LAKES



Quail Point Hunting Club and Sporting Clays
 

September 24, 2018    Headlines

Foothill & Mountain Lakes

Highway 4 corridor
Lakes Alpine and Spicer are the top locations for rainbow trout on the Highway 4 corridor, and as the water continues to cool, the rainbows will be coming closer and closer to the surface. Spicer is now open to boat traffic after being closed to boat traffic for several weeks.
Bill Reynolds of Ebbetts Pass Sporting Goods in Arnold said, “The water levels at Alpine are too low to launch a boat right now, but boaters can hand carry a canoe, kayak, or small aluminum boat to the shorelines. Bait casters are scoring with Power Eggs, garlic trout dough bait, Mice Tails, or nightcrawlers with a marshmallow. Lure fishermen are tossing Kastmasters, Panther Martins, Roostertails, or Thomas Buoyants while the small boats are trolling Needlefish, Wedding Rings tipped with a nightcrawler behind a dodger, Apex lures, or Cripplures for rainbows from the recent plant. Alpine always has the largest grade of rainbow in the Highway 4 corridor.”
At nearby Spicer, trollers are pulling similar lures to Alpine for the smaller planters while shore anglers are using trout dough bait, Mice Tails, or Power Eggs with limited success. Spicer is a better location for trolling as shore angling is more of a challenge.
The local lake of White Pines is very low with recent water releases down San Antonio Creek into the Calaveras River watershed, and trout fishing remains slow with the exception of the early mornings or late evenings. A long leader is necessary with the heavy weed growth.
New Melones is transitioning into a fall pattern as the water continues to cool down, and although there aren’t many rainbow trout being landed, the few than are showing up are trophies. Bass fishing remains best with finesse techniques, but the shad are starting to ball up into tight schools with unlimited action in the bait balls with small swimbaits or plastics on the drop-shot.

New Melones
The huge rainbow trout that have been landed at New Melones continue to come in drips and drabs, and this week was no exception with Mark Armanini of Boulder Creek landing a 9-pound rainbow trout near the spillway at 85 feet. The rainbow trout are scarce, but they are bite, and as the water temperatures cool, the action for the larger fish should improve. Larger spoons at depths from 60 to 100 feet are working best for the occasional trophy rainbows, but the fish will be moving up within the next month, eventually rising to the surface when the lake turns over by mid-November.
For largemouth and spotted bass, the topwater bite remains slow, but the shad schools are forming with the slightly cooler water temperatures. The bass are transitioning from a summer to fall pattern, and the bite will improve with the temperatures dropping. Plastics on the drop-shot or small swimbaits in shad patterns have produced numbers of bass while the larger grade can be taken in the warmer waters of the afternoons in the shallows with crankbaits or jerkbaits.
New Melones is known for trophy catfish, and the registration for the Glory Hole Sports Catfish Contest beginning October 1st and lasting throughout the month has started with only a few more spots left. Glory Hole has added a ‘Big Cat Pot,’ and the first 12-pound catfish to the shop wins the pot. Crappie can still be found around the marina cove with live minnows or small minijigs around structure.
The lake dropped slightly to 75 percent.

Lake Pardee
After months of trout plants in excess of 44,000 pounds since the February opener, a catfish plant will occur this week on Thursday. Trout fishing remains solid for bank anglers, and as the waters continue to cool down, shore fishermen should continue to find action until the lake closes for the current season on November 4th.
Robbie Dunham of Koke Machine Guide Service went to Pardee this week in search of kokanee and rainbow trout, and he found a limit of rainbows on the south end of the lake with Speedy Shiners at depths from 35 to 45 feet. He said, “I wanted to do some jigging for kokanee so I headed back to the Orange Ball upriver at Deer Island, and I saw a few marks but nothing really schooled up. As a result, Ikept going to Indian Head and saw a few more marks and dropped down a jig at depths from 100 to 140 feet and jigged around for a while with no takers. Finding nothing on the jig, I trolled back to the mouth with my favorite Apex lure at depths from 100 to 110 feet back to the mouth for three kokanee in the 15-inch range. Two of the kokanee were female with one male, and boy did he have some teeth. I called it a day, and it looks like I will be done for Pardee this year in order to target king salmon in the river.”
The Woodpile or Rainbow Point remain the top locations for bank fishermen with Power Eggs, trout dough bait with garlic, or nightcrawlers. Bass fishing remains good with plastics in green or purple on the drop-shot at depths from 10 to 30 feet in both the main lake and up the river arm for both smallmouth and largemouth bass.
Pardee held at 97 percent.

Don Pedro
Rainbow trout remain the top species at the lake with the normal offerings of lures such as silver/blue Kastmasters, Needlefish, Apex lures, or Cripplures at depths to 70 feet. The kokanee are in full spawn mode, and few fishermen are targeting the landlocked salmon. Bass fishing continues to be slow, but the bait should be schooling up soon as the water temperatures continue to cool. Boat traffic is down to a minimum despite the recent hot spell. The lake dropped to 75 percent.

Lake Amador
The Tackle Box café will reopen on October 26, but the store is open for tackle, refreshments, and cold sandwiches. Fishing is slow with the recent hot weather, but trout plants will start in October with 1200 pounds 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 lake is 22 feet from full.

Lake Camanche
Beau Courtroul of the Lake Camanche Recreation Company said, “Bass fishing remains slow with no consistent pattern as the fish are found deep one day and much shallower the following day. I have found the bass in the shallows one day with crankbaits or umbrella rigs, but when the sun comes up, the bite dies. Other days, I find them as deep as 35 feet with Brush Hogs, and on other days, they are in the mid-level anywhere from 8 to 35 feet.” The recent hot spell as brought back the recreational boaters, but soon, the bass and trout fishing armada will hold center stage on the lake. The Lodi High School Bass Team is holding a high school event at the lake on October 21st with a $25.00 entry fee. Trout plants from the Mt. Lassen Hatchery will start as soon as the overall water temperatures cool. The lake held 83 percent.

Steve Marquette of the Lakes McClure/McSwain Recreational Company said, “Bass fishing has been good all year long, and Darren Peters of Merced landed an 11-pound largemouth bass on a dark colored plastics on a Texas-rig. Catfishing remains outstanding with a variety of baits, and the catfishing is as good as it has ever been here.” Mike Gomez of the Bait Barn in Waterford pre-fished the lake recently, and he said, “We found a solid topwater bite with River2Sea Swavers on Saturday morning, and we followed up with ripbaits before working the bottom with Berserk’s jigs on a 3/8th or 1/4th oz. jig head. The Berserk Purple Hornet or brown/purple are both working, and there are some areas where the bass want a fast fall and others when they just want it shaking on the bottom. I chose the size of the weight depending on what the bass show us they want. Sunday was completely different as the reaction bite was dead with the cold morning, and we had to go to the bottom right away at depths from 10 to 30 feet so the bass are moving up. They were on the banks in 3 to 6 feet of water on Saturday morning. There is shad all over the lake, and the bass move out into open water with the water dropping and the shad moving out.  The surface temperature is still in the 74 to 76-degree range. The lake dropped to 62 percent.

Lake McSwain
Trout fishing was slow over the past weekend with half of the lake dominated by the annual model airplane regatta, but a few anglers continued to find planted rainbows with Roostertails, nightcrawlers, or trout dough bait. Trout plants will occur around every three weeks, and the annual Merced Irrigation District’s Fall Trout Derby is scheduled for October 7th, and there will be trout plants prior to the derby.

Shaver Lake
Rainbow trout are taking center stage at Shaver Lake, but this doesn’t mean the kokanee are gone for the season. After a summer filled with tremendous kokanee fishing for the most part, the landlocked salmon are still showing up for those targeting the species. The kokanee are well on their way to the attempt to spawn, changing colors, absorbing their scales, and hooked jaws.
Dick Nichols of Dick’s Fishing Charters said, “The kokanee bite was a little slow earlier in the week, but on Saturday, our boat picked up 11 kokanee near the point and in front of the Shaver Marina at depths from 36 to 42 feet with orange Mountain hoochies tipped with scented corn behind a Mountain dodger. With the late season fish needing some encouragement, my ball trolls have been the key to catching fish, and all of our kokanee on recent trips have been taken on the downriggers near the ball trolls. I have been scoring up to 4 limits of rainbows on recent trips, but after my clients didn’t arrive on Saturday, I fished exclusively for kokanee, releasing a pair of limits. The trout bite is very good in the Tunnel Creek area, and the bite should hold up for a while even though the water level has risen around 10 feet. The rainbows are loaded with insects coming down Tunnel Creek and off of the shorelines, and we have been scoring with Dick’s Trout Busters tipped with a piece of nightcrawler and corn behind a Mountain Flasher at depths from 4 to 24 feet. The rainbows are much closer to the surface now that they are feeding on insects.”
The kokanee are clearly on their way out for the season with less than a week or two of good action, but as the water continues to cool up to the upcoming winter storms, the rainbows will come closer and closer to the surface. The lake rose to 88 percent.

San Luis Reservoir
Striped bass are taking center stage at the main San Luis Reservoir, and with recent landings of big fish, more and more boat and bank fishermen are heading over to the lake.
Roger George of Roger’s Guide Service continued his hot streak for big striped bass with a 22-pound lineside on Saturday, his 12th fish between 12 to 32 pounds landed since early August. He said, “I have been working hard the past two years, experimenting with various techniques and scouting, and it is like I have developed the key to the lock. It's been a combination of not only developing new techniques, but the addition of different products, equipment and concepts to the mix. During the past several weeks, I put this to the acid test with several guests during some of the worst fishing conditions of the year. The temperatures were often near-100 degrees and at times the whitecaps were out in full force. Many fishermen are struggling to catch a few small fish, we have not only consistently been catching good numbers of quality fish, but also landing bragging-size trophies on a regular basis. In each of these trips, there were usually more than 30 fish caught, going from the small “schoolie size” up to the nicer fish in the 7-plus pound range in addition to the bigger fish. You can never guarantee catching fish when you go fishing—that is the mystique and lure that attracts all of us as fishermen. San Luis is notorious for windy conditions but our last few weeks of extraordinary catches was accomplished during a time the “experts” would tell you: “don’t bother to go! You’ll be lucky to catch a few small ones!” Even I would have told you that before I made this extraordinary breakthrough. Since the word has gotten out of our big fish, I have been inundated with requests to guide, but I will only be guiding three days per week. The really exciting news is that we are just going into the hot fishing time of the year and who knows what might get pulled into out boat during the next several months. The stripers are feeding on shad in deep water from 40- to 70- feet, and we are running silver lures in the 4- to 5-inch range to match the size of the shad.”
George will be conducting seminars on downrigging, sonar, lures and tips on Oct. 20 at the Striperfest at Sportsman’s Warehouse in Fresno. Local guru Edd Allen will also be doing a seminar on using and setting up your sonar. Pre-registration at the store is encouraged for limited seating.
Steve Newman of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “There has been some solid action for kayakers, bank fishermen, and trollers, but the wind has limited the kayak fishermen. There has been some boil activity, and the sales of flukes and topwater lures such as flukes are going up as the stripers are starting to chase. Anchovies and sardines are also popular for anglers sitting on the banks.”
Coyote Bait and Tackle reported trollers are working P-Line Predator Minnows or umbrella rigs at depths from 80 to 100 feet while shore fishermen are soaking extra-large or jumbo minnows along with tossing Magnum Flukes from Dinosaur Point or the Basalt Recreation Area.
The main lake rose to 53 percent with increased pumping out of the south Delta.



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