I’ve always tried to keep things simple when it came to my fishing tackle. I have a couple favorite colors and a couple favorite baits that I’m convinced if they’re not working, the fish aren’t biting. Over the years, I’ve really started to question my decision to stick to a handful of colors and techniques. They’ve done well for me over the years, but there’s still those days when I struggle to get a bite. Through many years of having a fish tank in my house and observing my fish, I’ve learned that the slightest change does make a difference. I have an automatic feeder on my tank, and sure enough, my fish start preparing to feed several minutes before my feeder is scheduled to dump food in my tank. I’ve also witnessed my fish reacting to slight temperature changes as well as changes in light. Witnessing these changes, has made me believe that subtle changes in lure colors or techniques does make a difference. If you’ve fished long enough, you’ve surely been fishing with someone who was using the same bait or lure who was catching more fish than you. No longer do I let myself believe it’s just luck, I look for what they’re doing differently. Something as simple as a change in retrieve speed, line diameter, or scent can make all the difference.
Fishing is really starting to pick up, bass are being caught on swimbaits as well as flipping jigs and creature baits. Striped bass are hitting almost anything right now and can be found throughout the system. Tie on a large chrome and blue rattle trap and find any area where there is a little current and cast away. I’ve been using a stop and go retrieve which really seems to draw more strikes. Anglers are also doing well around Mildred Island while drifting live bluegill.
New Melones Lake:
Right now, the lake is in transition as the cooler water has yet to make its way to the surface. Bass fishing is good right now as the bass are feeding heavily in preparation for winter. Anglers are doing well while fishing with jigs and grubs along the bottom once finding schools of bait. There are also a few reports of anglers having luck while fishing with swim baits. For trout anglers are starting to have better luck while trolling speedy shiners between 50 and 70 feet deep.
Anglers trolling for trout are reporting catching them while fishing near the dam. Like the other lakes, trolling Speedy Shiners and Rapalas as deep as 60 feet has been working well. Usually around this time of the year the lake resumes its trout plants. Look for the ponds to start turning on as they always seem to be the first to be planted. Bass fishing continues to be good on the lake right now as anglers are scoring good limits while fishing reaction baits and plastics in ten to fifteen feet of water.
From now until early spring is probably the best time of year to fish for trout on the lake. The lake is being planted weekly with trout making them easy targets for the patient angler. Power Bait, or trout lures such as Kastmasters and Spinners continue to be the most popular baits.
Fishing has slowed down on the lake but there are still schools of shad being chased to the surface by trout and bass. Finding those actively feeding schools in the middle of their ambush is the key to catching them right now. Some anglers are driving around looking for birds following the schools of baitfish. Others are trolling or holding in place on a spot where they believe the schools will pass.
Tip of the Week:
With the cooler nights and mornings, it’s very important to be careful when around boat ramps. A lot of ramps and docks ice up making them very dangerous to walk on. There’s nothing fun about falling while walking down an icy boat ramp. So, as much as you may be excited to catch that first fish of the day make sure to take it slow and if there’s railing available, use it.