New Melones remains a top location for multiple
species, but the unpredictable weather has made for a wide
variance in fishing success. Last Sunday was highlighted with a
massive thunder and hailstorm while at the end of the week the
temperatures rose in exc\ess of 100 degrees.
Randy Pringle, the Fishing Instructor, went to Melones mid-week
in order to avoid slow action on the Delta, but he arrived
during a day of an extremely tough bite. Pringle threw a variety
of lures including the topwater ima Popper and Little Stick in
the morning before switching to the new General Max Power Scent
work on weedless presentation and finally with a shad-patterned
Bottom Hopper on a dart head. He said, “For some reason, the
bass bite was off with no topwater action and numerous short
bites from small spotted bass. John Hennecke Jr. caught and
released the big fish of the day with a 2.75-pound largemouth
bass on a Bottom Hopper in the river arm, and despite observing
schools of shad on the meter, the bass were reluctant to commit.
Every boat we spoke with reported very tough fishing.”
John Liechty of Xperience Fishing Guide Service said, “With the
high water, the fish are very spread out. Covering water seems
to be the best approach. In very likely areas a soft plastic
presentation will catch the fish that are not willing to chase.
When choosing a lure color or soft plastic color, keep in mind
the sunfish, shad and baby bass are their primary forage for the
next month or so. Various shades of green will be a good
selection along with some shad patterns. If you find an area
that the bait is holding you can be sure there are bass nearby.
Once the conditions stabilize the fish will become predictable
and will be easier to locate. The summer months are a great time
to get out and do some early morning fishing or fish late
afternoon and evening.”
Trout trollers are focusing between the two bridges up the river
arm at depths to 70 feet while those targeting kokanee are
hanging around near the spillway and dam. Trout are far more
abundant than kokanee, but the few kokanee landed are large.
Catfishing is best in the evenings with cut baits or balls of
nightcrawlers coated with scent as the whiskerfish are moving
closer to the shorelines with moving water in the evenings.
Crappie fishing is best near the abundant timber submerged along
the shorelines. There is still floating logs in the main lake,
and boaters have to be alert. Recreational boating is ramping up
on the weekends and also during weekdays with the summer
closures of local schools. Those fishing under submersible
lights at night are scoring a variety of crappie, rainbow trout,
All launch ramps are open, and the lake has risen to 89 percent.
Lake Pardee is still spilling, and the water
temperatures remain in the 60’s from the cold water rushing down
the Mokelumne River into the reservoir. Kokanee fishing remains
fair, but there are quality land-locked salmon to be had by
dedicated trollers. Over 65,000 pounds of rainbow trout have
been released into the lake since the lake’s opening in
February, and there are plans for monthly plants within the
Alan Fong, manager of the Fishermen’s Warehouse in Sacramento,
said, “I was on the lake in the middle of the week, and we had
trouble landing the kokanee since my partner had a short net on
his boat. We hooked 16 kokanee but only landed 4 as they ‘went
crazy’ went they got to the boat. These fish were just ripping
line when they were hooked, and without a long net, it was
nearly impossible to get them to the boat. We were fishing at
depths from 18 to 22 feet with my custom AFS Apex-type lures or
microhoochies, and the fish we did bring to the net were large
at 17 inches. The south end of the lake has been the best
location with slow action in the river arm. We marked fish at 40
to 50 feet in the river arm, but we couldn’t get them to go.
They will start moving up into the river arm in small groupings.
We also landed some rainbow trout, and they are all healthy
without any copepods, and the meat is solid and thick.”
Caitlin McCroskey of Pardee Lake Recreation Company said, “The
kokanee bite has been on and off as the fish have good deeper
with the hot weather. Ticket Cove, which is the first small cove
on the north side of the river arm, has been the best area for
bank fishermen this week. The river arm remains cold as we
haven’t hit the peak of the snowmelt yet. Bank fishing in the
marina area to the Narrows has been slow, but we have had an
increased number of kayakers this year with the lake limited
only to fishing boats.”
Trout fishing has slowed considerably with the
planted rainbows heading to the deepest part of the lake. Few
anglers were out during the recent heat wave, and bluegill are
the top species. With the hot weather, night fishing from the
docks is the best bet, but fishermen have to arrived before
10:00 p.m. in order to access the lake. A 17.5-pound catfish was
taken out of Cat Cove on a jig by a bass fisherman this week.
Monte Smith of Gold Country Sport Fishing said,
“Trout fishing continues to be solid with custom spoons at
depths from 30 to 50 feet.” Copepods are starting to show up on
the rainbows. Kokanee fishing is limited to the occasional large
fish to 17 inches, but numbers of the landlocked salmon are
absent. The Phil Johnson Memorial Team Kokanee Tournament will
be held this coming weekend, and it will be interesting to
review the results. The bass bite has slowed with the absence of
a topwater bite as the fish are hugging the bottom at depths to
45 feet. Information on the kokanee tournament is available at kokaneepower.org.
The lake has risen to 95 percent.
Trout fishing from both the banks and boats has
been excellent for quality planted rainbow trout to 3 pounds.
The banks were lined with fishermen soaking trout dough bait in
chartreuse over the weekend while trollers are running
blade/’crawler combinations as deep as 80 feet. The triple-digit
temperatures will continue to drive the trout deeper and deeper.
Millerton Reservoir is loaded with numbers of
small spotted bass, and anglers will have to run through several
fish before boating a keeper. The lake is dropping a foot per
day with heavy flows running down both the Friant-Kern Canal and
the San Joaquin River. Recreational boating has exploded on the
weekends with the triple-digit heat wave arriving in the Central
Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “I will be
fishing the Bass 101 Father’s Day Open with my youngest son, and
the reports this week have been plenty of small spots but
locating the better fish is tough. You have to go through 8 to
10 undersized spots to find a keeper, and the best cut has been
taken on ripbaits, spinnerbaits, or plastics on the drop-shot or
dart head. The topwater bite has slowed down this week, but even
with the water dropping so much, the fish are still biting. The
upstream reservoirs are running water out as fast as possible,
and the lower San Joquin is full to the brim as well as the
canal. The best fishing has been in the main lake with heavy
floating logs and debris starting 3/4th of a mile
below Temperance.” Gilbert was below Temperance last week, and
he reported having to patiently move through the floating logs
with at least 10 feet of timber lining the banks. The dropping
water levels will lead to more timber collecting along the
banks. Striped bass may be found in the upper part of the lake,
but boats will have to take a long time to make it through all
of the debris.
A few crappie are still found at Winchell, Squaw, and Little
Recreational boating traffic has become increasing heavy with
the triple-digit temperatures gripping the region, and Millerton
has dropped to 79 percent.
San Luis Reservoir is still the top location for
a larger grade of striped bass for Central Valley anglers while
numbers of small stripers are abundant in the O’Neill Forebay.
The wind has been a limiting factor for trollers and bait
drifters working the main lake, but the winds have slowed down
during the recent triple-digit heat wave. The temperatures have
limited the number of boats and bank anglers out during the
daytime, but Jesus Reyes Silva and Travis Porter of Hollister
have been finding success with JKings Lures 130mm ripbait in
purple/chartreuse for schoolie stripers to 8 pounds. KC Wilson
of Hollister landed a quality lineside while fishing with Porter
using the ripbait as shallow as 20 feet with a long set back
behind the boat.
Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “With the
hot weather, there have been fewer fishermen at the main lake,
but there are still a few anglers out walking the banks in the
evenings with Magnum Flukes in white or white ice.”
Paul Jolley of Coyote Bait in Morgan Hill reported trollers are
working deeper and deeper as the lake temperatures are heating
up. He said, “Trollers are running between 80 and 90 feet for
striped bass as the shad has dropped in the water column during
the daytime hours. The American shad are also in the main lake,
and the stripers are feeding on the larger shad.”
Jesus Reyes Silva of Hollister of “How to Fish’ said, “Most of
the stripers are hanging in front of the dam. We have been
scoring with either jerkbaits, umbrella rigs, or spoons at
depths from 10 to 50 feet for striped bass with American shad
right on the surface. We have scored a number of quality
stripers this week.”
In the Forebay, Jolley said,”Anchovies are still the best option
for stripers off of Check 12, and more fishermen are hunkering
down under the Highway 152 Bridge with the hot weather.
Largemouth bass can be found with jigs near the pylons in the
early morning hours.”
The water in the main lake has risen again to 96 percent.
Shaver Lake has been consistent for mixed limits
of kokanee and rainbow trout for experienced trollers. The bite
has been ‘up and down’ so far this season with some periods of
excellent action, but the stable weather pattern has contributed
to exceptional action.
Dick Nichols of Dick’s Fishing Charters said, “The bite is much
improved from the mid-week slowdown following the weekend storm.
The rainbows are loaded with insects, and there are still
feasting with bugs coming off of the shorelines as the water
continues to rise. We should even see a better trout bite once
the water crests from the snowmelt. Pat Fitzpatrick and Nina
Nagel picked up their limits on Friday with 6 kokanee and 4
rainbows, and we put in three limits by 8:15 a.m. The
Department of Fish and Wildlife planted 2000 pounds of
catchables before the weekend, and this amounts to around 4000
rainbows. With the water rising and the insects, the bite should
be good through the next few months. We have been running Trout
Busters 100 feet behind the boat on the downrigger at 20 feet
for rainbows and Koke Busters behind a CJ Dodger for kokanee.”
Steve Santoro of Fish Box Charters took out Reagan and Riley
Ball along with their father Darin and grandfathers Don Ball and
Ron Dressier of Clovis for a pair of 16-inch kokanee along with
a number of rainbow trout running pink Apex lures or white
hoochies tipped with corn in the 20 to 30 foot depth on the
downrigger. He said, “We also scored with blade/’crawler
combinations at 4 colors of leadcore.”
Both marinas are open at Shaver, and ramp conditions can be
Shaver is currently at 84 percent.
Upstream reservoir Huntington Lake is producing small kokanee in
the 9- to 10-inch range with small spoons or Wedding Rings
tipped with a piece of nightcrawler while bank anglers are
picking up a few rainbows at the mouth of Rancheria Creek.
Huntington is near capacity at 99 percent.
Alan Fong, Manager of the Fishermen’s Warehouse
in Sacramento, took his young grandson out to Bullard’s for
kokanee fishing, and he reported great action for small kokanee
in the 10 to 12-inch range. He said, “There are tons of fish,
and we hooked over 50 kokanee using micro-hoochies and my AFF
Apex-type lures at 10 to 25 feet in depth. There was a lot of
stuff on the surface so boaters have to be careful. It would be
good for fishermen to target this lake and remove some of the
kokanee since they are stunted the high population.
Don Paganelli of Paganelli’s Bass Fishing
Experience reported good action Monday 6-12 for
largemouth and spotted bass for bass to 3.5 pounds using tubes
or Robo Worms on a drop-shot or spinnerbaits. He said, “Most of
the bass are spawned out already, but some are still guarding
beds in the shallows. We found areas where the fish were
actively feeding, and we picked up some quality smallmouth as
well.” For Eagle Lake-strain rainbow trout, Troy Barr of T-Roy’s
Guide Service took out a father and daughter for limits of trout
along with 9 crappie running Rocky Mountain Tackle’s Serpent
Spoons, Brad’s Kokanee cut plugs, or Apex spoons tipped with
Pautzke’s Red Fire Corn at depths from 17 to 41 feet.