water is nearly complete.
Monte Smith of Gold Country Sport Fishing was on the lake with three clients on Sunday, and he said, “We had a great day with my clients landing 19 fish, keeping 14 rainbow trout, releasing a few smaller trout and three bass. We had a number of strikes that didn’t stick and also had a fish that broke us off, but we ended the day on a high note with a double hookup. Overall, it was an action-packed day. I think last week I was fishing below the schools at 22 to 35 feet, and I switched over to my custom shad-patterned spoons or Speedy Shiners at 3 to 5 colors on leadcore line. The water temperature is 58 degrees, and there is still good clarity at the lake. I think the lake is close to turning over especially if it keeps raining like this. It rained at the lake until midnight on Saturday evening although the valley was dry in the afternoon after a huge morning rainstorm. We are still finding success in open water, and we did find some shad schools this week, but they are deep. I am also seeing marks deeper, and these might be king salmon. I am looking forward to this coming summer as the plants of king salmon should be paying dividends.”
For bass, the best action remains in deeper water to 35 feet with finesse techniques of jigs or plastics in crawdad patterns. The lake rose slightly to 69 percent.
The annual Informative Fisherman’s IF-Mas at the South Shore of Lake Camanche was a big success despite heavy rain in the morning. The annual event normally brings out a few hundred to participate in the fishing contest for various species along with seminars and tackle give aways, but Saturday morning arrived with a heavy rainstorm, limiting the group to around 100 hardy anglers.
Kimball Lemaux of the Lake Camanche Recreation Company said, “There were around 100 people at If-Mas, but everyone was catching fish despite the rain. One group went bass fishing in the morning with one of the professionals at the event, and they came in to rent out bass boat to attempt to replicate the limit of bass landed in the morning. The event turned out well, and our café catered the event with Chili Colorado and chicken tacos. They were planning on a crowd over 200 hundred, but the rain must have been a hindrance.”
Trout plants at Lake Camanche continue with another 900 pounds of Mt. Lassen Hatchery rainbows split between the North Shore and South Shore Marinas with an additional 700 pounds of rainbows and 500 pounds of Lightning trout at the South Shore Pond. Since the introduction of the Lightning trout at the pond a few weeks ago, there has been increased interest in catching this species.
For bass, Alan Fong of the Fishermen’s Warehouse in Sacramento reported good action, but the fish are holding on the bottom with plastics or swimbaits on a slow roll.
Lake Camanche Recreation Company is also promoting ‘Campground for a Cause’ until December 20. A donation of non-perishable foods or a new unwrapped toy will result in a free night of camping or cottage stay for one paid night. Information available at 866-763-5121.
The lake rose slightly to 73 percent.
Not much change at McClure with few anglers out during a week of inclement weather. The finesse bite remains the best for a small grade of spotted bass to 3 pounds at depths from 35 to 45 feet. Jigs such as Berserk’s Purple Hornet or Sprayed Grass jigs along with Pro Worm’s 124p and 300 are effective as the bass are feeding on a combination of shad or crawdads. The lake rose to 57 percent.
A trout plant of 700 pounds spurred on the shoreline bite at the Brush Pile with trout dough bait in bright green or orange along with nightcrawler/marshmallow combinations. Limits were the rule within days of the plant. The lake is 4 to 5 feet from full as the water levels are stabilizing. Trollers are also getting in on the action in the river arm with Needlefish or silver/blue Kastmasters.
Bass fishing remains tough for most with the finesse bite continues to be the best bet at 35 to 45 feet. There is some action for quality spotted and largemouth bass with reaction baits such as umbrella rigs, glide baits, or rip baits. The turnover process is well on its way with the recent storms, and this week’s rain should help bring the trout to the surface and the bass into deeper water. The lake rose slightly to 74 percent.
San Luis Reservoir
San Luis Reservoir remains decent for striped bass fishermen, but the bank bite has slowed as the shorelines are extremely muddy along with the stripers moving into deeper water. With the stripers in deep water, trolling or live bait drifting remain the top techniques.
Steve Newman of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “The bite has been decent on both lakes, and it is better for numbers at the O’Neill Forebay. Fishing from the banks has been tough, and the recent rain will make it tougher as the fish move into deeper water. Trolling is best right now, but if you have a boat, you can pick work the shorelines when the stripers are pushing up bait in the mornings and evenings. Using shallow jerkbaits with rattles or big topwater poppers will be effective as the stripers are really keying on the shad schools. Successful fishermen are rotating color patterns between greens, blues, and Tennessee Shad depending on the time of day. 4- to 5-inch swimbait in Tennessee Shad are also working as the linesides are reacting to the swimbaits.”
Madison Borgia of Coyote Bait and Tackle in Morgan Hill confirmed the action in open water with larger swimbaits or drifting live jumbo minnows. She said, “There is a topwater bite in the mornings and evenings before the fish move out into deeper water. The forebay has been slower than the main lake with mostly smaller stripers off of Check 12, the Highway 33 Bridge, or the Highway 152 Bridge with pile worms, blood worms, or jumbo minnows. This is jumbo minnow time for the next few months.”
Roger George of Roger’s Guide Service is offering a class on Downrigging 101 for San Luis striped bass on Thursday, December 13 at the Fresno Sportsmen’s Warehouse from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. He will be covering downrigger basics, best lure selections and types, sonar tips, using maps, and key areas to fish. The class is limited to 25 participants with a fee of $50.00. Information - (559) 905-2954. The lake held at 58 percent despite increased water releases into the California Aqueduct.
The inclement weather kept boaters off of the lake during the past week, but Shaver does fish well between stores. Boaters have to be aware of the launch conditions, and a webcam of the Sierra Marina launch ramp is available at http://www.sierramarina.com/camera.html. The lake receded to 53 percent.