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New Melones Reservoir - New Melones Lake is currently holding 1,354,000 acre-feet of water, and is at 56 percent capacity. The lake elevation rose three feet this week, and is now at 987 feet above sea level and 101 feet from full capacity. It has risen 19 feet since Christmas, and 30 feet since Halloween. Surface water temperature has warmed to approximately 53 degrees, although the storms we are having may drop the temp back down.

We are now using the middle Tuttletown Ramp, as opposed to the lower muddy ramp. We are using the second highest ramp at Glory Hole. Angels Cove Ramp will remain closed for the winter, as it does every year, until March 30.

Trout fishing for planters, both from the bank and trolling, has been good, especially near Glory Hole Point, Angels Cove, and under the 49 Stevenot Bridge. Trollers may also want to try the dam/spillway area. Rainbows being caught are mostly planters. Both bank anglers and those who are still fishing from a boat may want to throw a shad-imitation spoon such as a Kastmaster or Krocodile, or a Panther Martin or Mepps. This is especially effective in the evening when you can see trout swirling on the surface. Warmer water temps have moves the trout slightly deeper. Trollers looking for rainbows should target the surface during overcast weather, to as deep as 20 feet if we get warmer, sunny days. Most productive lures have been crawler/spinner combos, or a small shad imitation lure such as Apex or Excell. Remember - when fish are on the surface, it's important to have as much as 100-150 feet of line out behind your boat. Using side planers is a great way to get your lure away from the boat chop and commotion that your boat causes, which scares the fish away from the area behind your boat. Brown trout continue to thrill anglers who troll in the main lake as well as upriver. Trolling frozen shad or shad or trout-patterned Rapalas or Rebels work best for big browns. Broken-backed lures are a favorite of brown trout anglers. When trolling shad, you want a slow, easy roll to simulate a wounded shad. When fishing for browns, don't use dodgers or flashers. Browns tend to stay close to structure that has deeper water accessible nearby, so anywhere there is a steep drop-off with trees is a good place to troll for them.

While this is not the time of year for Kokanee to be showing up, we do get an occasional report of trollers catching small Kokes while trolling for rainbows. Good Kokanee action will start back around May.

Warmer water temps have stimulated the bass and we are seeing more of a reaction-type bite, in shallower water. Fish are still deep, but have moved up to around 40 feet. We've had some big fish caught this week! Anglers Choice held a team tournament on Melones this weekend. Randy Blevins and Victor Geis took first place with 21.88 pounds for a five-fish limit that included the big fish of the tournament, caught by Geis - a whopping 11.72-pound black bass! That is a big bass, but not as big as the new official lake record - a 15.3-pound black bass that Joe Bruce caught! Joe caught his beast on a Zoom Brush Hog. Geis, like many of the Anglers Choice participants, caught his fish on a rip bait. Warm water temps and a sunny day also produced a fair spinnerbait bite. Many anglers also reported good luck with a Yamamoto Hula Grub on a jig head. Others had luck drop-shotting, or using brown or purple jigs. Main lake points and humps held the biggest fish this weekend. Fish are also being caught in the creek channels, where warmer water is flowing into the lake, washing in insects from the recent rains.

This week we had reports that the catfishing is picking up. Howard Cloud has been consistently catching big cats year-round on Melones. He uses chicken livers, and says that using a sliding sinker, leaving your bail open, and sharpening your hooks is the key to catching catfish.

For crappie and bluegill, areas with heavy structure at 30-40 feet deep would be a good choice. Try fishing live minnows or trying to entice them with jigs in red/white or purple/white.

Glory Hole Sports, 736-4333

Lake Don Pedro - Best spots to try are around partially submerged trees, near the marina and rocky points.

Don Smith of Oakdale and his son went fishing with guide Monte Smith of Gold County Sportfishing on Don Pedro on Feb. 5. They ended up catching six rainbow trout from 12 to 14 inches, and losing two others, one two-pound black bass and a beautiful three-pound brown. All the fish were released back into the lake. They caught the brown while fishing with a blue/silver flake Excel spoon at a depth of 15 feet on the downrigger. The other fish were caught while trolling frozen shad in the top 15 feet of water on the far east side of the Fleming Meadows Marina.

With the water surface temp at a cool 53 degrees, the fish are very active now. Bank fishermen fishing around the Fleming Meadows Marina and the Blue Oaks side should be doing well with the recent plants. Power Bait and nightcrawlers are the preferred bait. Make sure your bait floats before throwing it out. If you have a two-rod stamp, try using one with Power Bait while casting out small Kastmasters or Panther Martins with the other.

852-2369, 989-2206, 848-2746.

Tulloch Reservoir - Fish the main part of the lake for the best action.

Anglers are catching trout on the topwater from the shore using Power Bait or marshmallows. Trollers are using needlefish and flashers. Bass are down deep, 60 feet to the bottom, off the point. There were 14- and 16-inch bass caught recently.

881-0107, 847-3447.

McClure Reservoir - Fish in Barrett Cove, Horseshoe Bend, Cotton Creek and Temperance Creek for the best luck.

Diana Mello of A1-Bait said the trout bite is fair with Kastmasters or flasher/crawler combos. Some crappie are showing up around the houseboats with small yellow and white or red and white jigs. Most bass anglers have been catching fish shallow, in the 5- to 15-foot range. The crappie bite is expected to pick up soon. James Church of Atwater caught a 2.25-pound brown trout with night crawlers at Merced Falls.

563-6505, 378-2441

McSwain Reservoir - Try your luck at the brushpile, in front of the campgrounds and marina, and at Gilligan's Island and the handicap dock.

Anglers fared well over the weekend with chartreuse and rainbow Power Bait and inflated crawlers at the handicap dock and brush pile. Needlefish and Kastmasters were working for trollers. The lake is starting to clear, so flasher/crawler combos should start working again. Some anglers were catching fish in front of the A loop, even before the plant.