My daughter decided to go swimming after school this week. I asked her how it felt in the pool, “it was cold” she replied. These past 10 years I’ve really started to pay more attention to temperature changes. Two fishing trips made me think twice about relying on a calendar for seasonal changes. The first was in early September 1999. A friend wanted to show me where the striped bass would be showing up in a couple of months. Since we were there, we started making a couple of casts around the area and ended up having one of the best fishing days on the Delta. The second time was during a tournament. While everyone was fishing summer patterns, the winners ended up doubling the weight of the second-place team while fishing a fall pattern on a 100-degree day. I’ve since tried to stay ahead of the seasons by keeping a close eye on not only daytime temperatures but nighttime temperatures as well. Especially now, as our days are getting shorter. The longer cooler nights are causing water temperatures to drop faster than you think.
With water temperatures dropping and as the days become shorter the fishing should be getting better. Currently bass are being caught on just about anything. Reaction baits such as rattle traps and spinnerbaits are producing lots of numbers right now. Stripers are starting to make their way into some of the flooded islands such as Franks Tract, Big Break, and Mildred Island. Anglers are using cut bait and trolling for stripers; the bite isn’t wide open yet but is improving steadily.
New Melones Lake:
Kokanee fishing is all but done for the season. Trout fishing isn’t the best right now either. Die hard anglers looking to catch a trout are finding them at depths down to 100 feet deep and catching very few if any lately. Bass fishing has slowed down recently; smaller fish are being caught on small plastics during the day. Catfishing is still good for anglers fishing off the bank at night while soaking anchovies or chicken livers.
Lake Don Pedro:
Fishing for kokanee and trout is still good right now on the lake. Anglers targeting kokanee or trout are trolling orange or red Apex lures trolled behind a Sling Blade between 50 and 75 feet deep. Bass fishing is slow right now; there are a lot of smaller fish being caught but very few of any size. Anglers are currently catching bass while drop shotting and spooning anywhere between 25 and 35 feet deep.
Currently there is very little fishing pressure during the week for anglers fishing for trout. The fishing is slow right now especially during the midday hours. Your best bet is getting there first thing in the morning. Bass fishing is slow right now; those catching fish are targeting schools of fish found as deep as 30 feet while using small plastic worms. Catfishing is good right now on the lake for those who are using either chicken livers or sardines. Most of the catfish are being found in the backs of coves.
Trout fishing is hit or miss right now for anglers trolling the main lake between 30 and 40 feet deep early in the morning. Bass fishing continues to be good for those fishing traditional summer patterns. Topwater baits are working well early in the morning and late in the day. During the day anglers are catching limits of fish while tossing crankbaits or small plastic worms. Catfishing is also good right now on the lake for those fishing off the bank with night crawlers or anchovies.
Striped bass are being caught by anglers chasing schools of fish that are feeding on the surface. The best action seems to be early in the morning and late in the evening. Some anglers are choosing to use top water baits while others are having luck while tossing flukes through visible schools of fish. There is no size limit for striped bass caught in the lake but there is a bag limit of 10 fish per angler, per day.
Tip of the Week:
Late summer is an interesting time of the year. As far as bait selection, don’t be afraid to try something new or something a little out of the ordinary. I’ve had some great times out fishing during the month of September while using untraditional baits. While everyone seems to be tossing the same thing, try something different, you may be surprised at what you catch.