For the 20th year in a row, I spent my New Years in Arizona. Just like last year, the weather has been surprisingly cold. Every time I visit Arizona, I’m reminded of the year I traveled to Texas to fish at Lake Amistad. It was a little later in the year, but the fish were already spawning which made for some excellent fishing. That experience really got me thinking about how all it took was me to relocate to find fish that were biting. Of course, it consisted of me having to travel nearly a thousand miles but in a more practical sense, there are always other options out on the water that anglers sometimes don’t think about. An example would be fishing a different area of the lake that was a little warmer. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve missed out on biting fish because I was too stubborn to try a new area. There’s an old saying amongst anglers that goes “there’s always someone that’s catching them.” I found that saying to be true. Some of the most successful anglers I know leave no stone uncovered and have instincts like I’ve never seen before. Just because the fish aren’t biting where you’re currently at doesn’t mean they’re not biting somewhere else.
The striped bass really seem to be scattered right now. Anglers are having a tough time pinning them down with one specific pattern. Those having the most luck are moving from spot to spot while covering a lot of area. The techniques being used are both live and artificial baits. It’s really just a matter of finding the fish. Bass fishing is tough right now as anglers are advised to use lighter lines and smaller baits as the water has gotten real clear in a lot of areas. Most anglers are choosing to use a drop shot rigged worm along deep weed edges.
Lake New Melones:
January is considered the best time of the year to target the big brown trout. Most anglers targeting brown trout are trolling their favorite Rapala lure. Anglers fishing off the bank are having some luck while fishing for trout. Power Eggs or Power Bait in rainbow or chartreuse colors seems to be the bait of choice. Anglers trolling are starting to have luck while top-lining and using side planners. A single night crawler threaded onto a Wedding Ring behind a Sling Blade is hard to beat. Bass fishing remains consistent as the bass have moved deeper. The bigger bass are being caught by swimbaits as they are definitely following the trout up shallow. For numbers try targeting points and backs of creeks with soft plastics and jigs.
Lake Don Pedro:
Trout fishing continues to be fair for both trollers and bank fishermen. Mexican Gulch seems to be the hot area right now for anglers trolling down to 30’ deep with shad-patterned ExCels. The salmon bite is expected to improve as we get closer to February. Bass fishing has slowed right now as anglers are struggling to find a consistent bite anywhere on the lake. There have been a few anglers that have been able to catch fish on spoons while searching for schooling fish.
Lake management continues to plant Donaldson Trout weekly. Anglers having luck are either trolling the top ten feet of water or fishing with power bait from the bank.
Lake Pardee is scheduled to reopen February 14th.
The South Shore Pond seems to be the hot area right now as anglers are doing well while fishing with Power Bait. North shore bank fishing is still producing limits this week, mostly in the early morning hours when the water is coldest. South shore has a couple of good reports as well. Bass fishing remains fair with anglers catching fish while working small plastic baits along the bottom. Typically this time of year anglers do well while fishing with umbrella rigs through the schools of baitfish when found.
Tip of the Week:
If you’re planning on not using your boat for a while it’s always better to top off the gas tanks before storing, than to let it sit empty. An empty tank allows for a lot of condensation to build up resulting in water mixing with your fuel. This can be a very costly mistake if not treated properly.