A lot of people that I’ve been talking to are concerned about the lack of rain we’ve had so far this season. Through writing this column, I’ve learned that there’s a definite pattern in the weather from year to year. It seems like every fourth year we have a similar dry spell and then all of a sudden, we are hit by a series of big storms that just about make up for all the lack of rain. Seven years ago the Delta along with other surrounding waterways had to be shut down as they were unsafe due to the sudden rise in water levels immediately following a dry winter. I’m definitely not an expert in the field but based on my records, I can’t help to remain pretty optimistic, hopefully soon we’ll be wondering what we’re going to do with all the water.
The water temperatures have already begun to increase, making for fantastic fishing conditions. Those fishing for bass are doing fair while fishing with jigs and creature baits along the edges of the grass. Some are predicting an early spawn but as mentioned above, I’m holding my breath until the storm season passes. Fishing for striped bass remains good around the Rio Vista areas with anglers doing well while fishing with live and cut bait. The morning fog has been really thick lately so be careful when navigating on the water.
New Melones Lake:
Anglers are catching trout but having a little trouble getting a limit. Bank anglers have been catching trout on Power bait, marshmallows, and night crawlers. It is very important that your bait floats. Use small hooks, plenty of Power bait, and a worm blower to achieve this desired presentation. Also, to catch bigger fish try using minnow-like lures. These larger fish feed on other fish. A Rapala CD7 or CD9 is a great bait to use for large predator fish. Anglers trolling for trout have been having most of their luck with a less is more approach. Try trolling small flashers and dodgers with a night crawler 3-5 feet behind. Sep’s sidekick, and micro mini’s work well and don’t spook the fish. Bass fishing is decent with the majority of fish taken off of main lake structure at depths from 25 to 65 feet. The fish are fat, healthy, and gorging themselves on threadfin shad. As a result, shad-patterned plastics on the drop shot are working with reports of a good jig bite as well. Glory Hole Point still has the only paved launch ramp that is currently in the water.
Lake Don Pedro:
Trout fishing remains pretty good with anglers trolling catching their limits. The majority of trout are on the smaller side, but the action is steady early in the day. I advise to fish the areas where you see the birds circling overhead. A lot of times they fly right over the schools of baitfish eating the baitfish that are being pushed to the surface by feeding fish. Bass fishing is slow for a lot of anglers as the water temperatures are still very cold. Anglers are working deeper water with small worms and jigs for their bites. Fleming Meadows still has the only serviceable launch ramp.
Anglers fishing the North Shore are doing well while fishing with Power Bait early in the morning. There are also trout being caught along the South Shore area on Power Bait as both the main lake and ponds are being planted weekly with trout from the Mt. Lassen Trout Farm. Bass fishing is slow; anglers are searching out schools of bass holding around main lake points or Islands. Once finding them anglers are fishing slowly through them with either a drop shotted worm or small jig.
The lake is still being planted heavily with Mt. Lassen Trout causing a frenzy amongst anglers fishing off the bank. Anglers trolling are catching trout while fishing the top five feet of water. Currently there is paved access for launching but it’s down to one lane. The lake is currently 25 to 30 feet from full.
Tip of the Week:
When faced with tough conditions such as cold muddy water it’s important that there be some changes made in lure selection and presentation. Most people look down into the water thinking how can a fish possibly see my lure? A lot of times the muddy water that we see from standing above the surface only extends a few feet below the surface. The only true way to know this is to stick a camera down there or swim down and take a look for yourself. Personally, I try to fish a little deeper than normal and keep close to grassy or weedy areas. The grass and weeds help filter the floating particles and can actually help create a clearing beneath the surface.