Trout plants have arrived in the Mother Lode lakes, and Lake Amador is now stocking their famed ‘cutbow’ species from their hatchery. Drought conditions kept the local hatchery from operation for a few years, but with high water over the past few years, the efforts of the Lake Amador Resort are paying dividends. After the initial test plant occurring last week, another 1000 pounds of cutbows were released this past week in 500-pound increments.
Lori Lockhart of the Lake Amador Resort said, “Mr. Lockhart would be pleased that his hatchery is back in operation as starting October 18th, we have put in a total of 1300 pounds of homegrown fish with most trout being cutbows along with a few Lightening trout mixed in. The trout are in the 2- to 5- pound range, and they have been schooling up along the launch ramp cove. We have seen quite a few landed on lures or Woolly Buggers this weekend, and there was a catfish at nearly 21 pounds taken this week on chicken livers and nightcrawlers. The shad population in the lake has exploded, and every night from 6:00 p.m. until dark, the boils are starting all over the lake with both the bass and the trout pushing up the bait. The bass fishing remains good as the water temperatures are holding steady in the 65- to 68-degree range. The crowds have been somewhat limited since we started planting, but around the Thankgiving week, we will have planted for five weeks and the fishermen will be lined up along the dam and the spillway.”
Denis Pajezetovic of Sacramento landed the big catfish at 20.26 pounds on a chicken liver/nightcrawler combination, and this is only the largest of a number of quality whiskerfish landed recently. The lake is 30 feet down despite inflow from Lake Pardee due to water releases.
4500 pounds of trout will be planted in November, 5800 pounds in December, 6400 pounds in January, 6300 pounds in February, and 5600 pounds in March, and it is possible that plants from the Mt. Lassen Hatchery will supplement the Lake Amador hatchery production.
The largemouth and spotted bass action at New Melones is in transition as the action has been limited overall for both numbers and quality. Experienced fishermen are working hard with the majority of action on the bottom, but with the arrival of colder weather, the bass should be moving into shallow water in the early mornings and evenings.
John Liechty of Xperience Fishing Guide Service said, “The bite has been OK with a few tougher days as the quantity of bass just hasn’t been there. We are catching and releasing from 20 to 30 bass per trip, but most of the fish are in the 1- to 2-pound range with a few over 3 pounds. After a great spring and summer, the fall bite has gotten tougher as the topwater bite just hasn’t been there. It feels like the topwater bite should be taking off, and we start each trip with throwing topwater lures for a while for one to two blowups, but the best action remains on the bottom as the fish are scattered from 5 to 70 feet in depth. My biggest spotted bass this week was 4.5 pounds, and it came at 70 feet with a piece of crawdad in its mouth. The shad are deep for the most part, but they are scattered out depending upon the location in the lake and where the wind is blowing. The bass have been feeding on 2-inch shad or crawdads, and jigs in green pumpkin or brown/orange are working best with trailers with a streak of orange or red. The fall and winter is generally my favorite time of the year to fish, but this hasn’t been a typical year. I am hoping for more cloud cover and colder weather as the bass should move into the shallows. The water temperature is still around 70 degrees, but there have been some locations in the 66- to 68-degree range on occasion. I did catch and release a largemouth bass at 7.65 pounds on an umbrella rig in deep water.”
The Glory Hole Sports Annual Catfish Contest will continue throughout October with 40 contestants vying for over $1000.00 in raffle prizes.
The lake is holding steady, but when water releases start, the Glory Hole Point side of the lake has the high ramp working until the lake elevation hits approximately 1025 feet. New Melones is currently at 1031 feet in elevation and 74 percent.
The long-awaited trout plants at Lake Camanche have begun, and 1200 pounds were released at the South Shore Pond along with both the North and South Shore launch ramps. Kimball Lemaux of the Lake Camanche Recreation Company said, “3600 pounds were released this week on Friday, and this was our official first plant of the season. The water temperature has dropped to 68 degrees, and this is the first of regular plants from the Mt. Lassen Hatchery through the winter and spring months into May. Everyone is just now catching on to the fact that we have planted rainbows, and our phone is starting to ring with questions about planting. Bass fishing is picking up with crankbaits, and one boat scored two limits using crankbaits by Little Hat Island. One of our regulars, Sherry Coviello of Lake Camanche Village, was out with her husband on their patio boat, and she caught and released a 9.43-pound largemouth on a nightcrawler. They generally spend a few nights on the lake on their patio boat, and she caught this fish early in the morning.”
Terry Willard of the Lake Camanche Recreation Company said, “Cooler weather and less recreational boaters are making for better fishing reports from anglers. Big catfish have been reported at the South Cove, bass are reported at areas with visible vegetation showing in low water areas, and trout have been reported at 40 to 60 feet in depth.”
The lake dropped from 76 to 74 percent with pulse flows down the Mokelumne River.
Bass fishing remains slow with the topwater bite nonexistent. The lake is starting to cool down, but it is still much warmer than normal for this time of year. The bass are found in deep water to 40 feet with plastics or jigs in natural colors as the fish are either feeding on crawdads or surrounding the shad schools. Berserk’s Purple Hornet or brown/purple jigs along with Pro Worms 124 p on the drop-shot have been most effective at depths from 20 to 40 feet. The Gold County Jr BASS Club is looking for a volunteer boater to take 2 kids fishing on November 4th at Don Pedro the Fleming Meadows Ramp. The Club will pay your way into the lake and $40 toward your fuel. If you can help please call 209-603-5258 please leave a message. The trout bite remains slow with few trollers targeting the lake. The lake dropped slightly to 70
The best bass reports in the Mother Lode are coming from this lake, and quality largemouth bass to 8 and 9 pounds reported. There is a topwater bite in the early mornings with lures such as River2Sea Rovers or Spooks. Once the sun hits the water, the bass drop in the water column, and jigs or plastics in natural colors are effective as both the largemouth and spotted bass are filling up on crawdads or shad. There is a tremendous amount of shad in the lake. Berserk’s Purple Hornet or brown/purple jigs, Pro Worm’s 124p, or deep-diving shad patterned crankbaits are all working at depths to 20 feet. Catfishing has slowed, but a few whiskerfish are taken with chicken livers, cut baits, and nightcrawlers. The lake dropped to 56 percent.
500 pounds of rainbow trout from the Calaveras Trout Farm were planted this week, and rainbows to 20 inches have been taken on broken-back Rapalas up the river arm. Lunker City’s minijigs in white along with white Roostertails, silver/blue Kastmasters, and nightcrawlers floated with a marshmallow are all working from the banks in the normal locations of the Brush Pile, the Handicapped Docks, and the peninsula along the marina.
The lake will close for the winter this coming Sunday, November 4th, and it will reopen during the second weekend of February. The lake held at 92 percent.
Shaver Lake remains the top location in the Central Sierra for rainbow trout and even kokanee, and although the bite has been sporadic for some, trollers are still able to locate limits of either species.
Dick Nichols of Dick’s Fishing Charters said, “With the full moon, Shaver Lake provided good results for some anglers and not-so-good results for others. My good friend, Craig Davidson, one of the Camp Edison hosts, keeps hitting the lottery with daily limits of mostly kokanee. He has been using Apex lures tipped with corn behind a silver dodger at 40 feet in depth, and he has been trolling in front of the Shaver Marina for mixed limits of 2nd- and 3rd- year kokanee. Sharon and Wally McElhinny of Tollhouse continue to locate limits, also using Apex lures behind an unweighted Mountain Flasher at 5 colors of leadcore, but not all anglers are providing such stellar report. Two trollers said they went fishless at Shaver, but they headed up the hill to Courtright for multiple limits of rainbow trout in the 13- to 14-inch range on blade/’crawler combinations. The weather has been beautiful up here in the mid-70’s throughout the week.”
At Huntington, Nichols reported some limits of rainbows are found near the inlets with trout dough bait in rainbow along with trollers finding trout and a few small kokanee with Trout Busters behind a Mountain Flasher near the dams and along the marina.
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 to 73 percent with Huntington also dropping to 64 percent.
San Luis Reservoir/O’Neill Forebay
San Luis Reservoir remains a go-to location for Central Valley and San Jose-area striper fishermen, and the shad schools continue to form and boils on a more frequent basis. The wind has been down for the most part, and boaters are having quality access to the lake.
Steve Newman of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “The striped bass bite remains really great, and there have been more and more boils forming in the evenings. Anglers are tossing topwater lures like Pencil Poppers into the boils in the low-light conditions. Bait fishing has been much slower than for those tossing lures, and live minnows and anchovies have been far less effective than ripbaits and topwater lures. The Ghost Minnow pattern has been particularly effective. Fishermen from our area have been heading out in the evenings on most days, and they are throwing rip baits. Trollers are working umbrella rigs like the Tacklebuilder’s Atlas Rig in white, green shad, or purple shad. The O’Neill Forebay is also now in play along with the California Aqueduct. Boils are forming in the aqueduct, and ripbaits or bigger lipless crankbaits are picking up keeper. The boils are not everywhere, but they are showing up frequently.”
Gavin Cowan of Coyote Bait and Tackle in Morgan Hill had a similar report with quality striped bass in the 25- to 35-inch range. He said, “There have been a lot of shad boils, and topwater lures, Super Flukes, and jerkbaits are all working from the shorelines. We have been selling a number of Atlas rigs, going into our third order due to popularity. The forebay has been good as well as the quality of the stripers have improved. A number of linesides in the 25- to 35-inch range have been caught on reaction baits, and there have even been stripers to 30 pounds taken recently on topwater lures.”
The bait bite has been slower, but anchovies, pile worms, or blood worms are still effective in the moving water.
The main lake rose to 59 percent with increased pumping out of the south Delta.
The lake is dropping, and the everyday environment is changing due to dropping and cooling water conditions. Few docks have water, and the fish are holding on the edges of drop offs with weightless Senkos or jigs. You have to get on top of the fish to get bit. Once the trout plants start, the swimbait bite should start, and fishermen are waiting for this to occur. The Sheriff’s boat is still making regular patrols, and with the Sheriff’s Tower out of commission, boaters have to purchase their Motor Fee at Miller’s, Ducey’s, or the Forks. The lake dropped to 67 percent.
Quality largemouth bass are possible with reaction baits such as wakebaits in bluegill patterns in the evening along with throwing deep crankbaits or lipless crankbaits on the dam. The Spro lipless crankbait in Ghost Shad worked off of the riprap along the dam or over island tops is effective. The Strike King XD6 is a good option over the island tops as it runs from 15 to 20 feet, and the bass are getting really aggressive. Anglers are starting to keep information to themselves in response to the upcoming RiverRat tournament. Catfishing remains slow. The lake held at 40 percent as water releases have dissipated.
The Wishon RV Park and Store closed on October 28, and fishermen need to be prepared with supplies when they come to either Wishon or Courtright. The dock is out of the water, but the launch ramp is still accessible with relatively easy launching. Blade/’crawler combinations along the far side of the lake are pulling out limits, and bank fishing is also best in the upper end of the lake with inflated nightcrawlers or trout dough bait. Limits of quality rainbows have been the rule.
At Courtright, trolling along the far side of the lake with blade/’crawler combinations, Speedy Shiners, or Needlefish at depths to 20 feet is producing limits of rainbows in the 13- to 14-inch range. Shore fishermen are scoring at the upper end of the lake with trout dough bait in chartreuse.