LAKES



Quail Point Hunting Club and Sporting Clays
 

July 10, 2017    Headlines

Foothill & Mountain Lakes

New Melones:
New Melones remains a scratch bite overall for all species, but there are quality largemouth bass and rainbow trout to be had for those willing to put in the work.
John Liechty of Xperience Fishing Guide Service said, “The bass bite has been tough, but I have been expecting this for some time with the high water levels in the lake. There is the same amount of fish in the lake as in the past, but the high water has scattered the bass into new areas. This combined with the amazing amount of bait in the lake is making for more difficult conditions for those using artificials. There is five times the water than last year, and you have to go through a lot of area in order to locate quality bass. We are finding some huge largemouths, mostly on topwater lures, and my client caught and released an 8 pounder on a topwater lure on Sunday morning. Topwater lures and crankbaits are the best bets for the occasional quality largemouth.”
Trout fishing is similar to bass fishing as there are quality rainbows in the 2- to 5-pound range possible, but trollers will have to be patient in order to put together a limit. Lietchy said, “There was a boat with limits on Sunday working the main lake around Rose Island and the dam with Wedding Rings tipped with a nightcrawler behind a dodger. The section of the lake between the two bridges is another good option.”
The rainbows are dropping deeper in the water column with the triple-digit temperatures. Kokanee are almost non-existent, and those targeting kokanee are catching rainbows with kokanee gear instead of their desired species. In addition to New Melones, nearby Don Pedro has also experienced a similar kokanee bite with only an occasional huge fish landed.
The lake is holding steady at 91 percent with inflow from the Stanislaus River balanced with water releases. All launch ramps are open.

Don Pedro:
Rainbow trout are happening for trout trollers along with a solid bass bite, but kokanee remain a mystery at Don Pedro.
Monte Smith of Gold Country Sport Fishing continues to put his clients onto limits of rainbow trout along with the occasional king salmon. He said, “On my trip this week, I wasn’t able to get the fourth rod down on the downrigger when the second rod went off with a quality rainbow at 5:55 a.m. We were done with a pair of limits by 8:45 a.m., and my client were happy to call it a day as his two granddaughters had scored their limits including releasing a largemouth bass at 5 pounds. The big bass kept both girls busy as it was pulling line until the grandfather took over to catch and release the fish. I am not even trying for kokanee right now since they are so scarce. We did pick up a king salmon around 2.5 pounds  on a recent trip, and I am still running my custom shad-patterned spoons on the downrigger. The fish are dropping a bit deeper right not in the 30- to 35-foot range. Boat traffic after the 4th of July holiday wasn’t too bad, and we were able to launch and put the boat back on the trailer with minimal delay.”
For largemouth bass, Mike Gomez of the Bait Barn in Waterford reported a solid topwater bite in the early morning before switching over to the River2 Sea SWaver by 10:00 a.m. He said, “The fish are found near the surface in the morning, and there is a good bite with the Berserk brown/purple or Purple Hornet jig along with the Pro Worm 124 p or 300 on the drop-shot at depths to 40 feet.”
Bank fishing for trout has slowed with the arrival of triple-digit temperatures.
The Bonds Flat Road has reopened, and this will avoid the 45 minute drive around the lake to Fleming Meadows. Don Pedro has current weather conditions at
https://map.bloomsky.com/weather-stations/gqBxp6apnJSmrqen with a live webcam at https://video.nest.com/live/tE7MzhI0BG. The lake is at 98 percent.

Lake Pardee:
Lake Pardee has been the most consistent location for large kokanee in northern California, but fishermen are challenged by the hot fish coming off after being hooked.
Alan Fong of the Fishermen’s Warehouse in Sacramento said, “I am going to figure this out, but these fish are hard to hold onto. We went twice this week and put in 9 kokanee and a trout on one trip with 8 kokanee and three trout on the next trip, but we lost a number of kokanee. We are using 8-pound test on a flimsy rod, and I normally freespool the kokanee and let them run. Sometimes, they will come off as they are jumping out of the water all over the place. I will figure this out though, and these are quality kokanee in the 15- to 17-inch range. There was one over 18 inches and three pounds landed by a friend of mine this week. I have been trolling my AFS lures in pink at depths between 15 and 20 feet, and I think those who are struggling are running too deep. The main body on the south end of the lake remains the top location.”
Ted Handel of the Central Valley Anglers confirmed the difficulty into hanging onto these hot fish, saying, “I was out with Jim Fox this week, and we caught 6 and lost 5 as these fish are so hot it is hard to get them in. I was expecting them to be must deeper by now, but we caught all of them at 15 feet
Caitlin McCroskey of the Lake Pardee Recreation Company said, “ Overall the fishing has been hit or miss as lots of people on boats are coming out with limits with others with an empty net. Kokanee are found from the mouth of the river to the south end at depths to 20 feet with hoochies, spinners, or Needlefish. The rainbows continue to jump onto kokanee gear, and there have been some quality rainbows taken up the river arm. Catfish are showing up in numbers, and trollers are also landing catfish. We will have our first trout plant from Calaveras Trout Farm the week of July 17th, and these fish will continue to grow throughout the summer into next season. Bass fishing has been best up the river arm with plastics on the drop-shot. 
Lake Pardee dropped slightly to 100 percent.

Lake Amador:
Bass fishing has heated up with the warm temperatures as largemouths at 7 and 11 pounds were brought into the aquarium in the Tackle Box Café. Bluegill are thick adjacent to the shorelines while the occasional huge catfish is landed on bass gear. The hatchery is in limited operation, and the Donaldson trout are getting larger. The 2017 Moonlighter Team Bass Tournament will be held on August 5th from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Information is available at (209) 274-4739.

 

Lake Camanche:

Bass fishing has taken center stage up the river arm despite heavy recreational boating traffic. The days of 50 fish are over, but there are quality largemouths to be found on jigs or plastics on the drop-shot. There is a topwater bite in the early morning before the sun hits the water. There are still planted rainbow trout in the deepest portion of the lake, but few anglers have been fighting the recreational boats in order to access these fish. The lake is at 93 percent and dropping slightly.

Lake McClure:
Bass fishing remains solid with a topwater bite early or late before dropping to the bottom with Berserk’s Purple Hornet jig or Pro Worm’s 124p or 300 worm on the drop-shot. Numbers of spotted bass are possible. The lake is currently at 98 percent.

Lake McSwain:
Trout plants have not occurred for some time, but there are still big rainbows taken from the banks with garlic trout dough bait, salmon eggs, or Power Eggs. The Brush Pile, Handicapped Docks, or the peninsula around the marina remain the top locations with by far the best action in the early mornings before the sun rises.

Pine Flat/ Millerton:
Pine Flat has been experiencing a decent bite for spotted bass in the 1.5 to 1.75-pound range, but the lack of parking spaces for boat trailers along the inundated shorelines of the reservoir has been the limiting factor.
Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “There is limited parking at the lake with perhaps 15 to 20 spaces throughout the open launch ramps. The Trimmer launch ramp is inundated, and Cove Island might be in the same boat with the high water making the ramps inaccessible. There is a good topwater bite in the morning and evening with better action in the evening while Yamamoto grubs on the dart head or squarebilled crankbaits that run to 4 feet are also working. Trout fishing has been decent with trollers averaging from 3 to 4 rainbows to 18.5 inches working the main lake in the early mornings. The trout are still shallow despite the heat, and the best action is occurring between 25 to 30 feet. Leadcore line is still effective with the rainbows high in the column.”
 At Millerton, numbers of spotted bass of a smaller grade are abundant with plastics on the drop-shot or dart head along with spinnerbaits. Gilbert said, “The size is smaller than Pine Flat, but the numbers are better. Aaron Peratt caught and released another 15-pound striped bass on a dart head in the main lake, but this is the only striper than I have heard of this week. A few guys are trolling up above Finegold, but there is still a lot of wood on the surface below Temperance.”
The crappie bite has slowed down at both lakes. Millerton is at 100 percent with Pine Flat at 99 percent. Recreational boating is intense on weekends and also during the week.
Todd Wittwer of Kokanee.net Guide Service has been finding more and more trophy trout with the Tasmanian Devil in Smashing Pumpkin or White at depths from 30 to 35 feet in the morning. He said, “Orange seems to be the color since the RMT Orange Hornet spinner, orange Z-Ray, or orange Needlefish are also producing while it has been a tossup between Dick’s Trout Busters and the Orange Hornet for kokanee at depths from 30 to 35 feet in the morning. Power Eggs on the anchor are also working, and my dad and brother landed trophy trout to 4 pounds while on the anchor.”
Dick Nichols of Dick’s Fishing Charters said, “The long holiday weekend brought hundreds of visitors to Shaver Lake, and we continue to average two mixed limits per trip including at least one large kokanee. The trophy trout are starting to bite, and the Watanabe family from Oakhurst had a great day with me as 8-year old Blaze Watanabe landed a 4-pound rainbow while his uncle, Dr. D.J. Watanabe scored a 17.5-inch kokanee. The kokanee are in great shape and not showing any signed of pre-spawn changes. The kokanee bite is good in the early mornings for a few hours off of the Point, island, Black Rock, and in front of Boy Scout Cove before a slowdown. Then the trout will go on the bite around 9:30 a.m. Koke Busters in pink or ruby red tipped with corn behind a C.J. Dodger at depths to 35 feet have been working best. Pam Norton of Clovis took her father out for a late Father’s Day gift, and she landed four kokanee in the 16- to 17-inch range.”
Steve Santoro of Fish Box Charters said, “The kokanee bite is still on fire as the three-year old fish are very aggressive and good fighters. Verlin Dill, Allen Miller, and grandson Mitchell Burgess from Madera Ranchos landed near limits at 13 fish with Mitchell landing the one big kokanee and a trophy trout at 3 pounds. Green hoochies and green Wedding Rings behind a C.J. gold dodger are doing the trick for kokanee with the rainbows on blade/’crawler combinations at 6 to 7 colors of leadcore.”
The annual Shaver Lake Trophy Trout Sportsmen’s Dinner on August 12th is already sold out, and the proceeds for the event will be used to purchase more trophy rainbows for Shaver Lake for 2018.

Wishon/Courtright Reservoirs
With the triple-digit temperatures in the Central Valley, the high elevation lakes have been providing a respite for those seeking cooler temperatures. Chuck Crane of Wishon Village RV Park and Store said, “It has been very warm up here, but nothing like it is in the valley.” Trout fishing has been best for trollers at Wishon while both trollers and bank fishermen are finding good action at Courtright. Both reservoirs are full to capacity.
Crane said, “At Wishon, Allen Pond and his grandson Seth from Coalinga have been catching and releasing brown trout in the 16- to 23-inch range running custom flies near the surface up near the headwaters of the lake. Every day they are out there releasing limits, and 90 percent of their fish are browns. Rainbows are found with Rapalas or Speedy Shiners in a variety of colors at 3 to 6 colors of leadcore while shore fishing has been slow along the banks.|
At Courtright, trolling flies are also working near the surface at the upper end of the lake, and Needlefish or Speedy Shiners in numerous color patterns are working at 4 to 6 colors for both rainbows and brown trout. Bank fishing is best at the mouths of Nelson or Ducey Creeks with trout dough bait or inflated nightcrawlers. The creek inlets have been best for bank anglers with a lot of fish being landed.
Huntington Reservoir has also been productive for bank fishermen as Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “There is a good bank bite off both dams and also at the mouths of the feeder creeks with trout dough bait or nightcrawlers for limits to 15 inches. High elevation Lake Edison on Kaiser Pass is another option for bank fishermen with limits taken with the same offerings.”

San Luis Reservoir/O’Neill Forebay:
The heat has limited most anglers to the early mornings and evenings, but there are still large striped bass taken on white flukes, Duo Realis jerkbaits, or Lucky Craft Pointers from Dinosaur Point or the Basalt Recreation Area. Trollers are having to work deeper in the lake with the heat, and the lack of jumbo or extra-large minnows have limited drifting live bait. The Department of Water Resources issued a health advisory not to have contact with the lake’s water or consume fish from the reservoir due to the presence of toxic blue-green algae. In the forebay, small striped bass are the rule with white flukes or topwater lures in the early morning before the anchovy bite takes over by mid-morning. Numbers of small stripers are possible, but keepers are elusive. With the heat, the section of the lake under the Highway 152 Bridge or around Check 12 are the top locations.  There is an early or late bite with topwater lures or swimbaits when the stripers are boiling on the surface.



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