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New Melones Reservoir - The Department of Fish and Game was planning to fill our trout pens (sponsored by Kokanee Power) with rainbow and brown trout as soon as last Friday. Catchable-sized fish will be held in the pens and fed a rich diet for the remainder of the winter and spring. These fish will grow rapidly, and will be released into the lake when the water temperature warms. If you would like to help in the care and feeding of the fish, please call Glory Hole Sports at 736-4333, and leave your name and a phone number where you can be reached during the day.

New Melones Lake Visitors Center has some great free weekend guided hikes planned for the month of December. For information on the informative lectures, call 536-9094 ext. 22, or visit Glory Hole Sports to see the schedule.

New Melones Lake is currently holding 1,169,000 acre-feet of water. Lake is at 48 percent capacity. Lake elevation rose almost two feet this week, to 965 feet above sea level, and 123 feet from full capacity. Water temperature has cooled to approximately 57-58 degrees, and the lake has "turned over."

The Department of Fish and Game has been heavily planting Melones with trout, so the action for small rainbows is hot. The lake seems to have "turned over." We have already heard reports of big rainbows showing up in the major creek arms such as Mormon Creek, Coyote Creek and Rose Creek upriver. Power Bait or Pautski's Salmon Eggs are the best choice for bank anglers. Use a marshmallow to float your bait. Jerry Long used Power Bait to catch a limit while bank fishing near the Angels Boat Launch. You may also want to throw a small silver/blue Kastmaster, a small Rattletrap, or a shad-colored spinner such as a Mepp's or Panther Martin. During the cold winter months, rainbows and browns often chase schools of shad into the coves and cuts. Watch for schools of shad boiling on the surface, right up onto the bank, as the bigger fish herd them and trap them in the shadows to feed - throw a lure into the boil, and you will catch a fish. Trollers are reporting easy limits in the top 10-20 feet of water in the main lake, and at the mouths of major creeks. Remember - when fish are on the surface, it's important to have plenty of line out behind your boat (as much as 100-150 feet). 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. Spinner/crawler combos alone or behind a dodger have enticed many trout this week. Larry Gross and Coogie Sierra caught limits with spinner/crawlers behind silver dodgers trolled 0-15 feet deep in the main lake. Frank Ambrosoli reports easy limits while trolling small minnows in the main lake. Rainbow trout-patterned Apex Lures and Wee-Tads with no dodger or flasher are working well, too. Don Myshrall caught 8 trout and 2 kokanee (kept five, released the rest) while trolling a trout-patterned Apex at the mouth of Carson Cove. It's time for brown trout to start showing up. Frozen shad or shad, rainbow or brown trout-patterned Rapalas are your best bet for big browns. The Spro Sliding Hook Rig is an easy way to rig a frozen shad for trolling. Kevin Bobst trolled frozen shad by the spillway to catch (and release) a beautiful 6-pound, 2-ounce brown trout.

Kokanee are done for the season, although some trollers are still picking up a 12-13 inch fish while trolling for rainbows.

Bass are still pretty active, with smaller fish feeding in the shallows and bigger fish holding to slightly deeper water. Try fishing near main lake points or by steep drop offs. Smaller fish are hitting drop-shotted 4" crawdad-colored worms, such as Roboworm Bold Bluegill or Keeper 411 or 1038 (oxblood). Bass have also recently been caught on Rattletraps, crankbaits, swim baits and spoons. Using a blue/silver spoon over submerged structure and island tops will catch bass as the water temperature falls. The fluttering fall of the spoon imitates the shad that die in the cold water.

The catfish bite has been slow, but one angler reported catching a 9-plus pounder while bank-fishing near Tuttletown with chicken liver. Try Angels Cove, Glory Hole Point, under the 49 Bridge, or near Tuttletown. Use mackerel, anchovies or sardines, crawlers, chicken liver, or live large minnows. The action is always best at night for catfish, when they move into the shallows to feed.

Crappie and bluegill are showing up occasionally. The south side of the lake has been good, and near Tuttletown is another good choice. Best crappie bite has been at night under a submersible light, with minnows or red/white crappie jigs.

Melones Reservoir is planned for catch-able trout plants between Dec. 19-25, conditions permitting.

Glory Hole Sports, 736-4333.

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

Maurice Travis of Washington went fishing for rainbow trout at Don Pedro on Dec. 4 with fishing guide Monte Smith of Gold County Sportfishing. The fishing started out a little tough in the morning. They were catching and losing fish by the dam and by Fleming Marina. The fishing got much better when they decided to fish the area known as Big Creek. Quadruple hook-up! With four rods in the water they had four fish at one time and landed them all, with the biggest fish going just under two pounds.

They used Sep's Side planers with a watermelon Sidekick dodger and an Uncle Larry's Spinner in tow on the surface, and on the downriggers they were using Apex lures from 18 to 29 feet deep. They ended up with eight rainbows kept, and released one kokanee and three other small planters.

The Department of Fish and Game has planned a trout plant from Dec. 19-25, at Don Pedro Reservoir.

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

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

Things are perking up and the launch conditions are a little better, but the lake gradually is being drained more than usual for dam maintenance. It's scheduled to drop to 30 feet on Dec. 23. There is a solid trout bite going, but the water is too low to launch unless you have four-wheel drive and a light boat because there is an exposed gap in the launch ramp. There is a good bite from the bank, too, but it's pretty muddy. Fishing is good, but getting the fish is tough. Call ahead for launch conditions.

881-0107, 847-3447.

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

The bass bite is getting tough. Fish are moving deep, and anglers are going right along with them. Try 40 feet deep with crawdads. That seems to be the best strategy. The trout bite is good with worms and Power Bait.

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.

John Kemper from McSwain Marina said there was a Department of Fish and Game plant last Tuesday morning, but not much was happening in the wind and rain. "It's been kind of slow, and the water will get kind of muddy with the rain," Kemper said. The lake might be closed to boats, Kemper said, if the winds get worse. Before the storm, there were limits for trollers in the slot area, and the fishing had been decent at the brush pile.