Fishing during this time of the year is truly for those who are passionate about the sport. Recently while fishing the Delta, I saw a jet skier fishing from his jet ski. I’ve seen people fish from just about everything, it’s been a while though since I saw someone fish from a jet ski. Being out on the water in the wintertime isn’t the way a lot of people would like to spend their days off. I usually look forward to less boat traffic and fishing pressure. The wintertime is different though. It’s nice to have a few boats out there in case I run into boat problems. Nobody wants to be stranded overnight this time of year. I’ve had several close calls in the past that have made me think twice about heading out all alone or venturing too far out. It’s always good to not fish alone during the winter, stay close to launch sites, and have an extra set of dry clothes. Now that everyone has a cell phone, sometimes I believe that us as anglers take a few more chances, not realizing that often our cell phone coverage is minimized while out on the water.
Striped bass fishing continues to be good. Anglers using live bait are using live bluegills caught around the many delta docks. I prefer using a number 2 bait hook when drifting bluegill and hook them through the bottom lip and out through the nose area. Make sure that once bit to let the striper run a bit as they must swallow bluegill headfirst. Largemouth bass fishing has slowed lately with very few big fish being caught right now. Anglers using jigs right now are having the most consistent bites while flipping and pitching.
New Melones Lake:
Trout fishing is fair right now. Anglers trolling are having some success while trolling Speedy Shiners anywhere between 25 and 50 feet deep. One of the most productive areas has been around the Highway 49 Bridge. Bass fishing has slowed some for a lot of anglers as the water temperatures continue to drop. Schools of bass can be found right now as deep as 40 feet. During select times of the day bass can be caught off main lake points while using rip baits. The lake has yet to turn over causing the fish to be scattered at all depths which has made it tougher for anglers to pinpoint the active schools.
Lake Don Pedro:
The lake is fishing tough right now as there are very few reports coming out. Many anglers are frustrated at the inconsistent bite on the lake currently as the water temperatures are still high for this time of year. Once the water temperatures drop the fish normally school up tighter making them easier to target. In the meantime, anglers are left fishing for suspended fish. Some are catching them on underspin’s, Alabama Rigs, and others are catching them while dragging jigs or small plastics.
Trout fishing has taken over lately on the lake. Weekly plants continue to keep the lake stocked with nice sized Donaldson Trout. The bait of choice right now seems to be Power Bait, make sure when fishing with Power Bait that enough is put on enabling the bait to float off the bottom. Lake management has been planting 500 pounds of trout weekly. As winter progresses look for those numbers to go up.
Anglers are reportedly doing well right now while trolling for trout or using power bait off the bank. Anglers trolling are trolling the top 20 feet with shad imitators and anglers fishing off the bank are fishing the North Shore area. Bass fishing has slowed down, but anglers are still able to catch them while working jigs down to 40 feet.
Tip of the Week:
Water temperature should be taken into consideration when selecting baits. As the water temperature drops fish become less and less active. Unlike us, the colder the temperature the less fish must eat in order to stay alive. Artificial baits must be worked slowly as the cooler the water the slower the baitfish moves. Next time you hook a fish in the middle of winter, take note of how much less that fish fights compared to a fish the same size caught during the warmer months of the year.