Don’t let the hot days fool you, fall is going to be here faster than you think. There are little signs that I’ve picked up over the years that have clued me in to the changes in the seasons. It’s already getting darker earlier, and our nights on average have been getting colder. The longer the water isn’t receiving light, it’s going to start to cool. Even the slightest bit of cooling can indicate a change of seasons to a fish. As the water cools, a fish’s instinct is to start feeding in anticipation of winter. When winter hits, a fish’s metabolism slows, causing them to feed less. For bass fishermen, the bite typically gets tougher as feeding windows become smaller. Certain species of fish thrive in cooler temperatures. Striped bass and trout are two of the most sought-after, locally caught species of fish during the winter. They prefer cooler temperatures causing them to become more active when the water cools.
Bass fishing continues to be good right now on the Delta. The early morning top water bait hasn’t been disappointing anglers as they have been having luck while fishing with Whopper Ploppers and Snagproof Frogs. Once the sun is high there are a lot of smaller fish feeding throughout the Delta that are willing to bite on a variety of lures. Catfishing and fishing for bluegills continues to be good just about everywhere on the Delta right now.
New Melones Lake:
Kokanee fishing is still great for anglers trolling for them. Anglers trolling are finding them between 40 and 60 feet deep. The hot bait right now seems to be anything pink. Trolling a pink hootchie behind a pink dodger has been the preferred method lately. There are a lot of nice catfish being caught by anglers fishing off the bank with traditional catfish baits. Many anglers are opting to fish for catfish during the night, but they are also being caught by anglers fishing during the day as well. Bass fishing remains good for those that are fishing the lake. There are a lot of small fish feeding on shad making them easy targets.
Lake Don Pedro:
The kokanee bite has all but shut down as anglers are choosing to head to Melones while the bite is still good. Bass fishing is fair for anglers looking to catch a lot of small fish while the bigger fish have been harder to find. Anglers fishing for bass are concentrating on fishing the main lake points with small worms or jigs. Bass can be found as deep as 40 feet deep during the day and up shallow during the morning hours.
The night bite continues to good for anglers that are willing to fish through the night. Anglers fishing for bass are having luck while fishing top water baits until the sun goes completely down and then changing to large plastic worms for the rest of the night. There is also a good catfish bite right now at night for anglers fishing around the dam and launch ramp area with cut bait.
Lake New Hogan:
Schools of striped bass have started pushing schools of shad to the surface, resulting in a few nice catches by local anglers. There are a lot of techniques that can be used to catch stripers this time of year. I prefer to troll umbrella rigs at depths between 10 and 20 feet deep. Another favorite technique is trolling rolled shad through schools of fish.
Tip of the Week:
Recently while out on the water I was asked by another boater if I had a screwdriver on board. He was having problems with his electronic trolling motor and had no tools with him. Another time I was called over by a boater who asked if I had a pair of wire cutters, he had a hook embedded in his thumb. In both cases my basic supplies of tools have saved the days of those anglers. I highly encourage that anyone out there who has a boat pack a small tool box to leave on the boat; it could very well save the day.