Troy Barr of T-Roy’s Guide Service went on the lake for an instructional trip on Saturday, He said, “We arrived to over cast windy weather, and we had to cover a lot of ground and then the sun came out around 9:00 a.m. and they started biting. We wound up with 9 kokanee, 1 eagle lake strain rainbow, and a bonus 25-pound catfish trolling from 15 to 27 feet deep,The majority of fish came on RMT blades in front of an Uncle Larry's spinner, but one came on a hoochie with Atlas Mike’s garlic, Herring & anise scent did the best. That big ole cat gave our Phenix 8ft Reaper kokanee rods a work out.”
Also at Berryessa, field reporter for Western Outdoor News, Andre Fontenot, went up solo on Saturday, and he scored a single kokanee and a limit of rainbows running Radical Glow Tubes with a Smile Blade along with custom beads.
Lake McClure continues to be the bright spot for Mother Lode bass anglers as numbers of spotted bass are jumping in the boat.
Ryan Cook of Ryan Cook’s Guide Service took out Mason Ferrulli of Ripon along with his father, Kyle, and another youth angler on Saturday to participate in the Gold Country Junior Bass Tournament, and the boys each weighed in a limit, culling another dozen or so fish each in the process. Cook said, “We got off to a less than ideal start as we launched without putting the plug in the boat, and after this fiasco was alleviated, I hit a log, shearing off one of the blades on the prop so we had to idle around the lake at 5 mph. The boys still caught fish, and we ended up on 2nd place which made up for the earlier challenges.”
Cook is organizing the upcoming ‘Fishing McClure for Mason’ at McClure on June 15th along with the Cen Cal Elite Bass Club and Mother Lode Kayak Fishing. The event will take place out of Barrett’s Cove South with an all-inclusive entry fee of $200.00 including Big Fish, and the tournament will be limited to 80 boats. In addition to the event, we are lining up a huge raffle, and there have been some big ticket items donated already including a AKC Labrador Retriever from Black Cloud Kennels, a rigged fishing kayak donated by Douglas Goodman through Headwaters Kayaks in Lodi, and a gun from Stage Stop in Atwater. We are looking for additional donations for the event, and information regarding registration or donations can be obtained through Cook at (559) 691-7008. Mason has had several surgeries and treatment for a brain tumor, but the fishing community has rallied for his support.
Mike Gomez of Berserk Baits said, “You can catch between 50 and 100 bass right now with plastics on the drop-shot, jigs, or 5-inch Senkos, and there is a good topwater bite in the mornings with the River2Sea Rover in either Powder or Bone. The bass can be found from the banks to 25 feet.”
Steve Marquette of the Lake McClure/McSwain Recreation Company reported shad boils near McClure Point in the mornings and evenings with the bass just gorging on the shad in 10 to 15 feet of water.
McClure has risen to 80 percent.
Lake Camanche rainbows
The trout plants at Lake Camanche may be over for the season, but the trout action is just getting started for trollers as the planted rainbows have migrated towards the deepest part of the lake near the dam.
The Central Valley Anglers out of Lodi held their annual Team Trout Derby on Saturday, and club spokesman, Ted Handel of Lodi, said, “Most teams trolled Speedy Shiners at depths from 22 to 40 feet, but one team scored with plastic grubs or worms. Jim Bennion and Jim Fox too first place with a 3-fish weight of 10.37 pounds including the big fish at 6.3 pounds with Stan Ita and Glenn Greenwell in second at 6.43 pounds, followed by Gary Patterson, Sid Miller, and Kreig Williams at 5.82 pounds.”
Jesse and Monique Hall of Elk Grove were also in the dam area on Saturday, and he said, “We were running Speedy Shiners in black/pink in a football field size area near the dam, and we had lots of action with a few doubles. Of course, my better half, Monique, scored the big fish of the day at just over 6 pounds.”
Monique Hall with Camanche Rainbow
Mark Watzke was out with this wife, Michele, on Saturday, and they found the trout to be scattered after picking up two rainbows right off of the bat. He said, “There were a dozen boats in the Central Valley Angler’s derby working a small area so we ventured off on our own, and it turned out to be a good decision since every fish landed was larger than the last one. Michele landed a 4.5 pounder which was our sixth fish, and we decided to call it a day with the jet skis and ski boats getting thick. However, as we were trolling back to the launch, rod 3 doubled over with the line screaming out, I thought I hooked bottom, but we were in 90 feet of water, and I turned my attention to see a huge trout bust the surface. We brought in the other lines and the downriggers as this fish wasn’t slowing down, and we ended up giving chase as I there was 390 feet of line out. Then, this fish stopped and came hauling back towards the boat and passed by us and tore out another 150 feet while I was really as fast as possible to keep the slack out of the line. Finally, the fish wore itself out, and Michele put the net under it. It was my personal best at Camanche at 9 pounds, 1 ounce.”
Robbie Dunham of Koke Machine Guide Service continues to put his clients onto great action with limits to 8 pound within the past week running Speedy Shiners at depths from 20 to 40 feet near the dam. Camanche held at 78 percent.
Lake Pardee/Don Pedro kokanee
Due to the cold water coming out of the upper Mokelumne River, trout plants continue at Lake Pardee, and 1000 pounds of rainbows were released into the lake this past week. As the water temperatures begin to warm up, kokanee action will improve, and Pardee will kick into high gear for kokanee during the months of June and July.
Kokanee to 16.5 inches have been taken in the main lake with a variety of kokanee gear including Paulina Peak’s Tackle in pinks. Trout fishing from the banks is best within the first few days of the plants as the rainbows are moving out quickly into the colder water of the main lake. The warmer temperatures will start the plankton blooms and provide feed for the kokanee, and it is not out of the realm of possibility that 18 inches plus is possible at Pardee this summer.
At Don Pedro, fat, healthy kokanee are also an option, and Monte Smith of Gold County Sport Fishing was on the lake on Sunday, and he said, “We had 11 kokanee by midday, and we had a triple hook up which was pretty exciting. The kokanee are fat and a few of them are just ounce shy of 2 pounds at 15 inches. They are just beautiful fish, but they are scattered at depths from 26 to 57 feet. I have been running small hoochies or Uncle Larry’s spinners behind Sling Blade, and with the kokanee scattered out, you have to stay with it. We weren’t targeting rainbows, but our first fish of the day was a trout.”
Pardee continues to spill over at 101 percent with Don Pedro also rising to 86 percent.
The water temperature has risen to 70 degrees, and there were no trout plants this past week as a result. The plants may resume in the future depending up on the water conditions. Trout fishing has been slow overall, but a number of quality rainbows and Lightning trout to 7 pounds have been brought into the Tackle Box Café. Crappie are moving into structure, and small minnows or minijigs are effective. Catifishing is improving with the warmer water conditions, and the largemouth bass are in all stages of spawning with most in post-spawn mode. The lake is two feet from full.
Bass fishing continues to be good, and largemouth bass to 10.42 pounds have been reported this week. Super Spooks or the ima Little Stick are effective topwater lures in the early mornings before pulling off to depths to 30 feet with Senkos on a wacky-rig or plastics on the drop-shot. The majority of bass are in post-spawn mode. The occasional large rainbow trout is taken by trollers, and kokanee are still a future endeavor with few reports of the landlocked salmon as of yet. Catfish are biting cut baits while crappie are moving into structure as the lake is balancing water releases with inflow, and it held at 80 percent.
Shaver Lake has received two plants of trophy rainbows within the past week, and bank fishing has been outstanding for those working the shoreline near the Sierra Marina with trout dough bait, Kastmasters, or nightcrawlers. Trolling for kokanee has also been very good for both rainbow trout, kokanee, and the occasional trophy brown trout.
Dick Nichols of Dick’s Fishing Charters and president of the Shaver Lake Trophy Trout Project said, “We released the first of our two plants this past week, and there will be another plant later in the season.
The funds for the plants are raised during our annual Sportsmen’s Dinner in August I opened my guide season on May 1, and what a way to begin my 14th season as Frank Hoffman and his brother, Don from Ohio, connected with 17 kokanee, two browns, and a trophy rainbow, keeping two limits of kokanee. The following day, Tom Frudden of Madera, caught and released two brown trout at 3 and 5 pounds along with releasing 20 kokanee to 16 inches. In the first five days of the season, we have caught or caught and released 112 kokanee and trout with the majority of fish landed between the Shaver Lake Marina, the island, and the Point at depths from the surface to 15 feet with the occasional fish landed as deep as 31 feet. My Mountain Hoochies in champagne pink, pink, or orange tipped with shoepeg corn scented with crayfish behind a purple/silver Mountain dodger have been working best along with a pink Koke Buster behind a pink Mountain dodger. The majority of kokanee are in the 11- to 13-inch range. Both trout and kokanee are relatively high in the water column right now, and the action should continue hear before they start to drop. It is currently a great time for boats to get out if they don’t have downriggers with the fish so high in the water column. The kokanee scattered on Sunday, and we worked from the Point to the island to Eagle Point as deep as 21 feet with the same gear for 4 limits of kokanee, releasing close to another 3 limits. The catchable trout are nowhere to be found, but we have been focusing upon kokanee.”
Todd Wittwer of Kokanee.net Guide Service is back at Shaver on a full-time basis for the summer months, and he said, “It has been easy picking with 16 kokanee in the boat before 9:00 a.m., and we have been scoring with the RMT Double Glow Hoochie in orange behind a 5.5-inch Sunburst Moonshine dodger, the pink Plankton Super Squid behind a Moonshine dodger, or the pearl white squid behind a white Tsunami dodger around 15 feet. We found a nice school near the Sierra Marina, and the kokanee bite is shaping up very nicely. The majority of kokanee are around 13 inches, and they may get up to 16 inches by the end of the season.” Shaver has climbed up to 64 percent.
San Luis Reservoir
San Luis Reservoir continues to release water, and the striped bass have scattered out in response. There is a shore bite in the early mornings or evenings with jerkbaits or topwater lures, but most anglers are starting to troll once again while targeting the linesides.
Roger George of Roger George Guide Service was out with Marco Vuicich of Fresno on a recent trip, and he said, “The bite was slow early until we found a group of active fish in the main lake holding at 50 to 70 feet, ending up with over 25 nice quality stripers in the 21-to 25-inch range trolling Lucky Crafts in minnow colors with the big fish at 8.5 pounds and an 11.5-pounds striper. These fish were both fat and healthy and released safely back into the water. Marco lost another one that was even larger. I’m hearing about skinnier fish, but I’m finding that the troll fish are bigger and heftier for some reason. The water temperatures are ranging from 66 to 68 degrees, and the algae is beginning to take off. The fish are moving to new areas since the water is now down 20 feet from the top and I’ve had to look around for the fish. There has been a good jerkbait bite in the early mornings, and there have been some bad wind days, and the one to watch out for is the one coming out of the northwest from Dinosaur Point. May is windy month at San Luis.”Steve Newman of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “We have been selling plenty of Duo Realis 120 jerkbaits in Ghost Minnow patterns along with bright chartreuse with pink for early morning jerkbait bite, and topwater lures are also working. We haven’t been selling much bait.”Mickey Clements of Coyote Bait and Tackle in Morgan Hill said, “It hasn’t been too hot and heavy at San Luis, but a number of anglers are trolling again. We are selling a lot of jumbo minnows and pile worms for shore fishermen. San Luis dropped to 83 percent of capacity.
Pine Flat remains one of the top lakes for spotted bass in the Central Valley, and the action has been stellar over the past few weeks.
Steve Newman of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “Pine Flat is our most productive lake in the area along with Millerton, and there are still some quality bass on the beds at Pine Flat, but most are in post-spawn mode. These fish are hanging out near drop offs, rock piles, and in open water near flats at depths from 15 to 25 feet, and they are eating and recovering from the spawn. Big plastics such as Trick Worms on Neko rig, larger Senkos, or shakey heads are working best in these transition areas. There are some reaction fish coming on underspins. The bass in the river arm are more post-spawn and transient, and jerkbaits, ripbaits, and squarebill crankbaits are working for the river bass. The crappie are becoming active around Trimmer, and they are holding under the trees or suspended. Anglers are using 2- to 3-inch swimbaits with a paddletail along ledges or over trees, and they are counting down around 5 to 7 counts before starting their retrieve. We haven’t been selling as many bobber stops in the past few weeks. Many of our crappie fishermen are heading south to Lake Isabella for numbers, and although the numbers are as impressive at Pine Flat, there have been some quality slabs. Carp are holding in the shallow, grassy areas in the rive arm, and this is a good time for bow hunters to target these huge carp which are as large as 25 to 30 pounds.”
Trout fishing has been slow for trollers with most area fishermen heading up the hill to Shaver Lake for rainbows. In the lower Kings River, the trout plants continue, and the shore action for planters has been good. Newman said, “Trout dough bait or salmon eggs are working best in the slower pocket water, but Kastmasters and Roostertails in ˝ to 3/4th ounces are picking up a larger grade of rainbow in the faster moving water.
Pine Flat climbed from 63 to 69 percent.
Clear Lake Sporting Goods in Lakeport reported an excellent crappie bite for both shore anglers and boaters with live minnows or minijigs with the State Park or the County Park being the top shoreline locations. The bass are in all stages of spawning with most yet to spawn due to the cold water. The bass are all in the shallows, and Senkos have been working best.
Hot Sheet Subscriber Rick Dozier said, “I went trolling on the North end of Berryessa at Putah Creek inlet last week, and the water was dead calm and pretty clear. I caught a nice 17-inch land locked salmon at the Brdge, who hit on a orange and gold castmaster. The other pole was dragging worms. and we caught a number of both large mouth and small mouth bass. The fish are shallow and close to shore. I graphed nothing out further in the lake. I saw lots of fish on the meter. I went back out later in the week and trolled the same areas for a very slow bite.
Tom and Davis Uslan of Clarksburg took a subsequent trip to Pyramid this weekend for more action for the big Lahanton cutthroat trout, and Davis struck again with this early morning specimen from the shorelines.
Andre Fontenot, field reporter for Western Outdoor News, scratched a species off of his bucket list with a trip to Union Valley Reservoir for mackinaw. He said, “After several hours without even a bump, losing gear to snags, I was ready to come home, then I started catching fish and my whole outlook changed. It’s tough fishing because I was constantly moving my downrigger up and down to prevent hang ups in the bottom. I found them trolling the southern portion of the lake, and my best came in at 25-inces/5.11 lbs. followed by 22inches/3.10 lbs.”
Lake McClure has been the bright spot in the Mother Lode for numbers of spotted bass, but the size has diminished within the past few weeks.
Ryan Cook of Ryan Cook’s Guide Service participated in the Saturday’s Stanislaus Consolidated Fire Fighters fundraising tournament, and he and his partner, octogenarian Don Longton, took second place with 13.91 pounds. He said, “We must have landed 120 bass with the largest around 2.5 pounds, and everything was on topwater lures such as the River2Sea Rover or the Super Spook. The lake is coming up quickly, and the bass are chasing the bluegill or shad fry into the shoreline and also into rocky structure. We are working the shad boils with the topwater lures, and the bite has been excellent for this grade of fish.”
Mike Gomez of Berserk Baits was also a participant in this derby, and he had a similar report with numbers of 1 to 1.5-pound bass, but the quality is lacking. He said, “We must have had 25 blowups on topwater lures in the morning with the River2Sea Rovers, but the fish were just slapping at the lures, knocking it 3 or 4 feet in the air. We weighed in three on the Rover with two more on the drop-shot. The lake is coming up, and the fish are all found at depths from 5 to 30 feet. The Berserk’s Sprayed Grass jigs has also been effective for numbers.”
Trout plants coming to a seasonal close at Camanche and Amador
The water temperatures have risen dramatically at Lake Camanche, and the seasonal trout plants may come to an end due to the water temperatures over 70 degrees. There will still be plenty of planted rainbows in the lake, but they will gravitate to the deepest water near the dam. At the nearby smaller impoundment of Lake Amador, 700 pounds of Lightning or rainbow trout were released into the middle of the lake this past week, but the trout plants may also end soon due to rising water temperatures.
Kimball Lemaux of the Lake Camanche Recreation Company said, “Our last plant was on the 18th, and we are working on a week-to-week basis right now depending upon the water temperature.”
Regular Camanche angler, Beau Courtroul, said, “The water temperature in the main lake jumped up 5 degrees this week to 75 degrees, and the trout bite in the South Pond has slowed with the rainbows moving out into the deepest part of the lake. Anglers are scoring with trout dough bait on a 3-foot leader under a water bobber in the deep water, and there have been some limits taken.”
Robbie Dunham of Koke Machine Guide Service will do some of his best work at Lake Camanche as the rainbows congregate in the deep water near the dam, and he took out John and Diana Stockton for three limits with the first six coming in the middle of the river channel. After making a move to the north wall by the dam, they were stuck at 14 rainbows for an hour and a half before finally picking up the final rainbow in the middle of the lake in open water.” Dunham was running Speedy Shiners at depths from 20 to 40 feet.
It is unclear if the trout plants will cease at Lake Amador, but the best action is coming from depths below 15 feet in the main lake as the coves have been heating up in response to the recent hot spell.
Camanche has risen to 78 percent.