Camanche and Amador
Trout plants will begin at both Lake Camanche and Lake Amador within the next several weeks, and the plants will bolster the number of anglers arriving to the Mother Lode lakes. The water temperatures are cooling to the point where the plants are viable, and it is expected that Amador will be the first to receive fish by the end of October with Camanche’s plants within the same time frame.
At Amador, the water temperature is currently at 71 degrees with an oxygen content at 4 percent, and a combination of 70-degree water with an oxygen content of 6 percent is necessary for planting. 1200 pounds are expected by the end of October, followed by 4500 pounds in November, 5800 pounds in December, 6400 pounds in January, 6300 pounds in February, and 5600 pounds in March. For the first time in two years, the local hatchery will exclusively release the popular cutthroat/rainbow hydrids known as Donaldson trout. The small reservoir is currently 27 feet from full, but it is rising with 2 inches of water per day from cold-water Pardee.
Lake Camanche is also in the 71-degree range, and trout plants from the Mt. Lassen Hatchery will start arriving at the South Pond, South Shore launch ramp, and North Shore launch ramp.
Robbie Dunham of ‘Koke Machine’ Guide Service was on the lake on Sunday, and he said, “It was a really tough bite as the fish are scattered at depths from 25 to 60 feet. I did pick up a limit with the big fish at 3.9 pounds on Speedy Shiners with my best action at 35 to 45 feet. The trout were all over the main lake.”
The lake is a at 78 percent.
There was a persistent rumor earlier in the week about a 26-pound largemouth bass taken out of New Melones, but since there has been nothing more than a few comments about the huge fish on the internet, no proof has come forward. What we do know is that the spotted and largemouth bass are in transition requiring a finesse presentation for the best opportunity at success.
Mike Gomez of Berserk Baits fished the Christian Bass League tournament on Saturday at Melones, and he said, “It was a tough bite for my brother Mark and I with most of our fish taken at depths from 30 to 40 feet with either the Berserk Purple Hornet jigs or the Pro Worm 124p or 300. My brother was outfishing me by far with a shad-patterned Robo Worm, and we ended up with an 11.28-pound limit. I also landed a 6-pound rainbow trout on the 124p on the drop-shot, and we thought that we had a big kicker for our limit, but our hopes crashed when we saw the silver sides of the big trout. There are plenty of bass in the 1.25 to 1.75-pound range on the drop-shot. I threw topwater lures the previous week for three hours without a blow up, and on the tournament day, I threw the River2Sea Rover for another hour without success before I switched over to working the bottom. There are huge schools of shad in the lake, and we worked for 3 to 4 hours on one point that was holding a massive amount of baitfish. The water temperature has dropped to 66 degrees.”
Rainbow trout remain few and far between, but the action will improve as the trout move closer to the surface in the cooling water temperatures. Gomez’s rainbow at 30 feet is an indicator that the rainbows are moving up.
The Glory Hole Sports Annual Catfish Contest will continue throughout October with 40 contestants vying for over $1000.00 in raffle prizes available with the ‘Big Cat’ pot currently at $300.00.
The lake held at 74 percent.
Lake Pardee was the site of the Nor-Cal Trout Angler’s Challenge on Saturday, October 13th, and a good bite was expected due to the recent cool spell along with heavy planting throughout the season. However, the trout were less than cooperative on tournament day with the winning weight coming in at 2.88 pounds.
Sylva Rodgers of the Rocky River Recreation Company said, “The bite was tough on Saturday with a fish here and a fish there, and the most successful bank fishermen were using Power Eggs with a red Mice Tail on a three-foot leader. They didn’t want the entire tail, just a piece of the tail around a quarter. It was tough all over for both bank anglers and boaters, and we launched 33 boats during the tournament. Sunday was a different story as anglers reported taking limits off of the banks, and a school of trout has been coming into the area by the No Wake Buoys near the Narrows in the afternoons. Bass fishing remains strong with plastics on the drop-shot at depths from 10 to 30 feet, and the bass fishermen are ‘pulling them in left and right.’ Anglers have been looking for the smallmouth bass without success as most of the bass have been largemouths. We planted catfish a few weeks ago, but the catfish that are being caught are not from the plant as they in the 5-pound range. The best catfishing is the south end of the lake.”
Robbie Dunham of “Koke Machine’ Guide Service reported an awesome day of fishing with friends during the past week. He said, “It was one of those days where they wouldn’t stay on. After getting over 2o bites, we finally put number 10 in the box running Speedy Shiners running Speedy Shiners at depths from 30 to 45 feet.”
DON PEDRO — The trout bite has slowed with a few rainbows taken at depths from 30 to 56 feet. Travis Porter of Hollister reported tough rainbow action with only three trout, but he touted catfishing with shad or chicken livers for a dozen decent whiskerfish. Bass fishing has been best in deep water with finesse techniques as the topwater bite remains slow. Berserk’s Purple Hornet or brown/purple jigs along with Pro Worms 124 p on the drop-shot are producing from 30 to 50 feet. The lake dropped slightly to 73 percent.
The bass bite has remained the same with a tough reaction bite. There is a window for topwater lures such as the River2Sea Rover, but the bite dies once the sun hits the water. Jigs, plastics on the drop-shot or deep-diving shad patterned crankbaits are working at depths to 30 feet. The shad schools are thick, and the Berserk Purple Hornet or brown/purple jigs are producing in deeper water where the shad are holding as the bass are oriented to the bait fish. Catfishing remains good with chicken livers, cut baits, and nightcrawlers. The lake dropped to 58 percent.
Rainbow trout are still in the lake from the 23rd annual Merced Irrigation District’s Fall Trout Derby held earlier in the month, and the $2000 fish has not been located. Trout dough bait, nightcrawlers, Mice Tails, Roostertails, Panther Martins, and blue/silver Kastmasters will all working from the crowded banks over the weekend with trollers scoring with Needlefish up the river arm.
Shaver Lake is still producing 2nd-year kokanee in the 13- to 14-inch range along with the occasional dark-red 3rd- year reds. The appearance of next-year’s kokanee is a pleasant surprise, and trollers continue to target the kokanee. The trout bite has slowed to some degree, but a few limits are still possible for those targeting the planted rainbows in the lake’s inlets.
Todd Wittwer of Kokanee.net Guide Service is wrapping up his operation for the season within the next week, but he put his clients onto 4 limits of kokanee this week including three males to 15 inches. Wittwer continues to score with the Rocky Mountain Tackle’s orange squid behind an orange Moonshine dodger along with either the Assassin or Hornet spinners.
Dick Nichols of Dick’s Fishing Charters has closed his operation for the season, but he said, “Recent Shaver guide Tom Oliveira of Tulare spent his birthday with his friend Dr. Potter, and they picked up a two-limits of kokanee using Paulina Peak’s purple haze hoochies tipped with scented corn near the point from the surface down to 36 feet. Shaver regular, Craig Davidson of Selma, could only manage three kokanee on the same day as Oliveira, but good kokanee fishing should last through the remainder of October. Trout fishing has declined some, but the inlets are a good location for a limit or two as most of the planted and holdover rainbows are in the upper column of water near the surface. Trout Busters tipped with a nightcrawler are working for the rainbows, and the trout action should remain consistent near the inlets through November. The Boy Scout Cove is another good option for both kokanee and rainbow trout.”
With the winter season on the horizon, boaters can check the accessibility of the Sierra Marina launch ramp at http://www.sierramarina.com/camera.html.
The lake dropped slightly to 83 percent.
San Luis Reservoir
San Luis Reservoir has turned on for striped bass with a variety of techniques by trollers, live bait drifters, plug casters, and shore anglers soaking bait. The only limiting factor for boaters has been the wind, and the gusts were back hot and heavy on Sunday after several days of calm.
Steve Newman of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “It has been red hot for those throwing the larger swimbaits, Magnum Flukes, or topwater plugs in the early mornings and evenings. There are some boils starting to form, and anglers are throwing River2SWavers into the fray along with Atlas umbrella rigs and jerkbaits. Shore fishermen are also soaking bait in the evening hours and overnight, and grass shrimp, pile worms, blood worms, and shad are all effective baits.”
Coyote Bait in Morgan Hill confirmed the solid striper bite with a larger grade of linesides from 25 to 35 inches found on topwater plugs, jerkbaits, and Super Flukes while trollers are scoring with Atlas rigs or jerkbaits. Jumbo minnows and shad are the top shoreline baits.
Roger George of Roger’s Guide Service worked hard for 12 fish to 24 inches in big waves till they closed the lake at noon on a recent trip, and he said, “I fished the next day in better conditions with Marvin and Josh Adams of Elk Grove, and we hit a real good pattern early, catching and releasing over 50 quality fish in the 20- to 25-inch range. The fish were moving around to new areas after the storm and we found them in the 50- to 70-foot range on shad colored plugs. Things are definitely changing very quickly now.”
George will be conducting seminars on downrigging, sonar, lures and tips October 20th at the Striperfest at Sportsman’s Warehouse in Fresno.
In the O’Neill Forebay, Newman reported good action for a smaller grade of striped bass with Duo Realis jerkbaits in Sexy Shad, white, or white/foil around the moving water at the gates or the outside edge of the weed lines.
The main lake rose to 57 percent with increased pumping out of the south Delta.
Eastman remains the top location for largemouth bass in the Central Valley, and the combined effects of high water, the trophy-largemouth slot limit, and the closed zone up the river arm have recreated an outstanding fishery. Unlimited numbers of small spotted bass are available at Millerton with finesse techniques.
Steve Newman of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “Eastman remains really good with a wakebait bite in the evenings as the largemouth bass are keying on bluegill. Jigs in shallow water are also working along with Senkos around the brush piles. Flipping plastics along with reaction baits are also picking up bass, and the swimbait bite should get going soon. Right now, the bass are in the 4- to 5-pound range, but once the fall arrives in full swing with trout plants on the way, I expect that we will see double-digit largemouth bass caught and released on swimbaits. We were talking the other day in the shop, and Eastman has really bounced back the past couple of years after anglers stayed off of the lake for several years due to lower water levels, the previously-closed zone up the river arm, and the designation of one trophy largemouth bass over 22 inches. All of these factors have contributed to outstanding fishing starting this spring.”
Millerton is another option in the southern Central Valley with unlimited numbers of small spotted bass. A recent tournament winning weight was just over 11 pounds, and anglers have to go through numbers of 11/12-inch fish to find keepers over 13 inches. Newman said, “The main lake is holding the largest cut of fish, particularly along the Fresno side towards the dam with the exception of Winchell’s Cove which is another area producing consistently, Numbers are the story her, and finesse techniques of plastics on the drop-shot or Ned-rig along with Senkos fished weightless or on a Neko-rig are best at depths from 15 to 30 feet. We are starting to see a ripbait bite develop, and there are huge amounts of shad in the lake. Small 8-inch bass are chasing the 1.5-inch shad on the surface. The lake has remained stable for the past few weeks.”
Eastman held at 40 percent with Millerton also holding steady at 53 percent.