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New Melones Reservoir - New Melones Lake is currently holding 1,312,000 acre-feet of water, and is at 54 percent capacity. The lake elevation rose two feet this week, and is now at 982 feet above sea level and 106 feet from full capacity. It has risen 14 feet since Christmas, and 25 feet since Halloween. Surface water temperature is approximately 52 degrees.

We are now back to 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.

For trout fishing, the big, full moon hung in the sky all night, giving trout a chance to feed nocturnally and slowing daytime fishing somewhat. Fish and Game planted Melones again last week, so bank action should be good, especially near Glory Hole Point, Angels Cove, and under the 49 Stevenot Bridge. Tie on a crawler or some Power Bait, and take the kids fishing! Trout are running from 1-3 pounds, with smaller "planter" fish being the most plentiful. 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. Trollers are reporting limits of smaller rainbows caught right on the surface with a crawler/spinner combo or a small shad imitation. The main lake near the spillway/dam, or near the islands off of Glory Hole Point are good places to troll. 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. Glory Hole Sports' Big Fish of the Week Contest and a free deli lunch was won by Vallecito resident Frank Gault, who caught a beautiful 7.3-pound brown trout while trolling a Yozuri Minnow right on the surface by the dam/spillway, in the fog. His brown was a big female, and was dropping ripe eggs. Dan Cotton of Angels Camp caught a nice 3.7-pound brown while trolling a baby-bass pattern Rapala 15 feet deep near the dam. Trolling frozen shad or shad or trout-patterned Rapalas or Rebels work best for big browns. We have had some beautiful browns caught on a tiny purple Sockeye Slammer this time of year, too. When trolling shad, you want a slow, easy roll to simulate a wounded shad. Gil Hooleys allow you to put a bend in a shad to get the rolling effect. Pro-troll Roto-Trolls give the rolling effect with an added bonus - they come implanted with a small electronic chip that emits a positive charge into the water to attract the fish. 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 browns. Try using spinner/crawler combos, such as a Wedding Ring, trolled either alone or behind a dodger. Small shad-patterned Kastmasters, Needlefish or Apex lures are also catching fish. The Cop-Car Needlefish has been a good choice.

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.

Bass are in the creek channels, where warmer water is flowing into the lake, washing in insects from the recent rains. Bass are deep - from 80 feet deep to as shallow as 25 feet deep, especially if there is isolated structure such as a rock outcropping or tree. Drop-shotting a small shad or oxblood-colored worm is great for targeting these fish. Brown/brown or brown/purple jigs/trailers, or a green pumpkin or cinnamon Yamamoto Hula Grub or Creature Bait on a jig head are also working well. Many bass are in the main lake chasing schools of shad, so they are hard to find unless you are trolling for trout! Many bass are suspended near structure on island tops. A good spot to fish right now would be the islands off Glory Hole Point - they are full of structure, and schools of shad are stacked up in that area.

No new catfish reports have come to us this week. This time of year the catfish bite slows, as they tend to hunker down for winter, feeding less and becoming less active overall.

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.

There was almost an 11-pound black bass caught this past week, but the only fish that has been hitting consistently is trout. Anglers are trolling 20 feet deep with night crawlers. Catches have been consistently in the 21- to 22-inch range. Jon Smith won the Kerman Bass Club Top 10 fishoff with four fish for 4.67 pounds.

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 this past week.

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 big bass are looking for shallow warm water. Rubber worms in crawdad colors and live crawdads 5-15 feet deep are working well. Around the dam, there are some nice crappie coming out on live bait - small and medium minnows - and red and white or yellow and white crappie jigs. The same strategies are working at Horseshoe Bend in the early evening and at night. Trout are 15-30 feet deep up river past Barrett Cove. Night crawlers and flashers work well, as do rainbow trout-colored or copcar-colored needlefish.

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.

Trout fishing continues to be a little show, but some anglers have had luck around the brushpile. Murky water from the storm probably is keeping most from getting limits. Guide Tim Bermingham caught and released 10 trout fly fishing in the Merced River just beneath Merced Falls.