Quail Point Hunting Club and Sporting Clays

April 25, 2017    Headlines

Foothill & Mountain Lakes

Collins Lake:
The CIFFI Collins Lake Trout Derby was a big success  with anglers finding plenty of rainbows in the top 20 feet of the water column with spoons such as Speedy Shiners. The heavy planting prior to the derby contributed to the angler’s success, and there were plenty of raffle prizes as always at these events.

Don Pedro:

The trout action is clearly worth making the trip to Don Pedro, and the bass and crappie bite remains solid. Monte Smith of Gold Country Sport Fishing was out for three days during the past week including his special trip for fast-trolling heavy spoons on Saturday.

Smith said, “It has been a pretty decent bite with rainbow trout to 19 inches taken during the week. We started out on Sunday trying for king salmon for a few hours, but after only receiving a single hit, my clients wanted to catch some of the rainbows that we found on Saturday. We ended up with 5 decent rainbows for a grandfather and his granddaughter as they only wanted to keep her limit. The water temperature was 62 degrees, and the rainbows have dropped to between 24 and 43 feet deep. I have been running my custom heavy spoons on downriggers in the main lake along the west side after launching out of Blue Oaks. The lake is dropping, but it is dropping slowly, and you do not even see a water line from the previous day. The water column is excellent as I could see my Shark weight on the downrigger 10 feet below the boat. There are king salmon on the meter at 100 feet or more but getting them to bite is another story. The best location for kings at this time of year is up the river arm out of Moccasin, but there is far too much debris up the river arm. The rainbows are so fat and chunky that you can’t even get your hands around a 15 to 16-inch fish. The trout are feeding heavily on shad, and they are spitting up whole or ground shad on the decks.”

Bass fishing is good with Pro Worms in 124p or 300 along with Berserk jigs, plastics on a shakey head, or Reaction Innovation’s underspins. Crappie are taken on minjigs or small to medium minnows near structure. 

The main lake is clear, but 40 acres of wood has accumulated in the river arm just downstream from the Ward’s Ferry Bridge, and crews are working hard to corral the wood behind a boom. In a normal year, the floating wood will make up only 1/4th of this year’s total. The submerged logs present a hazard to boaters in the river arm in addition to rafters coming down from the Tuolumne River arm. The huge trees are also a danger to the dam, powerhouse, and both spillways. The river arm will remain closed through mid-May when the lake will rise once again through the month of June.  The lake is currently at 83 percent and 800.64 feet in elevation, dropping 30 feet since the spillway was placed into service several weeks ago. Bonds Flat Road remains closed indefinitely.

Lake McClure:

Lake McClure is hosting the two-day Merced Irrigation Derby Spring Trout Derby this weekend on April 29 and 30 at Barretts Cove Marina, and registration for the event is free. The spring trout derby is normally held at Lake McSwain, but with high water releases out of McClure this spring, the derby has been relocated to McClure. Forms can be completed at any time during the weekend or printed off from No registration is required in advance, nor will it be accepted prior to the weekend of the Derby. Prizes from $25 to $500 will be paid for the largest and also for tagged rainbow trout.

Participants are advised to make camping reservations for the weekend by calling 1-855-800-2267 or online at the Lake McClure website.

 The Merced Irrigation District reported planted trout have been tagged with $25,$50, and $100 tags, and there are also cash prizes for the five largest trout ranging from $50 to $500. The Derby starts at 7:00 a.m. on Saturday and will conclude at noon on Sunday with all fish requiring weigh-in at the Barretts Cove Marina. There are still four gold-tagged rainbows remaining in the lake, and these fish are worth $500.00. There will also be a prize drawing with tickets selling for $1 or 25 for $20, and the drawing will be held on Sunday at the marina.

The bass bite remains solid with Pro Worms in 124p, 266, or 300 at depths to 35 feet along with River2Sea SWavers in light trout. Finding slightly warmer water is a key as the bait is holding in the warmer pockets.  McClure will be hosting two club bass tournaments over the next five weeks.

The lake is at 66 percent, and water releases will no longer be directed by the US Army Corps of Engineers as the lake is at 67 percent of capacity or below. The launch ramps at Barretts Cove South and McClure Point are open. 

Lake Pardee:

Kokanee are starting to emerge at Lake Pardee, and trollers are beginning to find more and more of the land-locked salmon in the main lake and up the river arm. Bass are on beds in the shallows, and the weekly 3000-pound trout plants are keeping bank fishermen and trollers happy.

Kaitlyn McCroskey of the Pardee Recreation Company said, “Pardee regular Jeff Geiszler with his side kick Hannah and friend Tony Benzinger put in 20 kokanee and 2 rainbow trout using a modified Apex lure at depths from the surface to 20 feet.”

Joe Askamit of Joefish Guide Service took out Jenlaine Matt during the week, and they scored 15 kokanee and 4 rainbow trout with the best action on the new Rocky Mountain Tackle pink Cotton Candy Plankton Squids behind a watermelon Tsunami dodger.” The kokanee bite should be excellent by the time of the annual Kokanee Power’s Team Tournament on June 3.

For rainbow trout, McCroskey said, “We released another 3000 pounds on Friday, and we will be releasing more fish than anticipated with a total of close to 60,000 pounds from the Mokelumne River Hatchery. The weekly releases will continue until the first or second weekend of June. Bank fishermen are scoring with trout dough bait, nightcrawlers, or grubs near the Stony Creek Landing or Blue Heron Point. Trollers are working the main lake from the Narrows to the south end, and the mouth of the river arm is the most popular location. Spinners, spoons, or nightcrawlers behind a shiny flasher at depths from the surface to 35 feet are working. The water clarity has definitely improved, and the bass are on the beds. Senkos and swimbaits are best for the smallmouth and largemouth bass. We haven’t heard any complaints regarding the amount of debris coming from the river arm so it must be clearing up.”

The lake is currently at 94 percent and dropping slowly to accommodate the push of snowmelt expected within the next few weeks. The café is now open on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

LAKE AMADOR The water clarity has improved, and the planted rainbows are holding close to the surface and the shoreline with bank fishermen scoring with Kastmasters, Mice Tails, trout dough bait, or nightcrawlers from the Boat House Docks to the spillway. Heavy plants will occur prior to this Saturday’s Nor-Cal Trout Angler’s Challenge. 1200 pounds of rainbows were released this week. The bass are holding in the shallows in various stages of the spawn. The 2nd Annual Carp Bow tournament is coming within the next month.

New Hogan:

Striped bass are starting to get active for trollers pulling frozen shad, sardines, or anchovies on a harness rig. The lake is slightly stained from the recent inflow, but it is clearing steadily. The lake remains high at 76 percent.

New Melones:
Kokanee have yet to appear, but it is just a matter of time as warm weather is needed to start up the plankton bloom. Trout fishing has been best for trollers working around the mouth of Angels Creek with blade/crawler combinations, kokanee gear, or brightly-colored spoons, spinners, or plugs. The bass bite remains good with soft plastics, spinnerbaits, chatterbaits, or crankbaits in bluegill patterns as the bass have moved into the shorelines. Crappie fishing is good around flooded vegetation with minijigs or live minnows under a slip-float dodger. Catfishing continues to improve around submerged rocks with frozen shad, anchovies, sardines, or a ball of nightcrawlers coated with scent. The lake has risen to 82 percent and 1049.98 feet in elevation.

Pine Flat:
Pine Flat has been the top location for Fresno-area trout fishermen, and despite a few days of slower action at the start of the week, the rainbows cooperated during the annual Kokanee Power Team Trout and Salmon Derby on Saturday, April 22.
Jim Travis of Fresno, the tournament’s director, said, “We had a good turnout with 63 adult fishermen along with 8 junior anglers, and a total of 94 trout were brought in to the weigh-in station with Ken and Donna Smith scoring the largest rainbow at 33.5 ounces. The winning three-fish limit was weighed in by the team of Robbie Mannon and Mark Kosiek with 81.5 ounces, and the difference between first and tenth was 18 ounces.”
Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “The trout bite slowed down at bit during the week, but it must have picked up since there are several rainbows landed during Saturday’s tournament. Trollers had been catching limits, but in the days prior to the tournament, the action slowed to one or two fish per rod. Apex lures, Needlefish, and Rapalas in shad patterns are working best in the main lake around Zebe Creek, Deer Creek, and the Power Lines at depths to 4 colors of leadcore. Most crappie fishermen are still heading to his lake, but the action has also slowed down a bit. The bass bite remains decent with various techniques including Senkos, jigs, or small swimbaits, and Saturday’s tournament was taken with a 12-pound limit. There was a 7.4-pound spotted bass landed during the week while pre-fishing for the tournament with a ripbait, and this is a big spot for Pine Flat.”
The Central Sierra Anglers are hosting the first Fishing Bazaar at The Boat Shoppe, 2125. E.  Ventura in Fresno this coming Saturday, April 29, from 9 am to 2 pm with free parking, scheduled seminars, food trucks and drinks.  Todd Wittwer of Guide Service will be one of the featured speakers.
Pine Flat dropped 4 feet during the week to 850.93 feet in elevation and 50 percent.

Shaver Lake
A surprisingly large grade of kokanee continue to be taken out of Shaver Lake despite low water conditions creating access challenges to the lake.
Dick Nichols of Dick’s Fishing Charters in Shaver Lake said, “I have postponed the start of my season until the lake rises, but there were some excellent results on the lake over the weekend. I have visiting the lake in the meantime and checking with fishermen, and Craig Conte of Clovis and Terry Babb of San Migule found good action for rainbows to 5 pounds as well as a small 2nd year kokanee. Their big rainbow was from one of our plants in recent years from eastern Oregon, and they were trolling Needlefish tipped with either salmon eggs or a piece of nightcrawler behind a dodger at 6 feet. They were specifically targeting trophy-sized rainbows from the Point to Edison Cove. Serious kokanee fishermen are working at depths from 8 to 15 feet with kokanee gear from Black Rock and in front of the Boy Scout Cove in the main channel. Some fishermen are trying to long-line for kokanee on the surface, but this technique has produced far less of the land-locked salmon.”
The main Sierra launch ramp is totally out of the water, but light aluminum boats can still be launched off of the auxiliary ramp. Water releases into Stevenson Creek from the dam has left the creek high and rolling as Southern California Edison is preparing for the coming snowmelt. The Sierra Marina has moved in rental boats into their docks, anticipating a May 1st opening.
Lake levels for the coming months are anticipated May – 25 percent, June – 67 percent, July - 83 percent, August – 99 percent, and September – 100 percent. The Shaver Lake Trophy Trout Program will be releasing the first of their trophy plants from Oregon within the coming months.

Bass Lake
Trout fishing remains a worthwhile way to spend at day at Bass Lake, just a few weeks before the upcoming trout derby. Todd Wittwer of Guide Service has been on the lake several days during the past week, and he reported pulling three limits out of the lake on a regular basis.
Wittwer said, “We have been scoring from the surface to 22 feet on the downrigger, and through have been taken as deep at 32 feet. I am running various setups from the surface to leadcore to downriggers, and we focused from the Sheriff’s Bay to Miller’s Bay over the weekend after finding a good bite in the northern part of the lake near the Pines. I have been running a nightcrawler behind a Rocky Mountain Tackle pink Splatter dodger with a Tasmanian Devil spoon on a dropper in front of the dodger for a weight. The lure is keeping the line, and we have landed several rainbows on the Tasmanian Devil. On Saturday, we didn’t have a fish for the first hour and a half, but once I netted the first rainbow, there were three more on within seconds. I have been throwing corn on my lures to try for a kokanee, but there haven’t been any kokanee landed yet. It is still early so I hope they do emerge at some point.”
For bass, there were two tournaments over the past weekend, and it took over 15 pounds to take first in Saturday’s Sierra Bass Club tournament with the winners bed-fishing. There are loads of bass holding off of the docks.
The 37th Annual Bass Lake Fishing Derby is on May 6//7, and registration is available at Participants must register by 9 a.m., Saturday, May 6, and pick up wristband at any of the three Fishing Derby Headquarters: Millers Landing Resort, The Forks Resort, or Bass Lake Boat Rentals. The Pines and Forks Resorts are open, and all launch ramps are in the water. Webcams of the lake are available at, and the lake has risen to 90 percent

San Luis Reservoir/O’Neill Forebay:
In the main lake, striped bass continue to make for happy fishermen from the banks or by boat. The stripers are gearing up for a spawning attempt with males milking prior to release. The best action has been around the Trash Racks and Romero Visitor Center with P-Line Predator Minnows, Lucky Craft Pointers, or with small swimbaits on an umbrella rig. The fish are high in the water column from 20 to 40 feet before dropping to 60 feet by mid-day. Bank fishermen are using cut bait, and a few select anglers are trapping the freshwater grass shrimp for the opportunity for a big striper. The water level has dropped slightly to 97 percent. In the forebay, Check 12 has been the top location for striped bass with pile worms or anchovies. Anglers will have to go through 20 or so small undersized striped bass before landing a legal 18 incher, but the action is fast. This would be a great option for bring a child fishing, but you have to get their early in the morning as all available elbow room is taken up quickly.

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